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An unlikely duo has global climate advice for G-20 leaders

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In today’s edition:

Tryin’ to throw their arms around the world

A rock star and an economist walk into a bar. I mean, a post. I mean, The Post. And they say: The Earth is literally on fire, and leaders at this weekend’s Group of 20 summit in New Delhi better get serious about handling it.

Okay, so, maybe not what you expected. But U2’s Bono and former U.S. treasury secretary Larry Summers, who previously worked together on the Jubilee deal to cancel debt for poorer countries, are in our pages today, proposing a range of ideas to combat climate change and global poverty. The summit “offers a chance for us to connect the dots among the climate crisis, growth and development, and the roles they play in geopolitical tensions,” the two write.

Among their pitches: Give the African Union a permanent seat at the table. Increase lending by multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank. And seize Russia’s frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine. “We need to start deploying these resources now to undermine [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, to uphold justice and to ensure that, at a time of maximum need across the globe, we are financing Ukraine’s reconstruction while also getting resources to the world’s poorest people,” they argue.

Will their ideas get any traction? Tune in over the next few days to find out. Or go attempt a talkback at U2’s “Achtung Baby” 32nd-anniversary (!) concerts in Las Vegas this fall, if you can afford to. World economics does, in fact, move in mysterious ways.

What three Tulsans remember

Jasmine Green, one of our stellar summer interns this year, has some people she’d like to introduce you to: Viola Fletcher, who is 109. Hughes Van Ellis, 102. And Lessie Benningfield Randle, 108.

As children, these three survived what has become known as the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, when a White mob invaded a vibrant Black neighborhood called Greenwood and more or less burned it to the ground, killing hundreds and displacing thousands. They are now plaintiffs in a lawsuit that raises difficult questions about what a city government that utterly failed in its responsibility to citizens more than a century ago owes those people today.

The harm caused by eradicating not only lives and homes but also so many community institutions — including a hospital, Jasmine notes — persists in the form of racial inequities to this day. “Change is possible,” she writes, “only if the state’s Supreme Court gives the plaintiffs the opportunity to demonstrate a simple reality: Justice for the massacre is as important for Tulsa’s present and future as it is for Tulsa’s past.”

Chaser: For context, Tulsa was not the only place that saw violent crackdowns against growing Black prosperity in the same period, Gene Robinson wrote in 2021.

Less politics

I was fortunate to spend Labor Day weekend in the company of dear friends, an experience that, since covid hit, seems extraordinarily rare and precious — so much richer than the gruel of our texts or Zooms.

But how much more prized is that in-person contact when you are preparing to leave it behind for good? In his latest op-ed, Paul Woodruff, a professor emeritus of philosophy, writes poignantly about how his failing health has underscored how vital it is to see friends in person. “At the end of my life, if they were trying to see me through the internet, they would fail. That dying thing will not be me,” he writes.

Woodruff perceptively describes what virtual fellowship does and doesn’t offer us, citing one friend: “During his business meetings, he tells me, he suspects that many of his workers are multitasking — head and shoulders pretending to be paying attention, hands below camera range busy on other projects. They would not get away with that in person, he says.” (Wait. You knew, this whole time?)

Anyway, take it from a man whose reflections are sharpened by mortality: Drop your phone and go hug a friend.

Smartest, fastest

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.

Beyond the Zoom screen

The rest of your body would

Like to see its friends


Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/compliments/complaints. See you tomorrow!

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