No laughing matter
Hurricane Isaac renders GOP convention in Tampa a disaster of biblical consideration
By Kevin Uhrich 08/29/2012
They say God works in mysterious ways, and darned if Hurricane Isaac didn’t seem like one of those.
It would be nice to think that Yahweh, God, Allah, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, the saints, prophets and angels all teamed up on this one, finally fed up with all the woman-hating, death penalty-loving, entitlement-cutting, Medicare-vouchering, Social Security-coveting and climate-change-denying Republican rhetoric spewing out of the Republican National Convention this week in Tampa.
Maybe this — a hurricane pounding the still-fragile Gulf Coast on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — would be enough to force at least a few Republicans to believe the long-established fact that climate change is caused by humans and today, thanks largely to decades of Republican delays and denials, is considered irreversible.
But don’t hold your breath (unless, of course, you’re already under water) waiting for that to happen. Just as Republicans are intent on turning Medicare into a voucher system, privatizing Social Security and denying women reproductive choices with such mean-spirited proposals as eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, there are few GOP believers in newly emerging facts about global warming, all of which tell us things are worse than ever.
“Our Changing Climate 2012,” for instance, a recently released summary of 34 peer-reviewed scientific studies conducted by 26 research teams from six University of California campuses, Stanford University and five other institutions, shows we are in store for more heat waves, longer fire seasons and rising sea levels.
“Rising temperatures will also yield more rain but less snow and cause the mountain snow packs that do accumulate to melt earlier and more quickly,” scientist John Grula wrote in a column, “The brave new world of global warming,” which appeared in last week’s Pasadena Weekly. “This will reduce California’s ability to generate hydroelectric power and deliver a steady source of water during the hot and dry summer months, when power and water are most needed.”
Another study, this one conducted by researchers at UCLA at the request of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, found that the average temperature will increase by four to five degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century, “tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations,” according to the report.
As JPL Climatologist Bill Patzert told PW reporter Logan Nakyanzi Pollard, “There’s no going back, it’s irreversible. The length and duration of heat waves have dramatically increased. A two- to three-day heat wave will be the two-week heat wave in the 21st century.”
So not only will temperatures continue soaring, remaining high for longer periods, but rising tides will eventually inundate and perhaps consume much of the California coastline, and the water to drink and power needed to save ourselves will be scarce if not nonexistent.
Republicans certainly aren’t oblivious to what’s going on, as evidenced by their pushing back the opening day of the convention from Monday to Tuesday. On Tuesday, FOX News reported the Category 1 hurricane with winds of up to 94 mph had made its way through the Gulf and hit land, where thousands of people had either already barricaded themselves in their homes and businesses or evacuated the area.
But even though most of the nation is currently suffering through record-breaking heat and drought, and a hurricane actually threatened to derail the Republican National Convention, neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama is talking very much about global warming, Grula notes.
Gosh (or gee, or golly), as the devoutly Mormon Romney might say, if a hurricane nearly ruining nomination proceedings at the Republican’s national convention isn’t enough to convert GOP global warming skeptics, it’s hard to imagine what would, just as it’s difficult to imagine how Republicans plan to deal with the consequences of a world without Medicare, Social Security and a woman’s right to choose.
With this in mind, it’s interesting to note who Isaac of the Bible was. The only son of Abraham, Isaac, as a boy, was about to be sacrificed to God by his father when an angel stayed the old man’s hand. From there, Isaac went on to marry Rebecca, father Jacob and become one of the great patriarchs of the ancient Israelites, living to the ripe old age of 180, in biblical years. It seems he earned his name, which is a transliteration of the word Yishaq, which means “he laughs” or “let him laugh.”
Let us pray Isaac and his celestial brethren got the last laugh in Tampa this week, and that Republicans finally develop the foresight required to see that global warming is real and worsening and the heart to realize the pain their radical policies will cause if they are ever enacted.