Fiction author Michael Crichton to address Senate panel Wednesday on global warming

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[From Think Progress]

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led by anti-environment champion James Inhofe (R-OK), will hold a hearing to “discuss the role of science in environmental policy making.”….
It’s an important topic, given the tendency in Washington to choose ideology over facts. Unfortunately, Inhof’s witness list wasn’t available on the committee’s website, so we called today to find out who would be speaking…
The featured witness isn’t a noted environmental scientist, or an expert in regulatory policy. It’s Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton.
And why would Inhofe invite a fiction author to testify on the role of science in environmental policy making? We think you’ll understand after reading a synopsis of Crichton’s latest book, State of Fear, about a scientist named Nicholas Drake:
Drake is frustrated by the public’s lack of fear about global warming and, hence, lack of enthusiasm for funding NERF [the environmental group Drake runs]. To remedy the situation, he plans a high-profile conference on “abrupt climate change,” a phenomenon that is essentially fabricated. To make sure folks are good and scared about the imaginary threat, he contracts with the Environmental Liberation Front (ELF) ‚Äî … a sophisticated, highly coordinated, techno-savvy worldwide terrorist network of dreadlocked hippies ‚Äî to create a series of floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis that will devastate the world on the eve of the conference.

Maybe next, we can have Stephen King lecture the Senate about the war in Iraq. He is a horror writer after all. Or how about J.K. Rowling speaking on the magical disappearance of Bush during the early days of Katrina? Dr. Seuss on our extradition policy? Nora Roberts on Homeland Security threats? I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by this. The Republicans on Capital Hill love creating fiction themselves.

White Stripes, M. Ward, and Shins on NPR. Metro Area at APT

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Metro Area
There’s a great audio stream scheduled tonight on All Songs Considered:

Hear the rock duo The White Stripes in a live, audio webcast from the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD tonight (September 27). The full concert will stream on NPR.org along with opening acts M. Ward and The Shins. It’s the latest in NPR Music’s live concert series from All Songs Considered.

Click here for more info.
And don’t miss the Katrina benefit at APT tonight featuring FREEwilliamsburg favorite Metro Area. If you’re not familiar with the infectious Metro Area, check out an MP3 at OneLouder.

Bush Gardens

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Scott Gottlieb practicing the mandatory
Bush crony expression: The Dubya smirk

George H.W. Bush deposited so many friends at the Commerce Department that the agency was known internally as ‘Bush Gardens.’” And according to Time Magazine, Dubya’s favoritism and cronyism has even trumped the excesses of his father. Here’s an excerpt from Time’s essential article published this week; “How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?”

Nowhere in the federal bureaucracy is it more important to insulate government experts from the influences of politics and special interests than at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with assuring the safety of everything from new vaccines and dietary supplements to animal feed and hair dye. That is why many within the department, as well as in the broader scientific community, were startled when, in July, Scott Gottlieb was named deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs…
[Gottlieb's] most recent job was as editor of a popular Wall Street newsletter, the Forbes/Gottlieb Medical Technology Investor, in which he offered such tips as “Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now.” In declaring Gottlieb a “noted authority” who had written more than 300 policy and medical articles, [his official] biography neglects the fact that many of those articles criticized the FDA for being too slow to approve new drugs and too quick to issue warning letters when it suspects ones already on the market might be unsafe…
Jimmy Carter-era FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy, a former Stanford University president and now executive editor-in-chief of the journal Science, say Gottlieb breaks the mold of appointees at that level who are generally career FDA scientists or experts well known in their field. “The appointment comes out of nowhere. I’ve never seen anything like that,” says Kennedy.
Gottlieb’s financial ties to the drug industry were at one time quite extensive. Upon taking his new job, he recused himself for up to a year from any deliberations involving nine companies that are regulated by the FDA and “where a reasonable person would question my impartiality in the matter.” Among them are Eli Lilly, Roche and Proctor & Gamble

Read the whole article here.
And just in: evidently Heckuva Job Brownie is still receiving the full FEMA salary.

Karl Rove is a clown

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“Cindy Sheehan is a clown. There is no real anti-war movement.”
Karl Rove
Yet an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 antiwar protestors stormed the streets of D.C. on Saturday. We were happy to be in attendence. As Steve Earle noted during a performance at the mall on Saturday, not only is there an antiwar movement, the desire to pull out of Iraq is slowly becoming mainstream.

To do this weekend:

Ever wondered what it looked like inside the McCarren Park pool in Williamsburg? Now’s your chance to find out. Check out Agora while the weather is still nice. Click here for more info about Agora.
Also, as mentioned before (and apparently we are the only New York blog covering this) the antiwar rally and concert takes place in DC on Saturday. The free concert will feature:
3:50 PM – Wayne Kramer and the Bellrays
4:41 PM – Steve Earle
5:31 PM – The Coup
6:23 PM – Sweet Honey in the Rock
7:09 PM – The Evens (Ian from The Make-Up)
7:54 PM – Ted Leo+Pharmacists
8:50 PM – Head Roc
9:37 PM – Thievery Corporation
10:59 PM – Pure Belly Dance
11:27 PM – Bouncing Souls
12:12 AM – Le Tigre
Head on down if you can. The bus is 25 bucks.

The Notorious H.O.F.

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We don’t know what’s more bizarre, the fact that Hoff wants to rap or that Ice-T and Hoff are close friends. God help us if P.Diddy decides to join forces with Tony Danza. The last thing we need is another East Coast/West Coast rivalry.

[From Annanova]
Ice-T is to produce David Hasselhoff’s first hip-hop album.
The pair are neighbours in Los Angeles and are said to have struck up a close friendship.
Hasselhoff has had some success as a singer, releasing seven albums. He’s also said to be very popular in Germany.
Ice-T, who was one of the first real hip-hop stars in the late 1980s, said: “The man is a legend. And we are going to show a whole new side of him.”
The rapper is said to be convinced that the 51-year-old for Knight Rider and Baywatch actor can take on the biggest names in rap, reports The Sun.
Ice-T added: “He’s gonna come out as Hassle The Hoff – I promise you. The Hoff will surprise people with his rap skills and humour.”

This explains a lot….

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[image via Gawker click to enlarge]
This is from the National Enquirer, so of course it’s probably not true, but we couldn’t resist running it nonetheless:

Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.
Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.
Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.
His worried wife yelled at him: “Stop, George.”
Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against “falling off the wagon” and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.
“When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot,” said one insider. “He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: “Stop George!”
“Laura gave him an ultimatum before, ‘It’s Jim Beam or me.’ She doesn’t want to replay that nightmare ‚Äî especially now when it’s such tough going for her husband.”
Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink.

[Read more...]

September 24 March: End the War on Iraq!

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A reminder that this Saturday there will be a huge march for peace in DC. It will be followed by a free concert featuring:
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, Le Tigre, Bouncing Souls, Steve Earle, The Coup, The Bellrays, and many others on the Washington Monument grounds.
Strangely, none of the New York bloggers are covering this event thus far. Here’s our two cents on political marches… they are generally not very effective since the media and right wingers portray participants as dirty, Lefty, nutjobs. Nevertheless, showing other nations that not everyone in this country approves of the Iraq war and George Bush is extremely important. The Bush administration wants to ignore and censor protest. What’s more important than exercising free speech in these creepy times? Don’t be a cynic, head on down if you can. Click here for more.