2010 Tied For Warmest Year On Record

For the past several weeks we’ve been hearing from the anti-science right that global warming is a hoax because it’s been cold outside. All that recent cold weather has had an effect–knocking 2010 from what had been the warmest year on record down to a tie for the warmest. It was also the wettest year on record, with snow storms in no way contradicting the predictions for climate change. Last year tied 2005 for the warmest, knocking 2009 down to third place. I bet this won’t stop the conservatives who claim that the earth is not warming to continue to deny this.

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Palin, Like Most Conservatives, Fails To Understand The Controversy

Sarah (Reload) Palin has finally responded to the criticism of her use of crosshairs in an ad featuring Gabrielle Giffords but, like other conservatives weighing in, shows she totally fails to understand what the controversy is about. This is not about whether this particular graphic precipitated the crime or whether Sarah Palin is personally responsible. This is not the criticism being made, and not what the liberal blogs have been talking about.

The concern on the left goes far beyond the crosshairs. It includes Palin’s link to the controversial graphic with calls for supporters to “reload,” and for the general atmosphere of hatred seen in her public appearances.  Conservatives are taking a very simplistic approach to this entire matter.  Their argument seems to be that if the crosshairs did not precipitate this particular shooting then  conservatives deserve no criticism for the hateful tone and violent allusions in their speech.

Liberals have a view which seems to be far too complicated for the simplistic reptilian minds of  these conservatives: The hate speech is wrong, regardless of whether it influenced this particular shooter. Right wing inspired violence extends beyond this particular episode. The atmosphere is still poisonous. It is also simplistic to act as if it is all or nothing as to whether current right wing hate speech had an influence in this case. The murderer did not live in a vacuum. There were probably many influences on him, and it is naive it say that recent trend of conservative hate speech going mainstream didn’t have an influence.

Palin had an opportunity to speak to those beyond her extremist supporters but failed to do so. She would have been much smarter to admit the crosshairs went to far, and that she should have taken this down when Giffords had first complained. She would have minimized the damage to admit she was wrong and had learned from this episode. Instead Palin denies all responsibility for her actions. In contrast, Keith Olbermann, who has neither the high profile of Palin or allusions to violence in the manner of Palin, has recognized the problem and repudiated “any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.”

Conservatives identify with their extremes while liberals typically oppose extremes of the far left as much as the far right. Conservatives see criticism of speech promoting hatred as an attack purely on them. To me it doesn’t matter whether Jared Loughner expressed views of the far right or left. Deranged individuals such as Loughner commonly express views from both extremes, although conservatives have been quick to deny the degree to which Loughner echos many ideas of the far right. The problem is the manner in which the far right both identifies government as the enemy and makes violence s0und acceptable with their inappropriate display of guns along with calls for revolution and “Second Amendment remedies.”  This is wrong even if it had zero influence upon Loughner (which is unlikely).

Palin further showed her inability to be presidential by releasing her response on Facebook as she continues to be afraid to respond to questions from the news media or speak to those beyond her extremist supporters. She has created further controversy by the inappropriate claim of “blood libel,” including condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League. Issuing a statement seen as anti-Semitic is hardly a pathway for Palin to use this tragedy to move from the fringes to someone who could ever be seen as acceptable by the mainstream.