The “Bonnie and Clyde” of the global climate crisis, according to Al Gore. The two are the only major industrialized countries to reject the Kyoto Protocol, which “requires 35 industrialized countries to reduce those emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.” More HERE.
“On Wednesday the President accurately described Tuesday’s election as a ‘thumping’. … The ‘thumping’ I hear is of a conservative movement with a strongly beating heart.”
“[W]hat I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”
Last night CNN’s Larry King confessed to Roseanne Barr that he’s never used the Internet. King expressed doubt that the Internet was a viable political medium because “there’s 80 billion things on it.” When Barr said she liked the Internet, King acknowledged that “I’ve never done it, never gone searching.”
Barr said King would love the internet if he tried it. King replied, “I wouldn’t love it. What do you punch little buttons and things?” Barr even offered to show King how to use the Internet. King declined. Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
I didn’t take intro economics in college, but thanks to the distributed intelligence of the internet I can gain pearls of insight into what I missed by reading Greg Mankiw’s blog on which we see the advice he would give to a politician interested in curbing inequality:
The tax system is probably the best vehicle to accomplish the Dems’ goal. One possibility would be to reduce the payroll tax rate and to make up the lost revenue by increasing, or perhaps even eliminating, the cap on taxable payroll. That would benefit, approximately, the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution.
Fair enough. He also remarks that “This policy change would, of course, have an efficiency cost.” How so? “By raising taxes on taxpayers who already face the highest tax rates, the deadweight losses of the tax system would surely rise.” In other words, to maximize equality, we should make taxes on the wealthiest people as high as possible. By contrast, to maximize efficiency, we should make the highest tax rate as low as possible. He doesn’t spell out the reasoning behind that view, but presumably that’s why I should have taken the class. He also says earlier in the post that free-market economists like him typically don’t care about inequality. He doesn’t spell out the reasoning behind that view either, but my guess is it’s because he thinks maximizing efficiency is the most important thing.
I think the implication of the combination of these views is that we should just divide federal spending (about $2.8 trillion) by the population (about 300 million) and then charge every person a $9,333 (or thereabouts) head tax. Is that right?
So let’s say you’re a retail store. You’re planning some kind of post-holiday sale. You don’t, however, want the details of the sale to become public knowledge too soon. But your ad copy and other elements of planning need to be worked out in advance. Because your store is imperfectly managed, information about the sale leaks onto a website. You’re pissed off. What do you do? Wield copyright law as a fearsome bludgeon:
Deal site BlackFriday.info yesterday removed the Best Buy “Black Friday” sales price list after the big box retailer threatened to deliver a DMCA takedown notice to Black Friday’s ISP. In a brief posting, Black Friday said, “While we believe that sale prices are facts and not copyrightable, we do not want to risk having this website shut down due to a DMCA take down notice.”
In recent years, information on the post-Thanksgiving sales has become a highly prized commodity, with a number of sites featuring copies of major retailers’ ads. Consumers looking for the best prices and wanting to streamline their shopping are responsible for the sites’ popularity.
This is absurd. We’re inching toward companies being able to prevent newspapers from publishing any sort of adverse information just all on vague copyright grounds. Facts are facts and people are entitled to circulate them.
Out-of-the-closet David Kurtz has some choice words on hopes for a big Iraq turnaround:
That Bob Gates is going to make a dramatic difference over the next two years. First, I remember the last time we were promised wisdom, experience, and a steady hand from a member of Bush 41′s old team. That was Dick Cheney.
Right. The purported dichotomy between 41 people (good!) and 43 people (bad!) is dramatically overstated. And it’s not just Cheney. Paul Wolfowitz was on the Bush 41 team. So was Condoleezza Rice. And, of course, so was Colin Powell. Don Rumsfeld, meanwhile, wasn’t. The reality is that presidents almost always — especially in the first terms of their administrations — appoint reasonably diverse groups of people to national security positions. They proceed to disagree with each other. The President of the United States then decides what he wants to do. Bush 41 had some real nutters working for him who pushed some nutty ideas inside his administration. Bush 43 had some reasonably sensible people working for him who pushed some reasonably sensible ideas inside his administration. The difference wasn’t in the advisors, it was in the presidents. More often than not, Bush 41 made reasonable choices while Bush 43 made bad ones.
There’s no mystical Team Kennebunkport that can save the country from the fact that our president has some very wrongheaded ideas about the world and a habit of making very bad decisions.
Michelle Malkin: Trent Lott is an “eternal Maalox moment.”
Right-wing bloggers: Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) is “the Harriet Miers of RNC chairs.”
Dick Morris: “Oust John Boehner and Roy Blunt.”
Yesterday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) noted that President Bush plans to renominate several of his rejected judicial nominees:
In the days following the election, the President spoke about becoming a uniter and working with Congress in a bipartisan way. Regrettably, it appears he will not be keeping that promise. I understand the President intends to renominate a number of controversial nominees. That unfortunate decision evidences that he intends to stay the partisan course when it comes to judicial nominations.
Bush has criticized lawmakers for their “partisanship” and called on them to give all his nominees an up-or-down vote. But 31 judicial nominees have been approved this year, nearly double the total number of judges (17) confirmed in the 1996 congressional session, when Republicans controlled the Senate.
Renominating failed nominees won’t get more judges on the bench in the 110th Congress. Current Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has called on Bush to nominate more moderate judges. As Leahy notes, Bush needs to “change course and honor [his] pledge by working with us to confirm consensus nominees.”
The New York Times recently reported a sad fact summed up in the headline: “Budgets Falling in Race to Fight Global Warming.” (subs. req’d) reporter Andrew Revkin notes, “research into energy technologies by both government and industry has not been rising, but rather falling.”
The article is important and well worth reading in its entirety. Unlike many articles on this subject, it does not neglect the critical area of energy efficiency, and cites John Holdren, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
The most immediate gains could come simply by increasing energy efficiency. If efficiency gains in transportation, buildings, power transmission and other areas were doubled from the longstanding rate of 1 percent per year to 2 percent … that could hold the amount of new nonpolluting energy required by 2100 to the amount derived from fossil fuels in 2000 –a huge challenge, but not impossible.
The article reflects a tension in the scientific and energy communities between those who believe the solution to global warming is developing new technologies, and those who believe we have to begin taking action now deploying existing technologies. I think the correct position was well summed up by Tony Blair in 2005:
We need to invest on a large scale in existing technologies AND to stimulate innovation into new low-carbon technologies for deployment in the longer term.
There really is no competition between technology research and technology deployment. Existing technology can go a long way towards buying us time to develop new technologies, but all the breakthroughs in the world won’t help us if we dither so long that we pass critical points of no return. The time to act is now.