Category: Politics

A Post-Trump Enviro Quiz . . . and a Wild Defense of Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, 2020 style! I hope you didn’t get stuck with an entire boatload of Brussels sprouts all to yourself, while your brother and sister-in-law now have to figure out what to do with twelve pounds of uneaten turkey. (As happened with some friends who called their family gathering off rather late in the game.)

Meanwhile Citizen Deb herself (moi) has been trying to decide what to write about . . .

Should I do a special holiday-weekend romp about the Pilgrims and the “Indians”?

Do I create a QUIZ to test your knowledge on Trump’s myriad environmental rollbacks over the last four years?

OR do I just pour myself a large glass of wine and eat some leftovers?

Well, obviously the answer is all three.

See, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been listening to an audio book of Washington Irving’s seriously funny History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty by Deidrich Knickerbocker — which Irving wrote in 1809. I mean, anything that starts at the beginning of the world has Citizen Deb written all over it. (It also happens to be how my own book-in-progress starts.)

But then I was looking over all the envirollbacks [sic] that Biden is going to have to try to unroll come January 20th. Or maybe it’ll be the job of John Kerry, the just-appointed “Climate Envoy” — Biden’s newly created cabinet-level position.

What?? Yeah, baby!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Actually, Kerry’s job probably won’t involve EPA rollbacks, since the EPA (at least under the outgoing administration) doesn’t recognize the climate crisis or carbon emissions as part of their wheelhouse of protecting American citizens. The last four years they’ve been focusing more on protecting corporate billionaires’ profit margins, which meant a lot of undoing of regulations.

Remember the hamberders? It feels like a million years ago.

King Trump himself did (sort of) recognize climate change when he signed an Executive Order (EO) revoking Obama’s EO that set a goal of lowering the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years. Even though it’s just a “goal,” King Trump didn’t think we needed that one . . . perhaps because his very good brain doesn’t comprehend “future”? I don’t know.

Each rollback is pretty bad. Like the one that loosened the offshore drilling safety regulations that Obama implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Whatever. I’m sure the honor system is fine.

But it’s when you read them all in a row that you think, “Why??? Why did they want to bring back over 100 practices that are clearly terrible for people?” Or perhaps you think, “Exactly how evil is this guy and his cronies?” Or is it that he and his cronies have some misconstrued view of the world and its inhabitants?

Actual size

After all, we’ve had misconstrued views of folks since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and the Pilgrims didn’t know what to make of the unexpected brown people peeping at them from behind the trees.

It’s old news that Europeans pushed the natives into practical extinction throughout the Americas. Even 200 years ago, the young Washington Irving was pointing it out, by creating a brilliant satirical defense from his fictional “author” Diedrich Knickerbocker, who dutifully rationalizes the colonial genocide. (I especially like when he compares our invasion of the natives’ America with the Moon’s inhabitants’ invasion of ours — so hang tight for that.)

In his so-called History of New York, “Knickerbocker” begins his defense with a question:

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Is It Over Yet?

I’ve been working on my book — or at least trying to — so I’m behind on this blog. Again.

At my new small-town polling place.

Not that very much has happened. The guy who works as a cashier at my local PriceChopper is still scanning groceries while wearing a scuba mask. The only physical contact I get with any regularity are the dogs being walked past my front porch, who I practically pounce on while their owners slowly back away. And at an outdoor event recently, I discovered a caterpillar in my lap, who then became my pet for the afternoon. His name was Brad.

And Biden, I think, won the election?

After months of bonkers Trump rallies, late-night talk-show monologues (watched over morning coffee); the death of Queen RGB; two minutes of a fly on Pence’s head; a week-long visit from my mom (despite my fears that she’d get COVID on the plane); an explosion of fall colors, which are now mostly crumbled on the ground; and almost four inches’ regrowth of my natural hair color, we’re almost there.

Although if Steve Kornacki got any more granular with the electoral count, I swear my head would’ve exploded.

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Black Lives Matter; “Stuff” Not So Much

. . . Aaaaaand, now we’re having an uprising. And a pandemic. Because some s#!t went down.

I obviously don’t need to recap why the world is on fire right now. So I’ll start with this Thursday, when I sat in my new little small-town home office, watched the memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis, and wept. I’m not normally a big fan of Reverend Al’s zazzle, but damn, when he said, “The reason why we’re marching all over the world is . . . ” Well, just watch him say it, in this short clip:

Preach, rev.

This post was originally supposed to be about a different topic: STUFF. Namely all the STUFF none of us need, and that we can now SEE we don’t need, because we’ve been doing without it for three seemingly endless months.

The news (and our federal government) likes to tell us that “retail has been suffering.”

Alaska Snowglobe

Souvenir stuff

I heard a story on NPR about how “retail is suffering” in Ketchikan, Alaska, since the cruise ships aren’t coming there right now, which means there are no tourists to buy the made-in-china T-shirts and snowglobes filled with melting glacier water or whatever (hopefully that’s not an actual thing).

The real reason no one’s buying a bunch of STUFF right now is that we don’t need it. We need food, and, apparently, we need toilet paper. That’s about it.

You know what has been suffering? Black people. Human rights. Four-hundred and one years of white people putting their knees on black people’s necks. And this time we were stuck social-distancing in our homes, in front of our TVs and computers, so we could all see it go down.

Over and over. Read More…