Man Made Disaster

Beyond The Internal Combustion Engine
February 24, 2009

Of interest to Vine readers, I have a review essay in The National this week looking at the future of the automobile—especially in light of the explosion of car ownership in China and India. Popcorn version: The world's on pace to add a billion new cars in the coming decades, and I'm fairly hopeful that we can do so without causing a climate fiasco or massive oil shortages, though it's certainly not going to be easy. --Bradford Plumer

Obama's Three Biggest Priorities
January 03, 2009

From the Times' story today on whether David Patterson has to pick Caroline Kennedy to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat: Ms. Kennedy’s endorsement of Mr. Obama was a significant moment in the Democratic presidential primary and his affection for her seems genuine; he recently called her “one of my dearest friends.” Yet it is hard to calculate the size of his debt to Ms. Kennedy, or where it ranks among his many other obligations, from preventing a conflagration in the Middle East to passing a national economic stimulus package. Hmmm, maybe below the Middle East but above the economy?

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
November 03, 2008

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Less than a week before Election Day, the buzz in Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office is about a Halloween mask. On Thursday morning, The Other Paper, a local news and entertainment weekly, had published a cover plastered with a picture of Brunner’s face, complete with dotted lines where readers could cut it out to wear for the holiday.

Attack Of The Obama T-shirts
November 02, 2008

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Like many in DC, New York, and other big cities, I've been fascinated by the proliferation of Obama gear on the streets. T-shirts, hats, bags, scarves--you name it, and somebody's selling it. A friend working for the Obama team in Chicago said he and others have received loads of t-shirt design submissions--most of which were politely rejected for being a tad on the gaudy side. So it was no surprise today that as an expected 30,000-person crowd greeted the Obama family at Ohio's state house, dozens of vendors were hawking wares on the surrounding blocks.

Is This The Big Final Mccain Shakeup?
October 13, 2008

Back in July, when Steve Schmidt took over the McCain campaign, I predicted that if he continued to trail, another shakeup would happen before the election, and McCain would "try to recreate the magic of the 2000 campaign." They laughed at me, said I was crazy. McCain did take some momentum in late summer and early fall, but now he's well behind. In a bloggingheads segment last week, Ramesh Ponnuru asked me for my advice. I said that McCain should apologize for the nasty campaign, fire Schmidt, and run a media-accessible, 2000-style campaign.

The Democrats Strike Back
August 27, 2008

David Kusnet was chief speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton from 1992 through 1994. He is the author of Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America's Best Workers Are Unhappier than Ever. Before the 2004 Democratic convention, I drafted a speech for a client. Intent on running a "positive" campaign, John Kerry's message-meisters scrubbed the speech of even the mildest and most factual criticisms of the Bush Administration's record.

Drill Me A River
July 31, 2008

Two stories out today appear to be pretty bad news for those interested in reducing public demand for dirty energy. Californians (!), by a slim majority, now favor offshore drilling. The Public Policy Institute's new findings, from the LA Times: The poll shows the partisan breakdown in the gusher of new support for offshore drilling. A total of 77% of Republicans favor more drilling, up from 60% in 2007. For independents, it's 44%, compared with 33% a year before. Most Democrats remained opposed.

Mccain 0, Lil' Smokey 1
July 23, 2008

Oh, the indignity: All three cable news networks carried Mr. Obama’s news conference live and in full. They showed only parts of Mr. McCain’s forum and focused mostly on his reaction to Mr. Obama’s statements. Even Fox News broke away from Mr. McCain midevent to cover the rescue of a bear cub wounded in a California fire and nicknamed Lil’ Smokey. --Michael Crowley

Your Daily Dose Of Mccain Resentment
July 23, 2008

From the NYT: Late last night, the McCain campaign kept it up when aides handed out luggage tags to the traveling press that read “McCain Press Corps: JV Squad, ‘Left Behind to Report in America.’ ” The words were translated into French on the opposite side. But what does that make reporters like me, whose bosses didn't see fit to send them to cover Obama or McCain this week? Are we now on the freshman team? P.S. Also from the NYT, this won't make McCain feel any better: All three cable news networks carried Mr. Obama’s news conference live and in full. They showed only parts of Mr.

Happy Tunguska Day!
June 30, 2008

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the Tunguska event, when a massive explosion (likely resulting from a small asteroid or comet) rocked a remote region of central Siberia, flattening trees and reportedly knocking people to the ground in the nearest settlement 40 miles from the blast. Science News and Scientific American have had articles recently highlighting the latest developments in the ongoing debate about what caused the blast.