In an interview with Hotline On Call following Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, embattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele was emphatic that Norm Coleman should not concede his electoral loss to Al Franken, saying the case will “get bumped” to the federal courts:
Asked if Coleman should concede if entertainer Al Franken (D) is deemed the winner, Steele said, “No, hell no. Whatever the outcome, it’s going to get bumped to the next level. This does not end until there’s a final ruling that speaks to whether or not those votes that have not been counted should be counted. And Norm Coleman will not, will not jump out of this race before that.”
Steele is echoing Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, who said the GOP is prepared to fight “World War III” to prevent Franken from being seated. This despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans think Coleman should concede and end his court battles for the seat.
This weekend, former Vice President Cheney repeated his claim that torture “saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives.” Of those, like President Obama, who condemn torture as making America less safe, Cheney insisted, “in effect, we’re prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America.”
This evening on MSNBC, former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr., adopted many of Cheney’s right-wing talking points to defend torture, saying he was “not as outraged as some are about” what happened at Guantanamo. He suggested that he even would have voted to approve torture in order to “prevent the destruction of an American city”:
FORD: You have to remember when this was occurring. This is 2002, 2003. The country was in a different place, in a different space. And if you were to say to me, as an American, put aside my partisanship, that we have an opportunity to gain information that would prevent the destruction of an American city, to prevent killings in American cities, and we have to use certain techniques, I’m one of those Americans that would have voted a certain way, Chris. And that polling said it might have been torture, but I’m not as outraged.
Matthews was incredulous, telling Ford, “You are veering into Cheney country here.” He said Ford’s talking point about the destruction of an American city was “Cheney talk.” “That’s what he used to justify torture,” Matthews said.
Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, former Vice President Cheney repeated his claim that President Obama is making the country less secure. Notably, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who has largely agreed with Cheney on national security policy, disagrees. Today on MSNBC, Lieberman said the U.S. is not less safe under Obama:
LIEBERMAN: No, we’re not less safe. I suppose that’s the short answer, and probably as good as I can give. I disagree with some of the things the administration has done. Even in the closing of Guantanamo, they’re being very methodical at this point.
“Our guard is up,” he said. “On balance, we remain as safe as we can possibly be in a world in which there is Islamist extremists who want to attack us.” Watch it:
Former White House press secretary Dana Perino also has broken with Cheney. “One last question I need a yes or no. Do you feel safe under President Obama?” Bill O’Reilly asked her on Friday. “So far, yes,” Perino responded. (HT: Politico)
I am predicting that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will never exceed 2007 levels. We have peaked.
The United States appears to be in the process of breaking its long-standing link between economic growth and global warming pollution. I am, of course, assuming in my prediction that the United States will enact into law serious energy and climate legislation, along the lines of Waxman-Markey, sometime soon.
Yes, the EIA itself, which is incredibly conservative from a forecasting perspective, doesn’t foresee CO2 emissions returning to 2007 levels until 2024! But, of course, that post-2020 return to steadily rising emissions is exceedingly unlikely to happen — thanks to peak oil and action by President Obama and Congress on energy and climate legislation.
Remember, EIA only models the “no further energy and climate policy” case and the “no peak oil” case, so the only thing one can say for certain about an EIA forecast is that there is no chance whatsoever it will come true. Indeed, the main drivers for the EIA’s latest forecast change are just:
Gail Gitcho offered this statement: “Chairman Steele regrets the way his comments have been interpreted. Chairman Steele believes Mitt Romney is a respected and influential voice in the Republican Party and looks to his leadership and ideas to help move our party and our nation in the right direction.”
Note that Steele isn’t actually apologizing for suggesting the GOP base is bigoted. He’s merely upset that we “interpreted” his comments. ThinkProgress interpreted Steele’s remarks the only way they can be interpreted.
Last Friday, Duke Energy announced it would not renew its membership with the right-wing trade group the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) because of NAM’s efforts to kill legislation to cap carbon emissions and invest in clean energy. NAM is one of the most aggressive business coalitions opposing legislation to address global warming. NAM has funded groups to deny the science underpinning climate change and has spent millions to derail any move to curb emissions.
Today, NAM hosted an event on Capitol Hill to update staffers on clean energy legislation Waxman-Markey. Asked if they will “modify their approach” on climate change given Duke Energy’s recent departure and the fact that other NAM coalition members are demanding climate change legislation, Keith McCoy, NAM’s Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy, apprehensively denied that NAM has staked out any position:
MCCOY: In terms of Waxman-Markey, I think its clear in anything you’ve read that the NAM hasn’t taken a position whether for or against it … As the legislation evolves, we’ll see. But right now, I don’t think there’s a position that the NAM has taken on the Waxman-Markey bill.
Despite McCoy’s claims of neutrality, the NAM has taken a very public position on Waxman-Markey. The NAM, in a partnership with the major oil industry trade group API, launched an advertising campaign last month using the name “American Energy Alliance.” The ads explicitly tell viewers to call their member of Congress and “Tell him that we can’t afford the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.” Last week, NAM President John Engler appeared as a witness at the GOP mock energy hearing to denounce Waxman-Markey.
Of course, Duke Energy would not split from NAM if the trade group hadn’t “taken a position whether for or against” climate change legislation. Rather, it appears the NAM is attempting to conceal their true position on climate change legislation to deter further defections from its coalition.
The American Energy Alliance is actually not a NAM-API project. It is the c(4) arm of the Institute for Energy Research, a separate right-wing oil-funded front group. In 1993, NAM and API established a front group with the same name — the American Energy Alliance — to block climate reform during the Clinton administration.
I happen to think that a free market for insurance works pretty well in most circumstances (and I did co-found an insurance software company); for example, if you can afford the house, you can generally afford the insurance for the house. But it doesn’t work very well for health care, because many people are simply uninsurable under free market principles (expected health care costs exceed their income, let alone their ability to pay), and hence would be left to die. We think we have a private, for-profit insurance system today, but we can only avoid its disturbing implications by hedging it in with public backstops and regulations.
Since nobody is proposing a true free market system, we tend not to dwell on these facts. But I think they’re more important than people realize. If you think about free markets’ ability to, say, deliver falling prices for high-definition televisions I think you’ll quickly see that one key element of the process is that our society is very sincerely prepared to say that if you can’t afford an HDTV, you’re going to have to do without one. Consequently, when the technology is introduced you wind up with a larger number of people who would buy the HDTV at some price but not at the price being asked. This creates a large market incentive for someone to come up with a lower price point for HDTVs, and to invest in technical research that will make it profitable to sell cheap HDTVs.
This process works really well. But when you replace “has to watch the game at a friend’s house if he wants to see it in HD” with “gets sick and dies” then suddenly the process looks not-so-good. But absent a strong and firm social commitment to the “gets sick and dies” part of the equation, the whole process starts looking different. You wind up with a scenario where there’s a strong case for much more systematic government intervention, because whatever kind of “market” dynamic you’re willing to unleash on the health care sector is going to be substantially distorted by the baseline government interventions needed to meet our core social values.
A related part of this is that medicine has never really been understood as a commercial enterprise. A doctor is, in our social understanding, not a “medical treatments salesman” any more than a soldier is a mercenary.
On Saturday, Politico’s Carol E. Lee wrote a blog post describing her failed attempt to interview “first dude” Todd Palin at Tammy Haddad’s brunch before the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. “Todd Palin was being led around the brunch by Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, who is apparently his host AND handler,” wrote Lee.
According to Lee, Van Susteren “intervened” when she “started to chat” with Palin, telling the reporter that the brunch was “off the record.” Writing on her blog the next day, Van Susteren expressed her outrage at being described as Palin’s “handler,” claiming that she was just showing “good manners” by stepping in when Palin was “ambushed by a surprise interview“:
A Politico reporter came up to our Fox guest Todd Palin with a pad to take notes and interview Todd Palin (it says “started to chat” but that is not what happened or what was going on….no one is that stupid to believe that.) It was an attempt to interview him when he did not agree to it or ask for it — print paparazzi at a brunch /party!
If Todd Palin had said something about coming there for a social event (instead of me), you know what would have happened — he would have been trashed….which would have been unfair. The reporter may have been working – but he was not. He was at a social event and not looking to be ambushed by a surprise interview.
Though Van Susteren doesn’t send her producers to harass people who disagree with her like O’Reilly does, she has promoted Fox’s ambush journalism on her show. For instance, on the Oct. 30, 2008 edition of On The Record, Van Susteren aired footage of Fox reporter Griff Jenkins ambushing Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi and following him into an elevator. Watch that ambush interview:
UPDATE: Energy Daily (subs. req’d) has just come out with a bunch of new details, which I excerpt at the end. They report:
The draft bill calls for setting aside an additional 5 percent of the total amount of allowances from 2012 through 2025″”and declining percentages thereafter””for “supplemental emission reductions” obtained by funding programs in tropical forest countries to prevent deforestation. This 5 percent set-aside would have the effect of raising the cap for regulating industries and is likely to boost the cost of allowances.