Church of the Informed Citizen: More than the Paris climate accord

Regardless your position on the United States’ decision to pull out of the Paris agreement to combat climate change, How the GOP Came to View Climate Changes as Fake, in today’s New York Times, is an insightful look at the increasing influence of moneyed interests on American public policy and politics. Even Republicans who accept that climate change is real and believe we must act to stop it are largely afraid to speak up on the issue. Interestingly, among its other insights, this article tells us of a handful of GOP lawmakers who are hoping to buck that trend.

While Trump’s decision on the Paris accord fulfills a campaign promise, that doesn’t necessarily signal a trend. When his infrastructure plan comes out—it’s expected this coming week, although not with all the details in place—it won’t include nearly all the funding he talked about during the campaign. Cities, states and private businesses would have to pitch in to make up the difference: Details form the New York Times in Trump Plans to Shift Infrastructure Funding to Cities, States, Businesses.

I continue to wonder how we can encourage more dialogue and cooperation across the political spectrum—and less name-calling, demonization and ridicule. Consider those questions as you read Frank Bruni’s column in today’s New York Times: These Campus Inquisitions Must Stop.

Other recommendations:

  • Out of Time: For a Houston Family, ICE Crackdown Shatters the Good life They Knew (Houston Chronicle): It’s graduation weekend for high schools across the country. For this immigrant family, it’s a bittersweet occasion. The proud father is about to be deported some 16 years after arriving in the United States illegally. He has committed no crimes since then and has worked hard to be a good father to his three daughters, all of whom, like his wife, are U.S. citizens.
  • What Obama Faced on Afghan Surge Now Vexes Trump (NY Times): Wherein we learn, among other things, that the Afghan strategy being put forth by the Pentagon involves looking for greater troop support form the very European allies we just insulted, snubbed and angered.
  • New York Turns Food Waste Into Black Gold (NY Times): New York is hoping to join many cities in other countries, and a few smaller cities here, in launching a wide-scale program to keep organic food waste out of landfills. This is an interesting look at the program and its challenges.
  • White House Discloses Ethics Waivers (NPR): The White House finally began releasing information this week about the waivers of ethics rules it has granted to administration officials. There are no big surprises (which is not to say no ethical concerns or conflicts), but it’s important information for citizens to be able to see.
  • Manila Casino Attacker Was a Gambling Addict, Phillippine Police Say (NY Times): In case you missed it, 37 people were killed in a Manila casino attack on Friday. Although the Islamic State claimed this was an act of terrorism and said it was responsible, neither claim is true. It was a robbery.
  • Eisendrath, Ritchie Poised to Bid for Sun-Times & Reader ( I don’t want to get too excited about this because it still seems staving off a purchase of the Chicago Sun-Times by the Chicago Tribune’s parent company is a long-shot. But it looks like two other bidders might still come forward. Hope springs eternal.

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