Welcome to the Ministry of Information.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Akin and Assad: separated at birth?

Representative Todd Akin, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri, and Hafez al-Assad, the late dictator of Syria, have a lot in common, not least of which is an obsession with rape. Akin has gained worldwide fame for his recent remarks that rape cannot lead to pregnancy, the underlying belief being that some pregnant women falsely claim to have been raped in order to get around restrictions on abortion. (On a related note, here is video of Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan claiming that a health-of-the-mother exception to abortion bans would be 'a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it'. Perhaps 'legitimate' health crises don't happen to pregnant women.) Hafez al-Assad, on the other hand, ruled Syria for thirty years under a state of emergency rampant with rape, torture, and murder by the government.

But famously obsessing over rape isn't all that Akin and Assad have in common. Look at this side-by-side comparison of their Wikipedia headshots: big foreheads, prominent combovers. Could they have been separated at birth? Legitimate photographic comparisons suggest an intriguing possibility.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

the end

If anyone had any doubt that petroleum, coal, and gas interests control the Republican Party (and much of the Democratic Party), it's time to put that doubt to rest. The New York Times is now reporting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has announced a plan to end federal regulation of drilling and mining for petroleum, coal, and natural gas on federal lands and replace it with oversight by the state governments instead. As I have argued elsewhere, the state governments lack the capacity to regulate the drilling and mining operations already underway in their jurisdictions. This is land owned by the federal government. How much land? According to the Times:
The federal government owns about 28 percent of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. But as of March 2012, only about 37 million acres were under lease for oil and gas operations, of which about 16.3 million acres have active oil and gas production or exploration, according to the Interior Department.
Romney claims that the Obama administration's policy on dirty fuel sources is 'to get those things so expensive and so rare that wind and solar become highly cost-effective and efficient'. And there we have it: the acknowledgement by the Republican nominee that he and his petro-baron backers will do anything they can—including turning over federal lands to weak state governments—to prevent solar and other non-polluting alternatives from ever becoming market-viable. And somehow they call themselves capitalists.

Meanwhile, New York State awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D?-NY) decision as to whether he will allow fracking in the state. This is not going to end well, for New York, for the West, or for the planet.

Labels: , , ,