Quotes: Ah, Well Then

Nairobi, Kenya

“The President is around, it doesn’t mean that because he is not seen in public he is not there, he has an office where he goes every day and he is working on several things.”

– State House spokesperson Kanze Dena.

So that’s cool, then. Long as he’s working on several things.

The president has not been seen publicly since he traveled to China in April.

Quotes: Greenland Is Falling Apart

The photos are mine. Text is from Greenland Is Falling Apart by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic magazine:

“If Greenland were suddenly transported to the central United States, it would be a very bad day for about 65 million people, who would be crushed instantly. But for the sake of science journalism, imagine that Greenland’s southernmost tip displaced Brownsville, Texas—the state’s southernmost city—so that its icy glaciers kissed mainland Mexico and the Gulf thereof. Even then, Greenland would stretch all the way north, clear across the United States, its northern tenth crossing the Canadian border into Ontario and Manitoba. Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Iowa City would all be goners. So too would San Antonio, Memphis, and Minneapolis. Its easternmost peaks would slam St. Louis and play in Peoria; its northwestern glaciers would rout Rapid City, South Dakota, and meander into Montana. At its center point, near Des Moines, roughly two miles of ice would rise from the surface.”

Quotes: Choosing Wisely on Climate

Joan Harvey is a fellow contributor to the Monday Magazine at 3QuarksDaily. Her latest column addresses the importance of developing the right strategy to address climate change.

“If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus. For the layman, the question becomes: Are you a green consumer? Or are you a green citizen? A green consumer may own a Prius, recycle diligently, and worry about plastic straws. A green citizen focuses on policy, and makes sure the people they elect also understand good energy policy. They recognize which policies will actually be able to move us toward zero emissions in the next three decades and push for these.”

I like her idea of precision intervention:

“Half the carbon in the U.S. economy goes through monopoly pipes and wires, and these are controlled by Public Utilities Commissions in each of the 50 states. Each has five members, so there are 250 individuals who control half the carbon in the country…. If you go to them with an ethical or technical argument, they will listen to you…. This is relatively easy leverage.”

She’s right, too, that

“doing a little bit of everything is not going to save the planet. If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus.”

But while they may not save the world, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in mini-crusades like this one here in Ho Chi Minh City:

Quotes: On Patience, and Resilience

“it is sometimes tiring to try to get the Vietnamese to do something which is, after all, for their own good (or so we think . . .). On the other hand, when I step back just a little to look at everything, it seems to me that the Vietnamese have taken our overbearing presence rather well over the last few years. We arrive here with no knowledge of the country or of the situation and immediately start giving advice, some of which we can really turn almost into orders because of the materials and money and transportation that we fully control. I think that no American would stand for such a deep and continuing interference in our affairs, even if it appeared that survival was at stake. Yet the Vietnamese accept it, and with rather good grace.”

– Richard Holbrooke as a young foreign service officer in Vietnam, quoted by George Packer in The Longest Wars in Foreign Affairs magazine.

“This part of the city belonged to the Westerners, and the Vietnamese here were in the business of making money off them—either by feeding them in the restaurants, selling them the items from the rickety stands, driving them about the city in the rusted cyclos, having sex with them, spying on them, or some combination of the above.”

– on Saigon, 1965 from Tatjana Soli in The Lotus Eaters

Quotes: Missed April Fools Day by a Day

Sunset through the haze over Dubai Creek, United Arab Emirates.

As everyone knows, oranges is another word for beginnings.

“I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges, the oranges of the investigation, the beginnings of that investigation.”

– our American president on the Mueller report, speaking to the press on 2 April, 2019.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m being unkind, hypercritical. He really said origins and just slurred it or something.

You can watch it here.

It came during remarks with the Secretary General of NATO, the defense collective the United States set up after the second world war, of which President Trump, a hotel owner accused of profiting from the presidency, is the de facto leader.

It came on the same day as an article at ForeignPolicy.com titled The American Empire Is the Sick Man of the 21st Century: Failure at the center has left the United States up for sale to the highest bidder.

The article gently points out that in one of the president’s hotels,

“located directly between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, … a Saudi-funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms in the month after the 2016 election.”

Update: On reflection, after all, the president is a go-to guy on orange.

Quotes: Dumbing Down, Fast as We Can

“TRUMP CUTS AID TO 3 MEXICAN COUNTRIES.”

It’s getting harder to argue this point, but to CS&W readers outside the United States, when the American cable network Fox News refers to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as “3 Mexican Countries,” there are lots of us who realize that that is a mistake. Honest.

Quotes: He Must Be Right

“And while MPs deserve credit for trying, there is unlikely to be a majority in the country for a deal cobbled together over a weekend on the basis of MPs’ third or fourth choices that could decide the next 100 years of our history.”

– Gordon Brown on the state of Brexit after the government plan’s third defeat.