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Carl Pope

Carl's new weblog:
Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

Convention Momentum
5, 2004

While the pollsters and pundits peer into tracking polls and try to measure the effect of what I consider was the most energizing Democratic convention ever, the Kerry/Edwards caravan is experiencing it -- loudly -- at every campaign stop since Boston. Thousands of people have lined the roads, and the crowds are reported to be huge in Milwaukee and Beloit, Wisconsin, in Davenport and Dubuque, Iowa, and in Michigan, where Sierra Club Board member Jan O'Connell reported from Saginaw:

John Kerry was here yesterday and we had a crowd estimated at somewhere around 12,000 for his rally. It was amazing because it was so hot and lines wound around downtown streets for blocks with folks waiting over an hour just to get in. Temp was 88 with a heat index high in the 90s. Over 125 people had to be treated for heat-related incidents. I myself got heat exhaustion! And now this Thursday Bush is coming back to Saginaw just north of where he was last week. Bush was here last Friday, and we did a flotilla of 11 kayaks & canoes touting the Bush administration's destruction of 30 years of progress on water issues. Bush has been in Michigan five times so far for this election.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

The President left his Crawford Texas ranch this week and hit the campaign trail singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy," in an effort to distract us from a week of really dismal news. To recap:

New York, August 3

The price of oil hit an all time-high today, creeping past $44/barrel. It's not a sudden collapse of supply as in 1973, 1979, or 1999. It's not even a failure in Iraq, which is producing relatively close to what it was before the war. It's the continuing growth of world demand, powered by population and economic growth, combined with a failure to invest seriously in efficiency and alternatives -- a failure of which the Bush administration's policies are probably the most spectacular example. "We can't conserve our way to energy independence," the President said in 2001. We might try for a change.

Mosquito Ridge, California, August 2

Forest service biologists told the media today that the Forest Service had fabricated the case for increasing logging in the Sierra Nevada just as blatantly as the Bush administration fabricated its weapons of mass destruction claims. Of the 18 sites that the Forest Service claimed had been destroyed by wildfires, at least seven are intact and still supporting birds and other wildlife.

Washington, DC, July 31

The deficit is going to hit a record $445 billion, but this, says the White House, is not really as bad as it looks, because back in 1983, compared to the size of the economy, the deficit was even worse.

Hayfork, California, July 27

And the Bush administration isn't even helping its rural voting base with its forest policies. In Trinity County, California, Bush's support base is discovering that the economic development programs that were helping them develop sustainable forest industries have now been slashed by the administration, that the funds to prevent fires which periodically threaten Hayfork are not being committed, and that what few dollars are flowing are going to the big contractors and not to the small communities. How does the Forest Service justify this: The bang is not here for the politicians' buck... Funding for fuel reduction work is declining in the next few years." Healthy Forests, anyone?

Chicago, Illinois, July 24

Burdened by the increasing costs of oil, United Airlines announced it was suspending payments into its workers' pension funds, a move that the federal pension guarantee agency warned could create a drain on the federal treasury on the scale of the Savings and Loan bail-out.