Easy being green?

My old friend and colleague John Howley is now the CEO of Davies Energy, a global energy efficiency company.

The picture of sanity

The picture of sanity

I like energy efficiency.

I’m not obsessive about energy efficiency on the petty scale, and I am suspicious of its politicization, but looking all around me I have always been struck by the massive waste of juice out there at every level.

I mention this because I see now that John is also turning his interests toward blogging about energy efficiency.  Okay, so maybe he is a little obsessive about it, but, hey, it’s putting food on the table and probably putting the table under the food, too.  But not only this, I see that his so far lightly-posted blog — JOHN HOWLEY’S GREEN ENERGY— is not only just full of common sense stuff, it’s not insane.

I like not insane.

I hope John (who, really, I always knew was not insane, by virtue of the easy recourse I had to comparison with insane people at the place where we used to work together) posts some more, and maybe that he’ll have some non-insane effect on energy policy around here, and everywhere else.  Am I crazy to think that?

The wrong thing: Kennedy in Arlington


The third time as farce

I felt a little bad writing a fairly vicious piece about Ted Kennedy that I posted pretty much at the cusp of his stay in this world.  But then I considered that, seeing as how he was so sick, he probably would not read it.  So I did not kill him.

What kills me right now, though, is that while there is nothing to be said for speaking ill of the dead, there is plenty to say about the very ill idea, which sounds like all but a done deal, to bury him in Arlington National Cemetery.

This is astonishing, and it is so wrong, that we do have to speak.

Ted Kennedy’s two years as a buck private in the Army were spent far, far from harm’s way — and there was plenty of harm to be had, in a place called Korea.  He technically qualifies for Arlington (both as a veteran and a member of the Senate), which despite running out of space is still open for business.  But he is not merely going into a private’s grave or even a Senator’s :  He is being buried alongside his assassinated brothers, a former President, Senator and war hero and a former Attorney General, bona fide presidential candidate and Senator, murdered by politically motivated killers for what they stood for.

And what did Ted Kennedy stand for?

Right, he just died.  I’m not writing that piece.

But his burial alongside John and Robert Kennedy vastly demeans their memories, and is an uncomfortable reminder of the heavy thread — well, call it a chain — of political fixing and nepotism that characterized the entire sad Kennedy saga.

Jack and Bobby were not perfect politicians, leaders or men by any stretch of the imagination, but in the scheme of things, they arguably rose to the level of opportunity their father bought for them.

I know this because I read about in books.  I was child when each of them was killed.  But to paraphrase Lloyd Benson, we all knew Ted Kennedy, and he’s no Jack Kennedy… or Bobby.

Notwithstanding his legendary personal charm and “effectiveness” in the Senate, and not even considering his worst crime, Ted Kennedy was merely the undistinguished scion of a very wealthy, powerful family. He not only achieved virtually nothing on his own merit prior to his preposterious placement into the Senate, but had already been shown to lack the basic sort of ethical standards that would have, in that time, disqualified anyone else for high public office.  Nonetheless he spent a gin-soaked lifetime raising the taxes and controlling the lives of those less privileged than himself, assured of life and, as it turns out, death in that exalted office by virtue of representing a constituency besotted by a family name burnished by his more accomplished and “martyred” older brothers.

Edward Kennedy’s internment alongside those brothers is a tawdry reminder of the stain of corrupt nepotism and elitism that will demean what had, despite those dubious origins of the Kennedy legacy, become a hallowed place in American civic religion.  It is the wrong thing, yes, but in fact it is probably, at the end of the day, entirely right.

UPDATE: There are comments here, too.

Bitter, bitter, bitter

Yes, it’s getting right ugly for prospective lawyers right now — even the elite “Tier One” crowd. Here’s the article in the New York Times that has all the law-firm-associate blogs hopping; and here’s a sample hop sent to me by a Biglaw alumnus, now in house managing someone’s regulatory compliance, and who says “Thank God I’m not a lawyer any more.”  The definitive take, of course, is at Above the Law, which deems the story mere “dog bites man.”

Personification of Power, Newark historic courthouse

I can’t complain.  I have many times, but… I can’t.

Look in the mirror!

Glenn Reynolds cites Matt Welch, to the effect that “The Real Reason Americans Are Angry: It’s The Big Government, Stupid“:

It’s been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama’s health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it. . . .

While the commentariat’s condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama’s room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren’t very keen about the government barging into their lives. . . . This isn’t about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. A majority oppose Obama’s policies because they fly in the face of this country’s bedrock values of personal liberty and limited government. . . .

Then, gentlemen, who are these angry people angry at?

THESE ANGRY PEOPLE ELECTED A COMPLETELY BIG-GOVERNMENT GOVERNMENT.  This “majority” elected Obama and two parliamentary houses full of whores (or worse) while being under no illusions whatsoever as to what “Obama’s policies” were going to be.

Either this is a “different majority” or someone is playing three-card monte here — can we have two 51 percents in the same whole?

We get the democracy we deserve when we vote for it.

And, by the way:  I wonder how many members of this majority sat at home (0r worse) because John McCain’s conservativism wasn’t pure enough for them, and helped us arrive at this state of affairs?

And now these “Americans” are “angry” at Obama — for being Obama?!

The other side of the Prince of Darkness


Robert Novak, the conservative columnist whose scoops broke many a career, made his reputation as a journalist by being unafraid to attack his ideological brethren.

The same dynamic underlay the contentious and at times ugly relationship he had with fellow Jews.

The article then goes on to cite when would appear to be rather tepid examples of this “ugliness,” which frankly did not compel me.  Being critical of Israel is not ugly, when it is intellectually honest.  I didn’t see, in their presumably well culled selection, any particular demonstration of dishonesty or “ugliness” — which is not to say that Novak didn’t have  a bias, and a point of view, about Israel and its Jews that were influenced by factors other than his famed fearlessness in calling a spade a spade.  This would put him in the category of 98% of humanity.  But he was no Pat Buchanan.

So was one of those “factors” his conversion to Catholicism?:

He cooperated in 2003 with the Washingtonian magazine in a feature about his conversion to Roman Catholicism five years earlier, and said that although he joined a Jewish fraternity in college, he was turned off by Judaism.

“I found the same thing in Judaism as a young boy as I did later in the Unitarian Church and then at the Episcopal Church,” he said. “They seemed very ungodly. The clergymen seemed very secular.”

Following his conversion, U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) reportedly quipped,  “Well, we’ve now made Bob a Catholic. The question is, can we make him a Christian?”

Hm.  Someone say “ugly”?  Now, Moynihan himself was, of course, a Catholic (of sorts), and if he hadn’t been you might take that the wrong way (you might not know this, but many evangelicals and other Protestants don’t consider Catholics “Christians”).  But this remark could also be taken another wrong way — namely that Novak, once a Jew, will always be a Jew.   Again, Moynihan was not only not an anti-semite, he was a philosemite.  So that’s not what he meant.  Not exactly.  But clearly there’s something about the pushy, annoying, dialectically-minded Jew that is peeking out here, and his embodiment of this classic, well, archetype surely haunted Novak.

Taken as a whole, though, the story here is one of a good-hearted if intense person with a strong and independent moral sense, an inclination toward conservative values and sensibilities, and a wish for a meaningful and demanding relationship with God.  A lot of Jews, especially talented ones, fit this description.  Some find their way back to their heritage; some are so turned off by the watered-down “ungodly” clergy and “religion” of liberal Judaism that it is only repellent to them and seek a link to a greater whole, to spirituality and to transcendence elsewhere — sometimes cults, and sometimes established brands such as Buddhism, socialism or Catholicism.

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Paying the bill for life

Craig S. Karpel states something so obvious that everyone is operating on the exact opposite presumption:

Americans are being urged to worry about the nation spending 17% of its gross domestic product each year on health care—a higher percentage than any other country. Addressing the American Medical Association in June, Barack Obama said, “Make no mistake: The cost of our health care is a threat to our economy.” But the president is mistaken. Japan spends 8% of its GDP on health care—the same as Zimbabwe. South Korea and Haiti both spend 6%. Monaco spends 5%, which is what Afghanistan spends. Do all of these countries have economies that are less “threatened” than that of the U.S.? . . .

The U.S. health-care economy should be viewed not as a burden but as an engine of growth. Medical and orthopedic equipment exports increased by 65.1% from 2004 through 2008. Pharmaceutical exports were up 74.6%. The unprecedented advances expected to come out of American stem cell, nanotechnology and human genome research—which other countries’ constricted health sectors cannot support—will send these already impressive figures skyward.

Craig explains how we forget the fact that after food and shelter — which, incidentally, though they are more important than health care, the government does not manage or provide for the vast majority of us — health care is the most important thing we should spend money on, if not dying is on the agenda.

The problem is, however, that health care is a lot like plumbing or, as I have learned, legal services:  No one enjoys spending money on fixing something just so it will stop being broke and go back to just plain working as it did before.  This is premised on a common enough, but utterly mistaken, view of the universe that does not account for the fact that everything in the physical world requires maintenance, investment and attention over its usable life in order to keep working.  In fact, it is a cost of doing business, not an unfair imposition on us, to lay out what it costs for clear good pipes, good legal and financial situations and good medical care.   And while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around, you are going to get what you pay for.

As long as you’re still allowed to shop around, that is.

Craig will be interviewed today on Fox News Network by Neil Cavuto. l The show is on from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern; he’ll be on at about 4:05.  You can watch online here.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman