The heat is up for the former President in his criminal cases. Meanwhile, our Senate Minority Leader is freezing. It's probably all caused by climate change.
I'll have more on both...
Let's start with The News.
Week 35 of 2023
Dairy Queen has offered a sponsorship deal to Senator Mitch McConnel, potentially granting naming rights for the Misty Freeze.® This is after the Senator from Kentucky froze at another press briefing, unable to answer questions, similar to the reaction of an ice cream headache – which Mitch might be able to pitch to DQ as a branding strategy.
Our leaders in Washington continue to be dominated by crusty congressmen, septuagenarian senators, and octogenarian incumbents. Their average ages these days have been landing somewhere between "Fixodent and forget it" and "wears a robe to dinner." When I learned this was the 118th Congress, I didn't initially realize that it was referring to the average age of elected officials, but it's clear to me that the American dream of retiring in style is not as strong as the American dream of holding onto power until your grip can't even hold a toothbrush.
McConnel's physician has since released a letter clearing him to work after the episode. (more)
Dollar General Shooting
In Jacksonville, FL, a man entered a Dollar General, and instead of buying frosted wheat squares, he killed three Black customers. The three innocent bystanders were slaughtered after the suspect directed several white patrons out of the store. The gunman, 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, was known to have left behind racist writings before launching the attack on Saturday, after which he killed himself.
In a press conference about the incident, Governor Desantis said the shooting was "totally unacceptable" and that "We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race." – unless you count banning race-related history books in schools and passing permitless carry gun laws (embellishments mine).
Desantis was booed by the crowd. (more)
A category 3 storm made landfall on western Florida just before being downgraded to a tropical storm and making its way toward Georgia and the Carolinas. The floods destroyed white pants across the western coast. Prior to making landfall, Governor Desantis stressed to Floridians to “listen to your local officials,” presumably with the exception of public health officials. (more)
A judge set Donald Trump's election interference case for March 4th, a day before Super Tuesday, but also two days before March 6th. Trump's attorneys argued that his defense would require time to prepare after Jack Smith had years to bring the charges, saying he deserves the "same defense as any American." The judge suggested Trump could use his millions of dollars to prepare his defense and told him he would not get two more years to prepare. (more)
Related: In his Georgia case (a different criminal indictment) Trump has pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment. (more)
A new study has found that in Washington State, where weed is fully legal, Cannabis Use Disorder has become a common issue, proving once again that weed is almost as dangerous as eating mac n' cheese. (more)
- The Proud Boys will have to be proud of their boy, Joe Biggs, behind bars for 17 years after his sentencing yesterday.
That's it for the news. Now, here's this week's Feature.
The Winds of Change
It's convenient that every disaster can be blamed on climate change. Hurricanes, wildfires, inflation. Or anything for that matter. Did you forget to turn in your homework? It shows the worsening effects of climate change. If I could blame my being late on my HOA payment on the increase of earth's average temperatures, I would. But in the end, the truth is, I just needed to find a stamp.
Climate change becomes the culprit for most major issues – and if not, we'll find a way to draw a connection it if you give us a minute. The Inflation Reduction Act itself has been credited as Washington's biggest action to address climate change because, after all, inflation is caused by climate change. It seems like countless issues are said to be the result of a warming planet, but is climate change really what we should be blaming for all of what ails us?
In Germany, a major flood killed 220 people. Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed it on climate change, but a deeper look revealed that the expansion of farms on lands that were previously boggy hillsides force water toward civilization more quickly, sometimes with catastrophic results.
In Maui, the headlines defaulted to climate change as the cause of the historic wildfires. Even this newsletter alluded that the climate was to blame for spreading wildfires. A study of the Maui fire later determined it was ignited by faulty power lines that sparked flames when coming into contact with the dry brush from invasive grasses that had overtaken abandoned sugar plantations. Authorities were aware of the wildfire risks both related to degrading infrastructure and non-native grasses imported originally for livestock feed.
More than likely, the Maui fires were caused by collective negligence over generations.
But if you ask the media, it seems that every natural disaster is caused by climate change, and also almost everything else. Last year, Dermatology Times published an article saying an increase in acne flares may be the result of climate change, making no mention of Pop-Tarts or Ruffles. Even mental health problems have been blamed on climate change.
The issue that we face is that we often oversimplify the problem, defaulting to popular boogeymen. Perhaps because it's a real problem and needs real solutions. Or because it gets printed, gets clicks, and gets shared. This is no different than placing blame on partisan differences for the problems we believe are linked to a dispute between Democrats or Republicans. This politicization of the issue causes a false understanding of the problem at hand, and it blinds us to the true cause. Ultimately, it could prevent us from solving the real problem.
Sure. It's possible every one of the above issues can be linked to climate change, even based on a reasonable theory. Changes in food supplies can cause nutritional trends, resulting in health issues like acne. Changes in population density and the locations of ideal farmland are intrinsically linked to the earth's climate. The vast growth of population may make climate disasters more catastrophic, and those costs are certainly increasing. But sometimes, it's worth asking, is "climate change" the problem this time?
Grasping at straws to raise the profile of an issue may bring more attention to it, but sometimes, it distracts us from the real crisis and ends up making it worse.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend!