Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Science's Number One Enemy

The May 10 edition of the Oklahoma Observer has a front-page article about Senator Jim Inhofe, long regarded one of the country's most awful senators. The Observer is in no way, shape, or form online, but I thought I'd type it out just for entertainment's sake. Guess I have a pretty morbid sense of entertainment. Frosty Troy is one of the most strong-willed, dogged liberals in Oklahoma (granted, he's one of the only liberals in Oklahoma, but that's besides the point).

Science's Number One Enemy: Inhofe's the One
by Frosty Troy

Republican United States Senator James Inhofe won't be satisfied until he has shredded the Environmental Protection Act and stopped any federal research into global warming.

Inhofe, a bitter anti-environmentalist, used his seniority to capture the chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a position he has used to give aid and comfort to some of the nation's worst polluters.

There's more to it than the huge amounts of campaign contributions he has solicited from polluters. Inhofe is a member of a religious cult that is preparing for "the end times".

He is among those fundamentalists who believe the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are going to come true.

Who cares about global warming when true believers will be rescued by the Rapture? (Harpers Magazine, March 2003 exposed The Family.)

He is the first and only member of Congress to score an absolute zero on all environmental bills tracked by the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters. Between 1999-2004 he raked in $588,000 from the fossil fuel industry, electric utilities and mining interests.

The EPA, authored by then President Richard Nixon, has been compared to the Gestapo by Inhofe because it has enforced the law against wanton pollution.

He told a European conference on global warming that "it is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

He told an Ardmore audience that the high gas prices are a liberal plot.

He attempted to ram through Bush's misnamed Clear Skies Act but even his Republican colleagues on the committee were not willing to go that far. Bush wanted to greatly weaken the nation's clean air standards for his supporters in big business.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Government has accounted for more than a million dollars flowing into Inhofe's campaign coffers from oil and gas interests. He and John Cornyn of Texas are the two biggest recipients of oil and gas money.

When Inhofe's efforts to pass the bill failed, he ordered the "investigation" of financial and tax records of two national organizations opposed to the bill. Together they represent 48 states and 165 local air control agencies.

He has now ordered an investigation on all employees of the National Center for Atmospheric Research because their scientific research indicates that the planet is indeed warming.

Who are the "authorities" before his committee on global warming? Novelist Michael Crichton, Jerry Falwell and lobbyists for ExxonMobil. Know why gasoline prices are high? The ExxonMobil CEO earns $190,000 a day!

When the National Association of Evangelicals announced its concern about climate change, Inhofe sent for the Rev. Richard Cizik who handles governmental affairs for the association.

"I sat there with my mouth open," he said. "I was asked to explain my evil deeds because we expressed concern over the growing problem of climate change."

"Inhofe is to the right of Attila the Hun on climate change," according to the Rev. Jim Ball, director of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Inhofe doesn't stop at global warming. He voted against the Everglades Restoration Act (it passed 99-1) and a host of other environmental bills--16 in the past two sessions.

The senator is totally out of touch with the American people. A new national poll by the Opinion Research Corporation and the Civil Society Institute shows that four out of five Americans believe climate change is the top issue facing the country.

That's a 58 percent increase from two years ago. Three out of four Americans now believe global warming is a reality. More than 77 percent of conservatives believe in global warming, and they fault the lack of federal leadership.

Bush got the message and is paying lip service to alternative or renewable energy sources, but his funding is a mere pittance of what is needed.

The scary part of Inhofe's raging crusade is his affiliation with an organization known as The Family. It is super-secret and has tentacles i nthe highest reaches of the federal government and the foreign service.

The Family pushes the creation of an American Theocracy, not unlike Kevin Phillips describes in his new book of the same title. They believe the end times are near. Nine are members of the U.S. Senate, all Republicans.

Posing as an arch-conservative, he has voted to raise his own salary ($77,000 in 1987 to $150,000 today) but six times against a raise in the minimum wage.

Following the terrorist attack on 9/11, he was the only member of Congress to continue playing politics. He stuck an unsuccessful amendment on the Defense Appropriation Act to allow drilling in the Arctic National Park.

He was widely censured by colleagues when he commented on how many were killed in the 9/11 disaster. "We don't know because we don't know how many federal employees were playing Hooky."

Inhofe ranks eighth in money from tobacco companies. In one year he took more than $164,000. He is the darling of the NRA, voting against a five day waiting period before purchasing a gun.

A national magazine named him one of the 10 worst members of Congress, saying he has "compiled a staggering record of imbicilities."

He called Bill Clinton an "idiot" in a speech in Ada over the Bosnia incursion but Inhofe is a big fan of the war in Iraq.

It was Clinton who balanced the budget and left Bush a huge surplus, which he squandered. Inhofe just voted for a record $9 trillion dollar deficit.

America's scientific community considers Inhofe Public Enemy No 1--a designation he doesn't deserve. He may be the worst U.S. senator, but Public Enemy No. 1 is George W. Bush who has abrogated our treaties and continues to damage the environment.

It grosses me out, but I had to shake hands with Inhofe one time and ride with him in the shuttle below the Capital. Yes, I washed my hands afterward.