Late-Night Reiteration #1,357 Open Thread: Bernie Sanders Has Exactly *One* Principle

“What’s in it for me, Bernie Sanders?”

Now that Bernie has all-but-officially launched his 2020 candidacy, he’s gonna be waaay too busy collecting tributes from his cultists to actually spend time or prestige on the job he’s already got…

Sanders outranks Manchin in seniority on the committee and could block him. But the Vermont independent has shown little inclination to leave his perch as the ranking member of the Budget Committee — even though he made climate change and clean energy a major plank in his 2016 presidential run and plans a national town hall on the issue Monday…

Sanders, who is exploring a 2020 presidential campaign, wrote in an email to POLITICO on Wednesday evening that he is proud of his work on the Budget Committee, where he’s been for his past two terms, and suggested he’d likely stay.

“As ranking member I have helped fight for budget and national priorities, which represent the needs of working families and not just the 1 percent. I look forward to continuing the fight in the new session for social, racial, economic and environmental justice,” he said…

Manchin’s critics aren’t explicitly pressuring Sanders to seize the Energy spot. Some say it’s up to Schumer to reassess seniority rules or do whatever necessary to prevent Manchin from moving up. Other committee Democrats who are more senior than Manchin and could step into the role include Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who are currently ranking members of the Finance and Agriculture committees, respectively….

Stabenow would also have seniority over Manchin and could face pressure, though she expressed happiness with her current top slot on the Agriculture Committee this week…

Ron Wyden, as we know, has been an Intelligence workhorse for keeping pressure on the GOPers trying to hide Trump’s crimes. And the Ag Committee also controls food stamp regulation, where Debbie Stabenow has done important work protecting Michigan farmers and those who most need government support.

Unless I’ve missed something — feel free to update me! — all Bernie has done on the Budget Committee is make finger-wagging, social-media-friendly speeches complaining that none of his fellow members appreciate Bernie Sanders’ brilliance.

And I guess that’s all the “help” environmentalists should expect from Bernie Sanders, now or in the future.



A Small Step

Folks,

I just wanted to pass on a tip that may cost you a bit more money but will reduce your carbon footprint. I mean most of us here know this and care about these issues, but that doesn’t always result in action or change, now does it?

So last Friday I spent 30 minutes researching and then changing my electricity provider from the standard (dirty) mix of sources to 100% renewable. It literally took a few minutes to setup and configure my new source which is still delivered by my local power company.

When I first went to sign up, it offered me at no extra charge on top of my normal power bill, a 50-50 mix of wind/renewable and normal. So just by signing up for free and with no premium, I could be 50% renewable. I figured, “Well, they’ve already given me half, might as well make it 100%” and clicked the slider, Apply, and I was done. Of course that’s the sales pitch, and it worked. On top of things, I get a $50 Best Buy card in the mail soon which will come in handy as I shop.

I am now using 100% renewable power, and since this house is all-electric, I can sleep a bit better knowing that I’m helping in a small way every minute. My power bill will increase a bit as the renewable is more expensive, but that’s a small investment in a slightly better future – in this case, value today means outsize effects in the future and I’d rather pay that bill now if possible, before it gets bigger.

In the back of my mind, I knew that I could do this, but didn’t get around to actually doing it until I read about the Federal Government report on Friday and made my small step. In this case, my provider was/is running a Black Friday promotion with the before-mentioned gift card. The physical hookup, etc. remain as they are, so really this just means that they feed my local power company X kilowatts of power each period to cover my usage.

It’s contract, installation-fee, and investment -free, so I can change my mix or mind whenever I choose, though I expect I’ll stick with them as long as the price remains acceptable. I’m not funding some investment jackass’s new furniture to feel pure, so I plan to keep an eye on the rates and how it all goes down.

I’m not looking for accolades, but wanted to prompt as many of you as possible to check your local electricity providers to see if they offer an option for renewable energy, or if you are in an area where you can choose your supplier, see if you can find a renewable provider that you’re comfortable with. In my case, knowing that my local power company still delivers and services the lines means that I should see no difference except less carbon usage and a slightly higher bill.

 

Open Thread!

 



Sunday Morning (Garden-Adjacent) Open Thread

Did anyone ever figure out what the Oval Office Squatter thought he was talking about?

… My short non-biologist summary would be this: it’s fairly wet and cold in Finland so it’s pretty different. They don’t use rakes to avoid forest fires. Their big problem is bog fires. Many of the best parts of JI’s letter are cris de coeur, insisting on the non-role of rakes in any part of Finnish forage management.

On behalf of all TPM Readers, thank you to TPM Reader JI and we’re sorry about the Trump thing…

On that, we can certainly agree.

Also informative, and infinitely more depressing, is the new report from ProPublica/NYTimes “Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe”:

The dirt road was ruler straight, but deep holes and errant boulders tossed our tiny Toyota back and forth. Trucks coughed out black smoke, their beds brimming over with seven-ton loads of palm fruit rocking back and forth on tires as tall as people. Clear-cut expanses soon gave way to a uniform crop of oil-palm groves: orderly trees, a sign that we had crossed into an industrial palm plantation. Oil-palm trees look like the coconut-palm trees you see on postcards from Florida — they grow to more than 60 feet tall and flourish on the peaty wetland soil common in lowland tropics. But they are significantly more valuable. Every two weeks or so, each tree produces a 50-pound bunch of walnut-size fruit, bursting with a red, viscous oil that is more versatile than almost any other plant-based oil of its kind. Indonesia is rich in timber and coal, but palm oil is its biggest export. Around the world, the oil from its meat and seeds has long been an indispensable ingredient in everything from soap to ice cream. But it has now become a key ingredient of something else: biodiesel, fuel for diesel engines that has been wholly or partly made from vegetable oil…
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The President Has A Science Advisor

But something seems to have gone wrong in the selection process.

Kelvin Droegemeier seems to be a competent meterologist, accused of no crimes. There are serious questions as to whether he can fit in at the White House.

Compounding the problem is that he has advocated for “Balanced, predictable and stable funding” of science to keep the United States leading position in science.

Most science advisors in the past have been physicists, but now that global warming is becoming obvious, a meterologist may be a good choice. Drogemeyer has served on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, under presidents Obama and George W. Bush. He is an expert on extreme weather.

The president’s science advisor advises on all sorts of things, including nuclear weapons issues, funding for universities, extreme weather events, and science issues in commerce. He also interacts with the scientific community, so he needs to grow a thick skin in this anti-science administration.

Everything I’ve seen about him is good. That can change, of course, and there is no guarantee that the president will listen to him any more than he does any other advisor.

Good luck, Kelvin Droegemeier!

And open thread.

Pulled this one back when I saw I bigfooted Doug.

 

Edited to correct the spelling of Droegemeier’s last name.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Hey, Remember Hurricane Maria?


 
New hurricane season begins on Friday, June 1st…

More than eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s slow recovery has been marked by a persistent lack of water, a faltering power grid and a lack of essential services — all imperiling the lives of many residents, especially the infirm and those in remote areas hardest hit in September…

The Harvard findings indicate that health-care disruption for the elderly and the loss of basic utility services for the chronically ill had significant impacts, and the study criticized Puerto Rico’s methods for counting the dead — and its lack of transparency in sharing information — as detrimental to planning for future natural disasters. The authors called for patients, communities and doctors to develop contingency plans for such disasters.

Researchers in the mainland United States and Puerto Rico, led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calculated the number of deaths by surveying almost 3,300 randomly chosen households across the island and comparing the estimated post-hurricane death rate to the mortality rate for the year before. Their surveys indicated that the mortality rate was 14.3 deaths per 1,000 residents from Sept. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017, a 62 percent increase in the mortality rate compared with 2016, or 4,645 “excess deaths.”…

Maria, which caused $90 billion in damage, was the third-costliest tropical cyclone in the United States since 1900, the Harvard researchers said.

They also said that timely and accurate estimates of death tolls are critical to understanding the severity of disasters and targeting recovery efforts. And knowing the extent of the impact “has additional importance for families because it provides emotional closure, qualifies them for disaster-related aid and promotes resiliency,” they said.

The researchers noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that deaths can be directly attributed to storms such as Maria if they are caused by forces related to the event, whether it is flying debris or loss of medical services…


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As A Box Of Rocks. That Dumb (GOP Climate Change Edition)

File this one under the “It matters too much too laugh, and my tear ducts are dry”:

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity.

Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise.

“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.

My man (or is he an ambulatory ficus?) Mo is not the only Republican to be, let us say, profoundly and proudly ignorant of basic knowledge.  (Another way of putting it is that this is another Republican bluntly lying about a critical issue that will affect — read harm — millions of Americans, and  billions of humans.) Here’s House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chair (sic!) Lamar Smith:

At one point, Smith showed a slide of two charts that he said demonstrated how the rate of sea-level rise does not equal the sharp spike in the consumption of fossil fuels. When Smith pointed out that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use, Duffy pointed out that his chart was from a single tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and that sea levels rise at different rates around the world. Smith did not show rising atmospheric CO2levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed steadily in recent decades as emissions have increased.

And because no catalogue of Republican malicious misrepresentation would be complete without the Kremlin’s man on Capitol Hill, Dana Rohrbacher, here’s his contribution to the enstupiding of America:

“I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,'” [Rohrbacher] said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

More of the same at the link: BS about ice sheets, masturbatory distraction on what temperature is “normal” on earth and so on.

We are asked to show respect for our fellow citizens on the other side of the aisle. My response: respect is earned.

Image: J.M.W. Turner, The Sun of Venice going out to sea, 1843



Weather Or Not Open Thread

Tomorrow it’s supposed to hit the East Coast.

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