Monday, January 29, 2007

Hitch, Lieberman, and Various Idjits

Found during my miscellaneous internet ramblings yesterday:

The Hitchens CV

The Life
Born in Portsmouth 13 April 1949; read philosophy, politics and economics at Balliol College, Oxford. Twice married, and a father of three. Now lives in Washington DC.

The Work
Journalistic career includes New Statesman and Daily Express in London, American correspondent for the Spectator and Times Literary Supplement and Vanity Fair columnist. Prolific writer for many publications. Books include Why Orwell Matters and The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Lists recreations as reading, travel, smoking, drinking and disputation.

No wonder I like the guy—we have the same hobbies!

Yet another reason:

For aficionados of what used so tritely to be called “the New Journalism”, there are only two kinds of people. There are those who have had the experience of a night at Owl Farm, at Woody Creek on the outskirts of Aspen, Colorado, and shared with “Dr” Thompson the cocktail of Chivas Regal, early-hours, high-velocity target-practice, late-night round-the-world telephone calls and associated diversions, and those who have not. I can proudly claim to have done it twice, but for Steadman such soirees were almost an oasis of tranquillity. For him, the really testing and formative experience was that of going on the road with this maniac, to Las Vegas or perhaps to the Congo in 1974 for the Ali-Foreman fight, and enduring the resulting mood swings and clashes with local authorities while learning over a crackling phone line that the magazine that was supposedly underwriting the venture had just declared bankruptcy.

The above is from “Going, going, Gonzo...” a review of Ralph Steadman’s biography of HST, in the book section of The Sunday Times (UK). The referenced book review is less a review of the book Steadman wrote and more of a commentary on/about Hunter, who was once in the “A” rank of my heroes. That was oh-so-long ago, or as Dylan sang “‘Twas in another lifetime; one of toil and blood…” Still and even, I’m more envious of Hitchens now. He partied with HST and lived to tell about it. Twice, even.

Now, I can take or leave Mr. Steadman. Hitchens claims Steadman’s cartoons illustrations are an integral part of the Hunter Thompson experience; I think not. If my appreciation of Hitchens is raised by the fact he partied with HST, then I should respect and admire Steadman, eh? After all, Steadman went on the road with HST. Often. I’ve been on the road with some wild men (and women) too, and I understand crazed behavior far from home. But none of my partners-in-crime even began to approach Thompson’s bad craziness. Not even close. So, OK, Ralph. You have my respect.

Hmmm. Now there’s an object lesson in rambling…Hitchens to Thompson to Steadman. And I haven’t even been drinking! Sorry about that.

THIS is interesting:

WALLACE: Let's look ahead to 2008. Are there any Democrats who appear to be running at this point that you could support for president?

LIEBERMAN: Are there any Democrats who don't appear to be running at this point? Look, I've had a very political couple of years in Connecticut, and I'm stepping back for a while to concentrate on being the best senator I can be for my state and my country.

I'm also an Independent-Democrat now, and I'm going to do what most Independents and a lot of Democrats and Republicans in America do, which is to take a look at all the candidates and then in the end, regardless of party, decide who I think will be best for the future of our country.

So I'm open to supporting a Democrat, Republican or even an Independent, if there's a strong one. Stay tuned.

WALLACE: But looking at the three frontrunners -- Clinton, Obama, Edwards -- all of them in varying degrees expressing their opposition to the war and wanting to end our involvement there -- could you support any presidential candidate who you didn't feel was committed to victory in Iraq?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you make a decision based on a whole range of issues. But obviously, the positions that some candidates have taken in Iraq troubles me. Obviously, I will be looking at what positions they take in the larger war against Islamist terrorism.

Here's where I am and maybe why it's -- I am genuinely an Independent. I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy. I'm an Independent.

He doesn’t come right out and say it, as in “I cannot support any of the three candidates you’ve named,” yet there’s no doubt in the minds of any viewer that’s exactly what he means. Earlier in the interview Lieberman described himself as a “Truman, JFK, Scoop Jackson, and Clinton Democrat.” Well, three out of four ain’t bad, I suppose. I really do like Lieberman, and I sincerely wish there were more congresscritters like him.

The conversation took place yesterday, on Fox News Sunday.

Pictures of Saturday’s demonstration in D.C. Here. “Oh, Ladies and Gentlemen! The HUMANITY!” Sheesh. (h/t: Greyhawk at Milblogs)

I neglected to post about this event last week, even though it caught my eye, and even though I watched the organization’s debut press briefing on C-SPAN. What event, you ask? The announcement of the formation of the Climate Action Partnership:

USCAP is a new alliance of major businesses and leading climate and environmental groups that have come together to call on the federal government to enact legislation requiring significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

After a year of dialogue and collaboration, the group produced a set of principles and recommendations to guide the formulation of a regulated economy-wide, market-driven approach to climate protection.

This unique alliance includes a number of major corporations: Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar Inc., Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, PG&E Corporation and PNM Resources — and four non-governmental organizations including: Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Center on Global Climate Change and World Resources Institute.

The group believes that swift legislative action on the USCAP solutions-based proposal, entitled A Call for Action, would encourage innovation, enhance America's energy security, foster economic growth, improve our balance of trade and provide critically needed U.S. leadership on this vital global challenge.

Leave it to the WSJ to uncover the reality behind the propaganda blitz:

Democrats want to flog the global warming theme through 2008 and they'll take what help they can get, even if it means cozying up to executives whose goal is to enrich their firms. Right now, the corporate giants calling for a mandatory carbon cap serve too useful a political purpose for anyone to delve into their baser motives.

The Climate Action Partnership, a group of 10 major companies that made headlines this week with its call for a national limit on carbon dioxide emissions, would surely feign shock at such an accusation. After all, their plea was carefully timed to coincide with President Bush's State of the Union capitulation on global warming, and it had the desired PR effect. The media dutifully declared that "even" business now recognized the climate threat. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who begins marathon hearings on warming next week, lauded the corporate angels for thinking of the "common good."


Four of the affiliates--Duke, PG&E, FPL and PNM Resources--are utilities that have made big bets on wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. So a Kyoto program would reward them for simply enacting their business plan, and simultaneously sock it to their competitors. Duke also owns Cinergy, which relies heavily on dirty, CO2-emitting coal plants. But Cinergy will soon have to replace those plants with cleaner equipment. Under a Kyoto, it'll get paid for its trouble.


Finally, there's General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt these days spends as much time in Washington as Connecticut. GE makes all the solar equipment and wind turbines (at $2 million a pop) that utilities would have to buy under a climate regime. GE's revenue from environmental products long ago passed the $10 billion mark, and it doesn't take much "ecomagination" to see why Mr. Immelt is leading the pack of climate profiteers.

You really had to see the press conference to appreciate the irony of it all. I’m no business-basher, and I consider government over-regulation and intervention in the market to be a major problem in American society. On the other hand, a bald and cynical attempt to manipulate the legislative process to your benefit and your competitors’ detriment irritates the Hell out of me. Especially when said cynical manipulation involves embracing disputed science, and most especially when it means pandering to, and collaborating with, the eco-nuts. And those eco-nuts at Environmental Defense, et al, are just as bad, if not worse. They’ve spent the last ten years or more bashing corporate America for its greed, rapine business practices, yadda, yadda, yadda, and now they’re partnering with the same folks they bashed just last month (or so). Ah, but I guess the end justifies the means, eh?

For shame.

Today’s Pic: Already posted in the update to yesterday’s post.

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