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Polar bear ruling brings Obama and Palin together like Spring love

May 9, 2009

Greenpeace activists walk out of the water after placing a stuffed polar bear in a pond across the street from the Depart of the Interior in Washington on Friday. Greenpeace was protesting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to continue a Bush administration rule.

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Who doesn't love a polar bear?

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You remember those really cute Coca Cola commercials showing the adorable white puffballs all playing together with dancing penguins.

Sure, in reality they'll bite your head off. And take great pleasure in doing so.

But ... the lovable omnivore appears to be responsible for the first recorded incident of post-partisanship. A decision by the Obama administration yesterday on the adorable puffball led Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to praise her former opponent.

Issue

The issue is over whether to protect polar bear habitat by restricting greenhouse gas emissions outside of polar bear habitat. Back in 2008, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said no, we're not going to do that, and issued a rule to that effect.

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also said no and announced that rule would be continued.

"We must do all we can to help the polar bear recover, recognizing that the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change," Salazar said in a statement. "However, the Endangered Species Act is not the proper mechanism for controlling our nation’s carbon emissions. Instead, we need a comprehensive energy and climate strategy that curbs climate change and its impacts -- including the loss of sea ice. Both President Obama and I are committed to achieving that goal."

Failed miserably

The decision is a slap in the face to many environmentalists. One Greenpeace spokesman -- alongside two colleagues wearing polar bear costumes outside of the Interior Department yesterday -- said the issue was a "litmus test for the Obama administration ... and they failed miserably."

Melanie Duchin, an Alaskan-based Greenpeace campaigner, said Salazar's decision "only serves to cement the Bush administration’s legacy of ignoring global warming science, thus putting the polar bear at further risk of extinction."

Palin

But another Alaskan is happy. Obama's old nemesis, Sarah Palin. Although she didn't praise Obama directly, she sent a shout-out to Salazar over her Twitter account.

"This is a clear victory for Alaska,” Governor Palin said. “We all want to preserve and protect the polar bear using the best possible tools, but there is absolutely no need to change the ... rule to accomplish this purpose. I want to thank Secretary Salazar for his careful review of the science and the administrative record that led to this decision."

Attica, Attica

Although Greenpeace did stage a protest at the Department of Interior and there has been some condemnation by Members of Congress, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino wondered where the large stage protests are.

"I remember what happened when we made our announcement after all of the thoughtful consideration that was given to the decision. But if you read the clips today, you'd think we had announced two completely different things.
"Where are the breathless and indignant above-the-fold, page one newspaper stories? And the cute photos of the polar bears standing on floating ice floes? Where are the pointed allegations of 'rollback' on the cable news scrolls? Where is the bluster and the cynical barbs from the talking heads?"

Stolen bear

By the way, this isn't the only polar bear incident making news.

An 8-foot fiberglass polar bear was stolen from a Delaware miniature golf course earlier this week. Authorities in Milltown report that this polar bear weighs about 120 pounds and is worth between $800 and $1,200.

Sadly, this appears to be a trend. Last year, a 10-foot giraffe figure was stolen and returned several days later with two ears missing.

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