The battle over coal continued to rage Tuesday afternoon during a hearing held by the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on the community impacts of impending Environmental Protection Agency regulations for power plants.
Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy, R-Pa., made clear that the purpose of the hearing was not to discuss the ins and outs of the regulations or talk about how they were created. The purpose, he said, was to allow members of Congress to hear from people most affected by the EPA rule-making.
“These workers bear the immediate cost of EPA’s actions,” Murphy said in his opening remarks. “Too often, the practice in Washington is to listen as Beltway experts and the EPA explain agency actions. But this practice doesn’t capture the daily impact of Washington on the distant communities where good jobs, with good wages, support a proud way of life.”
Participating in the hearing were a number of representatives of these ‘distant communities’, including city and county administrators from coal-rich regions and union representatives for the coal and mining industry.
Without exception, those testifying on behalf of coal communities slammed the regulations, saying they would have a devastating impact on the industry.
Some appealed directly to members of the panel, asking them to block the rule-making.
“I am asking you to please help stem the tide of unemployment and poverty by curtailing the EPA regulations that so drastically impact the production of Appalachian coal,” said Albey Brock, a county judge and executive from Pineville, Ky.
Others expressed a sense of disillusionment with the current administration.
“This is my president. I voted for Obama,” said Raymond Ventrone, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local Lodge 154 in Pittsburgh. “I went forward and asked other people to vote for this president, but all I want is for [the regulations] to be put in the hands of Congress. I think it’s the job of Congress to put a bill [forward] and let them debate what should go on here. I don’t think the EPA should be setting the standard for what’s going on right now.”
The lone panel participant, apart from the lawmakers, not from a coal background was Dan Weiss, senior fellow and director of climate strategy for the progressive Center for American Progress Action Fund; he was a last-minute addition to the hearing lineup.
Weiss offered a counterpoint to the concerns expressed by Ventrone, Brock, and others, arguing that EPA regulations were unlikely to have dire impacts.
Subcommittee members waited for the witnesses to finish before chiming in. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., voiced support for the deployment of carbon capture and sequestration, otherwise known as clean-coal technology. “For coal to have a future we need to invest in the technologies that allow us to burn that coal cleanly,” Doyle said. “What this Congress should be doing is a mission-to-the-moon project on research on how to deal with this issue.”
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., on the other hand, criticized the president for allowing the regulations to go forward. “I want to thank Chairman Murphy for holding this hearing to examine the impact that the Obama administration’s continued — and make no mistake about it, war on coal is what it is — is having on local communities,” Gingrey said.
The hearing followed a rally on the west lawn of the Capitol protesting EPA regulations targeting coal-fired power plants and came one day after the release of a discussion draft of legislation introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. and Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to block proposed regulations that would limit carbon emissions from future power plants.
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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.”