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Can't Afford Solar? Paint It White

Your roof, that is. A new study calculates that installing white roofs in the world's cities could offset 1.5 years of manmade carbon emissions, reports AAAS. Light-colored roofs cool the planet in two ways. They reflect radiation back into space. And they keep your house cooler so you use less air conditioning. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the state of California...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 9:26 PM EDT

B9a_agra700.jpg Your roof, that is. A new study calculates that installing white roofs in the world's cities could offset 1.5 years of manmade carbon emissions, reports AAAS.

Light-colored roofs cool the planet in two ways. They reflect radiation back into space. And they keep your house cooler so you use less air conditioning.

Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the state of California estimated the global number of roofs and asphalt surfaces in cities and conservatively estimated they comprise 1 percent of Earth's surface. They then found that using light-colored concrete, or applying white glazes to buildings, could increase the reflectivity of urban surfaces by 10 percent, effectively negating 44 gigatons of CO2. In comparison, halting deforestation of tropical forests would eliminate about 7 gigatons of emissions.

Total global annual emissions from fossil fuels are currently running at about 28 gigatons.

The new snow: paint.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award.

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Will Bitch Go Broke?

Bitch, the 12-year old feminist pop culture magazine, recently announced that it needs to raise $40,000 by the middle of October in order to cover printing costs of its next issue. The situation Bitch is facing is all too common in the magazine industry, especially among independent publications. But what's particularly difficult about Bitch's situation may have something to do with the magazine's advertising...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 7:50 PM EDT

bitch%20cover%20200.jpgBitch, the 12-year old feminist pop culture magazine, recently announced that it needs to raise $40,000 by the middle of October in order to cover printing costs of its next issue.

The situation Bitch is facing is all too common in the magazine industry, especially among independent publications. But what's particularly difficult about Bitch's situation may have something to do with the magazine's advertising policy.

At any magazine, there's always a question lingering in the background: What happens when you publish ideas that are controversial to the institutions that actually pay for the magazine? Like many independent magazines, Bitch doesn't make that much money from advertising. The magazine is perfectly up front about this, explaining that:

Bitch, on the other hand, is loyal—and accountable—to its readers. We're in this together, which is why we call ourselves a reader-supported magazine. Think of us as the print version of listener-supported radio.

In other words, Bitch won't accept all ads, only the ads from companies it, well, likes. Companies "with products and services are aligned with our mission." (Mother Jones, incidentally, does not have such a policy on advertisements—this magazine accepts most ads and promises not to let advertisers' interests affect editorial content. Not everyone is thrilled about that.)

This is not to say Bitch has chosen the "wrong" ad policy. There are plenty of good reasons to turn down ads if they don't fit with a magazine's mission, and Bitch's spirit of independence is inspiring. In practical terms, however, this puts Bitch in an emergency situation where it has to raise $40,000 in the next four weeks.

The fact of the matter is that most periodicals—except for the notable exception of the ad-dominated cash cows that are women's magazines (the other kind)—aren't exactly lucrative, whether the advertisers make things that are hazardous to your health, are ideologically questionable or responsible for numerous disreputable products.

The demise of Bitch would be a major loss, as the magazine provides a valuable service as a fresh voice for contemporary feminism. But the problem is not just what happens by October 15th but also what happens the month after that and after that…

—Daniel Luzer

Deer in Headlights

DEER IN HEADLIGHTS....This is pretty laughable:At a rally [in Tampa], Mr. McCain vowed to take aim at what he called the "unbridled corruption and greed that caused the crisis on Wall Street." Mr. McCain ? who has said for months...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 6:15 PM EDT

DEER IN HEADLIGHTS....This is pretty laughable:

At a rally [in Tampa], Mr. McCain vowed to take aim at what he called the "unbridled corruption and greed that caused the crisis on Wall Street."

Mr. McCain — who has said for months that he believes that the fundamentals of the economy are strong — has used the word "crisis" a lot on the last day to describe the financial situation. He did so in a series of television interviews Tuesday morning, where he called for the creation of a commission to study the problem, along the lines of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.

McCain has been running ads for weeks saying that he'll "reform Wall Street and battle Big Oil" — claims that usually prompt me to burst out laughing when they pop up on my TV. If there's a person in the entire country less likely than John McCain to reform Wall Street or battle Big Oil, I'm not sure who it is.

Of course, it would be a lot easier for Democrats to scoff at McCain if they hadn't mostly supported all the same financial deregulation that he did. I have my doubts that repealing Glass-Steagall contributed much to our current problems, but in any case the repeal was supported by Robert Rubin and Larry Summer and signed into law by Bill Clinton. Ditto for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act a year later. What's more, Democrats were mostly pretty happy about the rapid growth of subprime loans to low-income house buyers during the boom years, and a bunch of them supported the 2005 bankruptcy bill too. Hell, last year Senate Democrats couldn't even bring to a vote the biggest no-brainer of all time: a bill to close the carried interest loophole that allows billionaire hedge fund owners to avoid paying income tax at normal rates.

It's true that Barack Obama has some good ideas about re-regulation of Wall Street, and it's noteworthy that he's had these ideas for a while. McCain, conversely, is like a deer in headlights: he has no clue what's going on, so all he can do is keep repeating the word "crisis" like a windup doll and then call for a commission to dig up some answers for him. Not exactly inspiring leadership.

Still, Obama's job would be a lot easier if Democrats had spent the past eight years acting like Democrats. Think they'll learn a lesson from this?

BlackBerryGate Continues: "Morse Be Damned!"

I love the internet. Here's what some jokester created after the McCain campaign claimed John "Is Aware of the Internet"...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 5:06 PM EDT

I love the internet. Here's what some jokester created after the McCain campaign claimed John "Is Aware of the Internet" McCain invented the BlackBerry.

McCain_Blackberry_Poster.jpg

Previous example of the internet having fun at John McCain's expense can be found here.

One Person Who Could Tell John McCain Who Invented the BlackBerry

Elise Pickering, a member of the Women for John McCain Steering Committee who lobbied for BlackBerry's creator, Research in Motion,...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 3:34 PM EDT

Elise Pickering, a member of the Women for John McCain Steering Committee who lobbied for BlackBerry's creator, Research in Motion, earlier this year. (Via the Senate Lobbying Database.)

Palin Contradicts Palin on Troopergate Explanation

As part of an effort to beat back the investigation into whether Governor Sarah Palin fired Alaska's public safety...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 3:33 PM EDT

palin-motorcycle-250x200.jpg

As part of an effort to beat back the investigation into whether Governor Sarah Palin fired Alaska's public safety directory Walt Monegan because he refused to dismiss a state trooper involved in an ugly divorce with her sister, Palin's attorney filed papers on Monday claiming that Palin fired Monegan because of his "outright insubordination" regarding policy and budgetary matters. The problem with this explanation: it directly contradicts Palin's own story.

In mid-August, Palin spoke with New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch, who was in Alaska--prior to Palin being named John McCain's running-mate--to do a piece on "the peculiar political landscape" of the state. During his time there, the controversy regarding Monegan's dismissal was in the news in Alaska. And Gourevitch asked Palin about it:

[Palin] said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem. That, she said, was a big reason that she'd let him go--only, by her account, she didn't fire him, exactly. Rather, she asked him to drop everything else and single-mindedly take on the state's drinking problem, as the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. "It was a job that was open, commensurate in salary pretty much--ten thousand dollars less"--but, she added, Monegan hadn't wanted the job, so he left state service; he quit.

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Top McCain Surrogate Says McCain's Not Qualified To Run a Corporation

First, a McCain aide suggested John McCain invented the BlackBerry. But now, another top McCain aide--Carly Fiorina, the former CEO...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 3:26 PM EDT

First, a McCain aide suggested John McCain invented the BlackBerry. But now, another top McCain aide--Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard--says that McCain (and Sarah Palin) would not be qualified to run a major corporation. Really, she did:

Update: The fallout of this comment has not been good for Fiorina.

When Not Inventing the BlackBerry, What Did John McCain Do As Commerce Chairman?

John McCain has admitted in his more candid moments that "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 2:54 PM EDT

John McCain has admitted in his more candid moments that "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." So if he wasn't learning economics, what exactly did McCain do as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee from 1997-2001 and 2003-2005?

Not a whole heck of a lot. Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt told Salon last month, "The thing that stands out for his entire tenure is that he has never had a priority, and has never had, to my knowledge, any accomplishment of any kind at all." Think Progress points out that, "When McCain took over his second tenure of Senate Commerce Committee, the United States ranked fourth in broadband penetration. In 2007, two years after he had given up that position, the United States had dropped to 15th in the world."

Think Progress also spoke to Blair Levin, Hundt's chief of staff at the FCC. He points out that McCain actually voted against the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA '93) that "authorized the spectrum auctions that created the competitive wireless market that gave rise to companies like Research in Motion [the creator of Blackberry]."

Conclusion: Not only did McCain not invent the BlackBerry, he was one of only five Senators who voted against a BlackBerry-creating bill.

All Downhill Now

ALL DOWNHILL NOW....Did Sarah Palin peak 10 days ago and we just didn't know it? Maybe! John Sides has the chart....

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 2:54 PM EDT

ALL DOWNHILL NOW....Did Sarah Palin peak 10 days ago and we just didn't know it? Maybe! John Sides has the chart.

A Republican Strategist's Take on the Presidential Race

Republican public relations strategist Marty Youssefiani has worked on numerous House and national races, and when I saw a CNN...

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 2:52 PM EDT

Republican public relations strategist Marty Youssefiani has worked on numerous House and national races, and when I saw a CNN analysis by his old mentor Ed Rollins the other day on how Palin changed the game, I asked Youssefiani for his take. By way of background, when I spoke with Youssefiani in the late spring, he was fairly convinced that Obama would win the election, on the strength of inspiring the registration of so many new, first time voters.

Ed is right in that [Palin] changed the short term dynamics of the game. But I'm increasingly skeptical about McCain's ability to sustain the energy -- through three debates and this volcanic economy! (I have a hunch McCain may have peaked too early.)
On the other side, Obama can ill-afford to (personally) engage in the nasty game; instead he needs to figure out -- very quickly -- how to close the sale and convince the margins that he is not surface thin. On that note, Biden's (unfathomable pick over Hillary) problem is: unlike Palin, his personal likability factor ranks with that of Ashcroft! He has always come across as mean, bitter and personally angry. He is probably the truly smartest one of the bunch, but time is running out on him and he's got to be careful with Palin.
On the "Bradley Factor": I do think it is very, very real vis-a-vis the polls; however, in my opinion, come Nov 5, the biggest story will be how the genius pollsters missed/under factored the massive new registered voters, which will counter balance the Bradley factor -- in favor of Obama, and, at the end, make the difference. There you have it.

I asked Youssefiani about the conventional wisdom in the past being that young people say they're going to vote, but don't.

Very true. But my hunch is that we are going through a paradigm shift and that all bets are off this year. We're guaranteed to break all voting participation records... The country is following both campaigns closer than ever before (reflected by the Nielson ratings); New registration surge is not waning and if battleground [Virginia] is any indication (requests for 200,000 additional new registration forms) we are in for a tidal wave come November. Sure, I may be wrong, but I like my chances that we are more likely to see an unprecedented wave of more dedicated new/young voters than not -- especially if the economic news continues.