Rush Limbaugh, leader of the Republican Party, fires Mitt Romney

Rush Limbaugh In Charge Of GOP

Rush Limbaugh, the de facto leader of the Republican Party, fires Mitt Romney

We all know Rush Limbaugh is the Godfather of the Republican Party. You listen to him, and do what he says, or you’re out. People often say that the President of the United States is the “leader of the free world.” No, sorry. If the POTUS is a Republican, Rush Limbaugh becomes the leader of the free world. Can you think of a scarier thought than Rush Limbaugh calling the shots for the entire planet Earth?

(I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. But I digress.)

Anyway, even when the President is not a Republican, Rush still runs the Republican party. He is now in charge of both the Senate and the House, because if you are a Senator or a House rep, and a Republican, you do what Rush says or you are out.

Similarly, Rush Limbaugh is the gatekeeper for the Republican Party’s process of putting up candidate for president.

Not long ago, Mitt Romney seemed to be indicating that he was thinking about running for President. Shortly after that, he indicated that he thought Anthropogenic Global Warming was for real and important. Then Rush said this:

Rush Limbaugh Ends Mitt Romney’s Presidential Aspirations over Global Warming


Then, Romney said this:

‘After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

And so, in this manner Rush Limbaugh has fired Mitt Romney.

I hate the expression, “Grow a pair.” But, really, Republicans, do grow a pair when you get a chance. This is embarrassing.

Peter Sinclair has the whole story and more, here: One Week after Acknowledging Climate – Romney Out of Race

Elections matter!

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 9.01.18 AMA bunch of biological activity happens, organism reproduce, grow, die. Some of this biomass turns into oil, natural gas, or coal. I’ve left out few details.

During certain periods in the Earth’s history, this happened at a much larger scale that usual, and in certain geographic and geological settings, leading to the eventual formation of huge underground oil reserves, coal fields, gas reservoirs, or bitumen deposits. By the way, some of these 10 million year or so long moments in geological history were probably regional extinction events.

That is how we get fossil Carbon based fuels, for the most part (again, I oversimplify).

An alternative, it seems, is to intervene early in the process. Take the organisms out of the system early, when they have just grown, and turn them into biofuels. Trees or other material can be burned, plant tissues can be converted to liquid fuel or gas, etc. This method is inherently limited compared to using fossil fuels because the fossil fuels were generated over tens or hundreds of millions of years, while this form of biofuel is being generated real time. In order to continue to use energy at the rate we currently use it, with all the energy coming from biofuels, we’d have to be scraping a huge percentage of the output of photosynthesis every day.

To put this in perspective, consider that the total amount of energy that natural systems using photosynthesis on the Earth produce is about six times of what we humans use in energy, from fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro, and various clean energy sources. In other words, if we used only biofuels for our energy, we would have to use one sixth of the energy the entire natural world currently produces, assuming efficiency matched to what nature does. It is likely that some of that use would enhance natural production, or could be used harvested more efficiently, but the differences can’t be large. Maybe we’d only need a seventh, instead of a sixth, of the Earth’s natural photosynthesized production. Or, maybe we would be using it less efficiently and thus need more.

Having said that, there is a certain amount of potential biofuel that goes from some use or another into the trash (or sewer effluence). When we capture that energy, we might be reducing a carbon sink, but we are at the same time using a non-fossil Carbon based fuel source. This includes using discarded cooking oil, or burning sawdust or trash in waste to energy plants.

Justin Gillis at the New York Times has a writeup on a recent report that seems to confirm that there are severe limitations to the use of biofuels. You can read Gillis’ writeup here. The report is here. Following are a few excerpts from the NYT piece.

Western governments have made a wrong turn in energy policy by supporting the large-scale conversion of plants into fuel and should reconsider that strategy, according to a new report from a prominent environmental think tank.

Turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand, the report found. It added that continuing to pursue this strategy — which has already led to billions of dollars of investment — is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population….

The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.12.15 AM

Who is Willie Soon?”

(ADDED: Since there have been so many wonderful questions about the controversial research and related issues, let me point you to this post, which is essentially a link farm to myriad resources for you to read and enjoy.)

According to DeSmogBlog, Willie Wei Hock “Soon is a prominent climate change skeptic who has received much of his research funding from the oil and gas industry.” He thinks the sun causes the climate change we’ve been observing over the last few decades: Continue reading

Prior to the middle of the 20th century there are few really large blizzards recorded for New England. Then they start happening, then they start to increase in frequency. At this point, expect about one every other years, but also, expect that number to increase over time because of global warming.

I made a graph based on information provided in a post at Jeff Master’s Wunderblog.

Big_New_England_Snow_Storms

Tesla_insane_modePeter Sinclair has a post on “Passenger’s Reactions to Tesla’s Insane Mode“.

The electric Tesla is a car that actually DOES the stuff other cars can only do in commercials.

I went to a conference a while back and parked my car at that location. A friend and I then walked from there to a nearby hotel for dinner. His car was parked there. His car was a Tesla.

After dinner… Continue reading

You may remember my story of the Adventure of the Missing Cat. Now, there is a story of a cat that was found dead, stiff, in a pool of blood. Buried. Then later, it got better.

Florida ‘zombie cat’ crawls out of grave

Always use proper methods to determine if the cat is dead.

Owners and neighbors attribute the cat not being dead to “god’s miracle.” That is unlikely. More likely, the cat was not really dead to begin with, don’t you think?

Denial of climate change, as seen here, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Denial of climate change, as seen here, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Imagine you are a Senator in denial of climate change science and you just won re-election by less than 20% of the vote. In six years, about 10% of your voters will be dead, replaced with a different 10% harvested from America’s youth. The dead old white guys were on board with denying climate change, the new voters want you to address climate change. That 10% shift closes that 20% advantage in your voting base. Your political career is over unless you do something about it. People are changing their minds and politicians will eventually follow.

Peter Sinclair has a post at Climate Denial Crock of the Week on Rick Perry’s apparent shift towards thinking climate change is for real. We recently saw a vote in the Senate that has most Senators admitting it is real, though very few Republicans admitted it is human caused. But a few did. One of the most conservative and traditional entities on the planet, The Vatican, is now telling us that not addressing climate change is immoral. Expect at least some US priests and bishops refusing communion to climate change deniers! (Maybe.) The National Hockey League recognizes global warming as a threat to their sport. Pipelines to transport fossil Carbon-based fuels are seen as less and less viable every day. Even utility bosses now routinely see renewable, clean, energy sources as a big part of the future, and the American Petroleum Institute sees anthropogenic global warming as a major threat to our future, which they acknowledge must be addressed by shifting away from … petroleum!

Is cheap oil dooming renewable energy?

It did in the 1980s, when exports were ramped up, prices went down, and a fledgling clean energy industry took a hit. Were that to happen now it would be disastrous.

But it isn’t. From International Business Times:

As oil prices have dropped steadily over the past six months … forecasts for renewables have remained strong. Renewables are still predicted to generate one-third of the nation’s new electricity in the next three years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It’s a promise that investors still seem wary of as shares for solar and wind have trended down on the perception that falling crude prices will threaten renewables once again, according to a post on Forbes by staff from the Environmental Defense Fund, a New York-based advocacy group.

A few key developments … have positioned U.S. renewable energy companies to succeed regardless of spikes or drops in the price of oil. These principles should largely hold true not just for the U.S. but also around the world, according to analysts at Bloomberg. “The collapse in world oil prices in the second half of 2014 will have only a moderate impact on the fast-developing low-carbon transition in the world electricity system,” they said in a statement last month.

One of the reasons for the difference, apparently, is the decoupling of oil and clean energy as sources for electricity. Oil was used for about one sixth of our electricity production in the 1980. Today, fossil Carbon based electricity generation is mainly from coal and natural gas, which have not experienced a drop in prices.

Read more here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 1.13.43 PMSarah Palin is destine, I think, to be the Tea Party’s own Harold Stassen, a perennial candidate and, ultimately a joke. Except I think Palin is far more advanced in the joke area.

It is reported that Palin’s speech at the recently held Iowa gathering of potential candidates was so bad it left even supporters shaking their heads. The BBC reports:

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York calls her 33-minute speech “long, rambling and at times barely coherent”.

Ms Palin spoke about media bias, the film American Sniper, Barack Obama, energy policy, Margaret Thatcher and women in politics, among other topics. And while she did supply a steady diet of her trademark zingers – “The man can only ride you when your back is bent” – the end result was something more akin to avante garde, improvisational performance art.

“By the time Palin finished speaking, it was hard for anyone to believe she truly is ‘seriously interested’ in running for president,” York concluded.

I am very disappointed because I thought a race involving both Palin and Trump would be hilarious.

A while ago the National Hockey League issued a report expressing concern over global warming. With open air, inexpensive and easy to produce “ice” (the term of art for where you play hockey) being an essential gateway drug for the sport, anthropogenic global warming represents a real threat. I wrote about that here.

Today, the Minneapolis Department of Parks and Recreation closed outdoor skating and hockey rinks in the city because of warm weather, and this winter we’ve had the usual (recently elevated?) number of cars and people crashing through lake ice.

Regionally, there have been one or two (or more?) annual ice fishing contests permanently cancelled because they were being cancelled due to warm weather frequently enough that it was no longer worth supporting the effort.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.59.57 AMThis was sent to me by a colleague as an excellent example of highly disciplined and effective messaging.

But I saw two other things: 1) A person who should be running for office just because of her ability to stay on message; and 2) a person who should be mayor or governor or something because she seems quite willing to push back against the constant, incremental, creep towards a police state every time some thing or another happens.

FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Last night, in the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope, two police officers were shot by a long-gun wielding man, who was immediately killed by other police officers. Here’s the story as we know it:

Two New Hope police recruits were at the City Council meeting being sworn in. They left the City Council room, and in the lobby outside the room, police in the lobby fired on by a man wielding a rifle or other sort of long gun. Police officers returned fire and killed that man. Two police officers were hit, are in hospital, no one else was killed.

There are a number of unknowns at this point such as were the recruits the cops that were hit? Who was the perp and why did he do that? These questions will be cleared up in due course, I’m sure.

But there are two other questions that I have. First, why was city council member John Elder packing a handgun? In this photograph from the scene, he is seen holding his pistol:

New Hope City Council Member John Elder draws his pistol at a City Council Meeting in response to hearing gunshots outside. He is also heard telling technicians to turn off the security cameras that were operating i the room at the time.

New Hope City Council Member John Elder draws his pistol at a City Council Meeting in response to hearing gunshots outside. He is also heard telling technicians to turn off the security cameras that were operating i the room at the time.

So, my first question is, why is a New Hope City Council member packing a gun at the meeting? Continue reading

Keystone XL is effectively obsolete.


James Lenfesty, a retired editori
Oil Spill

Fracking spills, earthquakes, pipeline spills, global warming, add up to making Keystone XL and similar projects a bad idea.

al writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has an Op Ed in that paper suggesting that by the time Keystone XL pipeline is built it would be obsolete. He acknowledges that by out dated reckoning the pipeline might have been a good idea, but not by modern standards.

… zero carbon emissions is what the times require, for carbon emissions are dangerously altering the global climate and the chemistry and temperature of oceans and lakes, endangering almost every living thing.

Which is why I, a 70-year-old grandfather, along with thousands of other citizens, have pledged that if the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline is approved, we will peacefully contest every foot of its construction across the heart of America.

He also discusses oil trains and carbon taxes. Go check it out.

Pipelines like Keystone XL would mainly carry costly crude

Keystone XL Protest

Keystone XL Protest

One of the costs of that crude is the side effects of mining and fracking. And, a new cost is being added to fracking; liability for earthquakes caused by it.

In a case expected to set a precedent for future earthquake claims in Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court will consider whether two oil companies can be held liable in state court for injuries a Prague woman suffered during the 2011 earthquake.

An attorney for one of the companies has said the lawsuit, if successful, would cause energy companies to abandon wastewater disposal wells across the state.

“These wells will become economic and legal-liability pariahs,” attorney Robert Gum told a Lincoln County judge during an October hearing in the case. Gum represents New Dominion LLC, a Tulsa-based oil and gas company, in the lawsuit.

Tulsa World has the story.

Not all pipeline spills are oil

Here’s an update on a North Dakota salt water pipeline spill:

More than 4 million gallons of a mixture of fresh water, brine and oil have been pumped from the area affected by the largest saltwater spill of North Dakota’s current energy boom, according to a report issued Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

…brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is much saltier than sea water and may also contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations. Some previous saltwater spills have taken years to clean up….

The mixture of fresh water… is being transported to a well site to be injected underground. Saltwater is usually pumped underground for permanent storage …

…The latest spill is almost three times larger than one that fouled a portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in July. Another million-gallon saltwater spill in 2006, near Alexander, is still being cleaned up nearly a decade later.

Democratic state lawmakers have promised to file legislation that would mandate additional monitoring and safeguards for pipelines that carry briny oilfield wastewater…

The story is here.

Keystone XL Debate Does Not End

Meanwhile, in the US Senate, the current Keystone XL pipeline debate has continued, moving a likely vote to next week. The reason is that several Democrats who actually support the pipeline wanted to continue the debate, joining the majority of Democrats who also want to see the debate continue. This may reflect a strategy to be to get as many pro-Carbon fuel advocates on record as being on the wrong side of an issue many expect to turn over during the next two years. This is largely done through the amendment process, which requires Senators (if the amendments come to a vote) to put their position on record. This record, in turn, can make or break later election bids. From The Hill:

“We don’t want Sen. McConnell especially after all the hop-de-do about an open process, open amendments, to shut it down at his whim. We are not ready to do that yet, there are more amendments pending,” [Democrat Chuck] Schumer said….

Schumer wouldn’t say how many more amendment votes Democrats would like to see. Over 150 amendments have been filed to the Keystone bill.

Ahead of Monday’s vote, McConnell laughed at Democrats for wanting more amendments, arguing they have had more opportunities to add measures to the underlying bill than Republicans had all of last year.

We shall see. He who laughs last votes first.

Years ago before there was a lot of paleo climate data, there were some rather simplistic graphs of ancient climate used to make basic points like “around this time it was warmer than around this other time when it was cooler. Maybe. One of those graphs depicts the now debunked “Medieval Warm Period.” (We now call this the Medieval Climate Anomaly, which included both warm zones and cool zones, was on average, globally, kind of warm, but not as warm as today.)

One of those graphs is shown here, but I’ve carefully labeled it so it will not be misunderstood:

So-Called_Medieval_Warm_Period_Not_A_Real_Thing

This graph was shown on the Senate Floor by James Inhofe, the famous climate science denier from Oklahoma. This graph has been long discredited. Senator Inhofe should be censured for this.

You should know that this graph has a long and interesting history … Continue reading

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley

Lord Matthew White Ridley will be familiar to most of you as the person who wrote a really good book on evolutionary biology, but later became a “lukewarmist,” a variety of climate change denier who claims global warming is real but not important. To him, this may apply. He is armored in protective privilege as a wealthy member of the royal class of Britain, and he makes some of his money mining coal on his own land.

Ridley has made a remarkable claim that leaves some of us wondering what his next move should be, and what it will, in fact, be. Continue reading

PotentialSeaLevelRise2Sea level rise is a serious issue, and the sea is rising because of global warming. How bad can it get?

The USGS has estimated the potential contribution of melting ALL of the glacial ice around the world to sea level rise. This is very rough, because many different factors affect sea level, including ocean temperature, gravity, and current. But this gives a rough idea. If the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses continues apace, we could actually see the eventual melt of all of this ice. If we stop releasing these greenhouse gasses in a reasonable time, it is unlikely that these very large numbers will be achieved. But it is important to realize the potential, to understand that the amount of available ice to melt into the sea is so large that that factor in and of itself will not come to our rescue.

I made a map, which is also very approximate, indicating about where the sea will reach in much of North America, and posted it here.

So, the following data are from the USGS. The total is Continue reading

ClimateChangeAndAgricultureWe are seeing more studies linking climate change to potential or actual changes in agricultural production, and not in a good way.

Midwest Agriculture and Economic Risks of Climate Change

A study in Iowa suggests that increased high temperatures will have a negative effect on crops. From the Des Moines Register:

The report’s grim assessment for the state, designed to look at the business risks from climate change, is similarly gloomy for other Midwest states and their largest cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.

Agriculture will be particularly hurt by climate change, it said, with corn, soybeans and wheat yields slashed as much as 85 percent by the next century in the leading farm states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. Livestock also is expected to experience reduced productivity and other challenges.

Continue reading

Cindy Jacobs

Cindy Jacobs Saves Texas from Native American Cannibals

It is like Pet Cemetery! From Right Wing Watch:

Just as Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his 2012 presidential bid with a prayer rally called “The Response,” fellow Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is set to lead his own “Response” prayer event this Saturday in Baton Rouge. Many of the pastors and conservative activists who backed the 2011 rally credited Perry’s actions with various miracles, raising the bar for Jindal’s event, which is being organized by the very same people.

Unfortunately for Perry, the various miracles produced by his prayer rally did not include producing even a single delegate in his disastrous presidential campaign, but it did save Texas from the scourge of Native American cannibals, at least according to Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet who endorsed both “Response” prayer rallies.

Jacobs said that Native Americans who “ate people” produced a “curse” in Texas, until it was healed by Perry’s prayer rally:

Here’s the video. DO NOT BE DRINKING COFFEE OR OTHER LIQUIDS. Continue reading

Climate Change Hoax Guru Jim Inhofe

Gets his science from the Bible, invented the term “climate change hoax”.

He’s paid for by big oil, he takes up hours of the Senate’s time going on and on with the most senseless drivel ever heard in that building (see video below) and he has single handedly probably done more to stop action in this country on climate change. That clearly makes him one of the worst people in the world. I’m rather pissed off at the people of Oklahoma. They sent him there. They should be ashamed.

Emily Atkin has an update on Jim The Moron Inhofe’s latest ranting about the “climate change hoax”.

Continue reading

5970-fullThis is an important step in keeping the Carbon in the ground.

The Mojave Solar Project has been online and fully operational since December, but today, a grand opening ceremony celebrates this massive achievement. The plant uses advanced parabolic trough technology that has made the 280 MegaWatt plant one of the most innovative projects in the country and the second-largest plant of its kind in the world. Abengoa, owner of the Mojave Solar Project, is hosting a celebration

Read the rest here.

Car makers and dealers have to get with the program.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is suing the state revenue department for allowing electric car maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers rather than using a dealership as a middleman.

The car dealers, including Reuther Ford Inc. and Osage Industries Inc., filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court claiming the department violated state law by licensing the California-based manufacturer as a franchise.

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Michelle Gleba said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Car manufacturers typically provide cars to a franchised dealership to sell, but the department in 2013 licensed Tesla to sell its vehicles in a University City facility.

The lawsuit filed this week claims the department “created a non-level playing field where one entity — Tesla — is subject to preferential treatment and all bona fide dealers are discriminated against.”

Read more here

Two interesting stories about racism in North America:

McDonald’s sued for racial discrimination in Virginia

Ten former McDonald’s workers have sued it in the Virginia federal court for racial and sexual discrimination.

The suit alleges that some employees were fired from one franchise because there were “too many black people”.

It is being backed by a group campaigning for better wages for fast-food workers and the local Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

#BBCTrending: Is Winnipeg Canada’s most racist city?

The mayor of Winnipeg was surrounded by indigenous people as he spoke to the press Thursday – the same day his city was declared the most racist in Canada.

“Ignorance, hatred, intolerance, racism exist everywhere,” Mayor Brian Bowman said, fighting back tears.

“Winnipeg has a responsibility right now to turn this ship around and change the way we all relate – aboriginal and non-aboriginal, Canadians alike from coast to coast to coast. … To do so, we have to shine a light on the problem we do have in Winnipeg, and the problem we share with communities across this nation, because without the light, we can’t see what we’re fighting.”

Since his inauguration in November 2014, Mayor Brian Bowman has been seen as a bridge builder.

He is Winnipeg’s first indigenous mayor, and is the first mayor to acknowledge in a speech (at his swearing-in ceremony and on Thursday) that Winnipeg was built on the traditional homeland of the Metis nation, who are descendents of indigenous people and European settlers.

This is crazy. I live, apparently, near one of these zones, and for several years lived right in the middle of one. No one ever told me to not “go”!!! Shouldn’t there be signs or something?

Anyway, now Paris may sue FOX over this:

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said she plans to sue Fox News for a broadcast that described parts of the French capital as “no-go zones” for non-Muslims. But is it possible for a city to take out a libel action against a TV channel, asks Thomas Dahlhaus?

John Abraham recently quipped that we were going to run out of room on the y-Axis for displaying measurement of Ocean Heat Content. Aaron Huertas over at Union for Concerned Scientist quipped that it was like “Jaws” … “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” So I figured we should really have a bigger meme:

GonnaNeedBiggerChart

Original chart and concept of running out of yroom from here.
Scientist Photo Credit: Curious Expeditions via Compfight cc

And, for completeness: