The very strange ways of man!
I am incredibly grateful to be living in the USA as a legal resident. The circumstances that lead to Jeannie and me living here in Merlin, Southern Oregon are the stuff of dreams. Which is why writings on Learning from Dogs that could be seen as critical of a US administration leave me rather uncomfortable.
However, a recent news item on the BBC website struck me as so utterly incongruous that I couldn’t resist today’s post. As is said, “I can resist anything except temptation!” Here’s that item.
US Congress bans word ‘lunatic’ in federal legislation
6 December 2012
The sharply divided US Congress has been able to agree on one thing at least – that the word “lunatic” should be banned.
The House of Representatives voted 398-1 on Wednesday to strike the term from all federal legislation, after the Senate did the same in May.
The measure is designed to remove language that has become outdated or demeaning from the US code.
The bill will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Senator Kent Conrad, one of the sponsors of the measure, said: “Federal law should reflect the 21st Century understanding of mental illness and disease, and that the continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the US code.”
The only “no” vote came from Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, who said it was madness for lawmakers to waste time on such a measure when more high-profile issues loomed, such as the federal debt.
“Not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy,” said Rep Gohmert in a statement.
“We should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”
Now don’t get me wrong. In and of itself that measure is fabulous removing, as it does, any official labeling of those with mental health problems.
However, surely the following demonstrates that madness is still alive and well.
LAW PROHIBITS UNFAIR EU TAXATION OF U.S. AVIATION
November 27, 2012
Washington, DC – The President today signed into law a measure to stop the United States’ participation in a costly European Union (EU) scheme to impose an emissions tax on American and other nations’ aircraft operators and air carriers. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI) were among the primary sponsors of the bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives.
In 2011, Mica first led a Congressional delegation to the European Union to convey opposition to the EU’s plan. Mica also led a subsequent delegation to Montreal to meet with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) leaders, representatives of the EU, and other officials regarding U.S. opposition to the ETS. The original “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011,” authored by Mica, Petri, and other House leaders, overwhelmingly passed the House on October 24, 2011.
John Mica was quoted as saying “The law signed today is a clear signal that the United States will not accept the EU’s go-it-alone attempt to impose emissions taxes on other nations for activities far outside the EU’s own borders. This European emissions trading scheme is an unlawful infringement upon U.S. sovereignty, and the sovereignty of numerous other nations.“
Now I don’t know the rights and wrongs of this but one thing is clear to me. If trying to reduce carbon emissions represents ‘unlawful infringement upon U.S. sovereignty‘ then don’t even ponder on the infringement that not trying to reduce emissions would risk!
Which neatly leads to the Yale forum on Climate Change & The Media that recently reported,
Forget About That 2-Degree Future
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Dec. 5, 2012 — Renowned British climate scientist Sir Robert Watson pulled few punches today during a talk about the warmer world humans will face in coming decades.
Watson, who was IPCC chair from 1997 to 2002, all but dismissed the possibility of keeping the rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — a temperature rise that corresponds to an atmospheric concentration of CO2 of 450 parts per million. It now stands at about 390 ppm.
“Fundamentally, we are not on a path toward a 2 degree world,” Watson told a packed hall at Moscone Center for a talk entitled: “A World Where the Atmospheric Concentration of Carbon Dioxide Exceeds 450 ppm.”
If the international community wanted a world in which the rise in average global temperatures this century peaked at 2 degrees C above pre-Industrial levels, CO2 emissions in the developed world should have peaked in 2010, Watson said. Globally, they would need to peak by 2014.
Instead, CO2 emissions in 2010 were up 5.9 percent relative to 2009 — and that was in the midst of an economic downturn for most industrialized countries. Total carbon emissions as well as carbon intensity (often described as the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of a nation’s GDP) have gone up.
“It’s totally clear we’re changing the composition of the atmosphere …” [but] “politicians have not listened to the scientific message,” Watson said. [my emphasis]
Average global temperatures could rise 2 to 7 degrees C by the end of the century, driving a litany of environmental changes, Watson said. Already, the climate of the 2020s and 2030s is locked in, or as Watson put it, “pre-ordained.” “Therefore, we must adapt,” he said.
You can read the full report here.
As Isaac Newton is recorded as saying: “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.“