Monday, February 25, 2013

Year of the Snake


Chinatown during the New Year's celebration. I skipped the massive lines at the parade this year and hung around the outside of the crowd, wandering up to Chinatown to check out the party. Place was packed as you can see...

Bored with the news? Me too.

TPM: How Sequestration Undermines Its Own Deficit Cutting Purpose
The Congressional Budget Office took a look at sequestration and other scheduled fiscal tightening in November of last year, to provide an estimate of how much each element would harm the economy. Analysts concluded that sequestration’s defense cuts would shave about 0.4 percent off of GDP and cost nearly half a million jobs by the end of the fiscal year. Its domestic cuts, the analysts projected, would be somewhat less economically damaging, since a smaller percentage of that spending consists of direct purchases. But a smaller economy, and fewer employed people means fewer tax receipts and more safety net spending.

WaPo: Americans still don’t want to cut any actual government programs
This is quickly becoming the world’s least surprising chart. A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that most Americans like the idea of cutting federal spending in the abstract — they just can’t agree on any specific areas they’d actually like to cut.

NYT: Hard Budget Realities as Agencies Prepare to Detail Reductions
By the end of this week, federal agencies will notify governors, private contractors, grant recipients and other stakeholders of the dollars they would be about to lose. As of March 1, the Treasury Department will immediately trim subsidies for clean energy projects, school construction, state and local infrastructure projects and some small-business health insurance subsidies.

WaPo: The state-by-state impacts of sequestration. Look up your state here.

Hillary Watch: Dems 2016: Will Hillary Clinton clear the field?
Among the Democratic governors who descended on Washington this weekend for the National Governors Association winter meeting, the only difference of opinion when it came to Secretary Clinton was whether she would clear the 2016 field entirely or merely loom colossus-like over the race until, and upon entering, the campaign.

Mother Jones: Inside the Military's Clean-Energy Revolution
So when the Department of Defense set a goal to meet 25 percent of its energy needs with renewables by 2025, the Navy found itself fighting on familiar ground. Four times in history it has overhauled old transportation paradigms—from sail to coal to gasoline to diesel to nuclear—carrying commercial shipping with it in the process... It goes beyond supply lines. Rising sea levels lapping at naval bases? A melting and increasingly militarized Arctic? The Navy is tackling problems that freeze Congress solid. What it learns, what it implements, and how it adapts and innovates will drive market changes that could alter the course of the world.

NOAA: Climate Change Is Cutting Humans’ Work Capacity
It’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity that gets you. That’s the conclusion of a new study that finds climate change has reduced humanity’s ability to work by making the planet hotter and muggier... By 2050, a combination of rising heat and humidity is likely to cut the world’s labor capacity to 80 percent during summer months — twice the effect observed today.

The Globe: Scientists call for Ottawa to take dramatic steps to curb emissions
Ottawa has brought in regulations to phase out traditional coal plants after 2020, boosted fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks and supported biofuels and carbon capture and storage. But the scientists countered with an analysis that suggests per-barrel emissions in the oil sands are rising, while government documents project Canada will be 18.6 per cent over its emissions target in 2020. Canada, they said, is the 58th worst out of 61 countries on climate performance.

Freep and others: GM bringing WiFi to new vehicles
General Motors and AT&T are working together to install high-speed wireless connectivity in all GM vehicles, enabling drivers and passengers to access digital information more quickly. Officials declined to reveal terms of the deal or what the service will cost, but it's likely motorists will have to pay for it eventually.

DNews: Chairman Johnson is looking to widen base, find Snyder challenger
Schauer, who backed Brewer in the chairman's race, said he's now "on board" with Johnson, even as he faces increasing pressure from fellow Democrats to run for governor next year. Schauer said Sunday he will make a decision on whether to challenge Snyder "within the next weeks."

What's your best guess? From way out here it looks like "no", but anything can happen, right?

In the meantime, keep on keepin' on...