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Open Thread October 14 2023 State of Global Water Resources 2022

State of Global Water Resources 2022, World Meteorological Organization,

The hydrological cycle is undergoing significant changes, with increasing global variability. Mainly due to climate change and human interventions.

Living with Water Scarcity, Angry Bear, Dan Crawford, Living with Water Scarcity (2nd edition), The one-handed economist, David Zetland.

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    Could a meat tax help fight climate change?

    Boston Globe – Oct 13

    Americans love meat. We eat three times the global average — a whopping 264 pounds per person in 2020.

    And we keep eating more, despite growing awareness that the raising of livestock for food, particularly beef, is a major contributor to climate change.

    With rising concern about a sector that worldwide accounts for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and shows no sign of slowing, some scientists, activists, and a few world leaders are talking up a nuclear option: taxes on meat.

    New Zealand is poised to be the first nation to implement a tax, with a law that would impose levies on farmers who raise beef cattle and sheep starting in late 2025. Denmark’s minister for taxation said last month that he is considering a tax on beef, and European Union policymakers, facingmounting pressure to address emissions from agriculture, are weighing taxes and other price mechanisms in a mix of possible solutions. …

    (NZ just elected a Conservative ‘former businessman’ as Prime Ministeer, so implementing such a tax  probably won’t happen, would be my guess.)


    • Fred C. Dobbs says:

      “If food system emissions are not reigned in, we cannot reach the goal of the 1.5 degrees of the Paris Agreement,” said Franziska Funke a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and coauthor of a study on meat taxes in Europe released earlier this month in the journal Nature Food. That goal — to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times — is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change, experts say. …

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    Email this morning from The Economist:

    You might think that The Economist’s journalists all enjoy schmoozing, lunching, flesh-pressing and contact-cultivating to get the inside track. But plenty of us break into a sweat at the thought of working a room; we’d rather be at our desks scribbling. When Bartleby, The Economist’s columnist on management and work, wrote an introvert’s guide to networking it was read as eagerly by his colleagues as by subscribers. 

    As Bartleby notes, lots of networking advice is cringeworthy. Laugh to lighten the mood. Repeat people’s names to appear engaged. Ambush potential contacts in queues and on escalators. 

    Thankfully, his guide is more sensible. Connect with people who you find genuinely interesting, and use sites like LinkedIn intelligently to expand your network without the awkward interactions. But if you still can’t cope with the chit-chat, consider that the other person may be equally uninterested. A colleague recently spotted Bartleby across a crowded tube carriage. Instead of making pleasantries they chose to ignore each other, saving the small talk for where it belongs: the office. 

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    A Palestinian Restaurant Perseveres in War’s Shadow

    NY Times – Oct 15

    For three years, Jews and Palestinians have gathered together at Ayat in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

    • Fred C. Dobbs says:

      Ayat – Middle Eastern Restaurant

      (Also on Staten Island.)

      Palestinian Street Food and Then Some at Ayat

      NY Times – Critic’s Pick – Dec 1, 2020

    • Fred C. Dobbs says:

      Now the restaurant is being flooded with bad reviews.

      Ayat Masoud and her husband, Abdul Elenani, said all are welcome at their Palestinian restaurant in Bay Ridge. …

      After the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Ayat was suddenly flooded with dozens of one-star reviews online.

      After Ayat started racking up bad reviews, Mr. Elenani reported them and managed to get most of them taken down. Some reviews urged people to stay away from a Palestinian business. It did not work: There has been no drop-off in customers. …

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    Assuming the House of Reps is going to vote yet again for Speaker starting tomorrow…

    What Happens If Some House Members Start Voting ‘Present’?

    National Review – January 23, 2023

    … Republicans aren’t really playing with fire because, to win, a nominee for speaker must get the votes of a majority of the House — meaning, a minimum of 218 members out of the total of 435. This is not the case.

    A few months back, the Congressional Research Service prepared a useful report on how the speaker of the House is chosen. The CRS report, relying on authoritative House practice manuals, explains that the speaker is elected by a majority of members voting “for a person by name.”

    Translation: 218 votes are not necessary if (a) fewer than 435 members attend the vote, or (b) members who are present opt not to vote for someone by name — i.e., if those latter members vote “present.” Thus, the report elaborates in footnote 13 (page 3), “In the period since the House first reached its current size of 435 Members (in 1913), six Speakers have been elected with fewer than 218 votes.” …

    … By the way, I do not believe Jordan is a viable alternative; unlike McCarthy, he is not as acceptable to moderate Republicans as he is popular with pro-Trumpers and the anti-McCarthy dissenters.

    According to some reports (see, e.g., here), a number of the dissenters have warned McCarthy that they don’t care whether their opposition to him leads to the election of a Democrat. The possibility of Jeffries’ being installed as speaker is remote, but it is not impossible — and, after today, not unforeseeable. …

    (The above goes back to when McCarthy was successful after 15 ballots getting the Speaker’s post. But not before the Dems almost got Hakeem Jeffries elected because some GOP members got confused about how they were supposed to vote. This time, if the Dems vote ‘present’ instead of ‘NO!’, Jim Jordan gets elected easily. Otherwise Elise Stefanik still has a chance.)

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    Jordan Inches Closer to Speakership, but GOP Holdouts Remain

    NY Times – earlier today

    … Several mainstream Republicans who had said they could not countenance a vote for Mr. Jordan, the hard-line co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, fell into line after a pressure campaign by his right-wing allies and a series of one-on-one calls with him.

    Their reversals suggested that Mr. Jordan was within striking distance of the 217 votes he would need to be elected in a planned vote around noon on Tuesday. But the outcome remained far from certain. …

    • Fred C. Dobbs says:

      … People close to Mr. Jordan said on Monday that the number of Republican holdouts had shrunken from around 50 to around 10. That is still enough to block his election, but he planned to press ahead anyway on Tuesday, counting on his remaining opposition to cave under pressure on the House floor.

      If he lacks the support to prevail, Mr. Jordan could easily postpone a vote, just as he did on Friday. He could also try to grind it out in multiple rounds of voting, as Mr. McCarthy did in January. Or he could follow Mr. Scalise’s example and simply drop out altogether. …

      … The 212 Democrats in the House are expected to vote as a united bloc for Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, just as they did in January. There is virtually no chance that any of them would help elect Mr. Jordan …

      Mr. Jeffries has pitched the idea of forming a coalition government that he describes as an “enlightened arrangement.” But the idea is a long shot. And given that he has more votes than any Republican seeking the speakership, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Jeffries would agree to cede to a G.O.P. candidate without substantial concessions.

      Mr. Jeffries said Democrats would team with Republicans to elect a speaker only if they agreed to change House rules to allow “governance by consensus”; in other words, allowing bills with bipartisan support to come to the floor. The Rules Committee, which determines what legislation gets a vote, is now structured so that Republicans are in complete control of what bills the House considers. That means that Democratic priorities are almost always blocked and the hard right effectively has veto power on what is considered and what is not. …

      • Fred C. Dobbs says:

        Republicans will try to elect Trump ally Representative Jim Jordan as House speaker but GOP holdouts remain

        AP – really early this morning

        Republicans will try to elect a firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan as the new House speaker, elevating a chief ally of Donald Trump to a center-seat of U.S. power and showing just how far the hard-right flank has moved into the GOP mainstream.

        On Tuesday, the House is scheduled to start voting at noon in what could become a showdown for the gavel. At least a handful of holdout Republicans are refusing to give Jordan their votes, viewing the Ohio Republican as too extreme for the powerful position of House speaker, second in line to the presidency. …

        …  it could take multiple rounds during House floor voting not unlike in January when it took McCarthy 15 ballots to win the gavel. With the House Republican majority narrowly held at 221-212, he can only afford to lose a few votes to reach the 217 majority threshold, if there are no absences. 

        One holdout, Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, said Jordan’s role in the runup to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his refusal to admit President Joe Biden won the 2020 election remained an issue.

        “I’m going to have a conversation with Jim and talk to him about my concerns,” Buck said. …

        Gaetz on Bannon’s podcast Monday said purging the party of those who don’t support Trump’s vision could be the “greatest blessing” to come from the weeks since McCarthy’s ouster.

        Holdout Republicans are wary of promoting Jordan at a time of major challenges for the country. Congress must fund the government by Nov. 17 or risk a federal shutdown, and the White House is asking lawmakers to provide supplemental funding for Ukraine and Israel in the wars abroad.

        “Jim, at some point, if he’s going to lead this conference during the presidential election cycle and particularly in a presidential election year … is going to have to be strong and say Donald Trump didn’t win the election and we need to move forward.” …

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    Jim Jordan Loses First Vote

    NY Times: Representative Jim Jordan, the right-wing Republican hard-liner from Ohio, lost his first bid to be elected speaker on Tuesday, prolonging a two-week fight that has paralyzed the chamber and shone a spotlight on deep G.O.P. divisions.

    Mr. Jordan, the combative co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, fell 17 votes short of the majority he would have needed to prevail, despite a right-wing pressure campaign to win the support of mainstream Republicans who opposed him. …

    • Fred C. Dobbs says:

      The group of 20 G.O.P. holdouts was larger than previously known and included some powerful members of the House, including Representative Kay Granger of Texas, the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and several Republicans from politically competitive districts won by President Biden.

      Following the vote, Republicans immediately called a recess to allow them to regroup and chart a path forward. …

      • Fred C. Dobbs says:

        Here Are the 20 Republicans Who Opposed Jordan

        NY Times – a couple og hours ago

        Here’s a look at the lawmakers who opposed Mr. Jordan on the first vote.

        Biden-district Republicans

        There are 18 Republicans in the House who represent districts Mr. Biden won in the last presidential election. Six of them voted for candidates other than Mr. Jordan:

        • Don Bacon of Nebraska

        • Lori Chavez DeRemer of Oregon

        • Anthony D’Esposito of New York

        • Jen Kiggans of Virginia

        • Nick LaLota of New York

        • Mike Lawler of New York


        A group of seven Republicans who serve on the Appropriations Committee, which controls federal spending, expressed concern about Mr. Jordan’s anti-spending past. Some of them feared that he would demand across-the-board funding cuts, including to the military.

        • Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida

        • Jake Ellzey of Texas

        • Tony Gonzales of Texas

        • Kay Granger of Texas, the chairwoman of the appropriations panel.

        • John Rutherford of Florida

        • Mike Simpson of Idaho

        • Steve Womack of Arkansas

          Mr. Womack said he voted against Mr. Jordan on principle because Mr. Scalise was “kneecapped before he could win over his opponents.”

        McCarthy Loyalists

        • Doug LaMalfa of California

          The northern Californian said he would vote for Mr. Jordan on the second ballot.

        • John James of Michigan

        • Andrew Garbarino of New York

        • Carlos Gimenez of Florida

        • Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania

        Wild Cards

        • Victoria Spartz of Indiana

        • Ken Buck of Colorado — Mr. Buck said there were a number of reasons he did not back Mr. Jordan, but his main sticking point was the fact that Mr. Jordan played a lead role in the attempt to overturn President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election on the floor of the House. “I don’t want someone who was involved in the activities of January 6,” he told CNN after the vote. 

  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    NY Times – Oct 17:

    Representative Jim Jordan, the ultraconservative hard-liner from Ohio, lost a bid to be elected speaker on Tuesday and put off a second vote until Wednesday (11am), prolonging a two-week fight that has paralyzed the chamber and exposed deep G.O.P. divisions. …

    “We’re going to keep working, and we’re going to get to the votes,” Mr. Jordan said.

    The group of 20 G.O.P. holdouts was larger than previously known and included some influential members of the House. Among them were the chairwoman and several members of the powerful Appropriations Committee, as well as half-dozen Republicans from politically competitive districts won by President Biden. 

    Mr. Jordan’s loss underscored the seemingly intractable differences within the party as well as the near-impossible political math that led to the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as speaker two weeks ago and which has so far thwarted Republicans’ attempts to choose a successor.

    Since Republicans control the House with only four votes to spare, a small hard-right minority has flexed its muscles repeatedly to the consternation of the mainstream conservatives who form the bulk of the conference. The refusal of some of them to go along with Mr. Jordan’s election was an unusual show of force from a group that more commonly seeks compromise and conciliation.

    But Tuesday’s vote also indicated how sharply the G.O.P. has veered to the right. Though Mr. Jordan failed to win a majority, 200 Republicans — including many of those more mainstream members — voted to give him the job second in line to the presidency. That was a remarkable show of support for Mr. Jordan, 59, who helped Mr. Trump try to overturn the 2020 election and has used his power in Congress to defend the former president. Mr. Jordan has a long track record of opposing compromise that prompted a previous Republican speaker to brand him a “legislative terrorist.” 


  • Fred C. Dobbs says:

    In other news…

    (With Putin by his side) Xi Outlines His Vision of a New World Order

    NY Times – Oct 18

    … China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, used a Beijing-led conference of leaders from mostly developing countries on Wednesday to showcase his ambitions to reshape the global order, as the world grapples with a war in Ukraine and a crisis in Gaza. He cast his country as an alternative to the leadership of the United States. And he gave a prominent role to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, underscoring how central their relationship is to Mr. Xi’s vision.

    The event, the Belt and Road Forum, is centered on China’s signature foreign policy initiative, which aims to expand Beijing’s influence abroad with infrastructure projects. Mr. Putin was treated as the guest of honor and often pictured by Mr. Xi’s side. The two leaders also met for three hours in Beijing on Wednesday. 

    In Mr. Putin, Mr. Xi has a like-minded partner driven by shared grievances toward the West who is willing to push back against what they both perceive as American hegemony. Mr. Xi sought to tout China as a force for stability in the world, with Mr. Putin alongside him — never mind that Russia upended European security when he launched an invasion of Ukraine 21 months ago.

    “Ideological confrontation, geopolitical rivalry and bloc politics are not a choice for us,” Mr. Xi said in a speech at the opening of the forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. 

    “What we stand against are unilateral sanctions, economic coercion and decoupling and supply chain disruption,” Mr. Xi said, clearly referring to efforts by the United States and its Western allies to pressure China. …