A few weeks ago, David Keith, a physicist at the University of Calgary, got a write-up in The New York Times for pointing out that world governments are lavishing a fair bit of R&D money on fancy new solar panels or carbon sequestration for coal plants, but very little money—a paltry $3 million globally—on researching ways to suck out carbon that's already in the air. Now, Keith wasn't trying to dismiss research into advanced solar technology and the like—if anything, there's not enough of that R&D right now. But given that, according to one recent U.N.
The Huffington Post has broken the news that yet another incarnation of the public could be coming into favor with Senate Democrats: a plan that would begin with a robust, national public plan, but allow state governments to “opt out” of the system should they chose. It’s worth noting that the compromise carries echoes of the Cass Sunstein-Richard Thaler school of policy design—the government would try to nudge things in the right direction by making the public plan the default option, but gives states the ability to opt out if they had the impetus, energy, and will to exclude themselves.
Afghanistan is a challenge that would bedevil even the finest foreign policy makers. But today's big stories in the Post and Times paint a somewhat discouraging picture of the Obama team's handling of the war. The Post depicts an administration whose initial policy review reached conclusions that meant different things to different people. And the Times reveals a re-review that is addressing fundamental questions which probably should have been settled months ago.
WASHINGTON -- So now we know: The economic stimulus plan passed by Congress at the beginning of the year was not big enough. We also know this: Once it secures a health care bill--yes, it will get one--the Obama administration from that moment to the 2010 midterm elections will be all about jobs, jobs, jobs. In the face of persistently high unemployment, the administration's economic advisers have been reviewing proposals to create jobs, and President Obama's aides insist they knew all along that the original stimulus, as one of them put it, would "never fill the full gap from the recession."
During the 2008 primaries an infamous Hillary Clinton ad warned that Barack Obama was unprepared for that hypothetical middle-of-the-night phone call announcing an international crisis and demanding a fast and decisive response. But real life is now demonstrating that national security decision-making is, with rare exceptions, something completely different. Obama's Afghanistan policy deliberations aren't about emergency phone calls and snap decisions.
There are a number of reasons to be wary of the job-creation tax credit now gaining traction in the White House and on the Hill--chiefly, that it would provide a windfall to companies that were about to hire people anyway.
Over half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and that is expected to swell to 70 percent by 2050. This was the backdrop for this year’s World Habitat Day, which falls on the first Monday of October of every year to bring attention to the needs of inadequate shelter, unsustainable development, and other challenges faced by cities and towns around the globe. This year’s activities were co-hosted by the United States for the first time, featuring kick-off remarks by HUD Secretary Donovan, U.N.
Our culture lives virtually without its history, which makes it a very weird culture, indeed. In France, on sabbatical a few years back, I listened to a dinner conversation about Marshal Foch. Who? Marshal Foch. How did we come around to him? Someone at the table said she'd been born in Tarbes, a small town known primarily for its proximity to Lourdes. Another guest noted that Foch had been born there. And then followed a long, discursive conversation about Foch.
This is interesting. A small band of Senate Republicans are now suggesting they could, potentially, endorse the Kerry-Boxer climate bill—but only if it includes sufficient support for nuclear power and offshore oil drilling. Here's Lindsey Graham: "A guy like Senator Kerry is looking for coalitions," Graham said.
Good details from the WSJ today: Administration officials in the Biden camp fear they too could close off the path to a more peaceful resolution of the conflict if 40,000 more troops are sent. They believe most of the Taliban fighters, and some of their leaders, are neither hard-core, violent Islamists nor sympathetic to al Qaeda. Some are nationalists trying to rid their country of foreigners. Some leaders are willing to flip sides depending on the deals on offer or the momentum on the ground.