Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Yellowstone Yellow Dog

Isn't it interesting that after eight long years of unmitigated disaster the mainstream press is breaking its back trying to report on just how awful a president George W. Bush has been? A good example of how hard news media are working at this newly found outrage is this editorial in the Los Angeles Times.

Observing the actions of the Bush administration over the years, you'd think the Wyoming snowmobile industry was the economic glue holding the country together. National Park Service managers have pressed relentlessly to allow as many of the noisy, polluting recreational machines into Yellowstone National Park as possible, no matter what the public wanted (public comments were overwhelmingly against it), what park preservation laws stated or what the agency's own scientific research found. ...

After a federal judge in Washington ruled in September that the 540 snowmobiles a day sought by the Park Service was too high a number, the agency's staff issued an environmental report agreeing that so many machines would bring about "major adverse impacts" to Yellowstone. While the staff worked on a new long-term plan, expected to take a couple of years, Yellowstone Supt. Suzanne Lewis announced that the temporary limit would be set at 318 a day.

Well, that limit lasted only a few months. Winter was coming, so the park's superintendent, in a really creative reading of a second judge's opinion on the issue (which actually upheld the first decision, but, hey, when has reality ever stopped a Bushie?) suddenly changed the figure to 720 noisy, air-polluting, and environmentally damaging machines a day, a figure we'll be stuck with until at least January 20, 2009.

Here's the editorialist's response:

These shenanigans deserve early reversal by the new administration. It's not that a month or so of too many snowmobiles will cause irreparable damage. It's that President Bush, who could be using his last days in office to leave a legacy or two worth recalling with pleasure, seems bent instead on wreaking as much environmental damage as possible, and making sure that what we remember most is his administration's disdain for the law, science and the public, as long as industry lobbies were satisfied.

The outrage and disgust are palpable, and rightly so.

It would have been nice if such outrage and disgust had been demonstrated more frequently the past eight years, say, after the Downing Street memos were released showing how the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War wasn't only just cooked, but boiled, fricasseed, sauteed, and then deep-fat fried.

Or maybe when the President invoked his personal belief system to shut down stem cell research, setting back potential therapies for spinal injuries, diabetes, Alzheimer's and a host of other debilitating conditions for years.

Or even after a hurricane destroyed a major American city and thousands lost their homes and livelihoods because Dear Leader preferred playing golf to monitoring the situation closely so that the federal government could move swiftly to ameliorate the damage, which is what the government is supposed to do.

No, it was only after public opinion made it clear that we'd been hornswoggled right from the start by this band of criminals that the press suddenly found its generative organs. And, miracle of miracles, it's just in time for them to keep a sharp eye on the new President, you know, "That One."


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