For the record, I'm a Prius-driving Democrat who lives in a heavily insulated house three miles from work. I walk the environmental walk, and talk the environmental talk. However, there's a lot more to being an environmentalist than buying into the whole anthropogenic global warming movement. In fact, the hoopla surrounding global warming is causing virtually every other environmental concern to be ignored. If you don't believe me, check out what's happening to the tropical rainforest so that massive sugar cane plantations can be built in the bizarre belief that burning one fuel is substantively different than burning another. We will stop recycling our corn stalks into topsoil in this country so that we can turn them into ethanol; in a hundred years, we'll have a permanent dust bowl.
As a published scientist myself, I know how easy it is to manipulate studies, and how biased researchers get when you dangle money at them. Right now, climate researchers who toe the party line about global warming can get grants, and those who don't don't. What's worse, they get derided as "shills for industry", which is tantamount to permanent blacklisting for academic scientists. And last I checked, scientific truth was not based on how many people vote for one theory over another. I can bore you with a long recitation of how many hypotheses had widespread support and turned out wrong, but I choose not to for now.
Yes and no. If I put a thermometer in Nassau County, just outside New York Ciy, in 1930, it will give a rural reading. If I check it again in 2000, it now gives me an urban reading, which is roughly five degrees more than the same location would be if it were rural. Nassau County is hardly representative of the Earth's surface. Of course, most of the Earth is covered by water, and the portion that is land is mostly minimally developed. But the Nassau Counties of the country are disparately overrepresented in the temperature data because people in 1930 wanted to put their station outside the city, but not so far outside that they couldn't get to it easily. So they put the stations in the suburbs.
It is an extrapolation to assume that a number of local readings constitute a "global" phenomenon. The readings have to take place that are representative of the globe, and there has been no attempt made to do this.
Finally, the statement that the rate of rise in the temperature is unusual is just not correct. We are comparing it to data from ice cores that compress long periods of time together, resulting in averages that change slowly. But we are measuring temperature much more frequently now. When you increase the frequency of your sampling, you are necessarily going to see more variation (so-called "noise"). This does not mean that the rate of change has increased. It means that you are now seeing the trees rather than the forest you were looking at before.