Fat Al Gore Determined to Strike in US

Already, at least ten people were killed in yesterday’s “derecho”–the massive, violent thunderstorm that traveled from Illinois to DC. That’s before the 3 million people who lost power now trying to cope with today’s 100+ degree weather. Reported gas shortages may exacerbate the challenges.

And a slew of all-time high temperature records were broken just in the last few days

109° Nashville, TN (old record 107° 7/28/1952
109° Columbia, SC (old record 107° on two previous occasions)
109° Cairo, IL (old record 106° on 8/9/1930)
108° Paducah, KY (ties same on 7/17/1942
106° Chattanooga, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952)
105° Raleigh, NC (ties same on 8/21/2007 and 8/18/1988)
105° Greenville, SC (old record 104° 8/10/2007 although 106° was recorded by the Signal Service in July 1887)
104° Charlotte, NC (ties same on 8/9 and 10/2007 and 9/6/1954)
102° Bristol, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952-this site now known as `Tri-State Airport’)
109° Athens, GA. This is just 1° shy of the Georgia state record for June of 110° set at Warrenton in 1959.

We haven’t seen this many records broken since 1936 brought the Dust Bowl.

Then, of course, there’s Colorado burning, where high heat and winds have turned normal summer fires into a catastrophe.

I joke with my use of “Fat Al Gore” to personify the growing evidence of climate change that conservatives mock by calling the former Vice President fat. But this is getting to a point where the terror industry and the homeland security industry, generally, needs to come to grips with the fact that the biggest immediate threat to the “homeland” is not terrorism or drugs or even hackers, but climate change.

Last summer we lost around 400 people and several towns to tornadoes. This weekend, our nation’s capital and the states surrounding it are facing the same kind of challenges they might be in case of a terrorist attack or utility hack, along with dangerous heat as an immediate threat.

And yet our country is still treating this urgent threat by dismissing those calling for immediate action. “You’ve covered your ass now, let me go back to drumming up other threats.”

20 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    One of my brothers emailed me a clip of a news article here in Minnesota and a couple of pics:

    Flood makes lake even more Superior

    “Heavy rain makes lake even more Superior
    The historic rain that fell on the Duluth area Tuesday and Wednesday raised the level of Lake Superior 3 to 4 inches, said Jay Austin, associate professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory.

    Several inches does not seem like much, but at 350 miles long and 160 miles wide, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake (in surface area) in the world. The rise amounts to about 2 trillion gallons of water.

    “It’s a prodigious amount of water,” Austin said — enough to fill Lake Mille Lacs and still have half a trillion gallons in reserve.”

    (My Brother’s Bold)

    And to quote my brother’s comment:

    “Pretty amazing that One Rainstorm Raised the Level of the Lake!”

    The pics:

    Lake Superior view from the hills of Duluth.

    Lake Superior view from space.

  2. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: Wow, and we got neither the derecho nor the rain–one passed south of us, the other must have passed north of us.

    Weird fucking weather.

  3. ondelette says:

    1 Million dead last year in the Horn of Africa.

    This year, well more than 1 Million at serious risk in the Sahel and Yemen, and the Horn again. As of 1 June, 267,000 in SAM in Yemen, 867,000 in GAM. In the Sahel, the number of SAM+MAM = GAM cases is estimated (June 21, using WHO figures by the Regional Food and Nutrition group) at 1.9 Million. There are also 30,000 cholera cases in the Sahel, and meningitis, Dengue fever, and malaria, and the GAM in both places gives the severity of the (drought based and conflict, price and hoarding exacerbated) “food insecurity”. GAM is measure among those from 0-5 years of age.

    It doesn’t seem probable that less than a million will die this year. But if last year’s reporting — and blogging — is any indication, most of America will be blissfully unaware of this gruesome climate change death toll.

  4. ondelette says:


    Jim Hansen’s 1981 climate stuff had some seriously debatable claims in it, which are still seriously debatable. His data and the merits of that data were never in dispute. Just be sure you know which is which before you cite, as you really should act like Caesar’s Wife on this one. Stay away from all claims about the attractor at infinity. And if you don’t know what that means, be circumspect on predictions beyond that climate change is real and that the changes will be cataclysmic. You really don’t know what those changes will be in any detail.

  5. UnRio says:

    The state accepts the reality of global warming. (It’s important not to confuse the state, the permanent state, with its denialist Republican sock puppet.) At the collateral level (special access and compartmented programs) the permanent state treats global warming as a problem of allocating productive land and controlling transhumance. Repressive capacity is being developed and tested to that end. COG is a traditional bogeyman but COOP is more important here. Katrina, COIN, Deepwater Horizon, all the seeming idiocy of serial government debacles, it all falls into place when you understand the ultimate objective: when you try to escape your dust bowl, the government will be there to stop you.

  6. ondelette says:

    @Bill Michtom:

    SAM = Severe Acute Malnutrition. MAM = Moderate Acute Malnutrition. GAM = Global Acute Malnutrition. All are measured by quickly measuring an infant or small child’s (0-5 years) mid-upper arm circumference, body weight to height. Severe acute malnutrition includes malnutrition caused edema (swelling) as well. GAM is the sum of the statistics for MAM+SAM. If the population of GAM in a group is over 9% then the crisis is severe, if it’s over 15% it’s considered a catastrophe.

    It’s easier to measure these quickly and generalize to the condition of the general population even though this is only a measure of small children than to make more complicated measurements on the whole population since these tests can be done in less than 60 seconds.

  7. Bob Schacht says:

    You forgot to include a record high of 105 degrees in Denver on June 26. I just happened to be there during the course of my recent travels. I used to live in Denver. 105 in the Mile High City???? It’s not supposed to happen! And of course, hot dry temperatures are just the ticket for forest fires, like the major one raging next to Boulder, and others near other front range cities (Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs).

    But our government prefers to fiddle while the world burns.

    Bob in AZ

  8. JohnT says:


    Dude, what’s your deal?

    I’m sorry, I’m not a world renowned Nobel Prize level expert climatologist, like you seem to be (along with every other subject). But in my room-temperature-IQ-mind the premise of this post is climate change and those who predicted the consequences of anthropogenic caused climate change … and I gave an example. Are you saying every prediction has to be 100% accurate to have any validity at all?

    Again, what’s your deal?

  9. ondelette says:


    I’m a dynamical systems person. Our poster was a couple of posters over from the guys from NASA Goddard at the 1983 Fluid Dynamics Conference, so I’m afraid you’ll have to forgive me if I ignore all the “Dude, what’s your deal” stuff. I go back a ways.

    What I was saying is that predictions of what happens next are different from saying that we are screwing up the atmosphere and that it will have cataclysmic consequences. Hansen et al. predicted, back in 1981, that we would cross a basin boundary from our present basin in phase space (equilibrium space in which the climate being stable would be represented by staying at a point, moving in a closed path or orbit or staying on the surface of a more complex geometrical object called an attractor which if it has fractal dimension is known as a strange attractor) into a basin in which the attractor was a point at infinity — hence my statement about an “attractor at infinity”. In weather terms, it would keep getting hotter and hotter, in a runaway temperature spiral no matter what steps were taken, anthropogenic or not, forever.

    There are a lot of people who dispute that, for a lot of reasons, all of whom are in full agreement that climate change is real, that it has cataclysmic consequences, and that it’s anthropogenic. Surprise! I’m one of them. What that means is that while they agree on all of those points, there is lots of latitude as to what exactly the predictions are as to what will happen when the climate changes.

    I’m not a climate scientist. As I said, I’m a DS person. But I am someone who does believe in critical points in climate, and I do believe in interaction between scales. I have a lot of other beliefs, too. But I do believe that there is anthropogenic climate change going on and that it is dire. I don’t believe in the attractor at infinity, and I think that Hansen was a long way from proving it, and I don’t think he actually insists on it anymore, but haven’t kept up enough to know if that’s the case.

    Got it? I have a degree in the stuff I’m telling you about, I haven’t made climate change my life’s work.

  10. BgPelaire says:

    Lest we forget, Romney is now easing over to the side of denialists. It’s unbelievable in this day and age how the dumbness has taken hold and multiplied.

    Aside, I’m in Delhi, India, where it’s been over 110 every day for a month, with lows of about 90. This is about 10 degrees above normal, but still…So all you crybabies in the USA… that ain’t hot!

  11. eCAHNomics says:

    Now there’s a fine upstanding citizen/former prez candidate (to his second Lieberman), taking the forefront of every climate change issue, leading the way at every turn.


  12. Kathleen says:

    Did any of those right wing religious leaders call the hell on earth in Colorado Springs “God’s omen’…the way they did about Katrina?

    Global warming deniers are going to have a hell of a time spinning recent weather disasters.

    Was just in Loews in Athens Ohio and one of the managers said they sold 220 generators in 2 hours. One woman I talked with in Krogers grocery store who was buying ice said Jackson county (not far from Athens) had absolutely no ice. We are all cutting downed trees in this hot hot weather

  13. JohnT says:


    Ding, ding, ding!

    You win the weekly ‘biggest over-reaction to an innocuous comment on a blog’ prize.

    “Vanna, tell him, or her, what he’s / she’s won”

    “Thanks Chuck. Ondelette, you’ve won our very special prize; it’s a gold plated elephant sized dildo (we call it the Cliff Claven)! The trophy represents the prize winner’s never ending desire to prove how big their (intellectual) dick is.

    I still don’t have the foggiest idea of what your problem is. Let’s review the conclusion from my link

    To conclude, a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal, at a time that the temperature rise was not yet obvious in the observations, has been found to agree well with the observations since then, underestimating the observed trend by about 30%, and easily beating naive predictions of no-change or a linear continuation of trends. It is also a nice example of a statement based on theory that could be falsified and up to now has withstood the test. The “global warming hypothesis” has been developed according to the principles of sound science.

    If you have a beef with what they’re saying, go to them.

    “Attractor at infinity.” I don’t see anywhere in the article where it says that, and please point to where I said that. I don’t even know what your point is by mentioning it here; if Hansen is saying that, talk to him, since you’re two doors down.

    It really looks like you have some kind of professional jealousy with him, I suggest you attack him directly rather than through me on the comment section of a blog.

    You said

    Just be sure you know which is which before you cite, as you really should act like Caesar’s Wife on this one.

    What does this mean??? I made a throwaway comment on a blog that was in the same vein as the title and the post (snark). Give me a freakin break! How conceited and elitist of you! Do you ever get frostbite on your nose from sticking it in the air so high?

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