Open Thread And Toles Cartoon Of The Week

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.

44 Responses to Open Thread And Toles Cartoon Of The Week

  1. lisa wright says:

    …another Romney- Ryan Theme Song

    “So when you hear it thunder
    Don’t run under a tree
    There’ll be pennies from Heaven
    For you and me”

  2. Brian R Smith says:

    How important is the media position of the climate movement?
    When Hunter S Thompson left the planet he left behind “Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72”, first published as a series in Rolling Stone that year. It was ground breaking Gonzo analysis and a new brand of political honesty focused on the McGovern campaign and the rest of the ’72 election. From Matt Taibbi’s “Fear and Loathing 40 Years Later”, June 29, 2012 at Slate :

    “I doubt any book means more to a single professional sect than Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 means to American political journalists. It’s been read and reread by practically every living reporter in this country… Decades after it was written, in fact, Fear and Loathing ’72 is still considered a kind of bible of political reporting.”

    Did it carry over? Sort of. You can see Hunter’s shark-attack, no-prisoners influence in the current group at MSNBC. They have the attitude and commitment to truth, but they are currently, predictably, locked into parsing every nuance of Presidential posturing & election dynamics. Climate gets a few nibbles. Outside television there are many independent voices in print and the blogosphere doing God’s work to connect the dots. Telling truth to power is no longer rare. But mostly they are marginalized in the public brain and the dots are slow to get connected.

    Otherwise we have a whole generation of either timid, fearful, uninformed, incompetent, irresponsible or just plain lazy MSM reporters & publishers sitting on the story of the fall of civilization and the destruction of the planet, indefensibly allowing the 2012 candidates to ignore climate change and energy economics. This will not change without determined intervention.

    My point is that mainstream media influence is critical to moving climate forward and we do not have it. We are not commanding it now, it is not forthcoming as a gift from mainstream players, it cannot be replaced by new media presence and internal networking (though obviously vital), and it will continue to elude this movement, with disastrous political results, unless the leaders & champions across climate & energy disciplines come together over some serious messaging strategy.

    Bringing reason to the discussion, not to mention convincing the public of impact realities or policy imperatives, is not remotely possible, IMHO, unless the movement cops to its media deficit and moves urgently to address it and correct it.

    Addressing it means collaboration based on clear objectives. Without high-level, strategic action it’s every micro-campaign for itself and the newsworthiness of climate destruction will continue to be back-watered & drowned by the superior media planning and execution of big oil, gas & coal. Or drowned out with the next inevitable conflict headline du jour. Waiting out the never-ending parade of “more important” events, hoping for some attention, is a non-starter and a waste of precious time. So is complaining about how hopeless politicians and media and the future have become, unless you’re willing to say: “We did everything we could think of to carry the day. We came up with our best shot to sidestep the bulls**t, grab the spotlight, establish science credibility, swing enough votes …and we fell short”.

    With respect to media success in the climate PR fight, we don’t know what the full-on power of acting with unity could do because it’s the high card that hasn’t yet been played. We probably have a winning hand. We’re not playing it. The climate movement is a full-house divided, you might say. But you can’t say we have even begun to do everything that could be done to win this game. We are loosing, plain and simple. It is not for lack of know-how. I hope it’s not for lack of imagination.

    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”, said Dr. Thompson. There comes a moment, in other words, and you don’t back down. You take charge. This is one of those moments.

  3. Aaron Lewis says:

    The more I hear about Romney, the less I understand him. A business man/ venture capitalist that does not respect the value of “infrastructure”? A business man that does not understand the linked global oil market? There is something deeply wrong with the story that he (& the GOP) are telling.

    Given the number of factual errors in Ryan’s speech, I fear it is a matter that they do not care about facts.

  4. Joan Savage says:

    An M6.8 quake occurred on 8-30-2012 on the fault line that runs under the Norwegian Sea between Greenland and Norway.

    As land ice melting shifts Greenland’s mass, several observers have taken an interest in how the shift might affect earthquake occurrence. At this point no one is saying that the M6.8 was part of ice-melt mass-shift, but it would be great to hear from seismologists on the probabilities.

  5. Bryce says:

    I believe that the “fact black hole” is starting to close up. Time magazine has put out a supplement (quite lengthy)describing the climate question in great detail.
    The editorial in the Chicago Tribune on Aug 17, 2012 was entitled “No Denying it, Climate change is real. Liberals, conservatives, let’s deal with it.”
    A TV meteorologist in Charlotte, NC is presenting short lessons on global warming to the public.
    It takes some guts for these people to do this, when you consider the amount of money and power that is driving the skeptics.
    If everyone would tell these people that we want to know about it, I believe that it will come to be more everyday.
    Let’s face, the winds of change are coming, and they aren’t going to be blowing smoke and chemicals.

  6. Bryce says:

    Why should they worry about facts when they believe that emotion will carry them through?

    “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts” Tom Quirk

    (I love that quote)

  7. AlanInAZ says:

    For those interested there will be a Nobel symposium on growth and development and another conference on climate change sponsored by the Institute for International Economic Studies. The link is below

  8. prokaryotes says:

    That’s actually an epic cartoon right there…

    Tagline: Are Humans really that stupid (to not take climate change more serious). It is not just “sea level rise” for a several centuries.

    We have to debunk the notion that we can adapt to that somehow. (As fossil fuel suggest). They are wrong! Wake up people, science tells us that we do must act today to prevent tomorrows climate Pearl Harbors!

  9. prokaryotes says:

    “That’s actually confusing the public,” he told Healy. “What a journalist needs to do is say, ‘Okay, 99 percent of scientists say this exists. There’s a few kind of average, marginalized people who are paid by the oil industries to say it isn’t.’

    Plus they need to outline what happens to our civilization within decade timescales (developing situation) if we do not act. Ice free arctic is nothing good for weather patterns – it causes more persistent weather patterns / extreme weather and changes climate zones, changing ocean currents help to accelerate Greenland ice melt – which means catastrophic flooding.

  10. catman306 says:

    TED talk:

    Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar.

    An excellent talk about an important subject.

    Omission is the BIG LIE. (What AREN’T they talking about?)

  11. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    A few days ago there was an article by Micheal Kodas cross-posted from the NRDC’s ON Earth magazine,
    “In Fear Of Firebugs: Helped By A Warming Planet, How The Pine Beetle Is Altering America’s Forests”
    whose shortcomings got little response here on CP. Mine went in very late, and since Kodas now has an article with the same deficient focus on Climate Central, here’s that response, in the hope that preventing tens of Gts of CO2e output may be of interest.

    Seeing that Kodas’ article was written for the Natural Resources Defense Council it seems a shame that it puts the focus on the emotional stress on firefghters rather than focussing on the forest resource implications.

    The latter are pretty stark. 70,000sq mls of infestation is almost 45M acres of dead forest so far, which at a modest 50Ts carbon per acre would hold about 2.25GtC (gigatonnes of carbon). The controversy over what fire risk it poses ignores the climate impact of that carbon now at risk – if it is not cleared and responsibly used, it Will either burn or rot – and it Will send that carbon aloft.

    While burning converts a fraction of the stock to a cocktail of GHGs including CO2, CH4, CO, NOx, VOCs, etc, when the trunks rot the heartwood does so largely anaerobically, which greatly favours carbon’s conversion to methane. This matters because (as may be news to some) methane has around 100 times the GHG potency of CO2 over the crucial 20yr time horizon, so even a small percentage of carbon going up as methane radically raises the CO2 equivalent output [CO2e].

    Off the ~2.25GtC dead so far, 3% emitted as methane would give a total of 17.0Gt CO2e output; 6% would give 25.7Gt CO2e; and 12% would give 43.2Gt CO2e. Much of which would be on America’s emissions ticket, thus making a mockery of the spin that US emissions are being reduced.

    Yet the deadwood need not and definitely should not be left to rot or burn. What it should be is the pump-priming resource for America’s national program of carbon recovery, specifically the verifiable recovery over time of its ‘historic carbon emissions’, with the forests’ full replanting/restoration being funded by the sale of products.

    Simple mobile charcoal retorts could convert about 70% of the wood’s carbon to charcoal, with about 28% of the wood’s energy being released as a crude woodgas, which can readily be converted to methanol by small modular stills. This would not only provide an unprecedented expansion of rural employment, but also sufficient charcoal for biochar production to treat around 160 million acres of farmland at 10Ts/acre, thereby both raising soil fertility and also its moisture moderation. In addition it would launch a potentially highly sustainable methanol silvifuel industry (as distinct from agri-fuels) on a very substantial scale. Both of these technologies are of major international significance and replicability, and the US would do very well to set the lead on them.

    So where are the green entrepreneurs seeking major innovative necessary enterprises,
    and the progressive politicians seeking mass employment options and the raising of US international respect,
    and the farm lobby seeking improved drought and flood resilience of the farmlands,
    and the manufacturers seeking new equipment mass-production options for home sales and export,
    and the conservationists seeking the restoration of the forests and the prevention of this massive feedback loop on global warming ?

    Since the NRDC is apparently blind to the need of a convening entity, what other organization is going to fulfil that need ? Or will Americans just look away and pretend the emissions somehow just don’t count ?



  12. Tim in CA says:

    I’ve been thinking about the challenges of climate messaging recently, and how we might be able to frame the issue so that climate action seems more attractive to the republicans. I know this seems impossible, but hear me out.

    One of the big problems with climate messaging, it seems to me, is that we almost always frame the narrative of the climate change problem in ways that make sense to the liberal worldview. Basically, our argument is that global warming is a tragedy of the commons problem: major fossil fuel corporations receive (huge) profits for selling a product that has the byproduct of polluting the global atmosphere with climate-altering effects. While this is undoubtedly true, the problem is that it clashes fatally with the conservative worldview. As we just saw at the ridiculous “we built it” lovefest, the modern GOP sees untrammeled business as the one-size-fits-all solution to every problem, while government regulation of business is viewed as the primary source of all problems.

    Let us leave aside for a moment the obvious wrongness of the conservative worldview. We are all aware of how flawed it is. Let’s ask instead,for a moment, how we could frame the issue so that it meshes better with their worldview.

    One of the problems with the current story of climate change that we are telling is that we make (mostly American) corporations the enemy. As long as we tell the story that way, you can be sure the GOP will vehemently opposed to it.

    But there’s another frame we could offer, at least in the short term, that could diminish GOP opposition to the problem. US carbon emissions have fallen substantially over the last few years, and are roughly 20% off their peak. From this, you could argue that the US is (right now) holding up our end of the bargain in the fight against global climate change. Stressing these positive developments in the US could mesh well with the GOP’s uncritical exaltation of American exceptionalism. We need to start emphasizing the success we are having in this fight. Americans like to feel good about ourselves and our country. Let’s start stressing the success of our falling carbon emissions, and take pride in it.

    Conversely, even though US emissions are falling, global emissions are soaring. Why? Because of enormous increases of energy and coal usage in the developing world and China.

    This fact meshes well wight he GOP’s jingoistic anti-foreign platform. They love to hate and/or fear foreigners. View Romney’s mindless talk of getting though on Russia and China, for instance.

    Instead of telling the story that American fossil fuel corporations are polluting the planet and destroying the atmosphere, we could tell the story that US emissions have peaked and are falling substantially, and that the bulk of the problem right now is coming from developing countries like China and India.

    Aside of the obvious immodesty of the world’s heaviest energy users chiding more moderate energy users for global warming, the frame that “We are making progress on this issue, while India and China are destroying OUR climate” offers several benefits:

    1) it bypasses completely the “debate” over whether global warming is or isn’t happening. I believe most conservatives who deny the existence of global warming do so because it clashes with a more fundamental worldview they have about the benefits of untrammeled business and the evils of government regulation, more than any uncertainty about the actual science.

    2) it enables Americans to think positively about our role in the problem. Like it or not, the belief in American exceptionalism is very deep rooted in our culture. We need to hitch the global warming story to this deeper narrative in which America is the solution, not the driver, of global problems.

    3) thinking positively about our own carbon reductions creates a cycle of virtue. When we self-identify as Americans with the progress we are taking in reducing carbon emissions, we implicitly identify emissions as bad and reductions/efficiency/renewables as good. It then becomes easier to take more of these positive actions.

    4) this frame meshes well with the conservative fear of foreigners. It is possible that imposing levies on the carbon intensity of imported good could be equated with “getting tough on China,” which is a perrenially popular republican talking-point.

    In sum, though it strains the truth in several ways, emphasizing our positive contributions to global warming and shifting the blame to India and China could significantly diminish conservative opposition to climate action, solidify our current gains, and pave the way for more progress both at home and abroad in the near future.


  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Drought, Climate Change and Journalism 101 » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
    Drought, Climate Change and Journalism 101

  14. Georga Grivois says:

    Toles is the Best Political Cartoonist of our time!

  15. Chris Winter says:

    Kevin Phillips, in Bad Money, examines the Great Recession and its causes. It’s one of the better analyses I have read, explaining the roots of the debacle in Wall Street’s heedless greed and Washington’s feckless oversight.

    One aspect of this that I’ve seldom seen discussed is this country’s transition, over about 30 years, from emphasis on manufacturing to emphasis on finance. Phillips probes this in detail, with text and charts. Along with it, he notes, goes a certain bizarre belief that the two are equivalent. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the words of Professor Merton Miller, who extols derivatives as “essentially industrial raw materials.” (See Phillips, page 77.)

    You’re right: it’s scary as hell.

  16. Chris Winter says:

    A pretty good column from Glenn Hurowitz, Center for International Policy:

    “Unfortunately, Obama is unlikely to have the luxury to speak only about Romney’s failings. Until he does something big, until he fights with actions and not just words, until he shows us — not just tells us — that there’s a substantive difference between Romney’s sneer and his “all of the above,” it will be hard to motivate activists to knock on doors, donors to close Obama’s enormous money gap, and journalists to write admiringly about Obama’s character and not just his verbal facility.”

    And there’s a great quote from the late Paul Wellstone at the end.

  17. Chris Winter says:

    There’s an interesting comment on Romney’s speech from William Kristol at the end of this essay at the Hinterland Gazette.

    I would have quoted the excerpt, but they have iCopyright and would charge me $20 for those 102 words.

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Oh dear Tim, I understand your motivation but I can’t think of anything more disastrous at this time. You may not be aware but we all get detailed news of America’s doings and distrust of the USA and her foreign policy has never been higher in my lifetime. Many see the US gearing up for a major stoush with China, please don’t exacerbate this in any way, ME

  19. Chris Winter says:

    And here’s an essay from Mike Lofgren, a former Republican staffer on House and Senate budget committees, about the super-rich.

    Revolt of the Rich

    Very briefly, he says that America’s rich are internal secessionists, living apart in gated enclaves, taking little part in the affairs of the country (except as necessary to maintain their seclusion.) He has a new book about this: The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted

    (H/T: Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)

  20. Mond from Oz says:


    What I want to see is an organisation like GetUp, or maybe our Greens, establish a small committee with a specific agenda:

    ITEM 1. Define a communications strategy to raise understanding and alarm in the electorate at large. Create a sense of the necessity for change. Especially among the section that reads the Murdoch tabloids and watches commercial TV. Committee members should include a climate scientist (S******?), a climate-aware ethicist (H*******?), a millionaire (S****?), either Todd or Russell (communicators, we know them from Gruen)..

    ITEM 2. Plan and create a mass movement, and have them march. Make a noise. Cops on horses, ‘Wadda we want…’ Remember? We stopped the Vietnam war. We need to get the TV cameras rolling, see right wing pollies foaming with indignation.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I love the dating, ‘August 32-33 2012’-like something out of the Goon Show.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’d move a little inland if I lived on the east coast of the UK.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Vietnamese stopped the Vietnam War, by fighting to the bitter end. What else could they do? That ought to be our example.

  24. Mond from Oz says:


    We helped, but. I was there. ‘One side right, one side wrong, Victory to the Vietcong! And the genteel ladies from Beecroft doing their bit by softly moaning ‘All we are asking is give peace a chance..’

  25. Greatgrandma Kat says:

    Just read it very compelling and very scary. I for one believe all earth systems are connected, we just have to find them. lucky for us there are scientists doing just that.

  26. Gillian King says:

    ExxonMobil has no Succession Plan. No Plan B.

    Oil companies don’t see how they can transition into the clean energy companies that will dominate the post-carbon world.

    BP and Shell may be doing a bit better than ExxonMobil, but it seems that none will be among the world’s ten biggest corporations in 2050. Blogged here.

  27. Todd says:

    In short, your point is that we need new memes to convert the unbelievers. I agree. I offer this meme: Kodak bet the company that there is no photography without film. They were wrong. The lost out to digital photography and are now bankrupt. Fossil fuel companies are now betting everything that there will not be energy services without fossil fuels. They are wrong and they will lose soon as the world embraces more and more renewable energy and electrified transport. I honestly believe many leaders in the fossil fuel industry have understood this basic truth and are now desparately fighting AGW and renewables by corrupting the mass media and the political processes in hope of delaying the inevitable.

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What do you know about Beecroft, Mond? It’s one of my old stamping-grounds. Small world.

  29. DRT says:

    This looks like a good thing:

    Too little too late, but I guess its all Obama can do. My question is, are these things effective? Will an executive order actually achieve the stated goal of “deploying 40 gigawatts of new, cost effective industrial CHP in the United States by the end of 2020”.

    The executive order states “There is no one size fits all solution for our manufacturers”. I can think of a one size fits all policy: TAX WASTE. Tas waste heat and energy at a rate greater than or equal to its total cost. Combine that with fee and dividend on all sources of GHGs and maybe things will start to change.

  30. Spike says:

    A good article in The Conversation on the record Arctic ice melt caught my eye. referring to the MSM’s total failure to pick up on this event and its significance and predictability the author states:

    “Possibly, we scientists are to be blamed, as we cherish uncertainty so much that we deliver messages to the media crowded with caveats and cautionary alerts to possible uncertainties. The consequences is the messages passed on are confusing, with uncertainties overplayed relative to robust understanding, supported by both evidence and validation of predictions by observed trends.”

  31. Aaron Lewis says:

    Why does everyone keep going back to “degrees of warming”? That phrase is part of the IPCC’s failure to think in terms of risk to people.

    Changes in the Arctic are changing the atmospheric circulation patterns. That affects precipitation patterns and “rain is grain”.

    Civilization runs on grain. We trust the old precipitation patterns for our agriculture. As the precipitation patterns change, we are in a world of hurt.

    Loss of Arctic sea ice with the resulting change in albedo and increase of water vapor in the atmosphere over the Arctic are changing the drivers of atmospheric circulation and atmospheric circulation.

    Until now, we thought that weather was local, and that it was very unlikely for South American and North American crops to fail in successive seasons. Now we know that global warming disrupts weather around the world thereby disrupts agriculture on a global basis.

    The food supply is the first impact, and the bottom line.

    The best index of global warming is the price of grain. Today the price is up because of a phenomenal number of weather related crop failures over the last few years.

    I suggest that the war against global warming needs to be framed a fight to maintain stable food supplies and keep the price of food at a reasonable level.

    (Part of the problem is that the huge gains in agricultural productivity from the “Green Revolution” resulted is production systems that are more sensitive to the weather and more dependent on fossil resources.)

  32. Joan Savage says:

    As Tropical Depression Isaac moved inland it contributed to at least one new daily record at the appropriately named Hurricane Creek, near Mulberry Grove, Illinois. In 41 years of record, the current flow of 4140 cubic feet per second is more than FIVE times the previous daily maximum of 800 cfs set in 1982. The mean daily flow for this day of year is 62 cfs.

    800 <<<<<<<<<<<< 4140

  33. Joan Savage says:

    We need some metaphor to explain that when heat lifts up that much water, when it plotzes back down, it plotzes hard.

  34. Joan Savage says:

    The IPCC thinks a great deal about risk to people. Their voice is limited to what model projections are available. That’s why they keep updating their report. Degrees of warming is a key factor in the projections of consequences.

    What’s a challenge for them – and the rest of us – is to grow the science to make reasonable inferences about human consequences.

    As an ecologist and environmental scientist, I anticipate what some call “compounding” of the dynamics.

    From what I have read and heard, well-tested climate models are a huge achievement, but the models can still underestimate the spread of potential outcomes, or alternately, have difficulty narrowing the list of outcomes to few of high probability.

    In short, I sort of agree.
    We need to communicate in the language of human consequences.

  35. Chris Winter says:

    What immediately came to mind was “When it rains, it pours.” But that’s too bleedin’ obvious, and besides I think Morton Salt has dibs on it. <G>

  36. Will Fox says:

    High-tech ferry cuts fuel consumption by 50-100%

  37. Mark E says:

    Ya’ll are mighty awesome. I often find myself fumbling through old posts trying to re-locate some awesome pic of graphic I saw in these pages. Have you thought about setting up some part of the site where graphics would just get added, and browsed? I was thinking of some automated script, not anything fancy, edited, or sorted. Then we, or at least I, could cruise thumbnails really easily.

    Thanks for thinking about it

  38. Mark E says:

    My child laughed when an inch of feathers / came softly fluttering down / tickling, teasing, through the morning hours.

    Next day’s five minute storm dropped an inch of iron. / The only tears / Oozed from her crushed bones.

  39. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    “. . . . the war against global warming needs to be framed a fight to maintain stable food supplies and keep the price of food at a reasonable level.”

    Agreed. On the present trajectory we’re going to face serial global crop failures, with consequent geopolitical destabilization, by 2030, and maybe a lot sooner. By my calculation that’s probably under a maximum of 1.2C of warming.

    That outcome is avoidable by means of a binding emissions control treaty that mandates the formal supervision of the RD&D of albedo restoration. But, so long as the IPCC is so inherently complacent that it offers no apology for being about 93 years out in its estimate of arctic summer ice loss, nor for failing to provide a track-record and extrapolation of the mega-feedbacks’ ongoing acceleration, we face the problem of what should be the focus of demand for immediate collective action being merely an adjunct to commercial and nationalism’s BAU.

    So how soon will there be sufficient scientists concerned enough to launch the requisite independent panel ? On the lines of the “International Scientific Council on Climate Destabilization” ?



  40. Mond from Oz says:


    I used to live up the top end – near pennant hills rd. Must be 50 years ago. Meet?


  41. Mike Roddy says:

    Good post, Brian, we think alike. Media failure is the great enabler in all of this. I’ve read all of Thompson’s books, and this is indeed the moment. Either we give up and make excuses or we get out there and do it.