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Old 06-17-2006, 10:29 AM   #76
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Disappointing.

I guess if Gore & Co. want to shout their one-way conversation, this is where you send in the cardboard cutouts.
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:51 AM   #77
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LA Times editorial

June 17, 2006

"MOVE OVER, RECKLESS CONSUMERS. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has outdone your irresponsible spending by racking up a debit card bill so outrageous it could have been created using Mad Libs. Sex-change operations, vacations to the Dominican Republic and wild nights at strip clubs were all bought on the government's dime by both con artists and legitimate victims of Hurricane Katrina. But try to keep that knee from jerking — although FEMA's oversight was lacking, wasted money is an inevitable byproduct of providing rapid emergency assistance.

The tawdry expenses are listed in a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office. Though the headline makers were select items purchased with debit cards that FEMA gave out immediately after Katrina struck, the centerpiece of the survey was an estimate that about 16% of the agency's more than $6 billion in overall hurricane relief payments were improper and potentially fraudulent. And that figure is probably on the low side because it only accounts for certain categories of fraud, such as misrepresentation of identity and duplicate payments.

Some misuse of the FEMA-issued debit cards, however, is hardly shocking. The aim of the $2,000 cards was to give individuals immediate aid to be spent according to his or her judgment, rather than earmarking items that the government guessed would be of greatest assistance. For every "Girls Gone Wild" video purchased, thousands of families used their cards for clothing, food and temporary shelter without having to deal with federal red tape. Bad spending decisions are an unfortunate side effect of a clever and responsive policy.

The 16% of improper expenditures is indeed high for a federal aid program — food stamps and unemployment insurance, by comparison, had respective rates of 5.9% and 10.1% last fiscal year. But these are established programs, not on-the-fly responses that had to process a sudden rush of 2.6 million claims. Unlike a permanent safety net, disaster relief's top priority is to help as many people as fast as possible, which comes at the price of reduced efficiency.

But just because FEMA faced a daunting task does not mean it should be given a pass for its sloppy oversight. The GAO cited several quick fixes that should be put into effect immediately, most notably simple tests for misrepresentation when citizens register for federal disaster assistance. FEMA's response thus far — cutting expedited payments to $500 — misses the point and will undercut relief efforts in future catastrophes.

It's easy, and necessary, to criticize FEMA's across-the-board incompetence in responding to the largest displacement of Americans since the Civil War. But obsessing about the spending habits of refugees comes perilously close to blaming the victim. "
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Old 06-18-2006, 12:18 PM   #78
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Disappointing.

I guess if Gore & Co. want to shout their one-way conversation, this is where you send in the cardboard cutouts.




the main point is that, as A_W notes, global warming does deserve more study, we don't yet know exactly what's going on, the atmosphere is complex, etc., this does not become justification to give equal time, weight, and credibility to dissenting arguments from the broad scientific consensus that human activity contributes to global warming. there are discussions to be had about how much, to what extent, what the effects will be, etc., but it is just a mistake to demand equivalency just as it is a huge mistake to demand equivalency between evolution and creationism/ID.

it's not a yes/no question; it's a how much/to what extent/what will happen question.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:31 PM   #79
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There is plenty of room for debate, I just hope it takes place. Setting the ground rules so that you don't have to listen to scientific evidence that directly refutes the evidence used as the basis for global warming is hardly scientific.

There are two elements that must be covered for Gore to carry the day: (1) that the earth is actually warming and (2) that human activity is causing this warming.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:10 PM   #80
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And I would say 3) Is the warming beneficial or detrimental and 4) Is it cheaper to adress the warming or just adapt to it.

Of course global warming and curbing emissions are great places for the anti-corporate left to jump in and make demands.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:22 PM   #81
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And I would say 3) Is the warming beneficial or detrimental and 4) Is it cheaper to adress the warming or just adapt to it.

This is sort of off-topic, but this weekend at my grandparent's my dad was spouting off about how Michigan used to be in a tropical region, long before there were any humans to blame for global warming. Well, if you only know one thing about Michigan, know that we write the book on Lake Effect snowstorms and have 8-month winters. Even so, dad said that our state law still prohibits live trapping of alligator!

(which actually is only half funny now because they recently found an alligator thriving in the wild north of here)
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:28 PM   #82
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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


This is sort of off-topic, but this weekend at my grandparent's my dad was spouting off about how Michigan used to be in a tropical region, long before there were any humans to blame for global warming. Well, if you only know one thing about Michigan, know that we write the book on Lake Effect snowstorms and have 8-month winters. Even so, dad said that our state law still prohibits live trapping of alligator!

(which actually is only half funny now because they recently found an alligator thriving in the wild north of here)
Don't forget, the artic was a tropical zone
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:32 PM   #83
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It is not reasonable to compare our climate to any other time beyond the last 10,000 years or so, since we're in between ice ages.

After all, if we're going to talk about the Arctic being a tropical zone, it was 55 million years ago and we've gone through a tremendous amount of species through that time. If we have a great extinction now, I doubt many of us are prepared for the next 55 million years.

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:37 PM   #84
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But at that time the earth was in a greenhouse state, the planet was hotter all over and the oceans were a lot less stratified (even to the extent of global anoxia in the Creataceous). The Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum is what this article adresses, which was the Earth in a state of rapid climate change that had nothing to do with humanity.

There is absolutely no controversy that over geological time scales the Earth has gone from greenhouse to icehouse states (right now we are in an interglacial period). The models that we use to project global climate are built off the records we have, the models are pretty poor at providing predictions at the moment (not a slight, they are very dificult things to master), it does highlight the need for more research before wasting tens of billions if not hundreds of billions of dollars on "solutions" that themselves are useless.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:40 PM   #85
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Originally posted by melon
It is not reasonable to compare our climate to any other time beyond the last 10,000 years or so, since we're in between ice ages.
No, that is unfair - we have a history of climate information in the geological record and it should be used and understood, the state of the system be constantly changing but the interactions and parts that make it up still existed (to one degree or another), if we are pushing the Earth towards a greenhouse state or even a methane clathrate burp then we have to look to the past to understand if it could happen, it is the principle of uniformatarianism.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:52 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
Even so, dad said that our state law still prohibits live trapping of alligator!

(which actually is only half funny now because they recently found an alligator thriving in the wild north of here)
Stray dogs and snapping turtles in Alabama's coastal counties (Mobile and Baldwin) are glad to hear that the state is going to begin holding controlled alligator hunt seasons this year.

~U2Alabama
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