A Very Scientific World View …Trump official says wild horses, not climate change, are “existential threat” to federal lands

By Dawn Stover, October 17, 2019

Sulphur wild horse in Southwestern UtahThe Sulphur wild horses of Southwestern Utah are among the estimated 82,000 free-roaming wild horses and burros in the West. Credit: BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program/Facebook

“My personal opinions are irrelevant,” said William Perry Pendley, acting director of the US Bureau of Land Management, in response to a question about climate change at last week’s annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists. “I’m a Marine. I follow orders.”

That didn’t stop him from expressing a surprising opinion on the biggest challenge to federal lands: the “existential threat” posed by wild horses and burros. “Some land in the West is so devastated it will never recover,” he said.

Appointed in July, Pendley is a controversial choice to lead the BLM, an agency that administers nearly 245 million acres or about one tenth of America’s land, because his personal opinions on subjects such as climate change are extreme even for a Trump administration official. He has denied the existence of climate change and the seasonal hole in Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, asserted that the Founding Fathers intended for all public lands to be sold, and called undocumented immigrants a “cancer.” Pendley was previously a lawyer and conservative activist, and continues to identify himself as a “Sagebrush Rebel.” (The Sagebrush Rebellion is a movement to reduce or eliminate federal control over lands in the West.)

William Perry Pendley speaks at the SEJ annual conference.
William Perry Pendley speaks at the SEJ annual conference. Credit: @BLMNational/Twitter

Climate-warming emissions associated with the extraction and use of fossil fuels from federal lands are responsible for about one quarter of all US greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2018 report from the US Geological Survey. Almost all of the Democratic presidential candidates have pledged to end leasing for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands. Pendley said he hasn’t yet been briefed about climate impacts on BLM lands.

Exclusive: Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard talks about the sustainability, myth, the problem with Amazon and why it’s not too late to save the planet ~Fast Company

Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard set the standard for how a business can mitigate the ravages of capitalism on earth’s environment. At 81 years old, he’s just getting started.


Exclusive: Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard talks about the sustainability myth, the problem with Amazon—and why it’s not too late to save the planet
Ian Allen]


“You want the truth? It’s hopeless. It’s completely hopeless.” That’s what Patagonia founder and chairman Yvon Chouinard told the L.A. Timesabout the plight of the earth amid climate change. In 1994. Regardless, Chouinard and his company have spent decades—and millions of dollars—fighting for environmental causes around the world while investing in more sustainable business practices. What’s more, Patagonia has embraced and promoted the B Corporation movement, while Choui­nard led such efforts as 1% for the Planet, a collective of companies that pledged to donate 1% of sales to environmental groups and has raised more than $225 million since 2002. Meanwhile, over the past 46 years, Patagonia has become a billion-dollar global brand, making it the ultimate do-good-and-do-well company.

But Chouinard remains unsatisfied. The 81-year-old is more focused than ever on demonstrating, by Patagonia’s example, the lengths a company can go to protect the planet. During a break from fishing near his Wyoming home, Chouinard is both passionate and wry in discussing his business philosophy, what we get wrong about sustainability, why he’s so excited about regenerative agriculture, and Patagonia’s rising political machine.

Fast Company: How do we cope with the idea that to be in business means we are polluters and hurting the planet?

Yvon Chouinard: Everything man does creates more harm than good. We have to accept that fact and not delude ourselves into thinking something is sustainable. Then you can try to achieve a situation where you’re causing the least amount of harm possible. That’s the spin we put on it. It’s a never-ending summit. You’re just climbing forever. You’ll never get to the top, but it’s the journey.

FC: About eight months ago, you wrote a new mission statement for the company: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” What impact has that had so far?

YC: It’s affected every single person’s job. Some more than others, but it’s got everybody thinking. We’ve made a commitment to be fossil-fuel-free by 2025. We’re invested in companies that are working on growing synthetic fibers, stuff made from plants rather than petroleum. We’re not just cleaning up our act in our own buildings and stuff; we’re going around to our suppliers and convincing them to use cleaner energy. Then we’re continuing to work on saving large areas of the planet that capture a lot of carbon. I’m personally working on a new state park down at the tip of South America, about 800,000 acres of peat bogs and swamps and 200,000 acres of sea, that sequesters more carbon than almost anywhere in the world.

FC: Ten years ago, you started getting into the food space, launching Patagonia Provisions and working on regenerative agriculture. Now you’ve been bringing those regenerative principles to your cotton supply chain. Did you always see that as the ultimate path?

YC: This is all pretty new. Scientists are just discovering how important agriculture is to climate change, both negatively and positively. [Environmentalist and entrepreneur] Paul Hawken has a book that lists 100 things that we can do to combat climate change [Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming]. Out of those 100, the most important that applied to us was agriculture, so we’re doubling down on regenerative organic agriculture. We’re working on a new certification that goes beyond organic. We’ve been using organically grown cotton for years, but all it does is cause a little bit less harm. So we decided to start growing it regeneratively and organically. We started with 150 farmers in India, small-scale farmers. We talked them into growing cotton with a minimum amount of tilling. Even with cotton now, we’re sequestering carbon. This is a big deal. Regenerative agriculture can’t be done on a large scale. It just can’t. These people are getting rid of their bugs by squashing them with their fingers. They’re stringing up lights to attract the insects at night and using natural methods. Then they’re using cover crops—chickpeas and turmeric, for which there is a big demand. And they’re using compost. We’re paying them an extra 10%, so [between that and the cover-crop revenue] they’ve almost doubled their income. Next year, we’ve got 580 small farmers who will grow cotton this way.

FC: What do you think of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk pursuing interplanetary travel and Mars and moon colonies because they don’t seem to believe that we can save our home planet?

YC: [Laughs] I think it’s pretty silly. And not just silly, but it’s really a shame. The monies that are going to space exploration should be used to save our own planet right now. We’re in a triage situation. Things are so grim. It’s World War III. I lived through World War II, and I remember what the country had to do to mobilize. You couldn’t buy sugar. You couldn’t buy meat. Being French Canadians, we were lucky in that we got horsemeat. [Laughs] That’s what has to happen with this global warming business. Here we’re just wasting this money going to Mars. I want to start doing some T-shirts that just have a rainbow trout on it, the T-shirt, and it says, there’s no rainbow trout on Mars, or screw Mars. We gotta do that.

[Photo: Ian Allen]

FC: You’ve been pretty clear about your pessimism around the fate of the planet while remaining committed to trying to fix it. When we spoke back in 2017, you said something to the effect of “What’s the alternative, just sitting on my ass?” To what do you attribute your ability not to be nihilistic and to keep working toward that never-ending summit?YC: The solution to depression is action, and I’ve got a clear idea what I need to do. A lot of people want to do something about global warming, but they don’t know where to start. It’s a lack of introspection and imagination. A guy in our fabric lab went to one of our suppliers in Japan and he said, “Hey, I see you’re buying your energy from coal-fired power plants. Why don’t you switch over to green power?” This is a giant Japanese factory. He said, “I hadn’t thought about that.” They looked into it, switched over to green energy, and it only cost them $7,000 more a year. So there you go. The guy never thought about it, but it sounded like a good idea. There is a lot of that low-hanging fruit around.

FC: What role has your Buddhism played in finding that approach?

YC: You can approach Zen in different ways. One way is you can sit there and contemplate your navel all day long. I just approached it through action, whether it’s sport or business.

~~~  CONTINUE ~~~


The Day After Kerouac Died ~ The New Yorker

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 2.26.02 PM.pngKerouac in Tompkins Square Park, 1953.
Courtesy Allen Ginsberg Collection



On the evening of October 21, 1969, Allen Ginsberg received a telephone call from the journalist Al Aronowitz: Jack Kerouac had died, earlier that day, in a Florida hospital. For Ginsberg, it was the second such call in just over a year and a half. On February 10, 1968, he had learned that Neal Cassady, the inspiration for “On the Road” and, aside from Kerouac, Ginsberg’s closest friend, had died, in Mexico.

The Kerouac news deeply saddened Ginsberg but did not surprise him. Kerouac’s heavy drinking over the previous decade had increased to such an extent that his closest friends wondered if he had a death wish. Ginsberg and Kerouac had grown distant—largely because Kerouac had become less and less available to Ginsberg, but also because Ginsberg no longer wished to be around his old friend, who, on any given night, could be a belligerent, unhappy, argumentative, and nasty drunk. Kerouac had remarried, bought a house for his wife and his invalid mother, and moved to Florida, where he lived a semi-reclusive life.

Immediately after hearing the news of Kerouac’s death, this was not the man Ginsberg remembered. He recalled the joyful, enthusiastic, ambitious, prodigious writer whose work influenced his own. Kerouac had basked in the heat of spontaneity; he had put Ginsberg on the path to Buddhism; the two had shared their innermost thoughts. His intelligence had been a beacon.

Ginsberg recorded fragments of his thoughts and memories of Kerouac in his journals, as he had done when he learned of Cassady’s death. He also wrote a long poem, “Memory Gardens,” which was composed over several sittings and was eventually included in his National Book Award-winning volume, “The Fall of America,” which was published in 1973.

Those initial journal entries are presented here on the fiftieth anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s death.

— Michael Schumacher

Oct 22 130AM 1969
A single-story home surrounded by trees and a lawn.

An elderly man seated, wearing glasses and a suit.

A man seated and a woman behind him with hands on his shoulders.

Three men in a wooded area looking into the distance.

Two men pose looking at the camera.

A portrait of a man standing in front of a car.

Three men in collared shirts and glasses pose for a photograph.

A sheet covering a chair in a dimly lit room with a large curtained window.

A man poses for a navy enlistment photograph in front of height measurements.

A grave with bottles of alcohol laid in front.

A man with a sheet over his head sits with a pot in his lap. Another main sits looking over it.

Four men in coats pose for a photograph.

A man wearing glasses looking off into the distance.

A two-story wood-paneled home surrounded by trees.

Two men stand posing for a photograph

Eight men carry a casket down a staircase.




Two watches ticking in the dark, fly buzz at the black window, telephone calls all day to Florida and Old Saybrook,1 Lucien, Creeley, Louis,2 —“drinking heavily” and “your letter made him feel bad,” said Stella.3

All last nite (as talking on farm4 w/ Creeley day before) in bed brooding re Kerouac’s “After Me, the Deluge”5 at middle of morning watch I woke realizing he was right, that the meat suffering in the middle of existence was a sensitive pain greater than any political anger or hope, as I also lay in bed dying

Walking with Gregory6 in bare treed October ash woods—winds blowing brown sere leafs at feet—talking of dead Jack—the sky an old familiar place with fragrant eyebrow clouds passing overhead in Fall Current—

He saw them stand on the moon7 too.

At dusk I went out to the pasture & saw thru Kerouac’s eyes the sun set on October universe, the first sun set on the first dusk after his death.

Didn’t live much longer than beloved Neal8—another year & half—

Gregory woke at midnite to cry—he didn’t really want to go so soon—from the attick—

His mind my mind many ways—“The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind”9

Our talk 25 years ago about saying farewell to the tender mortal steps of Union Theological Seminary10 7th floor where I first met Lucien—

Tonite on phone Lucien said, having quit drinking in [Indecipherable] several weeks ago, he’d had convulsions split his nose & broke out all his false front teeth, chewed his tongue almost in half—unconscious taken to hospital11

Jack had vomited blood this last weekend would not take doctor care, hemorrhaged, & with many dozen transfusions lay in hospital a day before dying operated under knife in stomach—

Oct 22— 

Memory GardensCovered with yellow leavesin morning rain

Oct 24 — Quel Deluge 

He threw up his hands& wrote the universe dont exist& died to prove it.[Indecipherable stanza]Full Moon over Ozone Park12Bus rushing thru dusk toManhattan,Jack the Wizard in hisgrave at Lowell13for the first nite—that Jack thru whose eyes Isawsmog glory lightgold over Manhattan’s spireswill never see thesechimneys smokinganymore over statues of Maryin the graveyardTruck beds packedunder bridge viaducts,Crash jabber ofColumbia Free—Black Misted Canyonsrising over the bleakriverBright doll-like adsFor Esso Bread—Replicas multiplying beards—Farewell to the cross—Under the river lights shaftshelfing on Ceramic tunnelEternal fixity, the bigheaded wax Buddha dollpale resting incoffined—Empty skulled NewYork streetsStarveling phantomsfilling city—Wax dolls walking parkAve.,Light gleam in eye glass—Voice echoing thru MicrophonesGrand Central Sailor’sarrival 2 decades laterfeeling melancholy—Nostalgia for Innocent WorldWar II—A million Corpses runningacross 42’d Street,The glass building rising higher& lighted, transparentaluminumartificial trees,robot sofas,Ignorant cars—One Way Street to Heaven.[Indecipherable two lines]


~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~


When Mary Met Edgar: Exploring Cassatt and Degas

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 1.40.54 PM.png

Mary Cassatt’s “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair,” painted in 1878 and shown at the Impressionist exhibition a year later. Credit National Gallery of Art

There are love stories about kindred spirits. There are others about far-off admirers.

This is a story of both.

In 2014, Christopher Ward visited an art exhibit that explored the relationship between the French Impressionist Edgar Degas and the American artist Mary Cassatt. The two were inseparable in the late 1870s. They kept studios blocks from each other in Paris and met frequently when in town.

Mr. Ward, a playwright, was captivated by the pair. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘This is a play,’” he recently recalled.

Mr. Ward’s “The Independents,” which began performances on Thursday at the Jerry Orbach Theater in Manhattan, explores the artists’ relationship in the late 1870s. “I’ve always loved Mary Cassatt,” Mr. Ward said. Like writers before him, Mr. Ward was curious about the dynamic between the Cassatt and Degas. Cassatt, a single woman who moved to Paris in 1866 to pursue painting, left few accounts behind. Degas didn’t write much either. Historians agree, though, that it was one of the most significant artistic relationships of that era.


NOAA calls for mild winter but one with big mood swings

Ice forms on the window of a Chicago Transit Authority train while a commuter hustles to board as a winter storm makes its way through several Midwestern states on Feb. 9, 2018. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

October 17

Don’t expect a particularly harsh winter, but a volatile one. That’s the essence of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter outlook, released Thursday.

The agency is forecasting warmer-than-average temperatures over a large part of the nation, in keeping with recent trends. Winters are warming up because of climate change, and the overwhelming majority of recent years have tended to be mild on balance.

But even with winters trending milder, they have still unleashed brutal cold snaps and blockbuster storms, and there’s no reason this year won’t be different.

The temperature forecast

NOAA winter-temperature outlook.

Most of the nation is favored to be warmer than normal, but “cold weather is anticipated and some areas could still experience a colder-than-average winter,” the outlook said.

Areas least likely to be cold, relative to average, are Alaska and Hawaii, where the outlook highlights high chances for above-average temperatures. Abnormally warm oceans surround both of these states, which have experienced record-breaking temperatures at times since the summer.

Rick Thoman@AlaskaWx

The sea surface temperatures in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the north and northwest coasts of Alaska were, by far, the warmest of record this past summer, due in part to very early sea ice loss. H/T @Climatologist49 @CinderBDT907 @ajatnuvuk @amy_holman

View image on Twitter
The Upper Midwest, which endured a brutally cold second half of winter last year, is the only part of the Lower 48 where above-normal temperatures are not favored. Instead, the outlook calls for equal chances of below-, normal and above-normal temperatures.

The precipitation forecast


NOAA winter precipitation outlook.

NOAA’s outlook paints a sprawling zone with elevated chances for above-normal precipitation from Montana to the northern Mid-Atlantic. Within this zone, it’s especially likely to be wet in the northern plains and Upper Midwest. These areas also had a very wet second half of winter last year, which led to historic spring and summer flooding, and the situation could repeat next year if this forecast is correct.

Drier-than-normal weather is favored in parts of the Deep South and central California, where NOAA is calling for the onset of drought conditions.

Ocean temperatures are abnormally high off the California coast, forming a zone some scientists have referred to as “the blob.” Although some scientists have attempted to link this warm water with elevated chances for drought in California, Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told reporters Thursday that he’s unconvinced.

The blob “usually doesn’t play a large role in climate outcomes over North America,” he said.

Halpert made clear that NOAA’s forecast for drought in California is based on computer model forecasts, not the high offshore temperatures.

The Crisis of the Republican Party ~ NYT Opinion

The G.O.P. will not be able to postpone a reckoning on Donald Trump’s presidency for much longer.


Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times


In the summer of 1950, outraged by Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist inquisition, Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican senator from Maine, stood to warn her party that its own behavior was threatening the integrity of the American republic. “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear,” she said. “I doubt if the Republican Party could — simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely, we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.”

Senator Smith surely knew her “Declaration of Conscience” would not carry the day. Her appeal to the better angels of her party was not made in the expectation of an immediate change; sometimes the point is just to get people to look up. In the end, four more years passed before the bulk of the Republican Party looked up and turned on Senator McCarthy — four years of public show trials and thought policing that pushed the country so hard to the right that the effects lasted decades. The problem with politicians who abuse power isn’t that they don’t get results. It’s that the results come at a high cost to the Republic — and to the reputations of those who lack the courage or wisdom to resist.

The Republican Party is again confronting a crisis of conscience, one that has been gathering force ever since Donald Trump captured the party’s nomination in 2016. Afraid of his political influence, and delighted with his largely conservative agenda, party leaders have compromised again and again, swallowing their criticisms and tacitly if not openly endorsing presidential behavior they would have excoriated in a Democrat. Compromise by compromise, Donald Trump has hammered away at what Republicans once saw as foundational virtues: decency, honesty, responsibility. He has asked them to substitute loyalty to him for their patriotism itself.

Mr. Trump privately pressed Ukraine to serve his political interests by investigating a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as by looking into a long-debunked conspiracy theory about Democratic National Committee emails that were stolen by the Russians. Mr. Trump publicly made a similar request of China. His chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said publicly on Thursday that the administration threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine if it did not help “find” the D.N.C. servers.

Los Tigres Del Norte Retrace Johnny Cash’s Steps In ‘Folsom Prison’ Documentary

In 2018, Los Tiges del Norte retraced Johnny Cash’s steps not only to pay tribute to the band’s idol but also remind the inmates that they are not forgotten.

Courtesy of the Artist

When country music legend Johnny Cash heard the heavy steel doors at Folsom Prison shut behind him on a cloudy January morning in 1968, he reportedly said, “That has the sound of permanence.”

That sound was not much different when I entered the same gates to accompany the norteño band Los Tigres del Norte 50 years later as they retraced Cash’s steps to mark the anniversary of his legendary performance.

When Cash played the inside of that prison cafeteria, the majority of the inmate population was white. Now prison authorities in California say the population is made up mostly of black and Latin men and women. In my 2018 piece for NPR’s All Things Considered, I noted there there were Los Tigres fans both among the inmates and the prison administration. Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison, a new Netflix documentary that chronicles the concert, features inmates talking about the band’s influence on their lives before and after being incarcerated.

In the same way Cash became known as a voice for the marginalized after the concert was released, Los Tigres del Norte became la voz del pueblo (the voice of the people) as they chronicled the joys and challenges of immigrant life here in the U.S. The band members told me they wanted to pay their respects to one of their idols as well as remind the inmates that they are not forgotten. Their sincerity is visible every time they are on camera: greeting inmates inside Folsom’s Greystone Chapel, looking out over the prison yard as inmates sing along or gazing into their own memories of the life outside.

The concert and its documentary show the power of music to heal as well as the power of regret and redemption. It’s a lesson in doing the right thing, for the right reason, by Los Tigres del Norte, one of the most popular bands on either side of the border.

Booker T. Jones, Soul’s Ultimate Sideman, Takes the Lead at Last

In a new memoir, “Time Is Tight: My Life, Note by Note,” the Stax studio wizard and acclaimed producer tells his own story and finds his voice.

CreditCreditErik Carter for The New York Times




LOS ANGELES — Blocks from the ocean-misted mountain views of Venice Beach, Booker T. Jones was hard at work on a late-summer afternoon. The 74-year-old musician, dressed in a black baseball hat and a bright-blue athletic pullover, sat behind his customary Hammond B-3 organ with his chin angled up slightly, like an emperor, as his current road group, which includes his son Ted on lead guitar and the longtime Tom Petty drummer Steve Ferrone, helped rerecord the various classics that provide the names for each chapter in his new memoir.

“Time Is Tight: My Life, Note by Note,” out Oct. 29, is named for one of Jones’s hits as the leader and musical mastermind of Booker T. & the M.G.s, but despite the soul group’s fame in the ’60s and ’70s, this is the first time the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee has truly spoken in his own voice. His creative statements have more typically come as an accompanist: first as an arranger and house musician for Stax during the label’s golden age, then as a producer, musical director and keyboardist for generations of American musicians. His body of work spreads across whole branches in the family tree of 20th-century and 21st-century pop — you can hear him underneath Sam & Dave, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Bob Dylan, Big Daddy Kane and Valerie June.

But about a decade ago, with eight children and stepchildren from his three marriages, Jones became reflective. His friends and collaborators, from Neil Young to Robbie Robertson, had found willing readerships for their life stories, but Jones, ever the sideman, didn’t think in terms of a hero’s journey.


“I just started writing these little scenes,” he explained in his slow, deliberate manner. “Little memories of how I grew up, all the things I’ve seen.” The book’s structure isn’t chronological — Jones connects old stories to new ones, famous friends to unknown childhood ones. He wrote it himself, no ghostwriter, with the same unhurried process that he approaches all communication, from an interview to a horn chart.

The result emphasizes not only his Memphis roots and role in Stax’s reinvention of R&B but his second act here in Los Angeles — as a wide-ranging session man and producer who remains, in his eighth decade, a sought-after sonic guru.

“It’s really weird hearing my voice say those words,” he said. “But the words I use, the way I use English — I finally found my voice on the page.”

In the Venice studio, Jones showed off his more well-known facility with the language of music, working through “B-A-B-Y,” a perfect bit of Stax bubble gum by Carla Thomas from 1966. It’s filled with the sound of the B-3, a churchy keyboard that plays through a rotating speaker called a Leslie, granting it an emotive vibrato that, largely thanks to him, is synonymous with soul music.

I finally found my voice on the page,” Jones said.