Holiday from Sanity

by John Quiggin on May 2, 2008

I was pretty much stunned into silence by the proposal for a gasoline tax holiday put forward by John McCain and Hillary Clinton (not that it matters but I’m not clear which of them came up with it first – can anyone set me straight on this). I won’t bother repeating all the reasons why this is a terrible idea ( when Tom Friedman has your number, I’d say your number is up).

Just a couple of observations. First, I find it hard to see how anyone serious can support either McCain or Clinton after this.

Second, the fact that the proposal has lasted this long suggests to me that the chance of any serious US action on global warming after the election is not that great. Without the US, we won’t get anything from China and India either, so that means we’re setting course for disaster. Perhaps if Obama wins, he’ll be able to turn this around, but this episode has me very depressed.

Waiting for Boris

by Harry on May 2, 2008

It’s beginning to look as if the voters of London have taken it upon themselves to abolish the post of Mayor land themselves with Boris Johnson. A remarkable move: reject a manifestly competent (if not especially likeable) incumbent, and a manifestly decent challenger (who, in addition to being gay, is related to Hugh Paddick!), for… well, Boris Johnson. (See Martin O’ Neill for invective — I’m too bemused and detached myself). If this comes to pass, I would say that it should be the one positive note of the day for Gordon Brown. Ken Livingstone’s mayoralty was too independent from Labour for them to get any credit for anything he did well; whereas David Cameron has tied his flag to Boris’s mast. The post of Mayor has far too little power really to do London a lot of good, but it has enough to do it a lot of harm, and there’s every chance that a Johnson mayoralty will oblige, and the Tories will suffer. If this comes to pass, Cameron, not Brown, should be disappointed.

Lane Kenworthy Profiled

by Kieran Healy on May 2, 2008

My colleague Lane Kenworthy is profiled this week at normblog. Lane’s blog, Consider the Evidence, is well worth your time.

Jerry Cohen valedictory lecture

by Chris Bertram on May 2, 2008

Many of his friends. colleagues and former students were present at a wonderful performance from Jerry Cohen (G.A. Cohen) yesterday. Jerry is retiring as Chichele Professor and gave his valedictory lecture. Here Jerry recreates Isaiah Berlin explaining the influence of the altogether neglected Samuel von Pooped on the totally forgotten Herman von Supine.