A military defense lawyer today said that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay were instructed by the Pentagon “to destroy handwritten notes that might have exposed harsh or even illegal questioning methods.” According to Navy Lt. Commander Bill Kuebler, who is representing Canadian Omar Khadr, interrogators may have “routinely destroyed evidence” that could have been used to defend Khadr and other detainees.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets with Ahmadenijad in Baghdad, offers him assurances of Iraq’s friendly intentions.
Must read IEA report, Part 1: Act now with clean energy or face 6°C warming. Cost is NOT high — media blows the story
When the normally conservative International Energy Agency (IEA) agrees with both the middle of the road IPCC and more … progressive voices like Climate Progress, it should be time for the world to get very serious, very fast on the clean energy transition. But when the media blows the story, the public and the policymakers may miss the key messages of the stunning new IEA report, “Energy Technology Perspectives, 2008″ (Exec. Sum. here).
You may not have paid much attention to this new report once you saw the media’s favorite headline for it: “$45 trillion needed to combat warming.” That would be too bad, because the real news from the global energy agency is
- Failing to act very quickly to transform the planet’s energy system puts us on a path to catastrophic outcomes.
- The investment required is “an average of some 1.1% of global GDP each year from now until 2050. This expenditure reflects a re-direction of economic activity and employment, and not necessarily a reduction of GDP.” In fact, this investment partly pays for itself in reduced energy costs alone (not even counting the pollution reduction benefits)!
- The world is on the brink of a renewables (and efficiency) revolution. Click figure to enlarge.
I do feel vindicated that the IEA’s 450 ppm ‘solution’ is quite similar to the one I proposed (here), though I do have some differences with them–they think hydrogen cars are part of the answer!
“RADICAL AND URGENT” CHANGE NEEDED TO AVOID CATASTROPHE
I was trying to look something up about public opinion on trade issues, and particular recent trends in opinion, and saw this paragraph in a Public Agenda survey:
Attitudes have also become more negative about international trade. In previous rounds of the Index, the public showed great uncertainty over the benefits of trade—fully half said they were unsure who benefited more from trade, the United States or other countries, compared with about one-third who thought other countries benefited more. Now roughly as many say other countries benefit more (42 percent) as are unsure (41 percent). Only 14 percent think the United States benefits more from trade.
That’s just a terrible way of looking at the situation. My read of the way the world works is that the United States has a much larger economy than do most countries. Consequently, trade is just a much bigger deal for other countries than it is for the United States. For example, if all US-Canadian trade ceased that would be terrible for us but much worse for the Canadians. Consequently, I’d say that other countries benefit more from trade than the United States does. If the world ever shifts to autarky, that’ll suck for everyone, but it’ll suck less for us than it does for, say, tiny subarctic Iceland.
But that’s not me having a “negative attitude” about international trade. But in Public Agenda’s conception of how trade works, it seems to be a zero-sum activity such that if some other country benefits more from trade than we do, then we’re getting ripped off.
I think Michael Goldfarb very adequately spells out the case for disappointed Hillary Clinton supporters to join him in lining up behind John McCain — if what you liked about Clinton was her support for the Iraq War and the Kyl-Lieberman resolution, McCain may be your man.
But if, like most Clinton supporters I’m aware of, you liked her work on expanding access to health care and building a more generally equitable United States of America, then it seems to me you’re going to want to vote for Obama.
James Joyner has a very good rundown. Personally, I miss the old more amateurish days in a lot of ways. But then again, almost by definition everyone’s going to enjoy a hobby they do on the side more than they enjoy their job, and as far as jobs go I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to turn my hobby into one.
The death of the American newspaper continues apace with sharp cutbacks planned for Tribune Company papers. To me as an outside observer one striking thing about these newspaper cutbacks is how indiscriminate they seem. The NYT‘s account of the cutbacks includes this:
“The problem is the papers aren’t producing ad revenue, and diminishing the journalism isn’t going to solve that,” [James O'Shea] said. He said it was wrong to think that a paper could cut staff without reducing output and quality.
Literally speaking, I think O’Shea is probably wrong. For example, Michael Phillips did a review for The Chicago Tribune recently of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times ran a different review of the same film by a different reviewer. But Zohan is Zohan in Chicago, LA, Orlando, and wherever else the Tribune owns papers. Reducing staff such that the entire Tribune company only reviews each film once, and then runs that review in all its different papers, seems like a way to cut costs without compromising quality. Indeed, in principle you could cut costs while increasing quality by keeping on staff the best critics across the company while ditching some of the dead weight.
And similarly, it’s not as if running “Exiting race, Clinton solidly backs Obama” by Janet Hook and Noam Levey in the LAT and “Hillary Clinton steps aside, urges supporters to back Obama” by James Oliphant in the Tribune is some huge advance for journalism as opposed to running just one article in both papers. But you never see any kind of serious effort to identify possible efficiencies and rationalize operations. Instead, these mandates for sweeping cuts (eliminating 82 pages of news per week from the LAT) come down as owners are apparently content to preside over dwindling operations stuck in a death spiral of declining revenue, cutbacks, declining quality, declining audience, declining revenue, cutbacks, etc.
There are a whole bunch of interesting contributions to the NYT‘s “what went wrong” symposium on the Clinton campaign, but Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s short but sweet offering comes the best of nailing it: “key groups of Democrats tagged her as a candidate who abetted a Republican president’s unwarranted pre-emptive action.” Jamieson thinks this is an unfair tag, but I still think it was a fair one, and Clinton’s inability to convince me and other people like me that I’m wrong is why she lost.
Mark Goldberg notes that the Senate Intelligence Committee seems to have forgotten all about Hans Blix and the IAEA too when discussing pre-war intelligence. After all, wouldn’t want to pay too much attention to the guys who got this right! That, after all, might lead to taking the IAEA’s assessments of Iranian nuclear activity seriously.
Like all cities, Washington DC tries to take various steps to ensure that vacant or abandoned properties don’t fall into disrepair and become a source of blight in neighborhoods. But as The Washington Post points out today, DC has to deal with one class of property that other American cities don’t worry about — abandoned embassies that exist outside the legal jurisdiction of the city and, indeed, the country.