Saturday, October 15, 2005

Washington Warming

Over the last several years, the paper that broke the Watergate Scandals has been little more than timid. However, with 39% approval ratings for the POTUS and 29% approval ratings for the direction of the country, even the most timid are becoming emboldened.

Washington and its Post are warming up.

Here is an example of political heat.

Rove Pressed On Conflicts, Source Says
Questions Said to Focus On Differing Accounts

By Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff
Saturday, October 15, 2005; Page A01

The grand jury investigating the CIA leak case pressed White House senior adviser Karl Rove yesterday to more fully explain his conversations with reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame, including discrepancies between his testimony and the account provided by a key witness in the investigation, according to a source familiar with Rove's account.

Making his fourth appearance before the grand jury, Rove answered a broad range of questions for 4 1/2 hours, including why he did not initially tell federal agents about a July 2003 conversation about Plame with the witness, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, the source said.

His story has changed from the earliest days, when he told reporters he had nothing to do with the leak of Plame's name. Since then, Rove has testified that he discussed Plame in passing with two reporters, including Robert D. Novak, whose July 14, 2003, syndicated column first publicly identified Plame as a CIA operative married to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Some lawyers in the case think Fitzgerald may no longer be interested in proving whether Plame's name was illegally leaked to reporters. That would require the difficult task of showing that an official knew the material was classified, that the official knew that the CIA was actively working to keep it a secret and that the person purposely leaked the information.

Instead, the lawyers, who based their opinions on the kinds of questions Fitzgerald is asking and not on firsthand knowledge, think the special prosecutor may be headed in a different direction.

They said Fitzgerald could be trying to establish that a group of White House officials violated the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of classified material, or that they engaged in a conspiracy to discredit Wilson in part by identifying Plame.

Another possibility, the lawyers say, is that Fitzgerald could charge Rove or others with perjury or providing false testimony before the grand jury. This is a popular avenue for prosecutors in white-collar criminal cases."

And on the climate change front, it looks like 2005 will likely be another warmest year on record.

Global Warming has not been a favorite subject of the American press since this Administration decided it should be studied not responded to. Here is a rare front page story.

World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 13, 2005; Page A01

New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures.

Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated the record-breaking global average temperature, which now surpasses 1998's record by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, from readings taken at 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world.

The new analysis comes as government and independent scientists are reporting other dramatic signs of global warming, such as the record shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice cover and unprecedented high ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico

"At this point, people shouldn't be surprised this is happening," said Goddard atmospheric scientist David Rind, noting that 2002, 2003 and 2004 were among the warmest years on record.

Several scientists said yesterday that Earth's rapid warming could become self-perpetuating as the buildup of heat in the air, on land and in the sea accelerates. Ted A. Scambos, the lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., said the shrinkage of sea ice in the Arctic makes it more likely that the region will warm faster, because open water absorbs much more heat from the sun than snow and ice.

"Change is really happening in the Arctic. We're going to see this again and again," Scambos said. He added that, because the Arctic helps keep global temperatures down, any warming there can mean "you're going to change [the world's] climate significantly."

Perhaps we are seeing a sea change in the way Washington

and its Post sees the World.

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.

Mohandas Gandhi


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Blogger Urban Denizen #512 said...

Really enjoy posts of this nature, OZ.

IN completely unrelated news, I came across this retrospective on New Orleans published in the NYTimes. One of the best editorial-memoirs in my life.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following quote is from a book review column from "New Yorker," March 21, 2005, pp. 82-83. I found it most interesting in light of the apparent global warming phenomenon.

The books under review concerned the history of the plague circa 1347.

Here it is:
"...Ironically, the plague is associated with prosperity. As long as a region remains undeveloped, with low populations, small towns, heavy forests, and little trade, it's local rats will remain in their holes and die quiety of the plague without passing it on to human beings. During the Dark Ages, Europe was poor and quiet in that way, and to our knowledge, the plague was non-existent. But, around the end of the first millennium, Europe, as part of a normal climatic cycle, began to warm up. Across the continent, the temperature increased by an average of more than one degree Celsius. This change, known as the Little Optimum, plumped up harvests and hence the population. Between 1000 and 1250, the number of Eurpoeans more than doubled, and they set about creating what we now call the high Middle Ages. Cities bloomed; universities were founded; Gothic cathedrals rose; vernacular literatures took root; trade exploded. Meanwhile, peace reigned. For most of the thirteenth century, there were no major wars in Europe.

Then this golden age ended. The plague is related not just to prosperity but to prosperity followed by hardship, and in the early fourteenth century the hardship came. The Little Optimum reversed. In 1315 and 1316, the sun barely showed its face...[and dire consequences ensued as a whole cascade of horrors due to population collapse ensued and this set the stage for the effective spread of the plague.]"

The author's and reviewer's curious thesis, incongruously, is that with global cooling, the population collapsed into extreme want--war ensued and rats surfaced, all scrambling for scarce food. This is what they believe presaged the spread of the plague that whiped out an estimated 2/3 to 3/4 of the world's population.

I found their take on these events of history in total contrast to the present situation as oil runs out while smog filters away sunshine from earth, and while we concern ourselves with the consequences of global warming which was apparently once considered Optimum.

If the avoidance of history repeating itself is through an awareness of it, perhaps this early period in the natural history of the earth should be included in a broader context for anticipating a dire future that seems fast aproaching.

P. S. How come "starirasghost" got his link acceptably published when mine in a previous post wasn't acceptable. Does it have to do with the anonymous tag? I'm not against being identified, it's just that choosing an identity was overly fraught with hurdles.

11:58 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

FM, I have no idea about your publishing question. Anons are no different from other comments. Perhaps you didn't do the word identification right, or perhaps it will simply show up later. Sometimes the servers at Blogspot get too busy.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site on the Washington Post. Very cool.

1:16 PM  

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