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May 24, 2011

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Dr. S, thanks for this. I graduated from high school just outside Joplin. Called my HS sweetie yesterday morning to check on her and her husband. It's pretty damn horrible. They've been out looking for friends and helping out generally. She said it looks like a movie set from a horrible war scene, nothing standing, no trees, just shattered trunks for more than a mile. No cell phones, internet or power unless you have a land line or satellite. Most people were out of touch with authorities due to power, cell tower and TV outages.

Hell of an audio tape.

Further analysis of the tape using advanced noise cancellation techniques will, however, reveal that in addition to loving everyone at the last minute, several of the participants in the walk-in fridge voiced their displeasure at their tax money being forcibly stolen from them to provide love for everyone on a national basis by providing weather satellite coverage, doppler radar reports, and emergency help to the parasites in Tuscaloosa, Flint, Worchestor, Waco, Tupelo, and Gainsville.

T'aint no concern of mine.

What else happened in 1948? Some may call it love for everyone, but can you pronounce Democrat? Can you pronounce Stalin? Can you pronounce the Long March? Can you pronounce Socialized Weather?

http://alleyesonabama.blogspot.com/2011/03/gop-budget-cuts-would-lead-to-furloughs.html

I happen to know someone who works at the National Severe Storms Lab, and at least they were all deamed "essential personnel" when it looked like the federal government might have to close everything "non-essential". But our local libertarian/Chris Christie fan didn't see why ... I *think* she now realizes that this truly counts as a core area of "national defense", but I think she'd really prefer it if each tornado-prone state had its own tornado warning center. ... I dunno, maybe they'd compete with each other?

FWIW, is there a loud clamor on the right to do away with the National Weather Service? I thought the spending debate was more related to HCR, SSN, Medicare, Medicaid and Defense. Put differently, because some governmental agencies provide a valuable service does not mean any and all services should be provided by government.

Put differently, because some governmental agencies provide a valuable service does not mean any and all services should be provided by government.

I think functions which have very high capital costs, and enormous but highly diffuse benefits that are difficult to monetize are often best performed by public entities. It is really expensive to build a weather satellite, get it into orbit, operate it, etc. For any one person, the value of a national weather service is quite small. But the value in aggregate is enormous.

I mean, maybe the US military should just disable the GPS network for civilian use. I'm pretty sure that no private entity will take the opportunity to install a private satellite network with a subscription fee for users, but maybe we should find out. There are huge aggregate economic benefits to having usable geolocation services available to anyone anywhere in the world, but they're very hard to monetize.

I think functions which have very high capital costs, and enormous but highly diffuse benefits that are difficult to monetize are often best performed by public entities.

Agreed. The rub, of course, being cost vs benefit and "can we afford it?".

FWIW, is there a loud clamor on the right to do away with the National Weather Service?

No clamor, just action.

The "spending debate" is pretty much unlimited.

Turbulence, are you suggesting that the Federal government go Galt on transnational corporations?

I say we offset the costs of assisting the good people of Joplin by halting all Medicare, SSN and Medicaid payments, HCR implementation, and homeland security to Eric Cantor's congressional district.

I love me a targeted fiscal tornado.

"The No. 2 House Republican said that if Congress doles out additional money to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters across the country, the spending may need to be offset.

"House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.”

Finding ways to offset disaster relief funds could be a significant challenge for House Republicans and would put their promise to cut spending to a true test."

Quote provided from Steve Benen.

"Are we reaping the whirlwind?"

Yes.

A stronger southeasterly flow than normal for this time of year combined with warmer sea surface temperatures that are - at least in part - due to global climate change has not only created more energy in the atmosphere that needs to go *somewhere* but has also started widening "tornado alley" to the southeast, hence were seeing more frequent and powerful storms in the Tennessee River Valley and along the Appalachains.

mojo sends

No clamor, just action.

The "spending debate" is pretty much unlimited.

Which is why I am not a Republican. Really stupid call.

"No clamor, just action.

The "spending debate" is pretty much unlimited."

All of which was in the budget debate in February, didn't seem to be in the budget bill AFAICT from a google and any information later than February?

We could have each state provide their own disaster warning via private entities, or devolve it completely down to the local or even individual level.

If a tornado crossed from Kansas into Missouri, say, Kansas could "hand off" whatever info they gleaned from Kansas-only doppler-radar info they gathered to the town directly over the Missouri line, for a fee.

The Missouri town could rely on Missouri -state doppler radar info, of course, (if Grover Norquist hadn't already had Missouri legislators sign no-tax pledges), or as we like to call it in the weather business, the one-minute warning.

There could be a schedule of co-payments due immediately, well, within 24 minutes or the tornado touches down, whichever comes first, from each Missouri individual via Paypal, which would let each free American ration tornado warning info for themselves and their families as they sit around their soon to be splintered kitchen tables balancing the effing family budget just like governments should.

It would work kind of like the much-vaunted private health insurance market. You could have a menu of choices, all explained in small print sand paintings which would conveniently be blown away by tornado winds just as you needed to read them. You could buy info on the location of the tornado, or the windspeed, or the ground speed of the tornado, or likely shelter locations, as separate menu choices, or purchase various packages of info, depending on whatever cost-benefit analyses you could fit into a 24-minute fit of incipient panic.

Just like when you have the big heart attack, Elizabeth, and you rifle through the yellow pages, shopping for healthcare and comparing stent and ambulance service prices.

I might start a nation-wide franchise called Reverend Camping's Rapture Heads-Up Warning Service (dial one for tornados, dial two for tsunamis, etc) and please hold the line for updates on the rapture schedule updates

There would be a 911 number (privately run) to call for help, of course. But to harness the efficiency of the competitive marketplace, there would be 912, 913, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919, and so on numbers to call too.

With billboards advertising and extolling the virtues of each throughout the state. This would add to tornado info fee inflation, of course, because the billboards would have to replaced after each tornado incident, so there goes the overhead and we might just have to lay off all of the employees and return to the 1948 disaster warning status quo ante.

Compare prices, sleep on it, and then panic in the morning.

All of which was in the budget debate in February, didn't seem to be in the budget bill AFAICT from a google and any information later than February?

First of all, my comment was a reply to McK's question about whether there was any kind of conservative call to cut funding for the NWS.

Yes, there was. The Republican House budget proposal as of Feb had something like a 30% cut in NWS funding. Which would, in fact, materially degrade the quality of service the NWS could provide.

So, asked and answered.

I'm delighted if subsequent budget negotiations have restored NWS funding. Since you went to the trouble of googling up the budget (which budget? 2011? as passed? as of when?) perhaps you'd like to share your results, as others have done with theirs.

It saves time.

Clearly, we have more and more deadly tornados because there is a greater demand for them, and who can blame someone for providing what the market demands? Indeed, the entire National Weather Service is a government conspiracy to artifically suppress the true demand for natural disasters, causing untold distortions in the market and the concomitant loss of economic efficiency and dead midwesterners (in the present case).

the nice person from NOAA who i heard on the radio last week is dismayed at the budget cutbacks which are affecting NOAA's satellite program:

HAMILTON: Already, Lubchenco said, the agency has been forced to delay the launch of a critical satellite. It would have traveled in a polar orbit, beaming down information for weather and climate forecasts. As a result, when the current satellite doing that job stops working, there will be no replacement.

Ms. LUBCHENCO: We are likely looking at a period of time a few years down the road where we will not be able to do severe storm warnings and long-term weather forecasts that people have come to expect today.

HAMILTON: And Lubchenco says satellites aren't just for hurricanes.

Ms. LUBCHENCO: For example, our ability to do a five-day heads-up about the severe tornadoes that hit a couple of weeks ago was a direct consequence of our having polar orbiting satellites.

HAMILTON: Lubchenco's comments come after years of warnings by groups, including the National Academy of Sciences, that the U.S. needed to replace many aging satellites used to study and monitor the Earth.

"conservatism" !

Russell, I googled to get the details of the cuts, found several pages of articles(including your link) on cuts included in the proposed continuing resolution from February 18-20 and nothing newer. I jumped to the brash conclusion that the cuts were never passed.

Why has no one yet asked why no one tries to make money from the tornados themselves? There must be a way to harness all that energy. With proper incentives the tornados could surely be persuaded to turn baby's drills thus reducing the costs and risks of oil and gas exploration. the highest bidder could also use them to blow away their rival's installations (esp. those ugly un-American wind turbines made in China*). If government would just not try to regulate tornados all could be so well and profitable.

*those have notorious problems with their structural design and tend to collapse even without a tornado hitting

I'd be interested in the small print of the Ryan Budget (now the Republican Budget and debt ceiling ransom note tied to the toe of the baby drowning in the bathtub) regarding the NWS, The Tornado Warning Service, NOAA, the Commerce Department, and just about the entire domestic budget, especially in the out-years.

Funny how those details aren't googlelable.

I suspect the tornadoes win. Cancer comes in a close second.

By the way, Ugh, don't forget that all warnings about severe weather are hoaxes perpetrated by pointy-headed bureaucratic elites with advanced degrees from leftist God-forsaken educational institutions.

Better that private entities like the fascist weather blondes at FOXNews take over the tornado warning business.

Tease from the FOX Severe Weather Warning Service: "Is There a Force Five Tornado Bearing Down in 24 Minutes On a Mid-Sized City Whose Name Starts With "J" and ends in "N"?

Stay tuned with us for the very latest as we go to breaking news on Lindsay Lohan's latest court hearing and to a 22-minute preview of a torture roundtable-discussion between our experts Torquemada, the late Larry Fine, and Dr. Gary Busey, (host of the reality show, "I Was Water-boarded and Still Couldn't Give Up Any Information On How To Find My As* With Both Hands") ....on Hannity Tonight.

But first, this word from our sponser -- Insituform Root Cellars, Inc, bringing ready-made disaster shelters to your God-denying neighborhoods to protect you and your dog Toto, too, from those unforeseen Rapture events.

You never know when you might need a root cellar.

We'll let you know the time and place in the remaining seven minutes of "Twister Countdown"

Or, look out your window to the West, like free people were permitted to do by their small governments before 1948.

Thay way, you'll be just fine, like Ayn Rand signing up for Medicare at the last minute way back when.

An anudda ting, what's with this?

MckT: "Which is why I'm not a Republican."

I kid, of course, but can we at least bus in some people to argue with who don't resort to "None dare call it by its name?"

Along with ...

Von: Hey, I'm not a conservative, if you please. I'm a classical liberal.

CCDG: Hey, you might think you can pigeon-hole me, but I'm a moving target by disposition and to drive everyone crazy.

Sebastian: Hey, I'm not a Republican, I'm a gay, small-government, free market rationalist.

Charles Bird: Hey, I was a Republican until Redstaters RINOed me and kicked my butt back over here.

Slart: What? Sorry I couldn't hear you over the noise my nail-gun compressor was making. I'm a what?

Brett Bellmore: Hey, I'm not a Republican. I'm a strict originalist and libertarian. There are two kinds of people: hypocrites and then there is me.

avedis: Hey, I'm not a Republican. I subscribe to the military code of honor, especially after a few late-night drinks to get oiled up for blogging, and believe we should have universal healthcare in this country. And I'll kick any pansy a*s who thinks differently.

I mean, can't we ask, say, Tbone, resident Redrummer, to post at OBWI. He laid out this morning his foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel with the statement in so many words that any Jew who believes Obama or AIPAC would make a good shower attendant at Auschwitz.

Now there's an unashamed Republican you can have an effing shouting match with and know where everyone stands.

An anudda ting, what's with this?

It is unlikely a card-carrying Republican would care to hang out here much. Too much thinkyness.

I prefer "I am not one of those Republicans". I fantasize that there are still others that will someday rise up with me from the ashes of idiocy and prove that real Republicans still exist.

Of course, in that world Democrats are the rational, respectful opposition that debate the finer points of our competing proposals and then both sides add tremendous value in honing the chosen solution with insightful ways to make it work even better.

But then my wife says that I live in a world of my own invention. It is a nice place.

I can live with a little subtle "thinkyness", my new favorite word.

That the electorate could.

Stop it. It's ugly, these people high-fiving each other because "the Republicans caused this tornado that killed all sorts of people". I'm not blaming this on Obama or the Senate. The Weather Channel was all over this, warnings were issued, with all the current governmant funding intact, and still this awful thing happened. What the hell is wrong with Missou? Too Christian? Didn't pay higher taxes? Didn't vote for the right people? Are you all "scientists" and could predict that these people had it coming and thus deserved it?

This discussion is triumphalist, assuming that the tornado is the "bad people's" fault, and totally unsympathetic to real people whose lives have been torn apart.

I'm not sure I see what is triumphalist about this. If I'd written something like 'first they came for the volcanos', you might have a point (and I confess, I was tempted to write that), but I'm not sure if I saw anything like that. So what are you specifically thinking about here?

DaveC, with all due respect, my friend, I call bullshite.

Republicans don't cause tornadoes; they're too busy denying global warming.

Missouri too Christian? Maybe not Christian enough, considering the futility of prayer and the 100 plus dead. Although maybe that was win-win, considering the Christianist calculus nowadays.

The Weather Channel? God bless them! And thank God they use NOAA-generated weather data, the parasites, to make a tidy profit-generating capitalist business after being funded by Bain Capital (run by NOAA hater Mitt Romney) and Blackstone Group (founded by Pete Peterson, hater of NOAA generated deficits and all things Medicare), despite the God-awful lowest tax rates and revenue generation in the United States since effing 1950.

It's a wonder they could get up the gumption to start a business with those kinds of headwinds, the whining risk-takers.

"Why, I wish we had high marginal tax rates of 91%, like we did in the 1950s, the Golden Age of risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Then, I'd start up the Weather Channel, and make money to boot."

I'll give you this: Missourians don't pay high enough taxes rates.

Including the scientists among them.

Government funding was intact, for now. I say double the budget and get the Tornado Warning Margin up to 48 minutes, if it passes all of the cost-benefit analyses.

And, yes, real people's lives have been torn apart and the local churches and community organizers (also good people, despite their Sharia sympathies) would help but they've been torn apart too and so other good people from NOAA and FEMA (overpaid, hated, with pensions, but oddly enough, still good people despite the f*cking ignorance about heir motives) show up to do what they can.

It's tyranny, I say, and triumphalist.

Nevertheless, Dave, whaddaya say -- having nothing better to do at the moment, I'm half-way thinking a stint with FEMA in what's left of Joplin would be something -- I could call it altruism and you could call it the government dole, but we could live in a tent and share beers from a cooler and write up damage reports.

Republicans don't cause tornadoes; they're too busy denying global warming.

and

A stronger southeasterly flow than normal for this time of year combined with warmer sea surface temperatures that are - at least in part - due to global climate change has not only created more energy in the atmosphere that needs to go *somewhere* but has also started widening "tornado alley" to the southeast, hence were seeing more frequent and powerful storms in the Tennessee River Valley and along the Appalachains.

These alternately imply and state outright that the recent tornadoes were caused by some known degree by global warming, which isn't known to be true with any certainty. According to Jeff Masters:

Was this year's heightened wind shear and instability the result of climate change? We don't know. Over the past 30 years, there have not been any noticeable trends wind shear and instability over the Lower Mississippi Valley, according to the NOAA Climate Scene Investigations team. Furthermore, there have been no upward trend in the number of violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes over the past 60 years, or in the number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes (Figure 3.) However, this year's remarkable violent tornado activity—17 such tornadoes, with tornado season a little more than half over—brings our two-year total for the decade of 2010 – 2019 to 30. At this rate, we'll have more than 150 violent tornadoes by decade's end, beating the record of 108 set in the 1950s. In summary, this year's incredibly violent tornado season is not part of a trend. It is either a fluke, the start of a new trend, or an early warning symptom that the climate is growing unstable and is transitioning to a new, higher energy state with the potential to create unprecedented weather and climate events. All are reasonable explanations, but we don't have a long enough history of good tornado data to judge which is most likely to be correct.

I could dig out similar disclaimers from the National Hurricane Center if you like.

Clearly, we have more and more deadly tornados because there is a greater demand for them...

But, but, but..does not supply create its own demand? At least that is what I have heard some Say.

Sure. The supply of dogsh!te creates a demand for dogsh!te; everyone knows that.

No implication on my part -- merely a rueful finger-poke during the give and take with DaveC.

I worked with folks at NOAA years ago and I'm happy to accept their scientific judgement that the current violent weather cannot be tied to global climate change.

They know better than I do. But then my last name isn't Istook or Erickson, who seem to learn everything from either the Book of Genesis or an Exxon lobbyist playbook, whichever pays more.

I'm sure scientific opinion is conflicted even within NOAA, but many of their people support the scientific consensus that global climate change is happening and man-made causation is at least partially at work -- apart from its effect on local weather patterns.

Then there is the vexing question regarding what to do about it.

Further, on the day NOAA scientists release peer-reviewed data-rich studies that tie nasty local weather to global climate change, should that day come, that will be the same day NOAA funding will be zeroed out by whatever subcommittee in the House oversees their funding and the scientists will be called before the subcommittee and pilloried by corrupt, bribed, lying, politicians, probably of both parties, who are beholden to the current toxic stew of Objectivist industry interests and Christianist crazy people.

Stop it. It's ugly, these people high-fiving each other because "the Republicans caused this tornado that killed all sorts of people".

But they did cause the tornado. I saw them with my own eyes! John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell were out in Missouri, just outside Joplin in fact, running furiously in a tight circle holding pinwheels in the air and chanting "Summa cum laude. Magna cum laude. The radio's too laude. Adeste fidelis." Just a few minutes later, tornado, while they ran off to get wings from Hooters.

But they did cause the tornado.

Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to speculate.

Just a few minutes later, tornado, while they ran off to get wings from Hooters.

The fargan iceholes. Hangin's too good for the bastidges.

they ran off to get wings from Hooters.

breaded wings, no doubt. Philistines.

Jews don't recognize Jesus, Protestants don't recognize the Pope and Baptists don't recognize each other at Hooters and the liquor store.

Dang!

Just had a softball doubleheader postponed today (like the RAPTURE, only more important) on account of locally inclement weather.

I haven't seen the field with my own eyes, but reports are that a 7381 square mile Arctic ice shelf melted and broke off, (after Eric Cantor jumped up and down on it in a fit of debt-ceiling pique) causing a tsunami which inundated the infield with saltwater, and this at 5280 feet of altitude in Colorado. Polar bear carcasses rained down all over the outfield.

However, I'm not buying it because NOAA scientists can confirm no causal link between the global and local events, which I accept until further evidence can be collected, collated, and peer reviewed.

Or until text can be found in the Old Testament prophesying the event and confirmed in the Gospel.

I'll also require the proper citations from the U.S. Constitution regarding whether I'm within my rights to believe my own lying eyes or not.

I hope the folks in Joplin find help wherever they can get it.

Have a good weekend, friends.

I fantasize that there are still others that will someday rise up with me from the ashes of idiocy and prove that real Republicans still exist.

CCDC, there are still a few of us out here. It's a lonely battle, certainly. But I would really like the US to have two parties which could be trusted to govern -- no matter how much one might disagree with particular policies. But if all of the sane Republicans leave in disgust, then where are we?

In the great (recent) tradition of reading God's will into everything that happens....

Let's see:
- tornados hitting across the Midwest. Pretty much all red states.
- hurricanes hitting the deep South. Also red states.
- no major earthquakes on the West Coast. Blue states there.
Does this mean that God's view of Republican budgeting ideas is clear . . . ?

/snark off

But if all of the sane Republicans leave in disgust, then where are we?

Hooters?

I could never understand what owls had to do with Buffalo wings. I guess that explains why I didn't major in marketing.

I have an internet acquaintance in Australia, who says that she would spend tornado season living in a root cellar, if she lived in the American Midwest.

OK, but you have to understand the meaning of "root" to Australians.

McKTex, there are worse places we could be than Hooters. (Although personally, I'd prefer to visit the Colonel -- original recipe only, of course.)

OK, but you have to understand the meaning of "root" to Australians.

Now I'm wondering if "cellar" has some alternate meaning, like perhaps "wagon". Or possibly "den".

slarti, here is the paragraph before the one you cite:

It's been an incredibly dangerous and deadly year for tornadoes. On April 14 - 16, we had the largest tornado outbreak in world history, with 162 tornadoes hitting the Southeast U.S. That record lasted just two weeks, when the unbelievable April 25 – 28 Super Outbreak hit. Unofficially, that outbreak had 327 tornadoes, more than double the previous record. The legendary April 3 – 4 1974 Super Outbreak has now fallen to third place, with 148 tornadoes. Damage from the April 25 – 28, 2011 outbreak was estimated to be as high as $5 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak in history; the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of April 27 may end up being the most expensive tornado of all-time—until the damage from Sunday's Joplin tornado is tabulated. Officially, 875 tornadoes hit the U.S. In April 2011, making it the busiest tornado month in history. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April tornado record was 267, set in 1974, and April has averaged just 161 tornadoes over the past decade.

And the paragraph you cite has this:

In summary, this year's incredibly violent tornado season is not part of a trend. It is either a fluke, the start of a new trend, or an early warning symptom that the climate is growing unstable and is transitioning to a new, higher energy state with the potential to create unprecedented weather and climate events. All are reasonable explanations

Of the three possible options Masters offers, two are that this is the new normal.

I'm not you're making the argument you seem to want to make.

"The previous April tornado record was 267, set in 1974, and April has averaged just 161 tornadoes over the past decade."

Really russell? So we should have taken the new record in 1974 and decided what? That the average would be what? Or the 542 in 2003, that the average would then be 161 for a decade?

The question is what point are you trying to make?

When we have a really cold winter it is weather and has nothing to do with whether GCC is real or not, now a really busy tornado season isn't just weather? Which is it?

What conclusion have you drawn?

When we have a really cold winter it is weather and has nothing to do with whether GCC is real or not, now a really busy tornado season isn't just weather? Which is it?

There's no reason to believe that global climate change won't cause colder winters in many places. Increase the amount of energy in a system and you'll get higher highs and lower lows as well.

At the end of the day, we can never "prove" that any adverse effect is "caused" by climate change. Just like you can never prove that lung cancer was caused by a patient's 20 year 2-pack a day habit. After all, someone people who smoke like chimneys their whole lives never get lung cancer and some people who never touch a cigarette die of lung cancer. But only an idiot would look at that data and conclude 'well, I guess smoking won't hurt'.

Of the three possible options Masters offers, two are that this is the new normal.

I'm not you're making the argument you seem to want to make.

Maybe you're not understanding my argument. My argument is that Masters, who is reasonably authoritative in this field, isn't convinced that this last series of outbreaks is due to global warming/climate change/whatever.

Let me be more clear, here: Masters is drawing the line at NOT attributing this latest outbreak to human activities. Call it whatever you want.

The Earth's climate has changed radically in the past without any help from humans at all. It could be changing now without any help from us, or with some help but would change anyway, or maybe we're completely to blame. Masters is saying that it's too soon to tell for sure which of these things it is.

Slarti: Let me be more clear

Heh.

...as if I could be less clear.

"There's no reason to believe that global climate change won't cause colder winters in many places. Increase the amount of energy in a system and you'll get higher highs and lower lows as well."

Sure, not disagreeing.

The Earth's climate has changed radically in the past without any help from humans at all.

Actually, I don't think the Earth's climate has ever changed as much as it is changing now in as short a time interval. In other words, the climate has changed a lot, but never so rapidly. Am I mistaken?

It could be changing now without any help from us, or with some help but would change anyway, or maybe we're completely to blame.

This is only true if "it" refers specifically to increases in tornado activity in the US.

I don't think the Earth's climate has ever changed as much as it is changing now in as short a time interval. In other words, the climate has changed a lot, but never so rapidly. Am I mistaken?

I have no idea. Do you? I do know that we had these Ice Ages in the past that were rather dramatically different climate than we're currently experiencing; I made no claim about how quickly they came and went.

This is only true if "it" refers specifically to increases in tornado activity in the US.

I wasn't referring to anything else, here.

Actually, I don't think the Earth's climate has ever changed as much as it is changing now in as short a time interval. In other words, the climate has changed a lot, but never so rapidly. Am I mistaken?

Climate was changing radically back in 1974 when catastrophic cooling was producing tornadoes.

I didn't see in that article that a political party was responsible for the cooling and the tornadoes. Is it still too soon to point fingers at the people responsible for Xenia, Ohio? Or was that tornado not caused by humans? I'd say not. This year, the Army Corps of Engineers actually did blow up levees, as opposed to Katrina, which was a levee failure, not a conspiracy.

It's nature - which can be bad - , and way to soon to make jokes or political points about it, unless you are Gilbert Gottfried

I have no idea. Do you?

Yes. According to the IPCC AR4 report on paleoclimate, current rates of warming are unprecedented based on what we know. We only have global temperature reconstructions with sufficient temporal resolution to measure such small time periods for the last ~20,000 years but during that time, we've never had warming rates near what we're seeing now. Beyond that, reconstructions lack sufficient resolution to say for certain, but "there
is no evidence that [the current] rate of possible future global change was
matched by any comparable global temperature increase of the last
50 million years"
.


I do know that we had these Ice Ages in the past that were rather dramatically different climate than we're currently experiencing; I made no claim about how quickly they came and went.

Per the IPCC, the available data suggest that they occurred at a much slower rate.

I trust I don't need to explain why a climate system stabilized by negative feedback loops might be particularly sensitive to unprecedented rates of change in input variables.

The period of recognizable human culture on earth is approximately coterminous with the Holocene geological epoch. That's about the last 12,000 years.

During that time, the earth has had periods when the average temperature was both warmer, and cooler, than it is now.

See here and here.

So, what me worry? Right?

What most folks who aren't in the employ of the fossil fuel industries and/or don't have some political agenda going on agree on, however, is that (a) things appear to be warming up, and (b) the way that warming up is manifesting itself is consistent with models based on increased levels of atmospheric CO2 and other artifacts of human activity.

There will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be absolutely definitive and conclusive proof that human activity is the only, or even most significant, factor in whatever change in climate is going on.

That will never be available because the phenomena in question are too complex, and at too large a scale.

What we have in hand is evidence of the sort that argues, "If this were true, we would expect to see X, Y, and Z". And lo and behold, we see X, Y, and Z.

If you go to the doctor and the doctor says, "Your liver enzymes are little off, I would advise laying off the booze", you can either say, "I'm not laying off the booze until you can prove to me that that is the reason for my liver enzymes being off".

Ditto for blood sugar and diet and exercise, or cardiovascular problems and smoking, etc etc etc.

We, as a nation, are precisely the stupid f***ing idiots who say "prove it or I will not change my behavior", right up until the day it's too late and we die.

Change can be chosen, or it can be imposed from the outside. We're opting for door number 2.

It's sheer dumbassery, but that has become the American way.

Most likely, due to my age and where I happen to live, none of this is going to change my own personal world all that much. Maybe I'll have a longer growing season, maybe parts of the next town over from me will lose some beachfront real estate, maybe it'll snow a lot more and I'll have to shovel more.

But I'm lucky.

It's gonna suck for a hell of a lot of people other than me, personally.

Or, you know, maybe it'll all be fine.

Or maybe it will suck and there will really have not been anything we could ever have done about it.

Long story short, the horse is quite a bit out of the barn at this point. Bit stuff, stuff that is beyond our power to reverse, is already happening.

And even if the relationship between carbon consumption and climate change is still somewhat sketchy, our refusal to change our habits in any of the ways that folks who think human activity contributes to climate change would recommend are going to bite us in the @ss in about 100 other ways, global warming or no global warming.

We've had decades to begin addressing our use of carbon fuels, and we've done f***-all.

So now whatever's gonna happen is probably gonna happen.

We could maybe still turn some of it around, but our ability to act is crippled by the kinds of folks who think Obama is a sekrit Muslim, and/or who really can't bring themselves to part with the millions of dollars they're going to make under the status quo.

We won't see significant behavioral change until things are so difficult, and so obvious, that it's simply too f***king little too f***ing late.

If that means your town gets flattened, you are up shit's creek. You're screwed. Totally freaking screwed.

In any case, I can hardly even find the energy to debate this crap anymore. Changing a mind by one tiny inch is like pulling teeth with rusty pliers. People believe what they want to believe, I'm not going to make a dent in it.

Good luck.

"We could maybe still turn some of it around, but our ability to act is crippled by the kinds of folks who think Obama is a sekrit Muslim, and/or who really can't bring themselves to part with the millions of dollars they're going to make under the status quo"

No, we are crippled by the people who would make up the 30%-40% unemployed paying $15 for a gallon of gas who want to know that making their life really suck today is necessary before they elect someone who is going to make that happen. Because that's what all the "plans" so far would create. No energy jobs, no auto jobs, even less middle class jobs, runaway commodities inflation to go with financial collapse. Oh, we just had to fix all that except the inflation and we didn't even exacerbate it with getting rid of fossil fuels yet.

And yeah, probably wouldn't effect you, you could just grow your own food, buy local and program from home, good for you.

current rates of warming are unprecedented based on what we know

You cite roughly 50 pages; a more specific pointer to your claim might be in order. I do see a very likely unprecedented, but I have no idea what that means. And I see a lot of temperature graphs, but they're reconstructed temperatures and not direct observations. I don't see any discussion at all of rates of change of temperature, or frequency response characteristics of proxies.

I trust I don't need to explain why a climate system stabilized by negative feedback loops might be particularly sensitive to unprecedented rates of change in input variables.

I'm not sure what you're getting at. It all depends on the negative feedback loop.

Which is, all things considered, much better than positive feedback loops. But different loop responses are going to handle different kinds of input transients in different ways, so you seem to be making a sweeping kind of statement that...well, that I don't get the point of.

Certainly in any closed-loop system, shifts in inputs affect the output. Also: shifts in the feedback loop gains and dynamics affect the outputs. Also: shifts in the forward loop gains and dynamics will affect the outputs.

But that's quibble. The real discussion is whether AGW is arguably responsible for the latest tornado outbreak, and I'm not seeing it.

No, we are crippled by the people who would make up the 30%-40% unemployed paying $15 for a gallon of gas who want to know that making their life really suck today is necessary before they elect someone who is going to make that happen. Because that's what all the "plans" so far would create.

I'd like a cite that carbon-tax/cap-and-trade plans that have been seriously proposed would raise gasoline costs by $11/gallon.

Frankly, I think this claim is bullshit. Ryan Avent, an economist working at the notoriously liberal magazine called The Economist, writes:

A $100 per tonne carbon tax, which is well beyond the realm of the politically conceivable, would raise petrol prices by about 20 cents per gallon—about 8%. A $30 per tonne price—still well above the price that would obtain in most of the legislative proposals considered in America—would add no more than 9 cents to the cost of a gallon of petrol.

Even the IPCC only asked for an $80/ton carbon tax.

All are my own made up numbers Turb. I was being as intentionally extreme as russell.

You are probably right, my point though was that that the problem isn't the people that russell was refering to. The problem is with people who are concerned that there isn't a viable alternative being coherently presented today so everything sounds like what I said, even to me.

However, Cap and trade/carbon tax doesn't really do anything as a standalone measure to combat GCC precisely because it doesn't do much to the price of gasoline. (20 cents is only 5% at this point, .09 is only 2 days worth of increases).

You cite roughly 50 pages; a more specific pointer to your claim might be in order.

See the last paragraph in the first column of page 435 and see FAQ 6.2 on page 465 for more detail.

And I see a lot of temperature graphs, but they're reconstructed temperatures and not direct observations.

Of course they are reconstructed...what else would you expect? Carefully calibrated meteorological records from before the dawn of human history or the invention of writing?


I'm not sure what you're getting at. It all depends on the negative feedback loop.

Err, I don't think so. If the feedback systems that regulate climate on Earth can't keep up with the inputs we're driving, then our climate destabilizes and we're dead. My intuition is that all negative feedback controllers that I know how to model will fail to track input given sufficiently high frequency inputs: every feedback controller takes some finite time to respond to inputs so if inputs are changing too fast, you no longer have functional control.

To be more formal, I don't believe there are any non-trivial single-input single-output continuous linear time-invariant systems connected in a feedback configuration for which a sufficiently high input frequency does not lead to BIBO instability. But I could be convinced if you care to suggest a system transfer function that violates that assumption.

All are my own made up numbers Turb. I was being as intentionally extreme as russell.

No, you were not. russell didn't cite any crazy made up numbers.

However, Cap and trade/carbon tax doesn't really do anything as a standalone measure to combat GCC precisely because it doesn't do much to the price of gasoline. (20 cents is only 5% at this point, .09 is only 2 days worth of increases).

This is an awesome game! You start out by saying that climate change remediation plans will be massively destructive to the economy. When I explain that your numbers are absurd lies that have no connection to reality and that costs are much lower, you turn around and say that the actual plans that IPCC is asking for are not enough to avert climate change. No matter what the facts turn out to be, you have something to complain about. Heads you win, tails we all lose. I love this game!

More to the point, the effectiveness of a cap and trade regime is a question of how it changes greenhouse gas emissions, not on how much it increases gasoline prices. And your claim that it doesn't do anything is non-sensical: if you're not getting the reduction you want at $80/ton, then raise the price.

A couple of points:

1) When it's winter in the US, it's bloody summer in Australia. Anybody who talks about how a cold "winter" proves or disproves or fails to prove or disprove any blooming thing about climate change should keep that in mind.

2) When one or another proposed policy is projected to "cost $X to The Economy", it is important to remember that the people to whom the $X is paid are ALSO actors in The Economy. Whether oil sells for $100 or $200 per barrel, it's not the Earth that collects the money; it's people. It makes a difference WHICH people, of course. If the second hundred dollars goes to the Saudi royal family (because of supply and demand) or if the second hundred dollars goes to the US government (because of a carbon tax), the effects on The Economy will be different -- for each of those economic actors will spend the money differently. But the money will not disappear from The Economy either way.

--TP

Turb,

It was late, I was testy. I was not even trying to have a discussion about cap and trade or gas prices or unemployment.

I was trying to make a point about "who was responsible for us doing nothing about it".

For decades the solutions that have been bandied about have been aS simplistic as ethanol and as radical as banning cars from cities. The average person has listened to solution after solution that sounds either pretty unlikely or pretty ill conceived.

Most people don't understand the science and distrust the environmental lobby, mostly for good reason. So they want to be real sure that this isn't being overhyped before they agree to negatively impact their tenuous standard of living by making radical changes that limit their personal ability to make a living.

I objected to russells characterization of them, or perhaps us.

russell didn't cite any crazy made up numbers.

russell didn't cite any numbers at all. russell made only the most conservative, most modest claims possible about global warming and any possible human inputs into it, should it in fact be happening.

CCDG just doesn't like it when I cite greed and ignorance as factors driving public policy. He seems to think I'm being unfair to the average guy. Or something.

Well, I don't like it either. Other people's greed and ignorance bites me in the ass, too. And not just me.

And no, I'm not able to grow my own food where I currently live. I do, in fact, buy local when I can, but a lot of what I eat and consume comes from other places.

And the myth of the "work at home" software engineer is exactly that, a myth. What I do for a living actually requires me to interact with lots of other folks, so I work in an office like most other white collar folks.

These days I have a short-ish commute, but it would not take a very large change in sea level for me to have to plan my commute around a tide chart.

Three or four feet would do it. Not actually likely to happen during my working life, but it's possible by, say, the end of the century.

I'll be dead, but other folks won't be.

The United States, as an entity, steadfastly refuses to take climate change seriously. The military sure as hell does, the insurance industry does. But broader public policy does not, and not only does not but deliberately refuses to do so.

It's baldly apparent to me that that is driven by inertia, ignorance, and greed.

I frankly do think we, as a nation, are headed for the B list. We're very rich, and still have a number of laurels to rest on, so B list is probably as far as we will drop. And it'll take another generation to really kick in.

But the trend is not looking good. Stuff like this is just one aspect of it.

If you live somewhere that is prone to violent weather, you should probably consider seriously that you will be seeing more of it.

Maybe you want to move, maybe you want to budget for increased insurance premiums, maybe you want to set yourself up for a reasonable level of disaster readiness.

Up to you, of course. I'm sure as hell not inclined to, nor in a position to, make anybody else do anything they don't want to do.

But any actions taken to actually address the issue are probably going to be by you, personally, or by your town, county, or maybe state. And they're going to be defensive and reactive.

Pro-active stuff to nip the problem in the bud ain't gonna happen, not in this country. And it's probably too late now to make a big difference anyway, certainly in the near term.

See the last paragraph in the first column of page 435 and see FAQ 6.2 on page 465 for more detail.

I will stipulate for the purposes of conversation that the IPCC is claiming that the current rate of change of global temperature is unprecedented, without assigning magnitudes or probabilities to either quantity being compared.

Of course they are reconstructed...what else would you expect

I'm not going to get into the whole discussion of proxies being equal to measurements. To me, they manifestly are not. But we can pretend that they are, and the entire from-here-down conversation of control systems still holds, so I'll go along with it.

If the feedback systems that regulate climate on Earth can't keep up with the inputs we're driving, then our climate destabilizes and we're dead.

This is an odd point: that the inputs are changing. The inputs to global temperature are irradiance by various sources (chiefly solar) and internally generated heat. We don't affect either of those. What human endeavors affect at this point are feedback loops. Effects on inputs such as Milankovitch cycles are extremely long-term and can also be set to one side as far as I'm concerned.

My intuition is that all negative feedback controllers that I know how to model will fail to track input given sufficiently high frequency inputs

"Failure to track" != BIBO unstable. A spring-damper system, which is one of the simpler closed-loop systems one can point to, will fail to track high frequencies but is still stable. It just attenuates those inputs. This is pretty basic linear controls, which as it happens I have had some passing acquaintance with, both in the classroom and as a designer. But I it may be that I am missing your point.

every feedback controller takes some finite time to respond to inputs so if inputs are changing too fast, you no longer have functional control

I think there are two fundamental errors being committed here: that lack of ability to control the output means that the system is not controlled (and hence unstable), and that there is some mysterious high-frequency variation in the inputs, as I discussed above. With an automotive suspension, you (as a driver) don't have any control over tire position as you're driving down a bumpy road, but nevertheless tire position is controlled. What's missing in that example is exact control of the input.

I'd be more concerned with nonlinearities and positive-feedback mechanisms than with instability in some locally linearized climate transfer function.

You guys need to quit this automatic control theory crap. We're talking about the global climate, not missile guidance.

Yes, going back futher in time, the data are limited. We have to use proxies. Whether they are as reliable as direct observation or measurement doesn't matter in the sense that we have no choice but to rely on proxies once you go into the pre-weather instrumentation past.

Yes, the climate has changed before, over many, many years, at some times faster than at others. Maybe it has changed as quickly as we're seeing it change now. How often, within those tens-of-millennia climatic periods? What's the likelihood that it's mere coincidence that the current, relatively rapid change we're now seeing should conincide so nicely with the Industrial Revolution and major CO2 production?

That's my Climate Change for Dummies way of looking at it. Somehow, I don't think we're going to figure out the transfer function, HG Wells.

There's one point that I've never managed to wrap my head around. Why does everybody seem to focus on whether or not we have human-caused climate change?

It seems that we ought to be looking at two questions:
-- Is the climate changing (regardless of the reason)?
-- Is there any action that human beings can take which would reduce/reverse that change? (Always assuming that we decide that we do not, on balance, like the results.)

Of course, if you want to argue that the first answer is No, that's the end of the discussion. But the overall evidence (as opposed to specific changes in relatively small areas) suggests that it is. Which means that a No answer looks like a reluctance to face reality.

So, the answer to the second question is relevant, regardless of what is causing the change. Right?

Exactly right. GW is happening. Whether it's 100% us, 50% us, or even 0% us, it seems to me that we ought to be planning ahead, working on two tracks:

1) Can we mitigate the warming?
2) Planning for the changes that are coming if we cannot halt/mitigate the warming.

Because, after all, regardless of why the warming is occurring, the warming will have real consequences for humans.

The real issue here is that doing something (along either of my 2 tracks) requires central planning of some kind, and central planning is bad, always, in all ways.

Some tenuously-related observations:

Russell, 10:30 pm

"Ditto for blood sugar and diet and exercise, or cardiovascular problems and smoking, etc etc etc."

"We, as a nation, are precisely the stupid f***ing idiots who say "prove it or I will not change my behavior", right up until the day it's too late and we die."

Joplin IS in the Show Me State, after all.

CCDG, 7:29am

"Most people don't understand the science and distrust the environmental lobby, mostly for good reason. So they want to be real sure that this isn't being overhyped before they agree to negatively impact their tenuous standard of living by making radical changes that limit their personal ability to make a living."

The word I like here is "overhyped" Show me (not from Missouri; so call me a hypocrite) anything in America that's not "overhyped". Heck, the people who are worried about environmental concerns being "overhyped", only had time to do so because they took time out from "overhyping" whatever they sell for a living.

Sell it baby. It's America, where "overhyped" came over with the Pilgrims and cholera. It's never been clear to me why environmentalists and government shouldn't behave just like their counterparts in Glengarry Glenross private industry and flog their product with as much glossiness and bikinied-babies-draped-over-the-hood-of-the-chemical-spill as possible.

To refer back to Russell's invocation above of health issues, I succumb to the "overhyping" of the triple-cheeseburger (fatty juices flowing in slo-mo close-up from layer to layer on the TV), and then I succumb to the "overhyped" diet plan (winsome blonde with definition fondling stalks of celery while frowning at fatty juices of all kinds) and then I purchase the "overhyped" exercise machine, which sits in the basement used but once (my fatty juices flowing down the sides of its gears and pulleys).

I "overhyped" all of that, to sell my point.

I kid, but I find that CCDG "overhypes" moderation and balance in all things. And, I ain't buying! ;)

And, then:

It's funny who believes global warming is caused at least in part by carbon emissions, but pays others to "overhype" the view that they don't:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/22/oilandpetrol.climatechange

"Yesterday Exxon retaliated, saying: "The Royal Society's letter and public statements to the media inaccurately and unfairly described our company."

It went on: "We know that carbon emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change - we don't debate or dispute this."

It's like the tobacco industry executive who croaks out through his surgically implanted mechanical voice box his insistence that cigarettes do cause throat cancer, but maybe the Congressional Panel is "overhyping" the mandate for a message to that effect on the side of the cigarette package.

I don't know. Maybe the Marlboro Man didn't "overhyped" the simple pleasures of smoking in the old commercials, but "overhyped" his suffering from lung cancer.

If anyone wants a textbook example of superficially plausible "overhyped" propaganda on taxes, the WSJ has one here.

As opposed to their efforts highlighted here, I should add.

(come back hilzoy!)

"If anyone wants a textbook example of superficially plausible "overhyped" propaganda on taxes, the WSJ has one here."

I was, uh, impressed that they showed great restraint by only using a 4% average state income tax.

If we want a back-up slogan, or to start rotating, I think "Obsidian Wings: Too much thinkyness" would be awesome.

I liked how they added in the employer's share of FICA and then compared the sum to income tax only ca. the late 80's.

Sweet.

Most people don't understand the science and distrust the environmental lobby

Truer words never.

Slarti: A spring-damper system, which is one of the simpler closed-loop systems one can point to ...

I know Slarti is near enough a rocket scientist, so I ask this very timidly:
in what sense is "a spring-damper system" a closed loop system?

A thermostat controlling a heater is a closed loop system. A float ball controlling the water level in your toilet tank is a closed loop system. Cruise control is a closed loop system. All these are closed loop systems because there's a feedback signal controlling an active element. How does a spring-damper "system" fit into this definition of "closed loop"?

--TP

I know Slarti is near enough a rocket scientist, so I ask this very timidly: in what sense is "a spring-damper system" a closed loop system?

The damper provides negative feedback to the spring-mass oscillation. You can think of the damper as a gain on the feedback path for linear velocity.

If that stretches things, you could have a second-order gimballed servo with rate feedback that mimics the same response characteristics. Basically any feedback control loop can be written as an open-loop transfer function on the input, when dealing with linear systems.

I don't seriously pretend to be a rocket scientist, but I've played one on TV.

I have an internet acquaintance in Australia, who says that she would spend tornado season living in a root cellar, if she lived in the American Midwest.

So they want to be real sure that this isn't being overhyped before they agree to negatively impact their tenuous standard of living by making radical changes that limit their personal ability to make a living.

I've been thinking about this comment. I guess I have some questions or comments of my own.

First, I'm still waiting for somebody to make any kind of serious proposal that involves "radical changes" to anything.

Second, what does anyone think the financial impact be of *not* addressing either the immediate or the potential long-term effects of warming?

Direct costs like, frex, rebuilding Joplin MO. Increased costs of risk abatement through increased insurance premiums or simply bearing the total risk of damage when insurance becomes unavailable.

The very high cost of maintaining a supply of fossil fuels at our current luxurious level of consumption, including maintaining a close personal national relationship with every creepy dictator in the middle east. Cost to jobs and the economy when and if that can no longer be sustained, and/or the cost of sustaining it through increasingly difficult and harmful means of extraction.

The cost to jobs and the economy of not investing aggressively in other forms of energy production, and letting those industries and technologies go overseas.

If phenomena predicted by the models do continue to manifest themselves, the costs of stuff like agricultural land becoming unproductive, or having to build dikes and levees around significant low-elevation assets like, frex, JFK and La Guardia airports in NYC and Logan in Boston. Loss of most of southern LA.

So god forbid we should pay another 25 cents a gallon for gas, or have a CAFE fleet average of 40 mpg imposed on us by those troublesome meddling bureaucrats.

There may actually be a problem here. If there is, it's not going to go away because we don't want to deal with it.

Natural systems don't give a flying f***k about our lifestyle preferences. They're not obliged to adapt to us.

If the climate and weather systems are changing, we need to mitigate it where we can, and adapt where we can't, or we are going to have the living shite kicked out of us.

This is not a partisan thing, it's not even a national thing. It's not even an exclusively human thing. If it continues to play out as it appears to be playing out, problems like how much you pay for gas, or incremental increases in the cost of power, are going to seem like happy days.

Yeah, people don't understand the science, and they are suspicious of the environmental lobby. People need to get their heads out of their @sses and get some information.

I liked how they added in the employer's share of FICA and then compared the sum to income tax only ca. the late 80's.

Exactly, among many other things.

I think it's hard to underestimate the perniciousness of the WSJ editorial page, both its Editorials and Op-Eds, on the U.S. body politic. Rich folks read it, believe it, let it shape their views, and act on it, not having the time (or inclination, since it tells a lot of them what they want to hear) to consider whether the page is feeding them load of BS.

I suppose, maybe, the WSJ editorial page views on topics other than taxes are closer to reality than their views on taxes, but every time I look it doesn't seem so. Thus, I tell people I don't (regularly) read it because I don't read fiction.

"It is either a fluke, the start of a new trend, or an early warning symptom that the climate is growing unstable and is transitioning to a new, higher energy state with the potential to create unprecedented weather and climate events."

So there are three possibilities, and the only one where we're not totally screwed if we do nothing is the low-probability one, ie, a fluke. So of course we'll do nothing.

the low-probability one

This "low-probability one"; you have a number that goes with it? And a cite that goes with the number?

42.

No.

"This "low-probability one"; you have a number that goes with it? And a cite that goes with the number?"

There are high probability flukes?

Since this tornado season is a new record, I feel confident that the probability is much less than 1%. Assuming a uniform distribution over the last 100 years.

Well, yes there are high probability flukes.
That would be for example a system with certain conditions where small deviations lead to highly different outcomes while under most conditions the system is stable (insensitive to input). Operating near those critical points will produce flukes (=deviations from the normal) with high probability. I had to deal occasionally with analytical* problems where the system itself was stable (predictable) but the measuring device would produce one fluke after the other at a certain point. I knew what the device should show but it almost never did.

*chemical analytics. But I had a similar effect with some purely mathematical 'solvers' too.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-29/global-climate-change-freak-storms-are-the-new-normal/2/

That article is a hoot, Count. Someone evidently thinks that Chicago is going to become as warm as Baton Rouge (!) and is abandoning white oak (which will grow as far South as Baton Rouge) for the extraordinarily annoying sweetgum.

I'm guessing that someone stands to make a lot of money from this, knowing Chicago politics.

Hey, who am I and the Chicago Cubs to worry, when the Navy and Swiss Re are on the job?

Plus, I love the smell of those emissions.

In other news, four dead in MA.

Yes, it's not the first time. Nonetheless, it's notable.

How bad does it have to get before "notable" becomes "maybe we should get off of our @sses and do something"?

I'd really like to know the answer to that.

I just assumed it was God telling Massachusetts that the way it does medical coverage needed to be rethought.

How bad does it have to get before "notable" becomes "maybe we should get off of our @sses and do something"?

The Obama administration is currently in charge of manipulating the weather, like Karl Rove did during Katrina. They actually blew up levees this year. It is Obama's call, and if you want to do something about it, have at it. To his credit, he kept hurricanes to a minimum last year

I just assumed it was God telling Massachusetts that the way it does medical coverage needed to be rethought.

That wasn't God, it was Mitt Romney.

Imagineif the earth didnt tilt on its axis, say, there were not any seasons. Wouldn't that make life more pleasant, and weather more predictable? Bad for polar bears and penguins, certainly. I'm not saying that the northern hemisphere has too much land or that the millions of chinamen has made the earth flop over. But is there really anything that people could do if the earth almost imperceptibly was wobbling, and got hotter and colder. Move to Rio? When the Earth wobbles, if there is a wobble, how could we, or my mayor, or governer, or the UN Panel on Earth Wobbling go about correcting the situation?

A certain Frenchman had some ideas about that. The military industrial complex would love it.

Dave, I'm sorry to say that I have no idea what your point is.

Perhaps you'd like to take another swing at it?

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