The Washington Post had an interesting piece about whether it still makes sense for the government to mint pennies, given how much they cost to make relative to their value. The article might have asked the same question about the dollar bill. Coins are in general much cheaper to keep in circulation than bills, and given that a dollar today is worth about as much as a quarter was 35 years ago, it might be time for the switch.
THE ADMINISTRATION'S ENERGY POLICY. Last night on Larry King's show, George W. Bushoffered the most succinct explanation of his approach to global warming yet:
We have done a lot to deal with greenhouse gases by advancing new technologies. I campaigned against Al Gore. I said we're going to spend money for clean coal technologies and we're in the process of doing that and one of these days people are going to look back and say, well, thank goodness the Bush administration made these investments because we'll be able to have electricity from coal that won't pollute.[...]
HOW IT'S DONE. If you missed last night's Lieberman/Lamont steel cage match, you'll find no better blow-by-blow than the Hartford Courant's recounting. Remember when Lieberman delivered the death elbow off the ladder? Or when Lamont dropkicked off the turnbuckle? Me neither. But all of the stuff I do remember is in the Courant piece, a model of informative debate coverage that quickly dispenses with the political positioning to offer a detailed recap of the actual issues at hand and how the two candidates addressed them. It puts the Reuters and Associated Press coverage to shame.
WHAT, INDEED?Alex Massietakes a look at the Connecticut Senate primary and wonders, "What on earth is all this about?" I wonder myself sometimes. I wonder especially why pro-Lamont forces get so indignant whenever someone suggests it's about what it appears to be about -- the war.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHUT WINDOW.Nir Rosen on how America missed the window of opportunity when withdrawal might have improved the situation on the ground in Iraq -- and why it should leave, anyway:
I supported a withdrawal certainly until 2005. In my articles, I was saying that an American withdrawal would prevent a civil war from happening and would force Sunnis and Shia to step up and take responsibility and to co-operate. And it would allow Sunnis to participate in the government.
PRIZES FOR POVERTY.The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report on the anti-poverty innovation sweeping the nation: Prizes. According to the paper, "[i]ncentive-based programs have sprung up in recent years in large part because they are more politically palatable than traditional welfare benefits, and because advocates say such programs offer a better chance of changing some of the behaviors tied up with poverty. But incentives aren't safety nets.
BUSH FLIRTS WITH LIEBERMAN. One of the more puzzling moments in George W. Bush's interview on Larry King last night was when he was asked whether he would endorse Joe Lieberman for Senate should he lose the Democratic primary and run as an independent. Bush dodged that as follows:
G. BUSH: First, the Democrats have to sort out who their nominee is going to be, and that's going to be up to the Democrats. And the rest of it's hypothetical.
KING: But he said he would run as an independent, if he were...
G. BUSH: He also has said he's going to win his primary.
MORE FOR CHUCK TO CHEW ON. Earlier this week, I noted in a post that Chuck Schumer had benefited from Democratic post-primary unity in New York in 1998 when his defeated opponents rallied to his side, and he went on to beat Al D�Amato. The idea is that now, as head of the DSCC, Schumer should learn from his own example and that the party ought to rally around the primary winner in, to pick a random state, Connecticut, let�s say.