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February 22, 2013 2:03 PM Another Rorschach Test

By Ed Kilgore

Here’s a news item from Greece via the New York Times’ Niki Kitsantonis:

Torrential rain of an intensity not seen in decades flooded roads in Athens on Friday, overturning parked cars and stranding dozens of motorists, including a 28-year-old woman who died of what appeared to be a heart attack.
More than six hours of solid rainfall starting at 5 a.m. flooded the streets of the capital, caused two rivers to break their banks and paralyzed public transport, causing traffic chaos as tens of thousands of Athenians sought to reach their offices during the morning rush hour. Two electricity substations were deluged, prompting power cuts, and the fire service was besieged with more than 800 calls from residents with flooded homes and 100 from motorists stuck in floodwaters.
The amount of rain that fell was equal to the average rainfall for the whole month of February, meteorologists said.

So quick, what’s your gut reaction to this news?

(a) Another example of global climate change!

(b) Divine punishment for socialism and debt!

(c) Ummm, let’s have moussaka tonight!

I’m pretty sure the three answers represent the three dominant strains in American public opinion these days about a whole host of issues.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Quaker in a Basement on February 22, 2013 2:42 PM:

    (d) Maybe I can turn this into a blog post that's all about us here in America instead of the people actually affected.

  • Mike on February 22, 2013 5:35 PM:

    (e) To understand global climate change, you need to look at long-term data, not individual meteorological events.

    I know this post was not meant seriously. But those of us in the reality-based community shouldn't make the same mistake that skeptics/deniers make in the other direction, when they point to a single snow storm as proof that climate change is a "hoax."

  • Anonymous on February 22, 2013 6:35 PM:

    It's rained hard before. Bob Dylan said so. Greece has been on fire so they should be happy. Aristotle was wrong about almost everything. Don't confuse them with facts.

  • max on February 22, 2013 10:19 PM:

    So quick, what’s your gut reaction to this news?

    Having been caught in exciting flash floods before (endemic in Texas), I felt really bad about that poor girl trapped on the side of her car by rushing muddy waters that I saw on the NYT front page. Poor thing.

    The Greeks are certainly having interesting times, and those are the sorts of times I like to avoid myself. Nothing to do with debt, only incidentally has anything to do with global warming, and we should have some faki with lots of vinegar in the young lady's honor.

    max
    ['Blah.']

  • max on February 22, 2013 10:26 PM:

    So quick, what’s your gut reaction to this news?

    Having been caught in exciting flash floods before (endemic in Texas), I felt really bad about that poor girl trapped on the side of her car by rushing muddy waters that I saw on the NYT front page. Poor thing.

    The Greeks are certainly having interesting times, and those are the sorts of times I like to avoid myself. Nothing to do with debt, only incidentally has anything to do with global warming, and we should have some faki with lots of vinegar in the young lady's honor.

    max
    ['Blah.']

  • hamletta on February 22, 2013 10:52 PM:

    I say a)

    But I also say Nashville is the Athens of the South, and we had a 100-year flood just 3 years ago, and we got support from all over the world, so we need to rally our troops to help our brothers and sisters.

    Especially since their government is all but dysfunctional. They don't have a Phil Bredesen in his Green Vest of Comfort.

  • SecularAnimist on February 23, 2013 1:10 PM:

    Mike wrote: "To understand global climate change, you need to look at long-term data, not individual meteorological events."

    Wrong. "Individual meteorological events" ARE the "data" from which long-term trends can be discerned.

    One of the most robust predictions from the science of anthropogenic global warming is that it will cause not only long-term climate change, but also will cause an increase in "extreme weather events" -- and in particular, an increase in EXACTLY this kind of extreme precipitation event.

    And each and every "individual meteorological event" of that nature is yet another data point on the graph that shows the frequency and severity of such events is, in fact, increasing simultaneously, all over the world, EXACTLY as predicted by the climate scientists.