Climate change #Climate Change #Domestic Policies #Education #Energy #News #Politics

Mrs. MacDowell 1 Exxon 0: Why I Knew in 1970 What Big Oil Still Denies

OK, let’s go back to the halcyon days of the 1969-70 school year when I was in fourth grade. My teacher was one of those cool, hip, young people who knew how to reach children, to excite them to learn, and to inject a bit of reality and responsibility into them as they began to navigate the world. She was the kind of teacher that every child has, I hope, at least once during their schooling. I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher twice.

One of the great activities I clearly remember from that school year was a unit we studied on pollution that included not only classwork on the issue but an assembly in front of the school. We made posters. We wrote skits. We listened to CCR’s Who’ll Stop the Rain  (lyrics).

And we wrote songs.

One of them was based on the Pepsi Cola jingle, “You’ve Got a Lot to Give.” Sing along with me:

It’s the pollution generation
Comin’ at ya, goin’ strong.
Put yourself behind pollution
If you’re livin’
You won’t for long.

I also seem to remember a pollution song based on the Marseillaise, but I can’t seem to recall the words.

We were a cheeky group. She was a great teacher.

And Mrs. MacDowell also knew a heck of a lot more than Exxon did, if contemporary news reports are believable. How is that possible? Because Exxon and other energy companies are not telling the truth about what their scientists were telling them about air pollution and the environment. Even in 1970, as a ten-year old, I had heard about the “Greenhouse Effect” and how pollutants in the air were being trapped and were causing the planet to heat up.

But Exxon? They say they didn’t know. I don’t blame the scientists who work(ed) for the company. I’m going to assume that they stuck to science and dutifully reported what they knew to the best of their ability. To believe otherwise would call into question their credibility and morality. I’m going to blame the company because it has shown time and time again to be on the wrong side of propriety, from the Valdez tragedy to employee protections to today’s allegations about covering up what it knew about the effects of fossil fuels on climate.

I certainly understand that institutions will do whatever they need to do to survive, and the oil and gas industry is no exception. After all, this is the group that came up with the oxymoronic term “clean coal” to try and make the world’s greatest pollutant and killer of far too many miners sound acceptable. It’s also an industry that probably sees low gas prices as a short-to-medium-term good for its survival since many Americans have moved away from hybrid cars in response to lower prices. We even seem to be acting irrationally by taking the savings we’re seeing in low prices and buying slightly pricier premium fuel.

And then there’s the political angle. President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline project became a formality because of the low price of oil, the glut in the very refineries and storage tanks that the Canadian oil was supposed to occupy, and the plain fact that the promised jobs from the pipeline project were not going to approach the economy-saving levels that many conservatives, and labor unions, envisioned. Plus, the Canadian oil is actually getting to the United States through other means, so destroying the Midwestern landscape for a pipeline was not necessary. Obama rightly measured the impact on the environment and cannily waited until a great Labor Department employment report materialized, then mercifully killed the proposal.

As for the Republicans running for president, their views on the environment, climate and energy policy are, to be kind, ignorant. They see no reason to act on what is clearly happening to the earth, preferring to stick their heads in the sand and wait for the Montana banana industry to flourish (catchy as the jingle would be). Forget about Carson and Trump, who will not be elected president in 2016. Certainly, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have seen the devastation wrought by climate change on eco-sensitive Florida, and Chris Christie, who used to be somewhat reliable on the issue, certainly saw what happened during Sandy and the October snowstorm of the previous year. All of them are in favor of more drilling, more oil company benefits and, most tragically, more United States involvement in the Middle East, which is rapidly coming undone by climate, politics and religion. For these reasons alone they are unelectable.

So thank you Mrs. MacDowell for being one of the early few who knew about the climate problem and doing what terrific teachers do: Telling your students, waking them up, getting them to act.

If only Exxon, other energy companies and the Republican party were as smart as you are.

For more, go to or Twitter @rigrundfest

Domestic Policies

Republicans Decide to Continue Subsidies to Oil Companies

President Obama said it best – its time to subsidies to these highly profitable oil companies, because “Americans are getting hit twice, one at the gas pump, and once more by sending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies.”

But Republicans will have none if it, as they had an almost unanimous Senate vote yesterday to continue giving $4 billion a year to oil companies.

Moments after Obama made his election-year appeal in the White House Rose Garden, the Senate failed to reach the threshold of votes needed to proceed to a measure that would have ended the subsidies. Obama had argued that Americans are getting hit twice — once at the gas pump, and once more by sending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies.

“I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank,” the president said. “And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.”

The Senate vote was 51-47, short of the 60 votes necessary. Two Republicans voted to proceed to the legislation — Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. But four Democrats rejected the effort — Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Begich of Alaska.


Fact: More Oil Drilling Under Obama Than Under Bush


NO! That can’t be right! Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are pushing the drill baby drill fallacy as our only Savior and Rick Santorum is walking around with an oily rock in his pocket, blaming the steep price if oil on President Obama.

The drill baby drill crowd don’t want you to know this. And they are making empty promises that if elected, they will drill more oil and bring down the price at the pump to $2.00 a gallon.

But the facts are here for all to see.

Under President Obama, there have been more Oil drilling permits issued and more Oil drilling than was done over the last decade.

According to a report on Energy, ” President Obama has opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration and we now have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world—combined.”

And this domestic oil production has led to a less dependency on foreign oil imports. In the three years since this president took office, dependence on foreign oil has steadily decreased, lower now than the eight years Bush held office.

So its obvious to everyone with a brain that drill baby drill is not an effective policy position for any sensible party to have, yet, Republicans continue harping the phrase, ignorantly disregarding the facts.

Our reality is simple. We live in a world where the price of oil is determined by market speculators, by oil producing countries, by the supply chain and the ease at which the product get to the market and by the growing demand for oil by nations like India, Brazil and China, where demand tripled over the last five years.

The President has been right all along, we cannot drill our way out of this problem. It involves a more inclusive and and modern strategy. Yes, drilling should be a part of that strategy and it is. But we must concentrate on other resources like clean energy that will further reduce our appetite for fossil fuel.

Barack Obama #China #Politics

Pres. Obama will now be called “The Angry Black Man”

In a time of turmoil – fighting two wars, going through the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, dealing with unemployment figures presently at 9.7% nationwide, the international issues regarding Israel and Palestine, China, Iran, Russia to name a few and now the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused by BP –  president Obama has so far kept a cool head trying to navigate through all these obstacles. And that’s what is expected in times of trials and hardship, someone who knows the issues, has a plan to get past the issues and is keeping a calm head while navigating through the issues.

President Barack Obama

Conservatives however wants a screeming, crying and confused leader who gets distracted by every issue that comes up and start throwing a fit. They’re not concerned about the plans in place to deal with the issues. They’re only concerned about the theatrics of a president who drops everything and pop up in every television shot, crying about what’s going on and the Armageddon of the situation.

Well it seems that the president heard their cry for more emotions. He seem to have lost his “cool” in an interview with NBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer. Mr Lauer asked the following question;

Critics are now talking about your style which is the first time I’ve heard that in a long time. And they’re saying,”here’s a guy who likes to be known as cool and calm and collected, and this isn’t the time for cool, calm and collected. That this is not the time to meet with experts and advisors, this is a time to spend more time in the Gulf and, I never thought I’ll say this to a president, but kick some butt.”

President Obama chuckles at the suggestion, then replied;

“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the gulf,” he told Lauer. “A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar; we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

They have accused President Obama of being too cool. Saying that he’s not showing enough emotions and because of that, they accuse him of being disconnected from the common folk. This group of people have put themselves opposite of President Obama on every single issue, so what will they do now that President Obama is taking a harder stance?

The Conservatives and Republicans will now called him the “angry black man.”

Watch the entire interview below.