“A suicide car bomber struck a busy Baghdad commercial district Monday, killing at least 21 people, setting vehicles on fire and damaging a nearby Sunni shrine, police and hospital officials said. … Insurgents carried out several mortar and car bombing attacks throughout the capital Monday and even waged a lengthy gunbattle with police in broad daylight. The wave of violence, which killed 36 people across Baghdad, came despite a nearly 15-week-old U.S.-led security crackdown in the city.”
John McCain has such a complete and total record of hawkishness, that I think it’s safe to assume that this answer for The Jerusalem Post is more than just pandering:
Long considered a dear friend to America, today Israel is our natural ally in what is a titanic struggle against Islamic extremists – an enemy whose sinister nature I need not explain to the people of Israel. . . .
As President, I will pursue every option at my disposal to neutralize that threat. We cannot and must not allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons. I will make sure the American people understand that if we are to defeat the extremists that threaten our way of life, Israel’s security cannot be compromised.
Some followup is owed here from reporters. We need to get a better understanding of McCain’s understanding of who, exactly, the “Islamist extremists” are that we’re in a “titanic struggle” against. One assumes that Osama bin Laden doesn’t harbor warm feelings toward Israel. Still, in practice, when one thinks of Israel’s foes, ones thoughts turn to Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran, etc., rather than al-Qaeda. McCain wants to say, it seems, that all of these groups are part of the enemy. People ought to ask McCain what other sort of groups around the world he would also lump together in this manner. They should also ask him why he thinks the lumping is warranted. Does he see centralized coordination between all these entities? I think I could guess at the answers based on having read years worth of hawkish punditry, but the candidate himself should spell out his thinking on these points and be challenged on it.
GSA administrator Lurita Doan claims she can’t remember the details of the partisan Rove PowerPoint session that was given to her employees because she was busy using her Blackberry. The Office of Special Counsel (which found that her partisan activity violated federal law) looked into the claim:
The special counsel sought to corroborate the BlackBerry distractions, yet when investigators reviewed Doan’s personal and government e-mail messages during the post-lunch meeting, there was no evidence that Doan would have been particularly distracted.
“The documentation establishes that Ms. Doan received nine e-mail messages to her private e-mail account on Jan. 26, 2007, with the latest one received at 1:08 p.m.,” the report states. The meeting took place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “The documentation Ms. Doan provided concerning her private e-mail account did not establish that she sent, read, composed, deleted or moved any messages during the January meeting.”
As of this Memorial Day, “at least 3,452 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.” This morning on CBS News, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace falsely claimed that the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq is just “approaching” the number of Americans killed on 9/11 — 3,000.
Directed by Markos Kounalakis. Additional credits here.
Considering that we have already warmed 0.8°C, we can’t risk another 1°C more — a challenging goal since the Earth will warm another 0.6°C even if we stop all carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow. Nonetheless, James Hansen et al. very much believe the goal is achievable if we act quickly and focus on all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide. (I share this view, and indeed they cite a Science article I coauthored on emissions reductions.)
The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (signed by President Bush’s father and ratified unanimously by the Senate) identified an objective–”to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” But it never answered the obvious question– really the central question of the century — what is that “safe” level?
The nation’s top climatologist is nothing if not prolific. He and nearly four dozen co-authors answer the question in a masterful article for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, “Dangerous human-made interference with climate.”
They look at the “potential criteria for dangerous climate change assuming that humanity wants to preserve planetary conditions similar to those in the period of civilization.” They are especially concerned about the risks posed by an ice-free Arctic, tropical storm intensification, “the potential for accelerating sea level rise [from the disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets], and future positive feedback from methane release.” They warn:
If the [additional] warming is less than 1°C , it appears that strong positive feedbacks are not unleashed, judging from recent Earth history. On the other hand, if global warming gets well out of this range, there is a possibility that positive feedbacks could set in motion climate changes far outside the range of recent experience.
Brian Beutler describes efforts to hold US-Iranian talks strictly limited to the Iraq issue to be a “charade” since “as long as America and Iran are so bitterly at odds, the countries’ strategic objectives in Iraq will run counter to each other.” Exactly right. US-Iranian enmity isn’t rooted in disagreements about Iraq. Rather, we find it difficult to cooperate with the Iranians with regard to Iraq precisely because the overall state of US-Iranian relations is so poor.
Insofar as our goals in the Middle East include overthrowing the regime in Teheran and, short of regime change, doing everything possible to destroy the Iranian economy then, naturally enough, the Iranians are going to seek to thwart our goals. After all, they hardly have any choice of the matter.
Consider the recent case of Xcel Energy, a Minnesota utility that wanted to build a new coal plant. When the state utility commission asked Xcel to recalculate the cost of running the plant with an $8-per-ton cost for carbon emissions, the company did so — and then abandoned its plan for the coal plant. Instead, it will rely on wind generation and hydropower. A spokesperson said that the prospect of a carbon fee helped prompt the decision, and the company now advocates mandatory standards for reducing greenhouse gases.
In this case, just the anticipation of a rule change created a market incentive for Xcel to make its next investment in a way that favored new technology.
They propose five rule changes:
- Put a price on carbon.
- Set “carbon efficiency” standards for vehicles.
- Make energy efficiency the business of utilities.
- Modernize the electric power grid to be more efficient and better deliver clean energy.
- Increase government support for clean energy.
What could this accomplish?
Climate change and oil dependence are pushing us toward a clean, renewable, efficient energy future. The profits to be made in making and selling these technologies are pulling us in the same direction. With one strategic leap, we can wipe out two of the biggest threats to our children’s well-being while creating the high-tech industries that will employ them in the future.
If we just change the rules.
A May 18 report from the Office of Special Counsel found that General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan engaged in a “serious violation” of federal law by holding a meeting of federal employees prior to the 2006 midterms to discuss how they could “help our candidates” win the next election.
On the heels of the OSC’s finding, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman called for Doan to testify again before his committee on June 7. In her first testimony before Waxman, Doan displayed a horrible memory, failing to recall anything of substance about the GSA’s political briefings except that “there were cookies on the table” at one of her meetings.
ThinkProgress recently sat down with Waxman to ask him about the investigation into Doan. Waxman told us:
The investigation is a very important one and what it has shown is so often when you press these issues to people in the administration, you find out what they had said wasn’t true. … I just think it’s worth noting when people say “I can’t remember, I don’t recall,” it usually means they don’t want to say anything because it’s going to conflict with what they had said in the past or they’re going to say something for which they may well be committing perjury.
Waxman cited Doan’s testimony as a classic example. “She said the most incredible thing — ‘Congressman, I’m just so embarrassed. I can’t remember. I suppose I was there, but I can’t remember it.’ … Well, give me a break,” he said. Watch it:
Waxman explained that “you must ask the questions” and “you must do the oversight if we’re going to keep people honest, if we’re going to provide the checks and balances that our Constitution envisions.” By pressing forward with the investigation, investigators have revealed a disturbing pattern by Doan to mislead and cover-up her true intent regarding these partisan briefings. Some examples:
– When asked by the OSC investigators about her role in the briefing, she said “she was uninterested in the topic” and “was on her Blackberry…reviewing emails…and only periodically looked up and down.” But a review of her e-mail use during the meeting failed to corroborate that she was checking or sending email via her BlackBerry.
– Doan claimed the GSA employees who spoke out about her were employees who were poor performers. The OSC investigators said that Doan’s claim regarding the witnesses “appears to have been purposefully misleading and false” since none of the seven employees had “between a poor to totally inferior performance.”
– Doan claimed “she does not care about polls or election results.” But innvestigators report that Doan contributed $226,000 to Republican candidates and Republican organizations. Doan responded by testifying that the contributions had been ‘taken out of context.’”
Transcript: Read more