After the astounding results of the Iowa Caucuses, some thoughts. Larry David will host SNL this week and Bernie Sanders is rumored to make a cameo. Good timing with the New Hampshire primary only a few days away.
BUT… I will definitely be able to link this week’s prediction that spring will come EARLY by both Punxsutawny Phil in Pennsylvania and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia to climate change and global warming, which will still give me a chance to challenge Bernie Sander’s claim that climate change is a more serious “national security” threat to our country than ISIS.
Interestingly though, in Iowa at least, national security was LESS important an issue than jobs, the economy, income inequality, social ljustice, and health care. At least on the democratic side. On the Republican side, over 67% of the voters said their main reason for picking the candidate was that person had “the same values as me.” Donald Trump only did well among the demographic group that said that immigration or the economy were their number one issues and main reasons for voting.
The “three way tie” between Cruz, Trump, and Rubio really raises the stakes for next Tuesday in New Hampshire. A strong second place showing by Rubio could set the stage for a long drawn out battle between the establishment candidate (Rubio) and the champions of the “angry white men” Trump and Cruz.
I have a feeling that “New Hampshire Values” are not that much different than “New York Values” and that Cruz will not do as well in NH as in Iowa where over half the people responding to a CNN Entrance poll said that they considered themselves “born again” or “evangelicals.” If Rubio surges to second place in NH by next Tuesday, we will have a real horse race on our hands.
So… back to the old groundhog/woodchuck for a minute. Upon further research this morning, it turns out NOAA has its own Groundhog page which is very interesting. The astounding fact on this page is they say that Phil was WRONG over 70 percent of the time! You remember in my earlier post when I said it is a “win-win” proposition. So how could anyone, especially NOAA, quantitatively state whether the prognostication of a woodchuck were accurate or not??
WELL, as it turns out…. there **IS** some quantitative data which shows that something is AMISS with the climate in the USA.
AND as it turns out…. Phil’s human handlers have incorrectly translated Phil’s wood-chuck-ese because the “official” prediction over the years has said that winter would NOT end early more than the other way around. In fact, the “official” tally from Punxsutawny has been for an early spring ONLY 17 times out of the last 102 years(!).
According to NOAA’s own data for the past 102 years, the U.S. national temperature in the month of March has been ABOVE average in 75 of the past 100 years. So if you use that metric as the “predictor” of a so-called “early spring” then Phil’s data has NOT agreed with it. BUT what ELSE does this TELL you???
In a way, this is saying that SPRING has been coming EARLIER and earlier EVERY year for the past 102 years- but WHY??
It tells you that nationally, in CONUS, average temperatures have been RISING steadily for the past 100 years. Global “warming” itself is not in contest- it is irrefutable. What is refutable is to what extent man’s contribution with air pollution and CO2 emissions has contributed to the acceleration of global warming. And even acknowledging the significance of man’s contribution is the scientific consensus, what has NOT been proven is whether this is a BAD thing.
Hear me out (I am NOT a global warming “denier”)…
Around 26,000 years ago at the height of the Ice Age in North America, the ice sheet reached the 38th parallel, which means Iowa and New Hampshire were both buried under glaciers. The entire country of Canada did not even exist. Then 19,000 years ago, global WARMING began with NO INPUT from humans. At the point 13,000 years ago, this warming accelerated even further (with no human input) and the ice sheet began to retreat more rapidly from its southern extent at 38 degrees lattitude (where I live now) to the north. Was this a BAD THING? The entire geology of Iowa is based on “moraines” and “drift plains.” The southern Iowa “tall grass prairie” is a glacial drift plane caused by the receding of the Wisconsinian Glacier which was part of the Laurentian ice sheet. The rolling hills of central Iowa are caused by “moraines” which were alternating deposits of soil and debris that were left by the melting glacier as it retreated at an uneven rate.
See here is my point. WE would not BE HERE without GLOBAL WARMING. The warming phase that began 19,000 years ago that caused the current “interglacial” is continuing as it has for thousands of years due to normal meteorological processes, and we are LUCKY that we are living near the PEAK of the WARM phase.
SO what is the BIG RISK if global warming continues? Variations in climate and temperature should be EXPECTED. They are NORMAL. Coastlines change and move. Rainfall patterns shift periodically. Rising temperatures WILL produce a more ARID climate in SOME areas, and a more WET climate in others. Why is this BAD? Why is this something to be FEARED?
[Rant ON] Because… if it changes TOO FAST, then the government will not be able to CONTROL it, and the POWER ELITE which currently controls the means of production of ENERGY, will not be able to PROFIT from it. The “billionaire class” (one of the best new phrases of 2015, which will continue to be a big word in 2016) who have their CA$H invested in casinos at the Jersey Shore (Donald who?) and other “risky” investments in unstable areas …. if it all goes to HELL in a HANDBASKET at the SAME TIME, the insurance companies will not be able to process all the claims and the banking system will CRASH again. And who will the people BLAME for this mess? The government. So… it is in the government’s interest, for its own self preservation, to brainwash the people into thinking that it is coming out with these so-called “Green” initiatives for the benefit of the ENVIRONMENT, when in reality it is to consolidate the power in the hands of the oligarchy. [Rant OFF]
Coincidentally, I watched “The China Syndrome” last night on cable, the one from 1979 with Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon, Wilford Brimley, and a great supporting cast.
They hit all the right buttons in this movie- very well written screenplay- maybe just as relevant today than when it came out the same year as Three Mile Island. This movie had everything:
- A fat cat “billionaire class” dude running the electric utility.
- A corrupt construction company which falsifies the x-rays of the pipe welds in the reactor when they built the plant.
- The corporate execs at the power company do a rush job on the NRC investigation of the “incident” because the hearings to approve a second reactor are going on and every day they delay will cost a half million dollars.
- Jack Lemmon’s character is the shift supervisor in the control room; he is the one who discovers the bogus paperwork from the contractor who built the plant, so he tries to take the falsified x-rays to the media, but the construction company sends a goon squad to bump him off.
- The guy who runs the television station tells Jane Fonda “not to worry her pretty little head” about all the legal stuff and won’t take her seriously as an investigative reporter because she is a woman.
- Michael Douglas with the beard and long hair is the cameraman who filmed the incident, gets all indignant when the television station execs try to cover up the story so they won’t get sued, so he steals the film from the vault and takes it to the NRC himself.
Great movie! Also it reminded me that Jack Lemmon was such a great actor. In some of the scenes in the control room, he says volumes with just the look on his face. Wilford Brimley was very good too. This was the first movie where I remember Michael Douglas being taken seriously as a movie star, even after being on “The Streets of San Francisco” on TV. The guy who played the “fat cat” CEO of the electric utility looked like Karl Malden to me at first, but it was a different actor.
And of course you know my personal connection to the incident at TMI, right?
Three Mile Island accident – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In my fuzzy memory, I thought the movie came out AFTER Three Mile Island, but in fact, the movie had been in theaters two weeks when the TMI incident happened in March 1979. Back then they released blockbuster movies in the month of March- no wonder it didn’t do that great at the box office when it first came out. But that means the screen play, in which the near meltdown was caused in part by a stuck-open valve, in effect PREDICTED what would really happen at TMI.
The Three Mile Island accident was a nuclear meltdown which occurred on March 28, 1979, in reactor number 2 of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station. I didn’t go to college in Philadelphia until the fall of 1979, so I hadn’t met my wife Susan yet, but her mother’s family is from a small town in Pennsylvania called Middletown which is a few miles south of Harrisburg next to the Susquehanna river. That means Susan’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins who live in Dauphin county were all in the area affected by the release of radioactive steam, and her grandparents had to come to stay with them in Philadlephia for a few weeks when the area was evacuated.
So you can say this incident was a little TOO CLOSE TO HOME for members of my immediate family, and is yet another example of an incident in my life that was RIPPED FROM TODAYS HEADLINES and I have a close personal connection to people who were directly involved. In this case, nobody died, and thankfuly nobody was even injured. Radiation levels down river were found to be normal, and cancer deaths in the year or two after were found to be at normal rates.