Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hot Off The Press

June 4th. It's over a hundred degrees in Portland bless-my-liberal-heart Oregon. It's unprecedented, since Calendars. Hell, since trilobites, probably--but let's get real. It's not July, and it's not Dubai. It's fucked up, is what it is.

So now I would like to take this opportunity to thank our newspaper of record, The Oregonian, for taking a courageous stand against accepted climate science. Yes, I know any given individual day of weather is not predictive of a change in climate. I know that kind of thing, because I am literate in science, and I am not on the editorial board of The Oregonian. I also know, unlike the editorial board of The Oregonian, that we are, collectively, seriously screwed.

I get it. Climate science is uncomfortably accuse-y. It points a finger of blame. At us. And we can't have that. We're nice people, just trying to accumulate a little money, and we're not trying to wreck anything. So if you write a reasonable article about human-caused global warming, you'd better put in a trigger warning. For stupid people, who do not want to be reminded they're stupid. Enter The Oregonian.

This time The Oregonian is all upset because the Portland Public Schools said they wouldn't accept any curricular material that suggested climate change wasn't real, or huge, or human-caused. The Oregonian claims that's not really scientific. Real scientists don't stifle controversy. We must teach the controversy! Remember when we merged the Home Economics Department with Religious Studies when someone found that image of Jesus on a pancake?

And our best teachers and scientists are all about having an open mind. They truly want to Teach The Controversy, except when Mercury is in retrograde, which makes them feel hesitant, something the climate-change deniers could surely sympathize with; and also, they don't like to work with their heads up their asses, because it gets their spectacles all smeary.

But I get it, Oregonian. No sooner do all the climate scientists of the world come up with a thumping consensus about climate change than other folks feel compelled to be contrarian about it. It just feels right, to go against the grain. The more thousands of climate scientists line up against you, the bigger your contrarian woody is. And hey: the science of climate-change-denial is a slam dunk. They used to say eggs were bad for you, and now this. Screw Science. Am I right? Weren't we always able to sit down in a faux-leather seat and transport ourselves twenty miles to a big-box store just to pick up chips and a twelve-pack?

Damn right we were. That's why we like to hear from Dr. Gordon Fulks so very often, and fortunately The Oregonian gives him a big ol' platform several times a year. Dr. Fulks comes with an antique Ph.D and a solid grasp of thirty-year-old science. And he's easy to find, because he lives in the basement at the Cascade Policy Institute and never misses feeding time, when they throw down the antelope haunch.

Dr. Fulks says we've had global warming before. Lotsa times! It's natch'l! Such as in the old days when we had monster forest fires and gigantic flatulent termites and raging volcanoes, a time Dr. Fulks probably remembers with some fondness.

It's not like we haven't been messing with the carbon balance for thousands of years, what with our stripping of the forests, and our tilled agriculture, and any of a number of other practices that have steadily pumped carbon into the air. Of course we didn't get super efficient about it until about 150 years ago, when we started mining out the really major carbon deposits and frying them into the air as fast as we could. Holy moly, what a ride we're having! Cars and jets and rockets, faster and faster and faster!

It's all totally normal. There'd be nothing to conclude from it, if the graph for our carbon emissions didn't fit so perfectly inside the graph for catastrophic global warming. But it does. It's slick as a knife in a scabbard. Or a head up an ass.

It's snug.

30 comments:

  1. It sounds like we've got each other's weather now. Delaware used to be all about going directly from fairly temperate winters to hot, humid -- and DRY summers. We knew it was summer when we had our yearly drought alert. That hasn't happened for several years now. We've had cold, prolonged winters with actual snow, followed by mild summers interspersed with violent rainstorms. I now call spring "the rainy season", because last year it completely waterlogged our tomatoes, and would have done this year as well, if my husband didn't reconfigure our raised beds to work around "rainy season". As I type, it is downright chilly, and we are expecting yet another violent storm this afternoon. Our local paper may not be much, but at least they admit there's such a thing as climate change.

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    1. I think The Oregonian's editorial position is that, sure, there's global warming, but maybe it's not a big deal. And we shouldn't do anything different because Jobs.

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  2. Pootie has a lawn chair, sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt?? Lucky dog :)

    Well done, Murr. Entertaining AND effective.

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    1. Offhand, I can't think of much that Pootie doesn't have. If Pootie don't have it, nobody need it.

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  3. Well, to put things in perspective I like to remind myself that the Oregonian lost all credibility when it stapled its few pages and turned into a flimsy newsletter.

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    1. The blog post I wrote about The Oregonian got more views than any other. Although the one about the C-String underwear might have come close.

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  4. Truth is irrelevant to content; niggling journalism perforce must be eliminated, as inefficient has-been. A former law partner reacted to every adverse court ruling by screaming, "We're being stripped and fucked!" Thanks to the wet spot fka The Chicago Tribune, we can now cry that humanity is being fracked and tronced.

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    1. Made me look up "tronced."

      BTW I prefer to imagine your former law partner ejaculating like that IN COURT. No?

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    2. He possessed just enough self-preservation not to rave in the courtroom itself. But I often feared that the echoes would carry.

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    3. That had to have been therapeutic!

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    4. Do you know, another occasional Oregonion named Zane Grey used that word often in his westerns, as an adjective to describe speech: "Well I'll be!" he ejaculated.
      Not sure if he was the only writer back then that used it, but just thought you'd be interested.
      Also, he, his descendants or their buyers have a cabin down on the Middle Rogue river....

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    5. I haven't heard anybody use "ejaculation" in that way in a long time, but it does at least have a storied history.

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  5. Sadly there are too many of those people with smeary spectacles here. And their blurred vision has dictacted goverment policy. Helped by the jingle of other hands in pockets.

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    1. The jingle is at the heart of it all. So transitory. You know, humans didn't even have money for most of our existence.

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  6. I can't believe we're still debating this. I suppose we still will be when the ice caps have disappeared. But the big thing I learned here is...EGGS ARE OKAY TO EAT NOW?
    I have no idea why I can't use a Wordpress account to make a comment here, but I give up and am anonymous from now on. Barb F.

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    1. Hi Barb! I don't know why either, but I suspect it has something to do with my antique blog template, and I really should move to WordPress, but I'm afraid something will blow up and I will lose my entire past. A lot of which wouldn't be the worst loss.

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  7. You still read the Oregonian??

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    1. I do. All four days of it. You can read a week of The Oregonian (paper edition) in about twenty minutes. Dave likes crossword puzzles on paper, and I love the obituaries.

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  8. One also has to wonder, if there weren't so many airconditioners (with huge carbon footprints) pumping comfortable air into so many homes (including mine)and businesses, would the global warming be less? Did this whole thing get started because the fictional Mrs Jones demanded comfort and the rest of us just had to keep up with her?

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    1. Short answer, YES! AC is a huge driver of carbon emissions and is only expected to increase. America is by far the greatest consumer of AC and evidently other countries (while scrambling to get on board) are critical of OUR level of comfort, and I am too. I don't use AC. It's hardly necessary here, as we get at most five days a year of really crappy heat. And even that we can exhaust out of our houses at night easily enough. But even here people don't do the old-fashioned things people did to cope with heat. No, they air-condition. The Hell. Out of things. Why in the world, in the middle of the summer, do we need to put sweaters on to go in an office or a store? We need to get back to basics; including keeping underground (basement) areas livable. And learning how to live with fans, exhausting, and sprinkling ourselves. Oh wait, you got me going. That's kind of an issue with me. I mean, I get why people want AC in DC (where I grew up without it) but here? Jesus.

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  9. Just read the Oregonian post you referenced. Sigh. Heard Morocco passed a law forbidding people to read newspapers left on tables at cafes because it's taking away money from the newspaper publishers. ("Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me") What's this world coming to? At least we have your insightful blog to inform and entertain the educated and curious. If only we could insert it into The Oregonian and USA Today.

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    1. I guess I could clean it up if I had to.

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  10. it is fifty degrees today in Maine. Our Republican governor probably thinks we are headed for an ice age.
    Neal DeGrasse Tyson said that you may not believe in facts; but facts are facts.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Hey, you've got quite the governor, there! I only recently became acquainted with the fellow.

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  11. However: http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

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    1. Oh, deary, dear, dear. Toward the end of that piece, I was able to imagine scenarios in which I'd also be guilty of not absorbing new information, if it meant I had to do a lot of work to incorporate it--such as finding out that some environmental solutions are actually worse for the environment.

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  12. Jesus tap-dancing Christ those climate change deniers find new ways of being stupid all the time. Hope they have all invested in water wings when the climate change that doesn't exist melts the ice caps and raises the water levels of all the shorelines and everybody has to skedaddle inlands. Think I just read an article about some islands that don't exist anymore because of that very thing...

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    1. There's going to be a lot more skedaddling than that, when droughts force people off their lands! Which, I believe, is how the Syrian situation got started...

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  13. It's all pretty much covered here, but may I say I miss the Journal. Remember then, when Portland had a morning and afternoon news? The Journal and the Oregonion. The Journal had better coverage we on the left thought, and back when the Great March On Terry Shrunk's City hall happened, my profile was much easier to see in the Journal picture.....
    Cheers
    Mike

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    1. We had both papers when I moved here in 1976, and I don't remember quite when the Journal disappeared. I remember being disappointed. Now I'd happily take either in its former incarnation.

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