Hangin' Out Those "Family Values"

"Playgirl is not porn. I don't think it's a bad thing to do. Art, if you want to call it."

Levi Johnson
Playgirl pinup boy
Father of Sarah Palin's grandchild

"...I admit that I have winced at some of the lurid speculations about Governor Palin's family life, and thought them unkind and tasteless even as I lapped them up. She now claims that Levi Johnston is a fabricator when he describes a wildly dysfunctional Palin household. So then: what if she's right about him? It wasn't the liberal elite media who dug up this scapegrace and nudity artist. It was the Republican nominee for the vice presidency who hauled the lad before the cameras and forced us to look at him: a fit husband for her beloved daughter and an example to errant youth in general. Once again, one is compelled to ask which would be worse: a Sarah Palin who really meant what she merely seemed to say, or a Sarah Palin who would say anything at all for a cheap burst of applause..."

"...So there it is: anti-Washington except that she thirsts for it, and close enough (and also far enough away to be "deniable") to the paranoid fringe elements who darkly suspect that our president is a Kenyan communist. If you object to Kenyans interfering in the internal affairs of these United States, you really ought to raise an eyebrow at a candidate for the governorship of Alaska who accepts anointment from "Bishop" Thomas Muthee, a weird person who claims that witch removal in his Kenyan parish led to a reduction in crime, booze, and traffic violations..."

Read more of Palin's Base Appeal in Newsweek


What's In Your Finite Pool Of Worry?

Yesterday Roadkill made the following point in a comment:

"Funny how this all works. Seems like anytime there is a significant global warming meeting, rally, cor conference, mother nature sends a reality check."

Last night, as the first blizzard of the 2009-2010 winter was raging outside my window, I read a newspaper articles that provide parallel insight into RK's comment. This morning is I type this before I go out to shovel my driveway and the dog's kennel out and I think about a History Channel video I watched last night titled "A Global Warning!" The documentary looked back over the past 650 million years and reminded me the way things were and they way they will be.

I'm sure I care about the future of our planet, but as the article discussed below points out, we have a "finite pool of worry."

"We are collectively irrational, in the sense that we should really care about the long-term well-being of the planet but when we get up in the morning it's very hard to motivate ourselves."

Dan Ariely
Professor of behavioral economics
Duke University

"...Psychologists studying the issue say that the now-familiar warnings about climate change kick at emotional dead spots in all human brains -- but especially in American brains. Researchers have only theories to explain why people in the United States have done less than those in such places as Europe and Japan. Some think Americans are culturally leery of programs that the government might develop to target climate change, trusting instead that the free market will solve major problems..."

"...One U.S. researcher thought television is to blame: All those TV ads have made Americans more focused on their own wants, she theorized, and less likely to care about the long-term good...But the obstacles to progress -- internationally and in the U.S. Senate, where a climate bill is stalled -- aren't just mental...Climate change is a policy problem that has "psychological distance": In layman's terms, there's a sense that this is a problem for somebody else or some other time..."

Read Save the planet? It's irrational at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Simply urging people -- or telling them that it's a good idea to recycle or conserve energy -- is the same as nothing."

Robert Cialdini
Arizona State University Professor


Just A Pinch Between The Right & Left

"The game seems to be that all countries pick a politically safe number.India is now joining that game. And the game started with the United States."

Navroz K. Dubash
India Center for Policy Research

"...Last week, President Obama announced that the United States, the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China, would set a provisional target to cut its total greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050. The next day, the Chinese government announced a target to slow emissions by reducing carbon intensity levels by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Neither the Chinese nor the American plan satisfied many critics, who want both countries to commit to far bolder steps. Navroz K. Dubash, a climate change specialist in New Delhi, said the American pledge was actually a lesser commitment than it would have been obligated to meet under the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States refused to ratify. Mr. Dubash said that India had become a more constructive participant in climate change negotiations, but that the flurry of pre-Copenhagen announcements did not represent a breakthrough response to the crisis..."

Read more of India Announces Plan to Slow Emissions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette