Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stockmar: Naysaying global warming won't stop it

I've been watching Steve's newish pseudoblog for a while, appreciating his street sense and entertaining approach, and wondering when he might surface in print as a columnist.

His first attempt is a little shaky, sorry to say. He refutes the climate-change deniers by adopting a superior, talk-down-to-the-kindergarteners tone to explain a couple of aspects of the planetary feedback phenomenon that we're experiencing. By using clumsy metaphors and failing to disclaim his examples as such, he leaves the impression that he's outlining the crux of the problem and critically weakens the argument. He also skirts the issue of the human cause as if it doesn't really matter. But if you're arguing in favor of human intervention in something as big as this, you have to first establish that we're capable of having that global effect, then that we should.

The subtle changes in complex, interdependent, chaotic systems causing climate change are a lot to get one's head around. The best researchers and educators in the world are having a hard time putting the message across. Journalists who hope to help in this effort, as Steve clearly does here, must be very careful to avoid making things worse. While expressing the frustration a lot of us feel, flip, offhand and arrogant squibs like this do nothing useful to educate those who could learn, and do a lot to further alienate those who won't.

Steve admits (brags?) on the pseudoblog that he hasn't seen "An Inconvenient Truth," the Oscar award-winning documentary that inspired a Nobel Peace Prize for Mr Gore. I have to wonder about a journalist writing on this topic without exercising himself to undertake even this most basic bit of research. I fear that Steve may have already succumbed to the Courier's hipshooting tradition.

Norwood explores options, Courier scooped again

After more than six years in the office, City Manager Steve Norwood is competing for a new job in an Austin suburb. When he came on, my bet was three to five years, so he's lasted a fair bit longer than I expected. I hope he gets the job, moves on, and we can start breaking up the little empires that he's created in the staff and rationalizing the management-heavy mix at City Hall.

Lynne McMaster got what looks like a nice leisurely interview with him on the subject. The Courier has nothing yet.

Update, Friday: Cindy turns in nothing new to account for tardiness.