Reference Library – USA – West Virginia
CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Liberal in a Red State writes WTF? Republicans just passed a law so assholes can shoot and trap hibernating bears and wolves: First off, what kind of piece of shit person do you have to be to kill bears and wolves (along with other animals) for sport and pleasure? They want to allow people on federal lands to hunt and track the last of the remaining endangered wildlife with high powered rifles, insidious traps (that are indiscriminate in what they trap and torture), shoot from helicopters, kill from ATVs and snow mobiles. And now, thanks to the GOP House vote today, these assholes can go into the dens of hibernating mother bears and mother wolves and their babies and shoot and trap them all. WHAT. THE. F*CK. I am serious. Really, what kind of piece of shit, heartless, soulless person gets their thrills killing sleeping mothers and their babies even if they are just animals. […] We have to put pressure on the Senate to stop this. I held my nose and called my two Georgia GOP Senators offices. And complained politely but passionately for this cause and several others. For Isakson I left a voicemail. For Perdue, I talked to a staffer, who was very polite, looked up the number of the bill and seemed to take down my complaints.
OceanDiver writes The Daily Bucket – very early spring color: No blooms here yet in the PNW islands. I ve been sighing over flowers and bright colors from other parts of the country lately, so I sought out what we have in the way of color up here right now, mid-February. Here s a little snapshot of what I m seeing that s colorful. Some are seasonal, while others are always around but show up more against the winter grays and dull greens of our maritime Northwest, like the madrona tree above.
Walter Einenkel writes Republicans pass bill through House repealing wildlife regulations that ended bear cub killing: Taking a page out of the grizzly-paranoid Education secretary Betsy DeVos mind, Alaska s Republican Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young have pushed for a bill that would repeal rules finalized this past summer by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Those rules include: Same day airborne hunting of bears, wolves, and wolverines; Use of traps, snares, and nets for killing bears; Killing of wolves and coyotes from May 1 to August 9; Killing of bear cubs or mothers with cubs (except for subsistence hunts where this is traditional); and Use of bait to kill brown bears. Yesterday, Rep. Young was able to get disapproval of the rule through the House and next up is the Senate. […] This is on public land, mind you, and is all a part of the Republican movement to take control over those lands in order to privatize them under the guise of doing the bidding of gun-toting Americans everywhere.
Walter Einenkel writes Republican government pulls down animal abuse database and gets shamed into doing the right thing: If you are writing a story for a film or a television show or a cartoon there are a few rules about how to quickly establish good guys and bad guys. One of the more famous rules of thumb is if you introduce a character who is nice to a puppy the audience will instantly know that that character is good. One of the other rules is never have your protagonist do something so heinous that the audience will never trust them again for example, hurting an animal. A little over a week ago, the Republican Party and the Trump administration tested this tried and true theory. A leading U.S. animal advocacy group on Monday threatened to sue the federal government after the Agriculture Department suddenly pulled “invaluable” information from its website regarding animal welfare at thousands of facilities across the country. The Humane Society of the United States sent a letter to the Justice Department, saying the group would pursue legal action if the Agriculture Department did not reverse its recent decision to discontinue a search tool that made inspection records and violations at animal facilities publicly accessible.
Besame writes Daily Bucket: rescuing endangered bunnies from a flood: Heavy winter rains in California are a welcome respite from drought, but also troublesome. Leaking reservoir threats, landslides, and flooded roadways throughout the state are severe enough to be declared a federal disaster. The intense rainfall has even affected bunnies who live only in riparian habitat. Riparian bush rabbits are flooded out of their homes in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (SJRNWR) in the southern portion of California s Central Valley. And the refuge staff is busy finding and rescuing the endangered bush rabbits stranded amidst the flood.The small cottontail rabbit lives in riparian oak forests with a dense understory of wild roses, grapes and blackberries. They stay within a few feet of cover in their small home ranges. A decade ago, refuge staff built up high refugia bunny mounds within the floodplain and planted shrubs on high levees for rabbits to wait out floods. The SJRNWR has 35 mounds and 8 miles of vegetated levees but still some bunnies are trapped by flood waters and unable to reach high grounds. Spotting the rabbits isn t easy.
ban nock writes New York Times Goes Trophy Sheep Hunting: Last week the New York Times had a long form article by an award winning sports writer on Bighorn Sheep Hunting. The NYT is an unusual place to read an unbiased account of such a thing. As with many other forms of hunting, sheep hunting is directly responsible for the conservation of the various wild sheep of North America. There are few wild sheep, even after years of conservation, all that s needed to kill a carefully nurtured herd if for a sheep rancher to keep sheep in close proximity to their wild cousins and disease often decimates the wild herd down to extirpation. […] Sheep habitat is in rocky steep terrain with good visibility. They like to see predators a long way off and have places where they can easily escape. There are many such places in the western United States, unfortunately it s hard to establish new sheep populations in areas of good habitat. Sheep need to be captured and relocated. That s where obsessed sheep hunters come in.
6412093 writes The Daily Bucket–Emergency Repairs Open Damaged Spillway, Avert Flooding of Frog Mitigation Area: The heavy rains continued in Northwest Oregon. The golf course where I work was closed 3 weeks already this year. It never closed before, in 20 years. I m trying to pave a path in my backyard. But the paver stones interrupt the stormwater flows and the flooding water backs up towards my house. I built an underdrain beneath the pavers, and the water flowed rapidly through it, but not rapidly enough.
John Crapper writes Rethinking the Daily Kos Focus – Open Letter to Kos: The stated overall goal of this site as defined by you Markos is to elect more and better Democrats. That is a laudable goal but I m going to argue it s time for a rethinking and adjustment. There is a crisis afoot in the world that needs our focus and attention. It is not incompatible with the current goal of this site. That crisis is climate change. With the election results we just had in 2016 it is more imperative than ever to give this issue the attention it deserves. I m going to argue in this post it is time to adjust the Daily Kos overall mission to that of electing more and better Democratic Climate Hawks. Personally I d prefer removing the Democratic label and just say Daily Kos is about electing more and better Climate Hawks, after all climate change is a bipartisan issue, but that is probably asking too much.
JC78 writes Will geoengineering be necessary? [W]hile I am heartened by the increasing utilization of renewables, I am somewhat fearful to the apparent increasing rate of climate change occurring. So a question to well-read environmental Kossacks out there: given the factors already mentioned, as well as the pace of cultural acceptance that there is a problem, and the speed of legislative acknowledgment of it, do you think that we will need to use geoengineering to avoid the worst effects? And does that answer change depending on the type of geoengineering employed? Note that for the various factors, I m thinking globally, not just the US.
DarkSyde writes Polar ice reaching alarming low levels at both ends of the Earth: Sea and land ice at both poles crept toward alarming seasonal lows this week. Freak heat waves in the high Arctic have kept ice from forming at the usual winter rate, and now summer down under is taking its toll on the world s largest ice sheets: Sea ice in the Antarctic is at its lowest level since records began while the Arctic is on track for another historic new low. According to figures from the US National Snow & Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), sea ice in the Antarctic covered just 2.3 million square kilometres on 12 February compared to the average between 1981 and 2010 of more than three million on that day. Warmer temperatures do more than directly melt the ice and feed runaway polar amplification of global warming. More energy in the surface troposphere, the part of the atmosphere we and just about everything else lives in, means more wind, faster evaporations and sublimation, leading to bigger weather systems and storms. The precise activity that further stirs and helps break up icy formations, especially tongues and large shelves of ice floating on top sea of polar seas.
jkozma writes Complexity, conspiracy and climate change: While searching for an online copy of Dr. Lucky’s column, I came across another recent article from IEEE Spectrum, interesting albeit disheartening, Congress to Curtail Methane Monitoring. It may be a stretch, but I see a connection with the above discussion: Global warming… is not a moving issue for Republican leaders or President Donald Trump, who reject the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. What moves them are complaints from industries that burdensome regulations unnecessarily hinder job growth and in the case of methane rules domestic oil and gas output. Regulations can be harmful or helpful, and their effect on jobs shouldn’t be the only measure of their value, but if simplicity is your only guide, deregulation wins every time. Even if Trump himself does not, many in his base believe unequivocally his assertion that global warming is a hoax.
OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT
Dan Bacher writes Trump administration exempts three CA oil fields from water protection rule at Jerry Brown’s request: As soon as I heard on election night that Donald Trump was going to be the next President, I predicted on Twitter, Facebook and in conversations with friends that Governor Jerry Brown, in spite of his gree image, would try to make a deal with Trump to build his legacy project, the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels, and expand fracking and other oil drilling in California. Sure enough, Jerry Brown has been working hard since the election to pressure Trump to support the Delta Tunnels, going so far as to praise Trump s infrastructure plans in his state of the state. Departing from his prepared remarks, Brown remarked, I say, Amen to that, Brother! in reference to Trump s focus on new infrastructure. (www.dailykos.com/…) Then this week, we discovered that the administration of Brown s so-called Brother, Donald Trump, has granted requests from Brown s regulators to exempt three aquifers near the Fruitvale, Round Mountain and Tejon oilfields in California s Kern County from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Dan Bacher writes Disaster Declaration for Hoopa Valley Tribe Approved, Tribes Win Legal Victory for Salmon: On February 14, President Donald Trump declared a major disaster exists for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, located on the Trinity River in Northern California, and ordered Federal aid to supplement the Tribe s recovery efforts in the areas affected by a severe winter storm from January 3 to January 5, 2017. […] The disaster declaration comes in the wake of major legal victory against the federal government by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen s Associations (PCFFA), Institute for Fisheries Resources, and the Klamath Riverkeeper. On February 8, a U.S. District Court judge ordered federal agencies to immediately take steps to protect juvenile coho salmon after several years of deadly disease outbreaks in the Klamath River. Klamath River coho salmon are listed as threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. These fish are central to the cultural identity and survival of Tribes along the river, and commercial fishermen rely on California s second largest salmon producer for their livelihoods.
CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS
Mark Sumner writes Democrats scramble to delay Pruitt vote … as McConnell quashes every effort: A judge in Oklahoma has ordered that thousands of letters between EPA nominee Scott Pruitt and fossil fuel companies, letters long hidden by Pruitt s office, be made public starting next Tuesday. The Senate is in recess next week, so delaying the Friday vote on Pruitt until the following Monday would literally take nothing from the Senate s calendar. But it s not going to happen. Republicans are pushing Pruitt s vote through on Friday, so that it can be held before any of the letters are available. In the Senate chamber on Friday morning, Sen. Jeff Merkley rose to request that the vote be delayed until all the letters were released. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made sure he was present in the nearly empty Senate chamber, and the Kentucky Republican objected to the request. Sen. Merkley then asked to move the vote to the next morning that the Senate is in session. Literally the only difference this would make would be allowing senators to see some of the letters from Pruitt s time as Oklahoma attorney general before they vote. McConnell objected.
Mark Sumner writes EPA employees put jobs on the line as Republicans try to force Pruitt vote in advance of evidence: Almost from the moment that Scott Pruitt was named as Trump s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, employees of the EPA have been risking their careers to object. Nearly 450 former Environmental Protection Agency employees Monday urged Congress to reject President Trump s nominee to run the agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, even as current employees in Chicago sent the same message during a noon rally.
And with Pruitt s vote scheduled for Friday evening, they re still at it.
Meteor Blades writes Executive orders come Friday as EPA braces for impact: Reuters reports that staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency were told in a Tuesday meeting to prepare for a few executive orders Friday from Pr*sident Trump, who seeks to reshape the agency. A senior EPA official who briefed employees said to expect two to five such orders. No specific topics were mentioned. A range of possibilities exists from modest to draconian. For instance, one is likely to forbid the EPA from overruling federal and state regulatory/permit decisions unless in clear violation of established law. At best, the orders will weaken or attempt to weaken the agency s rule-making and enforcement powers. […] The orders are dedicated to wounding or wrecking the 47-year-old agency, but in addition to these orders, a panoply of other approaches is also underway, either to demolish or profoundly damage the EPA.
Michael Brune writes Unfit to Serve at EPA: The news this week was full of reports about how former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to his bosses, his colleagues, and the American people. In his resignation letter, Flynn wrote that he had provided incomplete information about his dealings with Russia. Then, in his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Flynn was asked to resign due to eroding trust in his ability to do the job. Incomplete information and eroding trust are perfect descriptors of another one of this president s picks: the just-confirmed new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt. […] During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt misled, failed to answer, and stonewalled Congress about his political fundraising practices and refused to disclose just how cozy he is with the oil and gas industry. When asked during his confirmation hearing whether he had ever solicited funds from fossil fuel companies, Pruitt claimed he was unable to remember. Sure enough, though, plenty of correspondence proves that he did exactly that.
Mary Anne Hitt writes We Will Resist Scott Pruitt and Keep Fighting for Clean Air and Water: Scott Pruitt is the most controversial and dangerous EPA chief ever. He will start work next week with a dark cloud of opposition and contention over his head. So now what? We continue the resistance! We hold accountable those senators who voted for Pruitt s confirmation. We fight back in court. We talk to our friends and get them involved when Pruitt attempts to rollback our bedrock air, water, and climate protections. Here are some specific things you can do right away: 1. Show up a the town hall meetings your Members of Congress are holding next week during the Congressional recess, February 20 – 24, and demand they push the EPA and Pruitt to not bow to the coal, oil, and gas industry. You can find the town hall meetings near you in this spreadsheet created by the Town Hall Project 2018. […[
Colby A writes An Ode to Black-Hearted Scott Pruitt, like a Dark Tone Poem: I m new, and know I’m supposed to talk up the good stuff, like Michael Brune and Bill McKibben and the Millions in Marches that have been #resisting. And I do. But Is there a more carnival-barker looking rat-faced con man anywhere to be found? This guy has the looks and the mien of a guy who couldn’t even pass muster as a bad used-car salesman. Pruitt resists freedom of information requests and is a sock-puppet for the fossil fuel industry. He scampered around his confirmation hearings with the guilty, furtive glances and carriage of a man who doesn’t want anyone to look into his briefcase or his soul — for fear of being jailed immediately for what is revealed. This guy is emblematic of this administration’s favored dark, black-hearted enabler trampling on the public good for his own and his destructive special-interested financiers’ own best interests.
ClimateDenierRoundup writes Senate Debates and Likely Confirms Pruitt for EPA Admin. Next Up, Red Queen for Head of Neurology: A little over two months after the Walrus nominated the Carpenter to disassemble the EPA, it looks like finally, the time has come. Barring something truly frabjous, the Senate will confirm Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the agency he has sued 14 times. His nom comes despite the fact that he appears to have lied under oath about his (lack of) action as Oklahoma Attorney General to fight pollution. Suffice to say that the oysters of the EPA, generally happy as clams to fight pollution, are none too pleased about new leadership. Nearly 800 former EPA employees signed a letter to the Senate in opposition to Pruitt and are otherwise protesting and calling their senators. In addition to rolling back regulations to safeguard the sea becoming boiling hot (okay maybe not literally boiling, but perhaps oxygen-less ), what else are they worried about?
pauciscerebri writes The First of Many Massive Environmental Rollbacks Under Trump-Ryan-McConnell Is Now Complete: Today Trump signed into law a fasted-tracked legislative disapproval of a Clean Water Act regulation called the Stream Protection Rule intended to limit harm to waterways and water quality from activities like inundating streams with rock and gravel debris from mountaintop removal mining. From Bloomberg s story about today s signing. The Interior Department, which spent seven years crafting the rule, had said the regulation, which updates 33-year-old regulations, will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, primarily in Appalachia. It is meant to stop the practice of dumping mining waste in streams and valleys during mountaintop mining. They estimated compliance with the regulation would cost $81 million a year, or 0.1 percent or less of aggregate annual industry revenues, it said.
Joieau writes Fukushima #2 Kills the Scorpion: Ongoing efforts to find what’s left of the missing core of unit-2 at the Daiichi nuclear facility have been making some news this month on remote control and robotic approaches to the round inner-containment pedestal ‘room’ directly beneath the vessel, that houses the control rod drives. In our last installment, the RC “cleaner” robot tasked with chipping off enough hardened corium lava from the metal grate catwalk to the CRD entry to allow the IRID robot ‘Scorpion’ to get much closer to a 2-meter diameter melt hole in the grating in order to get accurate radiation readings and photos of what’s underneath and how far down it is. Useful information in the lingering questions about where, exactly, the bulk of corium resulting from total meltdowns of units 1, 2 and 3 at the facility in 2011 went. Overnight Wednesday Scorpion made its entry. It relayed some images and video, and apparently made it as far as the hole, and was able to confirm the same kind of damage to the inside-the-pedestal CRD grating as well. Which makes entry to the pedestal proper at the CRD level impossible with robots that can’t fly. TEPCO did not report how long Scorpion was able to function in the unfriendly containment environment before it met its untimely end.
Pipelines & Other Oil and Gas Transport
rebel ga writes Feb. 15 – Standing Rock Sioux vs. Energy Transfer in House Committee Hearing: It s fascinating to watch respective witnesses, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Councilman getting 6 minutes and STEM-teacher/mom getting abruptly cut-off after 6 minutes, in their opening statements to House Energy & Commerce Committee (Subcmte. On Energy) Hearing Wednesday this week (slide forward video to 2:53:50 run to 3:05:50) No, the pipeline is not finished, the water protectors are not beaten. Yes, the Practical fight and Prayerful fight at Standing rock continues in full vigor. In the video (5:03:00 thru 5:13:39) you can see how for-real the fight is in the terse 10 minutes of exchanges between Congressman Markwayne Mullin [R-OK-2], the Witness Councilman and Congressman Raul Ruiz [D-CA-36].
AGRICULTURE , FOOD & GARDENING
AngryChihuahua writes The Seeds of Resistance: We are experiencing the birth of The Resistance, continuing the struggle of the freedom fighters and revolutionaries that came before us. We have a legacy to protect. We are tending the garden of democracy’s history. Planting our own seedlings while nurturing those we inherited. Protecting those in bloom when the elements turn hostile. There stands the tree of liberty first watered with tea brewed in Boston harbor and the blood of patriots. Rugged and weathered the trunk scarred from attacks with bullets and blades, blistered by fire, losing branches in violent storms, enduring the rare brutal winter when it seemed the sun would never return and still it’s roots push deeper and spread farther. Walk through the old grove of the abolitionists tended carefully and often in secret until it could no longer be contained. Mahogany and ebony are thick here along with Douglas firs and a garrison of beech trees. White pines and poplars with branches from which once hung strange fruit. These are rough, knotty and gnarled, pocked from cannon ball and musket shot.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Walter Einenkel writes About 56,000 bridges in the United States are ‘structurally deficient’: Almost 56,000 bridges are structurally deficient, says American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). The five states with the most deficient bridges are Iowa with 4,968, Pennsylvania with 4,506, Oklahoma with 3,460, Missouri with 3,195 and Nebraska with 2,361. The eight states where at least 15% of the bridges are deficient are: Rhode Island at 25%, Pennsylvania at 21%, Iowa and South Dakota at 20%, West Virginia at 17%, and Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma at 15%. Democrats have called Donald Trump and his Republican Party s bluff about infrastructure projects, offering up a serious 10-year trillion-dollar plan.
- ^ WTF? Republicans just passed a law so assholes can shoot and trap hibernating bears and wolves (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ The Daily Bucket – very early spring color (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Republicans pass bill through House repealing wildlife regulations that ended bear cub killing (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ grizzly-paranoid Education secretary (wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org)
- ^ Those rules include: (wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org)
- ^ Republican movement to take control over those lands in order to privatize t (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Republican government pulls down animal abuse database and gets shamed into doing the right thing (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Republican Party and the Trump administration tested this tried and true theory (time.com)
- ^ suddenly pulled (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Humane Society of the United States (blog.humanesociety.org)
- ^ Daily Bucket: rescuing endangered bunnies from a flood (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ declared a federal disaster (www.latimes.com)
- ^ endangered bush rabbits (www.fws.gov)
- ^ New York Times Goes Trophy Sheep Hunting (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Bighorn Sheep Hunting (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ The Daily Bucket–Emergency Repairs Open Damaged Spillway, Avert Flooding of Frog Mitigation Area (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Rethinking the Daily Kos Focus – Open Letter to Kos (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Will geoengineering be necessary? (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Polar ice reaching alarming low levels at both ends of the Earth (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ have kept ice (weather.com)
- ^ world s largest ice sheets (www.independent.co.uk)
- ^ runaway polar amplification (thinkprogress.org)
- ^ Complexity, conspiracy and climate change (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Congress to Curtail Methane Monitoring (spectrum.ieee.org)
- ^ harmful or helpful (www.bloomberg.com)
- ^ shouldn’t be the only measure of their value (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Trump himself does not (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Trump administration exempts three CA oil fields from water protection rule at Jerry Brown’s request (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ www.dailykos.com/… (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Disaster Declaration for Hoopa Valley Tribe Approved, Tribes Win Legal Victory for Salmon (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Democrats scramble to delay Pruitt vote … as McConnell quashes every effort (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ EPA employees put jobs on the line as Republicans try to force Pruitt vote in advance of evidence (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ object. (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ still at it. (mobile.nytimes.com)
- ^ Executive orders come Friday as EPA braces for impact (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ reports (www.reuters.com)
- ^ Unfit to Serve at EPA (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ We Will Resist Scott Pruitt and Keep Fighting for Clean Air and Water (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Town Hall Project 2018 (docs.google.com)
- ^ An Ode to Black-Hearted Scott Pruitt, like a Dark Tone Poem (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Senate Debates and Likely Confirms Pruitt for EPA Admin. Next Up, Red Queen for Head of Neurology (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ frabjous (theweek.com)
- ^ appears to have lied under oath (fusion.net)
- ^ clams to fight pollution (www.capecodtimes.com)
- ^ Nearly 800 former EPA employees (www.huffingtonpost.com)
- ^ otherwise protesting (insideclimatenews.org)
- ^ calling their senators (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ perhaps oxygen-less (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ The First of Many Massive Environmental Rollbacks Under Trump-Ryan-McConnell Is Now Complete (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Bloomberg s story (www.bloomberg.com)
- ^ Fukushima #2 Kills the Scorpion (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ In our last installment (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Scorpion made its entry (www.fukuleaks.org)
- ^ it met its untimely end (www.fukuleaks.org)
- ^ Feb. 15 – Standing Rock Sioux vs. Energy Transfer in House Committee Hearing (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ video to 2:53:50 (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
- ^ Mullin [R-OK-2], the Witness Councilman and Congressman Raul Ruiz [D-CA-36]. (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
- ^ The Seeds of Resistance (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ Saturday Morning Garden Blog: February 2009-2016 (www.dailykos.com)
- ^ About 56,000 bridges in the United States are ‘structurally deficient’ (About%2056,000%20bridges%20in%20the%20United%20States%20are%20’structurally%20deficient’)
- ^ American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ 10-year trillion-dollar plan (www.dailykos.com)
President Donald Trump hit the road Friday to deliver a pep talk to American workers in South Carolina, resurrecting the jobs-building promises that powered his election victory and pledging anew to unleash the power of the American spirit. But back in Washington, this week s divisive tone continued:
The White House distanced itself from a Department of Homeland Security draft proposal to use the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants. Administration officials said the proposal, which called for mobilizing up to 100,000 troops in 11 states, was rejected, and would not be part of plans to carry out Trump s aggressive immigration policy.
Concluding weeks of bitter debates, Scott Pruitt was confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, giving Trump an eager partner to fulfill his pledge to increase the use of fossil fuels much to the chagrin of the nation s environmental groups and alternative-energy boosters.
Trump s national security team remained incomplete, but retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, whose family has deep roots in Long Beach, traveled to South Carolina with the White House team aboard Air Force One. Trump tweeted Kellogg, serving as the acting national security adviser, is very much in play for the permanent role, along with three others.
Trump also tweeted: The FAKENEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! Trump s social-media outburst came a day after he forcefully defended his administration and jousted with the press during a marathon White House news conference. But the president, clearly enjoying his return to the kind of cheering crowds that fueled his months-long campaign, took a more upbeat tack in South Carolina.
We love our workers and we are going to protect our workers, Trump declared at a Boeing plant where the company showed off its new 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft. We are going to fight for jobs. We are going to fight for our families, he said in a reprise of the America First message from his campaign.
The new president toured a 787-10 still under construction and, before leaving, sat in the pilot s seat of a completed airplane painted in contrasting shades of blue that formed the backdrop for his remarks. Some 5,000 employees and others inside a hangar greeted him with chants of USA, USA. The president, who owns an airplane but now travels exclusively on government aircraft, praised the Boeing jetliner as an amazing piece of art.
As your president I m going to do everything I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and to put our great people back to work, he said. This is our mantra: Buy American and hire American.
Trump, returning to the confident theme of his march to the White House, said: America is going to start winning again, winning like never before. Trump is expected to stick to the theme today when he holds a big rally in central Florida.
The president s vow to toughen enforcement of immigration laws returned to the spotlight Friday, a day after the president promised to sign an executive order next week that would include a new travel ban that would stand up to the kind of legal challenges that blocked his first try. Municipalities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Skokie, Illinois, urged a federal judge on Friday to continue blocking aspects of Trump s travel ban. New York City s chief lawyer, Zachary Carter, filed papers in federal court on behalf of nearly three dozen cities. The arguments were submitted days before a judge will decide whether to extend an order that was issued the day after Trump signed the Jan. 27 executive order. Trump s plans included a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
Carter and senior counsel Susan Greenberg said in the filing that the ban against people from seven predominantly Muslim countries damages the economies and cultures of the cities and harms efforts to keep cities safe, including against terrorists. The White House has said Trump s order is necessary to protect against terrorism and the New York case should be dismissed because the two people on whose behalf it was brought have been allowed into the U.S. Meanwhile, a Homeland Security official said a draft proposal to use the National Guard to round up undocumented people released by the Associated Press was never seriously considered and was not presented to DHS Secretary John Kelly.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there was no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants. The pushback from administration officials did little to quell outrage over the draft plan. Three Republican governors spoke out against the proposal and numerous Democratic lawmakers denounced it as an overly aggressive approach to immigration enforcement.
Which way, EPA?
Hours after his 52-46 victory in the Senate, former Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt was sworn as EPA chief by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. In six years, Pruitt filed 14 lawsuits against the department he now helms, challenging such rules as limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and efforts to clean up polluted wastewater under the Clean Water Act.
Pruitt s supporters cheered his confirmation, hailing the 48-year-old Republican lawyer as the ideal pick to roll back environmental regulations they say are a drag on the nation s economy.
EPA has made life hard for families all across America, said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The agency has issued punishing regulations that caused many hardworking Americans to lose their jobs. Mr. Pruitt will bring much needed change.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the lone Republican vote against Pruitt. Two Democrats from states with economies heavily dependent on fossil fuels crossed party lines to support Trump s pick, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
Last Tuesday I went by the Veterans Office in the courthouse to return a file concerning the Veterans War Memorial but found the VA office closed. Instead, I ran into Mayor Bailey, who was getting in some lunch-time exercise. He said they would be back around 1:00 p.m. I had to pick up bird seed at Co-op for Mom between then and 1:00 so when my brother called and asked to meet him at Medical Center for lunch, I agreed.
I arrived at the same time as a small group and their table next to ours was obviously reserved. Their food was immediately delivered. Wow. I like that idea. The young couple with the small daughter must have placed that order earlier. That s what I need to do next time. They were all excitedly talking, laughing, and eating while John and I poured over the Home Search magazine.
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