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Thought for Food, Thanksgiving Edition
One upside of this year’s downsized Thanksgiving is you’re less likely to get into political arguments with relatives. Better luck next year, Racist Uncle Ned. Unfortunately, this also leaves you with less to discuss at the table. Fortunately, you’ll have some pretty interesting conversation pieces sitting on the plate in front of you.
For example, did you know there’s a good chance your turkey came from Minnesota, your cranberries from Wisconsin and your sweet potatoes from North Carolina? Justin Fox knows this now, because of researching it, along with many other interesting facts about which political swing states produce the food that will have you “swinging” to the couch for a long nap.
And you might think this weird holiday season would be good news for turkeys and bad news for the farms that slaughter them for people to eat. In fact, David Fickling writes, one of the weird ways Americans have coped with coronavirus lockdowns is to re-create Thanksgiving dinners again and again, spending their many spare hours brining, spatchcocking, stuffing and roasting. This pandemic can’t end soon enough, for humans or for turkeys. Also, zombie minks. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!
Trump’s Power to Make Mischief
President Donald Trump just can’t seem to help himself. Even with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition now in full swing, and even after Pennsylvania certified Biden as winning its electoral votes, Trump had planned to travel to Gettysburg today with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to complain more about voter fraud in that state.
Trump bailed on the trip, possibly depriving America of another much-needed Four Seasons Total Landscaping moment. But he’s obviously not ready to leave the stage gracefully. In fact, every move he has made since the election that hasn’t involved either claiming robbery or pardoning turkeys has been to make trouble for Biden and, by extension, the country, writes Tim O’Brien. And he still has two months in which to make mischief. Of course, there is a non-zero chance he’ll simply flee to Mar-a-Lago before his term is up. But even then, Bill Barr and other highly placed loyalists can quietly pour sugar in the gas tank of the government just before handing it off to Biden.
Of the many Chernobyl-sized messes Trump is leaving Biden, the relationship with China is one that hasn’t gotten much attention lately. But maybe it should, considering how these two nuclear-armed countries could someday end up at war. Trump has simply stopped communicating with China, leaving the two sides exchanging only menacing gestures at this point, writes Bloomberg’s editorial board. That won’t end well. Biden doesn’t have to be much less hawkish about China, but he should at least get the two sides talking again.
As we’ve mentioned a bunch in this newsletter, weird pandemic habits such as our whole-turkey craze have been an unexpected windfall to many lucky companies. One of these is Deere, notes Brooke Sutherland, which makes the tractors that produce the food that we have spent many extra hours preparing and eating. And the prospect of slightly warmer relations with China under Biden make the future look even brighter for Deere, raising the potential for more food demand, more farming and more tractors.
Tech companies — and Deere’s modern space-age tractors almost make it one of those — have also thrived in the pandemic as we all shop and surf and binge on our couches. The payment company Stripe has been one beneficiary, so much so that it’s raising new private funding at what could be a $100 billion valuation, which has more than doubled since just April, writes Alex Webb. But with great valuation comes greater expectations and pressures.
Argentine football diety Diego Maradona died. Bobby Ghosh makes the case Maradona was the greatest player of all time, better than Ronaldo or Messi because he had to do everything basically alone. He was Jordan without a Pippen. He had many incredible goals, but his best may have been the one that sealed England’s fate in the 1986 World Cup. Here’s how that play-by-play translates into English:
Many African economies, which are increasingly dominated by tech companies, have also thrived in this pandemic, writes Matthew Winkler. It doesn’t hurt that these countries have handled the virus relatively well.
Why not do an Operation Warp Speed for green energy? Because that’s far more complicated than vaccines. — Tyler Cowen
France and Germany say different things about the U.S. relationship but have similar goals: more European self-sufficiency. — Andreas Kluth
It’s clear Biden will need new tactics to remove Nicolas Maduro from power, including possibly cutting a deal. — Mac Margolis
Trump pardoned Michael Flynn.
Amazon is starting to experience shipping delays.
New Jersey’s $5 billion mall needs a Black Friday miracle.
Kominers’s Conundrums Hint
If you can’t figure out how to unscramble the answer letters in our country music Conundrum, don’t forget to look to Dolly Parton for a bit of help. You might find there’s less unscrambling to be done than sorting.
A laser fusion reactor is nearing a “burning plasma” moment.
An amateur astronomer may have found the source of the “Wow!” signal.
Brussels sprouts really used to be nastier than they are today.
Note: There will be no newsletter on Thursday or Friday.
Please send Brussels sprouts and complaints to Mark Gongloff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Brooke Sample at email@example.com
Biden and the future of clean energy politics | Greenbiz – GreenBiz
Have you heard about the clean energy triangle?
The theory goes that in order to rapidly deploy clean energy, you need three elements: technology; policy; and finance. When these components are integrated, we’re able to thoughtfully accelerate the speed and scale of clean technologies. The technology is there and is getting better. The finance is following as investors see there’s money to be made. The only missing piece, before this week, has been policy.
The inauguration of Joe Biden as president is the dawn of a new political era; for the first time, the stars are aligning for the clean energy sector to unleash its full potential.
Biden’s position on clean energy is as diametrically opposed to his predecessor as this analyst can fathom. On his first day, the new president signed executive orders killing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and recommitting the United States to the Paris climate accord. As a candidate, Biden called for 100 percent clean energy in the U.S. by 2035. He’s integrating climate experts across all departments in “the largest team ever assembled inside the White House to tackle global warming.”
The political sea change is larger than the whims of a single politician. It’s a reflection of the growing, influential force of the clean energy sector itself that will be difficult for serious politicians to ignore forevermore.
How clean energy pros helped POTUS land his new job
Biden didn’t always make clean energy his issue. He responded to the public’s growing concerns about climate change and listened to experts about its immense economic potential.
That didn’t happen by accident. The clean energy sector has been growing and maturing for years, and in this election cycle, it helped Biden land his dream job thanks in part to the all-volunteer organization Clean Energy for Biden (CE4B).
“I’m not just hopeful, I’m pretty convinced [clean energy professionals were politically influential],” Dan Reicher, CE4B co-chair and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy, told me in a phone conversation. “They’ve shown themselves to be very capable in President Biden’s victory and made a real difference.”
CE4B brought together more than 13,000 individuals in all 50 states, including 40 regional affinity groups in key locations across the county. It raised $3.2 million through more than 100 fundraisers and held hundreds of phone banks to get out the vote. The effort brought together impressive, diverse and passionate professionals excited about leaders who understand clean energy. (Full disclosure: I’m a volunteer for CE4B.)
The success of the CE4B’s organizing and campaign efforts inspired organizers to spin out a newly formed nonprofit, Clean Energy for America, which will support candidates and policies that will accelerate the clean energy transition at the state and national levels.
“Clean Energy for America is a recognition that the transformation that we need to address our clean energy challenges and opportunities needs to happen up and down the ballot,” Reicher said. “It’s not enough to work on a presidential campaign and then close up shop. We’ve got to continue on a variety of races on the national level, but we have to get really focused on state and local races as well.”
It’s also a recognition that clean energy professionals are realizing their power and are here to stay. As clean energy continues to disrupt dirty energy incumbents, the sector will grow in numbers and power. It also means those in power today will decide the policy levers that shape our energy future; who benefits and in what way.
Clean Energy for America is continuing with the key tenets of CE4B, organizing around the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure that the clean energy transition is a just transition for all.
The long road to Clean Energy for America
Before Clean Energy for Biden, there was CleanTech for Hillary. Before that, there was CleanTech for Obama.
The evolution of the name — from cleantech to clean energy — is a reflection of the industry itself.
“We treated it as a technology play, not ready for prime time,” said Reicher, who was involved in each organization. “We now call it clean energy. We had decided we had become mainstream; we were no longer a large tech sector backed by venture capital communities. It is a large, mainstream energy sector backed by large investment firms around the U.S. and world.”
Today, millions work in clean energy (about 3.4 million before the start of the pandemic), and those numbers translated into a larger network.
“We still marvel today at how fast [CE4B] grew to 13,000 people,” Reicher said. “We never saw that level of growth in the other organizations.”
With the birth of Clean Energy for America, the group is poised to continue to mobilize in races quickly. That, combined with the virtuous cycle that promises millions more Americans will be employed by clean energy in the coming decades, plants a clean energy flag in the sand.
Political scientists say Kenney must rethink pugilistic approach on oil, environment – Toronto Star
EDMONTON – Political analysts say Premier Jason Kenney must rethink his traditional “fight back” approach and start building bridges to reconcile environmental concerns with oil and gas development.
“Attacks are not going to persuade anybody,” Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said in an interview Thursday.
“You don’t set up a war room whose purpose from the get-go is to go after environmentalists. That’s a problem when you have an environmentalist in the White House.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, on his first day in office Wednesday, fulfilled a long-standing campaign promise to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.
The line would have taken more oil from Alberta through the United States to refineries and ports to help alleviate the current price discount on the province’s landlocked oil.
Biden had promised to cancel former president Donald Trump’s permit for the line on the grounds that product from Alberta’s oilsands does not mesh with broader goals to battle climate change.
Kenney called the decision an insult to Alberta and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deliver a breakthrough in talks or, if that fails, impose trade sanctions on the U.S.
Kenney’s comments also lauded Canada’s environmental record. Williams said those are valid arguments that Kenney needs to make a priority, married to policy initiatives as necessary, rather than throw them in as add-on talking points.
She suggested Kenney needs to pick a lane on the environment. Right now, she noted, he is promoting the federal climate plan as justification for Keystone while simultaneously challenging in court the plan’s consumer carbon tax.
Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney’s stance seems to be more about political damage control for a doomed project his government contributed $1.5 billion to last spring even though, at the time, it was a risky proposition.
“Kenney’s not the first premier to have one gear when it comes to intergovernmental relations,” said Wesley with the University of Alberta.
“The fight-back approach seems to be in (Kenney’s) political DNA. He doesn’t like being questioned and when his plans don’t turn out, the default position is to blame someone else.”
Kenney’s challenge is that bridge-building premiers run the risk of being perceived as weak, Wesley said, so Kenney may feel he needs to be bellicose and hard line given his popularity is being challenged on the far right.
Kenney beat the NDP in the 2019 election in part by promising to challenge what he said are shadowy global foes and environmentalists who seek to undermine Alberta’s oil industry. He set up a $30-million-a-year “war room” and struck a public inquiry into foreign funding of oil opponents. Both endeavours have been undermined by self-generated mistakes and controversies.
Kenney has blamed many of the province’s economic and oil woes on the Trudeau government’s policies. Yet the Liberal government in 2018 stepped in to buy the one pipeline that is proceeding – the Trans Mountain expansion from Alberta to the B.C. coast.
Wesley said Kenney blaming Trudeau has almost become a cliché and one that will hurt Alberta.
“The move (to blame Trudeau) has become so predictable that it’s laughable,” he said. “That’s not just among his opponents here in Alberta, but among people he’s supposed to be persuading nationally and internationally.”
Political scientist Duane Bratt, also of Mount Royal University, agrees.
“This is really setting the stage for the old playbook of ‘let’s blame Trudeau’ … and I’m not sure it’s going to work this time,“ Bratt said.
“We’re seeing the collapse of the fight-back strategy in so many different realms. Not only has it not worked, it has cost Alberta taxpayers billions of dollars and a real hit to our reputation.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.
Crosbie vows to clean up ‘Liberal corruption’ in Newfoundland and Labrador politics – The Guardian
MARYSTOWN, N.L. —
While campaigning in Marystown on Thursday, Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie berated the Liberals over their governance of the province, saying he would put an end to “Liberal corruption.”
Though technical issues interrupted the livestream of Crosbie’s speech, a transcript was sent to reporters, and Crosbie took questions by phone.
Crosbie again said the most critical issue in the province is jobs, “but Liberal corruption, scandal and cronyism are barriers to job growth.”
Crosbie says after filing a freedom-of-information request for the draft of a report commissioned by the Liberal government and done by consulting firm Goss Gilroy, a discrepancy between the final report and the draft was discovered.
The $22,000 report asked people who had left the province why they left and what it would take for them to return.
“They tried to bury the finding that … a leading reason for not working in Newfoundland and Labrador is the perception that it was who you know that would get you a job,” Crosbie said.
Crosbie said the PCs would hire people based on merit, and the government has a role in setting an example for everyone, including the private sector.
When asked why Newfoundland and Labrador voters should trust this wouldn’t happen if he is elected, Crosbie said voters can look to his decades-long career as a lawyer.
“My practice has consistently been all about holding corporations and governments to account,” he said.
Crosbie said, “(Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew) Parsons is still in cabinet … despite being investigated by police. This is banana republic stuff. You can quote me on that.”
RNC officer Joe Smyth alleges political interference by Parsons, who was formally the justice minister, regarding a previous charge of obstruction of justice against Smyth that was dropped. The allegations are currently being investigated by the Nova Scotia RCMP.
Parsons responded to Crosbie’s corruption comments on behalf of the Liberals Thursday.
“Well, It’s the same old song and dance from Ches and the same Conservative line. Normally, I don’t care too much about what he says, but I do get frustrated when he impugns my character wrongly and he knows this,” Parsons said in a phone interview from his district on the west coast.
“If he wants to talk about ethics, I don’t need a lecture from him. Let’s me and him have a little contest and go back and talk about personal ethics. … If he wants to talk about the PCs, the biggest corruption job on the people of this province ever committed was the billion-dollar Muskrat debacle that was committed on the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that he supports.”
Parsons said the PCs have former cabinet minister Nick McGrath running in Labrador, despite the Humber Valley Paving controversy.
And he slammed Crosbie for slinging mud when politicians should be moving away from personal attacks to policy discussions.
“Ches talks a big game and it’s too bad — he’s not putting forward any semblance of a plan why people should trust him.”
— Andrew Parsons
“Ches talks a big game and it’s too bad — he’s not putting forward any semblance of a plan why people should trust him,” Parsons said.
“His goal is to smear everybody and hope it makes him looks good in comparison.”
Meanwhile, Crosbie said people have the right to know who’s donating money to political parties and how much.
“Right now, we have a system where there’s no limit on donations and there’s nothing to prevent corporations, or unions for that matter, making donations,” he said. “There’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.”
He says they will look into the code of conduct for MHAs and introduce recall legislation so, “voters have recourse when their elected representatives are not doing their jobs.”
On Wednesday, Crosbie called for the immediate release of the interim report of the Dame Moya Greene-led Economic Recovery Team.
Premier Andrew Furey said there is no report, but a group of individuals tasked with coming up with ideas.
Crosbie said he laughed when he heard Furey’s comments.
“Either it’s not a report yet, because it hasn’t been written yet, or he’s appointed a bunch of people to sit around and shoot the breeze and have good ideas and none of us are ever going to know what those ideas are because they’re not going to be written down,” Crosbie said. “That last explanation would be absurd.”
At a media event Thursday morning, Furey said he doesn’t want to rush Greene and her team, as that’s how the government has made mistakes and economic flops in the past. An interim report is due later in February, and a final report at the end of April.
“I’m trying to shift decision-making more to a more rational, logical approach, and this is one I think will work,” Furey said.
“I think this is a solid decision-making process. We’re going to gather evidence, and broadly consult with all stakeholders. Every person in Newfoundland and Labrador will have an opportunity to have a say should they choose. Then we are going to table that to the House of Assembly as a very open and transparent process.”
Fixing the province’s financial troubles will require short-, medium- and long-term solutions and lots of collaboration, Furey said.
“There is no simple solution to this. There’s not going to be like an incredibly blunt and frightful budget that shocks everybody into their basements,” he said.
Trudeau speaks to Pfizer CEO as delays to vaccine shipments get worse – BNN
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