SocraticGadfly: 7/25/10 - 8/1/10

July 31, 2010

Chevy Volt: An electric lemon

I knew it was priced more than the Nissan Leaf. I knew it was late to market. I knew it was a bit dowdy. What I didn't know, until now (gee, GM, hide this under a bushel basket), is that the miniature gas engine that recharges the battery needs premium fuel. Throw in the fact that the Volt's lease terms compare quite unfavorably to the Leaf, and, you've got problems galore, GM.

Hey, Downwinders at Risk ...

Note to one Katy Hubener (and friends of hers):

Now that the Wyly E. Coyote bros' financial deceitfulness stands exposed, will you and Downwinders at Risk continue to sacrifice ethics in the name of alleged green benefits by taking money from these folks?

I don't care if these folks are allegedly that "green," by supporting nobody but GOP candidates, the Wyly brothers aren't green at all, but you, on the other hand, are a sucker for corporate greenwashing.

(Note to other readers: I've actually talked to the actual Katy Hubener about this, and she stoutly defended accepting the Wylys' tainted money.)

July 30, 2010

Hispanic GOP not worried about AZ law?

Why? Nevada Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval says his kids don't look Hispanic, so he doesn't worry about them visiting Arizona.

Shame on Univision for being cowardly enough to not release the video of this.

July 28, 2010

Solar power is now cheaper than nuclear

This is big, big, big, for multiple reasons.

One solar is actually clean; nuclear power, besides radioactive wastes, has a high CO2 footprint from the massive number of cubic yards of concrete in construction, from the uranium mining, etc.

Two, especially given Obama's "nuclear blank check" loan guarantees, with much of that blank check likely going to foreigners, too, solar is cheaper on the government wallet.

Then why isn't it getting more boost? Because there's not a lot of deep pockets behind it, for one thing. Even wind power has more, starting with GE.

July 26, 2010

Why did cap-and-trade fail in Senate?

Lee Wasserman blames a mix of Obama, Congress, Big Polluters and the general public. Krugman faults conservative greed, plus sellouts by a few previous backers, listing Schmuck Talk Express by name. Douthat says conservatives brought a history of skepticism to the plate, yet pointedly does not give them blank-check absolution, while referring to the same "Rube Goldberg" status of the House bill that Wasserman does.

The Internet - is it destroying the ability to forget?

Jeffrey Rosen says that in some ways, the answer is "yes," with a variety of unfortunate consequences.javascript:void(0)

July 25, 2010

Depression and serotonin: It's more complex than old models

Here's why SSRI antidepressants may not work well for everybody:

(T)here are multiple types of serotonin neurons that can be independently regulated.

This fits well with findings from other groups that there are two types of serotonin receptor in the amygdala, a brain region linked to emotion and anxiety: 5-HT2A receptors that inhibit anxiety, and 5-HT2C receptors that promote it.

Together, the findings might mean that while high levels of serotonin in some brain regions like the prefrontal cortex can lead to improved mood, high serotonin in other regions could have negative effects. ...

However, in the short-term some people taking SSRIs report feeling increased anxiety.

This is "almost certainly due to the activation of one of these groups of sero
tonin neurons", says (Christopher Lowry of the University of Boulder in Colorado).

Who's the top entrants in MLB's HOF this century?

ESPN is asking that right now.

And, here's my take.

A laugher from Obama about liberal fight

The man himself made a video address to Netroots Nation and said, in essence, "Liberals need to keep up the fight."

Against whom?

Against Obama, it would appear.

The White House's blaming of enviro groups (albeit Gang Green ones) for the Senate failure of cap and trade underscores that.

Ed Schultz knows that.

Definitely file this one under hypocrisy alert.

There's many more 'Iowa dams' in lurk

The recent collapse of an earthen dam in Iowa seems quite unusual to many people, I think.

And it shouldn't.

There's earthen dams all around the country that have outlived their expected lifespans. Can anybody say Johnstown Flood?

The thing is, it's going to cost money to repair these dams, money that local, county and state governments have in short supply right now.

This is yet another issue of America not paying enough attention to the state of repair, or disrepair, of its own infrastructure.

If you think the Texas SBOE is bad ...

A losing candidate can be even worse.

Needed: White House "Director of Black Outreach"

First director? Shirley Sherrod.
“I don’t think a single black person was consulted before Shirley Sherrod was fired — I mean c’mon, “ said Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, a black lawmaker so temperate that he agreed with an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on Friday by Senator James Webb of Virginia, which urged that “government-directed diversity programs should end.”

“The president’s getting hurt real bad,” Clyburn told me. “He needs some black people around him.” He said Obama’s inner circle keeps “screwing up” on race: “Some people over there are not sensitive at all about race. They really feel that the extent to which he allows himself to talk about race would tend to pigeonhole him or cost him support, when a lot of people saw his election as a way to get the issue behind us. I don’t think people elected him to disengage on race. Just the opposite.”

Damn, when did MoJo Dowd learn how to write a real op-ed?