I Pledge Allegiance to the What?
February 09, 2010
If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, you may have noticed a welcome interruption to the endless string of Bud Light and Doritos ads. Wedged between these paeans to beer and chips was a seemingly harmless commercial featuring cute elementary schoolers with their hands on the chests, pledging allegiance. But the ad soon turned a little darker: Instead of reciting the words that were drilled into all young children’s minds, they pledged their allegiance to the national debt and to China.
February 09, 2010
As President Obama begins a push to impose harsher economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, his success will be determined largely by the answer to a single question: Will China and Russia get on board?
Are We Really In An Energy Race With China?
February 08, 2010
Nowadays, it seems like every third Thomas Friedman column is about how the United States is engaged in a green-tech competition with China—one that, much to his chagrin, we seem to be losing handily. His argument's not totally groundless. China really has put more effort (and money) into developing cleaner energy technologies than we have. So have plenty of countries, like Germany and Denmark.
Copenhagen Deadline Comes And Goes. Now What?
February 01, 2010
It didn't get a lot of fanfare, but January 31 was the deadline under the Copenhagen accord for the world's countries to formally submit their plans for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and helping to address climate change. So what happened? Well, the deadline came and went, and the vast majority of nations (roughly 130) didn't submit anything at all. On the upside, though, the handful of countries that actually pump out most of the world's carbon-dioxide did submit plans.
January 30, 2010
When President Obama launched a massive humanitarian-aid response to Haiti's earthquake last month, not everyone took his magnanimity at face value. Hugo Chavez, for example, accused him of "occupying Haiti undercover" and then upped the ante by saying the earthquake had been caused by an American "tectonic weapon." A minister from France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, complained that the U.S.
The Full Text of Obama's Speech
January 27, 2010
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery The State of the Union Wednesday, January 27, 2009 Washington, DC Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For two hundred and twenty years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They have done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they have done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggl
Is The Real Action On Climate Policy In The States?
January 26, 2010
You don't usually hear a whole lot about what individual states are doing to tackle climate change. Surely those efforts, however noble, are just too small to matter—too local, too patchy. The only people who can really make a dent in U.S. energy policy are wandering around Capitol Hill, right? It's Congress or bust? Well, maybe. But that option's not looking too bright these days, given the fog around whether Congress will even pass a climate bill this year (or next year, or…).
January 25, 2010
In the shadow of the intelligence failure that culminated with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lighting an explosive aboard a Detroit-bound flight, the titular head of the U.S. intelligence community was busy fighting another war. For months, in fact, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence (DNI), had been waging an epic bureaucratic offensive. His job had been created in the wake of September 11 to foster cooperation and accountability among the 16 agencies sifting through the mounds of inbound data about threats to U.S. interests.
The Social Pathology of Dubai
January 19, 2010
Everybody is aware of the drama now being played out in Dubai. And, frankly, the relief given by Abu Dhabi, its abutting oil-rich emirate in the confederation of self-indulgent and non-productive Arabs, will only buy time for Dubai, which will have to turn over to its cousins whatever assets remain under its robes. The New York Times published a Sunday editorial which seems to counsel aid to Dubai, as if any structural disaster would follow if there weren’t any.
What's The Deal With The Himalayan Glaciers?
January 19, 2010
How fast are glaciers in the Himalyas disappearing? This is suddenly a hugely contentious issue. For years, there's been this estimate floating around that glaciers in the region could vanish as early as 2035 if current warming trends continue. Suffice to say, that would be bad news, given that the glaciers help regulate the water supply for rivers in India and China. Anyway, that 2035 figure snuck into the IPCC's 2007 report. And it's been repeated by a number of journalists—including me. But it turns out there's no solid basis for saying Himalyas's glaciers will vanish by 2035.