The good stuff. Jan. 2, 2017
Just as the temperature of a heat wave, the height of a storm surge, or the thickness of a levee, it’s the strength of a neighborhood that determines who lives and who dies in a disaster. Building against climate change can either support vibrant neighborhood conditions or undermine them.
Indeed, most worrisome is that climatologists have been expecting just this kind of “jump” in global temperatures for a while. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” that “humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.” One 2015 study concluded that we could even see Arctic warming rise an alarming 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade by the 2020s.
On (the) Media
Mainstream commentators suggested Trump’s working-class supporters would eventually feel betrayed by their candidate’s sudden lurch towards plutocracy. But judging by my sample size, the news from the #swamp wasn’t even coming across their computer screens…
In that regard they’re no different from other partisans. But there is a distinction between wearing political blinders, as we all do, and actively embracing ludicrous untruths manufactured for the purpose of making money. The tragic irony of the new credulousness is that it badly exacerbates the tribalism and distrust that turned so many fake news adherents against “establishment” politicians and journalists in the first place.
The waves of protests in Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in the days after the election look less like spontaneous outrage and more like a preview of what the next four years may hold. Unlike the specific protests that emerged during the Obama Administration, the post-election demonstrations have been directed at the general state of American democracy.
No single factor “explains” American political history, but this basic divide — North vs. South, free vs. slave, democracy vs. racist regime — comes the closest. The idea that we should celebrate the losing side in this long battle not only dishonors the brave warriors who finally defeated the forces of bigotry; it undermines the victory itself. And it was a resounding, triumphant victory, in both the Civil War and a century later.
To put it bluntly: The Confederates were the bad guys, as were their Jim Crow descendants. They lost, and the country is immeasurably better for it.
“Gutting the independent ethics office is exactly the wrong way to start a new Congress,” said Chris Carson, spokesperson for League of Women Voters, in a statement. “This opens the door for special interest corruption just as the new Congress considers taxes and major infrastructure spending.”
“Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis — I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.” After the rise of the Nazi party, “the whole country was as if under a kind of a spell,” she insists.