Archive for Friday, November 2, 2012

Letter: Hurricane Koch?

November 2, 2012


To the editor:

Hurricane Sandy looks to be the worst storm in recorded history. It was caused by the hottest year in recorded history, which was caused by three decades of the highest CO2 production in history, which was caused by the feeblest government environmental policy response since the environmental movement got going, which was caused by a massive campaign of climate change denial, which was caused by funding from carbon fuel industries, which was caused more than anything else by decisions reached by the Koch Industries of Wichita. Therefore I propose that this storm should be renamed Hurricane Koch.

Unfortunately, other people’s fantasies can hurt you, especially when you vote for science deniers. This message was brought to you by the reality-based community.


JackMcKee 5 years, 6 months ago

We'll be light years ahead as a country when people realize that the Kochs are just about the worst people to have ever stepped foot on planet earth.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

"Hurricane Sandy looks to be the worst storm in recorded history." Read up on the 1900 Galveston hurricane and get back to us when you've advance beyond the historical perspective of a mayfly.

repaste 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, sandy had a lower barometric pressure, and science is now showing maybe was the strongest ever. The 1900 hurricane was deadly, they did not have the warning systems/forcasting they have now. I think 1900 was B.P. of 28. something, Sandy was 27. something.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

"...In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $180 billion in damage if it were to strike today. Hurricane Katrina ranks fourth at $85 billion. To put things into even starker perspective, consider that from August 1954 through August 1955, the East Coast saw three different storms make landfall—Carol, Hazel and Diane—that in 2012 each would have caused about twice as much damage as Sandy. While it's hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane "drought." The last Category 3 or stronger storm to make landfall was Wilma in 2005. The more than seven years since then is the longest such span in over a century..."

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

If you've read any of my comments, you know that I recognize the clear evidence that climate change is real and that human activities are a major player in those changes. But Burress' letter is a hyperbolic extension of that reality that is more of a venting than a recounting of what we know. The science does not support a clear connection between Sandy and climate change, even though without a warmer ocean, Sandy wouldn't have had the power to make it out of the Caribbean. That's due to the fact that individual weather events are not climate, plain and simple. Scientists have predicted a 2-11% increase in hurricane intensity due to warmer oceans, which makes perfect sense since they are heat driven, but that's about as close as you can get. For an excellent review of the science, I suggest folks read:

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Here's another view on causation--

Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy by GEORGE LAKOFF on OCTOBER 30, 2012


Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.


Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism. In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal. And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation.

Global warming systemically caused the huge and ferocious Hurricane Sandy. And consequently, it systemically caused all the loss of life, material damage, and economic loss of Hurricane Sandy. Global warming heated the water of the Gulf and Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in greatly increased energy and water vapor in the air above the water. When that happens, extremely energetic and wet storms occur more frequently and ferociously. These systemic effects of global warming came together to produce the ferocity and magnitude of Hurricane Sandy."

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Dan Kahan's article (referenced above) talks about Lakoff's article and among other things, concludes that Hansen's depiction of a shifting norm is a more effective way of communicating the issue of climate change. I think he's right: check out Hansen's article here:

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

It's nice to know the weather is back as proof of global warming. That will make for an interesting winter.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

"Hurricane Sandy looks to be the worst storm in recorded history."

I couldn't get passed that. If you are willing to lie like that, nothing else you say can be trusted.

bad_dog 5 years, 6 months ago

Next time depress the gas pedal further if you want to get "past" something...

BTW, If you can't differentiate an obvious statement of opinion/speculation from an declaratory statement of fact, nothing else you say can be trusted.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the connection between climate change and hurricane frequency is tenuous at best, which is why Burress' letter does no service to better understanding the clear evidence that there are human-induced changes in the climate.

Mike Ford 5 years, 6 months ago

as a son and grandson of deceased people who lost their home and lives to katrina in pascagoula, mississippi, it is my hope that deniers of global warming get locked in a home during a hurricane like this to confront the consequences of their denial....denial is easy in simpleton kansas miles from any coast......don't be cowards own your denial......none of you have spent nights in a fema trailer like I DID.....OWN YOUR DENIAL.....

think_about_it 5 years, 6 months ago

Or we could just be smart enough to leave before the storm approaches. They did have at least a weeks notice you know...

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Did they all have cars and money for hotels?

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

There are other ways to "leave" an area.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

Hurricane comes, you get in car and leave. How do people not understand that?

Also, it doesn't surprise me you had to stay in a FEMA trailer. If you were my family I wouldn't let you in my house either.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 6 months ago

How do people not understand that not everyone owns a car...particularly in a large city with mass transit???

Now, I can understand your not remembering that New Orleans simply didn't have enough buses to evacuate the people who needed transportation to leave the city.

But this "let them eat cake" attitude does no one any good.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

They also didn't have the road capacity to evacuate everyone, even if they did all own a car or jump on a bus. By the time they ordered mandatory evacuation, it was physically impossible to evacuate the city.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

"How do people not understand that not everyone owns a car:

Right! How can you not take advantage of your freedom to travel alone. That's the underlying idea.

For people that cannot drive for one reason or another, then send in the national guard to help.

ThePilgrim 5 years, 6 months ago

Sandy was a Category 1 hurricane, and, by every prediction the week before, was actually by comparison a non-event. Some of this has to do with the hype. They're having the NY Marathon this weekend. Not much impact there!

hedshrinker 5 years, 6 months ago

category is not the only measure of devestation...dozens of people lost their lives, massive flooding, destruction of property and infrastructure, fires that destroyed about 100 homes,etc. There is a great deal of controversy about the marathon going ahead in the midst of such total you not look at the pix/video on every media outlet? this is not hype to the thousands of people experiencing their lives turned upside down.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 6 months ago

What a heartless comment. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

The guy lost parents and grandparents and his home to Katrina...and your response is "Boo hoo get over it".

jonas_opines 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh, for F sakes. It might still be election season, but politicizing everything under the sun is just flat idiotic, and demonstrates a complete lack of consideration for the real impact things like these have on real people.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Unless you're not using any petroleum products, electricity or eating food farmed with implements that use petroleum based fuels you're a hypocrite.

You can't complain about a problem if you're contributing to it. Don't talk the talk, walk the walk or shut up.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

So you're going to stop using government roads and refuse help if your house should catch on fire?

After all, you complained in this very thread that people were too dependent on government services. I'm assuming you only drink your own well water, burn your own garbage, process your own waste water, and refuse any sort of government service in order to be ideologically consistent with your assertion that someone can't call for reduced carbon emissions without eschewing any innovation of the last century.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

The government has a role such as providing infrastructure for the public good. As a taxpayer I should be able to use those roads, etc. I also pay for water and sewer which are part of infrastructure and something government should provide. So you shallow attempt to discredit me fails.

My point is the LTE writer is chastising those whose services he readily uses. That is hypcritical. The petroleum industry is using the technology required by government and if they didn't they would be shut down. So, if you have a problem with the technology blame the government not those that provide the products and services you demand.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, my attempt to discredit you was spot on. You're a hypocrite. You're chastising the services that you also use - the government, and you're using an equivalent strawman to criticize the LTE. Just because someone wants a reduction in greenhouse emissions does not mean they want to immediately cease all activity that uses petroleum. You have no idea what steps the LTE writer has taken to either reduce or offset his impact on the environment. He only argues that we should accept climate change as real and anthropomorphic.

You really should have just stuck with mocking the LTE writer for the hyperbole. That much was warranted.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Ah my little so dislike me don't you? So much so, you'll even try to discredit me by putting words into my mouth as if that makes what you say true.

I explained, I use the government services that government is obligated to provide and for which I pay. I don't expect the government to do everything for me only those things that they are mandated to do and for which I am taxed.

No where will you find that I have wrote or said there is no role for government, just that it is limited. You're not only putting words into my mouth, but also putting words into the LTE writer's mouth to try and erase your EPIC FAIL.

Go ahead, I'll give you the last word as I am done with you.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

No. I just think your arguments are lame and tiresome in this case. Sometimes you're capable of reason. I reversed your strawman in the hopes you'd see that this was exactly what you were doing to the LTE writer. Instead you're trying to whine about limited government while ironically defending the huge corporate welfare syphons known as the Kochs. You'd get a lot bigger bang for the buck by getting those fat cats off of the corporate welfare teat than you would by dog whistling about a bunch of disaster victims without two nickels to rub together.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Okay I said I'd give you the last word, but I just can't resist ending this on a note of agreement.

I agree - end corporate welfare. ie, end subsidies to businesses. No subsidies for petroleum, alternative and renewable energy and for farming. If I had to prioritize I'd pick the corporate welfare and work my way to a balanced and Constitutional government from there.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

There you go. A point of agreement. So let the LTE attack the Kochs. They'e sucking resources away from all of us taxpayers, and they're doing so at the cost of the environment. They certainly aren't the only big energy company to blame, but they've as good of a face for the problem as any.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago


There is a big difference between the government serving the public good and serving the individual. Proper for the government to come in after a disaster to help get the roads open, water flowing, power lines up and providing electricity, but not providing tax dollars to rebuild individual homes and businesses.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

This is an utterly simplistic, and wrong, point of view.

None of us created the system(s) we live in and depend on, and none of us can unilaterally change those systems in ways that are better, more sensible and more sustainable.

But according to you, if anyone believing there are better ways can't unilaterally impose it on the rest of the world, we should just kill ourselves. Like I said, that's just simplistic, and wrong.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

The LTE didn't say what you wrote. He just used the hurricane as an excuse to bash Koch. And yes, by our consumer demand we have created the system in which we live.

No demand for fossil fuel equals no production of fossil fuel.

I will however humor you - so what is the better way to provide affordable energy without carbon emission?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

It isn't so much a matter of whether we want a better way to provide for our energy needs, it's a matter of having to because fossil fuel use is going to kill us. But we're all addicted, and it'll take all of us engaging in a planet-wide twelve-step program to cure ourselves (and save the habitability of the planet.)

Unfortunately, there are too many powerful forces who like that addiction, and will do everything they can to prevent change. Are you one of those people?

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I support looking for cleaner sustainable sources of energy, but unlike the LTE writer I am not going to single out one energy producer to bash when I buy their products. Koch is not the only energy producer and not the largest so other than making a political statement why single them out?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Huh? Are you really unaware that the Koch Bros. are actively working AGAINST any changes in the energy status quo that would affect their bottom-line? And it's not just a matter of stating their minds-- they're spending $million to buy as many politicians as they can to do their bidding. They've singled themselves out with their disgustingly ignorant and selfish behavior.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

The Kochs are actively financing propaganda against climate change theory, so the use of their monicker on a storm likely influenced by their meddling was entirely appropriate.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

.......which was caused by the feeblest government environmental policy response since the environmental movement got going,

First LTE that I've read that blames both Koch and Obama in the same letter.

I am sure if Obama is re-elected he'll try to have a better environmental policy.

tomatogrower 5 years, 6 months ago

Great letter, despite all the Koch supporters coming out in droves this morning. Must not be able to sleep, because they are too angry that FEMA worked this time, unlike in New Orleans. Fewer starving people raiding grocery stores, so the conservatives could ridicule and debase them. Just ruined your fun didn't it?

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

FEMA working better? Obviously you've not seen the angry people crying out for help.

Plus, the East Coast is very different from the Chocolate City of New Orleans where people are so dependent on the government they couldn't figure out how to get out without the government telling how and providing the transportation.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, the Chocolate City comment is pretty outrageous.

I guess I'll have to downgrade my opinion of fred a few notches.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Outrageous? Really? Do you even understand what the term means? Obviously not.

Chocolate City means diverse. Just ask the former mayor of NO.

At a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration speech in New Orleans on January 16, 2006, Nagin used the phrase "Chocolate City" to signal that New Orleans would once again be as diverse a city as it was before Katrina.

Funny how the descriptive term was used on MLK day by a black mayor of the city, but when I use it I am labeled ignorant and racist. I suspect you two are the ignorant ones since you jumped to conclusions without understanding the meaning of the term.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Another way to interpret that comment is that the poor black people who had no means of transport out of NO and nowhere to go deserved to die.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Anyone can make up any interpretation of anything, but it doesn't mean it is correct.

Only someone who is a closet-racist would interpret it that way - I meant it the way I described it, are you a closet-racist? I mean you automatically jumped to the conclusion- was you mind in that racist gutter already for you to jump to a racist conclusion?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Your racist comments don't require a racist to interpret the racism behind them.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

okay bozo, I provided evidence as to the meaning of the term chocolate city to support my use of it. You said it can be intepreted a different way - provide a link to that definition and use or be quiet.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Here you go bozo and jafs....chocolate city is a nickname for NO - so why is my comment racist? Get your minds out of the racist gutter and educate yourself a little about what a term means before labeling someone a racist.

chocolate city

A nickname for New Orleans.

Mayor Ray Nagan says," New Orleans is a chocolate city

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I wasn't aware of that use of the term, so you're right about that.

But, if you look at your comment, you'll see that you are hardly praising the city when you use it, especially followed by the remarks about people being dependent on government.

In the original, it's a term of praise, and in your comment, it appears to be a term of derision.

So, I apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion, if I did, but perhaps you should examine your beliefs in this area a little more.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago are too nice of a person....seriously. I wish everyone I thought was misguided as you (jk) was as nice. We'd have better discussions and solutions.

My point is regardless of black or white there are so many people in NO that cannot function without the government. They are an example of what happens when people become too dependent on the government.

I could have made my post without the chocolate city adjective, but it came to mind because it was used by Mayor Nagin to describe NO right after Katrina. So, it is forever ingrained in my mind and is inseparable when I think of the city.

It really wasn't meant to be racist. Look at the east coast, they have diverse population too. Some are dependent on the government but not to the degree NO is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

You still want to buy into the meme that help from the government is the cause of poverty, and that's just not true.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

The only way out was by car, and they city could only support a 67% city evacuation over 12 hours. So if you don't have money for a car, for gas, or for a hotel, you couldn't get out. And even if you did have all those things, you couldn't necessarily get out.

Once the flooding started and the conditions at the underprepared Superdome became intolerable, many did try to walk out of the city to get to help. They were turned back by the police. People who were staying at hotel and weren't even from New Orleans were turned back by the police at gunpoint when they were trying to leave the city by foot.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

I hear you The police definitely were a problem in NO during Katrina. Murder and unlawful confiscation of guns to name just a couple of their crimes.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Competent government could have and would have relieved much of the suffering. The New England area had collectively more competent government in place than the south did, and Obama had a better response. Heckovajob Brownie ironically accused Obama of being too prepared and responding too quickly. LOLWUT?

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

Sorry but I do believe there are other means of transport than car. Plus there was considerable time to evacuate.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

No. The mandatory evacuation was ordered 12 hours before the storm. The buses and trains were not running at that time. Voluntary evacuation was ordered earlier, but only people with money to buy gas or transport and spend several days away from work would have left. The storm gained strength before landfall and could have veered in another direction several days out. Not everyone has the money to gamble on an evac for every storm. Hindsight is 20-20 and all that.

Take_a_letter_Maria 5 years, 6 months ago

Nope, not raiding grocery stores this time. Just diving in dumpsters to pull out food that is being tossed because they don't have any refrigeration.

FEMA worked this time? Tell that to the people in Hoboken.

Also, nice 6 hour photo op by the president before returning to the campaign trail. He never did visit the Nashville area during the destructive flooding there, but I guess there wasn't an election that year.

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

FEMA "worked?" Might want to double check that comment.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

Sandy wasn't even the most destructive hurricane in the last 10 years.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 6 months ago

Uh...the flooding was a direct effect of the storm winds. Just like if the winds knocked down a power line that started a fire that destroyed 100 homes. So, yes...the storm itself did do that much damage.

Sounds to me like maybe you're subconsciously thinking too much in terms of tornado damage.

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

But a lot of the flooding was caused by other conditions, one of which was the full moon which increased the tide to a high level.

roadwarrior 5 years, 6 months ago

thank you for mentioning that...I'm really surprised this thread has gone on as long as it has without anyone mentioning such an important aspect OF THE FLOODING ...!!!

Getaroom 5 years, 6 months ago

If the Koch Heads could have bested the worst storm ever and didn't(no matter which name you call it or when it happened), you can bet they will eventually.
They have done a #1 job of destroying Democracy and the The Constitution.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

In other New York City News: "...As hundreds of thousands of Big Apple residents suffer in homes left without power by Hurricane Sandy, two massive generators are being run 24/7 in Central Park — to juice a media tent for Sunday’s New York City Marathon. And a third “backup” unit sits idle, in case one of the generators fails..."

gravitykills 5 years, 6 months ago

Robert Koch is considered the founder of modern bacteriology. He even identified the tuberculosis bacterium in 1882 which would eventually lead to the treatment. Environmentally speaking, I guess he to should be added to the "Hurricane" since discarded drugs are effecting our drinking water or perhaps the author is including him.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

Some of you guys are looking at the category rating as the sole measure of a storm's power. The categories are a classification of wind speed, nothing else. This storm was 1000 miles across and had a very strong low (940mb) at its center, so it was an immense amount of energy that was thrown at the coast, even though wind speed topped out around 90 mph. Had the storm been half the size with the same low pressure, it might well have been a category 4. Coupled with the cold front, high tide, a full moon, and an unusual storm track from a strong high over Greenland, its destructive power was much greater than its raw wind speed would indicate.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

That's fair. Storm systems collide and make bigger storms. It's terrible that people die or are injured in such storms.

Mike Ford 5 years, 6 months ago

actually chootspa and liberty275, my mississippi ex relatives were dimwit tea partiers and dixiecrats who went to my late mother's home in Pensacola and came back three days later to nothing but the foundation of their home. Katrina washed away the whole neighborhood. So in other words they were as dumb as you and your heartless comments.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

Too much drama. You should have more respect for your family.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Please point out my heartless comments on the issue.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

It seems that Bloomie has called off the NY marathon....

Armstrong 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm voting for hurricane Lawrence O'Donnell or Chris Mathews both have more wind then Sandy

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

The Koch brothers can't attack the message so they go after the messenger.
Thank you, David and Charlie, for contributing to leukemia and toxic chemical poisoning rates. I'm sure the communities you grace with the presence of your refineries appreciate it.
(Why do they both remind me of Mr. Burns?)

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

"(Why do they both remind me of Mr. Burns?)" Probably because you've drunk the Alinsky Kool-Aid being dispensed by the folks on the sinister side of the aisle.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

Barometric pressure was mention a ways back up the thread. Sandy was at 940 millibars (the lowest recorded for a hurricane that came ashore north of Cape Hatteras). Katrina hit 902 millibars in 2005. Wilma's low was 882 millibars also in 2005.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

You mean he has turned his attention to keeping his job by hitting the campaign trail one more time, just as Romney has??? My god, how insensitive! Lest you think that this is more than a fleeting snapshot moment, I noticed that you neglect to give the full story: "A White House official said that Obama will continue to receive regular updates from his team about the state of affairs, and will convene a meeting with top advisers and local officials on Sunday morning. In addition, the administration is set to dispatch key figures to hurricane-affected areas."

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

It appears that the current version of FEMA doesn't know about the Army Corps of Engineers. (contains some adult language)

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