Americans finally noticed climate change — even Republicans

Maybe it’s the pope. Or the freakish year in extreme climate records. It might even be explained by the United Nations climate talks and the bright lights of the presidential election cycle. Whatever the cause, U.S. views on climate change are shifting—fast.

Three-quarters of Americans now accept the scientific consensus on climate change, the highest level in four years of surveys conducted by the University of Texas at Austin. The biggest shocker is what’s happening inside the GOP. In a remarkable turnabout, 59 percent of Republicans now say climate change is happening, up from 47 percent just six months ago.

When public opinion shifts this much in a single survey, a bit of skepticism is justified…Yet these results are precisely in line with a separate survey published this month by the University of Michigan, which found that 56 percent of Republicans believe there’s solid evidence to support global warming, up from 47 percent a year ago. The Michigan poll also found bipartisan agreement with climate science at the highest level since 2008.

The changing views by Republicans could strand some of the leading presidential candidates in an increasingly unpopular position. Many in the party reject mainstream climate science, and not just at the margins. Republican leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top presidential contenders Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio all articulate views that would be considered extreme in other countries.

Republicans will probably get what they deserve. Flat Earth fear of science fits in nicely with 1920’s economics.

The world is at a critical point in global climate talks, with leaders set to meet next month in Paris to hammer out final details of a plan to reduce the long-term trajectory of carbon pollution. Some of the biggest impediments to the talks have been removed in recent months: Significant commitments were made by China and India, and the prime ministers of Australia and Canada were replaced by leaders more sensitive to climate change…

Last year in the U.S., Bloomberg interviewed dozens of former senior Republican congressional aides, lobbyists, and staff at nongovernmental organizations. Many Republicans privately recognized the need to address climate change—in stark contrast to their party’s public stance—but saw little political benefit in speaking out.

After proving Republicans have as little backbone as Democrats, the realities of climate change – more apparent in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere – just may turn around some of the remarkable stupidity in conservative political correctness. Passing regulations which prohibit including descriptions of climate change in official documents is the height of Doublethink. Republicans have done that at the state and federal level.

Maybe it worked well when we changed the name of the War Department to Department of Defense over sixty years ago – as we embarked on decades of invading other countries. You can still line up beaucoup presidential candidates for that one. But, folks who have kinfolk in half the population still absent from Katrina’s New Orleans, a similar big percentage waiting to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy – even people who think patriotism is spelled O-B-E-Y start to change their behavior.

Chicago calls for stricter gun laws – again – after 14 people shot overnight


Click to enlargeArmando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Fourteen people, including two young boys, were shot in Chicago over a 15-hour period from Monday night to Tuesday morning.

Six people were killed and at least eight were wounded, following two consecutive weekends when more than 50 people were shot in the city.

Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and police officials repeated their calls for stricter gun laws and a more robust criminal justice system.

“I’m angry about what happened here and I think I speak for everybody,” Emanuel said on Tuesday. “And I think I speak for everybody when I say enough is enough.”

RTFA here if you think you need more details of our gun plague.

The Tribune has been tracking gun violence in Chicago for four years and regularly reports record-breaking incidents of gun violence.

The shootings these past two weeks follow a four-week period in August, when more than 40 people were shot each weekend. At least 2,300 people have been shot in the city this year, which the Tribune said is 400 more than were shot in the same period last year.

The four other people shot from Monday night to Tuesday morning include a two-year-old boy, who was grazed by a bullet in an accidental shooting. Police said he was in good condition.

“Here we go again,” said Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy. “We’ve had the same conversation over and over. What do we have to do? We have to hold criminals responsible.”

The “criminals” include Congress. Cowards and copouts. The criminals include the NRA. The criminals include politicians up and down the line lacking courage enough to challenge the gun manufacturers lobby who sell fear as much as death.

Yes, the criminals include lawyers who found a profitable career on playing off mediocre legislation against chickenshit courts, bought-and-paid-for judges. That includes more than judges owned by political interests; but, those who cave in to foolish political trends which have nothing to do with reality.

I could roll on for pages on all the currents that bring us to this whirlpool of death. Yes, it includes the history of corrupt, racist police departments. Chicago being one of the worst. None of it takes away from the consummate cowardice and failure of Congressional political hacks. They couldn’t provide leadership to a hound dog looking for a meal in the city garbage dump.

Obama’s commitment to same old, same old, foreign policy is rejected by Latin American leaders


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Unprecedented Latin American opposition to sanctions on communist Cuba put more pressure on President Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas on Sunday and threatened to further weaken U.S. influence in the region…

For the first time, conservative U.S-allied nations like Colombia are throwing their weight behind the traditional demand of leftist governments that Cuba be in the next meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS)…

“The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, have been ineffective,” summit host and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said of the Cuba issue…A major U.S. ally in the region who has relied on Washington for financial and military help to fight guerrillas and drug traffickers, Santos has become vocal over Cuba despite his strong ideological differences with Havana…

Havana was kicked out of the OAS a few years after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, and has been excluded from its summits due to opposition from the United States and Canada. Latin Americans also oppose Washington’s trade embargo on the island.

“There will be no final declaration of the summit because the United States vetoed the articles about Cuba, a veto that Canada joined,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman. “In consequence, there was no consensus…”

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