THE BLOG
08/11/2006 01:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In Xanadu Santorum Khan a Stately Pleasure-Dome Decreed

The Republican Senate leadership is determined to spin the public conversation during the August congressional recess, since they appear unable to provide leadership on the larger national stage. So Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, on behalf of the Senate, has put out a 91-page recess media strategy which, under less scary circumstances, would seem to be merely another fevered, opiated dream by a politician who's in the race of his life.

In Santorum's world, this Congress has helped solve America's energy challenges, although he must admit that "Oil prices have risen about $15/barrel over the past year, creating some headwinds for the economy" but then asserts that because Congress passed its oil-industry boondoggle bill a year ago, things are under control. He doesn't mention that the Administration itself said that the legislation would increase gasoline prices.

Santorum also protests that "Republicans have pushed for environmentally friendly domestic energy production for decades." It's too bad that a few days later the news media reported that this "environmentally friendly" oil production in Alaska had been so shoddily monitored and maintained that BP was forced at the very peak of the oil market to shut down 8 percent of America's oil production, causng another $.20/gallon increase in the price at the California pump.

Santorum also credits Congress with the fact that 116,000 Americans have purchased hybrid cars since the beginning of this year. He takes credit for new wind power -- 2,000 megawatts -- but he doesn't mention the moratorium on further wind-power development caused by the Defense Department acting, ostensibly, in response to legislation from this same Congress.

Santorum and his colleagues may, perhaps, be forgiven for turning to hallucination -- because reality is very ugly for them. From rock-ribbed Republican western North Carolina comes word that incumbent "Timber Charlie" Taylor is actually lagging behind his Democratic challenger Heath Shuler in campaign contributions -- in fact Taylor's opponent has raised twice as much money. In response, Taylor's friends in the timber industry are out hustling for money -- one invitation offers two different ways to nab a private meeting with Mr. Taylor, a sworn public servant -- either give to his campaign directly or make out an earmarked check to the Forest Landowners Association. Taylor may be in trouble because his district includes some of the best forests in the east, and Taylor has no interest in what Coleridge described as Kubla Khan's notion of forestry:

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

In other industry-inspired/sponsored news, it appears that the video that showed up on youtube.com spoofing Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth may actually have been paid for by Exxon-Mobil. And, the coal industry's secret blitz on behalf of continued global warming denial was revealed by its "Vampire Memo," which laid out the industry's campaign plan and fingered as its DC allies Senator James Inhofe and Rep. Joe Barton.

This Is What the Scientists Told Us Global Warming Would Be Like
"...Researchers at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., reported this week that nighttime summer temperatures across the country have been unusually high for the past eight years, a record streak.
"It's just incredible, when you look at this thing," said Richard Heim, a research meteorologist at the center.""

And This Is What We Can Do About It
Frank Zaski, a retired market researcher DaimlerChrysler, recently took his concerns about overheating in Michigan malls right to the top of the Lowe's Corporation, which then agreed to reduce the temperature setting in its stores from 72 degrees to 68 degrees, saving 15 percent on heating bills all across the country. Look for an interview with Frank in the Sept/Oct issue of Sierra magazine.