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Waxman and Markey’s original legislation called for a reduction in carbon emissions of 25 percent by 2025. Sensing resistance, they went down to 20 percent by 2020. But legislators from both parties—those from coal-producing and other industrial states—still balked. On May 14, the two sponsors reached a deal with Virginia Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher, who negotiated for the coal and industrial states. They arrived at 17 percent by 2020. And not all credits would be auctioned; some will be given away. Final numbers aren’t set yet, but apparently the percentage that will be auctioned will remain under 50 percent for several years, rising gradually. Boucher endorsed the deal but added that he hopes to lower that 17 percent figure once the bill reaches the House floor. One environmental expert told me that the bill would represent a genuine breakthrough— the line proponents use is that it’s the equivalent of taking 50 million cars off the roads every year for ten years— but acknowledged that it’s also “a substantially weaker bill than the science would require.” And so environmental groups are split. The League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Defense Council support the bill, while Greenpeace, which tends to have a more left-leaning membership base, does not. There are also, the expert says, “serious, serious divisions in the industry right now” about whether business should play ball. In May, Duke Energy of Charlotte, North Carolina, quit the National Association of Manufacturers—the country’s most influential business lobby after the Chamber of Commerce. Duke CEO Jim Rogers said, “We are not renewing our membership in the NAM because in tough times, we want to invest in associations that are pulling in the same direction we are.” –“‘The Unencumbered Man’,” Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books
Proposed cigarette packaging embraces death; “why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?”; the Guardian makes journalism into a game; Chris Anderson’s Free cut-and-pastes from Wikipedia (via)
Drawing on a federal survey of more than 63,000 state and federal inmates, the commission said that about 4.5 percent reported being sexually abused at least once during the previous 12 months. Extrapolating from this data, the commissioners estimate that there were at least 60,000 rapes of prisoners nationally during this period. Young people in custody are particularly vulnerable. In pilot study of nine youth facilities, nearly 1 in 5 respondents reported one nonconsensual sexual contact during the previous year. Rape is not inevitable, however. Strong leaders who are committed to fighting the problem can minimize these savage and traumatic assaults. For starters, the commission recommends that all correctional agencies develop explicit, written zero-tolerance policies on this issue. These agencies, which need to do a better job of screening corrections workers, should adopt the policy that employees who participate in sexual assaults or look the other way while they occur will be fired. Zero-tolerance policies should eventually be integrated into collective-bargaining agreements with unions. –“Rape in Prison,” The New York Times
“While the rapidly evolving Iranian firewall has blocked web, video and most forms of interactive communication, not all Internet applications appear impacted. Interestingly, game protocols like xbox and World of Warcraft show little evidence of government manipulation.” –“A Deeper Look at The Iranian Firewall,” Craig Labovitz, Arbor Networks (via)
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”