Saturday, October 20, 2007

Measure 50

Since I posted on M49, I might as well post on this one, right?

While I don't like the fact that M50 will be written into the Constitution, I am still voting for it.


Because a social policy that taxes cigarettes and uses the money for health care - even if only part of it is for kids - is a good policy. Cigarettes need to go away, and while I think outlawing them is a bad first step (but not off the table, sadly), creating barriers to smoking is a good thing.

That and the fact that opposition parties - usually tobacco companies - have spent over $10 million to defeat this is a giant sign that it's a good idea. And it makes me happy to hope that said companies will have wasted $10 million.

So yeah: For once, I am a yes-happy ballot measure voter. Doesn't happen often.

Yes on Measure 49

I don't have cable and I barely receive any mail, yet I've still managed to feel a little overloaded when it comes to pro/anti Measure 49 (and Measure 50) ads. I thought I'd take a minute and try and explain my view.

Measure 37 was a really bad idea.

Measure 49 is a partial fix; I would rather see a total repeal of 37, but I am much happier with 49 than no 49.

One of the main arguments opponents of 49 seem to use goes something like this:

"It's my land, so I should be able to do what I want with it."

This is painfully stupid. While it might be a great selling slogan, sounding like common sense, it's actually pretty vacuous.

Without delving into too much philosophy, let's talk a bit about private property, which is where I think lines like the above one come from.

Private property is not a natural right, though I suspect many, many folks think it is. (So goes the power of socialization). Instead, private property is a social construct: It only works because we all agree to respect it, and we've set up an enforcement mechanism (the government) to adjudicate claims of private property and enforce said claims. Notice how private property rights only hold within U.S. boundaries? If such a right was indeed natural or universal, they would hold true throughout the world - but they don't. Each country has developed its own sense of property, its own social contract around how it works.

I don't like the idea that land is considered private property in the same way material goods are considered private property, but I understand that's how people view it. So be it. Land is communal, and no amount of pretending will ever make it otherwise,

Given that private property and its ownership is a social construct, it stands to reason that we humans, as social creatures, make rules about its use - and among them are Oregon's land-use planning rules. We do this because there are a lot of us crammed into an increasingly small space, and it's functionally, organizationally necessary. Without it we'd be doing far more damage to the land than we already are, making it unlivable at an even faster rate.

Let me put it this way: In order for the land in, say, the Willamette Valley to offer even as much support to the folks that live here as it does, we - and it - must be organized in certain ways: Cities, suburbs, farmland, timberland, river easements, etc. These are not evil by design, but by necessity (if one thinks they are indeed evil after all).

Given this, there is a very good and overriding reason not to support the idea that a private property "owner" can do whatever they want with their land: The rest of us are ultimately reliant on that land as well.

"Ownership" of land is a privilege, not a right, even in the United States. Asserting a right to do whatever one wants is not only silly and in the long run impossible, it's not even true by historical U.S. standards.

So please, please, please vote YES on Measure 49. The results of ending land-use planning are going to be very, very ugly, and frankly, I LIKE Oregon. I don't want to see it turn into New Jersey, or Southern California with more rain.

That and decimating Oregon's economic base - agriculture is decidedly stupid.

That One Thing Per Day that Just Makes Everything Red

I don't have words for how fucked-up this is:

In a scientific paper set for publication Friday researchers from Chicago-based Chromatin Inc. and the Universities of Chicago and North Carolina reported success in creating an artificial chromosome for corn plants. Through four generations, the corn treated the man-made chromosomes as if they were natural and passed them along to offspring intact at a rate nearly as high as for chromosomes native to the plants.

Translation: That GMO shit now stays in plants even better.

Good - and by good I mean organic, non-modified food - food is such a class issue it's unbelievable.

Via Slashdot.

Massimo Pigliucci on Teaching Science (with special thanks to PZ Myers)

I took a course once from someone who had co-wrote a book, maybe two with Pigliucci. The prof I had was one of the smartest people I've ever met, so I start with a healthy respect for Pigliucci (who, if I remember right, holds two PhDs, one American and one European).

It just got bigger. Lots bigger (warning: PDF):

ABSTRACT. The creation-evolution “controversy” has been with us for more than a century. Here I argue that merely teaching more science will probably not improve the situation; we need to understand the controversy as part of a broader problem with public acceptance of pseudoscience, and respond by teaching how science works as a method. Critical thinking is difficult to teach, but educators can rely on increasing evidence from neurobiology about how the brain learns, or fails to.

(Side note: The abstract is also in French - how awesome is that?! I know - not as awesome as if the whole article was in both languages, that's how awesome.)

PZ Myers helpfully summarizes the suggestions Pigliucci goes on to offer in the article, and I've excerpted a few here. Make sure to at least read the Myers post, as it has lots more and they are written very clearly:

There must be mandatory continuing education for teachers. He's referring to public school teachers, and yes, that would be a good idea. It would help the teachers, and I would hope would get them enthused about the science if they aren't already, but also it would be a way to correct those huge numbers of creationist science teachers (see Randy Moore's article for more on that).

Training in teaching must be provided to university faculty and graduate assistants. My first year in grad school, we fresh new students were simply parceled out to courses that need TAs. I remember being assigned a cell biology lab my first term, and genetics my second, and no, I'd never stood up in front of a class and taught anything before. After my first year, I landed a genetics training grant and didn't have to teach again. I did two post-docs, all research, no teaching. Then I got my first professorial job, and I not only have to teach, I have to design the whole course. This is typical. Most of us are thrown cold and unprepared into the job of teaching, which is genuinely disrespectful to the discipline.

Go read; they are some really, really good suggestions.

via Hullabaloo.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stripping as Liberatory

I've never really liked or understood the claim that women who take pole-dancing classes and/or learn how to strip - often suburban, middle-aged, middle-class women - become more liberated or somehow more free.

Friend BZ shared this Jezebel link with me, in which a writer participates in one of the pole-dancing classes. Predictably, I thought it was kind of silly and very misogynist.... but now I think I have a possible answer to the claim:

Learning to pole-dance is liberating because it frees one from the constant pressure placed on women by the patriarchy to conform to the male gaze, to patriarchal definitions of what women are supposed to be like. Embracing one's own self as as sex object gives the illusion of liberation because it brings one into compliance with patriarchal standards.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to point this out, but I'm the first person I've heard make this point in relation to those bizarre pole dancing classes.

Lebanon, Robinson, Investigation, etc. etc.

I was going to address this in comments, but I decided to write up one post both to simplify and because posts are more visible than comments.

First, I want to address the comment that Anonymous left on my post regarding the latest school board meeting. Frankly, I think the comment conflates several things that I want to try and unpack. Anonymous says:

There are many issues involve here that you had failed to identify. The purpose of this investigation is a witch hunt and based on rumors. If a governing board investigate all the rumors that swirls around faster than the speed of light then the function of that governing board is no more than a rumor control board.

I agree that an investigation as conceived by Rick and Josh "is a witch hunt and based on rumors." That seems pretty obvious. I think Shimmin is more genuinely concerned and less likely to see the removal of Robinson as a goal (which is clearly what Rick wants, as he's been throwing anything he can think of to the wall and checking for what sticks in an admirably single-minded fashion). I'm not arguing that point. But it seems to me that we can ignore the garbage being spewed by Rick and still find that there is something going on - it's not one or the other.

Second the board can be legally responsible for the heading of the investigation. An investigation is first put in place if there is an allegations of a criminal misconduct which none had occured. The dissatification between management and employee relationship does not raise it to the level where money are spend to investigate such issue. NOTE: Employees will never be happy with management especially if the union is involve.

This is just disingenuous, to suggest that nothing should be done in this case because "employees will never be happy with management especially if the union is involve." To me, I hear the commenter suggesting that the whole thing is just complaining on the part of teachers and staff. That kind of arrogant dismissal of what appears to be genuine hurt is a mistake. It serves as a refusal to legitimate the position of folks who are actually hurt and upset by this, and if there's one thing that folks working in a school district should know, it's that refusing to legitimate someone will cause them to shut down and/or become even more upset. I think a far better solution here is to take folks seriously and then prove there is no basis for their complaint. This requires actually doing some work in actually talking to folks and taking ideas seriously that you may not agree with, and I understand that it's far easier just to snipe at people and refuse to really listen, but doing so just breeds more anger and frustration, and that's what we're trying to avoid, remember? Telling folks to metaphorically "suck it up" because you think they're wrong is incredibly dumb.

Moving on to the rest of Anonymous' comment:

Third, the investigation can not be used for evaluating the superintendent. I suggest that YOU do your homework and read the contract first then the School Board policy before you wade into this muddy puddle. From the School Board policy and the Superintendent's contract. I suggest that RW should read board policy CBA and Superintendent's contract provision number 4.

I don't recall ever suggesting that this be used for an evaluation. Robinson is certainly right on that - there is an established process, and that's fine.

Fourth how will this investigation move the district forward? Debbie said this will be good for forming future goals for the board. How can you form goals for the future from investigating these issues? Running a school district is more complicated than writing an un-inform piece of article.

How will this move the district forward? I think I covered that in my original post: Lots of folks will not be happy without some resolution to their existing grievances. That's how.

Debbie, Rick and Josh have never read the board policies at least completely. The policies are there as laws to govern this school district. If they do not know the policies, how can they govern? Its like hand picking a bum off the street to become a judge to interpert the law. I can think of many examples to illustrate my point.

I have no doubt that Rick and Josh have not read the entirety of the board policies. Shimmin (whose first name is spelled Debi, by the way) will get there, I think, even if she hasn't yet. Furthermore, I don't think the positions taken by Rick and Josh on the relevant issues really have the best interest of the school district in mind, and I certainly think that Rick Alexander is simply unfit to be on the board; he's shown no ability in public to deliberate or work well (or at all) with other people, especially if they disagree with him.

I want to be clear on this, because it sounds like Anonymous is suggesting that I am defending Rick, and that's not the case. Thus far, it's never been the case, and I can't see a point in the future when it will be the case.

So if you want to know the truth why there is so much disfuntion on the board? There is your anwser. Lack of knowledge and vision.

Lack of knowledge - sure. Lack of vision? I don't think anyone on the board lacks vision. I just think that the members have varying visions that they've had real trouble articulating, partially because it can be a difficult thing to do and partially because the way they understand politics suggests that they think being honest about what you want means you're less likely to get it. (And in the case of Rick and his desire to get rid of Robinson, he's right, since he has no rational basis for the claim.) In other words, there is not enough trust between the board members that they can be honest with each other about their positions on board issues. This is a bad thing.

Moving on, Lebanon Truth did a short post as a response to mine, and it seems I was not as articulate as I needed to be. LT says:

LT thinks that Robinson would be comfortable with a reasonable independent investigation that is consistent with the terms of his contract. That means the investigation should be focused, limited, and unbiased.
RW needs to go back to a school board meeting, to see how Rick, Josh, and Debi are unable to articulate a clear plan for the investigation.

To be clear (and this may be slightly repetitive in regards to the earlier part of the post): I don't think any investigation or evaluation or much of any process whatsoever that involves Rick Alexander is going to be reasonable. I have seen no evidence that he's capable of conducting politics in an open and public manner. Plus, if his goal is really to get rid of Robinson, and he won't come out and say it, there's no way the current process will really get anywhere - he's just going to try and dance around the issue as long as possible, but it's long been obvious his rhetorical and political skills are nowhere near as good as they need to be for him to pull this off in public (besides that, I get the sense he hates the light). And as long as Josh is following Rick, Josh can't articulate what he wants either.

I guess I had assumed that it was obvious based on my previous comments that Rick is functionally incompetent when it comes to being a member of a deliberative body.

I should maybe phrase it this way, then: While I think that resolving some of the existing and long-standing grievances against Robinson is necessary for the district to begin the process of moving forward (whatever that entails), I don't think Rick or Josh are capable of or interested in working towards a resolution of those grievances. As long as they are driving the process, it will be inarticulate and dysfunctional.

It represents a real dilemma, however: If Rick and possibly Josh refuse to really participate in a meaningful way (to make a good faith effort, in other words), is it ethical to ignore them and move on without them? They are elected board members, after all. Sprenger seems to think it's not, and ultimately, I agree with her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feminist Meta

I noticed that my shared items today are back in the realm of all-horror-stories-regarding-the-abuse-of-women-all-the-time.

I'm not picking these on purpose; there are just that many of them out there.

Just thought I'd point that out.

Lebanon's Mascot Finally Gets Some Well-Deserved Attention

I am so, so glad to see that Lebanon's racist mascot is finally becoming an issue. I've been waiting at least five years for this to happen.

For why I am of this opinion, see this PDF file from the American Psychological Association:

“The use of American Indian mascots as symbols in school and university athletic programs in particularly troubling,” says APA President, Ronald F. Levant, EdD. “Schools and universities are places of learning. These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and, too often, insulting images of American Indians. And these negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students.”

h/t Stoller.

Lebanon's October 15th Board Meeting & The Potential Review

From the Lebanon Express account, it sounds like the review is dying a relatively quick and painful death.

More specifically, it sounds like Robinson is doing his best, with prejudice, to kill said review. I'm not surprised, but I cannot stress enough how counterproductive and short-sighted I think this is.

Bluntly, I don't see the core of the anti-Robinson contingent coming around based on his future management style, even if he's as soft and gentle as a kitten. It's not happening. What might split the contingent and start resolving the underlying conflict - maybe - is for some of their grievances to be addressed to their satisfaction. (Note: This does not require getting rid of Robinson.)

Robinson, however, seems to be doing his best to stifle any sort of inquiry that might stand a chance of placating folks. To me, this is indicative of the 'old' Robinson, the one who might be conflating "leadership" with "absolute power." It therefore suggests that he's not really learned what he seems to need to learn, which is to compromise - or, to be a little evil - to at least appear to compromise. He's not even doing that.

The result, I think, is that those folks that bear grudges against Robinson are not going to let them go anytime soon. They are not even going to start letting them go. Robinson's refusal to address the perceived mistakes - whether or not the mistakes are real or not - is probably going to a fairly significant issue.

Unless, of course, Robinson plans to literally outlast the entire anti-Robinson contingent and hire only folks who like him, in which case this is the best move possible.

No, the preceding paragraph is not serious. In fact, it's an idiotic and impossible idea - but it makes the most sense (which is to say, still none) if we grant that Robinson appears to be a fairly intelligent human being.

The only other thing I wanted to address from the story is this quote by Debi Shimmin:

Board member Debi Shimmin made it clear she she wants an independent review to move forward.

“When I made the motion to bring Jim back I told the community we would do this review,” she said. “My credibility is on the line.”

This is absolutely true, especially among the folks who supported her vote to suspend Robinson.

It is also absolutely stupid, politically, to say it. Note: I did not say that Shimmin was stupid. I said that publicly admitting her actions are tied to how she perceives her credibility is stupid.

It's stupid, by the way, because it suggests she is beholden to the will of the community and not her conscience or what she believes is the best course of action for the district (and in this case, it undermines her stated belief that a review is necessary on the merits of the case). It's also very, very bad politics, even if it's true. I'd much rather the basis of my disagreement with someone be their principled, thoughtfully considered political position than the fact that they make decisions based on pleasing one group of constituents. (And I know exactly how naive this sounds; I'm saying this is what should be, not what is. I have no illusions about how politics works - but I do dream of a better world.)

By the way, what do I think are the reasons there should be a review of Robinson at all? Well, as best as I can tell, there are three things.

1. Special Education - both the fact that I've been told multiple times that kids in special education classes are being forced to take standardized tests as if they were fully-abled students and the fact that for some reason (possibly related) three of the four special ed teachers at LHS resigned in one year, writing a letter to the superintendent or district as to why. I've not read the letter, but that behavior is a giant damn red flag, or at least it should be. Oh, and also the fact that I've seen kids who are developmentally disabled placed in the same classes as kids who seem to be pushed into special education classes on the basis of behavioral problems. This is a terrible, terrible idea that I've only seen hurt everyone - behavior kids because being in such a class suggests that their academic chops are being called into question, and developmentally disabled kids because the behavior kids take out their anger and frustration on everyone in sight, which hurts the possibility of a learning environment.

2. Punitive personnel transfers. I've not seen any concrete evidence, but this sort of claim is incredibly hard to prove without an organized investigation since it often relies on pulling together a very disparate set of evidence. However, I know that at least in the high school the turnover rate seems incredibly high. Also, former teachers have corroborated this point with me.

3. Robinson's management style/the anger of teachers. This is the most vague of the three, but as I have said before, there is no freakin' way so many teachers get so angry for so long without some basis for their anger. What that basis is is as of yet unknown to me, at least concretely. I can guess at it, but it seems worth looking into.

I want to address one point of contention: That I believe an independent review is necessary (as opposed to an in-house review).

First, cost: Bite the bullet. Pay for it. Get your money's worth - no open-ended review, shop around, etc. - but I simply think that doing it trumps the money argument.

Second, the political argument: No one who believes in the need for a review is going to be satisfied with an in-house thing. They will not think it's credible, because they don't perceive Robinson or anyone on his staff or his side as credible. An external review that validates him is something Robinson can point to and use as a political weapon, as distasteful as that might be.

Third, on merit: As mentioned, Robinson's credibility is an issue with lots of folks. Why is this a merit argument and not a political argument? Simple - because the people who Robinson lacks credibility with are teachers and staff members within the district, and it is absolutely necessary that Robinson be a credible leader for them if the district is going to do anything but resemble a disaster. Yes, said staff and teachers have a responsibility to work toward reconciliation and trust as well (for example, buying into the results of a review or maybe into a new program that Robinson develops), but Robinson needs to lift a damn finger when it comes to attempting to regain his credibility through being willing to compromise, and I don't see him doing it. An external review that validates Robinson should be evidence that he is acting properly, and at that point, if his critics are still shouting, they stand to lose what credibility they have left.

I get that it's easy to see this as a waste of time and money, and to think that Robinson's critics are power-hungry and not all that bright. However, that sort of dismissive view is both counterproductive and, I think, a product of some education-related class bias - and class bias trumps reason almost every time.

The LCSD School Board and the Book

The more I think about it, the less I think the collaborative book discussion thing is going to work. Disclaimer: I think it's a great idea, but my undergraduate training was all about reading something and then talking about it with others who had read the same thing, so Sprenger's idea is right up my alley.

LT's post about the pre-meeting discussion, which is sort of funny and not really all that surprising, is part of my evidence.

Here's the thing: I doubt Rick, Josh, or Chris have ever done anything remotely like this before.

And what are they being asked to do, exactly?

Have a book club meeting - and more than that, have a book club meeting in which they, as LT noted, discuss the ways in which they communicate as individuals and board members. In front of people.

Put that way, I'm not surprised it didn't work, at least as according to LT's description.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I didn't see this coming.

None of the three (Chris, Josh, Rick) strike me as anything but your average, off-the-shelf male (with Rick being the Lebanon version, ha-ha) when it comes to gender socialization; as such, they've all been socialized not to share their feelings in public (for that matter, the idea of the book club has long been perceived as feminine in American culture - see the reaction from 'the right' when it came out that Barack Obama was using a book club as a campaign tactic; the reaction, for the record, was to call him a sissy). Furthermore, like many males they've most likely never been asked to be introspective about their communications styles. And finally, and I think this is probably only true of Rick (but maybe Josh) they have no real interest in the book since their true interest is in power, and not in overseeing an improving school district.

At the least, I think it was a bad idea to hold the discussion in public. I'm guessing it would be illegal under Oregon public meetings law to, say, hold the discussion during the day on a weekend at someone's house, but still - one would think they could find a way to create a better environment for this than the dais. An executive session sounds unfair and unwieldy for this, but it might be the only realistic way to get some privacy - which seems necessary for the creation of a safe environment.

On the other hand, I doubt the six of them - the board plus Jim Robinson - would happily coexist (much less consider it a safe environment!) in a private setting for long. I suspect the public pressure to behave at least semi-professionally is one reason things are as civil as they are.

In any case, I am not surprised to hear that the discussion was less than a resounding success. I almost wonder if Sprenger made the offer in good faith, or if she used - and is using - it as a bludgeon to illustrate what jerks and/or how incompetent she thinks Josh and Rick are. I mean, it's not hard to predict that they weren't really going to buy in, and asking in public (though public meetings laws could have required that) is one way to make them look like buffoons.

Oh well. In either case, I'll volunteer right now to try and facilitate any kind of discussion between the five board members and the superintendent. I might be in over my head, but I think that those folks have absolutely got to find a way to be honest without the usual consequences of anger and rancor. Things. Will. Not. Get. Better. Until. This. Happens.

That One About Feminists and Sex That's Making the Rounds

The original item that's causing all the commentary is this:

Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the US. Their study* also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported.

Imagine my surprise. Utter and complete shock, I tell you.

The best commentary on this I've seen so far is this:

It’s not complicated to figure out why feminists would have more fulfilling relationships and better sex lives. When you see your partner as a human being and not a means to an end, you’re going to pick a partner you actually like, and your partner is going to feel valued for who they are, not for what they can give you. When you think that sex is a mutually pleasurable event where both partners should be comfortable and fully satisfied and neither should feel guilty or mistreated, you’re going to have better sex. When you see women as full-fledged people with full human rights — not baby incubators, not “the fairer sex,” not “compliments” to your existence, not status symbols, not holders of sex, not property, not your own personal support staff — you’re going to enjoy their company more. And they’re going to enjoy yours.

I agree fully.

Colbert to Run for President

This guy is good.

Not necessarily the announcement video...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Three Questions

1. Is it sustainable?

2. Is it just?

3. Is it unapologetically utopian?

Monday, October 15, 2007


Via Slashdot, this just blows my mind:

Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) (pdf), all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin.


The new rules mean this information must be submitted 72 hours before departure. Only those given clearance will get a boarding pass. The TSA estimates that 90 to 93 per cent of all travel reservations are final by then.

The proposed rules require the following information for each passenger: full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number (assigned to passengers who use the Travel Redress Inquiry Program because they have been mistakenly placed on the no-fly list), and known traveller number (once there is a programme in place for registering known travellers whose backgrounds have been checked). Non-travellers entering secure areas, such as parents escorting children, will also need clearance.


One additional point, also raised by Hasbrouck: the data the TSA requires will be collected by the airlines who presumably will keep it for their own purposes – a "government-coerced informational windfall", he called it.

Anyone who tries to tell me we don't live in a police state is crazy. At the least, the U.S government thinks we live in a police state.

A Perspective on Planned Parenthood

Via Feministing, this great account of life as a medical intern at a PP (hint: It has very little to do with abortions). Please note how the (male) intern's assumptions about the supremacy of his specialized knowledge have been challenged - and he knows it. Good stuff.

Men's Rights Activists

From what I've seen, a generally obnoxious group of folks. Jeff at Shakesville runs down some things about MRAs:

What is an MRA?

He's a Men's Rights Activist, part of the broader Men's Rights Movement. He--

Wait, wait. "Men's Rights Movement?"



You brought up abortion--I'm guessing the MRAs aren't exactly pro-choice, are they?

They're pro-choice for men. They think, by and large, that abortion is fine, if it gets them out of fatherhood when they want to, and they think, by and large, that abortion is evil if it keeps them from being fathers when they want to. They're big fans of spousal notification laws, and as you can see by the "Choice for Men" rhetoric, they're also big fans of having the legal system help them manipulate women into terminating pregnancies that they would otherwise carry to term.

It's kind of funny and kind of sad, but a useful primer nonetheless.


From Rootless Cosmopolitan (which is a great name for a blog, btw) comes this point about Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize:

While the Nobel Peace Prize given to Al Gore (and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) does not sink to the same depths of moral squalor as, for example, that awarded to Henry Kissinger, it nonetheless belongs in the same category, as a prize given by the establishment to itself in proof that The System Works. In truth, Gore’s achievement has been no more then a
first step, and its sole virtue is to raise the level of awareness about an impending disaster.

Get Off My Lawn, Global Climate Change Edition

There's not really much to say about Hering anymore, at least not for me.

I mean, what do you say to something like this:

Having won the Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore said: “We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”

A crisis?

The word has been overused in recent years. But if we take it at its real meaning, we must do something. Now. A crisis doesn’t last long. It tips one way or the other in a short time. The Cuban Missile Crisis was real. If it had gone the wrong way, it could have ended in a nuclear war. For a couple of weeks there in October 1962, the survival of the world hung in the balance. Then the crisis was resolved.

If the climate is having a crisis, we should know the outcome in a couple of months at most.

If the issue is not resolved by then, if in fact we keep droning on about it for the rest of our lives, then it’s not a crisis at all.

It might be a problem — like overpopulation or the world gradually running out of oil — but it’s not an emergency that we have to overcome right now. We can deal with it as we learn how, as long as we’re not rushed into the wrong approach by the likes of Al Gore. (hh)

A couple of months? Obviously, he has no idea what kind of time frame climatologists use.

Second, he's either missing or omitting one of the major points around climate change: that actions humans take now are cumulative, and have effects that extend for hundreds of years - so yes, what we do now is important even if the planet's atmosphere doesn't completely destabilize tomorrow.

And that last dig - "not rushed into the wrong approach" - has got to burn the thousands of scientists who have been working on global climate change for decades. One would think the evidence they've gathered is worth something, anything.

Oh well - it's not like Hasso will have to deal with it.

I always thought that editorials were supposed to include some level of research on the part of the author, but Hering is really proving me wrong.

h/t MS.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.