Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - Jun 27, 2013
Can a state do fracking right?
Can it use the new shale-gas drilling technology to deliver thousands of jobs, revive depressed industrial zones, spark new high-tech industries, feed state coffers -- and still not mess up its countryside, imperil water supplies and possibly release dangerous amounts of methane gases?
Last week the International Monetary Fund, whose normal role is that of stern disciplinarian to spendthrift governments, gave the United States some unusual advice.
"Lighten up," urged the fund. "Enjoy life! Seize the day!"
You don't need me to tell you, but it's a whole lot tougher leading a garage band than being a superstar. What you might not have known is just how much harder.
Republicans have an opportunity for a get-out-of-jail moment with the fastest-growing slice of the electorate, Hispanics.
An immigration bill is likely to pass the Senate by the end of the month. The size and shape of the measure and the tone of the debate will be framed by Republicans in the next 10 days.
Little victories in curbing health care costs can add up. In truth, they seem little only next to the titanic $2.6 trillion Americans spend a year on health care. So let us salute them.
Case in point, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac) proposes ending a ridiculously expensive practice: Medicare paying hospital outpatient departments vastly more than it does doctors providing the same routine service in their offices.
"More than half a century ago, Fidel decreed the elimination of racism," said Leonardo Calvo Cardenas. But "this just made the problem deeper and more complex."
Edward Snowden told the Guardian that he leaked details of National Security Agency surveillance because he doesn't "want to live in a world where there's no privacy."
Oddly enough, he also has posted the following tidbits on the Internet: his employer, the type of gun he owns, his photograph - and the fact that he and his girlfriend "have sex marathons from sundown til sunrise." Snowden used a pseudonym, but it was transparent, given the personal information he disclosed.
For defense contractors, the government officials who write them mega checks, and the hawks in the media who cheer them on, the name of the game is threat inflation. And no one has been better at it than the folks at Booz Allen Hamilton, the inventors of the new boondoggle called cyberwarfare.
In Syria, the Obama administration seems to be stumbling back to the future: An old-fashioned proxy war, complete with the usual shadowy CIA arms-running operation, the traditional plan to prop up ostensible "moderates" whose prospects are doubtful and, of course, the customary shaky grasp of what the fighting is really about.
This will not end well.