Progress Report

Every now and then, I’ve tried one or another stevia-based product to see if the taste [and aftertaste] matches sugar well enough for me to keep some in our kitchen. My wife and I live a virtually [added]sugar-free existence, as it is. But, there are a very few items consumed for nutrition as well as culture that I used to add a touch of sweetness to. Like coffee.

The sum of all previous taste tests was – FAIL. This month, trying the latest incarnation of Truvia = PASS. Satisfying without any yucky aftertaste. I hope it’s successful enough to stay around. I imagine other brands will offer the same formulation if this is a success. It may be, already. Not an important topic in my life. I’ll be adding one packet of Truvia to my fourth daily cuppa Helen’s secret strong recipe for morning coffee just to remember the flavor of coffee as it was when I started drinking it.

And this brand is convenient for me…already in stock at the few grocery stores we frequent on our weekly shopping excursion to town.

“Mitch McConnell will live in infamy as Trump’s principal enabler…a shameful but fitting epitaph”

The title of this piece, above, is a quote from McConnell’s once-admiring biographer, John David Dyche…(who) has recanted the accolades he once bestowed in his 2009 book, “Republican Leader.”

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

If condemning Trump while acquitting him was meant to thread a needle to broker peace in the GOP, it hasn’t worked. The insurrection is now celebrated in many corners of the Republican Party. And Trump, who has never forgiven McConnell for certifying the election, has lashed out time and again…

Scott Jennings, a former campaign adviser to McConnell, said understanding his former boss, and the relationship with Trump, entails a “psychological study about how what each of these two guys think is the point of politics.”

“Trump’s motivation is personal, maybe to become president again, get revenge of people who wronged him. It’s not ‘did we enact stuff,’ but ‘did we glorify Trump?’ ” Jennings said.

McConnell’s motivation, Jennings said, “is impersonal. It’s only to win back the Senate for the purpose of enacting Republican stuff or blocking Democrat stuff, because without control, we can’t do anything. And if you didn’t do any of those things, then you failed.”

More than a half-century after he first arrived at the Capitol as an intern, McConnell has spent much of his life as a political shape-shifter, molding himself to fit the moment, from moderate to conservative, from reformer to anti-reformer, fighting against Democrats on one side and Trumpists on the other. He is said by many who know him to be especially concerned about his legacy, and that brings his story full circle. In the end, his decisions to help Trump avoid a Senate conviction and to stop new voting protections may be his most consequential and, to his critics, his most troubling acts.

To me, McConnell is the ultimate Congressional politician. Obviously the folks who re-elect him think so, too. He stinks on ice. The best living example of an unprincipled Washington politician. Getting his own, getting ahead, willing to change positions that should be principled, iron-clad, not for sale. And, yes, the voters who return him to office…are as guilty of unprincipled self-delusion and a belief in power for its own sake.

Political policy on climate change is run like Congress

Climate change analyzed by our national academies

More than 100 fossil fuel companies are understood to have sent 500 lobbyists to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, more than any single country at the summit, according to the environmental campaign group Global Witness.

The group analyzed the UN’s provisional list of named corporate attendees and found at least 503 people linked with coal, oil and gas companies were at the conference. Fossil fuel use is the biggest driver of human-made climate change…

“The presence of hundreds of those being paid to push the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies, will only increase the skepticism of climate activists who see these talks as more evidence of global leaders’ dithering and delaying,” said Murray Worthy, gas campaign leader at Global Witness…

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN’s climate agency, said that the UN did not invite or acknowledge any official delegation of fossil fuel companies, but that the agency had no control over which people each country registered as a delegate. “It is really the sovereign right of every government to accredit every representative as part of its delegations, persons it deems appropriate…”

The analysis comes amid growing criticism from civil society groups that the event is not as inclusive as promised. COP26 President Alok Sharma has pointed to the need for social distancing as the reason some people, including those with observer status, have been unable to enter rooms where negotiations are taking place.

Lobbyists from fossil fuel interests recognize the strength and danger to their profit structure in the reaction among folks around the globe. They also understand their own history of manipulating law and policy in just about every nation producing fossil fuels for energy generation. Too public a battle can lead to negative publicity. Perhaps provide voters with more incentives to oppose their industrial blueprint.

Anyway, politicians generally have a lower purchase price than the sum needed for a PR campaign to validate continuing to pollute and poison our planet.