Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are we past the global warming tipping plateau?

There is a fair amount of new evidence on global climate change in the last 10 or so years. Unfortunately it doesn't fully support the deniers views.

The effects of global warming, a misnomer as it is really global climate change and some smaller areas will see temperature decreases, are clearly in evidence and accelerating faster than predicted. See rate of glacier loss, ice cap reductions and high altitude micro-climes changes.

Global warming as measured by temperatures, actually quite difficult to do in a standard way over long time periods, according to skeptics has leveled off even as CO2 continues an accelerating rise. Other temperature series which include ocean data reportedly show continued increases.

Increasing amounts of CO2 will have limited effects on blocking infrared radiation. Some experiments indicate it is already blocking most of the rays it can.

Putting these together it looks like temperatures may not continue to increase but that we have reached a plateau that is past the tipping point of extreme effects from climate change, warming permafrost and melting glaciers.

The smarter deniers have long since given up arguing against the evidence of warming that is everywhere but just deny it is man caused.

Future climate change regulations will have to not slow down the growth of emissions but reduce emissions steeply to lower the amount of CO2 already present.

Congratulations deniers, there was no tipping point, but we are past the tipping plateau.

A lot of this evidence comes from global warming denier websites and pamphlets, they just haven't put it together in pursuit of their own agendas of reduced government regulation and denying industrialization is responsible.

A lot of this new evidence was presented to me by a global warming skeptic. Most of the stuff presented in The Skeptics Handbook were distortions and special pleadings and smears of scientists and politicians who support the idea of global warming. Her evidence was often incomplete - an ice core that has both ends cut off where presumably only the part that supports her belief that warming temperatures cause rising CO2 was presented. I admit to not being an expert on ice cores and how they measure both temperature and CO2 concentration. A rebuttal to The Skeptic's Handbook explains why rising temperatures lead to rising CO2 and how the ice cores prove they are coupled. A shorter rebuttal of her four points is here.

Her case did not logically hold up and was worse science and more smears than what she accused the global warming warners of engaging in. That was a shame as she did have some evidence that indicates the standard climate change models may need to be revised. It is even possible that CO2 is having only a minor affect on temperature but that warming is something external that is occurring in the solar system.

The real scientists say that I am crediting her data too much, the claims she makes aren't supported. I am pointing out that even if she is right we have to brace for continued climate change.

Her new evidence and interpretation does point to that further temperature rises may be unlikely except for that brought about by the dangerous and accelerating changes in the world ecology caused by the already new temperatures.

Ironically, we had better hope that most of the warming is caused by man made CO2 and we can reverse it. If instead the warming is primarily caused by an unknown factor (solar radiation?) that will be much more difficult to change.

Monday, September 28, 2009

TPA Blog Posts For 9/28/09

As early voting for the November elections looms on the horizon, the Texas Progressive Alliance says good-bye to September and hello to another weekly blog roundup.

BREAKING NEWS: Natural Gas Development Brings "amazing and very high" Levels of Carcinogens and Neurotoxins to Barnett Shale area! Take a deep breath before you read this study because the findings will take your breath away! TXsharon at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS broke this story and the study evaluation by MacAuthur (Genius) Award winner, Wilma Subra.

This week Left of College Station, Teddy reports on why the anti-choice movement is not about abortion but about the oppression of women. Also, guest blogger Litia writes about asking non-tradition questions about Texas A&M traditions; Litia writes a weekly guest blog for College Station about a liberal teaching in Aggieland. Left of College Station also coves the week in headlines.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes that Socialist candidate for Mayor of Houston Amanda Ulman should run a serious campaign or not run at all. There once was a solid base of socialist voters in Texas and the U.S. Who says that cannot someday happen again?

McBlogger takes aim at people who think that adjusting to climate change is just something that will unfairly hurt the poor.

Off the Kuff contemplates the possible entry of Farouk Shami into the Governor's race.

The old Easter Lemming has a useful post on voting for the Constitutional Amendments in his area.

The Texas Cloverleaf looks at the 22 year high TX unemployment rate. What recession? We're in one?

Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples opened his mouth and out fell a big wad of stupid. Stupid so ignorant that it topped anything Rick Perry or John Cornyn or even Glenn Beck could manage this week. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has it -- if you can stand it.

WhosPlayin followed up on an open records request for internal emails related to Lewisville ISD's decision to ban President Obama's speech to children. The emails, including a racially charged email from a board member to the superintendant, do not paint a pretty picture..

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on money, energy, and the economy in the Texas governor's race, Perry's cap and trade photo op.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes Rick Perry does his best George Bush cowboy imitation with Ranger Recon.

Over at TexasKaos, boadicea, Warrior Queen, is seeking a pulse, any pulse over at the Tom Schieffer campaign, as she opines that Tom Schieffer Needs Something Original to Offer. It seems that lifting policy ideas from Hank Gilbert is the best he can do right now. Read the rest at TexasKaos.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New York Times announces Secret Editor to Monitor WingNut News

Concerned they miss terribly important stories like young conservative activists dressing up like pimp and ho and getting spoofed by poor ACORN employees they appoint someone to tell reporters you better cover these new nutty stories.

Where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah, as satire in 2006.

The moral roots of politics

The moral differences between liberals and conservatives

How this applies to the health care reform debate.
...when Palin threw out the term "death panels," the term struck a chord that had been played many times in recent years. Liberals were flabbergasted, because it's a blatant lie, but it's false only in a logical sense, not an emotional one. And once again, logic has little to do with morality. If a pro-life social conservative asks himself whether Obama is secretly plotting to create death panels, he is not asking whether this is likely to be true, he is asking only "can I believe it," and the answer is usually yes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Republican Gomorrah - Escape from Freedom to a Glorious Leader

The new Republican party is American authoritarian fundamentalism, the weak and fearful seeking a God and Party of strength.

Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party - a five year odyssey into the new Republican party. Buy at Excerpt:
In the chaotic 2008 Republican presidential primary, the Republican base split its vote between Mitt Romney, the economic conservative, and Mike Huckabee, the social conservative, creating space for John McCain, distrusted by all factions, to emerge. McCain wished to have as his running mate an independent-minded politician who could garner votes outside the Republicans’ increasingly narrow sphere of influence. His intention was to name Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who had been the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000. But the movement rejected his appeal to pragmatism, threatened a full-scale revolt, and demanded to vet his running mate as a condition for support. From the Last Frontier of Alaska, a self-proclaimed “hardcore pro-lifer” and “prayer warrior,” Governor Sarah Palin, was summoned to deliver to McCain the political elements he had once labeled “agents of intolerance.”

Through Palin, archetype of the right-wing woman, the movement’s influence over the party reached its zenith. As a direct result, however, the party sank to its nadir, suffering crushing defeats in the presidential and congressional races. Palin’s candidacy mobilized the Christian right elements that McCain alienated, but she repelled independents and moderate Republicans in droves, winnowing away the party’s constituency in every region of the country except the Deep South. Palin fatally tarnished McCain’s image while laying the groundwork for her potential resurrection—and that of the movement—in the presidential contest of 2012.

The Christian right reached the mountaintop with the presidency of George W. Bush, shrouding science and reason in the shadow of the cross and the flag. But even at the height of Bush’s glory, in his 2004 campaign, a few isolated moderate Republicans warned that the Republican Party was in danger of collapse. Of course their jeremiads were ignored. That year, Christie Todd Whitman published a book titled It’s My Party Too, decrying the takeover by what she called the “social fundamentalists.” A member of a distinguished and wealthy eastern Republican family, with deep ties to the party, she had been governor of New Jersey and head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Bush, only to quit when fundamentalist ideologues substituted right-wing doctrine for science in its studies. After the 2008 Republican debacle, Whitman pointed out that even though McCain was not considered a champion of the religious right, his percentage of so-called “values voters” increased by 3 percent over Bush’s in 2004. McCain, the last Republican moderate on the national stage, had lost among “moderate voters” by 21 points to Obama.

As soon as Obama took office, the movement camped in the wilderness prepared to take political advantage of the worst economic troubles since the Great Depression by injecting a renewed sense of anti-government resentment. As most people agonized and even panicked over the sudden economic collapse, the Christian right’s peddlers of crisis lifted their hands to the heavens. They had a whole new world of trauma to exploit, more desperate and embittered followers to manipulate, and maybe—just maybe—another chance at power.

Republican Gomorrah is an intimate portrayal of a political, social, and religious movement defined by an “escape from freedom.” As Erich Fromm explained, those who join the ranks of an authoritarian cause to resolve inner turmoil and self-doubt are always its most fervent, rigidly ideological, and loyal members. They are often its most politically influential members as well. President Eisenhower described the “mental stress and burden” that animates such movements. His admonition to beware the danger posed to democracy by those who seek “freedom from the necessity of informing themselves and making up their own minds concerning these tremendous complex and difficult questions” should be as memorable in history as his caution about the “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wow, just wow....

The right leaning Washington Post's editor presses his reporters that they are not conservative enough and pulls them from reporting on real billion dollar scandals to chase stories of kids dressing up like a ho and a pimp and being spoofed by ACORN employees.

Balloon Juice has more. I may have mentioned before some of my favorite bloggers are former Republicans.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spoofing the Spoofer's and the So-Called-Liberal Washington Post

A great majority of the attempts at ACORN offices were turned away.

Many of the ACORN staffer remarks to the bad whitebread young actor activists trying to portray a pimp and prostitute were spoofs. Watch the videos - what urban dweller would think those conservative activists were real?

The videos are heavily edited and the originals are not shown.

The so-called-liberal-media refuses to look at the true story which is how Fox News does no real journalism investigating the videos instead being a branch of the Republican party PR machine.

Only limited coverage has been given to the ACORN staffer who told the bad actors she was a a prostitute, drug user and murderer - all untrue which a simple call to the police revealed which would be the first step of real journalism. Spoofing the spoofers, what a concept.

This seems a typical hard right conservative hit piece. This is not an unbiased ombudsman column.

This comment above supposedly violated the Washington Post's comment policy. OK, it appears the original of this column used a more common word for prostitute which the so-called liberal newspaper does not tolerate.

The Tort Reform Experience - repost

Bad for users of health care, better for doctors and hospitals is the bottom line. So says research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

#1 Caps of noneconomic damages did not translate into lower health insurance premiums for consumers. Various types of analyses did not alter this finding.

#2 A survey of empirical research does suggest tort reform has constrained the growth of malpractice premiums for providers.

Lowered the growth of insurance premiums which goes directly to the bottom line of health care providers but is a very small component of health care costs.

#3 It is less clear whether doctors change the way they practice medicine after tort reform, although there is evidence of some cost reductions in cardiac and obstetric care.

So if they aren't worried about being sued they perform fewer tests. Not a big health care component.

Some varieties of tort reform could be part of health reform in the few states that this has not occurred. In the states that have had Republican driven tort reform with very low human life costs and noneconomic damages caps it is citizens being screwed and people dying and family being unable to sue the doctors who can go on and do it again. No benefits to health care users but a bit wealthier doctors.

From the abstract of the study:
Principal Findings. Using a variety of empirical specifications, there was no statistically significant evidence that noneconomic damage caps exerted any meaningful influence on the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance.

Conclusions. The findings suggest that tort reforms have not translated into insurance savings.
Again - wealthier doctors, more profitable insurance companies with bigger executive bonuses, no benefits to health care users.

Minor edit from 8/15/09 posting.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who Not to Vote For in Houston's Mayor's Race

Email from Annie's List

Does Gene Locke Respect Women?

More than 1.1 million women live in Houston (50.1% of total population) and in a matter of days they will choose who leads the City for years to come. As proven by the successful outgoing Mayor, that office has the power to influence millions of people’s lives all across Harris County. It is an awesome responsibility.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why some women (and men) in Houston have been given pause by the recent words and actions of Gene Locke and his campaign for mayor. Below you will find a few examples.


Locke made news again this week after an invitation for a “Ladies for Locke” event hit the blogosphere. It contains almost full page silhouettes of scantily clad women in high heels that have been compared to graphics you would find on a trucker’s mud flaps.

“I passed this around to a few of the young guns at our office to make sure it wasn't just me that was offended by it. In fact, in the words of one of them, "are they inviting us to a strip club?" The silhouettes of these women are just downright offensive. Wearing scarves and beads as shirts?” ~ Nancy Sims of as reposted by the Houston Chronicle on September 11th.


Despite the fact that his highly respected fundraiser had outperformed the finance goals for the June 30 report, he fired her for missing two staff meetings while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Walden said she was "shocked" to be let go just days after posting more than $1.14 million for Locke, $300,000 more than any other candidate in the 2009 contest. "I understand that Gene was unhappy that I missed work last week while I was being treated for breast cancer," said Walden. "We over-delivered in this campaign," she said. "He's a first-time candidate and outraised two incumbent city officials who had a donor base in place. Gene had nothing. We started late....I wish him well, but I'm very disappointed. I don't understand why anyone would be fired for the success that I had." (Houston Chronicle, July 24th).


Quote from Gene Locke at the July 7th Binglewood Candidate Forum on the subject of recruiting new businesses to come to Houston:

“I said to my wife the other day, I am going to hustle business in Houston just like I hustled you when you were single and you wouldn’t go out with me. I am going to be all over it.”


Quote from Gene Locke at the September 3rd ‘Women Professionals in Government’ Candidate Forum on the subject of recruiting and advancing women in the workplace:

“I do some of that with my law firm at Andrews Kurth, and one of the things that I have noticed with talented young people coming into Houston is, particularly women, they want to have the flexibility of options. Women are burdened with responsibility of both being professionals and homeowners – homemakers, and they are involuntarily homemakers sometimes. You have to put in place flex hours, meaningful arrangements to allow women to advance.”


During his tenure as City Attorney, Locke’s handling of a case involving a woman paralyzed by four gun shots in the back during a stalking/murder-for-hire attempt was called “appalling” by U.S. District Judge David Hittner

In 1998 a federal jury directed the city of Houston to pay $ 22.3 million to paralyzed shooting victim Barbara Piotrowski because police were aware of a murder-for-hire plot on her life but took no steps to warn her (Houston Chronicle, 1/21/98).

Locke had offered to settle the case for an insulting $5,000. Even worse, city attorneys closed their argument by engaging in a "finger-pointing tirade" against a wheelchair bound Piotrowski, causing angered jurors to hug her on the way out of the courtroom. And the embarrassment for the City of Houston has been memorialized in a best-selling book and movie called “Sleeping with the Devil.”


There is a popular adage that “once can be an accident, twice can be coincidence, but three times is a trend.” Each one of these occurrences, if examined in a vacuum, may not be egregious. All together however, there is a disturbing pattern that beckons questions about how Gene Locke views, understands and appreciates women.

Given that Gene Locke is asking to represent all Houstonians, including one million plus women, these questions are justifiable, if not imperative.


Annie's List is a statewide political action committee that is dedicated to recruiting, training and electing Democratic women to office in Texas. We have endorsed Annise Parker in the race for Mayor of Houston.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It is Time for FDR's Second Bill of Rights to Be Realized

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

Vikingkingq has been writing about these forgotten rights since the fourth of July.

Newest Health Care Option

Medical advice from YouTube - link from Robert Nagle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Prayer for Progressives

O Lord, please give us this day
Some inconsequential distraction
By a powerless right-wing jerk
That we may divert our eyes
From the perpetual-disappointment machine
That is our own party
Which in thine infinite wisdom
Thou hath placed at the nation's helm
To do absolutely none of the things
We'd like to believe they stand for