What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 21, 2018

Meanwhile, Outside...

Let's take our monthly peek at the state of the global climate, shall we?

From the climate scientists at NOAA:
Overall, the combined global land and ocean temperature for March 2018 was 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F) and the fifth highest March temperature departure from average in the 139-year record. This value was also 0.40°C (0.72°F) cooler than the record high set in 2016 and was the smallest temperature departure from average in the last four years. The years 2015–17 are the three warmest Marches on record. March 2018 also marks the 42nd consecutive March and the 399th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average. March 2018 also had the highest monthly temperature departure from average since July 2017. The March global land and ocean surface temperature has increased 0.08°C (0.14°F) per decade since 1880. That rate is more than double since 1980.
Meanwhile over at another guv'ment cabal of science propagandists - NASA:
March 2018 was +0.89 °C warmer than the average March of the 1951-1980 period. This value is lower than the two hottest years of the record — March 2016 (+1.30 °C) and March 2017 (+1.12 °C) — and is comparable with the years 2002, 2010, and 2015, which cluster tightly around +0.9 °C. The corresponding number for all other years in our 138 years of modern record-keeping is at or below +0.77 °C.
Which should come as a surprise to the newly installed head of NASA.

Newly installed? What on Earth do you mean, Dayvoe?

Take a look:
The following are statements from Rep. Jim Bridenstine and acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on Thursday’s U.S. Senate confirmation of Bridenstine as the 13th Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration:

"It is an honor to be confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as NASA Administrator,” said Bridenstine. “I am humbled by this opportunity, and I once again thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President’s vision for American leadership in space.”

“I’m very pleased to welcome Jim Bridenstine to NASA,” said Lightfoot. "He joins our great agency at a time when we are poised to accomplish historic milestones across the full spectrum of our work. Jim now takes the reins of this agency and its talented and dedicated workforce. I'm looking forward to him building on our great momentum and sharing our many strengths to help us make the next giants leaps on behalf of humanity. I also want to express my heartfelt appreciation to the NASA team for all they accomplished during my time leading the agency."
You can read Bridenstine's bio here.

You'll note a complete lack of any sort of scientific degree. He has undergraduate degrees in Economics, Psychology, Business and an MBA from Cornell.

Imagine that. The head of a scientific organization having no actual science degrees in his education.

But wait, there's more.

On June 11, 2013 the then-Representative from Oklahoma and now current head of NASA said this:
Mr. Speaker, global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with Sun output and ocean cycles.

During the Medieval Warm Period from 800 to 1300 A.D.—long before cars, power plants, or the Industrial Revolution—temperatures were warmer than today. During the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1900 A.D., temperatures were cooler. Neither of these periods were caused by any human activity.
 None of which is actually scientifically true.  Let's take them one at a time.

He's speaking in 2013 - so if "global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago" that would mean they peaked about 2003. Usually the climate deniers are counting back to 1998 (a strong el Nino year) perhaps Bridenstine made (another) mistake by only canting back to 2003.

In any event, what he said about how "global temperatures stopped rising" is simply not true. Even according to NASA at the time:
Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) say 2012 was the ninth warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The ten warmest years in the 132-year record have all occurred since 1998. The last year that was cooler than average was 1976.
They even have a chart:

And and explanation:
The line plot above shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2011 as recorded by NASA GISS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, and the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom. All four institutions tally temperature data from stations around the world and make independent judgments about whether the year was warm or cool compared to other years. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all four records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the last decade as the warmest.
Then there's the part about how the "Medieval Warm Period" was warmer today. Also not true.

From the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience in 2013:
Past global climate changes had strong regional expression. To elucidate their spatio-temporal pattern, we reconstructed past temperatures for seven continental-scale regions during the past one to two millennia. The most coherent feature in nearly all of the regional temperature reconstructions is a long-term cooling trend, which ended late in the nineteenth century. At multi-decadal to centennial scales, temperature variability shows distinctly different regional patterns, with more similarity within each hemisphere than between them. There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between ad 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century. The transition to these colder conditions occurred earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than in North America or the Southern Hemisphere regions. Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period ad 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years. [Emphases added.]
But yes, the period between 1300 and 1900 was colder than it is today. But that's because the planet's warming up due to human intervention. So Bridenstine's last sentence is also not true.

This is the guy who'll be heading NASA.

Meanwhile it's still getting warmer outside. The science says so.

April 18, 2018

April Is STILL "National Sexual Assault Awareness And Prevention Month"

Yep, that's what Donald J. Trump proclaimed.

One of the responses, recently was this:

From The Hill:
A social network company projected “There is a rapist in the White House” on the side of President Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel on Monday night.

Care2, a company that describes itself as "the world's largest social network for good," went after the sexual misconduct allegations made against Trump in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Here's another:

From the statement issued by Care2:
Tonight during the third week of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Care2 is honoring the survivors of Trump's predatory behavior by reminding everyone with this projection that there is a morally unfit rapist in the White House. And it's time to evict him once and for all.
Morally unfit. Accused rapist. Donald J. Trump.

April 17, 2018

My FIFTY-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 - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I am sorry to ask you about this subject again but considering the times in which we both live, I think it's important to do so. Your colleague, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) recently introduced S.2644, The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act in order to "ensure independent investigations and judicial review of the removal of a special counsel" - in this case Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The bill states that a special counsel "may be removed only for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice" and then it provides for an appeal process should that counsel believe that the removal violated the act.

So here's my question: Do you support this legislation? If not, then why not?

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


April 13, 2018

More On Daryl Metcalfe - A Follow-up To Yesterday

Yesterday, when State Rep Daryl Metcalfe was showing exactly the level of legislative transparency he's willing to offer when defending his right to gerrymander, his legislation was protested (an act, I am told, is still protected by the First Amendment).

Well, Brother Daryl had a reaction to one of those protests:
This is the flag that so offended him:

Despite the fact that the above is obviously First Amendment protected political speech, it's just as obvious that Metcalfe is taking 36 U.S.C.§176 very seriously:
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
So I take it he'll be denouncing this soon (if he hasn't already):

Or this:

That last image pivots to another section of 36 U.S.C.§176:
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.
So I suppose Rep Metcalfe will be denouncing this disrespect for the flag:

Look at the shawl! It's an American Flag and SHE CUT TWO HOLES THROUGH IT. Furthermore, the above mentioned flag code clearly states:
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as...water....
Wouldn't her shoulders count? Her hair? And what if she beings to sweat? Isn't sweat mostly water? She slashed an American flag (twice!) and has put it in a position to soak up her armpit sweat.

How can that possibly be acceptable to a proud defender of the flag like State Rep Daryl Metcalfe? When can we expect him to denounce these violations of the flag code?

April 12, 2018

More On Daryl Metcalfe - He's Fighting For The Freedom To Gerrymander!

From The Tribune-Review:
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, led an effort Wednesday to gut a bill that would have created an independent commission of citizens to draw electoral maps instead of leaving the process to legislators.

Metcalfe, chairman of the House State Government Committee, called a surprise morning meeting and introduced an amendment to the proposal that completely changed what the legislation would do.
But wait, there's more. From the Lehigh Valley Live, a letter:
Talk about a blatant power grab by the Republicans in the Pennsylvania State House. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, without prior notice of what was going to be voted upon by House State Government Committee, state Rep. Daryl Metcalf, the committee chairman, handed out an amendment to House Bill 722. There were no discussion, no hearings and no testimony by the sponsors of HB 722. It was passed on a strict party-line vote.
Wanna talk legislative transparency? We'll start here.

So what does this Metcalfian-fiasco do?

From The Morning Call - current law:
Under current law, the state’s mapmaking commission consists of five members. The Legislature picks four and the Supreme Court one. The governor has veto authority over the congressional map, not the state legislative map. Either map could be appealed to the state courts.
But then the State Supreme Court ruled the current set of Congressional districts unconstitutional because it unfairly favored the GOP.

HB 722 proposed a new 11 member commission. Again from the Morning Call:
Four of the members would come from the state’s largest political party, which current voter registration records show is Democratic. Another four would come from the party with the second highest number of registered voters, Republicans. The remaining three members would come from minor parties.
Adding that no one on the commission "could not be related to any statewide or congressional official or lobbyist."

Of those who qualify, a random sampling of 40 names is made. The legislature's top caucus officials could veto up to 6 names each.

Sounds like a good idea. No one is beholden to the current unbalanced process. The legislative districts would be fair(er).

So what did Daryl Metcalfe propose in its place? This:

You'll note that instead of 11 people unconnected to "any statewide or congressional official or lobbyist" the commission will be made up of already elected Senators and House Representatives chosen in such a way as to unerringly favor a party that controls both houses (and in this case by a complete and utter coincidence, of course, that just happens to be Metcalfe's GOP).

And if the committee can't agree on a map then the whole Assembly votes on the draft. And who controls both houses at this time?

What a coincidence: Again, it's Metcalfe's GOP!

With no discussion, hearings or input from the authors of the original legislation, it passed by on a party-line vote (meaning Metcalfe's GOP).

And this is considered "neutral" to Daryl Metcalfe - and something not at all a tyrannical subversion of the process to favor some "partisan agenda."

From The Trib:
“The amended House Bill 722 would ensure that neutral, locally focused criteria would remain the only standard by which a map could be judged, preventing any activist Supreme court from tyrannically subverting these criteria to its own preferred partisan agenda,” Metcalfe said in a statement.

April 11, 2018

Trump's Sexual Assault Awareness And Prevention Month. Day Seven - Trump The Peeping Creep

Late last month, Donald Trump proclaimed April "National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month."

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts about Donald Trump's past as a sexual harasser/assaulter.

Here's Trump in his own words (from CNN):
"Well, I'll tell you the funniest is that before a show, I'll go backstage and everyone's getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I'm allowed to go in because I'm the owner of the pageant and therefore I'm inspecting it," Trump said. "You know, I'm inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good."

"You know, the dresses. 'Is everyone okay?' You know, they're standing there with no clothes. 'Is everybody okay?' And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that. But no, I've been very good," he added.
This was 2005 when Trump would have been...59 years old.

What sort of mature man brags about peeking in "incredible looking women" who are "standing there with no clothes" (and who probably can't leave)? For the Miss Universe pageant, the youngest woman would have been 18 - or about 40 years younger than the creepy peeping Trump.

For the Miss Teen USA, the minimum age is 15.

What, you say? Why bring this up??

Because Buzzfeed had this a couple of years ago:
Four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while contestants — some as young as 15 — were changing.

“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” said Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA.

Trump, she recalled, said something like, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”

Three other women, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of getting engulfed in a media firestorm, also remembered Trump entering the dressing room while girls were changing. Two of them said the girls rushed to cover their bodies, with one calling it “shocking” and “creepy.” The third said she was clothed and introduced herself to Trump.
By the way, the Miss Teen USA pageant took place on August 20, 1997. When the creepy peeping Donald would have been about 51 years old - or 36 years older than our hypothetical 15 year old or 33 years older than the above quoted Mariah Billado, who was 18 at the time.

And also by the way, Ivanka Trump provided "color commentary" for the broadcast that year. She was also 15.

Donald Trump, creepy peeper of teen age women everywhere (or at least at the pageants he owned).

April 10, 2018

My FIFTY-SIXTH 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 - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I was going to ask you about recent news coverage describing how the Congressional Budget Office now says that the tax cuts you championed this past December will expand the deficit to $800 billion in fiscal 2018 (up from $655 billion in fiscal 2017). 

However, considering the events of the past day or so (the FBI raiding Donald Trump's attorney's offices) I'm afraid we have to change the subject. Trump characterized the raid as a break in and as "an attack on our country in a true sense." Given that the FBI went in with a search warrant (one that had to be approved by the highest levels of the Department of Justice as well as a Federal Judge) Trump is completely wrong to call it a break-in as well as "an attack on our country" and "what we all stand for."

So here are my questions, Senator: How concerned are you over these events (both the raid and Trump's response to it)? What will you do if Trump decides to fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller given that you're on the record saying that you have "every confidence" that Mueller will do the job with "integrity and professionalism"? Or do you now agree with Trump that the raid is "a disgrace" and that Mueller's investigation is "a witch hunt"?

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