I really should have put this up before the Celtics-Magic game, but I’m betting the Lakers will beat the Suns (though I’m rooting for the reverse) and my pick of Orlando over Boston still holds despite the game one outcome. Realistically, Orlando played like garbage and still the final score was close. They’re simply the better team.
Worst news article ever published on global warming?
UPDATE: I emailed MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel about the smear that Richard Lindzen launched at him with the help of a credulous Boston Globe reporter stenographer. His reply is below.
I’ve been bombarded with emails from folks stunned by a shamefully bad Globe article by Beth Daley, “A cooling trend.” It certainly qualifies as one of the worst news articles ever published on global warming.
But is it the worst piece ever? I’d love your thoughts. The competition for that title is, unfortunately, very tough (see “And the 2009 “Citizen Kane” award for non-excellence in climate journalism goes to “¦“)
The piece does have the four horsemen of awful climate journalism: Dreadful headline, grotesque imbalance (including a staggering choice for “tie-breaker”), a total lack of understanding or even interest in climate science, and a wholly unsubstantiated, near-libelous slur against a leading scientist.
Rand Paul Supporters Hope To Depose Mitch McConnell: ‘He’s An Embarrassment,’ Takes ‘Away Our Liberties’
Our guest blogger is Joe Sonka, who is reporting on the ground from Kentucky. Sonka also maintains his own blog at Barefoot and Progressive.
Kentucky Republicans will head into the voting booth on Tuesday to decide whether Rand Paul, the “tea party” candidate and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), or Secretary of State Trey Grayson receives the nomination for the U.S. Senate. Paul has shocked many political observers by maintaining a double-digit lead in the polls over the past few months on Grayson, the hand-picked protégé of Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
With McConnell appearing in ads for Grayson, many view the the race as a referendum on McConnell’s leadership. McConnell tried to shake that perception on Meet the Press this morning, claiming that this is a “race between two non-incumbents” and not about him.
At a Saturday campaign event in Lexington, Paul’s supporters had nothing nice to say about McConnell, scorning him as a “liberal,” “an embarrassment,” and an advocate of the bank bailout passed under Bush:
PAUL SUPPORTER: Mitch McConnell is abhorrent. He’s an embarrassment. Honestly, people like him have got to go, and I think if Rand get’s in there he’s going to set a precedent for how a small government conservative or classical liberal should conduct themselves.
PAUL SUPPORTER2: He supported amnesty and he voted for the bailout when there was a Republican president pushing it. We don’t need that.
Earlier this month, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), one of the most conservative members of the Senate, lost his party’s nomination to two right-wing tea party candidates. While many Republican operatives and lobbyists had orchestrated tea party protests in hopes of building a movement to help elect more Republicans, they have faced a backlash in the form of aggressive primaries from the far right. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who gained infamy from his pledge to “break” Obama by making health care reform his “Waterloo,” has encouraged right-wing tea party primaries in California, Florida, Utah, Colorado, as well as in Kentucky with Paul’s candidacy.
In the House, there are dozens of tea party primaries challenging incumbent Republican lawmakers and other party-picked candidates. Many in this tea party movement view McConnell and other establishment figures with as much suspicion as they view Democrats. McConnell is known for his heavy use of earmarks and is viewed as extremely cozy with entrenched corporate interests.
The strength of the far right tea party has forced the GOP to adopt increasingly fringe political positions. For instance, a DeMint-backed healthcare repeal campaign forced Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, to promise to lead the fight to remove all of health reform in the midst of his primary against a tea party candidate. He has since tried to recant the promise.
The Senate passed an amendment to the financial regulation bill last week that would limit the transaction charges debit card issuers can charge to retailers. Banks don’t like it, for obvious reasons. Their argument that it’s bad for consumers is that “lower profit margins could lead banks to curtail bank card reward programs.”
Kevin Drum retorts:
Ouch! No more reward programs. I think I can live with that. But if your life got a whole lot grimmer when you heard this, consider that what it really means is that for the past decade you’ve been paying about 1% extra on every single debit card purchase you’ve made so that banks could then rebate about half that amount back to you in the form of “rewards.” Anyone who thinks that’s a good deal, raise your hands. (No, not you bankers in the back. We already know it’s a good deal for you.)
My guess is that this will turn out fine, but it’s worth noting that there are actually three parties to this—the bank, the consumer, and the retailer. If the retailer were a pure monopolist, you would expect the incidence of the higher fee to fall solely on him. The bank tanks $1.00 from the retailer, then gives you $0.50 in “rewards” to encourage you to help the bank extract its pound of flesh. Now it looks to me that in the real world there’s more competition in the retail market than in the debit card market so that model doesn’t apply but it really is an empirical question as to what degree this change will actually benefit consumers versus simply shifting rents away from banks and toward retailers. Should be a good subject for some economics PhD candidates a few years from now.
This morning, Fox News anchor Brit Hume scoffed at the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, wondering, “Where is the oil?” Hume followed the lead of Rush Limbaugh and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who have been aggressively downplaying the disaster and bristling at comparisons to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. During the Fox News Sunday roundtable, Hume dismissed the expert analysis that many times more oil have spilled already than the Exxon Valdez disaster, a point raised by fellow panelist Juan Williams:
WILLIAMS: First of all, don’t you think, this spill now is going to be in excess of what happened with Exxon Valdez.
HUME: Let’s see if that happens. There’s a good question today if you are standing on the Gulf, and that is: Where is the oil?
WILLIAMS: “Where is the oil?”
HUME: It’s not on — except for little of chunks of it, you’re not even seeing it on the shore yet.
Independent experts, using both surface and subsea estimates, believe the vast sea of oil gushing from multiple leaks on the seabed surpassed the Exxon Valdez weeks ago. “Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots.” “The millions of gallons of crude, and the introduction of chemicals to disperse it, have thrown this underwater ecosystem into chaos, and scientists have no answer to the question of how this unintended and uncontrolled experiment in marine biology and chemistry will ultimately play out. ”
The slick on the surface of the Gulf is now about 4,922 square miles, larger than Los Angeles County, Delaware, or Rhode Island. On the surface, oil contamination has reached the barrier islands of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
After Hume repeated the “natural seepage” talking point to falsely imply the oil industry’s catastrophic record of spills is unimportant, he then mirrored Rush Limbaugh’s argument that “The ocean will take care of this on its own“:
WILLIAMS: But I think it will damage the environment in the gulf and damage tourism and damage fishing. I don’t think there’s any question this is in excess of anything we’ve previously asked the ocean to absorb.
HUME: We’ll see if it is. We’ll see if it is. The ocean absorbs a lot, Juan, an awful lot. The ocean absorbs a lot.
WILLIAMS: I think Rush Limbaugh went down this road, “The ocean can handle it.” I think we have to take some responsibility for the environment and be responsible to people who live in the area, vacation in that area, fish in that area. It’s just wrong to think, “You know what? Dump it on the ocean and let the ocean handle it.”
HUME: Who said that? Who is saying that? No one’s making that argument.
Nearly two weeks ago, Gulf Coast marine scientists told ThinkProgress they “shudder to think” of the devastation this underwater apocalypse could entail, because “oil is bad for everything” that lives in the ocean.
I recommended Sleigh Bells’s new album last week. I absolutely love it. But some folks hated it. And I count among that number not only commenters on this blog, but also my friend Tom Lee. He reports, however, that his view changed when he switches his listening medium:
It was physically unpleasant. I mean, not painful, exactly. That would be going too far. But my old man ears really, really recoiled from it.
But that was all on headphones (sealed-back headphones at that). Today I’m giving the album a chance over speakers, and I have no complaints. I actually like it!
I don’t detect such a strong difference as Tom does, but I agree that this sounds a lot better on speakers or on my open-backed headphones than on my earbuds.
While campaigning for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) this weekend, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin strongly defended the state’s draconian new immigration law and called on other states to follow the Arizona’s lead. Palin praised Brewer for signing the law, calling Arizona “ground zero” for border security issues. She also denied that the law would lead to racial profiling, and said of the new powers granted to police officers, “I think for most American people the reaction to that would be, ‘Why aren’t [police] already doing that?” Recalling a line from her former presidential running mate, Palin added, “We’re all Arizonans now“:
“It’s time for Americans across this great country to stand up and say, ‘We’re all Arizonans now,’ ” Palin said. “And in clear unity we say, ‘Mr. President, do your job. Secure our borders.’ ”
Palin also said Arizona was an example for the rest of the nation to follow. She was in town to speak at the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation’s annual banquet at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in north Phoenix.
At the event, Palin and Brewer launched a new website to fight the mounting boycotts of Arizona protesting the new law. SecureTheBorder.org, paid for by Brewer’s reelection campaign, features a photo of Palin and Brewer, and encourages visitors to sign a petition saying, “I demand our border be secured and I oppose any boycott of Arizona.” The website also encourages people to “[t]ake a stand and call or email” organizations that have pledged to boycott. The boycotts seem to be significantly worrying Brewer, as she established a new tourism task force whose “top priority” is to “stanch the flow of lost trade and convention business in the state.” “We were surprised by [the boycotts],” a task force member said. “We didn’t think it was going to be a tourism issue.” Palin also criticized the boycotts last week.
Wow. What a mess. Remember when Ridley Scott directed good movies? Among other things, this film features the bizarre decision to do an interpretation of Robin Hood who (a) is not called “Robin Hood,” (b) doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor, (c) doesn’t live in Sherwood Forest, and (d) doesn’t fight with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Instead you get a boring and historically confused account of the First Baron’s War.
That said, the Robin Hood Wikipedia article is actually really fascinating.
(Yeah, I wanted to sneak a final entry in here, too. Thanks to Alyssa and her readers for being such wonderful hosts.)
Compass, the new album by musical alchemist Jamie Lidell, is being released on Tuesday, May 18th. It’s been interesting to watch Lidell’s progression from fuzzy tech rhythm maker to R&B and rock; he started out as half of techno duo Super_Collider. His first solo album, Multiply, was nearly straight soul and R&B, with a few nods to his tech side. The follow-up, Jim, explored rock and inched into funky synth grooves, reminiscent of early 90′s British soul like Loose Ends and Soul II Soul.
With the ease with which he shifts genres, it’s almost easy to forget that Lidell’s voice is amazing. Whether he’s trying to channel Otis Redding or beatboxing into a vocoder, this man’s got soul. And his voice never sounds out of place with each new sound he explores. He’s a crazy talented musician, but there’s the bonus of being able to hear how much fun he’s having, how much work he’s putting into each track. That’s rare.
Previews of Compass, available on Lidell’s You Tube channel, promise a move toward the voice-sculpting he demonstrates during his live shows. He’s working with a big cast of characters on this album, including Beck, Feist, singer Nikka Costa and legend session drummer James Gadson.
The album’s being released on Monday in the UK, so we Americans have to wait til Tuesday. I’ll be up early to download it from iTunes.
Paul Krugman posts a chart highlighting the divergent fates of three small crisis-wracked countries, two with currencies pegged to the euro and one with a currency that floats:
Obviously the situation in Iceland is bad. But it’s much better than the situation in some other somewhat similarly situated countries, even though Iceland was ground-zero for the bust. You see around the world that developed countries that have done relatively well like Sweden and Israel have likewise seen the value of their currencies tumble.
In effect what’s happening in these places is a form of aggressive monetary policy. But while extremely aggressive monetary policy is politically controversial, the idea that countries with floating currencies might see the value of their currency go down is uncontroversial. Part of the reason, I think, is that the global elite is much more comfortable with things that look like “market outcomes” than things that look like “policy decisions” even though in reality the situations are symmetrical. A central bank’s decision to not act to halt devaluation counts as a policy decision, just as a central banks decision to not act to engage in hyper-aggressive monetary expansion is a real decision. When Milton Friedman argued that the Great Depression could primarily be understood as caused by bad Federal Reserve decision-making, some of the key decisions he had in mind were decisions to not act.
At any rate, you can argue theory until the cows come home. But the reality is that throughout this crisis the places that have “done more” have done better. Iceland is doing better than Estonia. The United States and the United Kingdom are doing better than the Eurozone. China is doing the most, and it’s doing the best.