John Boehner’s view that dozens of dead Americans and billions of dollars per month is a “small price” to be paying in the Iraq War is an interesting perspective on the conflict but, I assume, a reasonable inference from the oft-stated conservative view that what’s needed to shore up public support for the war is more rhetorical emphasis on the alleged stakes. To me, it seems like a pretty big price, especially because even the war’s more serious proponents tend to take a surprisingly dim view of the prospects for success.
A Bush administration program for improving climate research “is saddled with delays and threatened by cuts,” a panel said in a report today. It added that “insufficient effort has gone into translating advances in climate science into information useful to local elected officials” and others potentially affected by climate change.
I find myself dispirited by The Washington Post‘s account of what Michael Cohen rightly derides as the Democrats’ “Rodney King strategy” on Iraq legislation. Simply put, acknowledging that they don’t have the votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, Democrats are looking to get pragmatic and forge compromise language that might pass the Senate.
Getting pragmatic and trying to forge compromise language that might pass the Senate is, in general, something I’m inclined to support.
But in this instance, the sticking point is that Republicans won’t support anything that makes Bush do anything to end the war. They want bills that somehow suggest troop withdrawals without making anything happen. But there’s nothing “pragmatic” about compromising on those terms. Ideally, Democrats could secure Republican support for a bill to tie the president’s hands, and thus start ending the war. But if Democrats can’t do that, what they need to do is make their Republican opponents pay a price in 2008. The worst thing imaginable would be for Democrats and vulnerable Republicans alike to join hands in passing a meaningless bill that does nothing but give political cover to members of congress who, when the rubber was hitting the road, did nothing but insist on a blank check for the president.
Looks like Greg Oden will probably miss the entire season with a knee injury. It seems to me that at this point we should consider the possibility that Oden may be officially Injury Prone, which is really not what you’re looking for in the savior of your franchise.
Tonight in his prime time address, President Bush will announce that a “total of 5,700 of the 21,500 combat troops added this year will return by Christmas.”
This plan mirrors an August proposal put forth by Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who called on Bush to announce on Sept. 15 the that he will “initiate the first step in a withdrawal“:
I say to the President, respectfully, pick whatever number you wish. You do not want to lose the momentum. But certainly, in the 160,000 plus — say 5,000 — could begin to redeploy and be home to their families and loved ones no later than Christmas of this year.
Yet on Aug. 23, the White House shot down the prospects of such a drawdown. Asked to respond to Warner, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, “I think it’s inappropriate for me to say from here right now what the president will or will not consider.” A reporter followed up:
QUESTION: The president has frequently said a timetable would be a disastrous course of action.
JOHNDROE: Yes, and I don’t think that the president feels any differently about setting a specific timetable for withdrawl.
The White House, concerned that the media was reporting that Warner had broken with Bush, “reached out to Warner’s staff and asked him” to back away from his position. But Warner refused to do so, stating he stood by his remarks would not “issue any clarification.”
The right wing also swiftly attacked Warner. Freedom’s Watch spokesman Brad Blakeman claimed Warner’s drawdown “hurts the cause of freedom.” Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said of Warner’s call: “I don’t think that’s based on serious military analysis.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said efforts to pre-empt the September White House report were “premature and irresponsible.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “It’s a little curious to me that people are proposing a change in strategy when in fact the current strategy appears now to be working.”
With all the bad news about mortgages, it is time for some good news: Mortgages that promote energy efficiency are on the rise.
The basic idea is simple. If you make your home more energy efficient, you reduce your monthly energy bill. And that means you have more money to pay your mortgage, and are less likely to default, so lenders are wisely encouraging this:
About a week ago, Climate Progress posted on the three major hurdles for an Energy Bill to succeed in this Congress: substantive, procedural and presidential hurdles.
Since then, policymakers have fallen pessimistic and frankly so.
Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has stated, “I don’t know if there is going to be an energy bill conference.” (E&E Daily, subs. req’d) Because the content of the two bills is so drastically different, the chance of conferencing one energy bill while Congress also struggles with the housing market crisis and the Iraq war (among others) is quickly dimming.
1) Still try to conference the energy bill, even though folks on the Hill don’t expect conference leaders to be appointed until late October, at the earliest; or
2) Rework legislation outside the conference. Basically, that means passing another bill that mirrors an existing one, but this option is subject to the political delayer’s blab tactic – too much talk, and no time for action (i.e. Senate filibuster).
Oil hits $80 a barrell, climate change is accelerating, and we can’t get legislation to push efficiency, renewables, and fuel economy? What have we elected these bozos for??
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “has quietly become President Bush’s indispensable confidant on Capitol Hill. He chats almost daily about the war in Iraq with Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or other top administration officials.” Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) said that Boehner is useful for the administration to reach Congress because the “White House has no credibility with this issue.”
UPDATE: Barry Jackson, who has taken over the “management of the four offices Rove supervised,” is the former chief of staff to Boehner.
Professor Charles Courtemanchey of Washington University in Saint Louis not only has a cool name, he’s also got a fascinating research result (PDF):
A causal relationship between gasoline prices and obesity is possible through mechanisms of increased exercise and decreased eating in restaurants. I use a fixed effects model to explore whether this theory has empirical support, Önding that an additional $1 in real gasoline prices would reduce obesity in the U.S. by 15% after five years, and that 13% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling real gas prices during this period. I also provide evidence that the effect occurs both by increasing exercise and by lowering the frequency with which people eat at restaurants.
This comes to me via Ryan Avent. Maybe presidential candidate and weight-loss guru Mike Huckabee would like to take this insight up as part of a comprehensive anti-obesity, anti-global warming, double-whammy.
And I’m not just saying this because I only scored 10,156th out of 46,810 players on my third try.
On the postive side, the game seems to push energy efficiency and renewable energy.
On the minus side, Chrevon — and The Economist – seem unaware that hydrogen is not a primary energy source. Also, they include oil shale, which is an even less likely energy source than hydrogen, if that’s possible.