Mindful voters, mindless news: Trump is a teachable moment

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This year is on track to be the world’s hottest on record, exceeding the previous hottest year, 2015, which exceeded the previous hottest year, 2014. For the news media, this campaign offers a teachable moment. If you want to tell the most important story in human history, if you believe that rousing your audience to civic action is part of journalism’s job, you might want to cover the 2016 campaign against the backdrop of brutal climate change, and to frame this election as a choice whose consequences could be irreversibly damaging for the rest of human history.

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Attention must be paid (except to climate change)

Mt_Herschel,_Antarctica,_Jan_2006 Think of it: Along all 95,000 miles of American coastline – not to mention coastlines all over the earth – “immense areas will most likely have to be abandoned to the rising sea.” Los Angeles, New York, London, Shanghai, Sydney, you name it: all the coastal cities of the world will be vulnerable to the same fate as Atlantis. Continue reading Attention must be paid (except to climate change)

“A Conservative Government is Organized Hypocrisy.” Benjamin Disraeli

InhofeSnowball“One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt.”

Of all the more popular political sins, my personal favorite is hypocrisy. One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt. It’s widely practiced by people on both sides of the great political divide, but my friends in the Republican Party are working hard to raise the level of insincerity to new and dizzying heights.
Continue reading “A Conservative Government is Organized Hypocrisy.” Benjamin Disraeli

The news summer from hell and the end of optimism

globe By this point in the summer, a sane person could reasonably conclude that the world is going nuts.  Spiraling out of control, descending into darkness, making optimism a delusional last recourse – that kind of feeling.

“What fresh hell is this?” – the question Dorothy Parker asked when her doorbell rang – now applies to the news.  If you’re staying informed, you’re licking the razor.  Unfortunately, not following what’s happening in the world isn’t really an option.  These horrors seize our lizard brains; we’re hard-wired to pay attention to danger. Continue reading The news summer from hell and the end of optimism