Archive - 2014

June 26th

The Big Green Test

    On Sunday Henry Paulson, the former Treasury secretary and a lifelong Republican, had an op-ed article about climate policy in The New York Times. In the article, he declared that man-made climate change is "the challenge of our time," and called for a national tax on carbon emissions to encourage conservation and the adoption of green technologies. Considering the prevalence of climate denial within today's GOP, and the absolute opposition to any kind of tax increase, this was a brave stand to take.

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The Frustration Doctrine

    Americans' confidence in American leadership is flagging to such a degree that it poses a critical threat to our democracy, particularly as moneyed interests seek to manipulate the malaise and stir policy and politician away from principle and toward profit.

    President Barack Obama's approval ratings remain underwater, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week found that his numbers have gotten even worse on foreign policy. As NBC put it:

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New Leader, New Attack on Exports

    In the real world, markets aren't perfect.

    If they were, you wouldn't need Fannie Mae to play such a vital role in housing finance. You wouldn't need government to fund research. And you certainly wouldn't rely on an export credit agency to help promote American exports and create American jobs. Surely, the private sector can handle that.

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Calamity on an 'Ungrateful Volcano'

    Iraq is shattered and 300 U.S. military advisers can't put the pieces back together. So now what? An old saying about the Middle East comes to mind: Things can always get worse.

    The aim of U.S. policy at this point should be minimizing the calamity, not chasing rainbows of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Iraq -- which, sadly, is something the power brokers in Iraq do not want.

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ISIL and SISI

    The past month has presented the world with what the Israeli analyst Orit Perlov describes as the two dominant Arab governing models: ISIL and SISI.

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Should Amazon Just Take Over?

    It's the darnedest thing. Only a select few sites grace the bookmark bar topping my Web browser. Amazon.com is one. And Amazon is the only retailer to make the cut.

    That it lets me buy ant traps online in 40 seconds, gets them to my house in two days and charges a good price for it all is kind of miraculous, don't you think?

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Where's Saddam Hussein When the US Needs Him?

    John Kerry was doing his best "Casablanca" impersonation, pretending to be police Capt. Renault and was just shocked that Egypt is still a brutal military dictatorship despite our newly revived "historic partnership." 

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A Climate of Extra Credit

    Naturally, the World Cup is drawing attention to Brazil, the host nation and the tournament’s leading contender. But shortly before the soccer tournament began, two studies highlighted by National Geographic also called attention to South America’s biggest country.

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Brazilian Order and Progress

    Every four years, Brazilians wrap themselves in their cheerful green, yellow, and blue flag emblazoned with the Portuguese words “ordem e progresso.” The slogan, which translates as “order and progress,” stretches across a puddle of stars.

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Into The Morass

    Remember the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush? It happened on Dec. 14, 2008, near the end of the president's second term. Bush had traveled to Baghdad for a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The two announced the signing of the U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement promising that all American soldiers would leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

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