By Climate Guest Blogger on Aug 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm
One of the largest of Greenland’s marine “outlet” glaciers (i.e. glaciers ending in the sea) has calved an enormous ”ice island” that reportedly extends over 100 square miles. Not since 1962, when a 250 square mile island was formed from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, has such a large area of ice been calved in the Arctic.
For progressives, this dynamic will take some getting used to. After the 2008 election, many liberals saw the recession as an opportunity for change. Rahm Emanuel’s statement that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste” was widely quoted, and comparisons to Franklin Roosevelt’s first term proliferated.
In reality, though, recessions lead to illiberal populist nationalism, not progressive reform. If anti-immigrant sentiment was somewhat muted in the early ’30s, it was because the doors from Europe had mostly been shut 10 years earlier, during another moment of economic dislocation — the recession that followed the end of World War I. And, muted or not, anti-immigrant bias nonetheless inspired the Mexican Repatriation Program, which Herbert Hoover launched in 1929. That program would continue throughout the Depression, deporting hundreds of thousands of people of Mexican ancestry, many of them U.S. citizens.
What’s often forgotten about the New Deal is that 1934-37 was the fastest four-year run of economic growth in American history, outside of World War II. In other words, it was the steep recovery from the Depression, not the Depression itself, that powered FDR’s agenda forward.
The other high-water mark of liberalism, the Great Society — including the creation of Medicare and Medicaid and the passage of the Civil Rights Act — was similarly a child of rapid growth and prosperity, not of crisis.
There are various morals of this story, but one aimed at the progressive community that the piece doesn’t focus on is that we all need to think harder about the way economic growth plays into our shared agendas. It’d be facile to run around saying things like “unemployment is a gay rights issue” or whatever, but the point is that we’re best-positioned to get people to care about issues of diversity and discrimination and fairness and equality and justice when people feel like their living standards are rising.
Seventy-one percent of Missourians voting in the state’s primary election last week supported a ballot initiative saying the state cannot require its citizens pay a fine to the federal government if they do not purchase health insurance. While Republican voters represented much of the 23 percent of the state’s eligible voters that turned out, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted last week that the measure carries little significance because federal law trumps state law. It’s “a vote of no legal significance in the midst of heavy Republican primaries,” Gibbs said.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney took issue with Gibbs’ comment:
CHENEY: You’ve also have Robert Gibbs this week, when asked what does it mean if 71 percent of the people in Missouri said they don’t want any mandate for health insurance, he said, “it means nothing.” Now when you have a White House that is that unwilling to listen to what people out there are saying, I think, you know, it causes some real concern about whether or not they are actually going to be responsive to the voters.
If Liz Cheney is concerned that the White House isn’t listening to what the American people are saying — really only a small number of mostly Republican Missourians — she must have been really troubled when her father dismissed in 2008 polls showing that Americans opposed the Iraq war:
MARTHA RADDATZ (ABC): Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
DICK CHENEY: So?
RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.
But the reality is that recentpolling shows that Americans are giving the new health care reform law increasing support. Kaiser Family Foundation polling has found that “overall public support for the health reform law is steady from June, while unfavorable views of the law have trended downward.”
In another flashback to the Bush years, Cheney criticized President Obama’s comment last week that the GOP “can’t have the keys back” to running the country because Republicans “don’t know how to drive!” “You have the President saying you can’t have the keys back like he’s the decider,” Cheney grumbled.
TPC did analyze Sam’s marriage-specific claims about being a faithful husband and found they fell short of his 100 percent no-cheating pledge. For example, Sam has actually cheated on his wife an average of 1 day per week, which amounts to a fourteen percent shortfall compared to the claimed 100 percent faithfulness scenario. But that doesn’t mean that Sam’s claim of faithfulness is fraudulent. Instead, it shows that Sam’s vision of having sex with women who aren’t his wife needs to be adjusted in order to meet his stated goal of being a faithful husband. This indeed poses a challenge to Sam to make specific changes to his actions in order to match his claims of faithfulness. Sam has explicitly stated that he is willing to do so.
Again, I think that to just say “my political priority is to make the overall level of federal taxes as low as proves feasible” is a more honest posture than to release a fake balanced budget plan.
Bruce Bartlett makes what is, I think, the right point about alleged personality conflicts between Christina Romer and Larry Summers—it’s not clear that Bill Clinton’s decision to create the National Economic Council and the job Summers currently holds was a good idea. The genesis of the position was, in part, a political gambit. One of Clinton’s main themes in the 1992 campaign was the idea that George HW Bush was “out of touch” and spending too much time on foreign affairs and not enough on domestic matters. So with the Cold War over, we would create a National Economic Council comparable to the National Security Council and an NEC director comparable to the National Security Advisor.
Nothing terrible has resulted from this decision, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which both the NEC director and the CEA chair have a really high level of job satisfaction. Neither person has a large agency to oversee and they can’t both be the president’s “chief economic advisor.” When you consider that there’s also a Domestic Policy Council and an Office of Management and Budget in the White House, it seems like at least one chief too many. Given the current tradition of making the NEC director someone who’s more of a political operator and making the CEA chair more of an ivory tower type, the solution might be to abolish the CEA. After all, if the president wants to get a briefing on some subject from an academic macroeconomist I’m pretty sure that could be arranged at any time.
Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Mike Pence (R-IN) had a tough time answering host David Gregory’s questions about how they would pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
Gregory asked Boehner to respond to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who said last week that extending the tax cuts without offsets would be “disastrous” and that they do not pay for themselves. “The only way we’re going to get our economy going again…is to get the economy moving,” was all Boehner could muster in response. Gregory repeatedly pushed Boehner to answer how they would paid for, but the Minority Leader simply wouldn’t respond:
GREGORY: You’re not being responsive to a specific point which is how can you be for cutting the deficit and also cutting taxes as well when they’re not paid for?
BOEHNER: Listen, you can’t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy. […]
GREGORY: But tax cuts are not paid for is that correct?
BOEHNER: I am not for raising taxes on the American people in a soft economy.
GREGORY: That’s not the question. Are tax cuts paid for or not?
BOEHNER: Listen, what you’re trying to do is get into this Washington game and their funny accounting over there. …
GREGORY: Do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves or not?
BOEHNER: I do believe that we’ve got to get more money in the hands of small businesses.
Later in the program, Pence ran into the same trouble:
GREGORY: This tension that I got out with Leader Boehner. Republicans want more tax cuts seems to me he acknowledged that they’re not paid for and yet at the same time they want tax cuts but they’re so worried about the deficit. How do you resolve that tension?
PENCE: Well I think the way you resolve it is you focus on jobs. …
GREGORY: But congressman, you’re asking Americans to believe that Republicans will have spending discipline when you’re saying extend the tax cuts that aren’t paid for and cut the deficit, how is that a consistent credible message?
PENCE: Well I understand the credibility problem. …
GREGORY: You acknowledge, tax cuts being extended cannot be paid for, it would be borrowed money.
PENCE: Well no I don’t acknowledge that. … I think it’s apples to oranges.
The reality is that extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will cost $830 billion over the next ten years and the Republicans — who have made bringing down the deficit one of their signature issues — have no idea how they will pay for them.
One of the oddest aspects of the various arguments around Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is the perennial fussing among self-proclaimed journalists over whether what he’s doing “really” counts as “journalism.” I’m interested in this topic because I sometimes find myself as the center of disputes on the same subject. And I always think it’s odd, because the way it plays out is that in the small world of self-proclaimed journalists it’s taken for granted that being a “journalist” is a very good thing and you should be very sad if you’re not one. The reality is that as best I can tell journalism is not a particularly high-status or well-regarded profession:
At any rate, none of my personal self-esteem is bound up in what ontological category people want to put my work in. I like to think that I write an interesting blog, that’s somewhat informative and somewhat entertaining. If I write a column, I like to hear it praised. Anytime someone tells me they liked my book, that makes me happy. And so I’m egomaniacal enough that if journalists were widely respected in America the way that nurses and cops are, I’d be eager to claim that status for myself. But they’re not and nobody really knows how to define media occupational categories in the digital age, so my advice to Assange and his critics would be to both let this point of contention drop. WikiLeaks needs to be more careful about redacting names from military documents, and the military needs to stop stamping “classified” on everything in sight.
GREGORY: Do you support efforts to have the 14th amendment amended at this point?
BOEHNER: Well David, I’m not the expert on this issue. I have read these comments here over the past week. There is a problem. To provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country. I do think that it’s time for us to secure our borders and enforce the law and allow this conversation about the 14th amendment to continue.
GREGORY: Do you have a position on it?
BOEHNER: Listen, I think it’s worth considering. It’s a serious problem that affects our country, and in certain parts of our country, clearly our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants — a lot of whom came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens. They should do it the legal way.
Dan Ford at Ellisdale said a mix of rentals and for-sale condos is technically possible but not exactly the most attractive option from a marketing standpoint; however, their team has accounted for each scenario in their budgeting strategies, and SGA effectively opted for that on Capitol Hill when its Butterfield House condominium real estate project failed to sell all its units after 3 years of marketing and rented unsold units.
It seems to me that it’s too bad that you don’t see more developments offering rent and sales options simultaneously. If there were, you’d end up with a more transparent market and it would be clearer to people what kind of financial play they’re making when they choose to buy. Of course that may be what makes it not-so-attractive “from a marketing standpoint.”
This morning, Ted Olson — the conservative lawyer who represented President Bush in Bush v. Gore — appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss his recent victory in overturning Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. Throughout the interview, host Chris Wallace attempted to trip up his guest with a series of familiar Republican talking points, all of which Olson repudiated.
Wallace asked Olson to identify the right to same-sex marriage in the constitution and wondered why “seven million Californians” “don’t get to say that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Olson replied that the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage was a fundamental right and pointed out that the constitution made no explicit mention of interracial marriage either. He stressed that under our system of government, voters can’t deprive minority groups of their constitutionally guaranteed protections and reminded Wallace that in the 1960s, “Californians voted to change their constitution to say that you could discriminate on the basis of race in the sale of your home; the United States Supreme Court struck that down.”
When Wallace pressed the point further, likening same-sex marriage to abortion and noting that “the political process in the case of same-sex marriage was working” since states had been deciding the issue on a “state-by-state basis,” Olson asked Wallace how he would like it if Fox News’ right to free speech was decided in such a manner:
OLSON: Well, would you like your right to free speech? Would you like Fox’s right to free press put up to a vote and say well, if five states approved it, let’s wait till the other 45 states do? These are fundament constitutional rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees Fox News and you, Chris Wallace, the right to speak. It’s in the constitution. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the denial of our citizens of the equal rights to equal access to justice under the law, is a violation of our fundamental rights. Yes, it’s encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I’m very, very pleased about that. … We can’t wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm, that is unconstitutional, must be eliminated.
Watch a compilation:
At the end of the interview, Wallace conceded that his right-wing points failed to crack Olson’s arguments. “Mr. Olson, we want to thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll keep following your lawsuit. And I gotta say, after your appearance today, I don’t understand how you ever lost a case in the supreme court, sir,” he said.