Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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"Insights & Observations"

Climate Change Offers Us An Opportunity by Jim Geraghty


Our current blazingly hot summer is spurring another go-round of exhausted arguments about climate change, whether it is "real" and "is it man-made?"

As President Obama and his aspiring replacements grapple with how to handle this emotional issue, they have left one avenue largely unexplored: the often-ignored fact that climate change will help the U.S. economy in several ways and enhance, not diminish, the United States' geopolitical power.

In fact, the United States and its allies will be best situated to adapt to a changing climate. Besides a longer growing season, Americans will see economic benefits from the opening of the Northwest Passage, a sea route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic running north of Alaska and Canada. Rising temperatures will thaw out the frozen course and offer a much faster and cheaper method for transoceanic shipping - saving perhaps $1 million per trip.

With this thawing will come access to a treasure trove of resources - from nearly a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves, to large deposits of rare earth minerals that power everything electronic, to perhaps the oil of the 21st century: fresh water supplies in the form of polar ice.

Americans are a largely optimistic people who easily tune out doomsaying and austerity (witness the debate over the debt). But we're quick to spot opportunities and have pride and continuing faith in our own ability to achieve technical marvels such as the moon landing. Rather than our doom, climate change could be the centerpiece of ensuring a second consecutive American Century.

Continue To Crater

Not O.K. at the O.K. Corral by Maureen Dowd

Column: Grand Ol' Party

King In His Rightful Place by Charles Krauthammer


It is one of the enduring mysteries of American history - so near-providential as to give the most hardened atheist pause - that it should have produced, at every hinge point, great men who matched the moment.

Equally miraculous is Martin Luther King Jr. Black America's righteous revolt against a century of post-emancipation oppression could have gone in many bitter and destructive directions. It did not.

Transcending all forms of sectarianism to achieve a common humanity was, of course, a major element of King's thought. But it was not the only one. He consciously rooted civil rights in the American story, not just for tactical reasons of enlisting whites in the struggle, but because he deeply believed that his movement, while fiercely adversarial, was quintessentially American - indeed, a profound vindication of the American creed.

In the heart of the nation's capital, King now literally takes his place in the American pantheon, the only non-president to be so honored. Now there is no room for anyone more on the shores of the Tidal Basin.

This is as it should be.

The Deep Pools Where The Towers Once Stood Powerfully Evoke Loss

9/11 Memorial: A Void Unfilled by Inga Saffron

Nation & World

House GOP Aims To Spike Rules It Believes Cost Jobs by Jim Abrams


WASHINGTON - The House Republican agenda this fall will focus on repealing environmental and labor regulations that GOP lawmakers say are driving up the cost of doing business and discouraging employers from hiring new workers.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia wrote in a memo to his fellow Republicans that as soon as Congress returns to Washington next week, he would start bringing up bills to repeal or restrict federal regulations. He also said the House would act on a small-business tax deduction. The memo was released Monday.

"By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations, we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers," Cantor said in his memo.

The House will consider a bill to delay implementation of new Environmental Protection Agency emission and air-pollution rules for utility plants until the full impact of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda has been studied. Cantor said the new rules could drive up electricity bills in many parts of the country by 12 to 24 percent.

Also on the agenda are new EPA emission rules for boilers that Cantor said could put 200,000 jobs at risk, and similar regulations for cement and coal ash.

The Truth About Truthers

Scenes From The Fractured 9/11 Activist Movement by Partick Rapa

Letter To The Editor

Fumo doesn't deserve more time

The Inquirer editorial calling for more time for former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo is unfortunate ("Crime deserves more time," Thursday).

The government is asking for a 21-year sentence for a 68-year-old defendant. That's tantamount to a life sentence.

Not to diminish the severity of Fumo's offenses, but the fact remains he has no prior criminal record, was not convicted of a violent crime, and there were no wholesale victim impact statements. To sentence any defendant to what would inevitably be a life sentence under such circumstances is, in my opinion, "cruel and unusual punishment," which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter can fix any computation errors, offer a more detailed rationale for his decision, and impose the same 55-month sentence. As for The Inquirer's vigilante-style poll about his sentence, I view it as nothing more than an attempt to influence the court. Wasn't the scathing editorial enough?

Albert Whitehead, Philadelphia

A Man From Western Pa. Is The World Champion At Sending Stones Over The Water

Skipping His Way To More Fudge by Kristi Cummins