Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

May 1, 2013

'Taking time off?!'

By Charlotte Shivvers
The Journal Express

---- — Some of us like to think that when employees get time off, it is deserved, that their work justifies their vacation time. Not so, unfortunately, with a major group of employees we share. A recent email from our Representative in Washington, DC, Dave Loebsack, bemoaned the fact that he and his colleagues weren’t being kept in Washington – WORKING.

So much to be done: unemployment still too high, the horrors of the Fiscal Cliff not remedied, the abyss between the rich and the rest of us growing larger, and little done to avert human-caused climate change/disaster.

We need the Representatives to take a dose of intelligence potion and get back to work. First they need to read. (Can they read? I wonder.) They need to see those carbon dioxide (CO2) graphs that measures CO2 back into prehistoric times. The graphs show carbon dioxide quantity in the atmosphere wiggling back and forth through all of the ice ages and warm-up times; then they display a steeper and steeper climb starting with the industrial revolution. Now the graph goes almost straight up showing increasing amounts of CO2 with our global, rapid increase in the use of fossil fuel – that’s coal, oil, petroleum and natural gas.

If we want to believe that Super Storm Sandy, the worst drought in decades, two 500-year floods in a row and the worst wild fires on record, are all just chance, we would be following the lead of our Representatives. Here’s a dramatic comparison: the number of Representatives who voted in 2011 that human-caused climate change was a hoax – 240. Number of scientific organizations that have publicly denied human-caused climate change – ZERO.

So maybe we should leave our Representatives at home – at least that 240. They might embarrass us less about climate change.

Here’s what they’ve said:

-Rep. Bill Cassidy, “It could be secular, maybe it could be just a shift of the axis …”

-Rep. Ted Poe, “no evidence at all that it’s manmade CO2 that causes climate to change,”

-Rep. Dan Rohrabacher, “Sure the ice caps are melting, but they’re melting on Mars, too.”

-Speaker of the House Boehner, “Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide…”

-Rep. Paul Broun, “It is a hoax.”

Meanwhile, as Representatives continue to wail about our deficit, they have not managed to end “Big Oil” subsidies. President Obama is ready, so are House Democrats and most Senate Democrats. While the oil companies made over $100 billion in profit last year, they still get a subsidy from yours and my tax dollars. That industry profits from the very fossil fuels that are most responsible for climate change!

My heroes right now are the cities, universities and people who are divesting – selling off their stocks in oil companies. They are sending the message, “Hey, pull back, let’s save the planet.” According to Jay Carmona (of 350.org) 11 cities so far – from San Francisco to Ithaca – have taken the step to say, “If you’re going to try and take away our planet, we’re going to try to take away your money.”

So, perhaps until they can express something at least as intelligent, we should keep those 240 Representatives home on an UNPAID vacation.