June 13, 2009

Ahmadinejad win appears clean

The Guardian’s Abbas Barzegar starts us off by refuting Western punditry, of both conservative and liberal stripes, including vaunted expert Juan Cole.

He says, rather Western pundits engaged in wishful thinking to the degree the Western press largely didn’t even report on the size of Ahmadinejad’s biggest rallies, including one that may have hit 1 million people.

The Guardian piece pretty well refutes, or claims to, all of Cole’s claims of fraud. (Cole had been awfully right on a lot of things in the past, but, when he's wrong, he can be wayyy wrong.)

As for Ahmadinejad’s claiming victory relatively soon after the polls closed, and with a percentage of the vote fairly near what he actually got, contra one of Cole’s commenters, I assume he has pollsters, like American presidential candidates, and they did their jobs about as well. It happens every four years here in the US and nobody cries “fraud.”

Sullivan is also wrong in claiming a straight-line vote return indicates fraud; liberal vote-analyst blogger Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight shows that with illustrations from American elections.

Sullivan is also wrong in claiming a straight-line vote return indicates fraud; liberal vote-analyst blogger Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight shows that with illustrations from American elections.

Beyond that, maybe this is similar to Hamas winning Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Perhaps a lot of fence-sitting Iranians saw a chance to say Eff You to Western pundits and analysts.

Obama wants to cut federal healthcare costs – but how?

BUT, as is usual with him, he kicks the details of “how” down the road.

I know this is a double-edged sword; once any president, whether this one or not, started laying some specific healthcare cost-cutting cards on the table, especially when he has said he’s looking at prescription drugs, and boom, Big Pharma is all over you.

Not so fast on Iran vote fraud

The Guardian’s Abbas Barzegar says, rather Western pundits engaged in wishful thinking to the degree the Western press largely didn’t even report on the size of Ahmadinejad’s biggest rallies, includign one that may have hit 1 million people.

The Guardian piece pretty well refutes, or claims to, all of Juan Cole’s claims of fraud.

As for Ahmadinejad’s claiming victory relatively soon after the polls closed, and with a percentage of the vote fairly near what he actually got, contra one of Cole’s commenters, I assume he has pollsters, like American presidential candidates, and they did their jobs about as well. It happens every four years here in the US and nobody cries “fraud.”

Sullivan is also wrong in claiming a straight-line vote return indicates fraud; liberal vote-analyst blogger Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight shows that with illustrations from American elections.

Sullivan is also wrong in claiming a straight-line vote return indicates fraud; liberal vote-analyst blogger Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight shows that with illustrations from American elections.

Beyond that, maybe this is similar to Hamas winning Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Perhaps a lot of fence-sitting Iranians saw a chance to say Eff You to Western pundits and analysts.

Gas well fracking causing TX earthquakes?

Recently, a number of minor earthquakes have been reported in Texas’ natural-gas laden Barnett Shale, centered in the area around Cleburne, south-southwest of Fort Worth. Now, with four earthquakes, all minor and below magnitude 3.0, hitting in less than a month, some people wonder if well fracturing isn’t the culprit.

Such work, known as fracking, involves shooting water supersaturated with a propriety type of sand, into a wellhead to widen it and to create cracks in the surrounding rock to get gas or oil to flow to the wellhead.

Chesapeake Energy, the main driller in the area, says it wants to get at the bottom of the issue, while, in the same breath, denies it’s the cause:
“Drilling has occurred for more than a hundred years,” Julie Wilson said in an e-mail. “Tens of thousands of wells have been drilled with no nearby earthquakes at all; hundreds of earthquakes have occurred with no drilling nearby.”

Per John Breyer, a petroleum geologist and professor at Texas Christian University, I agree; I doubt fracking is the cause.

But, how can you know for sure without checking, and, how can you check completely enough to “get at the bottom of the issue” if you’re already ruling yourself out as the cause in advance?

Beyond that, such a thorough check might also have other benefits.

More US-EU conflicts as recession winds down?

Earlier this year, we had the European Union, which, with more generous unemployment benefits, was already “stimulating” the economy, tell the United States and new President Barack Obama it would not run a deficit “stimulus spending package” like that he planned.

Why? Inflation worries, among other things.

And now, that the industrialized world seems to be hitting bottom, we face a new round of G8 discussion, and disagreements, on an “exit strategy.”

And, within countries, too; reportedly, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is ready to start working on that exit now, while Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ain’t so sure of that idea.

Meanwhile, the member EU states have different stress tests from one another, run by their national governments and not the EU or the European Central Bank.

So, recovery could be uneven and differently times.

Not so fast on nanotech hype

Turns out those worried about the flip side of nanotech, how particles of such small size could influence human health, above all, have worries confirmed, with what looks like a pretty sound study on how nanoparticles — which are used to deliver some inhaled medicine dosages — can cause lung damage. Read the story for details.

June 13 weekly reasons to vote Green in 2012

Obama gives every indication he will oppose gay marriage as long as he’s president.

Obama pledges to censor Abu Ghraib 2.0 pix, the clearest refutation yet of his “most transparent government in history” claim.

Obama Administration OKs mountaintop coal mining to continue on its dirty, dangerous way, albeit with restrictions that probably won’t be worth the paper on which they’re written.

Obama appears to support Iraqi death squads.

Obama continues to show lack of climate change leadership.

Besides the lack of leadership, except when it’s politically expedient, the degree, nature and blatantness of Obama’s lies is a recurring thread in much of this.

June 12, 2009

1K fine will not speed pitchers up

Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon is now in the Major League Baseball record books, as the first pitcher fined for slow play.

But $1,000 is chump change to someone like Papelbon.

Instead, Bud “Bud” Selig should award a batter a ball for every three second late Papelbon is with a pitch. If he were giving the first batter a start-off 2-0 count, you can bet Manager Terry Francona would fine him more than one grand, too.

Obama wants gay couples at back of bus

Yessir, Just.Another.Politician.™ doesn’t really extend civil rights to gay marriage; in fact, his administrastion officially opposes that idea.

Obama’s Department of Justice, per the link, is officially on record in a federal suit as supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, one of the more craven bill-signings of the Clinton Administration, and officially rejecting the idea that the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize each others’ marriage laws, regardless of gender and sexual orientation of the two married persons.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is being chickenshit in another way, insisting that Congress take the lead in overturning DOMA. On environmental issues and more, we’ve seen that this is The One’s M.O. No leadership from this White House.

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, already excoriated over other issues by pseudoliberals at Kos for taking Obama to task, adds that Obama is lying in other ways, too, namely, claiming that DOMA doesn’t deny gay partners any equality under the law.

And, at another link, which itself has a link to the Obama DOJ official brief, we see that Obama says DOMA saves money, is consistent with equal protection under the law, and more, including claiming the right to marriage is not a fundamental right.

The Team Obama illogic is stunning.

First and foremost, if marriage is not a fundamental right, then why do we even have a Defense of Marriage Act? And, why are you so worried about protecting this act? Even to the point of using conservatives' rational-review scrutiny standard?

Global warming cuts US wind potential?

Yoiks, if true; a study, with preliminary numbers, says average wind speeds in the Midwest and East have fallen 10 percent since 1973, and, worse, says speeds could decline another 10 percent in the next four decades.

So, the wind power industry’s claims that the U.S. is “the Saudi Arabia of wind energy” may be truer than they recognize, assuming Peak Oil pretty much guts the Saudi oil fields in those same four decades.

Going green with Texas forests?

I’m OK with the general idea of giving Texas foresters CO2 emissions credits, but, per the story, I am worried about this promoting over-cutting forests, and also worried about giving biomass a carbon blank check.

Beyond that, Burl Carraway, head of sustainable forestry for the Texas Forest Service, notes that burning wood chips for electricity is bottom of the barrel for getting more money out of forests, too.

That said, none of this will help Texas foresters hurt by the bursting of the national housing bubble. While that bubble hasn’t exploded in Texas the way it has in the triangle of SoCal-Phoenix-Las Vegas, nonetheless, housing has slowed enough to be a problem.

And, if we really want to be green, we’d be building smaller houses, which would mean less forest cutting anyway.

Obama OK with blasting mountains

In the latest sign, of many, that The One ain’t The One on environmentalism (Vote Green, you numbnuts!) the Obama Administration says it will continue to allow mountaintop removal coal mining.

And, while it claims it will regulate such mining more tightly than did the Bush Administration, it can’t even guarantee such regulations will actually reduce the number of mountaintop coal mines.

And, while Earthjustice say it cannot support Obama in this, it will support him in 2012 rather than the Green candidate. Count on it. Ditto for the rest of Gang Green and affiliates.

Proof of that last point? A hand-wringing, “oh, why won’t Obama do more,” post on Kos, the enemy and lifeblood-sucker of anything truly progressive, by Bruce Nilles and Mary Anne Hitt, director and deputy director, respectively, of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign.

Thank doorknobs and real environmentalism, that I long ago cancelled my Sierra Club membership so as not to pay the salaries of people like that.

Obama sez will classify Abu Ghraib 2.0 pix

And, that would 86 them for years to come.

I’m sure there’s still a few Obamiacs who will try to spin this pledge of censorship, personally made by Just.Another.Politician.™ to expedite House-Senate negotiations on the war-funding bill, as “necessary,” or “an aberration,” or “executive privilege,” or something similar.

It’s anything but.

And, if Obama does that, he’ll next pressure Her Majesty’s Government to find out where the Telegraph has gotten its previous pictures from and shut down that pipeline, too.

June 11, 2009

Your ‘duh’ health news of the day

And that’s the story that more people are going to the Internet for health information.

I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why.

1. Laid off in the recession, no healthcare.
2. Healthcare cut or eliminated as company struggles to avoid layoffs.
3. No healthcare even before recession.
4. Conspiracy theory mindset toward traditional medicine, which otherwise is known simply as “medicine.”

Read the full story for details about people’s online health searches.

India joins China in CO2 venting

I’m not talking the carbon dioxide from any of India’s heavy industry. Rather, India has joined China in complaining that developed nations aren’t doing enough to reign in their CO2 emissions.

The specifics of Shyam Saran’s complaints, over not cutting 40 percent below 1990 emissions, would be most directed at the U.S. and Japan, especially as he also blasted the two countries’ attempt to move from 1990 to 2005 on the baseline year for carbon cuts.

I would say the chance of an “accord” rather than a “framework” being achieved at Copenhagen in December is now below 50-50.

Southwest has no Love for flying

CEO Gary Kelly is very bearish on the shorter-term future of flight. He says Southwest’s revenues per seat mile were down almost 10 percent in May vs. a year ago.

Between the extremes on abortion debate

Here’s my professional editorial take on using viability and a bimester system to move to a new position on abortion that brings in all relevant legal angles, including various liberty interests, and all real medical information. (By “real,” I’m excluding the BS claims like “abortion causes cancer.”)

Chrysler and GM are cut off the federal bailout pipeline, now. Bu

Chrysler and GM are cut off the federal bailout pipeline, now. But, what about the $80 bil in dinero and commitments already outstanding?

Congress wants that answer, too. And, contra what auto tsarevich Ron Bloom says that, namely, that the government will fully get out of the auto biz when GM and Chrysler demonstrate viability …

What if they never do?

I mean, let’s be honest here.

What if, especially in the case of GM, there’s still plenty of “bad GM” at or near the core after selling off “peripherals”? And, We the People still have 60 percent of that? The government has less than 10 percent of Chrysler, so no big deal.

“A chicken in every pot and a GM in every ditch?”

Can Chrysler make it 18 months?

With crappy gas hogs, gas prices going back up, and likely to do so more if the recession is bottoming out, I wouldn’t hold my breath over an analysis of its prospects. And, that analysis includes 18 months until the Fiat takeover will show results on the showroom floors of remaining dealers.

And, even with slashed dealers cutting overhead, Chrysler also is cut off the federal bailout pipeline, now.

So, will Chrysler make it? Maybe, per my poll estimating GM could take as long as 18 months to clear the actual, and equivalent of, bankruptcy, maybe I should run one asking if Chrysler-Fiat can last that long.

June 10, 2009

Shhee-it on Conrad’s public healthcare idea

The idea of forming “cooperatives,” similar, allegedly, to rural electric co-ops, is the not so brilliant idea of Kent Conrad.

First, that sounds almost like lipstick on the pig of Bill Clinton’s original plan.

Second, private insurers will game that baby like three-card monte, if they can. They’ll offer to provide “consultancies” for individual co-ops to negotiate with providers, if nothing else.

Somebody want to beat some sense into Conrad?

It is NOT the ‘Obama deficit’

Dave Leonhardt makes that clear, despite lies by conservative bloggers such as Von at Obsidian Wings.

That said, Leonhardt also makes clear that Obama has chosen to continue many Bush choices; putting some of them on-budget is part of what makes the current deficits look so bad.

But, other stuff just got dumped in his lap.

That said, nobody’s forcing Obama to increase Pentagon spending so much, etc. And, I voted Green, so I have no special interest in defending the portion of debt and deficit that IS his fault.

China going renewable – but green? Maybe

And, in a serious way. Serious enough that Beijing believes it can catch Europe by 2020, with a fifth of its energy coming from renewables.

And, sometimes, a demand economy, or semi-demand economy, or a demand government, can do certain things. Per the Guardian story, in related green news, China has the ambitious plan of installing 100 million energy-efficient lightbulbs this year alone.

That said, the story doesn’t say how much of the “renewable” energy is from either nuclear power or non-environmental sources like the Three Gorges Dam. And, speaking of demand governments, Beijing can build nuclear plants all it wants.

So, renewable? Perhaps. Green? Perhaps not.

Housing prices could stay depressed for years

That’s a serious claim, and it’s not just anybody claiming it. It’s the stance of Yale economist Robert Shiller, co-creator of the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

Shiller says nobody should be surprised if housing prices don’t start climbing before 2012. Read his reasoning why.

June 09, 2009

Ted Rall goes counterfactual history

And morphs Obama and Hitler into a new tale of American “leadership” of interest. Here’s the first graf, with ersatz (pun intended) byline and all:
WASHINGTON, NORTH AMERICAN PROTECTORATE, GREATER GERMAN REICH--From Honolulu to Portland, Maine, North American citizens of the Greater German Reich gathered on June 6th to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the victory of Axis forces at D-Day, the battle that decided World War II. Fallen heroes of the Wehrmacht and SS were commemorated at solemn ceremonies and Party rallies throughout the Reich, but the day held special meaning in Washington, which until 1945 was the capital of the former United States.

Rall says it’s part 1 of a multipart series. I’ll stand by.

Oh, that Hitler-Obama mashup? Here’s a sample:
Hitler III swept into power last November with a slogan
— “change you can believe in” — that charmed members of the Reichstag across the political spectrum from far right to extreme right. Since that time, however, changes have proven either incremental or non-existent.

If you’re a regular reader of Rall, or at all familiar with him, you know that’s just the start.

And, I'll stand by for the Obamiacs to break out Godwin's Law.

Nazi Joe Lieberman ups censorship play

Lieberman and fellow censorship senator Lindsey Graham are threatening to shut down the Senate unless their amendment allowing President Obama to censor all post-9/11 photos that allegedly show U.S. foreign actions in an unfriendly light by picturing abuse of “War on Terror” detainees is passed by the House.

Sweden calls for EU carbon tax

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt wants Eurozone carbon taxes. And, with Sweden taking the European Union’s rotating presidency for six months, starting in July, Reinfeldt may be in a position to push that. (Sweden started carbon taxes way back in 1991. And, with Saab, Volvo and steel-making, it had heavy industry to deal with.)

So, in the ramp-up to the Copenhagen round of climate-change negotiations, we have something new in the mix.

More swine flu panic from WHO?

The World Health Organization is set to raise its swine flu alert level because of the number of cases reported in Australia. Seems to me that, even with WHO’s caveats on making sure countries are ready to act on the new alert level, as needed, that it’s still overkill.

Per the PDF linked in the story, I think WHO probably needs to readdress the various determinants it uses for alert levels.

The New York Times does more in-depth pondering down this line.

US not only climate-change slacker

Japan’s proposed 7 percent cut from 1990 for the Copenhagen round of climate negotiations is little better than the U.S. one. And, like the U.S., Japan all of a sudden is decideing to use 2005, not 1990, as the benchmark year.

Meanwhile, various airlines are wary, at least of the International Air Transport Association pledge to cap emissions growth by 2020.

And, the Alphonse-and-Gaston routine between Washington and Beijing continues. Japan’s newly-found weak-kneed stance can’t help but give China yet another card to play.

But, not everybody is a slacker. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt wants Eurozone carbon taxes. And, with Sweden taking the European Union’s rotating presidency for six months, starting in July, Reinfeldt may be in a position to push that. (Sweden started carbon taxes way back in 1991. And, with Saab, Volvo and steel-making, it had heavy industry to deal with.)

Shell settes Nigeria civil rights suit – justice delayed, but justice

True, the $15.5 million settlement amount is a pittance, and Shell continues to deny any responsibility for the 1995 death of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Add to it this malarkey:
In a statement, the company said the agreement “will provide funding for the trust and a compassionate payment to the plaintiffs and the estates they represent in recognition of the tragic turn of events in Ogoni land, even though Shell had no part in the violence that took place.”

“Shell has always maintained the allegations were false,” Malcolm Brinded, the company’s executive director for exploration and production, said in the statement.

Nonetheless, the result shows the Alien Tort Claims Act may just have some teeth. And, Shell agreed to release the dollar amount of the settlement, an idea it long resisted.

And that will have ramifications for the other major players of Big Oil in places like Ecuador and Indonesia.

So, justice delayed and partial still has the leverage of justice for tomorrow, too.

Douthat’s sensible abortion reflections

Some members of the Religious Right may want to rip away Russ Douthat’s conservative credentials, but he has some pondering-inducing comments on abortion regulation, and approaches to that, while clearly not mentioning “let’s ban abortion” or anything similar. Give it a read if, like me, you’re not at either extreme on this issue and open to having thought stimulated.

Brooks is down with Sotomayor

Opining from the hinterlands of Boboworld, David Brooks officially asserts that Sonia Sotomayor needs to be confirmed as President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

That may soften up a couple of Senate votes. Even more, the whole tenor of Brooks’ column will make astroturfing campaigns against her more difficult to gain traction.

A REAL climate control plan

As opposed to the Obama Administration’s foot-dragging, and China’s willingness to use this as a shield, a number of “green” non-government organizations has crafted a real CO2-control plan.

June 08, 2009

Is Krugman smoking crack?

I guess this is why economics is the dismal science, if it’s scientific at all. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman thinks the current recession will officially end by September.

How could SCOTUS not vote 9-0 on this?

So, the four ultraconservatives think it’s OK to bribe judges, in essence?

Rather, with the usual 5-4 split, with Anthony Kennedy swinging the right direction, that is to the left, on this one, said elected judges must recuse themselves from cases involving major campaign contributors.

In the case at hand, a West Virginia Supreme Court justice refused to recuse himself from a lawsuit against Big Coal titan Massey Coal, even though Massey had given him more than $3 million in campaign contributions. The suit itself is now over $80 million, with interest.

I guess Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas are OK with the Gilded Age?

Beyond that, as Kennedy noted the court was making no finding of actual bias, is NOBODY of the Nine familiar with behavioral economics or behavioral psychology? The idea that a judge could rationally rule in such a case is ridiculous, whether his or her actual biases would be conscious or subconscious.

What Obama-Geither-Summers SHOULD be doing

Bur aren’t actually doing, and probably never will be doing, with financial system reform, is thoroughly parsed and explained by Sandy B. Lewis and William D. Cohan. Here’s your pull quote:
Instead of hauling out the new drywall to cover up the existing studs, let’s seriously consider ripping down the entire structure, dynamiting the foundation and building a new system that rewards taking prudent risks, allocates capital where it is needed, allows all investors to get accurate and timely financial information and increases value to shareholders and creditors.

Instead of what?

Instead of what’s actually being done:
Six months ago, nobody believed that our banking system was well designed, functioning smoothly or properly regulated — so why then are we so desperately anxious to restore that model as the status quo? Nearly every new program emanating these days from the Treasury Department — the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the Public Private Investment Program, the “stress tests” of major banks — appears to have been designed to either paper over or to prop up a system that has clearly failed.

Lewis and Cohan, as they detail, want the Obama Administration to promote both more market AND consumer discipline, more economists on his team who have “been in the trenches,” and, belying yet another Obama lie, more transparency.

Finally, they want almost the equivalent of the clamored-after torture investigation, re major banks and other financial institutions.

NYC schools head misses boat on improvements

Former New York City schools chancellor Harold Levy, in his NYT op-ed listing five ways to improve education, nowhere mentions the need to lengthen the school year to 200 days or more, to equal other advanced nations.

If idjits like this, who allegedly know how to better schools, actually DON’T, we’re in trouble indeed.

Did Shelby Steele oppose Clarence Thomas?

He was certainly less qualified than Sonia Sotomayor, yet Poppy Bush picked him solely on his skin color. Steele doesn’t even mention that while eviscerating Obama for tapping Sotomayor. Rather, Steele sounds like he actually is riffing on Thomas:
I have called Mr. Obama a bound man because he cannot win white support without bargaining and he cannot maintain minority support without playing the very identity politics that injure him with whites. The latter form of politics is grounded in being what I call a challenger -- i.e., someone who presumes that whites are racist until they prove otherwise by granting preferences of some kind to minorities.

With insight like that, who needs reality, eh?

(Of course, this is the same Steele who wrote a political handicapping book in 2007 predicting Obama couldn’t win.)

Does Obama support Iraqi death squads?

If he continues to support the U.S. Special Forces training, in Iraq, the same type of death squads it did in El Salvador and Guatemala, he sure does. And, as in those countries, it appears the Iraqi Special Operations Forces will ultimately be used to domestic political ends.

This time, though, it won’t be left-wingers getting killed, but Sunnis.

June 07, 2009

Very inspiring classical music news

In very inspiring news from the classical music world, a blind pianist has, for the first time ever, a blind pianist has won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, arguably the world's top such event.

That said, contrary to WRR-FM blogger and former Fort Worth Star-Telegram classical critic Matt Erickson, Dallas Morning News classical critic Scott Cantrell has, for the first time ever, “lost” me, claiming co-winner Nobuyuki Tsujii might not have won if he weren’t blind.

But, the Cliburn is about potential, too, as the judges see that, and Scott knows that. And, novelty, as Scott put it, may play to the good in the long run.

That all said, co-winner Haochen Zhang of China is clearly the real deal.

Parallel lives – Thomas and Sotomayor

There’s not much new to learn about either Clarence Thomas or Sonia Sotomayor from the New York Times’ mini-Plutarchian parallel lives, although it does set Clarence Thomas in starker relief.

To me, it confirms what I’ve already held — much of Thomas’ anger and bitterness is partially self-inflicted. That, in turn, was partially from reacting to new situations and problems with old, stereotypical behavior patterns.

It’s like he took his Ayn Rand reading and ran it through the sausage grinder of aggrieved minority, fully recognizing the two didn’t mesh while determining to pretend he could create some Hegelian synthesis out of that.

Lawyers hit hard – first modern white-collar recession?

Previous modern American recessions have always hit manufacturing hard, and this one is no exception. But, manufacturing was already down to 10 percent or less of the U.S. economy before the recession, with the amount of made in China crap we import. (I’m waiting for prefab housing parts to be made there and sent over here for nothing but final carpentry assembly.)

But, with A-line law firms slashing away, and ethically bankrupt, and financially nearly so, financial firms doing the same, this is different.

That said, I’m not boo-hooing about stereotypically greedy alligator lawyers losing their jobs. If it has the good side effect of lawyers billing flat rates, and, even better, giving advance estimates on such, great.

Der Ahhnold officially jumps into empty pool

A flat tax? Did Howard Jarvis possess his mind? Any Golden State moderate independents thinking of voting for him in 2010, should he run, now stand informed that they, too, would be jumping in an empty pool by so doing.

Obama ‘optimistic’ US can lead on climate – but won’t lead!

Just.Another.Politician.™ reached yet another level of bullshitting yesterday, with his claim he thought America was ready to take over the lead from Europe on climate change issues.

This comes after his own climate negotiator, earlier in the week (as I blogged), said the U.S. might not even have climate change legislation ready for December’s Copenhagen summit, and the administration that won’t commit the U.S. to get seriously below 1990 CO2 limits at anytime in the foreseeable future because it wants 2005, not 1990, to be used as the benchmark year for measuring CO2 reductions. (Of course, that’s not all Team Obama’s fault; that baseline is part and parcel of the Waxman-Markey bill, which looks crappier all the time.)

This is also the Obama Administration whose EPA says CO2 can be regulated as a pollutant, then punts further leadership on the issue to Congress.

President Obama told German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a straight face:
“Ultimately the world is going to need targets that it can meet. It can't be general, vague approaches.”

Yep, that’s some leadership. Practice what you preach.