Report in Science Warns of Permanent Drought in Southwest United States

A report in the upcoming issue of Science warns that global warming could create a permanent drought in the southwest. The study reports that projections of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change conducted by nineteen different climate modeling groups show widespread agreement that Southwestern North America,and the subtropics in general, are heading toward a climate like that of the 1950’s droughts. From the abstract:

How anthropogenic climate change will impact hydroclimate in the arid regions of Southwestern North America has implications for the allocation of water resources and the course of regional development. Here we show that there is a broad consensus amongst climate models that this region will dry significantly in the 21st century and that the transition to a more arid climate should already be underway. If these models are correct, the levels of aridity of the recent multiyear drought, or the Dust Bowl and 1950s droughts, will, within the coming years to decades,become the new climatology of the American Southwest.

“Our study emphasizes the fact that global warming not only causes water shortage through early snow melt, which leads to significant water shortage in the summer over the Southwest, but it also aggregates the problem by reducing precipitation,” according to Mingfang Ting, Doherty Senior Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty and one of the study’s co-authors.

Other regions to be affected by this subtropical drying include southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and parts of South America.

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Mitt Romeny, Life Long Hunter

Mitt Romney is sure going to impress those hunters:

In a question-and-answer session Tuesday in Keene, N.H., Romney spoke of his experience with hunting in a manner that suggested a close affiliation with the sport.

“I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,” he told a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

What does “all my life” mean?

Yet the former Massachusetts governor’s hunting experience came during two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

The 2006 trip was an outing with major donors to the Republican Governors Association, which Romney headed at the time.

Does this mean Romney was trying to mislead anyone. Of course not:

An aide said Wednesday that Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed Romney had been hunting only on those occasions in his life.

A Real Debate To Occur in April

One frustration of modern political campaigns is that the candidates are forced to speak in sound bites and avoid discussing the issues with much complexity. John Kerry, one of the more intelligent candidates to run from either party in recent years, was typically laughed at by the media for being too long-winded until he blew out George Bush in the debates. Newt Gingrich, regardless of what we might think of him, is one of the more intelligent and articulate Republicans who is interested in ideas.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we had candidates running with real ideas who could hold real debates rather than an exchange of sound bites? We will get a glimpse of what this would be like on April 10 when John Kerry and Newt Gingrich debate climate change and the environment. The debate is part of the Brademas Center exploratory series.

“We need a real debate,” Sen. Kerry said in a written statement. “It is time to stop debating fiction writers, oil executives and flat-earth politicians, and actually talk about how to address global climate change.”

Here’s my suggestion: If the debate turns out to be a more serious look at the issues than the debates held by the Democrats and Republican candidates, scrap the primaries, make Kerry and Gingrich the candidates, and let them keep on debating until the election.

Joe Klein Writes Bush is Unfit to Lead

Last month’s conventional wisdom: it was a bunch of left wing extremists who were screaming that George Bush is unfit to lead the country.

This month’s conventional wisdom:  George Bush is unfit to lead the country.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is whatever Joe Klein says it is. Editor and Publisher reports on tomorrow’s column in Time by Joe Klein:

In the upcoming issue of Time magazine, out Friday, columnist Joe Klein considers what he calls the Bush administration’s “epic collapse.” He concludes with a statement that may make some wonder if he is hinting that the president ought to be impeached.

Klein claims, in referring to the president, that he has “tried to be respectful of the man and the office” but now he recognizes that the “defining sins” of his administration “are congenital: they’re part of his personality. They’re not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead.”

Earlier in the column, Klein hits Bush’s “adolescent petulance” and “indifference to reality in Iraq” and charges that his “hyper-partisanship” amounts to “a travesty of governance.” He declares that the three major Bush problems of the year “precisely illuminate the three qualities that make this Administration one of the worst in American history: arrogance (the surge), incompetence (Walter Reed) and cynicism (the U.S. Attorneys).”

It might have taken a while, but Joe, welcome to the non-extremist left, where we realized a long time ago that George Bush is not fit to be President.

Reason Defends Richardson on Medical Marijuana Bill

Reason is not the first magazine I’d expect to see defending a Democratic candidate, but given a choice of a Republican drug czar and a Democratic candidate backing liberalization of drug laws, and I’d expect them to pick the Democrat every time. Drug czar John Walters accused Richardson of signing the medical marijuana bill this week “to curry the favor of wealthy donors who are marijuana legalization advocates.” Reason responds:

Federal drug czar John Walters says New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed a medical marijuana bill into law this week “to curry the favor of wealthy donors who are marijuana legalization advocates.” Billionaire philanthropist George Soros and the Drug Policy Alliance Network (the lobbying arm of an organization Soros supports) each gave $25,000 to Richardson’s re-election campaign last year. Yet Richardson’s support for letting patients use marijuana as a medicine predates these donations by at least four years, and surveys indicate 70 to 80 percent of Americans agree with him. It’s possible, I suppose, that Richardson changed his mind on this issue in anticipation of money from George Soros, but it’s at least as plausible to assert that George W. Bush supports the war on drugs because of donations from, say, Mel Sembler.

This week Richardson also signed a bill that shields drug users from prosecution for possession when they seek medical help for people who overdose. The threat of legal trouble deters bystanders from calling 911, resulting in avoidable fatalities. New Mexico has one of the country’s highest heroin overdose rates. But I guess Walters would say that Richardson is just paying Soros back for his contribution. If so, we need more corruption like this.

I’m not sure that there are many wealthy advocates of legalization of medical marijuana use, but if there are I would hope to see more Governors push for this in their states, even if only in the hopes of receiving donations. Do those Republicans who object see this situation in Colorado where an AIDs patient is facing a possible six year prison term as desirable.