Tag: environment

Background Briefing: October 4, 2023

The United States is Without a Functioning House of Representatives

We begin with the United States without a functioning House of Representatives as jockeying gets underway to replace Kevin McCarthy as speaker while the temporary speaker Patrick McHenry displays partisan pettiness in his first act to kick Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer out of their offices in the Capitol. Joining us is James Thurber, the University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder and Former Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, Washington, D.C. He is author of numerous books and more than eighty articles and chapters on Congress, interest groups and lobbying, and campaigns and elections and he is the author of Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations and, most recently, Campaigns and Elections American Style.


“Will the Pentagon’s Techno-Fantasies Pave the Way for War with China?”

Then we examine the push to build AI-driven robotic weapons to confront China in a war that our hawks see as inevitable. Joining us is William Hartung, a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His books include, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, and we discuss his article at Tom Dispatch, “AI Goes to War: Will the Pentagon’s Techno-Fantasies Pave the Way for War with China?”


Can Lessons From the Past Save Our Future on an Endangered Planet?

Then finally we investigate how lessons from the past can help us save our future on a planet facing a sixth extinction. Joining us is Michael Mann, the Presidential Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received many honors and awards, including the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s outstanding publication award, selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology, and, additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and, in 2020, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, and his latest book is Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis.