Hot enough for ya? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. More on that on today's BradCast, but we lead off with some slightly better news on accountability for a few Team Trump wingnuts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Rudy Giuliani admitted in court documents filed on Tuesday night that he made "false" claims about Georgia poll workers Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman. The filing was part of their defamation suit against the disgraced Trump attorney and former NYC Mayor. They were the two women who risked their lives to valiantly help tally votes during the COVID pandemic in 2020 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, only to be falsely targeted by Giuliani and Donald Trump (and then their minions) for mistallying ballots. Trump called Freeman a "vote hustler." Giuliani falsely charged the two African-American women were passing USB drives back and forth in the counting room "like vials of heroin or cocaine". (In fact, it was Freeman passing a ginger mint to her daughter.) Rudy's legal admission, however, appears to be an attempt at avoid turning over critical discovery documents, including emails from during the period when he and Trump were actually attempting to steal the 2020 election. We'll see if his ploy works. More to come in that suit, I suspect.
Another Trump grifter was sentenced to federal prison on Tuesday for stealing money from donors to the private, MAGA "We Build the Wall" project. Colorado "businessman" Timothy Shea was sentenced to five years and three months after two other men who also organized the scheme were previously sentenced to multiple years in prison. All three were charged along with Trump's former top advisor Steve Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump for this crime on his way out of office. Bannon, however, has since been charged for related crimes by New York state.
Then there is the dope Ammon Bundy. Remember him? (Look him up.) He's an old school wingnut who has now been found liable by a jury for more than $50 million as part of a defamation suit filed against him by a hospital in Idaho that he and fellow rightwingers falsely accused, according to the Idaho Statesman, of "working with the government to take children away from Christian families to be sexually abused and given to gay couples."
That, however, is the good news today. As to the rest of it, well...
The ocean water off the tip of Florida now appears to have hit an all-time record for seawater anywhere on Planet Earth since man has been here anyway. Literally hot tub-like temps of 101.1 and 100.2 Fahrenheit were recorded over the past two days. That, as a new study of ocean currents published by the journal Nature on Tuesday finds a key part of the Gulf Stream known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (or AMOC) could collapse entirely by mid-century or even as early as 2025 as waters continue to warm. The result would be catastrophic and, according to scientists, "affect every person on the planet."
We explain what that means --- and doesn't --- along with a bunch of newly shattered heat, wildfire and flooding records this summer by way of prelude to today's guest, meteorologist GUY WALTON, 30-year Weather Channel veteran, tracker of worldwide climate records, and author of the World of Thermo illustrated children's book series on our quickly worsening climate crisis.
"We are smashing more records than usual," Walton tells me today, "except for the United States. Globally there have been more" broken records than usual this Summer. He does stick his neck out to predict this one: "I have no doubt that July of 2023 will go down, when the figures get computed, as the warmest month in recorded history. Not just the warmest July, but the warmest month ever."
While Walton has been observing and reporting on these new records for years, he concedes there is one that he didn't expect, at least so soon. "That warm water temperature down near Miami of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Didn't think I'd live to see something like that."
Other landmarks, such as "the disappearance of Arctic sea ice," he explains, "was not predicted until about the year 2050. Now it's going to be more like 2030 [or] 2040." That is part of our discussion about how climate scientists tend to be quite conservative in their predictions, despite rightwing climate deniers who falsely claim they are just "liberal grifters" trying to make a buck on the extremely lucrative career (insert rolling eyes emoji here) of climate science.
Other topics of note discussed with Walton today: His attempt to "kill two proverbial birds with one stone" by his naming of major heat waves after oil companies. (We are currently suffering through Heat Wave Chevron); The extraordinary number of climate deniers who (incredibly) still exist at this point. ("I find that a large number of climate deniers actually failed their science classes when they were going to high school, because they can't read charts [or] very simple graphics."); And the dark turn taken in the third, recently published book in his World of Thermo climate change series for kids, this one titled World of Thermo: Grim Reaping.
Finally today, some listener comments in response to my conversation last week with E&E News climate impacts journalist Thomas Frank on the "canary in the coal mine" climate change-fueled home insurance crisis now roiling the state of Florida. As listener Wendy noted, what is happening there now has been predicted for years, as the insurance crisis threatens to become a home mortgage crisis, as also discussed with Frank. She notes that climate and investment researcher Spencer Glendon offered brief, yet remarkably prescient remarks on these points during a Sohn Institute conference back in 2019. We shared a few on-point minutes today from Glendon's 2019 remarks at that conference. His full 15 minutes, however, are well-worth listening to and can be viewed right here...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)