climate change, positive indicators, climate action momentum

The Rare Spots of Good News on Climate Change (Maria)

The author writes, “In the closing days of 2021, scientists warned that the eastern ledge of a Florida-size glacier is about to snap off of Antarctica, and US legislators found they may have flubbed their best chance in a decade to enact sweeping climate policies. But amid these stark signs, there were also indications that momentum is beginning to build behind climate action. Indeed, there’s good reason now to believe that the world could at least sidestep the worst dangers of global warming.”

He Dodged a Mexican Mafia Death Sentence for 26 Years. Then His Luck Ran Out (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A member of the Mexican Mafia, Ortiz was cast out of the criminal organization in the mid-1990s after angering other members. Ortiz, they decided, should be killed. For the next quarter-century, as he cycled through county jails, state prisons and brief stints on the street, he wore a target on his back. Ortiz knew he was a marked man. Authorities knew it too. Whenever they discovered a plot to kill Ortiz or he was attacked in prison, they’d offer to protect him. His answer was always the same: I can take care of myself. Then, last month, a man walked up to Ortiz and fired a bullet into his head, leaving him to die in the street in Chino. He was 59 years old.”

Texas Election Officials Looking for Illegal Voters Found Some US Citizens (Dan)

From Texas Monthly: “[Mary] Lopez enjoys getting a behind-the-scenes look at the democratic process.  In September, she was examining a state-supplied list of possible noncitizen voters when she noticed the name of her 84-year-old mother, Mary Gomez. Lopez was shocked. Her mother is an American citizen who votes in nearly every election, Lopez says. She took her concerns to Cameron County elections administrator Remi Garza, who was preparing to send out ‘challenge’ letters to 61 registered voters in the county, asking them to prove their citizenship.” 

Media Forget Afghan Plight as US Sanctions Drive Mass Famine Risk (Gerry)

From Fair: “Decades of conflict, invasion and occupation left Afghanistan with a highly precarious economy. In 2019, well before withdrawal, a record 50 percent of Afghans reported finding it ‘very difficult’ to get by on their household income (Gallup, 9/23/21). While drought and the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to the current humanitarian crisis, it is largely driven by the imploding economy. The entire banking system is collapsing, with government employees going unpaid, and citizens unable to access their money or receive funds from relatives abroad.”

Japan Won’t Send Government Officials to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics (Carina)

The author writes, “Japan will not send any senior officials or Cabinet ministers to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, the government said Friday — but stopped short of calling the decision a diplomatic boycott. Japan ‘believes that respect for human rights is important,’ Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. ‘We made a decision comprehensively.’ Tokyo Olympics Chief Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, and Japan Paralympic Chief Kazuyuki Mori will still attend the event, Matsuno added.”

How a Drunk, Unstable Billionaire Became Netanyahu and Mossad Chief’s Confidant (Russ)

From Haaretz: “James Packer wasn’t just another billionaire who developed relationships with Israel’s elite. The Australian media and casino tycoon with the troubled psyche mingled with those in the most secret circles in the country. Benjamin Netanyahu exploited him to the hilt – and he wasn’t the only one who did so.”

Heavens Above: Nasa Enlists Priest to Prepare for an Alien Discovery (Sean)

The author writes, “As space agencies launch new telescopes, rovers and probes to look for habitable planets and alien life beyond Earth, a British priest has been helping Nasa to understand how the discovery of extraterrestrials would change the way we see the universe. The Rev Dr Andrew Davison, a priest and theologian at the University of Cambridge with a doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford, is among 24 theologians to have taken part in a Nasa-sponsored programme at the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) at Princeton in the US to assess how the world’s major religions would react to news that life exists on worlds beyond our own.”