ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [97] -- Is Opt-Out The Answer?

[ Posted Friday, October 9th, 2009 – 17:59 PDT ]

In a surprising turn of events today, the Nobel committee awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize to "Not George W. Bush." The chairman of the committee was quoted saying, "Lordy, Lordy, we were so happy to see the United States run by someone who wasn't George W. Bush -- even for eleven days -- that there simply was no other choice than to award 'Not George W. Bush' the prize unanimously."

OK, seriously, President Obama's new award should be seen as a giant thumb in the eye to Bush -- the third one so far (Gore and Carter being the other two). It's the Nobel committee's money, remember, so it's their right to do whatever they will with it. But talk of Obama refusing the prize (which would doubtlessly make Republicans feel better) is just plain silly. Obama will accept the award, give a nice speech, and donate the money to charity (my tea leaves tell me that ACORN isn't going to see any money out of this one). But until Henry Kissinger (or Woodrow Wilson, for that matter) gives back his award in shame, I don't think Obama's going to turn down his own award.

But while the award is already causing spontaneous rightwing cranial explosions across the land (if you listen close, you can hear them: Foom! Blam!), it's really nothing more than a footnote this week. Because larger things are afoot. I speak, of course, of Playboy putting Marge Simpson on its cover.

No, wait, that can't be it -- let me check my notes. OK, here it is, sorry. Let me start over.

I speak, of course, of the new healthcare reform compromise idea being batted about over in the Senate. Trying to build a bridge between the public-option-supporting Progressive Democrats and the fiscally-conscious Blue Dog Democrats was always going to be the Grand Compromise which had to be forged to pass a bill. Various ideas have been floated to build this Compromise Bridge (my metaphors seem to be getting all mixed up today), which all eventually collapsed into the metaphorical chasm below. The "trigger" option, where a public option would be in the law but wouldn't activate unless a "trigger" was pulled at some later date was probably the most-talked about plan prior to this, mostly because it was the favorite of the only Republican who actually may vote for healthcare reform in the Senate. The "co-op" plan, which will be in the bill Max Baucus' committee votes on (Um, guys? Weren't you supposed to have voted this week? I'm just saying...), has also been declared a non-starter.

Enter the "opt-out" plan. Actually, it's not even a plan yet, merely an idea floated by Senator Charles Schumer. Meaning there are no solid details to analyze, as of this writing. Meaning that a lot of people still have questions as to how it would work, even if others have enthusiastically endorsed the idea or come out against it.

The idea is fairly simple. Pass a national public option, and start with every U.S. state in the plan. Then allow individual states to "opt out" of the plan (this is one of those vague details -- would it be the governor's decision, or the state legislatures', or the people's by way of a referendum?). Using some mechanism involving the state government, each state could decide not to participate in the public option.

Let's go through the pros and cons of this idea, at least as I see them at this early stage. First, the bad news. The biggest thing the opt-out plan has against it seems to be fears (from both pro-reform and anti-reform people) that the idea just won't work. Backers of the "strong public option" (to say nothing of the single-payers) warn that this is just one more disappointing compromise from what really should be passed -- a robust public option. People against reform are going to howl if (again, this isn't clear yet either way) the people in their states can opt out of the public plan -- but will still be subject to the rest of the bill (taxes, mandatory coverage, etc.). They are going to quickly demand that states be allowed to "opt out" of the entire bill if they don't like it. This could indeed doom any chances of the bill actually doing some good -- or maybe not.

Without details, it is really impossible to know that at this point. Detractors of the idea are going to start using civil rights language to make their case -- that changes of this basic nature need to be federal because all Americans should be equal under the law. One other big question remains as well -- will states be able to opt back in later, if they decide they made a mistake? Can they opt in for a few years, opt out for a few years, and then opt back in again? Such a scenario is pretty easy to see, especially in "purple" states whose state government isn't dominated by one party or the other. The public option could become a perennial political football, and every change in party of the state government could mean a change in the optiness (or, if you prefer Alex from A Clockwork Orange, "the old in-out"). If states are switching back and forth year by year, it could destabilize the whole system -- or maybe not.

Finally, one drawback (due to accounting and political trickery) is that the plan isn't going into effect until 2013 (this is one thing all the plans agree upon, so you can consider it a done deal in whatever final legislation is considered). This leaves four long years for corporate interests to continue the battle in each and every state. Think you're tired of television ads and screaming folks at town hall meetings now? Picture a more local version of that for the next four years -- not a pretty sight to contemplate.

But having torn down the opt-out plan, allow me to build it back up again. Right off the bat, Howard Dean supports the idea. This is a major, major endorsement, since Dr. Dean is seen as the champion of fighting for the people instead of the corporate interests in this whole debate by the Progressives. So his support carries a lot of weight on the Left. And he has proclaimed that the opt-out plan is "real reform," and that he'd vote for it if he was a senator.

The pros of the plan are easy to see, when stacked up against these other compromises. The public plan would be (mostly) nationwide in this scheme, instead of a state-by-state patchwork. That's a big victory right there, and one that shouldn't be sneezed at (so to speak). If, eventually, every state came around to joining in, then the framework for a nationwide plan is already in place. Actually, it's even better than that. Because by starting every state in the plan (as opposed to an "opt in" plan, for instance), it forces the state governments to decide on denying their citizens something that other states will have. And denying people stuff isn't usually a good way to get re-elected, even in the red states (just look at the many Republican governors who said they wouldn't take Obama's stimulus money, and then were overruled by their state legislatures). So while it was looking like -- up until Schumer proposed the new idea -- whatever compromise the Senate agreed upon was probably going to be a state-level plan, it is now looking like the default plan will be nationwide. And that's a good thing, even if it does turn out to be "nationwide" with a few holes in it.

Another good thing about it is that it is an excellent political move. There are many reasons for this, the biggest of which is that it gets the Democrats out of the corner they were painting themselves into. Meaning that the fight that was shaping up was entirely within the Democratic Party (Republicans, due to their intransigence, have made themselves entirely irrelevant to the discussion). Which isn't exactly great politics for Democrats. But if -- and it's still a big "if" at this point -- both sides in this fight see the opt-out plan as an answer, then this epic battle will not be fought and Democrats can unite. This, as is obvious, is absolutely crucial for any chance of success. Democrats must be united, or else nothing's going to get out of the Senate. The fight between the Blue Dogs and Progressives can be avoided if they both see this as a workable compromise.

This is crucial, because it could avoid two very ugly scenarios. The first is Democrats voting with Republicans against "cloture" (the fake filibuster succeeds, in other words). This would be a nightmare for Democrats -- healthcare reform getting this far and then failing, due to Democrats crossing the aisle to help Republicans kill it. Even the Blue Dogs themselves ought to fear this scenario, because it would be devastating for Democrats at the polls next year in the midterm congressional elections. Democrats would, quite rightly, be painted as the party that "can't get anything done" even with a 60-vote majority in the Senate. The other ugly scenario this compromise would avert is watering the bill down so much that Progressives scream "Sell-out!" and come out against the final legislation. If the opt-out plan is accepted by both sides, then the Progressives can say "We fought to win a national public option and won," and the Blue Dogs can say, "We fought to give every state a voice, so that people can make their own minds up about the public option." It could give a lot of political cover to both sides.

It also, it should be noted, punts the decision. The members of Congress who will vote on the bill will not be the ones responsible for deciding whether their state opts out or not. This kicks this political football back to the states' legislatures -- who are a lot closer to the voters themselves than a U.S. senator. If the Republicans were actually acting in a reasonable manner ("Yeah, right," I hear several of you say...), then they could even get behind the idea because it is all Tenth-Amendmenty and respectful of "states' rights."

Politics aside, though, would it work? Without some more details it is really impossible to know. But it could. Imagine the nay-sayers are right, and every single red state opts out immediately. I don't think that's likely (again, look what happened with the stimulus money), but let's start from there. So you have in the "opt out" column the whole South (excepting perhaps Florida and Virginia, depending on how you color them), all the way west to Texas, and then most of the Plains states and then northern Mountain states (Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, perhaps Montana). But you still have over half the country in the plan, and likely a majority of the actual population covered. Well, that's half a loaf, and a pretty good start.

But most red states are notorious for decrying federal spending, while at the same time being the biggest recipients of such federal money (see, for example: Alaska). And if the states are only allowed to opt out of the public plan (and not the rest of the bill), then their citizens are going to feel like they're paying for something that they're not getting. This is going to put some pressure on their state governments, to varying degrees. The state governments are going to take a long, hard look at whether businesses will relocate (taking all those lovely jobs with them) to states which are in the public plan. This hits the states where it hurts -- their tax base. Eventually a few of these states will sheepishly move into the public plan -- especially if it starts saving other states money. Then a few more. Sooner or later, there will only be a few states left in the opt-out column. This may even involve a few changes of party control in state legislatures, as voters react to their elected officials' short-sightedness.

That's the rosy scenario, at least. If the public plan winds up being a failure, or not controlling costs as advertised, then the scenario could work backwards as well, with more and more states eventually opting out, and the public plan shrinking to such a small size that it cannot possibly control costs as designed.

So it's a risky idea. But the whole project of reforming healthcare is a risky proposition in the first place. The real question is whether this risk is a good one to take, and whether it would improve both the bill itself as well as its chances for passage this year. It's still an open question, but this compromise certainly looks, from where I'm sitting, a lot better than any of the others floated so far.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

All sneering at prematureness aside, President Barack Hussein Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize today pretty much locks up another award for him -- the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. Now, I know that on Obama's trophy shelf the Nobel is going to get a more prominent place than our humble award, but this is immaterial. Obama will now be known as the third sitting president (after Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) to have so been honored (by the Nobel, of course, as we weren't handing out MIDOTW awards back then). While it likely would have made more sense to wait a year to give Obama the Nobel, who are we to argue with the Nobel folks' decision? If they're making a political statement, fine. The fact remains that the United States of America is seen in a much better light now than a year ago by the rest of the world. Polls back this up -- since Bush left office, America has climbed in the world's eyes once again. So we add our own congratulations to the president by way of his thirteenth MIDOTW award.

But, of course, before the news broke of Obama's new shiny gold medal, we had already selected a MIDOTW winner for the week, so the president will have to share this week's award with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has not only been the toughest fighter in Congress for the public option (her backbone in this matter is above reproach), but has also shown the same toughness to her many critics from the Right.

Which is really why she's getting her ninth MIDOTW award this week. It all started when the National Republican Campaign Committee (the guys in charge of electing more Republicans to the House) sent out a letter saying, in part: "...if Nancy Pelosi's failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place."

This is the language, it needs pointing out, of wife-beaters. Not the sleeveless undershirts with the charming nickname, but actual guys who justify "smacking the old lady around when she needs or deserves it." This is what, historically, "put her in her place" refers to. Perhaps whoever wrote the letter was unaware of this odious connotation. Perhaps not.

Pelosi, though, responded with the quote which wins her her own MIDOTW award:

"I'm in my place. I'm the Speaker of the House -- the first woman Speaker of the House -- and I'm in my place because the House of Representatives voted me there. ... That language is something I haven't even heard in decades."

Well done, Madam Speaker! Impressive indeed!

[Congratulate President Barack Obama on the White House contact page, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her Speaker contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Representative Charlie Rangel is chairman of the powerful House Ways And Means Committee -- who, pointedly, write our nation's tax code. Rangel seems to have misread some of this code, to put it mildly, when filling out his own taxes. Now, this could be the launching point for an argument to simplify our tax system, but instead it has become the launching point for Republicans to tarnish not only Rangel, but the whole committee and the important work they're doing on healthcare reform as well.

While what Rangel did didn't exactly happen last week, Republicans are turning up the heat on him to step down as chairman of the committee (which could set up a nasty succession fight among Democrats).

Plus, he continues the Republican theme of "Democrats cheat on their taxes," which had largely died down after a few Obama cabinet nominees got torpedoed by the issue. Which is just what the Democrats don't need right now.

So Rangel, for drawing such heat right now (by forgetting about half a million dollars in assets), is hereby awarded the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

Moral of this story: If you write the tax laws for everyone else, you'd better be damn sure you follow them yourself.

[Contact Representative Charlie Rangel on the House Ways And Means Committee chairman contact page to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 97 (10/9/09)

While I'm not 100 percent sold on Senator Schumer's opt-out healthcare reform plan (I would need to see some details for that to happen), I have to say that as a political compromise "it might just work." So I'm going to use this week's talking points to offer some ideas for Democrats to sell the idea. Especially to other Democrats (which is where the whole battle rests currently). Also this week are a few talking points about Obama and Afghanistan, which I wrote about more extensively yesterday, if you're interested.

But before we get to that, I'd like to highlight a contest I wrote about last week. Because, even though we bloggers seem to be barred from entry, I still think the Washington Post is breaking some real ground in redefining the newspaper industry, with their "America's Next Great Pundit" contest. Have you ever thought you'd be a better opinionator than the people paid to do it? Now is your chance to prove it. Check out my column for details, and then get your 400-word essay together, and enter the contest at the Washington Post website. Good luck!

 

1
   This could get 60 votes

This is the strongest argument by far. The problem with the squabble between the Blue Dogs and the Progressives is that neither side wanted to appear to back down. The Blue Dogs, in particular, appeared ready to defeat reform this year to prove this. Progressives felt exactly the same way about the public option -- they would vote against any bill that didn't have it. The opt-out compromise could be a way to break this stalemate in the Senate.

"We are confident that the opt-out plan can get the required 60 votes in the Senate to move the bill forward. This means we will not have to resort to budget reconciliation to pass healthcare reform, because every Democrat can vote for this plan with a clear conscience. This is the first compromise I have seen yet which I think will get 60 enthusiastic votes on the Senate floor. I think the opt-out plan is going to be a winner."

 

2
   Saves the nationwide public option

Tie together the words "save" and "public option" as often as you can, and used "watered-down" to describe all the other plans.

"Every other compromise idea I've seen yet has watered down the public option to the point where it wouldn't work as designed. Co-ops, or forcing each state to come up with their own system would weaken the public option beyond repair. This is the first compromise I've seen yet which starts from the point of a nationwide public option. This opt-out idea could save the strong public option in the final bill."

 

3
   Allows both sides to claim victory

If you don't think face-saving is a big deal on Capitol Hill, then you don't know the place very well. The beauty of the opt-out plan -- which has been missing from the other compromises -- is that both sides can plausibly claim victory. This alone is enormously important.

"Those who feel that the public plan may not be to their state's liking can rest assured that their state -- if it so chooses -- will not have to participate. And those who favor the public option can vote for this knowing it is not some watered-down state version, but rather a nationwide plan from the very start. I think that both sides in this heartfelt debate can actually claim that fighting for what they believe has forged a stronger bill and a stronger compromise than anything else we've seen. Both sides deserve praise for sticking to their principles until a true compromise which addresses everyone's concerns could be reached."

 

4
   You can always opt out...

This one's important for convincing the Blue Dogs to support the idea, and is directed specifically at them.

"If your state decides that the public option is not a good fit, then you can always opt out of it. If your state thinks the idea will cost more than advertised, then you can always opt out. If your state's voters hate the concept of a public plan, then you can always opt out. If you don't want your state to participate in the public plan, then you can vote for this legislation and then convince your state's government to opt out of it. For all of the concerns some Democrats have had over the public option, the opt-out plan provides a safeguard against some federal mandate that isn't politically acceptable to your state's voters -- because they can always opt out."

 

5
   Dr. Dean supports it

This one is used primarily to assuage Progressive concerns about the plan.

"Dr. Howard Dean, for whom I have an enormous amount of respect in the healthcare reform debate, has come out in support of the opt-out plan. He has said the opt out plan, quote, is real reform, unquote. I don't think Howard Dean would support a plan that is some giveaway to the insurance industry or some sort of bill that is watered down to the point of not being effective, do you? If it's good enough for Dr. Dean, it is good enough for me."

 

6
   Afghanistan (part 1)

OK, we're going to change gears for these last two, and talk about the situation in Afghanistan. This subject has been a major media focus for the past few weeks, and there are a few things which need saying in this debate to counteract the breathlessness from the "journalists" quacking about it.

"President Obama is taking his time deciding his strategy for the next phase of the war in Afghanistan, just as President Bush took three months to decide on his 'surge' strategy in Iraq. While the media seems to feel that Obama is somehow dragging his feet, or taking too much time to make up his mind, we would all do well to remember that whatever strategy he comes up with, it will not be implemented until next spring, when the Taliban launches their yearly post-winter offensive. So taking a few weeks now to get it right will have no effect on the actual situation on the ground. Any increase in troops in the country won't happen for months, and even if they got there a few weeks early, if the mountain passes aren't open, it won't make a bit of difference. So let's give the president some elbow room here, folks."

 

7
   Afghanistan (part 2)

This one seems bizarre to me. Obama has already sent a lot more troops to Afghanistan than George W. Bush left there. He has already increased the war effort. But, strangely enough, when you watch the mainstream media, it's like this never happened. This needs some attention drawn to it.

"All this talk of President Obama 'doubling down' on the troop levels in Afghanistan ignores the fact that he has already doubled down there. One of the first things he did after he took office was to send 30,000 more troops over there. So when we're talking about McChrystal's requested 40,000 more troops, we are talking about actually tripling down on the troop levels. Because Obama has already doubled down on them. Just to make that clear."

 

All-time award winners leaderboard, by rank

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

46 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [97] -- Is Opt-Out The Answer?”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Friday Talking Point #7 may go a long way toward proving a point I've been trying to hammer home which is to say that there are not enough troops on the planet to do what General McChrystal apparently wants to do in Afghanistan. He is asking for a maximum of 40,000 more troops - who is he kidding? I trust Obama-Biden won't be having any of that.

    I don't think we have a snowballs chance in Hell of changing the customs and traditions of the Afghan people, much less the dynamics of their political landscape.

  2. [2] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Chris, I see the "opt-out" public option as just a way to get *a* bill out of the Senate. Ultimately, there is still going to be a conference committee that decides what to keep and what to scrap. Furthermore, there's a conundrum for Blue Dog opponents of a public option: reform will be FAR more expensive without it. So I say Democrats should keep pushing for the strong public option and just get 60 votes to break the filibuster.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize SOLELY for nice speeches and that Hope thingy, then I am a shoe-in for next years prize. I have made some really awesome speeches in my time.

    Hell, I provided a word for a very famous and well-known political pundit. That alone should assure my winning the prize next year, eh?

    {/sarcasm}

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this. Hell, if a scumbag terrorist like Arafat, a war-monger like Kissinger and a complete and utter hypocrite con-man like Al Gore can win the PEACE prize, then ANYONE should be able to win it.

    Maybe Hitler or Stalin can get it posthumously next year...

    Liz,

    He is asking for a maximum of 40,000 more troops - who is he kidding?

    Actually, Liz, McChrystal is asking for a MINIMUM of 40,000 troops. He would LIKE to have 60,000.

    From what I have read, McChrystal handed Obama three different recommendations.

    The first would require 40,000 troops and have a reasonable chance of success, say 50/50. The second requires 50,000 troops and has a 70/30 chance of success. The third has an almost guaranteed chance of success and would require 60,000 troops.

    Obama/Biden ignores these requests at their own peril. If they do, more troops will die in the next year than have died in the previous 8. And the GOP will own Congress come the mid-term elections.

    Ink,

    So I say Democrats should keep pushing for the strong public option and just get 60 votes to break the filibuster.

    And in what fantasy world would THAT happen??

    Because I can guarantee you that it ain't gonna happen in THIS world.

    But, as I said before, by all means.. Keep pushing the Public Option. Because that will kill DunselCare as sure as anything.

    Michale....

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Yer right...

    If the Democrats DO put in an OptOut plan instead of a real Public Option, then I see the chances of DunselCare making it to Obama's desk at 80%.

    Time will tell...

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    40,000...50,000...60,000 troops...what General McChrystal is talking about doing - a full blown COIN operation - would require troop levels in the hundreds of thousands, NOT tens of thousands.

    And, that still wouldn't be enough for success in Afghanistan if you are still reliant on the current structure of government in Kabul, regardless of which personality is heading it up.

    In other words, the point here is not what number of troops is required but how to promote a process for national political reconciliation that involves all Afghans - including moderate elements of the Taliban - with success being measured by whether or not a government can be achieved that has the support of a majority of the Afghan people. Without that, no COIN strategy will work, even if it was possible to provide hundreds of thousands of troops.

    People are dreaming in technicolor if they think the troop levels that McChrystal is talking about are, number one...enough for what he is advocating or, number two...the key to success.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    You cannot get to national political reconciliation until you secure the country.

    Iraq taught us that.

    Those who nay say that a troop surge will not work (Including Obama et al) are forgetting the lessons of the Iraq war.

    As I have said previously... The reason that Obama et al do not want to use the strategy that is proven to be effective is that it validates the Bush Doctrine...

    And we can't have THAT, now can we? :D

    You are probably correct that McChrystal won't get what he needs..

    Just as I am correct that the subsequent failure in Afghanistan will be completely and unequivocally blamed on Obama.

    And rightly so..

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    It's kind of amazing that the public option still survives to this day.

    Every week I chip in a few bucks to one of the different efforts to keep it alive and then write my Congressman to encourage him to support it.

    And my Congressman lives in a pretty conservative district in Southern Ohio. But he supports reform and will support a public option if he feels it won't hurt his chances of re-election.

    I figure if I'm doing this type of thing, and some of my friends are doing the same, maybe there's others in America doing the same.

    And maybe, eventually, something positive will come from it. But we have to keep at it. And keep at it.

    The fact that its still alive at all despite the WellPoints of the world and the well-waged corporate conservative marketing campaign against it is testimony that the conditions on the ground might be right for change.

    Cheers
    David

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Iraq taught us that an improved security situation doesn't necessarily translate into progress on national political reconciliation...of which there has been essentially none, to date.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Iraq taught us that an improved security situation doesn't necessarily translate into progress on national political reconciliation…

    Troo...

    But at least with an improved security situation, national political reconciliation has a chance.

    There is no chance without security..

    If NPR fails even when there is security, then it ain't our fault. The morons just want to kill each other... :D

    Make a glorious speech saying you will fix the problem and you too can win a Nobel Peace Prize. :D

    Michale......

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Maybe Hitler or Stalin can get it posthumously next year…

    my impression about obama winning the nobel is that it was given in an attempt to influence his future actions rather than reward his past actions. as for the others:

    kissenger helped negotiate an end to the vietnam conflict, no small feat.

    arafat (along with rabin) signed the oslo accords and gained mutual recognition between israel and the Palestinian Authority. whatever else he did before or since, that definitely deserved an award.

    gore's work was admittedly more about science than peace, but there's a pretty wide consensus among scientists that the IPCC's assertions are valid, not the work of a "con-man"

    speaking of hypocrisy, only a week after taking alan grayson to task over his misuse of the word "holocaust," the nobel prize for "reductio ad hitlerum," goes to...

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    my impression about obama winning the nobel is that it was given in an attempt to influence his future actions rather than reward his past actions. as for the others

    Ahhhhh

    So, now we have a foreign body trying to influence US policy...

    And this is a GOOD thing exactly why??

    Unfortunately, I think you're right. Obama will now be less inclined to send the much needed troops into Afghanistan..

    More American soldiers will die thanx to the meddling of the Nobel Committee..

    Again, I have to ask.. This is a good thing exactly why??

    kissenger helped negotiate an end to the vietnam conflict, no small feat.

    I only thru that one in as a bone to the Left... :D

    arafat (along with rabin) signed the oslo accords and gained mutual recognition between israel and the Palestinian Authority. whatever else he did before or since, that definitely deserved an award.

    Bull carp. Arafat was a terrorist. No more, no less.. *I* deserve the award a helluva lot more than Arafat..

    gore's work was admittedly more about science than peace, but there's a pretty wide consensus among scientists that the IPCC's assertions are valid, not the work of a "con-man"

    Once again, Bull Carp... Consensus is a political term, not a scientific one. There was a "consensus" that the Earth was flat. We know how well THAT worked out, eh??

    Even given that, there is far from a consensus that there is Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling).. I guess you missed all those news reports about early snow setting records all over the country, eh??

    Not to mention that the Earth has been cooling since 1998 and one has to wonder where exactly is all this Global Warming??

    Although to be fair, I am sitting here on the coast of Florida and it's over 95 in mid October!! Very aggravating, considering my comfort zone is around 50 F.

    But I digest... :D

    speaking of hypocrisy, only a week after taking alan grayson to task over his misuse of the word "holocaust," the nobel prize for "reductio ad hitlerum," goes to…

    Did I use the word, "holocaust"??? I don't believe I did. It would be so out of character for me to do so..

    :D

    I believe you are referring to a "Godwin"... Mentioning Hitler in the context of brutal and homicidal leaders (Hitler, Stalin, etc etc) does not satisfy the pre-requisites for a Godwin...

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    So, now we have a foreign body trying to influence US policy…

    this is just par for the course. any award with the name "peace" in it will probably be used to try to influence people toward that organization's ideal of peace. the nobels are just doing what they do. if there were any concrete evidence that this attempt compromised the president's decision process, then i'd agree with you that it's not for the best. such evidence does not exist. thus far the award is harmless; any attempt to spin it otherwise right now is at best a fear-based conjecture, and at worst sour grapes.

    Consensus is a political term, not a scientific one.

    incorrect, scientific consensus does exist, and although frequently modified to account for new data, it's extremely rare that such consensus is completely reversed. the nature of science prevents any statement of absolutes, but unlike flat-earth theories, the climate change arguments are based on concrete data. the only reputable dissenters in the scientific community were the American Petroleum Geologists, scientists with a vested interest in oil. and even their leadership changed to a noncommittal position because most of their members disagreed with them.

    Arafat was a terrorist. No more, no less...
    I will not pretend Arafat wasn't a terrorist, because he was. on this you are correct. but the actions he took at oslo transcended his personal failings. he was rewarded for the good thing he did, not all the bad things before and since.

    I believe you are referring to a "Godwin"… Mentioning Hitler in the context of brutal and homicidal leaders (Hitler, Stalin, etc etc) does not satisfy the pre-requisites for a Godwin…

    i had no idea what a godwin was until you mentioned it. but now that you have, your context was not brutal dictators, it was nobel laureates who you think were undeserving. suggesting hitler or stalin for a nobel prize definitely qualifies as reductio ad absurdum, ad hitlerum and ad communism.

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    nypoet22,

    if there were any concrete evidence that this attempt compromised the president's decision process, then i'd agree with you that it's not for the best.

    Time will tell....

    , scientific consensus does exist

    I never claimed that it doesn't exist. I simply state that it's a POLITICAL issue, not a scientific one.

    In other words, it is simply not possible to come to a scientific conclusion by way of consensus.

    the climate change arguments are based on concrete data

    As are those that dispute the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) theory.

    The science is in dispute. This is fact.

    So, since the science is in dispute, one must look to other factors for guidance.

    The actions of the proponents of the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) for example.

    When one looks at how those proponents conduct their lives, it becomes clear that they themselves don't really believe their own theories..

    I will not pretend Arafat wasn't a terrorist, because he was. on this you are correct. but the actions he took at oslo transcended his personal failings. he was rewarded for the good thing he did, not all the bad things before and since.

    You are a lot more forgiving than I ever could be. Kudos..

    i had no idea what a godwin was until you mentioned it. but now that you have, your context was not brutal dictators, it was nobel laureates who you think were undeserving.

    Touche' I stand corrected.. :D

    GODWIN
    Godwin's Law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the widespread reductio ad Hitlerum form. The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued,[4] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_Law

    suggesting hitler or stalin for a nobel prize definitely qualifies as reductio ad absurdum, ad hitlerum and ad communism.

    Not really... They both were nominated.... :D

    But, like Obama, they didn't deserve it. For, obviously, different reasons, of course.. :D

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Don't forget the Bush Doublethink Corollary To Godwin's Law

    from FTP [Vol. 8] (back when "Vol." was still in the title...)

    Heh heh.

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The science is in dispute. This is fact.

    ALL science is in dispute. if it's not in dispute, it's not really science. The idea that ANY science could be beyond dispute is a fallacy into which the political right and left both tend to fall. sadly, the right tend to treat science as if it were a religion, in competition with their conservative brand of christianity. equally sadly if not moreso, the left tend to treat science the exact same way. that being said, the evidence in favor of human-caused climate change is pretty staggering, on par with natural selection or relativity. the main dispute at the moment is not whether global climate change is happening, but to what degree we are the cause of it. the reason the overall surface temperature is not rising is probably because 50 CUBIC MILES of ice per year are melting from the antarctic and greenland ice sheets. the melting ice absorbs the excess surface heat and becomes water. but when the ice runs out, the global temperature will probably spike, and if that happens it will be too late to snark about the flaws inherent in the scientific method.

  16. [16] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The science isn't really in dispute.

    At least not by scientists.

    It's in dispute by people who might be hurt economically by any decisions to curtail emissions.

    Coal producers, energy companies, oil companies, car companies, etc.

    It just doesn't sound good to say, the planet is getting warmer but it might hurt our bottom line to do anything about it. So what they do instead is find someone, anyone, who will say something different.

    Then they say "The science is in dispute. Look at this homeless guy we just found who says something different!"

    It costs more to change then to support a marketing campaign to say it's in dispute. So the companies fight it, not because it's not true, but because it will hurt their bottom line.

    Companies want it to be a political issue because then they stand a chance. If it's a scientific issue, they lose.

    -David

    p.s. Michale- If you're going to fight for large corporations, you should be getting paid for it! :) Or at least getting famous like Glenn or Rush or the other corporate shock jocks.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    ALL science is in dispute. if it's not in dispute, it's not really science.

    WOW... That really borders on being profound!! :D

    You acknowledging that the science is NOT settled (as Al Gore would have us all believe) puts you in the minority of the proponents of the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) theory.

    sadly, the right tend to treat science as if it were a religion, in competition with their conservative brand of christianity. equally sadly if not moreso, the left tend to treat science the exact same way.

    Damn!! You really know how to take the wind outta the sails of my argument. :D In this particular issue, I believe the Left is more guilty of near religious fervor over the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling). In their eyes, the science is absolute and any science that disproves the theory is heresy...

    the main dispute at the moment is not whether global climate change is happening, but to what degree we are the cause of it.

    Exactly. There can be NO doubt that the climate is changing. No one but a fool would deny this.

    But humankind is but a microscopic pimple on the ass of time. There has been climate change for millions and millions of years. The idea that humankind, in a milli-second, could actually affect the climate of the entire Earth is ludicrous. And the arrogance to think that we could actually bend the Earth's climate to our will is simply staggering and defies belief.

    Yes, climate is changing.. Climate has always been changing. Climate will continue to change once humankind has gone the way of the dodo.

    The idea that we could do anything to stop climate change is akin to thinking we can do anything to stop the earth from rotating.

    I do, however, have to say that I enjoy your take on things. You definitely are not of the "Disciple Of The Goreacle" type of Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) zealot... :D

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    The science isn't really in dispute.

    At least not by scientists.

    Really???

    So, you are saying that EVERY scientist on the face of the planet thoroughly and unequivocally agree with the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) theory.

    There is absolutely NO scientific evidence that disputes the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) theory.

    Is THAT what you are saying???

    This is the exact attitude that I was referring to.

    You talk about the alleged corruption of the oil and energy companies.

    Yet you conveniently forget that Al Gore stands to make 60 BILLION dollars over the next decade if he gets everything he wants in the way of Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) legislation.

    It's apparent to anyone that the REAL money is in advocating the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) myth...

    So, which side is actually corrupted by greed??

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    There has been climate change for millions and millions of years. The idea that humankind, in a milli-second, could actually affect the climate of the entire Earth is ludicrous.

    michale:
    your conclusion is not warranted by the data. the present levels of melting ice and permafrost are unprecedented in history, as are the amounts of fossil fuel the human race burns annually. the moniker "global warming" is an oversimplification of the changes that are occurring, but appropriate levels of scientific doubt do not invalidate the likelihood that humans have caused these changes. if you're wrong, then where's the danger of erring on the side of the vast majority of the evidence? if you're right, then we're all screwed anyway, and you'd better hope you live north of lake okeechobee.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    your conclusion is not warranted by the data. the present levels of melting ice and permafrost are unprecedented in history,

    You are making a false assumption. Or, at best, an UNPROVABLE assumption...

    the present levels of melting ice and permafrost are unprecedented in history

    ... in RECORDED history..

    as are the amounts of fossil fuel the human race burns annually.

    What's the time frame of those fossil fuel burns? A year?? 5 years?? A decade?? Half a century??

    How does that stack up against hundreds of millions of years that the climate has been changing??

    I think the phrase, "a microscopic pimple on the ass of time" is appropriate... :D

    but appropriate levels of scientific doubt do not invalidate the likelihood that humans have caused these changes.

    No?? A few decades ago, the big scare was global cooling? Suppose Al Gore had been alive back then and started a global campaign to heat the earth??

    We don't have enough KNOWLEDGE, let alone wisdom, to go fracking around with things we can barely understand.

    What makes you think such blind fracking would actually do any good?? It's MORE likely it will just make things worse...

    if you're wrong, then where's the danger of erring on the side of the vast majority of the evidence?

    Have you ever known humankind to embark on such a large-scale project and NOT make things worse??

    if you're right, then we're all screwed anyway, and you'd better hope you live north of lake okeechobee.

    "If I'm wrong, nothing happens. We go to jail... Peacefully.... Quietly.... We'll enjoy it!!... But, if I'm right... And we can stop this thing.... Lenny... YOU will have saved the lives of MILLIONS of registered voters.."
    -Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    If I am right and this is just another climate cycle in a long LONG line of climate cycles, then nothing happens.. We live out our lives bickering about what might have been..

    But if you're wrong and we actually TRY something that MIGHT have an effect...

    Well, DAY AFTER TOMORROW, THE CORE or maybe even 2012..

    My point is that we don't know enough to begin fracking around with things we can barely understand. Human beings.... being human beings, will just make matters worse...

    You want to talk about curbing pollution, then let's go...

    You want to fight for ending dependency on oil and coming up with new and exciting power sources, then you and I are in complete agreement..

    But if all that the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) disciples can come up with is doomsday scenarios and fear-mongering pseudo science that borders on religious fanaticism.......

    Well, that is where I get off the bus....

    if you're right, then we're all screwed anyway, and you'd better hope you live north of lake okeechobee.

    I am midway between Daytona Beach and St Augustine and about 10 miles inland.. Have my Nuke Shelter and ARK all ready to go... :D

    Michale....

  21. [21] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Chris, here's a crowd pic from the weekend gay rights march in DC. Any thoughts on crowd size?

  22. [22] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Osborne -

    I saw that same photo (or one very much like it), but haven't seen any others yet (HuffPost has a bunch of them up, just haven't looked at them yet).

    Were the Mall's grassy areas blocked off? Seems kind of strange, like the crowd is being kept off the grass. Also, is that tent about halfway down the Mall part of the same demonstration, or is that another thing taking place?

    I'm going to have to read some accounts by people who were there, and take a look at other photos. A few things -- the crowds on the sides look like they stretch back all the way to the Washington Monument, although that may have been the route of the march, and everybody may not have made it to the Capitol yet. I thought the march's route was down Penn Ave (the shortest route to the Capitol, may involve one other street... Constitution? I forget), but if they marched down the sides of the Mall this photo would make more sense.

    That's a pretty decent crowd, one way or another. Any estimates given? I didn't hear any crowd size estimates on the news, either from demonstration organizers or Park Police.

    Anyway, let me take a look at some of the other photos.

    -CW

  23. [23] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale,
    Please don't twist my words. Sure, there is some amount of dissent from certain scientists.

    But the question is, is there enough evidence that CO2 emissions are causing the problem to act?

    And the vast majority of scientists seem to agree that there is.

    Your doomsday scenario is from, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? Huh?! But that's the way things. There's no evidence to suggest any such scenario.

    But I'm with you on energy independence. Especially if it's alternative energy. It's a shame that conservatives are using this to mean mostly "drill for more oil."

    -David

    p.s. I hope your bomb shelter works well for you under water :).

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Whups. Early morning pre-coffee typing. Meant to say "But that's the way things were."

    p.s. Exxon, 2008 profit, $45.2 billion.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    But the question is, is there enough evidence that CO2 emissions are causing the problem to act?

    No, there is not.

    Especially when the evidence, even the Gore'acles "Inconvenient Truth" shows that the historical record confirms that Global Temps rising PRECEDES a rise in CO2 emissions.

    Flash Forward (an awesome new TV show!! :D) millions of years to today. CO2 emissions are on the rise and yet, global temps have been declining steadily since 1998...

    Apparently there is more at work than just CO2 emissions.

    Doesn't it behoove the human race to know for sure before they start trying to frack with it??

    And the vast majority of scientists seem to agree that there is.

    No... The vast majority of politicians seem to agree that there is. The majority of true scientists (not the sycophants IPCC version of scientists) agree that we don't have enough data. Hell hundreds of the scientists that USED to be IPCC sycophant scientists have pulled their recommendations from the IPCC reports or have recanted their earlier recommendations..

    Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) is a political scare-mongering endeavor designed to do one thing and one thing only. Make Al Gore, Richard Branson and the other con-artists a crapload of money.. That's it's sole purpose.

    How do I know??

    Simple.. Billions and billions of dollars are being funneled.. Not into actual green projects, but rather to ad agencies, lawyers and lobbyists.

    I think at last count, almost 80 BILLION dollars has gone into the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) religion..

    And WHAT do we have to show for it?? Not a damn thing..

    Now, what would have happened if they had taken that 80 BILLION dollars and purchased Solar Powered Systems for homes that could make maximum use of them... Wouldn't THAT do more for the environment?? Of course it would..

    But doing something like that, something that actually helps and does some good, doesn't make Al Gore or Richard Branson richer.. So, of course, nothing like that will ever be done..

    Because their goal is not making the planet a nicer place to live. Their goal is making themselves richer...

    p.s. Exxon, 2008 profit, $45.2 billion.

    That's about half of what the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) religion has gotten the last few years..

    So, I ask again.. Follow the money... WHere is the greed???

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale,

    I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers that Gore is somehow going to make more than Exxon.

    Keep in mind that number is Exxon for 1 year. And it's only 1 energy company. One energy company for 1 year.

    You can find Gore's current net worth on the Internet. It's at about 100 million. Now that's a lot of money, but it's no 60 billion. So I guess you're using some talk radio calculation that assumes Al will rule the world in 2016?

    I find it really funny that you would rather go after Al Gore, who really seems to be trying to do the right thing, than companies who profit off of us staying dependent on oil.

    It's like that Chris Rock skit about the difference between rich and wealthy. Shaquille O'Neal is rich. He makes millions of dollars. The guy who signs O'Neal's contract is wealthy.

    If Gore's a con artist, he's the most wooden, technical con artist in history ;)

    -David

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Keep in mind that number is Exxon for 1 year. And it's only 1 energy company. One energy company for 1 year.

    And worldwide Carbon trading was about $55 billion for a year as well..

    You have to admire the audacity of Al Gore. He creates a panic, pushes here and pulls there and viola... He stands to make billions in the next decade..

    Let me put it another way.. Don't you see it as a blatant conflict of interest? Al Gore will lose MILLIONS if he doesn't get his way in the form of world-wide legislation. He stands to profit by BILLIONS if he DOES get his way...

    No matter how you slice it, Gore has a HUGE conflict of interest...

    Doesn't it bother you in the least to be used in such a manner??

    It sure would bother me..

    You castigate the oil companies for their greed and give Gore, Branson and the rest of the con-artists a free ride..

    Why is that???

    If Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) is such an imminent emergency, why isn't Gore, Branson et al spending all their money to help fight the problem, instead of MAKING all that money just talking about it??

    If Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) is such a confirmed and unarguable fact of science, then why is Al Gore (or ANYONE) afraid to debate the issue??

    These questions and many many others leads anyone who is rational and objective to wonder what is REALLY going on...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Now that you have put it in CAPITAL letters, I see the big Al Gore conspiracy! He wants to rule the world by investing in wind turbines!

    He's not investing in these companies to help develop renewable technology! He just wants to make a buck! That greedy Gore.

    Once he owns all the wind turbines, he will only sell energy to hippies and he'll put conservatives in gulag-like prisons.

    It's all coming together as part of the vast liberal conspiracy that is keeping hard working conservatives down!

    I must go build a bomb shelter quickly and buy as many guns as I can before the rapture hits!

    -David

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    That was sarcasm, right??

    Don't you find it the least bit suspicious that Al Gore will make BILLIONS of dollars if everyone listened to Al Gore??

    Doesn't that bother you in the least??

    And, then nothing happens.

    Won't ya'all feel like fools, eh?? :D

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:
  31. [31] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hmmm ... lemme see. We invest in renewable energy and the ice caps don't melt?

    I think I'd feel relieved.

    If Gore makes money through investments in future technology, isn't he doing what we all have the right to do?

    Every tech person since the guy who invented fire has evangelized their technology- so I'm not sure how someone like Bill Gates could be in the right, yet Al Gore somehow would have a conflict of interest.

    It seems far more likely that the right is using him as a political straw man. It makes them sound backwards if they attack the message, soooo ... attack the person.

    At least Gore is investing from a sense of what he believes is right and best for the planet.

    -David

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Some Points...

    Ø The US Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Most of this spending was unnecessary.

    Imagine if that money had been spent on solar power systems and trading in gaz guzzlers for hybrids or electric vehicles..

    Ø Despite the billions wasted, audits of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of “global warming” theory and to compete with a lavishly-funded, highly-organized climate monopsony. Major errors have been exposed again and again.

    And some people STILL believe that the science is "settled"... :^/

    Ø Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks, which profit most, are calling for more. Experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 - $10 trillion in the near future. Hot air will soon be the largest single commodity traded on global exchanges.

    Again, follow the money.. Jump on the scare-monger bandwagon and make a million!! Of course, you have to dump millions of carbon and co2 into the atmosphere to do it, but hay... There really ISN'T an imminent catastrophe anyways, so it doesn't matter..

    Ø Meanwhile, in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying just $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government spends on alarmists, and less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in 2008 alone.

    So, who is buying scientists??? The oil companies?? Or the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) fanatics???

    http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=104031&cat=12

    What we have here with the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) religion is not evidence-based decision-making, but rather decision-based evidence-making.

    That is NOT science. No way, no how..

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Your source appears to be a group that is dedicated to questioning global warming.

    Your source also cites no sources for its statistics.

    It's also ironic that your source seems to be primarily the work of Robert Ferguson, who used to work for the Center for Science and Public Policy, a group funded by Exxon.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Robert_Ferguson_%28Science_and_Public_Policy_Institute%29

    So your argument, as stated by Robert, seems very close to something Exxon may have developed.

    :)
    David

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    And your sources are a group that is dedicated to forcing the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) theory upon humanity. Like the origins of organized religion, this new religion seeks one thing and one thing only. Control..

    Your sources stand to gain BILLIONS of more dollars that the ones who question the religion. Your sources stand to gain virtually unchecked political power....

    So, as I said... Who to believe??

    There is one thing that is indisputable.

    The science is in dispute..

    So, since the science cannot be trusted for obvious reasons, we have to look at the actions of the proponents for the two factions.

    Is there ANYTHING in the actions of the oil companies that would cause a rational and logical person to think that they do not believe in their own position??

    No, there is not.

    Is there ANYTHING in the actions of the Gore'acle Disciples that would cause a rational and logical person to think that they do not believe in their own position??

    Abso-fracking-loutly.

    Given that the science is in dispute, given the actions of the two factions, given that the blatant fear-mongering of the so-called science that turned out to be wrong (polar bears eating their own, snows of Mt Killamanjaroo, etc etc etc), given that not ONE SINGLE prediction made by the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) fanatics have come true in the last decade and given that not ONE SINGLE proponent of the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling)theory NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON has radically altered their lifestyles in accordance with a true belief that there is an imminent castrophe.......

    Given all that, the ONLY logical and rational conclusion that an objective person can make is that the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling) fanatics are wrong..

    There isn't any imminent ecological catastrophe. There isn't any planet-wide emergency that will kill us all in 5 months, as Ban Ki-Moon has stated.

    There is no way, no how that humankind could destroy the planet..

    Al Gore, Richard Branson and all those who claim that there is an imminent world-wide catastrophe are wrong...

    Simple as that.

    Michale....

  35. [35] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    you don't seem to understand what a scientific dispute actually is. being "in dispute" means that not all aspects of an argument are proven, not that there isn't a preponderance of verifiable, replicable evidence supporting some positions and refuting others. science is not very efficient at proving theories that may be true, but it's excellent at disproving theories that are definitely false.

    unless you mean the earth's core, which has cooled very slowly and steadily over the past five billion years, "the earth is cooling" is one such verifiable falsehood. although there have been cyclical drops in surface temperature, the disproportionate melting of the greenland and antarctic ice sheets provide ironclad evidence that the overall temperature above the earth's crust is significantly higher now than it was fifty years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that trend will reverse within any of our lifetimes. if you want to argue a cause other than carbon emissions then be my guest, but sea level will rise significantly over the next hundred years. That's already in progress, and as close to a foregone conclusion as exists in climate study. you have no more right to pick and choose your facts than al gore does.

    "if one is interested in risks and in preparing to meet them, [snip] accelerated glacial melting and larger changes in sea level (for example) should be looked at as probable events, not as hypothetical possibilities."

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/311/5768/1673

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/catastrophic-sea-level-rise-more-evidence-from-the-ice-sheets/

  36. [36] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Breathe deeply, Michale. We don't want to have to send an ambulance to your bunker. Seriously.

    I'm going to sit out for a while so you can take a break and have a cool glass of iced tea or something.

    -David

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    nypoet & David...

    Answer me two simple questions...

    1> Do we have the technological skill to alter the Earth's climate??

    2> Why are we spending billions and billions just TALKING about the problem, rather than spending those billions actually DOING something about it??

    The absolute ONLY thing that your efforts are doing in promoting the Human Caused Global Warming (Yet the CLIMATE Is Cooling) is making the likes of Al Gore and Richard Branson richer...

    That's it...

    Personally, like Dustin Hoffman, I have a "overwhelming desire to face the end of the world"...

    Since Obama ain't gonna pay my mortgage, this seems to be the next best thing... :D

    But, let's face the facts.. Humankind simply CANNOT destroy the planet. So why wreck the world economies beyond what they are already chasing something that is simply beyond our technological capabilities??

    That's a third question that ya'all can answer... :D

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm going to sit out for a while so you can take a break and have a cool glass of iced tea or something.

    You said, "Ice Tea", but I heard "Beer".... :D

    Michale...

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Now THIS is hilarious!!! :D

    In response to the industry funded forecast on what Health Care premiums would do in response to DunselCare, Aides to the Senate Finance Committee said, "it's impossible to predict premiums down to the dollar because there are too many variables involved."

    Yet, these same Senate Democrats are perfectly OK with studies that predict Global Climate 20-50-100 years down the road...

    I said it before and I'll say it again...

    HYPOCRISY, thy name is DEMOCRAT....

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Sigh. Michale, get your own blog. They're free.

    [Editor's note: I fixed your link. You're welcome! :-) -CW ]

  41. [41] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Correction: they're free.

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    1- Do we have the technological skill to alter the Earth's climate??

    2- Why are we spending billions and billions just TALKING about the problem, rather than spending those billions actually DOING something about it?

    1. an overwhelming majority of the available evidence indicates that we already have.

    2. because all incentives are against behavior that would be helpful for our own survival as a species. therefore it is much easier to complain about how poorly we're acting than to make a concrete improvement.

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    1. an overwhelming majority of the available evidence indicates that we already have.

    That's an opinion and it is not supported by the facts. More and more peer reviewed scientists are coming forward to dispute the politically established "science" that is Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Climate Is Cooling).

    It's simply impossible to debate the science because the science is in dispute.

    . because all incentives are against behavior that would be helpful for our own survival as a species. therefore it is much easier to complain about how poorly we're acting than to make a concrete improvement.

    On the other hand, if concrete steps would be taken to actually DO something about the environment instead of just talking about it, if the argument was framed in such a manner that would encourage people by appealing to their own self-interests without all the BS hysteria and fear-mongering and if the major proponents of the theory would actually practice what they preach and not be such blatant and certified hypocrites... If all this was done then I would wager that the majority of people would jump on board.

    But the way things are now, the whole religion fosters an "us vs them" mentality. And when that happens, nothing gets done.

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Nypoet22

    my impression about obama winning the nobel is that it was given in an attempt to influence his future actions rather than reward his past actions.

    Apparently, the Nobel Prize Committee disagrees..

    "We simply disagree that he has done nothing," {Nobel Prize} committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland told the AP on Tuesday. "He got the prize for what he has done."

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    That's an opinion and it is not supported by the facts. More and more peer reviewed scientists are coming forward to dispute...

    I wish to god you were right about that. but you're probably not. i concede the point that "global warming" is too ambiguous a term to describe the changes, but recent melting of ice, snow and permafrost on a large scale has been directly observed; that's fact, not opinion. after about 3000 years of high stability, mean global temperature since 1880 has increased much more than it decreased. fact, not opinion.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A4.lrg.gif

    other than human industry, no alternate cause for the 130 year trend has been observed. fact, not opinion. the great majority of the available facts do support the conclusion that human behavior since the industrial revolution is a significant factor in this. the dispute is not whether it's happening, because that's been subject to direct observation. the dispute is over how high, how fast and what percentage is because of us.

    the vast majority of movement among scientists has been toward the more extreme range of anticipated outcomes, not away from it, and not because of politics or al gore.

    "but a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest"

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Until the science is settled or until the politics and perverse amounts of money are taken out of the equation, I am going to go with what's logical and rational.

    In other words, until Al Gore starts living like Al Gore want's the REST of us to live, I'll be going about my life.... :D

    Until Richard Branson sends me a check for $30K to set up my total solar powered home, there ain't much I can do... :D

    Michale......

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