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Monday, April 04, 2011

Spring Cleaning: climate denialism, American exceptionalism, and Congress punts on the middle class

Oops!  Hoping to find scientific backing for their climate denialism, House Republicans got a rude surprise when a Koch Industries funded physicist reported that their research actually syncs up with existing climate change science.

Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation. And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth. 

Instead, however, Professor Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.” 

A nice article on the American (conservative) superiority complex, with a fascinating map of passport ownership by state.  Seems folks are less egotistical about their own country when they've seen others.

In other words, it’s part of the superiority complex you often encounter in U.S. politics; people just know that we’re the best, and won’t believe you when you tell them that actually they have the Internet, cell phones, and antibiotics in Europe too.

The economy hasn't really recovered (e.g. unemployment is still far above pre-recession levels), but Washington has given up on the millions of Americans still out of work.

More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed

...polls indicate that voters still care much more about jobs than they do about the budget deficit. So it’s quite remarkable that inside the Beltway, it’s just the opposite. 

...I still don’t know why the Obama administration was so quick to accept defeat in the war of ideas, but the fact is that it surrendered very early in the game. In early 2009, John Boehner, now the speaker of the House, was widely and rightly mocked for declaring that since families were suffering, the government should tighten its own belt. That’s Herbert Hoover economics, and it’s as wrong now as it was in the 1930s. But, in the 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama adopted exactly the same metaphor and began using it incessantly. 

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