Whatever happened to climate change? (5×8 -10/26/12)

The science of misinformation, are the kids moving back in or moving back out, are you even nice, the first dance, and empowering Latinos.


This being “Science Friday” and all, let’s lead off today’s five elements (get it?) with this question: Why isn’t there any science discussion in a presidential campaign that’s been underway for three years?

Take climate change, for example. This week NPR looked at the climate policies of the two major party candidates. For Obama, NPR’s Richard Harris says, he’s got the “environmental vote” anyway, so why bring up something that’s going to lose him points politically?

“The trend here is that Obama will continue to pander to the right and leave a progressive vacuum behind him because he knows that liberals are terrified of the Republicans and won’t vote for anybody else because everybody else is shut out of the debates and ‘can’t win anyway’ so he really has no reason to do anything of mild importance to democrats, liberals, or progressives,” a commenter notes at NPR. “That is a shame and a sham.”

How did climate change get so toxic? This week, PBS’ Frontline released “Climate of Doubt,” which explored how science took a back seat to a well-organized campaign to make it so.

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

None of this may matter. It may be too late to stop the damage from climate change, ABC News reports today.

Related: Alright, so this isn’t really related at all, but — people! — it’s Liz Lemon!


Half in or half out?

There are two conflicting perspectives on the same report this morning. Marketplace reports that “multi-generational living,” (that’s code for “you’re not really rid of your grown kids after all”) is increasing.

But the Associated Press reports the kids are moving out.

‘Young people are moving out of their parents’ basements and sampling places and sampling careers again,” an urban theorist (an urban theorist?) tells the AP. ”After living at home for a while, young people have kind of maxed it out. They are heading to bigger, vibrant cities, predominantly, because they’re looking for economic opportunity and building their social networks.”

Check your guest room and let me know if anyone’s still in there.


Via Twitter, Blake Hanson says he’s noticed these signs sprouting around Minneapolis lately…


Cory Wagner spotted one, too.


“Are you even nice?” Who’d like to step forward with the story behind them?


This is the kind of image that, if you impress it into your brain today, might help you get past all the horrible news that’s out there….


That’s Marcela Gaviria dancing with Dempsey Springfield at her wedding this summer. When she was 7 years old, she was diagnosed with a form of cancer that nearly took her leg, and still might.

Over the years, Dr. Springfield has performed surgery after surgery on her. Her body looks like a shark attack, she says. And when she was younger, she told Springfield she didn’t think anyone would ever want to marry her and “sign up for her life” of surgeries.

When she was married this year, her first dance was with Springfield.


“Learning a new language can be daunting, especially if the use of that language is so important to everyday life,” our pals at Bus 52 write this week.

Empowering Latinos, a program of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, is making it easier.

Bonus I: Is Charlie Brown bad for kids?

Bonus II: Is voting like sex? (Washington Post)


Newspapers in Milwaukee and St. Paul have decided to withhold some endorsements this political season. Today’s Question: Do newspaper endorsements play a role in your vote?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: This week on the Friday Roundtable, our panelists will discuss the problem with political labels, what was learned from the presidential debates, and the fall of Lance Armstrong.

Second hour: Productivity in the workplace.

Third hour: Gay marriage initiatives around the country.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): On Being’s “Civil Conversations Project.” Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici speak as “political bridge people” about reaching common ground on the budget.

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – Think monsters are make-believe? Join Ira Flatow for a look at the history of real, live zombies, and why vampires hate garlic.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is on the campaign trail for a second term. We’ll hear what she’s telling voters and from some other Democrats who hope her strength helps them down the ticket. MPR’s Tom Scheck has the story.

Laura Yuen will report that FBI confirmation this week that two additional men left for Somalia to allegedly join Al-Shabab as recently as July has both puzzled and concerned Somali community members. The terror group has retreated from several cities in Somalia it used to control.

Minneapolis writer Elizabeth Foy Larsen is co-author of “Unbored: The essential field guide to serious fun.” It’s a textbook for youngsters on how to do everything from writing a journal and using Foursquare to shortsheeting a bed. In a way it’s a throwback to the how-to books which were popular in the old days, but it’s very modern in its approach. MPR’s Euan Kerr interviews her.

  • Dylan Kvasnicka

    I have no story, but I just this morning noticed a sign on 394 near the lyndale/hennepin exit. i didn’t think much of it at the time, but now i’m curious.

  • BJ

    regarding Liz Lemon – That’s funny because it sounds like almost every person that tries to convince me of some point (conservative or liberal). “That thing I don’t remember the details of”

  • JackU

    #1 – We’ve allowed the discussion of science in this country to devolve into a debate where one side shouts “your explanations violate my religious freedom” as the counter to ideas they don’t want to discuss. Since religious freedom is founding pillar of our society it becomes a issue politicians avoid if they can.

  • melissa

    Re: Bonus #1 – Charlie Brown. I am the parent of a toddler and I noticed the language and name calling in The Great Pumpkin when I watched it for the first time with my child. That said, I watch everything with a different lens now that I’m a parent. I watch Disney movies and think that they must be (and are) terrifying for children. Why can’t we just take this as an opportunity to talk to our kids about how we should treat others? Does everything have to be sterilized? What about our job as parents?

  • essjayok

    Re: Are you Even Nice?

    I saw one of those signs a few weeks ago and boy did it stick with me. It’s a great question and it led me to think more about how I am treating those in my life.

    I am trying to do one truly nice thing a day, and one less passive/not-even-nice thing as well.

    So, they had a tiny impact on at least one person. I would love if you found the source Bob!! If anyone can, it’s you!

  • Robert Moffitt

    That was an excellent Frontline episode — as was “The Choice” a few weeks ago. You’ll note that the climate change deniers (the pros, I mean) learned their skills seeding doubt about the health risks of tobacco.

    More on these people and how they sell the Big Lie in the book “Merchants of Doubt.”

  • Kirk W

    I think that the depth of the recession happened to climate change. If we can’t pay for a new SUV every two years, why should we pay for doing things like sequestering CO2?

    The prevailing attitude in this country, sadly, is that kicking the can down the road until the road ends or the can is destroyed is perfectly acceptable–especially if it doesn’t affect your tidy life.

  • Xopher

    As someone who was bullied as a child, I took an immense amount of solace in Charlie Brown growing up. (Especially the comic strip). I read a ton of Peanuts books from the 50s and 60s in the 80s, and they held up well. Just because bullying is depicted does not mean it is glorified. Kids are smart enough to figure that out.

  • Elizabeth O.

    Driving home tonight, I think I’ve figured out the “Are you even nice?” signs. I’ve seen some signs that say “Keep Minnesota Nice, Vote No Twice”. Might be a subtle nod to that sign campaign.

  • Alison

    All I can say is…Charlie Brown is the battle some one chooses? This is what you would like to censor with all the reality TV and other crap? My brother and I have gotten excited about this every year since I can remember…both of us can recite the entire show by heart. It was a family tradition to carve pumpkins and watch Charlie Brown Halloween. Why is everyone offended by everything now!?