Blog Archives

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Wouldn’t you rather get back to real life?

David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Is it politics that causes climate change?

– and –

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

 

Will reality overcome idiocy?

– and –

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

What party chooses destructiveness over group participation?

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Which candidate regularly displays his knowledge of the lower middle class?

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

And how does a candidate expose his nemesis by committing the same things as the accusations he makes?

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Another hot day… and who says there is no Global Warming?

According to the Weather Bureau it’s going to get even hotter by Wednesday and we’ll all feel like hot dogs on a grill. The experts who have reported on the Weather Channel that this long stretch of heat is a sure sign of the existence of global warming, especially given the huge spread of the continent that it covers.

Those who disagree with that assumption… and for some reason the disagreement is political, which I have never understood… are saying “well, it’s summer,” but this contradicts years of summers before. As summer has just begun, I can’t wait to see what August, usually our really hot month, is like.

So stay inside with the AC on and keep as cool as you can. That’s what I’m doing.

To answer a question received by e-mail…

…yes, I change the background pattern on the blog every day (or two) and try my hardest never to repeat a pattern.

Paisley

I spend a lot of time searching for new patters that will make the blog stand out. Following users comments I stopped using moving images a while ago since they

detract from the posts. I do, however look for color that makes the pages stand out and patterns that make me relatively happy (like the “Paisley” I have up today.)

If you have a pattern you haven’t seen here that you’d like me to use, click on the mailbox and attach it to the e-mail.

Thanks, Bill.

The Daily Scoop: Better-educated Republicans doubt climate change; believe Obama’s Muslim

I’m really impressed by the concept “smart idiots effect” which turns up later in the article (when Mashed Potato Bulletin switches over to Salon.) I had always thought that educated Republicans were reachable about Climate Change, but now I find it questionable. What do you think?

Mashed Potato Bulletin

I can still remember when I first realized how naïve I was in thinking—hoping—that laying out the “facts” would suffice to change politicized minds, and especially Republicanones. It was a typically wonkish, liberal revelation: One based on statistics and data. Only this time, the data were showing, rather awkwardly, that people ignore data and evidence—and often, knowledge and education only make the problem worse.

Someone had sent me a 2008 Pew report documenting the intense partisan divide in the U.S. over the reality of global warming.. It’s a divide that, maddeningly for scientists, has shown a paradoxical tendency to widen even as the basic facts about global warming have become more firmly established.
Read more…

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Culture Wars…

We are entering another month of the ongoing political culture wars next week, without really looking at the concerns of jobs, economics, climate change or any of the other real problems that need to be addressed.

Tuesday will be the Michigan and Arizona primaries, so the TV pundits are focusing on those states and in so doing are revealing some new cultural phenomena. For instance, in Arizona they are considering a new law that bans college teachers from cursing but allows students to carry guns. Got that? Gun violence good, language violence bad? And then… what is a naughty enough word to get a teacher fired? Will they be listed in the law?

The biggest insertion of cultural conflict into the process is, of course, religion. Between candidates who have been spoken to by God and encouraged to run, to major religious groups protesting established birth control legislation but supporting the penetration of vaginas to discourage abortions, the promotion of religion over secular politics is frightening… and disgusting.

These politicians are ready to scrap what we know of the scientific proof for climate change in order to promote more industries that pollute the air (listen to the righties cheer) or to ignore what is necessary to reduce the unbelievable growth of population. Don’t they see what is going on here?

I turn to the world of intellectual comedy to backup my views of religion, science and atheism (a belief area that I belong to… but like most atheists don’t try to inflict my beliefs on other people using the replacement of secular law.) Here’s Eddie Izzard:

Even if you don’t agree with Eddie (or me), I hope you were at least entertained… and will think about how to get away from the culture wars and back to solving our real problems.

(BTW, Eddie Izzard will soon be appearing in a new version of Treasure Island playing Long John Silver. Can’t wait.)

(Stupid) Quote of the Day

Climate Change is…

“an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life…

“When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”

Rick Santorum speaking in Colorado

In his article in TPM on Santorum’s little speech, Sahil Kapur also put this in:

But lest you believe Santorum’s thinking is hitherto unseen in the GOP. Rep. John Shimkus, in a 2009 congressional hearing, cited the Book of Genesis as evidence that climate change is a hoax, pointing out that God promised Noah that man won’t destroy the Earth. Shimkus was subsequently rewarded with the Chairmanship of the powerful Energy & Commerce subcommittee on the environment.

Don’t you love the Religious Right? Isn’t the Book of Genesis the one that never explains where all the other people beyond Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel come from? And there’s a talking snake.

A message from Al Gore:

Tomorrow, people from around the world will join hands to create 24 Hours of Reality. I hope you’ll join us. Together, we’re going to focus the world’s attention on the scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis.

24 Hours of Reality begins at 7 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, September 14. Over the course of the day, there will be 24 presentations across 24 time zones in 13 languages. I’ll be presenting in the final hour at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

Use our simple tool to set a reminder so you don’t miss it.

http://climaterealityproject.org/reminder/

Together, we’re going to take a stand against the “new normal.” We’re going to remove any doubt stirred up by deniers.

Together, we’re going to catalyze urgency around an issue that impacts every one of us.

Find a presentation in your language or your part of the world and use our tool to schedule a reminder email. You’ll receive 15 minutes before the event.

http://climaterealityproject.org/reminder
/

Make sure you’re a part of this event. Make time. Tell your friends and followers you’re participating and encourage them to join you. At the bottom of this email, you’ll find some easy links to help you spread the word.

I’m truly excited for tomorrow and I hope you are, too.

Sincerely,

Al Gore
Founder and Chairman
The Climate Reality Project

The Heat Keeps Up…

Looks like the extreme heat is going to keep up for the next few days according to the Weather Channel. The rain they predicted (scattered of course) for last night didn’t occur here in Shepherdstown, WV, so we have still more garden watering to do before we lose our fruits and vegetables (and sunflowers…beautiful sunflowers) to the awful weather.

To some, this is proof that Climate Change is actually happening as announced by the majority of scientists specializing in this stuff. Rush Limbaugh is, I hope, running around in this oven with a sweater on to prove his point. With any luck he’ll collapse from the heat (and blame his fall on Obama.)

As long as the AC is on, I’m spending most of my time in here watching the Republicans shaft Boehner on C-Span.

Quote of the Day – What has Obama done about Climate Change…

Al Gore doesn’t think he’s done very much at all.

This from a piece called Climate of Denial in Rolling Stone:

President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community … to bring the reality of the science before the public.”

There is one other quote from later in this superb article (which shows one of the many reasons that Gore is our leading advocate of finding a solution to Climate Change) that sums up the poor support Obama has given to this life-affecting problem:

“… President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that “drill, baby, drill” is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil.

So what can we do about the abandonment of Climate Change focus by the administration? Gore lays out five distinct things we can all do at the end of his essay. Since it runs over a page, I’ll just link to it HERE. It is worth your while to go in and read it.

Of course the most obvious of the five solutions is to put pressure on the President, or Representatives and our Senators, and everyone else involved at the Cabinet level. If we don’t push for the decisions that will, hopefully, start turning around the changes in our climate, then they won’t be made. As Gore says:

“Why do you think President Obama and Congress changed their game on “don’t ask, don’t tell?” It happened because enough Americans delivered exactly that tough message to candidates who wanted their votes.”

Can you imagine what a great President Al Gore would have made instead of…oh, what was the name of that jackass that left us in debt and at war? A Republican, wasn’t he?

A Quote for the Morning as I look out the Window at the Weather

Bill McKibben

“We’re making the Earth a more dynamic and violent place. … We’re trapping more of the sun’s energy in this narrow envelope of atmosphere, and that’s now expressing itself in many ways. We don’t know for sure that any particular tornado comes from climate change. There have always been tornadoes. We do know that we’re seeing epic levels of thunderstorm activity, of flooding, of drought, of all the things that climatologists have been warning us about.”

– Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org

Something else we are not doing anything about…don’t you wonder, as Amy Goodman says, “Why aren’t the TV meteorologists, with each story, following the words ‘extreme weather‘ with another two, ‘climate change’?”

Elly and I have cut down on our electricity use, kept our driving to necessities only, and kept the air conditioner off unless the heat becomes unbearable. We try to buy products from companies who have a positive carbon reduction plan as well.

Now all we need is politicians to get behind this as well and keep their great lobbying energy company supporters (are you listening Rockefeller, Manchin, Capito?) at bay. Right now, it doesn’t look like it.

Quote of the Day – So where does Romney stand now?

After moving as far to the right as he could and changing his past “moderate” positions to very conservative ones, Romney came out in New Hampshire yesterday accepting the left-ish view on Global Warming:

“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that. It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”

Of course the view that humans are contributing to climate change is highly controversial one in GOP circles. Most conservatives fiercely dispute the notion that Earth is warming at all. This does not put Romney, who is having trouble enough getting around his Massachusetts Health Care plan with Republicans, anywhere near the potential for their universal support.

Of course, he does know the real story of Paul Revere’s Ride.

Quote of Stupidity

 

 

“God is not capricious. He’s given us a creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything.”

— Republican State Rep. Mike Beard of Minnesota on God’s infinite largesse and why it should put our minds at ease about strip mining the planet

(Thanks to Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent.)

 

But retired environmental lawyer Chuck Dayton sees it another way. This from Minyanville.com:

He explains that the United Methodist Church said, “We, as stewards, have failed to live into our responsibility to care for creation,” the U.S. Catholic Bishops said that the Church’s “response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for God’s creation,”  and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said, “We see the despoiling of the environment as nothing less than the degradation of God’s gracious gift of creation.”

“It’s just plain wrong-headed to think that divine intervention will fix everything,” Dayton says. “One could say, ‘Well, life persisted and got better [after the six mass extinctions in the Earth’s history], ’cause here we are, the pinnacle of creation, so that was all a part of God’s plan.’”

Thunderstorm last night… rain at last!

It has been dry here for so long…what a relief to have a day when I don’t have to force water the garden. The thunder started booming at Midnight last night… my smaller dog Byron is afraid of thunder, so he followed at my heels as I went around the house closing windows on the rain-in side.

Checking the weather on line, it’s supposed to rain again today. The grass may turn green again from the dead brown it has become. We have had only about half the rainfall this year as we had last year, and last year was less than the year before. The climate change is affecting us here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as it is all over the country… and it’s not good. We have water now to regularly water gardens and wash cars, etc. What will happen if that water disappears?

I read the other day that by 2055, assuming everything continues as it is now going and we don’t take on any worldwide steps to stop or reverse the change, our water will be highly limited and what we have left will be too polluted to drink or use for farming. Time is working against us. I don’t imagine I’ll be around in 2055, but my son probably will… and my grandchildren, who are entering into a new world that I am, at this point, happy to avoid. Why can’t we convince the world that change has to be made now?

Long discussion with my wife on how to take on Global Warming…

Elly saw a movie last night, “The Age of Stupid,” presented by Sustainable Shepherdstown, and we talked about the difficulties of defeating Global Warming (or Climate Change) before it destroys us (The movie has the world ending in 2055 after nothing is done much earlier to make things less carbon-emitted.)

I wondered if we had not started already to reduce the major causes of this carbon phenomenon. Apparently we haven’t. Elly was most concerned with the major carbon emissions posed by flying ( first, because our son is planning to move to Wisconsin after he gets his graduate degree and she wants to visit him and flying is the solution for quick visits; second, because she wants to travel to Europe and other parts of the world.)

While certain things are possible immediately if we have the gumption and will to do them (like painting all our roads, driveways and rooftops white… something we heard a guy lecture about on television… which would reflect sunlight back instead of soaking it up and making more heat), most won’t happen as long as our current political leaders are more consumed by money, elections and the opinions of the very wealthy corporations that cause much of the problem. There is a Lobbyist Limitation in the Climate Cooling sector!

One thing the movie pointed out was the number of people who say they support “alternative energy” such as windfarms, but have a distinctly NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) approach to the subject. They want the saving grace of non-carbon fueled energy (a real no no here in West Virginia which still depends on coal mining for jobs), they just don’t want to see it. The same holds true for solar panel farms which wold take up acres of local space.

In June of 2009, the US Global Change Research Project released its report on the effect of Climate Change in our country. The result, which challenges those who do not believe Global Warming is and actual process, are summed up in this report:

Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities.
_____________
Climate-related changes have already been observed globally and in the United States. These include increases in air and water temperatures, reduced frost days, increased frequency and intensity of heavy downpours, a rise in sea level, and reduced snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. A longer ice-free period on lakes and rivers, lengthening of the growing season, and increased water vapor in the atmosphere have also been observed. Over the past 30 years, temperatures have risen faster in winter than in any other season, with average winter temperatures in the Midwest and northern Great Plains increasing more than 7°F. Some of the changes have been faster than previous assessments had suggested.

Whatever the situation and whoever we, as individuals effected by our own extreme promotion of increased carbon emissions, claim to be does not seem to be making the necessary changes fast enough, if at all. Solutions are somewhat clear, but making them work is a whole other story… and one that we don’t seem ready for.

Here’s a Film Notice from Sustainable Shepherdstown

Sustainable Shepherdstown to show “Age of Stupid”

The Age of Stupid,” a British environmental film made in 2009, will be presented by local environmental group Sustainable Shepherdstown on Friday, September 10 at 7 p.m. at the Byrd Center Auditorium at Shepherd University. The film runs 89 minutes and is free of charge.
Oscar-winning actor Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off, The Usual Suspects) stars as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055 who asks: Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

Runaway climate change has ravaged the planet by 2055. Pete plays the founder of The Global Archive, a storage facility located in the (now melted) Arctic, preserving all of humanity’s achievements in the hope that the planet might one day be habitable again. He pulls together clips of “archive” news and documentary from 1950-2008 to build a message showing what went wrong and why. He focuses on six human stories: Alvin DuVernay, is a paleontogolist helping Shell find more oil off the coast of New Orleans. He also rescued more than 100 people after Hurricane Katrina, which, by 2055, is well known as one of the first “major climate change events”. Jeh Wadia in Mumbai aims to start-up a new low-cost airline and gets a million Indians flying. Layefa Malemi lives in absolute poverty in a small village in Nigeria from which Shell extracts tens of millions of dollars worth of oil every week. She dreams of becoming a doctor, but must fish in the oil-infested waters for four years to raise the funds. Jamila Bayyoud, aged 8, is an Iraqi refugee living on the streets of Jordan after her home was destroyed – and father killed – during the US-led invasion of 2003. Piers Guy is a windfarm developer from Cornwall fighting the NIMBYs of Middle England. 82-year-old French mountain guide Fernand Pareau has witnessed his beloved Alpine glaciers melt by 150 metres.

“This is a signally important film–a very clever and very powerful reminder of exactly where we stand on this fragile, lovely planet.”
Bill McKibben, Author, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“Think An Inconvenient Truth but with a personality.”
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

The Koch Brothers are at it again…

…this time they want to heat up California by spending a big million to break the state’s global warming initiative:
clipped from www.salon.com
Through one of their many subsidiaries, Flint Hills Resources, a Kansas petrochemical company, the Kochs just donated $1 million to Proposition 23, the California ballot initiative designed to sabotage the state’s global warming law, AB 32.
The Koch donation came a day after Tesoro, a Texas oil company that has been bankrolling the pro-Prop 23 campaign, put $1 million into the campaign coffers.

According to the [No on 23] campaign, 97 percent of the $8.2 million raised by the Yes forces has been given by oil-related interests and 89 percent of that money has come from out of state. Three companies, Koch Industries, Tesoro, and Valero — another Texas-based oil company — have provided 80 percent of those funds.

It’s hard to be any clearer than those numbers suggest. If you think out-of-state oil companies have California’s best interests at heart, go ahead, vote for Proposition 23. Because it is their baby, all the way.
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…and if you didn’t read the New Yorker article on the Kochs, go HERE and see what we are really dealing with.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Party Portrait

Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The coming elections show what Parties stand for…

– and –

Rex Babbin in the Sacramento Bee..

The Republicans, for instance, stand for getting in the way of coming changes…

– and –

Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate:

… and for attacking programs they have been down on for 70 years (even though they have been hugely successful)…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

…and for distracting people from the real issues with made-up outrages…

– and –

Bill Day in the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

… all the time putting a public-oriented face on things.

Why the religious folk of America will prevent us from really fighting Global Warming…

If you want to read a depressing but true book on the changes in our planet and it’s environment… not changes coming in a generation, but the changes that are HERE NOW, then pick up a copy of “Eaarth” by Bill McKibben (who 20 years ago tried to warn us with “The End Of Nature.” The spelling of the planet’s name is not a typo… McKibben wants us to see that our planet is somewhat familiar to us, but has changed enough to be not quite the same… and we will have to get used to it.

One of his scariest points is that, even if everyone in the world were given an electric car tomorrow, changed all our lightbulbs to the low output variety, grew all our own food and collected our own water from rain, ended all wars we are involved in and brought everyone home, it would still be hundreds of years before we recovered the world of the mid 20th Century, if at all.

Here’s a video of McKibben on the book:

To me, starting the change in how we live, what we eat, how we power what we do must begin now, even if it is my grandchildren’s grandchildren who start to see the results. But, as McKibben points out, change has to be complete and worldwide, either voluntarily or by political force, for anything to really matter. Of course, this brings up the conflicts of economics, progressive growth of economies (which must end…especially in huge countries like China and India as well as with us), and views of climate change moving faster than all predictions by politicians and scientists.

And it brings up the problem of religious belief.

For instance… there is reason why some extreme right leaning Christian fundamentalists might do nothing to help change our ways of living”

Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed — even hastened — as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

-Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment

Then there are those who take a Biblical view that there is no change which is going to effect our climate and therefor our lives. God’s promise to Noah:

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Gen 8:22)

… and if you think intelligent people do not take this seriously, then you miss the views of members of our own Congress:

-IL Rep John Shimkus tells us how climate change is bullshit via the theological argument. March 2009

Well, some of us see this, and try to get the word out, but I’m not sure it works. For instance:


– Rachel Maddow April 2009

And major religions, like the Lutherans, are assuming that God is behind everything and will keep radical change from destroying us.

From God, Creation and Climate Change:

Despite all the negativities—such as the disruption and destruction occurring due to climate change—we still trust that God is at work in this world, often hidden beneath its opposite.

– published by the Lutheran World Federation, 2009

And then there are the people who, while not in Congress anymore, are the big pushers of the Tea Bagger’s movement:

What I’m suggesting is we have a sort of an eco-evangelical hysteria going on and it leads me to almost wonder if we are becoming a nation of environmental hypochondriacs that are willing to use the power of the state to impose enormous restrictions on the rights and the comforts of, and incomes of individuals who serve essentially a paranoia, a phobia, that has very little fact evidence in fact. Now these are observations that are popular to make because right now its almost taken as an article of faith that this crisis is real.

Let me say I take it as an article of faith if the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation.

– Dick Army

I guess I am, and McKibben is, and Rachel Maddow is a pretentious little weakling…I believe that all of “creation” can be destroyed.

Believe what you want…but think about changing at least one element of your energy consumption or carbon output. And think about who you vote for and will they end the war, or will they promote conservation of water and air, or will they stop our economy from growing–since growth increases consumption.

And read McKibben’s book if you don’t do anything else.

Why going Vegan makes a difference…

There are lots of stats available showing how changing a percentage of our diets to non-meats and milks could benefit a world facing climate change and it’s costs. Here’s one I picked up from the Tofurky site:

If 1/3 of Americans switched from eating one 3 ½-ounce serving of beef, one egg, and a one-ounce serving of cheese each day to a mix of vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains:
(United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, 2006.)

* Acres of cropland spared: 180 million (an area larger than the state of Texas)
* Tons of pesticides eliminated: 9,375
* Tons of fertilizer eliminated: 2 million
* Tons of manure eliminated*: 570 million (* Livestock manure and flatulence generate 30-40% of total methane emissions from human-influenced activities.)

Cartoon of the Week

Toles in the Washington Post:

102909tt

It is hard to shake a belief that is based on politics and not on reality.

Aren’t you glad we have Senator Inhofe in Congress?

Doesn’t the Oklahoma Republican give a shining view to the rest of the world of the United States and it’s advanced knowledge of science and weather?

I know he stands out in my mind as one of the biggest… uh…I can’t think of the word…dipshits?…in the Senate.

clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has announced to National Review that he will be personally leading a “truth squad” to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he will make it clear to international leaders not to believe that the United States will pass legislation to deal with the issue.

“Now, I want to make sure that those attending the Copenhagen conference know what is really happening in the United States Senate,” said Inhofe. “Some people, like Senator Barbara Boxer, will tell the conference, with Waxman-Markey having passed in the House, that they can anticipate that some kind of bill will pass EPW.”
It’s nice to see how seriously foreign policy is taken these days — when a member of the political minority will send his own delegation to an international conference, in order to undermine the government and tell other countries that they can’t work with the United States.
Inhofe is, of course, the top global warming denier in Congress.
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