Stories to Watch: 11/18/13.
As we consider the phenomena of superstorms, perhaps the best question to ask isn’t, “Did climate change cause this?” but rather, "How much did climate change contribute?"
The Cheney family is reportedly in the midst of a feud, as the sisters split over gay marriage. Look, just waterboard Liz until she changes her mind. Easy-peasy.
Palestine casts its first vote in the UN general assembly.
You probably knew this already, but Fox Business host Stuart Varney is a prick.
The University of Texas’ Young Conservative chapter hosts a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant" game — which is a billion times more racist than you’re probably imagining. The bright side of this is that one day at least one of these douches is going to run for office one day and this will all come back to haunt them.
Rep. Steve Israel compares the Obamacare rollout to Bush’s launch of Medicare Part D and basically declares them equal: “Things went wrong with the Medicare prescription D plan that George Bush rolled out. When things go wrong, there are two things we can do as a country. We can spend all our time figuring out who to blame, or we can spend all our time figuring out how to fix it.” PolitiFact: True. “There definitely were problems,” PolitiFact ruled, “and in some cases, the parallels between the prescription benefit program’s introduction and the Obamacare marketplaces are strikingly similar.”
Finally, after a thrid judicial nominee was blocked by Republican obstructionism, Senate Democrats say they’ll invoke the “nuclear option” and kill the filibuster for executive branch nominees. I’d rather they did away with it altogether and let democracy take its course, but I guess it’s baby steps. That is, if we even get this step.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
Stories to Watch: 11/11/13.
As bad as Typhoon Haiyan was — and it was unimaginably bad — we can expect future storms to be even worse. Still, poverty and weak infrastructure spending made everything so much worse that experts are saying that much of the devastation can be blamed on humans. Neglect and a lack of preparedness is suicide.
The latest in stupid Obamascare stories: what if you complained about Obamacare on Facebook and no one “liked” it? Live the horror that is LA psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb’s life. Bonus fun: the complaint she posted on her Facetubes was almost certainly bullshit.
If Chris Christie’s taste in consultants is any indication, Democrats probably shouldn’t worry much about him in 2016. If that one doesn’t convince you, try this.
Anti-abortion Texans “volunteer” to kidnap women seeking abortion. How much do you want to bet that these same nutjobs won’t STFU about how much they love liberty?
Amazon.com announces a plan to outsource with the Post Office.
The Koch brothers try to convince college students to skip out on signing up on Obamacare by getting them drunk at a football tailgate party. Because, you know, there’s no better way to avoid a trip to the hospital than by getting hammered.
Finally, 76% of voters support an increase in the minimum wage. If you ever needed evidence that the GOP has completely wandered out of the mainstream, there it is. Damned gerrymandering. If Republicans weren’t so good at rigging elections, raising the minimum wage wouldn’t even be considered controversial.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
Stories to Watch: 11/5/13.
A new poll shows Wendy Davis down 15 points in her race for Governor of Texas. There’s still plenty of time to turn things around, but it would really be an uphill climb.
The Illinois House passes a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in that state. The ACLU is ebullient. The Governor has already said he’d sign it into law.
Bad, but not exactly unsurprising news: carbon capture and underground storage would cause earthquakes. This is a double-whammy, since not only would the earthquakes be potentially damaging and dangerous, but also because they’d cause the sequestered CO2 to escape into the atmosphere — rendering the whole effort pointless. It’s becoming more and more apparent that we’re probably going to wind up removing CO2 from the atmosphere by mechanical means, but this is not how we’re going to sequester it.
A treasure trove of lost recordings by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges has been found in Spain. They consist of “five hours of lectures given in 1965” and are to be transcribed and published. Borges is widely considered to be one of the 20th century’s most important writers.
This can’t be repeated often enough: what all the media hubbub over insurance cancelations misses is that the cancelations are happening because Obamacare makes shitty insurance illegal. If these people shop through the exchanges, almost all will find they can get a better deal.
You know how sometimes you could swear that conservative columnists are paid shills for the Republican Party? Yeah, about that…
Finally, a new study finds that when Healthcare.gov gets all the bugs knocked out of it, things could go south for the GOP in a big hurry. All the more reason to get on the ball fixing it.
[cartoon via Truthdig]
Global warming denial driven mostly by the Tea Party.
Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years. While partisan differences over climate change remain substantial, Republicans face greater internal divisions over this issue than do Democrats.
Just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61%of non-Tea Party Republicans.
Republican voters overall are evenly divided, 46-46, over whether global warming is happening, but this divide is driven by the lopsided difference between Tea Party and non-Tea Party Republicans on the question, with a solid majority of the latter in the global warming camp. “It’s not Democrat versus Republican, it’s Democrat and Republican versus the Tea Party,” Jeff Gohringer, spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters, tells me.
Just another example of how a shrill minority of nutjobs is driving our national conversation in completely self-destructive ways. Gerrymandering isn’t just a cheat, it’s a cancer.
The UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report today saying it is “extremely likely” that humans have been the dominant cause of unprecedented global warming since 1950. Learn more about what the State Department is doing on climate change at http://www.state.gov/e/oes/climate/.
Data courtesy of NASA
Today’s announcement by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is an important step forward for our nation and our planet. From now on, future coal- and gas-fired power plants must take responsibility for their global warming pollution by reducing or capturing their overall emissions.
This is a critical achievement for President Barack Obama and his administration. In the face of an intransigent and inactive Congress, the President has made halting the climate crisis a priority. The policies announced today, combined with the rest of the President’s Climate Action Plan, will put us on the path toward solving the climate crisis, but Congress must also soon face the reality of the situation.
Three years ago, Congress failed to put a price on carbon and, in doing so, allowed global warming pollution to continue unabated. We have seen the disturbing consequences that the climate crisis has to offer—from a drought that covered 60% of our nation to Superstorm Sandy which wreaked havoc and cost the taxpayers billions, from wildfires spreading across large areas of the American West to severe flooding in cities all across our country—we have seen what happens when we fail to act. We need a price on carbon. We need it now.
Because global warming is a great big hoax and all…
- The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for August 2013 tied with 2005 as the fourth highest in the 1880–2013 record, at 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F).
- The global land surface temperature was 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the 11th warmest August on record. For the global oceans, the August average sea surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.4°F), tying with 1998, 2003, 2005, and 2009 as the record highest for August.
- The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the June–August period was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F), tying with 2009 as the fifth warmest such period on record.
- The June–August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average, the seventh warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 20th century average, the fifth warmest June–August on record.
- The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the year-to-date (January–August) was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.3°F), tying with 2003 as the sixth warmest such period on record.