Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things March 20, 2013

William deBuys: “The least sustainable city: Phoenix as a harbinger for our hot future”

Phoenix’€™s pyramid of complexities looks shakier than most because it stands squarely in the crosshairs of climate change. The area, like much of the rest of the American Southwest, is already hot and dry; it’€™s getting ever hotter and drier, and is increasingly battered by powerful storms. Sandy and Katrina previewed how coastal cities can expect to fare as seas rise and storms strengthen. Phoenix pulls back the curtain on the future of inland empires. If you want a taste of the brutal new climate to come, the place to look is where that climate is already harsh, and growing more so –€” the aptly named Valley of the Sun.

Rachel Barenblatt: “3 Nisan: Slavery”

When you sit down for your beautiful Pesach meal, be conscious that slavery wasn’t just what (might have) happened to the Israelites in ancient Egypt. It isn’t just a shameful American legacy. It’s something that still happens, in a variety of ways. Our people’s central story holds that we were slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt but our God brought us out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. It’s our job to be the mighty hands and outstretched arms which will free those who are enslaved today.

Chauncey DeVega: “Slavery Was Good for the Blacks: At CPAC Angry ‘Disenfranchised’ White Men Are the Real Face of the Tea Party GOP”

A political party is a type of brand name. It signals meaning and values to its members on overt, implied, and implicit levels. By example, if “Honda” or “Toyota” signal “reliability” to their buyers, “Tea Party” and “Republican” signals “white” and “whiteness” to the American public. The latter signal is heard by supporters and opponents of the Tea Party GOP. The racism of the Tea Party GOP is not a dog-whistle. It is an air raid siren. And until the Republicans can learn to mute its klaxon they will continue the slide towards political obsolescence.

Dan Wetzel: “Steubenville High School football players found guilty of raping 16-year-old girl” (trigger warning)

“It wasn’t violent,” explained teammate Evan Westlake when asked why he didn’t stop the two defendants as they abused a non-moving girl that Westlake knew to be highly intoxicated. “I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”

That was part of the arrogance.

Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.

Arrogance based on the fact that this night, witnesses testified over and over, wasn’t strikingly different than any other night in the life of a Big Red football player.

Joan Chittister: “Who are the people who were waiting for Pope Francis?”

People are weary of hearing more about the laws of the church than the love of Jesus.

People are weary of seeing whole classes of people — women, gays and even other faith communities again — rejected, labeled, seen as “deficient,” crossed off the list of the acceptable.

They are weary of asking questions that get no answers, no attention whatsoever, except derision.

They suffer from the lassitude that sets in waiting for apologies that do not come.

There’s an ennui that sets in when people get nothing but old answers to new questions.

There’s even worse fatigue that comes from knowing answers to questions for which, as laypersons, they are never even asked.


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