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Searching for a Silver Lining: Opportunities for humor?

March 11th, 2011 · No Comments

Amid the takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives by anti-science syndrome suffering haters of a livable economic system, there are few reasons for joy and celebration for those looking to foster a stronger and more prosperous America.  One of the few is the opening it has given for senior Democratic politicians to engage forcefully the anti-reality positioning of so many in the Republican caucus.  Representative Ed Markey might just be at the head of the pack for sadly truthful sarcastic commentary highlighting the illogic of Republican positions and initiatives on energy, climate, and environmental issues.  Here are two examples from recent days.

It’s O-PEC not O-Bama

As someone who is enmeshed in the study and discussion of energy issues, I was somewhat embarrassingly surprised to find out that domestic oil production has notably increased during the first two years of the Obama Administration.  Combined with the reduction in U.S. liquid fuel demand (primarily due to the recessionary impacts on fuel demand but also due to the beginning impacts of a number of fuel efficiency measures), the roughly ten percent increase in U.S. oil production has actually put the United States in a (slightly) less vulnerable position to this round of oil price peaking (which will likely occur over and over again as Peak Oil hits the world supply).  Rather than engaging the issue of Peak Oil, overall world demand pressure, and how the supply/demand curves make the global economy increasingly vulnerable to supply disruptions (actual, like Libya, and threatened/potential, such as concerns over the potential for unrest in Saudi Arabia), the Republican political message on gas prices is quite clear: “it’s Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s fault.”  As Politico reporting put it,

Republicans have shown no fear in tying the oil price spikes to anything on the Democratic energy agenda … The GOP attacks may have no basis in fact when it comes to changing short-term prices at the pump.

“May”, of course, is quite generous as the Republican agenda has “no basis in fact” with anything re near-term gas prices. (The DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) determined that aggressive offshore oil drilling would contribute to reducing gasoline prices 3 cents per gallon — in 2030. And, before anyone cries foul, let’s remember that this was the Bush Administration EIA, not driven by the Obama Administration.)

In any event, Representative Markey turned his wit to this issue with It’s O-PEC not O-BAMA.

“When it comes to high oil prices, this is about OPEC, not Obama.

These ill-informed statements give Colonel Gaddafi and other members of the OPEC cartel a pass for what they are doing to the global economy and to American families and businesses.

While the Republican Party is opposed to any new tax that could fund programs to help Americans and strengthen the nation, they seemingly are oblivious to the reality that failures to address energy challenges with realistic policies leave American at greater vulnerability to perturbations in the oil market that lead, inexorably, to a tax on the economy — a tax that enriches Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others while placing the nation (including the Federal government) further into debt.

I find it shocking that Republicans would first attack the President of the United States before pointing a finger at Colonel Gaddafi.

When Republican leaders have stated that their top objectivity is not American prosperity or security or jobs but defeating President Obama, one has to think that Markey is sarcastic in his ‘shock’.

And, Markey finished with some truth.

“American oil production reached an 8-year high in 2010, and yet prices continue to climb. We need to finally enact clean energy solutions that will tell Gaddafi and the Saudis that we don’t need their oil any more than we need their sand.

“Despite the Republican rhetoric, the oil and gas industry has more leases to drill for oil in the U.S. then they can even make use of. Last year the Bureau of Land Management issued 4,090 drilling permits, but industry drilled only 1,480 new wells, or just a little over a third of what they own. An of the 79 million acres of public lands the oil companies hold under lease, they are only actually producing oil on 18.5 million acres, only under a quarter of what they hold.”

Repelling the Law of Gravity

Representative Markey’s comments above, in fact, were less biting than his rejection of the House majority’s intention to legislate away science when it comes to climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Markey’s comments are so on target that, well, it is hard to see how commentary can add to this.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.

However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, I’ll embody Newton’s third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America’s importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger’s cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair’s amendment pile.

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Tags: Congress · ed markey · Energy