Clearer heads in California

And it’s not the hope of legal pot.

An interfaith coalition has released an open letter in support of the NYC Mosque.

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No, you really don’t need to drive everywhere

Matt Yglesias laments the traffic and high cost of “free” parking in Acadia National Park.

Frankly, there is a better way. At some parks your admission fee includes passage on shuttle buses which provide a convenient alternative to driving your own car in the park and having to park it.

At Zion personal cars are prohibited unless you have a reservation to stay at the in-park lodge. At Bryce Canyon cars are discouraged due to parking constraints, and most people choose to take the bus.

The chaos is not part of the fun. These parks have millions of visitors and that many cars adds noise and pollution. Acadia might not be as heavily visited, but the same principles would apply.

Wingnut Welfare in Action

Good for the New Yorker, following the money trail that set up so much of the right wing infrastructure.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.

Hat tip: C&L

What’s in a name?

Depression, recession, it’s all the same isn’t it?

Positive gross domestic product readings and other mildly hopeful signs are masking an ugly truth: The US economy is in a 1930s-style Depression, Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg said Tuesday.

Well, of course it’s NOT all the same, but perhaps realization that this isn’t just another recession might light a fire under some in Washington?

The stimulus worked

Another update from the CBO, showing yet again, that the stimulus, albeit too small, worked.

President Obama’s much-maligned economic stimulus package added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy during the second quarter of this year, and may have prevented the nation from lapsing back into recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

In its latest quarterly assessment of the act, the CBO said the stimulus lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points during the quarter ending in June and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million. The higher figure would come close to making good on Obama’s pledge that the act would save or create as many as 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.