Virtual Front Page for Thursday, August 20, 2015

This is the Bangkok bomb site, the day after. Yes, those are Buddhist monks. I'm watching this with particular attention since three of my kids are about to go there to visit their little sister.

I’m told this is the Bangkok bomb site, the day after. Yes, those are Buddhist monks. I’m watching this with particular attention since three of my kids are about to go there to visit their little sister./photo by Michael Massey

Some headlines at this hour:

  1. Dow Hits 2015 Low on Growth Worries — Worst day in 18 months. Cut it out, Wall Street! I’m sick of y’all’s fits of anxiety and the malaise it causes the rest of us to live in. Give us a break!
  2. Gov. Nikki Haley opposes moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to SC — Interestingly (to me, since I didn’t know it), she’s joined in this by Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (and Mark Sanford). Not that she wants the problem dumped on Kansas, either — which beyond professional courtesy to Sam Brownback, I don’t understand. Kansas not only has a long history of housing federal prisoners, it’s about as far from the madding crowd (such as Charleston’s tourists) as you can get. It’s the land of eight-man football, after all…
  3. Jimmy Carter Says Doctors Found Cancer on His Brain — He was to begin radiation treatment immediately, like today.
  4. Greek prime minister resigns, calls snap elections to shore up support — They just do not stop having instability over there.
  5. July was the hottest month in Earth’s hottest year on record so far — So, you know, if you thought it was hot last month, you were onto something. And oh, yeah — you can chalk up that drought out West to global warming.
  6. Jenner may face manslaughter charges for car crash — Because this saga wasn’t sensational enough yet. I wonder what the name will be in the charges. No, scratch that: I don’t want to know. In fact, if you have any news about anyone affiliated with the Kardashians, just don’t tell me. In fact, extend that to reality TV in general. Thanks.

51 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page for Thursday, August 20, 2015

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m really intrigued by that photo of all the monks.

    I can’t find any details about it on the web. Was it in reaction to the bombing, or a previously arranged event? The guy who posted it on Facebook just said, “Yesterdays bomb site in Bangkok – today a different energy….”

  2. Karen Pearson

    Maybe we should make all those who deny global climate change live through a summer down here without air conditioning? It might serve a dual purpose in helping people understand that having and using an air conditioner is not quite what one would call a “luxury.”

    1. O'Brien

      Yeah, those people need to learn the truth. We could put those people in large communities of tents where there’s no air-conditioning or other things that make life nice. During the day, they can be taught the truth about climate change and man’s guilt in it. Educated, that is. It would be sort like, camp. A camp where you’re re-educated on how to get your mind right.

      We may have to force some reluctant people to go, but hey, it’s for everyone’s own good. In the end, they’ll see the truth.

      1. Norm Ivey

        We’ve no need of your re-education camps, comrade. We simply need to teach people to evaluate data and the source of the data–to read critically and to think. Knowledge and wisdom defeat ignorance and foolishness.

    2. Doug Ross

      Shouldn’t those who believe air conditioning contributes to global warming be the FIRST to give it up? And install solar panels on their home. And not fly in airplanes. You know the old saying “Physician, heal thyself!”

      Meanwhile Al Gore lives in a mansion, flies private jets, and travels in huge SUV’s. I wish he’d spend as much time solving the global warming crisis as he did inventing the internet,

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Shouldn’t those who believe air conditioning contributes to global warming be the FIRST to give it up?”

        Actually, I don’t think so. We have to live our lives. (And with my asthma and allergy problems, I basically have to have it. Not everyone can live in Hawaii.)

        But if you care, you adjust. You keep the thermostat turned higher in the summer and lower in the winter (and wear sweaters). We keep ours at about 78 in the summer and 65 in the winter. It’s not going to save the world, but it’s better than NOT doing that. It’s better, say, than cranking up the AC so you can have a fireplace going in the summer and still be comfortable, like Nixon.

        And while Prius-driver Kathryn may be appalled at my pickup, which I have as the duty truck owner in our extended family (for whenever anyone needs to move something — a frequent occurrence when you have twentysomething kids, frequently moving domiciles), I deliberately chose a four-cylinder Ranger with manual transmission to make it as efficient as possible.

        Just little things, because I AM conscious of the problem…

      2. Norm Ivey

        This argument always puzzles me. Reasonable people who are concerned about climate change don’t expect anyone to give up the comforts of our modern economy. We do, however, believe our society needs to look further down the road at the consequences our contemporary actions will have on the generations that follow us. We can achieve a balance. It’s not all-or-none.

        Like Brad, I have set my thermostat to use less energy, and I’ve added insulation and other energy-saving improvements to my home. I buy cars based on how much energy they consume, and I drive them in a manner to get the greatest efficiency. My part is small, but it is what I feel compelled to do. And saving energy saves me money.

    3. Mike Cakora

      Bad news, the satellite data are in, and it’s not a record. The dirty little secret is that there’s been no statistically significant warming in 18 years and 7 months. But who’s counting.

      NOAA keeps announcing records based on ground-based stations (which cover only the ground at ground level, not the majority of our planet that’s covered by water and certainly not in the several layers of our atmosphere). I realize that some of you folks would like to subject non-believers to a Spanish Inquisition of sorts, but that stuff is already going on as NOAA tortures the data to come up with the answer it wants for any occasion. In a few weeks NOAA will again acknowledge that there may have been a slight exaggeration in that last press release. But they got their headlines.

      So here’s the data. Folks like the balloons and satellites because the data can’t be mucked with, it’s publicly available for downloading and analysis. The ground-based records are a mess and subject to shenanigans of all sorts.

      And do be kind to the environment, and let’s make sure we help the poorer nations get rich though wider availability of stable electricity. The wealthier the country, the more the people care and demonstrate their care about the environment. That’s good. Air conditioning is good. The European idiots who claim that we Americans are A/C pigs haven’t spent the month of July in Columbia. Look at a globe, Rome is on the same latitude as Chicago. It’s no wonder that ze Chermans, Frogs, Dutch, and Danes don’t need A/C. I lived in Yurrip for eight years, loved most of it, but shivered through most Independence Day celebrations.

      1. bud

        NOAA keeps announcing records based on ground-based stations (which cover only the ground at ground level, not the majority of our planet that’s covered by water and certainly not in the several layers of our atmosphere).

        Duh. What SHOULD they be announcing, the temperature on Mars? Does it matter what the temperature is high up in the atmosphere? What matters is what the temperature at the surface of the earth (including the ocean) is. Since virtually all climate scientists agree the earth’s surface temperature (in conjunction with increased CO2 levels) is rising I’ll go with that. If other legitimate information becomes available, and not some right-wing blog, then I’ll take another look.

      2. bud

        NOAA tortures the data to come up with the answer it wants for any occasion.
        – Mike

        Why would they “torture” the data? What possible incentive do they have? On the other hand, there is a HUUUUUUUUGE incentive for the Koch Brother’s funded CATO institute to cherry pick data to make a case that fossil fuels are wonderful and benign.

      3. Norm Ivey

        The dirty little secret is that there’s been no statistically significant warming in 18 years and 7 months.

        It’s no secret. It’s unimportant because it’s not the last 18 years that are of concern. If you choose a short time period, you can find periods that would support arguments for warming, no change, or cooling. A short-term set of temperature measurements is no more an indication of warming than a snowstorm is of global cooling. It borders on irrelevant. You have to look beyond temperatures at the factors that impact temperatures.

        What matters is the physics of atmospheric warming. Increased CO2 in the troposphere traps more heat. That’s undeniable. It’s also undeniable that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is significantly higher today (about 400 ppm) than it was in 1800 (about 280 ppm). That’s an increase of over 40%. That doesn’t come without consequences.

        1. Norm Ivey

          And it’s not just CO2. Methane and Nitrous Oxide are also contributors to global warming, but we are adding those to the atmosphere at a much slower rate.

      4. Mike Cakora

        The theory we’re talking about is catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), or human-caused warming, wherein we’re all gonna die because we’re using too much carbon-based energy, the massive amounts of CO2 humans are generating will “tip” the climate into a sudden, horrific warming phase. The current 400 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere will kill us all.

        It’s a wonderful theory that requires only proof and answers to a number of questions. What is the Earth’s temperature today as compared to the past and does it matter that approximately 70% of the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) collection stations are off by at least 2 degrees Celsius? What about temperature collecting systems and records worldwide? What happens when a station’s readings are missed for a day or a week? What adjustments are made to the historical records, and why? How are the temperatures collected and how are they stored?

        There’s a load of error and subjectivity in the ground-based data. Go to to read up a bit on this and even see pictures of where some of the sites are located.

        OTOH, we’ve got satellite data going back to 1979, the historical and current data are readily available, with any adjustments noted, and they cover the entire surface of the globe.

        One of the nice things about the increase in the trace gas CO2 (remember, just .04% of our atmosphere) is that plants like it, need it in fact for their existence, so enjoy your fruits and veggies. But if you want to go along with the theory, bear in mind that the Obama administration’s recently announced clean air rules will decrease temperatures in 2100 by one stinking degree, by their own calculations. We’re going to increase electricity prices on all, especially the poor, for that?

        Beware, the astrophysicists are worried about the Earth’s wobble and that it might bring on an ice age…

        1. Norm Ivey

          …human-caused warming, wherein we’re all gonna die because…

          I’ve stated this a number of times on this blog. That’s nonsense. Humans are not faced with extinction because of global warming. It’s wrong to make that claim, and it’s wrong to put those words in others’ mouths. Man will adapt.

          The last time the planet was above 400ppm was during the Pliocene. Temperatures at that time were about 6 degrees warmer than they are now. Sea levels were 15 to 100 feet higher than they are now.

          CO2 is, indeed, a trace gas. It’s also a major part of the reason our planet is a Goldilocks planet. Because it’s a trace gas, it’s easier to upset the equilibrium. Not difficult to double a substance when you have very little of it to begin with.

          Plants need CO2, but they also need adequate amounts of water in the form of rain, a growing season that falls within a certain temperature for a certain number of days, and insect and microbial (and often animal and other plant) life that can survive in the same conditions. As the planet warms all of those factors are at risk. High altitude trees are already showing signs of the stress because temperatures are too high and destructive insects have moved into new areas and ravaged the forests. Insects and microbes will adapt quickly. Whitebark pine trees can’t keep up.

          I’m glad that there is one thing we can agree on–the new clean air rules don’t do go nearly far enough.

          Just as you did when you invoked Bastardi a few weeks ago, you’ve cited a website run by Anthony Watts. He’s a former meteorologist who draws funding from the Heartland Institute. Provide me with links from real, solid peer-reviewed scientists, and maybe I’ll take your arguments more seriously.

          The debate about whether the planet is warming has been settled. The debate now should be about what (if anything) we should do about it.

          1. Grumpy Old Man

            “The last time the planet was above 400ppm was during the Pliocene.”

            Those were the days. Life was simpler then. We didn’t have gyms, treadmills, or elliptical trainers. All this progress — phooey! Back in the Pliocene, we got our exercise by running from saber-toothed cats all day. That’s the way it was, and we liked it! We didn’t have fancy restaurants or paleo diet fads. We were all on the paleo diet, and we liked it!

  3. Harry Harris

    There may be good reasons to move the prisoners elsewhere and avoid the Charleston site. The confrontational grandstanding is mostly a pander. What a noisy, polarized political climate we have. Makes one think even Donald Trump could get some action.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Charleston and Ft Leavenworth are the two most obvious alternate detention facilities. Charleston is assuredly the more secure facility, given the brig’s adjacent neighbor.

      It’s 100% pandering to advocate against it. Good thing not even Lindsey will have any say in the matter.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Alcatraz probably makes too much money as a tourist destination to re-commission it as a prison. Too bad.

  4. Mike Cakora

    Brad –

    Like the price of gold, Wall Street’s numbers are a reaction, not a cause. China’s teetering economy, increasing regulation on the energy-generating sector here at home, international trade volume, etc. all play a role in in investment decisions.

    As for July 2015 being the hottest on record, let’s see what the satellite and balloon data show. NOAA likes to massage its data and its proclamations are often adjusted without as many headlines.

    It’s not a matter of “denying global warming.” Were it not for warming, we’d still be in an ice age. We all get that.

    It’s about the hypothesis of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), or human-caused warming, wherein we’re all gonna die because we’re using too much carbon-based energy. The hypothesis seems to have quite the following, but leftist writer Naomi Klein frequently describes the objective of the globo-warmthists:

    “Our economic model is at war with the Earth,” writes Klein. “We cannot change the laws of nature. But we can change our economy. Climate change is our best chance to demand and build a better world.”

    What does that have to do with climate science other than to use scare tactics in an attempt to control the population. The issue is not the climate as we typically understand it, but rather the political climate.

  5. bud

    3. There has been a great deal written about Jimmy Carter over the past few days, mostly positive. As time goes by his presidency doesn’t seem nearly as awful as it appeared during the 80s. It’s now widely recognized that Carter’s appointment of Paul Volcker was perhaps the single most important policy move that ultimately broke the back of inflation. But it came at a cost. Interest rates soared during the early 80s. But it was necessary. We also had the camp David accords, attention was finally brought to the necessity of moving away from fossil fuels. And what is all but forgotten is that Carter was an early advocate of bringing accountability and efficiency to government. That cost him support in congress from folks like Ted Kennedy.

    Ultimately Carter was brought down by his obsession with the Iranian hostage crisis and soaring interest rates. Fairly or not Carter was not viewed as an inspirational figure which exacerbated his other problems. Even the “killer bunny” story hurt his image. No president can survive once he appears weak.

    Of course he is now widely regarded as one of the most successful ex-Presidents. His humanitarian efforts are without peer. And that is likely more than enough to secure his place in our nation’s history as a great American.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I don’t know what you mean by “his obsession with the Iranian hostage crisis.” If he hadn’t made those hostages a top priority every day they were held, it would have been dereliction of duty.

      It’s not like he had a choice in the matter…

      1. bud

        He should have lit the national Christmas tree. That’s obsession. Working behind the scenes is what was needed, not a national spectacle. But perhaps that’s a bit harsh. All the hostages did come home alive. The same can’t be said for the Reagan hostages even when he traded arms to bring some of them home.

    2. Pat

      I like Carter as a person and he has been a great ex-president. My impression of him when he was in office was that he couldn’t get the job done. Some things that sound good on paper don’t work out so well in reality. He ran as an outsider and he was, but that also meant he didn’t have established relationships to draw on. He implemented a grain embargo for Russia that backfired on our farmers. My Georgia farmer friends were furious with him for that; they lost a major export they never regained. We had extreme inflation and major job losses while he was in office. Families struggling to provide had to vote for a change. Carter has hammered a lot about the failed hostage rescue being the blame for not being re-elected, but I don’t think that was the case. I think it was more the perception that he was an ineffective leader.
      Carter wanted to be known as a peacemaker, and I think he had some success there. Also his status as a former president of the United States has opened doors in foreign countries for him, and he has made good use of his opportunities.

  6. bud

    Since Brad wrote this the DOW dropped another 500 points. I believe that now makes this drop from it’s high point 10%. That’s the unofficial definition of a market correction.

      1. Bart

        And do you believe MSNBC fans would react any different if it was announced that GWB had cancer? Do you think they wouldn’t be as insensitive and celebrate the fact that GWB might not be long for this world and be more than willing to Tweet, Twitter, and post to Facebook identical remarks?

        Were the remarks ugly and uncalled for? Absolutely and no self-respecting person would celebrate a president or ex-president being diagnosed with cancer.

        1. Pat

          Truthfully, I’m naive; I’m shocked that that anyone would say such a thing about anyone given such a diagnosis. At the least, they are playing with karma. But such is the nature of the Internet and its trolls. I shut down when I begin to read (or hear) the comments of whisperers, name callers, and slanders. I figure they don’t have anything substantive to say. I guess I shouldn’t continue to be shocked and disappointed in depraved human nature.

        2. Kathryn Fenner

          I would hope not, but since so far we do not know, some purely hypothetical nasty gloating by MSNBC people about a hypothetical illness of W, who certainly has nothing like the humanitarian track record of Jimmy Carter, is not relevant to how appalling this reaction to Carter’s illness is.

  7. Bill

    the so called left and right are in denial when it comes to science…
    the right:global warming isn’t happening
    the left: GMO foods are bad for you

    1. bud

      That’s a false equivalence. Most liberals only want the GMO foods to be labeled as such so people can decide for themselves. The global warming deniers, if successful, are likely to doom the planet.

      1. Bill

        The labeling is completely unnecessary,and like climate change,people go with blogs and misinformation instead of the science.It’s effete and elitist to have a meaningless ‘choice’when others are starving.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        Didja hear that? I’m gonna DOOM the planet. DOOOOOMMM!

        If I’m gonna doom the planet, I ought to at least get some sort of cool super-villain hidden volcanic lair and some sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Very funny, NOT.
          I don’t have descendants who will reap the disaster that awaits us unless we reverse our actions–and possibly even if we do. I am older than you, too, Bryan, so go ahead and snark.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            The earth warms up, the earth cools down. Things come, things go. The tide goes in, the tide goes out. Glaciers form, carve out huge chunks of earth, then recede, then advance again. The earth is always changing. We don’t control it – never have.

            We’re not at the controls, like a test pilot, like Yeager. We’re more like our ol’ buddy Alan Shepard — “Spam in a Can”.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I disagree. When you find yourself stuck in traffic in a place like Bangkok, and you can SEE thousands of cars in your vicinity, and you look around you and in three directions through the haze, you can vaguely see skyscrapers 10 miles off, and you realize that ALL of that area between you and those buildings is just as covered with cars as the place where you are, and that over beyond those buildings there’s more…

              And you reflect that it’s like this EVERY DAY…

              You figure that all of this HAS to be having an effect on our atmosphere, beyond the local smog you can see…

            2. Norm Ivey

              I’m kinda surprised Brian. I didn’t think you were a denier of the science of global warming. I thought you just didn’t think we should do anything about it.

              What part of the science is it you don’t believe? That we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, or that CO2 and other gases have no impact on the climate?

              1. Norm Ivey

                The amount of CO2 we add to the atmosphere has been examined repeatedly over the years and found to be statistically significant.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            It amazes me the capital that Bond villains will spend on their secret lairs. All the high-tech, gleaming steel, bank-vault-like doors and death chambers with unnecessarily slow dipping mechanisms. I mean, the uniforms on the henchman are ridiculous enough.

            When, I wonder, in the history of E-vil has there been a villain who would waste money on stuff like that? I can see a wealthy crook spending ostentatiously, but this is stuff no one is supposed to see! It doesn’t add up…

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      I am a lefty and I do not believe that GMO foods are bad for you. Possibly bad for the ecology, but not bad to ingest.

      1. Norm Ivey

        Most GMOs are all about appearance, growth rate, and quality control to market. My greatest concern about GMOs are the infused insecticides that are being used now. Rather than spraying, the insecticide becomes a part of the plant. Insects die when they feed on the plant itself. That insecticide is also in the part of the plant that we eat. Rolling Stone has a great article this week about how these insecticides may be contributing to colony collapse.

  8. sandlapper23

    “I’m watching this with particular attention since three of my kids are about to go there to visit their little sister.”

    What a situation, I’ve experienced this on a smaller level. A relative moves to Charleston, and suddenly it seems like there are Charleston crime stories everywhere. I can imagine….

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