Well, o.k., she was not a terribly impressive baby, less than 6 inches long, delivered by Caesarean section – but I experienced the birth euphoria of a mother (well, not quite the same). Unlike Anniek, when she delivered Kiki by Caesarean, I did not have the courage to use only local anesthesia – maybe because I knew the baby would be ugly – but I asked about her as soon as the morphine began to wear off.
Sorry to be uncommunicative the past few months, in large part because I had to deal with prostate cancer – which took longer than I expected. I had a radical prostatectomy at Sloan-Kettering, where I was fortunate to have the top surgeon, Peter Scardino. Although head of a large group of surgeons, doctors, nurses, etc., he earns his reputation on the operating floor. When he emerged from the 4½ hour operation removing my prostate, Anniek says that his face had become narrow and pale, the muscles drawn, but his hands were steady and he explained what he had done. He meticulously preserves the nerves – I’m not arguing for one prostrate treatment over another, but in my case prostate removal worked – I seem to be cancer-free and I do not have the consequences that men fear with prostate removal.
The delay in returning to normal activities was because I kept draining lymph fluid for almost six weeks, from a tube in my belly attached to a bag on my side. Sometimes the lymph circulation rearranges itself in days. Not in my case. When it finally did and a doctor tried to pull out the tube (very painfully!), it snapped. Hence the need for a (minor) operation to remove the ugly baby, which my body had decided to encase in tissue.
A benefit of the long down time at home was that I finished my book (Storms of My Grandchildren), which will be published 8 December. I hope it makes clear that the “solutions” favored by Congress (Waxman-Markey in the House and related cap-and-trade bills in the Senate) would lock-in disastrous outcomes for young people. Among other things.
[A solution must attack the fundamental problem by placing a rising fee on carbon, collected at the mine or port of entry. 100 percent of the fee should be distributed monthly to the public. I have argued for 100 percent as a uniform dividend, but 50 percent dividend and 50 payroll tax deduction would make sense. The dividend is needed because not everyone is on a payroll. Fee-and-dividend is a progressive tax, most low-income people will gain more than they lose, and it stimulates the economy – it gives the public the means to replace carbon-clunker technology with low- and no-carbon technologies, allowing the market place to choose winning technologies. Cap-and-trade is a hidden regressive tax, benefiting the select few who have managed to get themselves written into the 2000-page bill. How could Washington possibly choose lock-in failure over what is obviously the essential approach (they ignore the Larson bill, for example)? As I discuss in the book, think revolving door between the government and Wall Street. Think revolving door between Congress and lobbyists. Goldman-Sachs makes a mint with cap-and-trade (off the public). Goldman-Sachs does not make one thin dime with fee-and-dividend.]
I attended one meeting (Club of Rome) near the end of my six-weeks-with-bag. My main talk is athttp://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/
My belly still hurts a bit, but I am going to Boston this week-end to participate in a student-led public action. Main activity: a “sleep-out” outside the Massachusetts State House, by students who refuse to sleep in dorms/apartments powered by coal-fired electricity. They are not blaming the state legislature for the climate mess that young people are inheriting, but Massachusetts should be a leader in taking steps to solve the problem.
If you are in the neighborhood, your presence would be more than welcome. So far, it has been mostly students, but the support needs to grow. You can find information on their web sitewww.theleadershipcampaign.org . There is a likelihood of a summons for trespassing for those participating in the sleep-out. That’s a misdemeanor – the penalty is not likely to exceed $50, as it is public property – but I would welcome the chance to defend their action in court.
Plans are being made for a hearing in the Massachusetts Senate at 10 AM on Monday, chaired by Senator Marc Pacheco, Chairman of the Massachusetts Senate Global Warming Committee. I will try to help make the case that Massachusetts could be leader, as they were at the time of our nation’s founding. The nature of the present discussions in Washington and Copenhagen show that such leadership, onto a course that would actually work, is desperately needed. Massachusetts could provide a tipping point.