Quantum Leap

Credit: Ross MacDonald

It is big news that Scientific American, one of the world’s most prestigious sources on science and technology, after 175 years of publication, has endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time ever.  The Editors declare that “Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden.”  They feel “compelled to do so” and “do not do this lightly.”  The first and foremost reason given for this historic endorsement is clear:  “The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science.”  They detail the catastrophic consequences of this rejection, like the nearly 200,000 Americans who have succumbed to the coronavirus.  They further note his lies and, beyond that, the attacks on “environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges.” Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Bull Hill

Bull Hill

(click on the photo here, then see the slide show)

We were out with friends early in November for a hike over Cold Spring, NY to Bull Hill.  Here is a photo from about fifty miles north of New York City.  You can see the towers of Manhattan and also Jersey City off to the west.  This was a great day to get out of the big city and to get a sense that there are mountains, and forests, and the mighty Hudson all still there beyond the concrete and steel, the millions churning and the power plants burning.  Sometimes you forget how magnificent our old planet really is.  John Muir’s message was to get out and see the magnificence and then get back home and work like the devil to protect it.  “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Zephyr Teachout for NY State Attorney General

I have known about Zephyr Teachout ever since 2014 when she mounted a quixotic Democratic party primary challenge against Andrew Cuomo in New York.  She bloodied his nose then, but lost.  One of the key charges that she leveled against him was his hamstringing and then premature shutdown of a state commission on corruption.  A NY Times investigation at the time substantially supported her allegations. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Moving the Needle – The Trump Foundation

Just before busting out of NYC for a vacation, I got involved in promoting a cause on MoveOn.  I’m back and wanted to recount the positive experience and hail a few important people and one impressive organization:  MoveOn.  I had not had much traffic with these folks before, but am now fully prepared to attest to their effectiveness.  They are thorough, smart, responsive to questions and equipped to provide good, timely answers. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Connecting the Dots on Oil – Iran, Trump, and the Kochs

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

I wrote here almost a year ago that “It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.”  We, the people, suffer, of course, from Trump Inc.’s self-serving, kleptocratic impulses, manifest in his executive agencies, with the full complicity of that wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, the Republicans in Congress, aided and abetted by the reactionary majority on SCOTUS.  But if there’s a guiding force behind the greed, the racism, the sheer vileness of the behavior, indeed the treason of these mutants, it’s fossil fuels.  More precisely, it’s the money generated by the fossil fuels. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

America, We Need to Talk

America, you need to read this book.  In fact, America, this is a textbook for how to get yourself out of the regressed state in which you find yourself.  It’s more:  It’s an encyclopedia of the reasons why we’ve come to this parlous state in our history, why our democracy is at greater risk than it’s ever been, how we have been lied to and cheated on – including to and by ourselves, the missed chances for righting our wrongs, and the abundant opportunities that are ours for the taking.  This book is a paean to good sense and civic engagement; a laurel wreath for our forebears who fought for freedom – political, economic, cultural, and spiritual; and it’s a recipe book for how to make nourishing, delectable meals to build our moral strength and satisfy our souls. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

The Nightmare Continues

You can find all sorts of explanations for the parlous state of our body politic.  The catastrophe of our last national election cycle here was preceded by the irrational Brexit vote (a misguided cry of anger and pain from English nationalists [but not Londoners]), has since been compounded in Europe by the onslaught of the far right in Germany in September and now this week in Austria.  I wrote a paper several years ago that took a long, hard look at the Contemporary American Right in which I posited that right wingers are, in a word, ill.  A distinguished student of conflict, Vamik Volkan, calls them regressed.  (Notice that I don’t dignify the inhabitants of these pathologies as “conservative” – it does them far too much justice.) Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

“It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.”

James Carville, one of the sharper Democratic consultants to come around in several generations, reminded Bill Clinton’s campaign staff that among the three things on which they needed to focus one was:   “The Economy, Stupid.”  This morphed into the expression “It’s the economy, stupid.”  It has become abundantly clear that the message of the present White House administration, along with their Republican party enablers and a few Democrats from fossil fuel-dependent states (like Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota), is that “It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.” Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Can Trump Destroy the Paris Agreement and Thus the Earth’s Climate System?

I have a Spanish friend who likes to use the expression:  “Is complicate.”  When it comes to the climate crisis, the transition to clean energy, and international politics one can safely say:  “Is complicate.”  I tried to convey a real sense of optimism in my book, A Newer World, and some of the hopeful trends I identified then have proven even more robust than I could have imagined at the time I was researching and writing it.  We are spending a great deal of money, globally, on clean tech, and that’s only going to continue. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Finally, A Small But Significant Victory, Courtesy of the Senate

Yes – and it was about bloody time – the Senate finally held up at least a small part of its bargain with the American people: to protect the public health and the environment.

First, a little context: What you see on the left is the flaring of natural gas from oil rigs, in this case in Iraq.  It is a problem all over the world though. Flaring is but one part of the problem of how “fugitive” natural gas greatly exacerbates the climate crisis.   There is an awful lot of anthropogenically produced methane in the world that escapes into the atmosphere every year: about 7.13 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2013 according to the excellent Climate Access Indicators Tool (CAIT) of the World Resources Institute.  That was about 15% of the total of all the greenhouse gases produced that year, including those from land use changes like deforestation. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF