Why the Supercommittee Won't Lead
Leadership in Congress is on the wane, say Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Budget negotiations remain weighed down by special interests while the public yearns for big action.
What's the Latest Development?
It looks like Congress is gearing up for another embarrassment as the supercommittee charged with righting America's budget wrongs remains unable to find common ground just a week before its November 23 deadline. What's worse, the whole debt-reduction exercise may become a farce. Various leaders, John McCain among them, have now publicly stated that the budget cuts and revenue increases designed to trigger automatically if the supercommittee fails "are not written on golden tablets".
What's the Big Idea?
Former White House Chief of Staff and former Wyoming Senator, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, predict that media pundits will soon ask: When will members of Congress put aside their personal priorities for the sake of the common good? But this is the wrong question, they say. "The real leadership question is, will they realize in time that their personal good and the common good aren’t actually in opposition?" Both the career politicians agree that Americans today yearn for big, bold leadership.
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Air pollution up to five times over the EU limit in Central London hotspots
- Dirty air is an invisible killer, but an effective one.
- This map visualises the worst places to breathe in Central London.
The Great Smog of 1952
Invisible, but still deadly
Image: MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images
London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Image: Transport for London
ULEZ phases 1 and 2, and LEZ
- Mr Khan has pledged to spend £800 million on air quality over a five-year period.
- Uber fares will rise by 15p (20¢) to help drivers buy electric cars.
- By October 2021, the ULEZ will expand to cover a greater part of Central London.
Central London's worst places for breathing
Heathrow (bottom left on the overview map) is another pollution hotspot
Image: Mike Malone, CC BY SA 4.0
Traffic congestion on London's Great Portland Street
As bad as Delhi, worse than New York
Image: Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
By some measures, London's air quality is almost as bad as New Delhi's.
Google joins fight against air pollution
Image: laszlo-photo, CC BY SA 2.0
Elephant & Castle, London.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
White-nose syndrome is nearly as lethal to bats as the Black Plague was for humans.
- White-nose syndrome has killed at least 6.7 million bats, though this estimate was made in 2012, and the current figure is almost certainly much higher.
- Bats serve a crucial role in our ecosystem and economy, and white-nose syndrome is already pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
- Researchers and scientists are working hard to develop novel methods to cure white-nose syndrome; a few methods have shown promise, but none have yet been deployed in the field.
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