May 23, 2012


Love the feel of rubber glove-covered hands of Transporation Security Administration (TSA) personnel running over your thighs and threatening to invade your underwear when you're rushing to make a flight and have little time for state-mandated groping?

Miss those days when, if you are a relatively attractive young woman, you could count on continually being treated as a major security threat on a par with Mohammed Atta and made to pass through the "auto-porn" machine by predominantly male TSA staff before every flight? And being subjected to TSA petting after the "auto-porn" photo shoot anyway?

Well, get ready, because Senate Democrats might just have a new surprise in store for you. That's right: Not only do they want the TSA to continue to be paid to interfere with your body; Senate Democrats want to interfere yet more with the contents of your wallet to cover the cost of said privacy-invasion...

More here. [intro]


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May 18, 2012

More Protectionism #FAIL

So yesterday, I posted this item noting how the Commerce Department was instituting new tariffs (bad in themselves) that would discourage purchase and installation of a key green technology that the administration supposedly wants people to use (doubly bad).

Today, comes the news that these new tariffs are-- you guessed it-- generating significant worry that we're kicking off a trade war with China over green technology. From Politico's Morning Tech:

SOLAR FLARE: TRADE TENSIONS WITH CHINA HEAT UP - Pro Energy's Alex Guillén reports: "Thursday's Commerce Department announcement of major tariffs on Chinese solar products has stoked fears of an all-out clean tech trade war. Trade tensions had cooled in March when Commerce had announced lower-than-expected tariffs in the first of its two investigations into Chinese solar products, leading officials to suggest the incident might become a speed bump rather than a sinkhole for solar industries on both sides of the Pacific. But on Thursday, Commerce announced tariffs for most companies at 31.18 percent, with some as high as 250 percent." More for Pros:

Trade wars and discouraging US consumers from buying and installing green technology they might otherwise be interested in using? Man, that is some change I can't believe in.

Note: Before the liberal readers of this blog even go there, yes, I do believe Mitt Romney has in the course of this presidential campaign advocated policy that would spur a trade war with China. This story plus that reality is just another reason why I am super-excited about the candidates that will feature on the general election ballot in November. [intro]

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May 17, 2012

New Protectionism #FAIL

So, longtime readers of this blog/Twitter followers of mine will know that I'm a little bit crunchy and green compared to your average Republican. I'm pretty rabid about recycling. I drive a clean diesel car that gets 50 mpg on road trips. I buy a lot of organic. I buy our bath and many of our personal hygiene products at the Body Shop because I worry about animal testing. I like taking the DC metro and Amtrak, instead of driving or flying, respectively (well, except for when there are massive delays).

But I am also a rabid free-trader, having grown up in a state that is very dependent on overseas trade, especially with Asia, and being a believer that free trade enables Americans to have access to widely marketed goods that are cheaper than they otherwise would be, and promotes investment that ultimately raises standards of living elsewhere (which has a whole range of knock-on benefits I won't even begin to get into here; you can read about them on your own time).

So, consider me someone who's not particularly impressed on two counts when I read this in today's Politico Morning Tech:

NEW TARIFFS ON SOLAR TECH -- The Commerce Department is set to unveil new tariffs on solar technology imported from China this afternoon in a case that has the industry on tenterhooks. The anti-dumping duties will be the second Commerce has imposed on solar tech from China; the first tariffs, countervailing duties announced in March, were lower than expected and eased tensions slightly between the U.S. and Chinese industries. While domestic manufacturers are hoping the tariffs will help their panels compete with cheaper Chinese tech, solar developers and installers - the majority of U.S. solar jobs - fear increased prices will hurt the solar industry overall.


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