Romm on Hansen on How Weather Isn’t Climate

Joseph Romm is my favorite source these days for insightful commentary on global warming. He links today to a draft essay from James Hansen and the boys at NASA: If It’s That Warm, How Come It’s So Damned Cold? (PDF). He excerpts the following graph:


…and quotes the following passage that I find highly relevant to recent discussions hereabouts:

Why are some people so readily convinced of a false conclusion, that the world is really experiencing a cooling trend? That gullibility probably has a lot to do with regional short‐term temperature fluctuations, which are an order of magnitude larger than global average annual anomalies.

As Romm concludes, “Weather isn’t climate.” For people who get their science from Rupert Murdoch’s infotainment outlets, that fact apparently is easy to overlook.

89 Responses to “Romm on Hansen on How Weather Isn’t Climate”

  1. Smith Says:

    I’m not sure if I have posted this here before, but this site has a collection of global warming political cartoons.

  2. jbc Says:

    If you posted it previously, I hadn’t seen it.

    If editorial cartoons are any guide to popular sentiment, that’s a very scary page.

  3. Smith Says:

    Most cartoonists gain an audience by preaching to the choir. While those cartoons may not necessarily represent the majority view, there must be a large enough audience to create sufficient demand for those opinions to warrant publication.

  4. shcb Says:

    Huh, so the science isn’t conclusive, different models give different results, they can’t even decide which year is warmer, although NASA seems to be jumping through bigger hoops to get the desired results. Why did he feel the need to say that criticism was welcomed? I thought that was understood when you wished to have something published in one of these scientific journals.

  5. jbc Says:

    That’s your take-away from that graph? “The science isn’t conclusive”? That’s actually kind of impressive.

    Yup, the scientists have no idea. Also, the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled demolition, measles vaccines cause autism, and Obama was actually born in Kenya. And as long as we’re talking about NASA, let’s not forget those “moon landings.”

    Some people will believe anything. Sheesh.

  6. enkidu Says:

    sheesh indeed

    That draft paper was very interesting. Methinks the difference between northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere temps reflects the relative level of industrialization? The trend lines for the last 130 years show a clear direction.

    A greener, high efficiency energy mix is smart for the US (screw the saudis), the planet (less pollution, higher standard of living) and the future (starships won’t burn coal, duh).

    Fact remains that if we do nothing we risk a global catastrophe of colossal scope. The real worry is a tipping point where the biosphere simply can’t handle any more atmospheric CO2 or GHGs before we begin boiling off the methane hydrates and we can kiss our puny rock burning civilization goodbye.

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    At least the proponents* of controlled demolition are basing their opinions on observations:

    WTC Building #7, a 47-story high-rise not hit by an airplane, exhibits all the characteristics of classic controlled demolition with explosives: (and some non-standard characteristics): …
    And exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire,: …

    Refer to right hand side column for specifics about these observations.

    *There are now over 1000 Architects and Engineers who have signed the petition.

  8. Craig Says:

    More info on just how some “official” science can suddenly look very shaky.

    I start to wonder that, as long as scientists are still human, it will always be a potential flaw in the certainty of anyone’s claims. Especially a highly politicized topic as this one.

  9. shcb Says:

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner JBC, I just got back from a three day bird hunt and was dead tired. I really wasn’t in the mood to work on spread sheets but here I am. I didn’t get my last comment from the graph, I got it from the text of the article. From the text of the essay I got this

    Now let’s consider whether we can specify a rank among the recent global annual temperatures, i.e., which year is warmest, second warmest, etc. Figure 1a shows 2009 as the second warmest year, but it is so close to 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 that we must declare these years as being in a virtual tie as the second warmest year.

    This would seem to indicate that there hasn’t been any significant warming in oh a decade? Hmmm wonder where I’ve heard that.

    Now what I got from the graph is that that by comparing the UAH data to the NASA graph (there was no data given in the NASA essay so I recreated it from the graph) the NASA theory is correct but the increase or decrease in temperature was about 100% greater than UAH, of course that is to be expected from NASA. The reason you usually use running averages is to even out the bumps in the graph, in this case it also pulls the ’98 spike forward to make ’05 higher that it really was, the temps had leveled off in ’01 but ’98 was so high that you can affect averages for quite a long time using running averages. Of course it also raises the ’08 dip, neat trick. What makes it even a neater trick is you won’t see that ’08 dip for another 3 and 8 years respectively.

    You guys seem to be better at demagoguery than math.

  10. jbc Says:

    Craig, thanks for posting that link. In that science is done by human beings, it will always be prone to human failings, including the desire to defend a position one believes in from the attacks of those who don’t. Where science is superior to opinionated spouting in places like this blog is that among scientists there is an agreed-upon epistemological framework that allows claims like “the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035” to be subject to meaningful independent scrutiny.

    That, in fact, appears to be what happened here (with respect to the claim’s debunking, I mean). It isn’t that James Inhofe or some disgruntled TV weatherman complained that the glaciers weren’t melting at the claimed rate (though they might well have been claiming that, as part of a larger shotgun-blast approach to disputing everything the IPCC was saying). It’s that someone who was skeptical investigated the actual sources of that specific claim, and traced them back to their origin, a scientist who says his work is being misinterpreted.

    Now, Lal (who the article describes as having overseen the chapter on glaciers in the report in question) says that based on this, he recommends dropping the claim from the report. How refreshing. If he were just engaging in the usual conspiracy theorizing, he would have just expanded the conspiracy to incorporate the discordant data.

  11. Craig Says:

    All those truly interested in both sides of the climate change issue may like the Climate Debate Daily website.

  12. shcb Says:

    The translation of “meaningful independent scrutiny” seems to be “as long as you agree with us”

  13. enkidu Says:

    I didn’t know babelfish added a English -> wwnj option
    I’ll have to run a few of your posts thru the wwnj -> English translator

    thx for the tip!

  14. shcb Says:

    So Enky, you’re a smart guy, do you think ’05 was warmer than ’98?

  15. knarlyknight Says:

    Why bother comparing 2005 to 1998? This afternoon was much warmer than yesterday, that should be enough for you.

    This hit my radar, wonder if JBC will clue into this outrage or if he dismisses it …

    Who is it who relentlessly spread “false conspiracy theories” of Saddam-engineered anthrax attacks and Iraq-created mushroom clouds and a Ba’athist/Al-Qaeda alliance — the most destructive conspiracy theories of the last generation? And who is it who demonized as “conspiracy-mongers” people who warned that the U.S. Government was illegally spying on its citizens, systematically torturing people, attempting to establish permanent bases in the Middle East, or engineering massive bailout plans to transfer extreme wealth to the industries which own the Government? The most chronic and dangerous purveyors of “conspiracy theory” games are the very people Sunstein thinks should be empowered to control our political debates through deceit and government resources: namely, the Government itself and the Enlightened Elite like him.


  16. knarlyknight Says:

    “So Enky, you’re a smart guy, do you think ’05 was warmer than ’98?” – shcb.

    Shcb, please go here:

  17. knarlyknight Says:

    Error, wrong link, shcb – pleas go here:

  18. enkidu Says:

    the trend line is in basically one direction over the last 130 years (aggregate)

    you are a complete tool and a wrong wing nut job with a sub-highschool edumakashun, so…. which direction is it?

    Is it:
    A) increasing temp (up)
    B) decreasing temp (down)

    (this should be fun)

    I’d like to see this graph with the CO2 ppm over the same time period. Wild guess: same basic trend line

  19. shcb Says:

    You didn’t answer my question, no surprise there.

  20. shcb Says:


    Maybe you didn’t catch it but that was the gist of my analysis, that by using ’98 at this point and time, the NASA guy can make his running averages work in his favor, as long as he doesn’t draw attention to what that method did in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and no one notices. He also won’t be able to use that method in the future because ’08 will draw his graph down even if the temps rise slightly. You should really graph some of this yourself, you can see it easier if you actually make the graph.

  21. enkidu Says:

    a simple A or B would suffice
    up or down

    the trend is ___

    just look at the graph (mb squint your eyes) and the answer is……………

    oh wait, you are nitpicking some partisan bs to ‘prove’ your a priori bullshit belief that it is all some global grand conspiracy to destroy civilization by saving it or something (I didn’t find that wwnj to English translator on babelfish, so I am having a hard time understanding your usual nonsense).

  22. shcb Says:

    My question was a or b, yours isn’t, which trend are you talking about. The trend of the last hundred years is up, the trend of the last 10 years is level to down, the trend between the ‘40s and ‘70s was down, the trend of the ‘80s and ‘90s was up.

    Was ’98 warmer than ’05, very specific.

    The NASA guy says ’05 was warmer than ’98, is he correct? very specific.

    Yes his graph shows the running average is higher in ’05 than ’98 is that true (the answer is yes). Is that the same as saying ’05 was warmer than ’98 (the answer is no)

    So once again, was ’98 warmer than ’05.

  23. enkidu Says:

    Hate to ‘nitpick’, but questions use this symbol “?” to denote they aren’t a statement. See how my previous sentence ends in a period? (and the second sentence has a question mark?) Since you have only one question, I’ll ‘answer’ it:
    I don’t know if ‘the NASA guy’ you refer to is correct or not.
    NEWSFLASH! I am not a climate scientist.

    Look carefully at the graph at the top of this post. The trend is up. Sharply up.
    9 out 10 climate scientists think this is due to CO2 and other GHGs from human activity (burning rocks and goo). If you think cherry-picking a few time periods where the trend is downward ‘proves’ your point, may I point out that there are more upward periods and if you look at the trend over non-arbitrary (ie wwnj) time frames, there is a clear upward trend in temps.

  24. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea enk, but if you are in Australia then you have to hold the graph upside down for the trend lines to go in the same direction, because they’re standing upside down relative to us on the other side of earth, plus it’s summer down there now so their temperatures would be warmer than ours.

    shcb, I’ll bite!!! You asked, “So once again, was ’98 warmer than ’05.” The answer is that clearly, 1998 was SIGNIFICANTLY higher than 1905.

  25. Smith Says:

    The dingo ate my ozone.

  26. shcb Says:

    It doesn’t matter what the subject is, we could be talking about crop yields over the last few decades and still have this same discussion, you don’t have to be a climate guru to understand simple percentages. What I am testing here is you bullshit meter. Your answer shows you have a good idea this NASA guy is full of it but it will hurt your argument and lessen your standing in the eyes of the gods if you say so. You are tap dancing around it. This is about credibility of sources, this NASA guy has had his stuff published in these vaunted scientific journals, it seems he intends to publish this piece there where it will be “peer reviewed” and he is full of shit.

    Of course his graph shows the trend is up, my graph, using his same methodology, shows we were in a cooling period in the 1980s but that is just as bogus for the same reason, temps from the ‘70s when there was cooling gets pulled forward. This methodology doesn’t fit his statement. Using running averages has its place, this just isn’t it, but you blindly believe him, oh well.

    Now what will probably happen is this won’t pass peer review or he won’t even try and have it published, but it will be on the internet forever, since he says it is a draft people well just assume he had it published, and it passed the review process, it may even be cited in future peer reviewed works, but it is just hogwash.

    I showed this to my wife yesterday, she picked up on it before I even had time to finish my explanation. She just looked at it and said “you can’t use running averages for that” she made that pftt noise and went on her way.

  27. NorthernLite Says:

    It’s pretty obvious to anyone looking at it from an objective eye that as humans increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 150 years our temperature has risen beyond what historical trends would dictate. There is a direct correlation between CO2 levels and rising temperatures.

    Does anyone here argue that an increased CO2 concentration in our atmosphere doesn’t trap heat in our planet?

  28. shcb Says:

    nope, no argument there, it’s a matter of degree. and filtering the bs

  29. shcb Says:

    let me add to that, the lack of cooling in the last decade hasn’t kept pace with the increase in Co2 so logic would dictate there are other more powerful causes of temperature change than Co2, but it does have an effect.

  30. knarlyknight Says:

    …and it is not a simple cause and effect either; and skeptics will try to argue that the warming precedes the CO2 buildup.

    Climate scientists have fancy words for the relationship, basically there is a feedback loop where CO2 adds to the greenhouse effect contributing to warmer temperatures and the warmer temperatures result in more CO2 for various reasons; but this is only one factor amoung many (sea ice albido, cloud cover, etc.)

  31. NorthernLite Says:

    “The lack of cooling hasn’t kept pace with the increase in CO2…”

    I’m not sure I understand that. Doesn’t “lack of cooling” mean it’s getting warmer as CO2 increases?

    Like I said before, you can look at data till your face turns blue but all I need to do is look to northern Canada and I can easily see that our planet is warming and the ice cap is melting. Talk to the Inuit people who’ve lived there for a long time and they will tell you what’s happening.

    Hell, a few years ago Sara Palin was talking about the effects of climate change in Alaska before she decided to whore herself out to right-wingers in order to become famous and make a lot money.

  32. shcb Says:

    NL, if the warming is caused by Co2 it would seem that temps would rise at the same rate as the Co2, but that hasn’t happened in the last 10 years, India and China are building plants as fast as they can. Co2 levels have continued to increase at an ever increasing rate but temps haven’t. So even if temps are still rising slightly, it would seem the link between Co2 and rising temps isn’t as connected as AGW folks would like us to believe.

    Yes, temps have been rising, we are coming out of a big cooling period, the Little Ice Age, no one is denying that we have been warming. The question is what is causing it, and can we realistically do anything to stop it. It’s like a soldier running in front of a tank shooting at it with his rifle, it may make him feel better but he isn’t doing anything other than wasting ammunition.

    But back to the math, do you both understand how using running averages pulls the ’98 spike forward into ’05? If you want to believe this guy from NASA that’s fine, I just want to make sure you understand the logic of my rebuttal.

  33. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb, I can’t speak for Enk, but from my perspective your “rebuttal” is on the same scale as the criticism my dog has about my driving skills.

  34. shcb Says:

    my question was do you understand it.

  35. shcb Says:

    when I said you guys I was refering to NL, I don’t give a shit what Enky thinks. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t a clue what I’m talking about, and really doesn’t care, I’m just the straight man for his comedy act.

  36. knarlyknight Says:

    Hell I don’t even know what your question is anymore.

  37. enkidu Says:

    Which is funny (but not laugh out loud like Smith’s comment) because I just read a wwnj post i skipped. So your wife is a climatologist? Does she also have your vast edumakashunimal experience? Because this post:
    pretty much shows you have no clue about math (or science).

    A Running Mean is a way of averaging out noise from a set of data points. You can smooth out the noise to a greater or lesser degree depending upon how wide you make your window. Data at the two ends are more subject to variation (as you don’t have earlier data sets nor can one see into the future). As I mentioned multiple times: the overall or average of the trend is UP.

    It just goes to show you: wwnjs filter reality – even math – thru a blood red filter of wwnj buffoonery. If you had bothered to read that PDF (just look at the graphs if you can’t read it and understand) you would see that there are finer grain data pts in many of the graphs. Running means are a standard analytical ‘trick’ to remove noise from a larger data set. Note that this removes both anomalous down and up noise in the temp readings: it does not favor + or -. Despite what wwnj may think.

    or to use one of your pet phrases:
    you have no idea what you are talking about, do you.

    Note: not a question.

  38. shcb Says:



  39. shcb Says:

    Enky, it doesn’t “favor” plus or minus, but a spike, plus or minus pushes the graph in that direction for double the sample. since the spike was in 98 the 5 year graph has run it’s course and it shows, the 11 year will run out this year.

  40. knarlyknight Says:

    Did Fox really say that?

  41. Smith Says:

    I’m just going to drop this here, since it is the current active comment section.

    Well, the Dems ran a lackluster campaign and lost Kennedy’s seat. I wonder if the party will learn anything from this. The passivity demonstrated through the majority of the Coakley campaign seems reflective of the efforts being made by Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress in pushing legislation. The Dems have been very weak-willed as a party since at least 2000. The party did a half-assed job of serving as the opposition during the majority of the Bush years. Now that they have gained control over the executive and legislative branch, the leadership (especially Obama and to a lesser extent Reid and Pelosi) has seemed content to rest upon its laurels and assume that having the majority will allow them to pass bills without putting any work in the process. Only after issues have past the tipping point have we seen the Dems make any concerted effort to get things done. Of course by that point, it is too little, too late. This is as true for Obama and the party’s last minute push for Coakley as it is for Obama’s late to the party healthcare blitz in the fall. I guess the Dems assumed the Repubs would roll over much the same as the Ds did in the Bush years.

    Perhaps this loss will light a fire under the party’s ass and get it motivated. I highly doubt that, though. I think the more likely outcome will be that the party will feel some malaise and possibly become even more passive than it has been thus far. On the other hand, I think the healthcare bill has been “compromised” into a worthless pile of trash. I kind of hope this election will be the death knell of the Private Insurance Welfare Act. Perhaps the country will get another shot at meaningful reform a few years down the road.

  42. NorthernLite Says:

    The Dems need to stop being a bunch of pussy’s (sorry, but frank talk is required now).

    They had complete control of everything for a year and didn’t accomplish squat.

    They still have a much larger majority than Bush ever had. In fact, I believe it’s still the largest majority either party has had in decades. So they need to grow some balls and start implementing their agenda like voters expected them to do when they sent them to Washington.

    Basically, stop being so damn wimpy!

  43. shcb Says:

    I have every confidence a Republican will defect. If there is ever a hunting season for feet politicians will limit in the first hour.

  44. NorthernLite Says:

    Seriously? Your party seems to riding a high right now and has a lot of momentum. Who do you think it might be?

    Do the Dems have the option of breaking the bill down and voting on parts of it one-by-one? Not that it’s a great bill, as Smith pointed out above, but there are some good parts to it.

  45. shcb Says:

    I’m just being cynical, I don’t think anyone will defect this late in the election cycle. A Democrat or two might but they would more than likely be in the House.

    Any changes to the bill as passed by Senate, even a punctuation mark will require it to return to the Senate where it would be filibustered, you are right, I don’t think Republicans are stupid enough to break ranks right now, and as you can see from my last remark I don’t give them a lot of credit as a whole. The other option is a procedure where they can pass the a changed bill with a majority and bypass the filibuster. I don’t know much about what is involved with this little used procedure but I think they have to make a case that it is budget matter? If they resort to this trickery the Rs will beat them about the head and shoulders with it in ’10. Realistically the only two options for Ds is to pass the Senate bill as is or let it die.

  46. shcb Says:

    Sorry, I didn’t answer your question, yes absolutely they could break the bill down and pass it piecemeal. But to do that the whole process would have to start over. I don’t think they will have time to do that in this session. They could also do it with regulation I suppose but again they risk an even bigger backlash of voters if they try that.

    Breaking it out in pieces is what they should have done in the first place. There are a few things that that realistically need to be fixed and that could be done in a couple small pieces of legislation, Dems just overreached.

  47. Smith Says:

    The Repubs would have attempted to kill any bill presented, regardless of how small or necessary it was. It is not about the bill, it is solely based on the need to contrary for the sake of being contrary. That is evident from the progression of the bill itself.

  48. shcb Says:

    That’s not really true, there is a little truth there but you’re exagerating quite a bit

  49. Smith Says:

    Ah yes, as evidenced from the support the bill received from Repubs after the public option was removed. Oh wait, they just found something else to bitch and moan about. I guess I can see how endlessly shifting goalposts is conducive to getting things done. It certainly isn’t evidence that the Repubs had no intention of actually attempting to pass any form of healthcare legislation, regardless of the content.

  50. shcb Says:

    You are right to a large extent, but that opposition mainly came because this bill was so fundamentally wrong form our core beliefs it probably never would have gotten any support, just taking the public option wasn’t even close to enough. That and by the time the public option was removed public opinion was turning against the bill, Republicans had to capitalize on that, that’s just politics. If Democrats had stuck to insuring the uninsurable, even if that were by simply paying their medical expenses from the general fund they would have found enough Republicans to pass it. Republicans would have demagogued the hell out of it but it would have passed. Some soft Republicans in safe seats would have been allowed to vote for it while the rock rimmed fire breathers would have been giving impassioned speeches.

  51. NorthernLite Says:

    One can only hope that the unconstructive behaviour is returned onto Republicans when they are back in control.

    So the good news is, none of your problems are ever going to be solved because each party is only going to be interested in doing what’s best politically.

  52. NorthernLite Says:

    Smith is right shcb, it was clear right from the get-go that the strategy was to stop health care reform in order “to break Obama”. It wasn’t about helping fellow Americans… or making you healthier, or lowering costs, or expanding coverage, or stopping the insurance industry from behaving like demons…

    Mission accomplished.

  53. shcb Says:

    :-) It’s not that bad, we have different ideas on what is good and bad and different ways of getting to objectives we both consider good, but politics will always play into the game. This type of behavior isn’t anything Democrats haven’t done in the past so if you are wishing for this to come around when Republicans are in office, well, it already has, many times over, and the Ds have done it to the Rs many times over, since the beginning of our country and probably before that. Yes our mission is to slow down or stop Obama as much as we can… and still get elected, and when we are in power Democrats will do everything they can to stop [fill in the blank] from doing whatever he/she wants to do… and still get elected. If you want an example remember how Democrats used the filibuster to stop Bush appointments of judges? For the first time in our history. They also did some nasty things to Republicans in the form of House rules in the pre Newt congresses but that is a little too detailed for this discussion.

  54. shcb Says:

    BTW, in R’s minds (mine at least) a potentially disastrous problem was avoided by axing this bill, now maybe a constructive alternative will be found, see what I mean, different ways of fixing a common problem.

  55. Smith Says:

    Looks like some right-wingers are already turning against the newest Repub Senator.

  56. shcb Says:

    Yup, the chances of that seat remaining in Republican hands is slim to none at best, put a pro lifer in there and I shudder to think of the number of zeros behind the decimal point it would take to accurately describe the percentile chance that candidate would have. But those damn single issue voters don’t care. Where’s my foot? Ready, aim, fire!

  57. Smith Says:

    I’d imagine the Dems will go all out to get it back, too. That seat is probably as solid for the Repubs as NY 23 is for the Dems.

  58. shcb Says:

    Yup, there are usually about 2/3 of the seats that are “safe” meaning you don’t have to worry you’re side will win, those are safe to lose. They become a matter of pride as well, which is bad from a strategic stand point, both sides will spend an inordinate amount of money to win those seats and starve someone that needs the funds more, but politics is a human endeavor.

    I wasn’t paying that close attention to this race but I heard there was a low turnout, just a reasonable turnout in that state will almost guarantee a win for Democrats.

  59. Smith Says:

    Special elections are typically low interest affairs. The Coakley campaign was a disaster and there was almost no effort to encourage Dems to get out and vote. By the time the Dems actually started to campaign, it was too late to accomplish anything. Voter apathy is hard to overcome. Plus, Mass already has a near-universal health care plan at the state level, so the Dems could not use the Federal health care bill to rally voters.

  60. NorthernLite Says:

    “BTW, in R’s minds (mine at least) a potentially disastrous problem was avoided by axing this bill…”

    And thousands of your fellow citizens will continue to die because of that.

    I hear what you’re saying about the job of the opposition party, it’s their job to oppose. But didn’t everyone agree last year that health care needed to be reformed? Just like everyone agreed on the No Child Left Behind Act, the Prescription Drug Act, etc

    I think today’s Republican Party isn’t at all interested in what’s best for your country or your people, just playing politics. And that’s really too bad because America continues to suffer from it.

    But I don’t blame them as much as the Dems for allowing it to happen. Weakest bunch clowns I’ve ever seen.

  61. shcb Says:

    Everyone agreed something needed to be done with health care, but not this. No child left behind was a wink and a nod platitude agreement, nothing was done, nothing was expected to be done, but if it makes someone feel good and stay out of our way… Prescription Drug Act conservatives hated, we had as much good will for that boondoggle as we have for this health care boondoggle, and said as much. Those were the liberal side of George Bush, we tolerated those indiscretions because we agreed with him on the fight against radical Islam more than we disagreed with him on these items and immigration. When you marry someone or elect them to office you get the whole package.

  62. NorthernLite Says:

    Right, which is why I expected a lot more progressive policy from “the most liberal president in your history.”

    Admit it man, you’re pretty happy right now aren’t you ;)

  63. Smith Says:

    “the most liberal president in your history.”

    I can’t stop laughing whenever I see/hear this phrase.

  64. shcb Says:

    Absolutely I’m happy, my old boss is a big liberal, we have a good time giving each other a hard time because we both understand the political system well and understand the cyclical nature of these things. All day yesterday I would put on a big fake grin whenever I saw him taking my fingers to the sides of my mouth to make a Jack Nicholson Joker smile. But I’m realistic about the situation.

    Just to make pleasant conversation Smith, who do you think is/was the most liberal president? I tend to agree with you that Obama isn’t, but he’s close, my vote would probably go to Carter, at least in my lifetime.

  65. Smith Says:

    What constitutes “liberal” changes with time, so the concept of “the most liberal president” is rather empty in and of itself. The Founding Fathers were quite liberal to the point of being borderline radicals in their own time, but not so much by today’s standards. I said it earlier, and you seemed to agree at the time, but I think Nixon’s presidency was more liberal than Obama’s has been thus far. I guess if you define “liberal” as “lackluster” I can see where you are coming from with Carter and Obama. Sticking to the post Civil War period, FDR, LBJ, and even Teddy Roosevelt were all prominent presidents who are largely to the left of Obama, certainly in their own times and to some degree by modern standards, too.

    By what metric do you believe Obama to be anywhere near the “most liberal president”?

    Non-interventionism (this is not historically a liberal trait, but people bandy it about as though it is)? He escalated troop levels in Afghanistan

    The bailout? Most of the money was dumped into corporate welfare and tax cuts. It also pales in comparison to the New Deal.

    Healthcare? His push for this ranges from half-hearted to half-assed. Bill Clinton worked harder for this, but was stymied by Congress

    Trials for detainees? His justice department has stated that the detainees can still be held even if they are found not guilty.

  66. NorthernLite Says:

    I think you know this Smith, but I keep stating that he’s “the most liberal…” in quotes because I think the same thing as you – it makes me laugh, because he’s sooooo not but is being labelled that anyways.

    Our friend shcb is a perfect example… I mean, if you’re still going to be called “one of the most liberal presidents ever” you might as well give them something to really bitch about and earn that title… ffs!


  67. shcb Says:

    Hmm, you make some good points, I was going to say “this early in a presidency…” but we are a quarter of the way through it. The people he associates with and some of his statements before he started running for president would be examples, but as far as actions go I think I have to agree with you on this for the most part. I think Carter and LBJ were more liberal in their core beliefs, FDR certainly was with the New Deal but he was strong on defense, but as you say that may just be a cultural change. It is hard to compare over such a long period of time.

    At one point a bunch of us were having a discussion of who the best guitar player was, we could all agree on a top ten or twenty but that was about it. Jeff Beck, Les Paul, Clapton, Hendrix, Roy Clark, Dicky Betts. How do you pick? The styles are so different. FDR calling our enemy Jap bastards would get him booted from office now, but was probably seen as too mild then.

  68. shcb Says:

    I’ve made that point about half in jest before NL, if Republicans are going to be labeled as mean heartless bastards what do we have to lose? Be as mean and nasty and heartless as it take to win and then kick them when they’re down. But in reality we’re really not that bad ‘o folks.

  69. Smith Says:


    I assumed you had made that comment in jest. I just wanted to put my two cents in.

  70. shcb Says:

    I think this is pretty sensible, what do you think?

    I know this is on Fox news but not it is clearly labeled opinion.

  71. shcb Says:

    delete the not in the last sentence, I was distracted

  72. enkidu Says:

    you knew this was coming ;)

  73. knarlyknight Says:

    Our papers are declaring that Obama dropped the stock market 2% today.

    I thought only Bush was capable of that. I’d like to know if any of his confidants or speechwriters shorted the market.

  74. Smith Says:

    Maybe Scott Brown did it.

  75. enkidu Says:

    Actually knarls, the ‘folks’ at fox etc were predicting a huge rally once healthcare reform went down in flames with the election of President Scott Brown. Same with Jim Cramer. Note to self: if Jim Cramer ever gives you advice, do exactly the opposite.

  76. knarlyknight Says:

    Was it Jon Stewart or Peter Schiff who crucified Cramer a couple monthsago (or both?)

    I’m going to listen to Schiff’s daily videoblog tonight, interested to see if he’s found another new way to say ” I told you so!” yet.

  77. Smith Says:

    He was on the Daily Show a while back.

  78. Smith Says:

    If you base your financial decisions on what some guy on a TV show yelled at you, you get what you deserve.

  79. NorthernLite Says:

    It was Stewart who a while back did a montage of what Cramer advised his viewers to do and what actually happened. If you took his advice you’d pretty much be broke right now.

    So what’s this I hear about the United States of Corporate America? So now unions, corporations and lobby groups can spend whatever they want on elections and cadidates? Is that true?


  80. Smith Says:

    They already do. Now they can just be open about it. Remember how Obama promised transparency?

  81. NorthernLite Says:


  82. shcb Says:

    key word there is promised

  83. Smith Says:



  84. shcb Says:

    Don’t you worry yer pretty little heads, Barney is gonna fix it, he’s going to limit corporations through corporate law, hmmm wonder if he is gonna limit unions through labor laws, any bets? Neo-socialism is so grand.

  85. Smith Says:

    Won’t somebody think of the poor corporations?!?!?

  86. Smith Says:

    Pretend I included this in the previous comment.

  87. enkidu Says:

    Actually ‘the evil unions!’ made some major concessions on the HCR debacle (excise tax on ‘cadillac’ health plans? sheesh wasn’t Obama against this in the primaries and election campaign?) If you think it dandy that Exxon can spend any part of its $45.2 Billion in profits from 2009 influencing gullible people (and greedy politicians), well I don’t think it is a good thing.

    I guess the future will have lots of logos stuck all over it and a big marketing campaign (now with 220% more high fructose corn syrup!)

    If you didn’t watch Stewart skewer Keith Olbermann last night, it is a pretty good take segment. Spot on. More glasses than an Elton John concert.—keith-olbermann-s-name-calling

  88. Smith Says:

    He was also against mandates on health care during the campaign.

  89. NorthernLite Says:

    And his reason for it makes (made) perfect sense.

    Friday humour…

    How much you wanna bet that this guy is a Republican?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.