Monday, October 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

The Peace Corps with Muscles - Michael Totten

“Woo hoo!” one of the soldiers yelled in the dark. “Another fucked up adventure in the United States Army. I love it!”

Elemental Cities

Cui bono? - Megan McArdle

I don't often agree with McArdle as she seems to take a more hardline capitalist approach to things, but she does make a good point here on the supposed low-carbon aspect of urban areas. While most urbanites tend to expend less carbon than those in the suburbs, that happens for the most part because urbanites export their carbon to other areas. Power stations, particularly coal-fired ones, are not built near cities, yet produce a great amount of carbon emissions.
Still, McArdle does mention how, despite the exporting effect, urban areas do maintain a lower carbon output than suburbs. And, more to the point, a carbon tax would encourage urban living as the power suburban homes draw, along with the attendant travel to and from those homes, would feel the effects of the tax the most. I'm a proponent of a carbon tax, as it would let the market to its thing with the least amount of government interference. If you'd like to make a moral issue out of it, you could say that a carbon tax is a sin tax much like the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are. I'm not opposed to government interference with the economy, but when a nudge could do more than a shove, I think that is the better route to take.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Obama's Social Justice

Obama at Howard - Andrew Sullivan

One element of Obama's speech that I like is how he points out the disconnect between the need for nonviolence and the pressure placed on blacks toward violence. It's the disconnect between what's justified and what's right. The assault on a white student by six black students was in no way right morally, it was justified in the same sense that homicide done in self-defense is justified. This assault did not occur in a vacuum and so the treatment of it cannot do likewise. Sen. Obama here is attempting to charge the student body with the sense that social justice is always an appropriate thing to stand up for, damn the personal consequences. It would do Obama well to continue to focus on such events as it points out both his desire for change and his willingness to actually act to bring about change. While the authenticity of any politician is always up for questioning, I think Obama's speech goes a long way to showing that he does have some balls and will take some chances.