Meghan McCain is trading a fairly lonely path out there in the Republican minefield - she sounds like her once-moderate, once-decent father of many years ago - and is taking a lot of flack both from left and right.
The Comments thread here often urges her to separate publicly from John on Benghazi or try to turn him around. Anyone know how they get along?
Why the Republican Party Needs to Wake Up
I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting for change from inside the Republican Party. We Republicans need to look at the future instead of living in the past. We have to learn from what the last two presidential elections have taught us. We must accept each other and the different opinions within the party instead of trying to cannibalize people that diverge from an arbitrary purity test. I refuse to let the extremists win. We can’t let the Tea Party bully us any longer. We can’t keep worrying about ultraconservative white male voters. At the end of the day, I still believe I’m on the right side of history, and we can’t let this party sink away. We can and we must evolve. I don’t know exactly how yet, but I for one am ready to spend the next four years helping us get there.
What they call star power. Cheap, non-polluting and quite safe. Being developed only by the American government (yes that low-achieving government!) in the hills east of Oakland California.
Ross Pomeroy in Real Clear Science yesterday.
Believe it or not, America is nearing the threshold of a fusion future. By the end of 2012, scientists at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California plan to fire the most powerful laser ever constructed into a small chamber with pea-sized fuel pellets inside. The fusion fuel contained within the pellets, two isotopes of hydrogen -- deuterium and tritium -- will fuse together, producing helium, a free neutron, and massive amounts of energy in the form of heat. If all goes to plan, about ten to one hundred times more energy than the amount used to ignite the fuel will be unleashed.
With this monumental breakthrough achieved, construction could begin on a fusion power plant capable of producing 400 megawatts of base-load power, with a target completion date in the early 2020s. Capital costs would roughly be the same as a current nuclear fission power plant, between $6 and $7 billion. It's a daunting cost to be sure, but one well worth funding. Besides providing a blueprint for future fusion plants, investment in such a facility will drive innovation in multitudes of fields ranging from optics to materials science.
After the completion of the fusion test plant, construction of commercial facilities producing between 1,000 and 1,500 megawatts of fusion power can get underway. These power plants will produce electricity that's hard to find fault with. The energy will be base-load -- always available. It will be clean -- there will be no carbon dioxide emissions or hazardous waste. It will be cheap -- early estimates show fusion power to be cost-competitive with coal, even without a carbon tax. It will be nearly limitless -- up to 30 million years of fusion fuel exists on Earth. And most importantly, it will be made in America -- Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE) has been produced entirely within the United States.
Roll on carbon sequestration and space elevator to pump that seawater rise out into space. Both will become more doable.
Not by us folks here. Seemingly by the editorial team of the NY Times itself.
It looks like the Times may be resuming the games that so hurt Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry.
I suggest we might all wanna be concerned, Barack's supporters especially, for I fear he'll be next.
I run a small group in Manhattan and pick up the occasional insider tip that suggests that this narrative rings true:
Fifty-plus shots here of the moving and highly effective Obama rally at the Meadowlands today.
They'll open up in a larger format if you click on them.
Except for the final shot, these are all taken from where I was placed, with kind encouragement from the Obama volunteers, in the "wallpaper" area: the fifth row precisely behind the podium.
Our obvious interest on this site is to see everyone survive any slide, property prices or otherwise, and be on top on the other side and ready to roll on the Great Re-building...
Now, it is widely pointed out that property is being driven in part by cheap loans. And it is more discretely pointed out that the party to our national equation keeping interest rates low is.... China. And that if China moves out of the bond market, interest rates will spike to keep the incoming $$$ incoming.
Eastern and Southern Asian economies are humming away nicely. Waist-deep in surpluses. Lucky them. Most of the countries export a lot to China, and then of course China exports a lot to us.
The one big fly in the Asian ointment is of course... us. The precarious blob at the top of the food chain.
Freeing or re-pegging of the regions' currencies, as increasingly loudly demanded by the US, may help the US to reduce its imports and increase its exports. But re-pegging of the currencies will also slow Asian growth and thus global growth as their export prices in effect rise. A risk as much as it is a gain.
And Guy de Jonquières writes Monday in The Financial Times (subscription area) that there are two greater risks:
[F]irst, that simmering protectionist pressures will boil over in the US and Europe; and second, that east Asia will exhaust its capacity to fund the twin US deficits by acquiring US assets, so triggering a dollar collapse, soaring US interest rates and recession.
Workers only ever make real gains when economies innovate - invent their way forward - and create premiums so that managers and stockmarkets can move with increased confidence and lowered risk.
Workers only ever lose out when there is fear in the air and the managers and stockmarkets have pulled in their horns and the ONE way forward is to cut costs + cut costs + cut costs.
Which of these models are we on right? Let's take a stab in the dark here....
[Main economic poster at LiberalStreetfighter
Today, it is the foreign-tourism industry that heads slowly down the tubes. Again largely courtesy of our national management. As it is still being made to politically give-give-give to... that same national management.
Now, you'd kinda think that a dollar that is deliberately 30 percent down against almost everybody except the Mexicans and the Chinese would really have the tourists and the foreign shoppers here in record hordes. Right?
Well, NYC does seem about as crowded as ever. But it seems the hotels are not fully full and several of them, including the great Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, are slated to be converted to those great investments known as condominiums.
Obviously, the hotels are hurting. But also, its the airlines, the coach operators, the restaurants, the East Coast, the West Coast, even some great places in between... and of course the (ha ha) Mighty Dollar.
Hard to stop reading about the UK, and how very enlightenedly its services and economy have been run (and both of them expanded) in the past few years, and the sheer energy in its election process. Blair rightly took a hit for the Bush lovefest, but you can't deny that the country is largely pulling as one there.
Oh well. Back to us.
In development (read: just about every country other than the US, which in my view is DE-developing) a lot of what gets pushed is VERTICAL support and integration: government and the middle layers and the grassroots layers all pulling as one. And a lot of what gets pushed is HORIZONTAL integration: industries essentially pulling together to help one another all win together. (Two atypical examples which illustrate the strength of this concept: the keiretsu of japan and the chaebol of South Korea.)
Take the $10 and be grateful... you think we are going to be MADE of money round here?! Okay. To bring you up to speed. We have been chatting at LiberalStreetFighter
lately about all the things that jangle our nerves to do with the economy, our job, our house, our car, our long-dreamed-of trip to Europe, and our nest-egg for when we are 65.
Now LSF Guest Poster and Kos Diarists TustonDAZ has thrown down his own scenario for how the Great Unraveling comes to be set in motion.
I fear we will have to go through a trajectory like 1940's Japan (complete with updated versions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) before we start to understand real "value" and even begin to consider re-thinking and retooling our systems.
My "Wall Street Democrats" have been brainstorming this notion: that there could be a wildcard out ahead of us - an invisible tipping point - that would REALLY incinerate Bush's prospects for a second term in a puff of smoke.
We are pleased to inform everybody that our little grey cells have now come up with THREE plausible if long-shot scenarios. One we might even be able to manipulate.
I'm sure keen to share our scenarios with you all - shall we make it if visitors here FIRST take a shot at a scenario of their own? Shall we say we show when your scenarios get to half a dozen, or Sunday night, whichever comes first?
I was hoping this wouldn't happen - I was hoping he might implode!
But David Brooks has a powerful piece in the NYT today that (to me) really gets to the GUTS of our situation: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/13/opinion/13BROO.html
Republicans are united and Democrats are divided by [well, please go see].
This is my own take on the ultimate home run
(1) These are troubled times and - as always & understandable - the Regular Folks will incline to the more calming, trust-daddy kind of figure and platform.
(2) The "troubled times" have two vast components: security and the economy. If you read "global economy" or "Arab economies" for "economy" they are utterly intertwined.
(3) Those who feel insecure head right. Those who are enraged by the global leveling down that is the effect of Bushonomics are naturals to head right.
(4) If Dean, Clark, et al, want to displace Bush as the calming, trust-daddy kind of figure, they are going to HAVE to have a breakthrough answer on the economic front that resonates wall to wall.
(5) A COMPETING VISION in fact, fleshed out for 5, 10, 15, 20 years in advance, with a multi-multi trillion dollar difference clear in the bottom line.
(6) And piecemeal approaches to this (it's trade! it's China! it's taxes! it's regulation!) are sure-fire bankable losers - both economically and politically.
(7) Replace the Anger Meme with the Vision Meme - and I suggest we are home and dry.
[more to follow]