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
Put April 22 in your book! If you took part in the Women’s March on Washington there or in any of the 673 sister marches around the planet, then you know the excitement, the camaraderie, the common purpose. If you’ve been to the airports to support those caught in the web of xenophobia incarnate now in the Trump Administration, you understand the importance of being there, of making a statement with your presence, your voice. If you’ve been involved with constituent meetings to tell your elected representatives that you won’t stand for democracy and the social compact being torn apart by the bestiality of the morally bankrupt in power, then you are well and truly in tune with hundreds of millions of your sisters and brothers around the world. And, if you haven’t yet experienced the empowering, life-affirming coming together of people to express their common humanity and innate sanity, then here’s a great opportunity. Continue reading
The title of the new, long anticipated, hugely important treatise from the leader of over a billion Roman Catholics in the world, Pope Francis, is Laudato Si‘. The title comes from his namesake’s “Canticle of the Creatures” in which St. Francis writes: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.” Laudato Si’ – Praised be to you.
The annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner was the venue for one of the funniest, most totally in-your-face performances I’ve ever seen: Stephen Colbert just eviscerating nearly everybody in the room in 2006. (Start at 1:45 to skip the boring introduction.) There is an extensive Wikipedia page just for this performance. Continue reading
I went to a cool little rally last evening here in New York City. We were standing across from the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center to say “No!” to the KXL. We were there, of course, because the Koch Brothers have been the principal funders in recent years of any number of reactionary organizations, including Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, not to mention the Tea Party itself. Of course, they have a serious vested interest in the Canadian tar sands. By the time I left, we had a good 200 or so people out on a cold night. The excellent folks at 350NYC organized the rally and we knew that there were scores more across the country at the same time. Continue reading
Once again Gary Trudeau nails it on the head. There’s really not a lot to add. However, if your appetite is whetted, you might like to check out some of what Barack Obama said at a commencement address a little over a week ago in California.
For instance: “And today’s Congress, though, is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change. They will tell you it is a hoax, or a fad. One member of Congress actually says the world is cooling. There was one member of Congress who mentioned a theory involving ‘dinosaur flatulence’ — which I won’t get into.” Continue reading
Gary Trudeau nailed it a few years back in this strip. (Click on it to see the whole thing.) There was a study out that flags the nearly one billion dollars that goes to fund the climate denialism movement each year. The excellent Suzanne Goldenberg got the whole story in The Guardian in December. (One of the many things, I’m sure, that I missed as I cast my radar across the horizon.) In any event, social scientist Robert Brulle conducted the study, published in Climatic Change, one of the key peer-reviewed journals covering climate. He’s quoted in the article: “It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort.” Continue reading
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued its “Annual Climate Statement” today in Geneva. There was nothing particularly revelatory: We’re still looking at a looming catastrophe. In fact, for millions, the catastrophe has already occurred. Ask the folks in the Philippines, or California, or Britain, or Australia. Yes, but what about all the cold weather in the Eastern half of the US this year you ask. Well, it’s climate change too: the polar vortex has been weakened by the melting of Arctic ice, allowing cold air to migrate south. (Sorry, denialists.) Continue reading
John Kerry is a climate hawk. I’ve been a fan since before 2004 when I helped out on his presidential campaign. (Heavy sigh.) Now that he’s the US Secretary of State, he’s in a unique, critical position to be able to significantly advance an agenda of moving us off the path of self-destruction we’ve been on and onto one in which everyone can enjoy abundant energy and clean air and clean water, not to mention a climate system that will be able to heal itself over time. Continue reading