The end of California

Gun nuttery

Joe Napsha, “Wolf draws fire, praise for veto of bill to allow concealed weapons without a permit,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/wolf-draws-fire-praise-for-veto-of-bill-to-allow-concealed-weapons-without-a-permit/


Ukraine

Robin Emmott, “Ukraine PM says Russia ‘absolutely’ behind suspected coup attempt,” Reuters, November 30, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/exclusive-ukraine-pm-says-russia-absolutely-behind-coup-attempt-2021-11-30/

Vladimir Isachenkov, “Putin warns West: Moscow has ‘red line’ about Ukraine, NATO,” Associated Press, November 30, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/europe-russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-moscow-cd558699728e9ae935eaadf940efeb18

Michael McFaul and Oleksiy Honcharuk, “The best response to Russia’s threats is a closer relationship with Ukraine,” Washington Post, December 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/01/best-response-russias-threats-is-closer-relationship-with-ukraine/

Teri Schultz, “Russia has been warned: So will NATO defend Ukraine?” Deutschewelle, December 1, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/russia-has-been-warned-so-will-nato-defend-ukraine/a-59983502

Marc Bennetts, “Russia tells Nato to back off or face a ‘nightmare’ amid spiralling crisis over Ukraine,” Times, December 3, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-has-no-say-in-ukraine-joining-nato-moscow-told-t9q3r5vx5

Shane Harris and Paul Sonne, “Russia planning massive military offensive against Ukraine involving 175,000 troops, U.S. intelligence warns,” Washington Post, December 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/russia-ukraine-invasion/2021/12/03/98a3760e-546b-11ec-8769-2f4ecdf7a2ad_story.html


Abortion


Fig. 1. “Can I borrow this?” Cartoon by Zoe Si for the New Yorker, December 3, 2021.[1]

Irin Carmon, “This Is How Roe Ends,” New York, December 1, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/12/supreme-court-looks-likely-to-kill-roe-in-mississippi-case.html

Ruth Marcus, “The question is not whether ‘Roe v. Wade’ is overturned — but how,” Washington Post, December 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/01/supreme-court-ponders-how-to-overturn-roe/

Amber Phillips, “4 takeaways from the Supreme Court arguments on abortion,” Washington Post, December 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/12/01/takeaways-scotus-mississippi-abortion/

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court justices sound ready to restrict the right to abortion,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-12-01/supreme-court-weighs-future-of-abortion-rights-and-roe-vs-wade

Paul Waldman, “At the Supreme Court, the bell tolls for Roe v. Wade,” Washington Post, December 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/01/bell-tolls-for-roe/

Mary Ziegler, “The End of Roe,” Atlantic, December 1, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/12/abortion-abortion-oral-argument-supreme-court/620874/

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Supreme Court Looks Ready to Overturn Roe,” New Yorker, December 2, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-supreme-court-looks-ready-to-overturn-roe

Marjorie Cohn, “For the First Time, Supreme Court Is Poised to Retract a Fundamental Right,” Truthout, December 3, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/for-the-first-time-supreme-court-is-poised-to-retract-a-fundamental-right/

Linda Greenhouse, “The Supreme Court Gaslights Its Way to the End of Roe,” New York Times, December 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/opinion/abortion-supreme-court.html

Lisa Mascaro, “Supreme Court abortion hearing raises questions for senators,” Associated Press, December 3, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/us-supreme-court-election-2020-amy-coney-barrett-brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-hearings-084bd8c246cce2418f7cc49a1cd31cd5


Voting rights

Apparently, Joe Biden’s White House is placing its faith in movement organization[2] rather than leaning on Congress to pass legislation to address voter suppression.[3] This, of course, relies on voter enthusiasm. Here’s that list of failure again:

So, you tell me, where’s that enthusiasm coming from?

Hayes Brown, “Stacey Abrams’ run for Georgia governor will test GOP voter suppression,” MSNBC, December 2, 2021, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/stacey-abrams-run-georgia-governor-will-test-gop-voter-suppression-n1285261

Sam Levine, “Voting rights advocates frustrated by ‘same-old, same-old’ meeting with White House,” Guardian, December 3, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/03/voting-rights-advocates-frustrated-meeting-white-house


Pennsylvania Republicans

It’s okay that Dr. Oz is a carpetbagger.[5] Because he’s a Republican carpetbagger and Donald Trump likes him.

What’s really strange about all this is that Pennsylvania Republicans have no shortage of right wing lunatics. This is why the field in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race is so crowded. But we have to import somebody from New Jersey.

Jonathan Tamari, Ryan W. Briggs, and Jonathan Lai, “Senate candidate Mehmet Oz says he’s a Pennsylvania resident now. So why’s he still hanging out in his New Jersey mansion?” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/does-dr-oz-live-in-pennsylvania-20211202.html


Marijuana

Rich Haridy, “Blood or saliva THC levels found to be poor sign of driving impairment,” New Atlas, December 2, 2021, https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/thc-blood-saliva-not-linked-cannabis-driving-impairment/


Pandemic


Climate Crisis

When my passengers learn I’m from California, they often say they would like to visit. I encourage them, often recommending the Coast Highway, California Route 1. And I tell them to hurry, to go before it all burns up.

Aquifer levels are dropping all around California. Often this impacts residents who rely on them for water but it also impacts—severely—the Central Valley, where the drought that has prevailed in the state over the majority of my adult life has led to increased water pumping.[6] Now comes news that snowless winters may be coming to the Sierra Nevadas, the mountains that line the eastern edge of California, and from which much of California’s water domes.[7]

It’s not good enough if the water falls as rain rather than snow on the Sierras, because then reservoirs must hold that water. The snowpack effectively adds significantly to reservoir capacity and reservoir managers can balance the more gradual snowmelt with usage. But the simple fact is that less water is falling, whether as rain or snow and California is headed for a reckoning: While some of Southern California can draw from the Colorado River, first, that river, too, is affected as less snow falls on the Rocky Mountains; and second, the river has been over-allocated as long as anyone can remember. California won’t have the water for its population, let alone for a major part of the U.S. food supply—California agriculture uses, depending on whom you ask when, over 80 or 90 percent of the state’s water supply.

Finally, there are the already-apocalyptic wildfires which can only grow worse as the state becomes drier. I’ll never forget smoke so thick, even 100-150 miles away from the Camp Fire in Paradise, that I could barely see two blocks ahead. I’ll never forget, failing to see Mount Tamalpais from the Corte Madera Town Center parking lot, mistaking Christmas Tree Hill for it through the smoke. This really is the end of California, certainly as I know it.

Hayley Smith, “A ‘no snow’ California could come sooner than you think,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-03/a-no-snow-california-could-come-sooner-than-you-think


  1. [1]Zoe Si, Daily Cartoon, New Yorker, December 3, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon/friday-december-3rd-abortion-roe-v-wade
  2. [2]Hayes Brown, “Stacey Abrams’ run for Georgia governor will test GOP voter suppression,” MSNBC, December 2, 2021, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/stacey-abrams-run-georgia-governor-will-test-gop-voter-suppression-n1285261
  3. [3]Sam Levine, “Voting rights advocates frustrated by ‘same-old, same-old’ meeting with White House,” Guardian, December 3, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/03/voting-rights-advocates-frustrated-meeting-white-house
  4. [4]Chris Arnold, “Evictions rising even as rental help from Congress reaches millions of people,” National Public Radio, November 11, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/11/11/1053540080/evictions-rising-even-as-rental-help-from-congress-reaches-millions-of-people
  5. [5]Jonathan Tamari, Ryan W. Briggs, and Jonathan Lai, “Senate candidate Mehmet Oz says he’s a Pennsylvania resident now. So why’s he still hanging out in his New Jersey mansion?” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/does-dr-oz-live-in-pennsylvania-20211202.html
  6. [6]Dale Kasler, “Dry wells, drastic cutbacks. For many Californians, drought hardships have already arrived,” Sacramento Bee, October 3, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/water-and-drought/article254265353.html
  7. [7]Hayley Smith, “A ‘no snow’ California could come sooner than you think,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-03/a-no-snow-california-could-come-sooner-than-you-think

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