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I’m not sure what the prerequisites were for inclusion on the congressional supercommittee, but it looks like brainpower wasn’t one of them. Rep. Fred Upton purports to believe that taxing the rich discourages job creation. However, Upton drew a blank when asked by Al Hunt of Bloomberg News to explain why the employment picture was better under Bill Clinton than under George W. Bush, who pushed through generous tax cuts for the rich:

HUNT: Why under those pre-Bush tax cut tax rates did the economy do so well in the ‘90s? And why under the Bush tax rates, less for the wealthy, to do so poorly in this decade?

UPTON: Well, a couple things. One, spending went up, Al, the wars. I mean, that’s trillions of dollars. And also there was no change in the entitlements. And we also know –

HUNT: But that shouldn’t hurt the economy. That shouldn’t hurt economic growth.

UPTON: Yeah, but that impacts the debt and the deficit.

HUNT: But I’m asking, why did the economy grow a lot? Why were more jobs created in the previous decade under higher taxes than in this decade under lower taxes?

UPTON: I don’t know specifically the answer to that question. I can – I can maybe merit a guess. But, I mean, in large part is because our job – we lost jobs. I mean, look at the jobs report that came out this last week, three-hundred- some-thousand people actually stopped looking for jobs.

Right. This guy’s handlers should know better than to allow him to speak without a teleprompter.

‘Passion Is No Ordinary Word’

In his speech Tuesday, President Obama noted the “deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street,” and suggested that the big banks should “go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit.” I’m sorry, but why wasn’t he saying these things two years ago? More here.

BPA

Good news:

The Food and Drug Administration must come up with a decision by March 31 on whether to ban a chemical that’s widely used in the plastics and metal linings of food containers, according to a court settlement reached Wednesday between the agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The NRDC filed a petition in 2008 asking the agency to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, citing a growing body of research that suggests exposure to the chemical might pose serious health risks. When the FDA failed to respond within the time frame required by law, the NRDC sued the agency.

The settlement forces the FDA to take a position on a chemical that’s been used for more than four decades to manufacture everything from the cans of liquid infant formula to the coating on grocery store receipts. The agreement, approved by New York Federal Judge Barbara S. Jones, said the FDA must issue a final decision, not a “tentative response.”

Remember this? Band Aid:

Christmas wrapping

The Waitresses:

Occupy LA

Just go read.

You’re the one that makes me happy

The Drums:

‘Going Mobile’

Out in the woods
Or in the city
It’s all the same to me
When I’m drivin’ free
the world’s my home
When I’m mobile

Fukushima

I don’t think “immediate” deaths is the criteria we need to use here:

The triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March startled many people in the American nuclear industry, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday, although the success in ultimately gaining control of the reactors did not.

“I think there are many people who are associated with this industry who believed we had designed away, or operated in a way, that eliminated the possibility of ever having a significant, really severe accident,’’ said the chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, who held a year-end roundtable session with reporters.

That it was possible for the three reactors to melt down without causing any immediate deaths was far less surprising, he said. “Plants ultimately have a number of safety features and designs to reduce the likelihood” of releasing enough radiation to cause immediate illness, he said.

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