Elliot: Piping crude


Well, let’s see — the Republicans have controlled Congress for what?  Roughly a month now? According to the calendar, though we must admit, calendars might be a tad too much science for Republicans.

So, what have they accomplished? Fair question, given that they’ve accomplished so much in the past six years. Well, outside of the 153 investigations into Benghazi.

According to numerous reports, the Republicans had an anti-abortion bill all wrapped up and ready for delivery, but then the GOP leadership aborted it before it could come to a vote. It was President Obama’s fault.

And they had an immigration/border something or other, which the GOP leadership also pulled back. Of course, that was Obama’s fault, because what isn’t?

(When the Sun rises in the West one of these days, the Republicans will blame Obama because he didn’t do enough about global climate change. Which will be a mighty strange tack for Republicans to take, because they’ve never met a climate change they couldn’t ignore.)

Congressional Republicans did pass the Keystone XL pipeline bill, which would move Canadian tar-sands crude oil to Texas refineries and, according to some, reduce the U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

Um, really? Did the United States annex Canada as the 51st state and we all somehow missed it? Did anyone tell the Canadians? Yo, Canada, here’s your new flag — maple leaves are so third grade.

In any case, the EPA has reported that Keystone XL will lead to 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse-gas emissions during its 50 years of piping crude. (Which, you have to admit, sounds like Irish trad/punk music. You also have to admit that such music probably would not produce 1.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases, even given the band members’ propensity for drinking stout.)

The House Republicans also managed to pass a bill repealing Obamacare. It was, as Rachel Maddox cheerily tells us, the 56th time Republicans have done so. That bill has the same chance of becoming law as the previous 55 attempts.

So, how goes the governing biz, Republicans? Maybe there’s a vaccine for disappointment.

Vaccines? Did someone say vaccines? 

In a 1998 Lancet report, British scientist Andrew Wakefield (no relation that we can tell to former Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield, though apparently Andrew Wakefield knows how to toss a knuckleball) reportedly found a connection between the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and autism.

Measles-vaccination rates in the UK and Ireland fell dramatically, according to many reports, and the number of measles cases rose. Who’dah thunk?

Turns out, so many questions were raised about the report that Lancet retracted part of it in 2004, then the whole thing in 2010, saying the research was “utterly false.”

So now we have a measles outbreak in the U.S., a disease “eradicated” in 2000 here. And how are our would-be presidents reacting?

Gov. Chris Christie responded to a vaccine question by taking so many sides, I think he invented a new geometrical figure. And hopeful Rand Paul noted the number of children suffering mental problems after being vaccinated, then, in another interview, contended that vaccinations are the first step to martial law.

So, how goes the governing biz, Republicans?

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