No one has ever accused Alec Baldwin of being a rocket scientist, but apparently the actor fancies himself a nuclear physicist. At least that’s the logical conclusion to draw based on his post over at HuffPo entitled “The Human Cost of Nuclear Power.” The actor assumes his new role with gusto, metaphorically donning a lab coat to explain what he believes are the inherent dangers of nuclear power, but his bizarre conclusions and the outdated, discredited research he cites suggests that a straightjacket would be his better fashion choice.
Let’s start with a question that illustrates just how far the limb that Baldwin is precariously balancing upon extends: what kind of power plant emits the most radiation? The correct answer isn’t the obvious answer. According to the Department of Energy, coal fired power plants emit about one hundred times more radiation, per unit of energy produced, than nuclear plants, chiefly because coal naturally contains trace amounts of radioactive compounds and, unlike nukes, they’re not designed with radioactive shields. Before anyone living near a coal fired power plant runs screaming for the door, I should hasten to add this is still an incredibly tiny amount of radiation, about 1/10,000th of all the radiation that an average person is exposed to each year. Natural sources, by far, make the biggest radioactive contributions to our lives. Nothing else is even close.
Britain's left-of-center daily - "The Guardian" - has reported that former international environmental lawyer Polly Higgins has launched a new campaign urging the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to deem environmental damage on par with genocide and crimes against humanity in international courts.
"Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute ‘climate deniers' who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change," Juliette Jowit, "Guardian's" environmental editor wrote April 9.
"Higgins makes her case for ecocide to join that list with a simple equation: extraction leads to ecocide, which leads to resource depletion, and resource depletion leads to conflict. ‘The link is if you keep over-extracting from your capital asset we'll have very little left and we will go to war over our capital asset, the last of it,' adds Higgins, who has support in the UN and European commission, and among climate scientists, environmental lawyers and international campaign groups."
Among the "10 reasons why we need ecocide as the 5th international Crime Against Peace" on Higgins' "Thisisecocide" website, number five states "action can be taken against any individual. As an international crime against peace, no-one escapes liability" (emphasis theirs).
New fuel standards make both the left and the media happy. It's easy to tell. There wasn't a single voice of opposition criticizing the latest act of Big Government on major prime-time news outlets ABC, CBS or NBC.
"Environmentalists are hailing the move as nothing short of historic," NBC's Lee Cowan said of the federal government's new fuel efficiency standards. The networks did much the same. Broad consensus from NBC's "Nightly News" and CBS's "Evening News" reflected praise for the Obama administration's latest regulatory efforts.
The federal government took a historic step April 1 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a joint proposal by EPA and Transportation Department officials, the government implemented new fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles.
"This ends a debate that lasted nearly a decade," Cowan kicked-off the "Nightly News" segment. "But now that these so-called ‘clean-car standards' are going to be mandatory across the board, it makes it the first time ever that the federal government has limited greenhouse gas emissions."
"Nightly News" featured the opinions of three individuals who praised the new regulations. "This is sort of the first time that the United States government has stepped forward, to take the biggest single step forward to solving global warming," Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California said.
One familiar trope about horror movies is that the characters can only survive them by abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex, leading some movie critics to half-facetiously moan about the genre's secret social conservatism. But what about horror movies with a thuddingly obvious left-wing message of environmental alarmism inserted into the script, as part of the studio's ideological vision?
In a Sunday Arts & Leisure article on the new movie the "The Crazies," a remake of a low-budget George Romero zombie movie from the '70s, New York Times movie critic John Anderson equated left-wing environmentalism with serving the "public good."
Turns out "The Crazies" is not just another zombie movie, but a consciousness-raising piece "about the issues of weapons security and the purity of water," as the headline indicated: "Homicidally Unhinged, But for a Cause." The text box: "'The Crazies' aims to scare moviegoers and elevates their social consciousness, too."
Anderson embraced the idea of slipping in left-wing fearmongering without fans noticing:
It may come as a shock, but the fanboys reveling in the eviscerations, explosions and Car Wash of Death scene contained in the director Breck Eisner's new take on "The Crazies" will also be contributing to socially progressive cinema. Perhaps even to the public good. With any luck, they won't notice.
The Kids Post section in the Washington Post is designed, in theory, to be a fun and educational way to get young children interested in current events and exposed to the issues of the day, ostensibly understanding more than one side of any issue.
But in practice the section can give kids a one-sided presentation that gives only half the story. Such was the case with today's article, "Girl Scouts have a bright idea," which lauded an effort by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital to have each of its 63,000 members to "replace one regular light bulb with an energy-saving bulb," namely the compact fluorescent CFLs bulbs that "use about 75 percent less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs."
The article closed by quoting Girl Scout Madison Harris saying she feels "like I'm really saving the environment by just doing simple things."
Of course, environmental policy is never that quite cut-and-dried, yet nowhere in her 10-paragraph article did reporter Margaret Webb Pressler inform kids that CFLs, far from being an easy energy-reducing Earth-saving fix, actually pose potential environmental and health hazards, particularly in homes with small children or pregnant women.
What's more, this is hardly news to the mainstream media. Here's how NPR, hardly a right-wing news outlet, noted the mercury problem in a February 2007 story:
“I have nightmares sometimes you know. I’m gonna wake up and everyone’s gonna be driving Priuses…living in a condo…we’re all getting health insurance,” musician Kid Rock lamented during an interview with Fox News.
Kid Rock has been a constant presence overseas, offering his talent and support to lift U.S. troops in war.Always loath to discuss or pontificate upon politics publicly, the rock star sat down with Megyn Kelly Wednesday for a short segment on “America Live.”
Citing the recent CBS/New York Times Poll which shows that Americans want a smaller government with fewer services by a wide margin over big government, Kelly asked her guest: “When you’re out there, you’re talking to people, what are they saying to you? What is your reaction to all this government spending?”
The hot air emitted from almost a century of White House Correspondents' Association Dinners has surely done its fair share to warm the Earth. So this year, Washington's journalistic community is going green. Cue the self-congratulatory pomposity.
Of course taking dramatic measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the nation's journalistic establishment is not without cost; "the most eco-friendly dinner ever hosted by the association" will cost $225 a head, up from $200 last year. Calls for attendees to offset carbon they emit on the way to the gala fit nicely with the Association's, er, shall we say affiliation with the liberal agenda.
Yes, it's all well and good that these folks want to help out the environment. But do they really need another reason to pat themselves on the backs while the President lavishes praise upon the Association and its members satisfy what the Weekly Standard describes as a "shameless and apparently indestructible need to give awards to one another, in a kind of daisy chain without end"?
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times dismissed the ClimateGate scandal during an interview on Thursday’s Situation Room on CNN, labeling it “nonsense” and an “idiot debate.” Anchor Wolf Blitzer only pressed Friedman slightly when he repeated his call for a “price on carbon that would trigger mass innovation in green technology,” meaning a large surtax on fossil fuels.
Blitzer raised ClimateGate during the second half of his interview with Friedman: “Let’s talk about ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ and global warming; this conference that’s under way in Copenhagen right now. The release of these e-mails, what’s called ‘ClimateGate,’ how much damage does that do to those who say man does have this significant role in global warming and this whole debate takes a new twist as a result of that?”
The New York Times columnist immediately played the “denier” card, and pointed to his favorite country, China, as an example of a society that wasn’t paying any attention to the scandal:
Anderson Cooper reused a segment from CNN’s 2007 special “Planet in Peril” on his program on Tuesday, where he traveled to Greenland with a climate scientist to visit a melting glacier. The same scientist, who believes in manmade global warming, also appeared live with Cooper, and dismissed the ClimateGate scandal. The CNN anchor did not have any skeptics of manmade climate change on his program.
Cooper preceded his replay of his glacier report (which came 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour) with news briefs about the latest developments on the climate change debate: “Late word tonight that Sarah Palin is now calling for President Obama to boycott the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. In an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, Palin says the leaked e-mails from a leading climate research group call into question the proposals being pushed at the two-week conference. Meantime, a U.N. weather agency made news today at the meeting when it said the current decade will likely be the warmest on record, and 2009 will probably be the fifth hottest year.”
Though none of this who appeared during the two-year-old segment- Cooper, Jeff Corwin of the Animal Planet cable network, or the climate scientist, Dr. Conrad Steffen of the University of Colorado- explicitly mentioned the manmade component of the ice melting, Dr. Steffen played up the most dire predictions of sea level rise:
CNN made a real, day-long effort on Monday to address the climate-change debate as a debate, giving skeptics of manmade climate change a series of chances to match the leftist view, especially during its evening programming. CNN is also the only U.S. TV news outlet so far to send an anchor to the Climate Research Unit at the center of the ClimateGate controversy.
International correspondent Phil Black’s interview of Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent skeptic of the theory of manmade global warming, ran four minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour. The “passionate skeptic on climate change,” as Black referred to him, traveled to Copenhagen for the UN’s climate change summit, and is one of the few skeptics of the theory of manmade climate change in attendance. The CNN correspondent actually compared belief in the theory to a religion at the beginning of his report: “Copenhagen’s Bella Conference Center has become an international temple for thousands of true believers, people who have no doubt the planet is warming and humankind is to blame. But there are a few people here who do not believe.”
Monday’s American Morning on CNN covered the ClimateGate scandal extensively, but slanted towards those who deny that the exposed e-mails amount to much. Anchor John Roberts let the interim director of the Climate Research Unit at the center of the controversy give his talking points without question. Out of the four segments on the scandal, two featured skeptics of the theory of manmade climate change.
Roberts, reporting live from the University of East Anglia, home to the CRU, led the 6 am Eastern hour with a preview of the program’s ClimateGate coverage: “I am in Norwich, England at the University of East Anglia and behind me here, this cylindrical building, is the Climatic Research Unit which finds itself at the epicenter of what’s being called ‘ClimateGate.’ Four thousand e-mails and documents were hacked out of the Climatic Research Unit’s server system...Some of those e-mails were looked at by skeptics, and are now being used to cast doubt on all of the science surrounding global warming. Skeptics claiming that some scientists were manipulating data to further their cause.”
Ben Stein made an indirect reference to the ClimateGate e-mail scandal during a face-off with Democratic strategist James Carville on Wednesday’s Situation Room: “The truth is, we’ve now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community who are on the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those requesting their data.”
Stein and Carville appeared on the program’s regular “Strategy Session” segment 46 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, less than an hour before CNN aired a slanted report on the e-mail scandal. Substitute anchor Suzanne Malveaux first raised President Obama’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference with the Democrat: “Obviously, this is a political issue. This is up to Congress. What can the President do on this issue?”
Carville went on the offensive out of the gate: “Well, unfortunately, I hope I’m wrong, but not very much, and I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby are right that global warming is not a problem and 940 peer-reviewed scientific articles are wrong. That’s about all we can hope for because, right now, I have to tell you, that the pollution lobby and talk radio is winning this battle, and the will in the United States to do something about this is not what where I think it should be. But that’s the reality of the political situation as I see it right now.”
Stein rebuked his opponent for his labeling, and made his first reference to ClimateGate:
In what is presented to readers of an Associated Press report as a done deal, the Netherlands will impose a mileage tax on drivers beginning in 2012. It goes beyond most if not all other government-imposed taxes in that it will charge more during so-called peak times or if a vehicle is considered a heavier polluter.
The abolition of two other taxes is apparently the mechanism for enticing the Dutch into acquiescing to this intrusive arrangement.
Media bias watchers will not be surprised to know that the AP's unbylined Saturday report saved the government's overhyped promises for the report's second-last paragraph, and the tax-detailing punch line for the final one.
Here are some excerpts (bolds are mine; I believe that "mike" in the first paragraph refers to "micrometer"):
Are the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks really about nothing more than hammering out a world-wide agreement about carbon emissions to curb warming? Not according to martial arts professional and actor Chuck Norris.
If MSNBC is the "place for liberal politics," CNN is the place for latent America bashing, especially its corporations.
On his Oct. 22 CNN program, Rick Sanchez wore his American guilt like a badge of honor and said he wasn't going to stand for America to look bad because of what a corporation had been accused of doing, in this case Chevron (NYSE:CVX), whether they did it or not.
"We do a lot of this, and I'm glad you like it," Sanchez said. "What we do is we try and connect with what's going on in our hemisphere, this is important. In this case, how it is that often time our image as Americans - this is never a good thing - can be sullied by the behavior of an - of an American corporation abroad. And then they end up not representing us well."
On Oct. 23 ABC's "Good Morning America" aired back-to-back segments promoting climate change and, strangely enough, slamming hamburgers. First, George Stephanopoulos worried that Americans were becoming too complacent about global warming and discussed possible climate solutions with "Superfreakonomics" author Stephen Dubner. Dubner suggested choosing a kangaroo burger over a beef burger as a possible solution. Then Stephanopoulos interviewed Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," and discussed the carbon footprint left behind by a McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese.
Pollan said that "you're eating oil" when you're eating a burger: "You need oil to make the fertilizer to grow the corn. You need petroleum to make the pesticides to grow the corn. You need oil to move it all around the country."
Factoring in production, processing, and shipment, Pollan claimed that a quarter-pounder cheeseburger amounts to 26 ounces of oil. "What it tells you is that the carbon footprint of that burger is really big," said Pollan. "The result is a product that takes a huge environmental toll and obviously takes a health toll as well."
As the old saying goes, a photo can say a thousand things. But what it can't say is how it can be used to say one thing, but really be another thing. And that's just how The New York Times used it.
In the Oct. 9 issue of the Times, an article by Simon Romero and Clifford Krauss examined the events in a decade-and-a-half-long legal battle between a left-wing environmental group, supposedly representing the people of Ecuador, and Chevron over pollution allegedly left behind by Texaco.
However, the Times took liberty with a photo of "murky" polluted water with its Oct. 9 story, one that could lead a reader to Chevron is really at fault for pollution in Ecuador. (h/t Carter Wood, ShopFloor.org) The photograph, taken for the Times by Moises Saman (for photo see here), was captioned "a pool of oil in Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean town in the Amazon where Texaco left contamination."
David Letterman is not just wearing his political views on his sleeve, as a one of his shows production executives recently pointed out. Now he's allowing his show to be used as a platform for leading Democrats to advocate action on liberal causes.
On Sept. 21, President Barack Obama appeared on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and used his show to promote his health care/health insurance reform initiatives. But the very next night on Sept. 22, he had former President Bill Clinton on to publicize the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of which is to give aid to nations with rampant poverty.
Letterman set up Clinton to make a point about global warming. The "Late Show" host said he didn't understand how in this day and age people can still not have access to clean drinking water.
You know him as Han Solo or Indiana Jones, but these days, "Harrison Ford Fights for Planet." Or so says "Good Morning America."
ABC's morning show devoted an entire segment on September 21 to actor Harrison Ford touting "Team Earth", an "action campaign" dealing with "pressing environmental issues." Ford said, "We need to come together, umm, to create solutions to the pressing, uhhh, environmental issues that face us ... "
With the entire on-air cast of GMA surrounding him, Ford stated that "... it's the time to come together and, uhh, make an effort to, uhh, um, make people understand that we require - not just here in the United States but throughout the world - meaningful climate legislation, uhh, from all of our leadership."
Far from questioning the need for climate legislation, Ford's hosts helpfully prodded him along. Diane Sawyer chimed in, "And there are a lot of people who think this ... these are the months it must be done. We have to address what we're going to do if we're going to do something."
This could be dismissed as anti-human - but the theory the environment can be saved by encouraging the use of birth control is one that has been popular with media some environmentalists.
CNN's Lou Dobbs certainly hasn't shied away from the idea. On his Sept. 21 broadcast, Dobbs revisited an early report that the true path to environmental salvation wasn't by curbing greenhouse gas, but instead by subscribing to a Malthusian theory that slowing the growth of human population was the best path.
"We have more tonight on a story that we first brought to you last month, Dobbs said. "There is new evidence of the negative impact of overpopulation on our environment. The biggest threat to the environment isn't, it turns out, gas-guzzling cars or power plants but rather having too many children all around the world."
The ADC maintains it was working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there were only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites. A subsequent May 15 New York Times story followed, but neither CBS nor the Times gave much credence to the possibility of corruption in the Ecuadorian courts.
In an interview with CNBC Asia from the World Capital Market Symposium on the Aug. 10 broadcast of "Squawk Malaysia" Krugman said the stimulus that passed earlier this year was inadequate.
"We should be doing something to give the world, well give each of the major economies more of a jolt," Krugman said. "I mean, we've had these stimulus packages, but they were all inadequate. The United States, it was clear from day one that this wasn't going to be big enough."
Greenpeace and the Canadian-born actor joined forces against Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and accused the company of "breaking green promises" for not producing products completely free of PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants. Activists from the radical environmental group painted a giant message on the roof of Hewlett-Packard's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. that read "Hazardous Products."
And in addition to the rooftop graffiti, Greenpeace set up an automated message to dial HP employee's numbers and then play them a recorded message from Shatner.
Barack Obama’s energy czar appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the cap-and-tax bill passed by the House last week on a razor-thin margin. Carol Browner got stumped by Fox’s Steve Doocy while questioning her ability to speak to the subject, which prompted her to declare Doocy “unfair” for blindsiding her. You be the judge — should Doocy have wondered whether Browner had bothered to read the bill she was promoting on national TV, or is that “unfair”?
Have you ever read a newspaper article and walked away stunned that the writer seemed to be totally oblivious to the real story or left some significant questions unasked?
Conservative readers of the June 9 Washington Post could understandably answer yes to the aforementioned question after reading the front page story "Early Lesson in Eco-Activism Comes From Economics Book."
Casting about for a cause, the Young Activist Club at Piney Branch Elementary settled on something close at hand: the hundreds of polystyrene trays and plastic utensils discarded daily in the school cafeteria.
After 120 days of the new presidency, the automobile industry provides some of the best evidence of an administration that favors the heavy hand of government meddling in the private sector. And as is the case with mostcoverage of President Obama and his policies, criticism of his automotive tinkering has been sparse.
On May 19, Obama announced a 30-percent increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which would come to a 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) average for both cars and light trucks. It will equate to a higher percentage increase for cars, up from its current level of 27.5 mpg standard to 39 mpg starting in 2016. And the average for light trucks would rise from 24 mpg to 30 mpg.
"We have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for new trucks and cars sold in the United States of America," Obama said during his May 19 announcement.
While reporting on the Obama administration’s plan to impose higher fuel standards on cars and trucks on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Obama environmental advisor Carol Browner: "As a former long-time administrator of the EPA, how overdue is this?" Browner replied: "It is long overdue. You know, Congress stood in the way of tougher fuel economy standards for a long time. That finally was fixed."
Smith did question the higher price of cars for consumers that would result from the tougher standards: "With the added price tag cost to these average vehicles, and much higher -- higher gas mileage and fewer emissions, what is my incentive, what is my dollar incent – incentive to buy a car like this?" Browner argued that consumers would save money in the long-run due to better gas mileage: "...whether you want to buy a bigger car or a smaller car, they will all be more efficient, and cleaner. So we're preserving the consumer choice, but giving every consumer the opportunity to save money at the pump." Smith replied: "Will SUVs and pickup trucks go the way of the dinosaur, though?"
On the face of it, the idea of the government being able to regulate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted into the atmosphere seems absurd. After all, it's a gas emitted by, among other things, human breathing.
That's the point Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, was making when he criticized the new policy that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 - much to the chagrin of MSNBC "The ED Show" anchor Ed Schultz.
"The Republican from Texas, Barton has already made it clear he's one of Congress' biggest deniers on man-made climate change," Schultz said during his "Psycho Talk" segment on his May 13 broadcast. "Now he's got a new one. The Congressman spoke with Newsmax - there's a news source - on Monday. Now, based on his interview, if you were a runner, I'd be a little bit of nervous about your favorite sport."
You might expect this sort of simple revelation from the New York Times reporting, but a May 11 article declared that when Chevron hires a former reporter to tell the company's side of the story, it's intended to make them look good - or not as bad as the eco-activists deem appropriate.
After CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a one-sided segment attacking Chevron (NYSE:CVX) for a mess the oil company contends it is not responsible for, a Times article by Brian Stetler questioned the merits of their efforts to counter the claims, specifically in hiring a former CNN reporter to speak on the company's behalf.
"As a demonstration of just how far companies will go to counteract negative publicity, the Chevron case is extraordinary," Stetler wrote. "Gene Randall, a former CNN correspondent, spent about five months on the project, which was posted on the Internet in April, three weeks before the ‘60 Minutes' report was shown on May 3."
Pelley's report featured a suit filed by the Amazon Defense Coalition, a group described as "eco-radicals," who are trying to squeeze $27 billion from Chevron for environmental cleanup that the nation's government signed off on more than a decade ago. Pelley described ADC as working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there are only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites.