Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Waxman-Markey

Friday Night Links

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* “The worldwide triumph of capitalism … secures the priority of Marxism as the ultimate horizon of thought in our time”: Benjamin Kunkel reviews Fredric Jameson in LRB.

* Archie Comics will soon be introducing its first openly gay character, “strapping, blond Kevin.”

* If you were trying to persuade me to support the climate bill, you picked the absolute worst possible approach.

* The ACLU explains everything that’s wrong with Arizona’s brazenly unconstitutional documentation legislation.

* Julian Sanchez has been doing an influential series of posts about epistemic closure on the right.

* Meanwhile, Glenn Beck continues his slow-motion breakdown, GOP unanimity seems to have lost its mojo, and Chris Christie is the right wing’s crush of the month.

* Chicken-to-medical-procedure currency converter.

* And some breaking news: Jay Leno sucks.

Politics Wednesday!

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Politics Wednesday!

* Ben Smith at Politco dreams the dream: Franken ’16?

* More good news: God’s told Joe the Plumber not to run for office.

* But bad news: Glenn Beck guest Michael Scheuer says America’s only hope is a massive terrorist attack. Don’t miss Beck nodding sagely towards the end. Adam Serwer says it well:

But understand, this is not unpatriotic. You can wish all manner of horrors on this country, but as long as these horrors might serve a specific political agenda, you’re not being unpatriotic. Unpatriotic is a public health-care plan. Unpatriotic is a judge modifying sub-prime mortgage loans to keep a roof over someone’s head. Unpatriotic is phosphate-free detergent. Patriotic is wishing for a terrorist attack on the United States.

Patriotism is dead, long live patriotism.

* TPM and Washington Monthly tackle the EPA SUPPRESSION!!!!! “scandal” that’s been making the rounds; turns out a hobbyist working on non-climate matters for the agency decided a memo no one asked him to write prepared in his spare time should be published alongside recommendations produced by actual experts in the field. Fox News, naturally, agrees. Inhofe (R-Jupiter) has gone further, demanding Monday a criminal investigation.

* Also in climate news: Thomas Friedman says Waxman-Markey is very, very bad and we should support it. For what it’s worth Kevin Drum agrees.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 1, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Defining Treason Down

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Defining treason down to include weak-tea environmental reforms. If this be treason…

Written by gerrycanavan

June 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

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Climate Change vs. GDP

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Nate Silver demolishes a new talking point that climate change will only reduce global GDP by 5% in one hundred years. Taking that very questionable assumption at face value, Nate writes:

Let’s see how much of the world we can destroy before getting to 5% of global GDP. The figures I’ll use are IMF estimates of 2008 GDP, for all countries bit Zimbabwe where the IMF did not publish a 2008 estimate and I use 2007 instead.

Zimbabwe, indeed, is the first country on the chopping block, whose 11.7 million greedy bastards consume a whole 0.0196 percent of the world’s output — a global low of just $55 per person. After that, we get to destroy Burundi, The Congo (the larger of the two Congos — the one that used to be called Zaire), Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Eretrea, Malawai … do you really me to go through the whole list? You do? … Malwai, Ethopia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Afghanistan (big problem solved there), Togo, Guinea, Uganda, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, Nepal, Myanmar, Rwanda, Mozambique, Timor-Leste, the Gambia — we’ve only used 0.27 percent of GDP to this point, by the way — Bangladesh (which has 162 million people), Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Lesotho, Ghana, Haiti, Tajikistan, Comoros, Cambodia, Laos, Benin, Kenya, Chad, The Soloman Islands and Kyrgyzistan. Next up is India, which, while growing, still consumes only 2 percent of world GDP. Then Nicaragua, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Mauritania, Pakistan (another problem solved), Senegal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Yemen, Cameroon, Djibouti, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Nigeria (another pretty big country — we’ve now got only about 1.4 points of GDP left), Guyana, the Sudan, Bolivia (our first foray into South America), Moldova, Honduras, the Philippines, Sra Lanka, Mongolia, Bhutan and Egypt.

At this point, we’ve used up 4.4 points of GDP. Indonesia is next on the list of lowest per-capita GDPs. But unfortunately we can’t quite fit them into the budget so we’ll spare them, opting instead for Vanauatu, Tonga, Paragua, Morocco, Syria, Swaziland, Samoa, Guatemala, Georgia (the country — not the place where they have Chik-Fil-A), the other Congo, and Iraq. Skipping China, we then get to Armenia, Jordan, Cape Verde, the Maldives — and another big bunch of skips follows here since we’re very low on budget — Fiji and finally Namibia. Collectively, these countries consume 4.99997 percent of the world’s GDP. There’s absolutely no budget left for anyone else — not even St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which would be a great band name, BTW.

So, we’ll have to settle for just these 81 countries, which collectively have a mere 2,865,623,000 people, or about 43 percent of the world’s population.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Late Night Friday

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Late night Friday.

* As expected, Waxman-Markey passed the House earlier tonight, despite the usual deranged opposition. (Voting breakdown from FiveThirtyEight.) Ezra and Matt pour over a chart that demonstrates just how little this will cost, despite what Republicans are claiming, while Grist considers whether cap and trade has ever actually achieved its stated goals. I’m disappointed with the bill and terrified about what the Senate will pass.

* MoveOn will target Kay Hagan for her opposition to the public option. Good.

* Froomkin’s last column at the Washington Post takes the media to task for completely failing us over the last few decade.

And while this wasn’t as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it’s now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long. The handful of people who did exceptional investigative reporting during this era really deserve our gratitude: People such as Ron Suskind, Seymour Hersh, Jane Mayer, Murray Waas, Michael Massing, Mark Danner, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (better late than never), Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Charlie Savage and Philippe Sands; there was also some fine investigative blogging over at Talking Points Memo and by Marcy Wheeler. Notably not on this list: The likes of Bob Woodward and Tim Russert. Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

* But I think Ezra Klein makes the point more strongly:

I think that analytically honest political commentators right now should be struggling with a pretty hard choice: Do you try to maximize the possibility of good, if still insufficient, outcomes? Or do you admit what many people already know and say that our political process has gone into total system failure and the overriding priority is building the long-term case for structural reform of America’s lawmaking process? Put another way, can you really solve any of our policy problems until you solve our fundamental political problem? And don’t think about it in terms of when your team is in power. Think of it in terms of the next 30 years, and the challenges we face.

* Posthumously cleared after twenty-five years. Via MeFi.

* We had to lie about Sotomayor because we’re still mad about Robert Bork. Right. Of course.

* More on how Obama forced Mark Sanford to shirk his responsibilities and flee the country. This is politics at its worst.

* I’m with Joe Strummer: If you don’t like Springsteen you’re a pretentious Martian from Venus. Via Shankar D.

* And of course we’re still coming to terms with Michael Jackson:
Web grinds to a halt after Michael Jackson dies. Secret library of 100 songs could be released. Google mistakes the explosion of searches for an attack. Spike in SMS traffic outpaces 9/11. Will Bruno face a last-minute edit? (Some of these via @negaratduke.)

Friday Already?

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Really, it’s already Friday?

* Michael Jackson and SF: Michael Jackson “cameo” in Back to the Future II. (And here’s a real cameo from Men in Black II.) io9 remembers Captain EO.

* At right, of course, there’s a panel from Persepolis.

* NASA thinks it’s solved the 1908 Tunguska mystery.

* Happy birthday to the toothbrush.

* ‘How Wall Street Will Ruin the Environment’: Robert Bryce at The Daily Beast slams Waxman-Markey.

In short, given its length and complexity, the cap-and-trade bill would be better named “The 2009 Lawyer-Lobbyist Full Employment Act.” Proponents are ignoring the fact that Enron (remember Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay?) desperately wanted caps on carbon dioxide because they saw huge profits in being able to trade carbon allowances. And now Congress wants to give Wall Street traders—the same pirates who helped engineer the financial meltdown—a mandate that requires a massive new trading business that has the potential to be gamed in the same way that Enron gamed the California electricity market? Hello?

* And Wired has a detailed look at swine flu hysteria, just in time for the outbreak at Duke.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Thrusday Roundup

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Thursday roundup.

* In the Safford v. Redding case that got so much attention around the time of the Sotomayor nomination, the Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 that strip searching a thirteen-year-old girl on the word of another student in search of ibuprofen is unconstitutional. Clarence Thomas was the lone dissent, issuing a Cassandra-like warning of the plague of pills in underpants that is sure to follow. If we will not strip search our thirteen-year-olds, I ask you, who will?

* Nudism is the new Green.

* ‘Seeking a tougher climate bill, green groups set eyes on the Senate.’ So, giving up then.

* If anything it’s amazing Tim Burton waited this long to do Alice in Wonderland.

* My “Haloscan is broken” AskMe went completely unanswered. Haloscan remains broken. Situation dire. Hope lost.

* Some screenshots of Fox News party-ID follies. From Cynical-C.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Wednesday Night MetaFilterFilter

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Wednesday night MetaFilterFilter.

* NASA climatologist James Hansen, recently arrested at an anti-mountaintop-mining demonstration in West Virginia, says we’re almost too late to stop climate change. I wonder about that “almost.”

* Nate Silver considers the legislative strategy at work in the upcoming Waxman-Markey vote.

* Mapping relationships in the X-Men Universe.

* An early Christmas present for my father? Corzine trails badly in New Jersey.

* Lots of talk lately about Robert Charles Wilson’s anti-Singulatarian Julian Comstock: A Story of the 22nd Century. Here’s an interview at io9 that takes up that angle, while Cory Doctorow highlights this blurb:

If Jules Verne had read Karl Marx, then sat down to write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he still wouldn’t have matched the invention and exuberance of Robert Charles Wilson’s Julian Comstock.

* Dancing plagues and mass hysteria. Via MeFi.

* How complexity leads to social collapse: some intriguing historical exploration from Paul Kedrosky. Also via MeFi.

* Roger Ebert explains how Bill O’Reilly works.

O’Reilly represents a worrisome attention shift in the minds of Americans. More and more of us are not interested in substance. The nation has cut back on reading. Most eighth graders can’t read a newspaper. A sizable percentage of the population doesn’t watch television news at all. They want entertainment, or “news” that is entertainment. Many of us grew up in the world where most people read a daily paper and watched network and local newscasts. “All news” radio stations and TV channels were undreamed-of. News was a destination, not a generic commodity. Journalists, the good ones anyway, had ethical standards.

In those days, if you quoted The New York Times, you were bringing an authority to the table. Now O’Reilly–O’Reilly!–advises viewers to cancel their subscriptions to a paper most of them may not have ever seen. In those days, if the wire services reported something, it probably happened. Today the wire services remain indispensable, but waste resources in producing celebrity info-nuggets that belong in trash magazines. Advertisers now seek readers they once thought of as shoplifters. If nuclear war breaks out, the average citizen of a Western democracy will be better informed about Brittny Spears than the causes of their death.

Discussion (where else?) at MeFi.

Wednesday 2

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Wednesday 2.

* My North Carolinian readers should consider sending a letter expressing their displeasure to the offices of our senator, Kay Hagan, who as Facing South reports is currently one of the major stumbling blocks for health care reform.

Sen. Kay Hagan
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6342
Fax: 202-228-2563

You can contact her via email at her web site, but a snail mail letter is still best.

* Climate Progress analyzes the concessions made to Collin Peterson to get Waxman-Markey to the floor this week. Kevin Drum and Yglesias has more, as well as a teaser for how much worse the Senate version will be.

* Also from Yglesias: (1) a post on Asimov’s novel The Gods Themselves that intrigued me enough to drop everything and read the book and (2) a report that the Iranian soccer players who wore green in solidarity with the protesters have been banned from the sport for life. The Gods Themselves, I can report, is a great read: in addition to the environmental allegory Yglesias highlights there’s also some really intriguing queer sexuality stuff in the “how aliens have sex” section—very rare for Asimov—and a nice Star Maker-style cosmology regarding the origin of the universe and the fates of planets that don’t solve their energy crises. I think Asimov’s probably right that it’s his best book.

* Squaring off on the suckiness of Transformers II. In this corner, Roger Ebert:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

And in this corner, Walter Chaw:

The worst summer in recent memory continues as Michael Bay brings his slow push-ins and Lazy Susan dolly shots back to the cineplex with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (hereafter Transformers 2), the ugliest, most hateful, most simple-minded and incomprehensible assault on art and decency since the last Michael Bay movie.

* And your webcomic of the day: Warbot in Accounting.

Worse by the Day

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Chris Bowers at Open Left has an update on the unbearable suckiness of Waxman-Markey. This is how bad the bill is before it hits the Senate.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

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Tuesday Links

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Tuesday links.

* Today, we are all already losers: Ed McMahon has died.

* TPM is reporting that Waxman-Markey may go to vote in the House this week after all.

* Beautiful demolished train stations.

* The dizzying fall of MySpace.

* Graphical Overview of Same Sex Marriage Debate, v. 1.3.

* What was once the most secret British government document is released to the public on Tuesday. The Government War Book, used during the Cold War, set out in great detail exactly what would happen in the days before nuclear weapons were fired. Much more here. Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Monday Late Night Politics

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Monday late night politics.

* Strange things are happening in South Carolina, where Governor Mark Sanford has been missing for four days. Reports are that the governor has made contact, but the governor’s office won’t confirm that’s true. (UPDATE: The governor’s office is now saying that Sanford is on the Appalachian Trail, a mere 2000 miles long.)

* Waxman-Markey Watch: In the comments Alex drops an A-bomb to describe one of the key antagonists on this bill, Colin Peterson. Apparently the bill is unlikely to be debated this week. Yale e360 had a roundup of opinions on Waxman-Markey that’s worth reading, with Climate Progress providing a roundup of the roundup. Krugman (also via CP) had a recent column on the bill, too, coming out in favor of it.

* Mexico has decriminalized small amounts of drugs. Good.

* ‘Eco-Friendly Meat Could Begin With Mini-Cows.’ Gross.

* Dystopia is now: Bill Simmon takes a good, hard look at reports that Lancaster, PA, will soon be putting in so many security cameras that it will take a volunteer Stasi comprised of local busybodies to watch them all and determines that this may be the least worst alternative for our privacy-robbed future. Frankly I think Bill’s got this one wrong: open-source surveillance is a police state, just one with slightly better branding. Call me Sisyphus Q. Luddite if you must but I don’t think panoptic surveillance is some historical inevitability; it can and should be resisted, not embraced.

* And Ta-Nehisi Coates calls for a reality check regarding Martin Luther King. (NB: He’s already walked the post back.)

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2009 at 2:49 am

More on Waxman-Markey

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Debate over the relative merits of a carbon tax versus this bill’s cap-and-trade model has mostly given way to concerns about whether the legislation, sponsored by representatives Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), lines the pockets of polluters with little to show for it. The most it would cut carbon emissions by 2020 is 17 percent below 1990 levels, nowhere near the 25 to 40 percent reduction sought by scientists and international climate negotiators. The Sierra Club has withheld its endorsement in hopes of improving the bill before a final vote—it wants to prevent polluters from receiving tradable emissions permits for free, preserve the EPA’s authority to independently regulate carbon, and better fund energy efficiency and clean energy—but Fahn and other environmentalists are skeptical that lawmakers will listen. “From my perspective,” he says, “the prospects of strengthening it to where we’d want to support the ultimate version are growing slim.”

Mother Jones has some good coverage of the fight brewing over Waxman-Markey, including a checklist of what the bill will actually accomplish:

Cap and Trade
The Good
Ambitiously caps emissions at 68 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 by creating a market in tradable emissions permits
The Bad
By 2020, the cap will have cut emissions by only 4 percent
The Ugly
Only 15 percent of the tradable emissions permits will be auctioned off by the government; the bill hands out another 50 percent of the permits to the fossil fuel industry for free.

Kevin Drum calls this fight an example of “the circular firing squad,” but he’s wrong. It comes down to this: if the bill will make it harder to pass real carbon legislation later, then we shouldn’t pass it; if it will make it easier, we should. Or, as Harkinson puts it:

Given that almost all environmental groups agree that Waxman-Markey is far from ideal, the ultimate question is whether passing an imperfect bill now is better than holding out for a better one later. Those who advocate for an incremental approach point out that the US needs to bring something to the table in the next round of international climate talks in Copenhagen this December. On the other hand, Pica argues that improving massive bills like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act took decades, “and by that time we will have carbon-loaded the atmosphere to such a degree that it may not be worth improving anymore.”

Written by gerrycanavan

June 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Monday Politics!

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Monday politics!

* Žižek’s recent lectures on “Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture” are now online as MP3s. Some video here.

* How much will Waxman-Markey actually cost? Only about $175 per household. But does it really matter how much it “costs” when the alternative is worldwide disaster? The real problem with Waxman-Markey is that it costs too little, because it doesn’t do nearly enough. (Or much of anything.) See the Breakthrough Institute’s analysis for more. (UPDATE: Wound up doing another post about this up the page.)

* Emboldened by polls that show public backing for a government health insurance plan, Democrats are moving to make it a politically defining issue in the debate over the future of medical care. (Via Benen.) I’ve never seen the Democrats “emboldened.” I wonder what it’s like.

* Meanwhile, Krugman points Cassandra-like to our sudden but inevitable betrayal by “centrists” in the Democratic caucus.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm