The Ostrich Caucus

So, we have overwhelming scientific consensus that recent global warming is anthropogenic, i.e. human caused. And what’s the reaction from some of Wisconsin’s prominent conservative politicians?

Enter the Ostrich Caucus. While sticking their heads in the sand on climate change, 14 Wisconsin conservatives simultaneously signed the Koch brothers backed ” No Climate Tax  Pledge “, which simply states that they’ll oppose any climate related legislation that results in a net increase in government revenues. To date 411 elected officials from across the country have signed on, 14 of them from Wisconsin, which would seem to give our delegation a robust over-representation within the caucus. By comparison Minnesota has two signers, one of them the noted intellectual Michelle Bachmann.

Wisconsin’s pledge signers are Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefish, Ron Johnson, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble, Jim Sensenbrenner, Leah Vukmir, Glenn Grothman, Alberta Darling, Mary Lazich, Dale Kooyenga, Jim Ott, Bill Kramer and  Don Pridemore. It’s worth noting that Lazich and Pridemore are already members of a well known caucus within the state legislature.

So, here’s to ostriches and ass clowns!

My apologies to real ostriches.




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19 thoughts on “The Ostrich Caucus

  1. There are three troubling issues that I see from these various ‘pledges’: Our elected officials are ready and willing to cede their rights to think for themselve to an outside third party, These unelected third parties have undue influence on the legislative process, and the Electorate lets them get away with it unchecked!

  2. Gov. Walker and the rest can explain their position to the the families of the 19 dead fire fighters in Arizona.

    When are they going to start taking “personal responsibility,” for the damage and fatalities done by Irene, Sandy, Joplin, OKC, wildfires, droughts….

    When are they going to pay for this:

    “Disaster declared over crop losses in Ozaukee, Washington, 22 other counties in state.”

    1. Oh this is just too over the top. I wonder if you would also have them apologize for the many dead in the Chicago fire, Peshtigo fire, the Galveston hurricane of 1900 (still the deadliest in U.S. history), and on and on. We never had natural disasters like hurricanes and forest fires before Al Gore told us we had “10 years left” (which was 8 years ago by the way).

      Way to exploit a tragedy. You really are using the death of 19 hero firefighters to sell a carbon tax. That is sick.

      1. So now you’re alleging that human made global warming caused the Chicago Fire, the Peshtigo fire, the Galveston hurricane of 1900 and on and on….

        Chicago and Peshtigo fires were both in 1871. How far back do you want go?

        1. I’m not alleging those incidents (or any) were caused by global warming. I am saying those incidents are no different than the incidents of today. Was there some magic year where natural disasters stopped being simply that and every one of them turned into the results of global warming?

          1. You’re not “alleging?”

            Is this a court of law? Do you think someone’s gonna sue your handle? Is it insured?

            If you were a conservative you’d understand that we’re a “world at war.” W/R/T recent deaths and property destruction, it’s climate change that’s the cause. We should take 80% of our Defense/National security budget and use it to fight climate change. It wouldn’t be enough, but it’s a start.

            W/R/T Wisconsin, you evidently missed this:

            “Climate Study: Extreme Rain Storms in Midwest Have Doubled in Last 50 Years, Often Leading to Worsened Flooding
            Report Details Major Storm/Flooding Trends in 8 States: IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, OH and WI; Midwest Illustrates Growing Concerns About Climate Link Between Big Storms and Flooding.”

            “CHICAGO (May 16, 2012) – The kind of deluges that in recent years washed out Cedar Rapids, IA, forced the Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally blow up levees to save Cairo, IL, and sent the Missouri River over its banks for hundreds of miles are part of a growing trend, according to a new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Big storms, leading to big floods, are occurring with increasing frequency in the Midwest, with incidences of the most severe downpours doubling over the last half century, the report finds.
            Stephen Saunders, the president of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the report’s lead author, said: “Global studies already show that human-caused climate change is driving more extreme precipitation, and now we’ve documented how great the increase has been in the Midwest and linked the extreme storms to flooding in the region. A threshold may already have been crossed, so that major floods in the Midwest perhaps now should no longer be considered purely natural disasters but instead mixed natural/unnatural disasters. And if emissions keep going up, the forecast is for more extreme storms in the region.”
            In addition to region-wide trends, the report presents trends in the eight Midwestern states. For the worst storms (three inches or more of rain in 24 hours) from 1961-2011, the report outlines the following state-level trends: Indiana (+160 percent); Wisconsin (+203 percent); Missouri (+81 percent); Michigan (+180 percent); Minnesota (+104 percent); Illinois (+83 percent); Ohio (+40 percent); and Iowa (+32 percent).
            Titled, “Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms,” the new NRDC-RMCO report adds several years of data to previous reports tracking the issue of Midwestern storms. Key findings include:

            Since 1961, the Midwest has had an increasing number of large storms. The largest of storms, those of three inches or more of precipitation in a single day, increased the most, with their annual frequency having increased by 103 percent over the roughly half century period through 2011. For storms of at least two inches but less than three inches in a day, the trend was a 81 percent increase; for storms of one to two inches, a 34 percent increase. Smaller storms did not have a significant increase.
            The rates of increase for all large storms accelerated over time, with the last analyzed decade, 2001-2010, showing the greatest jumps. For the largest storms, in 2001-2010 there were 52 percent more storms per year than in the baseline period.
            The frequency of extreme storms has increased so much in recent years that the first 12 years of this century included seven of the nine top years (since 1961) for the most extreme storms in the Midwest.
            With more frequent extreme storms, the average return period between two such storms has become shorter. In 1961-1970, extreme storms averaged once every 3.8 years at an individual location in the Midwest. That is two to four times more frequent than a major hurricane making landfall at a typical location along the U.S. coast from North Carolina to Texas. By 2001-2010, the average return period for Midwestern extreme storms at a single location was down to 2.2 years—or four to eight times more frequent than landfalling major hurricanes.

            The report also presents new evidence linking extreme storms in the Midwest to major floods, the region’s most costly regularly occurring natural disasters. The new analysis shows that the two worst years in the Midwest for storms of three inches or more per day were 2008 and 1993, the years with the Midwest’s worst floods in some 80 years, which caused $16 billion and $33 billion in damages and rank, among the nation’s worst natural disasters. The report presents new evidence linking the 2008 flooding to extreme storms, showing that in areas with the worst flooding 48 percent of the local precipitation came from extreme storms. ….”


          2. fmsn, if you want to “allege” that climate change played ZERO role, than why are they dead? If they were fighting the IDENTICAL conditions that firefighters have faced for the last century, and btw with improved weather predicting technology, are you saying they were at fault?

    2. I have to call a time out here. I am fully behind the indisputable fact that global warming is being exacerbated by humans. But we have to draw a line and keep emotion away.

      The Yarnell fire was caused by a lightning strike, and a century of bad land management practices had as much to with it’s ferociousness as any effects from global warming. We have to avoid falling into the trap that deniers continually try to place that try to discredit global warming on the basis of single data points. That distracts from the need to finding a solution to mitigating the root cause.

      And just as Scott Walker didn’t cause last year’s drought or this year’s flooding, his responsibility to the people, farmers, and businesses of this state is to acknowledge that the problem exists and that he is committed to working toward a solution. If he could only shed the Koch goggles and see the potential for clean energy solutions. Silly me.

      1. Great comments, Rich. I have to agree with the rationale of most of what you said.

        I do wonder about your comment at the end though about Scott Walker (or any governor) committed to working toward a solution. What do you think he or any governor can do to affect the climate of the earth?

          1. Well Steve, I am asking Rich since he brought it up. I am more interested in his answer. I just think it’s completely delusional for one to think that the governor of a relatively small state can have any real effect on the climate of the EARTH!

            As John says below, Walker just needs to talk about it and endorse a few windmills. My point is if you truly believe that we a.) are responsible for global warming AND b.) we can just as easily reverse a climate trend then it would take DRASTIC measures like not remotely living the way we do now: shut down major industries, air travel, liberals owning mansions, etc.

            If it’s still not hitting home, here is an example to put it in perspective:

            The Internet accounts for about 2% of the world’s total energy consumption. So you should support our governor mandating that we reduce the number of websites produced in Wisconsin. Better yet, if we really want to make a dent we should shut down ALL internet access in the state. OR you could voluntarily STOP contributing to the problem by halting all your comments on this blog and shutting off your computer permanently. Petition Zach to shut down this website to save the planet! Let’s see some action or are we all talk here?


        1. fmsn,

          First thing Walked needed to do was not block the HSR money.

          Second, he needs to talk about climate change. Every day he doesn’t just reinforces Steve’s title.

          A good place for Walker to start about environment issues in general is the absence of commercial fishing in Lake Michigan. “The Decline of a Once Great Fishery”

          With other regional leaders, he should publicly set a goal for when that important protein source (and jobs) will return.

          Solar Roadways is a terrific technology.

          It creates the possibility of roads, over time, paying for themselves.

          Helping Solar Roadways with “working prototypes” on Wisconsin parking lots makes a lot of sense. Except for a couple of exhibtions and eight games during the regular season (plus play-offs), large segments of Lambeau’s parking lots go completely unused most of the year.

          I think natural gas, hydrogen, or both from renewable sources makes a lot of sense. Wisconsin should be a leader in natural gas from cow manure. Natural gas or hydrogen from wood should be another high research priority.

          Starting 13 miles east of Milwaukee is the western edge of the mid-lake plateau.

          That’s prime real estate for wind turbines.

          Floating wind turbines in Lake Michigan are something else Gov. Walker should be prototyping. The future of manufacturing is green supply chains. Lake Michigan has tremendous wind power reserves. Not pursing them aggressively is a huge mistake.

          Although there are different ways of doing “pumped storage,” Ludington, MI is one example. Bill Gates has another way of implementing it

  3. The issue here isn’t whether global warming (or climate change) is human caused or not, this is about a climate TAX pledge.

    I would love for you to explain to me how raising taxes on American businesses will prevent China and India from spewing whatever they want on a much larger scale. Talk about ostrich behavior!

    1. Latest from fmsn: the “No Climate Tax Pledge,“ isn’t about “climate.”

      1. Did you bother to read the pledge? It says they won’t support “any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”

        It’s about TAXES, it doesn’t say they won’t support legislation related to climate change. I am sure they wouldn’t do that either, but that’s not what the pledge SAYS.

        Again John, explain to me how raising taxes on carbon will prevent the big boys of China and India from doing what they want.

        Make sure to drink plenty of water and sunscreen because the exploiting the deaths of heroes is shameful.

        1. Since you raised the issue of “exploiting the deaths of heroes,” what about all the heroes who died in vain Iraq and Afghanistan.

          1. Nice deflection. You are only hurting the planet with your posts (see above).

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