Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward | What Democrats Don’t Understand About Rural America – The New York Times

Chloe Maxmin and 

Ms. Maxmin, 29, is the youngest female state senator in Maine’s history. Mr. Woodward ran her two campaigns. They are the authors of the forthcoming book “Dirt Road Revival,” from which this essay is adapted.

“NOBLEBORO, Maine — We say this with love to our fellow Democrats: Over the past decade, you willfully abandoned rural communities. As the party turned its focus to the cities and suburbs, its outreach became out of touch and impersonal. To rural voters, the message was clear: You don’t matter.

Now, Republicans control dozens of state legislatures, and Democrats have only tenuous majorities in Congress at a time in history when we simply can’t afford to cede an inch. The party can’t wait to start correcting course. It may be too late to prevent a blowout in the fall, but the future of progressive politics — and indeed our democracy — demands that we revive our relationship with rural communities.”

How the Supply Chain Crunch is Hurting California Farmers. – The New York Times

Peter S. Goodman has covered the supply chain chaos for the past two years. He reported this story from Manteca and Fresno, in California’s Central Valley, as well as Washington, D.C., and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“During a normal spring, the sight of orchards bursting with clusters of almonds is a boon throughout California’s Central Valley. Here is money growing on trees.

Not this year.

As Scott Phippen looks out on his orchard on a recent afternoon, he feels a sense of foreboding tinged with rage. His warehouse is stuffed with the leftovers of last year’s harvest — 30 million pounds of almonds stored in wooden and plastic bins stacked to the rafters, and overflowing into his yard. Orders assembled for customers sit in giant white plastic bags and cardboard cartons arrayed across pallets, awaiting ships that can carry them across the water to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The almonds are here, the customers are over there, and the global shipping industry is failing to span the divide.”

Margaret Renkl | The Boring Bill in Tennessee That Everyone Should Be Watching – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — When a new energy infrastructure bill was introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this month, people could be forgiven for paying little attention. Compared to the legislature’s recent follies — an abortion bill that would out-Texas Texas, or a book-banning bill that would override the recommendations of school librarians, or a handgun bill that would let 18-year-olds carry a gun without a permit — an energy-infrastructure bill seems like a big yawn.

Thing is, almost nothing undertaken by the Tennessee General Assembly can be safely overlooked. That boring energy infrastructure bill, which passed the Tennessee Senate last Thursday, would let the state override local laws blocking fossil-fuel projects in their communities. In other words, if this bill becomes law, the state could allow an oil company to run a pipeline through a city over the objections of the city itself.

This may seem like a picayune matter with no relevance outside the state of Tennessee, but it’s exactly the kind of bill that ought to attract national attention — not because it’s happening in Tennessee but because it’s happening, or is poised to happen, in red-state legislatures across the country, according to the Climate Reality Project. Republicans are using rising gas prices as an opportunity to give the fossil-fuel industry whatever it wants in their states, even when their own cities have been trying to protect the environment and their people from that very industry.

Legislative pre-emption is part of a political ground war down here. These routine bills rarely rise to the level of national attention, but their presence explains as much about our national politics — and about what shapes our national elections — as any newly restrictive abortion law or newly lax gun bill does.”

Takeaways From Texas’s 2022 Primary Elections – The New York Times

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“For nearly a decade, the refrain from Texas Democrats has been that they are on the verge of making their state competitive, even though no Democrat has won a statewide race since 1994.

Tuesday’s primary results illustrated that Democrats still have a long way to go.

With more than three-quarters of the votes counted, nearly 800,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted for a candidate for governor — a gap far larger than the one in 2018, the last midterm primary election in Texas.

To be sure, Republicans had a more competitive primary than Democrats. Gov. Greg Abbott’s contest against Republican challengers from his right may have been more of a draw than Beto O’Rourke’s glide path to the Democratic nomination. And Democrats will be quick to note that primary turnout is not always a predictor of big turnout in November.”

David Lindsay:  Here is an interesting comment.

Texas3h ago

You can vote in either primary but not both. I voted in the republican primary in order to vote against Paxton (current Atty Gen under indictment) and to vote against various other lunatic fringe Trumpers. To write this article as if only republicans vote in the Republican primary is mistaken and naive. And , footnote I will vote for Beto in the actual race but he won’t get elected….ever.

1 Reply87 Recommended
Why is Beto unelectable in Texas?
David LIndsay: My sister lives in Dallas, so I asked her about the comment above. She answered:

Beto is a tough sell because he is a progressive.  Some of his stances on climate change and medicare are too far too the left.  To win he has to appeal to the moderate republicans who don’t like how far right the party has gone and independents.  Most of them are still worried about the border, the health of the oil and gas industry (many jobs in Texas) and are more likely to go with what they know (Abbot) than what they don’t (Beto).  Also the Republican PACS  pour a ton of money into disinformation and sometimes outright lies. The Republicans are beating the democrats hands down in boots on the ground and community organizing.  Just read what is going on in South Texas, long a democratic bastion. The republicans are also better at a unified message.
I do think the democratic primaries were less contested than the Republican ones.  Those three guys at the top haven’t had serous  primary challengers before.  And I think a lot of democrats voted in the Republican primaries to try to get moderate candidates.  Several of the moderates in the state house retired or were targeted by Trump people.  Incumbents doing OK but in the contested seats the moderates lost big.  Very sad and demoralizing.
Our only chance is to get a ton of democrats to the poles.

Opinion | An Invasive Insect Threatens Delmarva Westlands – The New York Times

“On the Delmarva Peninsula, the low-lying expanse of coastal plain that bulges east from the Chesapeake Bay, some of the last remaining sizable green and wild spaces are wetland forests that shroud tidal rivers and creeks on their languid journeys toward the bay: the Nanticoke, the Marshyhope, the Choptank, the Tuckahoe, the Pocomoke.

As hard as it may be to believe in this long-settled part of the world, made up of Delaware and the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and Virginia, many of these forests remain virtually unexplored natural wonders. They are home to an explosive diversity of trees, shrubs and understory plants shaped by the rhythmic undulations of the tides, including rare and threatened species such as red turtlehead and seaside alder. They are havens for salamanders, lizards, woodpeckers, herons and more. The distinctive hill-and-hummock topography creates shallow pools where small fish shelter and forage; these fish feed bigger ones sought by fishermen and women.

The hummock-building power of ash trees is on display in a forest near the Tuckahoe Creek. Emerald ash borer damage is visible near the bases of trees.

The hummock-building power of ash trees is on display in a forest near the Tuckahoe Creek. Emerald ash borer damage is visible near the bases of trees.

One tree makes these wetlands possible: The ash. But now these trees face a formidable adversary. A few years ago, a small beetle showed up and started to change everything: the emerald ash borer, originally from Asia, was most likely a stowaway on a container ship and was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. It is now found in 35 states and was confirmed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015. This invasive insect has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States and threatens millions more in its continuing path of destruction. On the Delmarva, it could upend entire ecosystems.”

What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher in Hamden CT | by Makaela Kingsley | Jan, 2022 | Medium

What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher

In December 2021, it became clear that the latest COVID-19 variant — omicron — would impact schools after the holiday break. Thanks to the widespread accessibility of vaccines, the mild nature of omicron infections, and nearly two years of protocols that limit COVID transmissions inside schools remarkably well, I was not worried about sending my kids — a 7th grader and 10th grader — to their large public schools in our 60,000-person Connecticut town. Even more importantly, they were not worried. They wanted to go back to school.

We all knew, though, that opening schools would require having enough grown-ups — in all buildings, most classrooms, many periods, every day. And clearly omicron wasn’t going to let that happen. Teachers, paraprofessionals, aides, administrators, custodians, security officers, and all the other essential adults in the school community would have to take days off for a variety of reasons — symptomatic COVID cases, asymptomatic COVID cases, symptoms that were caused by something other than COVID, quarantined kids or other family members, not to mention PTO for dentist appointments, out-of-town weddings, personal days, and all the other relics of pre-pandemic life.

Source: What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher | by Makaela Kingsley | Jan, 2022 | Medium

Paul Krugman | Behind Kentucky’s Tornado Recovery Plan – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“On Friday, a devastating swarm of tornadoes swept through Kentucky. The state’s leading figures appealed for federal aid, which was promptly granted — and rightly so. Helping people and communities in need is what nations are supposed to do.

Observers couldn’t help noticing, however, that some of the Kentucky politicians asking for aid — notably Senator Rand Paul — had in the past not only opposed aid for other disaster-struck states but sneered at their pleas. What should we make of this hypocrisy?

The truth is that it runs deeper than “aid for me but not for thee.” Remarkably, if you look at how the federal budget affects U.S. regions, there’s a consistent pattern in which conservative states that preach the importance of self-reliance are in fact heavily subsidized by liberal states, especially in the Northeast.”

“. . . Topping the list of net beneficiaries was, yes, Kentucky, where residents received an average of $14,000 more from Washington than they paid in taxes. To put this in perspective, Kentucky’s 2019 net inflow of federal funds — $63 billion — was roughly 30 percent of the state’s G.D.P. that year.””

Jon Waterman | Climate Change Is Thawing Arctic Alaska – The New York Times

Mr. Waterman is a former national park ranger and the author of National Geographic’s “Atlas of the National Parks.”

“Secluded in the far-flung Gates of the Arctic National Park in northwestern Alaska, the flooded Noatak River pushed our raft downstream into a brisk wind. Caribou trails spider-webbed the hillsides, while cumulus clouds gathered like ripened fruit above a valley so vast that you could feel lost without binoculars and frequent map consultations.

To avoid crashing into the banks, I had to keep sharp eyes on the surging river and hands on the oars. Since extreme rainfall had lifted the river out of its banks (and delayed our floatplane flight in from Bettles, Alaska, for three days), every potential campsite had been sluiced over with silt and left soaking wet.

Thirty-six years had passed since I had last worked as a guide on the Noatak River. This year, instead of simply enjoying a float down memory lane in the wildest country imaginable, I was stunned by how climate change had radically altered the place I once knew.

Drawn to wild places all my life for spiritual renewal, I had chosen the Noatak as the ultimate wilderness trip to share with my 15-year-old son, Alistair, and another family. I had also come to escape the record heat and forest fire smoke in Colorado for what I believed would be a cool interlude in the Far North.”

Eric W. Sanderson | New York City Needs Green Solutions to Flooding – The New York Times

“Dr. Sanderson is a senior conservation ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and the author of “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City” and “Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs.” He is working on an atlas and a geographical dictionary of the Indigenous landscape of New York City.

For more than 20 years, I have been studying the historical ecology of New York City and thinking about what it means for the city’s future, and I can tell you one thing: Water will go where water has always gone.

When Hurricane Sandy roared into New York in 2012, where did the sea surge? Into the salt marshes. They may not have looked like salt marshes at the time. They may have looked like Edgemere and Oakwood Beach and Red Hook, but these neighborhoods are marshes first, disguised with landfill and topped with buildings.

And so it was recently with the remnants of Hurricane Ida. It is heartbreaking and tragic that people died in flooded basements, and that so many lost so much property. Where were these flooded basements? Judging by the news reports, mainly dug into the old stream courses and freshwater wetlands of the city. Places such as the block of 153rd Street, surrounded by Kissena Park, in Queens. That’s Kissena Park, named after Kissena Creek, which up until the 1910s met the tidewaters of the Flushing River right about where 153rd Street is.”

Paul Krugman | Dear Joe Manchin: Coal Isn’t Your State’s Future – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“So Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be responsible for putting together the Democratic climate plan. This is both understandable and terrifying. It’s understandable because Democrats need the vote of every one of their senators, which means doing whatever it takes to get skeptics on board. It’s terrifying because Manchin might end up gutting key proposals from President Biden, especially those aimed at drastically reducing the burning of fossil fuels.

The best-case scenario is that Manchin will intervene in ways that help coal miners and highlight his independence without doing too much damage to Biden’s objectives. The worst-case scenario is that he will cripple the climate initiative and effectively doom the planet — because the president’s climate push is almost certainly our last chance to avoid disaster.”