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Archive for July 1st, 2011

Standing up for the little people

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Standing up for the little people
While the Village got the vapors about a crude word, the real outrage went by relatively unnoticed.

I truly cannot believe the GOP has drawn a line in the sand over this:

A visibly angry Santorum told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that Obama’s targeting of corporate jet owners defies the candidate’s pledge to bring Americans together

And Santorum wasn’t alone, a whole slew of Republican Senators joined in, defending the right of Corporations to keep buying their own jets rather than hiring people or paying their workers.

But they didn’t call the President a “dick” so their position is quite sound and acceptable with the rest of the Village.


Late Late Night FDL: Pictures of Matchstick Men
Status QuoPictures of Matchstick Men, from a 1968 UK television appearance.

Status QuoPictures of Matchstick Men, from a 1968 UK television appearance.

What’s on your mind?

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow Reports on Kansas’ War on Choice [VID]
Subverting the law of the land and getting between a woman and her doctor is very small government-y.

Subverting the law of the land and getting between a woman and her doctor is very small government-y.


Debt Ceiling Negotiations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Debt Ceiling Negotiations

By Mike Luckovich

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Tax-Dodging Amazon Drops California Partners
Amazon.com abruptly ended its Associates Program for California residents Wednesday, cutting off roughly 10,000 individuals and small businesses, including this one, from a vital source of income with less than a day’s notice. Like a handful of states, California is trying to force Amazon to collect sales tax. Full disclosure: Truthdig is among the businesses affected by Amazon’s decision. It will impact this site financially. In fairness, we are reprinting the two letters Amazon sent us below. Amazon’s Associates Program pays sites a small percentage for referring traffic to the online retailer. As an example, when you click on a book in the Truthdig bazaar, it sends you to Amazon. If you buy the book there, Amazon pays Truthdig a referral fee (as little as 4 percent). The California law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, requires online retailers to collect a discounted sales tax from California customers. In a letter to its California Associates, Amazon said, “We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors.” Amazon is not going to turn away California’s 37 million customers because the state is asking it to collect sales tax. By dumping its California Associates, Amazon may hope to create a base of 10,000 angry constituents to put pressure on the Legislature to repeal the online tax.  —PZS Los Angeles Times: It’s odd that a company would voluntarily dilute its business in the most populous state in the country simply because it’s being asked to collect what is lawfully owed,” Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, told CNN Money. According to two experts contacted by the Wall Street Journal, the California law is a likely candidate for a court challenge. California lawmakers maintain that it is designed to help level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers in the state. Read more Below are the two letters Amazon sent us Wednesday, along with the date and time each was received. On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM, Amazon.com Associates Program wrote:   Hello,   For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.   We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.   As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.   You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.   To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com.   We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. We are also working on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.   Regards,   The Amazon Associates Team Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM Hello, Unfortunately, Governor Brown has signed into law the bill that we emailed you about earlier today. As a result of this, contracts with all California residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program are terminated effective today, June 29, 2011. Those California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned before today will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule. You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program. To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect your ability to purchase from Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. As mentioned before, we are continuing to work on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available. Regards, The Amazon Associates Team

Amazon.com abruptly ended its Associates Program for California residents Wednesday, cutting off roughly 10,000 individuals and small businesses, including this one, from a vital source of income with less than a day’s notice. Like a handful of states, California is trying to force Amazon to collect sales tax.

Full disclosure: Truthdig is among the businesses affected by Amazon’s decision. It will impact this site financially. In fairness, we are reprinting the two letters Amazon sent us below.

Amazon’s Associates Program pays sites a small percentage for referring traffic to the online retailer. As an example, when you click on a book in the Truthdig bazaar, it sends you to Amazon. If you buy the book there, Amazon pays Truthdig a referral fee (as little as 4 percent).

The California law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, requires online retailers to collect a discounted sales tax from California customers. In a letter to its California Associates, Amazon said, “We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors.”

Amazon is not going to turn away California’s 37 million customers because the state is asking it to collect sales tax. By dumping its California Associates, Amazon may hope to create a base of 10,000 angry constituents to put pressure on the Legislature to repeal the online tax.? —PZS

Los Angeles Times:

It’s odd that a company would voluntarily dilute its business in the most populous state in the country simply because it’s being asked to collect what is lawfully owed,” Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, told CNN Money.

According to two experts contacted by the Wall Street Journal, the California law is a likely candidate for a court challenge. California lawmakers maintain that it is designed to help level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers in the state.

Read more

Below are the two letters Amazon sent us Wednesday, along with the date and time each was received.

On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM, Amazon.com Associates Program wrote:

? Hello,

? For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

? We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

? As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

? You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

? To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com.

? We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. We are also working on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.

? Regards,

? The Amazon Associates Team

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Hello,

Unfortunately, Governor Brown has signed into law the bill that we emailed you about earlier today. As a result of this, contracts with all California residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program are terminated effective today, June 29, 2011. Those California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned before today will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect your ability to purchase from Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com.

We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. As mentioned before, we are continuing to work on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.

Regards,

The Amazon Associates Team

Related Entries



Ohio Governor Signs Bill Allowing Concealed Guns To Be Carried In Bars

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Allowing Concealed Guns To Be Carried In Bars
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich on Thursday signed into law a bill that allows gun owners in the state to carry…

White House Releases Race To The Top Details
A $500 million federal competition for early education money will stress assessment, teacher training and program alignment, according to an announcement Thursday by officials from…

Tom Fox: The Federal Coach: Will You Be Ready When Your Leaders Hit the Road?
Staff turnover is as inevitable as death and taxes, and for government it looms on the horizon. So, how can federal managers prepare for this looming brain drain?

Planned Parenthood Scores Victory In South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Saying it would humiliate and degrade women, a federal judge on Thursday afternoon granted Planned Parenthood’s preliminary injunction to prevent South…


Beck Uses Last Show To Reminisce About Some Of His Greatest Hits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Beck Uses Last Show To Reminisce About Some Of His Greatest Hits

On the last episode of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck took some time to reflect on some of his wildest theories as well as people and organizations he repeatedly smeared during his tenure at Fox.

Beck Brags About Taking On George Soros

On His Last Show, Beck Says: “We’ve Taken On … George Soros.” From the June 30 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: We made an awful lot of enemies on this program. We’ve joked before, gosh, can we — is there anybody else we can take on? I mean we’ve taken on every single person we’ve been told not to take on from the anarchist to the president to the Republicans to George Soros because the truth has no agenda. It will lead us where it leads us. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/30/11]

Beck Has Repeatedly Smeared Soros With Anti-Semitic Stereotypes And Falsehoods.

  • Beck Has Used The Anti-Semitic Stereotype “Puppet Master” To Describe Soros. Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked Soros with anti-Semitic stereotypes, referring to Soros as a “puppet master” and accusing him of controlling the media, the political process, and the global economy. In fact, Beck has claimed that he will “expose” Soros and has referred to Soros as “the head of the snake.” Beck has also fearmongered that the “republic’s at stake – set your DVR now” for “one of the most important shows I’ve ever done…a special hour on the puppet master, George Soros.” Moreover, in his efforts to paint Soros as a villain, Beck repeatedly relied on a number of anti-Semitic sources including a book from Nazi supporter Elizabeth Dilling. [Media Matters, 6/29/09, via Media Matters; Fox News, Glenn Beck, 7/6/09, via Media Matters]

Beck Warns Of Possible Hyperinflation

Beck: “Only Way Out Of [Debt Crisis] Is Real Trouble Now, And Maybe It’s Hyperinflation.” From the June 30 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: We showed you that this debt clock — only way out of this is real trouble now, and maybe it’s hyperinflation. Maybe. We showed you that that can happen. We asked you to prepare. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/30/11]

Beck Has Continually Warned Of Imminent Inflation, At One Point Predicting That It Would Occur On November 3, 2010.

  • Beck Warned Of “A Lot Of Similarities” Between Weimar’s Monetary Policy And Ours. On his Fox News show in April 2009, Beck said: “I have read about the Weimar Republic, and there are a lot of similarities on what they did and what we did to the money, and that was one of the real breeding grounds.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/10/09, via Media Matters]
  • Beck Again Pushed Parallels Between The U.S. And Weimar. In August 2009, Beck again suggested parallels between the United States, the Weimar Republic, and Zimbabwe, claiming, “[W]e’re closing now, in on our — what did Forbes.com call it today? Oh, I remember, our ‘Zimbabwe Moment.’ We could never suffer Zimbabwe’s fate of hyperinflation and collapse — oh, no, no.” He added: “What was it that turned those Nazis into Nazis? Oh, I remember, they were the Weimar Republic, and then, debt, hyperinflation and Nazis. Oh, I remember, but this is America. We’re immune to hyperinflation or any kind of problems — Jimmy Carter — that never happens here.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/12/09, via Media Matters]
  • Beck Hyped Gold Because “Inflation Is Going To Go Through The Roof.” On the May 19, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated: “Well, if you think a collapse is coming, if you think things are bad, if you think inflation is coming, well, you’re not going to put your money into gold. I mean, into treasuries. You’re going to put it into gold, which made this happen.” He further said: “What you do is you buy these and you say, they’re lying, man! Are you kidding me? Inflation is going to go through the roof.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/19/10, via Media Matters]
  • Beck Predicted “The Weimar Moment” On November 3, 2010. On the October 25, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Beck claimed that on “November 3rd, the Fed hits the Weimar moment.” He repeated the claim, this time about the Treasury, on his radio show the next day. And on October 29, he once again argued that “the Weimar Moment” would come immediately following Election Day. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/25/10, 10/26/10, 10/29/10, via Media Matters]
  • In November 2010, Beck Said That “Come Next Year, You Are Going To See Prices Skyrocket.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/2/10, via Media Matters]
  • In Reality, There Has Been No Weimar-Style Hyperinflation. During the period of hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, prices on average “quadrupled each month” for sixteen months. By contrast, according to the latest inflation numbers, U.S. inflation is currently at 3.6 percent over the last 12 months. [EconLib.org, accessed 6/28/11; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6/15/11]

Beck Mentions Hindenburg Omen, His Predictor For Stock Market Crashes

Beck: On This Program “We Showed You The Hindenburg Omen.” From the June 30 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: We showed you the Great Depression of 1920. How many people even know that? And how it was turned around and it can be done again if we learn from history. We showed you the Hindenburg Omen, the Kondratiev wave, the Overton Window. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/30/11]

In 2010, Beck Twice Predicted An Imminent Five Percent Drop In The Stock Market Due To “Hindenburg Omen.”

  • In August 2010, Beck Said “The Hindenburg Omen” Had Been Triggered, Meaning A 5 Percent Drop In The Market “Usually Takes Place Within The Next 40 Days.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/16/10, via Media Matters]
  • After The 40 Day Period Passed, Beck Reset The Clock On The Hindenburg Omen On October 5, 2010, Saying, “[W]e Just Entered The 30 Day Period.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/5/10, via Media Matters]
  • The Crash That Beck Predicted Didn’t Occur. In reality, the stock market has risen since October 2010. While there have been ups and downs, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ are all higher now than they were in October 2010. [The New York Times, accessed 6/28/11, via Media Matters]


Court Rules Accused Tucson Shooter Can Be Forcibly Medicated

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Court Rules Accused Tucson Shooter Can Be Forcibly Medicated
An emergency hearing Wednesday determined Jared Lee Loughner will continue to be be given psychotropic medication against his will. Reuters reports that a court filing urged the motion due to behavior that was “either intended or reasonably likely to cause…

Johnson $10M Payday Could Raise Red Flags For IRS
Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) $10 million post-election windfall from his company not only could break federal elections laws barring corporate funding of campaigns but it could raise red flags for the IRS as well.


‘Sovereign Citizen’ Thrown Out Of Pizza Chain Bankruptcy Hearings
The bankruptcy hearings of the Giordano’s Pizza chain in Chicago took a strange turn this week, when a sovereign citizen was thrown out of the courtroom after he made vague threats and caused what the judge called a “sideshow.”


Eric Cantor as the ‘OMGodfather’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Eric Cantor as the ‘OMGodfather’


Minnesota Government Shutdown

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Minnesota Government Shutdown
Minnesota began a government shutdown at midnight after talks between Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and Republican legislative leaders failed to produce a deal to close a $5 billion budget gap, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Dayton and Republican legislators have been stalemated since January over how to balance the budget and close out the projected deficit. Dayton largely won election on a promise to preserve cherished state services by increasing taxes on the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans. But Republicans won control of the Legislature for the first time in decades with a pledge not to raise taxes. The deep rift ignited a political fistfight that spilled past the regular legislative session in late May and dragged the state to the current precipice.”

Geithner Says He Isn’t Going Anywhere
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner denied reports that he will leave his post soon, saying he’s staying put “for the foreseeable future,” the Daily Beast reports.


Charade

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Charade
It’s time to end the charade that Pakistan is an ally in the battle against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in…

David Brooks’ Shot at Foreign Aid
In his trademark fashion, David Brooks crams a lot of issues into his critique today of US reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan: ambitious government initiatives, social engineering, the poverty-violence link (known in the trade as “greed v. grievance”), the (in)effectiveness of…

Greece, Economists, And The Value Of The Euro
Is the euro bad for Greece? “I’ve never seen Europe in such dire straits,” Roger Cohen writes in yesterday’s Times. “Greece is full of the aganaktismenoi, or the outraged, who resent the sharp cuts and sales of state industries made…



Bye-Polar Disorder: Judge Upholds ?Threatened? Listing for Polar Bear, Leaving It on Road to Extinction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Bye-Polar Disorder: Judge Upholds ?Threatened? Listing for Polar Bear, Leaving It on Road to Extinction
A federal judge today upheld the George W. Bush administration’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling is a blow to environmental groups that wanted the bear listed as endangered, thereby giving it more protections, and industry groups and others that don’t want it listed at all. […]

http://www.treehugger.com/polar-bear-tongue.jpg

A federal judge today upheld the George W. Bush administration’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The ruling is a blow to environmental groups that wanted the bear listed as endangered, thereby giving it more protections, and industry groups and others that don’t want it listed at all.

The original Bush decision meant listing the polar bear as “threatened” because of its melting polar sea ice habitat, but then doing nothing to actually protect that polar habitat from its primary threat, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.

As I wrote at the time, the Department of Interior suffers from a rare form of bipolar disorder called bye-polar disorder.  On the one hand, then DOI Secretary Kempthorne explicitly wanted “to allow continuation of vital energy production in Alaska,” while on the other hand the DOI noted:

  • The polar bears need sea ice for feeding.
  • The sea ice is being destroyed by human-caused emissions, faster than the models had predicted.
  • Thus, the polar bear is endangered.

Bye-polar disorder is apparently hard to diagnose.  You can read the 116-page ruling of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia here, but he is no diagnostician:  Sullivan said the plaintiffs challenging the listing “have failed to demonstrate that the agency’s listing determination rises to the level of irrationality.”  Oh, it wasn’t irrational for the pro-oil Bushies, but for bears, it was just nuts.

Let’s be clear here:  “The survival of polar bears as a species is difficult to envisage under conditions of zero summer sea-ice cover,” concludes the 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, by leading scientists from the eight Arctic nations, including the United States.

The climate models have left people with the impression that summer Arctic sea ice will survive past 2050, but reality is already worse than the IPCC’s worst-case scenario.  As I discussed in my post last month, “Arctic sea ice volume: The death spiral continues,” it is extremely likely the Arctic will be virtually ice free in the summer within about two decades, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it happened within one.

Regular readers can skip this part.

In November, Rear Admiral David Titley, the Oceanographer of the Navy, testified that  “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower” in the last several thousand years.” Titley, who is also the Director of Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, said he has told the Chief of Naval Operations that “we expect to see four weeks of basically ice free conditions in the mid to late 2030s.”

Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School has “projected a (virtually) ice-free fall by 2016 (+/- 3 yrs).” Contrary to some reporting, that projection has been unchanged for years, though Maslowski is in the process of creating a more sophisticated model that he expects “will improve prediction of sea ice melt,” as he explained to me recently.

Until then, we have some new observational data of Canadian sea ice thickness and this remarkable figure of sea ice volume since 1979 from Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog, based on data from the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center [click to enlarge]:

Neven

Maslowski’s linear projection is based on a combined model and data trendline focusing on ice volume.  By “ice-free,” Maslowski tells me he means more than an 80% drop from the 1979-2000 summer volume baseline of ~200,00 km^3.  Some sea ice above Greenland and Eastern Canada may survive into the 2020s, but the Arctic as we’ve known it will be gone.  And irreversibly so — again contrary to some misreporting (see “Polar bear, Arctic sea ice all-but doomed: Misleading Nature cover story misleads the media, public“).

Whether the Arctic goes virtually ice-free by 2019 — or whether it takes another decade — the outcome is now all but inescapable.  In September, National Snow and Ice Data Center’s director Mark Serreze said, “The volume of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month” and “I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover.”

The death spiral is real and quite consequential for humanity.  In September, a first-of-its-kind analysis by an international team of 18 top scientists found “less ice covers the Arctic today than at any time in recent geologic history” and this ice loss isunexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.”  They concluded:

Reviewed geological data indicate that the history of Arctic sea ice is closely linked with climate changes driven primarily by greenhouse and orbital forcings and associated feedbacks. This link is reflected in the persistence of the Arctic amplification, where fast feedbacks are largely controlled by sea-ice conditions.

Judge Sullivan himself wrote in a footnote:

“Certainly, where global warming has been identified as the primary threat to the polar bear’s sea ice habitat and the agency has acknowledged that the global warming trend is unlikely to reverse itself, a conclusion that the species is … ‘in danger of extinction’ has undeniable appeal.”

Bye-bye, polar bear.

And yes, I’m aware that just as some summer ice may hang around for a while, so too will some polar bears, but Ursus maritimus as a whole will be irreversibly doomed.  Homo ‘sapiens’ sapiens will also be in trouble, too, when the Arctic goes ice free.

A 2008 study led by David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) concluded (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“):

We find that simulated western Arctic land warming trends during rapid sea ice loss are 3.5 times greater than secular 21st century climate-change trends. The accelerated warming signal penetrates up to 1500 km inland”¦.

In other words, if it continues, the recent trend in sea ice loss may triple overall Arctic warming, causing large emissions in carbon dioxide and methane from the tundra this century (for a review of recent literature on the tundra, see “Science stunner: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting; NSF issues world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming”).  Indeed, Lawrence himself said, “Our study suggests that, if sea-ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate.”

A February study by NSIDC with conservative assumptions concluded, “Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100.”  The paleoclimate record is not reassuring (see “The methane hydrate feedback revisited“)

The time to act is a while ago, but now is better than later.  The polar bear may be doomed, but we aren’t….

Related Post:


Jon Huntsman raises $4.1 million in the second quarter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Jon Huntsman raises $4.1 million in the second quarter

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman raised $4.1 million for his campaign in the second quarter, including a large contribution of his own money. A campaign official would not say how much of the money came from Huntsman’s personal coffers — only that the amount was “less than half” of the total.

Huntsman, the former Utah governor who announced his bid nine days ago, will not file a fundraising report in July, a campaign aide said. Huntsman arrived in the United States in May from Beijing, where he was serving as ambassador to China.

Read full article >>

White House holding first ever Twitter town hall

President Obama will host the first White House Twitter town hall next week, an event announced today on (of course) Twitter.

On July 6, the president will answer questions tweeted to #AskObama live from the White House via webcast. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will moderate, and Twitter will use its own curation methods to choose the questions.

Some portion of the live audience will be drawn from the 2.25 million people who follow @whitehouse — making the event not just a townhall but a ‘Tweetup.’ Those visitors won’t ask in-person questions, but White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips says officials are thinking about “other cool things they can do at the White House.”

Read full article >>

Status of polar bears as threatened species upheld by judge

A U.S. federal judge upheld the status of polar bears as a species threatened by climate change, denying challenges by a safari club, two cattlemen’s organizations and the state of Alaska.

The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan confirmed a 2008 decision that polar bears need protection under the Endangered Species Act because their icy habitat is melting away.

The legal challenges — some contending polar bears don’t need this protection, others maintaining the big white bears need more — were launched after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service included this Arctic mammal on its list of threatened species.

Read full article >>

Justice Department to investigate deaths of two detainees in CIA custody

The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees, including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The decision, announced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., means continued legal jeopardy for several CIA operatives but at the same time closes the book on inquiries that potentially threatened many others. A federal prosecutor reviewed 101 cases in which agency officers and contractors interrogated suspected terrorists during years of military action after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but found cause to pursue criminal cases in only two.

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Pentagon costs rising fast, CBO warns

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday projected that higher costs for weapons systems and health care will increase the Pentagon budget by $40 billion over the next five years at a time when President Obama and many lawmakers are looking to cut military spending.

The new projection, of $594 billion in spending for 2016, is $25 billion higher than the Pentagon’s estimates.

The report notes that health-care costs for the Defense Department have outpaced those elsewhere. It also says that “the costs of developing and buying weapons have historically been, on average, 20 percent to 30 percent higher” than Pentagon estimates.

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