Saturday, March 29, 2014

Last Call For Earl Ray Doing The Right Thing

Democrats in West Virginia broke with the party and passed legislation for a 20-week abortion ban, when earlier this year the Supreme Court found such a ban in Arizona to be unconstitutional.  The West Virginia bill headed to Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who rightfully vetoed the bill as a waste of taxpayer resources as it meant defending something that would be struck down by SCOTUS as unconstitutional anyway.

Earlier this month, the West Virginia legislature became the first Democrat-controlled body to pass a 20-week abortion ban. The legislation would have made it a felony, punishable by no less than a year in prison, to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases where a woman's life is endangered, according to the Charleston Gazette.

Tombin said in a statement that he voted the bill because his legal team advised him it was unconstitutional and added that the legislation unduly restricted the physician-patient relationship.

"All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options," he said in the written statement. "The medical community has made it clear to me that the criminal penalties this bill imposes will impede that advice, and those options, to the detriment of the health and safety of expectant mothers.”

What a crazy concept, having legislators stay out of doctors' decisions for their patients.  Oh wait, isn't that the same agument the wingers use against Obamacare (only that's not true, the bill doesn't legislate doctors' decisions.)

Republicans sure seem to like having big government tell doctors how to do their jobs, however.  Funny how that works.

Not Helping On The Climate Thing

Just to make it clear, there's helpful strategies for dealing with climate change deniers...and then there's Gawker's Adam Weinstein, who thinks it's time to start dealing with professional climate deniers through legal means as they put all of us in jeopardy.

I'm talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I'm talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I'm talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have.

Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.

Deniers will, of course, fuss and stomp and beat their breasts and claim this is persecution, this is a violation of free speech. Of course, they already say that now, when judges force them into doing penance for comparing climate scientists to child-rapist and denial poster-boy Jerry Sandusky.

But First Amendment rights have never been absolute. You still can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. You shouldn't be able to yell "balderdash" at 10,883 scientific journal articles a year, all saying the same thing: This is a problem, and we should take some preparations for when it becomes a bigger problem.

Willful, profiteering public deniers of climate change can compare themselves to Galileo all they want, pretending that they're voices of sanity in a cruel wilderness. But Galileo had science on his side. He had a telescope aimed at the cosmos. Climate deniers have their heads jammed in the sand... or in a barrel of money.

I agree with Weinstein that the multi-billion dollar effort to convince Americans that there is nothing we can or should even bother doing about climate change is pretty awful.  Unfortunately, it's not criminal.  (However I have the same problem with anti-vaxxers, and at least you can make individual child endangerment arguments there from a legal standpoint.)

But this is entirely unhelpful and just feeds the "climate cult/persecution complex" that all of these guys are counting on.  It's playing into their hands and frankly, it's stupid to do so.

The entire point is that this is a battle of public opinion, and Weinstein is doing more damage than good.  Besides, the real problem is of course Republicans who are trying to make climate research all but illegal in the first place.

Weathering The Storm

House Republicans have decided that if they pass legislation to simply force NOAA to stop doing climate research, then the problem just goes away from both a scientific and political aspect.

House Republicans want government scientists to focus on predicting storms, not climate change.

The House will vote next week on a Republican bill to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change.

Members will consider the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413, as early as Tuesday.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) introduced his bill last year after tornadoes hit his home state. Those storms led him to argue on the House floor the government spends too much on climate change research and not enough on developing weather forecasting tools to predict tornadoes and other events.

His bill does not explicitly kick the government out of the climate change business. But it does say NOAA must "prioritize weather-related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy, in all relevant line offices."

Last year, Bridenstine released a statement saying the intent of the bill is to "protect lives and property by shifting funds from climate change research to severe weather forecasting research."

"The bill does not increase spending but rather shifts funding to make improved severe weather forecasting a higher priority of the Federal government," he said in July.

In other words, "tornadoes kill people, climate change is a myth, you can't have money for both."  And of course if you don't support this bill, you want tornadoes to kill schoolkids.  This'll pass the House easily, and probably the Senate.

After all, if we can't predict the exact path of a tornado 12 hours down the road, how can we possibly predict climate, because derp.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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