The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: Politics of the Planet

The Politics of the Planet

How do we balance the need for dams as sources of energy with a desire to be environmentally responsible; especially in third world countries? [bbc.com]

The path to a greener a city can be smelly, but it is certainly worth it. [nytimes.com]

An interesting look at who is eating meat and what goes into that hamburger in terms of energy and water. [npr.org]

An update on the Colorado fires, thousands have been evacuated. [latimes.com]

 

Iranian VP Blames “Zionists” for Illegal Drug Trade

Now we know why we are losing the global war on drugs — it’s the fault of the Zionists!  Read the article below from JTA:

An Iranian vice president blamed “Zionists” for the global drug trade and said the Talmud encourages promoting addiction in non-Jewish communities. Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi made the comments Tuesday as part of ceremonies marking International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Tehran.

He said evidence of the “Zionists'” direct involvement in illicit drugs is that fact that “you cannot find a single addict among the Zionists,” the semi-official Iranian FARS news service reported. Referring to the Talmud, he said, “The book teaches them how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother.”

I guess I need to reade my Talmud a little more carefully.  And heed Abe Foxman’s words quoted later in the article:

“To all those who thought that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, certainly this makes it very clear that it is alive and well again.  What makes it more sinister and dangerous is the fact that it comes from a leader of a country that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state, and is making efforts to obtain the means to do it,” ADL National Director Abe Foxman said in a statement.

Click here for the full article.

 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Babar the Elephant

So glad I don’t drink alcohol anymore.

Just drank two cups of Cuban coffees on vacation and find myself thinking “I wonder whatever happened to Babar the Elephant?”

Really. Stone cold sober.

That is not the kind of mind that needs any further lubrication. Rather it needs a blow dryer and a strong instrument to steady and focus it.

For 26 years now I have not felt compelled to act on any random thoughts about Babar the Elephant or any other imaginary animals.

Devastating Hit on Aaron Sorkin

If you are enjoying all of the anti-Aaron Sorkin backlash upon the premiere of his new HBO series “Newsroom”  (I find the show to be pretty good), you’ll love this video compilation of Sorkin’s tendency to use the same lines in different productions, over and over and over again (h/t JTA’s Six Degrees, No Bacon):

Krystal Ball: Happy Over Health Care Ruling

Our own RP Krystal Ball’s take on yesterday’s Supreme Court health case decision. SPOILER ALERT: She’s happy:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Zac Byer: EXCLUSIVE Report from Inside the Supreme Court on Obamacare Decision Day

Good morning and welcome  to a special edition of Prix Fixe Politics!  At 11:30 PM Wednesday  night, I hailed a cab to the second most important address in all of America – One First Street NE, Washington, DC.  I arrived at the Supreme Court, not realizing how tense and dramatic the next twelve hours would get.  I want you to relive Thursday with me – I hope it gives you a different perspective on this historic moment.  With that, here is today’s special SCOTUS menu…

Appetizer: It was actually around 2:00 PM  Wednesday that I first stopped by the Court to see if the mayhem had begun.  No protestors, no supporters, no media in sight…and there were only 3 people in line at that point.  It was less electric than an LA Clippers game in the 90’s and 00’s.  The third woman in line was kind enough to inform me that the Court reserves about 60 spots for the general public on oral argument and opinion days.  While she wouldn’t hold a place for me, she gave me her phone number and suggested I call her later in the evening to gauge the crowd.  Sure enough, when I called her at 11:30 PM, she let me know the line had grown to roughly 40.  So, in khakis and a button-down, with only a half-full bottle of water, I took a cab to the Court and got in line.  If you didn’t recognize the building behind us, you could easily have mistaken the group for college freshmen on move-in day.  The average age was 25 or 26 at most.  They brought foam egg crates and yoga mats to sleep on, blankets and sleeping bags to sleep under.  Some wore sandals and shorts, others wore suits and suspenders.  Justice truly knows no dress code.  There were over-eager undergraduates and case-citing law students, with some Masters in Public Health candidates sprinkled in.  And even though all sides of the aisle were represented and the Capitol Building shone illuminated across the street, there wasn’t one political argument all night.

Main Course: By the time 5:00 AM rolled around, I learned that a lone Crystal Geyser water bottle does not make for a good pillow.  People were stirring and the media circus was arriving.  While the mood was still surprisingly relaxed at that time, 8:00 AM was another story.  The Court security lined us up single-file and handed out a numbered gold card to each person.  I got #36, and could breathe a quick sigh of relief that I’d make it into the courtroom. The guards moved us along 10 at a time, left, right, left, right.  Walking up the first few stairs and heading to the side of the Court, I got a different feeling than I do when I enter the Capitol or White House.  For me, at least, I didn’t feel the same sense of patriotism, but more of a feeling of permeating purpose. Finally moving toward and into the Court reminded me how monumental a moment this could be in the course of defining the parameters of American government, determining the next President, and shaping the political conversation for years to come.  And when you pass CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin in the hall of the Supreme Court, you know there’s no better place to be if law and policy is your bag.

As we lined up once again and prepare to head upstairs, a rosy Michelle Bachmann appeared out of nowhere to join the front of the line.  She hadn’t looked that cheerful since she won the Ames straw poll last August.  Eventually, after we make our way upstairs and check cell-phones and bags in a locker room, I am led to a seat directly behind Bachmann.  She’s not the only congressional Republican on hand:  Reps. Tom Price and Catch McMorris-Rogers are a few rows ahead.  Senators Hatch and Barrasso found good seats in the middle, too.  Paul Clement, attorney for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, was already seated in the back section when Donald Verrilli and others from the Solicitor General’s Office arrived to take their seats only a few rows from the bench.

Read the rest of…
Zac Byer: EXCLUSIVE Report from Inside the Supreme Court on Obamacare Decision Day

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Pigskin

The Politics of Pigskin

The 49ers have lost $30 million dollars that would have gone to fund it’s stadium to the county. [Yahoo!]

Aaron Rodgers has been named the #1 player in the NFL according to the NFL Network. [Packers.com]

Here is a nifty Offseason report to get you caught up on any things you might have missed. [Austin Chronicle]

Titans DE Kamerion Wimbley kills the American Ninja Warrior course. [G4]

Steve Smith being charitable. Cool story. [Charlotte Observer]

Krystal Ball: Myths About “Fast and Furious”

Read this!!! New reporting on Fast & Furious says gun walking was never ATF policy.  Looks like Fast & Furious was (as suspected) a frenzy whipped up by right-wing bloggers, covered by FOX, acted on by Congress. [CNN Money and CNN Money]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech

Admitting to a bit of a bias here – my cousin Jeremy Ferguson is interviewed in this Forbes piece about how music licensing is changing. However, my bias aside, it is still an interesting piece. [Forbes]

Dotcom searches illegal. Judge also ruled it was unlawful for copies of Dotcom’s computer data to be taken offshore [NZ Herald]

“Evading ticketing services, comedian Louis C.K. sells tour himself” Super smart move. He is revolutionizing the way people pay for content from their favorite entertainers. [Yahoo!]

Ever wondered how LinkedIn makes money? How about what their overall business plan is? This article has the answers. [Forbes]

Janken (rock-paper-scissors) Robot with 100% winning rate – that’s all it is. [YouTube]

 

Greg Harris: On Anticipating the GOP’s Response to the Supreme Court

Congress’s use of the Taxing Clause to encourage buying something is . . . not new. Tax incentives already promote, for example, purchasing homes and professional educations. See 26 U. S. C. §§163(h), 25A. Sustaining the mandate as a tax depends only on whether Congress has properly exercised its taxing power to encourage purchasing health insurance, not whether it can. Upholding the individual mandate under the Taxing Clause thus does not recognize any new federal power. It determines that Congress has used an existing one.” –Chief Justice John Roberts

The Supreme Court earlier today upheld “Obamacare.” The majority opinion, drafted by Chief Justice Roberts, essentially recognized that taxation to influence consumer behavior in this country is nothing new. Republican leadership is already vowing to kill it.  I’m curious to know what provisions of insurance reform they will kill first . .

The first provisions include barring insurers from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions, allowing parents to opt to keep their own children covered on their plans until they turn 26, and fixing the Medicare reimbursement gap (the “doughnut hole”) that costs seniors several hundred dollars each year. Will the GOP fight to continue medical discrimination against children? Will they kill legislation to reimburse seniors? Will they stop parents from keeping their children covered until age 26?

The law has also required states to create high-risk pools that cover individuals denied private insurance due to pre-existing conditions.  Will they now ask the adult with multiple sclerosis to give up that coverage?

Moving forward, health insurance reform will establish insurance exchanges and purchasing cooperatives where insurers that currently enjoy monopolies over entire regions will face competition from other private insurers. Will the GOP kill private sector competition in favor of retaining insurance monopolies? Will they prevent small business and the self-employed from entering into purchasing cooperatives so they can enjoy the discounted coverage that results from economies of scale?

The GOP laments the effects of Obamacare (modeled after RomneyCare) on the economy, especially small business.  But the only small businesses impacted by healthcare legislation are those that employ over 50 people.  About 96% of all small businesses do not employ over 50 people, and so will not be effected.  As for those that do employ over 50 people, most of them already provide healthcare.  They will now be getting tax credits to make their coverage of employees far more affordable.  Will they take these small business tax credits away?

So in the coming days, I look forward to hearing from GOP leadership, specifically, whose health care will you be killing?

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