Unfortunately, that means we can’t do our regular monitoring of Sunday shows. Let us know what we missed. We’re looking forward to getting back to our regular posting tomorrow.
In non-NBA sports news, Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron’s home run record last night. This opinion is, presumably, valueless since I’m not really a baseball fan, but I take a controversial pro-Bonds position. It’s unfortunate, perhaps, that the holder of an important record should have played during the steroid era. Still, I don’t see the achievement as meaningfully “tainted” by allegations of Bonds’ steroid use.
The use, after all, is presumed to have happened during a time when steroid use was widespread in the league, presumably by, among others, the pitchers whose pitches Bonds was hitting and the fielders who were running down his fly balls. If there were some evidence that the introduction of steroids into the game biased things overall in the direction of more home runs, that would be one thing, but my understanding is that research doesn’t show that. See, i.e., this paper PDF: “Before we can reach any conclusions about the contribution of steroids to performance in professional baseball, we first must know something about home run hitting. What was home run hitting like before there were steroids? What is it like now that there is some evidence of steroid use? In a nutshell, the answer is that there are no differences.” Bonds is the greatest hitter to ever play, steroids or no.
Photo by Flickr user FemaleTrumpet02 used under a Creative Commons license
We’ve seen the Brits acknowledge that climate change is the driving force behind their record flooding. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, “The world is going to have to come to terms, so the scientists are telling us, with more extreme weather events.”
Now the Chinese have come to the same conclusion concerning the recent “weather extremes which have led to more than 700 deaths from flooding and left more than seven million with little access to water.” Song Lianchun, head of the China Meteorological Administration’s Department of Forecasting Services and Disaster Mitigation, said:
It should be said that one of the reasons for the weather extremes this year has been unusual atmospheric circulation bought about by global warming. These kind of extremes will become more frequent, and more obvious. This has already been borne out by the facts… I think the impact on our country will definitely be very large.
And a new study finds that “Devastating forest fires in Siberia that send a pall of smoke worldwide are happening more frequently because of climate change and in turn accelerating the pace of global warming.” Another study finds “The heatwave that has already killed hundreds across Eastern Europe is no aberration. Since 1880, the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled and the length of heatwaves across the continent has doubled.”
Only in this countries do the Denyers deny that the weather is becoming more extreme or that climate change is a major cause in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Who can imagine what further catastrophes future generations will have to endure if the Denyers keep obfuscating the science and delaying serious action?
Via Isaac Chotiner, Matt Continetti busts out what’s rapidly becoming my least-favorite argumentative tactic. He says that in response to the Pollack/O’Hanlon op-ed, “Antiwar Democrats immediately started dancing the Iraq shuffle, in which you ignore your opponent’s arguments, shift the terms of the debate, and attack his motivation and character.” He then supports that contention by . . . ignoring all the counterarguments that have been offered.
It’s a big, bad internet out there and it’ll always be possible to find all kinds of responses to any widely discussed event. And, yes, if you deliberately ignore the more substantive responses in favor of purely focusing on the derision — derision that will often be motivated by the fact that substantive responses are already widely circulating — you can “prove” that nobody’s grappling with the arguments easily.
Iraq’s power grid “is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid.” There have been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days and the “shortages across the country are the worst since the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.” More on Baghdad’s electricity situation HERE.
There’s an awful lot that’s weird about Ron Fournier’s writeup of the Democratic presidential forum, but this is particularly weird:
“I think it’s a position that John certainly has taken,” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd. It was not clear whether the audience was laughing with her or at her.
I was in the room, and I promise you it was totally clear that the audience (myself included) was laughing with her. I’m genuinely baffled as to how there could be confusion about this: she made a joke and people laughed, including a lot of people who probably won’t vote for her. It was, in the moment, pretty funny.