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May 15, 2021

NPR turns 50, looks forward to the ideal Florida governor [KT]


Saving the Sea Turtles at Space Beach

Well, NPR has turned 50. Tim Graham of Media Matters and NewsBusters wrote a little rant, characterizing it as "still a liberal sandbox".

On May 2, CBS "Sunday Morning" shamelessly aired an eight-minute segment that was more like a commercial selling NPR's view of itself. Every single person interviewed on camera was a current or former NPR employee. At the end, host Jane Pauley oozed, "By the way, the producer of this report, 'Sunday Morning's' Jay Kernis, was himself a pioneering NPR staffer."

Not too long ago, I heard a very unusual weekend broadcast in which "persons of color" employed by NPR criticized the lack of cultural diversity in the organization, but things now seem to be pretty much back to the normal, soothing, "we are in charge here" tone (in my limited listening experience).

Before the recent pipeline disruption, NPR did a feature which seemed to indicate that they are a little worried about the governor of Florida: Ron DeSantis pushes coastal 'resilience' while doing little to tackle climate change.

While the piece acknowledges that Governor DeSantis has done a lot to combat serious environmental problems in the state - in the everglades, coastal waters and beaches especially, he has not done enough to help poor farm workers who are picking tomatoes to put beachfront homes on stilts. (According to my interpretation of the audio). And he has not pushed hard enough to stop Florida residents from using fossil fuels.

If you click over to the NPR piece, you will find that the written text and the audio are not the same. The written piece seems to have some research behind it. What I got from it is that they are rooting for Charlie Crist's candidacy in 2022. A Republican turned Democrat. Perfect:

Some of his critics acknowledge that the $1 billion Resilient Florida plan he announced in January could be a first step toward helping some communities pay for adaptation. But critics also point out that DeSantis has done almost nothing to put Florida on a path to scaling back the state's heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

"I would give him probably a C-minus," said former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who served from 2007 to 2011, and now represents St. Petersburg in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat.

Crist still gets plaudits from environmentalists for his administration's climate initiatives, including a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions and an executive order that was intended to put the state on a path to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. But those were basically abandoned by Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican now serving in the U.S. Senate.

Crist, who switched parties and this week announced he is running for governor in 2022, said DeSantis should be "encouraging renewables such as wind energy, solar energy, and particularly solar. I mean, my goodness, we're the Sunshine State."

The Governor is not working hard enough to keep people in Florida from having access to natural gas, "according to critics".

The written and audio versions of the NPR piece both center on Satellite Beach.

Brick by brick, the stucco shell of a new flood-resilient public works building is taking shape blocks from the beach, the most visible sign yet of a small community's enormous task staving off the rising sea.

"This is actually the highest point in the city," Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker said, adding that right next door to the new public works building will be a new fire station.

It's a close-knit community established by rocket scientists south of Kennedy Space Center, on a low-slung barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon.

By 2040, community leaders expect significant impacts associated with climate change. Already flooding is a problem, and beach-front homes perch precariously atop a sand dune left exposed after a series of storms and hurricanes washed away a sea wall.

The needs are great, and in Gov. Ron DeSantis, Barker sees a potential ally.

"At least he talks about climate change as actually being real, so that's good," she said. "And he's putting money toward it so that's encouraging."

But Barker also feels DeSantis is doing only part of the job.

"We desperately need to grow up as a state and realize that we need to get our emissions down," Barker said.

Satellite Beach sounds vulnerable. Low-slung barrier island that needs sea walls. Efforts to increase sea grasses by bringing in soil hurt sea turtles . . A little community of about 10,000 people that is already getting a lot of state attention. But this is what the authoritative female NPR narrator says about Ms. Barker:

She hopes that with more state leadership on climate change, her children will be able to live here, too.

I want to know if Ms. Barker and the people at NPR ever talk about the Chinese Communist Party as actually being real. What kind of magical thinking allows them to think that a Florida governor's positions on limiting fossil fuels will outweigh the influence of the CCP's building schedule for new coal-fired energy plants on ocean levels?

Even according to their own "science"?

Music for Minor Hurricane Action

Here, surfers take advantage of surf from Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, back when Obama was still lowering the ocean levels, at Satellite Beach. The assumption that dangerous hurricanes are becoming more frequent due to global warming may be based on when measurement of frequency starts.

You can see at about 2:30 why Satellite Beach would be susceptible to hurricane damage, as well as damage from ground water.

Collectively, Joaquin killed 34 people and caused US$200 million in damages. With all 34 deaths attributed to the storm occurring at sea, Joaquin has the highest offshore death toll for any Atlantic hurricane since the Escuminac hurricane in 1959, which killed 35 people in the Northumberland Strait.

Although Joaquin never directly affected the United States, another large storm system over the southeastern states drew tremendous moisture from the hurricane, resulting in catastrophic flooding in South Carolina.

The assumption that dangerous hurricanes are becoming more frequent may depend on when measuring starts.

Music for Relaxing

Hope you have a great weekend.

This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.

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