People or Profits?

Trump wants people to go back to work, now.

Texas’ Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is willing to risk getting sick and dying for the sake of the economy…”for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren”.

Here’s what will happen if we end “shelter in place”:

https://covidactnow.org/state/CA?fbclid=IwAR2LsASB2Xn0WgnOrCFr9unH06zWn-ts1930gXahG6Rlw2ZQVFpVvCHXxIY

In Italy, where the healthcare system is already overwhelmed, people over 60 are taken off ventilators and left to die. California would hit that point in about 2 weeks if we end “shelter in place.” With a projected infection rate of >70%, within 2 months the population of citizens over age 60 could virtually disappear. Some 70 million U.S. citizens. Dead. 70 million. Sacrificed. To keep the wheels of commerce turning. To further the economic interests of some 120,000 – the richest 1/10th of 1%.

On the other hand, the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus is just what the planet needs to prevent catastrophic climate change that could lead to the extinction of all humans.

The choice is clear. The math undeniable.

People, or profits?

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,Tuesday April 12, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Six to 10 million years ago: Ice-free summers at the North Pole

Finally, Republicans can tout real science that global warming is not a man-made event. It happened before millions of years ago.

See, it happened before, when man was not around in sufficient numbers to eff things up.

Open thread.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday August 18, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Study: Temperature influences bird diversity loss in Mexico

“A wide-ranging study of gains and losses of populations of bird species across Mexico in the 20th century shows shifts in temperature due to global climate change are the primary environmental influence on the distributions of bird species.”

Read on…

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 29, 2015: In Three Minutes, Rick Santorum Proves He’s Unfit To Be POTUS

In the span of about three minutes, Rick Santorum proved he has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to how the Government is supposed to function, and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House, let alone be its lawful occupant. Ricky thinks that the recent ruling on Marriage Equality will mean the end of the United States. He believes promoting heterosexual marriage is not only necessary “for the survival of our country,” but more important than talking about climate change.

He began by complaining, as conservatives often do when the SCOTUS rules against them (on account of them being wrong so much), that judges have been entering into the political realm more and more over the past few decades. (Personally, I trace it back to Reagan’s appointees, but that’s probably just me.) He then goes onto complain that they’re “making law” (untrue) and that their job is to “be referees between the Executive and Congressional branches.” Actually, Ricky, it’s more properly referred to as the Legislative branch. And it’s not the job of the SCOTUS to just be referees between the POTUS and the Congress. In fact, that’s not really what their job is at all. Their job is to decide if laws passed by the Congress violate the Constitution. Conservatives like to think that anything a Legislative body passes is automatically constitutional because their job is to pass laws. But being the types who don’t like to follow rules imposed by others (including the framers of the Constitution), Conservatives feel that you’re wrong to ever call them wrong. Many red states are already saying they won’t follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and will refuse to allow same sex couples to marry. And they would be violating their oaths of office if they do so, and could and should face impeachment and removal from office. But they should also face permanent disqualification from ever holding public office again. That’s the mistake Alabama made when they impeached their SCOTUS-disrespecting Chief Justice Roy Moore for refusing to obey the SCOTUS when it said he couldn’t order the Ten Commandments displayed in front of the Court House. They kicked him out of office, but didn’t bar him from holding office again. And now he’s once again the Chief Justice of Alabama and refusing to follow the Constitution again. But that’s another topic.

Ricky thinks that by striking down all statewide bans on same-sex marriage as violations of the federal Constitution, the judges are making law. That is not at all what is happening. Striking down unconstitutional laws is not making laws, it’s nullifying improper ones. No state, no matter how fervently is citizens or (in most cases) its conservative legislature wants to do it, can pass a law repugnant to the Constitution. But then, Conservatives have never liked Marbury v. Madison, because they don’t like being told they can’t do what they want. So it’s not surprising that Ricky thinks the SCOTUS should: a) no longer have lifetime appointments and be elected, instead; b) not have jurisdiction over certain topics; and, c) be required to hear all appeals to their rulings. That’s not at all the way the framers intended it, Ricky. They didn’t want the federal judiciary to be forced to run for office because they knew they would have to appeal to the lowest common denominator to get elected, and that often results in bad judges with misguided priorities. They also intended the jurisdiction of the Judicial branch of our government to be able to settle all disputes, not just the ones you feel comfortable letting them decide. And they also intended that their rulings be final and the Law of the Land. But then that would mean not letting Conservatives do whatever they want to do to the rest of us with impunity.

The Fox News hosts then went on to lament that heterosexual marriage is in decline and that more and more people are choosing to raise families out of wedlock, and that might somehow be a bad thing. But Ricky thinks that instead of using the power of the bully pulpit to discuss climate change, that the president should be putting all of that energy into trying to promote heterosexual marriage. Is that really a valid argument to the declaration that marriage need not depend on the genders of the two people getting married? That’s where it started, but Ricky and the Fox hosts think that all children should be raised in a home where the parents are married. That would be nice, except it doesn’t match Reality. In real life, people die or get divorced, and children grow up with only one parent. That doesn’t make them bad or immoral people, but the way Conservatives talk about “family,” you’d think any kid who grew up without both a male and female parent in the house could never turn out good. (Presidents Clinton and Obama might disagree.) But if marriage is something never once mentioned in the Constitution, and if it’s therefore supposed to be left entirely up to the states to decide who can and cannot enter into these civil arrangements (which, legally, is all they are), then why does Ricky think the president should be talking about it? Why shouldn’t the president talk about Climate Change, and what we should do to counter or slow its worsening effects?

Climate Change is real. It’s not a hoax cooked up by climate scientists to make a lot of money. It is being worsened by human activity, specifically but not limited to, the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. (There’s no such thing as “clean burning fossil fuels.” The fossil fuel industry just wants you to believe that, or to doubt those of us who rightly claim it’s a lie.) We are close to the point where the cumulative effects of pumping all that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will not only make the air unbreathable (since we insist on letting the rain forests, those things with all the living things that can breath carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, be destroyed at a breath-taking rate), it will also raise the overall temperature of the planet. This will cause the oceans to warm up and provide storms with more heat and energy. This will cause the storms we do get, no matter what time of year, to be larger, more intense, and more destructive. You can expect to hear about record breaking storms for the next few decades. In fact, if you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. Will fighting the problem cost money? Of course it will, don’t be silly. The reason the situation is as bad as it is is precisely because we tried to find the least expensive ways to produce energy, instead of the smartest ways. Conservatives would have you believe that anything that reduces profits is a bad thing, even if what the profits are being diverted from is killing the planet. And we can’t regulate businesses to stop polluting our biosphere, because government regulations make the Baby Jesus cry.

I’m getting tired of these people.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Little Ricky Santorum, marriage equality, climate change, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 9th, 2015: Monday Morning Morons

I know that we do a lot of Right-Wing-Nut-Job (RWNJ) bashing here, much of it about the more Rabid Religious amongst them (RRRWNJ) but…well, both (often overlapping) groups just come up with so many things that invite ridicule, they’re their own worst enemy. Just look at last week alone (in case you missed some of these):

Being gay is worse than Murder and Genocide. Yes, now, according to “Pastor” Scott Lively, homosexuality is the Number One sin against God. An excerpt from Right Wing Watch’s article:

“Last month, rabidly anti-gay activist Scott Lively warned that if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, it could lead to the rise of the Antichrist by the end of the year.”

In an interview with Bryan Fischer on Friday, “Lively told Fischer that America is about to cross “a line with God that hasn’t occurred in the entire history of the world since Noah’s flood” – which Lively claims was caused by god because god apparently hates gays. Back in January of 2013, Lively had stated:

“We need to remember that in the time leading up to the Flood what the rabbis teach about the last straw for God before He brought the Flood was when they started writing wedding songs to homosexual marriage and Jesus said that you’ll know the End Times because it will be like the days of Noah. There’s never been a time in the history of the world since before the Flood when homosexual marriage has been open and celebrated, and that’s another sign that I believe that we’re close to the end.”

(Snip)

“I think this is the issue of the End Times, homosexuality. It’s present, if you do a careful investigation of all the scriptures dealing with this from the beginning and all the way to the end, God is painting a very clear picture that this represents the outer extent of rebellion against Him in a society and the last thing that happens before wrath comes.”

Okay…first, I thought that President Barack “Hussein” Obama was the AntiChrist in RWNJ eyes. So there’s another one? Second, I don’t know what religious sect/cult Lively is the “Pastor” of, but if it’s based on Christianity in any way, then I must have been dozing throughout my 13 years of Catholic schools.

Anyhoo…today, “Pastor” Lively is urging his followers and other groups to, according to his “Open Letter to America”

“…band together in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to promote and conduct a continual prayer vigil and stand-out for marriage at SCOTUS (or any Federal Courthouse for those who can’t get there) from now until the ruling comes out, probably in June…”
“This is a general call to all believers to go to SCOTUS alone or in groups to pray and hold signs. Churches and other organizations can choose dates or times to rally their own troops if they like and/or hold press conferences etc., but let’s all just put out the word to whatever circle of influence we have and let the Holy Spirit stir hearts.

I am asking every Christian and pro-family radio talk host to promote this vigil, and perhaps do a broadcast from the site. Large organizations could provide logistical support…”

(snip)

“Only God can save us from the calamity and disgrace of defiling His institution of marriage in our official national policy.

Let us take the authority we have in Him, and the freedom we have as Americans, to join together to surround the federal judges with such a hedge of prayer that they will be forced to bow their knee to the one who created marriage as the foundation of all human civilization — one man and one woman.”

Hmm, “god created marriage as the foundation of all civilization”? I don’t remember any wedding performed by god himself–you’d think that the bible would have mentioned that, huh? And now Scott Lively thinks that the entire Supreme Court of the United States should get on their knees for something other than sucking Koch and refer all decisions to Lively’s god? I realize that one or two of the Justices would be happy to do so, but all nine? Rather unconstitutional, don’tcha think?

Back to Lively’s call for a prayer vigil: from BibleGateway, the 1599 Geneva Bible version, here’s 2 Chronicles 7:14:

14 If my people, among whom my Name is called upon, do humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear in heaven and be merciful to their sin, and will heal their land”
Footnotes: 2 Chronicles 7:14 I will cause the pestilence to cease and destroy the beasts that hurt the fruits of the earth, and send rain in due season.

I’m not sure how Lively uses this as an anti-gay call to march/pray, as neither 2 Chronicles 6, nor the remainder of 2 Chronicles 7, makes any reference to homosexuality. But I’m sure that Lively’s twisted interpretation is a masterpiece of pulling it out of his ass, so to speak. Considering how many whoppers he produces, one could probably drive an SUV up his asshole–well, a 4WD SUV, anyway.

Well, let’s leave “Pastor” Lively to his unChristian vigil, and go on to:

OMG, Christians are being persecuted – again! Poor embattled Ken Ham (“Answers In Genesis”, Creation Museum) is whining about being denied $18 million in tax breaks for his planned Noah’s Ark park by the State of Kentucky’s Tourism Board. The Board “cited AIG’s stated intention to discriminate based on religion in its hiring of theme park employees and to use the taxpayer-subsidized park for religious evangelism…” On a RW radio program last week, Ham stated:

“If Christians just keep accommodating and allowing this to happen more and more, we will lose that free exercise of religion.”

“It’s more and more of that trying to eliminate the Christian freedom that we have in this nation,” he said.

Yes, of course…those poor, poor Christians having to cave to the Constitution. I just don’t know how they’ll manage to keep practicing their faith, what with all their churches being shut down and religious leaders arrested, and…oh, wait, that never happens. But, but…tax breaks!

And lastly, in a switch away from the RRRWNJs to the “normal” RWNJs, Fox News’ pet climate change denier, Mark Morano of climatedepot.com, is very upset. According to RawStory, he does NOT like the idea that “Google’s popular web-search engine is being re-engineered to direct users to more “trustworthy” websites, saying “Let the public decide what’s the truth…” The article goes on to say:

“The proposed changes at Google would move websites up in the rankings based upon truth and not popularity.

Morano, who previously worked for Rush Limbaugh and climate change-denying Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), says this would be[sic] put him at a disadvantage.

Well, fucking DUH.

This is our daily Open Thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

The Watering Hole: Tuesday September 23, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics

So the climate march was big, almost 400,000 in New York. Will it change anything? Did 500,000 marchers stop the Iraq war from going forward? Well the UN Secretary marched in this one, but I’m afraid climate change will be addressed locally for the next who knows how many years. Nothing will change in Washington. We need  Democratic presidents to continue to be elected until the Supreme Court can be changed, so that gerrymandering can be legally ceased, and this the balance of power (one person = one vote) can be restored. Right now Republicans hold a hugely unfair advantage in many rust belt and mid Atlantic states because of the way districts are drawn at the state rep level and the congressional level. I weep when I think of how long it will take for our political apartheid (marginalizing Democratic majorities) to be rectified. This will be a 50-100 year war, I am afraid. The stakes are high. The powerful never relinquish willingly.

 

 

The Watering Hole, Tuesday April 1, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

April Fools!!!!!!!

 

Too tired to be clever, so I’ll leave that to others.

1. Time to Vege Up! Cut out the meat and the cheese if you want to save the world.  

“If agricultural emissions are not addressed, nitrous oxide from fields and methane from livestock may double by 2070. This alone would make meeting the climate target essentially impossible.”

2. Last week it was Chernobyl, this week Three Mile Island is celebrating an anniversary. I actually remember this one pretty well. Just met Cats and lived in Reading, PA, about 60 miles downwind of the disaster. Have we learned anything yet?

3. GMO labeling won’t go away. Food Democracy showing signs of resurgence in California, Colorado. Referenda – the people speak.

 

OPEN THREAD!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 25, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread


Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Has it been thirty years since Chernobyl? Although no people live in the extensive exclusion zones around the epicenter, animals, trees and other plants still show signs of radiation poisoning. The saga of nuclear accident: a poisoned earth refuses to heal.

It ain’t the fat. It appears that the presence of saturated fat in foods has very little influence on cholesterol levels, and other aspects of heart disease. Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats. 

Climate change – it’s not all bad news:   The long tailed tit likes warm dry springs.     

 

Open Thread – Discuss

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 1, 2014: Time Check

With a week to go until the unnecessary onset of Daylight Savings Time (we’ll talk about that next Saturday), it may have crossed your mind to wonder just how your smart phone knows what time it is. After all, it probably came out of the package knowing the time and date, and you didn’t do that. (I don’t know how they look when you get them, because I don’t own a smart phone, or anything like it, and likely never will.) Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, Chief Scientist for United States Naval Observatory’s Time Services, explains how in this fascinating video.

None of this would be possible, of course, if not for Science, the vigorously-tested, well-documented study of how things work, and how they can theoretically be made to work better. Without a strong foundation in Science, Humanity cannot face the problems our planet, and our species, will endure. The overall average temperature of the planet is slowly rising. Most of the ten hottest years on record have been within the last ten years. This is undeniable. It is also undeniable that human activity (specifically, but not limited to, the excessive burning of fossil fuels) is a contributing factor to this very real warming trend. Those of you out there who’ve been paying attention understand the ripple effect a warming atmosphere has on the climate, and how it changes the weather to certain parts of the globe. It’s a problem all of Humanity must face, not just Americans. But the United States must be a leader in confronting these facts. The climate is changing, and denying that this is so is not being a part of the solution, it’s being an asshole.

So it doesn’t help that the Republicans have make a mockery of Science by appointing to the Science Committees in both Houses people who do not believe in Science. One of them, Dr. Paul Broun, an alleged doctor, and a potential future Senator, once called Evolution (among other things), “…lies straight from the pit of Hell.” Senator James Inhofe thankfully doesn’t sit on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, but he does sit on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, from which he published his own argument that while the climate is indeed changing, as it often has, he says

Today, even saying there is scientific disagreement over global warming is itself controversial. But anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate apocalyptic natural
disasters.

In all fairness, it should be noted that he receives a lot of campaign financing from the oil and gas industry, just in case you thought his opinion was arrived at intellectually. He’s also one of those folks who think that humans couldn’t possibly be destroying the planet because God promised us after the Great Flood that he wouldn’t destroy the planet again. He doesn’t seem to understand that humans can destroy the planet without the help of any gods.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss anything you want.

Watering Hole; Tuesday February 11, 2014 Open Thread- Food and Environmental Politics.

It appears that global warming is having just the effect that climate deniers and their exploitation pals want, in of all places Greenland. My suggestion? Trademark the name Brownland. Here they come.

Even though wind power is doing well during this cold snap, put your money on more fracking. Natural gas supplies are down, meaning stocks prices are up. Forget environmental health  …follow the money.

And now for some good news (of sorts). When we lived back in Pennsylvania, there was a place about 45 minutes away called Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. It was established in the 1930’s when a rich socialite found out that hunters were indiscriminately killing hawks and other birds of prey that used this flyway just north of Hamburg, PA. She bought the mountain and chased away the hunters.

This year’s Rachel Carson award goes to a National Geographic writer who exposed senseless killing of migratory waterfowl through Albania. Proves one thing
-the dumbfucks are everywhere.

So our colder than normal (the new normal that is) winter in the Northeast and Midwest has climate deniers tisk, tisking at enviros. So, let’s see what the explanations is for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Oh, I know, they mis-named it. Pass the tanning lotion please.

Carry on…

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 17, 2013: Your Coriolis Is Showing

It occurred to me that the reason we get storms in the East and droughts in the West is because we have the Atlantic Ocean “sloshing” up against our shores, bringing more hurricanes and precipitation to our side of the country, while the West doesn’t have an ocean of water sloshing upon it. Likewise, the Pacific Ocean brings typhoons to the Eastern shores of Asia, while Europe gets droughts because there isn’t as much water coming its way. Okay, so I’m not the first one to notice that.

The oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide because of the fossil fuels we burn. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, which reflects heat back toward the Earth. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more carbon dioxide falling in to the oceans. Which means the oceans are warmer. Warmer oceans give more energy to the storms that are produced. (There aren’t necessarily more storms being produced, but the storms that are being produced are stronger.) And we get, every once in a while, a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandy. Except we’re no longer getting them “every once in a while,” we’re getting them all the time. How many times have you heard we were getting “the Storm of the Century”? How many centuries have you been alive?

This got me thinking about the Coriolis Effect. Here’s an interesting short explanation of it and how it affects the weather. Enjoy.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss the Coriolis Effect, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, or any other Effect you wish.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, May 22, 2013: Did the Government Create the Tornado that Hit Oaklahoma?

Ok, time to put on your tinfoil hats. This author has seen these “chemtrails” – numerous trails flowing from jets cris-crossing the sky or making long arcs. Commercial jets don’t fly in an arc – they take the shortest route to their destination.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that our government is undertaking to change the weather on a hemispheric basis, what are the consequences? Is the government trying to increase precipitation to alleviate the drought caused by global warming? Are they factoring in the fact that by creating storm systems, or drawing storm systems further south than they would have otherwise traveled, that they are also creating monster tornadoes, storms that are guaranteed to cause billions of dollars in damage & kill unknown and unknowable numbers of citizens? Is this the price we pay to maintain American Agribusiness? Would there be an even greater price if the drought caused by climate change produced massive food shortages & famines?

The Zoo presents this tip of the iceberg. It is up to you, dear readers, to look further, to inquire, to inform yourself and draw your own conclusions. Suffice to say, there is too much at stake here for the mainstream/corporate media to report on this story.

And, no, this is not a satire.

OPEN THREAD

KNOWING IS JUST THE BEGINNING

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?

Climate Change and Global Bankruptcy

I am reading a book right now by a nuclear engineer from Australia (Ron Nielsen) titled The Little Green Handbook published in 2005 before Katrina. I had of course a jaundiced eye but in one of the chapters he eschews nuclear as having considerable little value in future energy solutions and dislikes the massive nuclear waste by-product (people can reform, you know). In any event, he posits that if the world continues on the most likely track of ‘business as usual’ we are poised to experience by 2039 global bankruptcy. The assumption is that business and governments cannot continue to absorb the costly superstorms that will be spawned by the climate change phenomenon. Sandy damage predictions (on the heels of Irene in the Mid Atlantic and New England last year) seem to bear out these predictions. If you recall, there were devastating floods in Europe 2 years ago and 10 foot snows in Romania last winter and you have the case by case evidence that keeps building towards irreversible global collapse of the infrastructure of civilization. Not a pretty picture if we don’t do something soon. Not finished the book yet, but he appears high on wind power as the most reliable alternative to reduce carbon emissions.

Link to Sandy damage estimates:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-economic-damages-new-york-northeast-billions_n_2039004.html?1351527173

Just a Sunday roundup


[Image source]

“I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight,” said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “because my conscience leaves me no other choice.”

This was on the evening of April 4, 1967, almost exactly 43 years ago. Dr. King told the more than 3,000 people who had crowded into Riverside Church that silence in the face of the horror that was taking place in Vietnam amounted to a “betrayal.”  Bob Herbert, CommonDreams

Texas lawmakers will try to use a 1995 Supreme Court decision in a gun case as a central argument.

A bit of an earthquake in Baja!

Justice John Paul Stevens, “I have to fish or cut bait.”

Use of the death penalty is decreasing worldwide.  China takes home the prize for being #1.

Meet the Top 100 corporate air polluters!

Here’s the top 10:

1. Bayer

2. ExxonMobil

3. Sunoco

4. E.I. du Pont de Nemours

5. ArcelorMittal

6. Steel Dynamics, Inc.

7. Archer Daniels Midland Co.

8. Ford Motor Company

9. Eastman Kodak Co.

10. Koch Industries

Breaking: So much for “Climategate”

The climate change deniers are not going to like this:

The first of several British investigations into the e-mails leaked from one of the world’s leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved.

The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they’d seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming — two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact,” adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.”

Lately, there has been a constant squawk from the Right that the stolen emails “proved” that Global Warming aka Climate Change was a big fat hoax. Never mind that virtually none of those making the biggest noise had any idea what the documents and emails really said, they just “knew” they were right.

And those deniers are really going to hate this bit:

Phil Willis, the committee’s chairman, said of the e-mails that “there’s no denying that some of them were pretty appalling.” But the committee found no evidence of anything beyond “a blunt refusal to share data,” adding that the idea that Jones was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that weakened the case for global warming was clearly wrong.

In a briefing to journalists ahead of the report’s release, Willis said the controversy would ultimately help buttress the case for global warming by forcing the University of East Anglia — and other research institutions — to stop hoarding their data.

“The winner in the end will be climate science itself,” he said.

The coming response from deniers? That’s not terribly difficult to predict. When they mention the committee’s results at all, it will be to disparage them, disparage the committee and undoubtedly to disparage the British government in general. In the meantime, though, that’s got to sting.

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Copenhagen climate change conference: ‘Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation’

The Climate Conference is now underway in Denmark.

The Guardian:

This editorial calling for action from world leaders on climate change is published today by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages.
Copenhagen climate change summit – opening day liveblog

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

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Rep. Shimkus At Climate Change Hearing: “God Decides When The Earth Will End”

Shimkus’ opening statement, during which he read various Bible verses, before concluding: “The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Watch:

(h/t) ProgressIllinois

PE Barack Obama on Global Climate Change

This was one of the major points on my wish list for Barack Obama.

I am not the only one jubilant to see the future President of the United States acknowledge the severity of the problem. See him pledge to work with all countries to tackle the problem. Here is what The Independent has to say:

Prospects for success in the world’s struggle to combat global warming have been transformed at a stroke after US President-elect Barack Obama made it clear that America would play its full part in renewing the Kyoto Protocol climate-change treaty.

His words, in effect, brought an end to eight years of wilful climate obstructionism by the administration of George Bush, who withdrew the US from Kyoto in March 2001, thus doing incalculable damage to the efforts of the international community to construct a unified response to the threat. (read more)

Call me a fool, but I almost shed tears of relief. Many of us Europeans are desperate for reason to return to the White House. I can only say: Well done Americans!

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Obama To Quickly Reverse 200 Bush Actions

It would be so nice if we could just kick Bush & Cheney out now.  I’m getting impatient when I hear news such as this – that the Transistion Team already has a list of 200 actions and executive orders that are going to be reversed.  This is like a dream come true.  The Washington Post has the wide-range of actions that are on the list to be fixed once Obama takes office.

These orders range from climate change, to stem cell research, reproductive rights and many other issues, according to Democrats and experts they can be swiftly undone.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

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Dead dolphins wash up on gulf shore

The Raw Story

This is just so sad…

Marine officials are worried that they may be facing another significant dolphin die-off in the Gulf of Mexico after 21 of the marine mammals were found washed up on Texas beaches over two days.

The carcasses were discovered a year after about 70 dolphins washed up in the same area over a two week period.

“We are concerned, especially because (of) what happened last year,” said Blair Maise, the marine mammal stranding coordinator for the national marine fisheries service.

“There may be more.”

Researchers weren’t able to determine a cause for last year’s significant die-off because the animals’ carcasses were too decomposed when they were discovered.

The bottlenosed dolphins found on Monday and Tuesday on the Bolivar peninsula near Galveston, Texas were also badly decomposed, but officials are hopeful they may still be able to determine a cause.

They will also study satellite photos taken over the past three weeks to see if the dolphins could have been killed by a red tide, a harmful algal bloom which is becoming increasingly common in the Gulf.

“It’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, the red tide, but what’s unusual is the areas where we’re starting to see it more and the impact on the marine life,” Maise said.

We’re not the only ones, or the first ones, to be affected by climate change.