Episode 126, with guests Howard Wolfson and Parker Liautaud

Howard Wolfson and Parker Liautaud are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: November 9, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight and on Sundays at noon and midnight.
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This week, 2013 is the new 2014.

There was a time when the mid-term elections framed the presidential election two years later. But in this odd year, the ballots in New Jersey and Virginia weren’t even done being counted before the cable nets started in with their graphics depicting Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton as dueling nominees of their parties.

For this to happen, of course, assumes that both politicians decided to run and both survive a primary and caucus season with built-in landmines for centrists like the New Jersey governor and the former Secretary of State, Senator from New York and First Lady of the Land.

Howard Wolfson on his sweet ride

And there was another big election this week: the race to succeed Mike Bloomberg, the three-term mayor of New York City. Bloomberg put his indelible imprint on the city that I now call home, but voters overwhelmingly chose a man, Bill DeBlasio, who promises to take the city in a different direction.

With the Macker headed to Richmond and Christie remaining in Trenton (for now) Hillary on the paid speaking circuit and DeBlasio weighing whether or not to move from Park Slope to Gracie Mansion, there’s a lot to chew on, polioptically, this week. In my view, there’s no one better to help sift through the haze of analysis and prognostication than my old friend Howard Wolfson, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications. Howard, a former top dog at the DCCC and top aide to Hillary Clinton, is now a man about town in his tricked out blue CitiBike, drinking in his last few months in the bullpen at City Hall.

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Then, from one island, Manhattan, to another, Iceland, we’ll head to Langjökull glacier above Reykjavik for a conversation with a young man, Parker Liautaud, who’s boldly going where very few men have gone before.

The trip – the Willis Resilience Expedition – begins December 3 with 19 year old – yes, 19 year old – Parker Liautuad, as its leader. I should note here, as I do on the show, that for me this is a rare mix of business and pleasure. In my real life, I oversee corporate communications for Willis Group Holdings, the global risk advisor and insurance and reinsurance broker. Our job, every day, is to help clients around the world assess the risks they face and use the tools of insurance to build up resilience to withstand them. One of the risks that clients will face in the decades ahead is the effect of rising sea levels on low-lying areas. We saw the devastation that Superstorm Sandy did to New Jersey, New York City, Long Island and Connecticut with sea levels as they are, but what if the storm surge started from a baseline three inches higher?

Six months ago, in the name of better understanding of our changing world, Parker came to see us seeking support for his two-phase expedition the the South Pole.

In phase one of the Resilience Expedition — think of it as resilience of the planet — which starts in about two weeks, he will conduct three types of scientific observation into changing atmospheric conditions on Antarctica in a part of the continent that has never been studied on this scale. In phase two of the Expedition — think of it as resilience of the individualhe will attempt to break the record for the fastest journey on foot from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole (about 400 miles in 22 days on foot) and become the youngest person ever to walk to both the North and South Poles. This 19-year old has already made the North Pole trip — three times!

Parker’s quest, and Parker himself, proved himself worthy of support. Here is a bit more on Parker and the Willis Resilience Expedition:


With his 400 mile journey getting underway on December 3, we’ll all be watching, the Gods of Technology willing, every step of the way.

Godspeed, Parker!

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