Communication musings on a frigid January Chicago evening

Savvy environmentalists know: Call it “global climate change ” when the winter winds blow bitter cold. You can go back to the more familiar “global warming” come summer.

Right now, no one is going to get worked up over “warming.” Doesn’t sound so bad these days, does it?

For the first time I can ever remember, the temperature never broke zero today. And it never came close. When I left my suburban Chicago house this morning, my car said it was -11 F. Later, I was out in the bright sun at the peak “heat of the day” at 2:30 p.m. The temperature had soared to -7.

With such incredible cold and crazy amounts of snow this winter for much of the country, the “global warming” label is not nearly sinister enough to motivate massive and expensive counter-measures.

Sure enough, when Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) today announced that his House committee would press for quick action on the issue, he made sure to call it “global climate change.”

“Our environment and our economy depend on congressional action to confront the threat of climate change and secure our energy independence,” said Waxman (AP)

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Don’t you think President-elect Obama’s very public longings for his Blackberry is one of the great unpaid product endorsements ever?

Today the story took another turn as security experts questioned whether the encryption features in RIM’s Blackberry pass National Security Agency guidelines.

One other notable beneficiary of extraordinary Obama attention is the heretofore obscure breed of dog with the comical name of Labradoodle, said to be one the short list to be brought to the White House as the Obama girls’ new pet. Brace yourselves for countless more “first dog” stories in the coming weeks and years.

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The heroic effort of a U.S. Airways pilot to set the jet down safely today in the Hudson River following twin-engine failure puts a spotlight on all manner of airline safety stories, not the least of which is: What can we do to discourage flocks of suicidal birds from hanging around runways?

- Jon Harmon

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