Monday, October 28, 2013

Clown Show Climate

While we're unsure of how long this respite will last, it appears that extremist right-wing stupidity on the national level experienced a bit of a lull this past weekend. Of course, there are always the exceptionally stupid and evil, and both Iowa's Rep. Steve King and Texas' Sen. Ted Cruz continued to  fill those roles.

Still, most Congressional Republicans now appear to have finally joined their Democratic colleagues for once, getting serious by turning their attention to the federal budget and immigration bills. On both fronts, developments so far look promising, with some Republicans now finally acknowledging that new tax revenues must be part of any budget deal. Elected Republicans have also begun to admit publicly that immigration reform must happen soon.

This positive turn of events at the national level allowed us to turn our eyes back to our state offices, where the level of political idiocy seems to be on the rise.

Surprisingly, the level of stupid in Florida politics seems to be at the lowest of our three locations right now - even if a bit of ridiculousness did happen surrounding the funeral of U.S. Rep. Bill Young last week. Virginia's level of political stupid has been ramped up recently thanks to the ugly gubernatorial race, where Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe solidly leads current Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Since Cuccinelli also oversees the state's voting laws, this race could get far more nutty before it's all over in a little more than week.

The climate of political stupid in our home state of Nebraska, however, reached new levels recently. That fact became evident to the whole world last week, as the clown show that will certainly be the 2014 elections spilled over into action commissioned this past spring by the Nebraska legislature.

We've published quite a lot about the importance of water to Nebraska over the years, and we wrote about that climate change study earlier this year, in reference to the Keystone pipeline and the effects on water use in Nebraska. We specifically noted Nebraska state Sen. Tom Carlson's surprising but brutally honest quote, that "We will die" if Nebraska's fragile access to an amazing surplus of clean, drinkable, useable water disappears.

The overwhelming majority of the world's climate science studies - 97% of them - concur with Sen. Carlson about water. They all agree that one of the key resources affected by climate change will be safe, clean, potable water. Drought, in fact, was a major cause of the ongoing war in Syria.

Apparently, none of that seems to matter to Nebraska Republican state Sen. Beau McCoy - a GOP candidate for governor in 2014, and a climate change denier. As Nancy Gaarder pointed out in the Omaha World Herald, McCoy slipped a provision into Nebraska's climate study bill making it impossible to do an intellectually honest investigation of the problems of climate change, which would include the role of how humans have affected the climate.

This is exactly why University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists at last week's Climate Assessment and Response Committee meeting immediately refused to do the study. That the Nebraska legislature had also demanded the study be completed next year, and only budgeted $44,000 for the full study, just adds to the clownish nature of dogmatic right-wing extremists like state Sen. McCoy.

For now, it's clear that legitimate scientists aren't going to allow themselves to be seen as political pawns in Nebraska - meaning the climate change study will likely go undone. That also means another tool to properly judge the future water needs of Nebraskans will not exist, even as Keystone's backers attempt another effort to jam the pipeline through.

Without proper data and planning, Nebraskans may not have enough water to drink in about fifty years, let alone grow crops, as Nebraska state Senator Tom Carlson made clear earlier this year.

At least Nebraskans will have another example of clownishly stupid dogmatic politics to study, courtesy of Nebraska state Sen. McCoy.

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