July 11, 2012 archive

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Just How Hot Is It?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It’s been pretty hot across the United States with little rain crops are withering and wild fires rage throughout the West. There is no denying that this year has been really warm. Actually, it’s been warmer for a year now:

According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center’s “State of the Climate: National Overview for June 2012” report released Monday, the 12-month period from July 2011 to June 2012 was the warmest on record (since recordkeeping began in 1895) for the contiguous United States, with a nationally-averaged temperature of 56.0 degrees, 3.2 degrees higher than the long-term average.

According to the report, every single state in the contiguous U.S. except for Washington saw warmer-than-average temperatures during this time period. The period from January to June of this year also has been the warmest first half of a year on record for the U.S. mainland.

For a large portion of the contiguous U.S., these first six months were also drier than average=Statewideprank&submitted=Submit]. The U.S. Drought Monitor showed that as of July 3, 56 percent of the contiguous U.S. is experiencing drought conditions. In June, wildfires burned over 1.3 million acres, the second most on record for the month.

We need to have better conversations about climate than having hacks like George Will pontificating that “it’s Summer” as though the evidence for change doesn’t exist. Or as The Washington Post columnist Joel Achenbach puts it, Global warming is a fact:

At some point we should stop litigating the basic question of whether climate change is happening. Climate change is a fact. The spike in atmospheric CO2 is a fact. The dramatic high-latitude warming is a fact. That the trends aren’t uniform and linear, and that there are anomalies here and there, does not change the long-term pattern. The warming trend has flattened out in the last decade but probably only because of air pollution from Chinese coal-fired power plants or somesuch forcing we haven’t fully discovered (smog is hardly the long-term solution we should be seeking). The broader patterns are clear.

Models show the greatest warming spike down the road still, decades hence. Thus in a sense, saying that “this is what global warming is like” whenever we have a heat wave actually understates the problem. Having spent much of my life in Florida, I can tell you, what kills you in summer is not the temperature but the duration of the season, which lasts basically forever – into November or even December in South Florida. So, yeah, 100 degrees in July gets my attention here in DC, but so will a stretch of 85-degree high temperatures in October.

This past Sunday, Chris Hayes on his MSNBC show “Up with Chris Hayes” hosted a panel that discussed the recent wave of extreme heat and it relationship to climate change. His guests were http://whenwaterwaseverywhere.com/?x=order-viagra-usa Bill McKibben (@billmckibben), author of “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” and founder of 350.org, a global grassroots environmental movement to solve the climate crisis; get link Eric Klinenberg (@EricKlinenberg), professor of sociology at New York University and author of “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago;” source link Thomas Mann co-author with Norman Ornstein of “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism“, a senior fellow for governance studies and the W. Averell Harriman Chair at the Brookings Institution; Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh), MSNBC political analyst and Salon’s editor-at-large; and Esther Armah (@estherarmah), playwright and author, host of “Wake Up Call” on WBAI-FM.

On This Day In History July 11

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

July 11 is the 192nd day of the year (193rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 173 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1789, Jacques Necker is dismissed as France’s Finance Minister sparking the Storming of the Bastille.

Necker was seen as the savior of France while the country stood on the brink of ruin, but his actions could not stop the French Revolution. Necker put a stop to the rebellion in the Dauphiné by legalizing its assembly, and then set to work to arrange for the summons of the Estates-General of 1789. He advocated doubling the representation of the Third Estate to satisfy the people. But he failed to address the matter of voting – rather than voting by head count, which is what the people wanted, voting remained as one vote for each estate. Also, his address at the Estates-General was terribly miscalculated: it lasted for hours, and while those present expected a reforming policy to save the nation, he gave them financial data. This approach had serious repercussions on Necker’s reputation; he appeared to consider the Estates-General to be a facility designed to help the administration rather than to reform government.

Necker’s dismissal on 11 July 1789 made the people of France incredibly angry and provoked the storming of the Bastille on July 14. The king recalled him on 19 July. He was received with joy in every city he traversed, but in Paris he again proved to be no statesman. Believing that he could save France alone, he refused to act with the Comte de Mirabeau or Marquis de Lafayette. He caused the king’s acceptance of the suspensive veto, by which he sacrificed his chief prerogative in September, and destroyed all chance of a strong executive by contriving the decree of 7 November by which the ministry might not be chosen from the assembly. Financially he proved equally incapable for a time of crisis, and could not understand the need of such extreme measures as the establishment of assignats in order to keep the country quiet. Necker stayed in office until 1790, but his efforts to keep the financial situation afloat were ineffective. His popularity had vanished, and he resigned with a broken reputation.

What is a War Crime?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Former Congo warlord sentenced to 14 years over child soldiers

Los Angeles Times

July 10, 2012

Former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga was ordered to spend 14 years in prison Tuesday for enlisting children as soldiers, the first sentence handed down by the decade-old International Criminal Court.



Six years will be deducted from Lubanga’s sentence to cover the time since he first surrendered to the court, aggravating critics who called the sentence too light.



The March verdict was hailed by human rights groups as a key step toward bringing war criminals to justice. Though other tribunals have been created throughout history to punish atrocities from specific conflicts, Lubanga was the first person to be convicted and sentenced by the International Criminal Court, created a decade ago to address war crimes in places where local courts are unable or unwilling to act.

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