Politics and Whatnot

Just another liberal political blog

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Prominent global warming denier Willie Soon admits $1 million in corporate fossil fuel industry funding since 2001, denies that it affects his opinions

Climate sceptic Willie Soon received $1m from oil companies, papers show | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

Willie Soon, an aerospace engineer who somehow became a prominent climate skeptic admitted he’s received massive amounts of fossil fuel industry funding, including from the Koch Brothers, Exxon Mobil, and others.   The information was uncovered by a FOIA request from the Society for Proving the Obvious.   Oh wait, it’s actually Greenpeace.

“I have never been motivated by financial reward in any of my scientific research,”  Said Soon.   “I would have accepted money from Greenpeace if they had offered it to do my research.”

Well being unable to refuse money on an equal basis doesn’t mean that money won’t cause bias.  But has it affected his research?  Well, in addition to deny global warming, Soon insists that mercury emissions from the  coal industry are not harmful.  You be the judge.

My guess is that Soon’s funding is just the tip of the iceberg.  These companies make billions and billions of dollars – they can afford a lot more than $100,000 a year to buy out a single scientist.  Look out for future revelations about how much these companies spend on other scientists, lobbyists, and political campaigns.



Stupid War Powers Act Game continues, looks like everyone is a loser

House rebukes Obama but won’t halt funds for Libya – Yahoo! News.

A while back I wrote a short piece about the war powers act in which I pointed out that the Stupid War Powers Act Game (SWPAG) is essentially meaningless, but that Obama should probably comply with it anyway.  Since then, Congress has decided to start acting like the SWPAG  is ordinary, valid law that everyone must comply with (despite that no one does) and Obama has decided he will not comply with it, taking the blantantly false and unnecssary position that using robots to kill people is not hostilities.   So much for my opinion.

So we have this ridiculous result today, where Republicans in Congress rejected the authorization for Libya because they’re pissy that Obama took an extra month to ask them for their meaningless permission, but still funded the war anyway…which I guess is not the kind of permission that the War Powers Resolution envisions, as Congress must see it.  This goes on while Obama continues to carry out attacks in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia without permission or any complaints from Congress.  Couldn’t be because his Republican predecessor did that too, could it?

Meanwhile the Libyan rebels are like WTF?  Are we being abandoned?

No, Libyan rebels, you’re not being abandoned.  It’s a silly political game we have in this country and it all means nothing.  Get back to fighting Ghaddafi, and hopefully a better democracy there than we have here.

Fish mass extinction imminent

Ocean life on the brink of mass extinctions: study | Reuters.

Reuters has a orphaned story regarding fish mass extinctions.  Well to be fair, it’s not totally orphaned – 97 people liked it on Facebook.  Apparently a new study indicates that the combined effect of global warming, ocean pollution, and overfishing are about to cause the sixth mass extinction in the history of Earth, and the first that we’ll be around for.  The study suggested several policy changes, particularly regarding overfishing, that could reverse the problem.

What’s Congress going to do about it?  Tax cuts for the rich and oil subsidies.  Let’s be honest.

Real archaeology: nothing like Indiana Jones

BBC News – Herculaneum sewer sheds light on secrets of Roman life.

From the article:

“A team of experts has been sifting through hundreds of sacks of human excrement.

They found a variety of details about their diet and their illnesses.”

Never have I been so glad I did not become an archaeologist.  It looks like it’s not all exploring pyramids and fighting Nazis after all.

“Could big media look any dumber?” asks world’s largest news media conglomerate

Could Big Media Look Any Dumber? – New York Post

News Corporation, the worlds largest news media conglomerate, wondered Tuesday whether Big Media had reached the apex of its apparent stupidity by covering an email release involving Sarah Palin, a prominent News Corporation employee.

The editorial appeared in the eleventh most-circulated newspaper in the nation, one of several top newspapers owned by News Corporation.   In the editorial, News Corporation mocked the “Palin frenzy” shown by prominent news organizations in which the sent “teams of reporters” and “recruited readers” to uncover “embarrassing tidbits”.   Tidbits like Palin’s request for someone to respond to a critical letter to the editor, which was labeled “especially intriguing” by News Corporation’s most-circulated paper, the Wall Street Journal.   That newspaper, one of several industry-leading News Corporation print, television, and radio-based news sources, posted all of Ms. Palin’s released emails on it’s site and invited users to search through them.  News Corporation specifically mentioned three non-News Corporation outlets that have lower circulation than the Wall Street Journal as examples of the big media frenzy.

News Corporation further stated that Ms. Palin, one of a handful of News Corporation employees that is considered a potential candidate to become the President of the United States,  came off rather unscathed by the email release.   The gargantuan news conglomerate asserted that Ms. Palin contrasted favorably to “Big Media” and it’s failure to cover “legislation and agencies” that affect Americans’ daily lives.

An embarrasing day for liberals

Well, Anthony Weiner admitted that he sent a picture of his junk to a college student on Twitter.  I have to admit, I’ve been a big fan of Anthony Weiner.  He’s been one of about 2 or 3 people in the the three branches of the federal government who represents the entire 20% or so of the country that considers itself liberal.  And he does it with strength, humor, and energy that no one else has.

That being said, this has to go down as one of the stupidest things a politician has done.  Here’s a brief rundown of just how fucking stupid Anthony Weiner is when it comes to personal responsibility:

1) He took a picture of his erect penis – I have never done this.  Now I have taken a picture of my penis and sent it to people and posted it places as a joke (who hasn’t), but never, ever, when I actually had a boner.   The mere act of doing that, even if you plan on sending it to no one, is telling anyone who might see it “I am extremely creepy”.

2) He put that picture on the internet – Now I know what you’re saying: He expected it to be private!  No.  If you read the news, you know that nothing on the internet is private, there’s hackers, administrators who can’t be trusted, unsecure connections, etc.  I know, you heard about “secure storage in the cloud”.  Fuck that.   The cloud is NOT secure and it never will be.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

3) He tweeted it – I am now piecing my head back together, because merely attempting to think about the stupidity of letting a photograph of your erect penis anywhere near Twitter makes my head explode.  Twitter is a publicity tool.  You post something on Twitter in the hopes that it will be a trending topic, or that others will retweet it.  I know, it’s supposed to be a private messsage, blah blah blah.  But when the difference between “private” and “tell the world forever” is the letter “d”, well, you might want to be a little extra careful.


5) He denied he sent it – This is understandable, but still stupid.  He not only said he got hacked, but also said that he hired a private security firm to look into it.  Here’s what happens when you deny something to that extent – you then have to follow through with it.  You need to pay that security firm to investigate.  And what will that firm find?  That you actually sent a random college student a photo of your crotch. Then you need to bribe them to lie to everyone about it.  And what will all that accomplish?  No one will believe them.

6) Having denied it, he didn’t deny it all the way – While denying that he sent the tweet, Weiner made comments suggesting that the photo could have been of him, and that he didn’t know if it was or not.  What?  This has already been parodied plenty, no need to repeat it here.  But his story at this point is that he put a photo of his boner on the internet, and then an extremely fortuitous person found it and had the great idea of sending it to an anonymous college student who happened to call Weiner her “boyfriend”.   If you have to go that route, just admit it all the way.

Which he eventually did, to his credit.  But that doesn’t excuse the six extremely dumb actions above.

But so what if the guy’s a dumb sleazeball?  So are just about all of my male friends.  In fact, every guy has a story, that they usually only tell their male friends, about that one time they did something incredibly dumb because of some girl and a lot of alcohol.  That doesn’t mean they can’t be representatives or presidents or even justices of the Supreme Court.  All it means is that they’re human.   And who is the worse person?  The one who is unable to abide by the artificial constraint of monogamy imposed on him by society, or the one who wants to give tax cuts to the rich in return for campaign donations, instead of solving poverty or cancer or global warming?

No, we liberals are not the embarrassment, we are the light.   Follow us, and our bulgy underpants, to a brighter tomorrow.

4 year old’s “paintings” sell for $10k

BBC News – Four-year-old artist’s NY exhibition.

There seems to be two views when it comes to modern art or whatever. Some people say that all these random splotches of paint are some brilliant act of expressing something, and people who say it’s just some artist throwing paint around like a four year old.   I think this story from the BBC settles that argument.

Not too worried about a double dip recession

Judging from the news in the last few days, you’d think it was 2008.  The headlines scream “Recession Fears Loom in US Economy” “America Headed For Double Dip Recession?” and dare you to take a look at “The Ominous Job Growth Chart that will Make Your Jaw Drop“.

What behind all this panic?  Well, apparently, the economy only added 54,000 jobs last month.   So – gas prices skyrocket, tornadoes plague the southeast, states enact budget cuts and lay off public employees, and despite that, the economy only adds 54,000 jobs?  Must be a double-dip recession caused by the failed stimulus plan. Must be.  Only explanation.

But maybe if you look at the sources for the above articles again – Iran’s official news service, Pat Robertson’s and Glenn Beck’s news sites –  you can see another reason for this sudden pessimism – it’s being pushed by sources that want the US to suffer a double dip recession under Obama’s watch.  It’s well-recognized that the economy is Obama’s biggest weak spot right now, and the Republican presidential candidates have already been focusing their attacks on this topic.

That’s not to say there is no reason for concern.  Rising gas prices and the hard hit taken by the middle class in this recession will undoubtedly cause problems for a long time.  But given the atmosphere of hyper-caution that has dominated the last few years, how can the economy dip any further?

Romney is outlier in Republican Party for believing in global warming

Romney reaffirms stance that global warming is real – The Boston Globe.

The theory of global warming is based on two simple, easily demonstrated premises – 1) that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are linked to an increase in global temperatures, and 2) that atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily in recent years.   Despite all the consensus-based arguments, you don’t need a PhD to see that these two ideas mean that the globe is warming and that we should reduce carbon emissions to reduce the impact of the problem.

Yet, if you’re a Republican, chances are you’re still not buying it.  A Pew Research Poll says that only 38% believe the earth is warming, and that slightly more than half of those believe the warming is not because of human activity.  This is a recent change since 2007, when a 62% majority of Republicans said the Earth is warming.  This demonstrates the effectiveness of the deniers’ counter-offensive to Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, which claims that accepting the logical conclusion of the above premises is akin to believing in a mythical half-man-half-bear-half-pig.  Ignoring data and simply calling your opponents idiots apparently works well with a certain segment of the population.

So it’s a bit surprising when Mitt Romney announced to that segment of the population that he too believes in Manbearpig.   This comes as two of his most likely opponents, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich, have switched their earlier positions, making statements suggesting that global warming is not happening or is not a problem.

This may be a good strategy for Romney as high gas prices and severe weather could make Republicans wonder about whether alternative energy is a necessary step.  Just kidding.  The Republican Party is a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, and Romney won’t be able to walk this one back.  I don’t know if it’s enough to make him lose, but it certainly won’t help him in the primary.

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