Steve Kornacki on Weiner's Next Move Some think politicians caught in a kind of sex scandal should just resist pressure to resign wait out the media frenzy. In Representative Anthony Weiner's case, Salon's Steve Kornacki suggests, resignation might really be the best move, since his real political aspiration was to run for mayor of New York City, and that's just not going to happen now. "The New York media--and the two daily tabloids in particular--will not let this scandal, and these pictures, go if Weiner were to run for mayor," Kornacki predicts. "It's hard to imagine he'd bring this abuse on himself--especially since his chances of actually winning would not be good." His "holier-than-thou liberal" persona on cabel news has been tarnished so, "if he were to stay in Congress, Weiner would have to keep quiet and not run for mayor. Which would make him an incredibly bored man, since he's never actually put much effort into his congressional work."
The Wall Street Journal Editors on Alaskan Oil The Wall Street Journal editors argue on behalf of fixing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Once the source of "2.2 million barrels of oil a day from Alaska's North Slope to the port of Valdez," shrinking fields have dropped the oil flow "to one-third of that volume...causing serious technical problems," that if unfixed leave the pipeline likely to be shut down and dismantled. "Prudhoe Bay and the Kuparak [river] are the two largest U.S. oil fields and have sent some 16.2 billion barrels of oil southward," they point out. "Yet these state lands are dwarfed by the oil-heavy federal lands and waters that surround them." However, environmentalists have fought drilling in this area for years. "Thanks to these roadblocks, the Alaska pipeline has about 1.5 million barrels of unused capacity a day." The editors insists, "Americans who want to import less oil from abroad should understand how close Washington is to closing off Alaskan oil drilling."
Daniel Pipes on the Yemeni Threat Yemen poses two significant threats to the outside world, argues Daniel Pipes at National Review today. Not only has "violance out of Yemen already impinged on Westerners," but the director of the Middle East Forum also predicts "an unprecedented emptying out of Yemen, with millions of unskilled and uninvited refugees, first in the Middle East, then in the West, many of them Islamist, demanding economic asylum." A severe shortage of water positions Yemen to "become the first nation to run out of water," causing subsequent food scarcity in addition to the looming "prospect of economic collapse" on top of "one of the highest birth rates in the world." In Saleh's absence, no successor will be able to gain full control over the country's many fighting factions. "Anarchy, in other words, looks more probable than civil war; Somalia and Afghanistan could be models," Pipes suggests. "In combination, these several crises--ecological, economic, political, ideological--could prompt a mass, unprecedented, and tragic exodus out of Yemen, leading to an epic anti-Yemeni backlash."
Gideon Rachman on the Chinese Superpower According to a recent IMF report, China is poised to become the world's largest economy within five years. "The ascent of China will change ideas of what it means to be a superpower," predicts Gideon Rachman in today's Financial Times. "Over the course of the American century, the world has gotten used to the idea that the world's largest economy was also the world's most obviously affluent nation. The world's biggest economy housed the world's richest people." But, he explains, "as China emerges as an economic superpower, the connection between national and personal affluence is being broken ... One reason why China will not become the world's most powerful country on the day that it becomes the largest economy." Still, while "the world's habit of looking to the U.S. as the 'sole superpower' also makes it likely that America's political dominance will outlast its economic supremacy," China's economic power has already allowed it to surpass the U.S. as the most important trading partner for many key countries, such as Brazil. China's ascent will also "challenge western ideas about the relationship between democracy and economic success ...The confident western slogan that 'freedom works' will come under challenge as authoritarianism becomes fashionable, once again." Still, Rachman notes, many predict China's economic supremacy will be shortlived. Undoubtably, whatever the outcome, he concedes, "China will be a strange superpower."
Andrew Ross Sorkin on the Truth Behind Lloyd Blankfein's Defense Andrew Ross Sorkin lays out a defense for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's insistence last year that his investment bank "didn't have a massive short against the housing market." Senator Carl Levin posits that this was a lie, but after much research, Sorkin argues at The New York Times' Dealbook blog sides with Blankfein. The Senate's report on Goldman's 2007 net revenue inaccurately explains how "Goldman's shorting of the housing market had provided a large percentage of the firm's revenue" because, while the Senate's version says Goldman "reported net revenues of $11.6 billion," Sorkin points out, the investment bank actually "reported net revenue of $45.98 billion." This inaccuracy was explained simply as a mistake, "yet there are other sections in the Senate report that appear to go beyond sloppiness." Later in the document, Sorkin discovered, the Senate presented Goldman's structured products group's net revenue, $3.7 billion, without clarifying that only 1 percent of that amount accounted was comprised by "residential mortgage-related products." Sorkin states that he is not attempting "an apology or spin for the firm." Still, when Mr. Blankfein contended that the firm was "not consistently or significantly net 'short the market' in residential mortgate-related products in 2007 and 2008' the numbers--if you believe them--are on his side."