Environment and Health
Good riddance to 2009: the recession, the Wall Street bailouts, the main street misery, and most of all the so-called health-care “debate.” Now that the debacle is mostly over, for better or worse, we’d best turn our attention to the one factor driving up health-care costs in this country that hasn’t even been mentioned—the lack of paid sick leave.
It’s hard to believe but there was a time when there was hardly a town or village that didn’t support some sort of baseball team, be it minor league, semi-professional or amateur. Baseball players were national heroes. The World Series was a big deal. For six months of the year the sport dominated the water-cooler-lunch-room chitchat. No more. Now it’s football, football, football.
hether you listen to NPR or Rush Limbaugh, you’ve probably heard about climate change. And if you’ve heard about climate change, chances are you’ve also heard about “cap and trade.” It’s a scheme that tries to sell business-as-usual as a solution to global warming. Here’s how it works. The government puts a limit on how much greenhouse gas can be released in a year (the cap), and industries covered by the system are issued an equivalent number of emissions permits. As the cap is tightened each year, permits become scarcer and thus more valuable. The increasing value of the permits is supposed to encourage dirty industries to clean up their act fast, and sell their spare permits to the dinosaurs that didn’t innovate. That’s the trade.
never much liked the idea of arms control. During the Cold War, we managed our nuclear arsenals rather than reduced them. We treated our nukes like huge, dangerous animals. We restricted their movements but gave them ample care and feeding. Until recently, getting rid of the animals altogether wasn’t part of the political agenda. After all, our leaders believed that these beasts were useful. They scared away the covetous neighbors.