The World Would be $1.1 Trillion Richer if it treated young people the way Germany does

Now that’s an intriguing title.

Just 10% of people aged 20-24 are out of work or not in school in Germany. As befits Germany’s reputation for efficiency and industrial success, this is one of the lowest levels in the world. If all 35 OECD countries reduced youth unemployment to German levels, the economic gain would be $1.1 trillion, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.



Humans Are on Schedule to Bring One Part of Blade Runner to Reality

It’s not flying cars, off-planet travel or Darryl Hannah-like sex androids (sadly), or even a super crowded and rainy Los Angeles teeming with Asians (well, the crowded and Asian part anyway).  It’s the part where animals are virtually extinct.

The 2016 version of WWF’s biennial Living Planet Report, published Thursday, found a 58 percent overall decline in vertebrate populations from 1970 to 2012, the latest year with available data. The nonprofit warned that if current trends continue, the world could lose more than two-thirds of wildlife by 2020.

In just 50 years, look what we’ve accomplished.  Give us another 50 and the oceans, jungles and plains will be bereft of life.

The title of the Phillip K. Dick book the film “Blade Runner” was based on was “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” The title alludes to both the friction between artificial intelligence and self-awareness of life and mortality but also to a society in which actual animals have been rendered extinct so the wealthy have zoos of electric animals to go with their android servants.

Great film, great book, horrible potential future we’re bringing to reality.

Judge Posner: The Supreme Court is Awful

We here at Polislice subscribe to the Eric Segall stance that the Supreme Court is not a court and the Justices are not judges – the entire enterprise is a political entity that is disguised as a judicial one.  Segall loves Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals because while he’s a well known conservative, he’ll absolutely go where the law takes him and is unafraid to speak out when judges waiver in that regard.

Judge Posner is writing a book about the deficiencies in the system and in an interview said this:

I’m actually writing a book now called Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Legal System. It’s almost entirely about the federal judiciary…. So I have about ten pages on the strengths and about 320 pages on the weaknesses. [Laughter.]

I’m very critical. I don’t think the judges are very good. I think the Supreme Court is awful. I think it’s reached a real nadir. Probably only a couple of the justices, Breyer and Ginsburg, are qualified. They’re okay, they’re not great.

I’m going to dissent and grant that Roberts, Kagan and Sotomayor are certainly qualified, even if they’re not up to Posner’s standards, but Thomas and Alito, meh!

Very funny to have such brutal honesty from someone so close to what we used to consider such an august body.


The Best Argument for a Democratic Senate is Ted Cruz

Holy moly what a dick.  Cruz has said there is precedent for keeping that unoccupied Supreme Court  seat empty.  What?  No!  There’s not!  And while he states the Constitution does not proscribe how many Justices there should be. The Judiciary Act of 1869 does. There’s a lot of noise coming from Republicans that make me pretty hinky that they will do all in their power to not let a Democrat choose a Supreme Court justice, period.  Of all the factors in this election the one that has kept the orange dumpster fire that they nominated from really bleeding Republican support is their fierce ideological brainwashing that will not allow that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative choice in this race and completely worthy of the full stewardship of the executive branch.

It’s how a dope like Congressman Jason Chaffetz can denounce Trump after his Access Hollywood comments, but ultimately come back to him as a candidate because a know-nothing, misogynistic, racist with no fixed ethics is still better than a lady Democrat.

And by the way Chaffetz is the best argument for getting the House back because he’s already promising that any lady Democrat in the WH will be sitting before House committees investigating her every bowel movement.  It doesn’t matter that she made them look silly over and over again even sitting for an 11 hour grilling and revealed nothing except Republicans are shamelessly eager to demonstrate how tough but uninformed they are at the drop of a hat.

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

This is the entirety of what the Republican Party is all about now.  Obstruction, gridlock and dysfunctional government.

Ya can’t deal with them, can’t compromise with ’em.  They just gotta go!



Cuomo Knew Too. Why?

It’s been a pleasure to be proven so so right about the sleazy, petty, power abusing and completely corrupt Chris Christie.  I often think about the people I debated when he first ran for governor who wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, when I had no doubt at all. I hope they think of me too and how right I was! HA! Suck it wrong people!!

That his undoing was something so utterly stupid and again, petty, is I suppose appropriate. Merely mismanaging the state, lying about budgets, pensions, pretty much everything, bullying average people, etc. would never be enough to bring down a media darling like Christie. So it had to be something like the inconceivable shutting down of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge and then lying about it that destroyed his reputation and ended any possible continuation of a career in public office (although I don’t think he would have any future anyway in NJ).

In an affair that was so utterly mind boggling we now have a topper, being that three people have testified that NY Governor Cuomo had discussions with Christie about the lane closures. Cuomo was reportedly asked to muzzle his representative on the Port Authority, Pat Foye, who was raising alarms about the “traffic study”. Cuomo denied any discussion, and then finally a narrower denial that just spanned whether he was asked to muzzle Foye.  If there’s any truth to the allegations it means that Cuomo, a Democrat, helped Christie allude quicker exposure by not backing Foye and telling Christie and his minions that NY would cooperate with any and all questions about the abuse of power. Period.

Even as Foye and some others were pushing for investigation on the matter they were protecting Cuomo’s exposure.

Go ahead, shake head, smack palm to forehead, say “WHAT?” and then say “WHY?” and go about your day once again reminded that there’s no bottom to the barrel.

I remember when Cuomo was an up and comer like Christie.  I just wonder who the next mancrush will be for Morning Joe and the other hacktacular hacks of hacktown.  They must be relieved that the exposure of their lack of judgment was overshadowed by the continuing implosion of Trump.  Oh yeah they gave him a forum every fucking morning for over a year too. Of course they did.


Renewables Growing So Fast the IEA Can’t Keep Up

The International Energy Agency had to revise it’s five year forecast because renewable energy grew even faster in 21015 than expected.

About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world last year. In China, which accounted for about half the wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases, two wind turbines were installed every hour in 2015.

This is all very good news, and somewhat under the radar.  The area that we think is growing fast is actually not. Despite the growing number of Priuses, Volts and Teslas on the roads here in the U.S., transportation fueled by renewables lags behind electricity generation and heating. Surprised me.  Hopefully innovation in battery technology that we know is coming will explode the international market for electric cars like wind and solar have exploded.

The Blue Wave


There’s good evidence of a possible blue wave here in 2016.  Josh Marshall sees some internals on the ABC poll that were unusual and encouraging.

The previous ABC/Post poll found a sharp 12-point decline in enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters, almost exclusively among those who’d preferred a different GOP nominee. Intended participation now has followed: The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.

Trump’s awful debate performances, the Access Hollywood tape and the dozen women (and counting) accusing him of abuse may not have dimmed the enthusiasm of his ardent followers, but those that weren’t really on board to begin with were naturally deflated.  As we get closer and the polls shake out a ceiling of 44 seems very realistic.  All along I said any Republican likely had a ceiling of 45 due to the demographic diminution of Romney’s 2012 result of 47%.  All good.

Obviously the 5-12 point leads that Hillary has in various polls is pretty good.  Also, the present Five Thirty Eight call on the Dems taking the Senate is  73%.  The Clinton campaign is moving resources to those down ballot races and surrogates like President Obama are on the stump to support Dems at all levels.  In what would have been a likely decent Democratic year, the GOP threw their candidates a Trump shaped anvil, so it’s time to take advantage.

But this is just the tip of the Blue iceberg.

Democrats seem to have finally figured out that it’s not enough to win the presidency every 4 years.  Soon to be retired President Obama, Vice President Biden and probably First Lady Michelle Obama will be part of a plan to turn state houses blue in advance of the 2020 election.  2010 was a census year and the GOP had been, very smartly, working behind the scenes to turn state houses red so that they could redistrict to give the GOP an advantage. The results of that was that in states like MI, OH, PA and WI millions more people vote Democratic than republican and yet each of those states have larger Republican delegations in the House than Democratic. The fruits of redistricting are sweet and long lasting.

But 2020 will be a presidential year which advantages Democrats. So the opportunity is there to at the very least negate the gerrymandering that the GOP did in 2010. Take away that baked in advantage and level the playing field and the Dems have a chance at dominating D.C. for a decade.  At the very least it’s encouraging to hear Dems actually strategizing for 2018 and beyond.

Add this to the roiling schisms in the GOP, the aging of their hard core followers, the strong blue bent of the younger generation and the continuing browning of America, it’s entirely possible that we could be verging on a second Era of Good Feelings with one party domination for a decade.

We sure need that to get some shit done.  But okay, one election at a time.

AHHHHHH! White Castle Closed?

The White Castle on 8th Avenue in the 30s was shut down this morning.  I believe that was the only White Castle in Manhattan.  It’s not that I ever went there (well, maybe once or twice).  But the idea of a White Castle closing is very disturbing to me.

That is an institution, man!

Is This Real Life? Researchers Find a Realistic Way to Turn CO2 to Ethanol

Wow!  This could be huge news. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Labs accidentally found a very doable way to create ethanol from CO2 which has tremendous possible applications. Real and efficient carbon capture is on the table here!

The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles.

Wow! Have to follow this one.

Rick Perlstein (GOAT Explainer of Conservatism) Interviewed In Slate

How many times do I have to say that Rick Perlstein’s work is essential to understanding today’s politics? Okay here’s the elevendyfunfth time.  He is the Greatest of All Time explainer/historian of how modern conservatism began and evolved. I have not read his book on Barry Goldwater but Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge are ridiculously informative and entertaining books. Perlstein actually coined the phrase “Conservatism never fails. It is only failed.”

He is interviewed in Slate about this campaign and whether Trump is an extension of Republicanism or an anomaly. Can they recover? How is he reminiscent of George Wallace or Richard Nixon?  Not good when those are your analogues, to be sure.

Regarding a Hillary presidency:

The other day I allowed myself the fantasy of what a Clinton presidency is going to look like, and of course the big tactical question for every new president is which of their bills they introduce first, because that’s the one they have the most political capital to get across. I was like, well, it could be her paid family leave bill, it could be her bill for free college for everyone making under $125,000 and the debt relief for everyone. It could be her new tax credits for the very poor, who Peter Edelman—who resigned from the first Clinton administration over welfare reform—has said is the best poverty program he’s seen in a long time. I was like, wow, there really isn’t anything on her plate that isn’t a pretty strong, progressive, populist intervention. I’m pretty certain that there’s very little room for her to abandon that. She’s laid down some pretty strong markers. This is the Hillary Clinton who in her first major speech after the Democratic convention went to Planned Parenthood and gave perhaps the most unflagging, straight ahead, pro-choice message of any Democratic presidential candidate.

That’s some of that optimism that I think progressives can reasonably entertain.