Where's McCain on Climate Change?


Remember the Where's Waldo? books, in which the reader has to find that tiny white-and-red-shirted Waldo in a sea of strange looking characters? I'm beginning to think that McCain's the new Waldo when it comes to climate change -- when it comes to actually voting on climate change issues, he's nowhere to be found.



The Senate voted to debate an important new climate bill on Monday -- the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act -- and John McCain was conspicuously absent. Not that this is anything new for McCain -- in the past he's repeatedly missed votes on key climate legislation. But perhaps the most bizarre part about McCain's most recent Waldo-like stunt is that McCain initially was quite supportive of the bill.



On May 9, Time's Swampland reported that McCain was strongly supporting the climate bill:
With Lieberman at his side, McCain was asked about the climate bill. "I hope it will pass," he said, "and I hope the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the President of the United States would sign it."

But by May 29, McCain had changed his tune. As the Washington Post reported,
With the debate set to begin Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will miss the entire proceedings because he will be campaigning all week. In a press conference Wednesday McCain defended his decision to skip the vote, and outlined his opposition to the bill. "First of all, I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000," he said. "The people of Arizona understand I'm running for president of the United States."

Notably, McCain is close friends with both Lieberman and Warner, and has co-sponsored climate change legislation with Lieberman in the past.



This isn't the first time that McCain has gone AWOL on key climate change issues. As David Roberts wrote in The Nation:
ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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