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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

News Items 10/18/08

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John McCain’s campaign continues to flail away helplessly as November 4th approaches.  Republicans think they can win this year by beating on the “taxes are bad” drum.  It has always been nonsensical to do so, but the way in which McCain is doing it right now is especially ridiculous.  According to McCain, his own tax cuts (for the richest only) are “reform”, but Obama’s tax cuts are “welfare”.  Really, John?  Tax cuts for rich people and corporations aren’t “reform”: George Bush Jr., George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan implemented them for the past 28 years.  It’s what’s led to the sorry state of America’s infrastructure and threatens Social Security and Medicare.  Americans are obviously tired of the pro-corporate welfare Republicans have pushed for so long.  They realize they’re not getting any benefit from that policy.  By the way, this ridiculous claim is McCain’s 158th lie since February.  Heroes don’t lie.

[Update]: The McCain campaign is trying to scare voters by accusing Barack Obama of being a socialist.  They’re trying to scare voters into believing that Obama’s redistribution of wealth will be a bad thing.  It will be bad … for McCain and his multi-millionaire backers.  They’re the only ones who benefitted from Bush’s tax cuts.  It’s the millionaires that will have to pay more taxes under an Obama administration.  What McCain won’t tell the American people is that his proposal to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent will cause the collapse of Social Security and Medicare.  McCain’s economic policies would mean no more funding for education and no more funding for renewable energy research.  But we would keep occupying Iraq at the exorbitant cost of $10 billion per month.  And millionaires would be allowed to invest even less of their money in the public’s infrastructure that they use so heavily.  That’s immoral.

billmon has a post that well worth the time to read.  McCain’s description of Obama as “socialist” and Palin’s description of only certain regions of America as “pro-American” is disturbing on many levels.  One particularly important paragraph:

We’ve crossed some more lines, in other words — in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.

This demonstrates something I’ve been saying: Sarah Palin has nothing to offer in foreign policy discussions.  She was not invited to discuss the draft Iraq security agreement with the White House.  Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and John McCain were.  Sarah Palin doesn’t have the experience or qualifications necessary to be Vice-President.

NASA has a new spacecraft that will launch this weekend: Ibex.  Ibex will investigate the region of space where our star’s influence meets the interstellar wind.  Voyager 1 has already moved beyond the heliosphere.  Ibex will study the heliosphere as it orbits Earth.

A planet 1.5 times the mass of Jupiter has been found orbiting its parent star once per local day.  In comparison, Mercury takes 88 days to travel around our star.  WASP-12b is the hottest planet ever discovered: about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2,200 degrees Celsius.

The European Space Agency has tentatively delayed the launch of their ExoMars mission by 2 years, to 2016.  Some countries are balking at the 1 billion euro cost of the mission, which doesn’t include 23 possible instrument packages.  The ESA, NASA and the Russian Space Agency are still negotiating who will pay for what portion of the mission.

Jet streams above Jupiter and Saturn flow eastward.  Jet streams above Uranus and Neptune flow westward.  Earth’s tropical jet stream flows eastward.  The subtropical jets flow westward.  A reason why: the amount and location of water vapor in the respective atmospheres.  Condensation of water vapor releases energy in the form of heat to the atmosphere.  Eddies and vortices form from rising water vapor.  As they shear apart, they transport momentum to the jet streams.


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