It’s hot out here!

The latest science news:

The world is on pace to set another high temperature benchmark, with 2016 becoming the third year in a row of record heat.

NASA scientists announced on Tuesday that global temperatures so far this year were much higher than in the first half of 2015.

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said that while the first six months of 2015 made it the hottest half-year ever recorded, “2016 really has blown that out of the water.” He said calculations showed there was a 99 percent probability that the full year would be hotter than 2015.

Dr. Schmidt said the world was now “dancing” with the temperature targets set last year in the Paris climate treaty for nations to limit global warming.

On the bright side, the sharpest, most thoughtful minds in the Republican party are currently meeting in Cleveland and I am sure they will have a smart, science-driven policy to address this :-).

UPDATE: And, damn, I wish I had read this incredibly on-point (actually published before the climate news) post from Chait:

Notably, after calling for “hard data” and then dismissing the IPCC — the body accepted by climate scientists as the leading authority — as hopelessly biased, the Republican platform does not specify which scientific authority it would accept.

The 2012 platform called for reining in the Environmental Protection Agency across a range of fronts. The 2016 platform wants to get rid of the agency altogether: “We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission.” The new platform also declares coal, which is far more carbon-intensive than any other source of electric power and also packed with other air pollutants, to be “clean”:…

Of course, since Republicans officially refuse to recognize scientific findings relating carbon emissions to climate change, it’s not clear what “clean” energy even means to them. If coal is clean, isn’t all energy clean?

It’s important to keep in mind that, aside from a handful of areas of special Trumpian interest, like making nice with Vladimir Putin, the Republican platform represents the consensus view of the party apparatus rather than the nominee. It’s concerning that the Republican Party has been overtaken by a dangerous maniac. But climate science is one of the issues where dangerous maniacs have been in control before Trump even came along.

Melania’s plagiarism

Okay, this is mostly just amusing to me at one an amazingly amateurish campaign Trump is running in some ways.  How did somebody they they were going to plagiarize Michelle Obama and get away with it in this day and age?!

Does it matter?  Sure, some.  Party conventions are all about getting your message out by dominating the news for a few days.  Normally, that is a positive message for the campaign.  When the news is all about the plagiarized speech of the candidate’s wife– not so great.  And it’s not that people will now not vote for Trump because of this, the problem for Trump is that it takes the place of what for him should be, hopefully, positive coverage coming out of the convention.  To the degree that this is a one-day story and blows over, this is pretty minimal, but the longer people keep talking about it during the convention, the less they are talking about the presumably pro-Trump (realistically, far more anti-Clinton) messages the campaign wants to get out.

Who needs a “qualified” president?

Greg Sargent points out a finding in a recent poll that way more Americans see Hillary Clinton as actually qualified to be president:


Would love to know what non-trivial percentage of voters are choosing the not qualified candidate over the one they think is actually qualified.  Then again, if you think she has greater skills to ruin our country, there’s that.  Of course, perhaps the biggest problem is that even 37% see Trump as qualified.  Trump makes Sarah Palin look like George Washington.

White people and the future of the Republican Party

Great piece by Clare Malone at 538.  She combines polling data with lots of interviews to take a thorough look at today’s amazingly white-based Republican party and where it may be headed in the future.  You should read it.  Here’s a quote that I think really sums up the difficulties ahead:

“This isn’t the most artful way to say it, but it’s like, where do you go when the only people who seem to agree with you on taxes hate black people?” [emphasis mine] [ Conservative blogger, Ben] Howe laughed ruefully. “I think what you do is you say, ‘Well, I may lose but I can’t align myself with them.’

But instead, Howe said, he made moral compromises he regrets.

“There are some things that I don’t have core values about, that I can be negotiable on, compromise on. But then there are other things that I can’t budge on,” he said. “I think I thought I had to budge on some things: ‘Yeah, this guy talking to me right now just said he agrees with my taxes and also we need to get that Kenyan out of office.’ Why did I stand there and say, ‘Yeah’? You know? I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve said, ‘Wait, what? No, that’s stupid. You’re stupid. Don’t be stupid.’”

Yeah.  Not nearly enough “don’t be stupid” going on.  Probably because there’s far too much white ethnocentrism going on (as the article makes clear).

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