“… Syria Elicits Groans In Washington”
July 03, 2010

So says a headline in Wednesday’s New York Times. And the article by Mark Landler elaborates the cosmic kvetch brought on by the Obama administration’s courting of Damascus. I’ve written about this a few times myself. The courting of the Assad dictatorship was supposed to lure Syria away from its entanglement with the Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to consider the confirmation of the president’s nominee, Robert S. Ford, as emissary to the Syrians. My friend, John Kerry, loyally subbed for the putative ambassador.

Morning Is Coming
July 01, 2010

Do a thought experiment: Think back a year ago to what most analysts were predicting for the financial sector and for the state of the economy. In his newspaper column, Paul Krugman repeatedly warned that the policies adopted by the Bush and Obama administrations would have dire consequences. There was talk in other corners about no new business lending, slumping retail sales, and rising unemployment with no end in sight. But here we are—in the midst of a rebound. Each week over the last year, a number of positive and negative economic indicators were announced.

Climate Legislation--Narrow or Broad, It Will Still Slight Innovation
June 29, 2010

So as President Obama convenes senators for a come-to-Jesus moment this morning on energy and climate legislation it looks like Senate proponents of an economy-wide cap-and-trade climate bill are preparing to settle for a narrower emissions cap in the electric power sector. Yet another concession to lawmakers' skittishness about pricing carbon, the scaled-back approach will not please the absolutist but it does have the virtue of realism. It always seemed a bit of a fantasy that a comprehensive carbon pricing scheme could reach 60 votes in the Senate this year.

Traitors to Their Class
June 25, 2010

For Barack Obama’s inauguration, Washington Dulles International Airport had to close a runway to accommodate private jet traffic. According to aviati

One Silly Jewish Boy, Maybe Two Silly Jewish Boys...In Damascus
June 16, 2010

They're in Damascus, two State Department techies, at the head of a delegation of commercial techies representing American computer combines (Microsoft, Cisco, Dell and some others) in an effort to lure the ophthalmologist Dr. Assad away from the Islamist camp. You see: Bashar al-Assad loves computer games (sort of like my grandson) and the idea is to entice him into playing with our software and networking eqiupment which he can't have unless he behaves. The effort would have normally been led by Robert S. Ford, whom the president tapped as ambassador to Assad's court early in the spring.

The New Vulnerability
June 07, 2010

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.

Highways a la Mode
May 03, 2010

If a state gas tax is dedicated to “highway purposes,” can you build light rail on Interstate lanes presumably funded with said tax? We’ll find out in Washington state, where a prominent developer is suing the state over the question. At issue is whether the Puget Sound regional transportation agency can build light rail on the HOV express lanes of the Interstate 90 floating bridge over Lake Washington (yes, it floats and it sank once) in order to connect the job rich Eastside (Microsoft, Expedia, etc.) with Seattle proper and its scads of commuters both traditional and reverse. Under an amend

Mark Pinto Goes to China: Another Parable of American Decline?
March 26, 2010

Recently I reviewed why Amazon’s best-selling Kindle e-reader is actually an emblem of American decline. My point was that because neither Amazon nor another American company could manufacture the device, future related product development and production has potentially shifted abroad.

The PC Officially Died Today
January 27, 2010

The PC era ended this morning at ten o’clock Pacific time, when Steve Jobs stepped onto a San Francisco stage to unveil the iPad, Apple’s version of a tablet computer. Tablets have been kicking around for a decade, but consumers have always shunned them. And for good reason: They’ve been nerdy-looking smudge-magnets, limited by their cumbersome shape and their lack of a keyboard.

For the Love of Culture
January 26, 2010

Can American culture survive Google?