Saturday, November 18, 2006



Most people nervous about wanton environmental destructiveness on the part of the Bush Regime, are breathing easier these days, primarily because the environmental movement's Public Enemy #1, Dirty Dick Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee, went down to a substantial defeat last Tuesday. In Rolling Stone's pre-election rundown of the "10 Worst Congressmen" Pombo ranked #7-- and he was one of only two, the other being Curt "one step ahead of the law" Weldon, who was defeated. The Stone minced no word's in their description of Pombo:
No member of Congress has worked harder to savage America's natural resources than Pombo, a Stetson-wearing cattleman who ran for office after a nature trail was slated to run through his family's 500-acre ranch. As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo has waged a career-long campaign to abolish the Endangered Species Act, which he accuses of putting "rats and shellfish" before people. Last year he almost succeeded: His comically titled "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act" would have phased out all protection for threatened wildlife by 2015. Pombo has also won passage of bills to eliminate habitat protections on 150 million acres of wilderness and to lift a quarter-century moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

"Dick Pombo is the most dangerous member of the House," says Carl Pope of the Sierra Club. "There's no one who represents the threat to our public lands that he does."

Notice that Pope qualified his denunciation of Pombo as "the most dangerous member of the House. Just as destructive to earth-- although for different reasons-- is a member of the U.S. Senate. The problem there, though, is that he wasn't up for re-election. That didn't stop Radar from pointing out James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in their pre-election coverage, America's Dumbest Congressmen-- Radar Ranks The 10 Biggest Fools On The Hill.

Where Pombo has been all about greed and old fashioned corruption-- allowing developers and polluters to behave as though the country's environment was just an inconvenient impediment to profits that could be easily gotten around by the right amount of money donated to the right members of Congress-- Inhofe is... well, psychotic and of the school that Jesus is coming to get us in a few weeks-- or months-- anyway, so why bother with environmentalism. Not only did he score a perfect zero from the League of Conservation Voters every single year since 1997, was the only senator to oppose Everglades restoration.

Inhofe is still the senior Senator from Oklahoma but come January he will no longer head the committee charged with writing environmental legislation. In fact... well even better news in a moment. Radar made their case for Inhofe's notable lack of intelligence based on more than just his disdain for protecting the environment:

Inhofe is best known for his categorical claim that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"—a rhetorical flourish he recently refined by likening climate change theories to Nazi propaganda. And here's the scary part: Those are the sentiments of our chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. It's a bit like making Lyndon LaRouche the American Ambassador to England.

But that's not the half of it. As far back as 1972, he called for Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern to be "hanged with Jane Fonda" for referring to alleged atrocities committed by American troops in Vietnam. In 2001, he took to the Senate floor to announce that Israel was justified in whatever treatment it handed out to Palestinians because, after all, God had promised the Jews the land they occupied. For good measure, he also called Palestinian terror bombers practitioners of "satanic evil," and intimated to the New Republic that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were out to assassinate him.

And then there was the recent debate over the latest constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, when Inhofe assured Senate colleagues of his own virility and that of his manly forbearers. "My wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or a homosexual relationship." It's the same flawless gene pool that produced a man who thinks our situation in Iraq is "nothing short of a miracle."

But the even better news comes today from intrepid reporter Kevin Drum, predicting that Inhofe may soon lose any ability at all to molest Mother Nature's bounty. To begin with, the newly ascendant Senate Democrats have placed a veritable polar opposite to Inhofe in as the new chairperson, Barbara Boxer. And there's more: Virginia's John Warner, who has more seniority on the committee and, though a conservative, is relatively reality-based in his assessment of things like Global Warming (which Inhofe thinks is gay commie propaganda), has claimed dibs on the ranking minority member post.

Inhofe, of course, refuses to accept that reality as well. But, as Drum puts it "Sidelining Inhofe completely would be one of the most dramatic signs imaginable that the Republican leadership is reclaiming a bit of common sense in the wake of their midterm defeat. Warner may be conservative, but he's a traditional, reality-based conservative, not a crackpot ideologue like Inhofe."


At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Barbara Boxer's on that same Radar list.


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