Saturday, December 05, 2009

While Hannity calls global warming 'the biggest scientific fraud in our lifetimes,' the ocean levels are rising

-- by Dave

I'm planning on being around in ten years, Lawd willin'. And I'm really looking forward to holding up all these global-warming deniers, like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and all their absurd guests running around their shows screaming that "CRU e-mails prove global warming is a hoax!" for some serious, serious ridicule.

Like Hannity last night on his Fox show, hosting the best author Exxon/Mobil money could buy, Chris Horner, to natter at length about the fake CRU e-mails scandal. At the very end, Hannity comes up with an epithet for global warming:

Hannity: Biggest scientific fraud, I think, in our lifetime.

Yes, that's what we'd call it too -- not global warming, but this fake scandal, as Media Matters explains in thorough detail.

Particularly when it comes to Hannity's and Horner's doubts that the e-mails were "stolen" (Hannity says: "I don't think that's an accurate story," and Horner says, "There is no evidence this was a hacking.") As MM explains:

CRU officials have stated that emails were obtained through "a criminal breach of our security systems." In its initial response to the reported theft, officials at the University of East Anglia stated: "Recently thousands of files and emails illegally obtained from a research server at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been posted on various sites on the web." In a statement about the controversy, CRU vice chancellor of research Trevor Davies stated: "We are committed to furthering this debate despite being faced with difficult circumstances related to a criminal breach of our security systems and our concern to protect colleagues from the more extreme behaviour of some who have responded in irrational and unpleasant ways to the publication of personal information."

But beyond the fact that this is just another right-wing water-muddying exercise to advance their own propaganda, you really have to wonder how the rest of the media can so eagerly lap up such a non-story. Especially when confronted with the actual evidence of what in fact is occurring in the Real World, i.e., the natural world, to wit:

Climate change speeds up since 1997 Kyoto accord

Since the 1997 Kyoto international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated — beyond some of the grimmest warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the Arctic's once-frozen summer sea ice. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.

And it's not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the years leading up to next month's climate summit in Copenhagen:

• The world's oceans have risen about an inch and a half.

• Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.

• Species now in trouble because of changing climate include not just the polar bear, which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.

• Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 degree warmer than in the dozen years leading up to 1997.

"The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought," said Janos Pasztor, climate adviser to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Here's why: Since an agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution was signed in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, the level of carbon dioxide in the air has increased 6.5 percent.

From 1997 to 2008:

• World carbon-dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased 31 percent.

• U.S. emissions of this greenhouse gas rose 3.7 percent.

• Emissions from China, now the biggest producer of this pollution, have more than doubled in 12 years.

We're also starting to see things we've never seen before, like massive killer algal blooms. We don't know that climate change is causing it, but we do know we've never seen this stuff before.

In ten years we're going to be in a world of hurt and these well-paid morons are going to have some explaining to do.

Of course, we know this crowd: They'll somehow try to claim that they were really right.

Right. Morons.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Palin boosts the Birthers: 'I think it's a fair question'

-- by Dave

Oy. Sarah Palin legitimizes the Birthers:

Transcript via Alex Koppelman at Salon:

HUMPHRIES: Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?

PALIN: Um, I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think enough members of the electorate still want answers.

HUMPHRIES: Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?

PALIN: I think it's a fair question, just like I think past associations, past voting records, all of that is fair game. You know, I gotta tell you, too, I think our campaign, the McCain-Palin campaign, didn't do a good enough job in that area. We didn't call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were, and perhaps what their future plans were, and I don't think that was fair to voters, to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of things that now we're seeing made manifest in the administration.

HUMPHRIES: I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama's past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?

PALIN: Hey, you know, that's a great point. That weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about, that Trig isn't my real son, a lot of people say, "Well, you need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he's your kid," which we have done, but yeah, so maybe we should reverse that and use the same type of thinking on the other one.

Steve Benen is spot on:

That last point about the bizarre notion that Palin's son is not her son was especially odd. The former half-term governor seems to think questions about Trig's birth certificate are a "weird conspiracy theory freaky thing" -- she does have a way with words -- but instead of arguing that all of the nonsense be taken off the table for everyone, Palin wants to see "the same type of thinking" applied to the president.

Palin tried to walk this back on her Facebook page:

Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask... which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

No, you just suggest that the people who are asking and suggesting this have good reasons to do so. In other words, you just legitimized a bunch of far-right fringe cases.

As Brian Levin put it at HuffPo:

While many are pondering what exactly Sarah Palin’s approving radio comments on the birther issue and her subsequent “clarification” mean to her possible 2012 run, there is a more fundamental question: what does this bode for our democracy? The answer is this is yet another indicator that extreme is the new mainstream.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Arpaio rudely interrupted by students singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

-- by Dave

Monday night in Tempe:

PHOENIX -- A night aimed at discussing First Amendment issues with the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff ended with protesters disrupting the session and Sheriff Joe Arpaio walking out.

"People are saying this looks really bad for ASU, for one of the forward thinking journalism schools in the country," said student Elizabeth Shell.

The Arizona State University event in downtown Phoenix was part of a series at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication where guests respond to questions about journalism and media.

After 45 minutes of questioning Monday night, a group of protesters started to sing and chant in the back of the room, interrupting Sheriff Arpaio's response to questions about illegal immigration.

"Is this legitimate?" the protesters sang, to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody, a popular ballad by Queen.

During the outburst, Arpaio placed a University of Arizona hat on his head followed by an ASU hat.

"I thought this was going to be a situation not allowing this to go on," Arpaio said, referencing the disruption.

"You know what, this is ridiculous. I'm going to go," said Arpaio, before walking out of the forum.

"Was I forced," asked Arpaio, "Nobody forces the sheriff to stop, it was an agreement I made with the professors."

ASU Dean Christopher Callahan called the protest misplaced.

"I think it's very short-sighted, because these are people who are against Sheriff Arpaio's policies, and what they succeeded in doing is stopping focused, intense questioning of his policies," he said. "It just seems kind of dumb to me."

I have mixed feelings about these events. As you can see from the footage, Arpaio was just being pressed about why his office is stonewalling the Department of Justice in its investigation of Arpaio for corruptly using the threat of official retaliation against his critics. It would have been good to see his feet held to the fire on this.

On the other hand, Arpaio is such a contemptible figure -- the manacling of a woman in childbirth being only the most recent example -- that he deserves every expression of contempt that comes his way. (Besides, it was also a very funny stunt.)

Speaking (or singing) over the top of someone is rude, and it's inimical to democratic discourse. But this isn't a First Amendment issue, as some claimed, because it had nothing to do with government suppression of free speech. These were just people exercising their own free-speech rights.

As we've noted, Arpaio has even had citizens arrested for applauding his critics at County Supervisors meetings. Now that is a true threat to First Amendment rights. It would have been worth the time of a panel devoted to the First Amendment for Arpaio to have answered to that. Instead, he was just answering questions about how well his office issues press releases. No wonder people were frustrated.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ho hum. Just another would-be domestic terrorist found with a bomb-making lab. Nothing to see here, just move along

-- by Dave

Gee, for some reason, this story hasn't managed to make it out of the local news and into the national headlines:

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – Following a pipe bomb explosion Monday night, police and federal law enforcement officials are trying to figure why a Center Avenue man turned his apartment into a bomb factory.

thumb_mediumMarkCampano_c3716.JPGPolice said no charges have been filed against Mark Campano, 56. Police found 30 completed pipe bombs in his apartment along with components to make more, plus 17 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Campano is in an Akron hospital with injuries received when one of the bombs exploded.

As police and federal authorities puzzle over Campano's past and what he planned to do with the bombs, a former neighbor said Campano often railed against the government.

Barbara Vachon lived next door to Campano at the Center Park Place Apartments for several years and said he was a big reason she moved.

"He was always trying to get me and another neighbor to listen to anti-government tapes and watch anti-government videos," said Vachon. "I would never watch them. He was some kind of radical, and he didn't believe in the government."

She said there were other warnings.

"There were a few times I heard minor explosions from outside the apartment building, and he would scream that he had hurt himself," she said. "I never knew what he was up to."

Vachon said Campano seemed to be most active at night.

"There was a steady stream of creepy visitors going in and out of his apartment," she said.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is also investigating the case.

Of course, if this had been a Muslim extremist caught with such an arsenal, we'd be getting talk-show panels on Hannity featuring Michelle Malkin ranting at length about the threat of Islamic jihad, blah blah blah. Not to mention chatty discussion on Fox and Friends and Morning Joe.

But instead, because he's just a white anti-government extremist, hey, let's just give it a big shrug.

More on the case here and here.

[H/t Susie.]

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.