IBI Watch 9/16/12

16 09 2012

Forecast for Winter Weather – and Its *Pignorant Exploitation  //


You don’t have to be a meteorologist or a climatologist to see what lies just ahead.  The scientists tell us we are entering another El Niño phase.  This generally means a warmer and drier winter in the region I call home – the US Upper Midwest.  But there is big change afoot – most important, we are still wondering where the current (and epochal) record Arctic ice melt will stop.  And a closely related phenomenon – the increasing waviness of the jet stream, north to south, makes – surprise! – more extreme weather events likely.  Just look at the short imbedded animation in the last link to see how that jet stream change is working.

So – with those two points in mind – here is the general winter weather (and winter weather reaction) forecast for the northern United States.

  • Some places will be hit with extraordinary snow and ice events– in some cases smashing records.  And the storms may linger for several days.
  • Denialist blowhards such as Inhofe, Limbaugh, assorted Fox News commentators and others will seize on the extreme winter weather events as evidence that man-made global warming is a hoax.  They will have a few lusty laughs at Al Gore’s expense and continue to help paralyze movements toward sustainable climate and energy policy.  The grand irony, of course, is that these pignorant pundits are using precisely the consequences of manmade climate change to ‘disprove’ manmade climate change.
  • No one will be paying attention when most of those places that got the record snow see it all rapidly melt when the weather shifts in a few days to temps that until recently could only be called ‘unseasonably warm.’
  • The overall pattern of the winter will be above normal to well above normal temps.  Just read here if you doubt that.  It’s as close to a sure bet as you can find.

How can I say this and – more important – who the hell am I to think I can say this?!  Two good questions.  First, I feel vindicated by recent events and analysis.  I have noticed in about the last 10-15 years that weather systems so often stall – in ways they had not in the past.  This means that some areas might have a long drought broken by rain that far overstays its welcome – such as a year or two of rain that falls in a few days on a drought-stricken area.  It also means fronts that virtually creep across the country, plaguing an area with successive days of severe weather.  Watch for more of this as weather becomes more extreme due to our ongoing alteration of the atmosphere with our greenhouse gases.  Second – there is a phenomenon afoot that any day now will be recognized as a trend.

But back to winter for a moment.  Two recent articles highlight scientists’ winter predictions – here and here.

Meanwhile, we keep up the climate change ‘debate’ in this science-averse country of ours.  But it turns out this is one real example of a well-worn right-wing concept: American Exceptionalism.  But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.  My favorite local meteorologist and truth-teller, Paul Douglas, wrote a terrific piece recently.  His intended audience – the climate change jokester himself, Mitt Romney.  Heh, heh.  And of course, it is never a bad idea to visit Douglas’ excellent weather and climate blog.

Piling it High and Deep

It is hard to find a politician who does not stretch the truth from time to time.  You might even say that every politico – shocking I know – will tell a lie at some time.  But surely the current Republican presidential candidate and his running mate are setting a new standard.  This of course has been heralded by the quote of a campaign advisor – “Romney pollster Neil Newhouse responded to criticism of his campaign’s TV ad attacking the president with false claims about the welfare reform law. After it was noted that myriad fact checking organizations had found the ad false, Newhouse stated, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Here is my favorite recent Romney quote.  The candidate rightly identified as favoring further tax advantages for the wealthy now charges the president with making the wealthy wealthier.  Hilarious.  Then there is the one about Republicans wanting President Obama to succeed in the early days of his administration.  Here is even more hilarity.  I about choked when I heard Romney tell us in his Convention speech how he wanted Obama to succeed.  Jon Stewart has the proper assessment.  This five-minute video is worth the time, but if you want the reaction, go straight to 3:20.  The last example is more sad than funny.  It’s about a closed auto plant and Paul Ryan.

All this creativity reminded me of a piece (Liars’ Party) I wrote a few months back.  It puts this new standard of storytelling in a broader context, worthy of the era of Karl Rove and Frank Luntz.

Colossal Incompetence, Strategic Ignorance or Both

When 9/11 investigation commission member Richard Ben Veniste was pressing Condoleezza Rice on the President’s daily briefing memo warning of Bin Laden’s plans to attack America, I knew there had to be more, lots more, intelligence that was dropped or ignored.  The story is now emerging. Kurt Eichenwald – author of a new book on this important history, ‘500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars,’ appeared on Democracy Now! this week.  The intelligence was much, much more than the single memo that Ben Veniste courageously probed.

In all likelihood, it won’t ever lead to a true, comprehensive investigation and reconstruction.  But it is important to get the truth out – if for no other reason than to expose and destroy the big whopper of a lie from that era.  You know, the one that went something like this:  ‘We could not have known they would fly planes into buildings.’  Uh huh.  You can learn more here and here.

Organic – It’s Not Just about Us

A recent study on organic food garnered much attention.  Turns out that the nutritional and health benefits of eating organic are not so clear.  But there is a much bigger health issue that is largely ignored in the debate.  But not in this story.

Corporate Money and Unbalanced American Politics

The bedrock issue that must be moved if we are to achieve change is getting the big corporate dollars out of our political process.  With each cycle – aided and abetted by a right-wing Supreme Court – Congress increasingly does the bidding of its corporate sponsors.  This latest edition of Moyers and Company does a fine job of laying out the issues and exploring ideas for cleaning up the mess.  Moyers interviews Katrina vanden Heuvel and Jamie Raskin , in conjunction with a special issue of The Nation dedicated to this all-important topic.  Warning – if you dislike Justice Scalia as much as I do, fold your hands carefully while watching his smug explanation of his love for lot$ more $peech.  $eriou$ly.  You don’t really want to throw something at your computer, do you?

High-Speed Waste Disposal

This one is strictly for yucks.  Military innovation and waste solutions rolled in one disgusting package.

Environmental Progress

Three stories of environmental hope:

Tree planting in Africa to hold back desertification

Progress on electric vehicles

The roof of the future – solar shingles!

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

― Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Blogger – Michael Murphy, St. Paul MN

Contributed links to this posting – Bonnie Blodgett, Jeff Carlson, Mark Goldberg, Allyson Harper




One response

20 04 2013

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