Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My ten point plan for saving America

No reader of this blog is going to like all of these, so bring on the complaints (calmly and rationally please):

1. Secure the southern border with Mexico while allowing for a path to legalization for those already here (yes, AMNESTY, if you want to use that word)
2. Abolish the Federal Reserve and put the dollar back on gold. That's how we can stop inflation.
3. Insitute ASAP a single-payer health care plan, like France's. No more spending billions on overhead for private health insurance companies.
4. Decriminalize drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and LSD. Regulate and tax it. Users will be sent to treatment, not to jail. We didn't have drug laws until the beginning of the 20th century. Were we a nation of zombies before 1910?
5. Move gradually to nuclear power. It is much cleaner and safety concerns are overblown. Just ask the people of France. Not every factory manager will be Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.
6. Simplify the tax code, while still keeping it progressive. Only deductions should be charitable contributions and mortgage interest. Perhaps a top rate of 25% for those making $500,000 plus, 15% for $125,000 to $500,000, and 10% for all others. (I'm flexible on the numbers).
7. Payroll taxes should be abolished. All revenue needed for government functions can be paid out of the general revenue, rather than taking it out of the worker's paycheck. That would create jobs and cut taxes on the working poor.
8. All "social" questions such as gay marriage and abortion should be left to the people-not the courts- of the individual states.
9. All racial preferences, a.k.a. affirmative action, should be abolished, for all groups.
10. All candidates for federal office who refuse public money should be entitled to public financing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why aren't we dead already?

There's an interesting article in the Nation magazine this week on global warming. Note I said interesting, not coherent. The author, Mark Hertsgaard, makes the following curious statement:

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere in 2007 was 385 parts per million and climbing 2 ppm a year. Alarmingly, Hansen's study concluded that 350 ppm is the maximum level compatible with a livable planet. In other words, humanity is already in the danger zone and must reverse course rapidly.
(He is referring to James Hansen, a scientist very vocal on the dangers of global warming).

Hertsgaard wants the reader to think: "We're past the breaking point- the end is near if we don't massively cut CO2." But it seems like the article avoids a key question: If we're well past 350 ppm already, and we're not in an unlivable planet, doesn't that indicate that Hansen is being an alarmist? If we are OK on 385 ppm, why is 350 ppm the breaking point? Is it remotely possible that the link between CO2 and temperature is overstated? Just asking...

In a completely unrelated note, Hertsgaard has written the best book I ever read on the Reagan presidency, On Bended Knee.

One article on global warming I highly recommend is Alexander Cockburn's Dissidents Against Dogma. He is a leftist skeptical of the anthropogenic global warming theory, which is hard to find.