At last he's ready to vote

McCain says he’d end his vacation from Congress to ‘drill here, drill now’

Originally posted at the Wonk Room. In eastern Pennsylvania yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeatedly argued, "We need to drill here and we need to drill now." His invocation of the slogan of Newt Gingrich's right-wing 527 corporation, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), was coupled with the following call for Congress to "come back to town and come back to work": Congress should come back into session, and I'm willing to come off the campaign trail. McCain's call for action on behalf of Big Oil and right-wing billionaires hardly jibes with his record of absenteeism on major votes. In fact, McCain has been on the campaign trail and fundraising circuit a tremendous amount this session, missing far more votes than any other member of Congress. His vacation from his elected duty has included some of the most important legislation considered by Congress:

Paris responds

The Hilton energy policy

‘They take pride in being ignorant’

Obama smacks back against GOP “tire gauge” mockery:

A real energy plan for America

Efficiency now, 10 percent renewables by 2012, and one million plug-in hybrids by 2015

Senator Barack Obama has fulfilled the promise of his earlier climate plan with a detailed and comprehensive "New Energy for America" [PDF] plan. Yesterday, he gave a major speech on this plan in Lansing, Michigan. This is easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party: Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will increase fuel economy standards 4 percent per each year while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers ... Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles and Put 1 Million Plugin Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug‐in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which can get over 150 miles per gallon of gas ... [more details below] Partner with Domestic Automakers: Obama will also provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel‐efficient cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas. Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles Develop the Next Generation of Sustainable Biofuels and Infrastructure Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: ... The standard requires fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years. This is the only way to jumpstart an end to our addiction to oil in a climate friendly way. Indeed, an accelerated transition to plug-in hybrids and electric cars -- a core climate solution -- must be the cornerstone of any serious effort to dramatically reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That is the crucial litmus test for any presidential candidate's energy independence or clean transportation policy. As for the test of a candidate's grasp of electricity policy, energy efficiency is obviously the only cheap power left and a limitless resource and the core climate solution. Obama understands energy efficiency in a way few other major politicians do, as his plan makes clear:

Auto industry to McCain:

Congress should inflate their tires, not their rhetoric

This post originally ran on the Wonk Room. For most of this year rising gas prices have been on everyone's mind. Believe me, the auto industry understands very well just how much of an impact $4/gallon gas has had on American consumers. As you may have seen, it's having an impact on us, as well. Last week, the Auto Alliance and the National Auto Dealers Association sponsored tire pressure checks for members of Congress and their staff who park in the Rayburn Office Building. Surprisingly, we found that most drivers had tires between 5 and 7 pounds under inflated -- some had tires under-inflated by as much as 20 pounds. This significantly reduced their vehicle's fuel economy. We all share a goal of increasing fuel economy, as well as enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the fuel economy increases passed last year by Congress (and supported by the Auto Alliance) will help. But consumers want ways to fight back against high gas prices right now. By properly inflating tires, we can have an immediate impact on the more than 245 million vehicles currently on our nation's roads and highways. Earlier this year, we cosponsored the Alliance to Save Energy's Drive Smarter Challenge. As part of this campaign we advocated maintaining proper tire pressure as one simple step consumers could take to increase fuel economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It's more important than you may think. For instance, did you know… • The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on under-inflated tires. • Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. • Proper tire inflation can save the equivalent of about 1 tank of gas per year. • Proper tire inflation also reduces CO2 emissions. • Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure, because people don't know how to check their tires or don't realize that tires naturally lose air over time. Maintaining proper tire pressure may not solve our dependence on foreign oil, but it will help. Consumers can get a few more miles to gallon, and when combined other driving and maintenance tips, those small steps can help to make a serious improvement in vehicle fuel economy.

How to stop horselaughs from crushing good ideas?

In a recent post about buy back programs to get polluting junkers off the road, I think David's key point was this: "This is one of those silver bb's enviros need to learn how to market better. All small-bore solutions sound faintly silly in isolation ..." In fact any solution that is drastically new sounds faintly silly in isolation, or can be made to sound so if an empty-headed media does a one-sentence rephrase (omitting key facts or outright lying if necessary) followed by extended fits of giggles and horselaughs. For example, Obama made a quite reasonable case that keeping tires inflated properly would save more oil than all offshore drilling combined. The response from the Republican Party and media combined is Tire gauges? Haw, haw, haw! It would be interesting to hear from some market types on how to counteract this garbage. Because otherwise we can watch idiots giggle our future away: "What, you want to stuff my attic with some sort of fabric? Chortle ... You want to produce electricity by sticking blades on a tower in a windy spot? Heh, heh, heh ... You want to put up paths so people can ride bicycles like little kids? Ha, ha,ha." You tell me: Are we doomed to forever be South Park Nation, headed by President Beavis and Vice President Butthead? Or is there a way to be heard over the whinnying and braying?

Kolbert on McCain

Elizabeth Kolbert writes a comment in The New Yorker on John McCain’s sad slide into demagoguery on oil, and cuts to the heart of the matter: “If the hard truth is that the federal government …

Fermi stance

McCain to visit nuclear power plant with dismal safety record

After stopping at a biker rally in South Dakota this morning, John McCain is headed to Monroe, Mich., this afternoon, where he’ll visit the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. While at the power plant, he’s …

Our modern-day Eris

House Republicans’ magical thinking on oil prices

Wow. House Republicans are now saying that their hissy fit cum frat party on the floor is lowering the price of oil. Not for the first time, I have to wonder: do they believe this? …

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