January 18, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Pardon My Boehner

BoehnerRep. John Boehner is right: the Climate Bill is a “piece of sh*t” (that family values crowd sure has a way with words).  But not for the reasons that Orange John asserts. But because the thing is so weak as to make it ridiculous. Here’s an assessment of the bill by Dennis Kucinich:

“The bill allows two billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, roughly equivalent to 30 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters of the bill point out that coal use will increase by 2020, because electric utilities will continue to use dirty coal, the prime source of pollution. With two billion tons of offsets per year, we’re told electric utilities will reduce carbon emissions at places other than their generating plants. So they really don’t have to actually decrease their emissions, and coal-fired CO2 emissions will increase through 2025. No wonder there are twenty-six active coal plant applications. Increased CO2 emissions will be our gift to the next generation. Apparently, the planet is not melting; with this bill, it’s just getting better for polluters.”

But even something like this nearly didn’t get through the House and now is facing an uphill battle in the Senate.  And Republicans are actually doing the chicken dance thinking they have a great anti-Obama issue for the mid terms!
Let’s get the rogue’s gallery straight here. The bill stinks because the deniers have spooked everyone else.  Democrats and Obama are at the point of being happy with much less than half-a-loaf.  None of them, of course would be the problem if this issue were important to us.  But it isn’t. It’s much easier to whip people up over taxes. It would take an intense project of public education to help people connect all these dots.  This from Paul Krugman yesterday referring to the House debate:
“Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday’s debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” I’d call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.
Yet Mr. Broun’s declaration was met with applause.
Given this contempt for hard science, I’m almost reluctant to mention the deniers’ dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill’s economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?

Yes, it is — and that’s why it’s unforgivable.”

As Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

Balmy Days


Last week we were treated to another obituary for print.  Thus time from Steve Balmer of Microsoft.  Once again, someone with authority put the death watch on the print news business.  5 years. 8 years.  Wait I’ll set my oven timer. Okay enough.  I have been spending the last 6 months (and much of it up late an night) worrying about print.  Of course magazines and newspapers are the source of my livelihood.  They are also the source of my connection to the world. True I am online a great deal.  But nothing organizes, and crystallizes ideas like print. It is the linear nature of it that forces editorial decisions that make material work sequentially.  That is its purpose.  So how is something improved upon by killing it? No, the internet is a vigorous river that is exhilarating to move in.  I love to blog and view and chat in blogs.  I jump around through sites when I need to research anything, from a detail of policy or history or  to find the name of an obscure actor in a B movie (Sonny Tufts?) Both have their purposes and important uses.  And what’s wrong with that?  Can they co-exist?  Does anybody consider that? Are we so binary that we can’t accept what happened to all media when challenged with technology?  They adapt!  I believe print will adapt and thrive.  Because finally mags are beautiful and a pleasure to hold in your hand and read.  And yeah, look at the pictures.  IT will only replace magazines when they can give that same pleasure.  And, as a wise person I know likes to say, “It’s just not happening”. Elle is doing better than expected. The Economist is doing very well, even in a worldwide recession.  The Hearst publications, Esquire, etc, are making money and holding onto their ad pages.  So let’s take a deep breath and remember the predictions of the past.  It never works out EXACTLY that way.  Based on what I saw at the World’s Fair (1964) we are now in flying cars, living in domed cities and are talking on TV telephones.  Well the Quik phone app has been brought out, so this may be here. But it comes as the result of the personal computer and cell phone revolution.  A small detail the predictors, even into the ‘80’s, missed by a mile.

Michael Jackson

As much a monument or icon as a performer, the death today of Michael Jackson is a seismic cultural event. Nobody more important in his generation. A titanic talent. Perhaps maybe too much for the vessel. Here’s a piece from back in the day.

Jackson 2

Neda, for the Ages


Neda Agha-Soltan’s life is sketched in below, from CNN. Her life as an icon has just begun. And as we grieve for her and the tragedy of Iran, we can be forgiven to nod to the fact that Neda, living at that time and place, has in her short life, illuminated the world.

“The second of three children, Neda lived with her parents in a middle-class neighborhood east of Tehran.

She was a happy, positive person. Though she studied philosophy and religion at the Azad Islamic University, she was more spiritual than religious. She also loved music. She once studied violin but had given it up and was planning to take up piano next. She had just bought a piano, but it had not yet been delivered.

Her demeanor was typically calm, even serene, but she had a quirky, playful sense of humor. A friend recalled that once, when Neda was visiting her friend’s house, she picked up a white Teddy bear, took off her big, purple-studded earrings and put them on the bear. Then she removed a necklace from around the neck of a friend and put it around the bear’s neck, taking delight in the bear’s transformation.

She liked to travel, having visited Turkey three months ago with a tour group. And she believed in human rights, her friend said.”

It’s Feeling Khatami