Tomorrow the Obama Administration will announce its approval of the Keystone pipeline.
The two main reasons for the delay in approval for the pipeline were election 2012 concerns and legislative bargaining. With the Presidential election over delay has much less political value. Second and perhaps most importantly the White House like any other administration has held a few negotiating objects for exchange. Obviously with fiscal policy matters driving much of the division in DC there have been a number of stand off scenarios and the chip would likely come into play. This also may in part explain how the House and Senate were able to more quickly consider the debt ceiling,
Kerry’s recent robust statements on Climate Change could actually be a response to the word of approval working through the administration.
Also for optics the President can’t announce this behind Democrats (who wont show) and Republicans which would anger Democrats and have the appearance of a quid pro quo. He will be meeting with Harper tomorrow where the story can be instead about great US Canada relations. Also holding on to this chip for too long actually loses its bargaining influence because of the likelihood of his successor approving it.
I have held this KXL theory for some time and it seems to be in line with others:
During the debt ceiling negotiations Republican Leadership were hinting at a deal like this in Sunday talk shows. By not demanding spending offsets they were implying they would be open to policy proposals like this.
Predictions obviously run the risk of being wrong and the author having egg on his face, but my certainty is well above 50%.
The Upside of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success by Megan McArdle is a wonderful book that, as the title explains, shows that making a mistake isn’t always bad. The real mistake is failing to learn from the experience. McArdle’s blog on Bloomberg often looks at current economic events in a way that dissects the issues insightfully. In the same way this book looks at everything from bankruptcy, business cycles, failed movies, criminal probation, and hospital diagnosis, to poor reporting,
She makes a point that the US bankruptcy system compliments the social stigma of bankruptcy by a code that is less punitive than some. This she believes encourages risk taking and entrepreneurship. She also cleverly points to past relationships and compares them to the GM bail out with the underlying argument that, in both cases, individuals were too guided by past achievements to understand changes. As McArdle points out, “A resilient society lets you fail, and even lets the failure sting, but only for a moment. Then it helps you get back on track, and everyone reaps the benefit.”
Her insights are both honest and well-reasoned. Much like writers such as Gladwell and Taleb she is willing to question conventional thinking in an insightful and approachable manner that is tangible. Admirably she does not distance her life from examples of personal and professional mistakes and what she learned encourages all to look within themselves to help explain our world. These qualities make for an excellent read and I look forward to diving into her next work.
Bombshell: Gates Says Hillary Admitted Her Position On Iraq Surge Was Purely Political -
In his new book, ‘Duty,’ former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that in a private meeting Hillary Clinton admitted her opposition to the troop surge in Iraq was purely an attempt to gain political advantage ahead of the 2008 Iowa Caucus.
Hillary told the president that her…
Another Problem Obamacare Won't Solve: Health Costs -
Megan McArdle has another thorough overview of healthcare costs by again considering the study out of Oregon that showed that government assistance influenced individual finances but did not alter key health metrics. One of the arguments for passage of ACA was that increasing insurance coverage will decrease ER usage. According to this data as McArdle points out, “People who got access to Medicaid used doctors more than people who didn’t. But they also used the ER more.”
Iraq government 'loses Fallujah'
Both writers give similar arguments for sustained military support and engagement with Afghanistan.
McCullough as an artist and fan of great pieces of art it is not surprising when seeing how the historian takes in detail. 1776 reads much like a military history account that is very clear and better written than most books in this genre.
Of particular note was his review of both successes and failures. His management of officers, political insights, and his willingness to be creative where also useful insights. Specifically, I enjoyed reading about how Knox moved the cannon to Boston as well as Washington’s operational and strategic maneuvering. While he is not known as a military historian he does a masterful job of illustrating how the concepts of speed, surprise, and maneuver can be successful in military campaigns.