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.”

A Century Ago, Miners Fought in a Bloody Uprising. Few Know About It Today. – The New York Times

“BLAIR, W.Va. — On the shoulder of a lonely stretch of highway miles into the hills, a sign stands in the weeds. “Battle of Blair Mt.,” it says, informing the tumbledown cinder block building across the road that here, 100 years ago, was the largest armed labor uprising in U.S. history.

In late August 1921, thousands of rifle-bearing coal miners marched to this thickly wooded ridge in southern West Virginia, a campaign that was ignited by the daylight assassinations of union sympathizers but had been building for years in the oppressive despair of the coal fields. The miners’ army was met at Blair Mountain by thousands of men who volunteered to fight with the Logan County sheriff, who was in the pay of the coal companies. Over 12 miles and five days, the sheriff’s men fought the miners, strafing the hillsides with machine-gun fire and dropping homemade bombs from planes. There were at least 16 confirmed deaths in the battle, though no one knows exactly how many were killed before the US Army marched in to put a stop to the fighting.”

Opinion | Hurricane Ida Is a Glimpse of the Future of Climate Change – The New York Times

Dr. Horowitz, who lives in New Orleans, is the author of “Katrina: A History, 1915-2015.”

“As a boy, Louis Armstrong worked for the Karnofsky family. The Karnofskys’ tailor shop on South Rampart Street in New Orleans became a second home to him, and the family helped him buy his first cornet. On Sunday night, the Karnofsky building, long neglected by the city and a succession of private owners who promised to restore it, finally collapsed under the force of Hurricane Ida’s winds.

I live in New Orleans, but I saw the news on my phone, as I scrolled from the safety of a rented apartment in Birmingham, Ala. My family and I arrived on Friday. We are among the Louisianans who could afford to evacuate. We got here by driving I-59 to I-20, which is to say, we relied on the comparatively well-funded public infrastructure of interstate highways to get out of harm’s way.”

Margaret Renkl | Republicans Have Gone Too Far in the Region Hit Hardest by Covid – The New York Times

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

“NASHVILLE — In case you’re wondering how things are going here in the Delta Rising region of the United States, I regret to report that things are going badly. Very, very badly.

Our intensive care units are full. Our children are getting sick in record numbers. Nevertheless, a small subset of unmasked, unvaccinated humanity has taken to yelling during school board meetings, and the most extreme protesters have issued threats against nurses and physicians who dared to speak publicly on behalf of such reasonable pandemic mitigation measures as masks and vaccines.

It’s so bad that the Tennessee Medical Association had to issue a statement in support of the exhausted heroes who for the past 18 months have been risking their own lives to care for strangers. “The enemy is the virus, not health care workers,” the statement read.

This is what some of us have become here in the American South: people who need to be reminded that our doctors are not our enemies.”

Court Blocks a Vast Alaskan Drilling Project, Citing Climate Dangers – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Alaska on Wednesday blocked construction permits for an expansive oil drilling project on the state’s North Slope that was designed to produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years.

The multibillion-dollar plan, known as Willow, by the oil giant ConocoPhillips had been approved by the Trump administration and legally backed by the Biden administration. Environmental groups sued, arguing that the federal government had failed to take into account the effects that drilling would have on wildlife and that the burning of the oil would have on global warming.

A federal judge has agreed.

In her opinion, Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for Alaska wrote that when the Trump administration permitted the project, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management’s exclusion of greenhouse gas emissions in its analysis of the environmental effects of the project was “arbitrary and capricious.””

California Solar Panel Mandate for New Buildings Advances – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — California regulators voted Wednesday to require builders to include solar power and battery storage in many new commercial structures as well as high-rise residential projects. It is the latest initiative in the state’s vigorous efforts to hasten a transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.

The five-member California Energy Commission approved the proposal unanimously. It will now be taken up by the state’s Building Standards Commission, which is expected to include it in an overall revision of the building code in December.

The energy plan, which would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, also calls for new homes to be wired in ways that ease and even encourage conversion of natural-gas heating and appliances to electric sources.

“The future we’re trying to build together is a future beyond fossil fuels,” David Hochschild, the chair of the Energy Commission, said ahead of the agency’s vote. “Big changes require everyone to play a role. We all have a role in building this future.” “

Miriam Pawel | Andrew Cuomo and How a Political Dynasty Dies – The New York Times

Ms. Pawel, a contributing Opinion writer, began reporting on Mario and Andrew Cuomo in 1983. She served as Newsday’s Albany bureau chief between 1984 and 1987.

“When I knew Andrew Cuomo, he was the 20-something top adviser to the governor he called Mario, and I was the 20-something Albany bureau chief for Newsday. I still remember how he ended our occasional phone calls: “Bye, hon,” hanging up immediately before I could protest. It was vintage Andrew — calculated and patronizing, a show of power.

Even in those early years after Mario Cuomo was first elected governor, in 1982, the differences between the two men were as apparent as their similarities. Both were ruthless competitors, prone to bullying. Both were control freaks, inclined to trust very few people outside a small circle of confidants.

But Mario Cuomo’s sharp elbows on the basketball court and pugilistic verbal gymnastics were wrapped in moral complexity, intellectual heft and Jesuitical questioning. His son exhibited none of those qualities. He had inherited his father’s fierce, win-at-any-cost competitive spirit without the humanity or introspection.”

Gail Collins | What Makes Cuomo So Grabby? – The New York Times

” . . . He’s buried under these sexual harassment charges and nobody is defending him. Well, virtually nobody. Rudy Giuliani says driving Cuomo out of office would be “unjust, dangerous and entirely un-American.” People, do you think this is because:

A) Giuliani just wants to see Cuomo suffer through a long, painful impeachment.

B) Giuliani made the remark at a party after several tumblers of scotch.

C) Giuliani thinks it’ll help his son Andrew’s chances to be governor.

Yeah, yeah, it’s A. Well, very possibly all three. But short of Rudy, Cuomo does seem to need all the help he can get. He’s been trying to defend himself by showing pictures where he’s kissing and hugging lots of people who seem perfectly happy with the attention. Of course, some are elderly fans who were standing in line waiting for it. Others, like, say, Al Gore, seem … not transported.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Gail Collins. My lady and I are used to your writing being magnificent and funny, and this was fun to read aloud. We especially liked, “And then there’s the non-grabby Cuomo, who looks almost as bad in the James report. Some women said his “flirtatious behavior” was problematic, but still “a better alternative to the otherwise tense, stressful and ‘toxic’ experience in the Executive Chamber.” Don’t think it’s possible to defend yourself against charges of unwanted grabbing by proving your targets were even more traumatized when you screamed at them.”

A Battle Between a Great City and a Great Lake – The New York Times

“In the search for ­­­­­a big-city refuge from climate change, Chicago looks like an excellent option. At least, it does on a map.

It stands a half-continent away from the threat of surging ocean levels. Its northern locale has protected it, to some extent, from southern heat waves. And droughts that threaten crops, forests and water supplies in so many places? Chicago hugs the shore of one of the grandest expanses of freshwater in the world.

Water is, in fact, why Chicago exists. The nation’s third-largest city grew from a remarkable geographical quirk, a small, swampy dip in a continental divide that separates two vast watersheds: the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin­­. In the 19th century, Chicagoans dug a canal linking those two watersheds, transforming their muddy town into a metropolis of commerce by making the riches of the American Midwest accessible to the world.”

“. . . But even as a metropolis rose from the mud, the flat landscape never went away. Storm and wastewater drainage in the young city was next to impossible, leaving streets smothered in a septic goo. In wet seasons, the quagmire was so deep it prompted signs along downtown streets issuing an ominous warning: “No bottom.”

“It was woe to the unlucky teamster who chanced to disregard the warning,” the Chicago Tribune wrote in 1859, “for generally his horse had to be dragged out by the neck.”

Chicago couldn’t fix this problem the way other cities did, by laying sloped sewers. The land was so low, it was impossible to place sewers below the streets and still have enough tilt to carry wastewater into the Chicago River.

Chicago History Museum

So, Chicago’s leaders got creative. Instead of putting sewers under the streets, they put sewers on top of the streets, then built new roads atop the old ones. They effectively hoisted the city out of the swamp.

Buildings in downtown were raised by as much as eight feet, an enterprise that required placing immense beams and jackscrews beneath their foundations. Then, a conductor would direct hundreds of laborers in the precisely choreographed turns of the screws to lift the structures out of the muck.

“The superintendent takes his stand,” the Chicago Tribune wrote at the time, and with a “shrill whistle” directs the crew to begin. “He continues his whistle long enough for every man to turn each screw one complete round of the thread. Thus the building is raised at every point precisely at the same moment.”

It was a feat of engineering as audacious as it was ultimately ineffective at solving Chicago’s predicament. ‘  . . .