Tag Archives: Stephen Colbert

Amusing Monday: Colbert reacts to climate change

Last week, Stephen Colbert went on an eight-minute rant about climate change, talking about how humans should or should not respond to the upheaval in the environment. It is a speech that only Colbert with his unique persona could pull off in grand style.

Listen for the part where commentator Erick Erickson asks, “What does it matter?” Even if everyone were to shut down production of greenhouse gases, he says, it would take about 100 years to see the effect.

And Colbert responds: “Yeah, what’s the point of going to all that trouble if me and Erick Erickson won’t be around to enjoy it? Sure, our grandkids will. But I don’t want to be one of those grandpas who spoils the grandkids with a habitable planet.”

Amusing Monday: Climate and strange politics

The North Carolina Legislature is taking action to address climate change. But a bill passed last week has generated humor and ridicule, including a segment by Stephen Colbert on “The Colbert Report.”

As Colbert describes it, the bill would address the coming crisis predicted by climate models by “outlawing the climate models.” The bill, which has since passed the Senate, abandons the idea of using actual predictions of sea level rise in the effort to protect homes from flooding.

The North Carolina Legislature seems to be saying that it is too inconvenient to believe that sea level may rise up to three feet, so we’ll just set the maximum at 8 inches.

Colbert loves this approach:

“This is a brilliant solution. If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying that the result is illegal. Problem solved.

“I think we should start applying this method to even more things that we don’t want to happen. For example, I don’t want to die…. If we consider only historical data, I have been alive my entire life. Therefore, I always will be. And if you extrapolate my life from the critical period of age 8 to 18, I will grow to be over 20 feet tall. So I say, bravo, North Carolina.”

Straight-news reporter John Murawski describes the actual effects of the bill in the Winston-Salem Journal:

“The practical result of the legislation would be that for the purposes of coastal development, local governments could only assume that the sea level will rise 8 inches by 2100, as opposed to the 39 inches predicted by a science panel….

“The legislation gives the state Coastal Resources Commission sole responsibility for predicting the rate of sea-level rise to be used as a basis for state and local regulations. The commission’s 15 members are appointed by the governor.

“But the legislation also defines how the Coastal Resources Commission is to decide sea-level rates. Specifically, the law says forecasts can be based on historical data only and can’t take into account non-historical factors. The key factor that’s disqualified is the belief that greenhouse gases are causing climate change and speeding up glacier melts.”

Scott Huler, a blogger with Scientific American, says the legislation is “exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow’s weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east.”

Huler says he wants North Carolina to pass a law declaring him a billionaire and winner of the Pulitzer Prize with the good looks of George Clooney. He continues:

“You think I’m kidding, but listen to me: I’m from North Carolina, and that’s how we roll. We take what we want to be reality, and we just make it law. So I’m having my state senator introduce legislation writing into law all the stuff I mentioned above. This is North Carolina, state motto: ‘Because that’s how I WANT it to be.’”

Michael Yudell of the Philadephia Inquirer says maybe the NC Legislature was inspired by Superman’s Nemesis Lex Luther, who bought up thousands of acres of land east of the San Andreas fault. Luther’s goal was to trigger an earthquake to submerge coastal cities and leave him with valuable waterfront property.

“Granted,” Yudell writes, “it may take 100 or more years for their own diabolical plan to pay off, but if ice sheets keep falling into the ocean, sea levels may rise faster than predicted just a few years back… In other words, to hell with the science. Let’s have an underwater beach party!”

With these moves, the North Carolina Legislature has formally moved into the camp of those who cannot accept what climatologists are telling them.

Among those who write about climate change, there’s an ongoing debate about what to call these folks. Are they climate skeptics? Climate denialists? Climate contrarians? Climate agnostics? Check out Leo Hickman of “The Guardian” for a discussion about these names.

It probably isn’t fair to lump everyone together. The one thing these folks have in common is swimming upstream against mainstream climatology. But their views are varied, and their members include:

  • those who flat-out deny that our climate is changing,
  • those who believe that our climate is changing but don’t believe humans are to blame,
  • those who believe that climate is changing and humans are to blame, but it’s too late and too expensive to do anything about it, and
  • those who believe that all mainstream scientists are liars, so we should believe only the fringe scientists.

To end on a serious note, our society must find better ways of reaching agreement on actions to address climate change. People are not turning away from the findings of climatologists because they are ignorant or fail to understand the methods of science. Rather it is more of a problem of group thinking, as described by a study reported in Nature magazine. You can read the report, but here’s the final conclusion:

“As citizens understandably tend to conform their beliefs about societal risk to beliefs that predominate among their peers, communicators should endeavor to create a deliberative climate in which accepting the best available science does not threaten any group’s values. Effective strategies include use of culturally diverse communicators, whose affinity with different communities enhances their credibility, and information-framing techniques that invest policy solutions with resonances congenial to diverse groups.”

Amusing Monday: The many sides of Earth Day

Two years ago for Earth Day, Lewis Black on “The Daily Show” turned his sarcasm to what he called “the equivalent of Christmas for our home planet.” He actually made a few good points. So, with Earth Day coming up on Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to share this video with you.

The second video comes from “The Colbert Report,” in which Stephen Colbert celebrates Earth Day with a little trash talk for other planets.

If two men shouting insults in celebration of our “blue planet” fails to strike a chord, I offer you another view of this “holiday” from Bea Wildered, a cartoon character on Planet Green.

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Amusing Monday: Colbert’s wisdom about whales

Following recent news that Japanese whalers have called off their Antarctic hunt for the remainder of this season, Stephen Colbert wags his finger at the “environmentalist blubber huggers” who caused the “research” to be cut short.

“Without this research,” Colbert says, “how will Japanese scientists know what teriyaki blow hole tastes like?”

If this situation continues, Colbert worries that whales will take over the world and give us a new “Pledge of Allegiance,” which he previews in the following video.

The following clip includes other “wags.” To get to the bit about whales, advance to 4:34 on the timeline.

Amusing Monday: Ivar knew how to clam it up

I believe it was Ivar Hagland who first made clams funny in the Puget Sound area.

I couldn’t find a video of the original Dancing Clams, but the Ivar’s Web site contains a bunch of clammy TV commercials made as parodies of movies. The one embedded to the right is called “Ivar’s Chariots of Clams,” a takeoff of the runners on the beach at the beginning of “Chariots of Fire.”

There’s also “Ivar’s Dances with Clams,” “Back to Clam Future” and “Ivar’s Cavemen.”

In a different vein, there is “Ivar’s Rapping Fishermen.” Finally, in searching for these old videos, I found a music video about Ivar’s by Jr Cadillac, one of Seattle’s original rock ‘n’ roll bands. It’s called “Ivar’s Singing Clams.”

geoduck

Before leaving Ivar’s multimedia, I’d like to leave you with a song sung by Ivar himself called

 
Listening to it now, the song sounds as quaint as Ivar himself. Listen to the song to pick out familiar landmarks around the region.

If recollections of Ivar Haglund aren’t amusing enough, I’d like to point out that the mascot of The Evergreen State College is a giant clam, the geoduck. Is the photo I found on the school’s Web site really the mascot that incites team spirit at sports events? Click here to read the lyrics to “The Geoduck Fight Song.”

I’ll leave you with a recent bit by Stephen Colbert, who apparently enjoys putting eyes on little clams and dressing them up to look like movie characters. Click on the video player for “Googly Eyed Clams.”


Colbert Report – Googly Eyed Clams via Noolmusic.com