Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Politicians and Pundits Talking (or Not) about Global Warming Following Sandy

Politicians and pundits talking about climate change and global warming (or not talking, as the case may be) following megastorm Sandy:

Sabrina Saddiqui reports at Huffington Post on what happened yesterday when a TV pool reporter asked Mitt Romney to address remarks he has previously made about eliminating FEMA; now that a megastorm has devastated New York City and FEMA is proving spectacularly effective at addressing the devastation, the reporter asked Romney to comment on his previous statements that he would shut FEMA down if he were president:

"Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?" a print pooler shouted, receiving no response. 
Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored. 
Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions: 
"Gov are you going to see some storm damage?" 
"Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?" 
"Gov you've been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?"

A Twitter user called comfortablysmug tweets grossly false rumors as Sandy tears into New York (via Andrew Sullivan):

BREAKING: Confirmed flooding on NYSE. The trading floor is flooded under more than 3 feet of water.

As Sullivan reports, Jack Stuef then traced the identity of this tweeter crying fire in a crowded twitter, and found he was none other than one Shashank Tripathi, "a hedge-fund analyst and the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th congressional district."  According to Stuef, Wight has paid Tripathi thousands of dollars  for "consulting" work during the current election cycle, and Tripathi has been a "vocal supporter of Mitt Romney and posted tweets suggesting he attended this year’s Republican convention."

As Alex Pareene indicates at Salon, for Republicans in general, it has been business as usual post-Sandy: Mike Heckuvaajob Brown, disgraced former FEMA director, slams President Obama for his early and on-target FEMA response to Sandy; Brit Hume uses the positive federal response to Sandy to take potshots at "big government," while John Podhoretz fatuously predicts that the feds will have no role at all in clean-up following the storm; Jonah Goldberg throws* a temper tantrum at the thought (erroneous) that Sandy will delay election day; Kevin D. Williamson echoes Romney's previous Etch a Sketch incarnations and calls for cutting FEMA; and Romney claims to be eschewing politics for "storm relief" as he has his photo taken beside heaps of canned goods that relief workers have said they don't need or want.

At The Nation, Ben Adler concludes that the Republicans don't want or intend to get it, post-Sandy:

It would be nice if conservatives and Republicans were capable of having their ideological fixations adjusted by lived experience. Sandy should have convinced them that even if they still oppose cap-and-trade, climate change is quite real. And even if they oppose a generous welfare state, there are some things only the government can handle. New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie is belligerently angry at New Jerseyans who ignored his order to evacuate. And yet he seems incapable of recognizing that, as William Saletan points out at Slate, the rationale behind mandatory evacuations is exactly the same as for an individual health insurance mandate: you should not be able put yourself in harm’s way and expect society to bail you out. Republicans are, of course, as unlikely to reconsider healthcare reform in light of Sandy as they are climate change or budget priorities. 
And so the lesson from Sandy will be drawn by liberals: that the stakes in this election are truly a matter of life and death.

At fivethirtyeight (via Andrew Sullivan at the Dish), Nate Silver wryly tweaks the nose of right-wing commentators who remain furious that his scientifically grounded polling predictions remain highly accurate, as he tweets,


As Andrew Sullivan noted recently, Dean Chambers slammed Silvers last week as "thin and effeminate," with a "soft-sounding voice."  Presumably, real science and real predictive work in politics can be done only by gruff macho men who stomp and fulminate and scream--like Messrs. Mike Brown, Podhoretz et al.?

And through it all, Mr. Romney appears, bless his heart, ever more addicted to bolder and bolder lies--as he lies and continues to lie and lies manfully on even when the auto companies about which he's spreading his latest grand lies rebuke the lies.  And don't miss the dirty tricks his campaign is pulling (and the lies it's telling) in Wisconsin and Virginia.

It's going to be a loooong stretch for the entire nation leading up to the elections--and certainly for citizens who have just lived through a devastating storm in the northeast.

*The Goldberg and Williamson links, both pointing to the National Review, appear not to be working as I post this piece.

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