“A campaign official for the Virginia Lieutenant Governor [Bill Bolling] canceled an order for 150 guidebooks to entertainment in Minneapolis-St. Paul after discovering they included a 6-8 page section for gay and lesbian nightclubs,” the Blotter reports. An aide to Bolling wrote in an e-mail to the guidebook’s publisher that such a section would be a “BIG problem.” “We simply can’t hand them out,” the aide added.
Nature has published a major analysis that supports my recent 2-parter (Why global warming means killer storms worse than Katrina and Gustav, Part 1 and Part 2). As Nature explains:
The maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones have increased significantly since 1981, according to research published in Nature this week. And the upward trend, thought to be driven by rising ocean temperatures, is unlikely to stop at any time soon.
The team statistically analysed satellite-derived data of cyclone wind speeds. Although there was hardly any increase in the average number or intensity of all storms, the team found a significant shift in distribution towards stronger storms that wreak the greatest havoc. This meant that, overall, there were more storms with a maximum wind speed exceeding 210 kilometres per hour (category 4 and 5 storms on the Saffir–Simpson scale)….
“It’ll be pretty hard now for anyone to claim that cyclone activity has not increased,” says Judith Curry, an atmospheric researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study….
“People should now stop saying ‘who cares, storm activity is just a few per cent up’,” says Curry. “It’s the strongest storms that matter most.”
Again, “More than half the total hurricane damage in the U.S. (normalized for inflation and populations trends) was caused by just five events,” explained MIT hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel in an email. Storms that are Category 4 and 5 at landfall (or just before) are what destroy major cities like New Orleans and Galveston with devastating winds, rains, and storm surges.
The impacts projected for coming decades are quite ominous in a world that currently refuses to take serious action on climate:
Today, Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan enthusiastically endorsed Gov. Sarah Palin, praising her experience compared to Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) and slamming criticism of her as sexist attempts to “destroy this woman”:
BUCHANAN: Maybe she doesn’t have the foreign policy experience to be president now. But she’s a great asset, and she’s not DC, so they want to kill her. They are trying to destroy her in a way. [...]
SCARBOROUGH: How can Barack Obama’s campaign criticize an inexperienced number two on the Republican side when Democrats have picked, I would say, probably the most inexperienced person to run for President of the United States in the Democratic party probably in a century?
Watch a compilation:
What a difference five days makes. Awaiting McCain’s VP announcement on Friday, Scarborough and Buchanan sang a very different tune, declaring Palin too inexperienced and pointing out that Obama “validated himself with 18 million votes”:
SCARBOROUGH: She’s only, she’s only been a governor for one year?
BUCHANAN: She’s been a governor one-and-a-half years, yeah.
SCARBOROUGH: That, that will not work. [Laughter] No seriously, you’re going to bring somebody from Alaska who’s been a governor — Let’s be honest here. … I just find it hard to believe that with the problems that we have across the world…that you’re going to have a governor that’s been there for one-and-a-half years as Vice President.
Transcript: Read more
Speaking at the Republican National Convention last night, former senator Fred Thompson mentioned that as a young man, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “did drive a Corvette and date a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida.” Thompson said this experience helped him “survive” his POW experience. Fox’s Bill Kristol and Brit Hume laughed conspiratorially at the idea of dating a stripper:
NINA EASTON: I thought — then Fred Thompson, we have heard the John McCain POW story before. But I thought he did an incredibly eloquent job using his acting skills to retell that. I’m still not sure how dating an exotic dancer helped john McCain survive that period [laughing], but it was colorful.
BILL KRISTOL: I’ll explain the dating exotic dancer thing to Nina off air.
BRIT HUME: It’s a guy thing?
KRISTOL: It’s important!
HUME: It’s a guy thing, right.
KRISTOL: It’s important for your character in a way that Nina might not fully understand.
Ironically, after Fox’s frat-boy-like enthusiasm for strippers, Fox News spent the next day infuriated over the supposed sexism of Gov. Sarah Palin’s critics.
In 2000, Sarah Palin, as mayor of the Alaskan town of Wasilla, hired a Washington lobbyist to secure federal earmarks for her community.
This is not totally atypical in her state. Alaska’s government receives more money per capita in federal earmark money than any other state, despite being the only state in the union with no income tax and no sales tax. They fund their government primarily with petroleum money, and recently distributed oil profits to its citizens in the form of rebate checks.
But even in her heavily earmarked state, Sarah Palin was the earmark queen.
An analysis of the databases of Taxpayers for Common Sense by Center for American Progress Action Fund Senior Fellow Scott Lilly puts these numbers in perspective.
He notes the following amounts:
–$50: The amount the average state received in earmarked funds, per capita in 2008
–$506: The amount received by Alaska’s citizen per capita in 2008, represented by the Senate’s earmarker in chief, Ted Stevens, ten times the national average
–Over $1000: The annual amount received per capita in Wasilla between 2000 and 2003, twice the 2008 Alaska state average
Some of these earmarks drew the scorn of Senator John McCain. The LA Time reports that, “three times in recent years, McCain’s catalogs of ‘objectionable’ spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town, requested by its mayor at the time — Sarah Palin.”
As Scott Lilly writes, “Palin has advertised herself as a reformer and a skeptic of earmarking while maneuvering to become the earmark queen of the earmark state.”
The medical ‘conscience clause’ in the Republican Party’s 2008 platform undermines the precious balance between provider and patient rights and, like three other federal statutes, may allow medical professionals to withhold medical information from patients:
No healthcare professional, doctor, nurse, or pharmacist — should ever be required to perform, provide for, or refer for a healthcare service against their conscience for any reason.
And while professional medical organizations and most in the medical profession “endorse a provider’s right to step away, or ‘withdraw,’ from providing a health care service that violates his or her moral or religious beliefs,” they also believe that “there must be limits to this right in order to ensure that patients receive the information, services and dignity to which they are entitled.”
- “The physician may not discontinue treatment of a patient as long as further treatment is medically indicated, without giving the patient reasonable assistance and sufficient opportunity to make alternative arrangements for care.” —World Medical Association, Declaration on the Rights of the Patient
- “The patient’s right of self-decision can be effectively exercised only if the patient possesses enough information to enable an intelligent choice….The physician has an ethical obligation to help the patient make choices from among the therapeutic alternatives consistent with good medical practice.” —American Medical Association, position statement on informed consent
- “Where a particular treatment, intervention, activity, or practice is morally objectionable to the nurse….the nurse is justified in refusing to participate on moral grounds….The nurse is obliged to provide for the patient’s safety, to avoid patient abandonment, and to withdraw only when assured that alternative sources of nursing care are available to the patient.”—American Nurses Association, Code of Ethics
A survey of physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that most “believe that physicians are obligated to present all options (86%) and to refer the patient to another clinician who does not object to the requested procedure (71%).”
As Adam Sonfield of the Guttmacher Institute points out, “professional standards” — not rigid ideology — should “remind everyone that responsibility to the patient must always be the top priority and that a right to withdraw must never be turned into a right to obstruct.
Yesterday, during Politico’s breakfast panel at the Republican National Convention on “Women and the Republican Party,” Matthew Yglesias asked why the panelists were ignoring substantive discussion of Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) record. Yglesias noted that Palin lied about her support for the Bridge to Nowhere and led Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R-AK) 527.
Conservative strategist Mike Murphy argued that Palin’s record was nothing to be concerned about. He dismissed Palin’s record of supporting large earmark spending, said he didn’t “buy” that Palin was closely linked to the indicted Stevens and joked that her association with the fringe Alaska Independence Party makes him “like her more.” Watch it:
Murphy, however, was apparently lying. Today, MSNBC inadvertently broadcast Murphy sharing his honest opinion of Palin’s record with the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan and MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. Murphy said, “I totally agree” that Palin was selected without consideration of her record and that “it’s not going to work”:
MURPHY: It’s not gonna work. And –
TODD: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?
NOONAN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this — excuse me– political bullshit about narratives – [...]
MURPHY: I totally agree.
Over the last few days, conservatives have been blasting criticisms of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as sexist. Today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, McCain campaign adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer wrote an op-ed titled, “Ignore the Chauvinists. Palin Has Real Experience.” In an interview with NBC yesterday, First Lady Laura Bush said that she wonders “if we aren’t already seeing a little bit” of sexism directed toward Palin. McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina said that “American women…will not tolerate sexist treatment” of Palin.
Apparently, this sexism is being perpetrated solely by progressives…at least according to the McCain campaign. Today in a press conference, Fiorina agreed that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has also been “subject to sexism.” However, according to Fiorina, none of it was done by Republicans:
I would absolutely say that Hillary Clinton has been subject to sexism. By the way, if there are facts that you can show me, I would be delighted to see them, but I do not think that, based on my experiences, what I have seen, I do not think that the Republican Party subjected her to sexism.
I think the Republican Party took her on on her stand on the issues, took her on hard on her stand on the issues. I have said numerous times, I disagree with Hillary, but I also have great admiration for Hillary Clinton.
Listen here to the audio obtained by ThinkProgress:
Let’s refresh Fiorina’s memory with a few examples:
– In November 2007, when a questioner asked “How do we beat the bitch [Clinton]?,” McCain replied, “That’s an excellent question.”
– In 1998, McCain made a lesbian joke that referenced Clinton’s daughter: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”
– In May, McCain adviser Alex Castellanos said, “Her problem is she’s Hillary Clinton. And some women, by the way, are named [bitch], and it’s accurate.”
– In March 2007, CNN host Glenn Beck said that Clinton’s “stereotypical” voice was “nagging,” adding that it “just sticks in your ear like an ice pick.”
Basically, the McCain campaign has been saying that no one can criticize Palin because doing so would be sexist. There’s no doubt that all women candidates, including Palin, are subjected to sexism. But legitimate criticisms — about Palin’s policies, for example — have nothing to do with gender and should be raised.
GOP Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) opposes the right to an abortion in all circumstances, unless the life of the mother is at stake. In 2006, Palin said that even if her daughter were raped, “I would choose life.” But in an interview scheduled to air this evening on CBS, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) wife Cindy said she disagrees with that position. When host Katie Couric asked if she opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, Cindy McCain said, “No.” Couric then asked, “that’s where you [and Palin] differ?” “Uh-huh,” she replied.
Michael Isikoff reports that the McCain campaign “has hastily assembled a team of former Bush White House aides to tutor the vice-presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on foreign-policy issues, to write her speeches and to begin preparing her for her all-important Oct. 2 debate against Sen. Joe Biden.”
Leading this team is Steve Biegun, who has been hired as chief foreign-policy adviser to Gov. Palin. Last Friday, “Biegun flew to St. Paul and, together with McCain’s foreign-policy guru Randy Schuenemann, began briefings for Palin on national-security issues — an area where her resume is conspicuously thin.”
A little background on Steve Biegun:
- In 2001, Biegun was appointed Executive Secretary of the National Security Council by President Bush.
- In 2003 Biegun joined the staff of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as national security adviser.
- In 2004, Biegun was hired by Ford Motor Co. as part of Ford’s effort to “rev up its Washington government affairs operation.” Biegun is now on leave from Ford to work for McCain.
Notably, from 1992 to 1994, Biegun served as the Resident Director in the Russian Federation for the International Republican Institute, a democracy-promoting organization for which McCain has served as chairman since 1993.
In July, the New York Times reported that “an examination of [McCain's] leadership of the Republican institute — one of the least-chronicled aspects of his political life — reveals an organization in many ways at odds with the political outsider image that has become a touchstone of the McCain campaign for president”:
[The IRI is] something of a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman, who is the second sitting member of Congress — and now candidate for president — ever to head one of the democracy groups.
Operating without the sort of limits placed on campaign fund-raising, the institute under Mr. McCain has solicited millions of dollars for its operations from some 560 defense contractors, lobbying firms, oil companies and other corporations, many with issues before Senate committees Mr. McCain was on.
As to the sort of foreign policy ideology with which Biegun will be inculcating Palin, Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation told Isikoff that Biegun “will turn [Palin] into an advocate of Cheneyism and Cheney’s view of national-security issues.”