Newt announces he won't deliver a post-caucus speech, but will hold a presser instead.[...]
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One thing you can say about the Los Angeles Times, they are consistent in their miscoverage of global warming.
On January 27, they committed “journalistic malpractice,” as climatologist Michael Mann tweeted, for omitting any mention of global warming whatsoever in their article seeking to explain why the U.S. “seems to have largely escaped winter.”
On Groundhog day, coincidentally enough, they did it again. Hmm. Maybe this is like the movie and they are just going to keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again…..
As the L.A. Times “explains” in the article:
“It’s mild,” said Pastelok, a meteorologist from AccuWeather, in one of the bigger understatements of the season.
“The departures have been way above normal this season, maybe in a top five or top 10 category,” he said when asked to rank how unusual the winter from the Plains eastward had been in terms of temperatures and lack of snow.
The situation has stymied forecasters, who study previous years’ patterns to predict the future. This year has been unique because even when there have been cold snaps, they have been extremely brief and followed by long, mild stretches.
If only scientists had predicted years ago that spewing billions and billions of tons of heat trapping greenhouse gases into the air would cause more frequent extreme heat waves — ones that covered a bigger area and lasted far longer than before.
And no, confusionists and their enablers, those scientists didn’t say that global warming would be responsible for 100% of all heat waves. But we are now pushing so far beyond the historical norm that we are seeing unprecedented uber-extreme heat waves (see Hansen et al: ?Extreme Heat Waves ? in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ?Caused? by Global Warming?).
The good news is that while the L.A. Times remains clueless, NBC news got the story just right — global warming piles the heat on top of whatever natural variability, like La Niña, we see. Here’s their excellent story on the heat wave so unusual, people were “calling it JUNuary”:
Again, one can always tell the difference between good journalism and not so good journalism by whether they quote real climate scientists who have actually studied the issue in question.
In this case, they went to the source, Dr. Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). You can read about his work here: ?Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.? NCAR explained their findings in a news release:
Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.
?Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,? says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). ?The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.?
Of course, it’s not warm winters that cause the big problem, it’s the blistering summers.
Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers
The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists?.
?According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,? said the study?s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh, The study, based on observations and models, finds that most major countries, including the United States, are ?likely to face unprecedented climate stresses even with the relatively moderate warming expected over the next half-century.?
I interviewed Diffenbaugh for my book, Hell and High Water, and in 2008 wrote about his earlier work in a post titled, ?When can we expect very high surface temperatures??
Bottom line: By century?s end, extreme temperatures of up to 122°F would threaten most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Even worse, Houston and Washington, DC could experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year.
The peak temperature analysis comes from a Geophysical Research Letters paper that focused on the annual-maximum ?once-in-a-century? temperature. The key scientific point is that ?the extremes rise faster than the means in a warming climate.?
The results, depicted above (in °C), are quite remarkable, especially when you consider that this is just the A1B scenario. In 2100, A1B hits about 700 ppm with average global temperatures ?only? about 3°C (5 F) warmer than today.
In fact, on our current emissions path, a 3C temperature rise will happen much sooner (see Hadley Center: ?Catastrophic? 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path and M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F ? with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F). And remember, the worst-case scenario is that this happens by mid-century [see Royal Society special issue details ?hellish vision? of 7°F (4°C) world ? which we may face in the 2060s!]
On our current emissions path, these record temperatures could be seen closer to 2060 than 2100:
? values in excess of 50°C [122°F] in Australia, India, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and equatorial and subtropical South America.
As you can see from the map, extreme temperature peaks are only slightly lower over large parts of this country. The study notes:
Such temperatures, if lasting for some days, are life threatening and receive relatively little attention in the climate change debate.
On our current emissions path, we may well exceed the A2 scenario and hit A1FI, 1000 ppm (see here). In a terrific March 2010 presentation, Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what the A1FI would mean:
Mother Nature is just warming up.
The time to act is yesterday.
A Republican strategy Richard Nixon would love.Ari Berman has another must-read article on the systematic effort of the GOP to disenfranchise millions, focusing in this installment on redistricing?and resegregation?in the South.
In virtually every state in the South, at the Congressional and state level, Republicans?to protect and expand their gains in 2010?have increased the number of minority voters in majority-minority districts represented overwhelmingly by black Democrats while diluting the minority vote in swing or crossover districts held by white Democrats. ?What?s uniform across the South is that Republicans are using race as a central basis in drawing districts for partisan advantage,? says Anita Earls, a prominent civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice. ?The bigger picture is to ultimately make the Democratic Party in the South be represented only by people of color.? The GOP?s long-term goal is to enshrine a system of racially polarized voting that will make it harder for Democrats to win races on local, state, federal and presidential levels. Four years after the election of Barack Obama, which offered the promise of a new day of postracial politics in states like North Carolina, Republicans are once again employing a Southern Strategy that would make Richard Nixon and Lee Atwater proud.
If there ever was a strong argument for a 50-state strategy for Democrats, in which strong parties are fostered and competitive in every single state, this is it. The GOP is hell-bent on cheating its way to a permanent majority, whether by voter suppression or a return to segregation. And it's largely happening because of the concerted effort by Republicans in the last 30 years to begin working at the local level, dominating local politics and creating a strong infrastructure to take over first state legislatures, then governorships, secretaries of state, and federal offices.
The fight is in the courts, too, with no fewer than five suits currently pending against Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 is the provision that requires states covered by the act to receive pre-clearance from the Justice Department or a three-judge District Court in Washington for any election law changes that affect minority voters. One of these challenges could well make it to the Supreme Court, where its fate is at best uncertain.
For more of the week's news, make the jump below the fold.
We must Occupy everywhere.
On Dec. 18, a dozen retirees, men and women in their 60s, 70s, even 80s, began occupying a median strip along Route 33 in front of the closed Century Aluminum smelter in Ravenswood, W.Va. In tents and under tarps, a small group stays overnight, despite hypertension, arthritis and other old age ailments. One has suffered a stroke.
These vulnerable people expose themselves to weather extremes although some have no health insurance at all. Century cancelled it. That's why they're occupying Century.
The retirees labored their entire lives for wages and pensions comparably lower than those of other aluminum workers. They did it believing they made those sacrifices in exchange for good, lifelong health coverage. Over the past two years, however, Century evicted them, about 540 retirees altogether, from the insurance plan.
The betrayal burns. Executives at Century, corporate 1 percenters, committed the same sort of treachery that is being condemned by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators representing the victimized 99 percent across the country. Thus the retirees adopted the grandchildren's protest tactic of encampment.
Century shuttered the 50-year-old Ravenswood smelter in February of 2009, throwing 651 workers out of jobs. Century, headquartered in Monterey, Calif., didn't go bankrupt though. It still operates aluminum plants in Kentucky, South Carolina and Iceland. And it didn't immediately cancel promised insurance for retirees.
Nine months after the shutdown, it announced it would terminate as of June 1, 2010 health benefits for retirees eligible for Medicare. Then on Nov. 1, 2010, Century told its retirees who weren't yet eligible for Medicare that it would stop paying for their coverage as of Jan. 1, 2011.
This revoking of earned benefits isn't an isolated incident or a fluke. It is part of a pattern documented by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Ellen E. Schultz in her new book "Retirement Heist." The subtitle is, "How companies plunder and profit from the nest eggs of American workers."
There's something about prostitutes and a greasy publicity-chasing pimp being registered Republicans that feels like vindication. This makes it seem like the Grand Old Party is finally being candid about what they do...and why they do it. Finally a Republican owns up to my characterizations of them! Hooray.
Happy Nevada caucus day!
Open thread below...
When Douchebags Collide The Biggest Winner Of The Republican Primaries Will Be President Barack Hussein Obama
I guess that I shouldn't find it shocking anymore when I speak to people -- many progressives, mind you -- who have no idea that you can lose your job for being LGBT. As in, if your employer is a homophobe and decides they don't want to have "that[...]
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Don't be fooled by the deserts and mountains, when it comes to elections, Nevada is an urbanized state.
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Ya think? The NewsHouse delves into the points I made yesterday. Namely, that Komen didn't "fix" all the reasons it said it wasn't going to fund Planned Parenthood breast exams in the future. And in fact, on Friday night, after Komen had already "apologized" for the brouhaha, Komen again left the door open to shutting down Planned Parenthood grants, according to the NewsHour.
Komen is still playing games. Which makes sense, since who do they have on their payroll as a media consultant, none of than Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. Fleischer and Komen CEO Nancy Brinker go way back in GOP politics, since Komen is a multi-hundred thousand dollar donor to the GOP and a former Bush political appointee. So it's no wonder that Komen issues an "apology" that seems to be no apology at all.
Note this paragraph buried in their "apology," that I didn't even really notice until a friend pointed it out later. It seethes with condescension and contempt:
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics -- anyone's politics. [emphasis added]"Slow down"? Is that like "calm down" - something a controlling man tells an "emotional" woman? Note that Komen talks of the need to "directly" administer grants. That seems to be code for the newest reason they claim they shut down the PPFA grants, because some of them were pass-through grants. Sounds like Komen is leaving the door open to shutting PPFA down again. But here's my favorite line:
We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics -- anyone's politics. [emphasis added]Anyone's politics? Excuse me? Implying that it was Komen's critics who injected politics into all of this? Classic blaming the victim. Another favorite trick men like to pull on the women they step on. (Just who wrote this press release? Fleischer himself? Brinker? It sure reads like the typical Republican "I blame you for what I'm actually doing" mind game.) The only one who injected politics into this discussion was Komen, home of far too many conservative Republican anti-choice activists. Now Komen has the nerve to lecture women who are concerned about breast cancer funding that THOSE WOMEN are the ones who injected politics into this discussion.
It's all the talk in certain quarters of the internet -- an article at PJ Media titled, "Lessons About Iran from Hitler." We can easily see that the author (of yet another, additional, further, even more spine-tingling, bone-chilling, blood-freezing, dire warning about the existential threat that Iran represents to the West) is a man of temperate wisdom and infinite discernment, as the conclusion of his piece demonstrates:
It is too bad the West did not have the good sense to correct the problem in 2005. However much it costs in Iranian blood and well-being, it?s still worth it.Such deep feeling for "Iranian blood and well-being"! I shall pause for several moments, during which time you can attempt to regain your equanimity.
An important insight into the character of theNext, this excerpt:
Iranian[West's] leadership can be gained from Adolf Hitler?s speech to the German army?s top commanders at Obersalzberg on Aug. 22, 1939, a week before the invasion of Poland. ... The question, then, was why begin war at that particular moment. And the answer had two parts: economic weakness and the threat of regime change.
Hitler, by his own account, acted out of fear: fear that the German economy would collapse under the burden of his military expansion, and fear that he ?could be replaced at any moment.? I quoted this speech in a 2005 essay, adding, ?Within a generation, bothFinally, we have this passage:
Iran?s[the West's] oil and demographic resources will be exhausted. Impending demographic collapse, I have argued in the past, impels Iran[the West, and the U.S. in particular]  towards an imperial design ...
Just like Hitler,There. I hope these suggestions will prove helpful.
Iran[the U.S.] has nothing to lose. Hitler was convinced that the Aryan race was doomed to corruption and extinction unless he restored its preeminence by force; Ahmadinejad[the U.S.] knows with certainty that Persian[English] will become an extinct language in a few generations given the present fertility trend. ... Iran[the U.S.] is dying a slow death. ...
What Hitler imagined in his nightmares,
Ahmadinejad[the U.S. ruling class] fears in the full light of day. Hitler told his commanders in August 1939 that they had nothing to lose; Ahmadinejad[the U.S. ruling class] knows with certainty that he has[they have] nothing to lose.
Let me offer the introductory paragraphs [from the Wikipedia entry] concerning the Gleiwitz incident:In the third part of the "Dispatch From Germany" series, I detailed a series of actions that might be taken to forestall a U.S. attack on Iran. While thinking about these issues, I reread that article recently. In its essentials, it remains a damned good program.The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack by Nazi forces posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland) on the eve of World War II in Europe.This is our posture and strategy toward Iran: the posture and strategy of Nazi Germany toward Poland. But we are America the Good. We cannot commit evil of this kind. Many Germans believed the same thing about their country.
This provocation was the best-known of several actions in Operation Himmler, a series of unconventional operations undertaken by the SS in order to serve specific propaganda goals of Nazi Germany at the outbreak of the war. It was intended to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany in order to justify the subsequent invasion of Poland.
This past week, the United States Senate passed unanimously -- 97 to 0 -- what amounted to a declaration of war against Iran. A few weeks ago, the House passed a resolution -- 411 to 2 -- that similarly provided an alleged rationale for war against Iran. In this manner, Congress, nominally controlled by the opposition party, has granted the Bush administration advance approval for the commencement of hostilities against Iran.With regard to the proper application of the Nuremberg Principles, see "A Choice of War Criminals," written before the 2008 presidential election.
This would be an indisputable example of criminal, aggressive war, a crime against peace condemned by the Nuremberg Principles -- those principles we ourselves devised after World War II to condemn the kind of horrors perpetrated by the Nazis. Now our governing class, with only two exceptions, has officially approved in advance a crime of the same exact kind. And if the United States were to use nuclear weapons of any kind, the crime would be ungraspably worse.
In half a century, the roles have been completely reversed, and the United States now assumes the part played by those we defeated in World War II. But the worst and most soul-shattering aspect of this development is the following: almost no one in the United States itself appears to have even noticed or begun to appreciate the nature of this profound shift -- although many people in the rest of world certainly understand it, and judge us accordingly. We have become the monsters, and we continue to insist that we represent the Good.
Perhaps people think that nothing they do at this point can alter what seems close to inevitable. It may be that even large-scale, continuing public protest would change nothing -- but we don't know that. Since it hasn't been tried, it is impossible to predict what the effects might be. And permit me to offer a recent example, an instance where activism on the part of a large number of "ordinary" Americans did in fact change an outcome of some significance.Consult the earlier article for the details.
In terms of substance, I view the example as a profoundly unfortunate one, for it has to do with the defeat of the immigration bill. I viewed that bill as a terrible one, but for reasons directly opposed to those offered by its loudest opponents -- for their opposition was obviously racist in nature. Of course, they denied their objections were racist, but they all finally resorted to discussions of "demographics," and what they viewed as terrifying changes in our "culture" and to "way of life." Such coded words fool no one, and this kind of viciously disapproving attitude toward immigrants has a long and awful history in the United States.
But with regard to the following observations, I am not concerned with why opponents of the immigration bill fought it so vehemently: I am focused only on the fact that they opposed it so strenuously, and that their opposition had the intended effect.
Since "Building an Effective Resistance" appeared, I have seen many comments -- on various comment threads at different blogs, and in my email -- telling me that many people are already taking the steps I proposed, as well as other similar ones. That's a goddamned lie. Show me the newspaper and television ads; show me the op-eds; show me the fucking blog posts mobilizing opposition to an attack on Iran. NO ONE IS DOING A GODDAMNED FUCKING THING.I offer this personal history for two reasons. I've recently written several posts about what may now be an inevitable U.S. attack on Iran: here, here and here. I'm certain that at least some people have "disapproved" of those posts, that they thought I was saying the situation is entirely hopeless, that an attack is inevitable and we must resign ourselves to it. And my critics probably think I'm just sitting on my fat, lazy ass and not doing a damned thing to at least try to stop it.