Michigan representative barred from speaking on the floor for saying “vagina.”

This should sound familiar to those who followed the debate in the Virginia General Assembly over forcible vaginal probes. Republicans are deeply uncomfortable with the word “vagina,” and once Democratic legislators started tossing that word around, Republicans basically gave up the debate. So go for it, elected Democrats—vagina vagina vagina. If you can’t say it, you shouldn’t be allowed to regulate it. 

Finish VDOT contract work quickly, get laid off quickly.

A bridge on a major road outside of Charlottesville had to be replaced, shutting down that road for weeks. VDOT offered an incentive to finish ahead of schedule, and the full-time employees of that contractor worked their asses off to make that happen. They’ll wrap up tomorrow, way ahead of schedule. Their reward? They’re getting laid off, effective immediately. The contractor? They get a $100,000 bonus. Clearly, the most rational course of action for employees of highway contractors is to work slowly and inefficiently. That’s a lesson that some of them appear to have learned long ago. 

2012 is the hottest year ever.

In the history of record keeping, so far 2012 is the hottest year in U.S. history. Spring was 5.2° warmer than the 20th century average, and fully 2° warmer than the prior record, in 1910. (That’s a huge difference. We’re not talking about tenths of a degree here.) Even more alarming is the resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. At the Barrow, Alaska NOAA station, the concentration hit 400 ppm. Compare that to 278 ppm a few hundred years ago, or 336 ppm thirty years ago. That’s a 20% increase over my lifetime. Given that the atmosphere is just 0.03% CO2, and how powerful its effect is on global climate change, a 20% increase is a very big deal. It is not a coincidence that our hottest year coincides with our highest non-urban CO2 measurement. 

PolitiFact fact-checks Bob Marshall. (Hint: He does poorly.)

I’m amazed that they even bothered to fact-check Marshall’s claim that being gay “cuts your life by about 20 years,” since it’s obviously false. To their credit, they contacted the author of the study that constitutes Marshall’s evidence, who said that Marshall is guilty of a “gross misrepresentation” of his research, and that he is “misusing the data” by using his study “to support the notion that gay and bisexual sex is somehow the reason why people die early.”