Friday, July 10, 2009

The Man Behind Cap and Tr8tors Is Champ of Bigfoot Hunting Cause

The historic American Clean Energy and Security Act wouldn't have made it past the House floor had it not been for the eight Republican members who voted for the bill, demonstrating their commitment to bringing new clean energy jobs to their districts. Although their decision to vote for ACES demonstrated their commitment to revitalizing our economy, improving our national security, and protecting our planet, their laudable efforts have put them in the cross-hairs of many extreme members from their own party.

While criticism from conservative pundits and climate change skeptics like Rush Limbaugh was to be expected, an apparent 'grassroots' movement against these 8 leaders shocked many. But in looking a little closer into the 'grassroots' effort, the real shock is who may be behind it all.

Soon after the ACES vote, a website called capandtr8tors.com (BE CAREFUL, our browser reported it may be an attack site, giving us the following warning: "Warning - visiting this web site may harm your computer!"- coincidence?), appeared online with the following threat on it:
8 Republicans who voted for Cap and Trade are Traitors to the Republican party.The following republicans voted FOR the largest tax bill ever passed by a session of Congress

[...]

They have 5 Days from the time of their vote to change them, or we will work to vote them out of office.
The site also had a counter on it, propagated a #capandtr8tors thread on Twitter, and listed the contacts of the eight Republicans which helped funnel hundreds of calls into their offices.

So who was behind all this? Was it the National Republican Congressional Committee? Was it an interest group funded by ExxonMobil? Was it a talk show host like Glenn Beck? No, not that we can tell. It seems that the man behind the Cap and Tr8tors movement may in fact have been in cahoots with Bigfoot. Seriously.

To be more specific, it may have been a Bigfoot enthusiast/hunter.

Let us explain. Using the website domaintools.com, one can see the individual who registered the website capandtr8tors.com is a man by the name of Rob Gaudet of Bossier City, Louisiana.

A Google search of his registered email address shows that a Robert Gaudet from the same town, listing the same email address, is a local "Tea-Party Patriots" organizer.

Not incredibly shocking.

But this is where it gets more interesting. According to his registered address, he lists his business as "Discover Bigfoot." It seems that Mr. Gaudet is also an active member of a community of people searching for the whereabouts of Bigfoot (aka, the Sasquatch). Yes folks. THAT Bigfoot.

We of course cannot be sure that these individuals are one in the same, but seeing as how Mr. Gaudet's address listed "Discover Bigfoot," we thought there may be a connection...

A Google search of Mr. Gaudet's email address and the term "Bigfoot" finds that name and email address referenced on multiple Bigfoot/ unexplained mystery dedicated forums. A search of "Rob Gaudet Bigfoot" finds the name referenced on numerous other forums as an individual who provides video and photographic evidence of Bigfoot's whereabouts. A Rob Gaudet was also interviewed on the Bigfoot Field Guide Radio Show and the Bigfoot Live Radio Show. The search also turns up a photo album of Bigfoot press clippings based on a site called "LouisianaCajun.com," with a registered email address with 'robertkgaudet' listed as a username.

One of these forums also links to a "Rob Gaudet video," which was made by a YouTube user named "HaveUSeenCreature." This user's channel lists his name as Rob Gaudet, and has numerous videos not only of the individual investigating apparent Bigfoot sitings, but also of multiple "Tea-Party" events.

To be clear, we make no claim that the Robert Gaudet who registered the CapandTr8tors.com domain name, the Robert Gaudet who organizes Tea-Party events, and the Robert Gaudet who actively searches for Bigfoot are all the same person. But if it is the case, the irony of an individual who pushes against climate change legislation, yet believes in the existence of "an alleged ape-like creature purportedly inhabiting forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America" made our Friday that much brighter.

Also, if it is the same person, doesn't he realize climate change will have disastrous effects on Bigfoot's habitat?!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arizona state senator: save planet for the kids (but drill baby drill?)

To preface this post, we admit, this isn't directly related to climate change. But when we saw this video, we thought it was the perfect example of what's wrong with so many lawmakers who get in the way of a clean energy economy.

During an Arizona Senate Retirement and Rural Development Committee meeting on June 25th, State Senator Sylvia Allen discussed the prospects of mining for uranium in the state. In her statement, she makes it very clear that the "need to get the uranium here in Arizona, so this state can get the money from it" supersedes any environmental consequences that may would result from it. Check out the video below.


Now again, we know this isn't exactly about climate change, but we thought her statement that "The Earth has been here 6,000 years [...] long before anybody had environmental laws and somehow it hasn't been done away with" was pretty indicative of a shocking attitude that many lawmakers seem to have these days. It's the do-nothing mentality towards environmental protection that really demonstrates what's gotten in the way of a comprehensive climate and energy bill thus far.

We think Ms. Allen should heed her own words: "I can't say enough how it's time that we [...] move forward into the future so that our grandchildren can have the same lifestyle we have." It is time to move forward, Mrs. Allen. The first step though is recognizing that without laws protecting the environment, it's our children, not just grandchildren, who may not have the "same lifestyle we have."

A final observation on the accuracy (or lack thereof) of Ms. Allen's statement (via ThinkProgress):
Phil Plait of BadAstronomy notes that the irony of Allen’s claim “is that she’s talking about uranium mining, and it’s through the radioactive decay of uranium that we know the Earth is billions of years old.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Breaking: ExxonMobil Breaks Promise; Up Next: Area Coyote Continues Pursuit of Roadrunner

In perhaps the least shocking news we've ever heard, it recently surfaced that despite public promises that it would no longer fund climate change skeptics, ExxonMobil has continued to give money to groups that publicly question and deny the science behind global warming.

If you'd like, now would be the time to let out a fake sigh of indignation and pretend that you were actually surprised.

In its 2008 corporate citizenship report, ExxonMobil promised to cut funding to groups who "divert attention" from the need to address climate change:
In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.
Though they did cut funding to a few controversial groups, recent reports show that, in spite of their public statements to the contrary, ExxonMobil has continued to fund climate change skeptics. As the Guardian reported:
Company records show that ExxonMobil handed over hundreds of thousands of pounds to such lobby groups in 2008. These include the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas, which received $75,000 (£45,500), and the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, which received $50,000.
Exxon's doublespeak shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone (via The Wonk Room):
Just as ExxonMobil makes public promises to end funding to groups that work to deny climate change, it also has devoted millions to ad campaigns touting clean energy without actually investing significantly in renewable energy. In 2007, Exxon-Mobil spent $100 million on advertising and “green-washing” campaigns in an attempt to exaggerate their commitment to renewable energy, producing ads that focused on global warming, efficiency, and alternative energy. That’s despite the fact that ExxonMobil spent more on CEO Rex Tillerson’s salary than on renewable energy in 2007. While Tillerson took in $21.7 million, Exxon invested only $10 million or so in renewable energy – just a tenth of the amount they spent talking about investing in clean energy.
So remember that 100 bucks you lent Exxon last week so they could pay their rent? Don't count on getting it back. Sure they promised they'd "pay you back right away, we swear," but they clearly don't have the best track record. Chances are the money's already gone anyway, seeing as how Exxon spent over $120 million lobbying Congress between 1998 and 2009.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Integrity Prevails: NRCC ACES Attack Ad Pulled By Virginia Station

Over the past few weeks, we've been hearing a lot of different numbers thrown around by the press, pundits and politicians when discussing the costs of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Given the difficulty of modeling such comprehensive legislation, this is of course not surprising. What is surprising is how opponents of the bill have continued to use already debunked and misinterpreted studies in their efforts to keep America reliant on the fossil fuel industry.

In the weeks before the vote on ACES, we saw Exxon-backed interest groups making these false claims. During floor debate, the legislation's opponents used the false numbers on the House floor. After the bill's passage, we were left wondering who would answer the skeptics' call and carry on the tradition of using "simplistic and misleading" numbers to suit one's own end.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) answered that call. Soon thereafter, they were called out on it.

As The Huffington Post reported:
WDBJ-TV, a Roanoke television station, will not air a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) ad attacking freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), citing factual inaccuracies, according to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee communications director Jen Crider. A source familiar with the station's decision confirmed Crider's account
Numerous non-partisan fact checking organizations have come out against the ad (via Factcheck.org):
The ad says the bill will result in lost jobs and cost "middle class families" $1,870 a year. That sounds pretty dire, until you consider that this week we posted an item about the Office of the Republican Whip Eric Cantor's claim that the same bill would "impose a national energy tax of up to $3,100." So is the cost of the legislation going down? Did the NRCC make a mistake in its math?

Hardly. While it may seem curious that House Republicans would flog two different cost figures for the proposed legislation, it is indicative of the difficulty in determining how a cap on carbon emissions could affect Americans' electricity bills. The NRCC ad credits a Washington Times editorial for its claim that the Waxman-Markey bill would make electricity prices "skyrocket," costing families $1,870 a year. But the NRCC is wrong.
Others have echoed the finding that the "NRCC is wrong." We've pointed out numerous times that not only did the Congressional Budget Office score the bill, finding the cost to be close to a postage stamp a day for each household, but the EPA recently released a study with similar findings.

Though calculating such costs is difficult, we'll take the findings of a non-partisan body (CBO) that are corroborated by another study (EPA) over the oft-questioned findings of a think tank (the Heritage Foundation) that are "pulled out of thin air." But who knows, maybe the Heritage numbers and the CBO postage stamp finding are both right, and somehow the NRCC pays $5.12 a stamp. If that's the case, maybe they ought to find a new mailman.

Boehner Continues Bathroom Rhetoric With Potty Mouth

This past Friday, after the passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) was not a happy camper. But really, who could blame him? ACES had passed, his Friday night was ruined (in his defense, America's Funniest Home Videos was on), and his attempts to delay the vote by speaking on the House floor for over an hour proved to be useless. Upset or not, I don't think anyone was expecting this reaction (via The Hill):
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a few choice words about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) landmark climate-change bill after its passage Friday. When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, "Hey, people deserve to know what's in this pile of s--t.
We'd try and be snarky about it, but it seems an aide did that for us:
Pelosi's office declined to comment on Boehner's jab. But one Democratic aide quipped, "What do you expect from a guy who thinks global warming is caused by cow manure?"
Given his ability to talk about a 'pile of s--t' for well over an hour, we recommend that anyone with somewhere to be in the near future be wary of entering into a conversation with Mr. Boehner about something that actually interests him; he may end up talking forever.