Earlier this afternoon, a friend’s gchat status had a joke about how the real reason George W. Bush canceled his convention appearance was that he didn’t want to miss the Gossip Girl season premiere. Which reminded me — I didn’t want to miss the Gossip Girl season premiere. However, I forgot that through some odd quirk of the space-time continuum, television shows air one hour earlier in Central Time than they do in Eastern or Pacific time so I missed it. Oh well, more time to read Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State I guess.
But does anyone know why they do this? Yes, I understand that 9PM Eastern is the same as 8PM Central, but shows that air at 9PM Eastern (i.e. 6PM Pacific) also air at 9PM Pacific (i.e., midnight Eastern) on the west coast so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be technically possible to just put the 9PM show on at 9PM local time everywhere, right?
A friend forwarded me an email titled “Gustav and Hannah” that was written to environmental activists by one of the top environmental leaders in this country. I am going to write on it length because it is illustrative of the catastrophic messaging failure of the environmental community on issues of climate, government action, and energy. I strongly believe other progressives must not make the same mistakes.
Here are key quotes from the email about “three potential areas where the message of the national environmental community” could supposedly be counterproductive:
Our first concern relates to the fact that any particular hurricane hitting Louisiana is not an example of how global warming is making everything worse…. Blaming this particular hurricane on global warming runs the serious risk of coming off as opportunism in a community that knows full well that hurricanes are a normal fact of life, and could well set back attempts to engage this community on the issue.
Second, a hurricane hitting Louisiana is not a good example of how federal flood policy has encouraged people to build in the way of danger….
Third, hurricane damage in Louisiana is not an example of how additional OCS drilling is a bad idea. Such an argument puts the national NGO community in the position of attacking an existing and major job creating force in a conservative state.
While I think these three points range from wrong to dead wrong, this preemptively muzzling email is all the worse because it does not put forward what message environmentalists should be pushing. Let me (partly) address both of those problems, starting with the last point.
OFFSHORE DRILLING The email author writes: “Using any damage to the existing infrastructure as an example of why offshore drilling is bad may very well be perceived as an attack on the existing industry and people employed in it.” Duh! If the hurricane causes oil spills, then that is in fact an example of the dangers of drilling offshore. More importantly, it might at least make it harder for the GOP to keep lying about what happened three years ago (see TP’s “McCain Falsely Claims Katrina And Rita Did Not Cause Significant Oil Spillage“).
Obviously, McCain and the GOP think that creating the misimpression that offshore drill rigs or onshore infrastructure are impervious to strong hurricanes helps their case — since they keep telling the same lie over and over again long after the facts have been made available to all. I’m guessing that at least on the messaging side of things, they are a lot savvier than the environmental leader who wrote this e-mail.
Secondarily, does it matter whether the spill comes from an offshore drill rig or from onshore infrastructure? Of course not.
In 2006, the Eagle Forum Alaska sent a questionnaire to all the state’s gubernatorial candidates, including Sarah Palin (R). From Palin’s response about the Pledge of Allegiance:
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
However, as Hunter points out, the words “Under God” didn’t appear in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954; the founding fathers had nothing to do with them. The Pledge itself, in fact, wasn’t even written until 1892.
Today in Minneapolis, The Huffington Post hosted a panel discussion about the rise of new media with a host of leading traditional media personalities. Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham applauded the rise of the online journalism. “Look, the old media blew it; the free market does work,” she said. But many of her conservative co-panelists lamented the perils of this free market.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said the flip side of the emergence of the blogopshere is that “it’s so ugly now in some parts of the internet” that good people are being dissuaded from running for office. Scarborough explained that he thought about running for Senate in 2005, but when word leaked out online and commenters began “trashing” him, he said, “screw this, I’m going to get paid for talking on TV.”
His fellow conservative media elites chimed in with similar criticisms:
Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan: The commenters “are much like what you would have gotten in 1880 if you walked into a bedlam with a megaphone and said, ‘I’d like to say a few words.’ It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s awful, and it’s often quite vicious.”
Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson: People are “really underestimating the vitriolic dumbness” that’s out there. “I don’t think there’s any way to understate it. … It’s mostly on the left,” he said, and it’s “totally intolerant.” It’s “the least liberal thing I have ever seen — the default position is ‘I don’t agree with you; you are either stupid or corrupt,’” he said. “I think it’s actually hurting the country.”
Conservative pollster Frank Luntz: “You’re right,” he said to Tucker. “Mean would not describe it. It is as humanly vicious as it possibly can be,” he said, adding that it is “deliberately insulting.”
Even liberal columnist Margaret Carlson echoed the views of her conservative peers. “The left is as vicious, if not more so [than the right used to be] and cruel,” she said. “There’s an element of ‘they’re mad and they’re not gonna take it anymore.’”
Scarborough then proposed a solution. “Why don’t internet sites that want to be respected make people [commenters] put their names and their phone numbers”:
If you are going to accuse me of being responsible for starting the Holocaust in 1939 or 1940, then you can put your name, and you can put your telephone number on there so I can pick up the phone and say, “Brother, my lawyer’s going to be calling you in about 10 minutes.”
Arianna Huffington agreed with him about the need to keep commenters from “hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.” Watch it:
Today, the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticized Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) for saying that McCain is “out of sync with the whole rest of the world.” McCain spokesman Ben Porritt said that while McCain “has called upon Americans to serve and assist our fellow citizens in the gulf states,” Biden “clearly has no limits when it comes to political attacks.” Today, however, McCain adviser Karl Rove took the attacks even further at the GOP convention, calling Biden a “big blowhard doofus.”
I knew they had these free bikes at the Democratic Convention, but I wasn’t really expecting to see Humana’s “free ride” program here at the Republican convention:
It’s a pretty good deal though. You go to one of seven depots located throughout the Twin Cities, show them a photo ID and credit card, and then you get a bike that you can return to any depot at any time before 7PM. If you steal or lose the bike, they charge your card. A nice feature for special events and also a hint at a procedure that could be used as a model for adding some tourist capacity to SmartBike in DC.
On June 13, while speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, former New York governor George Pataki declared that it was “unequivocal” that “we know for a fact that human activity is changing the amount of carbon — CO2 and CO2 equivalents — in the atmosphere.”
But Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, disagrees. Asked in a Newsmax interview recently about her “take on global warming,” Palin said that she is “not one” who “would attribute it to being man-made.”
Asked about her quote while speaking on an energy panel today at the University of Minnesota, Pataki said he was “not concerned” about Palin’s denial of a human role in global warming, claiming that she’s “an energy expert”:
DETCHON: And the second question, this is the curve ball. I’m sorry, but it’s the audience, what can I say? Are you concerned that Governor Palin recently said, “I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made?”
PATAKI: No, I’m not concerned about that. Governor Palin is, I think, an energy expert and that’s, I think it was Bud was saying earlier, when it comes to understanding the fact that we have to create new domestic sources, not just of breakthrough technological sources of energy, but of petroleum as well, she is absolutely right. And I think that when it comes to the transition to this new technology and the new economy, we will have, we do have to drill.
Despite the fact that 61 percent of Americans believe climate change is affected by human activity, Pataki claimed later in his answer that conservatives like Palin “are in better tune with the American people when it comes” to energy issues. Watch it:
Apparently taken off guard by Palin’s climate change skepticism, the McCain campaign is now trying to claim that she is “a leader” on the issue. But, as the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Daniel Weiss and James Kvaal noted, Palin opposes listing polar bears as a threatened species because it could require action on climate change.
John McCain and Sarah Palin don’t believe women have a right to choose. It’s absolutely absurd for the campaign to emphasize the fact that Bristol “made this decision,” and then push for policies that take away that choice.
Why shouldn’t ever woman continue to enjoy the choices that Bristol Palin has? And more to the point, if women shouldn’t be allowed to choose then why does McCain’s campaign think it’s important to emphasize her agency in this process? By his own lights, McCain should be totally indifferent to whether Bristol chose this course of action or was pressured into it by her mother. McCain’s view is that he should make the choice for her and for every other pregnant woman in the country.
A lot of knee-jerk deniers [please don't write in -- I know that is redundant] misread Part 1, as I knew they would. I was not wading into the issue of whether global warming has already made intense tropical storms more common. That remains a great subject of debate, mostly because of the inadequacy of historical hurricane records, before the satellite era, and especially before WWII. That said, the North Atlantic seems special because much of the hurricane-forming region in the summer is relatively close to the temperature threshold for hurricane generation — so a little warming goes a long way. I will return to this issue at the end of the post.
My point in this two-parter is completely different. All things being equal, if a storm took the same track of Gustav (or Katrina) occurred in 2050, then, rather than weakening before making landfall, it would probably have strengthened considerably. Let’s look at the region in 2050, assuming BAU (business-as-usual) warming, or no effort to reverse current emissions trends.
Now that is bad news for New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the South Atlantic. The average warming in the Gulf, Caribbean, and coastal Atlantic is 1°C to 2°C, but this model has an enormous body of very warm water 2°C to 3°C over much of the typical storm path for a hurricane like Katrina or Gustav. There are two relevant points to recall:
I spoke to this McCain supporting NEA member about John McCain and why he likes him — he has his reasons, but he doesn’t seem to think much of McCain’s education policy:
Meanwhile, the NEA’s official press materials want you to know that “Nearly one-third of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association are Republicans. Nearly 20 of those NEA members will be on hand and play a part when Sen. John McCain accepts his party’s nomination for president of the United States next week during the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.”
It’s worth saying that while John McCain doesn’t have a very union-friendly education policy, there’s something of a union-’winger convergence around No Child Left Behind. The unions don’t want the federal government imposing any kind of system of standards and accountability on schools and their staff. And a certain strain of conservatism doesn’t want the federal government doing anything with regard to education. Meanwhile at his acceptance speech, Barack Obama said: “I’ll invest in early childhood education; I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support; and in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability.” This is basically the kind of thing the DC teacher union affiliate decided it wasn’t interested in when the Fenty administration put it on the table.