Environmental Three-Card Monte? Obama *May* Grant Emissions Waivers to States Today? (“Immediately Work on It” vs. “Reconsider”) (But Other Policies Already Having a Negative Effect on Bears–Warning, Pic!) (Updated 1X) (Update 2X–After Announcements, NY Times Still Pushing Obama Kool-Aid) (Update 3X–Gore Surfaces)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, as we enter the second week of the Obama Monarchy, we find that we’re perhaps in a developing approach to governing that is reminiscent of “3-card monty(e).” In case you’re not familiar with the term, here’s an explanation from NY.com. The scenario:

Three Card Monte

Whenever a police car passes by, you can observe how quickly these games disperse. Sidewalk card games are both illegal and fraudulent for some very good reasons. The scenario:

Two or more people are standing around a cardboard box on a busy street trying to win money by choosing the correct card out of the three cards shuffled.

You notice that someone seems to be winning; this person is usually working with the dealer to lure people in. People who work these scams know that it will be less suspicious to plant a women or someone in a business suit in the game.

The shuffler will purposely lose the first few rounds to get you to bet more money.

At this point, if you take your wallet out, someone may grab it and run -OR- it will be pick pocketed as you watch the game.

If by some fluke you win, you may be followed and mugged.
How to avoid this : The hand is quicker than the eye and these are pros. Don’t play – YOU CANNOT WIN!

During the campaign, we learned that Obama was in the pocket of Exelon and re-wrote a bill regarding nuclear waste for the company’s benefit at the behest of Republicans.  Seemed to be easily swayed at the expense of his constitutents in Illinois. (See “In Nuclear Bill, An Early Obama Test.”) Now, we’re getting word that today (Monday, January 26) the Obama Administration will announce that they will grant waivers to states like California so that they can raise emissions standards, a move that was stopped by Bushco.  From GristEnvironmental News & Commentary:

Breaking: Obama to grant emissions waiver

Move would allow California and 13 other states to set tougher tailpipe standards

Posted by Kate Sheppard at 4:43 PM on 25 Jan 2009

President Obama on Monday will direct federal regulators to grant a waiver to California and 13 other states that have petitioned to set higher vehicle emissions standards, according to a New York Times report citing two administration sources.

SNIP

The Washington Post also has the story, reporting that White House officials “privately trumpeted [the emissions move] to supporters as ‘the first environment and energy actions taken by the President, helping our country move toward greater energy independence.'” While the Times says Obama’s decision will result in quick approval for California emissions waiver, the Post‘s story has a more conditional tone, saying only that the president has ordered the EPA “to reexamine two policies that could force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars which yield fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

So, the New York Times seems to be sure it will happen, while the WaPo is reporting in a more “conditional tone.”  I guess we’ll have to wait to see what “reexamine” means in Obama parlance. (SEE BELOW FOR ACTUAL WORDING IN THE STORIES)

Let’s also see what really happens with a promise Obama made during the lead-up to the Pennsylvania primary. Back then Obama promised he’d “hire” Al Gore. (See Obama Says Climate Change Is Real, Will Hire Gore) I haven’t heard a peep from Gore lately, but I haven’t been looking for him either. Maybe I missed something?  Let me know if I have missed any news about Gore. Perhaps he really is working on various issues for Obama and perhaps he’s under wraps so he doesn’t get into the “baggage game.” But, as it stands now, we will have to wait to see if Obama actually does use Gore in the way he promised.  Some of the proposals for carbon emissions capping, etc. may cost some money and consumer may not be too happy about it. Let’s see what happens.

Treehuggers.com (a site owned by the Discovery Company)  has a list of environmental concerns that the Center for Progressive Reform believes Obama should act on.  You can see the list here:

7 Executive Orders President Obama Should Sign to Protect the Environment: Center for Progressive Reform

Back at Grist there’s a story about how the departing Bush Adminstration slipped in a rule that weakens a Reagan era rule, if you can believe that!

Blazing addle

Bush administration moves to allow guns in national parks and wildlife refuges

Posted by Kate Sheppard at 6:15 PM on 05 Dec 2008

The Department of the Interior on Friday announced a final rule that will allow visitors to carry loaded and concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The previous rules, put in place in the early ’80s under President Reagan, allowed firearms in parks as long as they were unloaded and stored somewhere that wasn’t easily accessible.

SNIP

It could take many months (or possibly years) for the next administration to overturn the rule, should it choose to do so, since it would require a whole new rule-making process. Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for Obama’s transition team, told the Associated Press that the president-elect hasn’t made any decisions about the rule: “President-elect Obama will review all eleventh-hour regulations and will address them once he is president.”

Note that Obama hadn’t made any decisions about the rule as president-elect…so, we’ll have to see if he addresses the issue.  It’s sort of like the “Conscience Rule” which could also take years to overturn.  Let’s see if Obama sticks his neck out on either of these two issues. Meanwhile, the poor bears are already showing changes in their behavior to adapt to the new mindset in Washington!  Here’s the story, passed along by  a correspondent from W.A.M.:

Montana wildlife impacted by spreading malaise: The photo below captures a disturbing trend that  is beginning  to affect wildlife in the US.

Bear Waiting for Handout

Bear Waiting for Handout

With a sweeping Democratic Party victory in the November elections, animals  that were formerly self-sufficient are already  modifying their behavior to take advantage of what they expect to be a new set of societal norms in the next four to eight years. This  black bear from Montana has ceased hunting for a living and is sitting outside the US Fish &  Wildlife Service office in Kalispell, apparently  waiting to be fed and to have his winter den dug  by government employees. The residents of Kalispell are calling him “Bearack Obama”.

So, we’ll have to see how Obama handles this development. Does he let the Bush rules on loaded, concealed weapons stand which would then allow park visitors to shoot bears expecting a handout?  That might be the easiest way out of the problem.

And it just goes to show you…when it comes to Obama, choosing the correct card from what’s being shuffled as Obama zigzags along with “conditional statements”  and watered down promises, a la Exelon, is probably a game we won’t be winning.

“3-Card Monte” may turn out to be even more Obama’s game than basketball…

***

UPDATE 1

How the Times and WaPo word the story lower down the page:

The two stories (web editions)–Both start the same then there’s  the NYT’s “begin work immediately” vs the WaPo’s instruction to “reconsider”…

The New York Times, January 26, 2009

“But the centerpiece of Monday’s anticipated announcement is Mr. Obama’s directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to begin work immediately on granting California a waiver, under the Clean Air Act, which allows the state, a longtime leader in air quality matters, to set standards for automobile emissions stricter than the national rules.”

Washington Post, January 26, 2009

“Obama will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to grant California a waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions linked to global warming,…”

UPDATE 2 (1 pm MT)

Just back from errands, I searched for the reporting on the big event…and found that the NY Times headlines says one thing  but the story is now in line with the original WaPo story (above)!

From the New York Times web edition:

Obama Directs Regulators to Tighten Auto Standards

Published: January 26, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama directed federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks. He also ordered the Transportation Department to begin drawing up rules imposing higher fuel-economy standards on cars and light trucks.

SNIP

Mr. Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While he stopped short of flatly ordering the reversal of the Bush decision, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.

From the Washington Post web edition:

Obama Announces New Energy, Environmental Policies

Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 26, 2009; 2:05 PM

President Obama today promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gases, including a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider granting California and other states waivers to set their own strict regulations on auto emissions.

SNIP

In the presidential directives he signed today, Obama instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to grant California and other states waivers to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions linked to global warming…

Quite a difference in the reporting. The Times story injects the word “swiftly” in the first sentence, there by setting it’s “editorial” tone.

Blatantly and deliberately.  Guess which line the evening news and cable will pick up…I’m betting the Times version….

UPDATE 3 (12:14 AM MT, 1/27)

Al Gore to testify Wednesday before Senate Foreign Relations Committee on climate change…if ice doesn’t postpone proceedings…

The Scanner–Politics 12/5/08 (Obama…Vagus Nerve “Elevation” Superstar?; Obama-Clinton Contemplate a Jump (see awesome video!); Hands Like Butter; “Conscience”; Politically-Motivated Abortion “Science” Blasted by Johns Hopkins Researchers

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’re  back to Obama and his mystical powers. Forget hypnosis, it’s “elevation” that we should be worried about…and women’s lactation.

From Slate:

Obama in Your Heart

How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called “elevation.”

For researchers of emotions, creating them in the lab can be a problem. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama’s victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon.

In his forthcoming book, Born To Be Good (which is not a biography of Obama), Keltner writes that he believes when we experience transcendence, it stimulates our vagus nerve, causing “a feeling of spreading, liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat.” For the 66 million Americans who voted for Obama, that experience was shared on Election Day, producing a collective case of an emotion that has only recently gotten research attention. It’s called “elevation.”

(SNIP)

Keltner believes certain people are “vagal superstars”—in the lab he has measured people who have high vagus nerve activity. “They respond to stress with calmness and resilience, they build networks, break up conflicts, they’re more cooperative, they handle bereavement better.” He says being around these people makes other people feel good. “I would guarantee Barack Obama is off the charts. Just bring him to my lab.”

It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to “dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example.” Haidt took this description as a mandate. Since it’s tricky to study the vagus nerve, he and a psychology student conceived of a way to look at it indirectly. The vagus nerve works with oxytocin, the hormone of connection. Since oxytocin is released during breast-feeding, he and the student brought in 42 lactating women and had them watch either an inspiring clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show about a gang member saved from a life of violence by a teacher or an amusing bit from a Jerry Seinfeld routine.

About half the Oprah-watching mothers either leaked milk into nursing pads or nursed their babies following the viewing; none of the Seinfeld watchers felt enough breast dilation to wet a pad, and fewer than 15 percent of them nursed. You could say elevation is Oprah’s opiate of the masses, so it’s fitting that she early on gave Obama her imprimatur. And that for his victory speech was up front in Grant Park, elevation’s moist embodiment, feeling so at one with humankind that she used a stranger as a handkerchief.

The researchers say elevation is part of a family of self-transcending emotions. Some others are awe, that sense of the vastness of the universe and smallness of self that is often invoked by nature; another is admiration, that goose-bump-making thrill that comes from seeing exceptional skill in action. Keltner says we most powerfully experience these in groups—no wonder people spontaneously ran into the street on election night, hugging strangers. “We had to evolve these emotions to devote ourselves into social collectives,” he says.

When you start thinking about mass movements, all those upturned, glowing faces of true believers—be they the followers of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler—you don’t always get a warm feeling about mankind. Instead, knowing where some of these “social collectives” end up, the sensation is a cold chill. Haidt acknowledges that in “calling the group to greatness,” elevation can be used for murderous ends. He says: “Anything that takes us out of ourselves and makes us feel we are listening to something larger is part of morality. It’s about pressing the buttons that turn off ‘I’ and turn on ‘we.’ ”

(MORE)

My advice? Protect your vagus nerve over the next 4 years AT ALL COSTS!!

***

In case you missed this photo from a couple of days ago that was posted at the Tennessee Guerilla Women site,  I’m posting it here because I can’t resist telling you what my reaction was when I saw it.  It’s not the hands so much that hit me (more on the hands later) but how both Clinton and Obama are looking DOWN!

Being the cynic that I am, my first reaction was that they looked like they were both looking over the edge of a chasm and seeing a raging river below. (Perhaps with a huge fire moving toward them from behind.)  Sort of like what you’d see at Lucifer Falls near my beloved Ithaca, NY (I did NOT make that name up!).   They looked like they were about to jump.  My second reaction was simply…JUMP!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Lucifer Falls on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

***

About those hands…Obama’s hands.  According to a report filed yesterday (12/4/08) at The Hill, Obama has hands that are “soft as butter.”

Obama’s Hands ‘Soft As Butter,’ Says Philly Gym Rat

@ 2:51 pm by Walter Alarkon

A Philadelphia man who lingered at his gym to get a chance to work out with President-elect Barack Obama said he was smitten with Obama’s personality and his soft skin.

Stepp Stewart said he worked out with Obama on Tuesday, when he was in Philadelphia for a National Governors Association meeting.

“I get off the bike. He looks me dead in the eye. He shook my hand,” Stewart told the local NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.

“I held onto it as long as I could,” Stewart added. “His hands were soft as butter!”

Stewart said he heard that Obama was visiting his gym after he had finished his workout, prompting him to return to the gym.

“Girl, I put my sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes right back on, got right back on the floor and started fakin’ a workout!” Stewart said.

Stewart, a musical director and choreographer, said that he ran on a treadmill next to the president-elect, who also used other workout machines and read USA Today while at the Philadelphia Sports Club.

The choice of words in this piece reminded me about the stories about Obama’s sexual preferences that were circulating a few months ago (remember Larry Sinclair?)  The guy is described as being “smitten” and is quoted as holding Obama’s hand for as long as he could and noted that really soft skin during the clench.  He actually went back to “fake a workout” so he could be on the treadmill next to O (and who’s the “girl” he’s referring to?).  I’m not going to assume that the guy is gay just because the he’s a “musical director and choreographer,” so I’ll just ponder the real question about how Obama keeps his hands so smooth? Hot waxing  like I saw the other night in a scene from “An Unmarried Woman”?  I can just see Obama in big mitts as he sits through a relaxing hand treatment…or maybe it’s just new Dawn “Hand Renewal” dishwashing liquid?

***

I’m now wondering if Sen. Patty Murray is going to have any success pushing to overturn the new “Conscience Rule” that Bushco is on the verge of hurling down on us womenfolk. (And it could effect everybody less obvious ways, as well.)  Hillary Clinton was working with Murray on a bill to stop this in its tracks.   As reported in the LA Times:

Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortion

The Bush administration plans a new ‘right of conscience’ rule that would allow more workers to refuse more procedures. Critics say it could apply to artificial insemination and birth control.
By David G. Savage
December 2, 2008
Reporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new “right of conscience” rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to “an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments,” the draft rule said.

The “conscience” rule could set the stage for an abortion controversy in the early months of Barack Obama’s administration.

(SNIP)

If the regulation is issued before Dec. 20, it will be final when the new administration takes office, HHS officials say. Overturning it would require publishing a proposed new rule for public comment and then waiting months to accept comments before drafting a final rule.

Abortion-rights advocates think it might be easier to get Congress to reject the rule. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), before being nominated Monday for secretary of State, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have said they would move to reverse it.

The HHS proposal has set off a sharp debate about medical ethics and the duties of healthcare workers.

Last year, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a “patient’s well-being must be paramount” when a conflict arises over a medical professional’s beliefs.

In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG cited four recent examples. In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim’s prescription for emergency contraception. In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception. In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.) And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.

After all the misogyny we’ve witnessed this year, the last minute pander to the far-right by Bushco really pisses me off no end, for several reasons.

First, years ago I had a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy. She was rushed to the closest hospital doubled over in pain. As luck would have it, it was a Catholic hospital. When she was diagnosed, she was informed that they wouldn’t treat her because it was considered to be “an abortion.” So, her frantic husband had to arrange to have her moved to ANOTHER hospital. My friend could have DIED! So much for the “conscience” of the “healthcare providers” at that Catholic hospital.  No Hippocratic Oath there, I guess. Just this bullshit about choosing a the “life” of a misplaced zygote that would never survive over the life of a LIVE WOMAN!

Secondly, I get totally ballistic when I see the Viagra ads on TV and know that that crap is covered by many insurance plans while contraception is often excluded.  Pleasure for men=covered. Health and well-being achieved by preventing an unplanned pregnancy=covered, are you KIDDING??

If you wonder if women are truly considered to be second-class citizens, look no further than this setup!  And, apparently, many women simply grin and bear it.  As for a new Obama Administration…do you think this disrespectful bastard will want to expend any political capital on this issues considering he’s embraced those mega-pastors??

So, Hillary Clinton leaves the Senate and this issue.  I just hope Patty Murray can make some noise…or will she be squelched by the Obama crowd?  Let’s see if NARAL and NOW make excuses for Obama if he fails to support the reversal of this INSULTING rule and enables the further mistreatment of women. I’m not holding my breath…

***

And then it’s back to the misinformation about abortion that has been shoved at us for years.  Apparently, some researchers are getting  bit “uppity” about situation. As reported by Reuters:

Abortion not seen linked with depression

Review of studies found no evidence of emotional harm after procedureS(“3053751”)

Updated 6:59 a.m. MT, Thurs., Dec. 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – No high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a “post-abortion syndrome,” and efforts to show it does occur appear to be politically motivated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

“The best research does not support the existence of a ‘post-abortion syndrome’ similar to post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.

(SNIP)

“The U.S. Supreme Court, while noting that ‘we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon,’ cited adverse mental health outcomes for women as part of the rationale for limiting late term abortions,” Blum’s team wrote.

(SNIP)

“The best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not,” they wrote.

“…studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion,” they added. “Scientists are still conducting research to answer politically motivated questions.

Is that the same Supreme Court Fart that is supposed to decide Obama’s citizenship case today (Friday)? And are those “scientists” who are still trying to fit research into a political goal really “scientists?”   Let’s stop being so polite!!