The New York Times adds its voice to the chorus crying out for action on climate change.
The news that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas, have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years increases the pressure on President Obama to deliver on his pledges to limit this country’s greenhouse gas emissions.Unfortunately, instead of taking immediate and necessary action on an issue that threatens our economy, our security and the lives of millions in America and around the world, the administration is much more concentrated on addressing all the little nonsense items that have been declared "scandals". So when you're watching that next superstorm closing on an American city, remember that we did manage to fire an IRS administrator who had done nothing wrong. That'll be comforting, I'm sure.
America cannot solve a global problem by itself. But as Mr. Obama rightly observed in his inaugural address, the United States, as both major polluter and world leader, has a deep obligation to help shield the international community from rising sea levels, floods, droughts and other devastating consequences of a warming planet. In his State of the Union speech, he promised to take executive action if Congress failed to pass climate legislation. ...
Mr. Obama has a firm grasp of the climate issue, and no one doubts that he cares about it. But as is often the case with this president, the question is whether he will exhibit a sense of urgency to match his intellectual understanding.
Come on in. Let's see what the rest of the punditry made a priority.
Maureen Dowd predictably offers a cliche riddled wallow in the pseudo-scandal trifecta that displays all the joy of a three year old torturing ants.
Stephanie Coontz takes off the rose colored glasses to take a truthful look into the past.
In personal life, the warm glow of nostalgia amplifies good memories and minimizes bad ones about experiences and relationships, encouraging us to revisit and renew our ties with friends and family. It always involves a little harmless self-deception, like forgetting the pain of childbirth.Your nostalgia busting read of the morning.
In society at large, however, nostalgia can distort our understanding of the world in dangerous ways, making us needlessly negative about our current situation. ...
Happy memories also need to be put in context. I have interviewed many white people who have fond memories of their lives in the 1950s and early 1960s. The ones who never cross-examined those memories to get at the complexities were the ones most hostile to the civil rights and the women’s movements, which they saw as destroying the harmonious world they remembered.
Vikas Bajaj looks into just how much consumer choice can help horrible working conditions (and even more horrible deaths) overseas.
The deaths and injuries of thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh raise the question of how American and European consumers might assert their power to change appalling factory conditions half a world away. Stop buying clothes made in Bangladesh? Look for labels from other countries, like Indonesia, where conditions might be a little better? Seek out “sweatshop free” clothes, like “fair trade” coffee?Dana Milbank self confessed Republican, looks at how the GOP is handling the "scandals."
Unfortunately, there are few good answers. A boycott of goods from Bangladesh would probably be counterproductive. It could deprive some of the poorest workers of jobs and income that provide a step up from farming or manual labor. Recent attempts by groups like Fair Trade USA to provide certification for sweatshop-free clothing have gained little traction with retailers or consumers.
Research shows that some American shoppers would prefer and pay more for clothes from factories that don’t exploit workers. The problem is that most brands and retailers offer very little information about how their products are made.
It has been only a few days since two administration scandals — the IRS harassment of conservative groups and the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records — dropped into the Republicans’ lap. But instead of turning public outrage to their advantage, Republicans have already begun overreaching, turning legitimate areas of inquiry into just some more partisan food fights.The only thing wrong with Milbank's statements? There is no real scandal. The IRS never "harassed conservative groups" and if there's outrage that goes beyond the Sunday talk show circuit, I haven't heard it. Other than that, he's right about the GOP crazy train.
Consider Thursday morning’s circus on the east lawn of the Capitol, where Republican lawmakers gathered with tea party leaders to declare their thoughts on the IRS scandal.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), mother of the House Tea Party Caucus, said her constituents are demanding, “Why aren’t you impeaching the president?”
Carl Hiaasen does think that asking groups with Tea Party in their name to submit to questions to show they are not political groups was an abuse of power, but mainly he finds the whole regulation ridiculous.
IRS supervisors were wrong to single out local Tea Parties when there’s a host of flagrant, big-time violators controlled by supporters of both major political parties.The one thing Carl's leaving out, and the media never seems to acknowledge: it was complaints about groups of this sort during the previous cycle that generated the new group to examine these applications in the IRS' Cincinnati office, and that office just happened to get running just as Tea Party applications began flooding in. Never put down to malice what can be adequately explained by coincidence. Unless you're Fox News.
The gimmick of choice is Section 501(c)(4) of the revenue code. Groups receiving that golden designation are allowed to collect unlimited contributions without paying taxes.
They’re not banned from political involvement, but by law they’re supposed to be “primarily engaged” in activities promoting “social welfare” and “the common good” — not partisan politics.
It’s a total farce.
Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent untold millions of dollars on behalf of Republican candidates while attacking Democrats during the last election cycle. On the other side, Priorities USA spent a fortune helping Democratic candidates while trashing Republicans. ...
No such pious fervor exists for investigating and exposing the fraudulent status of large groups like Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, which collectively take in hundreds of millions of dollars.
They’re not “social welfare” organizations worthy of a tax exemption. They’re wealthy partisan advocacy machines with purely political missions — to promote their candidates, and to influence voters.
They are prized by both parties as safe and bottomless repositories for huge campaign donations, which is why you don’t see congressional leaders declaring war on the 501(c)(4) charade.
Doyle McManus has a theory for why presidents take a bruising in their second term.
What is it about presidents' second terms that makes them seem so scandal-ridden? Simple: The iron law of longevity. All governments make mistakes, and all governments try to hide those mistakes. But the longer an administration is in office, the more errors it makes, and the harder they are to conceal.There are actually two interesting articles at the San Francisco Chronicle, but since they have the Great Digital Pay Wall of San Francisco around their op-Ed page, there's not much point in linking there.
Just ask Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, all of whom spent much of their second terms playing defense. ...
Inevitably, the president's Republican critics reached for historical comparisons: It's another Watergate, said some. Another Iran-Contra, said others. To the hyperbolic Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Benghazi alone was worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined, "times maybe 10."
An article in The American Journal of Medicine puts a new twist on medical Marijuana.
There are limited data regarding the relationship between cannabinoids and metabolic processes. Epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared with people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes. To date, no study has investigated the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance. ...In other words, despite the munchies, marijuana users tend to be thinner than non-users, and the results of this study indicate that marijuana may decrease the high insulin levels often associated with the onset of diabetes. Can the marijuana diet be far behind?
We found that marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.