“Violence in Iraq has pushed more than twice as many Iraqis to seek asylum in industrialized countries during the first half of 2007 compared with the same period last year,” according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. “Iraqis top the list of people seeking asylum in 36 of the world’s richest countries.”
Wizards forward Andray Blatche, arrested in an August 2 prostitution bust around Thomas Circle, will be attending some kind of seminar for Johns. It seems that it “features lectures by police officers and prosecutors on the laws regarding prostitution, safe sex and the dangers associated with soliciting prostitutes.” Could this possibly be useful? It seems like an obvious waste of everyone’s time and money. It’s not like these people are hiring hookers by accident.
BECK: Beyond that, here’s where the trouble really, for me, it just kind of goes off the tracks. You’ve got Jesse Jackson, the week that he says Barack Obama is acting white, which is an unbelievable racist statement.
I mean, if I said, “I don’t know. I don’t think I can vote for that Rudy Giuliani, because he’s acting a little black” he’d be picketing in front of my building tonight.
But Beck has made almost identical comments about Obama in the past. As Media Matters noted at the time, Glenn Beck called Obama “very white” twice on his radio show on Feb. 12:
BECK: Yeah, I — you know, I was driving in today, and I was seeing — because I saw this piece with him on 60 Minutes — and I thought to myself, he [Obama] is — he’s very white in many ways.
BECK: And I thought to myself: Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, “What does he mean, ‘He’s very white?’ ” He is. He’s very white.
Later in the segment he added, “I think he’s colorless. You don’t notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?”
Watch the two clips:
Does Beck also believe his own statements were unbelievably “racist”?
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Lehman Brothers has just released a terrific report, The Business of Climate Change II. The theme is, “Policy is accelerating, with major implications for companies and investors,” but the piece has a lot of breadth, with cogent comments on everything from the social/damage cost of carbon to auctioning vs. granfathering to the Stern Report. Here are some extended excerpts:
What are the chances for a global climate agreement?
The probability of some sort of international greenhouse-gas-limiting agreement in the next three to five years involving the US, China, and perhaps India, which earlier this year we put at 50%, will continue to rise. We now put the probability at around 75%.
Why does climate change matter to business now?
Many clients have asked for our view on the argument that, even assuming that scientists’ projections of the likely effects of climate change are broadly correct, the effects will be felt only slowly, with little effect on asset prices over most investors’ time horizons.
We judge this argument as flawed, for three, linked, reasons. First, markets anticipate even slow-moving variables, such as climate change. Second, policy made in the name of climate change could have an almost immediate, up-front effect on asset prices. And third, markets anticipate policy itself. In this way, expected future effects of climate change become brought right forward to the present.
Fundamentally, the economic case for considering climate change ultimately depends on the science. Our judgement is that the science will increasingly be seen as broadly correct; that this view will be progressively accepted by the weight of market opinion; and that, while the adjustment of asset prices has begun, full adjustment will take years, rather than months.
What is the “social” or “damage” cost of carbon?
In terms of politics, rather than substance, this is the reality of the Iraq debate. Organizations like the Victory Caucus and Freedom’s Watch have succeeding in creating a situation where few Republicans dare mount even token levels of opposition to Bush’s war policy and essentially nobody is prepared to break with the administration on it in a way that matters. Their fate has really become inextricably tied to that of the war — the real war in the real world, and not a PR war about the surge or anything else. Six months from now, Republicans are going to ask for six months’ more time, and then six months after that they’ll be heading into an election asking for . . . six months more time. And this’ll be 24 months after Republicans first started losing seats because people had had enough of this.
UPDATE: It’s worth emphasizing that pressure from the fanatically pro-war right has been one of the most undercovered stories in American politics. Here’s Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY) taking heat from the Onondaga County Conservative Party for what amounts to merely symbolic efforts to distance himself from the endless war party.
For the first time, $1 billion isn’t enough to land someone on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans. Forbes associated editor Matthew Miller said that there “are 82 American billionaires who do not make the Forbes 400 this year.” Income inequality has grown dramatically in recent years, “with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928.”
Marc Lynch appears on a Cato panel and comes away with a great post. First on the intellectual laziness and dishonesty pervading our culture:
I gave my usual argument about what happened in the Sunni areas, which I won’t recapitulate here. I concluded with my mind-boggling experience yesterday of watching an American neoconservative on al-Jazeera lecturing a Sunni Iraqi tribal shaykh – in English – about what is really going on in the Sunni tribal areas, and warned against believing our own propaganda about the Sunni areas.
But of course, Lynch is an Arabist, so you don’t want to trust him. Then, he channels James Dobbins:
He argued that no civil war can ever be resolved if the country’s neighbors don’t want it to be resolved; the US can either contain Iran or stabilize Iraq, but it can’t have both.
This seems important to me, and at least one reason to believe that withdrawing from Iraq might change things in that country for the better. Iran’s interests are better-served by a stable Iraq than by a chaotic, violent Iraq. But Iran’s interests are better-served by a chaotic, violent Iraq than by a stable Iraq that collaborates with American efforts to overthrow the Iranian government.
I would love to see a large-scale diplomatic rapprochement with Iran, but barring such an unlikely reversal of alliances (and as Dan Drezner and I agree on BHTV we probably don’t want to see someone as inept as Bush even try super-ambitious diplomacy), the best thing we could probably do for Iraq in this regard is to just make it not be a proxy ground for US-Iranian conflict. The idea that Iran would adopt an attitude of indifference to events in an adjacent country is ridiculous, as is this notion that they’ll adopt such an attitude if we complain loud enough. For the US, by contrast, not occupying Iraq is a very realistic option.
The Center for American Progress has put together two interactive maps in advance of next week’s climate meetings. They allow you to
Hover over a country to see how many metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions it emits per capita, or how many millions of tons it emits total, and whether it has ratified the Kyoto Accord. Invitees to Bush’s September 28th major emitters meeting are also marked.
I think you’ll find them useful tools.
On Tuesday, National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg approvingly linked to a column by the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, in which Cohen slammed Democratic presidential candidates for not criticizing MoveOn.org’s Gen. David Petraeus ad in the New York Times. Goldberg said Cohen had a “pretty good” take on the Democrats’ “spinelessness regarding Petraeus.”
In a September 11 2007 editorial, the National Review Online also took “the Left” to task for questioning the “honesty and patriotism” of Petraeus. As editor-at-large, Goldberg presumably approved of, if not contributed to, the editorial’s position.
But Goldberg hasn’t always been so critical of those who question the integrity of American generals. As Attaturk pointed out yesterday, in January 2004, Goldberg uncritically posted an e-mail from a then-active duty reader that savagely bashed generals as “a gigantic pain in the ass” who are “dishonest”:
[General Wesley Clark] acts just like the vast majority of general officers that it has been my displeasure to deal with during my 16 years in the U.S. military. Generals are, for the most part, a gigantic pain in the ass and we usually accomplish our military objectives despite their chaos-inducing presence. There are a few good generals here and there but most of them are an embarrassment. [...]
- Generals are ambitious in the same way that wolverines are aggressive. It’s their defining trait. [...]
- Generals are dull. I don’t mean this in the cant-tell-a-good-joke kind of way. I mean the anti-intellectual, zero-curiousity, hasn’t-read-a-real-book-in-years kind of dull. [...]
- Generals are arrogant. Generals truly believe that they are completely right 100% of the time and woe to those underlings who demonstrate that this isn’t so. This trait is what makes generals so dangerous. They will ignore sound advice and do the stupidest things imaginable, all because “Well, I’m a general, dammit, I know what I’m doing and. . . ugh, what was the question again?” Generals can be damn near unreasonable when they get their minds made up and it’s almost impossible to get them to see an alternative way of doing things. [...]
- Generals are dishonest. This is a tricky charge to throw out, but it’s the sad truth. I’ve seen more out-and-out lies from general officers than any other people in the military. In a weird way, they are just like professional politicians in this regard.
Apparently, it’s never appropriate to attack a general unless you’re Jonah Goldberg.
Greenland ice melt shocks scientists — The Oregonian. A good article on the subject, with the added bonus of an explanation of how ice loss in the Arctic will affect the U.S.’s climate:
The melting removes an insulating blanket from the ocean surface, releasing warmth from the water into the cold air above as towering columns of warmer air.
Those columns appear to reorient global air flows the way a boulder falling into a stream reorients the current, said Jacob Sewall, a professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech, who has used atmospheric models to study the effect. The result is that the stream that carries storms over the West Coast of North America shifts north, turning much of California drier, and the Northwest wetter.
Calif. lawmaker chides EPA for approving coal plant – The Boston Globe. “Remarkably, EPA refused to consider the global warming effects of the plant or to require any measures to mitigate that harm, contravening a Clean Air Act mandate and ignoring EPA’s ample discretionary authority to act,” wrote Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.
Hefty Rebate For Backyard Wind Turbines In California – Environmental News Network. Homeowners who install a turbine that costs between $12,000 and $15,000 to purchase and install and is rated at 1.8 kiloWatts, are eligible for a $4,100 rebate from the state of California.