Abortion and David Barton's Theometeorology

It is all over Twitter. Salon and Right Wing Watch have stories about David Barton’s claim that legal abortion has triggered climate change and all sorts of other weather problems. Barton’s theometeorological pronouncement came during an appearance on Kenneth Copeland’s television broadcast. You can watch the segment here where he begins talking about abortion and the weather at about 18:55. Watch until the end to get the context.
At that point, Kenneth Copeland says that storms and hurricanes and murders don’t just happen. Barton agrees and adds that since we (meaning the U.S. I suppose) have embraced a wicked policy (legalized abortion), then God will take away his hand of protection. Because of God’s absence, then Barton claims:

Whap! Here comes storms like we’ve never seen before, here comes floods like, and here comes climate stuff that we can’t explain, all the hot times and all the cold times. Too much rain and not enough rain; we’re flooding over here, and we got droughts over here. And you know back in the early America days, when something like that happened, first thing they did was issue a call for a national day of prayer, repentance, humiliation, fasting and prayer. We have screwed up somewhere. We gotta get God’s help to get blessings back on this nation. And today we’re saying ‘oh no, it’s global warming.” No, we opened a door that lost God’s protection over our environment and that’s our choice.

Even if there was some theological merit to this line of thinking, the facts don’t support the link made by Barton and Copeland, as far I can tell. Just looking at hurricanes (this seems fair since Copeland specifically mentioned hurricanes), the worst hurricane in the U.S. was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The National Weather Service ranks U.S. hurricanes by number of deaths, cost and intensity. Most of the deadliest hurricanes happened before Roe v. Wade.

In fact, Katrina is the only hurricane after Roe v. Wade in the top ten. I only count seven hurricanes which happened after Roe v. Wade in the top 52. When it comes to cost (see the NWS report for that), the most recent hurricanes top the list because the amount of the losses are not adjusted for inflation. However, in terms of intensity, only two of the top ten storms occurred after Roe v. Wade. In terms of numbers of hurricanes, there has not been an increase in recent years. In fact, the NWS report says: “Table 6, which lists hurricanes by decades since 1851, shows that during the 40-year period 1961-2000 both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply.”
No support for the thesis there.
The murder rate (also mentioned by Copeland) does not support the theory. As I pointed out in an earlier post, violent crime including the murder rate has been falling since the early 1990s. The murder rate now is lower than it was in 1961.
When it comes to floods, prior to the current Colorado floods, the worst flood in history is the 1927 Mississippi River flood, followed by the 1937 Ohio River flood (this flood is famous in my home town of Portsmouth, Ohio since flood walls were built in response). While climate change may indeed bring about long term weather changes, including increased flooding, it does not appear that one can accurately associate meaningful weather disasters with the Roe v. Wade decision.
 

Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson: The Faith Factor

Tomorrow, April 15, marks the day in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball. The executive who signed him with the express purpose of combating racism was Branch Rickey, President of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, CNN reports that Branch Rickey’s faith was a strong motivation for his decision to sign Robinson. Roll the tape:

I watched the CNN segment this morning and reporter Ed Henry said that he told President Obama about the segment of Robinson and Rickey. Obama commented that the Rickey-Robinson breakthrough had impact on every part of American society, including his election as the first African-American President.
I share a hometown with Branch Rickey — Portsmouth, Ohio — and was always reminded of his legacy because I played my high school baseball in Branch Rickey Park (pictured below).

To me, Branch Rickey’s role in this story is sweet irony. Race relations were tense in my hometown. For most of my life there, African-Americans were segregated into neighborhoods surrounding a large public housing project. There was strong prejudice and discrimination there, even among Christians. And yet, Branch Rickey left the small town to make history in the big city in a way that changed attitudes about race forever.
Watch the clip or read the entire transcript here but I will close with this paragraph:

When a well-known journalist of the era told the Dodgers general manager that he thought “all hell would break loose” the next day with Robinson due to take the field for the first time as a Brooklyn Dodger, Rickey disagreed. “My grandfather immediately responded to him, ‘I believe tomorrow all heaven will rejoice,’” the younger Rickey said.

The Blue Cloud Lives! It's a Portsmouth, Ohio thing

Someone named Berthos just revived a thread from 2006 called “You might be from Porchmuth, if…” Porchmuth (how the natives say it) is really Portsmouth, Ohio, my home town.
Reading through the comments, I remembered at the time trying to find a pic of the memorable-yet-tacky Blue Cloud. Couldn’t find one at the time. Well, I struck Blue Cloud gold tonight.
The Blue Cloud lives!

Here is the caption from the blogger, David Reynolds, who posted this gem.

The infamous Blue Cloud modern art sculpture now resides in a fenced in yard between the new Portsmouth Elementary School playground and Kim’s house. The Blue Cloud used to be downtown in the Roy Rogers Esplanade until some woman tripped over its far left side and fell and sued the city! Tripped over a huge blue cloud in Portsmouth…. Wowsers… And sued!

Well, that is much of the story. First, the Blue Cloud was simply erected in the middle of a common area in the middle of an open area downtown. People could touch it, ponder it up close, etc. But then the accident happened and a chain fence went up around it. Some were not happy with the Blue Cloud going into captivity. A group was formed called Free the Blue Cloud. Finally it was removed. At least that’s how I remember it.
Now The Blue Cloud sits in a restful-yet-proud place as noted by Mr. Reynolds.