The Honorable Republican woman

By Ann Ivins

Being born a woman (albeit a “natural” and therefore conservatively acceptable one), the prospect of joining a club in which my functions would be limited to possible figurehead, full-time cook and designated dicksucker* baby machine has consistently failed to seduce me. Short version: I’ve never been tempted to become a Republican. It’s difficult to imagine that any female could ignore the patriarchal worldview that is the GOP, no matter how terrifying crime and the shaky economy are… and yet self-identified Republican women exist and thrive here in the steamy crotch of the Bible Belt. I see the bumper stickers in the preschool parking lot. I hear the conversations everywhere from Neiman-Marcus to Target. Several of my friends and acquaintances have an elephant in their closets.  Hell, I love and trust one enough to leave my daughter (Her Majesty in the picture there) with her at least once a week, more often if her grandfather can wheedle hard enough. Continue reading

Three new studies illustrate significant risks and complications with geoengineering climate (corrected)

Correction: Figure 3 below was originally Figure 3 from the Cao/Caldeira paper instead of the correct Figure 1 from the paper. This has been fixed.

In 1992, the National Academy of Sciences defined “geoengineering” as the “large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry.” The most significant changes in atmospheric chemistry today are the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by human activities, especially but not limited to carbon dioxide (CO2). In recent years, climate scientists have begun to investigate whether or not geoengineering is practical as a means to give humanity the time it needs to adapt to climate disruption or, as some would prefer, a means to controlling the environment such that no changes in energy consumption patterns are even necessary. Continue reading

Bringing the marshes back, or trying to, anyway

It’s difficult, I know, to have rational thoughts about Iraq these days. We’re being told the troops are being withdrawn on schedule–British troops left earlier this year—but the bombings continue on a regular basis, and it’s not at all clear what will happen after US troops are no longer actively patrolling the country. The political dimensions of what the new Iraq will look like remain very unclear, especially since there is no new government actually in place, except for the fact that Iran is a lot more influential under the new government than it ever was under their sworn enemy, Saddam Hussein. There has been some movement in making Iraq more like America, however—Iraq is now back among the world leaders in executions. So one is left with rage and frustration over the waste, the carnage, the millions displaced, the hundreds of thousands dead, the geopolitical wreckage that will take decades to repair.

The fact that there are some bright spots might not—and does not—compensate. But bright sports there are. One is the tale of the Iraq marshes, and the efforts by Azzam Alwash to restore them. Continue reading

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: facts v. myths

by Pollyanna Sunshine

Dear Conservative Family Member, who just forwarded me mass chain email about how great Joe Arpaio is and how the author of the email has “long wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs the jail system, and copy some of his ideas”:  [full text available here]

While I recognize that the author of this email suggested that “If you agree, pass this on. If not, just delete it,” I cannot in good conscience delete this cheery little mess of bald-faced lies, distortions, and grotesque misinformation, without at least giving others a chance to know exactly how bald the lies are that they are passing on.

Whatever one’s position on the immigration issue–which Arpaio paid almost zero attention to until after 2004, when he almost lost the Republican primary to a virtually unknown opponent, and he was seeking a new angle to keep him in the media spotlight because he had alienated so many people in this state with his previously equal-opportunity abuses of civil rights, human decency, fiscal responsibility, and the duties of his office.  Continue reading