“Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) has pulled the plug on a push by his fellow Republicans to confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, saying he had more questions that needed to be answered,” the AP reports. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was expected to vote today “along party lines” to approve Bolton, but the vote has been delayed.
David Brooks makes some good points about inequality in today’s New York Times, knocking down some oversimplistic populist notions. In response, Jared Bernstein makes some better points, noting that a slightly more sophisticated view vindicates all the key elements of the populist position. The key Brooksian rhetorical gambit is to do things like, “people blame A, but when you look at it, A is only responsible for 10-15 percent of the phenomenon, so…” but when you put together three or four things that are reach responsible for non-trivial shares of rising inequality, together you have a very large policy-related phenomenon.
What’s more, it’s always worth emphasizing that the conventional view of what constitutes “policy choices” gets a little narrow. In his excellent booklet The Conservative Nanny State Dean Baker highlights a bunch of almost-never-discussed policy choices that, were we to change our policies, would have a substantial egalitarian impact. The “skill premium,” for example, could be easily diminished by importing more skilled professionals from abroad. Anyways, read Bernstein, read Baker.
UPDATE: Also read this from Baker specifically on the Brooks column.
Brent Bozell, founder and president of the conservative Media Research Center, appeared on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country last night to discuss “The Path to 9/11.” Although Bozell has praised the miniseries as a “forceful, compelling docudrama,” he said ABC should “correct” the scenes “that do not have any bearing on reality.” Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
for intellectual disabilities panel.
James Bamford, an author and journalist who has written about security issues, appeared on MSNBC to discuss “The Path to 9/11.” Bamford revealed that an FBI agent who worked as a consultant to the film quit halfway through production of the mini-series because he believed the writers and producers were “making things up.” Watch it:
Write ABC and tell them to tell the truth about 9/11.
Transcript: Read more
Greg Sargent has the full text.
Energy efficiency, energy efficiency, energy efficiency — is it really so hard to remember that solving global warming will require dealing with energy supply AND demand?
Science magazine just published an article titled “A Roadmap to US decarbonization” with the summary: “Alternative energy sources could replace 70% of fossil fuels in America within 30 years at a cost of $200 billion per year” (Subs. Req’d for full article).
But the analysis looks only at clean energy supply options (such as solar and nuclear), which are inevitably more expensive than fossil fuels like coal. It ignores entirely energy-efficient technologies that can pay for their extra cost–in part or in whole–through reduced energy bills.
Yet just eight years ago, Science published a similarly-titled article (that I co-authored), “A Road Map for U.S. Carbon Reductions,” that looked at both supply and demand solutions. We found very significant energy-efficiency opportunities that kept total cost far lower than simply pursuing supply-side options. Our analysis was based on a major study by five national laboratories, which concluded that an aggressive set of policies could achieve significant carbon reductions without raising the nation’s total energy bill.
Science is a terrific publication, especially on global warming, with news coverage that wastes far less valuable ink presenting the long-discredited views of the global warming Deniers and Delayers than the popular press. But articles like this generate headlines in newspapers like, “Plan to Escape Warming Comes With a Hefty Tab,” which serve only to confuse the real debate we need to have.
“An unknown Democrat is still holding the Coburn-Obama bill to create a searchable database of federal grants and contracts,” TPM Muckraker reports, and “that Senator is now the only one holding up the bill.”
First NFL game of the season tonight. I’ve thought things over and, damnit, if I’m going to live in DC the rest of my life (and I probably am), then it’s time for me to become a Redskins fan. Conveniently, I can kick things off by defending Joe Gibbs against Bill Simmons’ smears:
To the dumbest plan of the year: the Redskins investing in two free agent receivers (Antwan Randle-El and Brandon Lloyd) and an expensive offensive coordinator (Al Saunders) to go with their expensive gamebreakers (Clinton Portis and Santana Moss) … only they’re going with a washed-up Mark Brunell at QB again. How does that make sense?
I like this plan. Quarterbacks are overemphasized. Obviously, a star quarterback is a wonderful thing to have. But saying your team could use one is kind of like saying your NBA team needs a dominant big man. Personally, I need a pony. The question is, what can you do about it? It’s not like there was some no-brainer alternative available. Brunell, who’s clearly not a great quarterback, nevertheless QBed the team to a winning season. Then the idea is to add some parts — Randle-El, Lloyd, Saunders — that count as clear upgrades over what the offense used to have, and you stand a very good shot of doing better next time. The only real alternative would have been some kind of crapshoot or else just doing nothing.
AP reports, “A Senate panel postponed a vote scheduled for Thursday on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, a Republican, gave no reason for the delay and did not say when the vote would be held.”