Thursday Reads: Wild Weather, Climate Change, and Other News

 reading-lady-matisse-henri-fauvism-oil-on-cardboard-genre-terminartors-1372947212_orgGood Morning!!

It has been close to 90 degrees here for the past several days, and it’s technically still spring. I’m beginning to wonder if we are going to have a summer from hell as a follow-up to the worst winter in the half-century I’ve lived in Boston.

In addition to the unusually hot weather, the pollen is so bad that every morning when I wake up it takes a few hours for my scratchy, watery eyes to clear up enough for me to read comfortably.

I’m on a regimen of Flonase, Allegra, and Mucinex; but I still feel stuffed up most of the time. Sometimes I feel itchy and even dizzy and nauseated; and I think it’s from allergies. The itchy skin would be unbearable without the Allegra.

Is anyone else noticing worse-than-usual allergies this year? Last year’s spring allergy season was very bad; this year is far worse. Anyone who actually claims to believe that there isn’t something dramatic happening with our weather is either deluded or lying. I wonder if we will manage to do something about climate change before it’s too late.

What about all that awful weather down in Texas?

Here’s a story from the Texas Tribune, via KXON: Climate change, a factor in Texas floods, largely ignored.

“We have observed an increase of heavy rain events, at least in the South-Central United States, including Texas,” said Nielsen-Gammon, who was appointed by former Gov. George W. Bush in 2000. “And it’s consistent with what we would expect from climate change.”

But the state’s Republican leaders are deeply skeptical of the scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate, with top environmental regulators in Texas questioning whether the planet is warming at all. And attempts by Democratic lawmakers during the 2015 legislative session to discuss the issue have come up short.

“In part, it’s ideologically driven and intellectually lazy,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, who earlier this year invited national security experts to the state Capitol to testify at a hearing on the risks of climate change. “My question is: What are people scared of? Are they scared of the truth?”

Asked about the role of climate change in the floods, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz declined to weigh in Wednesday. “At a time of tragedy, I think it’s wrong to try to politicize a natural disaster,” the Republican presidential candidate said during a news conference in San Marcos after surveying damage.


How does discussing scientific research on climate constitute “politicizing a natural disaster?”

Extreme weather events, and more of them, are among the most agreed-upon effects of global warming in all the scientific literature on the subject, said Nielsen-Gammon, who is also a professor at Texas A&M University. Part of the explanation is that ocean temperatures are rising, bringing more moist air into the state that can create storm systems. In the past century, precipitation in Texas is up 7 to 10 percent, and the frequency of two-day heavy rainfall spells has nearly doubled.

The scientific consensus is much stronger on this point than on whether climate change can directly cause droughts. Nielsen-Gammon’s own research has shown that warmer temperatures due to global warming did make the drought in Texas measurably worse than it otherwise would have been.

But for the last several years, legislation calling for climate-change studies has not succeeded in the Capitol.

It’s a pretty long article, and very interesting. I hope you’ll go read the whole thing.

Hypocrisy personified

Hypocrisy personified

More on Ted Cruz’s remarks from CNN: Texas flooding puts Cruz, GOP in bind on climate change.

The Republican presidential contender has held two press conferences over the past two days to address the flooding and the government’s response. At each one, he was asked about the impact of climate change on natural disasters like the Texas flooding, and at each one, he dodged the question….

“I think the focus now is on caring for those who have lost their lives and lost their homes,” he said.

At least 31 people have died in Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma from the storm since this weekend, while another 11 remain missing in Texas. Cruz promised to do all he could to ensure that Texans get access to the resources they need during the recovery.

Wait a minute. Anti-government Ted Cruz wants the Feds to help Texas? Didn’t he oppose aid to survivors of Hurricane Sandy?


Politicus USA: Ted Cruz Demands Federal Money For Texas Floods After Blocking Hurricane Sandy Relief.

During a press conference on the deadly flooding in Texas, Cruz said, “The federal government’s role, once the Governor declares a disaster area and makes a request, I am confident that the Texas congressional delegation, Sen. Cornyn and I, and the members of Congress both Republicans and Democrats will stand united as Texans in support of the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations, and stepping in to respond to this natural disaster.

Sen. Cruz sang a completely different tune in 2013 when he called federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy wasteful:

Two-thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.

This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.


Back to the CNN article for more Cruz climate change philosophy:

“It used to be [that] it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said in an interview with the Texas Tribune.

Cruz also argued that “global warming alarmists” aren’t basing their arguments on facts, because “the satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years.”

Oh really? The point of the article is that Cruz and other Republicans may be leaning toward more moderate attitudes toward climate change research. I’ll believe that when I see it.

More interesting recent articles on climate change:

Think Progress: If You’ve Wondered Why So Many Politicians Deny Climate Change, Science Has Your Answer.

Washington Post: Climate change could shrink Mount Everest’s glaciers by 70 percent, study finds.

Dallas Morning News: Exxon CEO holds line on climate change at annual meeting.

Mother Jones Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program.


In other news . . .

Bobby Jindal got some attention in Politico for attacking another member of the GOP clown car: Bobby Jindal slams Rand Paul as unfit to be commander in chief.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul for his recent comments about the Islamic State, saying the presidential contender is unfit to be commander in chief and is taking the “weakest, most liberal Democrat position” when it comes to fighting the militant group.

Using unusually harsh rhetoric and an unusual forum, Jindal posted a statement condemning Paul on Wednesday on his “office of the governor” website.

Story Continued Below

“This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief,” Jindal said. “We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position. It’s one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”

The statement from Jindal, who is also a likely GOP presidential contender, came after the Kentucky Republican suggested Wednesday morning that hawkish members of his party were to blame for the rise of the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS.

Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.”

Joseph Hutchens

Joseph Hutchens

In Touch Weekly has more breaking Duggar news.


In 2006, Jim Bob told Springdale police that he took Josh to see State Trooper Joseph Hutchens and that Josh “admitted to Hutchens what [Josh, redacted] had done,” according to the police report, obtained exclusively by In Touch through the Freedom of Information Act. At this point, there were five victims and multiple molestations by Josh….

Hutchens is serving 56 years in prison for child pornography and admits his “reputation is shot.” He was interviewed by a representative of a local law firm at In Touch‘s request and promised nothing in return for his recollections.

Hutchens’ failure to report the abuse caused the police to halt their 2006 investigation because the statute of limitations ran out.

In the new interview from prison, Hutchens said he was told by Jim Bob and Josh that “Josh had inappropriately touched [redacted] during the time she was asleep. He said he touched her through her clothing and he said it only happened one time.”

He said the fact that it was a one-time incident influenced his decision not to report it. “I did what I thought was right and obviously it wasn’t,” he says. “If I had to do it over again, I would have told him immediately I am going to call the hotline and contacted the trooper that worked those cases and have a full report made. I thought I could handle it myself.

The Duggar family is so corrupt that I expect there could be new revelations about them for months to come.

Jim Bob and Josh

Here’s a little tidbit that Allie Jones of Gawker Defamer found: Duggar Dad’s Political Platform: Incest Should Be Punishable by Death.

[W]hat does Jim Bob think of his own response to his son’s familial abuse? In a brief statement to People, Jim Bob and Michelle said last week that “that dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.” Maybe that’s because Jim Bob publicly stated during his 2002 campaign for U.S. Senate that he thinks incest should be punishable by death.

Jim Bob’s platform on his campaign website—preserved via web cache—states that he believes “rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.” Jim Bob offered this belief to explain his position on abortion (only acceptable if both the mother and the baby were going to die anyway, of course)

See the screen shot at the link.

Other stories worth checking out, links only

A story from Politico that will make you–if not Charles Pierce–want to drink antifreeze: Dems view Sanders as bigger threat than O’Malley.

Since O’Malley is no threat at all, how worried could Dems really be?

Ezra Klein pontificates at length about why the SCOTUS anti-Obamacare case is total B.S.: The New York Times blows a hole in the case against Obamacare.

A poll from Qunnipac University: May 28, 2015 – Five Leaders In 2016 Republican White House Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Rubio, Paul Are Only Republicans Even Close To Clinton.

I haven’t read this story from the NYT yet, but I’ll bet it’s hilarious: What George PatakiWould Need to Do to Win. One more clown for the clown car.

NYT reports Climate news from India: Indians Scramble for Heat Relief, but Many Must Still Work.

Washington Post: Breakthrough HIV study could change course of treatment for millions.

BBC News: ‘New species’ of ancient human found.

What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!

21 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Wild Weather, Climate Change, and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    The media attacks on the Clinton Foundation and Hillary are so numerous that I can’t even keep track or figure out if they’re legit.

    Politico: Clinton Foundation paid Blumenthal $10K per month while he advised on Libya

    The New Republic: Benghazi Won’t Stick to Hillary Clinton, But the Disastrous Libyan Intervention Should

    Washington Post: Clinton Foundation donors included FIFA, Qatar host committee

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Liberal blogger Bill Scher at Politico:

    Fox News Eats Its Own. The GOP’s worst enemy is turning out to be the friendliest network.

    The Republican National Committee triumphantly seized control of the debates last year, saying it would not allow a repeat of 2012, when “the liberal media interrogated our candidates on issues that were often not a priority to most Americans. … We need more conservatives … in the moderator’s chair.”

    But what was a play to keep their candidates safe inside a conservative cocoon now looks like a trap. The first Republican presidential debate will air on Fox News and will be moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace—who happen to be the same three anchors that have provoked three Republican candidates into embarrassing gaffes this month. Turns out Fox News’ anchors can make Republican candidates look just as bad as MSNBC’s.

  3. bostonboomer says:


    Hillary Clinton plans to get “aggressive” on climate. Here’s what that might look like, by Brad Plummer.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Did you see that ridiculous op-ed at the NYT yesterday claiming that Democrats have moved too far left?

    The Rude Pundit responds: Times Writer Is Stupid, Says Democrats Have Gone Too Far Left.

    Oh, listen, dear, sweet American children. Come and gather close to the Rude Pundit while he explains a little recent history that, like so much of our history, is being revised by conservatives like mad Stalinists scrubbing Soviet classroom lessons of any mention of Trotsky. The latest, but certainly not the last, salvo is an op-ed in the New York Times by Peter Wehner, whose bio may as well read, “Republican ballsack washer.” He was in the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations, becoming one of W’s speechwriters. He also advised Mitt Romney’s doomed 2012 presidential campaign. So he has tasted the testes of many a powerful Republican who wanted to dip their nutbuckets in Wehner’s well.

    Wehner’s column (if by “column,” you mean, “a list of bullshit talking points you’ll hear every goddamned Fox ‘news’ commentator parrot for the next 18 months”) posits that the problem of political stasis in the United States isn’t that the Republican Party has been taken over by the deranged, the cruel, and the ignorant. No, sir: “[I]n the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right.” And Wehner uses the presidency of Bill Clinton to demonstrate his point.

    Kids, you may think of Bill Clinton as that creepy old dude who once got a blow job in the Oval Office and who Republicans despised so much that they tried to get him booted out of office. You might have heard that Clinton was a wild and woolly liberal who jizzed all over the nation when he wasn’t snorting coke off the bouncy titties of Daisy Mae or some other trailer park maiden. But did you know that Clinton was actually a “centrist Democrat” who “governed as one as well”? That’s what Wehner tells us. He’s correct, but he’s totally rewriting not just the history of Republicans now, but Republicans then, who wanted the Clintons both exiled for their fantasy crimes.

    Wehner gets to these conclusions through lies and obfuscation or, you know, the GOP way: “One of the crowning legislative achievements under Mr. Clinton was welfare reform. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, loosened welfare-to-work requirements. Mr. Obama is more liberal than Mr. Clinton was on gay rights, religious liberties, abortion rights, drug legalization and climate change.” And on the economy, “Mr. Clinton lowered the capital-gains tax rate; Mr. Obama has proposed raising it. Mr. Clinton cut spending and produced a surplus. Under Mr. Obama, spending and the deficit reached record levels.”

    • Mary Luke says:

      Sorry about the allergies, BB and Pat. As far as climate, yes, it’s been unusually brutal humidity here in Boston for late May. Usually we don’t get this before late June. It’s just that stifling kind of “can’t breathe” air. Yes, BB last summer was so hot I’ve been bracing myself for another bad one. I agree with you about the extremes. We have been steadily losing the interim seasons, first spring went, just a few cold rainy days then into heat. Next I expect we will lost autumn in the urban areas first as the overall temperature warms. I’ve noticed for years now there has been little or no bright fall foliage in downtown Boston. You have to drive outside the city where the air is less polluted. When I was in college, there were bright trees all over the campus, the Fenway, and Back Bay. Now, they just shrivel up. I don’t know if it’s all climate or if the city planted different breeds of tree. I do know the city has never looked the same since the Dutch Elm disease of my childhood. Instead of replanting with strong trees like oak, they put in tiny little trees which have tiny leaves and no shade. That’s why it’s so unbearable to walk around Coolidge Corner in the heat now.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Lance Mannion on the real Republican agenda:

    What they’re up to

    There can be no honest reporting on American politics unless and until you folks in the political press as one acknowledge what the Republicans are up to.

    It’s an easy and straight-forward thing to do. You start by taking them at their word. They mean everything they say about shredding the social safety net, ending all entitlements—that includes Social Security and Medicare. Not reforming. Ending—cutting taxes on the rich to next to nothing, deregulating everything except the private behavior of the poor and women of all classes except the rich, outlawing—not restricting, making it a crime—abortion, privatizing every function of government in order to increase the opportunity for rich investors to get richer, and basically handing whatever’s left of government services over to the states where they can be controlled by the local rich white male conservative elite.

    They tell you and anybody who will listen they want to do those things and whenever and wherever they hold power they pass laws that will get those things done.

    When they can, they undo things.

    The rest of their effort and energy goes into preventing Democrats, all Democrats, but chiefly the one in the White House, from doing anything they deem “liberal”.

    That would be anything that does the least bit of good for anybody who isn’t a member of the rich white male conservative elite, costs the elite money and power, and doesn’t serve the elite’s main interest which is acquiring more money and more power.

    Yet the media pretends this isn’t happening.

  6. janicen says:

    Re allergies, I used to take otc allergy pills daily for indoor allergies. In 2000, we moved to Seattle and I found I didn’t need them anymore. Not sure what changed, but it was wonderful not to feel altered every day. We’ve been back in Virginia since 08, and I have not had the need for any allergy medication at all. Until this year. I’ve been noticing congestion when I’m in bed, but not severe. Last week sometime I was suffering some congestion but it was the itching eyeballs and scalp that was driving me mad. I knew it was allergies. I went to the drugstore and told the pharmacist that I hadn’t taken any allergy meds in over 15 years so I didn’t know what to take but I had to take something because I knew I wouldn’t get any sleep the way I was feeling. She recommended some Advil Allergy Sinus and I took one when i got home and went to bed at 9:30. I slept like a baby. I had to take another one the night before last. So, yeah, I thought I had beat the whole allergy thing but this year knocked me down.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    My allergies are killing me! My left eye is leaking nonstop and my right eye is itchy.

    Went to a lecture last week and the speaker thought I was emotionally moved by her topic but it was the allergies that had me dabbing my eyes.

  8. janicen says:

    Sanders is not a threat to Clinton. For one thing, he’s six years older than she is so any of the so called dudebros who claim she’s too old won’t be able to say that. As well, I have always maintained that the supposed far left, dudebro movement is nothing more than a right wing astro turfing attempt. The so called far left exists online. I don’t see them anywhere else. They magically appear during presidential elections and then just as quickly disappear. I’m sure there are a few of them, but not enough to make a difference. People learned a lesson from supporting Nader in 2000 to “send a message”. The message turned out to be 8 years of a disastrous presidency that almost broke the world.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    BB….I totally agree with you about climate change. Only people in denial won’t admit that we’re experiencing significant weather changes. We’re having temp swings here of 40-50 degrees which is very uncommon this late in the Spring. We went weeks without rain now it’s been raining nearly non-stop for 5 days and is supposed to rain until next week. The weather is so crazy everyone I talk to is having sinus and allergy problems. We’re turning the heat on at night and Air conditioning during the day. It’s no wonder we’re all sick. We have a 5 week old baby living with us and it’s been a struggle to maintain the temp in the house to keep her from getting sick. Still, everyone else is sick with cough, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat. I’ve had vertigo too, so I went and got a steroid shot to get some relief from all the symptoms, plus I’m getting allergy shots. I feel a bit better, but I know it’s short lived.

    And thank you for the post today. I enjoyed it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank you Mouse. It sounds like you have it worse than I do. I hope the allergy shots help you.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      So, Hastert was paying off someone who was bribing him? And it sounds as if Individual A was from his distant past, not his recent past if you read between the lines a little. This sounds like it was some sort of effort to cover up sexual misconduct. Wouldn’t that be rich?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Didn’t he leave the House because of ethics problems?

      • bostonboomer says:

        The individual who received the payments had known Hastert for most of that person’s life, the indictment says.

        The indictment begins by noting that Hastert worked as a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill. before he was elected to the Illinois House and then the U.S. House. The charges don’t say how — or if — Hastert’s work at the Yorkville school is related to the alleged payment scheme.

        Sounds like something involving a student he was teaching.

        • Fannie says:

          What it is, the longest serving house speaker in the history of this country. From what little bit I have gathered up, sounds like a lot of hush money, to the tune of 1.7 million or more. Could it be, a mistress? He made over 170 withdrawals to hide it from the IRS.

          Here’s the pitch, this bastard tried with all his might to impeach Bill Clinton over a blow job (Monica was not a child)….com’on help me out. Newt Gingrich was screwing another woman while his wife was in hospital dying from cancer, he stepped down, then Livingston (Louisiana) took over as speaker of the house, and ordered the impeachment, but Livingston had to step down cause he was screwing another woman (why can’t I find anything on Livingston, was he related Vitter (one must have been downstream, while the other was upstream), and then that is when Dennis Hastert took over, during the impeachment, and now we know he was screwing somebody (student?). Meanwhile Dennis Hastert and the good boys ran like hell to protect Mark Foley (who was trying to screw an intern) from losing his job. Meanwhile, Larry Craig’s pants caught on fire at the airport, and Lord, here we are today, and the old devil, Huckabee, is running for president, while he supports the molester of children and their families.

          We got enough here to load into a trailer, and swept it off some fucking cliff. What it is.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Ha ha!

    Chicago Tribune: Hastert statue shelved at Illinois Capitol

    The Illinois House has put on hold a proposal to spent $500,000 to put a statue in the state Capitol honoring Republican Dennis Hastert after the former U.S. House speaker declined the offer.

    Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan filed a bill May 5 to set aside the money, and the measure got out of a committee two weeks ago. Then Hastert, who served in the Illinois House during the early 1980s with Madigan before being elected to Congress, contacted his former colleagues.

    “(Hastert) called a month or so ago and said he appreciated the recognition and honor, but asked us to defer given the state’s financial condition,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.