George W. Bush is far too committed to Global Warming to just sit back and let it happen. He’s willing to produce as much hot air as it takes. His latest emission of noxious gas was his claim that he’s an environmentalist.
Bush has a taken bold, almost ecoterrorist-like, stand: He has decided not to repeal regulations requiring thousands of metal smelters and electronics manufacturers to report the amount of lead they release.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal. Exposure to even small quantities can cause brain damage in children and nervous disorders in adults. The effects can happen immediately or years later because lead can linger in bones and tissue for years. Animals high on the food chain – bald eagles and humans, for instance – suffer the worst effects because of eating contaminated plants and animals.
During its last days, the Clinton administration issued regulations requiring around 9,800 facilities to report how much lead they release into the air, water and land. Mind you, the regulations do not reduce or ban such emissions. They just admit to them.
And Bush, that patchouli-oil-stinking firebrand of environmentalism, decided not to repeal the regulations. There was a press conference and everything. Because people care, people do.
“What we want to make very clear to the American people is that this administration, this president, cares about these issues,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman said April 18. “This administration has an extraordinarily good environmental record.”
Genghis Khan had an extraordinarily good small village record. He burned them to the ground.
Bush cares about the ground and the groundwater. He’s worried that there’s not enough arsenic in it. So, being a man of action, he raised the acceptable amount of arsenic in drinking water to 1950s levels.
Arsenic is another heavy metal rocker. It causes cancer, organ failure and death. However, it is useful to the mining and timber industries. Astounding revelation guaranteed to astound no one: The mining and timber industries gave a lot of money to key Republicans and Bush.
And, while he was up, Bush decided to scrap an international treaty limiting CO2 emissions. And cripple the Endangered Species Act. And call for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Before that happens, though, there will be drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, 15 miles off the coast of Florida.
Currently, the Gulf is full of fish, dolphins and other species not known for contributing to political campaigns. This is not a problem for the oil industry.
Last week, the Bush administration told the president’s younger brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, it would not postpone auctioning off oil and gas leases in the Gulf. Oil, even in water, is thicker than blood.
Bush “cares about these issues.”
Nature doesn’t seem to care about issues, but it does. Nature always balances its books. Maybe it’s time for a little irony, revenge and punctuated equilibrium. In a few months, hurricane season starts. Every year, Floridians board up their windows and brace for it. This year, maybe Florida ought to give a little back to the president who is giving them so much. With global warming sending climates out of wack, a massive, swirling, spitting hurricane with 300 mph winds is increasingly likely. This year, the beast could descend on Washington, D.C.
The snarling, twisting pile of clouds would head north for once. As it did, thousands of lobbyists and other rats would pile onto the beltway, desperately trying to flee. No one would get anywhere. The city would choke on its own greasy spawn, roads would clog, supplies would be hoarded and the weasels would start to look at each other like meat. Literally, for once.
Bush would miss it all. Displaying his usual work ethic, on the chosen day he would have a “do not disturb” sign on the door to the Oval Office. Beating the high score on Minesweeper is not something to be taken lightly.
And then, the beast hits.
Washington D.C. was built on fetid swampland; the earth remembers. One good hell-drencher is all it would take to bring the swamp back, brimming with toxic waste. When the 300 mph winds hit, every basement will be flooded, every road will be jammed and there will be no place to hide when the cars and telephone polls become missiles. What buildings don’t splinter will be run through with debris.
And, after the wind dies down, the real carnage will began. Flabby lobbyists in torn rags will tear each other apart for the last of the fresh water. Congressmen, too stupid to live on their own, will starve to death. Shotgun blasts by day and strange howling by night.
On the White House lawn, Bush will huddle in a hole scratched in the earth, covered in a tarp. All that will keep him going is an aide’s laptop. When the battery goes out and Minesweeper disappears, the sobbing will begin.
When the sobbing stops, the swamp can return and the books will be balanced.
A hard rain is gonna fall every Thursday when Brendan Buhler’s column, “Black Box,” runs – unless a freak natural accident in the gin-soaked Opinion office causes it to run on a Friday.