Paul Krugman at The New York Times says Detroit shouldn't be taken for the new Greece even though some people would like that:
So by all means let’s have a serious discussion about how cities can best manage the transition when their traditional sources of competitive advantage go away. And let’s also have a serious discussion about our obligations, as a nation, to those of our fellow citizens who have the bad luck of finding themselves living and working in the wrong place at the wrong time — because, as I said, decline happens, and some regional economies will end up shrinking, perhaps drastically, no matter what we do.Gary Paul Nabhan at The New York Times warns that the current heat wave is about much more than discomfort when the air conditioning isn't up to snuff in his column Our Coming Food Crisis:
The important thing is not to let the discussion get hijacked, Greek-style. There are influential people out there who would like you to believe that Detroit’s demise is fundamentally a tale of fiscal irresponsibility and/or greedy public employees. It isn’t. For the most part, it’s just one of those things that happens now and then in an ever-changing economy.
One strategy would be to promote the use of locally produced compost to increase the moisture-holding capacity of fields, orchards and vineyards. In addition to locking carbon in the soil, composting buffers crop roots from heat and drought while increasing forage and food-crop yields. By simply increasing organic matter in their fields from 1 percent to 5 percent, farmers can increase water storage in the root zones from 33 pounds per cubic meter to 195 pounds. [...]Steven I. Weiss at The Atlantic writes—Taxpayers now pay more to maintain rebel graves and monuments than those honoring Union soldiers.:
Second, we need to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles to using small- and medium-scale rainwater harvesting and gray water (that is, waste water excluding toilet water) on private lands, rather than funneling all runoff to huge, costly and vulnerable reservoirs behind downstream dams. Both urban and rural food production can be greatly enhanced through proven techniques of harvesting rain and biologically filtering gray water for irrigation. However, many state and local laws restrict what farmers can do with such water.
On June 19, an array of top government officials gathered for the unveiling of a statue of Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century African-American man born a slave who rose to be a vice-presidential candidate. That politicians and the federal government continue to memorialize black leaders and abolitionists of that era surprises no one, but few are aware of the other side of that coin: how much Washington pays to memorialize the Confederate dead. [...]
But even most Civil War experts don't realize the federal government has spent more than $2 million in the past decade to produce and ship headstones honoring Confederate dead, often at the request of local Confederate heritage groups in the South, and overwhelmingly in Georgia. Going back to at least 2002, the government has provided more headstones for Confederate graves than for Union soldiers' graves. In that time, the Department of Veterans Affairs has provided approximately 33,000 headstones for veterans of the Civil War. Sixty percent of those have been for Confederate soldiers.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones writes mildly of the insanity exposed in a New York Times article that Goldman Sachs manipulating storage and shipping deadlines to boost aluminum prices—Is It Time to Ban Banks Completely From Commodities Trading?:
Between Goldman's shady aluminum business and JPMorgan's shady energy business, it's about time the Fed took a fresh look at this. If they went even further, and banned big banks from trading in commodities markets at all, it would be OK with me. Rumors of commodity manipulation—and sometimes more than rumors—have been rife for years in the oil market, the water market, the energy market, and others. This is worth keeping an eye on.William Greider at The Nation implores—Stop Larry Summers Before He Messes Up Again:
Washington insiders are spreading an alarming news alert. Barack Obama, I am told, is on the brink of making a terrible mistake by appointing Lawrence Summers as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve. That sounds improbable, since Summers is a toxic retread from the old boys’ network and a nettlesome egotist who offended just about everyone during his previous tours in government. More to the point, Summers was a central player in the grave governing errors that led to the financial collapse and a ruined economy.Steven C. Webster at The Progressive warns—The Climate Wars Have Begun:
Surely not, I thought, when I heard the gossip. But my source heard it from the White House. Obama’s senior economic advisers—still dominated by Clintonistas and aging acolytes of Robert Rubin—are pushing the president to choose Summers as the successor to Ben Bernanke, whose term ends in January. And they are urging Obama to make the announcement right now, before the opposition can get organized.
Make no mistake about it, humanity is now and will be for the rest of our lives engaged in a war with planet Earth. This is a war to preserve consciousness, to survive as a species, and we are already taking massive casualties. That became painfully apparent to me as the nation watched in stunned amazement as the second EF5 scale tornado in less than two weeks barreled down on Moore, Oklahoma this summer -- a once-in-a-century event occurring twice just like that -- and the nation’s media didn’t know what to do other than cover it like our own backyard was Baghdad waiting for the bombs to drop.Scott Martelle at the New York Daily News says a proper diagnosis is needed before Detroit's healing can really begin:
Bankruptcy, which seems likely to cut services even further, is poised to make life worse for Detroiters, who statistically are poorer, less educated and presented with fewer options than people in any other large American city. In Motor City, an ambitious teenager faces hurdles unimagined by suburban peers and struggles with conditions far beyond his or her responsibility or control. And so the cycle continues.Edward Wasserman at the Miami Herald writes—Snowden affair highlights gap between media and public:
Bankruptcy might give Detroit a balanced budget. But it won’t make Detroit a balanced metropolis. And that is where our attention belongs. The question for all of us, when we look at Detroit: Are we looking at our industrial past, or our urban future?
The national survey of U.S. voters by Quinnipiac University found that by a huge margin—55 to 34 percent — respondents considered Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee, to be a whistleblower, not a traitor.The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board challenges an action by the California Legislative Black Caucus in Boycott Florida? No.:
In what the pollsters called “a massive shift in attitudes,” voters also said the government was going “too far” in its anti-terrorism program — a dramatic swing from a January 2010 poll in which respondents, 63-25, said the government wasn’t doing enough to safeguard the country.
Not all polls agree. A Pew/Washington Post survey conducted in June found 56 percent of respondents thought routinely tracking hundreds of millions of phone records was acceptable. But Pew also found weaker support for Internet monitoring. By 52-45, respondents rejected allowing the government to “monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks.”
What would be the goal of a boycott against Florida? Holden claims his target is Florida's "stand your ground" law, a statute similar to those on the books of more than 20 other states, which allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense without first trying to retreat from danger.Molly Redden at The New Republic writes gleefully that—The 2016 Republican Primary is Going to be Awesome:
There is legitimate question about the wisdom and fairness of such laws, which, this page noted this year, encourage a dangerous shoot-first mentality. President Obama on Friday was one of many who called for a reconsideration of such laws in the wake of the Martin killing and the acquittal of Zimmerman. We join those who are concerned about "stand your ground" laws.
But if the wrong to be punished and corrected is the adoption of such laws, it would be odd and unjust to direct a boycott at Florida alone, and not other states with such laws, merely because Zimmerman's trial was racially charged and closely followed by the public. If the target was not the statute but rather this particular judge's handling of the case or this six-person jury's finding, a boycott of the entire state seems not merely wildly out of scale but wholly unrelated to the perceived wrong.
That does it. With Rep. Peter King’s announcement that he’s interested in running for president in 2016, I want to enter for the record my unseemly, unabashed excitement for the 2016 Republican primaries. King rounds out a field of “maybes” that already includes “wacko birds” Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Allen West, John Bolton, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and been-there-done-thats of varying potential like Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. Some are self-dealing, some are YouTube bait, some have mortifying pasts, and any one of them might seduce the kind of eccentric, shifty, crocodile-shooting, or high-rolling super PAC patrons that wormed their way out of the woodwork in 2012. It’s gonna get weird.