Stupid Democrats, it's probably snowing somewhere RIGHT NOW.
When Jay Inslee dropped out of the presidential campaign, he told the other candidates that his extensive climate plan, easily the most complete blueprint for addressing global warming in time to prevent the worst possible effects, was now an "open source" document that any candidate should feel free to adopt. Elizabeth Warren, who had already released a climate plan and has included climate components in many of her other plans, has now signed on to the Inslee plan, saying Inslee's roadmap to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 works just dandy with her presidential agenda. And she'll go it one better, she says, adding an extra trillion dollars over 10 years to achieve an
economic transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings.
All told, a federal investment of $3 trillion will leverage additional trillions in private investment and create millions of jobs. And we will achieve:
- By 2028, 100% zero-carbon pollution for all new commercial and residential buildings;
- By 2030, 100% zero emissions for all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and all buses;
- By 2035, 100% renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation, with an interim target of 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030.
That extra trillion would come from repealing Trump's big fat tax cuts for rich fuckwads, making Warren the last Democratic candidate to use that particular piggy bank in a spending proposal.
Since we've already gone over Inslee's plan (and Warren's earlier plan), we won't get all wrapped up in the details; go read her position paper released yesterday. We will point out that -- like the Green New Deal and several other candidates' proposals -- the Warrinsleen Plan makes jobs and labor rights a central part of the proposal, because if you're going to transform a nation's energy economy, you damn well need to talk job creation, and Inslarren makes clear all that construction and new manufacturing will mean millions of jobs.
Tax shelter in place.
With Hurricane Dorian expected to hit South or Central Florida with Category 3 or even Category 4 winds sometime early next week, the "president" of the United States of America took to Twitter to urge those in the path of danger to take appropriate steps to stay safe. Or to join him in slack-jawed amazement at the awesome power of nature. Or perhaps just to ramble unfocusedly about what a big frickin' deal this giant storm is, the biggest and yoogest storm he's seen on the TV, holy crap, wow.
Maybe the rest of the world could just pay Brazil to leave the Amazon rain forest alone?
The Brazilian government may consider accepting $20 million in help from the Group of Seven nations for firefighting and reforestation in the Amazon, but first, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro wants French president Emmanuel Macron to apologize for saying mean things about him, NBC News reports.
Bolsonaro appeared offended by Macron's comments related to his handling of the unfolding crisis in the Amazon, and wanted them retracted.
"And then we can speak," he said, according to The Associated Press.
And that, kids, is why a region that produces roughly six percent of the world's oxygen* may or may not be getting international assistance to stop devastating wildfires, many of them set by farmers hoping to make some money following Bolsonaro's declaration that the rain forest should be sacrificed for agriculture. Can't get too worked up over a potential ecological disaster, because the real issue is the Brazilian president's sense of honor. As of this morning, Bolsonaro appears willing to accept the aid as long as there are no foreign strings attached, although it's unclear whether the G7 nations will go for that.
*Update: We earlier mentioned a much-cited but erroneous estimate that the Amazon is responsible for 20 percent of Earth's oxygen. The real science is more complicated.
You know, it's almost as if these temperamental nationalist assholes will take 20 different positions before finally deciding on one -- and then change again. Seems familiar somehow.
Add another item to the 'Donald Trump's Dumb Obsessions' list.
it shouldn't be the least bit surprising to see Axios reporting that Donald Trump has repeatedly asked whether the USA could just snuff out hurricanes by dropping hydrogen bombs into them. It's exactly the sort of thing you'd expect from a guy who says he has a really good brain for science, and that's why he thinks all the climate scientists are wrong. Remember, while he got more attention for being the Chosen One and the King of Israel last week, Trump also tweeted a bunch of nonsense about how if car companies just started building all their vehicles as pollute-y as they used to be, new cars would cost thousands of dollars less. Everyone's dumb uncle knows cars were cheaper without all that emissions crap.
He is the stupidest man in the bar and wants everyone to know it. President Cliff Clavin, your dirigible will be here shortly. You know, we could fly those a lot more cheaply than jets, and they're definitely ripe for a comeback.
People used to shake sticks at things a lot more in the olden days I guess.
Yr Dok Zoom has gone and adopted a cat, a nice big 6-year-old fellow named Thornton. Today's Nice Things is going to be completely different from last Sunday's, because last week all the cat photos were of Thornton before we brought him home, and now he lives with us and all the cat pictures will be of Thornton lazing around on his cat tree. So it's very different! Thornton and I would like to thank highly respected political pundit Our Girlfriend for acquiring the cat tree from a neighbor, who also provided many cat toys, about which, more later. We also thank you, Dear Reader, for indulging us as we tell you all about this big affectionate doofus who now follows us around the apartment, asking little cat questions. We assume they all translate to either "Why are you not feeding me?"
Trust us, he's been fed.
Thank God Brazil's president has a conspiracy theory to explain it.
We would hate to sound like alarmists, but it's probably a very bad thing that massive wildfires are destroying huge swaths of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon has seen enormous rates of deforestation since rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro took office January 1, and Bolsonaro's response so far has been 1) to accuse the government agency that measures the deforestation of lying and being the tool of evil international NGOs trying to make him look bad; 2) to fire the head of that agency when he pushed back, and 3) to blame the fires on his political enemies. As of yet, Bolsonaro hasn't yet argued that someone needs to be raking the forests more carefully, but we imagine he'll get there. Perhaps he could blame fish, or maybe abortion, too.
Spoiler: Trump will not knock off the 'voter fraud' bullshit.
With Donald Trump on yet another tear about how he only lost the 2016 popular vote because they're all out to get him, the chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asked him to please stop undermining Americans' faith in the fairness of our elections. Haha, like that's going to happen! In the past week, Trump has lied about nonexistent election fraud in New Hampshire, griped that California and other states sabotaged his fraudulent voter commission to cover up "proof" of voter fraud, and has floated a bizarre conspiracy theory about Google unfairly manipulating election results with its search algorithms somehow. The guy who insisted in 2016 the election would be "rigged" because he thought he'd lose is certainly not going to start becoming a fan of reality now.
Burn baby burn.
Donald Trump would set fire to the last glacier on earth if it meant he could win Pennsylvania again in 2020. He spent the entire day yesterday in the swing state getting high on the fumes of burning hydrocarbons and his own flaming ego. And you, the lucky American taxpayer, paid for the matches! Because the White House isn't even pretending to segregate the people's business from campaign events, as every president since Reagan has done. They just book him at a Shell plant in Monaco, Pennsylvania, stick a regular MAGA rally speech on the Teleprompter, and call it Remarks on American Energy and Manufacturing.
Ooops, make that Monaca, Pennsylvania. Thanks, crackerjack professionals in the White House Press Office!
Endangered species thrown under the Trump Train.
The Trump administration announced new federal rules yesterday that would gut the Endangered Species Act and allow more development, logging, drilling, and mining in areas where vulnerable wildlife may be affected. Whatever Trump's fate may be in the 2020 elections, he has at least brought to fruition one of Republicans' wettest decade-long dreams. The shuddering orgasms from lobbyists' offices could be heard across the nation, and will soon be followed by the dying gasps and gurgles of millions of birds, mammals, and fish, not to mention plant species, though they tend to at least expire silently. Stupid natural world should have hired better PR firms if it wanted to be taken seriously. Show us a big fat check from Mother Earth to the Trump Inaugural Committee and maybe we'll talk.
The new rules, first proposed last July by now-quitfired Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, will go into effect next month, assuming they aren't sued into oblivion. Thanks for loading up the courts with pro-Trump judges, Mr. McConnell! Guess eliminating a bunch of turtle species will be a fitting revenge for all the mean jokes!
He seems fun.
Meet first-term Congressman Ross Spano, who was elected to represent the 15th District of Florida just last year. In a teevee interview on WFLA Sunday, Rep. Spano said he's not convinced humans are causing climate change, and what's more, it really bugs him that people like him who reject the consensus of scientists get portrayed as idiots. It's just not fair, he says! If only there were some way for him to find out more about the topic, perhaps he would be convinced! But although he readily admits to knowing very little about it, and seems disinclined to learn, he gets to make laws about energy and environmental policy, and isn't that what makes America great?
Here's the clip of the gentleman beclowning himself on a local interview show, "Politics On Your Side." Every expense was spared by the WFLA production team, and it shows!
You know, maybe it's better that this Trumper never shows up to work.
The US Senate voted yesterday to confirm Kelly Craft, the former US ambassador to Canada, as the new American ambassador to the United Nations. The post had been vacant for months after the departure of previous UN ambassador Nikki Haley. But now the US will have a perfect Trump administration pick at the UN: Craft's main qualification for the job is that she and her husband, coal billionaire Joseph Craft III, donated $2 million to the Trump campaign and inaugural, and to other GOP causes.
It also probably helped a bit that the Crafts have a home in Kentucky, and are very good friends of Mitch McConnell. Moscow Mitch recommended Craft for the diplomatic job after Trump's first pick, Heather Nauert, dropped out because she had a nanny who wasn't legal to work in the USA. We'll just have to get along somehow without having a Fox News face in the nation's second most important diplomatic job.
We have turtles, an upcoming Wonkette Book Club, and of course cat pictures.
Time for another break from the daily horrorshow, a chance to depressurize with some stuff that isn't awful. We all could use some mental R & R. We know there are important fights going on right now -- but if we can't also watch cat videos, it's not our revolution.
Somebody in the White House thought this was a good idea.
Some Republican consultants looked at just how abysmally Donald Trump's environmental record is polling with Millennials and suburban women, so the White House hosted a bizarre press availability yesterday in which Trump bragged about what a terrific friend of the environment he is. He was accompanied by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, and by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, and they all pretended the Emperor had a beautiful new suit of organically grown hemp clothes, we guess.
The New York Times reports the poll-driven exercise in doublethink appears to have been aimed at reassuring a very tiny slice of voters who don't already have their heads all the way up Trump's tailpipe:
While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was "never going to get" the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president's economic policies and "just want to know that he's being responsible" on environmental issues.
And since they're Trump voters, apparently they're also dumb enough that if he says "Message: I Care" about the environment, then they'll smile and believe it. The White House brought in an appreciative audience, at least -- maybe some interns from the Heartland Institute or some other oil-funded think tank?
The good news is that it's not all bad news. Also, we need to change things radically is all.
Somewhat encouraging news for the prospects of human survival! Over at Vox, David Roberts offers a brief review of data from the "Renewables Global Status Report," an annual report on the world's use of renewable energy from a great big energy think tank, the "Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century." And the story, as he presents it in 12 graphs, is that we hu-mons are not doomed to Global Warm ourselves to death. What's that, you heard an implied "But..." there? What a very perceptive reader you are!
The really impressive news is that when it comes to generating electricity, renewable energy sources are growing faster than any other:
The shift in the electricity sector has effectively become unstoppable. Globally, more renewable energy capacity has been installed than new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, for four years running. Some 181 GW of new renewables capacity was installed in 2018; it now makes up more than one-third of global installed power capacity. These are mainstream power sources, here to stay.
Also, global adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing, especially in China, where lots of city bus fleets are now electric. China is leading the world in green energy generally, which is pretty important since it's also got some of the dirtiest energy to move away from. As China adopts more solar photovoltaic generating capacity, the costs of solar panels is also dropping rapidly, and hooray, solar is also creating the most jobs!
Eat lead, jerks!
Suddenly, America is swimming in news about lead, that fun neurotoxin that's poisoned our children since the early 20th century, all for the sake of shiny home paints and no-knock gasoline. Prosecutors in Michigan shocked residents of Flint by abruptly dropping all charges against officials whose actions resulted in that city's water crisis; Bloomberg Politics ran a major editorial on the slow-rolling public health crisis; and presidential candidate Julián Castro unveiled a brand-new policy proposal to finally clean up lead nationwide, and to help those victimized by nearly a century of neglect. So let's dive in, no HAZMAT suit necessary. But just to be on the safe side, please refrain from licking your screen, OK?
The weaponization of 'family values.'
If there's one thing Republicans hate, it's "social engineering" -- they really can't stand it when government tells We The People how to run their lives. Unless of course you're talking about poor people, and especially poor black people. In that case, plenty of states are very happy to tell people exactly how to live, as documented in research by Zach Parolin, a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University's Center on Poverty & Social Policy. Parolin summarizes his findings in an Atlantic piece, showing that states with large African-American populations tend to spend "welfare" money not on basic assistance that could actually alleviate poverty, but instead on telling poor people to stop fucking, get married, and generally not be so shiftless.
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