Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is Human Activity Causing Global Warming?

Is human activity causing global warming? I wind up discussing this with my retired coal industry executive father all of the time! Here is a great debate on this topic (part of National Public Radio's Intelligence Squared series) with a very distinguished panel including:

Richard C.J. Somerville, professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Brenda Ekwurzel, climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists

Philip Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London

Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT

Michael Crichton, author and filmmaker

I am really not sure why Michael Crichton is on the panel, but he has an interesting point of view.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Some information on where the candidates stand

From NPR's web site:
Jan. 30, 2008 -- Historically, environmental issues have taken a back seat in national elections. But that appears to be changing. Climate change is moving to the front burner for many of the candidates vying for the Democratic and Republican nominations in 2008. The new awareness results from several factors: A growing consensus among Americans on the left and right that global warming issues must be addressed; concern over imported oil from the Middle East; and the newfound muscle of California's eco-voters, thanks to their state's early primary this year.

Here, a guide to what the presidential candidates have said so far:

Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY): Supports an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Her track record on auto fuel-economy standards is mixed: She supported an increase to 40 mpg in 2003 but opposed it in 2005. She proposed a $50 billion R&D fund for energy efficiency and alternative energy; oil companies would have to pay into the fund or invest in clean energy themselves.

Sen. Barack Obama (IL): Supports cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Favors increasing the auto fuel-economy standard to 40 mpg. Would reward domestic automakers for producing more fuel-efficient vehicles by helping to fund health care for their retirees. Under his plan, 50 percent of the health care savings would be invested in technology for cars with better gas mileage.

Sen. John McCain (AZ): Lead author of a Senate proposal to reduce carbon emissions by 65 percent by 2050. Supported an increase in auto fuel economy to 35 mpg but opposed a 40 mpg standard. During a GOP debate, he said, "We ought to be investing in alternate energy sources. Recently, there was a group of retired military officers who said climate change and energy independence is a national security issue. It is."

April 1 meeting information:

The topic for the April 1 meeting is the environment and politics.

I found this amazing frontline special on the topic. Click Here to watch it.

That should get us started. If anybody has any other material to suggest, please do so.

Note: posted for Laura by her fairy blogmother.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another word on sexism in politics...

I meant to post this BEFORE last meeting, but things got a little crazy.

So sorry I missed it.

If you need something to consider besides PB&J vs. chicken nuggets, I came across this about sexism and the presidential race on a blog I regularly read. It will get you thinking no matter whether you agree or disagree.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Backgrounder: GOP tipetoeing around racism/sexism

GOP fears charges of racism, sexism
By: David Paul Kuhn
Feb 24, 2008 10:58 PM EST

Republican strategists work on calibrating approach aimed at protecting the party against charges of being racist or sexist.
Photo: Composite image by

Top Republican strategists are working on plans to protect the GOP from charges of racism or sexism in the general election, as they prepare for a presidential campaign against the first ever African-American or female Democratic nominee.

The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate, according to people involved. The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior GOP operatives see for a party often criticized for its insensitivity to minorities in campaigns dating back to the 1960s.

The RNC project is viewed as so sensitive that those involved in the work were reluctant to discuss the findings in detail. But one Republican strategist, who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, said the research shows the daunting and delicate task ahead.

Republicans will be told to “be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion” and that “the key is that you have to be sensitive to the fact that you are running against historic firsts,” the strategist explained.

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In other words, Republicans should expect a severe backlash if they say or do anything that smacks of politicizing race or gender. They didn’t need an expensive poll to learn that lesson, however.

They could simply have asked Joe Biden, John Edwards, Bill Clinton or any number of Democratic politicians who stung over their choice of words in this campaign already.

GOP officials are certain their words will be scrutinized ever more aggressively. They anticipate a regular media barrage of accusations of intolerance – or much worse.

They seem most concerned about Obama right now.

“You can’t run against Barack Obama the way you could run against Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry,” said Jack Kemp, the 1996 GOP vice presidential nominee, who expressed concern that the party could be reduced to an “all white country club party” if it does not tread cautiously.

“Being an African American at the top of the ticket, if he makes it, is such a great statement about the country,” he added, “Obviously you have to be sensitive to issues that affect urban America. …You have to be careful.”

GOP operatives have already coined a term for clumsy rhetoric: “undisciplined messaging.” It appears as a bullet point in a Power Point presentation making the rounds among major donors, party leaders and surrogates. The presentation outlines five main strategic attacks against an Obama candidacy, with one of them stating how “undisciplined messaging carries great risk.”