The Monday Morning Teaser

So I’m back from the Berkshires, where people were complaining because the temperature got into the 90s. Meanwhile, it was 116 in Portland.

And that’s where the first featured post starts. I think we’re entering a new phase in the national conversation about climate change. For a long time, climate change was either some invisible thing scientists teased out of the statistics, or horrifying projections made by mysterious computer models. Then we got into a debatable period, where you could point to anomalous weather events like Superstorm Sandy as signs of climate change, or you could just say that weird things happen from time to time.

But 116 in Portland, at the same time that the hurricane season is setting records in the Atlantic — it’s too much to explain away. People are feeling in their guts now that something’s not right.

So the first featured post this week is the kind of argument I think we need to be making. Not “Hey you idiots, we were right and you were wrong.” But something more like “I get why you haven’t wanted to believe this, but things are different now.” We need to invite people to switch sides, not herd them into reeducation camps.

Anyway, that’s the point of “Climate Change is Here”, which should be out shortly. I intend it to be the kind of thing you can send to your skeptical cousin. (Let me know if it works.)

The second post covers the Trump Organization indictment that came out Thursday. You’ve probably heard a lot of the details already, so I’ll talk mainly about what I think it means more broadly. Personally, I was surprised by how simple and obvious — and downright stupid — the tax-evasion scheme was. I thought I was immune to the Trump-the-great-businessman myth, but I had expected something much more clever than this. It makes me wonder how honest, or at least semi-honest, business owners are taking this. Maybe you fudge the numbers a little on how much personal use you get out of your company’s car, but your wife’s car? your kid’s apartment? your grandchildren’s tuition? It probably never occurred to you to claim them as business expenses, but the Trump Organization did. And they got caught.

Let’s say that post gets out before 11 EDT.

What does that leave for the weekly summary? The January 6 committee, Covid case numbers turning up again, the June jobs report, some Supreme Court decisions, and a few other things. And then we’ll end with what happens when a female singing duo takes a conservative boyfriend’s advice on songwriting. I’ll predict that for maybe 1.

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  • ecjspokane  On July 5, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Remember what got a lot of the 1920s and 30s gangsters was not the sheriff and his posse but the IRS and tax agents.

    Take care.

    Eric Johnson Spokane, WA

  • Thomas Paine  On July 5, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    “not herd them into reeducation camps.”

    No, actually we do, and for many, you can drop the “re”. But, we’ll settle for switching sides.

    More concerning than the startling record heat and an active-earlier hurricane season is the severe drought in the SW. Lake Mead is at record low level, but the demands on the Colorado continue to rise. Phoenix metro continues to grow. The Imperial Valley is now doing things like plowing under almond trees.

    This isn’t “honey, do you smell smoke?” time. It’s “the kitchen is on fire and about to enter the walls” time. And a principal reason is all those who have seen denying the clear science-based forecasts as some sort of badge of honor, when it’s nothing but a badge of some destructive mix of ignorance and stupidity.

    Yes, as a practical matter specifically focused on this one issue, ignoring their responsibility as to how we got here if someone can be flipped helps move polling numbers. But the deeper issue that needs to be confronted is how our country has gone from one that practically worshipped well-trained scientists and engineers to one that ridicules and despises fact-based, peer-reviewed expertise. If we don’t, climate change is just one of a number of issues that will drag us under before the solutions can be developed and enacted.

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