GOP Budget Cuts Take Aim At Tsunami Warning Center

While our neighbors in Hawaii and the US West coast braced themselves for a potential Tsunami this morning in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, we are reminded that the hours that these residents had to prepare might not be there the next time if the GOP has their way. It seems the Tsunami warning system is in jeopardy due to a proposed 28% cut to the National Weather Service and one reason for the cuts apparently is that the data collected by the monitoring stations is “inconvenient” for the global warming deniers on the right.

In February, the union representing the National Weather Service warned that the Republican cuts could place the residents of Hawaii in mortal danger. “People could die… It could be serious,” Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, told Hawaii’s Star Advertiser. The House budget includes a 28 percent cut to the National Weather Service that would result in staffing cutbacks to Hawaii’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which monitors potential tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.

The Obama administration is threatening to veto the cut, and Congressional Democrats have called the reduction a “reckless” means of forwarding a political agenda. “Those who claim that global warming is a myth find the hard data produced by such monitoring inconvenient,” Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told the Star Advertiser. The cutback to the tsunami warning center also recalls Gov. Bobby Jindal’s mockery of federal money for volcano monitoring back in 2009—just months before a volcano eruption in Iceland wreaked havoc on Europe.

So what do you say Kristi?

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Headline Says It All

I know, nothing really new in another story on Fox News framing an argument to fit the GOP agenda. The latest example has Fox editors telling reporters to always preface any story on global warming by “pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question“.

What struck a chord with me this time though was the headline ars technica used for the story, Fox News on climate: skip the science, report the “controversy.

I think in that one headline they summed up my feelings on the state of the “media” today.

Fox and MSNBC are the most well known “news” companies riling up the troops often using questionable sources and news reporting but with the proliferation of blogs and other online sites preaching such questionable ideas, it is getting harder and harder to pick out the wheat from the chaff. No where is that more evident than when reading the posts and comment sections of most blogs where it’s pretty easy to figure which channel the authors tune in to most often strictly by the talking points they cite.

Unfortunately for most of them, that channel is rarely the “Science Channel“…

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Global Warming? Nah, It's Just Been Hot…

…you know like historically hot.

NOAA’s latest State of the Climate Global Analysis:

* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2010 was the warmest on record at 16.2°C (61.1°F), which is 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F). The previous record for June was set in 2005.
* June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.
* The June worldwide averaged land surface temperature was 1.07°C (1.93°F) above the 20th century average of 13.3°C (55.9°F)—the warmest on record.
* It was the warmest April–June (three-month period) on record for the global land and ocean temperature and the land-only temperature. The three-month period was the second warmest for the world’s oceans, behind 1998.
* It was the warmest June and April–June on record for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and all land areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
* It was the warmest January–June on record for the global land and ocean temperature. The worldwide land on average had its second warmest January–June, behind 2007. The worldwide averaged ocean temperature was the second warmest January–June, behind 1998.
* Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to decrease during June 2010. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to develop during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2010.

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Makes You Go Hmm….

Some food for thought to close out your Halloween weekend via care2.

Some of the latest polling shows that a larger percentage of people believe that houses can be haunted than believe that human caused global warming exists (37% to 36%). Among Conservatives, only 18% believe in man made global warming while 28% believe in haunted houses.


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Science Is Wonderful Except…

Ars Technica has an article documenting the strange contradictions between Americans and science as shown by Pew Research Center surveys. What is strange is that while the vast majority (84%) feel that science has been a boon to society and that scientists have had a positive impact (70%) on our lives, their actual findings and theories aren’t thought of quite so highly.

Global Warming

Eighty-four percent of scientists consider the case for anthropogenic climate change to be on solid footing, and over 90 percent were either very or somewhat concerned about it (the discrepancy arises from a those scientists who consider the current warning to be driven primarily by natural events). This is especially striking given that geoscientists were the least represented scientific discipline in the survey, and acceptance of anthropogenic climate change is highest among climatologists.

In contrast, only about half of the public are convinced of the scientific community’s conclusions, and that drops to only 21 percent among those who self-identify as conservative Republicans. Even among the most liberal fraction of the public, however, the numbers are lower than within the scientific community. One reason for this is that only half of the public believes that the scientific community has itself reached agreement on these matters.


But it’s clear that there’s a tremendous amount of confusion on the topic. Only 60 percent of the public thinks that science has reached a consensus on its acceptance of the evidence for evolution (97 percent of scientists think so) and half of those who think that species haven’t evolved say that science doesn’t conflict with their religious beliefs.

And let’s not even get started on stem cell research…

So despite the majority of scientists having very strong science based beliefs in regards to the above examples and our expressed trust in science and scientists in general, many Americans still refuse to believe the results which brings up the $64,000 question. Why?

While the Ars Technica article throws out lots of possibilities, my money is on the dumbing down of our schools led by morons like those in the Texas state board of education who wouldn’t know science if it bit them on the rear and our contining penchant to get the “science” knowledge that we chose to believe from big business, anonomously written web sites, and Sunday sermons. Other thoughts?

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Funding The Deniers

This is just wrong on so many levels.

The House recently passed a climate change bill that includes a provision that would subsidize up to 50% of the cost for retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups.

After a spirited (pun intended) lobbying effort, a group of faith-based organizations has persuaded House movers and shakers to include benefits for religious organizations in the energy bill that passed last week.

At the last minute, at the behest of a coalition led by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, House leaders inserted a provision that would provide subsidies of up to one-half the cost of retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups. It’s a testament to the lobbying clout of faith-based groups, although how far that influence will extend into other issues looming in Congress is an open question.

Lets put aside for a second that it is just plain wrong that US taxpayers could end up funding the energy saving upgrades for churches which would seem to be a clear violation of the First Amendment. The real irony of this vote by the House is the fact that we would be forced to pay for “greening up” the buildings for a group of citizens that include probably the largest percentage of global warming deniers there is. What a crock!

Fortunately the Senate version of the bill does not as of yet include this provision but as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State opines, “What is scary about all this is the continuing influence in Washington, D.C., of pressure groups that support public funding of religion.

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So Who Picks Committee Appointments Anyways?

Illinios Representative John Shimkus has definite ideas about global warming:

“The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood… God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”

So which committee assignments do you think he would be well suited for as part of his Congressional duties? How does Energy and Commerce Committee, including the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials sound?

I guess the committee to promote religious wingnuttery had no vacant positions…

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