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The Clean Air Promise

As someone who’s suffered from allergies all my life (I also had what they call “cough variant asthma”), I sometimes have to struggle to breathe — not as much as I used to, but it’s still there. And one of my kids suffered from childhood asthma, although he’s since outgrown it.

Gasping for breath scares the hell out of me, so to me, clean air is a very serious issue. And that’s why I was hoping, when NJ Gov. Chris Christie was taken to the hospital last week with an asthma attack, that he would rethink refusing to sign onto the regional emissions control pact with other area states. (Since I live a stone’s throw across the river from New Jersey and all.)

I see that Environment New Jersey also took note of Christie’s hospitalization. Doug O’Malley, their field director, released this statement:

We offer our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Governor Christie. An asthma attack can be a life-threatening event and that is a fact of life for over 163,000 New Jersey children who live with this chronic disease. We hope that the Governor will be sympathetic to the concerns of those children when it comes to measures to protect our kids from dangerous air pollution.

We encourage Governor Christie to support the Clean Air Promise launched by the League of Women Voters this week and to promise that he will protect our kids from dangerous air pollution. The new LWV campaign ad and Promise can be found at http://www.peoplenotpolluters.org/

Everybody knows at least one person who has trouble breathing in polluted air. For them and everybody else, go sign that petition!


Well, it passed the Senate. Tough luck for the non-investor class!


For those of you who can afford it, I think this is a great idea:

Cindy Baxter began the 3/50 Project in March 2009 to help save the brick and mortars our nations was built on. She has put into practice a very simple idea. Pick three independently owned businesses and spend a total of $50 each month at these stores.

Consider these noteworthy statistics:

If half the employed population spent $50 each month in a locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.

For every $100 spend in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.

For every $100 you spend in a national chain, only $43 stays in the community.

For every $100 spend online, nothing comes home.

Can you think of three independently owned businesses in your community?

For additional information on the 3/50 Project visit http://www.the350project.net.

Mercury retro

Late tonight. This one’s especially harsh, be prepared!

Nuclear hootenany

So I’m talking to Kweder last night at the open mike, and he tells me he’s been running around even more than usual, because his sister’s in the hospital with esophageal cancer. “She doesn’t have a husband or kids, so you know, whattaya gonna do?” he says, and shrugs. “I have to go visit her.”

“Where is she?” I ask.

“She’s at Penn, 8th and Spruce,” he tells me. “Nice hospital. And really, I don’t mind going to see her, but it gets in the way of things. I mean, I do have this drinking problem…”

We both laugh. I love Kweder. He’s the only alcoholic in the world I can stand to be around.

Coming to a bar near you

So Matt Sevier (the guy I’m helping with booking and publicity) did a set last night at Kweder’s open mike and oh my God, you could have heard a pin drop. (This is a noisy place.) He had everyone’s complete attention, it was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen.

And you may already know, I’ve seen a lot of people.

If you’re around Philly, he’ll be doing a set at the Dawson St. Pub on Aug. 13th. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. (And you can say hello to me.)

What presidency?

Matt Stoller.

Naming names

Jamie Galbraith calls out the economists who got it so wrong – by name. To their faces.

Why oh why

Can’t we have a better media?

We all know the answer. Those who ask tough, insightful questions and put the blame where it belongs instead of concentrating on the game are asked to leave.


Jared Bernstein:

While waiting to go on Larry Kudlow’s show tonight I heard Sen Mitch McConnell say something to the effect of “there will never be another clean debt ceiling. From now on, it will be a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar the debt ceiling is raised.” [I’ll link to the clip when CNBC posts it.]

Totally predictable, of course, but think about this for a sec. He’s essentially saying the following:

“We in Congress cannot be counted upon to come up with budgets that pay for the spending we authorize. Therefore, we will have to borrow to make up the difference. But if that borrowing hits the cap, we will not raise the cap to cover the borrowing we signed off on, unless we get the spending cuts we want.”

To understand how nonsensical Sen McConnell’s position is, you have to appreciate that Congress knows when they pass their budget whether it will breach the debt ceiling or not, just like you know when you order your lunch whether you’ll be able to pay for it. He’s saying, I’m going to keep ordering lunches I can’t pay for and when the cashier hands me the check, I’ll hand it right back and tell her it’s her problem.

The budget process is the time to square the ledger. Or not—there will be budgets, especially in recession, that add to the deficit and breach the ceiling. In such cases, Congress must borrow to make up the difference, and sometimes that will mean raising the ceiling.

But Sen McConnell would rather budget by threatening default. I’m certain that is not the way of great nations.

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