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Monday, March 01, 2010

South Dakota Legislature, Go to the Corner and Stay There! 

The South Dakota legislature, dominated by a lot of elected people with an "R" after their names, want to stick a finger in science's eye, so they pass a joint resolution calling for "balanced teaching of global warming," which in their particular language includes a warning that "the significance and interrelativity" of "astrological" (and other) data can be interpreted in a number of ways. We are NOT making this up. (Hat tip: the ineffable Ed Cone)

Lord knows, I had my doubts about my horoscope for today: "You don't have to worry about getting every little fact right today -- but your competition does! That gives you a serious advantage, as long as you are willing to move forward quickly into the darkness."

The South Dakota legislature has actually given me hope that they are the "darkness" I'm supposed to move forward quickly into.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

When You're Losing the Argument, Confuse the Issue 

Some of the biggest (richest) global-climate-change deniers also happen to be the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases -- the oil, coal, and automobile industries. We now know that these industries were being told by their own scientists that "the scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied."

The oil, coal, and automobile industries did not just ignore what their own scientists were saying. They lied about it. Through an industry-funded "front" calling itself the Global Climate Coalition, the Dirty Air People conducted a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign challenging the scientific merits of climate change, greenhouse gases, and their own culpability in exacerbating the problems. Among the hungry fish who swallowed that bait were umpteen conservative "pundits."

"By questioning the science on global warming ... groups like the Global Climate Coalition were able to sow enough doubt to blunt public concern about a consequential issue and delay government action."

The handmaidens to this policy of "confuse the issue and delay reform" were the news media, particularly TV news and especially cable news, where supposedly "neutral coverage" demands the 50-50 approach. If you have two scientists saying global warming cannot be denied, then you must put on two "scientists" saying it's all a crock.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heath Shuler Worried About Xmas Tree Industry 

NC-11 Congressman Heath Shuler is holding a press conference today at the Asheville Farmer's Market to focus a little light on the threat of global warming to NC's Christmas tree industry.

Nearly 20 percent of all live Christmas Trees in the U.S. are grown in North Carolina. The industry brings over $100 million annually into the economy of our western counties. A North Carolina Fraser fir has been selected more than 10 times as the White House Christmas tree, including this year.

Fraser firs constitute 95 percent of those trees in cultivation. Frasers require higher elevations and cooler temperatures. Hence the concern of agricultural and scientific experts who seem to have gotten Heath Shuler's attention.

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, some studies have shown that continued global warming will adversely affect the optimum climate conditions in North Carolina for Fraser firs: "A rise in average global temperatures would force the Fraser Fir's natural climate northward and out of North Carolina. Rising temperatures also increase pest control problems and disease longevity."

Meanwhile, our NC-5 Congresswoman, whose district contains a major concentration of Fraser farms, is little heard on the issue, but knows in her heart that if anything bad happens to the tree industry, it'll be the Democrats' fault.

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