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Halloween in St. Petersburg

This is all in my brother’s neighborhood – and I have to say, I thought he was exaggerating:


So even though he found that his criticisms of warming were unfounded, this Koch-funded physicist is still insisting that the threat of greenhouse gases is not as proven as other scientists say it is. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right?

WASHINGTON (AP) – A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.

The study of the world’s surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of “Climategate,” a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.

Yet he found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. Those numbers from Muller, who works at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, match those by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

He said he went even further back, studying readings from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. His ultimate finding of a warming world, to be presented at a conference Monday, is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades.

One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.

[…] There is no reason now to be a skeptic about steadily increasing temperatures, Muller wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages, a place friendly to skeptics. Muller did not address in his research the cause of global warming. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists say it’s man-made from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Nor did his study look at ocean warming, future warming and how much of a threat to mankind climate change might be.

Still, Muller said it makes sense to reduce the carbon dioxide created by fossil fuels.

“Greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world,” he said. Still, he contends that threat is not as proven as the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it is.

Threatening the global economy

Further U.S. austerity!

‘We are Wall Street’

A pointed response.

Food for thought

When even a true believer like Michael Moore says something like this…

War on the internet

Yes, Congress has declared it. Yes, it’s really, really important that you make your opposition known to your representatives (and yes, I use the term ironically).

Cops are cute, aren’t they? They’re not going to play fair, and Wall Street Occupiers better get used to it:

[…] The NYPD seems to have crossed a line in recent days, as the park has taken on a darker tone with unsteady and unstable types suddenly seeming to emerge from the woodwork. Two different drunks I spoke with last week told me they’d been encouraged to “take it to Zuccotti” by officers who’d found them drinking in other parks, and members of the community affairs working group related several similar stories they’d heard while talking with intoxicated or aggressive new arrivals.

The NYPD’s press office declined to comment on the record about any such policy, but it seems like a logical tactic from a Bloomberg administration that has done its best to make things difficult for the occupation — a way of using its openness against it.

“He’s got a right to express himself, you’ve got a right to express yourself,” I heard three cops repeat in recent days, using nearly identical language, when asked to intervene with troublemakers inside the park, including a clearly disturbed man screaming and singing wildly at 3 a.m. for the second straight night.

“The first time I’ve heard cops mention our First Amendment rights,” cracked one occupier after hearing a lieutenant read off of that apparent script.

“A lot of you people smell,” a waggish cop shot back later after an occupier asked if he might be able to help find more appropriate accommodations for a particularly pungent and out-of-sorts homeless man.

“The police are saying ‘it’s a free for all at Zuccotti so you can go there,’” said Daniel Zetah, a member of several working groups including community affairs. “Which makes our job harder and harder because the ratio is worse and worse.”

Organizers, who have already cut kitchen hours and taken other steps to discourage freeloading, are hoping that the winter cold will help clear out hangers-on and give the active participants time to consolidate their gains to date and refine their structures (including a bid to shift some power from the general assembly comprised of the semi-random group of people who show up on the Broadway steps each evening to the working group members who have invested time and effort in the occupation) to ensure the park maintains a high ratio of political participants to pilgrims drawn to a free-food, cop-free Eden.

“We’re in a limited physical space,” said Zetah, “and we’re past carrying capacity. By including these people we’re creating a space where other people, and particularly women, don’t feel safe — and by default you’re excluding them.”

Under the bus

No doubt in my mind that lower-ranking NYPD officers are taking the fall for their bosses on this. Patrol officers don’t do this on their own — there’s always someone higher up keeping track.

The Washington Post ran a startling story on their front page yesterday that would scare the crap out of most people — if you didn’t already understand how Social Security actually works, and that the Village elites will say just about anything to destroy it under the guise of “saving” it. Rich Eskow did a great job pulling it apart in this scathing HuffPost piece (you should go read it all):

If we had the space we’d deconstruct the entire piece. Instead we’ll use a selected sample, beginning with the first line:

” Last year, as a debate over the runaway national debt gathered steam in Washington, Social Security passed a treacherous milestone. It went “cash negative.”

Holy cow, that’s a lot of deception in one sentence. First, the sentence conflates the national debt with Social Security. But Social Security is expressly forbidden by law from contributing to the debt! It must be entirely self-sustaining. So why connect the two in one sentence?

And that “treacherous milestone” isn’t not treacherous at all. The plan’s huge surplus, currently $2.6 trillion, was amassed because planners know that baby boomers would retire someday. That supposedly “treacherous” switch to “cash negative” has been anticipated for decades.

“Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury. This year, it will add a projected $46 billion to the nation’s budget problems, according to projections by system trustees.”

No. Social Security is entirely self-funded. This is a falsehood. And note the use of the word “sucking.”

“Replacing cash lost to a one-year payroll tax holiday will require another $105 billion.”

The President and Congress agreed to use the payroll taxes that fund Social Security as the mechanism for a tax break. That was a bad idea, in my opinion, precisely because it opened the program up to this kind of deception. But it’s misleading at best to complain that this is adding to the nation’s budget woes.

“Lawmakers in both parties are ducking the issue, wary of agitating older voters and their advocates in Washington, who have long targeted politicians who try to tamper with federal retirement benefits.”

The word “ducking” is straight out of the Pete Peterson playbook. If you’re not willing to back unnecessary cuts to Social Security to please billionaire political patrons like Peterson, you’re somehow a cowardly politician.

Another Peterson trick is to ignore disabled recipients of Social Security and focus on the elderly, painting them as demanding, selfish, and cruel for expecting the benefits they’d paid for all their working lives. (Remember Alan Simpson’s “greedy geezers” remark?) In Montgomery’s case, these aggressive oldsters are “agitated” and have a practice of “targeting politicians” who cross them.
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Time to reform the bankruptcy laws

So they work for us instead of against us.

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