Arts for Action's Sake

In Case You Missed It, Part Two

December 10, 2018

Tags: Climate change, Trump

Thousands of environmental experts are now gathered in Poland for the United Nations’ 24th annual climate change conference. The goal is to establish rules for carrying out the Paris accord to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Centigrade, or 3.6 Fahrenheit. Just prior to the conference, Poland, which has the highest domestic coal production in Europe, and is home to 33 of the 50 most polluted cities in EU, announced that it planned to invest in more new coal capacity in the coming year.

The UN conference comes on the heels of several other recent disheartening developments presented mostly without comment…

…After several weeks of protests, Paris is virtually on lockdown as the “Yellow Vests” express their rage about taxes and salaries. The spark that ignited the riots was a planned increase in France’s fuel tax, designed to help the country meet its carbon reduction pledge.

…Le Grand Orange responded on Twitter "I am glad that my friend Emmanuel Macron (more…)

In Case You Missed It...

November 26, 2018

Tags: Climate change, Trump

If you were still shaking off the effects of a tryptophan coma induced by the Thanksgiving turkey, or out hustling for bargains at your local zombie mall, you might have missed last Friday’s big news from the White House—a stark warning about the devastating impact of global climate change on America’s economy and our way of life.

Wait a second. The White House? Isn’t Trump still president?

Unfortunately, yes. See the date of the release, the slowest news day of the year.

But our president had no choice. The findings about climate change come from the National Climate Assessment, a major scientific report mandated by Congress that the federal government is required to produce and release every four years. Thirteen federal agencies contributed to the alarming findings (more…)

Post-Election Morning: An Open Letter to My Children

November 7, 2018

Tags: Trump

Two years ago, on the morning after the election, I wrote to you acknowledging our disappointment, even despair, but cautioning against a rush to judgment about our new President. My hope was he might step up to the responsibilities and gravity of the office. Those hopes were quickly dashed.

But I also reminded you that our democratic system is stronger than any one man or woman, and if Trump proved incapable, we would exercise our Constitutional rights and find a new leader

I know you are disappointed once again, but don't be. I believe that Constitutional process began yesterday. In fact, I'm willing to go on the record with a prediction: other than a possible Supreme Court vacancy, yesterday was Trump's last political hurrah.

The political rock stars on whom so many Democrats were pinning their hopes—Gillum in Florida, O'Rourke in Texas, Abrams in Georgia— went down to a narrow defeat. Trump gets the credit for energizing the worst instincts (more…)

"Shut him up! Shut him up!"

November 5, 2018

Tags: Trump

VOTE YOUR VALUES


VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE


JUST VOTE!

A Bad Week for Climate Change Deniers

October 15, 2018

Tags: Climate change, Trump

Here's lookin' at you, Mr. President!
For anyone who remains unconvinced about climate change after seeing the horrific destruction in the Florida panhandle levied by Michael, the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the US mainland, or the ominous new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describing a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires as soon as 2040, there’s always the threat of our old friend, “Jaws.”

A few weeks ago, a 26-year-old boogie boarder was killed by a shark in the first fatal attack in Cape Cod in 80 years (Spielberg took some liberties with the truth in “Jaws” the movie, released in 1975) and (more…)

Meet the Man Behind the Curtain: Don McGahn

October 8, 2018

Tags: Trump, Supreme Court

“There’s nobody with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh,” Mr. Trump told reporters Saturday night in Topeka, Kansas, as he dismissed allegations of sexual assault and misconduct by his new Supreme Court justice.

Ironically, Trump’s customary mangling of the English language led him into accidentally uttering a rare truth. Based on the reports in the media these past few weeks, there is no one indeed, with a squeaky clean past who would even think about behaving anything like what the country heard about Justice Kavanaugh’s behavior back at Georgetown Prep and Yale.

Whether or not Kavanaugh was actually guilty of sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, there was more than enough reliable testimony from people who knew him at the time to indicate that he was often in an inebriated state (more…)

Is the Populist Revolt Over? Not if Robots Have Their Way

January 31, 2018

Tags: Robots, Trump, Populism

President Trump before he addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times
What follows, without additional comment, is an excerpt from an article by Eduardo Porter that first appeared in the business section of the New York Times, January 31, 2018.

Does President Trump represent the new normal in American politics?

As the world’s oligarchy gathered last week in Davos, Switzerland, to worry about the troubles of the middle class, the real question on every plutocrat’s mind was whether the populist upheaval that delivered the presidency to the intemperate mogul might mercifully be over.

If it was globalization — or, more precisely, the shock of imports from China — that moved voters to put Mr. Trump in the White House, could politicians get back to supporting the market-oriented order once the China shock played out?

As Frank Levy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology noted this month in an analysis on the potential impact of artificial intelligence on American politics, “Given globalization’s effect on the 2016 presidential election, it is worth noting that near-term A.I. and globalization replace many of the same jobs.” (more…)

The "Piketty Problem" Only Gets Worse

December 20, 2017

Tags: Tax bill, Trump

courtesy New York Post
“It’s going to be one of the great Christmas gifts to middle-income people,” is how President Trump characterized the Republican tax bill before he boarded a helicopter for meetings at Camp David last Saturday. Like many statements from our president, it falls into that gray area between a self-serving exaggeration and an outright (more…)

To Kill the President: The Novel

November 9, 2017

Tags: Trump, social protest novel, publishing business

Cover of UK edition
Sounds like an interesting premise for a thriller, doesn’t it, once you get over your moral hang-ups? Especially easy to do when the president in question is an over-the-top caricature of the current White House resident. Bad enough this fictional blowhard and bimbo connoisseur is distracted from his apoplectic Situation Room rant by the opportunity to grab a tempting piece of you-know-what. (Spoiler alert: he’s intent on launching a first-strike nuclear attack on North Korea and China (more…)

In This Time of Trump, What the Hell Happened to the Social Protest Novel?

October 16, 2017

Tags: social protest novel, The Jungle, Trump, Upton Sinclair, Class Mom

In advocating for a larger role for the arts in promoting societal change, the book world—or the lit biz as I like to call it—seems the logical place to start. Not only is serious fiction what I know best, but it’s also the medium that historically has had the most impact on society’s perceptions and actions, thanks to the “social protest” novel, a genre that sadly has fallen into disfavor among publishers to the point of basically disappearing. (more…)