Helping Florida Recover From Hurricane Ian

More from our inbox:

  • Anxiety Screening: Those Over 65 Need It Too
  • Trump and QAnon: He Embraced Conspiracy From the Beginning
  • New Talent for ‘S.N.L.’
  • Against Cyberattacks
A man looking for his house boat on Thursday along the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers, Fla.Credit…Kinfay Moroti for The New York Times
Gov. Ron DeSantis discussing Hurricane Ian on Monday in Largo, Fla. Since taking office, he has sought to position himself as a 2024 presidential contender.Credit…Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “A Staggering Path of Ruin Across Florida” (front page, Sept. 30):

The historic hurricane that devastated Florida should renew discussion in both parties about the importance of addressing the climate emergency.

Instead, Trump-influenced Republicans will likely claim that raising this issue in the midst of a disaster is to “play politics” with people’s lives. What this really will mean is that they prefer to wait for news of the latest record hurricane, flood, drought or wildfire to fall from the headlines, and then continue to deny climate science.

We cannot afford to wait. Hurricane Ian, together with reports of hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and an apocalyptic flood in Pakistan covering one-third of the country, should serve notice to all citizens and politicians that the climate emergency is here and demands serious and sustained solutions.

Eric W. Orts
The writer is a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

To the Editor:

Re “Needing Storm Aid, DeSantis Shifts Tune” (news article, Sept. 30):

So Gov. Ron DeSantis, the swaggering nemesis of all things liberal, now finds himself with his hat in his hand asking for the very same help he rejected years ago, for supposedly principled “conservative” reasons, when he voted against federal relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Though unwilling to extend aid to the evidently unworthy people of New York and New Jersey, Mr. DeSantis now has to ask for it from the same man he so enjoys insulting. I guess that means he will have to bite his tongue for the time being about sending migrants to President Biden’s weekend home in Delaware.

There is nobody America needs less than the vindictive, hypocritical Ron DeSantis to be in the White House — that is, other than the one he seeks to outdo in Machiavellian demagogy: Donald Trump.

Bryan L. Tucker

To the Editor:

I would just like to remind everyone that in 2013 it took the Republican-controlled House over two months to commit to aid New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. For me this is a wound that will never heal.

President Biden has already committed to aid Florida, and I know the Democratic-controlled Congress won’t delay that aid.

I am sure that Ron DeSantis will go back to his old self once he gets what he wants.

Mike Scandiffio

Anxiety Screening: Those Over 65 Need It Too

To the Editor:

Re “Panel Recommends an Anxiety Screening for All Americans Under 65” (news article, Sept. 21):

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening only those younger than 65 for anxiety. It bases this on evidence from its research, but as a geriatric psychiatrist with more than 15 years of experience, I believe that its conclusion is misleading and ignores several bodies of well-established research.

Anxiety symptoms are not a normal part of aging. The assertion that anxiety symptoms such as pain and fatigue are similar to normal aging also risks propagating ageism. Neither is a core component of anxiety, and both are clinical problems that need treatment.

The recommendation also fails to consider the fact that anxiety in older adults may present differently than in younger adults, and is associated with a number of conditions like late-life stress, grief and depression. New episodes of anxiety among older adults may also be an early sign of dementia.

The task force’s recommendation is misaligned with our understanding of late-life anxiety and must be corrected.

Ipsit Vahia
Belmont, Mass.
The writer is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Trump and QAnon: He Embraced Conspiracy From the Beginning

Credit…Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “A Heartless QAnon Embrace,” by Michelle Goldberg (column, Sept. 27):

It’s important to remember that Donald Trump’s ascent began with the embrace of conspiracy, lying to the world about Barack Obama’s birthplace. Once his credulous followers bought this lie, it wasn’t hard to leap to the conclusion that Mr. Trump had found his political niche. Conspiracy and lies quickly became the hallmarks of the Trump campaign.

With Mr. Trump’s descent into acts of greater constitutional depravity, it would only make sense for him to align with the most extreme fringes. The man himself has proved to be extreme from the outset. His self-serving, despicable aims can now be buoyed by factions unmoored from truth, logic and decency.

As Mr. Trump faces increasing legal perils, he acts much like a cornered dog. With the likes of QAnon as his army of sentinels, our domestic security and democratic form of government remain in peril.

Amy M. Ferguson
Dunmore, Pa.

New Talent for ‘S.N.L.’

Credit…Mark Terrill/Invision, via Mark Terrill/Invision/Ap

To the Editor:

Re “Sketching His View of ‘S.N.L.’” (Arts, Sept. 24):

Lorne Michaels has an undeniable genius for discovering and cultivating comic talent for “Saturday Night Live,” but I believe that he should consider this simple innovation:

Work with NBC to create an “Idol”-like contest called “What Am I, a Comedian?” — opening up auditions to a broader pool of talent. Create a website to allow video submissions and popular votes for preliminary rounds. The program could have categories for individual and group performance, writing and stand-up.

“What Am I, a Comedian?” would be a phenomenal program, broaden access for talent and open a great new chapter for Mr. Michaels and “S.N.L.”

Andrew Maltz
Lawrence, N.Y.

Against Cyberattacks

To the Editor:

“The Uber Hack Exposes More Than Failed Data Security,” by Bruce Schneier (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Sept. 26), theorizes that government regulation could protect Americans’ personal data from cyberbreaches. But the forward-thinking innovation in cybersecurity is shifting the focus from protection to resilience.

Cyberattacks are asymmetric warfare. Organizations cannot realistically protect themselves against millions of unknown software vulnerabilities and human errors, while cyberattackers need discover only one of those vulnerabilities to breach thousands of systems. Since prevention is impossible, organizations must focus more on resilience and recovery.

In contrast to cyberprotection, cyberresilience anticipates that a cyberattack will succeed. It has in place methods for rapid detection, cushioning the effects and quickly restoring systems to their pre-attack state.

Cyberresilience thinking is now being advanced in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule that companies should include “recovery plans in the event of a cybersecurity incident” in their S.E.C. filings.

Any additional regulation should incentivize organizations to increase their focus on cyberresilience and recovery. It’s not a matter of if, but when, an organization will be breached. The organizations that are cyberresilient will best be able to protect our privacy and our critical infrastructure.

Michael Coden
The writer is associate director of Cybersecurity at M.I.T. Sloan.

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