SIMPLY PUT

Our friend Don George in Atlanta had the lead letter in Saturday’s New York Times – and totally nailed it:

Many Republicans claim that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal did not succeed in bringing us out of the Great Depression, but rather that the huge government spending related to fighting World War II did.

Let’s assume that’s true. I say, then, let’s spend as if we were in World War II and our very survival depended on it. President Obama’s budget appears to do exactly that.

A READER QUESTION

Steve Baker: “I saw Obama’s speech to the nation and the reply I have a question for you: Have the republicans ever confronted a problem in the last eight years that they think cannot be solved by a tax cut? From foreign wars which have at all other times been financed by tax increases or surcharges to anything else, all of which greatly increased the national debt to unsustainable levels at a time when, during prosperity, they should have been paying it down?”

BOBBY JINDAL DIDN’T TELL YOU THE TRUTH LAST WEEK

“The central anecdote of the GOP’s prime-time response to President Obama’s speech . . .. turns out to have been made up.” Read the full story here. And note this anecdote wasn’t offered off the cuff, in answer to a reporter’s question or at a small cocktail party* – this was Governor Jindal’s first ever televised address to the entire nation.

Surely he gave it some thought? Wrote it out? Rehearsed it?

*Or in the heat of a Presidential debate, as when Al Gore said he went to tour a disaster with FEMA head James Lee Witt and it turned out he toured 17 other disasters with Witt but toured this one with Witt’s regional director. The Republicans blasted that entirely inconsequential, unintentional slip as further proof that Gore should not be President.

NATIONAL HEALTH CARE

Dan Flikkema: “National Health care would encourage new entrepreneurs. You are correct that no serious person with a good business idea ever decided not to start up because the top tax rate was too high. But I’d bet a fair number decide not to because, in addition to all the inherent risks and complications, they don’t want to or can’t afford to lose health care benefits.”

SOLAR

Jim Kozma: “Scientific American had this article about ‘A Solar Grand Plan’ several months ago. It seemed pretty farfetched at the time. For one thing, they estimated it would take more than $400 billion investment from the government.”

☞ Over 40 years (as per the article), that’s barely $10 billion a year. Let’s do it faster.

. . . at least 250,000 square miles of land in the Southwest alone are suitable for constructing solar power plants, and that land receives more than 4,500 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of solar radiation a year. Converting only 2.5 percent of that radiation into electricity would match the nation’s total energy consumption in 2006.

☞ Not to mention the panels we could put on many a sun-drenched roof, allowing quite a few homes to go largely or entirely “off-grid” – and to plug their automobile in at home each night rather than have to buy gas.

FIREFOX TIP

Gary Diehl: “The CoolPreview add on puts a small ‘preview icon’ at the end of any link you hover over. If you then hover over the icon, it opens the linked page in a small window so you can preview it without actually going to it. You can go into this hovering window and scroll it, make it larger, and read whatever is in it. When you click your pointer outside of this window it fades away. I think people miss the power of this little add on, particularly those that read a lot of blogs and newspapers online. For example when I am reading a site like Huffington Post, any given article may contain many linked words or phrases that refer to other articles. Now I could click those links if I want to know more about the linked article but that gets messy. It will take me away from the article I’m reading or I will have to open it in another tab and bounce back and forth. But with CoolPreview all I have to do is hover over the preview icon, the page appears, I read it if I want and then click it away. I haven’t had to leave the original article at all. I do this on your column and many other sites as well. It’s a great time saver and once you get used to it you’ll find it indispensable. At least I do.”

GLDD

Our little dredging company has posted 2008 results, including some encouraging news on the size of its backlog, here.

(“Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and the only U.S. dredging company with significant international operations, averaging 30% of its dredging revenues over the last three years. The Company is also one of the largest U.S. providers of commercial and industrial demolition services primarily in the Northeast. Additionally, the Company owns a 50% interest in a marine sand mining operation in New Jersey which supplies sand and aggregate used for road and building construction. Great Lakes has a 118-year history of never failing to complete a marine project and owns the largest and most diverse fleet in the industry, comprised of over 180 specialized vessels.”)

The world may end (clogged up with silt), but I bought more at $2.33 last week.

 

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