J500 Media and the Environment

How ending wars can save the environment by bryand09
Uploaded to Flickr.com on September 28, 2008 by Wild-Jungleman

Uploaded to Flickr.com on September 28, 2008 by Wild-Jungleman

By himself, Obama cannot clean up the environment, stop global warming, or create a single green job.

Stop for a second and really take this statement in. It may seem obvious, but with all the demands competing for Obama’s attention, an outsider might think US citizens have forgotten the basics of US Civics 101.

Pop quiz: what is the president’s job? Between signing statements and executive orders, we may have forgotten that it’s not the president’s job to make laws but to make sure they are being followed. His job is to make sure the laws are being “executed,” hence the “executive” branch.

Today, our president is our chief economic adviser who talks with the media about spending more money that we can possibly conceptualize. But just because he isn’t a legislature, that does not mean he can’t help the environmental movement.

Take his power as commander and chief of the military. Obama has the power to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan but instead is sending 17,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan and staying at least one more year in Iraq.

The environmental damages caused by war may be obvious. But the real killer is all the money we are spending abroad when we have so many problems at home. The congressional budget office estimates that we will spend 2.6 trillion dollars fighting these wars by the end of 2010.

It all comes back to spending and what we choose to spend our money on. Look at how much we spend on defense as opposed to energy. Look at how much we spend on education compared to health care. If we taught people how to eat healthy and prevented our ground water and food supply from being contaminated, would we need to spend so much on health care years down the line? If we spend a trillion dollars on wind turbines, would we really need to fight wars over oil?

How will Kansas look without Sebelius? by bryand09
Will the Governor be waving goodbye to Kansas soon? Uploaded to flickr.com on January 19, 2009 by Lindsay Beyerstein

Will the Governor be waving goodbye to Kansas soon? Uploaded to flickr.com on January 19, 2009 by Lindsay Beyerstein

“With Sen. Judd Gregg bowing out as commerce secretary, and with President Obama now needing to fill two high-profile Cabinet posts, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is all but outta here, a K-State political scientist said this morning.”
Submitted by Steve Kraske on February 13, 2009, Primebuzz.Kcstar.com

What’s the matter with Kansas? It will be very obvious once Sebelius has left.

For anyone who hasn’t been following, now that Tom Daschle has pulled his name out of the hat of nominees for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Governor Sebelius is at the top of most pundits’ list for the next nominee.

She fought against the two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants proposed by Sunflower, and vetoed three times legislation that would allow them to be built. On the night before one of the votes, representatives of Sunflower offered to build only two 600-megawatt plants approached her; she stood her ground and vetoed the thinly concealed threat into the ground.

Sunflowers existing coal-fired power plant at Holcomb, Kansas (Photo courtesy Ohio Citizen Action)

Sunflower's existing coal-fired power plant at Holcomb, Kansas (Photo courtesy Ohio Citizen Action)

Well not quite. Sunflower is back and taking Kansas to federal court.

Environmental issues aside, there is another, more important reason that Sebelius should stay. US Senator Sam Brownback has filed his paperwork to run for Kansas Governor in 2010. If Sebelius goes to DC and the Kansas budget faces more problems, it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of Kansans when they consider another democrat for the job. It will all but guarantee a win for the senator.

Here is the best-case scenario: Sebelius stays in Kansas and finished up her second term strongly — strong budget, more wind power, no coal power plants. She decides to run for Brownback’s seat (wins it) while rallying enough democratic support and headlines to push a second democrat into the Governor’s office.

— Bryan Dykman

Back from the Future: 2050 by rarab

Okay, a brief explanation: After posting the candidates’ environmental policies, I was pretty disappointed to discover that even the ones I like had pretty tame recommendations when it came to curbing carbon emissions. The two most progressive candidates on this issue call for a reduction of 80% from 1990 levels by the year 2050. 2050?!! Are you kidding me? I’ll be, like, 80 years old… but on the positive side, by my calculations, I should be close to finishing my master’s by then.

Anyway, depressed and disappointed, I did what any normal human would do: I travelled through time. Not into that, you say? Well, it’s actually quite easy these days–all you need is an exercise bike, a flux capictor, and lots of Guinness Stout.

With that in mind, I was able to return with a newspaper article announcing the achievement of this environmental goal, so here it is:


President Announces Reduction of Carbon Emissions
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP)—President Miley Cyrus held an impromptu press conference today in the Office Max Oval Office of the Home Depot White House—Home Depot, where no project is too big or too small—to announce that These Remaining United States (TRUSA) had finally reached its goal of reducing carbon emission by 80 percent from the 1990 levels, a plan set in place by President Barack Obama just two years before The Big Catastrophe.

“Dudes, this totally rocks,” President Cyrus said. “I only wish that the good people of the eastern and western coast lines were around to celebrate this monumental accomplishment.”

To commemorate the return to 1990s levels, Cyrus unveiled plans for a national day of remembrance, where citizens would be asked to dress as their favorite characters from 1990s history, a move that is certain to boost sales of flannel shirts and berets. The president also mentioned that “I Like Big Butts” will be the official song for the national holiday.

“Personally, I’m going to dress up as some woman named Courtney Love,” Cyrus said. Then, in a throaty voice, she delivered her best impression: “Someday you will ache like I ache…”

Vice President Hannah Montana, meanwhile, did not make an appearance at the news conference, but aides assure us she will be on hand for the American Idol State of the Union concert. It has been speculated that Montana will observe “’90s Day” as either one of the Right Said Fred guys or perhaps as RuPal.

When asked by reporters why the reductions were still significant, Cyrus removed her self-contained breathing apparatus, and took in a deep breath—an action that was met with a combination of shock and awe from the reporters.

“Did you see that homies,” the president proudly proclaimed. “I can totally breathe the air now without coughing for more than two hours.” She then underwent a hysterical coughing fit and was led away by her team of physicians, who warned others not to attempt the same stunt.

In her place, Wal-Mart Secretary of Major Disasters Zach Efron said the reductions were a “dance step” in the right direction, but that more needed to be done.

“I mean, we’re still debating the legitimacy of climate change—it’s starting to get ridiculous,” Efron said. “Really, folks, if climate change wasn’t happening would I be holding this press conference in my swimming trunks? Would our nation’s capital have been moved to Emporia, Kansas? Would Air Force One have been replaced with Bicycle Rickshaw One? I don’t think so!”

Efron then broke into a song and dance routine titled, “I Remember Snowmen,” to emphasize his point, but he twisted an ankle while performing a cartwheel for the last verse and had to be hauled off on a stretcher. He did, however, give reporters a thumbs-up sign to indicate he wasn’t seriously injured this time.

Meanwhile, critics of climate change held their own press conference in response to the president’s announcement. The critics, led by Exxon Oklahoma Senator Paris Hilton, said the excitement over the reduced levels was much ado about nothing.

“You’re not allowed to say ‘It’s hot’ because I trademarked the phrase years before The Big Catastrophe,” Hilton said. “Besides, I have a pretty good idea of how hot things are and quite frankly things aren’t all that hot these days.”

When reached at his home in suburban Chicago, former President Barack Obama had only a simple statement for reporters: “I’ve run out of hope.”