Tuesday, June 25, 2013

To inflect or to coincide?

Today feels like an inflection point, a time of change.  It may merely be the coincidence of big events happening on the same day, or it may reflect a tectonic shift, pressure that has accumulated along the fault lines of our debates finally releasing their pressure, exposing the places where we differ and how time has changed our needs.  Here's my list for June 25, 2013:
  1. President Obama came out with a strong statement about climate and the environment today.  My fellow Cantrabrigian and climate activist John Pitkin summed it up this way in a blast email:
    This big news is heartening.  President Obama just did two of the biggest things he could to lead the fight against climate change: committing to move forward on rules to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, and committing to reject Keystone XL if it increases carbon pollution - which it does. Our work is just beginning, but today is an important day to thank the President for his leadership.
  2. The Supreme Court struck down what the New York Times calls "the heart of the Voting Rights Act" in what on its face seems like an awful decision, saying that nine states, almost all of them in the South, no longer need federal "pre-clearance" before taking action on issues of voting.  The impact of this decision will be immediate, as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott demonstrated with the statement: “With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.” 
  3. I believe when polls close at the end of today, Ed Markey will be elected the next United States senator from Massachusetts, filling the seat vacated by now Secretary of State John Kerry. While a Markey victory will come as no shock to anyone, it is a great boost to the work that needs to happen on the environment, on gun control and on a whole host of other issues.
  4. And a random tidbit to add to all of this: I find that Cambridge, MA has a higher population density than greater London, but has one almost equivalent to Copenhagen.  It turns out of large North American cities, New York is a leader in efficiency.  All of this comes from the website: thisbigcity -- and the nice graphic can be found here: