American Elephants

This One’s From the Huffington Post! Hee, hee, hee. by The Elephant's Child

And just yesterday, in his Weekly Address, Saturday August 6, 2011: President Barack Obama said:

This week, Congress reached an agreement that’s going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation’s budget deficit.  And through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation’s finances in order.  That’s important. We’ve got to make sure that Washington lives within its means, just like families do.  In the long term, the health of our economy depends on it.

But in the short term, our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs.  That’s what’s on people’s minds; that’s what matters to families in this country.  And the fact is, this has been a tumultuous year for the economy.  We’ve weathered the Arab Spring’s effect on oil and gas prices.  The Japanese earthquake and tsunami’s effect on supply chains.  The economic situation in Europe.  And in Washington, there was a contentious debate over our nation’s budget that nearly dragged our country into financial crisis. …

We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy.  We’ve got to put politics aside to get some things done.  That’s what the American people expect of us.  And there are a number of steps that Congress can take right away, when they return in September.

Are you unemployed?  Did you lose your job because of the Japanese earthquake or Arab Spring? Or was it the troubles in Greece? And it was the “contentious debate” that nearly dragged our country into financial crisis?

He keeps saying it, and saying it, and saying it, and everyone dutifully repeats the talking points, but it’s two-and-a-half years, and it’s only getting worse. Is there some point when you pause and think — maybe what we’re doing isn’t working?


Temperature Highs, Journalistic Lows. by The Elephant's Child

— Yoo Hoo, Yahoo!  Headline, Aug. 1st:  All 50 States See Record Highs in July.

No state in the union was safe from July’s blistering heat wave, according to data from the National Climatic Data Center.

The horrible July heat wave, lasting weeks in some cities, the entire month in others, affected nearly 200 million people in the United States at some point.

I have all sorts of sympathy for folks having to deal with hot weather.  I lived in Phoenix for several years, and appreciate the discomfort in hotness.  However, we have been waiting for a little sunshine here in Seattle. It has gotten slightly over 80° maybe twice—briefly — and it is August 7th. At the moment it is 73° at the airport and I’ve had a sweater on all day.

— Headline from Grist (a radical green online magazine headquartered in Seattle) : “Born after 1976? You’ve never experienced normal global temperatures.”

The last year mean global temperatures were below normal was 1976. (They got this from Think Progress, so nevermind)

This means that more than a quarter of the population (and statistically more people reading this, since it’s on the internet) really has no idea what the global climate would feel like if humanity hadn’t been messing with it for more than a century.

Gosh, all those scientists out there who explain that the climate is always changing will be pleased to know what the normal global temperatures are, but the short piece doesn’t say.

Are they assuming the period from 1940-1975 when the climate was cooling is normal? The sudden warming spurt from 1976 to 1978?  Or is it now, when the climate has been cooling for the past decade? Or back in the 1930’s which saw the warmest years in the Twentieth Century? Or was it the Little Ice Age — roughly 1300 to 1850  (in two stages), or the Medieval Warm Period or Little Climate Optimum — 900 to 1300 — said to be the finest climate known to man—which coincided with the Renaissance.  But before that there were the cold Dark Ages 600— 900. And 200 B.C. to about A.D. 600 was the Roman Warming. So pick your “normal.” The climate is always changing.

It is a conceit of the 6os generation that whatever has happened in their time is the most important, or the most dreadful — “if humanity hadn’t been messing with it for more than a century.”  Please! There were some rather important things going on long before you were born, and if you had spent some time taking classes in history or science instead of participating in protests you might not write such silly headlines.

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