Elevation of Silicon Valley

The lowest point in San Jose is 13 feet below sea level and though it has its high points, I agree that the tech boom is probably done. The way in which profits are squeezed from marginal web apps has gone the way of wide brim ties for the moment, and though Musk remains a hero at the major news outlets there seems to be only shadow chasing for the big start-up fashion show funding carnival that was all the rage until the lights came on. And despite the hype, even autonomous vehicles appear to be circling back to their original question: how?

BUT… the economy is… booming? Okay, the business news will all turn negative as we reach full employment and wages go up because anything that is good for workers must be bad. The captains of cronyism continue their long-term project of undermining capitalism from within. Now they’ll have pay higher wages or else. I kid. Will the know-nothings in power begin to learn to love the tariffs as they slingshot back at US? How many socialists will take the oath of office after November? Can capitalism be crippled without putting representative democracy in traction, too? This is to say nothing of the boiling racism at the heart of every policy question from immigration to the environment to voting rights.

Okay, enough vacation. Everybody back to work.

Image: Author photo from a somewhat great height.

Zwischenzug

A San Francisco couple challenges the Waxman-Markey climate change bill wending it’s way through congress. Yawn.

A San Francisco couple who are both lawyers for the EPA challenges the Waxman-Markey climate change bill wending it’s way through congress. Scandal.

Check out the video in question. After the scary music, they offer disclaimers about not representing the government or speaking for the president. And I can’t tell from a straight-up amateur video that these people are any more overzealous or weird than the editorial page editor of the Washington Post Kaplan Test Prep Daily. They work at the EPA, and have for many years. They have strong opinions about cap-and-trade – they think it won’t spur the urgent technological innovations and investments needed to usher in the mammoth energy transition necessary to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

At some level, I don’t care how amateurish their videos might be – which also means that at some level, I do.  But I’m sympathetic to the argument that the bill, which gives away emission permits, doesn’t do enough. The EPA has every right to make sure their employees aren’t misrepresenting official policy – precisely because what their employees say carries more weight. That being the case, I’m interested in what they think. Most of what we hear about the climate bill is how much passing it will damage the economy. You can imagine that a couple of climate change deniers who were EPA lawyers would be feted as dissidents and we, treated to a new round of cable cause celebre. Harnessing the power of n, where n is anything other than coal or petroleum, will necessarily revolutionize much what we see and do. How are we possibly going to accomplish it? Let’s argue about that for a while.