Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions

The cash factor in the climate change debate, right-wing terrorism and more ...

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Cash pollutes climate issue

Jeffrey Toobin at The New Yorker writes about the climate change debate: “Remember when climate change could be a bipartisan issue? Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi did an advertisement together, boasting of their partnership on the challenge it posed. John McCain also believed that man-made climate change was an urgent problem …

“Now … Republicans are unified in denial, and one good reason this is so is the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. That decision revolutionized the law of campaign finance; what is less well recognized is that it transformed the climate-change debate, too …

“It’s clear that in the forefront of anti-climate-change activism are the Koch brothers, who have invested huge amounts in politics and political candidates since Citizens United. …The Kochs are so prominent that they have become, in effect, gatekeepers for Republican politics. Climate-change denial is now the price of admission to the charmed circle of Republican donors …

“It is true that Democrats and the scientific community are not entirely powerless in this debate. But no one should be mislead that this has somehow been a fair fight.”

Right-wing terrorism

Brian Beutler at the New Republic points out that the American far-right is more violent than the far left: “Between Sept. 11, 2001, and March 2014, right-wing extremists killed 34 people in America. If you count the three Jewish community members Frazier Glenn Cross killed in Kansas City before screaming “Heil Hitler” as police arrested him this past April, the tally jumps to 37. And it hits 40 when you add the two policemen and lone civilian who died [last] weekend when Jerad and Amanda Miller launched their Las Vegas revolution …

“The above figures are based on a tally maintained by experts at the New America Foundation. They array their analysis in a way that makes the implicit point that, for all our fretting about jihadi extremism, it’s been less deadly in the U.S. since 9/​11 than domestic terrorism, but that neither problem is particularly dangerous …

“There are 320-or-so million people in the United States, over 30 million more than lived here on Sept. 11, 2001. Forty people isn’t very many. Among causes of death in the U.S., right-wing violence must rank near the bottom. But 40 people is more than zero people, which is the number that have been killed by left-wing extremists over the same stretch.”

Law firms flunk

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox in her latest newsletter from 20-first: “No area of the business world is more illogically gender imbalanced than law firms. Every year, top law firms recruit 60 percent female and 40 percent male law graduates into their practices. Within two years, their female majorities begin to leave. The percentage of female equity partners is now 17 percent in the top 100 US law firms.

“The strangest part is that women lawyers aren’t leaving the profession, they are leaving law firms. They are going into corporate, government or regulatory roles. That is another way of saying that they are becoming clients to the law firms. How long before the clients start saying they don’t really appreciate the all-male teams that their ex-employers are sending in?”

Hillary’s 1-star reviews

Sunday satire from The Borowitz Report: “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that she is ‘seriously considering’ not running for president in 2016 after reading an avalanche of scathing 1-star reviews on Amazon for her new book, ‘Hard Choices.’

“Secretary Clinton said that she was ‘shattered’ to discover that dozens of people had apparently purchased her book on its first day of publication, read all 656 pages in one sitting and judged the finished product so unsatisfactory that it only merited one star on Amazon.

“ ‘These people all read my book cover to cover on the very first day it was published, so they must have really been looking forward to it,’ a shaken Clinton told reporters. ‘It’s devastating for me to think about how I must have let them down.’ ”

Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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