Dem 51
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The Thermometers Are Rigged

In July in Phoenix, the temperature hit 110 F every day. Many days were above 115 F. This broke all records. Nights were above 90 F, breaking another record. Many people died and the Maricopa County morgue had to bring in refrigerated storage containers to hold all the dead bodies. Thirty-nine deaths were definitely caused by the heat, with another 300 under investigation.

So how did state Republican officials deal with this? When August session began, they had the chaplain of the state Senate pray for lower temperatures. The air conditioning in the state House couldn't handle the heat and broke down. Whether the House chaplain then prayed for a repairman to fix it quickly was not reported. Maybe not, because fans were set up in the House, but the noise from the fans made doing business impossible so they were turned off. Besides, lobbyists were tripping over the extension cords and in 110 F heat, nobody wants do deal with angry, injured, sweaty lobbyists. Some conservatives said that thermometers were rigged, just like the past elections (one measuring point is at the airport, which has a lot of concrete nearby). Pretend governor Kari Lake accused actual governor Katie Hobbs and Ruben Gallego of "pushing mass hysteria in an effort to declare a climate emergency."

The one thing the month of 110 F temperatures and many dead bodies in a refrigerated container did not do is get Republicans to say: "Hmmm, maybe the climate is changing and we need to do something about it." State Rep. Justin Heap (R) said: "I don't recall feeling that this July was particularly hotter than any other July that I remember. It's just that all of a sudden, every media story was telling me it was hotter than it's ever been." The reason there were so many media stories is that it was hotter than ever in terms of days over 110 F. One day it even got to 119 F. State Sen. Justine Wadsack (R) said: "If ya can't stand the heat in Arizona, you're welcome to leave." Of course, that is hard to do if you just died of heatstroke.

Some Arizona Democrats are only slightly better. State Rep. Analise Ortiz (D) wants the National Guard to drive up and down streets spraying water on the ground so homeless people sleeping don't burn. She also wants Joe Biden to order FEMA to step up and do something, like it does after a hurricane. The only problem there is that the Stafford Act, which authorizes federal help for victims of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, does not cover extended heat due to climate change and it would take an act of Congress to change that. Given that Arizona Republicans, who are in the middle of it, deny that anything unusual is happening, we doubt that many senators from North Dakota, Idaho, or Wyoming would be interested in changing the law.

Needless to say, spraying the sidewalks with water does not address the core problem of climate change. But as long as Republicans claim climate change is a hoax, the federal government is limited in what it can do about the problem. Some blue states are acting (e.g. California has banned the sale of new gasoline-powered cars after 2034), but individual states can do only so much. (V)

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