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Reconciliation

Recap: Infomercials and tax cuts; the July jobs report; and the problem with Larry Summers.

Reconciliation:

1) Lindsey Graham argues that modifying the 14th Amendment will be easy and will lead to humane immigration reform.

2) Four reasons not to be depressed about international aid.

3) The Republican strategy to defund health-care reform would require shutting down the government.

4) I'll be on Rachel Maddow's show tonight talking jobs.

Recipe of the day: White gazpacho with cantaloupe.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
 
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Next: Wonkbook: The GOP's health care battle plan; Green's retrench; the pro-business recovery

Comments

"I'll be on Rachel Maddow's show tonight talking jobs."

"Jobless claims rose unexpectedly in the last week of July to the HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE APRIL [...] The Labor Department's announcement appears to CONTRADICT THE GOOD NEWS on Wednesday from the ADP National Employment Report, which said that private sector employment increased by 42,000 from June to July on a seasonally adjusted basis. It was the sixth consecutive monthly gain in private employment, but the six month increases averaged only 37,000 and showed NO EVIDENCE OF ACCELERATION. [...] Gary Butler, CEO of ADP, said in a press release that continued weakness in the jobs market has been in part caused by UNCERTAINTY in the economy and the general business climate. " [Ryst, Sonja; Washington Post; 5-Aug-2010; http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-economy/2010/08/new_jobless_claims_rise.html]

Posted by: rmgregory | August 6, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Research Desk: Has any President and Speaker pair known in American History failed so miserably as Obama and Pelosi? Has there been ANY President who could not generate more jobs for less money?

I'll admit I mistakenly voted for Obama, but now I'm wondering if he's the least bit competent for the job.

Posted by: rmgregory | August 6, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/08/roadmap-to-nowhere.html

Nate Silver's critique of the Paul Ryan plan.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 6, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

"Four reasons not to be depressed about international aid."

The article lists five--which one do you take issue with? ;-)

Posted by: aarhead | August 6, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

have a beautiful weekend.

eat rest love

(we dont really need to say "pray," since loving is the highest form of prayer)

Posted by: jkaren | August 7, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

"1) Lindsey Graham argues that modifying the 14th Amendment will be easy and will lead to humane immigration reform."

This is easy. Con. Amend. Counteroffer-- agree to modify the 14th Amendment to limit anchor babies, in exchange for dropping the 'natural born citizen' requirement for the presidency. Sit back and watch teabagger heads explode.

Posted by: beowulf_ | August 7, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to tell you that I can't watch the Maddow show tonight. Since I am one of the five people who watch the show, the ratings will drop by 20%. Maybe you could go on it again on Thursday when I will watch the show?

Posted by: Delongl | August 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

continuation-

Moreover, such cars CAN BE BUILT SIGNIFICANTLY MORE CHEAPLY --- once the battery technology is "ramped up" --- for ONE SIMPLY ELIMINATES THE WHOLE COMPLEX, EXPENSIVE, TROUBLESOME MECHANICAL TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN! The ICE merely powers an electric generator! And at that recent ribbon-cutting by Obama at that Michigan Lithium Battery Plant (though what “we” REALLY need is NICKEL, which is heavier but much more plentiful and hence cheaper!) , the expectation was stated that THOSE BATTERIES WILL DECLINE IN PRICE BY ABOUT 70% WITHIN A FEW YEARS!!

But such a paradigm changeover DOES bespeak a HUGE disruption of much of “our” ECONOMY! Just imagine the world 15-20 years from now when perhaps THREE-FOURTHS or more of all the GAS STATIONS on every other lousy street corner will be GONE (because THEY SIMPLY WILL NO LONGER BE NEEDED!), having "fallen victim to the Electric Car"! So then, where will people go to buy cigarettes, sodas, and lottery tickets? And what will become of the folks who owned all those that "failed", and those who had worked thereat? Well, a partial answer to THAT is that many of the younger, better, and brighter among them are going to have to GO OFF AN LEARN TO BE ELECTRICIANS INSTEAD! And many of the "business types" are going to have to switch to selling (MORE USEFUL!) ELECTRICAL SUPPLIES!

Folks, I'm pretty old now (66 years already). But most of YOU will have the fate of "living in interesting times" (per the ancient Chinese curse) for most of your lives.

BETTER PREPARE YOURSELVES!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | August 9, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

continuation-

According to former GM chieftains Rick Waggoner and Bob Lutz, about $0.89 worth of “grid” electricity, at contemporary electric utility rates, "fills" the Volt’s battery --- which carries the car for 40 MILES. Thereafter, an on-board internal combustion engine (ICE) “kicks in” (seamlessly). However, that engine does NOT power the vehicle in the archaic manner to which people have become inured over the course of the last century, coupling energy to the drive wheels MECHANICALLY by means of a TRANSMISSION and DRIVE TRAIN! Rather (as in all those massive, powerful, wide-ranging Diesel-Electric LOCOMOTIVES AND LARGE SHIPS!), it drives an ELECTRIC GENERATOR, which then powers ELECTRIC drive motors! --- the same ones that had been supplied by the battery until it ran down.

Now the thing is, THREE-FOURTHS of all driving of personal automobiles in this country FITS WITHIN A 40 MILE “ENERGY BUDGET”! Hence, THREE-FOURTHS OF THE TIME THE GASOLINE ENGINE NEVER RUNS(!) --- thereby FLAT-OUT ELIMINATING THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL THOSE BAZILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIL that “we” import (at a cost “we” CAN’T AFFORD!), or that some would now “drill, baby, drill” (at a cost that “we” CAN AFFORD EVEN LESS!) to brainlessly burn as a mere fuel to power our cars!

And if intermittent / variable energy provided by "home" solar- and/or wind- power generation were to be harnessed (generally supplemented as needed by power drawn from the grid), that cost COULD DROP NEARLY TO ZERO! It would not be difficult to devise a charging system that would target for a full battery by a pre-designated time of day, drawing on "free" power as much as possible and falling back to the grid only to the extent (if any) necessary to “make up the difference” by the specified target hour. (The battery DOES NOT “CARE” if it is fully or partly charged intermittently / variably from solar- and/or wind- power sources as long as it gets “filled up” on time! An "electric car" system could thus make good use of "free" power that is readily available but which is not steady enough for many other applications.)

But even at full (contemporary) utility rates, eight such charges costing just $7.12 WOULD PROVIDE ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF MILES DRIVEN (320) AS A TANK OF GASOLINE BURNED IN THE “CONVENTIONAL” MANNER THAT COSTS ABOUT FOUR(!) TIMES THAT MUCH --- and indeed VASTLY MORE than that, really, if an HONEST accounting were being done that would actually recognize and accurately gauge all the ancillary (e.g. all the military!) costs of “expropriating”, extracting, transporting, distributing, and “marketing” the underlying oil, and also of "cleaning up" the Gulf of Mexico and Prince William Sound, and all the “security” costs of “defending against” “al-Qaeda”-type fanatics goaded by “our” hypocritical “INCIDENTAL” OIL-BASED IMPERIALISM to aspire to martyrdom!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | August 9, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I THINK that Obama & Co. "get it", but I sure wish they were EDUCATING people a lot more effectively about what is actually in prospect in the unfolding of the energy technology paradigm change that is now actually (barely) underway.

Fossil fuel does NOT constitute the "height of technology"! And "we" really DO have cost effective solutions to enable "us" to WEAN "our"selves OFF of "our" ADDICTIVE DEPENDENCY on OIL (both OTHER PEOPLES' and ALSO "OUR" OWN AS WELL!) already in hand, or within EASY technological reach --- because many of the solutions do NOT any longer involve “exotic”, blue-sky developments requiring further “years of work in the laboratory”. In very MAJOR instances they entail nothing more than adaptations to MUCH LESSER applications of technologies DEVELOPED MANY YEARS AGO NOW AND ALREADY LONG IN USE --- in some cases ON MUCH HEAVIER "PLATFORMS"!

Recognize, for example, that the "fallback half" of the “new” "Chimera" Automotive Architecture, as exemplified by the Chevy VOLT / Audi AMPERE, is REALLY NOTHING BUT THE DRIVE PARADIGM OF THE DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE(!) --- which has been in NEARLY UNIVERSAL service on the RAILROADS for many years now already and also as the drive system of many of the largest SHIPS on the high seas!

What has LONG now already IMPEDED progress being genuinely EMBRACED and ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED has really been: (1) TECHNOLOGICAL IGNORANCE of FAR too great a proportion of "We the (Small) People", and (2) extreme reluctance to ROOT OUT a lot of artificial, "ECONOMIC" structure that has grown up over a very long time that, although it may have served reasonably well in the past, is geared to technology that is now so outmoded as to verge on being obsolete! And the OTHER "dimension" of the whole general pattern of people having long been played for and preyed upon as fools in the past has been PHONY ECONOMICS that is generally "promulgated" vis-a-vis the relative "affordability" of "alternatives " by comparison to "good ol' fossil fuels". Much of the “thinking” involved in THAT comparison has been GROSSLY DISTORTED FOR DECADES!

With respect to the economics of the "Electric Car", CONSIDER: for the record, the overall fuel efficiency of the Chevrolet Volt, as dutifully calculated / statistically estimated by the EPA, works out to be about 230(!) (YES!, that reads TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY!) miles per gallon of gasoline!! And THAT figure is JUST THE BEGINNING --- FOR THE PROTOTYPICAL VERSION OF A TECHNOLOGY IN ITS INFANCY! By the time REGENERATIVE BRAKING is “layered in” THE FUEL EFFICIENCY (AND VEHICLE RANGE) COULD BE ABOUT FURTHER DOUBLED!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | August 9, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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