Brookings has released a new survey that confirms other recent polls: Public understanding of climate science is rebounding, and the recent record-smashing extreme weather events are playing a key role.
As you can see, the biggest jump is from independents, demonstrating once again that global warming has become a major wedge issue. Many other recent polls have made that clear (see ?Gallup poll: Public understanding of global warming gains? and ?Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming?). Now if progressive politicians would only seize on this winning issue.
Perhaps even more remarkable than this rebound in understanding is the record rise in the public’s confidence in their accurate understanding of climate science that the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change [NSAPOCC] found:
Just under two thirds of those who believe global warming is occurring stated that they were very confident of this position. This 63 percent confidence level is 14 percentage points higher than in the fall of 2011 and marks the highest level since the NSAPOCC began in 2008.
Why would confidence be growing, especially when the media and key opinion-makers have all but stopped talking about climate change?
Brookings had previously found that Americans? Understanding of Climate Change Is Increasing With More Extreme Weather, Warmer Temperatures. Certainly the American public is seeing for themselves the off-the-chart heat waves and other extreme weather that climate scientists have long said would become more common as we pour more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (see NOAA Chief: U.S. Record of a Dozen Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters in One Year Is ?a Harbinger of Things to Come?). That was especially true in March (see ?March Came In Like A Lamb, Went Out Like A Globally Warmed Lion On Steroids Who Smashed 15,000 Heat Records?).
The new survey added further evidence that “the growth in the percentage of Americans who see evidence of global warming appears to be related to individual perceptions of weather conditions and events.”:
During the cold and snowy winters of 2010 and 2011 the percentage of respondents who indicated that their experiences with milder winters had a very large effect on their views about global warming was relatively low with 19 percent and 17 percent of respondents selecting this response. Conversely, about twice as many respondents in the latest NSAPOCC reported that the mild winter had a large effect on their view that planetary temperatures are rising.
The effect of the milder winter conditions were also evident in many of the openended comments that respondents provided to the question regarding the primary factor behind their belief that global warming was occurring. For example, a middle-aged male from Connecticut stated that ?there was no winter this year,? and a young woman in Maryland noted that ?the seasons are abnormal with no snow and cold.? When asked to provide the key factor behind her view that global warming was occurring a middle-aged woman in Wisconsin said that her ?garden was already growing in March.?
Even though extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity, the close relationship between weather and beliefs about global warming can potentially make public opinion fickle over the short term ? particularly since the continental United States comprises only a tiny fraction of the world and thus its weather is even more erratic than the Earth?s climate as a whole.
But that may be less of a concern if meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters is correct that ?The climate has shifted to a new state capable of delivering rare & unprecedented weather events.?
People are starting to connect the dots. Now if only policymakers can start doing the same.
A U.N. report details what the international body calls a “list of shame” — the 52 countries and militias that use children in wars, according to the L.A. Times. The way militants — either governments or non-state actors — use the kids varies. In Syria, children reportedly get used as human shields; the Taliban recruits young Afghans to fight its insurgency; and Somalia’s Al Shabab milita reportedly uses more than 900 child soldiers. By plugging data from the U.N. report into a website called Zeemap, the Times produced this interactive map:
A Senate committee already has passed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) amendment to ensure that military insurance plans cover abortion services in cases of rape and incest, giving military women the same access to abortion care as civilians. Currently, military insurance plans only offer abortion coverage if the mother’s life is in danger. But even though Republican senators like John McCain (AZ) and Scott Brown (MA) support the Shaheen Amendment, a GOP staffer told Army Times that House Republicans will likely remove the amendment from the National Defense Authorization Bill because “social provisions that are not reflected in both bills heading into conference don’t survive.” Without the amendment, the roughly 200,000 women serving on active duty would not “have the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as all of the civilians who they protect,” Shaheen said. –Ben Sherman
The American Civil Liberties Union sued North Carolina today, contending that the state’s ban on second-parent adoptions discriminates against same-sex couples and is unconstitutional. Second-parent adoptions, in which one partner adopts the child of another, can occur in gay and straight relationships, but have been banned in North Carolina since 2010.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of six same-sex couples, including Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, who each carried one of their two children. The couple was treated rudely by hospital staff during the birth of one of their children:
MARCIE FISHER-BORNE:We were treated as if our family was less than other families during what should have been one of the happiest occasions of our lives. We don?t ever want there to be any question as to who should care for our children. If something were to happen to either one of us, it could tear our family apart.
According to the lawsuit, the ban on second parent adoptions violates the constitutional rights of children, and denies them the permanency and security of a loving home. Protections that children lack without access to second parent adoptions include:
[E]nsuring that all children in the family are covered if one partner lacks health insurance, ensuring that families will stay together and children will not be torn from the only home they?ve known if something should happen to the biological parent, ensuring that either parent will be allowed to make medical decisions or be able to be by their child?s bedside if one their children is hospitalized.
A broadly-written ‘religious liberty’ ballot initiative failed in North Dakota last night. The measure was an attempt to defy discrimination bans against LGBT people and to refuse reproductive health services to women, but the language was so expansive that it could have allowed religious people to exempt any law under the guise of religious liberty — even something like speeding through red lights. The initiative failed two-to-one.
In an interview with conservative radio host Neal Boortz, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney floated an unusual profit-making opportunity for himself if he becomes president — paying himself a higher salary if he performs well in the White House. In Romney’s words, “I do believe in linking my incentives and my commitment to the accomplishment of specific goals . . . . I wish we had that happen throughout government — where people recognized they are not going to get rewarded in substantial ways unless they are able to achieve the objectives that they were elected to carry out.”
This is not a new proposal, however. It was actually proposed in 1992 by billionaire presidential candidate Ross Perot — or at least by someone pretending to be Perot. In a 1992 Saturday Night Live skit, Perot impersonator Dana Carvey outlined something very similar to the Romney plan for presidential compensation:
If I’m President, we get 0% growth, you don’t pay me nothing. 1% growth? Hell, a chimpanzee could run this country and make 1% growth! So you don’t pay me dime one. Got my own plane, don’t need Air Force One. State Dinners? I’ll pay it, it’s nothing to me, sand on the beach! Now, don’t worry about ol’ Ross Perot, I got $3 billion back at home.
Now, here’s the deal. Here’s what I’m trying to tell you. 3% growth in our economy, $120 billion growth in our GNP – I get a billion dollars. Now, think about it, that’s a bargain! You’re up $119 billion. I’m telling you, 2.99% growth, I don’t see a penny, not one red cent. But don’t feel sorry for me – I got $3 billion. I’m gonna be fine.
Now, this here’s a business proposition. Now, see, 4% growth, you pay me $20 billion. The way I see it, you’re ahead $140 billion, see? Now, this ain’t no golden parachute, this isn’t the President GM giving himself a big bonus when the company’s losing money sending jobs to Mexico. I get my money if and when you get yours.
Now, 5% growth, I get $50 billion. Everybody’s happy, see?
Hulu Plus subscribers can watch the entire skit here:
Romney did not elaborate on whether his incentive structure for himself would include the kind of outlandish payouts Fake Ross Perot called for in his very similar plan. Nevertheless, the very idea of incentive pay for the president is a little bizarre. The President of the United States is the nation’s top public service position. If a person needs a financial incentive in order to be motivated to do the job well, they might want to consider working in private equity instead.
During his hearing before the Senate Banking Committee today, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon offered to get an apartment in Washington, D.C., so that he can be consulted by Congress on financial regulatory matters. In response to a question from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-WY) about whether banks are being asked to help craft regulations, Dimon said, “me and lots of other folks, we’ll do whatever you want, we’ll even get apartments down here. Let’s go through [the regulations] in detail.” Watch it:
Let's say you're a Democratic political consultant who has never worked for Barack Obama. How do you feel about him and his team? Well, chances are that although you respect their skill, you also think they're too insular and too unwilling to listen to outside advice. Like yours! Because after all, if you're a Democratic political consultant and you don't work for the Obama campaign, you probably wish you did. There's a lot of prestige, and not a little money, in working for the president's re-election effort. If you didn't work for the historic 2008 effort, you probably feel a little left out. And you probably also feel that you're just as smart as David Axelrod or David Plouffe, and you ought to be going on Meet the Press to share your wisdom just like they do.
But you can't. So what can you do? You can complain anonymously to reporters that the Obama campaign is doing it wrong:
That kind of unflappability is a hallmark of the Obama political operation ? and was a crucial ingredient in its success in 2008. But some Democratic veterans are wondering whether the reelection campaign, run by the same tight-knit group that led it four years ago, is equipped for what lies ahead.
"The bad thing is, there is no new thinking in that circle," said one longtime operative in Democratic presidential campaigns who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
Eight other prominent Democratic strategists interviewed shared that view, describing Obama's team as resistant to advice and assistance from those who are not part of its core. All of them spoke on the condition of anonymity as well.
When a consultant says the Obama team is "resistant to advice," what he or she means is, "They won't take my advice."
I'm not saying every decision the Obama campaign has made has been perfect. But you know what? They're pretty good at this running for president thing. The economy is stuck in the crapper, which should spell doom for an incumbent president, yet they remain a couple of points ahead of their opponent. They have a voter contact operation that is light years ahead of anything that's ever been done before. They've barely begun airing ads attacking Mitt Romney. All in all, things are going pretty well.
Again, I'm not saying they can't lose, and I'm not saying they haven't made mistakes or won't make more. But it's important to remember that these kinds of complaints from people who aren't working for the campaign happen in every single election. And the fact that these complaints are coming from political professionals tells you virtually nothing about how valid they are, since they are likely heavily motivated by professional jealousy.
You'll do a lot better emotionally over the course of the next four and a half months if you keep this in mind: The polls are going to go up and down. At some point, Mitt Romney will be leading. This will almost certainly happen just after his convention; that's usually how things go (John McCain led Barack Obama after his convention in 2008, and so did a lot of other candidates who went on to lose, perhaps most famously Michael Dukakis, who led by a remarkable 17 points). The important thing is not to assume that all is lost and everything the campaign has done has been a failure when those movements in the polls happen. Just chill out.
Three individuals who came to Chicago in May to protest at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit appeared in court yesterday during a two-minute hearing in Chicago, Illinois. They were indicted on terrorism-related charges by a grand jury[...]
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