Opinion | A Brief History of the Warren Presidency – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Brooks

By 

Opinion Columnist

“A crisis of legitimacy swept across American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. Many people had the general conviction that the old order was corrupt and incompetent. There was an inchoate desire for some radical transformation. This mood swept the Republican Party in 2016 as Donald Trump eviscerated the G.O.P. establishment and it swept through the Democratic Party in 2020.

In the 2020 primary race Joe Biden stood as the candidate for linear change and Elizabeth Warren stood as the sharp break from the past. Biden was the front-runner, but fragile. Many of the strongest debate performers — Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bennet — couldn’t get any traction because Biden occupied the moderate lane. By the time he faded, it was too late.

Warren triumphed over the other progressive populist, Bernie Sanders, because she had what he lacked — self-awareness. She could run a campaign that mitigated her weaknesses. He could not.

Biden was holding on until Warren took Iowa and New Hampshire. He or some other moderate could have recovered, but the California primary had been moved up to March 3, Super Tuesday. When Warren dominated most of the states that day, it was over. The calendar ensured that the most progressive candidate would win.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
David Brooks, this is a fine piece of fiction, and you make many good points. But it is missing the elephant in the room. Bloomberg Businessweek put on its November 5th, 2012 cover: “It’s Global Warming Stupid” The NYT has done a magnificent job covering the climate crisis. Please take a serious look at their Magazine of around August 1st, 2019, titled, “Losing Earth: thirty years ago we could have saved the planet.”
I would recomment you look at this weeks Time Magazine 9/23/19 titled, Special Climate Issue, 2050 How Earth Survived, with the cover story by Bill McKibbon, and other spectacular pieces by Al Gore, and Aryn Baker. I haven’t read them all yet.
But for God’s sake, or for the sake of our grandchildren, wake my friend, and “study the Science,” as 16 year old Greta Thunberg just begged a group of congressmen and women to do. You are one of my favorite Republican, right of center, writers, thinkers and analysts, but you are starting to embarrass me because you don’t see, read or feel, the climate crisis:  that they are suffering multiple days of heat in Jacobabad, Pakistan of 51.1 degrees Celsius. That is multiple days of 124 degrees Fahrenheit. Global warming was predicted by climate scientists, because it is based on high school chemistry.

Opinion | Sliding Down the Climate Slope – By Gernot Wagner and Constantine Samaras – The New York Times

By Gernot Wagner and 

Drs. Wagner and Samaras are academics whose work focuses on climate change.

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“Twelve years is at once an eternity and right around the corner. Just ask any parent watching their kids grow up. So it hits home when a growing chorus of often young voices — from proponents of the Green New Deal to the global Youth Climate Strike — says forcefully that the world has 12 years left to avoid disastrous climate change. This is just the latest dire warning about time running out issued over the past 20 years. But this deadline is different — it’s both entirely wrong, and oh so right.

The idea of a 12-year deadline arose last fall with the release of a special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The United Nations group of climate scientists from around the world said that if the planet’s governments want to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial temperatures, a mere 1 degree Fahrenheit above today’s levels, society will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about half by 2030, declining further to net zero by around midcentury. The “about” and “around” typically get dropped in translation, rendering the outcome falsely precise, especially in headlines about the report. The Guardian, for example, announced: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns U.N.”

Now, of course, it would be 11 years.

Technically, this deadline is wrong, not least because it is much too precise. The world won’t end in 2030 if emissions don’t decline. The NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel summed it up perfectly: “Climate change isn’t a cliff we fall off, but a slope we slide down.”

That’s one of the many reasons climate change is such a difficult problem. There’s no obvious stop sign, no simple red line. The reverse is also true: There won’t be a superhero ending to this movie, a point when climate change will have been “solved.” Our children and grandchildren — and theirs — will be managing the impacts of climate change for decades and centuries to come.”

Opinion | Your Kids Could Save Our Warming World – By Gracy Olmstead – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Olmstead is a writer.

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“Many would-be parents in the millennial generation worry that bringing a child into this world might, in its effects, serve as a choice for more consumption, waste and damage to the planet. Others wonder whether the children conceived now might face a fate somehow worse than nonexistence in future years — a fate involving planetary apocalypse or catastrophe — and they don’t want to bring children into that future.

These fears have developed into an argument that suggests it is morally irresponsible to have kids (or at least to have too many). Indeed, at the Democratic presidential candidates’ climate change town hall, Bernie Sanders was asked about “the need to curb population growth,” suggesting that dissuading mothers around the world from having more children is a necessity for dealing with climate change.

I understand that, since the humans we bring into this world will also consume resources, there can be some fear among millennials that having children will make the problem of climate change worse. Still, I have made the choice to procreate — I have two daughters — even though I am concerned about climate change. And it’s important to argue for children and their parents and for the essential role they can both play in this urgent work of planetwide stewardship going forward.

The act of creation is opposed to the act of consumption: The latter suggests that everything exists to serve our needs and appetites, but the other reminds us of the value and goodness inherent in things themselves, and how creation encourages stewardship and responsibility.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
Thank you Gracy Olmstead for a lovely piece of writing and set of points. I too became a better person because of my children, and the challenge of parenting. The commenters are pretty critical, and I understand their frustration. I find your points well written and thought out, but the overall presentation leaves out that with 7.6 billion people on the planet and increasing rates of species extinction, so severe that the topic is now refered to as the Sixth Extinction, that you do not seem willing to admit that there needs to be severe limits to human procreation. Maternity is a wonderful event, but each woman should have the right to chose whether to or not to procreate, and to prevent unwanted births to make for a healthier family, community, and environment.

Opinion | Barack Obama’s Biggest Mistake – By Farhad Manjoo – The New York Times

Farhad Manjoo

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“In 2009, Barack Obama was the most powerful newly elected American president in a generation. Democrats controlled the House and, for about five months in the second half of the year, they enjoyed a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority in the Senate. For the first six months of his presidency, Obama had an approval rating in the 60s.

Democrats also had a once-in-a-lifetime political opportunity presented by a careening global crisis. Across the country, people were losing jobs and homes in numbers not seen since World War II. Just as in the 1930s, the Republican Party’s economic policies were widely thought to have caused the crisis, and Obama and his fellow Democrats were swept into office on a throw-the-bums-out wave.

If he’d been in the mood to press the case, Obama might have found widespread public appetite for the sort of aggressive, interventionist restructuring of the American economy that Franklin D. Roosevelt conjured with the New Deal. One of the inspiring new president’s advisers even hinted that was the plan.

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, said days after the 2008 election.”

David Lindsay:  Great writing Farhad Manjoo. Where was Joe Biden, on Obama’s biggest mistake while in office?

Greta Thunberg, on Tour in America, Offers an Unvarnished View – The New York Times

“These are some of the things that Greta Thunberg has learned on her American tour.

New York City smells. People talk really loudly here, they blast air conditioning and they argue over whether or not they believe in climate change, while in her country, Sweden, they accept it as fact.

Also, American lawmakers would do well to read the latest science on the threats posed by climate change.

That’s what Ms. Thunberg, 16, told members of Congress on Wednesday, when she was asked to submit her testimony into the record. She submitted a report issued last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spelling out the threats of global temperature rise. “I don’t want you to listen to me,” she said. “I want you to listen to the scientists.”

Her remarks lasted barely a minute. “And then I want you to take real action.” “

David Lindsay
I am a big fan of Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish teenager with low level autism, who surprised the Swedes by cutting school on Fridays to stand outside the Swedish parliament building, with a sign that read something like, we children demand that you adults take care of and protect our future.

She no longer has to stand by herself on Fridays.
From Wikipedia: “In August 2018, at 15 years of age, Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement, under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils each.”
DL: I admire this youngster.She reminds me of Joan of Arc, who some argue raised the spirits of generals and solders and accompaniedd them into war as a teenager.

Opinion | Climate Change Is Not World War – By Roy Scranton – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Scranton is a professor of English at Notre Dame.

CreditCreditFrank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts introduced their Green New Deal proposal in February, they chose language loaded with nostalgia for one of the country’s most transformative historical moments, urging the country to undertake “a new national, social, industrial and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.”

They are not the first to hark back to the struggles of that era. Former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Lamar Alexander and the environmentalist Lester Brown have all been calling for national “mobilization” to fight climate change for more than a decade. In 2011, environmental groups wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and China’s president, Hu Jintao, demanding “wartime-like mobilization by the governments of the United States and China to cut carbon emissions.” In 2014, the climate psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon and the journalist Ezra Silk founded the group Climate Mobilization, dedicated to an “all-out effort to deploy the strongest and most aggressive solutions for reversing climate breakdown.”

Two years later, Bill McKibben wrote an article arguing that climate change was actually World War III, and that the only way to keep from losing this war would be “to mobilize on the same scale as we did for the last world war.”

Yet much of this rhetoric involves little or no understanding of what national mobilization actually meant for Americans living through World War II. As a result, the sacrifices and struggles of the 1940s have begun to seem like a romantic story of collective heroism, when they were in fact a time of rage, fear, grief and social disorder. Countless Americans experienced firsthand the terror and excitement of mortal violence, and nearly everyone saw himself caught up in an existential struggle for the future of the planet.”

David Lindsay:   I thought this piece above was brilliant, until I read the comments, and quickly saw the many weaknesses to it’s arguments. Here are some of the top comments:

Ellen S.
by the sea
Times Pick

“How would we know when the “war on climate change” ends?” The ‘war’ ends when climate change is either stopped from increasing or reversed. Both are measurable, scientifically. It’s not a literal war, but a metaphorical war. The Green New Deal could mobilize all of our resources, create jobs, and transform our economy in way that is similar to mobilizations that occurred during WWI and II. Switching from petroleum -based dependencies for so many of our needs to alternative fuel sources will require such massive changes and mobilization of resources. The author of this article takes the metaphor of War a bit too literally.

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Rethinking commented 4 hours ago

Rethinking
LandOfUnsteadyHabits

Yes, there is an enemy to mobilize against. Those who reverse regulations limiting auto fumes, methane venting, water pollution, coal burning. In reversing these regulations, Trump and the GOP are guilty of crimes against humanity – and against all life on Earth.

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Andre commented 3 hours ago

Andre
Vancouver
Times Pick

I work developing technologies to fight climate change. Even if I found today a wealthy patron willing to fund my most ambitious efforts, it would take me 5-6 years before I could bring a process to commercial scale, and until 2038 for it to reach its fullest extent. And if, God willing, everything worked as planned, I would only be able to remove from the atmosphere 15-18 Mtons CO2/year, out of the 1-10 Gtons CO2/year that need to be removed. This is a Herculean task, made necessary by the enormous inertia in our present course. Yet anything less than such an effort, made with the greatest of haste, will unleash the Furies of a ferocious nature, turning on us for our benign neglect and greed. There is no other choice, but to make our greatest effort.

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David A. commented 3 hours ago

David A.
Brooklyn
Times Pick

Between any two processes there will be similarities and differences. The advocates of the Green New Deal are referring to scope of mobilization when making comparisons to the New Deal and the WWII effort. We do not trivialize the horrors of combat that our troops and those of our allies underwent. Here are some key quotes from this article’s description of WWII: “nearly everyone saw himself caught up in an existential struggle for the future of the planet” “entire industries were retooled” “more than 30 million Americans were uprooted from their homes and migrated across the country” “the material culture of American life was transformed beyond imagining: food production, housewares, automobiles, home building, highways, television, film, clothing, travel and music all underwent phenomenal metamorphoses” I believe that each of these applies to what will be necessary in the effort to mitigate and reduce Climate Catastrophe. And yes, this is not something the USA can do alone– any more that it could have defeated the Axis rattlesnakes alone. But as in WWII, perhaps even more so, the USA has a vital role to play.

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Brian commented 3 hours ago

Brian
Montgomery
Times Pick

I’m less concerned about politicians using aspirational language than I am about the planet my children are going to inherent. The coming generation has already experienced fear and lost economic opportunity; they know what’s coming in a hotter world. Which really isn’t that far away from the World War II generation.

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Opinion | The 184-Year-Old Promise to the Cherokee Congress Must Keep – By Chuck Hoskin Jr. – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Hoskin Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

CreditCreditSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

“The number seven is significant to the Cherokee people. We have seven clans in our origin story, seven sacred directions and centered in our government seal is the seven-pointed star. And when we make a decision affecting our people, its purpose is to advance our tribe seven generations from now.

The Cherokee Nation is strong today because we rest upon this solid foundation. It is a foundation laid by a people of grit whose great suffering has been eclipsed by greater determination. It is a foundation built by great leaders whose names are recorded in our history books and imprinted in our hearts, and by hundreds of thousands of Cherokees who struggled and forged ahead in anonymity.

In 1835, when the Treaty of New Echota moved us from our homelands in the Southeast to the Indian Territory, we were coerced into ceding vast amounts of land where we once prospered. But our leaders at the table negotiating with the federal government also had the foresight to insert into the treaty what they knew would be best for us roughly seven generations later.”

Opinion | Something Special Is Happening in Rural America – By Sarah Smarsh – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Smarsh is the host of the podcast “The Homecomers” and the author of the memoir “Heartland.”

CreditCreditMojoeks/iStock, via Getty Images Plus

“WICHITA, Kan. — For more than a century following the Industrial Revolution, rural and small-town people left home to pursue survival in commercial meccas. According to the American story, those who thrived in urban centers “made it” — a capitalist triumph for the individual, a damaging loss for the place he left. We often refer to this as “brain drain” from the hinterlands, implying that those who stay lack the merit or ability to “get out.”

But that old notion is getting dusty.

The nation’s most populous cities, the bicoastal pillars of aspiration — New York City and Los Angeles — are experiencing population declines, most likely driven by unaffordability. Other metros are experiencing growth, to be sure, especially in the South and West. But there is an exodus afoot that suggests a national homecoming, across generations, to less bustling spaces. Last year, the Census Bureau found that while roughly 80 percent of us live in urban areas, rural life was the most wished for.

If happiness is what they seek, those folks are onto something. A 2018 study by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported that in spite of economic and health concerns, most rural Americans are pretty dang happy and hopeful. Forty percent of rural adults said their lives came out better than they expected. A majority said they were better off financially than their parents at the same age and thought their kids would likewise ascend. As for cultural woes, those among them under age 50, as well as people of color, showed notably higher acknowledgment of discrimination and commitment to social progress. All in all, it was a picture not of a dying place but one that is progressing.

The University of Minnesota Extension researcher Ben Winchester has cited a “brain gain” in rural America. Mr. Winchester found that from 2000 to 2010, most rural Minnesota counties gained early-career to midcareer residents with ample socioeconomic assets. A third of them are returning, while the rest are new recruits.”

How to Make Your Smartphone Last Longer – The New York Times

By 

“When you buy a new smartphone, how long do you expect it to last? Two years? Maybe three? Despite the sometimes sky-high sticker prices, we tend to replace our smartphones more frequently than any of our other expensive electronic devices. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Around the time early smartphones from Apple and Google started to hit shelves in the late 2000s, the traditional model for buying a phone from your carrier worked like this: You would sign up for a two-year contract and in exchange you’d get a free (or very cheap) phone whose cost was built into the price of your monthly payment. Once your two years were up, carriers would lure you back with an “upgrade” that renewed your contract, gave you a new phone and maybe even took the old phone off your hands.

This worked fine for old flip phones, and especially cheaper phones that might not last very long. However, this model came with an unintended side effect. It trained users to expect upgrades every two years.”

1.1 Million Students in N.Y.C. Can Skip School for Climate Protest – By Anne Barnard – The New York Times

“When New York City announced that public school students could skip classes without penalties to join the youth climate strikes planned around the world on Friday, you could almost hear a sigh of relief.

Before the announcement, the protests, to be held three days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit here, had thrown a new complication into the usual back-to-school chaos: With the protests framed as a cry to protect their futures from climate disaster, should students heed the call?

Parents had wondered how to word emails to principals requesting excused absences. Teachers had been wondering how to react. Some students had been vowing to protest no matter what, but others had worried about possible repercussions.

Most of all, the decision last week by the nation’s largest school district buoyed national protest organizers, who are hoping that the demonstrations will be the largest on climate in the country’s history, with at least 800 planned across the 50 states. They expressed hope that other districts around the country would follow suit.”