Mid-Week Gnuzishness

Welcome to Wednesday, Middle of the Weekish Gnuz be forthwith
Sorry if you’re being held on Trumped up charges, but here’s more about the Prezidunce.

Watergate prosecutor reveals bombshell results of Manafort’s lies: ‘Mueller’s got the evidence of conspiracy’
H/T Raw Story
Smoking Gun? Speeding Bullet? Ole Twumpy’s in a world o’ scheiss!

And,
Here are 7 of the most ridiculous and embarrassing moments from Trump’s latest interview revealing he has no idea how to be president
H/T Alternet
Even for TemperTantrumTrump, this is a doozy!

Finally,
Trump rejects ‘man-made’ climate change
H/T The Hill
We’re gonna have a lot of catching up to do once we rid the White House of this vermin.

Open Thread, snitch it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Weekend Gnuz

All the Gnuz that’s fit to display via electrons and stuff.

3 big takeaways from the major new US climate report
Climate change is here, it’s expensive, and it’s deadly, according to a dire new report.

H/T Vox
Republicans and Trumpistas would sacrifice a livable world to make a buck and put it in the piggy bank.
They can’t be trusted with the reins of government.

And,
Warning signs mount for Trump reelection bid
‘They haven’t gotten his job approval over 50 percent, like Reagan,’ says one GOP pollster.

H/T Politico
No more Mr or Ms Nice Person. There’s too much at stake to allow these fascists to continue in power. We need to ensure that sanity prevails in the next election cycle.

Finally,
Pulitzer Prize-winner describes why Trump gets easily played by Putin and Saudi prince: ‘His gullibility is extraordinary’
H/T Alternet
Trump is a devout Mammonist. Money and Greed, Greed and more money, gained illegally or not.

Open Thread, pick it up and throw it over Trump’s imaginary wall!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Pre-Election Gnuz

It’s a week away from one of the biggest turning points in our history and here’s what’s at stake:

Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn
H/T CNN
We have from now until a newborn goes to middle school to turn this around.
We need leadership that vows to put solar shingles on every roof in America, ban fossil fuel burning cars within five years, put wind powered turbines every place the wind blows.
For starters.
Consumption needs to come down to sustainable levels. Capitalism isn’t going to get that done.
Your thoughts?

And,
Trump isn’t to blame. His entire party is.
H/T WaPo
Sheep to the slaughter. Lemmings first class.

Finally,
WATCH: Russia expert explains how Trump’s anti-Semitic rhetoric is ‘straight out of Putin’s playbook’
H/T Raw story
It’s a damn shame this president’s tax reuturns are available to show he’s in Putin’s pocket.

Open Thread, pick it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Happy GNU YEAR – It Be 2018!

And, on this inaugural day of the year, here’s the GNUZ!

Eastern U.S. braces for the most frigid start to new year in decades: Here’s how cold
H/T WaPo
Now, That’s Cold, frigid, biting, bitter, freezing effing COLD. Stay safe all you’ze out there!

And,
New image from NASA shows massive iceberg in Antarctica melting
H/T Raw Story
Climate Change…not just global warming, extremes in Cold and Hot, read all about it. Understand it. But that’s apparently too much to ask of the sitting on his Mar-a-GoGo Butt, prezidunce.

Finally, I vowed to not put up yet another article about hewhoshouldnotbenamed… so…
Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests?
H/T TPM
Screw to be, or not to be…
Are working-class white voters shooting themselves in the foot by making common cause with a political movement that is fundamentally inimical to their economic self-interest?
THAT is the question.

Open Thread, Start off the New Year with a song in your heart and a beer in your hand!

RUCerious @TPZoo

The Weekend Hole, Sat-Sun, Nov 19-20, 2016: The Fulsome Five

So far Donald Trump has announced the selection of people to fill five major positions in his administration who all deny climate change is real and exacerbated by human activity. They also happen to be examples of the worst kinds of choices one could have in charge of the things over which they shall be in charge. This doesn’t surprise me. Trump chose Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus to be his Chief of Staff, and Reince is helping Trump pick people who, in typical modern Republican fashion, are wholly unsuited for the positions they will hold. If you’ll recall how the last Republican administration did things like put a lobbyist for the mining industry in charge of the Interior Department, the ones who give out permits to companies wanting to mine on federal property, you’ll get the feeling they’re doing it all over again. And it’s important to note that in addition to all the other flaws each of these people has (bigotry, racism, white supremacy), they’re all climate change deniers. Reince would like to see an end to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Their reasons are not in the least bit scientific (they totally reject what 97% of climate scientists say on the subject and defer to the few who are on the payrolls of companies who don’t want the use of fossil fuels, the key human activity making the problem worse, to end), but are economic instead. In short, they whine and complain that if we stop burning fossil fuels, the giant corporations that extract and refine fossil fuels for a living will be out of a job. To which I say, “So?” We’re talking about companies responsible for producing a product whose use will eventually bring about the death of us all. And we’re supposed to be upset that they’ll be out of business?

Steve Bannon, chosen to be Trump’s Chief Strategist (with the not-so-hidden side job of being Chief White Nationalist, which pleased the KKK and Neo-Nazis) and lured away from his former job of running Breitbart News website (the site so horrible they named it after Andrew Breitbart, who actually named it after himself) has said that climate change is a hoax created by activists, scientists, and renewable energy executives. (He really loves conspiracy theories.) He believes there should be unfettered access to fossil fuels as opposed to the more intelligent strategy of ending our use of such destroyers. Bannon believes President Obama’s focus on climate change is a threat to national security. The Pentagon disagrees. They consider climate change to be the biggest threat to national security. But Bannon is of the ilk (I love using that word; it’s so onomatopoeic) that believes the greatest threat to national security is, of course, “radical Islamic terrorism,” usually just shortened to “Islam.” That’s because people like that are more afraid of their own imaginations than they are of factual reality. They refuse to accept the fact that by using the very words they decry Obama for not using, they’re playing into the hands of the very people they claim are the greatest threat to us. That’s too complicated for their fear-filled minds to absorb. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who was forced out for being a bad manager, will be Trump’s National Security Adviser. While he hasn’t said a whole lot about climate change, he has belittled it as a threat to national security, he being of the Bannon ilk when it comes to terrorism.

Mike Pompeo is a bought and paid-for Koch Brothers stooge. And now he’s going to head the Central Intelligence Agency (a/k/a NAMBLA), the people largely responsible for spreading terrorism via drone strikes famous for taking out large portions of wedding parties. And Little Jeff Sessions is being tapped to be the Attorney General. In addition to having demonstrated a complete and utter lack of understanding of the science behind climate change, Sessions is a well known racist. He thought the Ku Klux Klan was alright, until he learned they smoked pot. Not the attitude I want in my Attorney General.

There you have it. As fulsome a five as you’ll ever find, at least until the next five names come out of the Trump Transition Team. Everyone of them worthy of disapproval. There’s a word for that. Oh, yeah. Deplorable.

This is our weekend open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you wish.

The Watering Hole; Thursday October 27 2016; Climate Disruption and Denial

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
(William Wordsworth, from “Lines Written in Early Spring”)

I recently ran across this, a journalistic outline and review of Donald Trump’s energy “policy” proposals. The article points out that

In his plan, Trump promised to lift restrictions on the production of shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal. He also promised to lift “roadblocks” to “vital” energy infrastructure projects, “like the Keystone pipeline.” And he pledged to cancel payments to the U.N. climate change programs, saying he would instead funnel that money back to clean water and infrastructure projects.

This is far from the first time Trump has promised to enact policies that would effectively halt — if not completely dismantle — much of the environmental progress championed by President Obama. And his promises here dovetail nicely with earlier policy ideas: open up federal lands for unfettered coal extraction, support offshore oil drilling, and generally move away from any kind of international climate cooperation.

As far as I’m concerned, that set of Trumpian proposals — were they to be carried out –would be the equivalent of a policy whose ultimate purpose might as well be to dismantle the whole country, break it into a thousand pieces, then sell them to whomever and brag about how much money we’re bringing in from those international markets. The Trump solution to everything seems to be to disallow logic, disallow science, and allow only greed and destruction (there’s money in it) — in order to, of course, ‘Make Amurkkka Great Again’ in the process.

Problem is, the guy’s a fool and has no concept of anything other than how to lie, cheat, steal, and cover it all up.

The fact of the matter is simple: extraction of fossil fuels is destructive to the environment from virtually any perspective. Mining leaves obvious scars on the land and its debris messes up rivers and the streams that feed them. Fracking can cause both subsurface water pollution and earthquakes. Oil, once removed from underground, can be a deadly surface pollutant via virtually any means of transport and/or storage. And burning fossil fuels causes air pollution in the short term, and courtesy of the conversion of virtually all “harvested” fossil carbon into atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, causes global warming and climate change which can and WILL ultimately, if not stopped, put the entire of the planet’s biosphere and every life form implicit therein at severe risk.

For far too many, the easy way around that problem is simple: denial. Humans aren’t causing the climate to change. The climate is always changing. Only god is powerful enough to change the earth’s climate. It still snows in the winter, right? There’ve always been droughts, floods, hurricanes, hot spells, cold snaps. Nothing new there.  And, of course, the warming oceans, the acidification of the oceans via atmospheric CO2 absorption and the consequential decline of coral reefs, the ice-free Arctic, the melting glaciers everywhere, the melting of Antarctic ice shelves — all meaningless because “we got snow last February” and “it was hot last summer” and that proves there’s no such thing as climate change. Oh, and as Carly Fiorina has noted, the main reason for California’s water shortage has nothing to do with decreased precipitation, it’s because the dams aren’t high enough and the reservoirs aren’t nearly as big as they could be. Damn environmentalists.

As Mark Twain put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

There’s a new book concerning Climate Denial on the market, most ably described on this Think Progress link: Climate scientist’s new book says climate denial is ‘driving us crazy’. It’s written by climate scientist Michael Mann, and illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Tom Toles. Toles explains the idea behind using cartoons as a means to depict the reality of Climate Change when he points out that  . . .

[one of the things] a cartoon does is simplify and visualize and make the information a little more accessible. Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be, and that’s one of the things a cartoonist can do is find the simple elements of it. There are many ways you can look at the problem, but they all can be simplified into imagery, or a few ideas that are helpful in explaining to a casual reader how the subject is constructed and why they should care about it.

Following is one of the many cartoons displayed in the Think Progress link, one that certainly summarizes the consequences of Climate Change, many of which we’re already witnessing today; events that will undoubtedly become far more obvious to far more people if Climate Change is allowed to continue unabated:

climate-forecast-cartoon

The bottom line is that, as Toles notes, “Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be.” He’s spot-on correct, of course, and the thesis that even people of limited science knowledge and below average IQ should be able to grip both the causes and the consequences of Climate Change makes complete and total sense. The topic can be, as Toles’ cartoons most ably demonstrate, simplified to the point where even a political imbecile such as James Inhofe or Donald J. Trump might one day find the means to comprehend the tragic consequences of their own innate idiocy (I know, sometimes I tend to overreach, to exaggerate possibilities).

Michael Mann summarizes:

[T]here’s a chapter in the book: “Hypocrisy, thy name is climate change denial.” In my view, there is no greater example of hypocrisy today than the hypocrisy of fossil-fuel funded politicians who are doing the bidding of fossil fuel interests. With Hurricane Matthew, we’ve actually had some figures from the right-wing extreme of the news media — Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh — accusing the National Hurricane Center of inflating their estimates of the intensity of this storm for some purported political agenda to somehow convey the effects of climate change.

[. . .]

I’m reminded of a common trope that we see in Hollywood and on TV: There’s the hero and then there’s the shape-shifting villain, and the villain shape-shifts to look just like the hero, and there’s a third party that has to figure out which of them is really the hero. That’s sort of what we’re asking the public to do.

I couldn’t agree more, but find myself loathe to believe that knowledge-based common sense has even a remote chance of finding a home amongst ANY of this country’s right wing political extremists, Donald Trump and his myriad ‘Deplorables’ obviously included. “Man can’t change the climate,” they say. “Only God can do that.”

Right.

I think I’ll listen more to William Wordsworth:

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Indeed.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday October 6, 2015

Creator of 5-hour Energy Wants to Power the World’s Homes—With Bikes

Can I be a cynic for suggesting that this is another way to create market demand for the drink?

” Hey Honey, the lights are dimming. Go get some more 5 Hour Energy!”

Actually, aside from giving money to the GOP, he has pretty ambitions plans for the third world (and in the case of geothermal, the whole world).

Pedal power for the tiny house …in India.

Can we use the hamster for the night light?

 

Discuss

The Watering Hole; Thursday september 3 2015; The Science Behind ACD

I’ll be brief today. Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) is real, it’s happening, and its consequences are already proving to be formidable at least, potentially terminal. The link below is to one of the best ACD analyses I’ve run across to date. It’s written in familiar lay terms and language, but contains numerous links to scientific papers and data that apply to various aspects of ACD, both cause and effect, both local and global.

The essay is a bit lengthy in itself, and can be made far more lengthy via the embedded scientific and media links. It’s well worth a read, however, also maybe worth sending to uninformed stoneheads like Inhofe, Trump, Cruz — to deniers everywhere. Maybe they’re still able to learn — although I’d have to see it to believe it.

******

Dahr Jamail | The World on Fire: Record-Breaking Wildfires, Greenland Melting and Earth’s Hottest Month Ever

A massive wall of wildfire smoke, blowing in from record-breaking fires in eastern Washington State, covers Puget Sound and Seattle. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

A massive wall of wildfire smoke, blowing in from record-breaking fires in eastern Washington State, covers Puget Sound and Seattle. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 11th, 2015: The Planet Killers

Over the last few days, several related and intertwined articles are pulling together more and more evidence that Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron, other fossil-fuel giants, and the Koch Brothers, along with their front groups, have deliberately and willfully been funding a disinformation campaign denying global climate change reports that they have known about since the early 1980s.

From yesterday’s ThinkProgress thread written by Joe Romm, “Oil Company Exxon Knew About The Scientific Reality of Climate Change in 1981”:

“…despite a growing understanding of the scientific reality of climate change in the 1980s and 1990s, Exxon became one of the biggest funders of scientists and think tanks and others who do little but deny and cast doubt on the scientific understanding of human-caused global warming.
Over the years, fossil fuel company executives have funneled tens of millions of dollars into this disinformation campaign. The top funder was ExxonMobil for a long time. But the company was overtaken years ago by Koch Industries, run by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who spent more than $48.5 million from 1997 to 2010 to fund disinformation. From 2005 to 2008, the Kochs outspent Exxon-Mobil well over 2-to-1 in funding the climate denial machine.”

From Huffington Post’s July 8th article, “Internal Documents Show Fossil Fuel Industry Has Been Aware of Climate Change for Decades”, written by Elliott Negin:

“Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse created a stir recently when he speculated that fossil fuel companies may be violating federal racketeering law by colluding to defraud the public about the threat posed by carbon pollution.”

~~~

“Exxon Recognized Carbon Emissions Problem 34 Years Ago
The collected documents reveal the fossil fuel industry campaign has relied on a variety of deceptive practices, including creating phony grassroots groups, secretly funding purportedly independent scientists, and even forging letters from nonprofit advocacy groups to lobby members of Congress.

ExxonMobil’s duplicity is perhaps the most remarkable. Internal documents and public statements stretching back decades show that ExxonMobil’s corporate forerunners Exxon and Mobil, which merged in 1999, acknowledged the threat posed by global warming as far back as the early 1980s.”

~~~

In November 1988…Mobil President Richard F. Tucker cited the “greenhouse effect” in a list of serious environmental challenges during a speech at an American Institute of Chemical Engineers national conference.

“Our strategy must be to reduce pollution before it is ever generated — to prevent problems at the source,” he said. “That will involve working at the edge of scientific knowledge and developing new technology at every scale on the engineering spectrum. …Prevention on a global scale may even require a dramatic reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels — and a shift toward solar, hydrogen, and safe nuclear power. It may be possible — just possible — that the energy industry will transform itself so completely that observers will declare it a new industry.”

Fossil Fuel Companies Disregard Their Own Scientists

Tucker’s warning went unheeded even by his own company. A year later, in 1989, 50 U.S. corporations and trade groups created the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) to discredit climate science. Its founding members included API, British Petroleum (now BP), Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Texaco and … Mobil.

Until it disbanded in 2002, GCC conducted a multimillion-dollar lobbying and public relations campaign to undermine national and international efforts to address global warming. One of its fact sheets for legislators and journalists, for example, claimed “the role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood” and emphasized that “scientists differ” on the issue.”

From a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), titled “The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation” (also linked to within the HuffPost article):

“Containing 85 internal memos totaling more than 330 pages, the seven dossiers reveal a range of deceptive tactics deployed by the fossil fuel industry. These include forged letters to Congress, secret funding of a supposedly independent scientist, the creation of fake grassroots organizations, multiple efforts to deliberately manufacture uncertainty about climate science, and more.
The documents clearly show that:
– Fossil fuel companies have intentionally spread climate disinformation for decades.
– Fossil fuel company leaders knew that their products were harmful to people and the planet but still chose to actively deceive the public and deny this harm.
– The campaign of deception continues today.

The UCS report includes links to all of the memos, emails, and other documentation. While I haven’t had the chance to delve into it much, a quick glance at the titles of the seven “Deception Dossiers” includes “Deception Dossier #6: Deception by the American Legislative Exchange Council”.

Gee, whodathunk?

As Inspector Kemp [played by Kenneth Mars] said in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”, “A riot is an ungly thingk… undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun!”

This is our daily Open Thread–get your pitchforks and torches ready!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 27th, 2015: Il Papa, Don’t Preach

Recently, “Il Papa”, Pope Francis, has pissed off several (often overlapping) factions of conservative “Christian” politicians, pundits, and what I’ve decided to call “pulpiteers”, aka Evangelicals. Apparently the Pope is only “infallible” when his flock agrees with his pronouncements or actions. I find it deliciously ironic that the first Pope in, well, “god” knows how long, to actually emulate the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ according to their own bible makes all of these faux christians so suspicious, dismissive, and ultimately hypocritical. I can just imagine one of the conversations:

Derp 1: “Washing the feet of poor people and criminals? Who the hell does that?”
Derp 2: “Well, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ did. Oh, and Christ fed the poor, too – you heard that Frankie wants all of us Christians to do that, too, right?”
Derp 1: “I know, is he crazy?! C’mon, that do-goody stuff isn’t supposed to be taken literally!”
Derp 2: “No, of course not, not those “New Testament” Jesus-y parts, anyway; just the parts about dominating the earth and all its resources, and the parts about stoning homos and wimmen and your kids if they sass you.”
Derp 1: “Exactly, that’s my point, we have to put the fear of god into these $chmuck$, er, potential voters!”

After already dissing unbridled capitalism and corporate greed, among other things, in his 2013 missive “Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World”, last week Pope Francis issued his now-infamous encyclical focusing on man-made climate change, and his idea of the correct Christian, and, as he noted, human course of action necessary to combat it for the good of Planet Earth and all of her children.

While some Catholic and other Christian groups agreed with Pope Francis and are willing to preach his ‘gospel’ to their flocks, other self-proclaimed “Christians” pretty much think that either Pope Francis is wrong, or that he should mind his own goddam beeswax. In particular, the many Catholics (or whatever “Christian” flavor) among the numerous Republican 2016 Presidential hopefuls would prefer that the Pope stay quiet. From the ThinkProgress article:

“At a town hall event in New Hampshire…[Jeb] Bush said that religion “ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”

 

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home,” Bush said, “but I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”

No, Jeb, you certainly don’t get your economic policy from your pope, otherwise you’d actually have to DO something to help the poor. And it doesn’t seem to be working out when it comes to “making [you] better as people”, unless somehow by “better” you mean “more hateful.”

However, you and your ilk seem perfectly happy to get your SOCIAL policy, in particular regarding women’s rights, abortion, and LGBT rights, from your pope and your bible.  And you definitely LOVE it when your flavor of religion ends up crafting legal policy for the entire country, you fuckwad.

The article goes on to say that:

“Bush’s views on climate change and religion have, at times, been contradictory. In May, the presidential candidate and brother of George W. Bush said that the science surrounding climate change was “convoluted.”

“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

Once again, NO, Jeb, it’s NOT “intellectual arrogance” when the vast majority of scientists who have studied all of the data have come to the inevitable conclusion that global climate change is real, it’s mostly man-made, and it’s going to make the lives of your – and everybody else’s – grandchildren and greatgrandchildren a miserable hell.

And, of course, Rick Santorum had to get his twisted views out there:

““The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” Santorum told radio host Dom Giordano. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”

WHAT the huh? Morality? Wait, he’s got more:

“I’m saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for?” Santorum asked. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.”

Are you fucking kidding, Rantorum? Oh, hold on for the finish:

“When we get involved with controversial and scientific theories, I think the Church is not as forceful and not as credible,” Santorum continued. “I’ve said this to the Catholic bishops many times — when they get involved in agriculture policy, or things like that, that are really outside of the scope of what the Church’s main message is, that we’re better off sticking to the things that are really the core teachings of the Church as opposed to getting involved in every other kind of issue that happens to be popular at the time.”

Okay, for Jeb and Sick Rantorum and every other Catholic and self-proclaimed Christian: If you are true to your supposed faith, then every official utterance of Pope Francis or any other Pope is, according to YOUR dogma, the infallible transmission of the Word of your God. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the Pope is supposed to be the unquestionable representative of your Trinity. And if you and your science-denying conservative cohorts DON’T think that global climate change is the MOST pressing problem confronting the Earth, then you don’t deserve to even be aspiring to the Presidency of these United States. Just sit down and shut up.

Anyhoo…NOW Pope Francis has done something to ruffle the feathers, to say the least, of Israel and her supporters: According to Foreign Policy Magazine:

“On Friday [June 26], the Vatican signed a comprehensive treaty with Palestinian authorities, formalizing a basic agreement between the Catholic Church and the PLO back in 2000. In essence, it is a formal declaration of the Holy See’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state and the peace process with Israel. “[I]t is my hope that the present agreement may, in some way, be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both Parties,” wrote Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher.”

 

“The news is not going over well in Tel Aviv. “This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.”

 

“[G]iven its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel’s toes,” wrote Michael Freund, former deputy communications director to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Jerusalem Post on May 18. “If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries.”

I’m really starting to enjoy this new Pope Francis reality show (especially as a former Catholic) – it beats the hell out of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice Asshole” or “19 and Groping.”  Heh.

This is our daily Open Thread–go ahead and talk about things!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday January 27, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Polictics

Here’s something to chew on (pun intended). The conservative God made the earth in 7 days, and it is only about 8,000 years old, and Noah saved every creature one rainy morning (wonder how long that took?). Then there is the liberal version of God , so expansive in concept, taking no particular form, and creative as all get out, revealing mysteries to us every day if we wish to discover them. Take your mind off the kindergarten God and marvel upon this creation for a few moments.

                                                               J1407b

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 5th, 2015: Unholy Alliances

Last week when Pope Francis announced his itinerary for his crusade against man-made climate change, the Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson of ‘evangelical’ deniers, one Calvin Beisner, rudely stated that “The Pope should back off”:

““The pope should back off,” said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative evangelical Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

According to People for the American Way:

“Beisner is a CFACT [Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow] board member and an “adjunct fellow” of the Acton Institute, which is primarily funded by groups like ExxonMobil, the Scaife foundations and the Koch brothers. Beisner is also an adviser to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which is financed by the oil-backed Earthart Foundation, the Koch brothers, and ExxonMobil.
In fact, Beisner is not a scientist and has no scientific credentials. Despite claiming to be an authority on energy and environmental issues, he received his Ph.D. in Scottish History.

In 2009, Beisner’s Cornwall Alliance cosponsored a climate change denial conference led by the Heartland Institute, a pro-corporate group funded by Exxon Mobil, the Koch Family Foundations, and the Scaife foundations. Other organizations funded by energy corporations that cosponsored the conference include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity.”

The “About” section on the Cornwall Alliance’s website states:

Our Identity
A coalition of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, policy experts, and committed laymen, the Cornwall Alliance is an evangelical voice promoting environmental stewardship and economic development built on Biblical principles.

I doubt very much if, as Beisner claims, Cornwall Alliance’s “position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US”, as some of their ‘affirmations’ and ‘denials’ are, to put it lightly, a bit twisted. An excerpt from one of their “Landmark Documents” titled “The Biblical Perspective of Environmental Stewardship : Subduing and Ruling the Earth to the Glory of God and the Benefit of our Neighbors“:

9. We affirm that by God’s design Earth and its physical and biological systems are robust, resilient, and self-correcting.

We deny that they are fragile.

20. We affirm that human multiplication and filling of the Earth are intrinsically good (Genesis 1:28) and that, in principle, children, lots of them, are a blessing from God to their faithful parents and the rest of the Earth (Psalm 127; 128).

We deny that the Earth is overpopulated; that “overpopulation” is even a meaningful term, since it cannot be defined by demographic quantities such as population density, population growth rate, or age distribution; and that godly dominion over the Earth requires population control or “family planning” to limit fertility.

21. We affirm that when the Bible speaks of God’s judgment on human societies because they have “polluted the land,” the “pollution” in mind is consistently not chemical or biological but moral—the pollution of idolatry, adultery, murder, oppression of the weak, and other violations of the moral law of God expressed in the Ten Commandments (Psalm 106:38; Jeremiah 3:1–10; 16:18).

We deny that Biblical prophets’ concerns about the pollution of any land focus significantly on chemical emissions from agriculture or industry, although prudent study of the risks those pose to human and ecosystem health is a worthy task and can lead to proper efforts to balance risks and benefits.

22. We affirm that cost/benefit analysis (Luke 14:28) is a proper and critically important aspect of godly dominion over the Earth (Proverbs 14:4).

We deny that cost/benefit analysis is unprincipled pragmatism or indicates a lack of faith in God.

The Cornwall Alliance seems to be especially partial to one of the worst of the real-life polluters, the coal industry. In one of their articles, “Europe Flees Economy-Destroying Green Initiatives While Obama Presses On”, after bashing Germany (“Germany, like all who subscribe to the environmentalists’ viewpoint, has put being “green” over the good of its people. They have forgotten God’s created order…”), they turn on President Obama:

“President Obama continues pushing the United States toward the brink by forging ahead with plans to fight the global warming that hasn’t happened in at least the last 17 years, using measures that will cost $trillions by mid-century but will cause no significant reduction in global temperature by the end of the century.

One of President Obama’s means to force the environmentalist agenda on Americans is The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its war on coal destroyed between 13,000 and 17,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2012 alonedue to announced coal plant closures. Fast forward to 2014 and the EPA has announced a regulation that would effectively kill the coal industry. Any new coal power plant built, whether to replace or add to existing plants, must meet an emissions standard that is impossible with current technology.

Then of course there is the stonewalling of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension. This pipeline that President Obama claimed would only “create about 50 permanent jobs,” has been estimated by his own State Department to create 42,000 jobs.”

Although that “42,000 jobs” figure has been debunked time and time again, yet another Republican on Meet the Press yesterday morning got away with using it without being slapped down by the useless Chuck Todd. TransCanada itself estimates “that the pipeline would create no more than 2,500 to 4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years.” The Keystone XL Pipeline website uses the figure of 9,000 U.S. jobs.   On the other hand, the KXL website also says:

“Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced oil pipeline operation in North America. It will not only bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans.”

Yeah, right – and I have a really nice bridge for sale, too…

This is our daily open thread, so discuss whatever you’d like.

The Watering Hole; Friday June 27 2014; Can STUPID be Summarized?

The 2014 primary elections in Colorado were this last Tuesday. The Democrat ballot had a dozen or so “contests” on it, but each ‘contest’ had only one contestant. Interesting, I thought, that there were no real choices to make other than whether or not to take the time to read the names and either leave them blank or mark them with an ‘X’. That was NOT the case on the Republican side of the swamp, however. There, there were numerous choices for each contest — not all that surprising in this era where the ‘baggers are working their fingers to the bone to rid the world of anyone who might be considered “mainstream.” Problem is, though, that more often than not (and in GOP primaries across the country, not just here in Colorado), the closest the favorite/winner ever gets to ‘mainstream’ is that he’s not quite as nuts or demented as the ones beneath him in the final count.

Anyway, the GOP “winners” (my way of spelling ‘losers’) here, i.e. the dudes who will be on the ticket in November running against Democrats who are generally bright, progressive, and competent, are reviewed and duly summarized in just the title of a Think Progress article: Climate Change Deniers Prevail In Colorado GOP PrimariesI could probably rant for several pages on the surreal and unbelievable stupidity and shallowness of the GOP’s candidate slate here, in Colorado. But I won’t, because I’m pretty sure that there’s probably no more collective GOP stupidity here than in any other state, so there’d be nothing new in any rant I might come up with. I do admit, however, that I was surprised that Climate Change Denial was so prominent a GOP feature this year. And frankly, I’ve seen virtually zero evidence that the issue has much variance from state to state amongst Republican candidates. In fact, I have to wonder: just how uniform — across the country — is Republican stupidity? Can anyone point to a GOP candidate anywhere that is NOT a climate change denier? And on so many other issues, is the candidate philosophy uniform across the board, or at least nearly so? Are they, each and all, uniformly against, to name but the few that quickly come to mind:

Climate Science
Renewable Energy
Public Education
Workers’ Rights/Labor Unions
Social Security
Medicare
ACA/Medicaid
Abortion
Contraception
Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes
Immigration Reform
Gun Control (any or all issues therein)
Environmental Protection (EPA)
Raising Minimum Wage
Food Stamps
Tax Reform

If they’re generally against all of that (and more, I’m sure), what are they uniformly FOR? I can only come up with three:

Impeaching Obama
War (most anywhere)
Enriching their Corporate and Wall Street Benefactors

I know I’m missing a whole bunch of issues on the ‘against’ side, maybe even one or two on the ‘for’ side. What’s missing? Contributions welcome!

OPEN THREAD

 

 

Sunday Roast: April 7, 2013 – Spring?

It feels at least like 84 years since I’ve last seen spring. We are still having patches of snow and there is more sleet in the forecast. For Heaven’s sake it is April. In former years my roses were already budding at this time. Small wonder everybody is tired and cranky all the time.

And now I read it is, again, man-made. The jet stream is too far south for a while now, so cold and wet weather prevails where I am. The effects of climate change.

This is an Open Thread. How are you today?

The Death of a Nation (a retrospective on the W. Bush era, Part 5: ENVIRONMENTAL)

Environmental destruction certainly isn’t anything new; it’s been going on, thanks to the human presence, for centuries millennia at least. Nonetheless, it really picked up speed during the first years following the W. Bush presidential (s)election of December, 2000, during which time he carried forth and invariably served “the dream” of Republicans everywhere, i.e. their unending pursuit of biosphere destruction and collapse — courtesy mainly of inborn stupidity, but always in consort with that eternal greed-based quest for evermore profit and power.

There seems little doubt that the policies of W. Bush greatly accelerated the rush toward the environmental ‘tipping point’, i.e. that moment when human-caused (global) environmental changes become permanent, when the biosphere modifies sufficiently to insist the extinction of species after species after species simply because the planet’s physiography has gradually deteriorated in ways unfriendly to the vast majority of existing life forms.

Following is a (March, 2005) review of various elements implicit in the Bush environmental travesty. Embedded may well be found an occasional ‘editorial’ comment, one which may be (properly) interpreted as being somewhat biased toward the views of the writer, an obviously passionate environmentalist-tree-hugger. Me.

Sadly, the issues which drive environmental destruction are not dead; they are, in fact, as alive today as ever, and will become exceedingly moreso should the Romney-Ryan ticket prevail on November 6, 2012.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

**********

   Environmental:

“. . . with the coming of civilization the grasses and the wild flowers perish, the forest falls, and its place is taken by brambles, the mountains are blasted in the search for minerals, the plains are broken by the plow and the soil is gradually washed into the rivers.  Last of all, when the forests have gone the rains cease falling, the streams dry up, the ground parches and yields no life, and the artificial desert — the desert made by the tramp of human feet — begins to show itself. Yes; everyone must have cast a backward glance and seen Nature’s beauties beaten to ashes under the successive marches of civilization . . .” (John C. Van Dyke, ca. 1900)

It’s a non-arguable fact of life, so to speak, that the earth’s environment, especially the biosphere, the earth-atmosphere interface in which life exists, is critical to … well, it’s critical to the existence of life.  That is, of course, unless one happens to be a Bush Republican, at which point the biosphere becomes little more than just another big word, one that sounds like something a tree-hugger might speak in the same breath as ‘ecology’ or ‘endangered species’;  tree-huggers: you know, those weirdos that think trees and owls and undeveloped land are worth more than the money they can bring in.

I would only wish that last statement be hyperbole and not an understated fact.

There’s but one way to say it charitably:  George W. Bush is the most environmentally destructive president this nation has ever had, bar none.  To read of his actions, or even to watch him attempt to circuitously lie his way out of the environmental atrocities which he’s heaped up around himself and across the nation is to realize that here must surely stand a man devoid of character, devoid of soul.  How else, after all, to explain such solicitous contempt for one’s only home?  It’s sometimes difficult to imagine the origins of those who are so callous; it’s difficult to ponder how it is that anyone can devolve sufficiently to exist as if a completely vacant lot, a slab of such emptiness, a shallowness so deep that nothing – not even the barest weed of life can manage to wend its way to the surface. Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole: August 11 – The Mayan Calendar

The Aztec calendar, an adaptation of the Mayan calendar

August 11, 3114 BCE in the Gregorian calendar marks base 0 or creation on the of the Mesoamerican Long Count or Mayan calendar. December 12, 2012 marks when the 5th creation is slated to start.

That is when all shit hits the fan. It is not clear whether the new creation is in a new universe or the one we live in will be replaced in its stead. In any case, plan for a short Xmas shopping season and be sure to turn out the lights if you are the last to leave.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 – Hump Day: A Tale of Two Countries’ Camels


The country of Somalia has been much in the news for several major crises: civil war, warlords, pirates, a United States rendition prison camp, and the worst problem of all compounding the horror for Somalians: continuing and devastating drought conditions causing the deaths of livestock such as cattle and goats. But what makes this drought, considered by experts to be the worst in 60 years, so much worse, is what one would have believed to be unthinkable: even the camels, the “ships of the desert”, able to withstand weeks without water, are dying.

While Kenya and Ethiopia are also being affected by the ongoing drought, Somalia has felt the brunt of it due to the political situation: warlords first allowing, then banning, UN and other aid organizations; warlords intercepting famished families traveling to refugee camps, often taking what little these poor people have. Most of the refugees are nomadic herders, depending almost entirely on their camels and other livestock for their food and market value. One herder refugee, who used to consider himself to be a rich man, lost more than 300 camels out of his herd of 350.

According to AZG Daily, in an article entitled “CLIMATE CHANGE ‘THREATENS PEACE’, UN OFFICIAL WARNS”

“[The UN] Security Council formally debated the environment for the first time in four years, with Germany pressing for the first-ever council statement linking climate change to global peace and security…It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on global trouble-spots….”The move came after two regions of Somalia were declared a famine, after the worst drought in six decades.”

Read more articles regarding this tragedy here, here, here, and here.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who recently visited the devastated region, is calling for additional funding for the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, and other organizations, to try to avoid further catastrophe.

In the meantime, Australia is facing a problem with their own camel population: too many wild camels, whose methane-laden flatulence is reportedly increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some scientists have suggested a solution of killing off much of Australia’s wild camel population, estimated at as many as 1.2 million.

Hmmm…Somalia is losing camels, while Australia has a whopping and troubling surplus of camels. Why can’t U.N. officials and international aid organizations figure out a way to solve both problems? Yes, the solution would have to involve providing an irrigation method and replanting of the drought-stricken flora, but there must be a way to save the people and livestock of Somalia, and the camel population of Australia. I can’t help believing that better minds than mine could come up with a solution; I just hope that someone can do so before both situations are beyond saving.

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

Tornados of April 2011

What a crazy, terribly tragic month for weather.

This was a fascinating video. From the NOAA site:

The U.S. experienced unprecedented tornado activity throughout the month of April 2011. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received 875 tornado reports during that month alone; 625 have been confirmed as tornadoes, so far. Many of these storms were concentrated during 7 different major outbreaks, mostly in the Southern U.S. The largest of these outbreaks occurred during April 27-28, leaving over 300 people dead as over 180 storms were reported from Texas to Virginia.

This animation shows the GOES-East infrared imagery from April 1-30, along with the locations of each tornado that formed during the time (symbolized as red dots). Though tornadoes cannot actually be seen by GOES, these satellites are instrumental in being able to detect the conditions associated with their formation. As the resolution of GOES has increased with each successive satellite series, so have the warning times for tornadoes. The future GOES-R satellite will provide even higher resolution and storm prediction capability, especially with the use of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper sensor. The actual tornado locations are acquired from the Storm Prediction Center, which uses both NEXRAD radar and ground reports to generate a detailed database of tornadoes in the U.S.

And we are only about halfway through tornado season.

Read this post today by Chris Hedges at Truthdig:

The Sky Really Is Falling

The Watering Hole: May 20 – Global Warming

On May 20th, 1845, two ships under the command of Sir John Franklin in search of a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific through waters north of the Canadian Shield. The richly provisioned Royal expedition was never heard from again.

Later Arctic expeditions revealed that the entire crews of both ships perished during that effort. 20th century forensics of the remains of some expedition members revealed that there were heavy concentrations of lead in their systems. These came from the lead-tin alloy used to seal the tin containers used at the time. The lack of fresh fruit led to scurvy as well in expedition members.

The expedition was ice-locked in 1846 and things when from bad to worse from then on. The last surviving members perished about 1850. From native reports, cannibalism was used as a final resort for survival.

Today, several Northwest Passages are open year-round due to the effects of shrinkage of the Northern ice-cap (Map above). This is due to non-existent Global Warming. One would think that the members of the Franklin Expedition would have been grateful if such an effect had occurred prior to 1845.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Deniers lose another one

This is one check the Koch Brothers are certainly regretting: $150,000 to the Berkeley Earth Service Temperature project, run by a long-time critic of Climate Change science, was intended to bolster the deniers with some hard data. Somehow, things didn’t work out quite as expected and the news came out in a Congressional committee meeting intending to support the attack on the EPA. Somehow, I don’t think this is what the Kochs had in mind.

But Muller unexpectedly told a congressional hearing last week that the work of the three principal groups that have analyzed the temperature trends underlying climate science is “excellent…. We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.”

It will be interesting to observe how much attention (if any) is given to the Berkeley project results. Perhaps Fox News will give it wide coverage and their pundits and “journalists” will be quick to concede they’d had it wrong. Or maybe not.

But conservative critics who had expected Muller’s group to demonstrate a bias among climate scientists reacted with disappointment.

Anthony Watts, a former TV weatherman who runs the skeptic blog WattsUpWithThat.com, wrote that the Berkeley group is releasing results that are not “fully working and debugged yet…. But, post normal science political theater is like that.”

Over the years, Muller has praised Watts’ efforts to show that weather station data in official studies are untrustworthy because of the urban heat island effect, which boosts temperature readings in areas that have been encroached on by cities and suburbs.

But leading climatologists said the previous studies accounted for the effect, and the Berkeley analysis is confirming that, Muller acknowledged. “Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming?” he asked in his written testimony. “We’ve studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.”

Muller’s testimony must have felt like a slap in the face to the GOP members of the Science & Technology Committee, who were expecting a golden opportunity to scoff at Global Climate Change and urge the increased exploitation of non-renewable energy sources. Perhaps in the future the Koch Brothers will demand results before cutting a check.

 

Plunge pool

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness in Southwestern New Mexico received a good blanket of snow this past winter, more than has been seen in many years.

The usually intermittent streams had beautiful waterfalls this spring, many of which have already dwindled now that the snow is completely gone.

I took this picture in East Railroad Canyon, standing about 50 feet above the stream, hence the odd perspective.