Barack in the Buckeye State

Dem presidential candidate talks up energy plan in Ohio

Barack Obama gave a speech on energy policy in Dayton, Ohio on Friday, and used the opportunity to rip on rival John McCain. He knocked the candidate’s calls for offshore drilling and a “gas-tax holiday,” and accused him of being part of the problem in Washington. “A few days ago, Senator McCain said our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been 30 years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country,” said Obama. “The only problem is that out of those 30 years, Senator McCain was …

Yes, Americans are a bunch of whiners …

As a big Obama supporter I am delighted that McCain's national co-chair and economic adviser Phil Gramm was stupid enough to talk about America being in a "mental recession" and the country being a "bunch of whiners"; it's going to be the gift that keeps on giving (Obama had a great line about how the country doesn't need a new Dr. Phil). Gramm was 100 percent wrong about the "mental recession" part -- we are teetering on a real recession if not already in one -- but he actually was right about America being a bunch of whiners, although not for the reasons he thinks.

Dems: The breaks

Some Democrats in Congress bending on drilling debate

Some Senate Democrats are warming to the idea of opening some offshore areas in U.S. waters to oil and gas drilling, as we reported earlier this week. A few more may now be joining the ranks. Republicans in Congress have hyped the need to drill, and representatives are under pressure from constituents to do something about gas prices. Bending on drilling at least politically creates the appearance of doing something, despite the fact that opening offshore areas to production won’t actually lower oil or gasoline prices until about 2030 — if it does then. Even the head of the Energy …

Countdown to Crawford

Bush administration decides to run out the clock on regulating greenhouse-gas emissions

The Bush administration made clear today that it doesn’t intend to do anything about climate change in the final six months in office, announcing that instead of responding to the Supreme Court’s mandate last year that the EPA determine the dangers posed to humankind by greenhouse-gas emissions they would simply request further public comment. The White House and EPA released their much-anticipated Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking today, after weeks of disputes between the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget about what that notice should look like. Stephen Johnson. Photo: epa.gov The ANPR was supposed to be a …

Rail love

Obama reaffirms support for rail and transit

From RailwayAge: In a letter to United Transportation Union President Mike Futhey, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has pledged to “push for Amtrak, commuter rail, and public transit system funding, ensuring strong employment levels well into the future.” He also promised to “preserve the sanctity of the Railroad Retirement and Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA),” The UTU, which originally backed Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the nomination, was quick to make its peace with Obama and earn the prized “personal letter,” which is dated July 5. In the letter, Obama reaffirms his previously stated support for Amtrak …

Third partying

Greens to announce presidential candidate

The Green Party is hosting their presidential convention in Chicago this week, where the party is expected to officially select former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Ga.) as its presidential candidate. Yesterday hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente accepted McKinney’s invitation to run as the VP candidate. More to come on the Green ticket soon. Speaking of third-party runs for the presidency, Ralph Nader participated in a live, online chat at the Washington Post yesterday. Minimal conversation about environmental topics, though he did discuss his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Court strikes down federal clean-air rule that would have actually cleaned air

One of the rare Bush administration clean-air policies favored by enviros has been struck down by a federal appeals court. The Clean Air Interstate Rule would have required 28 Eastern states to reduce soot-causing, smog-forming emissions that easily spread on the wind. The U.S. EPA estimated that the rule would prevent 17,000 premature deaths per year, tens of thousands of nonfatal heart attacks, millions of lost work and school days, and up to $100 billion in health-care costs. But ruling in favor of electric-power producers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the EPA …

Bush admin gets senior-itis, says it won’t decide on emissions before term ends

EPA head Stephen Johnson. Photo: epa.gov Instead of deciding whether greenhouse-gas emissions endanger human health and welfare and formulating standards to reduce them — as the Supreme Court ordered — the EPA will run out the clock for the next few months soliciting more public comment. The Supreme Court ordered the EPA last year to decide on the GHG-endangerment question, or at the very least, to think up a really good excuse why it hadn’t decided. However, today the agency will essentially announce that it’s doing neither and will instead ask for more public comments. The Bush administration has repeatedly …

Ventura capitol

Al Franken talks green jobs while Jesse Ventura threatens to bust heads

Minnesota Senate candidate and former funny-man Al Franken (D) recently put out a very, very sincere video on green jobs: Franken is taking on incumbent Norm Coleman (R), and polls so far have shown Coleman ahead by a considerable margin. But now former Reform Party governor, professional wrestler, and actor Jesse Ventura is threatening to jump in the race. “All you Minnesotans take a good hard look at all three of us,” Ventura told NPR this week. “You decide. If you were in a dark alley, which one of the three of us would you want with you?”

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