Archive for May, 2010

Georgia a poor steward of its energy, money

According to researchers at Georgia Tech and Duke University, Georgia has one of the least energy-efficient economies in the country. We rank 44th for energy codes and other policies to encourage efficiency in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors.

That’s the bad news.

But there’s good news too.  Georgia has no oil, gas or coal reserves and little untapped hydroelectric capacity, but because of its wastefulness it does have great potential to “create” energy through conservation, making itself both more competitive economically and more responsible environmentally.

(That concept of “creating energy” through conservation can be tricky, but it makes sense. After all, every gallon of oil or kilowatt of electricity that we do not use for one purpose is freed up to be used for some other purpose.)

And how much of an impact can conservation have?

According to the study, with no changes in how we do things, energy consumption in Georgia will …

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On Rand Paul, civil rights, economic liberty and government

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is taking a lot of heat for his belief that by ending segregation and requiring private businesses to open their doors to customers and employees of all races, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 overstepped constitutional limits on federal power.

An armed Lester Maddox (right), a future governor of Georgia, "escorts" a black man out of his Pickrick restaurant in Atlanta. Maddox's son, Lester Junior, wields a pick handle known as a "Pickrick Drumstick." (AP)

An armed Lester Maddox (right), a future governor of Georgia, "escorts" a black man out of his Pickrick restaurant in Atlanta. Maddox's son, Lester Junior, wields a pick handle known as a "Pickrick Drumstick." (AP)

First things first: Inevitably, Paul’s argument resurrects a lot of bad memories, including Lester Maddox running black customers out of his Atlanta restaurant with an ax handle in his hand. Paul, however, says flat out that his position has nothing to do with racism, which he condemns. There is no reason to believe that he is anything but sincere in that statement. So let’s set the volatile charge of racism aside and move onto the principle of the thing, which is where Paul makes his …

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South Korea fingers North Korea as culprit; North Korea threatens war … again

Sinking another nation’s ship and killing 46 of its sailors is by any definition a provocation to war. But this is a tough one.

From The Washington Post:

“SEOUL — South Korea said Thursday that an international investigation has found overwhelming evidence that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo made in North Korea and that the weapon was fired by a North Korean submarine.

“There is no other plausible explanation” for the sinking of the Cheonan on March 26 near a disputed sea border between the two Koreas, said the report. It was based on the findings of 50 experts from South Korea who worked with 24 investigators from the United States, Australia, Britain and Sweden.

After the results of the investigation were released, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said his country “will take resolute countermeasures against North Korea and make it admit its wrongdoing through strong international cooperation.”

…. North Korea immediately denounced the investigation as a “sheer …

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GOP in the mood for a Barry Goldwater, a ‘Braveheart’

Rich Lowry of National Review has some early thoughts on the 2012 GOP presidential race:

“Rand Paul’s victory is another sign that there’s a roiling, libertarian revolt within the GOP that is likely to fuel an out-of-nowhere (Howard) Dean-style “Republican-wing of the Republican party” candidate for 2012. The way Dean represented a rejection of Clintonism, this candidate will represent a rejection of Bushism. He may upset the apple cart on foreign policy the way Dean did — perhaps by calling for a pull-out from Afghanistan. He will be hell on Washington and anyone and anything who represents the establishment. It’s going to be a very tough road for an establishment front-runner who is already a little shaky, which is why last night was another warning sign for Romney.”

I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that prediction, and I think others see it as well. Newt Gingrich has been positioning himself for months to play the title role of “Braveheart,” but it’s still an awkward …

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When does the Bush economy become the Obama economy?

Heading into the midterm election, President Obama continues to remind American voters that the nation’s economic problems began under previous management, and that he’s just trying to clean up the mess that was left behind. He also likes to point out that the GOP hasn’t exactly been helping in that effort.

“So after (Republicans) drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back,” he said at a Democratic fundraiser last week. “No! You can’t drive! We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch! We just got the car out!”reagan1

That in turn has inspired pushback from Republicans, who insist that this far into his term, Obama himself ought to accept blame for persistent unemployment. Chris Wallace even brought it up in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Laura Bush, asking the former First Lady whether she’s bothered that “16 months into the presidency that the Obama administration still talks about the bad economy …

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Oil slick isn’t the only thing that BP is spreading

Researchers from the Institute of Marine Mammal Sciences prepare to collect the carcass of a beached sea turtle at Pass Christian, Miss. (AP photo).

Researchers from the Institute of Marine Mammal Sciences prepare to collect the carcass of a beached sea turtle at Pass Christian, Miss. (AP photo).

With NOAA acknowledging that oil may have entered the Loop Current that will carry it south and east toward Florida and the number of sea-turtle beachings soaring, some 45,000 square miles of the Gulf have now been closed to fishing.

But don’t worry folks: BP has got this handled.

From the Mobile Press Register:

“In its 2009 exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, BP PLC states that the company could handle a spill involving as much as 12.6 million gallons of oil per day, a number 60 times higher than its current estimate of the ongoing Gulf disaster.

In associated documents filed with the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the company says that it would be able to skim 17.6 million gallons of oil a day from the Gulf in the event of a spill.

As of Tuesday, BP reported recovering 6 million gallons of oily water since the …

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After November, Washington will be different

Picking through the confetti after last night’s election parties around the country, we find ….

Politico dissing GOP ambitions:

All the evidence pointing to monster Republican House gains this fall—the Scott Brown upset win in Massachusetts, the scary polling numbers in once-safely Democratic districts, the ever-rising number of Democratic seats thought to be in jeopardy—was contradicted Tuesday.

In the only House race that really mattered to both parties—the special election to replace the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in Pennsylvania’s 12th District—Republicans failed spectacularly, losing on a level playing field where, in this favorable environment, they should have run roughshod over the opposition.

Given the resources the GOP poured into the effort to capture the seat and the decisiveness of the defeat—as it turned out, it wasn’t really that close—the outcome casts serious doubt on the idea that the Democratic House majority is in jeopardy and offers …

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Day to remember for Rand Paul, Mark Souder, Richard Blumenthal, Arlen Specter

I’ll confess to feeling a bit of sympathy for U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, the Indiana conservative who is resigning from Congress after admitting to an affair with a part-time aide. His behavior was wrong, foolish and outrageously hypocritical, but his remorse comes across as geniune and his resignation was the proper course. (I do have to admit that making a video stressing abstinence, costarring your mistress, is a little over the top).

I have less sympathy for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who from time to time in public remarks and interviews has falsely claimed service in Vietnam as a Marine. I’ll leave it to the people of Connecticut to decide Blumenthal’s fate — his most likely GOP opponent for the U.S. Senate made her fortune in professional wrestling — but I just can’t take such claims lightly, not given the 58,000 U.S. troops who actually did go but never came home.

Moving South, Republican Party leaders made it clear that they wanted nothing more to …

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Global temperatures continue to climb, as predicted

Back in the late ’70s, scientists began predicting that global temperatures would rise as a result of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Sadly, they continue to be proved right.

Globally, March of 2010 was the hottest March in 131 years of record-keeping.

April was the hottest April on record.

The last four months — January through April — were the hottest January-April period on record.

And the last 12 months constitute the hottest 12-month period on record.

“But but but …. Owl Gore!”

(h/t Climate Progress)

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When Jessica Colotl’s gone, 10.799999 million still to go

In time, we will probably ship Jessica Colotl back to Mexico, the country that she left at age 10 to enter the United States with her parents. They came illegally, and she has no legal right to remain here.

But as we go through that process, it’s important to at least acknowledge that we won’t be accomplishing much except the gratification of certain politicians and the ruin of a promising American life.

Because Jessica is not alone.

According to an estimate by the Department of Homeland Security, 10.8 million illegal immigrants lived in the United States as of January 2009. The DHS estimates that 63 percent of those entered before 2000, just as Jessica and her family did, meaning that they have been here a decade or longer.

If those numbers are correct, 6.8 million of those here illegally have lived in the United States for more than a decade. They clearly have no intention of returning home on their own. No matter how tough we make it for them, they have concluded it …

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