Bill Scher

More Momentum for Carbon Caps

As noted here before, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who chairs a key environmental committee, is close to the auto industry and may be an obstacle to strong global warming legislation. But yesterday at the Detroit Economic Club, Dingell said his committee is “working to fashion an economy-wide cap-and-trade policy,” putting him on the same page as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., his Senate counterpart Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and of course, the American people — raising the likelihood that both houses of Congress can pass a cap. As always with environmental issues, the devils in the details. Any carbon cap bill can be weakened with loopholes or structured ineffectively. And it’s not at all clear yet that Dingell will help craft a strong bill in the end.

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Bill Scher

Punditocracy: Hearing What They Want To Hear

The Hotline’s Marc Ambinder wins the coveted “Wanker of the Day” honor from Atrios today, after Ezra Klein called him out for “pat[ting Sen. Barack] Obama on the back for becoming ‘the first top-tier Democratic presidential candidate to acknowledge that Social Security deficits could not, and would not, be solved without pain.'” — when in fact, Social Security’s finances are actually in decent shape. Both Atrios and Klein properly whack Ambinder and his fellow pundits for ignoring the facts about Social Security in the name of touting “independence” and “causing pain for middle class voters.” But Ambinder deserves an extra whack for mischaracterizing Obama’s comments.

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Bill Scher

White House Greenwash

To “greenwash” is to spin something as good for the environment, when it really amounts to direct harm or damaging inaction. Like Monday, when President Bush addressed the nation in the Rose Garden, and called for Congress to pass his “20 in 10” plan, cutting our gas usage 20 percent in 10 years. As David Roberts noted in January after Bush first announced this plan, “the vaunted 20 percent is a reduction in projected gas use, not current gas use. So it’s slower growth, not really a ‘reduction’ at all.” Classic greenwash. More happy rhetoric, masking more inaction, keeping us energy dependent, doing nothing about global warming.

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Bill Scher

Bush Undermines Global Warming Ruling

When the Supreme Court last month told the Bush administration to follow the law and treat greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, environmental groups noted that the ruling should end the administration’s efforts to prevent states from adopting their own vehicle emissions standards.

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Bill Scher

Greenwash Watch: “20 in 10”

To “greenwash” is to spin something as good for the environment, when it’s really amounts to direct harm or damaging inaction. Like today, when President Bush addressed the nation in the Rose Garden, and called for Congress to pass his “20 in 10” plan, cutting our gas usage 20 percent in 10 years. As David Roberts noted in January after Bush first announced this plan, “the vaunted 20% is a reduction in projected gas use, not current gas use. So it’s slower growth, not really a ‘reduction’ at all.” Classic greenwash. More happy rhetoric, masking more inaction, keeping us energy dependent, doing nothing about global warming.

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Bill Scher

Drug Prices: What The White House Won’t Tell Us

A few months ago, Bush’s Medicare officials claimed private insurers were getting pharmaceutical companies to lower prices, but when Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, and Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., asked for the proof, the administration wouldn’t cough up the data. So, Waxman’s committee did its own study.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Can You Trust Rudy?

Here’s how the Sunday news shows did with our Weekend Watchdog questions. In a word, not well. For former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks. Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the company, Purdue Pharma, was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Can You Trust Rudy?

Here’s how the Sunday news shows did with our Weekend Watchdog questions. In a word, not well. For former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks. Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the company, Purdue Pharma, was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Can You Trust Rudy?

Here’s how the Sunday news shows did with our Weekend Watchdog questions. In a word, not well. For former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks. Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the company, Purdue Pharma, was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Can You Trust Rudy?

Here’s how the Sunday news shows did with our Weekend Watchdog questions. In a word, not well. For former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks. Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the company, Purdue Pharma, was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-up

The Sunday show hosts failed to ask any of our Weekend Watchdog questions today. Fox News Sunday taped its interview with Rudy Giuliani on Friday, one day after his client Purdue Pharma had some its executives plead guilty for misleading the public about Oxycontin.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. Then on Monday, we’ll circle back and see if our questions were asked and answered. Let’s take back our media! For former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks. Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the the company was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Next Enron Scandal

The Enron scandal is rearing its ugly head again, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has to decide with whom it will stand: Will it be with small investors who depend on the honest advice of financial advisors or with bankers who, thanks to a recent federal court decision, have a license to facilitate fraud? That stunning Fifth Circuit ruling is before the Supreme Court, which has to decide whether it will review the case. How the SEC weighs in could influence the justices, who will have their own choice to make between a conservative ideology that brooks virtually no boundaries for rampant corporate greed and the values of basic farness, honesty and justice.

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Robert Borosage

SEC Must Choose Sides In This Enron Scandal

Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, gave these remarks at a press conference this week with victims of the Enron collapse and their supporters, along with attorney William S. Lerach. The victims are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling that bars the victims from suing bankers who advised Enron on the schemes that caused some stockholders their life savings, and they are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to file a brief supporting their position.

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Bill Scher

Making Excuses, Ignoring Security Threats

Yesterday, the House passed an intelligence bill that included a provision requiring a comprehensive report on how climate change may exacerbate national security threats. This should be obvious and non-controversial. The intelligence community already analyzes the impact of famine, disease and resource shortages on security, and was planning on a global warming assessment anyway. Yet conservative lawmakers were apoplectic.

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Bill Scher

The Empathetic Presidency Is Back

As President Bush touched down in devastated Greensburg, Kan., on Wednesday, I thought back to April 2001, when a white policeman killed a 19-year old black man in Cincinatti, sparking riots. There was no presidential visit to Cincinnati, or even extended remarks, to help heal racial tensions. And The Washington Post was struck by the shift in presidential attitude: This week’s news demonstrated anew a fact that Bush has made clear over and over since taking office: The Empathetic Presidency is over… …The more reserved approach, White House officials say, is both an expression of this president’s personal values as well as a decision by him and his political strategists about how to best use the White House platform.

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Bill Scher

’08 Action on Global Warming

Back in February, presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., quietly made a bold move. He co-sponsored the “gold standard” of global warming bills, Sanders-Boxer, cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. This week, three other presidential candidates joined the Sanders-Boxer bandwagon, Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. and Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

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Bill Scher

The Empathetic Presidency Returns

As President Bush touched down in devastated Greensburg, Kansas today, I thought back to April 2001, when a white policeman killed a 19-year old black man in Cincinatti, sparking riots. There was no presidential visit to Cincinnati, or even extended remarks, to help heal racial tensions.

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Bill Scher

The Market Forces Are Not With You

Business leaders jumped into the universal health care pool this week, as 36 companies formed the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform and called for a system where all individuals are required to carry health insurance. The announcement further shifts the center of gravity of the healthcare debate, where opposing health insurance for every American is understood as unreasonable. But that doesn’t make the Coalition’s emergence an unequivocally healthy development.

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