My possibly petulant “I told you so” climate change Kickstarter idea: I need your feedback. Am I an idiot?

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the sound byte being used by Republicans in response to questions about the existence of climate change:

“I’m not a scientist.”

Variations of this ridiculous statement include:

“The science isn’t all there yet.”

“I’ve heard arguments from both sides of the scientific aisle.”

House Speaker John Boehner: “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change. But I am astute enough to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs.”

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Here’s the thing:

When a politician tells us that he does not believe in climate change or does not accept that climate change is the result of human activity or can’t be certain enough about the science to take action, he or she is either lying or stupid. The science is simply too overwhelmingly in favor of manmade climate change for anyone with half a brain to deny it.

The latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) — a massive international effort to synthesized scientific knowledge on climate change from around the world — concluded with 95 percent certainty that the vast majority of the rise in global temperatures observed since the 1950s has been man-made. (Ninety-five percent is the same certainty that scientists assign to the assertion that cigarettes kill.)

It’s simply become impossible to deny climate change, which is why this “I am not a scientist” sound byte has come into fashion. Claim a lack of expertise and training and you don’t have to take a stand.

Convenient. Stupid but convenient. 

More than likely, these “I am not a scientist”  politicians are receiving campaign contribution from oil, coal, or natural gas companies and do not want that funding to dry up.

The largest contributors to John Boehner’s campaign, for example, are gas and oil companies.

But even those of us being paid by the fossil fuel companies to keep silent or plead ignorance know that climate change is real, and in the not-too-distant future, when sea levels rise to the point that the map begins to change and once valuable real estate is underwater, denying it will be even more difficult.

There will come a day when man made climate change will be undeniable by even the most ardent fossil fuel advocates.

My fear is that the politicians who are denying the existence of manmade climate change today will be forgotten tomorrow. Thanks to the short memories of the American people and the disregard for history, these men and women lie with impunity, knowing that they will no longer be in office and will probably be dead by the time large portions of southern Florida are underwater.

They are relying on the fact that history can be slippery and forgetful.

Ask an average American how many US Presidents have been assassinated while in office, and he or she will likely say two.

Just imagine: Two United States Presidents were murdered while in office after Lincoln’s assassination, and they have been all but forgotten.

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What does John Boehner have to fear when he lies about climate change? Who will ever remember his lies in light of everything else that is forgotten.

But in the not-to-distant future, my children, or perhaps my children’s children, will ask me what the hell we were doing when there was still time to reduce CO2 levels, impose a carbon tax, and make serious investments in green energy. They will want to know why we fiddled while Rome burned, and I want to be able to name names. I want to be able to tell them the names of the liars who took no action and impeded the action of others in the face of over whelming scientific evidence. I want those names etched in history.

So my Kickstarter idea:

I’d like to publish a book entitled:

United States Politicians in 2015 Who Denied the Existence of Manmade Climate Change Despite Overwhelming and Undeniable Scientific Evidence in Order to Further Their Political Careers At the Expense of Future Generations

Each page of this book will feature one of the politicians and their exact words in response to questions about climate change.

That’s it. Lying politicians and their exact words.

I’d like to print one billion of these books, to ensure that physical copies will exist for future historians, but one billion may be a little unrealistic. But I’d like to convince as many people as possible to purchase this book, and to also have the book logged in the United States Library of Congress.

I want people to place this book, which would be handsomely bound, on their family’s bookshelf alongside their copies of The Bible and Huckleberry Finn. I want this book to become a family heirloom. Something passed down from generation to generation.

I want this book read when a father explains to a son that the Des Moines Dolphins were once known as the Miami Dolphins, before Miami was underwater.  

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Ideally, I’d love to see a granite monument with these politician’s names etched into its side, added to yearly like the Stanley Cup, but I’m an author and books are my thing. But if a sculpture is interested in pursuing this project, I’d be more than willing to back it as well.   

One of my stretch goals would be to have one of these books printed on a material other than paper. Something that will last a thousand years or more and be kept on display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Maybe thin sheets of gold? Or platinum? Whatever the scientists suggest. Because I may not be a scientist, but I trust them to tell me what material makes the most sense for this project.

So my questions:

Is this a crazy idea?

Would it be ultimately pointless?

Would the Kickstarter be unsuccessful?

Is this merely my way of publishing a petulant, historical “I told you so” that will change nothing?

Would people support something like this?

Would the money be better spent supporting climate change activism or green energy research?

Should I try that monument idea even though I wouldn’t begin to know where to start?

What are your thoughts? I really want to know.

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My Daddy gnaws on raw pumpkin.

My wife asked our son who he thinks is eating our pumpkin.

His response: Daddy.

I’ve been accused of crimes that I did not commit before. I’ve even gone to trial.

But c’mon. My own kid? I don’t even like pumpkin.

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I was once homeless, living in my 1992 Toyota Tercel. But that still seemed spacious compared to this apartment.

I have managed to live in some small spaces in my time.

For a period of about two years, I shared a former pantry-turned-bedroom off the kitchen in the home of a family of Jehovah Witnesses with another person and the family’s pet goat.

That sounds a lot crazier than it really was.

Prior to that, I was homeless, living in my 1992 Toyota Tercel.

Also a small space.

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None of this compares to this apartment in Paris, which is only eight square meters in size. Despite it’s miniscule size, it contains a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and bedroom, all thanks to some incredibly clever design.  

I think I would suffer from extreme claustrophobia if I were forced to live there, but then again, I bet the rent is fairly cheap.

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Seriously badass porcupine

Underdog was an impressive superhero. He spoke in rhyme. He saved Sweet Polly Purebred every week. He was not bothered by collateral damage. He even had a great catchphrase:

There’s no need to fear–
Underdog is here!

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But when I think of underdogs in the future, I’ll be thinking of a porcupine.

This porcupine. The one that survived an encounter with 19 lions.

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She can find her own bed, and it hurt.

My daughter woke up at 4:00 AM this morning. She came into our bedroom and asked for some tissues. After Elysha handed her the box, I asked her if she’d like me to tuck her back into bed.

Her reply:

“I know where my bed is, Dad. I don’t need your help.”

Can a five year-old really be that jaded already?

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Christmas seems to have arrived early this year, and shut the hell up.

I’ve heard a lot of whining, both in person and via social media, but the early onset of Christmas.

Santa is already at the mall. Christmas music is playing in shops. Holiday decorations are already going up.

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It’s true. Christmas has arrived early this year, and every year it seems to arrive earlier and earlier. But if you listen to the whining and complaining of some people, you’d think that twinkly lights and Jingle Bells are tiny stabs to their small, black hearts.

Get over it. Shut up.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not supporting the early onset of Christmas in any way. I’m merely coming out against whining and complaining about things that don’t actually matter.

Christmas has arrived early this year. It doesn’t matter.

That said, early Christmas gave me the chance to see my first Christmas commercial (from the UK), and it’s brilliant. Right up my alley given the books I’ve written and am writing.

Be sure to wait until the end for the payoff. It’s worth it.

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“I’m not a scientist” is a perfectly acceptable response to climate change questions, as long as you’re willing to acknowledge everything else that you are not.

Republicans who have found the denial of climate change too ridiculous and inconvenient to continue to perpetuate have turned to a new strategy. In response to questions about climate change, they have adopted a single sentence sound byte that they are repeating with disturbing regularity.

“I’m not a scientist.”

“I can’t comment on climate change because I’m not a scientist.”

“I’m not qualified to make determinations about climate change because I’m not a scientist.”

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This remark might seem genuine and even thoughtful and measured if it wasn’t being repeated with the frequency of a car alarm in New York City. Republicans everywhere have clearly been given this phrase as a talking point and are using it with great abandon, as Stephen Colbert points out in this segment.

Despite the sudden and overwhelming use of this sound byte as a means of doing nothing about climate change, I’m willing to accept these Republican’s admission of ignorance as long as they are willing to also admit that they are also not:

  • economists
  • military strategists
  • healthcare policy professionals
  • gynecologists
  • teachers
  • Biblical scholars

If these white men (because that is primarily who they are) are unwilling to accept the findings of the vast majority of scientists who assert that climate change is both real and man made because they are not scientists themselves, then they must also renounce themselves from decisions involving the economy, monetary policy, the military, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, abortion, contraception, education, and any policy enacted in accordance or alignment with Biblical principles.

This is what Democrats need to be saying every time they hear a Republican say, “I’m not a scientist.”

“Yes, but you’re not an economist, either. And yet you seem to be acting like you know something about the economy.”

“Sure, but you’re not an expert on teaching or being a woman or fighting a war, either. So shut the hell up with it comes to those things, too.”

“If you can’t act on the advice of the majority of scientists because you yourself are not a scientist, then you can’t quote the Bible either when defending bans on same sex marriage or just your own bigotry. You probably haven’t even read the thing cover to cover, and even if you have, that doesn’t make you a Biblical scholar.”

I have yet to hear a Democrat respond aggressively or appropriately to this ridiculous sound byte. Perhaps Democrats have and I have yet to hear it, but I couldn’t find an adequate response through a Google search.

Stupidity cannot go unchallenged or it becomes doctrine.

And while people like Stephen Colbert do a fine job of bringing this issue to light and pointing out the lunacy and virus-like spread of these four words, talk show hosts are not enough. Elected leaders must stand up against this ridiculous blanket of words that climate change deniers and ignorers are suddenly wrapping themselves in. 

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The McRib is back. It’s delicious. And there’s nothing wrong with it, you closed-minded, pretentious food snobs.

The weather is getting colder. Winter is upon us. You know what that means?

The McRib will be back soon. I can’t wait.

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I know what your thinking. I know how many of you feel about the McRib and McDonald’s in general. But wait. Just listen. 

After mentioning to my class that I often eat an Egg McMuffin for breakfast, one of my students told me that her father only allows her to eat Sausage McMuffins because he won’t let her eat “that processed McDonald’s egg.”

This makes me crazy.

Having managed McDonald’s restaurants for more than ten years and having made thousands of Egg McMuffins in my time, I know exactly how the Egg McMuffin is made.

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Take a fresh egg. Yes, an actual egg. Crack it into a poaching ring set atop the grill. Place a cover on top of the ring. Add water to a small cup on top of the cover in order to poach the egg faster.

Let it cook.

When done, lift the ring. Transfer the poached egg from the grill to a toasted English muffin. Add cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon that that has been cooking on the other side of the grill.

Real eggs. Real cheese. Real English muffin, Real Canadian bacon.

You may not like the sandwich, but it’s the same poached egg sandwich that you will find in any restaurant today.

In fact, if I were to avoid anything on the McDonald’s menu, it might be the sausage. Everything on the Egg McMuffin is fresh, including the Canadian bacon, which arrives to the stores refrigerated.

The sausage is frozen. It arrives in boxes. I can’t attest to the quality of that meat. 

The McRib suffers a similar stigma. Rumors abound about the ingredients of a McRib. People cringe when I tell them that I have eaten one. 

McDonald’s recently sought to demystify the secret of the McRib by taking a detractor and a skeptic to the plant that produces McRibs to show them the process.

I’ll let you be the judge.

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I want to be asked more rhetorical questions

I was watching Homeland last night (season 2, episode 1), and someone asked Claire Danes’ character, “Who do you think you are?”

I was so jealous. I am so ready for this question. But no one ever asks me it. I hear it in movies and on television all the time, and I can recall hearing it once in real life, but never has that question been directed at me.

Unfortunately, Danes’ character failed to recognize it as a rhetorical question, as so many fictional characters do. Instead, she treated the question like an indictment. An attack on her decision to be at a certain place at a certain time. She went on the defensive and ultimately lost the verbal battle. 

What she should’ve said was something like this:

“Who do I think I am? Look, I may be bipolar and no longer privy to this country’s deepest, darkest secrets, but I know exactly who I am. I’m Carrie Matheson, damn it. Former CIA officer who has saved countless lives countless number of times, including the life of the Vice President and other high ranking United States officials, even though even I don’t know that I averted that potential disaster. I also happen to be the only person smart enough to know that Nicholas Brody is an al-Qaeda operative, and by the end of this season or maybe next, I’m probably going to kill him and save more lives. Who do I think I am? Is that really the best you can do?”

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Rhetorical questions are sneaky. They can trip up someone even as skilled and savvy as former CIA agent Carrie Mathison.

As I’ve written before, you need to train yourself to listen for them, and when asked, you must answer as quickly, as literally, and as aggressively as possible.

It won’t always win you an argument, but it’s a great way to blunt your opponent’s attack and have some fun in the process.

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I never realized how truly disturbing the opening sequences to 1980’s TV shows were until now.

Follow me here:

Sometimes someone shows you something that you already knew but never realized how ridiculous and terrible it truly is or was.

Like Steak Ums. We thought they were amazing in the 1980s, but it turns out thin sheets of warm, processed meat isn’t so good after all.

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This video, which is the funniest thing I have seen in a while, is one of those things.

That said, if you are under 30 years old, it might also make no sense to you.  

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