Links: "Maid" and working, single moms; sustainable energy; our neighbors in Latin America

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In 2019, workers installed more than 5,000 solar panels on Catholic Charities property in Northeast Washington. (CNS/Catholic Standard/Andrew Biraj)
In 2019, workers installed more than 5,000 solar panels on Catholic Charities property in Northeast Washington. (CNS/Catholic Standard/Andrew Biraj)

History is often a catalogue of crimes, also of missed opportunities. At Politico, Zack Colman looks at the most recent, massive lost opportunity, the failure to rebuild a more sustainable energy grid after the pandemic. Most of the stimulus money went to the very industries that are causing climate change: coal and gas. We Americans are raised to believe in the inevitability of human progress, but we are pressing our luck. The cost of having Donald Trump in the White House when the pandemic hit is beyond calculation.

Relatedly, from The Guardian, a look at the people in Puerto Rico who have benefited from switching to sustainable energy, and those who want to do so as well. It stands to reason that a more localized grid is better able to reconstitute itself after the hurricanes that often lash the island. And, besides, energy costs for fuel-powered electricity are through the roof on the island.

At the Working-Class Perspectives blog, Lane Windham looks at why blue-collar workers would be prime beneficiaries of affordable child care. Using the travails of the character Alex in the new Netflix series "Maid," she points to the challenges that face poor, single mothers and how the lack of affordable child care is a barrier to their ability to keep a good paying job, and how they must often place their children in less than wonderful situations. I hope someone shares this piece with Sen. Joe Manchin!

From UConn Today, video of President Joe Biden's visit to the school's main campus for the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights. I never knew Sen. Thomas Dodd, who was a prosecutor at Nuremberg, but his son, Sen. Chris Dodd, was my congressman growing up and then our state's longtime senator and remains much loved. He has raised the money for this on-going educational initiative, a final gift to the state he served so well. And Biden's excellent speech showed the continued necessity of liberal values, in our country and throughout the world.

In advance of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's first trip to Latin America, Benjamin Gedan in The New York Times has some idea about how the U.S. can help our neighbors to the south recover from the pandemic and face the ongoing issues that have plagued that region for decades, such as too much sovereign debt and too little investment in infrastructure.

In The Washington Post, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that term limits for Supreme Court justices would exacerbate the politicization of the court, not ameliorate it. He makes some good points I had not considered previously, but I still think term limits would address a central problem with the current system, the desire to put younger justices on the court who then exercise a disproportionate amount of power for a long, long time. That is small-d anti-democratic, full stop.

With all the bad news, it is good to know that humankind can still make beautiful art. Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kericho, Kenya, is one such work of art, blending into the natural environment while serving its distinctly religious purpose. The simple, elegant structure is beautiful indeed. ArchDaily has the photos and the story.

Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.

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