S. 493 would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs -- and, as you might expect, poison-pill amendments have attached themselves to the bill like barnacles to a ship. Here are four of them: S. Amdt. 183, a Mitch McConnell production, which would prohibit the EPA Administrator from issuing regulations about greenhouses gases; S. Amdt. 215, a Jay Rockefeller production, which would suspend EPA efforts to regulate carbon dioxide or methane; S. Amdt. 236, a Max Baucus production, which would excuse agricultural greenhouse gas emitters from needing Clean Air Act permits; and S. Amdt. 265, a Debbie Stabenow production, which would suspend greenhouse gas regulation of stationary sources (i.e. power plants and not, say, cars). I can't imagine arguing, with a straight face, that small businesses emit greenhouse gases in amounts that require attaching these draconian measures to a small business bill -- the big businesses are the big emitters, and these amendments only protect them. And how much more "protection" do big corporations need? Why don't actual people need protection? (As you contemplate these questions, n.b. that three of these amendments come from Democrats.) Penn Environment helps you call your Senators and demand that they oppose these amendments.
Meanwhile, I've been pointed to this item at the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch site, entitled "Tax the Super Rich Now or Face a Revolution." Mr. Farrell doesn't draw the line between the revolutions in the Middle East and rising commodity prices quite as well as Ed Schultz's MSNBC program did in February, but his critique is surprisingly sharp nonetheless. I also agree with Mr. Farrell's source in paragraph 5 -- the super-rich aren't Snidely Whiplash mustache-twirlers, but they have isolated themselves so much that they can't care (or even connect) effectively. At times, though, Mr. Farrell equates the "Super-Rich" with "the top 1%," and I think that's a mistake -- if the top 1% of income begins at $250,000, you're not talking about people who are either in the club or a big part of the problem (though Rep. Duffy does test that belief). I'd say the top one-fifth of one percent is "the problem."