Foglio's Field Notes

Leif Utne's random rants, musings and meditations

Archive for the ‘videos’ Category

Helium Hijinx

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The UpTake crew – me, Jacob Wheeler and Mike McIntee – sing like the Chipmunks at Netroots Nation 2010.

Written by leifutne

July 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Posted in music, videos

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Lord Monckton’s Dangerous Denial

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A few days ago a friend forwarded me a link to this video of a speech by noted climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, asking what I thought of it. I watched that entire video — all 95 minutes of it — and in short, I think it’s bunk. Monckton is such a charlatan I hesitate to even dignify his buffoonery with a response. However, my friend asked me earnestly what I thought of the presentation, so I wanted to respond earnestly.

Also, it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a deeper look at the climate deniers’ current arguments. (I usually just avoid them as a waste of time.) And another friend sent me the link to a shorter video clip from the end of Monckton’s talk (see video at bottom), where he describes the Copenhagen treaty as a threat to “democracy” and “freedom.” So I figured this would be a good chance to brush up on my response.

While I cringe at most of Monckton’s nasty one-liners — characterizing environmentalists as a “communistic” murderous faction bent on world government, or mocking Al Gore’s accent (“Nahn Lahs”) — his presentation of the science does seem impressive on its face. But I know that the serious scientific community has long considered him a dangerous fraud with a talent for political theater.

Since, like Lord Monckton, I’m not a scientist, I can’t pretend to be qualified to debunk his claims point-by-point. I don’t even understand many of his graphs and formulas. But as one of his critics points out, “just because somebody uses a lot of numbers and formulas, that doesn’t make their analysis either scientific or credible.” And there are many more voices in the scientific community (real scientists, no less!) that I find far more credible than Monckton.

So I asked around a bit. No one seems to have yet done a thorough response to Monckton’s entire 10/14 speech in St. Paul, but I found a few useful links that address different pieces of his presentation. The first is a response to his statement in the video below, which has been making the rounds of the right-wing blogosphere. The other links discuss some of the bogus scientific claims he has been recycling for years — many of which showed up in his speech — and his decidedly non-scientific background.

1) PolitiFact: British climate-change skeptic says Copenhagen treaty threatens “democracy,” “freedom” PolitiFact, Oct 20, 2009
This piece fact-checks Monckton’s statement about the Copenhagen treaty with numerous academics and diplomats. According to PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter, Monckton’s whoppers earn a “pants-on-fire” rating.

2) In Congressional Hearings, Amateurs Invited to Confuse Climate Science Stacy Morford, SolveClimate, Mar 27, 2009

3) American Physical Society stomps on Monckton disinformation Climate Progress, July 19, 2008

4) This is a dazzling debunking of climate change science. It is also wildly wrong.
Deniers are cock-a-hoop at an aristocrat’s claims that global warming is a UN hoax. But the physics is bafflingly bad.
George Monbiot, The Guardian, Tuesday 14 November 2006

5) Christopher Monckton the “Viscount of Brenchley”
DeSmogBlog.com

To put Monckton’s role in the climate “debate” into perspective, here’s John Holdren, the White House science adviser, who said at a conference late last year:

Members of the public who are tempted to be swayed by this vocal fringe should ask themselves how it could be, if human-caused climate change is just a hoax, that the leaderships of the national academies of sciences of every country in the world that has one are repeatedly on record saying that global climate change is real, dangerous, caused mainly by humans, and reason for early and concerted action to reduce those causes; that this is also the overwhelming consensus view among the faculty members of the earth sciences departments at every major university in the world.

The fact is that anybody who could believe that the cream of the part of the world scientific community that has actually studied this phenomenon could be co-opted by hoaxers or suffering from mass hysteria is just not thinking clearly.

UPDATE: Here are two more links to useful resources critiquing Monckton’s “science” (thanks to Brad at Hill Heat):

Written by leifutne

October 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Van Jones for Green Jobs Czar?

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powershift-09-van-jonesI’ve been sitting on this story for two weeks, but the green blogs are suddenly abuzz with the rumor that Van Jones may be appointed the White House’s new “Green Jobs Czar.” (See here, there, there, and elsewhere.) So I guess I’ll add what I know.

A close mutual friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells me that Jones has passed the requisite FBI background check, and is set to assume the new post of “White House Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation” on March 16. Jones would be in charge of doling out the half-billion dollars in the recent economic stimulus package that is destined for areas like conservation, energy efficiency and clean tech development. He would also be an influential voice in the debate over how the $80 billion for clean energy in the stimulus package is spent.

[UPDATE: Kate Sheppard at Grist quotes an anonymous source close to Jones who says that "'green jobs czar' is an overstatement."]

I can’t imagine a more appropriate pick for this job than the author of the recent book The Green Collar Economy and president of the Oakland-based group Green for All, whose slogan, “building a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty,” should be adopted by Obama himself. And it’s a fitting trajectory for someone who has been beating the green jobs drum for four years. (I interviewed Van for Utne Reader in June 2005 during the UN Green Cities Summit, when he was taking the “green-collar jobs” meme out for an early road-test.)

Hopefully government work won’t require Jones to tone down his fiery rhetorical style. His ability to cast his environmental justice mission in stark moral terms — “do we want eco-apartheid or eco-equity?” — should be seen as an asset by the White House, even if it makes some of the suits on Capitol Hill squirm. And he has an amazing gift for connecting with audiences that might not agree with him on everything. He reportedly had a crowd of evangelical Christians in L.A. so fired up about their religious duty to protect God’s creation they were practically writhing on the floor speaking in green tongues.

Some cynics are questioning whether Jones should take the job, suggesting that he might be more effective on the outside than in government. That thought had crossed my mind, too. But despite his rock-star status among progressive enviros, he’s not yet a household name like Al Gore, who I honestly believe really is more effective where he sits now than he would be in the White House. (An Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize wouldn’t hurt, either.) Would conservative leaders like Paul Wolfowitz or John Bolton have been more effective at advancing their agendas during the Bush years if they had stayed on the sidelines, speaking at conferences and pumping out policy papers for think-tanks? I think not. Government is exactly where Van Jones should be.

The optimist in me has to wonder, too, if Jones’s appointment isn’t a sign that president Obama may be backing away from his support for so-called “clean” coal. In his keynote speech at the PowerShift ’09 conference (see video below), which brought 12,000 young climate activists to DC to lobby Congress for green jobs and clean energy, Jones said: “There is no such thing as the tooth fairy. There is no such thing as unicorns. And there is no such thing as ‘clean’ coal.” (download audio)

Van, the world’s been waiting a long time for you.

Written by leifutne

March 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Video: Van Jones Goes to Washington

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One of my personal heroes, Van Jones, president of Green for All and author of The Green Collar Economy, testified last week before Congress on the importance of focusing on green jobs in the economic stimulus package. Jones tells the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that this Congress has a historic opportunity to solve the two greatest challenges facing the US — the economic meltdown and the climate crisis.

Written by leifutne

January 18, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Vicki Robin on the new “Your Money or Your Life”

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A short video I produced for my good friend Vicki Robin, co-author of the bestseller “Your Money or Your Life.”  The new revised and updated edition of this great book hit stores December 10, 2008. For more on the YMOYL program for financial independence, to order your copy of the book, or to see if the book tour is visiting a city near you, visit http://www.yourmoneyoryourlife.info.

Written by leifutne

January 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Gingerbread Winslow Cohousing Tour

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Today Cilla and I organized a gingerbread bake with our neighbors in the Winslow Cohousing Group, where we live on Bainbridge Island. Enjoy this little tour.

Written by leifutne

November 30, 2008 at 7:36 pm

The Tactics of Hope – Join the Social Entrepreneur Movement

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Great little video put together by my friend Wilford Welch to promote his recent book “The Tactics of Hope.” This inspiring volume tells the stories of 27 social entrepreneurs who are changing the world — from microfinance (Muhammed Yunus) to green jobs (Van Jones) to life-saving technologies (PlayPumps). Please read this book.

Then check out the accompanying website, TacticsOfHope.org, which has a cool tool that helps you figure out what issues you are most passionate about, then matches you to organizations you may want to explore getting involved with, from the incredible database at Wiser Earth.

Written by leifutne

November 11, 2008 at 1:39 am

Lost Votes

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Jason Osgood, Washington State’s Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, has created a clever spoof of Apple’s Mac v. PC commercials, highlighting the problems with electronic touch-screen voting machines. (Via The Brad Blog)

Written by leifutne

September 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm

News networks chicken out over “pig-gate?”

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Tell the media to grow a pair.

Written by leifutne

September 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Posted in politics, videos

john.he.is Video Lampoons McCain on Iraq

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This parody of the popular pro-Obama ‘Yes We Can’ video is so brilliant, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Enjoy! 

Written by leifutne

February 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

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