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  • By The Numbers: The Clean Energy Race

    China passed America for the first time ever in terms of total investment in clean energy in 2009, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which expressed concern that U.S. investment efforts ranked only 11th among the 20 largest industrial nations as a percentage of GDP: $18.6BILLIONS invested by America, the second-highest amount globally $34.6BILLIONS invested by China, the highest amount globally 0.13PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by America, placing it 11th in relative rankings 0.39PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by China, placing it third in relative rankings
  • Earth Day Happy Hour: Biz Markie Edition

    We here at the Gaggle aren’t so steeped in politics that we don’t take notice of pop culture from time to time. So we took a long look—and you should, too—at this fantastic Earth Day remix from the folks at Repower America paying homage to hip-hop master DJ Biz Markie, featuring a cameo of the man himself. The message? Clean energy now, yo. (Our favorite part comes at 1:08)
  • Reid to Push Forward on Financial Overhaul

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday afternoon that he would invoke cloture for the financial-regulation bill. The Senate will move forward on the bill Monday.  ...
  • Obama Plays Populist

    There are those, like Ezra Klein, who think President Obama somehow wimped out in his speech at Cooper Union. But my take is different. ...
  • The Rime of the Ancient Stockbroker

    By Jerry Adler It is an ancient stockbrokerHe’s drinking Coke and Jacks.“Hey, I know you,” the banker said.“You worked at Goldman Sachs.“You swung a big one, so I heardWay back in the day.But here I came to watch the gameAnd now you’re in my way.”The stockbroker held up a handAnd ordered J&BHe fixed the banker with a stare“There was a bond,” quoth he.“Something called a CDOA total sack of doodyBut anyway, a Triple-AFrom S&P and Moody.”“I fear you, ancient stockbroker!I fear you’ll get me fired!You’re in the tank with Barney Frank.I think you might be wired.” “We flogged it up and down the StreetAnd lots of other placesAnd no one thought that what they’d boughtMight blow up in their faces.”“Chill out, ancient stockbroker!Get up off the floor!Why look’st thou so?” “That CDO—I sold to my brother-in-law! “And when the housing boom went bustI had nowhere to hide.Instead of a bow, the CDOAround my neck was tied.“Houses, houses everywhereAnd the market sure did stinkHouses, houses...
  • Secret Teenage Sex Codes Revealed!

    At least, that was the promise of a press release that landed in the NEWSWEEK inboxes this morning. "Secret texting codes: Are kids having sex and getting high under your nose?" asked the release. It's true: Under Your Nose has become a popular make out spot for today's youth. The solution, says this e-mail, is an interview with two authors willing to discuss both the perils of sexting and the value of good manners. The authors can also help parents decode the secret texting codes teens use to talk about sex, drugs, and, presumably, bad manners. To wit: LH6 . P911 . 8 . Al Capone . if your kids use secret texting codes like these, they just said "let's have sex (LH6)", "alert—parents coming into the room (P911)", "oral sex (8)" and "heroin (Al Capone)" Make no mistake: that would have been one hell of a text. But what's more shocking is the continued attempts to rend garments over sexting, or the assumption that...
  • Obama's Financial-Reform Speech to Be Lean, Mean

    Obama's coming north, and he's carrying a big stick: the president is expected to deliver a stern reprimand to the banking sector in his speech in New York Thursday, in the process excoriating some of his biggest financial backers, The Washington Post reports. Executives and employees from Goldman Sachs, the firm that will bear the brunt of Obama's finger-wagging, contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign in 2008. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told Bloomberg the president's speech will focus on pushing the financial-reform bill, which he advocates as the antidote to Wall Street's "failure of responsibility." "I believe in the power of the free market. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," Obama will say, per excerpts released by the White House. His pitch: either Wall Street institutes and adheres to tough rules, or it risks dragging the country into a second...
  • How to Beat Republicans? Keep Slamming Them.

    It’s no secret on Capitol Hill that Democrats are on the defensive heading toward midterm elections that are considered a referendum on their majorities in Congress and their man in the White House. Part of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s job is to minimize losses however possible. With just over six months until the voting, Hoyer and colleagues are trying desperately to switch to offense, and keep Republicans from driving the conversation like they did on health care—a debate that almost proved crippling to his party’s survival.At a breakfast this morning in Washington hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Hoyer talked with reporters, taking time to slam Republicans at every turn. When asked to make an opening statement, Hoyer quipped that he’d be brief and try “not to filibuster the opportunity,” a clear jab at the filibustering party du jour.The slams continued. Taking a page from history, Hoyer noted that ...
  • Will Germany Exit the Euro Zone?

    When Greece first appeared to be on the brink of default, analysts looked for signs of a euro-zone breakup, as stronger countries like Germany balked on funneling their taxpayer euros to rescue dissolute southern economies. Now, as Europe inches toward a Greek bailout, that danger seems to be receding. But a new one's cropped up in its place. As some economists, including Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels, now speculate, the bailout may actually raise the risk that Germany will decide to exit the euro zone to save its own neck. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing rising discontent at home, as voters remember the old pledges that Germans would never have to bail out profligate economies to the south. If Germany were to leave—perhaps along with economic allies such as the Netherlands, Finland, and possibly France—it would not only soothe domestic worries but also spare the mess of making struggling southern economies choose between default on the one hand and austerity...
  • With Justice Probe, Massa Saga Gets Messier

    Just when you thought the charges involving former Democratic congressman Eric Massa's alleged sexual misconduct couldn't get any more convoluted, new issues of possible financial fraud surfaced over the weekend, prompting the House ethics committee to take the unusual step of launching a full investigation even though Massa has resigned. As that news was being digested, documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are pursuing a separate public-corruption investigation into large payments, made shortly before Massa resigned, from his campaign fund to his chief of staff, and to renew the lease on the congressman's personal car.The involvement of the Justice Department underscored the seriousness of the allegations against Massa, and now potentially against his chief of staff, Joe Racalto.The notoriously press-shy ethics committee announced in a statement that it was establishing an investigative subcommittee to look into...
  • Flights Resume From European Airports

    After days of paralysis, European airlines are back up and flying today. But although that news will hearten travelers who have spent days sleeping in concourses, experts warn that it will take weeks for the situation to get back to normal and all flights to be running on time. ...
  • Georgia's Separate Peace

    Moscow and Tbilisi are still officially at war a year and a half after Russian troops rolled into the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and declared them independent. But quietly, with minimal fanfare on both sides, peace is breaking out. A crucial border crossing opened last month, direct flights have recommenced, and Russia has begun issuing more visas to Georgian nationals....
  • Could Charlie Crist in 2010 Be a Repeat of Joe Lieberman in 2006?

    As speculation that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for U.S. Senate as an independent reaches a fever pitch, it's worth revisiting Sen. Joe Lieberman's independent run in 2006. Consider the parallels. Back then, Lieberman was attacked by Democrats for embracing (allegedly kissing, actually) a Republican president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the Iraq War). In the current cycle, Crist has been attacked by Republicans for embracing (half-hugging, really) a Democratic president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the stimulus package)....
  • The FDA and the Dilemma of Salt

    When I saw the Washington Post headline on my morning paper, top of the fold, saying the FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons, I knew that critics of the Obama administration would be crying "nanny state." Ingesting all the salt you want without the government telling you that it's bad for you is another of those freedoms that the tea-party crowd surely cherishes. But we could all throw out our salt shakers and we'd still be getting way too much salt in our diet. That’s because a huge amount of sodium is routinely pumped into processed food and restaurant meals, resulting in Americans consuming two to three times the recommended amount of between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day set by the Institute of Medicine.  ...
  • Quote of the Day: Protecting Free Speech

    "The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it." —Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority in U.S. v. Stevens, which struck down a previous law banning animal-cruelty videos as unconstitutional.
  • Kal Penn, Actor and Obama Administration Official, Mugged in D.C.

    He escaped angry New Jersey cops and Guantánamo Bay, but Kal Penn was no match for the nation's capital. Gossip site TMZ reports that the actor-turned-political operative was mugged last night walking home in Washington, D.C. A robber apparently took Penn's "wallet and other personal property" at gunpoint around 1:20 a.m. That's no laughing matter—although there is a certain irony in the fact that the costar of the marijuana-fixated Harold and Kumar films had his 4/20 marred by the incident. (Also, plenty of other wags are taking their best shots.)...
  • Too Fat to Fight? Army Recruiters Discuss New Report

    Childhood obesity isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the military. But Mission: Readiness, a D.C.-based organization of retired generals, admirals, and civilian military leaders, is seriously worked up about the epidemic. In "Too Fat to Fight," a new report released on the Hill today, the group says more than 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24—that's more than 9 million young men and women—are too overweight to join the military. And it's calling on Congress to do something about it: to get junk food out of schools and to provide more-effective programs for kids to lose weight. "I was overwhelmed by the number," says Mission's Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who retired from the U.S. Air Force last fall. "We need a force out there that's fit to fight." ...
  • Replacing Stevens on the Supreme Court: Where Does It Stand?

    1. No decision has been made by the president.2. The top four candidates are Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, Merrick Garland, and Janet Napolitano.3. Dark horses are still possible, especially if one could be found who is an economic progressive who could help redress what the president considers to be the tilt toward the powerful on the court. That's why I'm told that Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, whose expertise in bankruptcy law is a match for many of the business cases before the court and who comes from modest origins (her father was a janitor), is in the running. Kagan has never been a judge, but she waived tuition when she was dean of Harvard Law School for anyone entering public service, a policy recently abandoned for financial reasons but sure to be viewed favorably by Obama.4. In the short and medium term it's all about "getting to five"—bringing Justice Anthony Kennedy along to build new majorities. Garland has...
  • Death to the Kittens: Supreme Court Defends Animal Cruelty Videos as Expression of Free Speech

    Is it morally reprehensible to torture and kill animals and document it on video? Maybe so. But that wasn’t the issue the Supreme Court was considering in its latest ruling published this morning. In U.S. v. Stevens, a case that tested the constitutionality of a law banning animal-cruelty videos, justices classified it as a First Amendment question, and ruled with significant unity—8 to 1—to strike down the law, which has been on the books since 1999.Animal cruelty in most forms is illegal—just look at Michael Vick and his wardrobe of orange jumpsuits. But some forms aren’t, like hunting or bullfighting, which creates a gray area in deciding just what crosses the line. The law's defenders argued that depictions of women in stiletto heels crushing hamsters was akin to child pornography. But it was a wobbly argument. One of the more concerning aspects of child molestation is often considered the long-term effect psychological effect on the child, long after scars heal. There’s...