It’s time for Stephen Colbert’s new educational series, “Professor Not-A-Scientist!”
The very last person you’d ever want to see in charge of the Senate Environment Committee will now probably be in charge of the Senate Environment Committee.
On handing Republicans control of the Senate on Tuesday, Americans effectively voted for the party’s hostile plans against President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. Their votes also put the Senate’s environment and climate policy into the hands of the worst science-denier in national politics: Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who is almost certainly the next chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Inhofe claimed in 2003 that global warming might help humanity. “It’s also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.”
Inhofe refuted climate change science in 2012 by citing the Bible. “[T]he Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
Did you know that Lord Christopher Monckton, known around LGF as the Original Swivel-Eyed Loon for his long history of obtuse, deceptive climate change denialism, his frequent appearances on the Alex Jones show, and his testimony to the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Commitee as the Republican Party’s sole expert witness in 2010, is also a Birther?
Today he has a piece appealing to the odd people who read World Net Daily to support Arizona’s Birther law enforcement official, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that actually makes one fear for his sanity: For Sheriff Joe, the Clock Is Ticking.
One of the many dismal failures of the GOP since 2008 has been its failure to get to grips with the birth certificate issue.
The reason for the Republicans’ cowardice was very clearly spelled out to me by a senior and experienced GOP congressman over dinner at my club in Washington, D.C., a couple of years ago. “We all know the birth certificate is bogus,” he said, “but we also know that anyone who dares to raise the issue will have his or her reputation trashed by the communist left.”
In my assessment, it is only when the GOP commands both the Senate and the House that it may find what in English we should call the cojones to do something about the birth certificate.
[… crazy ranting …]
If the GOP wins the Senate, and even if it does not win the Senate, let it at last find the guts to do what it should have done long before now. Let it say yes to Sheriff Joe’s request that it should initiate a congressional investigation of this affair. And let the states’ attorneys general of Hawaii and Arizona step down. They should be ashamed of themselves.
They are not fit to hold office. Let theirs, together with that of the head of the Secret Service, be the first of countless heads that must roll throughout the governing class to root out the corruption of which the flagrantly bogus “birth certificate” is an enduring and disfiguring symbol. Enough is enough. It is time for Uncle Sam - and the GOP - to find the cojones to act.
Pope Francis is more pro-science and anti-superstition than most Republicans: Pope Francis Takes a Stand for Evolution, Against ‘Magic Wands’.
Social conservatives in the United States who’ve been unhappy with Pope Francis’ moderation today have one more reason to be upset.
Daniel Berger reported this afternoon:
Pope Francis broke with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real, and remarking that God is not “a magician with a magic wand.”
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” the pope said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, during a plenary meeting dedicated to evolving concepts of nature.
The pope’s remarks came earlier today in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary, it requires it,” the Roman Catholic pontiff said. “Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of [divine] creation because evolution requires the creation of the beings that evolve.”
As the Republican Party sinks ever deeper into its denial of climate change (good luck finding a single GOP politician these days who doesn’t deny the influence of human beings on the Earth’s climate), NASA has reported that last month was the hottest September on record since the records began.
Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Sunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record.
One Ebola death in this country and people are in a paranoid frenzy. But huge-scale disastrous changes in the Earth’s climate? Yawn. Who’s on Dancing With the Stars tonight?
The head of the National Institutes of Health doesn’t specifically call out the Republican Party in this statement, but I will; the anti-science, anti-research GOP is the main reason why America hasn’t been able to do the basic scientific research necessary to be ready for diseases like Ebola.
And I’m saying “diseases like Ebola” because there will be more of these rapidly evolving viruses and bacteria to deal with in the future. This is an object lesson in why the Republican Party’s agenda is so incredibly harmful to the country.
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”
The Denver Post’s John Frank and Lynn Bartels have a jaw-dropping report on the debate between gubernatorial candidates Gov. John Hickenlooper and his batshit crazy Republican rival Bob Beauprez, a microcosm of the sheer insanity that has taken over the GOP, not just in Colorado but across the nation.
Beauprez has clearly been advised by his media consultants to avoid openly opposing contraception (even though he obviously does). So he said:
When it was time for the candidates to ask each other questions, Hickenlooper pressed Beauprez about personhood, abortion and birth control. He asked whether Beauprez would support using public money to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies.
“I have no problem with people using contraception,” Beauprez said.
But then, he said he considers IUDs to be the same as abortions.
“I have a big problem publicly funding contraceptives that are actually abortifacient.”
He said he considered intrauterine devices, a common form of birth control known as IUDs, the equivalent to a drug that causes an abortion.
Just for the record, IUDs work by preventing sperm from reaching eggs in the uterus. Anyone who equates this with an “abortifacient” is, not to put too fine a point on it, a complete anti-choice fanatic, and someone who has no freaking idea how the biological process of conception works.
Gov. Hickenlooper pushed back against this crazy opinion with some facts that I’m sure went completely ignored by Beauprez’s right wing audience.
Hickenlooper touted a state program that helped lower teen birth rates drop by 40 percent in five years after more than 30,000 IUDs and other implants were provided to low-income women at 68 family-planning clinics across Colorado since 2009. The cost was covered by a private anonymous donor.
And then, the subject turned to climate change, and you can probably guess what happened next; yes, Beauprez thinks “powers bigger than us” (read: God) are determining whether climate change destroys the human race, so we should just, I don’t know, pray harder or something.
Asked whether humans were “contributing significantly” to climate change, Beauprez said no. He later quibbled with the word “significantly,” as he acknowledged humans should do everything they can to reduce their impact.
“But are we going to end or alter the path that Earth’s evolution is going to take? I don’t think so,” he said. “I think the Earth’s already figured that out and powers bigger than us have figured that out.”
Here’s today’s example of the absolutely horrible anti-science propaganda relentlessly pushed out there by right wing groups, as CNBC promotes an Exxon-funded physicist as an expert on climate change despite the fact that he has no demonstrated expertise on the subject, and he launches into a bizarre rant comparing the “demonization of carbon dioxide” to the Nazi holocaust. Arrrgh.
Physics Professor William Happer has published no peer-reviewed research on climate change, yet co-host Joe Kernen introduced him as an “industry expert” on the July 14 edition of Squawk Box. After a softball interview with Kernen, co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin challenged Happer for “not believ[ing] in climate change” — to which Happer responded by telling Sorkin to “shut up.” Sorkin then asked Happer about comments he made to The Daily Princetonian in 2009 comparing climate science to Nazi propaganda. Happer doubled down on his comments, stating that “the demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”
Sorkin also noted that Happer, who has suggested that people should be “clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide,” is the chairman of the Marshall Institute, which received $865,000 from ExxonMobil from 1998 to 2011.
The influence of carbon dioxide on the “greenhouse effect” has been well understood by scientists for more than 100 years, by the way. This isn’t “demonization,” it’s scientific fact — and it’s incredibly irresponsible of CNBC to promote this kind of nonsensical bad craziness.
Happer’s group, the Marshall Institute, was also one of the right wing think tanks that labored to create public doubt about the health risks of tobacco.
Naomi Oreskes states that the institute has, in order to resist and delay regulation, lobbied politically to create a false public perception of scientific uncertainty over the negative effects of second-hand smoke, the carcinogenic nature of tobacco smoking, the existence of acid rain, and on the evidence between CFCs and ozone depletion.
When we last left Kentucky Sen. Brandon Smith, he was lecturing us about the “real facts” of climate change and how Mars is the same temperature as our own happy planet Earth.
When called out on his dubious grasp of how things actually work in real life science, he was quick to claim that his comments were taken out of context (despite actual video proof).
Well, Sen. Smith apparently is a man of strong beliefs who will not sit down and shut up when said beliefs are challenged. Please proceed, Sen. Smith (via Joe Sonka):
The Monday following the hearing, Smith sent the following email back to a Kentucky resident who emailed him to point out how wrong he was on Mars:
Subject: Re: Climate Change
It amazes me that you have no idea what I actually said, weren’t at this meeting yet bought into this bogus quote posted about me so entirely that you took time to actually send me an email. Really? I have some lake front property you might be interested in! Please do not kick yourself for being duped by this, 56 other people in the world did as well.
As you can see, Smith is still denying that he said it, and still lying about being misquoted or taken out of context. It’s all bogus! The person replied by sending Smith a link of the YouTube video I posted… in full, undeniable context. Smith did not reply until this weekend, when he sent the following email, proving that Smith’s head is still on another planet:
“I made the point that it is my opinion that something bigger than one industry, coal, is affecting our planet. I went on to use the example that both Earth and Mars have experienced temperature changes. The clip you saw only shows enough of the overall debate to make the viewer believe I’m saying something different. I am not asking you to believe me; that is entirely up to you. However, as always, there is more to this story that deserves to be told.
The meeting in question was held so the Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet could explain to committee members the impact of the newly proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. To say this was a heavily attended gathering by the media is an understatement. In fact, every major state outlet was present. Curiously, they never reported this story. Why? Because all of the informed parties understood the context of the conversation as I have been making this point for over five years. In fact, I was in Louisville on May 14th at a Forum Panel where we had a healthy discussion on this exact topic, and there was no story following that. You might be wondering how then did you get the story? This story came from an individual in the audience who can be heard on the tape shouting the claim that New York City is underwater due to climate change (I assure you, the whole story really is that bizarre). They began to tweet and blog and when the tape became available, took the snippet of me you saw.
Either all of the legitimate reporters in this meeting missed my comments or this whole ordeal is a diversionary, anti-coal measure to keep people from asking what the Secretary had to say. The answer to that question, the really important question of the day, is that he said nothing. He did not show up. I am not certain if these facts make a difference now but at least it provides a more complete image of what really happened and background on the source. If you still have doubts, take notice that this story, as you see it, was not reported in this publication or any other in Kentucky.
Although the majority of emails and calls to my office and home on this topic have unfortunately been vicious and accusatory in nature, one may be surprised to know that I appreciate the input. This is a discussion worth having, and even though we don’t all have to agree, we need to have tolerance of the many different views if we hope to come together to address this vital issue. Jumping to conclusions and battering the “opposing side” only perpetuates the entrenched environment we currently live in, which hasn’t gotten us anywhere. As chairman of Natural Resource committee, I had an open door policy. We brought the most diverse group of individuals and ideas to our meetings in hopes of finding answers. It takes no effort to call someone an idiot; the true challenge is finding the opportunities to work together beyond differences.
Brandon D. Smith”
Joe Sonka demolishes Sen. Smith’s email claims point by point at: Sen. Brandon Smith (Famous Climate Science ‘Academic’) Is Still Living on Mars - FatLip
Video of the hearing in all its bad science glory is available via KET (Kentucky Educational Television) here.
Here’s the clip of the comment that Sen. Smith claims “was taken out of context”:
But feel free to watch the entire KET archive video of the committee hearing to see the comment in complete “context”. Spoiler: it doesn’t get any better for Sen. Smith.
I’ve had this blindingly stupid post at Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy hate site open since yesterday afternoon, trying to figure out how to write about the sheer idiocy of not understanding how important the basic biological process of pollination is to the human species and its food supply, but I remain gobsmacked that people can actually be this deliberately ignorant of issues that affect every part of their lives: ‘Can’t Make This Up!’ Obama Admin’s Laser-Like Focus on This Is Beyond Parody.
You don’t even want to look at the comments.