When the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress forty years ago under a Republican administration, I was a clueless college undergraduate at Yale. Laws belonged to those serious looking law school students around the corner, perhaps including two I may have passed crossing the quad: Hilary Rodham and Bill Clinton. The environment? It seemed good to me. If I had been questioned, I could have testified, walking with school friends to the banks of the Providence River in Rhode Island to watch the river in flames like the Cuyahoga in Ohio, that triggered the calls for federal clean water standards. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week’s most fleeting image –reflected, then disappeared into the 24/7 news cycle — was the sight of a steely-eyed Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, accusing the Obama administration of cooking the books of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was there. Then it was gone.
“Can’t debate so change numbers,” Welch complained. For a instant, one could recognize Bush appointees rushing to the defense of the BLS bureaucrats. Then they were gone, too.
But wait. Not so fast. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple CEO Tim Cook — astride the world’s largest company by market valuation — made an extraordinary admission of failure last week. In its new iPhone 5 and operating system software, engineers delivered an unreliable maps application. Consumers were outraged. Cook gently steered the offended to competitors’ products as an alternative until Apple does better. Read the rest of this entry »
Global warming emerges as a very important issue for undecided voters despite the fact environmental issues have been held underwater this election cycle by a right wing tidal wave of campaign cash. According to a recent poll by Climate Change Communication, 61% of Undecideds “say it will be one of several important issues determining their vote for President. Only 32% of likely Romney voters say it will be one of the “important issues” determining their vote.”
The federal regulator most responsible for this area of public policy is the US Environmental Protection Agency. Voters who care about global warming need to pay attention to the record of Republican leaders in Congress and the White House with respect to the EPA. Past performance predicts future results. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports lately as a retail traveler. A lot of time waiting in lines to pass through TSA security checkpoints. Time watching a heavy-handed, cumbersome, Department of Motor Vehicles mentality that is the insistent marker of TSA checkpoints.
It is time to change how Americans are being herded into a national security landscape on the retail level, that seems hopelessly driven by a down-market bureaucracy. Read the rest of this entry »
Mitt Romney decided on Paul Ryan as his VP selection to shake up his campaign that still can’t gain traction in the polls. Many Republicans from Florida had been praying for Romney to select Florida Senator Marco Rubio, but there are very good reasons — disclosed by polling — Romney decided against him.
When Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan visit Miami today, the smartest thing they could do to put Obama on his heels in Florida is to come out against the Cuba embargo; a position that Ryan has repeatedly endorsed. Read the rest of this entry »
In Miami-Dade County — Florida’s most populous and politically influential county– a billion dollars is needed immediately to replace just the most deteriorated and vulnerable sections of the wastewater system, according to a five month internal study. It is scarcely news. Miami Dade County government has been concealing its infrastructure deficits for years. County commissioners kept the crisis away from the sight of voters.
The purpose of the concealment was to make the region attractive to cheap development. The billion dollar infrastructure bill is the tip of the iceberg, and it is only emerging because a federal agency, the US EPA, had the guts to insist that Miami-Dade do something to prevent a catastrophic sewage break. At the height of the housing boom, cheap development and jobs servicing more cheap development ferried more than a thousand people a day to live in Florida, a state that boasted one of the highest growth rates in the nation. In 2010, Florida was home to one-third of all homeless families who have no shelter at all — people living in their cars, under bridges, in parks.
It is more than trickery to claim — as Florida’s Growth Machine does– that the ad valorem tax base has to be increased to cover infrastructure needs. The claim was spurious twenty five years ago,when I learned how local power brokers in the Florida Keys set their sights on development at any cost, enlisting the political class to its service. On face value, encouraging more development in order to fill in funding for infrastructure, like roadways, schools, prisons, and water infrastructure, is institutionalized fraud. Read the rest of this entry »