Opinion | Michelle Yeoh: After Oscars, Let’s Focus on Women and Disaster Relief – The New York Times

“. . . . Disasters of such magnitude cause irreparable damage to the lives of those who already have so little. I witnessed this when I returned to Nepal to help with relief efforts three weeks after the earthquake and then again a year later, when I returned as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Program.

I thought again of Nepal when I watched the coverage of the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria last month. Even before the earthquake struck, the socioeconomic conditions in Syria were dire, with approximately 90 percent of the population living in poverty and millions in need of humanitarian assistance. Many are now homeless and lack the means to rebuild their lives or keep their families safe.

Crises aren’t just moments of catastrophe: They expose deep existing inequalities. Those living in poverty, especially women and girls, bear the brunt. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, lack of sanitation, health facilities and safety disproportionately affect women. In my time as a goodwill ambassador, I have seen up close how women and girls are often the last to go back to school and the last to get basic services like clean water, vaccines, identity cards and counseling. They are typically the last to get jobs and loans.  . . . . “

Opinion | Elizabeth Warren: We Can Prevent More Bank Failures – The New York Times

“No one should be mistaken about what unfolded over the past few days in the U.S. banking system: These recent bank failures are the direct result of leaders in Washington weakening the financial rules.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act to protect consumers and ensure that big banks could never again take down the economy and destroy millions of lives. Wall Street chief executives and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists hated this law. They spent millions trying to defeat it, and, when they lost, spent millions more trying to weaken it.

Greg Becker, the chief executive of Silicon Valley Bank, was one of the ‌many high-powered executives who lobbied Congress to weaken the law. In 2018, the big banks won. With support from both parties, President Donald Trump signed a law to roll back critical parts of Dodd-Frank. Regulators, including the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, then made a bad situation worse, ‌‌letting financial institutions load up on risk.

Banks like S.V.B. ‌— which had become the 16th largest bank in the country before regulators shut it down on Friday ‌—‌ got relief from stringent requirements, basing their claim on the laughable assertion that banks like them weren’t actually “big” ‌and therefore didn’t need strong oversight.”

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Is Big Winner at the Oscars – The New York Times

“In the late 1960s, young cineastes shook up a moribund film industry by delivering idiosyncratic, startlingly original work. The moment became known as New Hollywood.

When film historians look back at the 95th Academy Awards, they may mark it as the start of a new New Hollywood. Voters honored A24’s head-twisting, sex toy-brandishing, TikTok-era “Everything Everywhere All at Once” with the Oscar for best picture — along with six other awards — while naming Netflix’s German-language war epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” the winner in four categories, including best international film.

The Daniels, the young filmmaking duo behind the racially diverse “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” won Oscars for their original screenplay and directing. (The Daniels is an oh-so-cool sobriquet for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. They are both 35.) The film, which received a field-leading 11 nominations, also won Oscars for film editing, best actress and best supporting actor and actress, with Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis honored for their performances.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  NYT Comment:

I enjoyed the Oscars, and especially the work of the MC, Jimmy Kimmel, but went to bed at about the half-time, im honor of morning tennis. I will watch the rest very soon. I’m happy for Michelle Yeoh, she was my first choice for best actress, but then, I only saw five of the 10 movies nominated for best picture. Everything Everywhere, all at once was shockingly funny and entertaining, and yet, with plenty of pathos, and brilliant comedic martial arts. It could have been called, A Satire on Everything, including Jackie Chan Chinese Martial Arts comedies.

I saw Avatar, the way of water, Everything Everywhere, all at once, The Fabelmans, Elvis and Top Gun Maverick. I offer two of my own Oscars, I give an Oscar to Avatar, the way of water, for being the most environmentally concious movie of the year. It remains my favorite of the five I saw. I give an oscar to the most deserving film that was overlooked, to Talking Women. Everyone should see both of these films. They are both important on different but major topics. My Lady and I predict that Talking Women will grow in fame with the passing of time for its timeless discussion of women’s rights and responsibilites. The only oscar recipients who can receive full credit from me, an A+, besides for not being boring, must acknowledge that all the other contenders in their category were also worthy of recognition, so the real honor is to be in their company. It is important to remind the audience that many movies are so unique, it is a stretch to compare them to another which is of another type. David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Biden Expected to Move Ahead on a Major Oil Project in Alaska – Lisa Friedman – The New York Times


“WASHINGTON — In one of the most consequential climate decisions of his administration, President Biden is planning to greenlight an enormous $8 billion oil drilling project in the North Slope of Alaska, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Alaska lawmakers and oil executives have put intense pressure on the White House to approve the project, citing President Biden’s own calls for the industry to increase production amid volatile gas prices stemming from Russia’s war against Ukraine.

But the proposal to drill for oil has also galvanized young voters and climate activists, many of whom helped elect Mr. Biden and who would view the decision as a betrayal of the president’s promise that he would pivot the nation away from fossil fuels.

The approval of the largest proposed oil project in the country would mark a turning point in the administration’s approach to fossil fuel development. The courts and Congress have forced Mr. Biden to back away from his campaign pledge of “no more drilling on federal lands, period” and sign off on some limited oil and gas leases. The Willow project would be one of the few oil developments that Mr. Biden has approved freely, without a court or a congressional mandate.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT     NYT comment:

This is a complex story, well presented. Thank you Lisa Friedman et al. It sounds like there might be a slow, compromise solution. I just read the extraordinary piece in the NYT in Saturday’s paper, “In Tower’s Basement, an Idea that Lock Pollution Away Forever,” by Frad Plumer, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/03/10/climate/buildings-carbon-dioxide-emissions-climate.html?smid=url-share which talks about sequestering CO2 from gas boilers in NYC and turning it into liquid CO2 and then putting it into cement blocks as calcium carbonate. So the Biden administration should create a new hurdle for this oil project, it has to be able to captured the C02 from the oil well project, and from the customers who might burn the oil. I’m not saying full no to it, but it can’t just add to our C02 problem, which is causing global warming, ocean acidification, and other serious life-threatening problems. I’m afraid it makes sense to leave this oil in the ground for now, since these carbon capture issues are not up to speed yet, and increases worldwide in the cost of oil only makes sustainable energy projects mored attractive to invest in. I would like to see a report on all the reasons the Biden Administration is not outright killing this project, what are their identified benefits. It will probably help Biden’s reelection, but does he need it.

David blogs at InconvenientNews.net, and is about to publish a book on climate change and the sixth extinction.

James Pogue | To Small but Growing Group, This Congressional Backbencher Is a Cult Hero – The New York Times

Mr. Pogue is a reporter who covers politics and land issues.


“The self-proclaimed “greenest member” of Congress is a Republican from rural Kentucky. He lives in an off-the-grid home he built himself, using timbers cut and rock quarried from his family cattle farm. He pipes in water from a nearby pond, and powers the home with solar panels and a battery from a wrecked Tesla that he salvaged and retrofitted.

But while he lives on, and even makes part of his living from, the land, very few people would call him an environmentalist. The car he drives back and forth from Washington has a license plate advertising his support for coal. He likes to lean on his experience as a robotics engineer to argue against precipitously switching over to renewable energy, claiming that rapid changes could crash America’s power grids. And he once mocked John Kerry, who has a degree in political science, in a congressional hearing on climate threats: “I think it’s somewhat appropriate that someone with a pseudoscience degree,” he said, “is here pushing pseudoscience.”

Mr. Kerry stumbled, visibly surprised and angry. “Are you serious? I mean, this is really seriously happening here?” “

David Firestone | A New Voice for Winning Back Lost Democratic Voters – The New York Times

Mr. Firestone is a member of the editorial board.


“Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez chose her guest for last month’s State of the Union address in order to make one of her favorite points. She invited Cory Torppa, who teaches construction and manufacturing at Kalama High School in her district in southwest Washington State, and also directs the school district’s career and technical education program. President Biden did briefly mention career training that night in his very long list of plans; still, Ms. Gluesenkamp Perez wasn’t thrilled with the speech.

“I went back and looked at the transcript,” she said, “and he only said the word ‘rural’ once.” “

Jennifer Finney Boylan | Jimmy Carter Made Me a Better American – The New York Times

Ms. Finney Boylan is a professor of English at Barnard College of Columbia University and a 2022-23 fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

“When the Carter presidency began I was an 18-year-old Rockefeller Republican. By the time it ended, I was so liberal my own grandmother called me a Communist.

My transformation may have been the inevitable result of eating the brownies at Wesleyan University, but I think it is more likely that it was Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House — with its remarkable mash-up of triumphs and failures — that helped me better understand my country and myself.

As the former president enters the final stages of his senescence, I have been thinking a lot about who I was when I first encountered him, and how the country got where it is today. I am still grateful to Mr. Carter for demonstrating that it is possible to govern with morality, honesty and grace. It would be nice if those values didn’t seem so strangely old-fashioned.”

Nations Agree on Language for Historic Treaty to Protect Ocean Life – The New York Times


‘After two decades of planning and talks that culminated in a grueling race over the past few days in New York, a significant majority of nations agreed on language for a historic United Nations treaty that would protect ocean biodiversity.

As marine life faces threats from climate change, overfishing, the possibility of seabed mining and other dangers, the treaty would make it possible to create marine-protected areas and enact other conservation measures on the “high seas,” the immense expanse of ocean covering almost half the world.

“Today the world came together to protect the ocean for the benefit of our children and grandchildren,” said Monica Medina, an assistant secretary of state. “We leave here with the ability to create protected areas in the high seas and achieve the ambitious goal of conserving 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.” ‘

Estimating the Environmental Impact of Certain Prostate Cancer Procedures < Urology

“Yale-led study examines the potential environmental benefits of more carefully selecting patients for prostate biopsy in a way that can also spare low-yield and potentially harmful procedures.

Yale School of Medicine Associate Professor of Urology Michael Leapman, MD, MHS, and coauthors across seven other U.S. institutions estimated the environmental impacts of prostate magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and prostate biopsy, procedures that are part of the diagnostic process for patients with known or suspected prostate cancer. Overall, they estimate that performing both an MRI and biopsy is similar to going on a “round-trip flight from London to Paris,” in terms of energy used, staff travel, and supply production. Their research, using cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment methodology, was published in the January issue of the journal European Urology.

Study investigators say the overarching message is that sustainability efforts should be aligned with patient interests and evidence-based care. “We continue to see many medical and diagnostic procedures being used more often than recommended by clinical guidelines – increasing health care costs and in some cases, directly harming patients,” says Leapman. “A dimension that has been less well studied is the environmental impact of care that is already considered low-value or unnecessary. In this analysis, we estimate the carbon footprint of a prostate biopsy, then extrapolate the potential environmental benefits of adopting various evidence-based approaches,” continues Leapman, who specializes in the treatment of patients with prostate and genitourinary cancers and serves as clinical leader of the Prostate & Urologic Cancers Program at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital.”

Source: Estimating the Environmental Impact of Certain Prostate Cancer Procedures < Urology

Paul Krugman | Guns, Ships and Chips: On Economic Inflexibility – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“What do shipping containers and artillery shells have in common? This isn’t a trick question. The answer is that both have been in very short supply at some point over the past three years. And these shortages tell us something disturbing about modern economies: They aren’t nearly as flexible as many people, myself included, had thought.

About those artillery shells: Like many people, I’ve been closely following the war in Ukraine. Everyone knows the broad outlines of the story so far: Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded in February of last year, expecting a quick victory over Ukraine’s much weaker army, but the Ukrainians, astonishingly, defeated the would-be blitzkrieg and the war has turned instead into a brutal slugging match.

No matter how valorous, Ukrainians on their own would have no chance in such a match. But they have received crucial aid from Western nations that see Ukraine — as do I — as a crucial front in the defense of democracy.”

“. . . .   That is, in contrast to the story told by Samuelson’s curve, it may be very hard to produce more guns in the short run even if you’re willing to give up a lot of butter.

The revelation that economies aren’t as flexible as we thought has many implications for policy. Supply-chain constraints weren’t the sole reason inflation took off in 2021, but they were clearly an important part of the story, with implications for future monetary policy. And in general, economic inflexibility suggests that we should be taking more precautions against the possibility of future disruptions, especially for strategic goods, but possibly more widely.

But all of that demands a much longer discussion. The main point for now is that it turns out that the Rolling Stones may have had it backward: Modern economies generally do a very good job of getting people what they want, but sometimes you just can’t get what you need.”