Los Angeles may simply burn away!

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019

You won't have to hear this on cable:
Back in February, David Wallace-Wells published The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.

In the Sunday New York Times Book Review, John Lanchester praised the "brilliant new book." The book also received a strong review in the weekday New York Times.

When Wallace-Wells appeared on All In, Chris Hayes described him as "the author of an absolute must-read new book."

Two days ago, Wallace-Wells authored a new report in New York magazine. The report appears beneath these headlines:
Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again. And It Will Never End.
A bulletin from our climate future.
That last reference caught our eye. "He may be speaking with Future Climatologists Clinging to Rafts," one of our most trusted future sources despondently said.

For ourselves, it's been years since we believed that our dysfunctional human race was going to find a way to avoid future climate disaster. Especially in an era of tribalized for-profit news, we simply aren't wired for that sort of thing, or so it has long seemed to us.

Spooling through the new report from Wallace-Wells, we decided to check something out:

His book was widely praised upon its release. When he did a (short) segment on All In, Hayes called it "an absolute must-read."

Everyone knows that this brilliant new book deals with an existential threat to every child who will be born this week or this year. That said, how often did the multimillionaire stars of "cable news" set aside their love for The Chase to speak with Wallace-Wells?

Inquiring minds wanted to know! We suspect that you know what we found:

According to the Nexis archive, Rachel Maddow, Our Own Rhodes Scholar, has never mentioned Wallace-Wells. Neither have Lawrence, Brian, Ari or the other Chris, Chris Matthews.

According to the Nexis archive, Wallace-Wells has made one exactly appearance on MSNBC. That was the aforementioned interview with Hayes, which ran roughly five minutes.

Beyond that, we find no sign that Wallace-Wells has ever been interviewed on CNN. He appeared on the PBS NewsHour on March 1, on NPR's Morning Edition two weeks before that.

"Cable news" is a series of true crime dramas which concern The Chase. You'll be asked to think about nothing else, except for utterly useless White House polls and perhaps the occasional gaffe.

Your grandchildren will drown in the sea, but Rachel, Anderson and all the gang will simply continue to cash their million-dollar checks.

(You also won't hear about public schools. You won't be asked to wonder about the remarkable looting which defines American health care.)

When Wallace-Wells appeared with Hayes, his segment ended the program. Hayes then threw to Rachel Maddow. This is what she said:
HAYES (3/7/19): David Wallace-Wells, thank you for your time.

If you want to hear more about his book, The Uninhabitable Earth, or about this subject, you can check out our discussion on my podcast, "Why Is This Happening", which is available wherever you get your podcast.

That is All In this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

MADDOW: Good evening, Chris. Thanks my friend. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Nothing like this has ever happened before. Almost. Ish. There was that one other time:

REPORTER: Today, a limousine brought former Attorney General John Mitchell to court. They used to call him "The Big Enchilada" at the White House. He came to be sentenced as a convicted felon.

For 64 days, this man sat in Judge Sirica's courtroom. When the time came for a final statement, Mitchell and his lawyer had nothing to say. All eyes were on the man who is known as Maximum John.

The judge wasted no time on a speech. Mitchell, Haldeman and Ehrlichman must serve at least 2 1/2 years in prison, maybe as long as eight years.

Judge Sirica would not comment on the case as he left the courthouse. John Mitchell left, growling, "It could have been worse. He could have sentenced me to spend the rest of my life with Martha Mitchell."

MADDOW: "It could have been worse. He could have sentenced me to spend the rest of my life with Martha Mitchell, my wife—my ex-wife."
Maddow turned straight to her second most favorite pursuit, the one in which she tells her viewers that we're acting out Our Own Watergate Drama. Needless to say, imprisonment was involved.

Rachel continues to cash her large checks. The public continues to get itself conned as Future Children of the Earth prepare to drown in the sea.

This is the way corporate "cable news" works. According to Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves, con men have always functioned this way. We the people have always signed on.

We're simply reporting the way this works. You can decide how you feel.

A bit later today: A bit later today, Nicolle Wallace will introduce her panelists. She will describe them as "some of our favorite reporters and friends."

Has any TV host ever talked down to the public in such an undisguised way? For the record, every one of her favorite reporters and friends will agree with every word Wallace has chosen to say.

You won't learn about future death in the sea. You'll hear about one thing—The Chase.

The Others will be very bad, while We will be admirable, pure.


  1. Like a tick farm, like a sea horse, like a graveyard, like a moron
    Like a girlfriend, like a tissue, like a cardboard, like a brick wall, like a dream, waiting to be

    Like a ball park, like a hiccup, like a blood clot, like a brain stroke, like a long trip
    Like a skeleton, like a dream , that I can see

    Like a house wife, like a rapist, like a tea cup, like a bed pan, like a cold sore, like an old friend
    Nothing seems so removed
    But love is hard when you're true

  2. "The public continues to get itself conned as Future Children of the Earth prepare to drown in the sea."

    Nice, Bob.

    Y'know, the old-style survivalists used to build underground shelters, and I suppose your zombie cult should now start working on The Ark, eh?

    Would you like to buy some timber?

  3. There is no doubt that the planet is warming and that CO2 emissions are one cause of the warming. However, there is considerable scientific doubt about the various effects of the warming. In particular, there's no scientific agreement that global warming will cause more droughts. In fact, it's likely that the warming will cause more rainfall. Hotter temperatures should lead to more evaporation from the oceans, more water vapor in the atmosphere, and more rainfall.

    1. I hear there is considerable doubt that shooting oneself in the temple is bad for you too.

    2. @4:22

      You are either disingenuous or incompetent.

      There is scientific agreement that global warming will cause more droughts:

      More Floods and More Droughts: Climate Change Delivers Both

      Causes of Drought: What's the Climate Connection?

      The Facts About Climate Change and Drought

      etc, etc, ad infinitum

    3. There is no doubt that the planet is warming and that CO2 emissions are one cause of the warming.

      How dare you contradict Der Trumpenfuhrer, David. Who do you think you are?

      Donald J. Trump
      ✔ @realDonaldTrump

      Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” @foxandfriends Wow!

      8:29 AM - Mar 12, 2019

      Get with the fucking program, David, or we will confiscate your Brown Shirt.

      When the wind stops blowing, that's the end of your electric," Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference March 2. "Let's hurry up. ‘Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television, darling.’ "

      Trump continued hammering wind energy later that month at a rally in Michigan, saying that if Hillary Clinton had won the election the United States would not be a global leader in energy production.

      "You would be doing wind, windmills," Trump said March 28. "And if it doesn't blow you can forget about television for that night."

      He knows more about global warming than all the scientists combined. So cut the shit, David.

  4. “Beyond that, we find no sign that Wallace-Wells has ever been interviewed on CNN.”

    Wrong. Somerby apparently didn’t look too hard. Wallace-Wells was on Christiane Amanpour’s show 3/1/2019:


    Video here:

    Aside from that, Wallace-Wells has written articles and/or appeared at the following, based on a quick search:

    Christiane Amanpour (CNN)
    Rolling Stone
    NY Times
    The Nation
    Ezra Klein podcast
    Chris Hayes “Why Is This Happening” podcast
    New York Magazine (where Wells is an editor and contributor)

    His recently released book is a bestseller.

    (Has he appeared in any right-wing shows or publications?)

    But in Somerby’s view this is all for nought because Rachel Maddow and Nicolle Wallace didn’t discuss Wells’ book.

    (Do we need to repeat that Wallace-Wells was on both MSNBC and CNN, ie “cable news”?)

  5. This blog isn’t about actually discussing Wallace-Wells’ book or climate change in general.

    But this post does bring up some questions: Is Wells’ book worthwhile? Is it accurate? If he has actually read it, does Somerby recommend the book, or is he just using it to troll Rachel?

  6. “The Others will be very bad, while We will be admirable, pure.”

    Somerby is referring here to what he facetiously calls “The Chase”, otherwise known as reporting on the Mueller probe and the malfeasance of the Trump administration. It’s hard to argue that those are not important and newsworthy subjects. Some might say they are of existential importance to our democracy.

    At any rate, as to climate change, all the evidence clearly shows that the right wing will still feel offended by any liberal or mainstream discussion of climate change. They characterize liberals who discuss it as arrogant or anti-American crackpots and most proposed solutions as “socialism”, “Marxism”, etc. There is little point in this constant focus on how the right wing will “feel” or “react” to the left.

    And neither discussion (investigating governmental or campaign corruption, and climate change) proceeds from a sense of an “us good, them bad” mindset. It’s about telling the truth.

  7. Nothing is going to happen to address climate change until Trump is out of office. That makes "The Chase" the most important thing to talk about right now. This should be obvious, even to Somerby, but his goals are not to help the planet but to hate on Rachel.

  8. For those who don't live here, Los Angeles itself is not burning in these fires. The fires are in adjacent forested areas and brushlands that are near homes, but the city itself is not burning and won't burn unless fires are set in urban areas. That isn't happening and hasn't happened. A Northern California forest fire spread to a small town (Paradise) embedded in forest that couldn't be evacuated soon enough due to poor communications. That has very little to do with conditions in Los Angeles.

    When fire threatens housing tracts on the edges of forest areas and brushland, homes are evacuated and people leave if they are smart (not everyone is smart about this, just as many people do not evacuate ahead of a hurricane). The main injuries are to fire-fighters, homeless people living in the forest and public lands, and people who cannot leave.

    The deliberately extreme language Somerby uses (and perhaps this author, don't know) conjures an image of LA in flames. LA burns when there are riots and fires set deliberately by human beings. The rioters also attack fire fighters and police, so fires are sometimes left to burn. That isn't what has happened recently.

    Recently, large areas of public lands have burned up to the edges of inhabited areas (because some people insist on living close to nature), but Los Angeles has not been burned or threatened.

    Fires in urban areas, including green belts in suburban neighborhoods, are easier to fight because they don't have old growth trees and uncleared underbrush and similar clutter that is very flammable. Homes have cleared brush from nearby hillsides and used fire retardant materials in building, and so on. There are enough people around in urban places that fires get reported while they are still small. Los Angeles fire fighters respond in sufficient strength to prevent a fire from getting too big to fight. This is why Los Angeles doesn't burn when Malibu is in flames. Rich people live in Malibu. The rest of us live in Los Angeles, which is not burning away. Our fire season involves watching the places where rich people put their second homes go up in flames because it is not now and never has been possible to protect the entire forested state.

    Fires on TV may look thrilling (now you know what firebugs feel), but they are not emblematic of Los Angeles or climate change. It is most likely that with climate change, CA will get more rain so that there will be far more fires started by lightening and these hundreds of fires will be hard to put down, so costs to fight them will rise, but Los Angeles, being mostly concrete, will not be burning.

    I guess it doesn't sound as drastic when you say "Calabasas is burning" instead of Los Angeles.

    1. You can drive an hour in the greater Los Angeles area and barely see a tree, it is a vast expanse of concrete, no risk of fires.

  9. Somerby apparently doesn't want to face the fact that what Trump is doing is just as bad as Nixon and Watergate.

    Rachel is focusing on a disaster that is important too, and much more imminent.

  10. One thing I do think I know a lot about is squid.

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