Global Warming and Science Denial

Today’s guest was Alan Ferrenberg, retired rocket scientist and former science teacher and member of the Citizen’s Science Lobby. We discussed:
1. The Union of Concerned Scientists
2. Really awful Hurricane Season with Hurricane Maria heading to Puerto Rico and global warming denialism
3. What is happening at the EPA and the politicizing of scienc
4. Denying science education overall

Beyond Spin featuring Nathaniel Lloyd from Historical Blindness

The Show on Monday, Sept. 18th features:

  1. My good friend, writer and podcaster Nathaniel Lloyd who is going to talk all about his podcast “Historical Blindness” which is both interesting and extremely relevant to the moment.
  1. We’re going to talk about the latest brouhaha over Confederate Memorials and ask Nathaniel if he can help us sort out the history of these things
  2. We’re going to talk about partisanship, and about a recent article in VOX about the continued sorting of America.
  3. In our last segment, I have got to chat about the partisan rancor that enveloped the Emmy’s last night.

 

I’m Ed Lyngar, reminding you that Journalism is saying what someone else does not want said; everything else is public relations.”

Follow me on Twitter @Edwin_Lyngar

Check out Beyond Spin from Thursday Sept. 14

Beyond Spin is brand new in Reno! We’ve just finished our first week, and we’re ready to start sharing the podcasts live, over the Internet in addition to being available online.  Please listen to our show from Thursday with RobRoy McCandless, a writer and author. Today, we cover local news, Rob’s book and the latest in Donald Trump inspired agony. Catch us weekdays on 96.1 /1270 the Buzz!

First Show Done, More to Come

We had our first show yesterday. I wrote some ideas that I skimmed, but I didn’t go into all the detail, so I thought I’d post my mini-essay today. Keep listening and thanks for the support.

Ed’s Rant of the Day

I want to talk about the name of this program, because the idea of spin has been beaten to death, abused and appropriated by people who will lie to you when the truth will work. They lie for fun or sport or to get YOU to act against your own self interest.

I worked as a career Public Relations professional for 22 years, so I understand the idea of spin. Real spin is not lying. It’s just telling a story from your perspective. It’s not so much dishonesty as it is perspective.

But the idea of spin has been hijacked by liars and partisans, and I’m kind of sick of dishonest people stealing the idea of honest spin, and defending their side, regardless. Your guy sets fire to a pile of babies? He’s “unpredictable.” The other guy does the same thing and he’s a monster.

Usually, it’s not dead babies, but something that can be packaged and sold, lied about even when the truth is well known.

My favorite example is “Tax cuts pay for themselves.” If we cut taxes on the rich, they’re going to share it with YOU. This has been disproven time and again, and we’re living with this lie right now. Those same people who want to give billionaires a pile of money right now in Washington say that we can’t afford free cheese for poor pregnant ladies or home heating oil for the poor in the northeast. That’s not spin, it’s an ugly lie designed to shovel money upwards to people who do not need it, but who happen to pay campaigns (go figure).

The truth of most things often lies in the middle. But lately, we’ve seen above average nuttiness congregating on the right, especially around Donald Trump. Sure, you can find wackiness on the liberal side too, but mostly they’re having drum circles or throwing paint on people in fur coats. They are not throwing around loose talk of thermonuclear war. The lunacy that has seemed to infect some on the right—NOT ALL—has exploded.

I’m a progressive-minded person, but I wasn’t always so. I voted for George W. Bush in my younger years. I’m not here to vilify everyone I disagree with, a category that includes many, many people I love, like my own parents, friends and most of the people I grew up with in Battle Mountain. But, there are some people who do need vilifying and most especially need to be mocked. You know them, they’re some of the rebel-flag loving, “I’m-not-racist-but” types. They often act pious at the same time they support ideas that would make Jesus cry. On this show, we’re going to have a lot of fun at the expense of the undependable. I’m dusting off my “your mom” jokes as we speak.

And that’s my rant. How do you see it? Call us and let us know.

College viewed with suspicion, liberal arts in decline

Something crazy is happening in education, including rising prices, an unwise attack on the liberal arts, and a large and growing partisan divide on the value of education itself.

I keep reading articles about the vanishing of he Humanities, often with attended “debunking” of the reasons for the shift. For instance, the Washington Post ran a large article on parents who refuse to let their kids study liberal arts just last week. Inside Higher Ed has been cataloging the shrinking Humanities major for years, noting in an article from March of 2016 that:

As a percentage of all bachelor’s degrees, the core disciplines in the humanities disciplines fell in 2014 to their lowest recorded level, 6.1 percent, in all years going back to 1948, the period for which the academy has reliable numbers. As recently as the early 1990s (well after STEM fields were open to women and many preprofessional programs grew), the equivalent figure was 8 percent. The highest level ever was 17.2 percent in 1967.

So what’s going on here? You can read the article for yourself, but the trend is really ugly if, like me, you believe that education is an inherent good. As if the shrinking majors weren’t bad enough, this ugliness seems to be partisan. A poll from July by Pew noted a growing (and I would argue alarming) trend in Republican circles. That education is not unnecessary but that it is actually bad:

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

What are we to make of this? You can get a good job without a college degree. There are good jobs still in the trades. There’s many ways to make it happen. But, in my own experience and from empirical evidence, it is much harder.  I think rich, educated people are telling the poor slobs that they don’t need “no goddamn education.” And it seems to be working. I expect that we are throwing away a lot of potential at the moment, with more to follow.

I grew up in a very Republican home in a rightwing, small town. In my childhood, education was viewed as a way out by most people, including my own folks. My own education has allowed me to travel, grow and learn. I believe in life-long learning. I also became more liberal. I wonder what my folks would say about my education now.

Anyway you slice it, I see these trends as bad news.

Bill O’Reilly: 20 Years of Morality Lectures from a Sexual Predator

Originally Posted on Role/Reboot

I can’t believe he’s gone. As horrific and unlikely as the election of Donald Trump, the demise of Bill O’Reilly is almost as unbelievable but also wonderful and far, far overdue.

Bill’s life is a parade of continuous insult and cruelty, piped in the houses of old men who share the sentiment. It’s a safe space for curmudgeons to gather and dissect the many problems with “kids these days” and to throw around outdated terms for women and minorities. Continue reading Bill O’Reilly: 20 Years of Morality Lectures from a Sexual Predator

A Giant Pain in my Toe and Wallet — Drug Prices Suck

The price of a drug I need for a chronic condition was raised for no reason, but I paid because I was in pain.

I have gout and it hurts like hell whenever I have a flareup.  It’s mostly under control these days, but a few months ago it wasn’t and my left toe was red, inflamed and in serious fucking pain.  I have a few normal, proven techniques to deal with an attack, like diet and inflammatories, but this last attack could not be controlled.  I limped off to the doctor, and she prescribed something I hadn’t taken since my first outbreak five years before—a drug called Colchicine.

In my vague memory, the drug costed a few bucks, perhaps no more than $20. Yet when I got to the pharmacy, the cost to fill the prescription was more than $150 for a few pills.  The pharmacist was embarrassed and apologetic.  I didn’t care. I was in pain and shelled out the money, and my very painful symptoms were gone in one day. Continue reading A Giant Pain in my Toe and Wallet — Drug Prices Suck

My Colonoscopy: A Love Story

Caution: Do no read this, unless you have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old.  Also, every word of this is true:

I had to get my butthole snaked and probed.  I had some gut issues, and they wanted to make sure everything was okay.  Spoiler: It’s all fine.  But one of the gifts of middle age is that your asshole is no longer a private matter.  The doctor is always, “how’s the asshole Mr. Lyngar? Is your cock working okay?” and “why are you so fat?”  I am paraphrasing, but these are the questions one must answer as routine after hitting 40 or so.  Continue reading My Colonoscopy: A Love Story

Boating Safety (or lack of such) in Honduras

On my vacation to Roatan, Honduras, almost no one wore life jackets and few boats even carried them.  This fellow (below) had zero life jackets aboard. When I tried to talk to him about it, he just kept pointing out that this boat was named “Trust Me.”  He was almost insulted that I asked.

Trust Me
Trust Me

When I insisted on putting life jackets on my children on the water taxis there, they were only ill-fitting type two jackets.  Continue reading Boating Safety (or lack of such) in Honduras