Wednesday, October 6, 2010

That Sinking Feeling

This is the kind of thing that's elevating hope's audaciousness to new heights:

In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission reveals that in late April or early May the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make public the worst-case discharge from the blown-out well.

BP estimated the worse scenario to be a leak of 2.5 million gallons per day. The government, meanwhile, was telling the public the well was releasing 210,000 gallons per day - a figure that later grew closer to BP's figure.
Because it has become fashionable to wax Naderesque and claim Barack Obama was just another cookie-cutter corporatist shill from the start, one whose lofty rhetoric functioned as Rorschach blots in which his too-hopeful supporters divined progressive commitments that didn't truly exist, I quote the president -- and mind you, these words came after he was sworn in, and therefore past the need of any such ruse:
[P]romoting science isn't just about providing resources - it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology ... To ensure ... that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions. That is how we will harness the power of science to achieve our goals -- to preserve our environment and protect our national security ... [emphasis mine]
It's funny -- funny in a 'let's slash our wrists and see who can bleed out first' kind of way -- how he explicitly connected the goal of "preserving the environment" with the practice of scientific integrity, right there in the statement in which he was issuing a promise he evidently had no genuine intention to keep. Bonus funny, and in the same way: the subtle allusion to Al Gore in the two emphatic uses of "inconvenient."

For all this, it's true to say the Republicans are worse, and elections involve choices between concrete alternatives. Concrete tends to sink everything it's attached to.

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