Profiles In Courage

Republicans and global warming:

In stark contrast to their party’s public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem.

However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue…

Anthony Adragna, writing in Bloomberg BNA, points out that it’s not simply the lack of an upside that constains his sources.  Rather,

Most say the reluctance to publicly support efforts to address climate change has grown discernibly since the 2010 congressional elections, when Tea Party-backed candidates helped the Republican Party win control of the House, in part by targeting vulnerable Democrats for their support of legislation establishing a national emissions cap-and-trade system.

Ah, Brave Sir Robin GOP!

To give themselves cover, those who spoke to Adragna came up with all kinds of alternative explanations for their reticence:

…the devastating impacts of the economic crisis, the low priority Americans place on addressing climate change and what Republicans say is overheated rhetoric from Democrats. Also playing a role in the reluctance to speak out is skepticism among Republican voters about federal government intervention and the increasing role of special interest money in elections.

That last one is sweet, isn’t it — that nasty “special interest” money.  I believe that special interest is spelled K.O.C.H. et al., but never mind.

And as for overheated rhetoric — well, I’m gearing up to do some separate posts about how all the climate news lately is worse than we thought, so for now, let me just leave you with this reminder of how badly, f**ked we may already be.

Bertin,_Nicolas_-_Phaéton_on_the_Chariot_of_Apollo_-_c._1720

Of course, no discussion of Republican failure to lead — or even engage — an issue would be complete without laying the blame where it clearly belongs:

“I do believe there is some resistance to come out publicly and say what’s happening here,” Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who served in Congress from 1993 through 2011 and is now a partner at the law firm DLA Piper, told Bloomberg BNA. “One thing that would be helpful would be having a president who could articulate the issue well and who the Republicans have some confidence in.”

Yes, if only Barack Obama would stop presidenting while Black/Democrat, the Republican Party would leap into the breach.

To Adragna’s credit, he doesn’t let that claim go unchallenged — that Republicans who hold actual power, as opposed to those who are all ex- or former- somebodies, would actually be willing to take global warming seriously as soon as there’s a change at the White House:

[NRDC Action Fund spokesman David] Goldston said the Tea Party movement has swept many more deniers of climate change into Congress than ever before, and it has pushed Republicans away from basic environmental principles. He disagreed with others who said many Republicans privately acknowledge the risks of climate change, even if they don’t say so publicly.

“It’s very comforting for people to think that these people are pretending,” Goldston said. “It’s not true. The problem would be in many ways easier to solve if it was true.”

Read the whole thing.  Adragna tries to present the notion that Republicans as a party, as opposed to a handful of dissidents, actually do take this most serious of issues seriously.  He lets his sources make their best case…and the take-away is of a party that is in the hands of anti-science crackpots whom those who do know better are powerless to control.  Which seems about right.

Oh, and when Mitch McConnel says that:

“For everybody who thinks [the planet] is warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t,” McConnell told the newspaper.

I say “shut your festering gob” you hopeless git.  For everyone who says you are any kind of a public servant, I can find someone who swears you enjoy the carnal knowledge of barnyard animals.

Image: Nicholas Bertin, Phaéton on the Chariot of Apollo, c. 1720.

98 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon says:

    Proof that GOP congresscritters accept climate change: They allowed the military to prepare for climate change under Bush and aren’t opposing it now.

  2. 2
    Skerry says:

    Join the People’s Climate March in NYC on Sept 21 just before the UN Climate Summit.

    Info

  3. 3
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    I don’t know.

    Maybe it’s because it’s Monday, maybe it’s because of the bullshit happening in Ferguson, maybe it’s because I’m a 59 years old and I’ve seen too much, but I think it’s already too late.

    I think nothing is going to change, nothing. Why? Because this country doesn’t want to do big things anymore. It’s just too damned hard.

  4. 4
    Face says:

    “For everybody who thinks [the planet] is warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t,”

    My shitty math tells me he’s saying that the country is split 50-50 on GCC. Is this accurate?

    Adding: this “both sides are legit” crack me up. “For every doctor I can find that tells me smoking is dangerous, I can find a redneck hick in KY growing tobacco leaves that says otherwise.”

  5. 5
    Original Lee says:

    I also think this part of the piece is important:

    Many Republicans have elected not to engage in the debate on climate change to avoid attracting a primary challenge and potentially losing their seat. One frequently cited example to justify the concern is that of former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who lost a primary challenge in 2010 after saying climate change is real and calling for a carbon tax.

    Inglis, now executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, is one of a small group of Republicans who are pushing their party to actively engage on the issue, and he continues to advocate for a carbon tax.

    “There are conservative members of Congress who realize that we need a free enterprise solution on energy and climate, and once the pain of the Great Recession is over, they will feel comfortable leading toward those free enterprise solutions,” Inglis told Bloomberg BNA. “What we are trying to do is go out and build support in their constituencies for that sort of proposition.”

    Inglis argued that a carbon tax fits well with conservative principles and says a core component of his plan would be removing all energy subsidies—whether they are the production tax credit for wind energy production or subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

  6. 6
    Tommy says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: I had to admit I tend to agree with you. O try to stay positive but it is getting harder and harder.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    Why? Because this country doesn’t want to do big things anymore. It’s just too damned hard.

    Well, someone would have to pay for doing the big things, and 99% of us don’t have the means, and those that do have the means have no vision besides accumulating all that wealth to do…nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  8. 8
    Tommy says:

    @Face: I find them hard to locate and I know a lot of Republicans. Many of them family members. But many of them are doctors or hold PhDs so maybe they are put a little more of an emphasis on you know science.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tommy: Of course, there are those Rethuglicans in Congress who are also are by profession physicians who apparently think that women can’t get pregnant by rape, so there’s that.

  10. 10
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    I think nothing is going to change, nothing. Why? Because this country doesn’t want to do big things anymore. It’s just too damned hard.

    It isn’t that nothing is changing. The problem is, for all that’s changing that’s good, like the further acceptance of gay marriage, most of the change seems to be dramatic backsliding on nigh everything else, and in many cases precisely because assholes seem bent on counteracting the good forward momentum in as many ways as possible. And they’re fucking winning like gangbusters because they fucking own the conversation top to bottom, and the rare moments the veil is pierced, all it takes is one small bit of plausible bullshit to undo it all and send the pendulum swinging back there way at screaming speeds.

    I fucking hate being this cynical and despondent but I find so goddamn precious little to be heartened by these days.

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    In stark contrast to their party’s public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem.

    This is the sort of thing that I think the base realizes or suspects about their representatives in Washington, fueling the notion that they’re really RINOs or Secret Liberals, in turn fueling the teabagger obsession with purging the unbelievers.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Original Lee: Well, can see how Inglis lost his primary. He’s talking RINO talk… a “tax” being a “free enterprise” approach? The man is practically Vladimir Lenin himself!

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    “It’s too late, so why bother?”

  14. 14
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    For everyone who says you are any kind of a public servant, I can find someone who swears you enjoy the carnal knowledge of barnyard animals.

    I do so swear and attest, so help me Jeebus.

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy:

    O/T for this thread, but you mentioned the other day that you might go to Ferguson over the weekend. Did you go, or did the shifting dynamics make you reconsider?

  16. 16
    Senyordave says:

    “I do believe there is some resistance to come out publicly and say what’s happening here,” Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who served in Congress from 1993 through 2011 and is now a partner at the law firm DLA Piper, told Bloomberg BNA. “One thing that would be helpful would be having a president who could articulate the issue well and who the Republicans have some confidence in.”

    I wonder what’s different about this POTUS that seems to be the driving reason for the GOP lack of confidence? Can’t quite put my finger on it but it will come to me soon.

    As far as Obama better articulating the issue, it wouldn’t matter if these Republican shits were living on the coast in water up to their chins, they would still deny it. The only way they would accept climate change is if Obama stridently did not accept it.

  17. 17
    mattH says:

    So it’s about having power over being responsible. “We’ll gerrymander districts, kowtow to the Authoritarians, not even try to sneak in back-door solutions, because holding the reins of power is more important than doing what is right…but if you give us ALL the power, we’ll do something.”

  18. 18
    Chris says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    It is kind of mind-blowing to realize that less than fifty years ago we were going to the moon, and now we’re… well… where we are now.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    big ole hound says:

    In my 7 plus decades of weather watching which started on the farm the most outstanding phenom is the morphing of seasons. Used to be 4 of them with very different and distinct weather Now they have morphed together at the edges but seem to have a point in each when Mother Nature makes us remember the “old days” with huge rain, snow, heat wave, tornado, flood. Maybe this is only because the MMM has been showing us some of it for the last 10 years. Nah

  21. 21
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I did not. As you said I reconsidered. If I watch NBC I get one story. Something more liberal like Democracy Now a totally other story, and a pretty horrifying one. Frankly I can really figure out what is going on. I maybe a “wimp” or just getting old but no desire to stick myself into the middle of a situation I don’t understand.

  22. 22
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    this country doesn’t want to do big things anymore.

    Oh, they do: they just want to do big things like turn every Bumfuck PD into a Call of Duty occupation LARP outfit.

  23. 23
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: Fewer and fewer young people are going to believe that we went to the moon. They’ll look at the adults who run things and figure that there’s no way we could have done that except through dumb luck, if at all.

    Plus, there’s ripples in the flag. Why does the flag on the moon wave?

  24. 24
    Tommy says:

    @big ole hound: I live in the small rural town I grew up in. Then moved away for almost 20 years. As you enter town there is a large pond. As a kid in the 70s and 80s we’d play hockey or go ice fishing during the winter.

    When I talk about climate change I note that in the 7 years since I’ve moved back the pond has not iced over ONCE. I am like don’t you find that kind of strange?

  25. 25
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Chris:
    Funnily enough, it was also less than fifty years ago the Civil Rights Act was signed. Make of that what you will.

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    @Tommy:

    When I talk about climate change I note that in the 7 years since I’ve moved back the pond has not iced over ONCE. I am like don’t you find that kind of strange?

    It isn’t that we question your data. The facts are undeniable. It’s your conclusions we find unsupportable. I tell you, Krypton is simply shifting its orbit.

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: There’s destabilizing the entire mideast. There’s listening in on every phone call. There’s AirBnb. That’s not nothing.

  28. 28
    chopper says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    Why? Because this country doesn’t want to do big things anymore. It’s just too damned hard.

    it’s gonna be another 15 years before this country even decides how much we’re willing to spend on this problem, and even then it’s gonna be a pittance.

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy:

    I think you made the right decision.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    @Tommy: It’s hard to believe that we used to go ice skating every year in Virginia. Wonder if there are any ponds that even get ice on them any more

  31. 31

    @The Thin Black Duke: I’d agree. Doesn’t mean we stop trying to make the world a better place, but yes, as we linger on in extreme drought conditions in California, I do feel a sense of hopelessness about my kids’ futures because I don’t think we have the national will do anything about it.

    I’m holding out hope for my state that we eventually make solar panel installations mandatory for all homes and office buildings, that we continue to invest in renewable energy, and that we start construction of desalinization plants (hopefully mostly powered by renewable energy) to meet our water needs.

    But yeah, I don’t see things looking all that bright in 20 years absent a miracle of some sort.

  32. 32
    Mike in NC says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Republicans are doing their utmost to return the country to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, AKA “The Good Old Days”.

  33. 33
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    It is kind of mind-blowing to realize that less than fifty years ago we were going to the moon, and now we’re… well… where we are now.

    @Chris: I was three when that happened. There were 1.5 billion human beings on the planet.

    Today there’s 7 billion.

    Not too hard to figure out what the real problem is.

  34. 34
    Barry says:

    The first link doesn’t work for me.

  35. 35
    Belafon says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: in 1969 there were 3.6 billion. And our problem is not the larger population, it’s the fact that we’ve decided that paying the wealthy for being wealthy, rather than taking on big challenges. We went to the moon because of the Cold War; we can’t do much as a society without being forced to.

  36. 36
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I hope I am wrong. Gosh I hope I am wrong. But I fear it is going to get way worse before it gets better. The local news is interviewing a lot of people at the protests and they are pissed off. And I can’t help but think the autopsy and the fact he was shot 6 times isn’t going to do anything to cool the tensions.

  37. 37

    I would like to offer this picture instead as a metaphor for humanity in the face of global climate change:
    The Raft of the Medusa

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    There’s no global warming. It’s been a cool summer, fall seems to be arriving earlier than usual and Starbucks is bringing out the Pumpkin Spice Latte ahead of schedule. Problem solved!

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    I say “shut your festering gob” you hopeless git.

    I’ll admit that McConnell’s type makes me puke, but are you suggesting he’s a malodorous pervert?

  40. 40
    skerry says:

    @Tommy: Brown family press conference about autopsy just started.

  41. 41
    Librarian says:

    @Roger Moore: He’s also a nasty spotted prancer.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @skerry: Thanks. Just turned it on.

  43. 43
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    I take your point about population explosion, but not sure where you found the 1.5 billion figure. Closer to 3.7 the year of the first moon landing. Still a huge increase, of course, but you might want to double-check the source of your number.

    ETA: What belafon #35 said.

  44. 44
    cmorenc says:

    @Belafon:

    Proof that GOP congresscritters accept climate change: They allowed the military to prepare for climate change under Bush and aren’t opposing it now.

    This has less to do with their acceptance of climate change and more to do with their acceptance of the US military command going about its business of strategic war planning. Which brings us to a second key reason: because the US Military is going about climate-change preparation in a relatively low-key way, their stance hasn’t really caught the attention of the rabid climate deniers in Congress. The military has largely avoided putting their activities in this regard into the political spotlight or engaging the knuckle-draggers.

  45. 45
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The population numbers are pretty amazing. At some levels I am surprised the earth isn’t in even worse shape.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    @Senyordave:

    I wonder what’s different about this POTUS that seems to be the driving reason for the GOP lack of confidence? Can’t quite put my finger on it but it will come to me soon.

    Look at Mike Castel’s dates in office – 1993 to 2011. Bill Clinton tried to get the U.S. to ratify the Kyoto Protocols, so Mike Castle had a white President he could’ve gotten behind on climate change but refused to support.

    The sad thing is Bush & co. actively undermined the groundwork the Clinton Administration tried to lay for the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions.

    The damage the 43rd President did to this country will be felt by generations to come.

    EDIT: There’s a lot of racism floating around conservative circles, but I do not think everything can be attributed to race:

  47. 47

    @Belafon:
    I’d say it’s neither. Our problem is that racist whites no longer feel like they’re in charge. In their eyes, every liberal policy has given blacks more power. They know that liberals like spending to better the nation. The process has been moving for decades, but now things have gone so far a black man has become president, and they’ve had it. They will burn this country to the ground rather than let liberals elevate blacks any farther. Cleek’s Law.

    It includes space travel. It includes climate change. It includes peaceful foreign policy. Gun control is front and center, next to women’s reproductive control and the social safety net. It includes letting the government run at all, since the government betrayed them.

    EDIT – @gene108:
    I really think it’s 90% racism. Reagan got this economic destruction ball rolling, and his political message was ‘Look at what happens when you let liberals be in charge. Blacks get treated like people!’

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’ll admit that McConnell’s type makes me puke, but are you suggesting he’s a malodorous pervert?

    Oh, my, I’m getting an attack of the vapors even contemplating that he might be a malodorous pervert!

    Excuse me while I position myself next to the fainting couch!

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy:

    Especially if you look at the way the numbers just exploded in the 20th century (and into the 21st, of course). At some point it will become unsustainable, and in my more pessimistic moments I believe we’ve already passed that point. Not only climate change, but things like the Ebola epidemic (is it a pandemic yet?). All greatly exacerbated by poverty, income inequality, wars and religious extremism, and the occasional earthquake or volcano or tsunami.

  50. 50

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    the Ebola epidemic (is it a pandemic yet?)

    It’s not even an epidemic. It’s barely an outbreak. 1310 confirmed cases this year, almost all in one area. I feel bad for those people, but in terms of worldwide health threats or evidence of humanity’s doom, it doesn’t even register. For comparison, 627,000 people died of malaria in 2012, most of them in the same area.

  51. 51
    Belafon says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I agree with the racism, but even if the country were all English descendants, most of them would still rather do nothing than try for something big.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    skerry says:

    For a fuller understanding of the Syrian war, take a look at the water shortages and droughts in the prior years.

    In the years leading up to Syria’s civil war, the country experienced a devastating drought, impacting over 1.3 million people, killing up to 85 percent of the country’s livestock in some regions, and forcing as many as 160 villages to abandon their homes due to crop failures.
    Back in 2009, as President Obama was taking office, there was talk of how Syria’s water scarcity problem could spark major social and economic instability. Indeed, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published an Operations Report on the Syrian drought, noting that some 800,000 people were severely vulnerable, and “over the past three years, their income has decreased by 90 percent and their assets and sources of livelihood have been severely compromised.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for its part released a study in 2011 linking more frequent droughts in the Mediterranean and the Middle East to climate change, noting Syria was experiencing the worst drying in the region.

  54. 54

    @Belafon:
    There will always be assholes, and lots of them, but historically in periods where the white majority didn’t feel threatened we got a lot done. We got OUT of the Gilded Age, as one example.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    They will burn this country to the ground rather than let liberals elevate blacks any farther. Cleek’s Law.

    I feel you.

  56. 56
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: A lack of water freaks me out the most. And there is a lot to be freaked out about. I am a Great Lake state resident. All the governors of the Great Lake states have a working council on our water resources, because we know eventually other states are going to want our water.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I actually don’t think it’s racism primarily. I think it’s that the rotten economic situation pushes everything else to the back burner. Fewer people are willing to Pay More! for something that’s supposed to be good for them later when they’re struggling now. That’s why all the momentum from Inconvenient Truth and all that stalled out in 2008 and hasn’t come back. The part about Republicans refusing to accept Democratic legitimacy is aggravated by racism. But the general public would ignore that particular ever-present line of nonsense more readily if we were living in boom times rather than perilous ones.

  58. 58
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue…

    Sure, the planet is burning up and we need to do something right now. But what’s in it for me?

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Yikes! Had no idea about the malaria-vs.-Ebola numbers. Very eye-opening. Thank you.

  60. 60
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy: I’m a Great Lakes girl originally, and for 25 years I worked for the Government of Canada. The province of Ontario is part of that working council you mentioned. And yes, lack of potable water is one of the more terrifying scenarios out there.

  61. 61
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I didn’t know it either until West Wing did a show where it was mentioned and I was like WTF that can’t be right, but alas it is. And to a large extent it is my understanding with netting and some pretty basic meds we should be able to save most of those people. Bill Gates Foundation is working on it as we speak.

  62. 62
    gene108 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I really think it’s 90% racism. Reagan got this economic destruction ball rolling, and his political message was ‘Look at what happens when you let liberals be in charge. Blacks get treated like people!’

    Even absent Reagan, people were drawing their own conclusions about how the “good old days” had gone and America was in decline.

    The economy was stuck, in the 1970’s, after two and a half decades of record growth post-WW2.

    Crime rates in big cities were skyrocketing, in the 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s.

    Places where Mommy and Daddy grew up, feeling safe to leave the car keys in the ignition and the door always unlocked, were changing and people felt a need to lock their doors.

    The Dirty Harry movies, Death Wish movies, and American Graffiti were well before Reagan’s Presidency, but all struck a nerve with 1970’s audiences. Both Dirty Harry and Death Wish addressed social concerns about increasing crime and American Graffiti took people back to the “good old days”, when things were better.

    The causation-correlation of the spike in crime, coinciding with the Civil Rights Act and Great Society programs was just convenient fodder for people, who wanted to undo the social safety net, the gains of the labor movement and generally roll back the changes of the 20th century.

    Using race as a hot button issue was already in the cards.

    Look at the resistance to school integration, in 1975, in Boston. It was just as nasty as the more publicized demonstrations of white people, in places like Little Rock, in 1957, a full generation earlier.

    The powder was set, the fuse was lit and it was just a matter of time before people decided their standard of living was being hurt by “those people”, because the standard of living was going down in the 1970’s, compared to the prior post-WW2 periods.

    Reagan just gave the boulder a big push down the hill and kept making it go faster and faster, if it ever looked to slow down.

  63. 63
    trollhattan says:

    @Tommy:
    What you mean “going to”? Mongo want now.

    Signed,

    California et al

  64. 64
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Waaay off topic, but I’ve been watching for you. There’s a real chance NCSoft will sell the CoX IP.

    And now back to our regularly scheduled Grand Ostrich Party.

  65. 65
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Belafon: That and the fact that going to the moon isn’t nearly as hard as dealing with global warming. Plus we did know about global warming back then, and since every problem was being tackled back in the 50s and 60s, back when America was so much better, it leads me to conclude that the problem is much, much harder to solve than shooting a man to the moon in a soda can.

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    @trollhattan: We keep telling other states we’ve spent billions cleaning the lakes. You need to help pay for it. Because there will be a day you will want it and if you didn’t pay for it, you won’t get any.

  67. 67

    “If you can’t stand up to the extremists in your own party, how can we expect you to stand up to Al Qaeda?”

    Of course, they are in deep denial about the fact that the Tea Party represents extremists. And that’s because they’ve been aided and abetted by our stupid news media, who wants to pretend the Tea Party is just a conservative version of the hippies from the 70s. So, not.

  68. 68
    Cervantes says:

    “It’s very comforting for people to think that these people are pretending,” Goldston said. “It’s not true. The problem would be in many ways easier to solve if it was true.”

    I’m sure some of them are pretending and others are just ignorant or stupid — and some are even proud of themselves.

  69. 69
    gene108 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    but historically in periods where the white majority didn’t feel threatened we got a lot done. We got OUT of the Gilded Age, as one example.

    I think you have a point.

    The definition of “white” changed considerably in the 20th century.

    I think in large part due to the crack down on immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, in the 1920’s, so you no longer had boat loads of people coming into the country bringing crazy-ass beliefs into America, like the various Eastern Orthodox churches, Catholicism and Judaism.

    The rest of white Christian America had time to not feel threatened by outsiders.

  70. 70
    Anoniminous says:

    @gene108:

    Economy wasn’t stuck. The people who produce the wealth are no longer getting a share. At the same time corporations were receiving more of the wealth of the country their share of the Federal Tax Revenue was dropping.

  71. 71
    SatanicPanic says:

    @gene108: The Democratic Party in the early 20th century to about the middle of FDRs presidency did get a lot done, but it was based on studiously ignoring the South’s treatment of blacks.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @SatanicPanic: And no one in either party much cared about women’s lives, either.

  73. 73
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Speaking of what the parties used to be, Jim Jeffords died today.

  74. 74
    p.a. says:

    Elephants: Sista Soulja moments for thee, but not for me!

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    RIP. One of the good ones.

  76. 76
    The Pale Scot says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    most of the change seems to be dramatic backsliding on nigh everything else

    Change is happening where it doesn’t cost entrenched interests anything.

  77. 77
    SFAW says:

    “shut your festering gob” you hopeless git.

    I don’t think anyone here would be extremely offended if you used the actual line from the sketch.

    Just sayin’.

  78. 78
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Tommy:
    At some levels I am surprised the earth isn’t in even worse shape.

    It is, but the onset of symptoms is delayed.

  79. 79
    The Pale Scot says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    At some point it will become unsustainable, and in my more pessimistic moments I believe we’ve already passed that point.

    Methane bubbling up in the polar oceans, methane being released from the tundra,

    That is the thing that’s going to knock us off the apex of the food triangle so fast we’ll never see it coming. The Permian? Great Extinction Event might have been caused by a huge release of methane from the seabed. 90% of species poof gone in the blink of an eye (geologically speaking).

  80. 80
    bjacques says:

    @Helmut Monotreme:

    The Raft of the Medusa idea has come up before

    Re the Science Daily item: the world will end not with a bang nor even a whimper, but a chorus of chthonic farts.

  81. 81
    Roger Moore says:

    @p.a.:

    Elephants: Sista Soulja moments for thee, but not for me!

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. The Republicans have always been perfectly happy to criticize blacks like Sister Soulja. It’s the Democrats who are hesitant to blame everything on the blacks.

  82. 82
    Trollhattan says:

    @Tommy:
    To be perfectly honest, we’d be happy to ship it dirty and clean it at the pipe’s end. Vastly cheaper than desalinization. More likely than Great Lakes for us would be Columbia and Frazier River water (plans have existed since the ’50s). It’s more the Rocky Mountain and desert Southwest states who want the Great Lakes.

  83. 83
    Trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Republican equivalent would be a “Ted Nugent moment.” Na gah happen.

  84. 84
    EthylEster says:

    Real Climate has a substantive post on the methane issue. I can’t make the linky thing work so here is the raw url:

    http://www.realclimate.org/ind.....n-siberia/

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Trollhattan: Plans have existed for a long time, but no one in Washington or Oregon has any intention of ever facilitating those plans.

    LA can dry up and blow away.

  86. 86
    Trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    The Bureau of Reclamation can trump the states, if push ever comes to shove. We’re in drought year #4 whilst setting temperature records–uncharted territory. Should it continue I would not rule out anything.

  87. 87
    cmorenc says:

    @Trollhattan:

    More likely than Great Lakes for us would be Columbia and Frazier River water (plans have existed since the ’50s).

    Tapping the Columbia or Frazier Rivers for California’s benefit will NEVER EVER happen. One factor is the structure of the U.S. Senate, where California gets two Senators, while Oregon and Washington get two each, despite their combined 10.8 million population vs 38 million for California. Any Senator from those two states who in any way voted for such a transfer project would be lynched from folks across the spectrum on their next trip home, let alone try to stand for reelection. Senators from the six Great Lakes states are vastly more likely to become allied with Oregon and Washington than with California, due to not wanting to allow any sort of precedent for a similar transfer of water to the southwest.

    The US Bureau of Reclamation could never politically pull off undertaking any interbasin/interregional water transfer project of that scale on its own initiative. For but one key piece, they’d need Congressional appropriation for the necessary infrastructure construction.

  88. 88
    Dean says:

    The link to the article doesn’t work. Kindly fix it.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    I still don’t understand why we don’t primarily use reclaimed water for agriculture in California. You really don’t need drinking-quality water to grow crops, and if you filter out the infectious agents, it shouldn’t be any less safe for the workers.

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Trollhattan: We’ve all seen Chinatown. We know what to expect.

  91. 91
    Trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne: Since ag consumes (very roughly) 80% of water used in the state, there’s simply a volumetric mismatch–there can never be enough recycled water to offset the water used by ag directly. But wastewater recycling is becoming far more common, as treatment technologies improve and infrastructure is built to collect and deliver it. Not only can it be used for irrigation, it can be used domestically for non-drinking water via a second plumbing system (for laundry, landscape watering, etc.). With complete tertiary treatment it will actually meet drinking water standards, if the locals can overcome the “ick” factor.

    Doesn’t cost much to double-plumb a new home for potable/non-potable water, but retrofitting can be difficult. Still, if a city ran a second water main down the block and you plumbed your landscaping system to it, you’d instantly cut your domestic drinking water consumption my more than half.

  92. 92
    Trollhattan says:

    @cmorenc:
    While I agree in principle, we have yet to reach the emergency stage. Should we, I’d not presume that “normal” politics will prevail. If Ranch & Syrup is in the ‘hood, I’d love to hear his viewpoint on the state of things and where it might head.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    IIRC, Big Ag ends up wasting a huge amount of water, but they’re very resistant to any kind of controls being put on them to force them to either pay market rates for water or to be more efficient with their water use.

  94. 94
    Donald says:

    The link in the first line of the post is broken. Can anyone supply the corrected version? Maybe someone has done so in the thread already. I haven’t looked because I have to go offline for a bit.

  95. 95
    Trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Exactly right. Some have taken the needed major efficiency steps, others…. Ultimately, when water gets sufficiently expensive they’ll just sell “their” water to cities and go for a nice, long vacation.

    The looming Big Problem, if you will, is if the Delta export water becomes too salty to ship south. Could be a creeping thing, could happen overnight with a strong enough earthquake hitting the Delta. Either way it’s an instant disaster.

  96. 96
    Older says:

    @Trollhattan: Y’know, a lot of us, even in western Oregon, don’t have “landscaping water” any more. I haven’t watered my “lawn” for a dozen years or more.

  97. 97
    Redwood Rhiadra says:

    @Trollhattan: They did that (second water main down the block) in my neighborhood about seven years ago – all the landscaping irrigation is now recycled. (Redwood City, CA, near the Electronic Arts and Oracle headquarters.)

  98. 98
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:
    And of course to do ‘big things’, one must spend lots of money, benefiting everyone, even the Poor’s. Not just making money for the rich, who will have to pay tax. Utter bastards!

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