Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Egyptian Street Fighting

Some very dangerous moments in Cairo now. Pro-Mubarak forces gathered and started beating people earlier today. Anderson Cooper and his crew were beaten up but are still on the air. The army seems to have parked vehicles to block interaction between pro- and anti-Mubarak crowds but is not otherwise doing anything to maintain order.

Nobody is in control. It's anarchy at this point. Molotov cocktails are being thrown, there is occasional gunfire. Right now CNN's camera is swinging wildly and the sound has been cut off as crowds are running toward one another. It appears at this moment that the revolutionaries have chased back the pro-Mubarak groups, which is described as "thugs" and came to the square to fight, but it goes back and forth.

It appears now that people are streaming into the square. I doubt that the pro-Mubarak agitators are numerous enough to prevail, but they are making sure the week's incidents will not be recorded by history as peaceful.

Al Jazeera English seems not to be working now on the Internet, but CNN Live is mostly good, the audio comes and goes but Anderson Cooper and a crew are up in a building monitoring action on the street in front of the Egyptian Museum. It's amazing video. I wish the people of Egypt good fortune in the struggle for freedom.

[ Update: good on-the-street account HERE ]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

as do we all

thanks for the update, Jim

February 02, 2011 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quote from George W Bush in 2003:

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accomodating the lack of freeedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe- because in the long run, stability can not be purchased at the expense of liberty."

Bush was derided as an unsophisticated and naive boob by all sides at the time but he stayed the course, pressuring Mubarak, who never set foot in the White House while Bush remained.

Enter Barack Hussein Obama, Mr Sophisticated, who declared that our approach to the Middle East "will require more than lectures on democracy."

Stressing America's moral weaknesses, Obama cozied up to the nastiest villains in the world, including despotic Arab governments, trying to open a friendly dialogue. He cut support for democracy support programs in Egypt.

Mubarak responded by cracking down on the opposition and media.

Of course, trying frantically to gain some political credit, he called this week for Mubarak to step down.

But, the world sees how, despite the billions poured into Egypt and our intelligence appartus there, Barack was caught completely off guard by these events.

You may remember Obama selected Joe Biden as VP for his foreign policy expertise. Listen to this exchange on Jim Lehrer's program last week:

"JIM LEHRER: Has the time come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?

JOE BIDEN: No, I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction to be more responsive to some of the needs of the people out there."

So, Mubarak doesn't need to be responsive to the needs of the people. He just needs to BEGIN to move IN THE DIRECTION to be MORE responsive to SOME of the needs of the people.

What a joke this administration is!

Meanwhile, there is a democratic country in the Middle East without protests in the street nor tottering on the edge of chaos:

it's called Iraq

February 02, 2011 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he warned us about Egypt and brought peace to Iraq

George W Bush: the frontrunner for the next Nobel Peace Prize

February 02, 2011 3:15 PM  
Anonymous How soon they forget said...

"One would have to have a heart of stone not to be appalled by the mass suffering visited upon the Gaza Strip by Israel’s punishing assault. If blame is to be assessed, however, it does not belong to Israel alone.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas is but another legacy of George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency. After Israel withdrew its soldiers and its 8,000 settlers from Gaza in the summer of 2005, the Bush administration decided to bring “democracy” to the Palestinians. It insisted on running a parliamentary election and allowing Hamas to compete.

Hamas was not legally qualified to run without meeting the minimum requirements of the Oslo agreements still in effect from the 1990s: primarily to renounce violence and accept Israel’s existence. Qualifying for elections in this way might have been a lever to get Hamas to change its spots, but the Bush State Department insisted on allowing Hamas to run as it was, cynically assuming that it would not win. Hamas won a plurality of votes with 44 percent to Fatah’s 42 percent and took power early in 2006.
the border—up to 60 rockets and mortar shells daily."

Interesting snapshots from times past:

US President George W. Bush (R) walks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after a morning meetings regarding Israel and the Palestinian Authority 08 June 2002 at the Camp David Presidential Retreat in Maryland.

US President George W. Bush (R) and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) speak to reporters during a joint press conference 12 April 2004 at the US Marine helicopter hangar next to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial plan to pull all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip 'does not replace' the US-backed 'roadmap' to peace.

February 02, 2011 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you guys catch the SOTU address by Sir Barack Stupid last week?

he tried to make a little folksy joke that he thought would impress everyone:

"Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't be long before you feel the impact."


this is America

we don't think government spending is the "engine" that keeps us aloft

you're thinking of Soviet Russia and that didn't end well at all

honestly, Barry, you act like someone who had a father who wasn't a U.S. citizen and didn't like us very much

hey, wait a minute

why did we elect such a person to be President of the U.S.?

sorry, Barry, but we're going to have to use that quote against you in 2012

February 02, 2011 7:28 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

BOTH Bush II and Obama have talked a good game about democracy in Egypt, but apparently did nothing to advance it until the last few days, when events began to force the issue. Contrary to Anon, this is one of those times when partisan American politics is pretty much irrelevant.

No American president has ever actually acted to foster democracy in any Middle Eastern country unless there was some other perceived overriding American interest to do so. (Although one could argue that Carter pulled support from the Shah when the Shah's brutality made his demise inevitable.) We knocked over Saddam not because he was a brutal dictator, but because he was perceived to be acting against American security and geopolitical interests. (We will not know for years whether that game was worth the candle of essentially ignoring Afghanistan for years.) For all of Bush II's and Obama's rhetoric, we should remember that successive administrations since before World War II have been essentially silent about the kings and princes of Saudi Arabia, who run dictatorial states devoid of civil liberties as retrograde as any in the world. But since they provide us with oil and support our basic foreign policy goals, we have given them a pass.

The tension between perceived American national security interests and American values of civil liberties and democracy (something recognized by Sen. McConnell in his refusal to criticize Obama on Egypt) should serve to remind us of this terrible dilemma -- but also to remind us that most of us, Right and Left in America, do, ourselves, share some basic values of democracy and civil liberties. Perhaps we should pause for a moment to remember what does, in fact, unite us.

February 02, 2011 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with David about Saudi Arabia

they're the worst country over there

February 02, 2011 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Saudis are the worst country over there and they have the closest ties to the Bush family. Wikipedia reports Prince Bandar has formed close relationships with several American presidents, notably George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, the latter giving him the affectionate and controversial nickname "Bandar Bush."

Read all about it:

The Bush-Saudi Connection

The Complete Saudi Primer

February 03, 2011 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a truly pointless comment

the Bush administration was actively pushing reforms in Saudi

Obama thinks we should stop lecturing the world's nasty regimes because we're not that special ourselves

as far as family ties, Obama wrote a book about the "dreams" of his father

have you read about his father's views?

let's just say he was not a big fan of Western style democracy

February 03, 2011 9:50 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...


Have you actually read Dreams From My Father? If not you should. I read it in 2004, and was extremely impressed.

As to your points, I will respond briefly:

Obama, Sr. was an anti-colonialist. So was George Washington.

Obama, Sr. constantly got into trouble because he opposed authoritarian tendencies in Kenyan government.

He clearly was a believer in Western Style Democracy. That was one of the reasons he had trouble back in Kenya. But that is mostly irrelevant to his son's views.

What Obama Jr. took from his father's experience had more to do with avoiding his father's mistakes: Failure to be a proper father to his children and failure to figure out how to get along with those with whom he did not agree in order to make progress.

February 03, 2011 11:03 AM  
Anonymous obama's moment has passed said...

no, I didn't read it, David, although I remember a friend who did back in 2008, and told me he was impressed

the anticolonialism of Washington and Obama are miles apart

"How did Obama ever think that his program would pass constitutional muster? How could he imagine that the Interstate Commerce clause could cover something that wasn't interstate (health insurance cannot be sold over state lines) and wasn't commerce (failure to buy insurance is not commerce) would stand up in court? He was so sure that he would win any constitutional challenge that he arrogantly failed to put a severability clause in the bill so that it would survive even if parts were stricken down.

The decision of the Florida District Court may or may not prevail in the Circuit Court. But who can doubt that the Supreme Court, as currently constituted, will strike it down?

So where does this leave President Obama? His stimulus package was a disaster, conceded by all to have failed. Democrats, of course, ascribe its failure to its puny size (only $800 billion)! Republicans understand that when the government spends and borrows it destroys jobs rather than create them. But, obviously, the stimulus bill didn't work.

And now his health care bill is unconstitutional.

What happens to an arch when it loses its cornerstone? It collapses. The same fate awaits Obama in 2012.

Meanwhile, he continues to peddle the fiction that "we have broken the back of the recession." His bureaucracy puts out a GDP growth rate of 3.4 percent for the fourth quarter. Baloney. The price deflator he used to discount the impact of inflation on the supposed GDP growth was a ridiculous 0.3 percent for the fourth quarter. But the Consumer Price Index rose by 2.6 percent in the same quarter. Almost all of the GDP growth is just rising prices, not a recovering economy.

And half of the new economic activity is just the build-up of inventories. We are now a nation of inventories. Businesses are sitting on close to a trillion dollars of cash they are afraid to invest. Banks are awash in capital handed out by the Fed as it tries to force-feed the economy by printing money. And consumers have taken the stimulus money and put it into reducing their debt load - good for them but not for the economy. Household debt has dropped by $200 billion in the past two years.

But nobody is spending. Nobody is buying.

Obama's economic program is in ruins. His healthcare bill is unconstitutional. His financial regulation bill (Dodd-Frank) has so harassed small and community banks that they have stopped lending to small businesses. And, on top of all that, he is losing Egypt to radical Muslim fundamentalists.

What a presidency!"

February 03, 2011 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

global warming alert:

D.C. has a wind chill in the single digits today

February 03, 2011 12:01 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Most legal scholars thought the dispute over what constitutes interstate commerce was pretty much resolved by the Supreme Court in 1937, when it stopped striking down New Deal legislation. Under those precedents, the 2010 Health Reform Act passes muster.

But a few years back, the Supreme Court suggested limits to the scope of the Commerce Clause, in strking down a federal statute that barred firearms within a certain distance of schools. That has now reopened the New Deal argument.

The two Republican-appointed judges who ruled against the Administration used rationales that would take us back to the pre-1937 era, when the courts so hamstrung the Congress that the ability of the United States Government to deal with the gravest economic crisis ever to hit the country was seriously called into question.

The two Democratic-appointed judges who upheld the statute were following settled precedent.

Four current members of the Supreme Court have made it pretty clear, it seems to me, that they prefer the pre-1937 legal regime. Four clearly disagree. If, eventually, Justice Kennedy decides that we should once again make the federal government powerless to deal with significant national problems, then the country will have to live with the consequences.

February 03, 2011 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think FDR ever tried to use the commerce clause to force citizens to buy something they didn't want, David

as Judge Vinson said, this would make the government's power pretty much unlimited

February 03, 2011 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says he prays regularly and that he and his wife, Michelle, aren't bothered when they "hear our faith questioned from time to time."

Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, Obama said that "Christian tradition teaches that the world one day will be turned right side up."

He said he had prayed for God's intervention on any number or occasions, not always on the weightiest issues of the day.

At one point, the president said he has prayed, "Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance, where there will be boys. Lord, let her skirt get longer as she travels to that place." Twelve-year-old Malia is the older of his two daughters. Sasha is 9.

February 03, 2011 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't think FDR ever tried to use the commerce clause"

Then I guess you don't buy what the World Nuts Daily have been peddling in this regard. You apparently missed this one: Law 101: The Commerce Clause, FDR & original intent, wherein the commentator alleged:

"With the exception of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, perhaps in the history of American constitutional law has so much mischief been wrought by the Supreme Court than in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, the so-called, "Commerce Clause." On Feb. 5 of this year, [2007] President Bush submitted to Congress a $2.9 trillion dollar budget, most of whose spending is possible due to a perverse interpretation of the Commerce Clause over the past 70 years dating book to FDR's first term (1933) and his socialist take over of government called the New Deal."

And I guess you are unaware of this opinion piece from 1999, updated in 2007, by the legal staff of the National Center for Home Education. They argue that "The central vision of limited Commerce Clause power lasted until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency in the 1930s. Under FDR’s New Deal, the federal role ballooned out of all recognition. During FDR’s first few years in power, the Supreme Court struck down one New Deal law after another, holding again and again that they exceeded Congress’ constitutional powers.

Roosevelt became so frustrated with the Supreme Court that in February 1937 he proposed legislation which would increase the number of Supreme Court Justices from nine to fifteen. As President, FDR would get to nominate six new justices who would uphold his new laws. Under the threat of this plan, one judge — Justice Roberts — began to vote for, rather than against, FDR’s legislation. That made all the difference."

And I guess you also missed this article from which states, "The Commerce Clause, which allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce, is perhaps the most widely interpreted and misunderstood part of the Constitution. Its interpretation was at the center of Franklin Roosevelt's socialist New Deal agenda, and he made sure the Court sided with him."

It looks like all your conservative friends from World Net Daily, Home School Legal Defense Association, National Center for Home Education, and disagree with your assertion that "FDR [n]ever tried to use the commerce clause." Of course we all know not knowing what you're talking about has never caused you to pause.

February 03, 2011 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I said:

"I don't think FDR ever tried to use the commerce clause to force citizens to buy something they didn't want"

a jackass commenter said I said:

"I don't think FDR ever tried to use the commerce clause"

anyone who thinks not buying something is "commerce" is a liar trying to push a socialist agenda and is, possibly, President of the United States

gee, if this is what the "commerce" clause means then next time GM goes bankrupt, we won't have to bail them out

we'll just make a law that everyone has to buy a car

February 03, 2011 10:53 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

In 1935, FDR and the Congress required everyone who works to pay a tax to get old age retirement insurance. It is called Social Security. I suspect there were some people who did not want to pay those taxes, and would have preferred to take the risk that they would never need the retirement benefits.

How, Anon, is this any different from requiring everyone to get health insurance? Or do you believe that Social Security is unconstitutional?

February 04, 2011 6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho ho.

Well, David, funny that the government tried to backtrack in court and claim that this healthcare mandate is a tax.

The courts aren't buying it. If our legislators had wanted to call it a tax, then the law should say it's a tax.

The Dems tried to have it both ways -- they knew a tax would be unpopular, so they tried to call it a purchase.

Since a federal judge ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional, I guess the Dems will need to pass Obamacare and call it a tax this time.

Ho ho.

February 04, 2011 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you David for pointing out the obvious that Anon refuses to see. FDR used the commerce clause to require people to pay into Social Security whether they wanted to or not, and even whether they thought they might need it someday or not.

Here's another requirement based on the commerce clause. We require people who drive motor vehicles to purchase automobile insurance policies.

This is no different than requiring people who have bodies to purchase health insurance policies.

And ho ho ho Anon. Two courts did "buy" the constitutionality of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and two did not. The constitutional issues will be clarified by several appellate courts and then the Supreme Court will rule. Hopefully the Supremes won't undo too many more precedents in spite of the fact that Scalia, Alito and Thomas are right wing radical activist judges who refused to attend SOTUS this year.

February 04, 2011 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with David that there is a thin line seperating a tax and related benefits from a requirement to buy into pooled insurance.

Still, there are some differences.

Politically, I don't think Dems will be able to get away with simply having the government collect premiums as a tax and distributing health care benefits.

The requirement of Obamacare, to the contrary, requires payments which can be made to others than the government.

FDR shouldn't have needed the commerce clause for FICA or Medicare. They are taxes, paid to the government.

Right now, we've decided we have too many taxes but they aren't unconstitutional.

To recap, if it's a mandate, it's unconstitutional.

If it's a tax increase, it's not unconstitutional but it's also not politically feasible- and it wasn't even when the Dems had veto-proof majorities in both houses and the Oval Office.

"Here's another requirement based on the commerce clause. We require people who drive motor vehicles to purchase automobile insurance policies.

This is no different than requiring people who have bodies to purchase health insurance policies."

This is truly frightening, that a fellow citizen believes we should only exist by privilege of the government's good graces.


"The constitutional issues will be clarified by several appellate courts and then the Supreme Court will rule."

The issues were clarified last week. And, yes, the Supreme Court will decide. Few now think the mandate will clear the Roberts' court. The only suspense is whether the whole bill will be voided or just the mandate. If the latter, Congress will have some work to do.

"Scalia, Alito and Thomas are right wing radical activist judges who refused to attend SOTUS this year."

If you recall, the "President" of the U.S. last year chose the state of the union address to lecture the Supreme Court on one of their legal rulings.

To avoid this awkward breach of decorum by our inexperienced Chief Executive, they chose to skip the speech this year.

February 04, 2011 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I have a question.

Why is Obama pressuring Mubarak to step down, when Mubarak though a dictator has been a friend.

And why didn't Obama side with the protestors in Iran, when the dictator there, Ahmadinejad, is definitely NOT a friend.

I don't get it.
Unless Obama is truly out to undermine the US internationally...
How do you reach any other conclusion ?

February 04, 2011 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

part of Obama's agenda is to marginalize America

February 04, 2011 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To avoid this awkward breach of decorum by our inexperienced Chief Executive, they chose to skip the speech this year."

Countless Presidents before President Obama have criticized specific Supreme Court decisions during SOTUS with the members of the Supreme Court who decided those cases sitting right there taking Presidential criticism like grown ups. What was unprecedented during the 2009 SOTUS was Alito childishly mouthing a personal rebuttal to the President's words to the nation that elected him. Alito apparently forgot that the only vote taken for his election to hold office was from 100 Senators and only 58 of them voted in favor of his appointment to the court. President Obama on the other hand, was voted into his job by 69,456,897 United States citizens.

February 05, 2011 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The majority of which would not vote for him again.

Almost 5 trillion added to the national debt. 2/3 as much as every other president until now added combined.

February 05, 2011 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What was unprecedented during the 2009 SOTUS was Alito childishly mouthing a personal rebuttal to the President's words to the nation that elected him."

I hope when Obama moves to take our freedom in other ways that someone else will be "childish" enough to rebuke and rebut this anti-American imposter.

February 05, 2011 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The freedom the Supreme Court gave in their Citizens United vs. the FEC decision is the freedom for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money as undisclosed donors to political campaigns. The Supreme Court has never given this freedom to individual American citizens, who are limited in the amount of money they can spend on such contributions. That's what Alito was "childishly" defending during the 2009 SOTUS when he claimed "we did not." Yes, you did give corporations total freedom to make undisclosed campaign contributions, which is much more than individuals may do, Judge Alito.

Eight of the justices did agree that Congress can require corporations to disclose their spending and to run disclaimers with their advertisements, but Congress has not acted to pass such a law so the unlimited corporate campaign cash remained secret and undisclosed during the 2010 election. Of course Congress never will pass such a law because they want to protect every deep pocketed corporate contributor in hopes to collect some of that campaign cash for themselves.

"Corporate campaign ads haven't followed Supreme Court's prediction
Companies and unions have been able to avoid the transparency called for in the court's landmark ruling. Spending on next week's midterm election has been exorbitant.
October 27, 2010|By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — The Supreme Court sent a wave of corporate and union money flooding into campaign ads this year, but it did so with the promise that the public would know — almost instantly — who was paying for them.

"With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in January. "This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."

But Kennedy and the high court majority were wrong. Because of loopholes in tax laws and a weak enforcement policy at the Federal Election Commission, corporations and wealthy donors have been able to spend huge sums on campaign ads, confident the public will not know who they are, election law experts say.

Corporate donors have been able to hide their contributions despite the opposition of shareholders and customers — the very groups cited by Kennedy.

By an overwhelming margin, shareholders say they don't want their companies devoting money to political ads. Customers are also easily angered by corporate political stands...."

When did it become pro-America to advocate in favor of "we the corporations" rather than "we the people of the United States, in order to form a perfect union... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America?"

February 06, 2011 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

corporations are groups of people

they don't have fewer rights than others

February 06, 2011 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, corporations don't have fewer rights than individual citizens, they have more. According to the Supreme Court, corporations can give unlimited undisclosed cash to political campaigns, but individuals are limited in the amounts they can give and their contributions must be reported to the FEC.

February 07, 2011 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Global warming explained said...

You may not remember exactly what you were doing one year ago, but odds are good you spent part of the day shoveling, buying an extra pair of gloves or replenishing your emergency stash of batteries. Odds are even better that you remember what happened just before and just after the anniversary we celebrate today. The first of a pair of major blizzards struck Washington on Feb. 5 and 6. The reprise landed on Feb. 9 and 10.

Our region experienced record snowfall last winter, topping the charts dating at least as far back as the late 1800s. In all, more than six feet of snow fell at sites such as Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. Extreme weather nailed other U.S. cities last winter, too, and swaths of Europe saw unprecedented snowfalls and record cold temperatures. This year, the nation's capital has suffered one unusually severe storm. Parts of the East Coast from Atlanta to Boston have been experiencing blizzard conditions. Last week, a vast swath of the country's midsection and East Coast got deluged with sleet and snow, paralyzing travel. What gives?

Some weather scientists suspect that climate change - the menace often called global warming - is partly to blame. Although the link is far from definitive - two years of lousy weather, after all, doesn't make much of a trend - the meteorological dots are beginning to line up.

But wait a second: global warming is about the world getting warmer, right? All those greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels trap solar radiation in the atmosphere, et cetera. If anything, winter weather seems like it should be on its way to extinction.

Weather isn't that simple, as it turns out. On average, the world is indeed getting warmer. (Even those skeptical about the human effect on Earth's climate don't dispute that fact, which is well established from year after year of upward-trending thermometer readings around the planet.) But global warming doesn't necessarily translate into warming everywhere, all the time.

To understand how warming and snowstorms may be connected, it helps to start with the epicenter of winter weather. Around the North Pole, some of the world's coldest air currents blow in what's typically a tight loop known as the polar vortex. Air masses inside the vortex tend to have not only low temperatures but also low barometric pressures compared with air outside the vortex. The surrounding high-pressure zones push in on the vortex from all sides, helping the cold air stay where it belongs, at the top of the world.

That's what happens, most of the time, at least. Occasionally, pressure inside the vortex strengthens, causing the vortex itself to become unstable, like a top that's losing its spin. When that happens, frigid polar air is more likely to escape the meteorological fence that normally confines it. The result, sometimes felt far to the south, can take the form of severe winter weather.

February 08, 2011 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Global warming explained said...

Over the past two years, the polar vortex has been strikingly unstable, according to meteorological data. James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cites a couple of measures in particular: One, called the Arctic oscillation, tracks air pressure and related atmospheric variables over the North Pole. The other, the North Atlantic oscillation, takes into account similar variables in the neighborhood of Iceland. Both indexes are reliable indicators of the strength of the polar vortex.

Last winter, both indexes reflected higher air pressures and therefore less vortex stability than scientists have ever recorded. This year, both were again seriously off-kilter.

Any number of meteorological factors contributed to those anomalies. Some were undoubtedly random, Overland says. But he and other experts suspect climate change is contributing to the unusual pattern, and if they're right, things could get a whole lot worse in the years ahead.

The root of the problem, Overland says, is melting sea ice. Sea ice forms in the Arctic Ocean during the cold, dark days of fall and winter and hangs around, melting slowly but not completely vanishing, throughout the summer. In recent years, more sea ice has melted during the warm months than can be replenished during the chillier ones.

As a result, scientists have found, the total amount of arctic sea ice has shrunk; at the end of the past few summers, it has been consistently down some 30 percent when compared with historical averages of the 1980s and 1990s at that time of year. In the decades ahead, climate scientists have predicted, the amount of sea ice surviving into the late summer may fall as much as 80 percent below historical levels.

Sea ice reflects sunlight, redirecting some of the the sun's energy away from the planet. When sunlight strikes open ocean instead of ice, however, the water absorbs much of the solar radiation. So low levels of sea ice allow water temperatures to increase more than usual during the summer, when the sun is shining on the Arctic. Even as the days grow short and cold, the water's tepidity can release excess heat, which tends to increase pressure in the air above. And remember, excess pressure in the far north poses a threat to the polar vortex.

"The breakdown of the vortex is very usual," says Overland. "We've had it two years in a row. That makes you wonder.

"My speculation," he says, "is that the extra heat stored in the ocean and given to the arctic atmosphere has a tendency to support the breakdown of the vortex."

In other words, some melting ice and a moat of warmish water in the Arctic may be spawning the blasts of frigid air that keep pummeling us. How's that for a cold irony?

February 08, 2011 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's face it

it's clear that global warming alarmists will resort to revisionist theorizing no matter what happens

AGW has become a classic non-verifiable hypothesis

the public isn't falling for it anymore

give it up

it's over

February 08, 2011 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the public accepts it or not, any more than it matters if the public accepts the curvature of space as an explanation for gravity. It's scientific knowledge, agreed upon by the entire meteorological community of scholars, nobody cares if you believe it or not. Scream and yell all you want, Anon.

February 08, 2011 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if it doesn't matter if the public accepts it, why do frauds like IPCC, East Anglia and Al Gore keep frantically trying to gain the acceptance of the public?

the public will determine what the response is

February 08, 2011 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 08, 2011 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad they don't care what the public thinks

they won't mind then, when the Tea Party representatives, elected by that public they don't care about, decides to cut their funding to fight the deficit

"Scream and yell all you want, Anon."

I've never done that before so why would I start now?

Especially when the whole debate seems to be going my way.

February 08, 2011 9:49 PM  

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