A few pertinent quotes on climate change

In the book, “When Climate Change Hits Home,” by Diogo Castro Freire, the impact of climate change on all of us is defined. It ranges from preparing for less ski business in Aspen to lifting houses by two feet in Norfolk to holding back the sea water in Miami as it seeps through the porous limestone to depleted fishing in New England waters to more severe forest fires and droughts.

A few quotes will help speak to the lessening number of doubters that still remain as well as show the severity.

Per the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), 195 countries approved this summary position in November, 2014 in Paris:

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen….Anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions….are extremely likely (95% probability) to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said at a speech at Center for Global Energy Policy in September, 2014:

“Meeting energy demand is a massive challenge. But, so too is the need to tackle the real and growing threat that climate change poses.”

Ken Cohen, VP of Public and Government Affairs, ExxonMobil wrote in “ExxonMobil Perspectives” in May, 2015:

“ExxonMobil takes global climate change seriously and the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions warrant thoughtful action.”

Katharine Hayhoe, a renowned climatologist working at Texas Tech University said at a conference in DC in the summer, 2015:

“Seven billion people now live on the planet and two-thirds of the world’s largest cities are within two feet of sea level.”

The World Health Organization estimates in 2015:

“There are at least 150,000 annual deaths worldwide that can be attributed to climate change, but most people fail to see the connection.” 

Not included in the book, which is a quick read given the subject, are three meaningful quotes from our leading US Presidential candidates

Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a speech at the League of Conservation Voters in December, 2014,

“The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say. Sea levels are rising; ice caps are melting; storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. … If we act decisively now we can still head off the most catastrophic consequences.”

Real Estate Developer Donald Trump has referred to climate change or global warming as a hoax on several occasions. Here are just two:

In a tweet on November 6, 2012, Trump wrote “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

On December 30, 2015, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, S.C., “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, okay? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”

It should be noted per Politifacts that Trump has backed off, then doubled and tripled down on the hoax issue quite often depending on who is talking with. But, when it comes to money, Trump’s golf development in Ireland petitioned the Irish government in writing for permission to build a sea wall to hold back the rising sea levels due to climate change.

I have purposefully ended with these quotes from the two leading Presidential candidates. In addition to all of the reasons that make Trump a dangerous candidate, what is not talked about enough is we can ill-afford a President who does not see climate change and its man-made influence as a serious matter and who will take further steps to ameliorate its impact.

And, it is not just Trump. Sixteen of seventeen GOP Presidential candidates would not support climate change as a major issue that we need to address. Two Republican governors, Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, told staffers to not use the words climate change or global warming in public speeches or papers. George W. Bush had his White House Council on the Environment alter any papers that crossed his desk to delete references to climate change or global warming.

In this case, party matters. There are four candidates running for President, but only one who does not recognize climate change for the problem it is – Donald Trump. Let me close with a key reason why I left the Republican Party in 2006 – if they cannot recognize one of the greatest issues facing our planet, then why should I trust them with any other issue. And, that was ten years ago.

 

A few lines from westerns

A week ago, I was sharing in a comment the movie line, “Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges.” This line appeared in two different western movies, “The Treasures of the Sierra Madre” and again in the western comedy “Blazing Saddles.”

The cowboy western genre of movies has been around since cinema began. Many of our movie heroes like Roy Rogers, Alan Ladd, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Clint Eastwood began and excelled in this genre. And, like the above quote, this genre includes some of the best movie lines.

So, sit back and remember with me some great lines.

– Responding to a bounty hunter in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” who said about bounty hunting “It’s a living,” Clint Eastwood’s Wales said, “Dying ain’t much of a living, boy.”

– After Robert Redford said to Paul Newman, “I can’t swim,” in  “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Newman laughed and replied, “The fall will probably kill you.”

– Later in the same movie Strother Martin would say to Newman and Redford on the way down the mountain to get the payroll as they looked for bandits, “Morons. They ain’t going to rob us going down the mountain; we don’t have any money.”

– In “The Man who shot Liberty Valance,” the classic line was uttered by the newspaper editor who had just heard the true story. Tearing up the notes, he said. “This is the west. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

– John Wayne uttered many great lines in his movies. One of his standby lines which appeared in the movie “Big Jake” is when he wanted to emphasize a point, “Not hardly.”

– In the movie “True Grit,” a reason for its success was Wayne called Kim Darby his young co-star, “Baby Sister” throughout showing an affection for her true grit.

– While Clint Eastwood made a nice living in movie westerns, he had an economy of words. Starting with his characters in the series of westerns filmed in Italy called Spaghetti Westerns, there were some movies where he probably uttered fewer than 100 words. The famous scene of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” went minutes without a single word.

– Of course, one of the most imitated lines of this genre occurs as Alan Ladd rides off after saving the day as the boy who idolized him yells “Shane. Come back, Shane.”  Later, in “Pale Rider” a tribute movie to “Shane” starring the effectively quiet Eastwood, the smitten young girl, would shout “Preacher. Come back.”

There are so many I have left off. Please share with me your favorites.

Allow me to be politically incorrect

The Republican Party and its Presidential candidate have a mission to strip away political correctness. In his phone messages, Ben Carson would say it is the biggest problem we have in America. Really?

With the freedom afforded me of removing the air cover of political correctness, let me ask a few direct questions.

– Why is it the candidate who says don’t believe the non-partisan fact checkers is the one who has lied more than any other candidate since the measurements began?

– Why is it the candidate who says if he loses it will only be due to voter fraud and a rigged system represents a party whose state leaderships had four Voter ID laws ruled unconstitutional just this month and as well as several gerrymandering cases on the past year?

– Why is it the man who calls his opponent “crooked” has been involved in multiple thousands of lawsuits when he has stiffed contractors, employees and investors, tried to evict people from their homes or made alleged misrepresentations as he did with Trump University?

– Why have we had eight Congressional committees on Benghazi and not one on invading Iraq to find WMDs? The just completed  UK study on the Iraq invasion  found fault with Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

– Why does Trump talk about “extreme, extreme vetting” when it is being reported by the AP that his campaign manager and now Chair, Paul Manafort, may have helped Russia buy influence in the 2012 election through masked funding of a lobbyist and by NBC News that he had involvement with several nefarious pro-Russian investors and people in the Ukraine?

– Why does Trump talk about taking Iraq’s oil when that would be a crime and make us out to be a pariah? Or, waterboarding, which the CIA says was ineffective and won’t do again after the Bush administration hung them out to dry?

-Why are members of Congress who are funded by the fossil fuel industry wanting to see the in-progress results of New York State’s Attorney General investigation into ExxonMobil for their alleged misrepresentation to shareholders and investors about the impact of climate change on its business?

– Why is it the GOP members of a Congress and 19 states have tried to strangle Obamacare through over 50 repeal votes, defunding the risk corridors for insurers to help with initial adverse selection, not expanding Medicaid in 19 states and naysaying it to constituents? It is working pretty well, but needs improvements in particular the risk corridor payments to insurers like Aetna and BCBS.

-Why did former Speaker John Boehner say jobs were mission one in January, 2015, then not pass any jobs bills that year, with the exception of the Keystone Pipeline bill which accounted for 40,000 temporary jobs?

-Why is it reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie help settle a back taxes case against a Donald Trump casino for only $5 million when Trump owed $30 million for several years, as reported by the New York Times and others? Now, tell us which system is rigged?

I could go on, but these are questions worth asking. And, hearing the answers.

Governor McCrory may want to consider Flint

A few months ago, the state of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality said the water was safe to drink near a coal ash site, only one year after saying it was not. I think many of us were puzzled by this reversal and I am sure that affected residents were in some disbelief.

Apparently, they would have been wise to not believe this reversal per the testimony of Ken Rudo, a state toxicologist. In his testimony, he chastised the leadership of the Department for its reversal saying they were endangering the public and made criticisms of the governor for at least being aware of the change in position.

Last week, the state epidemiologist, Megan Davies, resigned due to the Governor McCrory administration’s “false narrative.” The McCrory administration said Rudo lied under oath and both the state health director and assistant secretary in the Department of Environmental Quality fired off a public statement saying “Rudo’s unprofessional approach…does a disservice to public health and environmental protections in North Carolina.”

Really? I am having a hard time reconciling how being precautious does a disservice to public health. We only need to look north to Flint, Michigan and see what happens when state officials mask the risk of toxic water to a population. Nine current and former state of Michigan officials have been now been criminally charged because of hiding a problem which caused lead poisoning in a number of children and adults. As of yesterday, the problem is still being remedied with an increase in non-lead exposed homes from a low of 9% last fall to 45% as announced by Virginia Tech who is monitoring the progress.

Let’s break this issue in North Carolina down further. A toxicologist testifies under oath to inform the court that people living near the coal ash sites have remained at risk to dangerous toxins in their water. If he is lying, he will go to jail for perjury. His boss, an epidemiologist, resigns in support of the toxicologist’s claims. She left her job at a personal financial cost to protest the misrepresentation to the public. And, we are supposed to ignore these scientists and believe the governor’s administration? It should be noted the governor used to work for and remains a friend of the company whose coal ash is causing the issues.

So, my recommendation would be to believe the scientists who have risked so much to tell the story that the public may have been lied to about the safety of their drinking water. I would also recommend the governor’s administration take this seriously and revisit the issue. Because if they don’t and it turns out that Rudo and Davies are indeed correct, some folks in the McCrory administration may be censured, fired or worse. And, that might include the man running to keep his office, whether he wins or not.

For more on the story prior to Davies’ resignation, please refer to the attached link to a PBS Newshour report.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/state-health-director-may-covered-toxic-water-north-carolina/

A new verse to a Dylan Song

The tune will come to you from the chorus. Think Peter, Paul and Mary singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

How many lies can one man tell,
Before people be-gin to hear?
How many folks can his ego exploit,
Before they can see whom to fear?
Yes, and how many groups must this candidate demean,
Before they can see him very clear.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.

This man is an apocalyptically bad candidate who would would further harm America, our allies and our planet. His history tells us all we need to know how he will operate.

Sing with me and vote for a “sane, competent” candidate as Michael Bloomberg called her. She is not perfect, but she is well respected worldwide and will serve us well, all of us.

Attorney who worked for Trump – Please don’t support him

An article, written by Thomas M. Wells, who worked as an attorney for Donald Trump, appeared in the Huffington Post at the end of last month. The article which is entitled “Donald Trump Hired Me As An Attorney. Please Don’t Support Him For President” can be found by the link at the end of this post.

Rather than repeat the article, which I encourage you to read, let me summarize his twenty reasons and offer two quotes that are quite informational. I will leave how the words appeared when I cut and pasted.

1. The man lies all the time.

2. It is actually not all about the candidate.

3. U.S. presidents are by design not kings.

4. The devil IS in the details.

5. Words matter.

6. Reading is good. So is studying. (See the first quote below).

7. The new vocabulary we are adjusting to is not a good one.

8. We need to be careful with “tough.”

9. Success does matter. (He notes Trump’s history has many failures).

10. We could not be the great country we are without the First Amendment, but our media may kill us. (He is noting the importance of the media).

11. Temperament, demeanor and character are important. (See second quote below)

12. The emperor and his clothes.

13. Sophomoric speech tricks don’t work ― at least not with most of us

14. A thin skin does not work for a president.

15. Bullies will always exist somewhere, but the White House should not be that somewhere.

16. Law and order. (He is noting the President has little impact on policing).

17. Incoherent rants, often contradictory, does not a foreign policy make.

18. How will anyone effectively be president if we don’t at least respect the office?

19. Rich and powerful guys have to play by the rules, too.

20. We must stand for something.

I found this first quote from Wells very compelling as Trump’s main opponent is clearly a policy wonk with significant experience and studies what is necessary to do the job. Wells says about Trump’s lack of concern and interest in knowing the details, “It is a special and unique form of arrogance to think you could even consider being literally the leader of the free world without doing the work to deeply understand the job.”

This second quote is also of importance as it indicates the make up of the man’s character. Wells says about Trump, “He is the spoiled young man of privilege with the “right” race … and family fortune to succeed easily and who looks down on others lacking in any of the above who do not.”

I have said many times, every thing one needs to know about Donald Trump’s lack of veracity as a candidate is in his history and it is not hard to find. Rather than me reiterate my reasons, I think it is good for someone who worked for him as an attorney to do so. If you are considering Trump or have concerns about him, please read this article. To be frank, I am surprised he has gotten as far as he has with his history of exploitation of others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hired-me-as-an-attorneyplease-dont_us_579e52dee4b00e7e269fb30f?section=&

A few vignettes to make work fun

I have shared a few of these work vignettes before, but I think we could all use a laugh these days.

– A friend and colleague left for a meeting 90 minutes up the road. After about an hour, the client showed up in our office for said meeting. Can you say “uh-oh?”

– A couple of colleagues were meeting with a woman who had pictures of Don Knotts all over her office. After trying to make small talk about the pictures, she finally said she just loved Barney Fife. Better not tell Thelma Lou.

– Two of us were meeting with a prospective client at their office at the plant. Since we drove awhile, we asked for the restroom, which was just inside the plant. My friend went first and as the door shut, the sign said “Women.” Just as I noticed, a line started forming. My male friend walked out and said he thought it was pretty progressive to have a tampon machine in a unisex restroom.

– An old boss told the story of a very sad and funny insurance claim he handled early in his career. Apparently, this company had someone clean the toilets with gasoline. When one of the employees snuck a smoke break in the restroom, he unfortunately tossed his lit cigarette into a toilet and the explosion propelled him off the throne. Not, the way to go, so to speak.

– Speaking of cigarettes, my boss and his boss, who were smokers, were interviewing a medical doctor, who they did not know smoked. So, our two guys chose not to smoke, as did the doctor, and this lasted for a couple of hours. When they got back together for a follow-up interview, the doctor said, “I must tell you, I need to have a smoke especially if we meet for two hours again.” Relieved, our two guys pulled out their cigarettes as well and conducted the smoky interview.

– An old boss was meeting early one morning with prospective client. Since the man’s AA was not in yet, he waved my boss back and proceeded with small talk about an easement infringement on a piece of property. When the guy asked my boss what he should do, my boss said “I think you should hire a lawyer.” The guy looked at him and said “Who are you?” Apparently, he thought a lawyer was his first meeting. My boss did not make the sale that day.

– This same old boss was near San Francisco with a colleague and they were driving this windy, mountainous road trying to locate a manufacturing plant pre-GPS. When they came upon a bicyclist pedaling away, they slowed and asked him for directions. While telling them, the bicyclist ran off a ledge. They stopped the car and looked over the ledge scared to find out the bad news. The man was on another ledge ten feet below, lying on top of his bicycle, still telling them directions. They said “Forget that, are you alright?’ He was, but he wanted to be informative.

– I once had a client, where the benefits attorney in their Legal Department would often argue with the Benefits Director in HR. For some reason, I was on good terms with both, so each would call me separately for ammunition on the same argument. When I realized what was happening, I was able to coax them toward resolution, helping them to see the other person’s argument, which I had help frame. Talk about arguing with yourself.

– I had colleague who was late for a meeting with a client’s Board of Directors about two hours away for an unusual reason. A cattle carrying truck had overturned on I-95 and, unfortunately, several steers did not survive the wreck and were littered all over the road. When he returned to his office and flipped on his desktop computer, his screen saver opened up to a Chick-Fil-A screen complete with cows saying “eat mor Chikin.”

– Speaking of Board meetings, I was taking this colleague’s boss to one for a prospective client and I had a flat tire. So, rolling up my sleeves, I changed the tire while he called our main contact. We made it on time, but I had to run to the rest room to get cleaned up. We got hired, as I guess they were impressed we could change a tire, as well.

– We were attending a major finalist meeting for a client for a new project. Two of our key folks had personal family reasons they could not attend, but could join by phone, pre-Skype or videoconferencing. So, we made life-size torso shots of each and sat them in chairs by the phone, so the client could see who they were talking with. We got hired and my contact said the committee was impressed with our improvisation and fun.

– Let me close with a story about one of my favorite consultants, who stood less than 5 feet tall, but whose subject matter and industry knowledge was far larger. Proposing to do business with one of our larger clients, we went last for the finalist presentation. My short friend was asked what she thought about what they were doing and, as per usual, she was very frank, with necessary diplomacy thrown in. My main contact told me later after we were hired, when the committee discussed whom to hire, one guy pointed at my friend’s vacated chair and said “That little fireball who sat there will tell us what we need to hear.”

I would love to hear some of your funny work stories. Please feel free to share.