Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently had the opportunity to engage in a bit of bipartisanship. Rising to the occasion, they both proudly displayed their ignorance and demonstrated the lack of foresight that has contributed to the economic meltdown.
Appearing on "Face the Nation," with host Bob Schieffer, McConnell was first up and, as expected, continued his repetition of the failed mantra of the GOP: tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. As I said, to be expected. It was in his effort to throw stones at other parts of the stimulus plan that he demonstrated his woeful ignorance. Using the tactic often employed by politicians when attacking large, multifaceted legislation, McConnell tried to provide an example of spending that he thought would appear ridiculous. He chose to mock and lambaste a program dedicated to providing insurance to those who raise honeybees.
Later, Schumer, in a separate segment, jumped on the bandwagon by essentially dismissing the program in a manner that suggested that this was obvious waste. Particularly egregious was Schumer's reaction because it was clear, in context, that he had no idea what the program was about. He chose to join the ridicule because he thought it was politically expedient that he agree there was waste in the bill.
The program the two mocked is a trust fund that provides emergency relief to qualified producers of various livestock, farm-raised fish and honeybees. In case McConnell and Schumer haven't heard, honeybees are essential to the production of food. They are only important to people who like to eat. When the honeybees die, so will we.
Over the past decade or so, the bee population of the United States, and many other countries, has been devastated. An enormous percentage (some estimates approach ninety percent) of the wild bee population has died out, and those hives maintained by commercial and hobbyists beekeepers have been under assault from various diseases such as tracheal mites and Colony Collapse Disorder. Honeybees, which pollinate between one-third and one-half of all food crops, are in desperate straits.
From an economic point of view, the keeping of bees is becoming inviable. Without insurance to provide assistance with catastrophic loss, there will be fewer and fewer people able or willing to take on the extremely important job of beekeeping. The inclusion of assistance for beekeepers is as crucial as any single item in the stimulus package.
It is just such thoughtless dismissal of important infrastructure (yes, infrastructure. Honeybees are the underlying support for almost all agriculture) that causes one to pause and question the judgment of our leaders. Bipartisanship is wonderful. Too bad it was wasted in a woeful display of ignorance.
British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs
- 11 workers killed in initial blast
- Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
- 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
- Gulf Fisheries Industry
- Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
- Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)
Worst Oil Spills
- Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
- Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
- Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
- Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
- Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
- Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
- South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
- France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
- Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
- Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
- Source: Mother Nature Network. mnn.com. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.
Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)
- 1957 Windscale, UK
- 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
- 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
- 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
- 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
- 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
- 1989 Griefwald, Germany
- 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
- 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
- Source: Benjamin Sovacool
Mining Disasters (Under Construction)
- China 1942 - 1549 deaths
- France 1906 - 1100 deaths
- Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
- Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
- South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
- Source: Epic Disasters Website
- Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.
OIL IS OVER! - Resources
- The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
- The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
- Demian - Herman Hesse
- Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
- The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
- Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
- Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
- 1984 - George Orwell
- Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
- The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
- The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
- Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
- The Quiet American - Graham Greene
- Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
- Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
- Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
- Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
- We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
- John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
- Patti Smith
- The Clash - the only band that matters
- Billy Bragg
- Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
- Art Blakey
- Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
- PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
- Woody Guthrie
- Michael Franti (Spearhead)
- Public Enemy
- Ray Charles - the Genius
- Bob Dylan
- Velvet Underground
- Flaming Lips
- John Doe & X
- The Beatles
opiate of the masses
- God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
- I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
- The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
- No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
- If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
- The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
- Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
- God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer