Senate Republicans + Pence confirm Brownback as anti-LGBT, anti-science, anti-economics official dimwit

❝ {Sam Brownback] Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ nominee for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom [preparing for Sunday Services]. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote after Brownback’s nomination failed to earn a majority of votes in the Senate. Despite last minute drama on the Senate floor, Brownback now joins the ranks of other anti-LGBTQ nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence Administration…

One of the nation’s least popular governors, Brownback has an extensive history of opposing equality at every turn and has promoted discriminatory laws in Kansas. In 2015, Brownback shamefully attacked LGBTQ state employees by stripping away non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Later that year, following the landmark ruling declaring marriage equality law of the land, Brownback issued another blatantly discriminatory executive order against LGBTQ Kansans. The measure prohibited the state government from taking action against taxpayer funded organizations that deny services to same sex couples based on religious beliefs. As governor, he also orchestrated a policy change that would make it nearly impossible for transgender Kansans to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.

If you keep up with Republican ignorance and stupidity you’re already aware of the economic disaster that is Kansas – courtesy of Brownback and other trickle-down pimps. They may have to apply for foreign aid once reason – or the nearest facsimile – is re-established in Congress.

Record-Melting Fall Heat Wave Bakes Southern California — and More


Tuesday, 24th, 1PM PDT

❝ It’s not every October 23 or 24 that millions of Americans are swathed in temperatures above 100°F. This week has done just that, bringing some of the toastiest weather ever observed in the United States during late October, and more pre-Halloween heat is on the way. By far the most scorching weather has been in Southern California, although it’s also been exceptionally mild this month in settings as far-flung as Michigan, Florida, and New England…

The first three weeks of October were remarkably mild for most of the United States east of the Rockies. Overnight lows across most of the Northeast on Monday night were in the 50-70°F range—warmer than the average highs for this time of year! Albany, NY, “dipped” to 68°F early Tuesday, compared to its average high and low for the date of 57°F and 37°F. If the temperature stays above 64°F through midnight, it’ll be Albany’s highest daily minimum ever recorded this late in the year, in data going back to 1874.

Don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the prairie; but here in northern New Mexico we used to plan for the first fire in our living room stove on October 15th. Not in a number of years. In fact we stockpiled the usual amount of firewood the last 2 autumns – and didn’t bring in any, this year. We have enough leftover for a full-sized old-fashioned winter, stacked and waiting. No fire in the stove, yet.

Political Correctness Bastion of Anti-Science Republicans

❝ Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

❝ A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

❝ A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.

RTFA for details of sophistry required by Trumpkins appointed to implement corporate obedience.

Back when conservatives and other self-righteous hacks introduced political correctness to US Government, neither party had a problem with stationing our military in 150 foreign countries managed by the shiny new “Department of Defense” instead of the War Department that actually was premised upon defending the continental United States.

Let’s hope for more backbone in a changing generation of Democrats.

The Trump government continues to remove scientific data from the Web


Click to run

❝ In our latest episode of Ars Technica Live, Ars editors Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin talked to UC Santa Cruz sociology professor Lindsey Dillon about how the Trump administration has been removing scientific and environmental data from the Web. Lindsey is part of a group called Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI), which is working on ways to rescue that data and make it available to the public.

Lindsey told us how EDGI got started in November 2016, within days of the presidential election. Its founders are scientists and academics whose main goal was to make sure that researchers and citizens would continue to have access to data about the environment. They organized data rescue events around the country, where volunteers identified vulnerable climate information on websites for several government agencies, including the EPA, DOE, and even NASA. The Internet Archive helped by creating digital records of all the at-risk pages…

The Trump administration promises to cut the EPA’s budget by one third, and it has appointed Scott Pruitt to head the agency. Pruitt, who sued the EPA 14 times during his tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, has just launched an initiative to “challenge” climate change data.

Run the video up top. Check out the discussion. The underground still functions within the most anti-science government elected by an ignorant nation – since Ronald Reagan.

The 5 biggest lies in Trump’s Paris climate speech


Not telling the truth about anythingChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

❝ The other day, President Donald Trump gave a speech announcing that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading. The sheer density of bullshit is almost admirable, from a performance art perspective. Trump even managed to get in some howlers that had nothing to do with climate change. He started by citing an act of terrorism in Manila that wasn’t terrorism. He said, “our tax bill is moving along in Congress,” but there’s no tax bill. And so forth.

A proper fact-check would run longer than the speech itself. To keep this quick, I’ve selected the top five deceptions.

❝ The author, David Roberts, says: I’m not calling these “lies,” because that implies Trump knows they are false. It is far from clear that Trump understands anything about any of the issues at stake, or is even capable of forming stable beliefs as such…

Anyway, whether he’s lying or merely bullshitting, here are the top five:

1) No, an agreement cannot be both nonbinding and draconian (Spoiler: Paris is the former)…

2) No, Paris cannot be “renegotiated”

3) No, abiding by the agreement will not cost the US a bazillion dollars

4) No, China and India are not getting away with anything

5) No, other nations are not laughing at us behind our backs — or they weren’t, anyway

❝ Here we come to the root of the matter: tribalism. The tribalist (or “nationalist” as they are often called) sees all relationships, including relationships among nations, as zero-sum contests. There are only strong and weak, dominator and dominated, winners and losers.

For the millionth time, a voluntary deal cannot hamstring anyone, nor can it empower anyone. But the tribalist brain simply cannot grok an arrangement of mutual long-term benefit. So it must be unsavory “foreign lobbyists” trying to get us “tied up and bound down” so that they can drain our precious bodily fluids.

RTFA, It makes good sense even when, as usual – Trump doesn’t. Roberts even takes the time to point out how and when he shifts from his 5th-grade vocabulary – as written for him to recite – into kindergarten-speak when something strikes a responsive chord in his lizard brain.