Tweeting while California burns

Jun 2013
1. The following are excerpts from an article by Dave Gilson, a senior editor at Mother Jones, posted on November 10, 2018 under the headline "As California Burns, Trump Threatens to Cut Federal Funding" and subheading "The president is tweeting nonsense about wildfires — again".

(Begin excerpts)
Taking a moment from the fires burning in his own backyard, President Donald Trump went on Twitter this morning to opine on the devastating fires currently burning in California — and to threaten to cut off federal funding if his wishes aren’t followed:

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"...

Trump is correct that these fires have been massive, deadly, and costly. Otherwise he’s blowing smoke. His claim that poor forest management is responsible for killer wildfires is a favorite talking point among anti-environmentalists such as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It’s an argument for more logging, which isn’t the same thing as smart forest management, as climate scientist Peter Gleick explained to Mother Jones when Trump fired off similar tweets in August: “We do know we need to do a better job at managing forests. But I don’t think that is what he’s commenting on.”

In the midst of another spate of fires this summer, Trump tweeted that they’d been made worse by all the water “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” As Gleick noted at the time, “That’s completely absurd!…There’s no shortage of water to fight these fires.”

So far, the president has not mentioned another major factor behind California’s wildfires: climate change. Climate change is making fires worse, and it is expected to make them more frequent. Even Trump’s own Forest Service acknowledges this (without using the dread phrase “climate change”). And like several earlier California fires, the Camp Fire may have been sparked by a power line.

And as for Trump’s vague threat to cut “Fed payments,” his administration is already ahead of him. Earlier this year, it proposed slashing federal funding for studying and preventing wildfires. (End excerpts)


2. The meaning of the phrase "Fiddling while Rome burns" is "to occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect priorities during a crisis". Here I coin its modern counterpart: "Tweeting while California burns."

Sep 2018
Atlanta area
Here's a BETTER one!

Trump Hacks Through Thick Central American Jungle In Search Of Entirely New Ethnic Group To Demonize

TALAMANCAN MONTANE FORESTS, COSTA RICA—Venturing deep into rainforest no outsider has dared explore, President Trump slashed through the thick vines of a Central American jungle Monday in search of a previously unknown ethnic group to vilify. “Legend has it that this land is home to a lost race of people living in complete isolation, and if I can manage to find them, I will be able to stereotype them in any way I choose,” said the machete-wielding commander in chief who was wearing a tan field jacket as he led a group of loyal Republican allies through the oppressively hot and humid thicket in search of the mythic tribe. “This discovery could change everything. These people remain entirely untouched by any media coverage whatsoever, so I can easily stick them with the blame for our nation’s drug problems, violent crime, stagnant wage growth, you name it.” Upon sighting the uncontacted tribe, Trump’s reelection team reportedly took grainy black-and-white videos of them for immediate use in menacing campaign ads.
Jun 2013
Title: Trump "roasted" on difference between weather and climate

The following are excerpts from Stephanie Haney's 25 November 2018 news report headlined "'Average' high school graduate roasts Donald Trump on the difference between weather and climate as the president tweets implying that record cold temperatures on a single day disprove global warming".

(Begin excerpts)
An 18-year-old from India who graduated high school with self-described 'average marks' went viral with a tweet schooling President Donald Trump on the difference between weather and climate.

Trump, 72, tweeted on Wednesday about record cold temperatures striking the US on a single day, followed by a phrase implying that such an occurrence disproves global warming.

Astha Sarmah from the city of Jorhat in the state of Assam responded throwing so much shade at the US Commander in Chief, that her tweet was liked almost 15,000 times and retweeted more than 3,000 times.

Experts also weighed in, with one climate scientist calling the president 'a dangerous clown' for his remarks.

Trump's tweet, which was liked nearly 110,000 times and retweeted close to 28,000 times, read:

'Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?'

When Sarmah read that, she fired back, writing:

'I am 54 years younger than you. I just finished high school with average marks. But even I can tell you that WEATHER IS NOT CLIMATE. If you want help understanding that, I can lend you my encyclopedia from when I was in 2nd grade. It has pictures and everything.'

Sarmah was pointing out to the president that the temperature on a single day cannot be compared to global warming, which is defined by as, 'an increase in the Earth's average atmospheric temperature that causes corresponding changes in climate and that may result from the greenhouse effect.'

Climate, itself, is defined as, 'the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years.'

NASA has helped break the interplay between these concepts down on an even more basic level.

'In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space,' the website for the federal agency reads.

'An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.'

Global warming, therefore, is just one indicator of climate change, which is defined by as, 'a long-term change in the Earth's climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature.'...

Former Vice President Al Gore also lashed out at the Trump administration accusing the president of seeking to 'bury' the report on climate change by releasing it on Black Friday.

Gore has become an outspoken advocate of the need to take steps to prevent global warming. Gore became a prominent spokesman on the climate debate with the 2006 documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth.'

'Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the west, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical US assessment of the climate crisis,' Gore said in a statement on Friday.

'The President may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.'...

Sarmah isn't wrong about global warming existing, but she is wrong about one thing. It's not her opinion. Global warming is an observable, scientific phenomenon.

Michael Mann, a scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told HuffPost:

'This demonstrates once again that Donald Trump is not an individual to be taken seriously on any topic, let alone matters as serious as climate change. He is a clown, a dangerous clown.' (End excerpts)

Oct 2012
Louisville, Ky
It is very unfortunate that the President does not seem to listen to scientists or even bother to research data before commenting (tweeting) about issues, it does not lead to added respect. The threats based on this purposeful ignorance however, go beyond lowering respect to all but eliminating it.