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Sierra Daily

Jan 21, 2011

Did you hear about "air conditioners for bears"? Nyuck nyuck nyuck

I've never been much of a fan of those media outfits that offer us their supposedly apolitical, true-or-false judgments on politics. They invariably find that both sides have transgressed against their Platonic ideals of political speech, and so end up equating one side's cynical lies to the other's mild overstatements. Also, they're often just plain wrong. Plus they are as political as anyone else, they just pretend not to be.

A perfect example of this smug operation in action came on NPR's Morning Edition on Wednesday, when host Steve Inskeep interviewed Bill Adair, editor of Politifact. Here's Brad Johnson's excellent writeup from Think Progress's "The Wonk Room":

President Barack Obama’s pledge to forestall mass extinction from global warming is a laughing matter to NPR. Today, Morning Edition Steve Inskeep broke into guffaws of laughter as PolitiFact editor Bill Adair mocked Obama’s plan “to devote billions of dollars annually” to help “ensure that fish and wildlife survive the impacts of climate change.” Adair said he thought that meant supplying “air conditioners for bears,” considering the promise on par with the one Obama made about college football rankings:

INSKEEP: What are some of the more obscure promises on the campaign trail they said they were going to work on?

ADAIR: One we really enjoyed was the Obama promise to help species adapt to climate change. We decided that meant air conditioners for bears, which are probably not get funded now that Republicans are controlling the house.

INSKEEP: Did he misspeak? “Help species adapt”? Not not deal with climate change, but help species adapt to climate change.

ADAIR: Well, that’s what the promise said. He got very detailed in his policy statements on the campaign. It’s clear he was trying to appeal to very precise constituencies. And so we saw a lot of promises like that. My personal favorite was his promise was to push for a playoff system for college football.

Listen here:


Scientists estimate that around a quarter of the world’s species — around a million different species — will be committed to extinction by 2050 if global warming is unabated, and nearly 60 percent of new U.S. endangerment findings describe global warming as an extinction factor.

Oh that Steve Inskeep! He's such a card! And thank God he's on the job telling us what's true and what's not.

--Paul Rauber



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