Patterico's Pontifications

1/10/2009

What Americans Like

Filed under: Economics,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 10:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A recent Gallup poll shows Americans support an Obama stimulus plan that creates infrastructure jobs and provides tax cuts:

“Large majorities of Americans say they would favor including income tax cuts (72%), tax cuts for businesses (75%), and a government infrastructure program that would create new jobs (78%) as part of a new economic stimulus package.”

Republicans like the tax cuts but Democrats don’t:

“Top U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday raised concerns about some of the tax breaks that may be included in a stimulus plan aimed at boosting the stricken economy, questioning if they would have a significant impact.

President-elect Barack Obama urged that state aid and spending on infrastructure be coupled with tax cuts in an effort to win over Republicans skeptical about large spending programs. The tax initiatives could total some $310 billion.”

Democratic leaders support government spending but are skeptical about tax cuts. That’s why I’m skeptical about Democrats.

— DRJ

Dick Durbin Says Burris Won’t Be Seated

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 9:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Proclaiming the Senate “cannot possibly waive a 125-year-old rule requiring the signatures of both the governor and the secretary of state on any appointment,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says the Illinois Secretary of State’s failure to certify the appointment of Roland Burris means the Senate won’t seat Burris:

“At this point we’ve clearly reached an impasse,” Durbin told reporters at his Chicago office. He suggested the Senate seat might even remain vacant and Illinois’ Senate representation halved until Blagojevich is removed from office and the lieutenant governor takes over and makes a new appointment.

This, plus the ongoing impeachment struggle in Illinois, seems likely to prolong the internal Democratic struggle past the historic inauguration of Obama, who’s sent a message to Reid and Durbin to get the distraction settled. A Blagojevich impeachment trial could start in the state Senate next week.”

Meanwhile, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reversed course and now supports Burris’ appointment:

“Now, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, who represented White in the case, is back in the fray, according to the Swamp’s Mark Silva. She says it’s clear now that White “is not the roadblock to Mr. Burris’ appointment to the U.S. Senate. It remains within the power of the U.S. Senate to seat Mr. Burris.”

Then she added, “They should do so immediately.”

We need a scorecard to keep track of where the politicians stand in this story.

— DRJ

Worried About the Environment? Log Off.

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 5:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Harvard University physicist claims internet use, including something as simple as a Google search, has a “definite environmental impact:”

“Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon.”

Google searches go to competing servers to maximize a fast response, leaving Google with excess capacity that burns energy. And it’s not just Google searches that have carbon costs. The researcher claims all internet use has an adverse impact:

“Wissner-Gross has also calculated the CO2 emissions caused by individual use of the internet. His research indicates that viewing a simple web page generates about 0.02g of CO2 per second. This rises tenfold to about 0.2g of CO2 a second when viewing a website with complex images, animations or videos.”

The link sets forth similar concerns by other researchers.

I think we have the ability to find and use abundant energy while we also protect the environment through technology and conservation. So which will it be, my internet friends? If you’re still worried about the environment, maybe it’s time for you to log off.

— DRJ

Ricci v. DeStefano

Filed under: Court Decisions,Law,Race — DRJ @ 2:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Powerline posts on a New Haven CT case, Ricci v. DeStefano, that has been granted review by the U.S. Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court has decided to review the Second Circuit’s decision in Ricci v. DeStefano. In that case, New Haven firefighters — one Hispanic and more than a dozen whites — sued the city after they were denied promotion because the city disregarded the results of its own test for determining who would be promoted. The city threw out the test results because not enough black firefighters scored high enough to earn a promotion. It did so even though the test was designed by experts to eliminate the possibility of racial bias.

The link details the unusual history of the case in the trial court and on appeal in the Second Circuit.

This may be the first big case during the Obama Administration that will tackle the issue of racial preferences. It will be interesting to see how the Obama DOJ responds.

— DRJ


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