Friday Open Thread

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

–Carl Jung

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    Good piece by Mr. Bump….short enough I just posted the whole thing…

    Philip Bump: Ted Cruz’s comments on climate change are … baffling

     In an interview this week with The Texas Tribune, Sen. Ted Cruz made comments about climate change that were so baffling that I wondered about whether I should even address them. But even the baffling things deserve some sort of response.

    Specifically, he said this, as transcribed by the Huffington Post’s Kate Sheppard:

    “On the global warming alarmists, anyone who actually points to the evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims, they don’t engage in reasoned debate. What do they do? They scream, ‘You’re a denier.’ They brand you a heretic. Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers. It used to be that it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier.”

    And then he said:

    “If you look at global warming alarmists, they don’t like to look at the actual facts and the data. The satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years. Now that’s a real problem for the global warming alarmists. Because all those computer models on which this whole issue is based predicted significant warming, and yet the satellite data show it ain’t happening.”

    And then he said:

    “I read this morning a Newsweek article from the 1970s talking about global cooling. And it said the science is clear, it is overwhelming, we are in a major cooling period, and it’s going to cause enormous problems worldwide. … Now, the data proved to be not backing up that theory. So then all the advocates of global cooling suddenly shifted to global warming, and they advocated it’s warming, and the solution interestingly enough was the exact same solution — government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

    There’s not much Cruz got right here.

    First, he conflates the science of climate change with the politics of climate change. Scientists don’t scream, “You’re a denier.” They point to the scientific evidence that human activity is leading to climate warming — the evidence of which is overwhelming. There is no “evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims,” because if there were, scientists would abandon the theory. That’s how science works.

    Second, science works that way because scientists developed a system in which they created hypotheses and tested them. So it’s silly to say that “accepted scientific wisdom” said the world was flat, because the assumption that the world was flat didn’t derive from science. Instead, science challenged the conventional thinking, using a superior system for uncovering the truth.

    Third, Galileo came along well after people knew the Earth was round. People had sailed around the world before he was born! His conflict with the church was that he said the Earth revolved around the Sun, instead of the opposite. (Actually, his conflict with the church was probably more about his views on transubstantiation, but that’s a different topic.) Galileo challenged the orthodoxy based on evidence collected through science.

    Fourth, the “warming hiatus” is not “a real problem” for climate scientists, except in the sense that it poses another question to be answered. In fact, scientists have a theory on why temperatures haven’t increased as quickly as projected in recent years. (In short: They suspect that it has warmed — but deep in the ocean.) What’s more, scientists that studied the satellite data to which Cruz refers reject the idea that it somehow disproves the idea that human activity is making the world warmer.

    Fifth. That Newsweek article. Oh man.

    In 1975, Peter Gwynne wrote a brief for the magazine that suggested that some scientists believed the world was cooling. It was nine paragraph, quoting scientists who admitted that their projections were preliminary. To DailyClimate, Gwynne explained, “It was just an intriguing piece about what a certain group in a certain niche of climatology was thinking.” He added, “Newsweek being Newsweek, we might have pushed the envelope a little bit more than I would have wanted.”

    But that article has fueled a cottage industry in science rejection. What Cruz is doing is treating as valid one magazine article from 40 years ago but rejecting as hopelessly flawed study after study showing that the world is warming.

    The Galileos on climate change are, like Galileo, the scientists. The people pushing back on the science are, like Cruz, those who favor the status quo. Cruz’s comments, from start to finish, are simply not correct.


    Philip Bump writes about politics for The Washington Post. His email address is…-baffling.ece

  2. Zappatero says:

    Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi on R’s: “it took a Black president for Republicans to want a Jewish president”

  3. Zappatero says:

    Clown Car Member Rand Paul – High Purveyor for the Cult of Reagan:

    Paul Krugman knocks down some of the right’s cherished beliefs about its economic theories:

    At a deeper level, modern conservative ideology utterly depends on the proposition that conservatives, and only they, possess the secret key to prosperity. As a result, you often have politicians on the right making claims like this one,from Senator Rand Paul: “When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.”

    Actually, if creating “millions of jobs” means adding two million or more jobs in a given year, we’ve done that 13 times since Reagan left office: eight times under Bill Clinton, twice under George W. Bush, and three times, so far, under Barack Obama. But who’s counting?

    Rand Paul lied, of course.

    After the president fact-checked his critics in Cleveland last week, Susan Crabtree of the Washington Examiner, appearing on “The Last Word,” tried to tamp down his taking credit for unemployment falling to 5.5 percent, citing 30 million people who have dropped out of the workforce. Eugene Robinson would have none of it, pointing out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics figure is the “standard way that we have measured unemployment for many, many decades.” When the game is not going your way, you don’t get to move the goalposts. (IOKIYAR)

    Krugman continues:

    As a number of observers have pointed out, however, for big businesses to admit that government policies can create jobs would be to devalue one of their favorite political arguments — the claim that to achieve prosperity politicians must preserve business confidence, among other things, by refraining from any criticism of what business people do.

    But this is false: leaders must be able to criticize businesses when they do wrong. Elizabeth Warren has proven this. Those taking the criticism won’t like it, but they aren’t perfect any more than anyone else is in this capital-biased economy, though they have convinced themselves they are near perfect.

  4. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Harry Reid bites the dust.

    WASHINGTON – With Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid announcing his retirement, NRSC executive director Ward Baker released the following statement:

    “On the verge of losing his own election and after losing the majority, Senator Harry Reid has decided to hang up his rusty spurs. Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate. With the exception of Reid, every elected statewide official in Nevada is Republican and this race is the top pickup opportunity for the GOP.”


  5. Duke Cox says:

    Lemme guess…the New Republican Shithead Committee…?

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