Climate Change Hammering Land, Water, Farms, Biodiversity

| Wed May 28, 2008 6:50 PM EDT

395742119_89e6d6a97f.jpg Climate change is already affecting US agriculture, water resources, land resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so. This based on a new report—the synthesis of 13 federal research agencies and 38 authors from a variety of universities, national laboratories, non-governmental organizations, and federal services. That fact that so many government agencies are involved in this study—released by the US Department of Agriculture—is as much the news as the study itself. New Scientist quotes ecologist and author Anthony Janetos of the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Maryland: "The fact is, we're seeing lots of effects and impacts right now. These effects appear to be happening faster than expected, and the magnitude is bigger than expected. That's a surprise."

For example, climate change has already brought forward the start of spring growing seasons by as much as two weeks, and similar changes have occurred in the timing of bird migrations. Warmer conditions have also resulted in many plants and animals extending their geographic range further northward and higher up mountains. As climate change alters precipitation patterns, much of the eastern US has already become moister, while the west has become more arid. This means less winter snowpack in western mountains, and thus less snowmelt to keep rivers running cold and full in summertime. The higher stream temperatures are likely to put added stress on aquatic ecosystems.

You can access the final report in its entirety here. The highlights:

• Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will increase the risk of crop failures, particularly if precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.

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Pork: The Other Clear Nail Polish

| Wed May 28, 2008 5:00 PM EDT


This is, of course, an ad for pork. I can't believe it took the industry this long to help us females make the important connection between clear nail polish and pork tenderloin.

Then again, maybe we should have figured this out on our own. I mean, after all, clear nail polish is the "estrogen equivalent of duct tape." As for a pork tenderloin, one "can fix just about anything with it lickity-split too—Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Hawaiian Cobb Salad..." I mean, let's not mince words: you can basically forget about snaring a husband sans pork and polish.

Not sure which makes me gag more, the kicker ("The Other White Meat and clear nail polish. Two handy-dandy things I can't live without") or the very pink color of the raw pork in the ad, which if I am not mistaken looks unnaturally pink...

Found on Salon's women's blog, Broadsheet. Originally spotted on Copyranter.

Citizen's Arrest of Bolton Fails

| Wed May 28, 2008 4:42 PM EDT

Nothing came of this. From the Guardian:

As Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, ended his hour-long discussion at the Hay festival, Monbiot, who had earlier challenged him for alleged breaches of the post-war Nuremburg Principles, moved towards the stage waving a charge sheet.
But security staff, alerted by pre-publicity, intervened and bundled Monbiot out of the tent as 20 supporters chanted "war criminal" and waved placards. The comedian, Marcus Brigstocke, who tried to pursue Bolton as he left the other side of the tent, was also blocked by security staff.

How sadly anti-climactic.

FOIA Works

| Wed May 28, 2008 4:37 PM EDT

The federal government firmly believes in the freedom of information.

Obama, Clinton Camps Make Case In Advance of Key DNC Meeting on FL and MI

| Wed May 28, 2008 4:01 PM EDT

On a conference call with reporters today, the Clinton campaign made it clear what it hopes to get out of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) meeting scheduled for this Saturday. The meeting, which is open to the press and will be covered by Mother Jones, seeks to resolve the controversy surrounding Michigan and Florida. "Delegate allocation must fairly reflect the popular vote," Clinton delegate counter Harold Ickes said over and over. Ickes statement summarizes the Clinton position: count the popular vote percentages exactly as they were filed back in January, even though Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and neither candidate campaigned in Florida, and distribute the states' delegates accordingly.

But the delegates aren't really the secret to the their plans. Obama currently leads in pledged delegates 1659-1499. If you split Michigan's 128 delegates according to the vote count (55 percent for Clinton, 40 percent for "uncommitted"/Obama), Clinton nets 70 and Obama nets 51. The rest go to also-rans, primarily Kucinich. If you divide Florida's 185 delegates exactly as the popular vote went (50 percent for Clinton, 33 percent for Obama), Clinton gets 92 delegates to Obama's 42. The rest again go to also-rans, primarily Edwards this time.

Now this hypothetical doesn't factor in the possibility that the DNC will halve Michigan and Florida's delegations as punishment for moving their primaries ahead of Party-set limits, and to ensure that states don't repeat this fiasco in 2012. Instead, it counts the delegates exactly as Clinton wants.

Putting a Rumor to Rest

| Wed May 28, 2008 2:23 PM EDT

Yesterday, Asia Times ran a story saying 'Bush plans air strikes' on Iran by August. "After receiving secret briefings on the planned air strike, Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said they would write a New York Times op-ed piece 'within days', the source said last week, to express their opposition," the outlet reported, adding that the oped hadn't materialized.

I chased down Senator Lugar's spokesman today who told me the story is flat out untrue. Senator Lugar "wasn't briefed, there's no oped," says Andy Fischer, spokesman for Lugar, who is vice chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fischer said he'd been getting calls about the bogus report for two days.

Trita Parsi, the head of the pro-engagement National Iranian American Council and a former Congressional staffer, tells me he too heard the rumor of Congressional briefing on Iran, but that the whole thing "doesn't make sense to me though." Parsi said.

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Troubling (?) Webb and Obama Similarity

| Wed May 28, 2008 1:51 PM EDT

If you've been reading these interwebs at all, you know they are atwitter with talk of Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia becoming Sen. Obama's VP. There are all sorts of serious concerns with Webb, to which I will add only this superficial one. Here's a Webb quote from a 2006 Wall Street Journal op-ed:

The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet.

Sounds an awful lot like this famous quote:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The quotes aren't exactly the same, obviously, but they seem to share a belief that working class conservatives vote the way they do because they've been blinded by social issues, instead of being rational actors who choose to prioritize social issues over their economic self-interest. Probably not something the Democrats want to double down on with their presidential ticket.

Hat tip Kos.

John Bolton to Be Target of Citizens Arrest in Wales

| Wed May 28, 2008 11:15 AM EDT

John Bolton, the former DOJ official and ambassador to the UN who was instrumental in taking America to war in Iraq, may face a citizen's arrest when he speaks at literary festival in Wales tonight.

George Monbiot, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, plans on using Bolton's appearance at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival to detainee the well-known neocon. "Many people accept that the launching of the Iraq war was an international crime, but no one has yet been prepared to act on it by arresting one of the perpetrators," says Monbiot.

The director of the festival is having none of it. "The Hay Festival has sought the advice of both police and lawyers, and has been unequivocally assured that a citizen's arrest, or an attempt to instigate a citizen's arrest, would be completely unlawful in these circumstances," he says.

Here's Monbiot's list of charges. Considering John Bolton thinks attacking Iran is America's "most prudent" foreign policy option at the moment, it might make sense for somebody to detain him before he (har har!) strikes again. Okay, maybe that isn't funny.

It is unclear what will happen after Monbiot makes the citizen's arrest, if he is able to make it at all. We'll keep you posted.

George Meets John and the Public Pays

| Wed May 28, 2008 10:58 AM EDT

Hey, remember that closed press fundraiser that I mentioned yesterday? The one where John McCain was trying to hide the fact that he was holding it with George W. Bush?

Your tax dollars paid for Bush's flight.

Digging Through the Scott McClellan Tell-All

| Wed May 28, 2008 10:29 AM EDT

Clips from the former White House press secretary's new book. Wow.

"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq."
"The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."
"History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided: that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

More after the jump.