House conservatives criticized Obama on Tuesday for what they said was an attempt to unjustly claim credit for the surge in domestic fossil fuels production in the president’s State of the Union address.
“While the president frequently attempts to take credit for the current increase in domestic energy production, this is happening in spite of his policies, not because of them,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington said in a statement. “Despite President Obama’s repeated claims of making job creation and economic growth a priority, the reality is that he has actively chosen to ignore the economic potential and job opportunities that come with expanding American energy production and responsibly managing our nation’s natural resources.”
Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, similarly contended that while the administration paints itself as a champion of the natural-gas and oil boom, most production is actually taking place on private, not public, lands. Bishop also criticized the president’s comment during the speech that he would use executive authority to set aside more land for conservation.
“The president did get something right in that energy production is up, but it has little or nothing to do with him or his administration. The production occurring can be attributed to ingenuity and dedication on behalf of hardworking Americans and policies set into place before this administration,” Bishop said in a statement. “Energy production is in fact soaring on land that the president doesn’t control, but if you want to see where he really stands on energy production, look at his policies for public land use. Tonight, instead of unleashing the vast energy potential found throughout the 660 million acres of federal land, he instead said he intends … to lock up federal lands by executive fiat.”
Reaction to the speech followed party lines with Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee lauding the president for his pledge to act on conservation.
“Last week, over 100 Democrats joined together to ask the Obama administration to use its authority to protect and conserve national treasures,” DeFazio said in a statement. “I was very pleased to hear the president say he is willing to make critical conservation decisions that this deeply partisan Congress will not.”
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."