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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Gene Lyons examines the terrible costs of denying climate change in his new column, “The Terrible Victory Of Global Warming Deniers:”

At the expense of being tedious, from a climatological perspective, 2011 was a real killer—both figuratively and literally. If not quite so hot as 2010, which tied 1998 for the warmest in recorded history, it’s likely to end up among the top ten, all occurring over the past fifteen years according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Extreme weather plagued much of the world. Drought in East Africa has caused mass starvation; catastrophic floods came to Thailand, southern Africa and Australia. Winter temperatures across Russia averaged 4 degrees Celsius (roughly 9 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. Arctic sea ice was the second lowest on record.

Closer to home, extreme drought and wildfires turned Texas and adjacent southwestern states into a living hell last summer. In Texas alone, 3 million acres burned up. Conditions haven’t improved much since. Cattlemen wonder if their way of life can be sustained there very much longer. F5 Tornadoes destroyed huge swaths of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri. In August, Vermont and upstate New York suffered record hurricane damage—Vermont!

So what else is new? When it comes to climate change, it appears that the stronger the evidence, the weaker the response. Recent United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa accomplished little but to postpone things until 2015. Then negotiators will try to devise what the Washington Post called “global climate pact with legal force, applying to all nations.”

What with China, India and the United States resisting binding limits to greenhouse gas emissions, the odds seem remote that can happen.

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U.S. SUPREME COURT

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In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, some conservatives and mainstream media outlets have suggested that anti-abortionists may be willing to support more generous family welfare programs to offset the financial burden of forced birth. These suggestions, whether made in bad faith or ignorance, completely misunderstand the social function of prohibiting abortion, which is to exert control over women and all people who can get pregnant.

In adopting or replicating the right’s framing of anti-abortionists as “pro-life,” these outlets mystify the conservative movement’s history and current goals. Conservatives have sought to dismantle the United State’s limited safety net since the passage of the New Deal. Expecting the movement to reverse course now is absurd, and suggesting so serves primarily to obfuscate the economic hardship the end of Roe will inflict on people forced to carry a pregnancy to term.

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Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters

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Donald Trump's hand-picked candidate Blake Masters is the latest to endorse the unpopular idea.

The front-runner in the GOP primary to run for Senate in Arizona in November against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly suggested on June 23 that Social Security should be privatized, an approach to the popular government program that experts say could jeopardize a vital financial lifeline for retired Americans.

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