Category Archives: Media

Cap and (something that rhymes with Trade)

Wow. Today in the New York Time Paul Krugman praises Cap and Trade for having helped find ‘market based solutions’ to the Acid Rain problem of the 80s and 90s.

Only 3 or so links down, the Editorial Section blasts Cap and Trade and explains why it is a myth that this helped end Acid Rain:


The acid rain controversy of the 1980s was in many respects a dress rehearsal for today’s fight over climate change. Then as now, right-wing ideologues denied the science. Then as now, industry groups claimed that any attempt to limit emissions would inflict grievous economic harm.

But in 1990 the United States went ahead anyway with a cap-and-trade system for sulfur dioxide. And guess what. It worked, delivering a sharp reduction in pollution at lower-than-predicted cost.

The New York Times Editorial:

Supporters of cap and trade point to the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that capped sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-burning power plants — the main pollutants in acid rain — at levels below what they were in 1980. This legislation allowed power plants that reduced emissions to levels below the cap to sell the credit for these excess reductions to other utilities whose emissions were too high, thus giving plant owners a financial incentive to cut back their pollution. Sulfur emissions have been reduced by 43 percent in the two decades since. Great success? Hardly.

Perhaps the NYtimes has rebuked an Opinion piece in the same days better, but we can’t think of another example like this.

A Rich opinion piece that Frankly makes us wonder about the war in Southern Asia

Frank Rich writes forcefully and passionately about President Obama’s new commitment in Afghanistan today. Unfortunately, his piece gets mired in a weakly trying to find importance in the White House Party Crashers non-story. This portion of his opinion piece today could have been edited out without the least bit effect on the article usefulness, but the rest speaks for itself:

It’s not just that Obama is fielding somewhat fewer troops than the maximum Gen. Stanley McChrystal requested. McChrystal himself didn’t ask for enough troops to fight a proper counterinsurgency in Afghanistan in the first place. Using the metrics outlined in the sacred text on the subject, Gen. David Petraeus’s field manual, we’d need a minimal force of 568,000 for Afghanistan’s population of 28.4 million. After the escalation, allied forces will reach barely a quarter of that number.

If the enemy in Afghanistan today threatens the American homeland as the Viet Cong never did, we should be all in, according to Obama’s logic. So why aren’t we? The answer is not merely that Afghans don’t want us as occupiers. It’s that such a mission would require a commensurate national sacrifice. One big difference between the war in Vietnam and the war in Afghanistan that the president conspicuously left unmentioned on Tuesday is the draft. Given that conscription is not about to be revived, we’d have to spend money, lots more money, to recruit the troops needed for the full effort Obama’s own argument calls for.

Some Americans may be surprised to learn that we do not have half a million more troops to spare. As Spencer Ackerman reported in the Washington Independent:

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

We’re not experts by any means, but we doubt that deploying all of your troops to war is the best way to manage the military.

The President should be thanked for not injecting the tired Bush/Cheney jingoism that we are used to at these speeches of military escalation. But he has continued the practice of avoiding the mention of a shared sacrifice of even a single tax increase to pay for the perpetual war in Southern Asia (unlike the war in Southeast Asia in the 1960s which required major sacrifice at home).

In this, he’s like most of the war’s supporters, regardless of party. On Fox News last Sunday, two senators, the Republican Jon Kyl and the Democrat Evan Bayh, found rare common ground in agreeing that an expanded Afghanistan effort should never require new taxes. It’s this bipartisan mantra that more war must be fought without more sacrifice — rather than Obama’s tentative withdrawal timeline — that most loudly signals to the world the shallowness of the American public’s support for any Afghanistan escalation. This helps explain why, as Fred Kaplan pointed out in Slate, the American share of allied troops in Afghanistan is rising (to 70 percent from under 50 percent at the time George Bush left office) despite Obama’s boast of an enthusiastic new coalition of the willing.

Huffington Post reports on insurance company abuses; Anthem advertises on Huffington Post!

Huffingon Post is an excellent website with lot’s of incredible original content and interesting, up to date news. Huffpo does a lot of reporting on insurance reform, and they have documented the immoral and oftentimes illegal actions of private insurance companies.

Of course Hufpo also has advertisements on the sides and in the middle of its pages that change every time you change or reload a page. One of Huffington Post’s advertisements right now is for Tonik Health Insurance, which is owned by Anthem, the insurance company that owns Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Huffpo has documented abuses by Anthem in the past, and we think that Anthem is overall representative of the insurance industry (full disclosure: BC/BS did reject one of the Nabobs for having a ‘pre existing condition’).

Today Huffpo has an unfortunate story about a law school student who couldn’t get health insurance (and therefor health care) after he found out that he had cancer. After begging for his life, the young man was treated for his cancer by the hospital’s “charity” program.

The subject of the article sums up his experience:

“I’m a pretty humble guy, but it’s really demoralizing to have to beg a hospital for your life, to be to be able to be treated for this thing you just found out that you had,” he said. “I don’t just have a right to be healthy? I have to beg for it? I have to show that I am poor? It’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing. It’s really unacceptable.”

Ironically, the advertisement for Anthem’s insurance program for young people (like the subject of Huffpo’s article) Tonik’s appeared on this unfortunate stories page. The screenshots are below.
Screen shot 2009-10-02 at 9.31.22 PM

And when you mouse over the part that says “Legal,” this appears.
Screen shot 2009-10-02 at 9.32.26 PM

Since Huffington Post reports (very well) on insurance reform, and has documented the industries immoral and sometimes illegal practices, it shouldn’t allow Anthem to advertise on their website. But given the subject matter of this story, it is especially inappropriate.

UPDATE, another Nabob favorite, has the same Tonik ad on the page of a (excellent) story that is critical about  the health care industry.

Screen shot 2009-10-04 at 11.51.20 AM

The White House’s H.R Department

We didn’t know who Van Jones was before we were perusing the Huffington Post’s comments section a few weeks ago (yes, we like to party) and found a post by an obvious Glenn Beck fan, who posted a “list of questions for the White House.” We assume that this ‘list’ was written by Beck himself–Beck is Wight Wing (RW) talk show host, and also has a show on Fox News.

Beck is not your typical Right Wing talk show host, though. He is a RW conspiracy nut ,and he simply MUST be seen to be believed. The “list of questions” was unremarkable…your typical Red Meat issues for the tin-foil wearing base of the RW Movement. But one of the ‘questions’ was “Why is Van Jones in a top position in the White House?” Not knowing who Jones was, we looked him up on Wikipedia. This is what they have on him:

Anthony “Van” Jones (born September 20, 1968) is an environmental advocate, civil rights activist, attorney and author, who served from March 16[1] to September 5,[2] 2009 as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the United States.

Van Jones is now the ex-Special Advisor for Green Jobs. He resigned got canned from his job for two apparent reasons: 1) He called Republicans “assholes” in a speech that was mostly taken out of context and 2) he unknowingly signed a “9/11 Truther” petition.

Of course neither of these above events merit being fired. Worse offenses were committed in the Bush White House, and as we recall more officials were awarded the Medal of Honor than were fired for incompetence.

But Jones was also the founder of Color of Change, an organization which is responsible for an exodus of big advertisers from Glenn Beck’s Fox News show after Beck said that Barack Obama is a racist.

Now, the White House may have thought that it was squashing a controversial staff member, but what they’ve done is allow RW hysteria inform the hiring and firing of White House officials. The “Right Wing Noise Machine” is, in a way, the White House’s new Human Resources Department.

In retrospect, the Nabobs have found out that “The Glenn Beck” show had become the “Get Van Jones Fired Show” sever since the advertiser exodus from Beck’s show (including Walmart, Progressive Insurance, CVS, Men’s Warehouse and around 30 others).

So the Nabobs have been listening to Right Wing radio this past week (so that you don’t have to!), and the White House H.R Department–nearly every single show on the Satellite Radio show “America Right”–has been talking non-stop about Cass Sunstein, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Don’t be  surprised when Sunstein resigns in order to “not destract attention from the Presidents agenda.”

We think that lately the president’s agenda seems to be to placate a minority hard-right faction of Americans who will never, ever approve of anything that the president does.