• “See Russia like no one else has”?? This is the email subject line from The Nation magazine, flacking for their September Russia excursion. And it is the most perfect subject line ever, or perhaps truth in advertising at least: It is certainly the case that The Nation has seen Russia like no one else has for decades now.
Here’s my favorite part of the trip description:
Throughout the trip, you’ll be accompanied by Teresa Stack, The Nation’s president from 1998 to 2016 and a founder of our travel program, including our annual seminar cruise (now in its 19th year) and the host of multiple Nation educational trips to Cuba. Also joining us will be Natasha Makarova, a Russian native who graduated from Moscow State Pedagogical University in 2004 with a MA in linguistics and intercultural communication. Natasha has led group-education tours in Russia for many years.
For our travelers flying to St. Petersburg from New York City, the journey will begin with a special event as editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel—along with renowned scholar of Soviet and Russian history and politics, longtime Nation contributor, and former Nation columnist Stephen F. Cohen—hosts an intimate conversation at The Nation’s Manhattan office (Katrina and Stephen will not be accompanying us to Russia). Katrina and Stephen have been visiting Russia for more than three decades, and they have relationships with many of the country’s media, cultural, and political leaders.
Doesn’t that just sound like the best time ever?
• Green nukes? Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that a growing number of environmentalists are—finally!—changing their mind about nuclear power. And the Washington Post reports today that the first new nuclear plant in a generation is starting up in Tennessee with environmental support.
The energy literate among environmentalists (pitifully few, unfortunately) understand that only nuclear power is currently capable of generating large amounts of baseload electricity, and because of climate change uber alles, they’re relenting. The Post notes that “a group of influential climate scientists, led by former NASA researcher James Hansen, have recently made a strong push for nuclear, arguing that the energy source ‘will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.’” Hansen and others are actively lobbying to keep existing nuclear plants open rather than shutting them down at the end of their current licensing period.
I’ve been hearing privately from senior figures at some leading environmental groups (the Sierra Club and the NRDC not among them) for several years now that they realize they were mistaken to have opposed nuclear power 40 years ago, and would be willing to reverse position today—except that their members would revolt. So I took in this paragraph of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal story with keen interest:
The Sierra Club, the country’s oldest and largest environmental group, is debating whether to halt its longtime position in support of shuttering all existing nuclear-power plants earlier than required by their federal operating licenses. The environmental group’s leaders see existing reactors as a bridge to renewable electricity and an alternative source of energy as the group campaigns to shut down coal and natural gas plants.
Sure enough, it didn’t take long for the current president of the Sierra Club to completely disavow this report, tweeting to Wall Street Journal environmental reporter Amy Harder:
Give the Sierra Club another Green Weenie for their total courage.
• Nothing about Trump today. I’m taking the day off from Trump.
Oh heck, yes I will. Someone has attempted to one-up the Power Line Green Weenie Award with this: