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January 23, 2009

Gristwork

I've started a series over on Gristmill looking at all the various policy areas that affect food policy in this country. Not willing to shrink from the challenge, I took on international trade policy first. Don't worry, though. I make it a laugh riot.

Also, I put up something in response to the recent Pew poll that suggests global warming has dropped far down the list of American voters' priorities as well as indicates more people than ever doubt that the phenomenon is caused by human activity. In my view, it's all about lousy science education.

In that vein, it's not just American voters who are horribly misinformed. Just check out Chuck Schumer's comments last month in response to the false rumor that the EPA was poised to start taxing cow farts methane releases from livestock production (h/t The Ethicurean). The rationale for his desire "to put a stake through [the] heart" of the proposal? "Cows can’t change the way they are." Props for pith, Senator. But your logic is wrong-headed to say the least. I've talked before about the need to address emissions cuts on an economy-wide basis rather than trying to do it piecemeal. The "grand bargain" is the policy model to foll0w - not Whack-a-Mole. Thanks go to Senator Schumer for showing us why.

A close second for misinformed legislator of the moment may be Sen. Jay Rockefeller, whose rambling, digressive climate and energy-related questions during the confirmation hearings for Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geithner displayed his clear desire to address the problem backed up by a disastrously weak grasp of the issues at hand. In fairness, Rockefeller, who as the new Senate Commerce Committee chair definitely wants to tackle the problem, seems like someone who's been cramming but hasn't yet mastered the material. Still, it's nothing that a few briefings from the Obama Green Team can't fix. Hoo boy. Our Man from Illinois sure has his work cut out from him, doesn't he?

Photo by Marc Benton used under a CC license

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