From American Progress:
Under the Radar
NATIONAL SECURITY -- GOVERNMENT WHISTLEBLOWERS PUNISHED FOR SPEAKING OUT:
Whistleblowers from the FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Department, and Energy Department yesterday told a House subcommittee that after they spoke out against alleged government misconduct or criminal activity, they "were retaliated against, in some cases by having their security clearances revoked or their careers ruined." Spc. Samuel Provance said he was demoted and humiliated after telling a general investigating the Abu Ghraib scandal that senior officers had covered up detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib. "Young soldiers were scapegoated while superiors misrepresented what had happened and tried to misdirect attention away from what was really going on," Provance said. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) has called on Congress to pass legislation protecting government employees who speak out. "These agencies are out of control," said Weldon. "If we don't take action we're all in trouble."
ENVIRONMENT -- DID PRESIDENT BUSH MEET WITH MICHAEL CRICHTON ON GLOBAL WARMING?
Neoconservative pundit Fred Barnes reports in his new book "Rebel-in-Chief" that President Bush "fundamentally doesn't accept the theory of global warming and was reinforced in that belief by a private meeting not with any scientist but rather with novelist Michael Crichton, whose novel 'State of Fear' revolves around the issue." This is significant, since the official position of the Bush administration is that global warming does exist. "Bush, you will recall, asked the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 whether humans are causing the earth to warm," science journalist Chris Mooney reports. "The NAS, predictably, said that indeed we were. Since then, the administration has officially proceeded as [if] global warming is real." Even more disturbing is that President Bush would receive his science advice from a novelist whose latest book is about a corrupt scientist who invents false data about global warming to help raise funds for his projects, then contracts a group of global terrorists to create a series of floods, tsunamis, and other natural disasters to "prove" his point. The bad news is the book's science is apparently even worse than its plot.
IRAN -- AMERICANS TRUST U.N. MORE THAN BUSH ON IRAN:
More bad news for President Bush: the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that Americans put more confidence in the United Nations (47 percent) to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons than they do the Bush administration (45 percent). 67 percent are concerned that the United States will not do enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and another 69 percent are concerned that the United States will be too quick to use military force against Iran.
VALUES -- WHITE HOUSE CUTS FUNDING FOR INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING: On his first full day in office five years ago, President Bush acted to"deny federal aid to overseas groups that help women obtain abortions." His recent budget proposes cutting funding for international family planning programs -- touted by the White House as one of the best ways to prevent abortions -- by 18 percent. "It's ironic that an administration outwardly committed to reducing the incidence of abortion would take away valuable tools for preventing unwanted pregnancies," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). But the Bush administration's policies toward abortion have been failing abroad. A new study on Uganda published in the journal International Family Planning Perspectives found that "[p]oor access to contraceptives has led to an unusually high rate of abortions in Uganda." In the past, the White House has denied funding programs that provide abortion services or emergency contraception to rape victims in war-torn countries.
INNOVATION -- U.S. MANUFACTURERS FAILING TO CLOSE GAP ON HYBRID VEHICLES:
Japanese-produced cars "from Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. occupy 10 of the top dozen spots in the annual 'green car' survey" released yesterday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The highest-ranked U.S. car was GM's Pontiac Vibe; it tied for 10th place, and was actually built with a Toyota emissions system and engine. Another American vehicle, the Dodge Ram SRT10 pickup truck, was judged the least green car for the second year. "Unfortunately, the domestic manufacturers are not closing the gap with the leading foreign manufacturers on fuel economy,” Therese Langer, ACEEE’s transportation program director, said. “Detroit has had a difficult year, but given high gasoline prices and shifting consumer preferences, offering more fuel-efficient vehicles is not a luxury -- it’s a business necessity." See the full rankings here.