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March 31, 2014


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Jon. I know you are really busy but I am thinking I will send you a copy of the "Good News" and you can read as Phoenix burns
It is not IF it is when!
Phoenix had a chance in the forty's but it was gone by 1980.
Climate change, world over population, were on my mind in 58.
Iowa flooded my great uncles meager but sustainable farm around 69. Was a sad event.
Now I am just trying to get my grand-kids to a place that will have decent water and soil and where the temperature does not exceed 110.

You probably won't see denialists here unless AZReb shows up, but they dominate every other comment section on every blog where climate change is the issue. It's a Holy War now - stupid liberals vs commons-sense Americans. I admit this is my obsession now and I participate against my better judgment. One thing I no longer do is argue science with denialists. Why? Because it feeds the perception that there is a legitimate debate going on. How can non-scientists be expected to debate a topic as complex and technical as this one? What happens instead is that ubiquitous politicization of everyday life where know-nothings proudly trumpet the very little they do know as somehow worthy of serious concern.

No. What I argue is that the issue is too grave for birdbrains to poop all over. If you're not a scientist, it's best to shut up. Leave actual science to scientists and go to another topic. Say Obama's birth certificate, which while risible is harmless to the planet itself.

What we do know is that those with huge vested interests in fossil fuels are funding a disinformation campaign. And cleverly enough, it feeds into the cold civil war that now posits the epistemological equivalence of lunacy and actual knowledge. Alternative reality might claim atmospheric physics is a fraud today. Yesterday, it was vaccines and fluoridated water. Tomorrow it might be biochemistry and geology. Where does it stop? Once you empower Ted Nugent Americans to guffaw at book-learnin' and actual science, the bottom falls out of civil society's necessary reticence about the scope of its political concerns. We are democratizing science in the worst possible ways at the worst possible moment.

A sane civil society is buffered by its necessary humility. It doesn't pretend to know everything about Ukraine, or Benghazi, or macroeconomics, or climate science. But it pays attention to those people with actual expertise. Ultimately, society can make decisions based either on the best possible evidence or the loudest voices. We're obviously failing our collective sanity test today. We're drunk and shameless running through the science lab late at night. This will not end well.

Where is that comment coming from soleri. While most of the country is still "talking" about climate change, I'm dealing with it every single day. I have to make decisions on how to deal with climate change from the tip of Maine to the last island in the Hawaiian chain. It's real. It's here. I'm sorry I longer have the luxury of "talking" about what caused it and who is responsible. You all have a nice enjoyable discussion about this today. I'll be racking my brain dealing with it's ramifications starting in about one hour and working on it all day long.

Were you all some of the nitwits who turned off your lights for one hour the other night in order to save the planet?

Wow. Thanks. That was so special. I feel all better now.

AZReb, if you changed your mind about climate change, which I really, really doubt, you never told us. The last exchange we had on this subject, you were strictly in the camp of "nature is too big and people are too small to have any impact on it".

BTW, this debate is not about personal virtue. It's not about how fat Al Gore is, or what car you drive, or how big somebody's house is. That's pointless. It's whether we as a global society can trust science enough to behave rationally and begin to radically limit the amount of greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere. You're free to make an argument that it all comes down to the individual. No. It. Does. Not.

Political action is the necessary precursor to any sensible plan concerning the climate. This upends the libertarian conceit that free markets can solve everything. Unfortunately, no. Of course, this is why libertarians tend to deny the very existence of a commons/environment. It completely undercuts the thrust of their utopian ideology.

At some point, the government is all there is standing between human folly and its consequences. Ayn Rand didn't win WWII, the Koch brothers don't pay the externalities of their business model, and Milton Friedman didn't invent solar panels. The siren song of individualism is great for personal enrichment and happiness. It's completely ineffective when it comes to catastrophic climate change.

North Phoenix High School alumna Stephanie Mills gave the graduation speech at Mills College in '69, "The Future is a cruel Hoax," and went on to a career as an environmental journalist and activist. It created a brief sensation. Time magazine and others had pieces on the speech. It contained warnings about worldwide overpopulation (ala Paul Ehrlich) and her pledge to refrain from having children. It was an interesting time when media and advertising wanted to know "what the kids were thinking," to a great extent to co-opt it for marketing purposes, but there were also widespread shared concerns. We're 45 years on from that speech come June.

dawgzy, good memory. I did read Mills into the 1980s when she wrote for the Whole Earth publications.

I remember that period leading to the first Earth Day in 1970 when environmentalism was not automtically attacked by the right. One example was California's Max Rafferty, a right-wing Republican (he was Superintendent of Public Instruction) of who was also concerned about overpopulation. Then there was Richard Nixon and the creation of the EPA. But by the mid '70s, the full-frontal assault has begun, and environmentalism became a permanent wedge issue for the culture warriors.

Maybe Cal can chime in here, but radical environmentalists like Ed Abbey did shape some of that reaction. Earth First! was created by Dave Foreman of Arizona, an Abbey admirer, and the movement soon went international. I used to go to their meetings at Gentle Strength Coop. The movement became increasingly radicalized and by 1990 the Arizona leadership was entrapped in a FBI scheme to blow up some high-tension powerlines. At that point, Foreman pretty much renounced the anarchist/Marxist stuff.

I despair a lot about the ability of society to change its most destructive habits. At the same time, I'm just as despairing about the ability of radicals to "monkeywrench" industrial civilization away. We don't have much time left to get this right, of course. Maybe industrial civilization will collapse from its own contradictions. But I suspect some of its worst features will survive any cataclysm. There were lonely prophets like Mills, Ehrlich, and Abbey who society largely ignored when it still had time. And I doubt when all is said and done they'll even be remembered.

I tend to think the evidence of climate change will become irrefutable with the next five to ten years. At the point, the right will pirouette on a dime and accuse liberals of coddling brown people who are taking up to much space and having too many babies. I get that we're almost at that point where it no longer matters what we do. I want the softest landing possible to avoid the greatest amount of suffering. But I'm afraid even that is just vanity on my part. The payback is going to be a bitch.

I've been wanting to write that "Phoenix" dystopian novel and this gives me some added inspiration. However, I don't think anyone would read it....and I'd probably never be able to visit Maricopa County again!

SD- one of the first and best of American dystopian books has already been written. Zeytoun by Dave Eggers could stand as a novel but has the virtue of being real. (NOLA, Katrina) It has everything: ample warnings of a disaster that could have been mitigated, venal politicians, the inevitable natural catastrophe, breakdown in social order and civic controls, and Z's punishment for good deeds. Just stand by in the Valley. All the elements are there - the novel will unfold on its own.

Soleri: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I left Phoenix after 32 years because I didn't want to grow old in a place with no social services, stupid politicians and, most of all, inaction on climate change in an already harsh environment. In 2012, the first 100-degree day was in April; the last was in November. That's insane. The week I left a year ago, it was 122 degrees. Yarnell happened shortly after.

As a single person with no family, it was clear to me that I needed to err on the side of self-preservation. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I doubt it.

Smart move Diane> Good column and great responses. It's a busy day but will say:
I cant and will not try to guess what Ed Abbey would say but I will tell you that his headstone comment is "No Comment."

I noticed Mr. Talton dropped the Koch name. Which reminds me of the most powerful sentence I've read so far this year. It's Robert Reich's recent opening lede:

Charles and David Koch should not be blamed for having more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans put together.

For reals? Probably so. Reich fact checks himself. He doesn't make up reality. So two brothers taken together have more wealth than the bottom 40% of all Americans put together?

And these same two brothers are dumping tons of carbon dioxide a minute into the atmosphere as it if belongs only to them? Here's a question for you in bold with font size 64:


Diane, I appreciate your appreciation but I wonder if this baby isn't a bit like Alien. Once it busts through some schlub's abdominal wall, the real fun begins. It won't be limited to Phoenix's endless summers, either. The havoc it wreaks will be year round and in locations expected and not. I remember the epic cold snap Phoenix had TWICE in 2011. Because I'm a native, I struggled to remember anything quite like it. I couldn't. The polar vortex that the denialists trumpet as proof that global warming is a hoax is in fact, just another part of a complex climate puzzle where old patterns and paradigms are suddenly obsolete. The impacts will be more severe in some climates than others, but make no mistake: it's going to hurt everyone. I lived in Denver in the 1970s for a few years and I loved it. But I hate to think what the impacts will be there. The prognosis is for reduced snowpack, which could really hurt Denver's precarious water supply. Hang in there, pray for Arizona, and watch your back. We're all vulnerable.

Koch brothers own 40% of the property and have at least a 40% say about how the country is governed. A capitalist system at its finest.

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Written by: Vincent Bugliosi.

Why not prosecute polluters for the associated deaths.

Trotsky: How about the PLANET?
Did U know Frida?

The minute I saw the lede, I said to myself “well I’ll be sitting this one out.” Only being an electrical engineer and not a scientist automatically disqualifies anything I have to say anyway. Against my better judgment here it goes.

Now that the conversation has shifted from “global warming” to “climate change”, I am totally in non-denial. The planet has been warming for the last 10,000 years, except when it wasn’t. Since the concept of temperature scales and record keeping are relatively new ideas, a lot of the past can only be inferred. We can infer from “relics”, for lack of a better word, that around 1000 AD world was much warmer now. It then entered a period known as the “little ice age”, where it was much colder.

As an aside: there is some provocative evidence that we could be looking at 20-30 years of very severe winters. Has to do with solar activity – or actually inactivity.

What I’m trying to say is that the science is far from settled. Soleri wrote recently that atmospheric dynamics was a “hard science”. I’d revise this to “it’s a science that’s hard and very much a work in progress.”

An example: For the last 15 years there has been no detectable rise in temperature of the atmosphere; at least on a global scale. The heat balance equations demand that there should be warming. The big issue today is finding the “lost heat”. Ocean warming is suspected. Or it could be something else.

I spent my whole career in model development and simulation. It’s hard. And it’s easy to “fall in love with your models.” At least we had the advantage of dealing with components that were as linear as we could make them. In a linear world, there is a predictable relationship between input and output. In a non-linear there’s no telling what an input might result in. I‘ve been fascinated by chaos theory in general and the Mandelbrot Set in particular for years.

Here’s where I go from acceptance to skepticism. The “warming crowd”, for lack of a better word, has been stupendously wrong. When they start getting things right, I’ll pay more attention.

Again, I’m just an electrical engineer. Maybe you can get another non-scientist, Al Gore, to quit running around spouting insanities.

wkg, that's atmospheric physics, not dynamics. And yes, it's "hard" as in irrefutable. The father of that science is usually considered to be Svante Arrhenius, a 19th-century Swede who was also considered the father of physical chemistry. Not a woo-woo bone in his body.

I mention this because there's a myth out there that climate change science is a bit nebulous. But it's all about molecules and their interactions. It's what anyone can do, in fact, in a lab. Put heat-retaining molecules in stopped beeker. Measure, repeat. And indeed, this is what Svante Arrhenius was impelled to do. He actually wrote out the calculations for the earth's atmosphere what trapped heat-retaining molecules would do. In long hand and it took years.

Of course, water molecules are also heat-retaining molecules. Indeed, it's one reason why we have a largely inhabitable planet. They trap enough heat to keep most areas livable. But water is quickly precipitated out, unlike CO2 and methane.

Scientists keep measuring and postulating, devising computer models, and refining the burgeoning science of climatology. But it all goes back to atmospheric physics. And if you've been paying any attention to this, you'll notice that denialists have yet to offer any kind of objection to it. That's telling. Because we're dealing with physical phenomena here. This isn't like Creationism, or other right-wing sciences where you just bullshit your way through the stuff you can't figure out. Theoretically, it all dovetails with observable reality. That's key.

At any rate, I'm not a scientist. I'm no more qualified to defend climate change than Rush Limbaugh is to damn it. But this is my advantage: I agree with the position of around 98% of the relevant climate scientists. And every single national academy of science in the world. That's what some would call credible back-up. What credible sources do the denialists have? Lord Monckton? Oil-company geologists? Engineers?

One bit of biography. My brother is a scientist who just retired from Boeing after an illustrious career. He has over 50 patents to his name and was a Boeing Hall of Fame inductee a few years back. Phd in chemistry, blah, blah, blah. Well, some 10 years ago he was a skeptic. I challenged him and asked him directly what he knew that the relevant scientists didn't. He responded that although he didn't have a specific objection that he still considered them to be arrogant. I had a good laugh and asked him if it might be considered arrogant to doubt the scientific credibility of fellow professionals without even studying their findings. Or even being able to.

When rational people believe irrational things like scientists are only in for the grant money, or they're "liberals", or it's all a hoax perpetrated by socialists, then your bullshit detector really needs to scream at a very high pitch. I know: it's fun to think your very limited scientific knowledge can outclass that of peer-reviewed scientists. It's fun and very illumninating how the human mind can find new and wonderful ways to bullshit itself.

wkg, there is quite a bit of hard data about the trends of the past - among other things, ice cores tell us a great deal about the atmosphere and temperatures over many thousands of years.

soleri: I am reluctantly in the "past the tipping point" camp, and have been for at least a few years. On the other hand, I heartily agree that we might be able to do a few things to soften the landing... for a few generations out. Stop liberating carbon (I'm looking at Big Ag, personal transportation, and "exotic" vacation destinations,) start sequestering as fast as we can (stop harvesting trees, create more preserves.) Sadly, however, I think we're looking at "lurchy" weather and disrupted planting/harvesting cycles for a long time to come.

For ourselves and our children, grandchildren and maybe another generation or two out? Hunker down and learn how to take care of ourselves the old-fashioned way. Both Utopia and Dystopia are unsustainable bullshit (the latter eases my ire with the NSA and the shadow government(s) in general.)

From my phone.
Wow this getting really HOT.
Keep it going.
Soleri, since Im aware of your family genuis. Did your father talk of population and environmental topics?

Cal, no. My father was a Greatest Generation type. He actually wanted to divert Columbia River water to Arizona! I remember him saying that when I was in high school. I thought, this guy is insane. He was the smartest man I ever knew and he was insane. The problem with being infatuated with your own mind is that you can think anything and believe it because you thought it. It's how people always get into trouble. If you don't have peers/friends calling you on your bullshit, or if you live inside an echo chamber of like-minded thinkers, you will invariably self-delude. This is why science tends to be a better guide to reality than political websites. Scientists aren't really sentimental. They have to prove it to one another. And there's always a few thousand ready to pounce on any mistake you might make. Of course, if you're a right-winger, you think a conspiracy theory is legitimate epistemology. It's why there's so much paranoia on the right, not only about science but the media overall. As in all things, apply Occam's Razor. What's the cleanest and simplest explanation for observable reality? If you think it's evil then you're quite irrational. Yet nearly 50% of Americans think like this. Rather disturbing.


He was the smartest man I ever knew and he was insane.

I could apply that to my own (step)father, for different reasons.

In defense of the "Greatest Generation" (damn you, Brokaw,) in those days all things were possible. Back then, you had to be an especially anti-social intellectualist pessimist pointy-headed sonofabitch to even try to bring up the pitfalls of "Man over Nature" activity.

Now that I think about it, that really hasn't changed a whole lot... :(

Petro, I think the whole counterculture/hippie thing was a necessary correction to the Man Over Nature hubris. With a bit of retrospection, I've come to understand my father better. He grew up seeing Boulder Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge built (and all those deco skyscrapers in Manhattan) Mid-century America really did seem like it could do anything. Beat the Nazis! Zap the Japs! Go to the moon! It was all onward and upward. Vietnam spoiled the victory march, however. We saw it in the really flippant way they dehumanized the Vietnamese, as if those people had no right to their customs and culture. We saw it in our increasingly corporate entertainments, particularly music. I remember despising half the music on top-40 radio. Was the aesthetic chrysalis a gateway to a more authentic way of life? We were tantalized but economic reality brought us partway back to our parents' values.

Ronald Reagan really embodied Middle America's reaction to us. Of course, he had a couple of kids who were counterculture themselves. And America not only sympathized with him over the kids - the ungrateful daughter who smoked pot, the fey son who studied ballet - they created a movement around it. We were not only wrong, we were the enemy. So, in the 1980s, they invented the Dolchstoss theory about hippies spitting on returning Vietnam troops along with the Rambo mythology of hidden POWs. Greens were tree-spiking radicals well outside the mainstream. Gays were damned by God to die horrible deaths. Blacks were mocked for their inability to mainstream themselves. And our quaint counterculture lived on in a phantasmagoria of ball-busting feminists, jive-talking race hustlers, and traditional tax-and-spend liberals.

That's where we are today, still arguing about how exceptional we are - or are not. The original wounds are seemingly healed, and yet we chronically pick the scabs of our history as if the American Way is now Via Dolorosa.

I'm with you in that I wanted a vision of innocence to live somewhere in our reaction to the monster of American power. We couldn't quite sustain its visionary arc - it was, at last, simply road-kill on this final stretch of lonely highway. But here we are, bearing witness, to the most chilling monstrousness of all. We thought we had finally beat our fathers and yet they always find a way to win.

I’d almost want to do a big “undo” on previous post. Sometimes start with best of intentions and lose my mind.

I really think the scientists involved are the doing the very best they can.
The problem is really, really hard. Consider water vapor. At a certain point water vapor become “clouds”.
It’s not just the atmosphere, but the interactions with the oceans, land, and the biosphere. It’s all very complicated. With feedbacks that might be positive, or negative. While the pieces of it are approaching something well understood, the system is still pretty much of an enigma.

I think my problem is not with the scientists. It’s with the interpreters. The info we’re feed seem to be sensationalized. For example the ocean ph may have changed from 8.3 to 8.2. Again, measuring such things is harder than you might think. What do the headlines scream: OCEAN ACIDITY INCREASES 30%. WIDESPREAD DEATH OF…….”

Well, that was pretty awesome.

All note that my name was in the "lede."

(Seriously, that was pretty damned lyrical, soleri. And true, true.)

I was wondering if wkg would stick his toe into this subject - good for you. Wkg, certainly you don’t think the sun has anything to do with the oceans ph levels increasing?

Because several have mentioned Koch inc., I am sharing a conversation Rolling Stone’s, Brandon Baker had with Bill Gates on the subject of global warming.
Gates reiterates Rogues point on carbon tax, he said, “We haven’t increased R&D spending, we haven’t put a price signal [like a carbon tax] in, and this is certainly very disappointing. I think it’s a real test of the boundary of science and politics—and an acid test of people’s time horizons.”

The carbon tax in Europe was gamed by the players. It's not a panacea.

wkg, here's a link that I think might help you counterbalance the denialism you seem to be wading in. It can be a bit abstruse, but there are real human beings here and they're struggling to make it as comprehensible as possible.


I'll reiterate what I posted at the top of this thread: this should NOT be a politicized discussion. There is no real debate here. The imaginary debate is simply a sideshow designed to thwart any action to redress climate change. It's funded by people like the Koch brothers, who are sociopaths. Denialism may be loud, distracting, and convincing to Team R, but it's not in any way intellectually and scientifically grounded. It's as much a fraud as anti-vaccination hysteria or Creationism.

I think I'm losing it again but:

@Soleri: I check it out.

I do not consider myself to be in a state of denialism. Merely extreme skepticism.

Re: “people like the Koch brothers, who are sociopaths”: Do you consider Al Gore of Mr. Hanson (James I think)of NASA to be sociopaths?

wkg, I'm going to be rough with you here because I sense you're slipping back into right-wing culture warrior mode. Sorry about this but maybe it will wake you up.

People who put profits over the health, well-being, and actual lives of human beings are sociopaths. Sorry, but this one is fairly simple.

And how are Al Gore and James Hansen sociopaths? Because they take the best science and use it to warn people of a dire threat? Sorry, that's what heroes do. Right-wingers apparently have a difficult time with the English language. If words are that difficult for you, or you're prompted to invert reality because Team R wouldn't exist if it wasn't lying about virtually everything, then go ahead and claim your bubble as higher ground. P.S.: it's also called "epistemic closure".

And yes, you're a denialist. You don't know enough actual climate science to warrant a word like "skeptic". If you're going to quibble about what actual scientists find, not out of any scientific research you've done, but simply out of obduracy and cultural identification, denialism fits you to a T.

What you're really telling me is that you don't do basic humility, where in lieu of real evidence to the contrary, you pause and say "I don't know". It's very simple and it's quite humanizing. I suggest you try it the next time you want to pretend your iota of knowledge is superior to that of the world's scientific community.

Is Al Gore any different from T. Boone Pickens? Not much.
Is Al Gore different from Koch inc.? Yes, I would say, quite a bit and not just because they have opposite energy interests. Koch inc. knows that carbon emissions are a problem; they also know that their refineries emit over twenty – four million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
After the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases because they are harmful to humanity, Koch inc. went on a spending spree to influence Congress about the evils of a carbon tax. Apparently being harmful to humanity is not as important as Koch inc. profitability. That describes sociopath fairly well.

cal, I found this article about Frida Kahlo interesting. You might like it as well.

thanks suzzane. will look at it on my laptop manana better than this phone.

Let me start over. Events have caused me to be skeptical of almost everything. The NYT and WSJ are going to come at a story with very different aims. CNN and FOX ditto. Koch Brothers? Of course you’re going to twist every which way they can. I expect that and try to factor that in.

About the best you can expect is that at least the basic facts will be right. When McDonald’s says: “Big Mac combo $5.00 this week” you can expect that to be right. Everything else in the ad just spin to convince you as to how wonderful it’ll be. When the evening news says “_______ was killed tonight at the corner of __________”. You can expect that to be true. Everything else in commentary.

I wish I could rephrase what I said about Al Gore or James Hansen. Are they sociopaths? No. They’re doing what they’re doing for their own reasons. Let’s call it altruism. That’s not the issue. Have they been guilty of hyperbole, exaggeration, and misinformation? I think so. You might think differently.

Now for the hard part. I expect commercial talk to be biased. I expect politicians to have an agenda. I’ve come to expect that even the “news” is a matter of opinion. What has happened in recent times (and maybe this has been going on forever) is this: nothing that comes out of any Federal Agency can be taken at face value. It might be true, it might be not. About the only thing you can be sure of it supports an agenda. It’s a horrible way to run a country.

Which brings us down to what do you experience in your life? What can you see with your own eyes? I’m sorry, but that’s about the only truly accurate information you’re going to get. If you live in Phoenix I don’t know how you could be convinced that global warming isn’t happening.

Lastly, let’s talk extreme weather, which seems to be the issue de jour. Right now we’re in the middle of two “extreme events”: droughts in the Southwest and Flood/mudslides in Washington. This follows an unusually large amount of snowfall and cold in the Midwest/East. This follows five years or more of extremely mild weather in the Southeast. This follows “Super-storm Sandy” which wasn’t really all that super (read up on hurricane of 1937 or 1938 – which really was a super-storm). While all of them are rare, none of them are outside of what’s happened before and are going to happen again. It’s called weather.

Here are my two tentative conclusions based on what I know (you might argue hope, or just an opinion or yearn for in my denialist heart):
The main determinant of climate – on a global scale – is solar activity and to a lesser extent, orbital dynamics.
CO2 levels do and have affected climate. But these affects are small in the grand scheme of things.

As always, I could be wrong.

@Soleri: I call uncle. I should have just sat this post out. Dumb me.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to carefully read the materials you have you have recommended. When a smart guy like you is adamant about something, and having no real vested interest in the issue, well it’s something to be taken seriously.

Will it change my mind? Probably not; but who knows?

I'm afraid that the 98% of scientists who conclude climate change is real and caused by human activity won't be enough to create an immediate public outcry, but rather the anecdotal experiences of many ordinary people who are beginning to feel the impact will, though too late. For instance, I know a right-winger who now believes it's real, but, then, he's a dryland bean farmer on the western slope, and when the federal compensation for drought relief stops, as it surely must at some point, he knows he'll be done for. Soleri, your father didn't live to see it, but if sea level increases begin accelerating faster than expected, I would not be surprised to see big rivers turned away from the sea in a vain effort to save our own asses.

I keep thinking about the best way to explain this conundrum where nearly half the nation is utterly bewitched by corporate PR. We're not the first nation to politicize science. The Soviets did it (see: Lysenkoism), and the Nazis did it as well, not only in their racial theories but in condemnations of "degenerate" science from people like Einstein. Science itself is just a work in progress, a consensus where trained experts double-check each other's math and advance the body of knowledge. It's not perfect but it's couched in skepticism rather than self-delusion.

Remember how Big Tobacco used to say that the link between cigarette smoking and cancer wasn't proven? Remember how they got the Republican Party on their side? Remember how they said we mustn't jump to conclusions because the science wasn't certain? Remember how many people died in the meantime?

At some point, we have to come back to what we know about human nature. People can be greedy, particularly rich ideologues like the Kochs. They will use their wealth to protect their interests. They will bedazzle low-information citizens with bullshit and then tantalize them with the idea that the whole edifice of science and its integrity is being manipulated by.....the scientists themselves! This is Orwellian. Michael Mann could write a book about his own experience here.

Through the eight long years of the Bush presidency, we saw over and over how right-wing political power coupled with corporate cash stifled and censored scientists, not only about global warming, but stem cell research and the Creationism hooey. Chris Mooney wrote an excellent book, The Republican War on Science but it was preaching to my choir. Certainly the media wasn't going to give up its sacred totem, the False Equivalence (in any debate, liars must be respected). And here we are still arguing about whether the gravest threat to the biosphere ever merely comes down to "some scientists" blowing hot air.

At this point, I want anyone who is still reading this screed to pause and attempt to recall right-wingers have been proven correct about some politiczed position they took on science. Take a deep breath and search your memory bank. The ozone layer? DDT? Evolution theory? Agent Orange? Gulf War Syndrome? Tobacco? Leaded gasoline? Abestos? People of good will can make mistakes, admit them, and adjust. Right-wingers, on the other hand, double down. If there's some rich person or vested interest arguing that the science is uncertain, you know how most conservatives will react: against the public interest and for the private financial interests of the rich.

Soleri- Alar and some guy winning a bet with Paul Ehrlich on the price of silver. Stopped clock.

pH = -log base 10 of hydrogen ion activity (surrogate for acidity)
so a pH change form 8.3 to 8.2 is a
change by a factor of 10^(0.1) = 1.258
given th accuracy of the inputs rounding to 30% increase is not extreme

Soleri, keep it coming. I see a book here. I agree with your observations. However I object to describing the Koch's and their ilk as conservatives.
So I would like to take exception to your use of the word, Conservative! Quakers, are Conservative Friends and I come from a Scottish frugality (read conservative) background.
I suggest murderous pirates.

Let me explain. Charlie Keating, a convicted felon from the world of high finance just died. Michael Binstein and Charles Bowden wrote an excellent book, TRUST ME about Keating. Bowden suggests to understand Keating one had to think of him as a pirate as the word crook was insufficient to understanding the total man. I met Keating once at a high end diamond party at a private room in an east Camelback resort. I had the security for the female diamond salesperson from NY and her suitcase full of expensive stones. The event was attended by three men and about 20 well to do women. Keating and I stood against the wall during the evening and got along well. He was familiar with the White Collar Crime unit that I had worked at the police department as I was familiar with his history. During the conversations he said his only complaint about prison was that there was no swimming pool and he wore out his knees walking to stay in shape. He was thinking about suing the government for the knee operation. Then he smiled but only ever so slightly.

wkg Hang in there as the scientists see and end but its way far far away.



And to relax from all this almost indecipherable science I suggest a book I have been reading for 60 years. CITY by Clifford Simak. Okay its kids Science fiction but it is relaxing. Read on porch in rocking chair with a beer in the other hand.

Cal, I first heard about Charles Keating when I was a student at UofA many decades ago. The parents of a classmate were friends of his, and also involved in his "decency" movement. He lived in Cincinnati then and was a partner of Carl Lindner, a rather high-flying and shady operator. The rest we know - his move to Phoenix, playing fast and loose with financial/security regulations At American Continental and Lincoln Savings. His obsessive Catholicism, and reputation for being and out-and-out asshole seemed oddly intertwined. When you think about Phoenix back then, you're reminded why the city became a mecca for mafiosi, sharks, and con men. It was as wide open as any city in America.

Was Keating a sociopath (our word du jour)? I certainly think he shows the shadow aspect of moralism in which extreme piety can cover for some plainly bad behavior (answer: YES!) We've seen this show before - J Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy, Ev Mecham, et al. I think the Clinton impeachment really crystallized this division in the American psyche. Keating ran over behavioral standards in the business arena like a coked up waterbed salesman. For all his thuggishness, his pietistic veneer never cracked, however. American Dualism has never been more vividly embodied.

About "conservatism": I'm like you in that I actually called myself a conservative for a long time. I got the horror of American life in the 1970s (disco, One Day at a Time, Jerry Falwell, Tony Orlando and Dawn, etc). I wanted something deeper and more rooted. But along came Reagan and I realized that conservatism now was really nothing more than a high-dollar whore at an Amway convention. All that talk about Chesterton, Burke, Oakeshott, and Kirk was a thin veneer to celebrate the worst tendencies of late capitalism. You see it today in Ross Douthat at the NYT. He's got the requisite bona fides - prudishness, Catholicism, and world-weary fatigue with modernity. But behind it all is the team player setting up Team R for another talking point, like "dignifying work" at poverty wages. I still read the old conservatives, particularly Southern ones like Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner. But that was a much different day when there was an extant social reality that was a genuine alternative to market capitalism. Today, those alternatives don't exist. If you're a Republican, you believe in the "family values" of Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and David Vitter. The high-brow stuff is long gone.

soleri, sent U an email on Keating.
Nugent, Palin and Vitter not my family.
I kinda like Turner and Redford for relatives.

Speaking of murderous greed:

and Now the Supreme court has approved political contributions with no $$$ limits. Kinda wipes out my 35 bucks to the Sierra Club.

I will be writing on Keating as soon as my other obligations allow.

Have been reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt recently. Was really interested about the spurt of American imperialism in the McKinley-Teddy era. Couldn’t find a history of the period, but did stumble onto the Biography. Fascinating guy. I think everyone would find something to love and something to loath about him.

In an address on Labor Day (which was much more symbolic at the time)
He mused at length on the vulnerability of republics that failed to preserve their social equipoise. Whichever class arose to dominate others – whether high, low or bourgeois – always made disproportion claims on the government: “…… The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.”

Ring a bell?

Something I never knew: the US and Germany came very close to war in 1902. Navies of both countries off the coast of Venezuela and in gun range. US fleet, under Dewey had orders to blast away under certain circumstances. Germany backed down. The initiating issue resolved at The Hague.

I noticed the aquatic center Keating owned/sponsored on Campbell and about 22nd Street has a temp chain-link fence around it a big sign of a new single-family development soon to come. I wonder if all the suckers who donated to keep it open a few years ago got a piece of the pie (no need to answer, we already know its no)?

The inability of Arizona's "leaders" to face reality is stunning. Here's a PPT i did of AZ's Energy Future: http://www.climas.arizona.edu/files/climas/project-documents/public/2822/5_LaPlaca_AZ_Energy-Current_and_Future-CLIMAS-Nov_2013.pdf

Anyone notice that a recent article in the Las Vegas Sun says that there may be NO power generated by the dams in June 2015? Here's the paragraph:
• 2015: Lake Mead could dip to a level so low that there would be a major decline in power generation at Hoover Dam. That could destabilize the energy market and mean more expensive bills for 29 million people in Nevada, Arizona and California. Upstream, declining water levels in Lake Powell, which straddles the Utah-Arizona border, could cut off power production at Glen Canyon Dam as early as winter 2015, affecting the power supply and pricing in six states.


Destabilize power generation bc Lake Mead is within 35 feet of not allowing power generation? Hello? Got reality? Got honesty? Got leadership? Not in Arizona...

@ Rogue: "I will be writing on Keating as soon as my other obligations allow." Hope you have the dirt on the McCain-Keating connection.

wkj its a boozey story.
Nancy, Ed's laughing from his resting spot somewhere in the great Sonoran desert. Whats left of it.
Earth First where r u ?

Speaking of the end of the planet earth:
"when the world ends I hope I am in Cincinnati because it will happen there ten years later" Mark Twain.

I think Phoenix will end ten years or more sooner!

The Phoenician. Really, really laughably garish. The eighties, that was a wonderful decade for Phoenix.

Side-note: a few additional notes on the missing Malaysian plane mystery, added to the Comments section here:


Given the fact that Arizona has more sun than water, why are they still relying on hydropower instead of transitioning to solar?
This is a wonderful blog, by the way.


Our corporation commission is actually implementing roadblocks to expanding solar in favor of supporting coal, natural gas and hydro. Arizona is actually a bizzaro state. We do the opposite of what should be done.

We did turn a light bulb off for one hour this past Sat. So we got that going for us.

When you walked into the corporate headquarters of American Continental during their heyday, you were met by row after row of desks occupied by what looked like the past 30 winners and runners up of the Miss Universe pageant. It was a wonderful place to visit.

Sorry for another thread intrusion: I just added an additional postscript on the Malaysian airliner mystery to Comments here:


That should about cover things for now, so I return you to your regularly scheduled blog/comments.

Ack. Sorry. One last comment, elucidating the mysterious "partial ping" issue:


Thanks eclecticdog but Suzzane already sent it

Nothing will change anytime soon. We've had a quarter century to wise up. IPCC, which generated this report, formed in 1988. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit warned heads of state. Yet Americans still ignore climate change. All that matters is maintaining self-indulgent lifestyles and maximizing profit for businesses. We're still suckered by the lying greedy pigs at Big Oil, still driving vehicles with obscenely low mileage and still avoiding public transit like the plague. Many live in huge homes. When will we do something? When it's too late.

Earlier I asked wkg, "Wkg, certainly you don’t think the sun has anything to do with the oceans ph levels increasing?” I should have said that ph is decreasing (acid is increasing = ph base from neutral is decreasing).

wkg Bravo!

Contrary views are welcome. Accepting the climate warming opinion, shall we adopt Stalinist tactics to fight this nebulous but real threat?

at suzanne and others: re ocean acidity. I have no doubts at all about the science in question. It is real science done by real scientists.

My only problem about this issue was the framing and presentation of the results. In my opinion (and we're not talking science anymore). I found it to be over-the-top.

@ drifter: " adopt Stalinist tactics"

Naw. Stalin sneaky and a snake. I'd rather be right uo front about things. I could certainly stand to be a lot more agreeabley disagreeable.

Just finished an interesting book call "Operation Snow". Details the Hiss/Chambers soviet network pre WWII.
The network recieved instuctions to do whatever it could to stir up a war with Japan. Stalin had his hands full with the Germans and needed to move his Asian armies to the German Front. Thought that USA could tie up Japan and make this possible. Author makes a very weak case that an agent Mr. White masterminded events to make this happen. I believe Crodell Hull and F Roosevelt were hell bent on starting a war and didn't need any goading at all.

Rereading the IPCC news summary, the writers seem to toning down the warming language and stressing a mitigation strategy. This seems emmiently sensible. For Phoenix there are drought and summer heat issues to address - regardless of climate change. In Brimmingham we have flooding, hurricane and tornado issues.

Adapting to and mitigating these issues is good policy.

Good policy is to have an abode on wheels

wkg, I'm of the opinion that FDR wanted someone to shoot at the US flag first so then he could have a war (preferably against the Nazis). Hence those USN cruisers floating around the Atlantic. He was caught totally unaware by the Japanese attack and then Hitler obliged him by declaring war too. Also, the Japanese had a taste of Zukhov in 1937 (or there-abouts) and it did not go well at all. I don't think they ever seriously thought of doing that again and they only surrendered after the Red Army wiped them off the map in Manchuria and began seizing the disputed northern islands (atomic bombs? Bah! 60 Japanese cities totally obliterated by fire bombing even didn't make them budge).

@dog: Yep US in undeclared atlantic war way before Pearl Harbor.

US had numerous warnings of immanent attack.I don't think that there was a deliberate attempt to keep the navy brass in the dark. numerous warnings. thats why parked planes were parked in clumps to prevent potential sabotage.

I don't think FDR was surprised at all when word recieved about attack. But he was utterly ashast at the extent of damage infliced. navy totally misjudged carrier attack capabilities of the Jananese.

Yep Zuknov did a total butt kicking in 37. But even so a substantial russian army was neeed there in case the japanese tried again.

May 10 is National TRAIN day.

Conservatism has given the US populace permission to be greedy and stingy and feel good about it.We can't even get a gas tax increase to build and maintain roads for them to drive their monster trucks and suv's.How the hell are you going to get them to sacrifice money for something as slippery as "the future"?

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