CENTER OF THE EARTH  11:11 pm January 24, 2011

Obama Administration Fires Its Only Environmentalist

by Ken Layne

'Uh, could we just please ask one fucking question, about how you won't do anything about the ICE CAPS MELTING?'America hasn’t had much in the way of an environmentalist president since Richard Nixon and before that Theodore Roosevelt, so we weren’t exactly expecting Barack Obama to do anything bold or visionary when it came to such unimportant things as the air we breathe and the water we drink and the Earth we live upon. (At least Michelle Obama seems to care about the use of pesticides on food and such, so that’s something, right?) And we’re deep in a “recovery” that looks almost identical to “a terrible recession,” so that’s always an excuse for people who never cared anyway to say, “And we cannot worry ourselves with the Snail Darter or the survival of humanity on this planet because we got to get those smokestacks going again, in China probably, so we can … uh, America is the greatest country on Earth, wherever that is.” Tonight, we learn that the one real environmentalist in the whole Obama Administration is being tossed out because like so many other Americans, her job was deemed unnecessary because of the recession. (Her job was getting real climate change legislation and regulation in place before the entire world melts in twenty or fifty years.)

Politico won the night or whatever, so here it is:

Carol M. Browner, President Barack Obama’s energy adviser, plans to leave the White House in coming weeks, White House officials said Monday night.

Browner, who is Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, was EPA administrator for all eight years under President Bill Clinton, and is one of the most experienced Washington hands in the West Wing.

Yeah get her out of there! Come back when you’ve spent your life on Wall Street greasing the wheels for Important Billionaires, Carol!

The NYT explains what is actually happening, or not happening:

But with the appointment of William M. Daley as chief of staff, that prospect [of Browner keeping a high profile job] appeared to evaporate and Ms. Browner was left with the choice of remaining in a relatively low-visibility job or returning to the private sector.

Ms. Browner is known as a savvy navigator of the bureaucracy and a strong voice for environmental protection in a White House that was focused more on health care and the economy. Her departure leaves the administration’s other major environmental and energy policy makers without a strong advocate at the White House.

But in the face of Republican skepticism about climate change and strong opposition to environmental regulation, the administration will be spending more time defending the modest policy gains of the past two years than advancing new proposals.

Obama has already said he won’t even bother pushing carbon control regulations for the rest of this term. Yeah what’s even the rush, right? THE CHILDREN IS OUR FUTURE, let them deal with it, when they’re in high school. Centrist centrist centrist!

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PuckStopsHere January 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Cap and Tax, yea! Now somebody show me a mountaintop in W. Va. we can remove.

calchala January 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Except the EPA actually vetoed the permit for the biggest mine in W. VA just last week. All action on Climate will be in EPA, not really the WH for the next two years or more.

Lascauxcaveman January 25, 2011 at 1:25 am

So, umm… thank God for Richard Nixon.

BarryOPotter January 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

Jesus, man! Are you OK? I have a feeling that it really pained you to type that. Here, drink this…

horsedreamer_1 January 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

Despite the name "Barry O'Potter", you're actually Biden, right? & that was a roofie in that drink?

Monsieur_Grumpe January 25, 2011 at 8:40 am


sati_demise January 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Until the House shuts down the EPA by cutting the funding to an allowance of $5.00 a week.

calchala January 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Look, this is pretty ridiculous criticism. What's Browner to do? Sit there and take it, while they're not passing a climate bill? Face it. It's NOT GOING TO PASS. She'd be doing nothing.

I'm far more critical of the fact that they're getting rid of her office, not her, and despite the article, there's still Nancy Sutley in the WH as well, so it's false to suggest it's their "only environmentalist".

But alas, whatever makes a headline right? I'm only pointing this out to remind folks that we lost an entire House of Congress last election. Things are going to be this bad for the next two years.

Ken Layne January 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I am equating Browner with her office in this post, which is a standard thing you do when talking about an office being gutted so that it won't have any power. As for what's a false suggestion, we paint in BROAD FUCKING STROKES here because you've got the rest of Washington putting out qualified-to-death weak sauce, and I'm sure not going to waste my time doing *that*.

Dashboard_Jesus January 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

thanks for the reminder Ken…as a hopeful/ hopeless librul I keep thinkin' SOMEONE in the Obama admin might give a flying crap about the air/ water/ earth/ moon/ whatever…'THE CHILDREN IS OUR FUTURE, let them deal with it, when they’re in high school' …yes it's times like these that I'm glad I didn't breed any of them little consumers/ polluters, cuz I'm kinda embarrassed at what kinda uninhabitable planet we're gonna leave for 'em

Jukesgrrl January 25, 2011 at 2:11 am

We aren't bothering to educate them, so why care if they can breathe or not.

Dr_pangloss January 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

Lets all do the horizontial mombo till the whole earth is filled with our sweaty pit stink. It's what Jebus would want.

calchala January 25, 2011 at 12:57 am

And her office having power is directly connected to? Passing a Climate Bill. I'm not certain what she'd be doing if anything, if there wasn't a climate bill. Her job is sorta like Nancy Ann-Deparle's.

Now why is Nancy Ann still in the WH, you may ask? Hmm…Could it be there was a bill passed that dealt with her office? Nah, she's just around for S**ts and Giggles.

The office for ANY action on Climate is going to be the EPA, not the WH. The Climate Regs (for Carbon) are exempt from the reg (which, I think is PR only). So, not sure what action, if any could be done in Climate from anywhere else.

Her office, is what I'm concerned about, but given the fact that her office's purpose is dead for the foreseeable future, not sure what you're angry about.

To be fair, I thought she was going to be Deputy CoS to Bill Daley, but I heard he's bringing the President of Bono's ONE campaign, David Lane and one other person, so I guess that's shot. Getting angry about this is kinda weak. Now, if the EPA starts get scaled back, we'll have a problem…

HempDogbane January 25, 2011 at 2:09 am

Been wondering who that down-thumbing troll is that's been lurking around lately. Turns out it's me.

Sophist [APPLAUSE] January 25, 2011 at 12:26 am

…and despite the article, there's still Nancy Sutley in the WH as well, so it's false to suggest it's their "only environmentalist".

False alarm, everybody, it turns out there's actually one person left in the White House who's still ambivalent about nuking the polar bears. Crisis AVERTED! Sheesh, Ken, you had me worrying for nothing.

DustBowlBlues January 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

I hear what you're saying. This is just another thing that is the fault of the Republithugs who are power crazy, evil and devoid of anything remotely decent. No need for nuance on our side when the other sucks so much shit they're like human septic tanks. So I suppose that makes them environmentalists, in a metaphorical sense. [applause]

Too bad the diminishing water, melting polar ice caps and unbreathable air aren't more metaphorical. Also. No need for war in the wonket. {trying to think of quick distraction}

Hey! Where I can buy that new style of a Jesus cross superimposed over an American flag, Tim McVeigh commemorative Truck Nutz? In the NRA online shop?

GOPCrusher January 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Sadly, Carol Browner will end up as another grave for the wingnuts to dance on.

BarackMyWorld January 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I think there's pretty much two issues Barry's not going to make more than symbolic moves on: gun control and global warming.

In today's political climate, its probably hard enough getting the existing laws enforced, let alone getting new ones that might actually work.

fuflans January 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

and immigration i think.

GOPCrusher January 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

President Obama should force the Republiklans hand on immigration reform as part of creating jobs for American citizens.
They campaigned on jobs and sealing the borders, OK, get to it Speaker Drunky McNicotineStain.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Watch him volunteer to cut Social Security, to the thunderous applause of Dave Broder and company.

horsedreamer_1 January 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

When Kaplan gets busted for rampant fraud & shuttered, taking WaPo's stock-price with it, & sending Broder's pension into the toilet, let's see who's against Social Security.

Additionally: even though he's making a pretty penny as a non-practicing shrink, columnist, & talking head, what are the odds Krauthammer gets SSI/SSD?

Jukesgrrl January 25, 2011 at 2:14 am

And I won't hold my breath waiting to hear about him helping the unemployed when we have so many well-employed millionaires we have to worry about. Bonuses all around!

Barbara_i January 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

George W. Bush should have done something about global warming in his administration, right after that second chunk of ice fell off of his mother.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

You mean Jeb?

LibrulEleet January 25, 2011 at 12:34 am

The best thing George W. Bush could have done about global warming would have been to concede the election to Al Gore.

Radiotherapy January 25, 2011 at 2:21 am

Did she put it in a jar?

dogscantlookup January 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

We are the people of Hybrazil(Eric The Viking),
Everyone stay calm! This is not happening!
How about a song?

Sophist [APPLAUSE] January 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

So, do the Republicans like us yet?

transfatz January 25, 2011 at 4:38 am

OK, lets try giving them climate change and Jerusalem.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Bush's Third Term continues.

How long before we bomb Iran?

AddHomonym January 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm

That would be good news for John McCain.

HedonismBot January 25, 2011 at 8:31 am

AND a nice going-away present for Joe Liebermushmouth.

bumfug January 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm

You what'll make you feel better? A good movie! I heard there's a great flick coming out about how when the earth discovers it's under a deadly threat, everyone gets together to save mankind. What? Nobody's buying that shit? Well, fuck it then.

AddHomonym January 25, 2011 at 12:21 am

I prefer the movies like Night of the Living Dead where the entire Earth, as represented by western PA, comes under attack and instead of coming together, collapses in backbiting, incompetence and willful ignorance — with racial undertones! Seems more realistic.

slowhansolo January 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

And visionary!

Jukesgrrl January 25, 2011 at 2:16 am

Shout-out to my home planet, Beaver County, PA. Many of the haunts of my childhood play haunts in that movie.

transfatz January 25, 2011 at 5:00 am

I remember that one. It was pods from Arizona, right?

GOPCrusher January 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Beat em or burn em. They go up pretty quick.

jim89048 January 25, 2011 at 12:32 am

The Earth may become self-aware, but her inhabitants never will.

SayItWithWookies January 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm

We get war crimes tribunals for this, right?

ifthethunderdontgetya January 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm

These are not the war crimes tribunals you are looking for.

*waves hand*

Crank_Tango January 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Ah, now that we can finally stop looking out for the environment, the recovery can begin, at long last.

Also, I've taken up drinking again, so who gives a fuck.

GuanoFaucet January 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm

This is another sign of Obama's moral weakness, right? You know, like how he can't quit smoking.

aguacatero January 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm

In reality EPA under Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been quite courageous and energetic in regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. EPA's regulations will be under major attack from the Hill starting now. If and when Obama refuses to veto efforts to create exemptions to the Clean Air Act, then I'll be ready with the mean phrases.

Ken Layne January 25, 2011 at 12:08 am

I've been pretty happy with EPA regulations in 2009-10, and there is very much a sense that at least the people who work in these fields are allowed to acknowledge global warming now. (Did you know National Park superintendents were *forbidden* to mention climate change during the Bush Jr. years?)

But, again, we are talking about the *Democrat/Liberal administration* giving up on a national energy/climate change policy. In 20 years or so, let's see who wants to say, "But they did some EPA smokestack stuff, too."

aguacatero January 25, 2011 at 12:22 am

Chu is impressive; and Jackson, and many of people around her at EPA — it really matters having people like that in office — things are moving forward administratively. That said, the Administration did a very poor — if not treacherous — job on the legislative side. The hands off approach like what they used with health care, but without the message that they really wanted/needed something to get done.

And given the performance on the climate bills, it's a fair question whether they will stand up for EPA.

Dashboard_Jesus January 25, 2011 at 1:03 am

hopefully I'm dead in 20 years, from the 'clean coal' of course…

Jukesgrrl January 25, 2011 at 2:21 am

No time for the Park Service to worry about climate change. Too busy telling stories about Fred and Barney riding around on the backs of dinosaurs.

Terry January 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

One of the issues with the EPA during the Bush terms that folks didn't notice is that the scientists who were in charge of programs were replaced over time with policy people. So, instead of having someone who has extensive knowledge in a subject area running a program in that subject area, you have a policy person who took a few science classes then studied how government works. EPA needs people with strong backgrounds in chemistry, toxicity, etc, and shouldn't be a policy wonk fest.

tribbzthesquidz January 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I guess this would be that left-wing eco-terrororism I've heard so much about.

crybabyboehner January 25, 2011 at 12:19 am

We are up to our necks in owls.

Barbara_i January 25, 2011 at 12:22 am


ifthethunderdontgetya January 25, 2011 at 12:26 am


jim89048 January 25, 2011 at 12:39 am

Also, redwoods.

Terry January 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

At least they aren't houlligans here as they are in Europe:

slowhansolo January 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

The coming White House response to the looming insanity legislation will make things plain, but this can certainly be taken as a harbinger. Obama asked for a couple years to tell the tale, but keeps giving us spoilers. And they already seem stuck in full-on defense posture for campaign season.

I dunno, friends, might be another painful two years.

Troubledog January 25, 2011 at 12:31 am

There are pesticides on food??

Oblios_Cap January 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

If they hadn't told me, I would be eating my McRibs and not worrying about such things.

Thanks a lot, Obama!

MiniMencken January 25, 2011 at 1:11 am

In the old country, we referred to Administrations like Obama's as "counter-revolutionary bourgeois lackeys." Good times…

Extemporanus January 25, 2011 at 2:19 am

Heckuva job, Browner!

(I really hope that isn't the fucking alt text…)

emmelemm January 25, 2011 at 2:30 am

You'd think Michelle would slap some sense into him on this particular point, being the environmental/save our children advocate that she is.

(I say this without any snark, btw. I'm just saying – Michelle clearly cares about this stuff. You'd think she'd say, "B, you're the leader of the free world, quit being a pussy. This is important.")

Serfville January 25, 2011 at 2:38 am

These things begin in drips & drabs right? Aren't we all supposed to be a bunch of whiney so called "retards"? Don't campaign on issues, & then do or don't do practically anything you bellowed about, & sell out to the corporatists time & time again. It's called moral fortitude. Get some. PS: Colorado trimmed the budget today by cutting out completely the funding for poor children's free lunch program. Where's the cameras & your righteous indignation? Oh, that's right, you're a shoe in for 2012 now. When is the last time you heard anyone in this Administration use the word "poverty"? "Let 'em eat cake" "Or whatever they can scrounge up". "More please"? ~Charles Dickens

Radiotherapy January 25, 2011 at 2:58 am

Centrist centrist centrist!
Right, right, right.
Or it's even worse than that. The vast majority of this country, as stupid as it can be sometimes, knows that taking care of the environment is the correct thing to do. Even most fucking corporations know this. They at least pay lip service to being green. Or as my son says, "why wouldn't you recycle?"
The only roadblock to such a reasonable approach to the environment is the Föx, Innnanity, Limbnuts, bible-beating propaganda machine that protects the interest of those who don't want to upset the apple cart..
If we put all of our Military-Industrial-Oil-Complex resources into alternative energy, wouldn't that solve a lot of problems? Fuck, Halburton, can even have all the contracts. Build solar panels instead of aircraft carrier task forces. Engineer a new power grid instead of SDI missile defense.
If by conservative you mean unwilling to change, then this is another discussion that is being pushed farther right.

lulzmonger January 25, 2011 at 3:07 am

HOPE & CHANGE = HOPE Jesus moonwalks down a rainbow & gives everyone a pony that shits money, & keep a CHANGE of underwear handy for the day you realize that "Plan B" isn't going to cut it. Besides, H2O-PAC & Big Oxygen have had it easy for too long already.

Invest in mineshaft-renovation futures now, avoid the rush!

undeterredbyreality January 25, 2011 at 3:30 am

I don't give a hoot in Hell how you do it, you just get me to the Primary, ya hear!


transfatz January 25, 2011 at 4:42 am

She is leaving to spend more time on an ice floe.

Rotundo_ January 25, 2011 at 5:21 am

Yet another reason to suspect that despite Republican efforts to assemble the most pathetic slate of candidates in the history of U.S. politics, we are probably looking at a one term president. Then the clown show comes to town and we get to the real adventure. The assholes will be slapping one another with rubber chickens while wearing little gold flag pins while people are dying in the thousands in the streets. At least it won't be boring. Sad, pathetic, tragic, yes, but it won't be boring.

Dr_pangloss January 25, 2011 at 7:37 am

Where will you be to watch the world burn?

WordSaladNation January 25, 2011 at 6:51 am

Although I've basically given up on the government's ability to make lasting changes in all the areas that need them, I'm actually looking forward to Hopey's SOTU tonight — if only to watch it in contrast with Shelley Bachmann's reaction on

BaldarTFlagass January 25, 2011 at 7:01 am

This is good news for Dow Chemical!!!

neiltheblaze January 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

This must be another example of that fierce advocacy we keep hearing about.

Dr_pangloss January 25, 2011 at 7:36 am

The "fierce advocacy" of meh.

SorosBot January 25, 2011 at 7:34 am

"But in the face of Republican skepticism about climate change"

Someone needs to give the NY Times a vocabulary lesson. People can have "skepticism" about something when that subject is either untrue or unproven and unsure; when someone refuses to believe in something despite it being proven fact, like climate change, that is called denialism, not skepticism. Please Times, do not slander good skeptics by calling what the Republicans are doing with climate change "skepticism".

mumbly_joe January 25, 2011 at 8:35 am

Please. You're talking about a paper whose editorial standards define "torture" as "all the same stuff that happened at Gitmo, but only when places like Iran and China do it." This stuff is basically par for the course.

Some flagship newspaper for the lamestream librul media, huh?

SorosBot January 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

That's right, I forgot the standards of debate in the modern mainstream media. "Some people say the world is round, others say it's flat; we must remain neutral and unbiased on this issue".

BarryOPotter January 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

…we must remain neutral and unbiased on this issue.

I think the word they're looking for is "skeptical". They remain skeptical about the shape of the world…

sati_demise January 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm


Dr_pangloss January 25, 2011 at 7:35 am

Thanks for the good times, beers, warm walks by the sea shore and dancing with pretty girls. Thanks Earth, you were great. I know your fever is rising and you've got that nasty infection around your energy producing regions Earth. It was a blast while it lasted but we slightly smarter monkeys are bound to do ourselves in one way or another (the good money is still on an accidental nuclear exchange in my book, Global Climate Change will probably not kill all of us). It's not you it's us.

Love you lots.

"dr" Pangloss.

Plowmon January 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

So much for the dream of a hemp and beer based economy with zero carbon emissions and zero bras (for hot chicks at least)…

freakishlywrong January 25, 2011 at 7:48 am

President Koch Brothers did not approve of little carbon footprints. It's because of these crazy, libertarian, jackholes we can't have anything nice. Like an environment.

Oblios_Cap January 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

Geez – dontcha know that Jesus is coming and only the unraptured atheist hordes will be left to worry about climate change.

So, it's all good!

Steverino247 January 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

She's being replaced by a black, two Jews and a cripple, I hear.

LeAlbatross January 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

I'd drink, but my underemployment prevents me from buying booze…

Plowmon January 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

Meth is much more cost effective…

Bluestatelibel January 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

If Barry goes anymore to the right, he's going to start dying his hair dark and saying trees cause pollution, not people.

jim89048 January 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

This is that overton window beck had someone write about, isn't it?

randcoolcatdaddy January 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

Remind me why I voted for Bush with a dark tan?

weejee January 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

Prime Prine

♪♫ And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
Well I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin',
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. ♫♪

Seems Mr. Peabody's train is still a rollin' forty years later.

V572625694 January 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

John Prine always has something useful to say. Like me, and also like many great writers (Wm Faulkner, Anthony Trollope, Chas Bukowski, Richard Wright) he was once a postal worker.

mereoblivion January 25, 2011 at 9:06 am

"I'm five years old, and I have no future."

Makemyownchoice January 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

The Republicans have had such power recently, and yet we are not serfs. Your scared about something that just will not happen.

Makemyownchoice January 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Every day more and more evidence of Man-made Climate Change is proven wrong.

I'm starting to think we may have been taken for a ride.

sati_demise January 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

You are the only one riding that crazy train.
Last stop is the denialism station, right before it gets to the melting tundra.
Common sights are; drowning Polar Bears and a psychedelic methane release light show.

Makemyownchoice January 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Think what you will. The evidence I used to believe for global warming, yes I once believed in it, is being refuted. With that evidence being removed from the equation, I no longer come to the conclusion that the world is ending.

Although I personally still strive to protect the environment, I no longer think there is a need for legislation. This change in our environment needs to stem from a change in public opinion, not alarmist global warming, or forced legislative restrictions.

DingusMcHatred January 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

And on a related note, the new House of Retardationists has discontinued the "Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming." TIRE BURNING FOR HEAT IS NOW LAW!

BarryOPotter January 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

Are you suggesting the Gray Lady is curious about a DP?

BarryOPotter January 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hey man, it's all good! Wanna go for a spin in the TransAm?

GOPCrusher January 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

"Quit being a pussy" should be his 2012 campaign slogan. I can see the bumper stickers and buttons, now.

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