The plane shuddered. Whether from wind, or a sudden drop in speed, or from the flak he could hear popping dangerously around him wasn’t clear. But it shook, giving him something to focus on besides his nerves.

He looked around the interior of the plane, empty but for him and his aide, heavy steel arcs silent in the overhead gloom. Thin lines of light outlined the rear of plane, flashing brighter and dimmer as explosions went off somewhere in the night and then dissipated.

His aide couldn’t lift his eyes, stared at the floor in silence. They both knew that once Jim left the plane with his package, that was it. They’d almost certainly never see each other again.

“You doing OK?”

His aide looked up and then quickly away. “Yeah.”

The plane groaned, dipped to the left, straightened out.

“Alright, this is the spot,” the pilot said over the radio. “Gotta do it now.” The aide took a breath and walked to the door, pulling it open quickly, urgently. A dark gray patch of sky came into view, the tops of clouds glowing in sync with the lines at the back of the plane. The thuds of exploding flak and the whine of the plane’s propellers were only slightly louder.

Jim stood up, took his own deep breath. He checked the straps on his parachute, made sure the package in his hand was secure. He looked at his aide, who still wouldn’t return his gaze.

“This is it.”

The aide looked at him again and quickly away, saying nothing. They’d never make eye contact again.

Jim took purposeful steps toward the hole in the side of the plane. The plane was flying as level as possible, but it was still shaking, vibrating, dodging. Two more steps. He stood at the entrance.

One more breath. A clap on the shoulder for his aide, a silent thank you for his help, a silent reminder that he only need be strong for another few seconds. This kid. This kid who would fly back with the plane, land, probably get out of this war, settle down somewhere back in Washington state, try his best to forget that a man named Jim had ever gone on a mission so dangerous, so futile.

Jim looked out and saw what was waiting for him. He knew that the time had come, that he’d be cut to pieces the moment he landed. But goddammit, he had to try. If this war were ever to end, if that kid were ever to have the future he deserved, Jim had to take this step.

And so he stepped.

Photo via Psykotrooper.

From The Hill:

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) introduced legislation Thursday that would tax carbon emissions, sparking criticism from the GOP.

The price on carbon would ramp up over time to incentivize greenhouse gas emission reductions, McDermott said in a statement. He said the bill would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent compared with 2005 levels within 42 years. …

Republican leadership last month shot down the idea of a carbon tax. They spoke out on the issue after hearing that the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute was hosting informal discussions on the topic.

Godspeed, Jim McDermott. Godspeed.