Another corrupt politician goes up the river

Former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), the Staten Islander best known for threatening on-camera to “break” a reporter “in half—like a boy,” has been sentenced by a federal judge to eight months in prison for tax evasion.

The sentencing, by US District Judge Pamela Chen, comes seven months after Grimm pleaded guilty to his role in filing a false tax return. Grimm had been indicted in April 2014 on 20 counts related to accounting practices at Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he owned before his time in Congress. The restaurant’s co-owner, Bennett Orfaly, has previously been accused of having ties to a convicted Gambino family mobster.

Despite his indictment, last year, Grimm ran for reelection to his third term in Congress—and won. It was not until December 30—seven days after entering his guilty plea—that he announced his intentions to resign his seat.

Before Grimm was the target of an investigation by the FBI, he served for two decades as one of its agents. It was during this time that Grimm reportedly pulled a gun in a Queens nightclub, and, after a bouncer ejected him, stormed the nightclub with another FBI agent and members of the NYPD. “I’m a fucking F.B.I. agent,” Grimm reportedly said. “Ain’t nobody gonna threaten me.”

Sad commentary on the more criminal side of today’s Republican constituency. Just as the loony, creationist side of Christianity slanders well-meaning religious folk – just as Confederate flag-toting racists with teabags dangling from their AR-15s slander anyone who used to join the NRA to support their classes in hunting safety – conservatism as a political class is now deeply defined as the last bastion of fear and hatred. Better Dead Than Red is back and voting for more of the same.

US dodges tornados through the warmest March in modern history


Republican Party prepares a report on climate change for the elections

March 2012 will go down as the warmest March in the United States since record-keeping began in 1895, NOAA said Monday.

In addition, the three-month period of January, February and March was the warmest first quarter ever recorded in the Lower 48 states. The average was 42 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping 6 degrees above the long-term average.

…According to Chris Vaccaro, spokesperson for NOAA…”The scope and the scale of warmth was really unprecedented”…

The warm temperatures also contributed to conditions that were favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There were 223 preliminary tornado reports during March, a month that averages 80 tornadoes, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. The majority of these tornadoes occurred during a severe weather outbreak across the Ohio River Valley and Southeast in early March. The outbreak caused 40 deaths and total losses of $1.5 billion, making it the first billion-dollar disaster of 2012.

Short-term weather patterns such as the one that affected the United States are poor indicators of global climate trends, however. Parts of the world, most notably Eastern Europe, experienced below-average to extreme cold temperatures this winter.

Anyone who is a student of science knows that. But, it is fun poking a stick in the know-nothings who believe all climatology must be pre-approved either by the Republican Party or the Creationist of your choice.

Scientists condemn ‘political assaults’ on climate researchers

A group of 255 of the world’s top scientists today written an open letter aimed at restoring public faith in the integrity of climate science.

In a strongly worded reproof of the recent escalation of political assaults on climatologists, the letter, published in the US Journal Science and signed by 11 Nobel laureates, attacks critics driven by “special interests or dogma” and “McCarthy-like” threats against researchers. It also attempts to set the record straight on the process of rigorous scientific research…

The letter sets out some basic features of the scientific method. “Like all human beings, scientists make mistakes, but the scientific process is designed to find and correct them. But when some conclusions have been thoroughly and deeply tested, questioned, and examined, they gain the status of ‘well-established theories’ and are often spoken of as ‘facts’,” it says.

The document, citing theories including the age and origin of the Earth, the Big Bang and Darwin’s evolution by natural selection, says that anthropogenic climate change is now so well-supported by evidence that it has achieved the same status. It adds that owing to science’s adversarial nature, “fame” awaits any scientists who can prove the theory wrong.

“There is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change,” the letter says…

“Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence,” the letter says.

Its call for an end to “McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association” appears to be jibe at Republican senator, James Inhofe.

In truth, I wouldn’t limit the politics of the assault on science to one or a few Republicans. The whole panoply of creationists, fundamentalist nutballs, those pitiful cowards whose definition of political correctness is grounded in obedience to the rich and powerful – are opposed to reason and research, science and education.

Nothing new about it. They’ve had a decade or so of building their role as henchmen to the Oil Patch Boys, the evangelical school board demagogues, the talking heads of hate radio. That the American populace would rise up and kick out some of their political hacks they adored is taken as a direct affront. This is nothing more than I would expect.

Hey – they loved the original McCarthy last time ’round. Why expect different?