Year 4, Month 6, Day 1: Do It To Me One More Time

I’m soooooo tired of these assholes. WaPo:

Climate change is an issue that needs to be discussed thoughtfully and objectively. Unfortunately, claims that distort the facts hinder the legitimate evaluation of policy options. The rhetoric has driven some policymakers toward costly regulations and policies that will harm hardworking American families and do little to decrease global carbon emissions. The Obama administration’s decision to delay, and possibly deny, the Keystone XL pipeline is a prime example.

The State Department has found that the pipeline will have minimal impact on the surrounding environment and no significant effect on the climate. Recent expert testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology confirms this finding. In fact, even if the pipeline is approved and is used at maximum capacity, the resulting increase in carbon dioxide emissions would be a mere 12 one-thousandths of 1 percent (0.0012 percent). There is scant scientific or environmental justification for refusing to approve the pipeline, a project that the State Department has also found would generate more than 40,000 U.S. jobs.

Buffoon. Ignoramus. Weasel-minded smeghead. And those are his good points. May 20:

Let’s ignore the predictable irony of a Republican lawmaker decrying “overheated rhetoric” on climate change; that’s a cheap shot at Rep. Lamar Smith’s disingenuous defense of the Keystone XL project. Instead let’s just point out the State Department study extolling the pipeline was written by a TransCanada contractor, and its key assertion that the pipeline wouldn’t significantly increase greenhouse emissions was, according to analysts at “Scientific American,” predicated on the assumption that the tar sands oil would be extracted anyway, pipeline or no

Did I say disingenuous? More like mendacious. Rep. Smith also claims that the KXL project would create 40,000 jobs, an assertion that’s simply false — unless he’s thinking of the thousands of cleanup specialists, public-health experts, class action lawyers, insurance adjusters, water purification experts, oncologists, and funeral directors whose employment security will be guaranteed for decades to come if this disaster-in-the-making finds its way across American soil.

Warren Senders

Someone who really should know better…

…sent me this stupid chain email:

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

“Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.” To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”

And then she went back to reading her book.

Ha Ha Ha!!!

Christians 1, Atheists 0.


I sent back the following:

And the atheist said, “I don’t know everything about animal digestion, but we can ask a scientist who does.” Fortunately the person in the seat behind them was a zoologist specializing in digestive processes, who was able to supply them with the needed information.

The little girl then turned to a Priest, a Mullah, a Rabbi and a Pandit who were conveniently seated elsewhere on the plane and asked them about deities, heaven, hell, and life after death. Naturally they could not agree on anything beyond the “irrefutable fact” that everyone else’s views were wrong.

A religious riot broke out on the plane that ended when competing eschatological factions beat one another into bloody pulp, terrorizing the other passengers. All participants were arrested. Unfortunately the little girl was severely injured in the fray and has not yet regained consciousness.

No answer to her concerns was ever provided, although the questions about shit were both answerable and answered.

Year 4, Month 2, Day 14: And Because I Love You, I’ll Give It One More Try

The North Andover Eagle-Tribune reports on climate change in New England:

One of the harbingers of change has been the lobster industry, which Wahle called a kind of “canary in a coal mine.”

Maine fishermen have set record harvests over the past few years, perhaps due in part to higher water temperatures and fewer groundfish, which prey on young lobsters. Fishermen off Newburyport have also reported good harvests, with last year being among the best.

Meanwhile, in southern New England, it’s an entirely different story. Mass lobster kill-offs in Long Island Sound have been caused by warming waters, Wahle said, while a disease that infects lobster shells has been spreading northward through the sound and into Massachusetts waters.

“(The disease) seems to have stalled out just south of Cape Ann,” Wahle said.

If the disease spreads further north, it could have a devastating impact on northern New England’s lobster fisheries, Wahle said.

As of Feb. 6, the comment thread on this article was 100% denialist stupidity. Sent, with an optimistic tag:

New England’s not alone in feeling the increasing impact of global warming. While specific symptoms of climate change vary from place to place, regions everywhere around the planet are affected. Whether it’s drought in the corn belt, unseasonal monsoons in Asia, or warmer winters fostering pine beetle infestations in Colorado, the consequences of the greenhouse effect are hitting people painfully. Some communities may reap temporary benefits — like Maine lobstermen who are hauling in a bumper harvest — but since warmer winters may bring an end to the state’s skiing industry, there’s no real positive economic impact on a wider scale.

If there is any upside to the accelerating climate crisis, it is that our species’ future requires us to realize that what we do today in our own narrow corner of the world will affect people thousands of miles — and hundreds of years — away. Only by recognizing that political boundaries and cultural differences are irrelevant in the face of the gathering storm can we humans make a happy and prosperous future for our posterity.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 8, Day 23: He’s Naturally Stupid.

More fun with Tim Pawlenty’s remarks, this time courtesy of the August 5 LA Times:

Tim Pawlenty said in an interview this week that the science of global warming remains unclear and that Earth’s shifting climate is more likely due to natural causes.

The interview with the Miami Herald marked the most recent example of Pawlenty’s evolution on the issue. Once an advocate of cap-and-trade policies to reduce carbon admissions, the former Minnesota governor has since recanted his support for such proposals.

As the GOP presidential candidate told the Herald’s Marc Caputo:, “Like most of the major candidates on the Republican side to varying degrees, everybody studied it, looked at it. We did the same. But I concluded, in the end some years ago, that it was a bad idea. . . . We never actually implemented it. I concluded ultimately it was a bad idea. It would be harmful to the economy. The science was I think based on unreliable conclusions.”

Expanding on the Breslin idea from yesterday. Sent August 6:

So Tim Pawlenty thinks climate change is due to “natural causes,” eh? Sure, I’ll go along with that. As long as Mr. Pawlenty agrees that lung cancer and emphysema are “natural” responses to tobacco smoking, that heart disease is a “natural” response to obesity, and that brain damage is a “natural” consequence of traumatic head injuries.

Climate change is the atmosphere’s predictable and “natural” response to massive atmospheric releases of greenhouse gases, courtesy of the world’s industrialized civilizations. To pretend otherwise is to be deliberately ignorant of basic physics and chemistry, which may be fine for a FOX-fed tea-party zealot, but should instantly disqualify any aspirant to the nation’s highest office.

Mr. Pawlenty’s readiness to pander to the most extreme examples of anti-science zealotry in his party’s base are, of course, an opportunistic response to the exigencies of twenty-first century Republican electoral politics. I guess that’s “natural,” too.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 1, Day 14: That’s CIA, Not CYA

The Miami Herald notes that the Central Intelligence Agency thinks climate change might just be a wee bit of a problem.

It is instructive to watch conservative lawmakers respond to the issue of climate change. Regarded by the right wing as the fixation of an improbable world conspiracy of scientists, Democratic politicians and hippie environmentalists, global warming has somewhat graver connotations when it’s discussed by CIA analysts, who have ample reasons to be worried. There is a direct and robust correlation between climatic and political instability, as the recent series of catastrophes in Pakistan illustrate; the CIA (and corresponding agencies in other countries) is entirely correct to be concerned. The idea that Republican legislators would mock expert authorities is sadly plausible; remember that our nation was plunged into an ill-considered war despite warnings from people who actually knew what they were talking about? Climate change is a real and very dangerous enemy; what will the GOP say to dismiss the CIA’s informed analysis? I’m betting on “now watch this drive!”

Warren Senders

Month 2, Day 11: Pure Essence of Moran

I picked up a copy of “Metro-Boston,” a local free-distribution subway & laundromat paper that’s part of a nationally syndicated chain. And when I found the Letters page, the Stupid was Strong.

Three letters…check ’em out. The first two are baffling: I lean towards thinking the Palin letter is actually from a Democrat, while the “Sex Ed for Congress” is completely ambiguous. But the third. Ahhh, the third. Enjoy it.

So I thought I’d write a letter to the METRO. Maybe thousands of subway-goers will read it. If you’re on a subway and you see my letter, please let me know. As usual, if nothing happens on this one after a couple of days, I’ll send it along to some other papers.

Republican lawmakers are pointing to Washington’s overwhelming snowfall as refutation of the science behind climate change. Oklahoma senator James Inhofe has built a crude igloo near the U.S. Capitol and labeled it “Al Gore’s home,” since any Republican discussion of climate issues must include mockery of the former VP. Climate denialism is a growth industry, heavily funded by the big oil and coal companies and playing on Americans’ contempt for competence and unwillingness to endure inconvenience. Actually, climatologists have been saying for years that global warming will make local weather both more unpredictable and more extreme. To say a freak snowstorm “disproves the reality of global climate change” is as misguided as saying the swollen belly of a starving child “disproves the reality of world hunger.”

Warren Senders

Month 2, Day 9: A Luxury Sedan Letter

I understand nothing about professional football. As far as I can figure out, it is, in the words of Ashleigh Brilliant, “Violence punctuated by committee meetings.” So I was only peripherally aware that there was a major cultural event this past weekend featuring very large men hurling spheroids about a grassy field while wearing brightly colored costumes and colorful helmets. I gather that one of the commercial organizations involved in the activity “won,” while the other “lost.”

And yet, I find myself involved in the aftermath of the SuperBowl. Daily Kos diarist A Siegel noted an advertisement from Audi which he described as “The Most Environmentally Unfriendly Super Bowl Ad” in a lengthy post the other day. I read it because I read all of his work…and it provided me with the hook for today’s letter, which goes both to Audi of America and to their advertising agency, Venables Bell and Partners.

Dear Audi of America — I write to protest your recently aired advertisement, the “Green Police” Superbowl commercial. While I have no doubt your advertising agency meant the TV spot to be a tongue-in-cheek approach to environmental awareness and its increasing importance in society, the effect of the ad was to trivialize ecological concerns (on the one hand), and to stigmatize those who are trying to effect meaningful change in world environmental policy (on the other).

Your ad shows “green police” arresting and brutalizing people who are using plastic bags, failing to compost their food refuse, burning incandescent bulbs, and luxuriating in hot tubs — responding with grossly inappropriate force to real and imagined environmentally unfriendly actions. Thus the advertisement promulgates a view of ‘going green’ that suggests a totalitarian police state — not a positive and sustainable future.

It is a bizarre irony that ‘green police’ is a term for The Orpo, or Ordnungspolizei, the uniformed regular German police force in Nazi Germany, notably between 1936 and 1945. Owing to their green uniforms, they were also referred to as Grüne Polizei (green police). And, in a chapter of history that senior Audi personnel would probably rather not remember too vividly, the “Green Police” were well and thoroughly implicated in Hitler’s genocide, providing manpower for deportations, ghetto-clearings, and massacres.

It’s probably true that most Americans (especially those who are fixated on competitive football) have little sense of history. But that’s no excuse for evoking some of Hitler’s foot soldiers in a totally misleading way. Ordinary citizens and politicians with an interest in environmental protection might find it offensive to be equated with Nazi lackeys, don’t you think?

Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have already saturated the brains of American conservatives with phrases like “eco-Nazi.” The last thing we need is a well-respected auto manufacturer to fall into their camp; judging by the immediate reaction of conservative commentators, that’s exactly where you’ve landed.

Pull the ad immediately. It’s misleading, offensive, and as far from funny as you can get.

Yours sincerely,

Warren Senders

Audi contact info.

Venables Bell & Partners
201 Post St., Ste. 200
San Francisco, CA 94108
United States
Phone: 415-288-3300
Fax: 415-421-3683