The President Show

Look what you can do instead of hosting The President Show:

Second, the rescue bill has quietly become an infrastructure bill. It devotes $350 billion to supporting state and local governments. These funds, initially proposed to plug COVID-19-created holes in public budgets, in many cases now exceed those holes. So the Senate has allowed states, cities, and counties to spend that money on improving services such as water, sewage, and broadband. Because many water systems are vulnerable to climate change and must be adapted, this is de facto climate funding. The bill also contains $31 billion for tribal governments and Indigenous communities, including line items for new infrastructure, housing, and language preservation.

Downtown in our quaint little burg, one of the main streets in the central business district has been a mess for about three months, with sidewalks and the street alternately under massive excavation as sewers, power and water lines are replaced and updated. It’s a huge mess on a one way street in a tiny downtown and it’s not apparent when it will be completed. But that’s how badly needed it was, likely long overdue precisely because it’s such a hassle. Some of what is being replaced was likely original – whatever that might mean in this context. There’s a reason people/governments don’t want to do this. It’s hugely disruptive and expensive. But also absolutely necessary. There are likely 10,000 places this needs doing. So fix them, get started. And robots can’t do this work, btw. More boring accomplishments, please.

And then let’s dance to this music.

The Nature of Envy

There’s a non-sensical story in here somewhere about harnessing the friction between the world’s two largest emitters of GhG’s to generate electricity, but I either can’t find it or look past it too easily.

He noted that China has recently leapfrogged over the United States to become the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. “They know the world’s radar is on them,” Mr. Ramesh said. “If transparency becomes the stumbling block, China doesn’t want to be blamed. If China is the only party holding out, they won’t collapse the negotiations.”

It’s Cancún, you see, anything can happen – unless december weekends are decidedly un-spring break-like. Actually, I don’t mean to be so flip. This is the United Nations – the group to which falls the tasks labeled ‘doing something’ when nobody wants to do anything. Nobody wanting anything done actually is another case entirely and has a conference of its own.

But another word, because something is escaping us here with all these willing and smart people gathered in one place, on envy, especially as the wrench ex machina of egalitarianism.

A different way in which envy might be thought to motivate broadly egalitarian thought is by appeal to the idea of envy-free allocations. A distribution of goods is said to be “envy-free” when no one prefers anyone else’s bundle of resources to her own.[] The suggestion here is not that envy is the psychological motivation for the concern with equality, but rather that, where a distribution in fact produces envy, this is grounds to doubt the fairness of the distribution. But ‘envy’ in these contexts is a technical term for any situation in which someone prefers another’s bundles of goods, and does not refer to the emotional syndrome with which this entry is concerned.[]

This is the chief virtue of resistance to economic changes and any greater changes in the way we power, light, ship and travel. The haves (look around you) are afraid that at the end of this dull day, we will all be reduced to just having the same things. When, really, taste, rather any kind of envy-free allocation, would never allow for such a thing – as this failure of imagination gainfully proves. So this brand of resisters really have nothing to worry about. Just not the way they usually expect to be beyond worry. Fear of the bottom, therefore, drives the refusal to alter any actions at the top. Let this be addressed.