Eugene Linden
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Lastest Musing

Joe Farnam, the dogged, data-driven discoverer of the ozone hole, died in 2013, three years before publication of findings showing that the ozone layer, which protects life on earth from UV radiation, has finally started to recover. This nascent recovery comes 42 years after atmospheric chemists fir...


Featured Book

The Ragged Edge of the World
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Articles by Category
endangered animals
rapid climate change
global deforestation


Winds of Change
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Afterword to the softbound edition.

The Octopus and the Orangutan
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The Future In Plain Sight
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The Parrot's Lament
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Silent Partners
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Affluence and Discontent
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The Alms Race
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Apes, Men, & Language
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Selected List of Articles [reverse chronological order]

The Demoralization of an Army: Fragging and Other Withdrawal Symptoms Saturday Review; January 8, 1972.[COVER]

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Short Take

This week Donald Trump did the smartest thing he has done in his feckless campaign. He apologized. Those of us appalled by the bloviating narcissist can only hope it doesn't work, but the evidence of history is that the political apology is powerful medicine. For voters previously put off by bluster and bullying, the apology upendss the relationship of candidate and voter by turning the candidate into a humble supplicant, asking the voter for forgiveness. It humanizes the candidate and gives the voter a feeling of power. It's hard to withhold forgiveness and easy to embrace those who we've forgiven -- even if we know the apology is a political ploy and the candidate doesn't mean it. And in Trump's case, I'm sure he doesn't mean it, but rather it's a Hail Mary play cooked up his clever new team of advisors.

But will it work? It worked for John Lindsay of New York in 1969, when his apology shifted the dyanmic of a race in which the Mayor was deeply unpopular after neglecting the outer boroughs in the aftermath of a blizzard. It worked for Bill Clinton twice, once as governor and then again as President. But it may not work for The Donald. For one thing, he didn't say what he was apologizing for, which is reminiscent of Ted Kennedy's apology for Chappaquiddick when he referred to his fatal negligence as "the behavior." More importantly,  as Trump says over and over, he has to be himself, and so voters are likely to forget this apology as he loudly puts out more slanders, lies, and insinuations. He'll do that because that's who he is, and at this point in his life he can't change.

So, it's a smart move and let's hope it doesn't work.


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