Obama reverses his position on offshore drilling

Today, Obama proposed that we open up millions of acres along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling. And, in doing so, he once again disappointed and outraged the left… Here, to put today’s announcement in context, is a quote from candidate Obama in 2008:

“Now believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money, who are struggling to fill up their gas tanks, by this summer or even next year or the next few years, I would consider it. But it won’t. … [New drilling] would only worsen our addiction to oil and put off needed investments in clean renewable energy.”

How we got from that to “Drill Baby Drill,” I’m not sure. My guess, however, is that it was purely political – something done to knock the Republicans off balance while the President pursues other, less popular measures to address CO2 production, oil consumption, and the like. As no one on the left held him to the promise of a public option when the health care bill was being crafted, my guess is that he figured he’d get away with it, as long as he ultimately got some kind of energy bill through Congress. And, with midterm elections on the horizon, I suspect he was also looking for an olive branch that Democrats in vulnerable districts could wave in the faces of Tea Party lunatics.

Personally, I wish he’d focus more on what really matters – bringing Hamas to the United States.

And, if you didn’t get that, I’m sorry. It’s kind of an obscure reference to the “Christian warriors” of Hutaree. It seems as though one of them arrested by the FBI a few days ago, was under the mistaken impression, thanks to an internet rumor, that Obama was going to spend billions to settle members of Hamas in the United States. Here’s a clip from the Detroit Free Press:

A member of the Hutaree militia charged with federal crimes was upset because she thought that President Barack Obama had signed into law this month a bill that would spend $20 billion to help the terrorist group Hamas settle in the U.S…

Anyway, I hope today’s announcement is just the first step toward a comprehensive plan that would increase funding for research into alternative fuels, establish robust public transportation systems across the United States, levy taxes on gas and carbon production, etc. But, I suspect, given what we saw with health care, we’ll end up with very little of that. What we’ll get will be some degree of incremental improvement… Unfortunately, our times call for more.

Posted in energy, Environment, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cycle Powered Cinema meeting tomorrow at 6:00 in Ypsi

26104_106847702682073_106846176015559_100415_7310394_nJust a quick reminder that we’re getting together tomorrow at the Corner Brewery to discuss the current status of the Cycle Powered Cinema project, what work there still is to be done, and our vision going forward. If you’d like to join us, there’s still plenty that needs to be accomplished.

And, if you can’t join us for a beer in real life, consider joining us on Facebook, where we’ll be posting updates and the like from now on.

[Tonight’s post is brought to you by Sean Hannity, who addressed a Tea Party group yesterday by calling them “Timothy McVeigh wannabes.”]

Posted in Art and Culture, cycle powered cinema, energy, Environment, Politics, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Christopher Hitchens on the Pope

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’d lost a lot of respect for the seemingly perpetually inebriated Christopher Hitchens over the past decade – what with all the Bush love – but his recent work on the Pope and his culpability in hundreds of molestation cases is winning me back over.

And, as an aside, when are we finally going to get it through our heads that those people who say they speak for God are the ones that we should be the most afraid of, whether it be in the Middle East or right here at home?

[note: This post was brought to you by the Onion.]

Posted in Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“See, the Democrats are violent too!”

With the news that a mentally ill man in Pennsylvania had threatened the life of Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, conservatives everywhere have begun jumping up and down, waiving their hands around wildly (imagine Arnold Horshack trying to get Mr. Kotter’s attention), and claiming that this definitively proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Democrats are just as prone to violence as Republicans are. And, they’re taking the opportunity to demand that the news media pay as much attention to this one death threat against a Republican, as they do to all the violence committed by the far-right in aggregate. It’s a ridiculous notion to begin with, that there should be some kind of artificial equivalence between stories of violence on either side, regardless of the severity or importance, but it’s made even more preposterous by the fact that this fellow who threatened Cantor has also threatened the life of Obama. I was planning to write about this at length tonight, but then happened across a great piece by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post, that says what I wanted to much better than I ever could have. Here’s a clip:

…The episode highlights the obvious: For decades now, the most serious threat of domestic terrorism has come from the growing ranks of paranoid, anti-government hate groups that draw their inspiration, vocabulary and anger from the far right.

It is disingenuous for mainstream purveyors of incendiary far-right rhetoric to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are “crazies on both sides.” This simply is not true.

There was a time when the far left was a spawning ground for political violence. The first big story I covered was the San Francisco trial of heiress Patricia Hearst, who had been kidnapped and eventually co-opted by the Symbionese Liberation Army — a far-left group whose philosophy was as apocalyptic and incoherent as that of the Hutaree. There are aging radicals in Cuba today who got to Havana by hijacking airplanes in the 1970s. Left-wing radicals caused mayhem and took innocent lives.

But for the most part, far-left violence in this country has gone the way of the leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. An anti-globalization movement, including a few window-smashing anarchists, was gaining traction at one point, but it quickly diminished after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. An environmental group and an animal-rights group have been linked with incidents of arson. Beyond those particulars, it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.

By contrast, there has been explosive growth among far-right, militia-type groups that identify themselves as white supremacists, “constitutionalists,” tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold “Christian” values. Most of the groups that posed a real danger, as the Hutaree allegedly did, have been infiltrated and dismantled by authorities before they could do any damage. But we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

It is dishonest for right-wing commentators to insist on an equivalence that does not exist. The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction — the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day — and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies — is calibrated not to inform but to incite…

And he’s absolutely right. It’s not that the left is incapable of violence. It’s not as though there haven’t been other periods in American history in which it was the folks on the left, like Bill Ayers, building the bombs. But, right now, at this point in history, the threat is clearly coming from the right.

Posted in History, Other, Politics, Religious Extremism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Christian soldiers among us

52990383I’ve got other things I need to be working on tonight, like the script for Friday’s Dreamland Tonight, but I’m obsessed with this local domestic terrorism story that I mentioned yesterday. If you aren’t familiar with the case, it revolves around a Christian militia group known as Hutaree. Early reports speculated that yesterday’s FBI raids agains the self-proclaimed “Christian warrior” group were instigated over threats made to Muslim organizations, but, according to the Grand Jury indictment (PDF), which was made public this morning, their real crime was the planning of attacks against local and state law enforcement officers (whom they supposedly refer to within their organization as “foot soldiers” of the federal government). Their plan, according to authorities, was to kill one or more police officers, and then, using bombs, wipe out several of their fellow officers when the came together for the funeral. It’s infinitely interesting stuff, from the made-up military ranks they organized under (being a Radock, it seems, is better than being a Zulif), to the fact that all seven of the indicted individuals – who have openly expressed hatred toward our government – have requested federal public defenders. And, of course, it’s all that more interesting because it’s unfolding right up the street… On that note, I’d like to share a comment that was left on Metafilter today by a fellow calling himself Huron Bob.


More information on Mark Koernke, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a leading anti-government broadcaster, can be found here.

So, now I’m just sitting back, watching all the militia folks and tea partiers try to distance themselves at breakneck speeds from this reality that they’ve all helped to create. It’s amazing to me how fast everyone is trying to paint this as some kind of bizarre aberration that couldn’t possibly have been foreseen, as though FOX News, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and all the rest of them don’t exist. This, I would argue, was inevitable.

And, completely unrelated to this Hutaree episode, I was just reading a BBC opinion piece on how civil war in America is an almost certainty. Here’s how the piece begins:

There has been an outbreak of vandalism – bricks through politicians’ windows; there have been threats of violence and a lot of violent language. Democrats, in response have begun to accuse mainstream Republican commentators of stoking up the violence, and in turn they have accused the Democrats of trying to provoke a violent reaction.

All this has made me consider in a new light something said by an oil-man who consults for one of the biggest companies in the world. Last summer he told me:

“We run a mainframe computer simulation of the global political and economic situation, modelling various outcomes of the resource crunch that begins in the back half of the 2010s. And no matter which way we tweak it, it always comes out with the same result: civil war in America in 25 years’s time”…

Also, if you get a chance, check out U-M professor Juan Cole’s most recent blog post, in which he suggests that Hutaree isn’t all that dissimilar from the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Michigan, Other, Politics, Religious Extremism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments


Sidetrack ad Aubree’s ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Sperm and Egg