If the zealots are right, global warming is the cause of just about any earthly ill or phenomenon. Hotter weather? It's caused by global warming. Colder weather? Global warming again. More rain? Global warming. Drought? Global warming.Pretty scary, eh kids? Makes you want to dig deep to donate to the UN to sort it all out, right?
Even an increase in vampire moths, insects that consume human blood, has been blamed on global warming.
In a tribute to rational thinking, and a welcome repudiation of silliness, John Brignell, a British engineering professor, has compiled "a complete list of things caused by global warming." Each of the more than 600 entries links to a story in which some so-called expert or "researcher" blames global warming for an unusual event, man-caused or no.
Taken individually, the items might seem to have some foundation in reality. It's plausible, of course, that a warmer world could cause glaciers to retreat or trigger an increase in malaria. But taken cumulatively (see numberwatch.co.uk), the foolishness quickly comes into focus.
For example, is global warming really causing both more and less rainfall? Larger and smaller harvests? Shrinking and growing ice sheets? How about dying and flourishing coral reefs, or rising and falling fish stocks?
Also attributed to global warming are: riots, nuclear war, frostbite, Earth fever, the Minneapolis bridge collapse, a boom in kittens and sharks, a bust in ducks and geese, struggling brothels, faster ocean waves, higher sewer bills, a spider invasion of Scotland, an end to cremation, and pay raises for lawyers.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
HERE WE WERE on Wednesday, a nation of political junkies gathered around our televisions to watch the candidates debate each other one last time, and we had as a moderator one Carolyn Washburn, the editor of the Des Moines Register. I don't mean to go all East-coast-elitist on you; I'm sure there are people in Iowa who could capably moderate a presidential debate. Unfortunately, and obviously, Carolyn Washburn is not one of them.
The bulk of the post-debate analysis will probably focus on how maladroit Washburn was at the job. She did the impossible--she moderated the last Iowa debate between the Republican candidates before caucuses and yet saw to it that none of the candidates engaged each other. In other words, the moderator ensured that the debate would be as lively as a 12 part PBS series on "How Grass Grows." A personal aside to the Des Moines Register--"boring" is not synonymous with "serious."
The problems went beyond Washburn's lack of mad moderating skillz. From the outset, Washburn announced that the candidates would not be discussing either Iraq or immigration. Swell! It's the biggest debate of the season, so let's take the two biggest issues off the table. For what it's worth, Washburn brought all the charm to her assignment of a latter-day Nurse Ratched.
At some point, the political parties will have to begin to wonder why they entrust such a critical part of our president-choosing process to people like Carolyn Washburn, people who obviously aren't up to the task.
The best part was when Fred Thompson told Nurse Ratched what she could do with her loaded "raise your hand" question about global warming:
By the way, it is a little hard to see in the clip but that was Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney, and McCain who had their hands in the air agreeing that global warming was the American taxpayer's burden. How's the Kool-Aid, boys? Real tasty?