Thought of the day

People act like the national debt is the biggest problem facing the U.S. today, but that’s only true insofar as the national debt impacts our ability to fight global warming.

Kenneth Cuccinelli rebuffed

I wrote quite some time ago about Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli’s global warming witch hunt against Michael Mann. The courts have finally shut him down:

The Virginia Supreme Court says the state’s attorney general does not have the authority to subpoena emails from a global warming researcher.

And why did exotic pasta dish Cuccinelli want those emails? Because he’s a walking conservative caricature.

Perry tells N.H. voters he’s a Republican

Apparently this is news:

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told New Hampshire voters Wednesday that he does not believe in manmade global warming, calling it a scientific theory that has not been proven.

“I think we’re seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change,” the Texas governor said on the first stop of a two-day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

He said some want billions or trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to address the issue, but he added: “I don’t think from my perspective that I want to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”

Yeah, so he’s a Republican.

Where are you, Sean Hannity?!

According to Sean Hannity Logic, doesn’t this mean global warming is real? Why hasn’t he been talking about this weather just as much as he talks about unusually cold weather?

Trees: first they pollute and now they warm

We all know trees are major sources of pollution because Ronald Reagan intelligently said so back in the 80’s when he probably had early stage Alzheimer’s Disease:

Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.

True story.

But it’s worse than we ever imagined. It’s those damn trees that have been causing all this global warming:

Looking for a solution to global warming? Maybe start clear-cutting many of the world’s forests, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says…

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” the California Republican asked Todd Stern, the top U.S. climate diplomat and lead witness at the hearing. “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?”

I have a feeling that if scientists started throwing this out there as the solution to global warming, Republicans suddenly wouldn’t have a single bit of opposition to the facts. Those crazy science lovers.

Lisa Benson doesn’t understand basic science

Lisa Benson is a doltish political cartoonist. Given the most recent cartoon of hers I saw, I presume she watches a lot of Sean Hannity.

How are people so ignorant that they manage to confuse weather and climate after the age of 7?

That said, there is an aspect of this cartoon I appreciate. What a lot of Christian right-wingers do is when they perceive something as bad, they call it a religion. This is obviously ironic because religion is fundamental to their lives; they clearly think at least their religion is good. Of course, I’m all for calling religion bad – because it is – but I don’t see that being a strong point to make for people who might want to promote their own religious beliefs.

Ken Cuccinelli is on a witch hunt

The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, is on another witch hunt.

When Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II on Monday revived his anti-climate science crusade with a new, 30-page civil subpoena demanding boatloads of documents from the University of Virginia, we wondered what he might have discovered recently about the work of former U-Va. researcher Michael E. Mann, the object of the probe, that would justify further investigation. The answer: essentially nothing.

Slapped down once by a Virginia judge in his effort to investigate Mr. Mann, the attorney general is trying again with a screed that rehashes a lot of the old arguments about Mr. Mann’s findings, including the complaint about his famous “hockey-stick” graph in 1998, which shows a spike in world temperature during the 20th century. What Mr. Cuccinelli doesn’t discuss is a 2006 inquiry from the National Academy of Sciences on reconstructing historical temperature data, which found that Mr. Mann might better have used some different statistical techniques but that his methods weren’t unacceptably poor. Instead, the academy stressed that his basic conclusions appear sound.

As I’ve said before, people like Cuccinelli don’t have the qualifications to read, understand, and appreciate scientific papers. It’s frustrating when jokes like this guy go out and attack good science out of political and economic ideology.

Oh, and the cost?

To defend itself from Mr. Cuccinelli’s investigation into the distribution of a $214,700 research grant, the University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that doesn’t count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this cause. Sadly, though, that’s the smallest of the costs. The damage to Virginia’s reputation, and to its universities’ ability to attract and retain top-notch faculty and students, will not be easily undone.