What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 30, 2017

GOP Climate Science In Pennsylvania

Ain't it good to know that the GOP is the party of ideas?

GOP Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner "explained" the warming planet this way:
“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but the earth moves closer to the sun every year–you know the rotation of the earth,” Wagner said. “We’re moving closer to the sun.”
Now it's been a few years since I've been in a science class as well, but I'm pretty sure this is as close to a true statement as we are to GN-z11 (a galaxy found in the constellation Ursa Major).

At last count, it's about 32 billion light years away.

No, we're not moving closer to the sun.  Sadly, this is what passes for science in some corners of the once great GOP.

March 29, 2017

In Case You Missed It...Mike Doyle's Petition

From Congressman Doyle's Facebook Page:
 

If you're so inclined, sign the petition.

Meanwhile, Outside...

From the climate scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for February 2017 was 0.98°C (1.76°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.9°F)—the second highest for February in the 138-year period of record, trailing behind the record set in 2016 (+1.20°C / +2.16°F) and ahead of 2015 by +0.10°C (+0.18°F). February 2017 was the highest monthly temperature departure from average since April 2016 (+1.07°C / +1.93°F) and the seventh highest monthly temperature departure among all months (1646) on record. This was the 41st consecutive February and the 386th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The February global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of +0.07°C (+0.13°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1980.
This is what the science says and no amount of denial will change it.

NOAA has some art work for you to see:


And this is how they describe it:
This graphic compares the year-to-date temperature anomalies for 2017 (black line) to what were ultimately the eight warmest years on record: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010, 2013, 2005, 2009, and 1998. Each month along each trace represents the year-to-date average temperature anomaly. In other words, the January value is the January average temperature anomaly, the February value is the average anomaly of both January and February, and so on. The average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–February 2017 was 0.94°C (1.69°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F)—the second highest global land and ocean temperature for January–February in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2016 by 0.18°C (0.32°F), but 0.09°C (0.16°F) higher than 2015.

The anomalies themselves represent departures from the 20th century average temperature. The graph zooms into the warmest part of the entire history.
Forget the incomplete line on the left (that's this year).  Take a look at the other side of the graph.  That's the year-to-date averages at the ends of their respective years (in other words, it's the average of the complete year).  See those top two lines?  That's the last two years.  Notice the gap between those two and the rest of them.

No matter what the pussy-grabber in the Oval Office says, it's still getting warmer out side.  Cutting the funding to the organizations tracking the temperatures won't change them.  Simply calling it a hoax won't either.

That's what the science says.

March 28, 2017

My SEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I listened to your interview yesterday with Mike Pintek on KDKA yesterday (interestingly a day before the by now usual "Tuesdays For Toomey "events) and I was struck by your defense of Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

It was particularly interesting to hear you complain about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer "thinks he has to oppose all things related to Trump" and the Senate Democrats' view that "we will go 4-8 years filling no vacancies on the Supreme Court because they can't get over the results of the election last year" when members of your party held exactly the same positions only a few months ago, on a 4 year vacancy at the Court and opposing all things related to Obama.

So here's my question: isn't that just a little hypocritical?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

March 27, 2017

The Laziest Son-of-a-bitch on the Planet


Nearly a year ago, while Trump was still looking for a running mate, the story came out that Junior reached out to Governor John Kasich's campaign with an offer to make him the most powerful vice president in history:
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. 
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of? 
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.
Of course, Junior denied that the conversation went down that way, but having witnessed the first couple of months of the Trump presidency, no one can doubt the truth of it as Donald Trump has proven to be The Laziest Son-of-a-bitch on the Planet.

How lazy? Too lazy to attend daily intelligence briefings. Too lazy to read the executive orders that he signs. Too lazy to "care or particularly know about health care."

And while he may have proclaimed that "I Alone Can Fix It" during his convention speech, it appears that instead, He went to Jared.

In addition to "working on trade, Middle East policy in general, an Israel-Palestine peace deal more specifically, reforming the Veterans Administration, and solving the opioid crisis," the First Son-in-law is now also responsible for “modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband internet service to every American.

Whew!

White Nationalist Steve Bannon is, of course, in charge of blowing everything else up.

Aside from his main duties of tweeting and watching Fox News, Trump's responsibilities will be limited to visiting a Trump property one out of every three days, spending nearly one quarter of his time playing golf, and pining for the days when he could give Putin the old reach around in person, instead of virtually.

I'm Wondering If The Writers Had A Not-So-Hidden Message In Mind (ABC's Designated Survivor)

This season on TV I've been watching, Designated Survivor pretty faithfully. It's not a bad show (though not one of my favorites) and at this point I am watching it to see how it ends.

Here's how ABC describes the show:
Kiefer Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level cabinet member who is suddenly appointed President of the United States after a catastrophic attack on the US Capitol during the State of the Union. Kirkman will struggle to keep the country and his family from falling apart, while navigating the highly-volatile political arena and leading the search to find who is responsible for the attack.
As far as I can see there are three basic narratives; Kirkman deals with his family issues, Kirkman rebuilds the entire government, and Kirkman investigates the conspiracy.

For me, the first two are far more interesting though as time goes in this post-Jack Bauer TV universe, ABC is weighing more on the somewhat absurd plot of a sitting president investigating what amounts to a politically motivated mass murder.

But what's the production to do once the conspiracy is unearthed?  What do they do then?  That's my problem.

On the other hand, if the investigation were to be wrapped up rather quickly, a bigger ongoing narrative could take center stage: a non-politician rebuilding a demolished political structure - but this time done right!

Sound familiar?

Perhaps I am projecting too much.

I am curious, though, about a speech to the nation that Kirkman gave this past week and whether the show's writers were using their platform to tell us something.  Here's the important text:
My fellow Americans, due to recent events we live in a time of uncertainty, leaving us with more questions than answers.
Tonight, I hope to put us back on the path to confidence and strength.
I do not believe that we can survive as a nation without transparency.
Without truth, there can be no trust.
As your President, I assure you that I and my administration will be honest and open on all matters, regardless of how the truth reflects upon me.
[...]
In times of crisis, we must not succumb to cynicism and mistrust.
Instead, we must maintain faith while embracing reason and truth not speculation and rumor.
Again, we can only attain this through transparency.
Believe me, I know what the American people have been feeling.
I know that there is confusion and fear.
I know that some do not even feel safe leaving their homes.
President Lincoln prophetically cautioned, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." We are at a similar crossroads.
But Lincoln did not expect his house to fall and neither do I.
The American people must now make the most important decision they've had to make in generations.
Will we be united in the pursuit of truth and reason? Or break apart because of conjecture and suspicion?
I trust this nation, my nation To make the right choice.
Thank you, good night, and God bless America.
Perhaps I am projecting too much but hot damn it seems like the writers didn't write that speech for Tom Kirkman to deliver to his fictional USA but for Kiefer Sutherland to deliver it to us.

March 26, 2017

Uh-Oh. Pop Some Popcorn. This Is Going To Get Interesting.

Earlier today, Donald Trump tweeted this:
Uh-oh.  It was one thing for the little-handed pussy-grabber to blame his failure to close the deal on the Democrats (when only a few months ago he said the repeal would be "so easy"):


But now, now Trump is blaming Club for Growth and The Heritage Foundation for his failure?

How must that be playing to our good friends on the editorial board over at The Tribune-Review?  Remember, the Trib's former owner, Richard Mellon Scaife, was closely tied to that most conservative of conservative think tanks.  As I wrote in 2009, an astute reader emailed me with some info on the Scaife/Trib/Heritage connections:
[Scaife] and Joseph Coors gave so much money that there's a plaque -- a bas relief of the Scaifer hisself -- in the lobby of the Heritage Foundation. Ever heard of Ed Fuelner? He's the CEO and all-encompassing head of the Heritage Foundation...
Let me interrupt - Ed Fuelner has had a monthly column in the Trib for some time now.  His latest was only 3 1/2 weeks ago.

Then there's the Club for Growth.

Wanna know who  was president of the Club for Growth from 2005 to 2009?

Pennsylvania's junior senator Pat Toomey.

And so now Donald J. Trump is blaming them for the collapse of the AHCA in the House of Representatives.

Assuming Newton's Third Law has some validity in the world of politics, I am looking forward to seeing the reaction(s) from Heritage, Club for Growth, Ed Fuelner and Pat Toomey.

March 25, 2017

Adam Schiff: Congress Must Create an Independent Commission on Russia

Donald Trump, Betrayer Of His Supporters

In a statement in the Oval Office after the Affordable Health Care Act failed, Trump said this:
And I never said -- I guess I'm here, what, 64 days? I never said repeal and replace Obamacare -- you've all heard my speeches -- I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days.
And this is simply not true.

February 9, 2016:
But conman Trump (or his co-conspirator, Sean Spicer) might say that the comment in the Oval Office was about speeches, not tweets - that he never said in a speech that he'd repeal and replace Obamacare.

Well...

On a webpage at DonaldJTrump.com dated Novemnber 1, 2016, that is in fact titled:
DONALD J. TRUMP PLEDGES TO IMMEDIATELY REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE
Trump said this in Pennsylvania:
When we win on November 8th, and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. I will ask Congress to convene a special session.
For the record "immediately" is a shorter time span than "64 days."

The Daily Press of Newport News Virginia reported this on September 20, 2016:
On Trump's first day in office "he is going to repeal every single Obama executive order, he is going to repeal Obamacare … and on day one, we're going to end the war on coal once and for all," [then-Vice President candidate Mike} Pence said.
Day One. Immediately. And now Trump wants us all to believe that he never said any of that.

How long before his supporters discover he's betrayed them?