Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bushie, you're doing a heckuva job

By Nancy Jane Moore

Congress actually did something constructive this year: It included a provision in the "Homeland Security" bill requiring that anyone appointed to head the Federal Emergency Management Administration be experienced in disaster relief.

Seems like an obvious thing to do after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, doesn't it?

But Bush didn't think so. According to the Boston Globe, when he signed the law, he added a signing statement saying it is unconstitutional for Congress to set limits on who he appoints as FEMA administrator.

In other words, he's defending his right to put another hack like Michael Brown in the job. Even if he's right about whether Congress can make requirements for appointed officials -- and I don't think he is -- it's a heckuva of thing to take a stand in favor of the right to appoint incompetents.

According to the Globe, three senators who've tended to go along with Bush most of the time -- Republican moderate Susan Collins of Maine, occasional Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and traitor former Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut -- have sent him a letter criticizing the signing statement. Balkinization has posted a copy of their letter in PDF form here.

The section in question -- Section 503(c)(2) of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, (H.R.5441) -- provides as follows:
QUALIFICATIONS- The Administrator shall be appointed from among individuals who have --
(A) a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management and homeland security; and
(B) not less than 5 years of executive leadership and management experience in the public or private sector.
You can find the whole Homeland Security bill by searching on H.R. 5441 on the Library of Congress Thomas site.


Blue Girl, Red State said...

Thanks for addressing this. It was one of the thousand daily outrages coming out of the oval office, and I didn't get anything written about it.

Now I don't have to. I can keep ranting about Peak Oil and energy conservation.

Keep up the good work. I really like your stuff. You are to the point, and a sharp one it is.

El Borak said...

The great thing about Peak Oil is that it makes global warming a non-starter.

They can't both be problems. Pick your poison.

Blue Girl, Red State said...

There are a couple of problems with your premise, el borak.

First off, Peak Oil doesn't mean we run out in fifteen years. It means we reach maximum capacity in our production in fifteen years or so. Then the decline will follow the bell-curve down that it followed going up. Production will decline approximately 3% per year. That is plenty of greenhouse emissions to add to the current build-up and change the climate permanently.

The planet has two carbon cycles. The biological (short) carbon cycle pretty much maintains balance. The Geologic (long) carbon cycle is the one that is out of whack. Carbon freed from the geologic cycle is not reassimilated into nature. It has nowhere to go so it hangs around in the atmosphere.

Second: Even if the oil disappeared tomorrow, industrial pollution and coal consumption would generate enough greenhouse gasses to accelerate climate change.

El Borak said...

BGBS: Peak oil "means we reach maximum capacity in our production in fifteen years or so."

Or alternately that we have used half of the usable hydrocarbon, and what's left is more expensive, less useful, and less available than what we had before. Personally, I think we peaked last year, but we'll see what 2008 numbers look like before I say for sure.

But, that means that half the hydrocarbon-induced damage has already been done. More than half, actually, since what we burn today is in all ways cleaner than in say 1930.

If we are not on the downside of oil use today, we are within a decade of it. Once we reach that, models that predict anything "by the end of the century" are worthless.

"Even if the oil disappeared tomorrow, industrial pollution and coal consumption would generate enough greenhouse gasses to accelerate climate change."

If it disappeared tomorrow, half of the developed world would starve to death in 3 months - unless we find a way to run tractors on coal and create fertilizer using nuclear power. Power is not fungible and our phoney baloney economic system not only relies on oil, but on cheap oil in ever-increasing quantities. And the day cheap oil dies, the dollar dies. Eliminate the medium of exchange and you eliminate trade. Then people die. Lotsa poeple. Bad, bad, bad.

When peak oil curves drop 10% from any top, it's game over for the developed world, especially the US. Climate change will be the least of our worries.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

Not quite sure how y'all got to peak oil from a discussion of who should head FEMA, but climate change is likely to be a significant problem for us all regardless of when we hit the peak oil point. Sure, expensive oil will cause serious economic problems, but so will rising oceans, long-term droughts, tsunamis, and so forth. And many of the responses to disappearing oil will bring about more climate disasters. Seems to me like we need an integrated approach here.