Monday, October 29, 2012

You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own science



This video is hilarious.  It is a comedy sketch, not a real newscast which it should be.


It's fairly easy to jump on the climate change bandwagon either pro or con when a major weather event shows up.  A couple of years ago when Washington, D.C. was hit by a huge winter snow storm, the deniers were out in force pointing out a winter blizzard could hardly occur when global warming is under way.  Of course those people were noticeably quiet during last summer's rash of heat records and drought.

Another silence so loud it screams pretty much ignored the issue during the campaign for president this year.  It didn't come up once during the debates and was largely ignored during the rest of the shouting despite melting in the north that left the smallest accumulation of ice around the North Pole in history.

Of course a lot of it is showing up today with  the approach of a massive storm onto the largest population center in the United States, a hurricane whose storm circle extends from the Carolinas into Maine with New York City right in the bull's eye.  Have to wonder how much would be said if that storm were approaching Seattle instead, or Alaska.

Even before the storm hit, the proponents of global warming were raising their flags.  And just as quickly the opposition was making accusations like "only a liberal would politicize a storm like this."  Of course that same group didn't politicize the big snowstorm a couple of winters ago.  Not at all.  Unless you count those Christians at the Westborough Baptist Church, who called the storm the wrath of god sent to punish a sinful world. Those are the same Christians who go to military funerals and carry signs saying those casualties of war died because America loves gay people.

Science holds the answer, but in an age of anti-intellectualism, science, at least in some circles is criticized and questioned as a vast liberal plot. It is kind of a sad state of affairs when ignorance actually gets a strong voice and intelligence is considered a weakness.

And while the Federal Emergency Management Agency mobilized ahead of the storm, everybody's favorite Republican reiterated his earlier call to eliminate FEMA.  Now, who is trying to politicize a growing disaster? You have to wonder what his former constituents in Massachusetts who are directly in the path of the storm think about that. It kind of recalls George Bush ignoring the Hurricane Katrina damage not so long ago.  What would the Romney plan be for an approaching storm?  We can all move to one of our other homes?

What shouldn't be argued, is that the earth is warming.  That is indisputable fact.  Arctic ice melted to its lowest level ever recorded this summer.  Water temperatures are up around the world. in fact, this storm grew stronger over an area that usually cools and weakens tropical storms because water temperature is higher.  What can be questioned is whether it is part of a natural cycle, caused by greenhouse gases created by men, or some combination of the two, which is most likely.  It is usually a sign of a distressed animal population when individuals are found in less habitable areas.  We are drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean.  Just sayin'.

It brings to mind one of the few original thoughts I have had in my lifetime.  I once came up with phrase "too many people are trying to fix the blame instead of the problem."  Who cares what the contributing factors are?  The fact is, mankind can do things to alleviate the problem.  But those things are why there is no mention of it in political campaigns, why people push the issue under the table, why governments manipulate terminology to bury the problem as they did in one of the Carolinas, calling the water rise along the outer coast there occasional flooding rather than admit ocean levels are rising.

A shark swims along a New Jersey street. Chances are this is
a fake. According  to people who know, most photos of 
sharks in flood waters are.
Why is America universally sticking its figurative head in the sand?  Because any solution is gong to cost money to the largest single economic force ever seen on Earth.  What is that?  Simply: the fossil fuel industry.  Oil, gas, coal wield such power with the United States government that it can even change the terminology, stop legislation, belittle science, ignore warnings all to generate the biggest profits ever recorded.  Case in point.  Mitt Romney endorsed the use of "clean coal" during one of the debates. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL!  In 2008 in the period leading up to Christmas, the clean coal association broadcast commercials with animated lumps of coal dressed in Santa costumes singing about the attributes of clean coal to the tune of religious Christmas carols, even “Silent Night.” That is typical of energy industry solutions to environmental problems: Pour money into public relations and advertising to convince people they are doing the right thing. Apparently one person in the country believes them.

So, until our representatives stand up to the industry, we can watch ice melt, we can see stranded polar bears, we can watch flora and fauna from temperate climates creep north as permafrost melts and releases methane into the air, we can watch coastal areas disappear under water and islands submerge, we can see more drought, more wildfires, more and bigger storms, but nothing is going to change.  After all it is just a liberal plot to curtail oil and mine development, don't you know.  Or, maybe someone will sit up and notice when some of the effects hit at the centers of power.  As of this writing, about 4:30  pm Alaska Daylight Time (8:30 pm Eastern) Con Edison has shut off power to lower Manhattan as water has begun to flood into the streets there.  Hmm, what famous street crosses lower Manhattan?  With the power off and the trading floor subject to flooding how will we ever know how much our Exxon stock made today?

AFTERTHOUGHT: My apologies to the folks in the path of this storm who are going to be deeply affected for piling on a political argument.  Having weathered storms, I know it doesn't mean much to people getting battered what a bunch of people on dry land out of harm's way have to say.  What matters most is keeping your family and loved ones safe and alive and protecting your property where it is safe to do so. I am reasonably sure the rest of the country,with the exception of a few Christians, is pulling for those who are in hazard tonight.

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Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve