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…

SHILLING and CHURNING–the State of the Media and the “Mass Production of Ignorance” (A Double Post by kenosha Marge and InsightAnalytical-GRL)

The two pieces in this post are intertwined. First, there is “American Media Shills for Obama” by kenosha Marge.  Then, check out “Flat Earth News–The State of ‘Churnalism'” by InsightAnalytical-GRL, an introduction to the acclaimed journalist Nick Davies and his courageous expose’ about the “news” business.

American Media Shills for Obama

~~By kenosha Marge

Has the time finally come when ordinary citizens stop listening to the drivel coming from the mouths of multi-millionaire pundits? Have we really gotten mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more?

Going back as far as William Randolph Hearst it is easy to see that media moguls were always about money and power, not journalism. It was in fact Hurst’s engaging in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer‘s New York World which led to the creation of “yellow journalism“–sensationalized stories of dubious veracity.

There was a time between Hearst and the Current Millionaire Media Morons that infest our newspapers and airwaves today when some actual journalism occurred.

Having been raised with the Huntley-Brinkley Report and Walter Cronkite what passes for journalism these days is wretched. Certainly Edward R. Murrow, must be spinning in his grave knowing that a hack like Keith Olbermann, is using his signature line, “Good Night and Good Luck”.

It is interesting that Murrow gave a speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago in which he blasted TV’s emphasis on entertainment and commercialism at the expense of public service. That was on October 15, 1958. I suspect he would be appalled to see how far down that road the media has traveled.

Today’s media gives us such stalwarts as Charlie Gibson of ABC who sneered his way through an interrogation disguised as an interview. Gibson tried to embarrass and demean Governor Sarah Palin. Instead he embarrassed himself and the occupation he represents so poorly. We really aren’t interested in whether you like Governor Palin or not Charlie, we just expect you, as a professional to conduct an interview that allows us to make our own decisions based on what WE perceive to be the truth. Your opinion Charlie is irrelevant.

This election cycle, like many before has shown us a media increasingly less interested in reporting the news than in making it. We expected that the Clinton-hating media would attack her relentlessly without regard for truth, fairness or integrity. We didn’t expect their blatant misogyny and their slobbering preference for Obama. There wasn’t even a pretense of fair coverage.

Now John McCain is being treated in the same way. Must be a surprise for him since he is used to being the media darling. He is learning that media, like jackdaws, are attracted to the newest shiniest object to enter their sphere.

Oprah Winfrey had the honesty to admit being an Obama acolyte. She is just a talk show hostess so her opinion is just that, her opinion. She might better occupy her time recommending Diets or Authors but then she’s missed a few times on those issues too.

Chris Matthews is a silly, sexist, twit. Had Matthews forthrightly admitted to being in the tank for Obama you might at least have respected his honesty. His pretense of being neutral was absurd. The tingle up his leg is probably a sign of poor circulation and not enough blood getting to his brain.

The list of Obama fans in the press is nearly endless. Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, and Chris Cillizza are press agents for the Washington Post. Like many papers its circulation is dropping and will likely continue to drop as readers find themselves faced with fewer journalists and a proliferation of cheerleaders.  Were it not for Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks the Post wouldn’t be worth reading.

Frank Rich, and Bob Herbert love them some Obama for the New York Times. The Times should no longer be allowed to proclaim itself a newspaper of record. Professional and unbiased? Were it not for Paul Krugman the current Times would only be useful for the bottom of my parrot cage.

Only on the right is Obama not fawned over like the second coming. Even there he isn’t pummeled with the fervor to which a democrat is typically subjected. If Corporate Left and Corporate Right likes someone, that someone might not be the best choice for all us little peons out here that don’t have media contracts worth millions.

Our media has decided that they want Obama to be president. In pursuit of their wish that such a thing come to pass they are willing to slime anyone, tell any lie, spin a few words into something unrecognizable as from the truth and show us their true, corporate colors. There may be a few, a very few, honest, decent, hardworking journalists around. But real Journalists don’t work on cable “news” programs and they seldom show up on the pages of the top newspapers in the country. Like common sense, integrity and honesty are becoming less common all the time.

MSNBC has become the Obama network. I believe the “M” stands for misogynistic. CNN has become the loving Obama all the time network. CNN was once a respected news channel. Now there is more blather than news and more opinion than fact. Jumped the shark a while back. FOX, to everyone’s surprise has been the most unbiased of the 3 cable “news” network. Whoever would have believed that would come to pass?

Few people respect or believe media. Seven out of 10 voters (69%) are convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Obama. What does that say about how voters view the integrity of the media?

As if the misbehavior of the media were not enough they sneer down their exfoliated noses at the rabble for being “low information” voters. They do not do their job to inform us, then insult and demean us for NOT being informed.

Who, what, when, why and where as journalistic ideology? Gone with the snows of yesteryear…

*****************************

“Flat Earth News” The State of ‘Churnalism'”

~~by InsightAnalytical-GRL

While listening to the BBC World Service months ago, I heard an interview with author Nick Davies, an acclaimed investigative reporter from Britain (see bio below). Davies, who had written a book entitled “Flat Earth News” (published in February 2008) lambasted the present state of journalism. In the book, Davies “exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.” Check out his website of the same name.

The part of the interview that has stayed with me these many months was his discussion of what Davies calls “churnalism.” If you scan the reaction by the journalists who have commented on the book, you’ll see the frustration of many of them who have experienced the process of taking press releases that have been rehashed and passed off as real news gathering and those who have been forced to rely on “automated news-sifting services” because they are no longer given the time to investigate stories or check their facts. In other words, as one comments, most news “isn’t original anymore.”

A video of a more recent interview with Davies on “churnalism” is available here at the BBC site and is well-worth watching!

Here’s a synopsis of the book from Davies’ site:

“Finally I was forced to admit that I work in a corrupted profession.” When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street’s unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance.

Working with a network of off-the-record sources, Davies uncovered the story of the prestigious Sunday newspaper which allowed the CIA and MI6 to plant fiction in its columns; the daily newsroom where senior reporters casually refer to ‘nig nogs’ and where executives routinely reject stories about black people; the respected quality paper which was so desperate for scoops that it hired a conman to set up a front company to entrap senior political figures. He found papers supporting law and order while paying cash bribes to bent detectives and hiring private investigators to steal information.

Davies names names and exposes the national news stories which turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda.

He shows the impact of this on a world where media consumers believe a mass of stories which, in truth, are as false as the idea that the Earth is flat – from the millennium bug to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, tainting government policy, perverting popular belief.

He presents a new model for understanding news. With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a ground-breaking analysis of the contents and sources for our daily news, Davies found most reporters most of the time are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts – a profession corrupted at the core.

Read All About It. The news will never look the same again.

An extract from the book is here.

Needless to say, this book has raised the hackles of many in the established media.  A paperback edition will be published in early 2009.

Check out Nick Davies’ site for updated posts on recent media distortions and for many links about the book and reactions to it, as well as media-monitoring sites, including:

http://www.flatearthnews.net/links

http://blogs.pressgazette.co.uk/wire/2040

****

Nick Davies’ Resume

“Nick Davies has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year for his investigations into crime, drugs, poverty and other social issues. Hundreds of journalists have attended his masterclass on the techniques of investigative reporting. He has been a journalist since 1976 and is currently a freelance, working regularly as special correspondent for The Guardian. He also makes TV documentaries; he was formerly an on-screen reporter for World In Action. His four books include White Lies (about a racist miscarriage of justice in Texas) and Dark Heart (about poverty in Britain). He was the first winner of the Martha Gellhorn award for investigative reporting for his work on failing schools and recently won the award for European Journalism for his work on drugs policy.”