By Climate Guest Blogger on Feb 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm
4 stars out of 5 for GM’s plug-in hybrid electric car
GM has made a huge leap into the 21st Century by pursuing the Volt. If ever this company needed a new car on which to hang its future, the time is now, and the Volt is it. This car and its future offspring should win back the attention of the motoring public — and we say that genuinely!
40 Vancouver electric vehicle enthusiasts test drove pre-production Chevy Volts. Guest blogger John Stonier has this (semi-)exclusive look at GM’s new plug-in hybrid EV, in a post first published at evworld.com, whose goal is “to provide a human face to the topic of sustainable transportation.”
Our guest blogger is Emma Sandoe, a Health Care Researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
The Utah state legislature has touted its insurance exchange as a successful example of state based reform, and according to Speaker Dave Clark (R), it represents “Utah’s chance to show the federal government that Utah knows what’s best for Utah.” Clark and the Utah state legislature have decided that their version of an exchange is superior to the exchanges in the national health care reform bills, but when looking at the number of individuals covered, this could not be further from the truth.
A recent bill that has passed the Utah legislature but isn’t yet signed into law does make some improvements to these consumer protections which helps create a more attractive market for consumers and insurers. However, late additions and amendments weakened these reforms. And in trying to improve its broken exchange system, the legislature has borrowed ideas from national health care reform. Now, risk will be calculated over a broader market to avoid adverse selection, Utah will ban insurers from using pre-existing conditions to calculate premium within the exchange, and larger employers would be invited to participate.
Last week, the Utah House passed a bill that would allow the state to opt out of Federal health reform. The state would leave a significant amount of money on the table if it intends to do so. Not only will health reform give states a large increase in Medicaid funding, the legislation gives states additional grants for state funded clinics and an ability to pursue additional coverage programs.
One year ago today, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. To mark the anniversary, Vice President Joe Biden released a report to the president on the implementation of the stimulus bill, announcing that “the work that you set us out to do a year ago is going well.” In remarks today, President Obama declared that “so far, the Recovery Act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed.”
On Fox News today, former Bush adviser Karl Rove claimed that Obama had the job numbers wrong, citing the front page of Recovery.gov:
ROVE: Look, I’m a little confused. We just heard the President say that 2 million jobs have been created or saved. And yet, if you go to the White House website, the Recovery.org [sic], and take a look at it, it says 595,263 jobs have been created or saved. So, the President’s got a little bit of confusion going on with his own set of numbers.
Later in the interview, Rove asserted that the stimulus legislation hadn’t created a single job. “There’s a reason why the CBS/New York Times poll said that six percent of Americans said the stimulus bill didn’t create any jobs. It’s because it hasn’t,” said Rove. Watch it:
In his effort to mislead Fox’s viewers about the effectiveness of the stimulus bill, Rove completely misrepresented the numbers on Recovery.gov. The 595,263 jobs that Rove referred to only includes recovery funded jobs reported by recipients between Oct. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2009:
In fact, as the New York Times David Leonhardt reports today, “the best-known economic research firms” — IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers, and Moody’s Economy.com — “all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs.” The Congressional Budget Office projects that Recovery Act saved or created between 800,000 and 2.4 million jobs.
“It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been,” Global Insight chief economist Nariman Behravesh told Leonhardt. “I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.” Everyone that is, except Karl Rove and other conservative partisans who claim the stimulus has “failed.”
Our guest blogger is Jeff Krehely, director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
On a press call this morning to announce a new poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress, Stan Greenberg — who was President Bill Clinton’s chief pollster when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was implemented and has previously stated that the issue of gays serving openly in the military was a major factor in the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 — underscored the significance of public support for repealing DADT:
Frankly, I don’t know of another issue…that you would have thought it was polarizing given its history, but I think people have moved to a different place on tolerance, they’ve moved to a different place on the role of the military…and want to see this policy reversed. … I don’t get many issues on which to speak about [this] kind of historic change.
One of the poll’s most striking findings is that 60 percent of likely voters believe that with the United States in the middle of two wars, the military needs every talented woman and man it can get, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation.
Other key poll findings:
– DADT repeal is not a politically polarizing issue: Among likely voters, 68 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents, and 41 percent of Republicans support repeal. What’s more, 56 percent of voters in House battleground districts and 56 percent in Senate battleground states support repeal.
– Surprising groups of people support repeal: 64 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of white married women, and 59 percent of whites aged 50-64 support repeal.
– Voters do not want to defer to the military on DADT: A clear majority — 63 percent — would not change their opinion on DADT repeal even if the U.S. military was opposed to open service by gays and lesbians. This is despite the fact that the poll found the public to hold the U.S. military in very high regard, with a 90 percent favorability rating.
But as anti-science ideologues have demagogued climate action and climate science, they have made a litmus test out of the issue, so more and more previous GOP supporters have reversed positions when they seek national office or are in a tough primary. The saddest case Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the original conservative climate champion. Think Progress has the latest details on McCain’s staggering flip-flop:
Turns out that the “tea party” movement sweeping the nation is disproportionately composed of individuals who have higher-than-average incomes. It’s also disproportionately composed of men. And disproportionately composed of white people. And disproportionately composed of self-identified conservatives. And disproportionately composed of self-identified Republicans.
In other words, well-to-do conservative white men don’t much care for Barack Obama’s policies. Which, of course, is something we already knew from the exit polls back in November 2008.
Do I think that the EPA based its assessment on sound science? I think, by basing its assessments on the IPCC, USGCRP, and NAS reports, it was basing its assessments on the best available science. I have the expertise to independently evaluate the quality of these reports, and on the whole they constitute in my opinion the most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available.
Although Dr. Nielsen-Gammon expressed concerns with the potential cost of Clean Air Act greenhouse gas emissions controls, and believes that climate science has “a tendency to focus on the risks and bad consequences of global warming” instead of potential benefits, he — and the entire Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences — finds that “anthropogenic increases of greenhouse gas concentrations clearly present a danger to the public welfare.”
As part of the celebration slash PR push around the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act there was a roundtable at the White House just a bit earlier this afternoon featuring various progressive bloggers and Jared Bernstein from the economic team. Most of the talk was on ARRA and most of it was stuff you ought to know if you’ve been reading the blog.
I asked Bernstein about something differently, namely that given the importance of monetary policy it seems odd that the Obama administration hasn’t filled either of the vacancies on the Federal Reserve board. The answer I got wasn’t unexpected, but it wasn’t super-enlightening either. He said it was a good question but “it’s one I’d rather not comment on.”
So fair enough. But I’ll comment that we have an independent central bank in the United States, which is as it should be. But we also have a democracy in the United States. And the way that democracy works is that one of the important powers the President has is the ability to appoint members to the Fed board.
Broder wasn’t analyzing Palin’s positions or accusations, or the truth or falsehood of her claims, or even the nature of the emotions that she appeals to. He was reviewing a performance and giving it the thumbs up, using the familiar terminology of political journalism. This has been so characteristic of the coverage of politics for so long that it doesn’t seem in the least bit odd, and it’s hard to imagine doing it any other way. A couple of weeks ago, the Times ran a piece by its lead political reporter, Adam Nagourney, about a Republican strategy session in Hawaii: “Here in Honolulu, the strains within the party over conservative principles versus political pragmatism played out in a sharp and public way, especially as the party establishment struggled to deal with the demands of the Tea Party movement.” The structure of the sentence, and of the article, puts the emphasis entirely on tactics and performance. This kind of prose goes down as easily and unnoticeably as a glass of sparkling water, with no aftertaste. Readers interested in politics drink quarts of it every day without gaining weight. And Broder and Nagourney are at the top of their game.
For a while, mainstream political reporters were very web-averse and the Internet offered a different, more engagé vision of talking about politicians. But it turns out that you can do the same kind of “political reporting as theater reviews” style of journalism on a blog or a Twitter feed. At any rate, I consider this another reason to try to enhance understanding of the fact that when it comes to political outcomes it’s the fundamentals that matter most. Interest in the horse-race aspects of politics is to some extent inevitable, but to understand the horse-race properly you need to spend more time trying to understand what’s actually happening in the country and less time paying attention to spin and positioning.