Daily Gnuz

Here’s a sampling of the fecal-storms that buffet us today:

It’s 6 months into Trump’s presidency. He’s already asking about pardons for his aides. …And his family members and … himself, according to a new report.
h/t Vox
Circling the wagons, …and the drain.

And

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions
h/t Raw Story
The longer we wait, the bigger the bullet we must bite in the quest to bequeath a livable planet to our progeny.

Finally, this just about sums up the last six effing months of stupidity and cowardliness

Donald Trump’s six-month report card: A paralyzed, scandal-plagued presidency — and it could get worse
h/t Salon
Worse doesn’t begin to describe the plunge we are about to take. Into the shit canister we go.

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZo

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The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 5, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics.

Murray Energy Lays Off More Than 1,800 Workers

A coal company wants to blame Obama for a 21% cut in workforce, when in reality it is fracked natural gas that power companies are shifting to.

Obama’s Fault

My grandfather who I never met died when my mother was a child of black lung disease. It is an occupation that I would not wish on anyone. Pollutes the hell out of water when mined and air when burned, and surface mining can obliterate landscapes. Sierra Club has been fighting coal for years. Beyond coal.

Open thread.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 16th, 2016: Wrong, As Always

Recent opinion pieces at The Christian Post website demonstrate that the “Christian” right – and these aren’t all what I would consider to be real RWNJs – continues to steadfastly ignore reality.

On Earth Day, Dr. Richard D. Land posted “Earth Day: How Environmentalists Hurt the Environment”. Some excerpts:

Many advocates for drastic measures to combat climate change (i.e., global warming) assert that human caused global warming is now “settled science.”

And yet, recently published data from the Department of Energy reveals that the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions for the past fifteen years by more than 10%, more than almost the entire rest of the world combined. How did America accomplish such a feat? The answer is hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which involves releasing fossil fuel (oil and natural gas) trapped in rock formations by injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the formations.

As a result of widespread usage of this controversial technology, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 oil and natural gas producer. As a direct consequence of fracking, the price of natural gas is one-fourth what it was a decade ago, and since America has a virtually inexhaustible natural gas supplies, people keep using more and more of this environmentally clean and very inexpensive fossil fuel. [Will someone please explain to me why anyone would want to literally undermine the land to access what is, by definition, a limited energy source?]

EPA studies declaring fracking can be done safely and cleanly moved U.S.A. Today to declare that “to help the environment and economy, keep on fracking” (4/19/16). U.S.A. Today also observed in the same article that fracking “has spurred a remarkable U.S. energy boom and . . . this boom has created jobs, boosted manufacturing and brought the USA closer to energy independence.”

Still, environmental activists on the left continue to oppose fracking, as well as the only clean energy “technology with an established track record of generating electricity at scale while emitting virtually no greenhouse gases: nuclear power.” In fact, in a “Pew poll of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 65 percent of scientists want more nuclear power” (Eduardo Porter, NY Times 4/19/16).

Apparently Dr. Land is completely ignorant of WHY environmentalists – and any humans with a fairly basic knowledge of science and some critical-thinking skills – are against fracking and nuclear energy. Has he not heard about the earthquakes being caused by fracking? Is he somehow privy to exactly which chemicals are being used in fracking? The “EPA studies” that declared “fracking can be done safely and cleanly” did not say that fracking IS BEING DONE “safely and cleanly”, more simply that it “can” be done. (Here’s the Christian Science Monitor’s take on this.)

And “nuclear”?! Does “Fukushima” ring a bell? Sorry, but Indian Point is way too close for me to want any part of nuclear power. Not to mention disposal of nuclear waste, which has already been an environmental problem for decades. Or that nuclear facilities make lovely targets for terrorism. Where the hell has Dr. Land been?

Then there’s Ken Blackwell’s ridiculous drivel, “Trump is Bad But Not Worse Than Hillary”

[The blurb says “Ken Blackwell is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union. He is also a member of the public affairs committee of the NRA. Mr. Blackwell is also the former Mayor of Cincinnati and a former Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.” As Blackwell says in a different context below, “What more needs to be said?”]

“…no one should doubt Hillary Clinton’s determination to expand the state at every turn.
Trump the businessman has experience in confronting bureaucracy, and the Democrats are prolific regulators. President Barack Obama has imposed costly new rules at a rapid pace. Clinton likely would set new records.

Then there’s the judiciary. Antonin Scalia’s death has upset the delicate balance on the Supreme Court. Turning those appointments over to a liberal Democrat would lose the court for a generation, undermining any future conservative political victories.

America’s international security and standing also are at stake. Clinton had a disastrous hand in her husband’s presidency, noteworthy for the debacle in Somalia, unnecessary war in the Balkans, and broken agreement with North Korea. Then she was the first term Secretary of State for President Obama. What more needs to be said?”

1) What exactly has Hillary Clinton said or done to indicate a “determination to expand the state at every turn”? What is your definition of “expand”, and the vague phrase “at every turn”?
2) Trump the con-man has minions, er, “people” – the “BEST” people – to “confront bureaucracy” for him. And those minions don’t always win, either: it’s probably not a good idea to mention “Scotland”, “golf course” or “windmills” in front of The Donald.
3) Hillary Clinton is not a “liberal” Democrat.
4) WTF did First Lady Hillary have to do with Somalia, the Balkans, and North Korea? How does being “the first term Secretary of State for President Obama” disqualify her? And finally,
5) “What more needs to be said?” A whole hell of a lot more!

Donald Trump’s expected nomination comes as a disappointment for many Republicans. However, by every standard Clinton is worse. Conservatives might reluctantly vote for Trump. But, they should consider a vote
for him nevertheless, if he becomes a standard bearer of our platform. A platform that has made us the majority party in the United States.

Is Trump smart enough to do the right thing and are we smart enough to beat Hillary?

Politics is the art of the possible. That doesn’t mean abandoning principle. But if the good is unavailable, it means preferring the politically unattractive to the politically ugly. Too much is at stake for conservatives to treat the presidential election like a kamikaze mission or for Trump to be dumb.”

Two pieces about “Christian” megachurch pastor and devout Trump supporter Robert Jeffress demonstrate the extremely hypocritical and morally reprehensible “values” of religious conservatives. In one piece, Jeffress defends Trump’s childish tweet in response to criticism of Trump by another Evangelical, Russell Moore, with the equally childish (and un-Christ-like) argument that “Moore had it coming because he provoked Trump.” In the second piece, Jeffress calls Christians who won’t vote for Trump “fools”:

“Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of the influential 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, declared Wednesday that Republicans who have vowed never to support Donald Trump if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee are “fools.”
“It is absolutely foolish to do anything that would allow Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States … at least Donald Trump has voiced a belief in a pro-life movement, he has at least talked about religious liberty as he did last Friday, you don’t hear either things coming from the lips of Hillary Clinton,” he continued.
“I believe any Christian who would sit at home and not vote for the Republican nominee … that person is being motivated by pride rather than principle and I think it would be a shame for people to allow Hillary Clinton four or eight years in the White House,” he said.

So much for ‘separation of Church and State’ – I’d like to see the IRS have a little talk with ‘Pastor’ Jeffress.

This is our daily Open Thread–talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole; Friday April 15 2016; Climate Change: Is It Visible?

“Nature is always presenting us with surprises.
And perhaps we are surprised only because we are ignorant.”
(John C. Van Dyke)

I’ve been wondering if/when some signs of climate change and global warming are going to become visible via a quick glance out of my (or most anyone’s) window. In that regard, in fact, I have to wonder if maybe I might have spotted one of those local indicators, and maybe even managed to record it digitally for posterity — last month, March 2016, globally the warmest March since records have been kept.

Below is a series of five photos of the same basic scene (Rocky Mountain Front Range, the series of peaks called the Sierra Mojada, or the Wet Mountains) taken from the same spot (my tee-tiny office’s window). The dates begin in September 2009 and end just last month in March 2016, and each one shows the mountains on the morning after a heavy snowfall. I should note that the four main snow-clad peaks are, l. to r., Greenhorn, North Peak, Mt. St. Charles, and Round Top (clipped, not fully shown). Each peak stands above the timberline and ranges in elevation from 11,750 ft. to 12,350 ft., and all are typically white with snow from late September thru mid-May. Till this year, that is.

The first photo is the ‘oldest’ and shows three of the four peaks noted above, and each of the mountains are snow-clad from summit to base (approx. 7000 ft.). The pair of pines in the foreground stand a block from my window at roughly 6000 ft. and about 7 miles from the base of the mountains. The Mojada are about 5000 ft. tall, i.o.w.

0922-2009 Wet Mtns, 2 frames

▲1. September 2009▲

The second photo mainly focuses on North Peak and Mt. St. Charles (with portions of Greenhorn and Round Top, l. and r., resp.). Note that the pines in the foreground are free of snow but the peaks and the heavily timbered mountain slopes are covered with the white stuff.

Wet Mountains, high noon, 4-19-09

▲2. April 2010▲

Photo number 3 shows the result of a heavy snow from the summits to below 6000 ft, foreground pines included.

▲3. October 2011▲

Photo 4 shows Mt. St. Charles the morning after a heavy snowfall that once again coated the pines at 6000 ft. Note the date.

2015 Feb 26 Mt St Charles 952

▲4. February 2015▲

Finally, the fifth photo shows one of the strangest snowfalls I’ve ever seen. Note that the summits of both North Peak and Mt. St. Charles are far less snow-clad than is typical — lots of bare spots — and the 6000 ft. foreground pines are also clear of snow. The only fresh snow is in the band from the mtn’s base (around 7000 ft) to the cutoff point about halfway up the slope, or around 9500 ft. The date is 13 months beyond number 4 above — March 2016, the “hottest” March since records have been kept.

Mar 19 2016 North peak-St Charles low snowfall 2206r

▲5. March 2016▲

Is that weird snowfall pattern a ‘symptom’ of climate change as seen through my window? I have to wonder how often, historically, mountain snows have made it a point to avoid the summits and instead go for the mid-range elevations elevations only. First time for everything, I suppose, especially on a world in which the most intelligent species consistently performs (and then ignores the consequences thereof) the role of what could easily be viewed as LEAST! intelligent.

I should check with James Inhofe, maybe? Or Trump? Is what I’m seeing happening because of something the Chinese are doing in their effort to sabotage the world economy? Something like that?

If I do hear back from them, I’ll make sure to spread the word. Meanwhile —

“If we but knew our facts, they would point their own conclusions,
and neither theory nor argument would be needed.”
(John C.Van Dyke)

Yeehaw.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 29, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

THE BIG U.S.OIL BUST

“Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war.”

Oil bust – A red state phenomenon. Will this affect 2016 elections?