To his credit, Speaker John Boehner has never entertained theories of Barack Obama being a Kenyan-born secret Muslim.
But neither is the president a boring mainline Protestant. The truth is much more interesting: President Obama is the Hawaiian deity Lono, a rain god sometimes known as Lono-makua (Lono the Provider) for his ability to part the skies and bring fertility to starving crops.
Yet for some reason, Obama-Lono is displeased. Maybe it's the insufficient tribute of his relatively lackluster fundraising. Maybe we have not sacrificed enough Christian gun-clingers in his honor. Whatever the reason, Boehner would like Obama-Lono to stop taking it out on Midwestern farmers…
Obama, "continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself," reads a release from Boehner’s office posted online and distributed to reporters Monday. The quote was attributed to Boehner himself in a Financial Times story. The online post and the press release came from Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith.
The statement was later amended to read, "the president continues to blame anyone and everyone for failing to respond to the drought but himself," but the Republican National Committee went ahead with an attack blaming Obama for a 15% hike in the price of groceries, which can partly be attributed to the drought.
Whatever the haters say, this approach to the drought represents an improvement in conservative messaging. Not only do these Obama critics reject Islamophobic conspiracy, they're beginning to accept anthropomorphic climate change. Though in this case, the "anthro" is just one guy.
This is also means the Republicans believe that government has some role to play in disaster relief, either by passing a farm bill or literally making it rain, a definite improvement from the old philosophy of beating the drought with nothing but bootstraps and Boehner's tears.
Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Agriculture, Barack Obama, Climate Change, John Boehner, Republicans, Weather
Looking from a narrow perspective, all sides of the political spectrum are competing for high stakes in the presidential campaign.
For liberals, a defeat in the November election portends dark times for the American welfare state, as top marginal tax rates are slashed, while our nations' unemployed schoolteachers turn to a life of meth production and psychopathy. For conservatives, an Obama re-election means a future in which illegal aliens will have union jobs installing solar panels on the backs of small business owners.
But both sides should take a deep breath because according to yet another study, none of this matters, as we are doomed to massive droughts, freak weather events, crop failures and climate-caused social instability regardless of who wins the next election.
Tags: Charles Koch, Climate Change, Environment, Science & Technology
According to government measurements, sea levels have risen 14.5 inches in the past 100 years in some regions of coastal Virginia, and an additional 2 to 3 foot rise is projected to occur over the next hundred years.
But while rising waters are a problem for residents of Norfolk, the chief problem for Virginia lawmakers is the rising level of idiocy among their Tea Party-affiliated constituents, who view studies of sea levels as liberal conspiracies to "separate us from our money and control all land and water use." In essence, they're worried big government regulators will use science to steal the sand into which they've burrowed their heads.
Stuck between a Tea Party rock and a rising ocean, some lawmakers have come upon an ingenuous solution. Rather than follow North Carolina in suggesting a law that would make sea level rise illegal, they will simply not speak its name. Climate change is truly the Republican Voldemort…
Now it appears that "climate change" and "sea level rise" are being phased out, in Virginia at least, amid political pressure from the far right. Emerging labels include "increased flooding risk," "coastal resiliency" and, of course, "recurrent flooding."
State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the "sea level rise" study in the General Assembly to one on "recurrent flooding," said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.
He said "sea level rise" is a "left-wing term" that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?
Indeed, many seemingly neutral terms are actually straight of a Marxist grad school seminar. At least someone's read the haunting opening lines of the Communist Manifesto, "A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of climate change," and recognized the left-wing refrain, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his sea level rise."
However, while Virginia Republicans are to be applauded for ridding the language of "liberal code words" from "sea level rise" to "science," it's not clear how much further we can take this. The issue of "adrenal gland" health is an important one, but I'm not sure legislatures should be limited to writing laws that are anagrams of Ronald Reagan's name.
Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Climate Change, Republicans, Science & Technology, Virginia
Bad news and good news. First, the bad: Sea levels along the coast of North Carolina are expected to rise by about a meter by the end of the century, according to a report issued by a state-appointed science panel. Sadly, the study could make it difficult for developers to build along the shore, thanks to increased flood insurance premiums and a reluctance on the part of Americans to live underwater.
Now, the good news: North Carolina politicians are ON IT. Republican lawmakers are introducing legislation that would require estimates of sea level rise to be based only on historical data, rather than newer data and models that suggest the change in sea levels is accelerating. The measure reads in part…
The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.
Politicians at other levels of government should take heed. Yes, the jobs numbers in the latest Labor Department report are dismal, but the unemployment rate in 1966 was a mere 3.8%. Why doesn't our president exercise some leadership and tell the Bureau of Labor Statistics to give him some historical numbers that can be "extrapolated linearly." If the decline in unemployment from 1961 to 1969 is any indication (and it isn't), the current unemployment rate is actually negative 70%.
Everyone can join the fun. Are you a big city mayor experiencing an unpleasant uptick in the homicide rate? Looking at you, Rahm Emanuel! No worries, if we just ignore the real-time data and focus on the historical decline in the murder rate from the '90s to the last few years and extrapolate accordingly, the numbers will show that people are actually coming back to life in the Windy City. Thanks, North Carolina!
Tags: Climate Change, North Carolina, Republicans, Science & Technology
Earlier this month, my colleague Dennis reported on the inspired advocacy of the Heartland Institute, which suggested to drivers that if they believed in climate change, they might also be serial killers.
It was such an intelligent campaign, well-becoming of a serious public policy organization. After all, the "Hitler liked dogs and was a vegetarian" argument has undermined pet ownership in the United States and eliminated the produce section of the supermarket. Yet somehow the plan that couldn't fail failed…
Along with the damage to its reputation, Heartland's financial future is also threatened by an exodus of corporate donors as well as key members of staff.
In a fiery blogpost on the Heartland website, the organisation's president Joseph Bast admitted Heartland's defectors were "abandoning us in this moment of need".
Over the last few weeks, Heartland has lost at least $825,000 in expected funds for 2012, or more than 35% of the funds its planned to raise from corporate donors, according to the campaign group Forecast the Facts, which is pushing companies to boycott the organisation.
Its entire Washington DC office, barring one staffer, decamped, taking Heartland's biggest project, involving the insurance industry, with them.
I think Heartland should take this opportunity to rebrand itself as a pro-science institution. For one thing, they're making it much easier to study the polar ice caps. Thanks in part to Heartland's advocacy, they keep getting smaller and more manageable.
Tags: Climate Change, Conservatives, Science & Technology