Archive for November, 2017

ALARMING NYC WEATHER

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE 2017

Above is a photograph of one of the floats in the Macy’s parade here in New York today, Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd 2017.  There is not a flake of snow on the ground and the high temperature was 49 degrees.

To me this is alarming.  Thirty or forty years ago, there would have been snow and temperature below freezing.  Clear signs of global warming.

When will we begin to address this issue?  Is it already too late?  Is planet earth going to become uninhabitable by human beings?

TRUMP EXPRESSES “THOUGHTS AND DESIRES OF AN AUTOCRAT”

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Since he assumed the office of President, I have been expressing disapproval of Donald Trump who, as you may remember, actually received fewer votes from the people of the United States than Hillary Clinton did and was only elected because of the outmoded system of the “electoral college” in the US.

Below is part of an article by Richard E. Frankel, Associate Professor of Modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where we read:

“…Trump has proven unable to let go of his obsession with his defeated rival. In early November 2017—nearly one year after his election victory—he was not only continuing to attack Clinton, but also calling on the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate her. He was ‘very frustrated’ by the fact that he’s unable to order those agencies to ‘go after’ his former opponent—something he said he would very much love to do.

“It was a horrifying moment as the President of the United States, perhaps more clearly than at any previous time, expressed the thoughts and desires of an autocrat. And today, with the announcement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will explore the possibility of creating a new special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, those thoughts and desires have moved that much closer to being realized.

“Such open calls for criminal investigations of political opponents are truly unprecedented in American history—and for good reason, since they would undermine the very foundation of liberal democracy. If the president could order the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, where would it stop? Anyone who spoke out to criticize such a brazen act would be vulnerable to the same treatment. And then any individual or any group—regardless of whether they had actually done anything—would be at the mercy of Trump’s politicized justice system. The president would be able to exclude anyone he wished from the national community. The road to dictatorship would be wide open to him. We know this because it was such a system that helped destroy democracy in Germany and helped Hitler establish his Nazi dictatorship.”

Richard Frankel

Professor Frankel

I am indeed horrified by the revelation of these “thoughts and desires of an autocrat” who is the president of my country.  Since his election, I have been encouraging my elected representatives to institute impeachment proceedings against him.  I will continue to do that.

NINE ELEVEN: REMEMBERING

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

World Trade Center Towers Burning

On September 11th, 2001 my house in Brooklyn, where I lived at the time, was under the huge smoke trail that you can see in this image above.  We could smell the smoke for days after and New York City was in turmoil for quite some time.  The subways did not run and many aspects of life here were affected.

Lower Manhattan Today

Sixteen years after the attacks, lower Manhattan has been restored and most of us here in the city rarely think about that dreadful time.  Today, however, I want to remember the brave US firefighters and police, some of whom gave their lives in that attack and its aftermath.  I want to remember the people in the tower and in New York City who died in that attack.  And I want to remember all of us in this city who were traumatized by that dreadful event.

Especially today, I want to be thankful for the restoration of lower Manhattan and for a return to what passes for “normal” in this city.  I am proud to be a New Yorker and grateful for all the good things here and for all of the people here who make life good.

VOTING DAY IN NYC

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Today is voting day in New York City and Mayor de Blasio, holding the Italian flag during a parade not long ago honoring Italian Americans, is up for re-election.  I went out before lunch to my polling place, a school two blocks from my house here in Manhattan.  I think no one is very far from their polling place in this city.  There were plenty of poll workers and voting machines, so we were moving through at good speed.

One of many things I like about New York City is that we vote very close to where we live. Dense population no doubt accounts for that.  I have lived in places where it was rather a trek to where I could vote.  Not here.

EARTH IS “WARMEST IN THE HISTORY OF MODERN CIVILIZATION”

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

A frightening report by the US Climate Assessment released on November 3rd says that the earth is warmer now than ever in the history of modern civilization.

Mandated by law and released every four years, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (or NCA4)—which states that recent years have seen “record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe”— concludes (with emphasis in the original) that “based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

The Trump administration is not acting on this alarming news, and indeed casts doubts on it because of Trump’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

Here in New York City at half past six in the morning  it is already 53 degrees, predicted to go up to 64 degrees, on the 5th of November!  Several decades ago, there would likely have been snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing.  Though there were days in the winter months without snow and there was not the continuous snow coverage found just a little further north and inland away from the Atlantic, New York had cold and snowy winters.

Fossil fuel plant in New York State

I do what I can as an individual not to contribute to this dangerous warming of planet Earth.  Since I live in New York City where there is excellent public transportation, I do not even own an automobile.  I also walk as much as I can, so I use the transportation system only when walking would take more time than I have or in bad weather.  When I travel outside of the city I take a train when that is possible.  Most years I go to Chicago at least once and I have been several times to Charleston, SC–for both destinations there is good train service.  Only when my only option is flying do I go anywhere by plane.

US passenger train

To get to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I have gone several times, I fly.  It would be possible to go overland by a combination of trains and buses (I have an Argentinean friend who has done that), but that trip takes a very long time.  I also fly to France when I go there.  A friend of mine goes to France by boat, but that also requires a much longer time.  When traveling within Europe, I take trains; there is excellent train service there.

Though it is more difficult (even impossible in some places) in the United States than in Europe to live without an automobile, more of us here could do that.  It would help some to reduce carbon emissions, though I am not expecting that people here will do it.  What is really needed is restructuring of cities and towns in such a way as to require less space.  The single family dwelling with a yard which has been very prevalent in most of the United States is not conducive to reducing carbon emissions.