Gag Me With a Spoon

November 8, 2009

When we last left Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, our caped legal crusaders had promulgated a video critical of the cap-and-trade legislation currently moving through Senate. David Roberts at Grist has unearthed a story suggesting that the EPA has requested (demanded?) that Williams and Zabel remove their video from YouTube by the close of business Friday. Evidently, that did not happen. Keith Kloor has some interesting commentary.

As it turns out, I support Kerry-Boxer, mostly for political reasons, even though I have my criticisms of cap-and-trade regimes. (Working on a paper about that right now. Maybe I’ll air a few concerns over the next week.) What I don’t support, however, are gag rules, either of the Reagan-Bush-Bush variety, of the Jim Hansen variety, or even of the recently minted-Tom Price variety.

In the spirit of open discussion, here’s their video:


  1. IMHO this is part of an EPA Kabuki dance to portray the bill as too weak to justify removing the EPA’s authority to regulate per the CO2 endangerment finding. To get *anything* passed (a matter of great political importance domestically and internationally), Lisa Jackson and other higher-ups have to pretend that the bill is way better than the reality. Yet it must be made clear that the administration doesn’t really think so as to not endanger the enforcability of the finding.

    “The Secretary will disavow any knowledge…”

  2. I should clarify that I don’t think Jackson or anyone else at EPA told them to do anything. EPA is loaded with people who understand the problem, so it’s unsurprising to see voluntarism of this sort. Regardless, don’t expect their chain to be jerked anytime soon.

    Certainly it’s unlikely to be jerked by the just-appointed new EPA Region IX head Jared Blumenfeld, who’s about as close to an activist as I’ve ever seen in a bureaucratic position of any prominence. In significant part thanks to him, San Francisco just began implementing the first serious mandatory recycling law in the country. This is a good sign that Obama is backing up his excellent high-level science and environmental appointments with folks who take their job seriously.

  3. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never actually seen Kabuki theater, but given its prevalent invocation in recent discourse, I suppose I ought to get myself to a Kabuki theater. (Come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen a voo-doo ceremony either, and that term was thrown around mighty aggressively during the eighties.)

    There’s no question that this is about politics; and I can’t say I don’t understand the politics. I guess I’m just concerned about the muzzling of government employees for political reasons.

  4. Better you find a puppet theatre with a Punch and Judy show

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