Weekend News Update: How Obama snookered the GOP into a second stimulus (including renewable energy incentives) — Krauthammer

Prokaryotes and others can post links here to interesting weekend news/links.

How Obama snookered the GOP into a second stimulus

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

JR:  Yes, the deal got half of the clean-energy fix and Krauthammer is a hard-core right wing climate dove (see Krauthammer, Part 2: The real reason conservatives don’t believe in climate science).

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way – mostly tax cuts – rather than the Democrats’ spending orgy of Stimulus I. That’s consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.

At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012.

Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent – it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 – that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

No, cries the left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? … The left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus – what the left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I but was heretofore politically unattainable.

Obama’s public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008 – and abandoned the Democrats in 2010 – is by changing the prevailing … perception that he is a man of the left.

Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the “professional left” for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama’s Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity – their ideological stupidity and inability to see the “long game” really do get under Obama’s skin – but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

No, says the current buzz, the left will instead challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. Really now? For decades, African Americans have been this party’s most loyal constituency. They vote 9 to 1 Democratic through hell and high water, through impeachment and recession, through everything. After four centuries of enduring much, African Americans finally see one of their own achieve the presidency. And their own party is going to deny him a shot at his own reelection?

Not even Democrats are that stupid. The remaining question is whether they are just stupid enough to not understand – and therefore vote down – the swindle of the year just pulled off by their own president.

Related Posts:

82 Responses to Weekend News Update: How Obama snookered the GOP into a second stimulus (including renewable energy incentives) — Krauthammer

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    “Prokaryotes and others can post links here to interesting weekend news/links.”

    Thanks Joe, for mentioning my affords of documenting human climate change progress here at CP. I’ll do my best and constructive critique is always welcome. (For example if you want a certain topic covered.)

    Just thought i share this (Off Topic) song i’m listening right now … If you like that track checkout the other videos from the sidebar.

  2. Chris Winter says:

    Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the “professional left” for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama’s Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity – their ideological stupidity and inability to see the “long game” really do get under Obama’s skin – but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

    Krauthammer in the past, IIRC, has shown a tendency to “psychoanalyze from a distance,” and also to criticize others for doing the same. He does the former here, by peering into the President’s mind to declare it both sincerely irritated and coolly calculating.

    Krauthammer is often wrong. He may be right here about the president’s attitude, but I think he misses the mark on his policy by calling it such a great victory. In doing so, of course, he’s playing to his right-wing readership, just as he does when he tries to minimize the effect of the estate tax’s return and the continuance of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, while complaining about “another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.”

    I regard this column not as analysis, but as damage control — the damage being not so much to Republicans’ ostensible desire to rein in spending but to their perceived chances of beating Obama in 2012.

  3. ToddInNorway says:

    The US has three problems with its trade imbalances and public spending-two of these are essentially due to its exaggerated oil consumption. Hundreds of billions of dollars yearly going to pay for imported oil, and trillions of dollars to pay for the wars fought essentially to secure imported oil. The third major economic problem in the US is domestic-the world´s most bloated and cost-ineffective health care system there is. Only when these problems get fixed will there be a sustainable and robust economy.

  4. Lore says:

    Meanwhile, the discrepancy between the wealthy and the middle class grows even wider. This is not sustainable for a secure future. The tax relief to the wealthy cannot be presented as a stimulus since it’s just a continuation of the failed policy we are living under now. Trying to spin this otherwise is just adding more lipstick to the pig.

    None of the parties grasp the systemic, structural changes that are taking place among the American workforce.

    It’s projected that there will still be somewhere around 8% unemployment, at best, for the 2012 election. Which historically has never been reached before at such a time. This will give leverage between now and then for the right to dismantle a great deal of the meager programs we hold dear to our future.

    As the money press keeps turning, I fear the coming decade will see a dystopian country with very little in the way of financial resources to invest in the education, technology and manufacturing of the solutions that will address the several converging catastrophes we face.

    We are Atlantis, sinking beneath the waves.

  5. Wit's End says:

    Obama’s EPA “delays” strengthening air pollution regulations. (sigh)

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    REDD: Climate conference ends with deforestation agreement
    The accord creates incentives to keep forests standing and reduce CO2 emissions.

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Court Upholds Nation’s Strongest Effort To Curb Climate Change
    Court clears the way for EPA to stay the course on global warming pollution

    This afternoon. the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals swatted down big polluters’ attempts to block this nation’s most important progress on cutting climate change pollution. This court decision is a huge victory for clean air in America and for progress on climate change.

    A coalition of Texas polluters are responsible, yet again, for this unsuccessful effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from curbing global warming pollution from moving vehicles and the biggest industry polluters.

    Why not host a gallery with all these ill-advised attempts/names – epic fails.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Now can we talk about climate change?
    With the failure of collective action to prevent climate change, Israel will have to accept that unexpected extreme events will become much more common.

    As the Carmel forest fires begin to die down, the public has inevitably begun to ask how the catastrophe happened, with accusatory fingers pointed at careless youths and negligent government officials. Playing the blame game, however, does not explain the whole story and also conveniently allows us to absolve our own role in this disaster.

    Until recently, talk about climate change in Israel would elicit the standard reply that the country has more important things to worry about. That’s not surprising. Psychological research shows that in most of the developed world, climate change is perceived as a vague and distant threat, without real relevance to everyday life. Surveys conducted locally in late 2009, however, suggest Israelis are beginning to make a clear connection between the current water shortages being experienced and climate change.

    Despite the growing public disquiet over another drought year, a burning-hot summer and the failure of the November rains to appear, the government’s plan is only to double the amount of desalinated water by 2013. That may help alleviate the immediate shortage, but it ignores the elephant in the room: Why have the last six years been drought years?

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Norway funds global crop drive to resist climate change

    ROME — Norway has pledged 50 million euros (66 million dollars) for a 10-year global programme to collect seeds for wild food crops to help farmers adapt to climate change, the trust behind the project said Friday.

    The project will work on 23 common food crops such as bananas, barley, beans, peas, potatoes and wheat, and seeds will be stored in various locations including the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on a Norwegian island in the Arctic.

    Scientists will collect the food crop genes and then try to breed them into varieties that “make them more hardy and versatile,” the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust, a public-private donor fund, said in a statement.

    “The aim of the project is to collect wild crop diversity and put it into the crop breeding pipeline before this treasure is lost from the wild forever,” Solheim said, adding that this was a “race against time.”

    The trust was founded by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Greenpeace Rates Climate-Change Leaders and Laggards

    Greenpeace International released the fourth version of its “Cool IT Leaderboard” on Tuesday, and Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu ranked atop the list of 17 global high-tech companies.

    “The Cool IT leaderboard evaluates global IT companies on their leadership in the fight to stop climate change,” notes the announcement. “The IT sector possesses the innovative spirit, technological know-how and political influence to bring about a rapid clean energy revolution.”

    Cisco maintained the top spot in Greenpeace’s rankings, which lauded the high-tech company’s “commitment to building climate solutions, such as remote collaboration, connected workplace, connected buildings and telecommute offerings, and demonstration of sound methodology in calculating their potential to cut carbon emissions across other sectors of the economy.”

    IT companies are evaluated by Greenpeace in three areas: efforts to offer economywide technological climate solutions that contribute to global greenhouse gas reductions; initiatives to reduce their own global warming emissions; active engagement in political advocacy and support for science-based climate and energy policies.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change may be increasing toxins poisoning Caribbean fish
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Global climate change may contribute to an increase in toxins that poison Caribbean fish and the people who eat the seafood, according to experts meeting this week in the Virgin Islands.

    Preliminary findings from other parts of the world suggest that increases in water temperatures trigger an increase in growth of a specific marine alga, known as Gambierdiscus toxicus, which produces a group of closely related toxins known as “ciguatoxins.” Ciguatera fish poisoning, known as CFP, occurs when people eat fish that have accumulated these toxins.

    “While ciguatera fish poisoning has been recognized as an important public health problem in the Virgin Islands for many years, we still have very little understanding of the factors that increase the risk of toxicity,” said Dr. Glenn Morris, principal investigator of the project and director of the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute.

    Fish made humans what they are today.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    Stimulate the green race to tackle climate change
    Countries have started to recognise and act upon the economic value in meeting the demand for green technology.

    there is a ‘Green Race’ emerging towards a more resource efficient economy. This presents huge opportunities for national and international economies which are recognised not only by businesses but also by countries.

    More and more countries are taking note of this Green Race and are beginning to participate with serious ambition. Take for example the recent speech by US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. He labelled the success of China and other countries in clean energy industries a new ‘Sputnik Moment’, which requires the United States to mobilise its innovation machine to compete in the global race for the jobs of the future.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that a wave of reptile extinctions on the Greek islands over the past 15,000 years may shed light on how plants and animals will respond to human-caused climate change.

    The Greek island extinctions also highlighted the critical importance of preserving habitat corridors that will enable plants and animals to migrate in response to climate change, thereby maximizing their chances of survival.

    As the climate warmed at the tail end of the last ice age, sea levels rose and formed scores of Aegean islands that had formerly been part of the Greek mainland.

    To gain a clearer understanding of the past consequences of climate change, Johannes Foufopoulos and his colleagues calculated the population extinction rates of 35 reptile species-assorted lizards, snakes and turtles-from 87 Greek islands in the northeast Mediterranean Sea.

    The calculated extinction rates were based on the modern-day presence or absence of each species on islands that were connected to the mainland during the last ice age.

    Foufopoulos and his colleagues found a striking pattern to the island extinctions. In most cases, reptile populations disappeared on the smallest islands first-the places where the habitat choices were most limited.

    Especially hard hit were “habitat specialist” reptiles that required a narrow range of environmental conditions to survive. In addition, northern-dwelling species that required cool, moist conditions showed some of the highest extinction rates.

    The researchers concluded that a similar pattern of extinctions will emerge at various spots across the globe as the climate warms in the coming decades and centuries. In addition to adapting to a changing climate, plants and animals will be forced to traverse an increasingly fragmented natural landscape.

    “The widespread fragmentation of natural habitats greatly exacerbates the effects of climate change and undermines the ability of species to adapt to the new conditions,” said Foufopoulos.

    “The lessons learned from the wave of reptile extinctions suggest that if species are to survive the global climate shift already underway, not only do humans have to set significantly more land aside for conservation, but these protected areas will also need to be connected through a network of habitat corridors that allow species migration,” he added.

    The study appeared in the journal American Naturalist. (ANI)

  14. Wes Rolley says:

    While California’s AB 32 was heralded as an example of what states could do in the absence of Federal action; and with everyone so happy over the fact that California voters turned down Prop 23 which would have delayed implementation of AB 32’s provisions, we still don’t know what the actual provisions will be and how offsets will be handled. The Union of Concerned Scientists is concerned that California’s Air Resources Board )CARB) will bow to pressures and water down the process.

    Considering what’s at stake, we urge you to ask CARB to strengthen the program. Find out more details on how you can submit your official public comment here.

    Why is it so important that you speak up? Climate deniers are already weighing in. In the official public comments, there are repeated references to the global warming “hoax,” and at least one commenter directly compares the state’s climate change officials to Nazis. With overheated and destructive rhetoric like this, we must counter with civil—and rational—input that calls for a speedy and effective transition to a clean energy economy.

    I hopw that Jeff and the rest of the CA followers will weigh in.

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Rutgers’ Scientists Challenge Christie’s Skepticism on Climate Change
    Environmentalists organize forum on global warming, worried that NJ may back away from commitment to clean energy

    Gov. Chris Christie may be on the fence about whether humans are causing global warming, but three Rutgers professors harbor no doubts about climate change.

    “There is no honest argument against human climate change,” said Paul Falkowski, a professor at the Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences, speaking yesterday at a forum on global warming in the Statehouse Annex, sponsored by Environment New Jersey and other environmental organizations.

    “In fact, humans are causing climate change,” echoed Alan Robock, another Rutgers professor and lead author of the ongoing Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “There is no other credible explanation for the warming going for the last century.”

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    Israeli forest fire sign of climate change: study

    Israel’s worst-ever forest fire earlier this month confirms predictions on the impact of global warming in the Mediterranean basin, according to one of Israel’s leading climate experts.

    “The fire disaster in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa is a taste of the future,” Guy Pe’er, co-author of Israel’s National Report on Climate Change, said on Wednesday.

    Nearly a decade ago, Pe’er and other scientists warned that warming would create conditions such as heat waves, decreased and delayed rainfall, leading to a higher risk of intense forest fires.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    The recent four-day blaze, which destroyed some five million trees across 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares), arose from these very conditions, he said.

    The national report predicted that a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times would cause the region’s desert to expand northward some 300-500 kilometers (200-30 miles).

    Without deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature increase by century’s end will be closer to 3.0 C (5.4 F), scientists say.

    In either scenario, such a change would spell the end of Mediterranean-type ecosystems in Israel, Pe’er said.

  17. paulm says:

    #1 nice one Prok
    Try playing multiple sessions of the track in parallel:)

    BTW Clinton had a big impact on this issue….(is that a smile or smirk on Obama?)

  18. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change, wildfires in vicious cycle

    Northern wildfires and climate change are fuelling each other, a new study shows.

    “Increasing temperatures … [are] going to result in increasing fire in both Alaska and Canada,” says Merritt Turetsky, lead author of the study published this week in Nature Geoscience.

    “This results then, according to our data, in more greenhouse gas emissions, which then feeds back to climate warming through the greenhouse effect.”

    Turetsky, an ecology professor at the University of Guelph, and her collaborators found that the area of interior Alaska that burns each year has doubled and the amount of carbon dioxide released by wildfires has tripled over the past decade relative to the previous 50 years.

    Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere have been linked to global warming.

  19. Prokaryotes says:


    Subarctic wildfires a ‘runaway climate change’ risk

    In the study, Turetsky and colleagues examined nearly 200 forest and peatland sites in Alaska shortly after blazes were extinguished to measure how much biomass had burnt.

    The amount of scorched earth has doubled in interior Alaska over the last 10 years, mostly because of increased burning late in the fire season, they found.

    “We have demonstrated for the first time that increases in burned area are clearly linked to increases in fire severity,” said co-author Eric Kasische, a professor at the University of Maryland.

    “This not only impacts carbon storage, but also will accelerate permafrost loss and changes in forest cover.”

    Ten of billions of tonnes of another potent greenhouse gas, methane, are also trapped inside permafrost.

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    New Report Says Nike Ranks No. 1 In Combating Climate Change

    The Climate Counts organization looks at a variety of topics in each of these categories including whether the company in question has a clear climate goal set, whether the company supports or opposes public policy on climate change and even how detailed the company’s public reporting process is.

    In addition to the numerical score given to each company, the Climate Counts scorecard also gives companies a green, yellow or red light rating. Green light companies are “striding”, yellow light companies are “starting” and at the bottom of the bunch are the red light companies, those that are “stuck” from a climate change perspective.

    Although Nike earned the top spot on the Climate Counts 2010-2011 Company Scorecard, it only earned an overall score of 87. This means that despite being the highest scoring company this year, Nike still has room to improve.

  21. toby says:

    Obama should buy Krauthammer a beer.

    To many, if he is being attacked by Charles Krauthammer, then he must have done the right thing.

    People cannot have missed the fact that the GOP rode into a Congressional majority on the back of the deficit, and then agreed to increase the deficit in order that the rich continue to pay lower taxes. Or am I missing something?

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    WikiLeaks: Cables reveal pessimism in climate change talks

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    A sign that coal mining becomes increasingly un-economical?
    Major flood events are unlikely to inundate wind farms or roof toop solar panels. Energy security becomes ever more important as we advance into the new era of climate disruption. Are you prepared? Are you up to the task to lead the clean energy race for the “clean” industrial revolution 2.0 (Sputniks Moment, Manhatten Style Projects).

    Flood shuts mine and devastates cotton crops

    A COALMINE has been shut and more than a thousand hectares of cotton crops damaged by floods in central Queensland.

    The Dawson River peaked at 13 metres in Theodore at midnight on Friday and was receding yesterday.

    ”We’re probably losing more than $100,000 a day,” operations manager Ray Delaforce said.

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    Redrawing flood maps will put more homes in high-risk zones

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating Maricopa County flood-insurance-rate maps, a move likely to put more Valley homeowners in “high-risk” areas that require costly flood insurance.

    Who have could thought of this happening, years ago when buildings were constructed? Who could have thought that personal carbon foot prints are the cause. Who will buy these homes now?

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate weirding is here – and is it will stay now and become more pronounced each passing year.

    Ice and flood warning after Scotland thaws

    Fresh warnings have been issued over icy roads and flooding as Scotland continued to thaw out after two weeks of snow and sub-zero temperatures.

    East Lothian and the Borders have been particularly hit by flooding.

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Skeptics …

    If governments shun strong, mandatory emissions reductions, “then we will be responsible for ‘ecocide,’ which is equivalent to genocide because this would be an affront to mankind as a whole,” the Bolivian leader said.

  27. Lore says:

    toby #8:

    “People cannot have missed the fact that the GOP rode into a Congressional majority on the back of the deficit, and then agreed to increase the deficit in order that the rich continue to pay lower taxes. Or am I missing something?”

    Yes, it’s called cognitive dissonance.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    Heavy rain on the way for Coast

    THE torrential rain and strong winds that smashed parts of Brisbane yesterday afternoon could return and hit the Coast today.

    Weather Channel meteorologist Alex Zadnik said the wild weather was the result of low pressure troughs passing through South-East Queensland. “It is predicted to get increasingly wet over the weekend,” he said.

    “There will be showers increasing to heavy rain with the risk of an afternoon thunderstorm. “The humidity means there is plenty of moisture available.”

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Oz Floods: Thousands Flee Their Homes

    Torrential rain kills over 200 in Tamil Nadu

    Over 203 killed, including 52 women and 41 children, 2167 livestock dead, over 29,000 dwelling units damaged, thousands of hectares of crop submerged, lakes, tanks and rivers filled to the brim, lives brought to a standstill — the erratic but aggressive northeastern monsoon is raging on in Tamil Nadu. The heavy rains, virtually ceaseless since Sunday, continued strongly in Chennai and several coastal districts of the state, causing widespread damages. The death toll is attributed to rain-related incidents, including drowning, building collapse, electrocution.

    The maximum number of deaths were reported from the coastal districts that bore the brunt of the monsoon fury in the last few days, where the chaos was compounded by floodwaters from upstream areas.

    The Regional Meteorological Department has predicted more spells of rains including heavy rainfalls in the coastal regions.…/721778/

  30. Prokaryotes says:


    CSU and TSR predict an extremely active 2011 Atlantic hurricane season

    A continuation of the pattern of much above-average Atlantic hurricane activity we’ve seen since 1995 is on tap for 2011, according to the latest seasonal forecast issued Wednesday by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). They are calling for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 – 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast is a very aggressive one, since only six seasons since 1851 have had as many as 17 named storms; 19 seasons have had 9 or more hurricanes. The 2011 forecast calls for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (49% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (48% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 62% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.) Five years with similar pre-season November atmospheric and oceanic conditions were selected as “analogue” years that the 2011 hurricane season may resemble: 2008, 1999, 1989, 1961, and 1956. The average activity for these years was 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.

    The forecasters cited several reasons for their forecast of a much above-average season:

    1) Unusually warm sea surface temperatures continue in the tropical Atlantic this fall, an indication that the active hurricane period we have been in since 1995 will continue (in technical terms, the positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, AMO, will continue.) SSTs in Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from the Caribbean eastwards to the coast of Africa, were at a record high in October (November data are not yet available.)

    2) Hurricane activity in the Atlantic is lowest during El Niño years and highest during La Niña or neutral years. This occurs because El Niño events tend to increase westerly upper-level winds over the tropical Atlantic, bringing high wind shear harmful for hurricanes. The CSU team notes that we are currently experiencing moderate to strong La Niña conditions, with an unusual amount of cool water present in the top 300 meters of the Equatorial Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. Since 1979, only eight years have had similar amounts of cool water in November. The hurricane seasons that followed each of those eight years were unable to transition to El Niño conditions. Thus, the CSU team expects that we will have neutral or La Niña conditions in place for the Atlantic hurricane season of 2011, which should act to keep wind shear values average to below average, enhancing hurricane activity. Of the 16 El Niño/La Niña computer models that made November predictions for the July-August-September 2011 portion of hurricane season (Figure 1), only 4 (25%) predicted that El Niño would arrive.

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    Colombia declares state of emergency over rains

    Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency to cope with the catastrophe caused by this year’s rainy season, which has killed more than 200, uprooted thousands of families, and affected more than 1.6 million Colombians.

    “Tonight we are taking the decision to firstly declare a disaster situation [in the town of Bello] and secondly declare an economic, social and ecological emergency … initially for 30 days, but it can be extended to 90 days,” the president said in a televised speech after returning from the town just north of Medellin where a landslide is feared to have killed 124 residents of a poor hillside slum.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    4.9 quake hits Baja California, felt in SoCal
    The USGS says the quake is an aftershock of the magnitude 7.2 Easter earthquake. Six smaller earthquakes measuring between magnitudes of 2.6 and 3.2 followed Saturday’s moderate temblor.

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    After the Fire in Israel’s history …

    Fierce Storm Rattles Israel – The Peak Is Yet To Come
    Media Summary
    Heavy winds have been lashing Israel since early this Saturday morning, knocking down power lines and trees. A flash flood watch is in effect and severe dust storms are whipping up sand in the south. Jerusalem, Israel.

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    After the WORST Fire in Israel’s history … the FIRECEST STORM IN A DECADE ABOUT TO SLASH …

    The storm brings the first rains of the winter about two months late. Forecasters believe the next few days may bring amounts of rain equivalent to that missing since October. Others are saying this may be the fiercest storm in the last decade.

    The peak is yet to come over the next few days. Temperatures are expected to fall tonight with perhaps some snowfall even in Jerusalem.

  35. Bob Wallace says:

    Lore, give this page a read…

    Jump down to the second graphic and the table. What you will see is that the deal which President Obama negotiated puts a lot more money in the pockets of the non-rich than did the previous tax proposal. That money is going to get spent in-country and not for extra villas in the south of France.

    Then, realize that many of the very wealthy do not have massive amounts of earned income. The really rich’s money often comes from capital gains, from investments. That income currently is taxed at 15% and will go to 20% in 2010. That’s about the rate that people making $50k a year pay (25% on the amount over $32k).

    The people who are going to benefit from lower rates over $250,000 are often athletes or entertainers who pull down extra large salaries for a few years. Those fat-cat CEOs have all sorts of ways to protect their very high salaries such as salary deferments and stock options.

  36. BillD says:

    GOP is the party of the big deficit–first under Reagan, then GW Bush. I agree with the thesis of this article. The economy is gaining some momentum. I think that the stimulus of the payroll tax decrease will stimulate the economy and help the middle class. The weak dollar is also stimulating exports. Now, if the new tea party reps can be marginalized, so that their policies don’t push the country back into a recession. I also appreciate Obama’s ability to get a few green concessions. Maybe this will be a trend. In any case, the economy needs more stimulus for democrats to have a chance in 2012.

  37. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #2: Chris (and others), Krugman explains why the timing of the deal puts Republicans in the driver’s seat politically. If the stimulus component were large enough to actually fuel a recovery, that would be one thing, but as Krugman explains at length in other posts, it’s not even close. The best face that can be put on this deal just isn’t that good.

  38. Alex says:

    Joe, just because this deal contains renewable energy tax credits does not mean it’s a good deal. It simply means that renewable energy tax credits have been held hostage along with unemployment benefits to get tax cuts for the wealthy. Just because it contains a small credit to benefit renewable energy does not mean that a plan that might lead to deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare should be endorsed. The bipartisan crowd that was complaining about the deficit last week will soon remember the conjured imminency of national insolvency and will take an axe to important social programs, including environmental ones.

    [JR: How can it lead to cuts that no one will ever support?]

  39. David Smith says:

    Only 6% scientists in this country are Republicans, that’s a problem.

    This is both not suprising and hard to believe. This provides insight into the nature of the conflict over global warming. I guess it’s hard to be a scientist and not be Progressive as well. Maybe Conservatives are science opportunists, they sift through science to find morsels that can be turned into profit, but otherwise view science as a threat to be neutralized.

  40. Michael T. says:

    Still waiting for NOAA to put out thier news release for the November U.S. climate and the globe. The NOAA release should be out early next week, but here is the more comprehensive NCDC report:

    Temperature & Precipitation Graphs:

  41. Lore says:

    #10 Bob Wallace:

    While the chart shows that the temporary tax holiday under the Obama/Repubican plan is going to add $763 to the average worker’s yearly income ($41,000), I consider this peanuts in addressing the looming issues we face. This amount of money is not much more then the free checks of a few years ago and they certainly didn’t stop the economy from going into freefall. Now, remember, you only get this new money if you have any kind of income at all.

    The plan really fails to attack the issues of jobs, education, long term investment in technology, and most importantly, close the income gap inequity.

    Much of the break for the lower income earners will be eaten up by higher medical deductibles for the insured, more out of pocket medical costs for those who are not and a bump in inflation with higher food and energy costs next year. A lot of which can be attributed to the printing of more money which will further bloat the national debt. Anyway you cut it, even with the increase in capital gains tax, the program will add another trillion to our debt load.

    In addition a great deal of hedge fund investments by the wealthy and their corporations are now being made overseas with no repatriation of dollars. Increasing the capital gains tax will just push even more of this money offshore. There is also no guarantee that big business will now reinvest the two trillion dollars they are sitting on here in the U.S. without a sense that demand is coming back. That uncertainty requires a long term expectation that the consumer is back on their feet with jobs to show for it.

    As far as benefiting from the over $250K break, you have doctors, lawyers, CEOs, hedge fund managers, wall street bankers, and the list goes on and on. These extra bucks, as the first graph shows is ballooning to a deviation between the middle and upper percentile of income earners not seen since the Great Depression and we all know what happened then.

  42. dp says:

    “At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012.”

    krauthammer’s right about employment as the central issue in 2012, but 1.5% from this large but weak demand injection is higher than any other independent estimate i’ve read.

    krugman’s concern that the package tapers off right when people will be forming their opinions about the economy’s direction is more important than krauthammer’s backhanded divisive ‘support.’

    meanwhile recent swing states are an underemployed disaster area:

    WA 18.1%
    MO 16.0%
    MI 21.3%
    IN 17.8%
    PA 14.5%
    OH 17.3%
    NC 17.6%
    GA 17.9%
    FL 19.2%

    except for VA, at 13.1%, because both red & blue feds vote to give themselves the job security they seem to think the rest of the country doesn’t deserve.

  43. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #22: Forgot the link to the Krugman post.

  44. Lore says:

    If I may paraphrase the old saying, this plan is like giving a guy a fish, so he can eat for a day rather then a fishing pole so he can catch his own and eat for a lifetime. Oh, and make sure the lake and fish are still there to fish in.

  45. Esop says:

    Global temperatures have surged over the last week, and the skeptic run UAH channel 4 temperatures are now the highest on the posted record.
    This is pretty amazing, considering the following facts:

    -We are in what looks like the most powerful La Nina since 1955
    -Maximum cooling from the deepest solar minimum in a century
    -Al Gore is somewhat overweight
    -Negative PDO (deniers had such high hopes for that one)
    -It is real cold in parts of Europe

    Definitely looks like 2010 will set a new record. 2011 might very well beat that record, and 2012 will very likely completely smash that record again.

  46. Michael T. says:

    NASA: 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest Ever

    The 2010 meteorological year, which ended on 30 November, was the warmest in NASA’s 130-year record, data posted by the agency today shows. Over the oceans as well as on land, the average global temperature for the 12-month period that began last December was 14.65˚C. That’s 0.65˚C warmer than the average global temperature between 1951 and 1980, a period scientists use as a basis for comparison.

    According to NASA climatologist and Goddard director James Hansen, the main driver for the increased warmth was the Arctic, where temperatures in Hudson Bay were “10˚C above normal” for November. That month, Hansen says, “sea ice was absent while normally that [body of water] is covered by sea ice.” Water devoid of ice absorbs much more solar radiation than water covered with ice, which reflects much of the radiation back toward space.

    The record temperatures occurred despite a moderate occurrence of La Niña, a phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean that tends to lead to cooler temperatures at the surface, affecting the global mean.

  47. Colorado Bob says:

    Prokaryotes –

    Re : Cotton in Australia –

    Their crop was one of the last growing areas not hit by storms this year. The cotton price chart reads like the CO2 graph :

    You can see what the crop losses in China and Pakistan did to the price back in the summer.

  48. Colorado Bob says:

    The cotton crop on the Texas high plains was hit by heavy rain, and large hail at the end of Sept. just before harvest began.

  49. Colorado Bob says:

    Dr. Masters reported on the last system to move into the Pacific Northwest. The one where Portland set a new daily record for rainfall. Seattle set a new daily high temp record with that one. Like the event in Alaska back in Nov. there seemed be be a great deal of heat in the system, that is to say each rain drop is warmer than what we once saw. I think that not only are the storms getting bigger, windier, and with more rain falling, that rain is carrying more heat. If I’m right, events like the snow fall in Scotland can and will be melted by one of these really warm storms. That storm in Alaska was a preview of winter storms to come, and was very similar to the one that struck New Hampshire last Dec.

    The wet weather will be riding a warm front, raising temperatures in the Portland area into the 50s Saturday and approaching 60 on Sunday, the weather service predicted.

  50. Mike says:

    New gas pipeline

    ASHGABAT: The leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan on Saturday agreed to move forward with a complicated and risky plan to build a natural gas pipeline across rugged territory plagued by war and terrorism.

    The pipeline, which would terminate in India, would bring huge amounts of gas to underdeveloped regions and could earn impoverished Afghanistan hundreds of millions of dollars in transit fees.

    The route for the 1,700-kilometer TAPI pipeline from gas-rich Turkmenistan would cross Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, where the Taliban and international forces are locked in battle, as well as some of Pakistan’s unruly tribal areas.

  51. Michael T. says:

    World Temperatures May Post Hottest Year on Record in 2010, UN Agency Says

    “Global average temperatures may be the warmest on record this year, the World Meteorological Organization said, days after announcing that greenhouse-gas concentrations are the highest since measurements began.”

  52. Michael T. says:

    Amazon’s thirst alarming for Earth

    Rising temperatures, vanishing rivers and forests may already be accelerating global warming

    “The river loops low past its bleached-white banks, where caimans bask in the fierce morning sun and stranded houseboats tilt precariously. Nearby sits a beached barge with its load of eight trucks and a crane. Its owners were caught out by the speed of the river’s decline. This is what it looks like when the world’s greatest rainforest is thirsty. If climate scientists are right, parched Amazon scenes like this will become more common in the coming decades, possibly threatening the survival of the forest and accelerating global warming.”

  53. William P says:

    Ideologue Krauthammer is a vicious, toxic right winger. And he looks the part.

  54. paulm says:

    #48 Esop,
    Things are starting to rumble. People think societies can survive the next .2C global increase are in for a surprise. Bolivia sees it like it is.

    What’s that saying about the getting climate change action through the eye of a needle:

    ‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich developed nation to address climate warming.

  55. paulm says:

    We had a recent cold spell (with tons of snow) here in the north west, but are now back to our warming ways – running 3C plus on the typical for day and NIGHTS.

    #53 Bob, As for that loop, there is a posted rain fall warming. I just bought myself a water pump at Canadian Tire.

    ‘Between 60 and 100 mm of rain expected through Sunday.’

  56. William P says:

    #56 – Michael T

    I’ve seen several reports from the ground in the Amazon recently – all like your post.

    The Amazon, disappearing Arctic ice, crop damage, steadily rising heat – aren’t things happening much quicker than IPCC predicted? It seems so.

    Put that together with scientific and unscientific predictions for 2012 and one can get concerned. (more than we already are)

  57. Colorado Bob says:

    B.C. forests release more carbon than they store thanks to pine beetle

    Most comprehensive-ever report on B.C. forests say they are being sustainably managed despite beetle damage

    The double whammy of the mountain pine beetle infestation and the increased severity of wildfires have tipped the balance in B.C. forests, turning them from a carbon sink to net emitters of greenhouse gases, according to a new ministry of forests, mines and lands report.

    The province’s forests began emitting more carbon than they stored in 2004, according to the report, a trend that is expected to continue until 2020.

    The report is the most intensive and thorough on the province’s forests. It was prepared by the ministry of forests and mines over a two-year period. The carbon cycle is only one of 24 topics based on data from 91 indicators.

    Read more:

  58. Colorado Bob says:

    The carbon sink that was the BC forest, has been in reverse for 6 years.

  59. Colorado Bob says:

    So much for the “Happy Plant Theory” in the BC forest.

  60. Colorado Bob says:

    Late freeze of sea ice threatens Hudson Bay bears

    Date: Wednesday Dec. 8, 2010 1:47 PM ET

    Scientists say polar bear moms and their cubs near Churchill in northern Manitoba are suffering the worst effects of a late freeze-up of sea ice on Hudson Bay.

    The bears are just now setting out for the sea ice they use as a hunting platform for seals, said University of Alberta researcher Andrew Derocher.

    That’s weeks later than usual — and comes on top of an early spring thaw that drove the bears off their hunting ground nearly a month sooner than usual.

    “This year’s been pretty challenging on the population,” said Derocher from Inuvik, N.W.T. “They were early off the ice and now they’re late getting on.

    “Some of these bears have had a very long on-land period. A lot of the bears are just running out of steam.”

  61. Michael T. says:

    James Hansen has a new page discussing the cold weather anomalies in Europe and record high November global temperature. It’s available on his blog:

    “Global Temperature and Europe’s Frigid Air”

  62. Colorado Bob says:

    “One of the things that was observed this year is that in at least some family groups the mothers stopped nursing and the cubs died on land. We don’t usually see that.”

    The natural world is a wash in, ” We don’t usually see that ” and her ugly step child , ” We’ve never seen this before.”

  63. Michael T. says:

    The Jim Hansen discussion I linked to at comment 65 is now available on the NASA GISS site.
    2010 — Global Temperature and Europe’s Frigid Air

  64. Colorado Bob says:

    Looking again at that stunning map , GISS Surface Temperature Analysis, and the heat is about to swallow the last cool spot at the top of the world.

  65. with the doves says:

    Charles Krauthammer? Hmmm, Republicans like it. That is an important clue in evaluating this thing.

    This is a bad deal. Basically they are giving us our own seed corn. Whatever stimulus results in the next year will be outweighed by the damage to the government of decreased revenue, damage to social security from lower withholding, and damage to the social fabric by weakening taxes on the rich (including the estate tax!!), thereby advancing polarization of wealth.

  66. Ziyu says:

    Hmm…I’m trying to weigh this thing. The top 2% gets $140 billion in tax cuts over 2 years and the estate tax is 35% on anything over $5 million instead of 45% on anything over $3.5 million.
    On the other hand, the energy bill is tucked into this in the form of multiple tax incentives. There’s also the equivalent of the making work pay program which will cut SS payroll taxes and put another $120 billion into average people’s pockets (remember, payroll tax only applies to income up to $106k). There’s also multiple small business tax breaks. It extends unemployment benefits for 13 months.
    Political advantages include: the chance to once again use the Bush tax cuts as an issue in the 2012 election where 56% support the Dems on the issue and the chance to ridicule the GOP for running on fiscal responsibility and voting for a $1 trillion unpaid package.

    What’s more important?

  67. David B. Benson says:

    Prokaryotes — I appreciate your finding the flooding events world wide. The first step to hell:

  68. Colorado Bob says:

    Michael T. @ 67 –

    Hansen speaks about Hudson’s Bay _

    The extreme warmth in Northeast Canada is undoubtedly related to the fact that Hudson Bay was practically ice free. In the past, including the GISS base period 1951-1980, Hudson Bay was largely ice-covered in November. The contrast of temperatures at coastal stations in years with and without sea ice cover on the neighboring water body is useful for illustrating the dramatic effect of sea ice on surface air temperature. Sea ice insulates the atmosphere from ocean water warmth, allowing surface air to achieve temperatures much lower than that of the ocean. It is for this reason that some of the largest positive temperature anomalies on the planet occur in the Arctic Ocean as sea ice area has decreased in recent years.

    The ice did not start appearing on Hudson’s Bay until Nov. 23 – 34.

  69. Michael T. says:

    Storms bring flood threat to Wash., Ore. rivers

    PORTLAND, Ore. – Forecasters say small riverside towns in Washington state and areas of Portland, Ore., are under a flood threat as storms expecting to dump up to 6 inches of rain in a day move across the Pacific Northwest.

  70. Colorado Bob says:

    Storms bring flood threat to Wash., Ore. rivers –

    This thing set 21 rainfall records in Hawaii 2 days ago –

  71. Colorado Bob says:

    David B. Benson @ 71 –

    That 3 year-old posting is chilling, in that many of the items mentioned have been seen in these last 3 years. The walrus haul-outs , the above story about the bears being so stressed at Hudson’s Bay. The coral bleaching this year. The Amazon in drought again. The corp losses from heat and flood. That 6 degree number is the the Permian Extinction all over again. And as we’ve seen very little “adapts” to that.

  72. Prokaryotes says:

    Colorado Bob said “So much for the “Happy Plant Theory” in the BC forest.”


    Climate myths: Higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth and food production

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    Colorado Bob said “And as we’ve seen very little “adapts” to that.”

    Yes, and actually humans fuel the process with

    Ice on fire: The next fossil fuel

    And to make things even worse

    Thus you can almost not beat the process of everlasting destruction.

    Oh, pardon – yes you can.

  74. Craig B. says:

    Joe, imagine my surprise when one of my favorite websites attempts to bolster an argument it is championing to a skeptical readership by extensively quoting serial propagandist Charles Krauthammer. I doubt I’m alone. We can comprehend the spin Republicans, Conservative Dems, and the WH are giving the Obama/McConnell compromise. We just disagree that their economic argument makes sense, no matter how much extra cash is thrown at renewable energy interests.

    When advancing an argument, it’s helpful to consider who is standing with you and adjust your position accordingly. Furthermore, it doesn’t help to have your readers called ‘clueless’ and ‘infantile’ by a man who lies with impunity.

    [JR: It is precisely because Krauthammer is a right-wing propagandist that his analysis matters here — heck, even Bill Clinton cited it. The fact that he hates liberals is the point! I have debunked his climate and energy views many times. But the fact that he is telling conservatives that they shouldn’t be so delighted in this deal is what makes the argument persuasive.]

  75. Prokaryotes says:

    The Man Who Fell to Earth (full movie)

  76. Prokaryotes says:

    A classic to be viewed perhaps once every ten years. Due to its somewhat convoluted, at times even incommunicable plot, it will always promise new layers of interpretation. Another such film that comes to mind is obviously Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

  77. Jim Groom says:

    Pick your poison. Do we wish to increase the deficit by 3.7 trillion or only 3 trillion dollars in the next decade? Certainly the actual numbers might just turn out worse as such figures usually do. I suppose we just have to ‘trust’ that the stimulative effects will offset the deficit effects. Will they?

  78. Craig B. says:

    Huh? What happened to my response to the comments on #78?