Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Earth Blues

And we're back! Seventeen minutes past the big hour and we've got lots of stories but rapidly running out of time here tonight.

Starting with a story that should be getting way more ink, Pakistani government officials admitted that they deliberately sabotaged secret peace talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban because they resented being excluded from those talks. And in some news from the middle-east that actually might be called good news, turns out the prospect of an alliance between the Iraqiya and Iraqi National Alliance (INA) blocs and the formation of a coalition government could be closer than anyone realized.

Sadly that's where the good news ends for Iraq, as the country has between 25 and 50 percent unemployment, a dysfunctional parliament, rampant disease, an epidemic of mental illness, and sprawling slums. The killing of innocent people has become part of daily life. All brought about by the havoc the United States has wreaked in Iraq.


 
The right has the brothers David and Charles Koch, heirs to the oil and chemical conglomerate Koch Industries the Koch family to orchestrate not only the Tea Party movement, but much of the modern right-wing infrastructure. They have founded or funded dozens of conservative or libertarian publications, think tanks, and attack groups. Grass roots my ass! The New Yorker goes further in exposing the Koch brothers.
 
The Koch brothers delight in misleading and muddying the waters about the nature of climate change -- they are not alone in this endeavor and there are a myriad of ways to do so. To paraphrase a song I heard, you don't believe in climate change, you understand it or you don't. The above link from Skeptical Science, in an article entitled How Climate Skeptics Mislead, looks at some of things that help us understand climate change. The point to signs of warming that are found all over the globe:

•From space and the Earth’s surface, we see more heat being trapped by carbon dioxide
•Nights are warming faster than days
•The upper atmosphere is cooling while the lower atmosphere is warming
•Ice sheets are melting
•Sea levels are rising
•Biological changes in tens of thousands of species
•Glaciers are retreating
•Seasons are shifting
•Species are becoming extinct

Also from Skeptical Science, in an article about Arctic sea ice volume, they ask the question why do skeptics only think in two dimensions?

To close out on some troubling environmentally related stories, starting with a story from Julia Whitty over at Mother Jones, the IWC (International Whaling Commission) has granted Greenland an aboriginal quota to kill 27 humpback whales starting in October. But (maddeningly) the hunters aren't waiting for the season to start.

From Science Daily, A previously undefined expanse of the western North Atlantic has been found to contain high concentrations of plastic debris, comparable to those observed in the region of the Pacific commonly referred to as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

And from Nigeria, what happens when sweet crude turns sour.

(cross-posted at New Media and Politics)

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