Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Devolution of the Nation ...

Obstructionism in Washington appears to give way to State action in ways that maybe the Reaganites never imagined when they set out to break the Federal Government and Judiciary as a tool of Liberal values:

The governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington said they would develop a regional target to lower greenhouse gases and create a program aimed at helping businesses reach the still-undecided goals. "In the absence of meaningful federal action, it is up to the states to take action to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this country," Governor Napolitano, a Democrat of Arizona, said. "Western states are being particularly hard-hit by the effects of climate change."

... And Mr. Schwarzenegger and Britain's Prime Minister Blair announced plans to work toward a possible joint emissions-trading market. -The NY Sun

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2008 Just the Numbers: Week 8

Next PresidentProbability
2007 Week 8: McCain calls Rumsfeld the worst Sec Def and Cheney rushes to defend, Romney continues his raise-the-praise candidacy, Geffen precipitates flap between Obama and Clinton
GOP NomineeProbability
DEM NomineeProbability
Next ExecutiveProbability

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Incandescent no more

Given the recent scientific update on global warming, this tidbit caught my eye. Someone remarked once that so many empty American buildings are fully lit and fully heated/air-conditioned. There is a great deal of waste.

Following the inch of cloth on the hems of China analogy, Australia weighs in with an end to Edison's lightbulb:

SYDNEY, Australia — The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country. Legislation to gradually restrict the sale of the old-style bulbs could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent, said Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Could this happen in America? Why or why not?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rich man, Poor man ... The End of the Rainbow has been narrowed

The Economist does a truly concise and exceptionally well written bit on the rise in income and wealth inequalities. I'd put a money quote, but the whole thing is worthy, even moreso given the ongoing commentary in various parts of the blogosphere.

Here is a genrous sampling:

Mr Nardelli's exit was as extravagantly rewarded as his occupation of the corner office had been. Next to his $210m severance pay, the redundant woodworkers' packages were mean to the point of provocation.

That's the way it goes all over the rich world. Since 2001 the pay of the typical worker in the United States has been stuck, with real wages growing less than half as fast as productivity. By contrast, the executive types gathering for the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland next week have enjoyed a Beckhamesque bonanza. If you look back 20 years, the total pay of the typical top American manager has increased from roughly 40 times the average—the level for four decades—to 110 times the average now.

These are the glory days of global capitalism. The mix of technology and economic integration transforming the world has created unparalleled prosperity. In the past five years the world has seen faster growth than at any time since the early 1970s. In China each person now produces four times as much as in the early 1990s. Having joined the global labour force, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries have won the chance to escape squalor and poverty. Hundreds of millions more stand to join them.

That promises to improve the lot of humanity as a whole incalculably. But in the rich world labour's share of GDP has fallen to historic lows, while profits are soaring. A clamour is abroad that Mr Nardelli and his friends among the top hundredth—or even the top thousandth—of the population are seizing the lion's share of globalisation's gains. Meanwhile everyone else—not just blue-collar factory workers but also the wider office-working middle class—shuffles along, grimly waiting for the next round of cost-cuts. They are not happy.

The Economist put their observations in the context of Globalization, but it is hard to know what other forms any backlash might take.

There is some evidence that the GOP regulars are running scared. Larry Kudlow called for a repeal of the 16th Amendment on his show this week ... !