Sunday, September 07, 2008

JS picks challenger in GOP primary

Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial endorses Jim Burkee, a 40-year-old college professor who began his campaign as a political science experiment:
Jim Sensenbrenner has the support of the party apparatus in the 5th Congressional District. He consistently earns high ratings from taxpayer rights groups and conservative organizations. He has a strong sense of constituent service. He’s tough. He’s outspoken.

But Sensenbrenner too often has been a roadblock in Congress, even to the point of splitting his own party over illegal immigration because he couldn’t find it in himself to compromise...

Sensenbrenner, though solidly conservative, did little to advance Republican priorities while entrusted with the powerful chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, he alienated an entire voting bloc — Latinos — with his dogmatism on the immigration issue.

His extreme stance on illegal immigration helped inflame the public, split his party and poisoned the atmosphere in Congress for reform. Sensenbrenner authored an enforcement-only measure that would have made felons of undocumented immigrants, split up families and built a 700-mile border fence.
At least Burkee will have something nice for his scrapbook.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bllnd pig finds an acorn

Jim Sensenbrenner makes an admittedly small gesture to help Tibetan refugees, as reported by the International Campaign for Tibet:
U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act on July 17 to provide 3,000 immigrant visas to long-staying Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. Congressmen Miller and Sensenbrenner traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of the Congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, express concern for the volatile situation in Tibet, and explore ways to demonstrate support for the Tibetan people. The Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act extends support by providing 3,000 immigrant visas to qualified Tibetans over a three year period...

"The plight of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists is well-known," said Representative Sensenbrenner. "During the course of the trip in March, I had the opportunity to experience one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life - the privilege of meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet. The meeting provided the delegation with the opportunity to have a frank and comprehensive discussion about the plight of the Tibetan people...with very few options available to them...the legislation Congressman Miller and I introduced today will provide relief..."
That trip to Dharamsala actually did some good. Pelosi should share the credit for bringing him along, assuming she had a choice of traveling companions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Since Dems took over, it's all gone to hell

Emergency! Emergency!

Those damned entitlement programs are eating up the whole budget, and those damned Democrats won't do anything about it, says Jim Sensenbrenner in a recent op ed. He says, among other things:

While these statistics may be shocking to some, my constituents know I have spoken out about this looming crisis for years...

In recent years, Republicans in Congress have introduced a number of legislative and administrative proposals in an attempt to slow the growth of Medicare spending, only to be criticized for trying to cut the program...

It is time for Democrats controlling the agenda in Congress seriously to debate the crushing costs of entitlement programs and start implementing real reforms.
OK, here's the rub: Weren’t the Republicans in control of the House from 1995-06? And didn’t they control both houses of Congress and the White House 2003-06?

Why, pray tell, didn't they do something? Now that the Dems are in charge, the sky is falling.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crossover time?

While fielding a candidate for nearly all 99 Assembly seats, Wisconsin Democrats did not find an opponent against Jim Sensenbrenner for the Congressional seat he's held for 30 years. But he has a Republican primary and an independent in November.

There is a hot Democratic Assembly primary for Sheldon Wasserman's seat, so that may keep those Democrats in their own primary. Those northern suburbs are probably the most Democratic part of the district, but that's only about 10 per cent of the voters.

But what an opportunity for the other 90 per cent of the Dems to vote against F. Jim, in the privacy of an open primary voting booth.

In practice, however, many people find it very difficult to vote in the opposing party's primary, even if there is no good reason to vote in their own. When they do, they generally vote for the candidate they like the best, not to try to do any malicious damage.

It looks like Big Jim probably skates again.

Here's the Journal Sentinel story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Better gas mileage is ruining the economy

Well, Jim Sensenbrenner's certainly not one to follow the crowd. He has a mind of his own -- or half a mind, anyway.

The Journal Sentinel says Big Jim has figured out who's to blame: It's those darn Democrats!

Washington - As his Democratic colleagues blamed globalization for some of the problems facing the U.S. economy, Rep. James Sensenbrenner said Tuesday many of those problems are being exacerbated by Democratic tax and energy policies.

"This is not a question of outsourcing jobs to China, India or any foreign country," Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, said after attending a House hearing on American job losses in a new global economy. "It's a question of Congress advocating for policies that make it impossible to sell."

For instance, he said policies that have limited domestic oil production and increased the fuel economy standards in vehicles have hurt the economy.

He seems to have put his finger on it. Better gas mileage. That's what's wrecking the economy.

What planet does he represent again?

Skinflint Sensenbrenner stiffs House GOP

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill insider newspaper, reports:
House GOP leaders are privately grumbling about the level of fundraising and donating by some committees’ ranking members, suggesting that would-be chairmen should be steering more money to the party’s effort to retake the majority.
Hmmmm. Who could they be talking about?

Our guy, Jim Sensenbrenner, didn't accumulate his big campaign warchest or his personal fortune by throwing money around. He's a well-known cheapskate who never pays his own way if he can find someone else to buy the ticket or pick up the tab.

No surprise, then, that Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, hasn't given a nickel, according to the Indianapolis Star. Next lowest is Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, the top Republican on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, who's given or raised $28,500.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sensenbrenner's stamp collection

equals Gwen Moore's net worth

Apparently tired of running the same story -- "Herb Kohl richest in Wisconsin delegation" -- every year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel instead decided to write that all Wisconsin members of Congress are better off than the average Wisconsinite.

They led with Gwen Moore, "the least wealthy member of Wisconsin's congressional delegation", saying correctly that her $170,000 salary and the pension she will receive makes her better off than her constituents:
Moore estimates her net worth is at least $110,000 - almost double the median household net worth in the country in 2002, the most recent census figures available.
The paper was so busy telling us how well off Moore is that you had to read the small print in a box next to the story to find this:
Jim Sensenbrenner owns a stamp collection worth $110,000.
His stamp collection equals her net worth. For some reason, Sensenbrenner's net worth didn't even make the story, although all of the others' did. The Center for Responsive Politics pegs it between $21-million and $31-million.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Let the unemployed eat cake!

From Scot Ross at One Wisconsin Now:
Gazillionaire Kotex heir F. Jim Sensenbrenner spent today doing his best to keep Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs because of the endless Bush economic policies he has supported away from extended unemployment benefits.

Sensenbrenner, famously characterized by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone as…well, read the story here, was the only member of the Wisconsin House delegation to vote against a plan to extend unemployment benefits for workers by 13 weeks.

This despite the jobless rate skyrocketing by the largest percentage in over 20 years and despite the fact 325,000 jobs have been lost so far due to the failed Bush economy.

F. Jim’s birthday is this Saturday. How appropriate his message to Wisconsin’s unemployed is “let ‘em cake.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is Sensenbrenner's son a leaker?

Was it Jim Sensenbrenner's son who leaked the Canadian memo awhile back that caused Barack Obama some problems over his stance on NAFTA?

Dan Bice asks the question in the Journal Sentinel "Dogged" blog.

Young Sensenbrenner indignantly denies it.

And at this point it doesn't much matter.

More intriguing are questions of how and why he got the job in the Canadian embassy in Washington in the first place. The Toronto Star reports:
The ambassador, Michael Wilson, didn't want him there.

The diplomatic corps on Pennsylvania Ave. didn't want him there and ultimately were so distrustful of the son of a right-wing Republican congressman, they muttered that they wanted his door left open so they could hear who he was talking to.

But officials in Stephen Harper's office wanted him there and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day particularly wanted him there, based on Sensenbrenner's long links, dating back to school days, with the former Reform party, the precursor of today's government in Ottawa.

It wasn't the first time a partisan posting trumped diplomacy at a Canadian mission, but his appointment was rare in that he seemed to work under the radar, having won the post by telling his buddies in Ottawa that he could do a better lobbying job of Congress than the diplomats already there.

When the Toronto Star first looked into Sensenbrenner's short-lived, no-bid contract last year, he had not registered as an agent for a foreign government, even though he won plaudits for opening some Republican doors on Capitol Hill.
But here's the strangest part of the story:
The push to get him on the payroll came particularly from Day, sources said, when he took over the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative file, the name given to the Republican move to require all Canadians crossing the U.S. land border to carry passports or secure driver's licences.[Canada opposed that move.]

His father also stood as an impediment to everything the embassy staff was fighting for.

Jim Sensenbrenner, chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee before Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, is a hawk on immigration and authored the Enhanced Border Security Act of 2002. He was also the man who introduced the U.S. Patriot Act.
Young (27) Sensenbrenner's name is Frank, named for the great-grandfather who was president and CEO of Kimberly Clark and who invented Kotex. F. James Sensenbrenner's first name is also Frank, as is his cousin's, F. Joseph Sensenbrenner, onetime Madison mayor. (What you can learn on this blog is endless, although perhaps useless.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'The Sensenbrenner Tax' and Real ID

Last year, Wisconsin legislators raised the driver's license fee by $10 to pay for state compliance with Real ID, the national ID law authored by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner. The fee, which raised Wisconsin taxes by $22 million, will now be used to balance the Wisconsin state budget.

Now Congressman Sensenbrenner is mad. He calls the deal, negotiated by Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston), a "breach of faith with the people of Wisconsin" and a "fiscal shell game."

This turn of events leaves many Wisconsin conservatives scratching their heads in wonder: Congressman Sensenbrenner purports to be a foe of big government. So why is he complaining that Wisconsin legislators aren't spending his tax increase the way he wants them to?
That's the question asked by Sensenbrenner's opponent in the Republican primary, on the Small Business Times blog, which -- besides calling the new fee the Sensenbrenner Tax -- includes a lot of reasons for both the left and right to oppose Sensenbrenner's Real ID law. Read it here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sensenbrenner meets the enemy,

and it's the Assembly GOP

Republicans are eating their young at the state GOP convention, Mike Mathias says, and who's there to get a big helping but Jim Sensenbrenner.

We've got to get our metaphors straight, though. Mathias says Sensenbrenner "threw Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch under a bus" by ripping on him for the budget repair bill the GOP Assembly recently passed.

But the headline says the GOP are "eating their young."

That would seem to suggest that Sensenbrenner is dining on roadkill.

Says the Recess Supervisor:
If Democrats are attacking Republicans and Republicans are also attacking Republicans, this is going to be one hell of an election season in Wisconsin. In throwing Huebsch under the bus (and for what, cheap applause?), Sensenbrenner once again proves that the only guy he cares about is Jim Sensenbrenner. He's just another wealthy pig with a nose for the populist breeze, constantly rooting out issues that he can use to exploit Joe and Jane Sixpack, all the while supporting tax policies that pad his own wallet.
We'll drink to that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top 10 reasons Big F. Jim has to go

Why should Jim Sensenbrenner be replaced?

Let us count the reasons.

So, is no Democrat even going to run? Bad strategy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

GOP challenger lands punches on F. Jim

We've been more than a little skeptical and more than a little cynical about Jim Sensenbrenner's challenge by a pair of college professors, a Repub and Dem running in tandem. The Dem dropped out awhile back, but the remaining challenger, the Repub, takes off after F. Jim and lands several solid punches in a Small Business Times commentary.

Jim Burkee, the Concordia professor, says, in an article titled, "The public's disdain for Congress is justified:"
In a recent Milwaukee Biz Blog, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) played politics as usual by attacking plans by the "Democratic majority" to "spend, spend, spend."

This, after he voted for 28,000 earmarks over six years and cast one of the deciding votes for Medicare Part D - one of the largest and costliest entitlement programs in American history. In short, he overlooked the log in his own eye to find a speck in his opponent's.

He also called on Democrats to act on tax cuts passed a few years ago when Republicans were in charge which are set to expire, or "sunset," soon. What he's not telling you is that he voted to "sunset" the legislation in the first place. Why? So Congress - while Mr. Sensenbrenner was a leader in the Republican majority - could continue to falsify the long-term budget projections, assuring us that in spite of all those earmarks and entitlement expansions (combined with tax cuts), tomorrow's books will magically balance (they won't).

An added benefit was that Republicans could set themselves up to do exactly what Mr. Sensenbrenner is doing today - bash Democrats for wanting to "raise taxes" when the sunset approaches.

"Total integrity" means being honest about the numbers. It means dealing fairly and honestly with your colleagues.

It also means striving to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Earlier this month, the Center for Responsive Politics issued the results of a study of congressmen invested in defense contractors. Over one fourth of all members of Congress own stocks in the same companies that received hundreds of billions of dollars in defense contracts - and many congressmen benefited financially.

At the top of the list was our own Congressman Sensenbrenner, who earned at least $3.2 million between 2004 and 2006 on defense-industry investments alone.

Similarly, Mr. Sensenbrenner voted in favor of Medicare's Prescription Drug Program in 2003 - a $9 trillion entitlement expansion - while having massive holdings in pharmaceutical industry stocks.

In any other industry, this would be considered insider trading. To avoid the appearance of impropriety and the temptation to vote for legislation that personally benefits them, many congressmen and senators voluntarily put their investments into "blind trusts." But Mr. Sensenbrenner did not support legislation mandating that members of Congress put their funds into blind trusts.

A judge would not rule on a case involving a pharmaceutical company he owned stock in. So why would a congressman vote for legislation that positively affected the value of stocks he owned in pharmaceutical companies - or defense contractors?

Even if it's not corrupt, it sure looks bad.
Indeed it does.

Having lost the Dem half of the ill-conceviced dual candidacy, are the Dems going to field a candidate, or it is time to start rallying behind Birkey?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The system works great -- for Sensenbrenner

F. James Sensenbrenner makes an appearance in Jack Lohman's blog, Moneyed Politicians:
My recent visit to Jim Sensenbrenner’s Town Hall meeting would have been comical were it not so sad.

Sensenbrenner gets very offended when you imply that we have a corrupt political system. Like, this is the first time he’s heard about it?

“The system is working,” Jim says in his defense. “People are in jail!”

Of course some congressmen are in jail, Jim. Just not enough of them.
That's a good start, but there's plenty more. Read it here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Big Oil execs testify before big shareholder

Hawaii Reporter:
The ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy and Global Warming has owned $1.2 million in stock in the oil and gas companies whose executives testified this week before the panel. Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin reported at least $100,000 of his own money in each of four of the five companies represented at Tuesday's hearing -- Exxon, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, but not Royal Dutch Shell -- according to his most recent personal financial disclosure form, for 2006.

Sensenbrenner, who CRP estimates to be the House's 16th wealthiest member with a net worth of at least $21 million, also owns stock in Halliburton and El Paso Energy. One other member of the committee, Democrat Earl Blumenauer, reported between $50,00and $100,000 invested in a natural gas company in his home state of Oregon.

As Democrats lambasted the oil executives Tuesday for collecting tax breaks while earning record profits, Sensenbrenner gave them credit for pursuing alternative energy sources. "Any reasonable energy policy must recognize that we need affordable supplies of energy, and that oil and gas must continue to play a dominant supply role for the foreseeable future," he said in his opening statement.
That's our guy. Taking Care of Business, as Elvis used to say.

A dollar hardly covers his emissions

WisPolitics reports on the recent "Future Wisconsin" conference held by conservatives:
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, made a surprise appearance.

Sensenbrenner began by giving a dollar to the master of ceremonies, WISN-AM talk radio host Jay Weber. He joked that it was to buy a carbon credit to offset the hot air that he was about to give off.

"This issue is back. This issue is alive and well and our beloved governor has signed onto this," Sensenbrenner said, referring to global climate change.

Sensenbrenner believes that conservatives will be able to use climate change as an issue to show that conservatives are on the side of the people in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the country.
After 39 years as a state and federal legislator, Sensenbrenner clearly owes more than a buck.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sensenbrenner, our Daddy Warbucks,

personally makes millions from war

Its no secret that Rep. F. Jim Sensebrenner is worth big bucks -- somewhere between $21-million and $31-million, according to Open Secrets.Org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

Where does all of that money come from?

A good chunk of it goes to Sensenbrenner in his role of Daddy Warbucks,as a major investor in military contractors doing business with the Pentagon.

Sensenbrenner has between $5.2-million and $7.6-million invested in "defense" contractors, who are reaping billions of dollars in profits from the war and occupation of Iraq -- a war, needless to say, that he supports every time he gets a chance to vote.

Those investments earned him at least $3.2-million between 2004 and 2006, CRP reports.

Sensenbrenner is not alone among members of Congress in raking in the spoils of war:
According to the most recent reports of their personal finances, 151 current members of Congress had between $78.7 million and $195.5 million invested in companies that received defense contracts of at least $5 million in 2006.
Its a bipartisan list, topped by Sen. John Kerry, who has somewhere between $28-million and $38-million invested in military contractors.
Back to our man Sensenbrenner, who earned more than Kerry from his investments:
A spokesman for Sensenbrenner, who has supported the administration's policy in Iraq, said the congressman's stocks were left to him by his grandparents and are managed almost entirely by his investment advisors. There has been no conscious effort on Sensenbrenner's part to invest in companies that have received defense contracts, his representative said.
Nor, it should be noted, has there been any effort to divest himself of those holdings.

A Los Angeles Times blog has this observation:
There's the irony that should keep the talk radio folks buzzing -- Kerry the Vietnam War veteran-turned-antiwar activist increasing the family money pot through investments in companies that help wage war.
You can probably count out talk radio in Milwaukee. As much as they'd like to go after Kerry, it would be difficult to do without talking about Sensenbrenner, their fair-haired conservative boy. But don't put anything past them. It wouldn't be the first time they had only bothered to tell half of the story.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Credit where it's due

Even a blind pig, they say, finds an acorn once in awhile:
Sensenbrenner calls for action in Tibet

After meeting with the Dalai Lama in India on Friday, GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined in a call for an international team of observers to travel to Tibet and "find out exactly what has happened" during the recent crackdown, Sensenbrenner said in an interview...

Sensenbrenner sharply denounced China's conduct and also criticized the U.S. State Department, saying it erred in removing China recently from a list of top 10 human rights violators.

"China ought to get back on the list and get back soon," said Sensenbrenner, who spoke by phone from India.

"The United States has prided itself on being a leader on questions of human rights," Sensenbrenner said. "This is the most severe human rights violation that has occurred in 2008. And the United States government and State Department should not sit idly by while the Chinese beat up and torture innocent Tibetans."

...Sensenbrenner is the senior Republican on a 10-member congressional delegation led by Pelosi to the United Kingdom and India - a trip devoted largely to the issue of global warming.
Maybe one of these days he'll come out for civil liberties for Americans and fair treatment of Mexican immigrants. Or he'll become a believer on global warming.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

He doesn't do hallways

From Bob Hague, a reporter at Wisconsin Radio Network:
My encounters with Congressman James Sensenbrenner over the years have been few and far between. Our only face to face meeting must have been sometime in the late '80s, in Rice Lake for a Lincoln Day dinner, if memory serves. So I was interested in a rare opportunity to see Sensenbrenner in action Monday, and in Madison, of all places. The occasion was a conference on global warming, sponsored by and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was also there, but I missed her remarks.

Anyway, Sensenbrenner delivered his speech, on why cap-and-trade schemes designed to reduce greenhouse gasses are a bad deal for the U.S. in general and Wisconsin in particular. The attendees gave him their respectful attention and there was an interesting q&a session. That done, I unplugged my recorder and headed out into the hallway at the Monona Terrace Convention Center to see if I could get a second story (we're always looking) about who Sensenbrenner might be backing for the GOP presidential nomination.

I had set my coat and bag on a couch and was just getting ready to plug in my microphone when Sensenbrenner emerged from the meeting room, with a print reporter at his elbow. "Congressman, could you give some specific examples of . . . " was all this other reporter managed to get out before Sensenbrenner snapped out "I don't give hallway interviews!" and, pulling on his topcoat, barked to a couple of his staffers, "let's get the heck out of here!"

I wonder whether Sensenbrenner has never given hallway interviews, or if he stopped after what happened to Congressman Dave Obey?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Speak to F. Jim up close and personal

Something you'd like to share with Congressman Sensenbrenner? Maybe on a topic like global warming, immigration, government spying, or the war in Iraq?

These are some whirlwind meetings, scheduled 45 minutes apart, so have your questions and comments ready:

Sensenbrenner will hold listening sessions at 11 a.m. Friday (Feb. 1) at Dousman Village Hall, 11:45 a.m. at Genesee Town Hall, 12:30 p.m. at Wales Village Hall, 2 p.m. at Nashotah Village Hall, 2:45 p.m. at Merton Town Hall, 3:30 p.m. at Merton Village Hall and 4:15 p.m. at Pewaukee Village Hall.

Sessions also are set for 9:30 a.m. Monday (Feb. 4) at Butler Village Hall, 10:30 a.m. at Lannon Village Hall and 11:15 a.m. at Sussex Village Hall. For more information, call his Brookfield office at (262) 784-1111.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Welcome to the real world

From the Politics Ain't Beanbag Department: A college political science prof who wanted to show the world how campaigns should work is getting a lesson in how they do. Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice reports:
Two Concordia University professors who launched a joint campaign this year are getting a big lesson in what happens when you mess with U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

It ain't pretty.

In fact, it's gotten downright nasty, with threats, name-calling and talk of backroom deals.

Clearly, this isn't how they draw it up in the textbooks.

The pair - political scientist Jeff Walz, a Democrat, and Jim Burkee, a Republican - garnered national attention with their plan to appear together and combine campaign literature in an effort to unseat Sensenbrenner, the veteran Menomonee Falls Republican.

The two said it was their goal to create a model for "what campaigns ought to look like."

But last month, Walz dropped out of the contest, leaving Burkee to go solo against the political heavyweight.

Burkee now finds himself embroiled in a heated and nasty dispute with Sensenbrenner and a big-time D.C. lobbyist.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On polar bears, Sensenbrenner plays ostrich

Environmental News Service reports:
WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2008 (ENS) - Key polar bear habitat should be held off limits to oil and gas drilling until federal wildlife officials have determined whether the species should be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act, the chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming said today.

"Order matters," said committee chair Ed Markey a Massachusetts Democrat. "You don't put on your shoes before your socks … and we shouldn't be selling the drilling rights in this important polar bear habitat before deciding how we are going to protect them."

Markey convened the hearing in the wake of an announcement on January 7 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it will delay a decision on whether the polar bear should be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

The delay makes it likely the decision on listing will come after the U.S. Minerals Management Service sells oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, inhabited by some 2,000 polar bears.
Guess who objects to the delay? Our guy, F. James Sensenbrenner, a non-believer in climate change.

The scientific evidence indicates "going ahead with the lease will not have a major impact on the habitat of polar bears in this part of the sea across Alaska," said Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican.

That drew the ire of Representative Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, who argued that such a view ignores the growing evidence that global warming is well underway and already harming the polar bear.

"This is the last chance for the polar bear," he said. "It is unbelievable to me that people are still adopting the attitude of the ostrich. One million square miles of the Arctic disappeared this summer … stunning the scientific community. This is visual evidence. It is not theoretical, it is not hypothetical. It is gone."
No word on whether Sensenbrenner was wearing his socks over his shoes.