On today's BradCast, I’m happy to sit in for Brad again with a holiday offering and a former Vice President of the United States. [Audio link posted below.]
As the latest blob of crap --- the new tax law --- floats out of Congress and the White House, how about a change of pace: a little hope? Not fairy-tale and pixie-dust hope, but realistic ideas for tackling former VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE tells me is the biggest challenge ever to face the human race: global warming, aka climate change.
It seems the right note to strike here on The BradCast as well, when everything is pretty damned bleak. Gore is a walking lesson in how to realistically assess our situation, then push forward with what can be changed. As he says, change can take longer than you expect, then suddenly come faster (and better) than you hoped.
Special thanks to the Kepler's Literary Foundation in Menlo Park, California, who co-produced the original event, and to Brad for his enthusiasm in bringing you highlights of it on The BradCast...
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One Republican senator breaks ranks to support Obama's Clean Power Plan; Illegal deforestation causing killer air pollution in Indonesia; Washington DC gets creative with the excrement flowing out of the nation's capitol; PLUS: Senator James Inhofe has a plan to derail international climate talks... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The House science committee is worse than the Benghazi committee; Coal company sues over 'destructive' EPA ozone standards; Rubbish haul found in stomach of dead whale; Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows; Study Faults E.P.A. for Toxic Wastewater Spill in Colorado Rockies; Monsanto Clears USDA Regulatory Hurdle for New GMO Corn; ExxonMobil Targets Journalists; Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100 ... PLUS: Interactive: Greenland Is Melting Away ... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast, I was joined by Seth Stoughton, former cop and now asst. professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, to discuss the "Guardian v. Warrior" cop mentality as displayed in this past weekend's viral video of a pool party gone bad in suburban McKinney, TX.
Stoughton, who teaches criminal law and police regulation, analyzed the video for Talking Points Memo and explained what lessons might be learned from both the behavior of the helpful ("guardian") cops seen in the video and the other ("warrior") cop mentality as displayed by McKinney Officer Eric Casebolt who is seen inappropriately roughing up and threatening a number of African-American teens during the incident.
"Originally the warrior mindset referred to the mental tenacity, the sheer determination that an officer had to have to survive a life and death struggle," Stoughton tells me. "Now what we see, the warrior mindset refers to a more hyper-vigilant, often-aggressive approach to policing where everyone that the officer deals with is a potential threat."
But our discussion is much broader than all of that, as we talk about how these lessons apply to police everywhere in the U.S., whether the spate of recent videos of racist and/or rogue cops might actually be good news over all, and what are some steps that may improve things for everybody in the future.
Also today: Quantifying the startling epidemic of shootings by police in the U.S.; Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleads "not guilty"; Breaking news about marriage equality out of Arkansas; And climate change deniers gather to continue deluding themselves at a "climate change conference" sponsored by fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute loons in Washington, D.C...
While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A snowball's chance in the US Senate; Warm winter records shattered in the US West; Two big oil companies call for a price on carbon emissions; PLUS: In 1983, scientists predicted global warming would trigger unrest in the Middle East. A new study proves it.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Hundreds of illegal oil waste pits discovered in CA; Exxon Mobil settles with NJ over toxic waste; Keeping the dust down in Owens Valley, CA; Fracking opponents getting increased scrutiny from police; Flame retardants in hand-me-down foam products ... PLUS: As the Colorado River Runs Dry: Ongoing Battle Between Urban, Rural Water Users... and much, MUCH more! ...
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, offered the following persuasive argument on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday to underscore his case that "global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"...
Pretty rock solid evidence. Nonetheless, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was somehow able to muster up a response...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: VETOED: Obama nixes Keystone XL pipeline bill; EXPOSED: prominent climate denier researcher funded by fossil fuel industry; BUSTED: Duke Energy clipped by the Feds; Sorry, deniers: Climate change is not caused by the sun; PLUS: It's GNR's 6th Anniversary!.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
It's our 6th anniversary! THANK YOU for sharing it with us! Please help us to continue to connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!!! PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Obama is right: climate change kills more people than terrorism; New U.S. heat records outnumber new cold records; Solar energy now unstoppable force; White House proposes first-ever Arctic oil drill rules; Roll up those windows: traffic pollution is killing you; Bjorn Lomborg: we must pollute the world's poor with coal pollution; Marines graduate into solar industry... PLUS: The true impact of not recycling your old electronics... and much, MUCH more! ...
For years, top climate science deniers, such as Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), have been citing a handful of folks like Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon for their willingness to dispute the central thesis of global warming, as shared by the overwhelming consensus of world climatologists.
Now, however, according to documents published over the weekend by the New York Times, it appears that Soon has been accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars (out of some $1.2 million he's received, in fact) from the fossil fuel industry --- including at least $409,000 from coal giant Southern Company and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Soon was also paid hundreds of thousands by ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, the Kochs' Donors Trust and others for his reports and appearances.
While some of those payments were previously known, it appears that Soon failed to disclose many of these extraordinary conflicts of interest when publishing his scientific papers concerning discredited global warming theories and when serving as an "expert" witness at Congressional hearings.
"At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure," the Times reports, "and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work."
Soon is often incorrectly identified as a "Harvard astrophysicist" when appearing on right-wing news outlets, even though he is an aerospace engineer with "little formal training in climatology," according to the paper. His part-time employers at The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are, to say the least, not at all happy about Soon's very serious apparent ethical breaches...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Obama's State of the Union focuses on climate change; Republicans' sneaky move to give the Keystone XL pipeline a new name; Yellowstone River pipeline spill spews oil and cancer-causing benzene; PLUS: Yes, Republicans vote climate change is not a hoax --- but there's a catch... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Global nuclear decommissioning costs spiral; Good news: India's tiger population rebounds; What's the best way to drill for oil in a mostly untouched Alaskan tundra? Feds disagree; Organic farmers say pesticide drift contaminates and kills; US research labs lets livestock suffer in quest for profit; NM county's fracking ban struck down; Cutbacks in the Oil Patch... PLUS: VIDEO: “..a Bloodbath”: Efficiency, Renewables and Smart Grid will Kill Old Energy... and much, MUCH more! ...
It's been a rough year for the fossil fuel-funded climate change denial industry. First, their long-loved China canard fell apart. The dupes working (either paid or unpaid) for the industry had long insisted that greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the U.S. wouldn't make any difference anyway, since China, which surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest CO2 emitter in 2007, would never cut emissions.
That favorite excuse for continuing to prop up the most profitable and dangerous industry on Earth came crashing down two months ago when China and President Obama struck a deal that would radically cut carbon emissions in both nations, including China's commitment to create enough renewable energy over the next 15 years to power an entire United States. (Begging the question: "If they can do it, why can't we?!")
But with the confirmation from both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Friday that 2014 was the hottest year for planet Earth in recorded history, another favorite denialist ruse has also come crashing down.
"The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880," NOAA's announcement reads. NASA's own statement, citing both their own and NOAA's "separate analyses," echoes: "The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880."
NOAA goes on to report that "the annually-averaged temperature" in 2014 "was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average, easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F)."
"While some Democrats may be convinced global warming is continuing to occur, the scientific record does not agree," Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), arguably the nation's most powerful elected climate denier and now Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee, lied to the nation on the floor of the U.S. Senate in July of 2014 [PDF]. "In fact, for the past 15 years temperatures across the globe have not increased. Let's think about that. Is anyone listening here? Temperatures have not increased over the last 15 years."
That line, about temperatures not increasing over the past 15 or 16 or 17 years (sometimes it's 20, depending on how the deniers like to do their pretend math) was a lie when uttered in previous years, and with the new announcements from the world's preeminent measurers of such things, it'll be even more difficult to continue to tell the same lie --- not that they won't try...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Election 2014 Environmental Democalypse Now: get ready for the Republican hegemonic hellscape; Climate denier caucus now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Energy storage breakthrough revealed; Fracking frenzy brings fears of boom-bust cycle; Peak water in U.S.; New Koch Industries video: "we rearrange your polar bears"; End the GMO madness: try mandatory labeling; GOP wins deal blow to US climate change leadership internationally; Maine's shrimp season cancelled for lack of shrimp ... PLUS: The biggest loser in this election is the climate - and the children of 2100 ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Australia breaks heat records - again; BP oil spill left big oily 'bathtub ring' on seafloor; Shell wants 5 more years to drill in the Arctic; How can we get power to the poor without frying the planet?; More storms mean more sewage overflows in Wisconsin; Japan town votes to re-start nuclear plants; Amid CA drought, bruising battle over water ... PLUS: U.N. climate change draft report warns risks of 'irreversible' damage... and much, MUCH more! ...
We mocked it ourselves a bit, suggesting that Democrats might have carried out such a stunt during the day, instead of in the middle of the night when most people were asleep, if they really wanted folks to notice. In the meantime, our friend Kenny Pick of Turn Up the Night has been slogging through CSPAN's 17-hour video posting of the session and sends us a clip that caught his eye.
In it, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), co-sponsor along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) of the Senate #Up4Climate event, focuses a laser light on the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision as a turning point --- a very bad one --- for climate change denialism, specifically on the flip-flopping by Republicans on an issue they actually did once appear to care about...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Green News Special Report: Devastation as another record tornado hits Moore, OK - The city wakes up to the day after, questions about resilience and the influence of climate change ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Midwest drought: Wells dry, fertile plains turn to dust; Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about; Native chiefs walk out of Keystone XL negotiations; US hits 100k plug-in vehicles; Feds again delay restarting San Onofre nuke plant; Remember when IRS targeted environmental groups?; US approves natural gas export terminal; After 30 years, Camp Lejeune coming clean on toxic water ... PLUS: We Have Met the Unknown Unknowns --- and They are Us ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Yesterday's horrific, tragic and enormous tornado in Moore, OK has been described as "the biggest, most destructive tornado in the history of the world."
In its wake, many are questioning the relationship between such monster storms and climate change. Here's a statement from Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in response to that question, as obtained via email today by Peter Sinclair (he, of the geat Climate Denial Crock of the Week website):
Of course tornadoes are very much a weather phenomenon. They come from certain thunderstorms, usually super-cell thunderstorms that are in a wind shear environment that promotes rotation. The main climate change connection is via the basic instability of the low level air that creates the convection and thunderstorms in the first place.
Warmer and moister conditions are the key for unstable air.
The climate change effect is probably only a 5 to 10% effect in terms of the instability and subsequent rainfall, but it translates into up to a 32% effect in terms of damage.
(It is highly nonlinear).
So there is a chain of events and climate change mainly affects the first link: the basic buoyancy of the air is increased. Whether that translates into a super-cell storm and one with a tornado is largely chance weather.
So, in short, Trenberth seems to suggest that while one cannot directly "blame" climate change itself for any particular storm, the altered weather patterns, thanks to global warming and the increased moisture in the air, increase, fairly radically, the probability of such storms and, in turn, their size and destructive power.
Or, if you prefer, you can listen to leading climate science denier Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma who has said many times in the past that concerns about man-made climate change are nothing more than "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and nothing to worry about.
While we haven't heard him say as much today yet, for some odd reason, he has explained that he --- like his fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, will support federal disaster relief funding for his state, unlike their vote against federal disaster relief funding for the East Coast after Superstorm Sandy last year. Why? Because, as Inhofe explained today, the money for his state won't simply be a "slush fund", as he described the relief for the millions of East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy. "That won't happen in Oklahoma," he said.
Meanwhile, Coburn (who is also a climate change denier), after also voting against relief for Hurricane Sandy while tens of thousands were left homeless on the East Coast in the middle of winter, slammed those who charged hypocrisy in his promise of federal relief "without delay" for his own OK constituents.
"It is crass," his office said in a statement to reporters, "for critics to play disaster aid politics when first responders are pulling victims from the rubble."
By Coburn's reckoning, apparently, the time to "play disaster aid politics" is a few days or months later, as he did with Sandy aid, when victims were freezing and without power or homes.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Scientists warn Congress of climate change impacts...while Republicans still insist it ain't happening!; Conflict in Canada over tar sands oil pipeline; Justice for survivors of Camp Le Jeune's toxic water; PLUS: Beef industry's beef with the USDA ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What the Olympics can teach about going green; IRS exempts tar sands crude oil from spill tax; BP Gulf Oil Spill: Dispersants may have hurt food chain; EPA can't regulate CAFOs it can't find; Global wind energy to grow 40% by 2017; NREL: Solar has most potential in US; How much excess CO2 can the planet absorb?; Melting Greenland eyed for mineral riches; Frackers in your backyard ... PLUS: Nano Breakthrough Paves Way for Super Cheap Solar Panels ... and much, MUCH more! ...