Marcia McNutt, a scientist who headed the U.S. Geological Survey under President Obama until early 2013, announced Thursday that she now supports approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
McNutt is now the top editor at Science magazine. In an editorial published there Thursday, McNutt describes how she has come to back the project that she previously opposed, and does not believe it would worsen greenhouse-gas emissions.
“This position may seem incongruous with my personal crusade to minimize fossil fuel use, a desire rooted in scientific understanding that climate change is a real threat and that tar sands oil produces higher GHG emissions than many alternatives,” writes McNutt.
But McNutt goes on to say she’s now convinced that building Keystone would not speed up oil sands development, and notes that developer TransCanada changed the initial proposed route to avoid an ecologically sensitive region of Nebraska.
“No”¨ method for moving hydrocarbons can be considered completely fail-safe. At least the current permitting process can, and should, be used to ensure that Keystone XL sets new standards for environmental safety. There is no similar leverage on the truck and rail transportation options, which produce higher GHG emissions and have a greater risk of spills, at a higher cost for transport,” she writes.
McNutt also served as science adviser to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when both were in the Obama administration.
McNutt, who holds a Ph.D. in earth sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is now one of several former Obama administration officials who have weighed in on Keystone as the federal review continues.
Salazar said this month that he believes Keystone should be built, and former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon recently said he would recommend approval if he were still in the administration.
Former climate czar Carol Browner and former White House spokesman Bill Burton are among the Obama administration veterans who oppose Keystone.
McNutt believes there should be some strings attached to approval of Keystone, TransCanada’s project that would bring oil from Alberta’s oil-sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
She suggested that Obama could link approval to “concessions” and policies that help spur green-energy development and stem carbon emissions.
“As part of a compromise to allow the project to move forward, let’s now insist on an income stream from Keystone XL revenues to support investment in renewable energy sources to secure our energy future,” she writes.
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”