Among the standard epithets often leveled at green energy is the one about subsidies. As the conservative myth goes, green energy is allegedly not "cost competitive" with dirty energy sources like coal or natural gas. This, we are led to believe, makes green energy just another wasteful taxpayer-supported boondoggle for dominant special interests. In this version of the story, big, bad all-powerful solar, wind and insulation companies are supposedly getting government handouts to unfairly oppress the earnest mom-and-pop oil and gas industry.
Like, oh, around 750 million other users of Facebook, I logged on to the world's biggest social media network this morning and was immediately annoyed. Facebook had changed its user interface, again. Gone was the "Most Recent" button, which allowed users to see what their friends have posted in a simple, straightforward, chronological order. Now Facebook was indulging, again, in outright effrontery: employing its own secret algorithmic sauce to highlight what it considered the most important "top stories," while mixing in other recent posts far below.
It was nice to dream, for a time, that general hatred of Mitt Romney and the surprising surge in popularity of Michele Bachmann would combine to prolong the GOP primary campaign until late in 2012. Maybe it would go all the way to a contested convention! Maybe Ron Paul would even have some delegates! Maybe Palin would enter late!
Sometime after the end of the modestly enjoyable "Becker" and before the short run of the more modestly enjoyable "Help Me Help You," Ted Danson disappeared -- only to reemerge with completely white hair. Like the bleached reincarnation of Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" or Richie Tenenbaum's prodigal hawk in "The Royal Tenenbaums," it was evident that something profound had happened, that the actor has attained some new wisdom. Joining the chorus of angry (celebrity) gods punishing Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," we began to see a new Danson: no longer the affable Sam from "Cheers," he became at once looser, less predictable and touched with something resembling gravitas.
Many loyal Democrats experienced a bit of anxiety (or, perhaps, anger) earlier this week when it was reported that some progressives are planning a primary challenge against Barack Obama, and that perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader was involved. A letter was sent by this group to other progressive leaders sounding them out about the potential of running against Obama from the left.
Since when did Jon Huntsman become Dennis Miller?
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- As if Independence Day were right around the corner, all of Ramallah is covered with flags.
The Georgia pardons board has rejected a request from condemned inmate Troy Davis to reconsider its decision to spare his life.
Two Americans jailed in Iran as spies have been released from Tehran's prison after more than two years in custody.
President Obama has a feisty new tone this week, offering up a deficit plan with taxes on the rich and no increase in the Medicare eligibility age (a reported feature of his failed "grand bargain" with the GOP last month). And when Republicans (and silly Dems) called his proposals "class warfare," he shot back: "This is not class warfare. It’s math."
Unless there's some unforeseen intervention, 42-year-old Troy Davis will be injected with poison and killed by the state of Georgia at 7:00 tonight -- even though nearly every witness who testified at his murder trial has since recanted, even though there is no physical evidence linking him to the killing, even though there is strong evidence that the police mishandled the case, and even though another witness who testified against Davis may have confessed to the crime just two years ago.
As President Obama digs in for a new battle with congressional Republicans -- this time over tax hikes on the wealthy -- the topic of deficit reduction rears its ugly head yet again. Stephen Colbert tackled that very subject on his show last night, and touched on a revenue enhancement strategy that everyone else had somehow overlooked:
Whatever shred of doubt you may have harbored about the determination of congressional Republicans to keep the economy in the dumps through Election Day should now be gone.
Arizona's Republican Sen. Jon Kyl wasted little time. A member of the bipartisan congressional "supercommittee" charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions, he did his best to forestall even discussion of cuts to the Pentagon's budget. "When we had our first meeting the chairman asked, 'Well, what do we think about defense spending?' and I said, 'I'm off of the committee if we're gonna talk about further defense spending [cuts],'" he told the audience at a recent forum sponsored by several conservative think tanks.
I had no idea college was going to be so much like a gay porn movie. That's what I kept thinking as I stood in the middle of a sun-dappled backyard, dressed in nothing but a spandex unitard and running shoes, preparing to have oil poured over my body. For the last two hours, 10 other young rowers and I had been undergoing "initiation" to my university's varsity crew team. After two weeks of tryouts, we had finally made the grade, and this was our reward: An afternoon of embarrassing hazing activities, followed by a homoerotic climax that seemed to have come straight out of my 17-year-old gay subconscious.
Walking up Lafayette Street from Bond in New York City, I'm used to certain thoughts bubbling to mind as my body autopilots through urban space back to the L train. Is Rihanna still up on that billboard? Should I stop in Astor Wines for a nice bourbon bottle? Will I ever actually see a costumed member of the Blue Man Group pop out for a smoke? As such serious concerns mix into the post-work mind chatter, it's a welcome surprise when something shakes me from my passive traversing and offers up an invitation to tactile interaction.
If you thought you couldn't get enough of Zooey Deschanel's 21st century Diane Keaton routine -- the stammering, the fluttery hands, the retro singing, the game-for-anything klutziness -- the new Fox sitcom "New Girl" (Tuesdays 9 pm/8 central) will cure you of it. I won't bore you with analysis of Deschanel as an example of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" ; if you don't know the phrase, click here, or watch almost anything Deschanel has ever appeared in, starting with "All the Real Girls" or "Elf." Suffice to say that if Deschanel didn't invent the MPDG prototype, she damn sure defined it -- and that it might be time to re-tool it, or maybe retire it for a while.