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On the Udder Hand

RSS By: Chris Galen,

Chris Galen is the Senior Vice President of Communications for the National Milk Producers Federation .

Whither the Political Weather in Washington?

Feb 12, 2010

First, this isn’t a post about climate change, and whether the weather is affected by global warming…not directly, anyway.  What it is about is the simple fact that many political trends – the issues of the day that get talked about on the nightly news by reporters standing in front of the Capitol – are driven purely by anecdotes.  By that, I mean that often what sets the agenda in Washington, particularly in Congress, is one or two stories or events.  Not 100 or 1000 of them, but just a few. 

Examples:  one erstwhile shoe bomber, Richard Reid, means that now we all have to take our shoes off and scan them at airports. The underwear bomber from December will certainly hasten the need to install full body scan machines.  Complaints about the MMR vaccine being linked to autism led to the end of the use of thimerosal in vaccines.  The peanut food safety scare last year helped prompt the creation of a new food safety bill.   What these all have in common is that one or two incidents, mostly isolated and perhaps not even related, have been the force, the tipping point, behind significant policy decisions.

Which brings me to the weather.  As has been widely reported, Washington, DC, has in the past week received more than 30 inches of snow, in two blizzardy installments.  We’ve now had more snow this winter than in the more than 120 years of weather recording in Washington. 

So it is no coincidence that efforts to address climate change, already on the ropes since last year, are now most likely to be literally buried under the tundra.  It was good political theater, the building of an igloo near the Capitol Grounds by Sen. Jim Inhofe’s family, to mock former Sen. Al Gore’s global warming crusade.  That snow job is more than just sarcastic humor; it’s a challenge to those who want to impose carbon taxes to stop the planet from heating, even while the rest of Washington has run out of milk, salt and shovels. 

Which brings me to the point:  of course, the large and lingering debate about climate change isn’t going to melt away when the snow leaves the Capitol.  It’s just that it becomes much harder to build a consensus about too much heat, when the winter is way too cold and snowy.  Now, some will say weather has nothing to do with climate change, and all this snow in Washington means nothing.  But a lot of the climate change debate has been about the significance of selected events.  What’s the point of talking about ice caps and polar bears as evidence of a warmer climate, if other anecdotal examples of colder weather don’t also count for something?  The scandal over the East Anglia University climate change emails shows that data and examples, used (or not used) selectively, say a lot more about politics than science.

It’s like Joseph Stalin said:  one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.  People react to the former, and shrug at the latter.  36 inches of snow is also a statistic, but if you’ve blown out your back from too much shoveling, and you’re a member of Congress, do you really want to continue digging into the climate change issue? 

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COMMENTS (36 Comments)

As they say what comes around goes around !
9:19 AM Feb 23rd
H$U$ may FINALLY get theirs

Permission granted to crosspost.

Center for Consumer Freedom Daily Headlines
February 22, 2010
Federal Racketeering Lawsuit Stuns HSUS
www.HumaneWatch. org
You may have missed our New Year's Eve exposé covering the dismissal of a
federal lawsuit pushed by a consortium of animal rights groups that included
the deceptive Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The groups alleged
that Feld Entertainment (the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum
& Bailey Circus) mistreated elephants in violation of the Endangered Species
Act, but in December a judge tossed out the lawsuit. Now the plot thickens:
The circus is suing HSUS, two HSUS lawyers, and a number of other animal
rights organizations under the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. (The lawsuit is
exclusively available at HumaneWatch. org.)

The original animal rights lawsuit, filed more than nine years ago, was
based on information provided by a former Ringling elephant "barn
helper" named Tom Rider. After Rider left his circus job, he was paid by
animal rights groups to testify about the supposedly "bad" treatment of
elephants there. In all, the original lawsuit's plaintiffs paid Rider more
than $190,000-his sole source of income for years-while the litigation made
its way through the court system.

Sound a bit like pay-for-play? As Judge Emmet Sullivan noted in his December
ruling that dismissed the animal rights groups' lawsuit: "The Court finds
that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not
credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony.. [T]he primary
purpose [for the payments] is to keep Mr. Rider involved with
the litigation."

Based on Judge Sullivan's finding, Feld is suing everyone who played a part
in this collaborative scheme (hence the "racketeering"
aspect).. This includes Rider and a nonprofit "Wildlife Advocacy Project"
charity that the Washington, DC law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal
allegedly used to launder money between their plaintiff clients and Rider.
One of these clients putting up dough to support Rider was the Fund for
Animals, which merged with HSUS in 2004.

Feld is leveling bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money
laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys,
three other animal rights groups, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, and all
three of that firm's named partners. It's an earth-shattering lawsuit. Today
we're telling the media:

America's farmers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, research scientists,
fashion designers, and restaurateurs have seen for decades how the animal
rights movement can behave like a mobbed-up racket. But it's
still shocking to see the evidence laid out on paper. In a treble-damage
lawsuit like this, a jury could actually do the humane thing and finally put
HSUS out of business completely.

You can read the full, 135-page lawsuit over at HumaneWatch. It's worth more
than a glance. If these allegations are proven true, HSUS employees might be
finding themselves walking the same breadline they've tried to put so many
others in.
1:21 AM Feb 23rd

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