ColumnsWhat A World

The Too-Hot Blues

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—and who to blame when it gets hotter
by Nancy Ford

Drop an egg on a sidewalk. These days, it won’t fry. It simply disintegrates, leaving behind an ashy little stain under a mini-mushroom cloud.

It’s so hot that my neighborhood’s streets are buckled and ridged to the point that if you drive over them at just the right speed, the vibration causes your car’s tires to play “It’s Raining Men.” At least it’s raining something.

It’s so hot that the most popular urban destination for sizzling Americans is Costco’s spacious, delightfully windy fresh produce department. Or just go to your local grocery store, proceed to the frozen food section, open the door, and rest your head on a bag of frosty Brussels sprouts. The manager will understand.

It’s so hot that Marcus Bachmann’s botox is even waxier than normal. Or, if you prefer, it’s hotter than Marcus Bachmann at a Ricky Martin concert. One more: it’s hotter than Marcus Bachmann in a latex bodysuit.

Too far? Sorry for the visual. I get the blues when I’m hot.

I got the heat-stroking, sidewalk-smoking, too-hot blues.

Likewise convulsing with said heat, our sickly Mother Earth has belched up an earthquake so powerful it produced enough cracks in the Washington Monument to shut it down—a feat terrorists who mean harm to America can only dream of.

I got the world-ending, tongue-extending, too-hot blues.

Like much of the rest of our country, Texas has set a new record for the most number of days hitting a temperature of 100 degrees or more. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2,712 high-temperature records were either tied or broken in July, compared with 1,444 last year. That’s almost double. California and Arizona tied for the hottest temperature recorded in July, hitting 120 degrees.

I got the hurricane-forming, Atlantic-storming, too-hot blues.

Just like our planet, the campaign trail is heating up with Republican candidates vying for their party’s nod toward the White House. Like everyone else, politicians love to talk about the weather. But when politicians talk about it, they give us more insight than just random chatter. They also tell us what we can expect from them, in terms of how they intend to approach the climate crisis.

Speaking in June at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, former governor Mitt Romney had this to say about that: “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”

Reasonable? Yes. Temporarily. Within 24 hours, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul had clarified: “Gov. Romney does not think greenhouse gases are pollutants within the meaning of the Clean Air Act, and he does not believe that the EPA should be regulating them. CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. Humans emit it every time they exhale.”

Sing with me! I got the hair-splitting, dust-spitting, too-hot blues…

Speaking of hair and spit, Texas governor Rick Perry doesn’t need a staffer to clarify how he feels about mankind’s contribution to global climate change:

“I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects,” Gov. Perry stated on August 17 at a business roundtable in New Hampshire. “Almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”

I got the stomach-turning, oil profits-earning, too-hot blues…

At a February logging conference in Redding, Washington, former Alaska governor/reality show star Sarah Palin spoke of how protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act could impede oil exploration. “We knew the bottom linewas ultimately to shut down a lot of our development,” she said. “It didn’t make any sense because it was based on these global-warming studies that now we’re seeing is [sic] a bunch of snake-oil science.”

I got the polar bear-killing, irresponsible off-shore-drilling…

During her first House reelection, in 2008, Rep. Michele Bachmann declared: “The big thing we are working on now is the global-warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”

A year later: “Carbon dioxide is natural, it is not harmful,” Rep. Bachmann said in a House floor speech. “It is part of Earth’s life cycle, and yet we’re being told that we have to reduce this natural substance, reduce the American standard of living, to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in Earth.”

…ocean-boiling, thong-soiling…

Maintaining consistency, Bachmann told the New Hampshire GOP candidates’ debate on June 13 that she would eradicate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, calling it “a job-killing federal agency.”

…road-raging, coup-staging…

On the more moderate hand, Republican presidential hopeful and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman disagrees with his colleagues. In August, he told ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “When we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have saidabout what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.” Just like the position Gov. Huntsman is likely to find himself in if he doesn’t start toeing his party’s line on the environment.

…scalp-toasting, toe-roasting…lunch-hurling, weave-uncurling…saliva-evaporating, nudity-necessitating…too, too, too-hot blues!

Oh, yeah.

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