Today Limbaugh repeated the lie. While attempting to deny that race may play a role in the presidential campaign, Limbaugh read portions of a Philadelphia Daily News article by Dave Davies. Limbaugh inaccurately quoted Davies’s article, inserting the word “Arab” into a description of Obama’s ethnicity. According to Limbaugh, the article read:
Obama’s name and his Arab-African heritage are obstacles to the party’s chances of capturing the White House, party activists are finding.
Obama’s name and his African heritage are obstacles to the party’s chances of capturing the White House, party activists are finding.
As Yglesias notes, “Obama’s father was, for the record, from Kenya which is not an Arab part of Africa.” Limbaugh’s latest attempt to stoke racist fears of Obama is particularly ironic considering the fact that Limbaugh penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last Friday accusing Obama of “stoking racial antagonism.”
By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 23, 2008 at 5:16 pm
In 2006 the California legislature passed AB32, which required greenhouse pollution to return to 1990 levels by 2020. They left it up to state regulatory agencies to come up with the details.
Governor Schwarzenegger followed with an executive order that requires an 80% reduction from 1990 levels in greenhouse pollution by 2050 (at which time California’s is expected to be twice the 1990 population, so this represents a factor of ten per capita reduction in greenhouse pollution.)
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been working to meet various statutory deadlines for the reduction plan. Its proposed plan will be released next month (October). As part of the process, it has made estimates of the economic costs and benefits of its plans, and it released those estimates last week:
These estimates indicated that the overall savings from improved efficiency and developing alternatives to petroleum will, on the whole, outweigh the costs. This balance is largely driven by current high energy costs and the degree to which measures increase energy efficiency throughout the economy and move California toward ultimately cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels.
The measures pay for themselves — not even counting the benefit of helping to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. The executive summary lists the key elements of CARB’s preliminary recommendation for the 2020 target:
Some folks I know think the drive to limit executive compensation as a condition of getting access to any bailout funds is a kind of red herring designed to distract attention from other important issues. I disagree for the reasons Brian Beutler discusses. To roughly summarize, in order to bail out banks that would go under absent a bailout, we need to also provide access to bailout funds to banks that wouldn’t go under without a bailout. To only bail the very least responsible banks out would create a terrible perverse incentives problem. But on the other hand, to bail out banks that don’t need bailing out would be a horrible waste of money.
Hence the need for executive compensation provisions. If we limited executive pay for bailed out institutions — say by forcing executives to work on government pay scale — then firms’ managers would have a strong incentive to avoid taking taxpayer money unless it was genuinely necessary. Banks that would mere prefer to get bailed out because it would enhance their profits won’t do it if taking the bailout means a big cut in executive pay. But institutions that would actually collapse absent a bailout will take the deal because they have no choice. In my view, of the major proposed conditions on a bailout, namely
Executive compensation controls.
Equity stake for the taxpayer.
Forced mortgage renegotion
none are red herrings, all are essential. Recall that Paulson appears to have pulled the number $700 billion out of his ass. In practice, once we start handing out the cash, the total tab will be limited only by the limits of business’ desire to take the money. Under the circumstances, it’s absolutely vital to ensure that there are strong incentives to avoid taking the money when it’s not strictly necessary and to get off the dole as soon as possible.
At the same meeting, McCain also criticized the idea of building new coal plants that do not sequester their greenhouse gas emissions. He said:
We’re going to build new plants that generate energy, my friends, we’re going to build them. We’ve got to. There’s an increased demand for it. And it seems to me, it’s going to be coal, which I believe will increase greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, or it’s going to be nuclear, or it’s going to be clean coal technology.
Carbon capture and sequestration (sometimes described as “clean coal” technology) is still a developmental technology. Does McCain’s careful separation of coal plants that “increase greenhouse gas emissions dramatically” from “clean coal technology” mean that McCain opposes the construction of new traditional coal plants?
Following McCain’s remarks, McCain representative George “Macaca” Allen (R-VA) spoke with reporters about coal. Allen confused traditional coal plants, advanced “clean coal” technology, and climate-killing liquid coal. In the twenty-minute call, neither Allen, Capito, Scott McInnis (R-CO) — a registered lobbyist for the mining industry — nor the other speakers mentioned any of the following:
The coalition will help spread the message about the importance of clean coal technology and the advantages of tapping the country’s vast coal reserves. As part of John McCain’s “all of the above” energy plan, the Lexington Project, clean coal will be a strong component of the drive to energy independence. In addition to providing domestic energy, the coal industry is a key part of the economy in several states.
The Obama-Biden campaign later announced the “Clean Coal Jobs Task Force”:
Today, the Obama-Biden campaign announced a Clean Coal Jobs Task Force, aimed at furthering Senator Obama and Senator Biden’s commitment to creating jobs and energy independence through clean coal. The Task Force is made up of members representing workers from key coal-producing states and will work to promote the Obama-Biden agenda to invest in advanced coal-based technologies, create more jobs in the coal sector and enhance mine safety.
As ThinkProgress reported today, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson suggested during today’s hearing that Congress had misunderstood his bailout plan in thinking he had opposed oversight. Disregarding the plan’s clear language indicating that the Secretary’s actions were to be “non-reviewable,” Paulson insisted over and over during today’s hearing that he “wanted” and “welcomed” oversight. Watch a compilation:
“Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ ” Cooper said. “This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story.”
The good news is that Moby-Dick is in the public domain, so some day what we’ll actually get is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the falling cost of visual effects to make an uncompromising film adaptation.
While the White House and Congress are haggling over how to best bail out Wall Street’s ailing financial markets, at least two conservative House members are using this moment of crisis to push their pet issue. On her blog yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced that she was joining Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) call for the bailout package to be accompanied by legislation that would “open up” the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and Outer Continental Shelf to new oil drilling.
In a letter to President Bush, Barton and Bachmann argue that increased drilling would “offset some of the liability” of the eventual bailout of Wall Street:
As we work to strengthen our markets through an assistance package, we should also offset some of the liability, without raising taxes. This package should contain some means to pay at least part of the cost of rescuing these financial giants, and do it without asking the taxpayers to shoulder a burden which is, after all, not their responsibility. We therefore encourage you to include legislative language that would open up ANWR to leasing, along with the Outer Continental Shelf of the Eastern Gulf.
Bachmann and Barton’s effort to use the financial crisis to push the unrelated issue of drilling is reminiscent of President Bush’s exploitation of Hurricane Gustav to argue for more drilling. Earlier this month, Bush used a press briefing on the “follow-up efforts” to Hurricane Gustav to attack Congress about lifting the offshore drilling moratorium. Watch it:
In her blog post, Bachmann calls her drilling push an “innovative” solution “to help us navigate through our current financial crisis.” But in reality, it is the same type of tasteless politicization that Bush attempted with Hurricane Gustav.
Note that even if the strong version of the maybe there is no crisis theory is wrong, it’s doubly unclear why Hank Paulson needs $700 billion this week since he’s clearly not going to spend nearly that much by Halloween.
If congress feels like taking Paulson at his word, they can appropriate some fraction of $700 billion deemed adequate to tide Paulson over until November, add on a second stimulus and some measures to start reorganizing mortgages, and then let everybody keep studying the issue. Then if Paulson wants more money after the election, he can send a request that’s coordinated with the president-elect’s transition team to the lame-duck congress. Why should a rushed process commit us to spending months from now?
McCain’s advisers attempted to deflect comparisons between McCain and Bush. In trying to turn such comparisons against the Obama campaign, Boot noted that eight years ago he favored “another presidential candidate with not much experience in national security policy” — George W. Bush — “and we’ve seen the implications.”
For a little background on how monumentally disingenuous this is, let’s go back to October 2001, when Boot penned an article arguing that the problem with U.S. foreign policy was too little military intervention. “The problem,” Boot wrote, “has not been excessive American assertiveness but rather insufficient assertiveness. The question is whether, having now been attacked, we will act as a great power should”:
Once Afghanistan has been dealt with, America should turn its attention to Iraq. It will probably not be possible to remove Saddam quickly without a U.S. invasion and occupation — though it will hardly require half a million men, since Saddam’s army is much diminished since the Gulf War, and we will probably have plenty of help from Iraqis, once they trust that we intend to finish the job this time. Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul. With American seriousness and credibility thus restored, we will enjoy fruitful cooperation from the region’s many opportunists, who will show a newfound eagerness to be helpful in our larger task of rolling up the international terror network that threatens us.
Clearly, only someone with as little foreign policy experience as George W. Bush would actually follow such knuckleheaded advice. But what’s John McCain’s excuse?
The Administration has scared the markets and some key legislative leaders, but it has not laid out a coherent, specific and compelling need for this enormous proposal, which is the equivalent of a one-time 55 percent income tax surcharge. (Instead the money will be borrowed, so ask from whom and how this much can be raised so quickly if the credit markets are nearly seized up with fear.)
Ask this question — are the credit markets really about to seize up?
If they are then lots of business owners should be eager to tell how their bank is calling their 90-day revolving loans, rejecting new loans and demanding more cash on deposit. I called businessmen I know yesterday and not one of them reported such problems. Indeed, Citibank offered yesterday to lend me tens of thousands of dollars on my signature at 2.99 percent, well below the nearly 5 percent inflation rate. That offer came after I said no last week to a 4.99 percent loan.
If the problem is toxic mortgages then how come they are still being offered all over the Internet? On the main page AOL generates for me there is an ad for a 1.9% loan (which means you pay that interest rate and the rest of the interest is added to your balance due.) Why oh why or why would taxpayers be bailing out banks that are continuing to sell these toxic loans?
These are decent questions. As far as I know, a person with good credit (and possibly a person without good credit) can still get a mortgage tomorrow with ease. And banks are still handing out credit cards. Is it really so clear that a $700 billion bailout is necessary? What if, instead, we took some kind of more limited measure aimed at keeping money market funds up and running while spending $350 billion on fiscal stimulus to keep the economy moving and prevent more people from defaulting on their mortgage payments? Would that clearly be worse? I have no real idea, but I’m not sure what the basis for thinking the Paulson Plan of $0 of stimulus and $700 billion of bailout is the correct formula.
The talk this morning about the need to avoid “punitive measures” in order to not dissuade firms from “participating” in the bailout program makes me very suspicious. There’s a difference between a bailout package that’s genuinely needed and one that’s merely desired by Wall Street execs. If it’s necessary, then there shouldn’t be any need to make the bailout pot sweet. And if a punitive measure or two would dissuade firms from participating, then it doesn’t sound like this measure is really needed.
Note also that to question whether a $700 billion bailout is necessary is not the same as questioning whether or not there are some serious economic problems afoot. It’s literally to question whether or not it’s genuinely the case that there’s a specific problem so severe as to warrant a $700 billion bailout. My sense is that if two weeks ago Barack Obama had stood up and said “John McCain says the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but I think we need a $350 billion stimulus package” that the general reaction would have been to say “well, there may be some problems, but adding $350 billion in debt is too much.” Today, though, we need to spend $700 billion? But instead of spending it on middle class stimulus we need to overpay for securities held by wealthy financiers? Really? Maybe in the absence of a $700 billion bailout there really would be a serious economic problem . . . but then again $700 billion is a ton of money. There are lots of serious problems such that, if I asked for $700 billion to solve, I’d be told that $700 billion was way too much money.
Maybe Paulson’s right about this, but he should be made to spell out it and then his spelled-out explanation should be subjected to some scrutiny.