Daily Digest 1/21 - How History Will See Obama, How Much Military Is Enough?
Barack Obama: How Will History See Me? (jdargis)
The Obama legacy will partly be defined by events. When George W. Bush sat reading to schoolchildren in Florida on September 11th 2001, “the war on terror” was not part of his vocabulary. Mr Obama may well be blindsided by something similarly out of the blue. But Mr Bush is also often described as the man who expanded government more than any president since Lyndon Johnson; that was a legacy he could have avoided. More to his credit, Mr Bush will also be remembered for dramatically increasing and improving aid to Africa.
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows. The old colonial powers in Africa may no longer be the rulers, but they still exert influence and have strong economic and political links. David McDonald, professor of the Global Development Studies at Queen’s University, says, “The French and the English were much more strategic in terms of recognizing that they wanted to maintain neo-colonial linkages with their former colonies. So it was shedding the direct authoritarian power at the barrel of a gun and replacing that with independence, but an independence that was, and is still to some extent, extremely dependent on the political and economic will of the former colonial masters.” – The National Post’s Rubab Abid and Richard Johnson look at the former colonies and former colonial powers who still dabble inside the continent they once owned.
The Fine Line Between Truth And Lie (Taki T.)
Things are not always what they seem: at first glance, they may be deceiving. Matters that have been accepted as factual realities all of our lives may, in fact, no longer stand the test of simple logic when questioned properly by someone with another point of view. This is a reality we all have to live with and do our best to deal with honestly and openly. It’s one of the great challenges in life. It requires a flexible mindset and at times requires you’re admitting to being wrong.
The Force: How Much Military Is Enough? (jdargis)
"Our nation finds itself at a strategic juncture,” McKeon began. “Osama bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda is on its back. The Taliban has lost its strategic momentum in Afghanistan, and Iraq is an emerging democracy.” Yet, “faced with serious economic challenges, we are slipping back into the September 10th mentality that a solid defense can be dictated by budget choices, not strategic ones.”
And it all adds up, quickly. Last year, I bought 47 e-books. That’s $475 on digital books alone. In the past, I probably bought 20 physical books a year, at most, and given that half of those were from used bookstores, my annual literary budget rarely passed $200.
I’m paying less but buying more.
This recent attack against In Amenas is the first on Algerian assets, and could change the perceptions of oil companies as to the safety of working in the country. BP (NYSE: BP), Statoil, and Cepsa have all started to evacuate their workers, even though some work in fields hundreds of miles away from In Amenas. If this starts to affect oil production then the government, heavily reliant on revenues from its oil and gas exports, could suffer.
Shedding Some Light on the Solar Debate (James S.)
The horrific levels of smog seen in China in the last week have starkly underscored the need for the largest emerging market to clean up its act (and reduce its 70% reliance on coal). Air pollution in Beijing last weekend reached a record – almost 12 times the recommended level by Chinese standards (and 25 times by US standards). The most worrying takeaway from all of this was that Beijing wasn’t even one of the worst ten Chinese cities on the air-quality index on that day.
His main argument: shale is too expensive to drill, and shale wells usually don't last longer than a couple of years.
Last year, he laid out his case at a gathering of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas in Austin Texas.
Pipeline spat set to boil over at energy board (westcoastjan)
It’s early days, and the economics of those projects have not been fully disclosed. But in filings with the board, Spectra, which operates in B.C. as Westcoast Energy Inc., is already raising red flags over a pricing mechanism it says TransCanada is leveraging to win new business in the northernmost reaches of the province.
The temptation is to focus on issues that inflame the public, like the Keystone XL pipeline, but the president would do better to take a wider perspective. Keystone, for one, would pump only 830,000 barrels of oil from tar sands a day, about a third of the 2.3 million barrels of oil Canada already sends us, and a mere fraction of our heavily subsidized 19-million-barrel-a-day habit. We spoke to scientists, economists, and policy advisers, who recommended the most impactful environmental measures, ones that can be achieved over the course of the next four years. Here's their nine-point plan to protect the planet.
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