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The Army on Global Warming

[ 17 ] June 3, 2008 |

Noah Shachtman notes that the Army has some interesting ideas about global warming:

The Army is weighing in on the global warming debate, claiming that climate change is not man-made. Instead, Dr. Bruce West, with the Army Research Office, argues that “changes in the earth’s average surface temperature are directly linked to … the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun’s irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles.”

In an advisory to bloggers entitled “Global Warming: Fact of Fiction [sic],” an Army public affairs official promoted a conference call with West about “the causes of global warming, and how it may not be caused by the common indicates [sic] some scientists and the media are indicating.”

There are a couple interesting points for discussion. First, it’s not all that surprising that the Army has found someone who thinks man-made global warming is a hoax; the people who think such things are almost invariably found on the right, and the officer corps of the United States military remains solidly on the right. I’m curious, though, about why the Army cares about whether global warming is natural or caused by human factors. When I participated (briefly) in the development of the Navy’s new maritime strategy a couple of years ago, climate change was simply treated as an assumption. Rather than attempt to determine cause, the Navy treated global warming as a problem that would have to be dealt with. This neatly avoided the scientific-political problem of assessing causation, which allowed everyone to think about pragmatic response.

Why would the Army treat the question differently than the Navy? For the Navy, the threat of global warming presents a very clear challenge; rising sea levels threaten to change the maritime landscape, and major disaster in the littoral (such as Katrina or the 2004 tsunami) require a naval response, regardless of how they come about. For the Army, global warming may present a less clear pragmatic challenge, allowing political thinking to prevail over the need for planning. This is my guess, but I really don’t know for sure.

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People ski topless here while smoking dope…

[ 22 ] June 3, 2008 |

JammieWearingFool, lacking a better term:

I must say, if a political hit (for lack of a better term) came out tomorrow and exploded on June 5, the irony meter would be off the charts considering the heat Clinton took for her RFK remarks.

Yeah, that sure would be a gas!

Also ironic, according to JWF:

  • rain on his wedding day
  • a black fly in his chardonnay
  • 10,000 spoons when all he needs is a knife
  • meeting the man of his dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife

As for irony itself, this is actually a pretty solid effort:

The news is all good today [5 November 2006] with the GOP numbers getting better and panic mode setting in for the Democrats.

The Senate races are tightening up, with even a RINO like Lincoln Chafee suddenly leading in Rhode Island. This has to leave the Democrats flummoxed….

I’ve been figuring with all the predictions of doom the GOP would lose upward of a dozen House seats and three Senate seats, but now I’m not so sure. I reckon I can wait until later Monday or early Tuesday to issue final predictions, but as of now, things look much better.

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Can Barr Matter?

[ 0 ] June 3, 2008 |

I would like to think that Barr’s candidacy will help Democrats in the fall. I’ve been pretty skeptical, even if we assume that Barr can attract more support that the typical Libertarian candidate. The biggest reason is that one would assume a serious Libertarian to cross-cut existing political cleavages in the way that Nader didn’t. The GOP is better on some Libertarian issues but worse on others, and while in practice a strong majority of Libertarian voters seem to be of the “Republicans who want to smoke pot” faction as the Libertarian vote expands I don’t think one can assume that they’re just taking votes from Republicans.

In this case, however, there’s a possibility that a somewhat increased Libertarian vote could help the Democrats, because given his prior history Barr is likely to have a lot more appeal to conservatives disillusioned with Bush than left-libertarians. And perhaps he can provide an outlet to libertarians (for obvious reasons) really, really hate McCain but are reluctant to vote for a Democrat. Still, overall I think Atrios is probably right that Barr can only have an impact in a race that Obama is already poised to win comfortably; my guess is that most strongly anti-McCain Libs will vote for Obama anyway, and it’s a pretty small faction.

As some people have pointed out, the biggest impact Barr might have is putting Georgia in play. I very much doubt that Obama could win it, but if he can even force McCain to waste scarce resources there it would be helpful. If you want to be a real optimist, you can remember that Clinton narrowly won and narrowly lost Georgia in three-way races in 1992 and 1996. I wouldn’t read much into that — it’s a different climate, Barr won’t be as popular as Perot was in 1992, and ’96 just reinforces Duncan’s point — but it’s not unreasonable to think that Barr might give McCain a fire or two to point out in Georgia and/or a couple western states when he doesn’t really have the money to spare. Not a major impact, but it can’t hurt.

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"Those dreams have remained…"

[ 0 ] June 3, 2008 |

I forgot to mention Jesse Taylor’s return to Pandagon. Rejoice!

…in other Panadagon news, see also.

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 0 ] June 3, 2008 |

Jimmy Carter, speaking at a memorial service for Adva Philip Randolph, 3 June 1979:

The President of the United States has many invitations to speak, a thousand invitations for each one that I can accept. But when I heard about this memorial for A. Philip Randolph, I did not hesitate. I told my staff to cancel my other requests, and I wanted to be here personally.

I’ve had a chance to know some of the people who have already spoken. Bayard Rustin’s words moved me deeply. And as I listened to him and thought about our country, I realized even more vividly that we are in a time of change, of doubt, of fear, of division, of uncertainty. When standards are transient and when we seek as individual human beings for some life which can inspire us, I doubt that there is a mother or a father in this Nation who, knowing A. Philip Randolph and what he was, would not want our sons and daughters to be like him.

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The Passive Virtues

[ 8 ] June 3, 2008 |

The Supreme Court denies cert to an appeal by Major League Baseball seeking to overrule an 8CA opinion that MLB’s attempt to stop fantasy league operators from using their statistics violated the 1st Amendment. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that this is the most important decision by the Supreme Court since its ruling that disparate treatment for out-of-state winemakers violated the Commerce Clause.

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It’s what Ann Coulter would have wanted…

[ 24 ] June 3, 2008 |

I’ve been off in some kind of alternate universe for the past several days, so forgive me for being quite probably the last person on the planet to drop his jaw at the wonder-working power of the occupation:

At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.

Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.

He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”

Next week: the US announces the appointment of Brother Jed as “special religious liaison” to the Iraqi people.

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SaTC and The Bechdel Test

[ 28 ] June 3, 2008 |

Lis Riba asks:

In 1985, Alison Bechdel created the Mo Movie Measure (also known as the Bechdel Test) evaluating films by whether they:

1. have at least two women in it, who
2. Talk to each other
3. About something besides a man.

So, can anybody confirm or deny:

Does Sex and the City pass the Bechdel Test?

Does anyone know?

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I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again…

[ 12 ] June 3, 2008 |

I am pleased that I resisted the temptation to trade Josh Hamilton straight up for Derek Jeter.

Incidentally, what kind of mojo was applied to the ink of the Hamilton-Volquez deal such that both became MVP-caliber players as soon as the deal was done?

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Not Morons

[ 0 ] June 2, 2008 |

In response to Dan, channeling James Fallows:

The Clinton team doesn’t worry about hurting Obama’s prospects of winning in the fall, because they assess those prospects at zero. Always have. Obama might not win if he leads a bitterly divided party, but (in this view) he was never going to win. Not a chance. He would be smashed like an armadillo in the road by the Republican campaign machine, and he would be just about as ready as the armadillo for what was coming.

Others have made similar assessments of the Clinton mindset.

Here’s my question: how objectively stupid does someone have to be to come to this conclusion? Forgetting about the candidates for a second, the current political and economic environment suggests a clear Democrat victory this November.

They’re not stupid; they’re just blinkered. Bill and Hillary have taken note of the fact that the only victor in a Democratic presidential race since 1980 has been a Clinton, and moreover than the 1976 race (coming on the heels of Watergate) was an aberration. In 2000, Gore ran a Clinton-esque campaign, but couldn’t win because he’s not, well, a Clinton. The Clintons are convinced that only they, running with the coalition they assembled, and with the strategy that they mastered in 1992, can win a Presidential election as Democrats. Moreover, this is not an insane position to hold; it has some empirical support, and it fits into a larger media narrative about the history of American politics since 1968. The Clintons, one might say, are proud citizens of Nixonland; they believe that the Democratic Party can only win in modern America when it’s on the defensive.

Like Dan, I think that they’re wrong, but that doesn’t mean they’re either stupid or insane. Hell, they might even be right; Barack Obama might lose to McCain in spite of the enormous advantages that the Democrats currently enjoy. Of course, one of the things that made Barack Obama attractive to me was the chance to escape this blinkered and limited view of the role that the Democratic Party could play on the American political scene; I don’t doubt that Hillary would have made a fine President, but she would operated with a much narrower understanding of the possible than Obama.

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Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind

[ 16 ] June 2, 2008 |


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This sounds like something from a dystopian movie or novel (a la Children of Men). And yet, somehow, our country may be managing to compete with even the bleakest that Hollywood can produce.

(via Lindsay)

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