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Stormy Weather: Don’t Know Why Some Folks Think Climate Change Is A Lie

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The Frankenstorm, Hurricane Irene, as seen from space.

It is late October. Our thoughts should be on Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving or the many other fall rites of passage as we barrel toward Christmas and winter. But for those of us on the East Coast or who have loved ones on the East Coast, all we can think about is stormy weather. Hurricane Sandy is lumbering toward the New York Tri-State Area with the icy, yet plodding, deadly determination of “The Godfather’s” feared enforcer Luca Brasi.

A hurricane in New York in LATE OCTOBER? I don’t know why some folks think climate change is a lie.

Although the technical dates of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane seasons are from June 1st to November 30th, it is extremely unusual that a hurricane would manage to make its way up the Atlantic Coast at this time of year. I am no meteorologist, but from what I understand, arguably, the water should normally be too cold to allow a hurricane to intensify. Sandy is intriguing because she is appears to be something of a weather hybrid, a Frankenstorm – she’s both a hurricane and a traditional Nor’easter associated with this time of year. No matter how you classify this storm, Sandy is dangerous.

Whether you planned to move about by planes, trains, or automobiles, if you haven’t gotten where you are going, forget about it. Although the major New York airports are open, the runways are flooded, and the terminals are eerily empty. The Midtown, Holland, and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnels are either closed or about to be closed. The New York MTA has taken the virtually unprecedented step and shut down subway service. The MTA hasn’t halted service since…LAST YEAR…when Hurricane Irene blew into town.

Devastation left in New York City by Hurricane Irene in August 2011

As Yogi Berra said, this is deja vu all over again. Mass transit shut down. People price gouged panicked consumers trying to get gas and D-Cell batteries. There was the near certainty that the power would go out, but the equal uncertainty about when the lights would come back on. Some folks spent weeks without power in the wake of Irene. Property damaged. Businesses lost money. The estimates said that there was a total of $15.8 BILLION of damages due to Irene. But it was summer. It seemed reasonable to experience a hurricane, even one so horrible with such prolonged and expensive devastation, in the summer.

It is autumn now. It doesn’t seems reasonable that the entire Eastern Seaboard is bracing for a tropical storm so big and complicated that it has been called the Frankenstorm. As much as I hate snow, isn’t that more appropriate for this time of year than a hurricane?

At a certain point, we have to start asking questions because things seem different from what we remember. In my opinion, we are long past that point, but maybe the one-two punch of Irene and Sandy will be the wake-up call that some folks need to begin to think about these issues.

Drought 2012

We just had the warmest year on record, with wildfires and droughts and reminders that the climate is changing. 2012 was also the year that a former climate change skeptic, who is funded by the Koch Brothers, came around and accepted what many of us already knew: Global warming is occurring and greenhouse gases from man-made emissions is the primary cause.

If you read this before the storm, please learn the hard lessons taught by Katrina and Irene – there is no valor in riding out the storm in the path of danger. If you are told to evacuate, please gather your loved ones, your pictures, and your important documents (e.g.,birth, marriage certificates, insurance documents) – AND GO! If you don’t have to evacuate, look in on neighbors who are older or unwell to make sure they are okay. Check www.ready.gov for additional emergency information.

I don’t know why some folks think climate change is a lie. But today it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you, my family and friends are safe. In the face of this very stormy weather, my prayers and good thoughts are with you. Be safe.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Kimberly S. Jones

2012

An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner: Big Gavel, But Impotent

July 13, 2012

Dear Speaker Boehner,

You will be in session for 25 more working days before Election Day. Then hopefully, you will officially become lame as  the OUTGOING Speaker in the Lame Duck Session. For those paying attention, you have been lame all along.

When you became Speaker of House, you made great show of taking possession of the gigantic gavel. You know what they say about men who have big tools and don’t know how to use them. What a waste! Yes, Mr. Speaker. Your time as Speaker of the House has been a great big, orange, weepy, ineffective waste. The tragedy of it is two-fold: you follow one of the most effective Speakers in the history of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and your ineptitude comes at a time when the Congress and the country needed a statesperson with political acumen to hold the Speaker’s gavel.

The 112th Congress could be called the Looney Tunes Congress. There are some folks in the House of Representatives who are so comical that they are better placed in a cartoon than in Congress. Joe Walsh, Allen West, and Michelle Bachmann, to name a few, all deserve their own special clown car. Allen West makes ridiculous statements that are throw-backs to a drunken, discredited, red-baiting Congressman who brought a shameful time to America. Yet there are some who take this person seriously. Allen West is one of the best “race hustlers” around, invoking provocative images of slavery to suit his own political agenda. He needs to get off the “plantation” of crazy where he is currently enslaved, and find the freedom of sanity and reality.

Joe Walsh is a dead-beat dad who thinks nothing of denigrating and disrespecting a decorated war hero, who also happens to be a double amputee, to suit his own craven political agenda. By the way, what are Joe Walsh’s legislative achievements while in Congress? What has he done for the people of his district? I doubt it’s very much.

Michelle Bachmann… Where to start or end with her? Her biggest legislative achievement was to guarantee your unthreatened ability to buy incandescent light bulbs. I know that the most important item on your political agenda over the economy, education, the environment and other trivial things is light bulbs. But the rest of America was worrying about other things. You are blessed if the future of light bulbs was keeping you up at night. Her latest stunt was to call the Affordable Care Act the “largest Middle Class tax increase in American History.” Wow, lie much?

Yes, Mr. Speaker, you with your big gavel couldn’t herd these crazy cats into acting in the best interests of America. We have seen it time after time.

But you, Mr. Speaker, have been like Wile E. Coyote to President Obama’s Road Runner. You have allowed the TEA Party extremists to fill your head with legislatively wasteful and politically destructive plots ordered straight from ACME political tricks and schemes. Rather than helping you catch the President, all you have gained for your troubles is the political equivalent of an anvil falling on your head – dismally low approval ratings for Congress, 17.8% according to Real Clear Politics Average of Congressional Job Approval polls through June 18, 2012.

As the TEA Party dropped an anvil on your head, Wile E., I mean, Mr. Speaker, it was also dropping boulders and anvils on groups who expected their elected representatives to look out for their interests. We expected you to bang your gavel to lead, not bang the gavel on our heads. It was the American people who suffered most. As you collected your annual salary of $223, 500, with benefits and pension, American citizens waited for the jobs that would give us salaries, benefits and pensions. Instead, you postured and played politics with our lives. As you took your salary and did nothing for the American people, the gavel laid impotently in your hand.

Instead of efficiently reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), and expanding the Act so it reaches all victims of violence, the VAWA sits in limbo, a victim of the violence of the political act forced on it, in the same way that all women and members of the LGBT community who have violence forced upon them will be left without adequate recourse if this act isn’t reauthorized. But at the same time, this same Congress was all too happy to push this government to the brink of a government shutdown over an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

It bears repeating that it is a sad fact that Planned Parenthood is the bogeywoman for abortion, but abortion represents 3% of the services of the services they provide. The rest of the services they provide are for the HEALTH of a woman, e.g., routine screenings such as pap smears and mammograms. By the way, Mr. Speaker, abortions in the first trimester are a legal medical procedure and a matter of CHOICE for the mother and her family. None of that mattered. You were willing to allow your big gavel to lay impotently in your hand as the country careened toward a shut-down. Women suffered during your term as Speaker. We will remember. We will deal with you harshly on Election Day.

The gavel was placed in your hands because the GOP promised to be the party of jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Yes, we got a job alright, a con job. Do a Google search for “GOP jobs bill in 112th Congress.” I did. The results are extremely spare, especially for the party that claimed that they were going to be job creators. What happened? You lied to us. This GOP ascension had nothing to do with jobs, and everything to do with power for the sake of power. You wouldn’t even vote on the Jobs plan that the President sent to Congress, not once. No, the goal was never jobs, it was always power.  All I can say is “well played.”  Because that is what you did, you played the American people. Crafty…

But the gavel still lays impotently in your hand. A gavel that you should wield with power, authority and finesse; instead, you are run around by the freshman members of your caucus. How embarrassing. That was especially apparent when you allowed the little boys and girls in the TEA Party Caucus to publicly throw their un-statesmanlike tantrums as the country had an unnecessarily prolonged negotiation about the debt ceiling last summer. The debt ceiling had been raised almost 80 times since 1960, mostly under Republican presidents, as you well know. Yet, you procrastinated like a teenager with a term paper on the debt ceiling issue, which meant that you manufactured a crisis that resulted in the first downgrade of the US credit rating in America history. Not an effective use of your power, if you ask me. Impotence that doesn’t just reflect on you, it affects the rest of us.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, there are 25 days when Congress will be in session before Election Day. You just wasted one of those days on another useless vote to repeal some or all of the Affordable Care Act. And yet again, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner stuck his tongue out at you, said, “Beep, Beep!” and sped away…for the 33rd time.

But the big gavel lies impotently in your hand. And America watches and waits because there are problems that still should be solved in the 25 working days, the time before your impotence becomes lame impotence in the Lame Duck Session. The debt ceiling looms on the horizon – AGAIN. In your limited wisdom, the fix put on unemployment and the payroll tax holiday was temporary, so they are expiring. Happily, the Bush Tax Cuts are expiring, but the President and most of America wants you to extend them for those with annual incomes under $250,000. And yes, VAWA is still sitting out there waiting for reconciliation in conference. Adopt the Senate version, and let’s get on with it.

In New York, we say someone is all sizzle and no steak. In Texas, they say someone is all hat and no cattle. You, Mr. Speaker, were all gavel and no power, statesmanship, or gravitas. Impotent. It’s sad, because America deserved better. We needed better. And I think you may have wanted to be bigger than the gavel. It’s sad that the gavel ended up being bigger than you.

Sincerely yours,

Pundit On Point

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Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones