SHELL ALASKA HAS DROPPED PLANS TO DRILL IN THE ARCTIC WATERS OF THE BEAUFORT SEA THIS YEAR AND WILL CONCENTRATE ON OBTAINING PERMITS FOR THE 2012 SEASON, company Vice President Pete Slaiby said Thursday.
The recent remand of air permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was the final driver behind the decision, Slaiby said at a news conference.
ALASKA RECEIVES UPWARD OF 90 PERCENT OF ITS GENERAL FUND REVENUE FROM THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, and top state officials reacted strongly to the decision. U.S. SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA, BLAMED THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND THE EPA.
"Their foot dragging means the loss of another exploration season in Alaska, THE LOSS OF NEARLY 800 DIRECT JOBS AND MANY MORE INDIRECT JOBS," Begich said. "That doesn't count the millions of dollars in contracting that won't happen either at a time when our economy needs the investment."
Obama's Approval Ratings More Polarized in Year 2 Than Year 1
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S JOB APPROVAL RATINGS WERE EVEN MORE POLARIZED DURING HIS SECOND YEAR IN OFFICE THAN DURING HIS FIRST, when he registered the most polarized ratings for a first-year president. AN AVERAGE OF 81% OF DEMOCRATS AND 13% OF REPUBLICANS APPROVED OF THE JOB OBAMA WAS DOING AS PRESIDENT DURING HIS SECOND YEAR. That 68-point gap in party ratings is up from 65 points in his first year and is easily the most polarized second year for a president since Dwight Eisenhower
Obama issues global warming rules in January, gives GE an exemption in February
Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.
THIS WEEK, THE EPA ISSUED ITS FIRST EXEMPTION, ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY NEWS REPORTS:
The Obama administration WILL SPARE A STALLED POWER PLANT PROJECT IN CALIFORNIA FROM THE NEWEST FEDERAL LIMITS ON GREENHOUSE GASES AND CONVENTIONAL AIR POLLUTION, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.
According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, OFFICIALS REVIEWED EPA POLICIES AND DECIDED IT WAS APPROPRIATE TO "GRANDFATHER" PROJECTS SUCH AS THE AVENAL POWER CENTER, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
There's something interesting about the Avenal Power Center:
THE PROPOSED AVENAL ENERGY PROJECT WILL BE A COMBINED-CYCLE GENERATING PLANT CONSISTING OF TWO NATURAL GAS-FIRED GENERAL ELECTRIC 7FA GAS TURBINES WITH HEAT RECOVERY STEAM GENERATORS (HRSG) AND ONE GENERAL ELECTRIC STEAM TURBINE.
MAYBE GE CEO JEFF IMMELT'S CLOSENESS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, AND HIS BROAD SUPPORT FOR OBAMA'S AGENDA, HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS EXEMPTION. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration's record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn't trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.
Crony Capitalism at work.
DCCC: Debt Could Consume Campaigns
A Washington Republican points out to me that one of the big narratives throughout the 2008 cycle was the National Republican Congressional Committee, tasked with chipping away at the Democrats’ 40-seat margin in the House, could not possibly compete or go on offense because of its then-dire financial position. Obviously, we know how that turned out.
HE NOTES THAT THE END-OF-YEAR REPORTS SHOW THAT THE DCCC IS IN A FINANCIALLY WORSE POSITION IN JANUARY 2011 THAN THE NRCC WAS IN JANUARY OF 2007.
In 2006, the DCCC had $9.3 million in debt and roughly $776,000 in cash on hand, while the NRCC had $14.4 million in debt and roughly $1.4 million on hand.
At the beginning of this year, the NRCC has $10.5 million in debt and $2.5 million in cash on hand. THE DCCC HAS $805,000 CASH ON HAND AND AN ASTOUNDING $19 MILLION IN DEBT
Perhaps the DCCC can get a donation from GE.
Democrats and lobbyists
In an e-mail obtained by ABC News, a top staffer for the key Senate Appropriations subcommittee CALLED FOR A MEETING OF LOBBYISTS AND INTEREST GROUPS THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED BY EXPECTED CUTS TO THE LABOR AND HEATH AND HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET. The Jan. 24 meeting was attended by approximately 400 people, sources told ABC, and served AS A "CALL TO ARMS" FOR THOSE DETERMINED TO FIGHT REPUBLICAN BUDGET CUTS.
"One thing everyone should be able to agree on now is that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that A HIGHER [LABOR, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES] ALLOCATION IMPROVES THE CHANCES FOR EVERY STAKEHOLDER GROUP TO RECEIVE MORE FUNDING," the committee staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote in an e-mail inviting people to the meeting.
I thought only Republicans had special interest groups working for them.
The Revolution Wanders Off The Script
“WASHINGTON’S INTERVENTION IN THE CRISIS IS NOT (YET) TURNING OUT VERY WELL. Public pressure on President Mubarak to step down HAS ALLOWED THE EGYPTIAN AUTHORITIES TO WRAP THEMSELVES IN THE NATIONAL FLAG. ‘Let’s find an Egyptian solution to Egypt’s problems,’ they can say. ‘President Mubarak will not be running for re-election; do not let the Americans dictate our timetable for change.’ MANY IN THE EGYPTIAN ARMY WHO NORMALLY MIGHT HAVE WANTED TO SHED MUBARAK QUICKLY WILL NOW WANT TO LET HIM HANG ON THROUGH THE FALL TO SPITE OBAMA IF FOR NO OTHER REASON. At the same time, foreign pressure gave the government an opening to crack down on foreign (and domestic) journalists, helping to deprive the revolution of the attention and television coverage vital to keeping public excitement and mobilization alive.”http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/02/03/the-revolution-wanders-from-the-script/
Ominous signs in Egypt
Observing recent events in Egypt, I’m sure I’m not the only old China hand who’s beginning to get a bad feeling. IT’S CLEAR THAT THE PROTESTORS ARE NOT ABOUT TO VACATE TAHRIR SQUARE; equally, it’s becoming clear – despite his comments last night – that MUBARAK IS NOT GOING TO GIVE UP AS EASILY as did Ben Ali in Tunisia. Irresistible force meets immovable object. Might the regime resort to force à la Chinoise?
SOME OF THE LANGUAGE USED BY THE MUBARAK REGIME HAS BEEN HORRIBLY REMINISCENT. The talk of “the legitimate demands of the people” is an almost verbatim recapitulation of Chinese government statements of mid-May 1989. It is carefully worded, to sound like recognition of “the people’s demands, which are legitimate”, while actually meaning “THOSE OF THE PEOPLE’S DEMANDS WHICH ARE LEGITIMATE”, WHICH MIGHT OF COURSE TURN OUT TO BE NONE OF THEM.
And certainly the mood in Egypt has turned ugly in the last couple of days. THE ANTI-REGIME DEMONSTRATORS HAVE NOW BEEN CONFRONTED WITH PRO-GOVERNMENT ACTIVISTS, SOME OF WHOM MAY BE ACTING OUT OF CONVICTION, BUT MANY HAVE CLEARLY BEEN DIRECTED BY THE REGIME – it would seem that some of the police who were withdrawn from the square earlier this week have taken off their uniforms and returned as quasi-independent thugs. And in the last day or two we have seen tanks on the streets – AS POWERFUL A REMINDER OF BEIJING 1989 AS ONE COULD IMAGINE…..
I think that the Army will move in and disperse the mobs clamping down with Marshall Law. I’ve felt that way since yesterday when they began to round up journalists. The Egyptian Army has a lot of support and more violence will occur to justify their move.
At least someone is happy about what’s going on in Egypt
IRAN SAID ON THURSDAY THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS IN EGYPT WERE A SIGN OF AN "ISLAMIC RENAISSANCE" IN THE MIDDLE EAST. and that they echoed Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.
The Foreign Ministry voiced support for the Egyptian uprising and SAID THE PROTESTS WOULD LEAD TO THE EMERGENCE OF "A REAL INDEPENDENT ISLAMIC MIDDLE EAST", according to state television. "Iran supports the rightful demands of the Egyptian people and emphasizes they should be met," the official Irna news agency quoted the statement as saying.
The last week and a half have seen throngs of Egyptians take to the streets in the largest anti-government protest movement to sweep the country in the last quarter-century. Demonstrators are calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who has served as president of Egypt for over 29 years….
Eric Holder’s Animal Farm
Quin Hillyer has a piece today “Why the Black Panther Case Matters” that is worth a read.
“Attorney General Eric Holder and his minions, along with some of their slavish apologists in the media, ARE DELIBERATELY TRAFFICKING IN LIES OF GREAT NOTE. They prevaricate with great enthusiasm, and they excuse lawlessness with fierce disdain. They -- both the Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and their leftist amanuenses pretending to be journalists -- BRAZENLY IGNORE THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO INFORMATION, and intentionally distract attention from relevant facts and from their own deep beliefs.
….question was if the Obama-Holder Justice Department was GIVING SUPPORT TO THE INTERNAL CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION BELIEF THAT CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS SHOULD NOT BE ENFORCED AGAINST BLACK PERPETRATORS who abused the rights of white victims. This is explosive stuff. It cuts to the very heart of equal rights under the law. It’s also straight out of Orwell’s Animal Farm, WHERE SOME ANIMALS WERE ‘MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.’ . . . The truth is that this viewpoint enjoys overwhelming support in lefty legal circles. Sickeningly wrongheaded as it is, it is not unusual, but an ideological touchstone.”
Justice for all? I think the Attorney General's office may have other ideas.
The Climate of kindness: Democrat style
Here’s a video from the protest at the Koch gathering for conservatives. It’s kind of warms your heart to see the goodness in the liberals who were there.
I find the comments ironic especially those about the TEA Party and the conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Yes, we can see which side of the aisle traffics in hate.
America is a right of center country
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds THAT 47% OF LIKELY U.S. VOTERS DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AS CONSERVATIVE ON FISCAL ISSUES, WHILE 42% SAY THE SAME ON SOCIAL ISSUES.
ONLY SEVEN PERCENT (7%) DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AS LIBERAL ON FISCAL POLICY ISSUES, BUT NEARLY FOUR TIMES AS MANY (26%) SAY THEY'RE LIBERAL ON SOCIAL ISSUES. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Thirty-nine percent (39%) say they’re moderate on fiscal issues, and 29% say the same about social issues.
OVERALL, NEARLY ONE-THIRD (32%) OF VOTERS ARE CONSERVATIVE ON BOTH FISCAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES, WHILE JUST SIX PERCENT (6%) ARE LIBERAL ON BOTH and 16% moderate on both. Fifteen percent (15%) lean in the libertarian direction and say they are conservative on fiscal issues and either moderate or liberal on social issues.
In the fall of 2007, just 24% considered themselves both fiscal and social conservatives while 9% were social and political liberals.
If the Democrats want to see why they were tossed out of power in the House, they should read the results of this poll. There are five times as many conservatives as there are liberals but Obama and the Democrats governed as if the opposite was true.
Give me liberty or give me health care
Judge Roger Vinson's ruling striking down the health-care law's individual mandate and, with it, the rest of the statute, may or may not stand up in higher courts. But it's more convincing than some arguments I've read on the other side..
My colleague EZRA KLEIN, FOR EXAMPLE, ARGUES THAT "WHATEVER THE LEGAL ARGUMENT ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IS ABOUT, IT'S NOT, AS SOME OF ITS DETRACTORS WOULD HAVE IT, A QUESTION OF LIBERTY." THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE INVOLVES LESS INTRUSION IN PRIVATE MARKETS AND MORE PERSONAL CHOICE THAN ALTERNATIVES SUCH AS A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM, Ezra notes -- borrowing the point from no less a conservative eminence than Charles Fried of Harvard Law School. Indeed, quite a few liberty-loving Republicans have supported various individual mandates in the past.
THIS PROVES, ACCORDING TO EZRA, THAT CONSERVATIVE AND REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION TO THE CURRENT ITERATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IS JUST LEGAL PETTIFOGGERY AND POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM.
As a policy matter, there is a case to be made that an individual mandate to buy certain health insurance from certain companies, enforceable by a monetary penalty, involves less direct federal intervention in the private economy than conceivable alternatives. BUT IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, THIS IS IMMATERIAL. Nor does it matter that some Republicans once approved of the idea -- or that President Obama once fervently opposed it. THE ONLY CONSIDERATION IS WHETHER CONGRESS HAS ENACTED THE MANDATE PURSUANT TO ONE OF ITS ENUMERATED CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS
In reading the defenders of the individual mandate it seems to be that their chief argument is that the people opposed to it are simply opportunists. They don’t actually believe what they are saying, they are just using the Constitution to foil the great progressive idea.
Reliable forecast under the weather
MEET THE GLOBAL WEIRDOS. THEY’RE THE ONES TELLING YOU THAT ALL THE SNOW OUTSIDE IS PROOF THAT IT’S GETTING WARMER. ONLY, THEY DON’T CALL IT “WARMING” ANYMORE.http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1314036
No, that was back in the “Earth has a fever” days. Back when Al Gore was predicting that the ice caps were melting, the polar bears were drowning and Manhattan would sink beneath 20 feet of water “in the near future.”
But then something happened. SINCE 1998, TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN RELATIVELY FLAT. We’ve got more polar bears than ever, and Manhattan is buried under snow. For a planet-roasting crisis that threatened the human race with extinction, there doesn’t seem to be much actual warming….
…. What happened? Nothing. EUROPE HAS HAD THREE WINTERS IN A ROW OF SNOW AND COLD TEMPERATURES. In the Atlantic, “THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF HURRICANES IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS,” according to meteorologist Art Horn. “THE TOTAL ENERGY IN ALL HURRICANES AROUND THE WORLD HAS PLUNGED SINCE 1993. THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WAS PREDICTED.”
So the new fall back is “global weirding.” The site thedailygreen.com has a “Weird Weather Watch” page. The uber-liberal Huffington Post ran a story in August headlined “Global Weirding”: Extreme Climate Events Dominate The Summer.”…
Desperate to keep the con going, we are getting wilder explanations of why the global warming crowd’s predictions have not come true.