TPM Cafe: Opinion

President Obama’s EPA will issue proposed greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants. By all accounts the rules will be a remarkable step forward in the fight against global warming, with the U.S. finally demonstrating significant leadership on an issue on which it has lagged behind for more than a decade. And yet from what we know about the proposed rules, they are market and business-friendly in a way that press accounts so far have yet to emphasize.

Megan Herzog has already done a terrific job describing the proposed rules and their potential legal vulnerability here. My own view is that EPA is on solid legal ground in moving away from a traditional plant-by-plant basis of regulation and instead allowing states to meet statewide emissions limits through a variety of mechanisms, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, demand response and cap-and-trade. In fact in the most recent pronouncement from the Supreme Court about EPA’s ability to regulate, the Court, joined by six justices including Chief Justice John Roberts, emphasized the discretion the agency should have to resolve ambiguous provisions of the Clean Air Act:

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On Sunday, May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed in his Kansas church by Scott Roeder. Later found guilty of the murder, Roeder claimed that his action was justified because Tiller performed abortions; indeed, George Tiller was one of the most high-profile abortion providers in the country. And he was also no stranger to anti-choice harassment and violence. In 1991, Tiller’s Wichita clinic was the site of a months-long protest by anti-choice activists, and two years later Tiller was shot in both arms by an anti-choice extremist.

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The following is what should have been included in President Obama's speech. The portion below in italics is reproduced from the original speech.


Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. ...

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On Monday, President Obama is expected to release proposed regulations to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants. Leaks to date suggest that the rules, which will cover 40 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, will be ambitious and far-reaching, requiring cuts of approximately 20 percent from the electricity sector.

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Following the success of horror dramas like Supernatural, True Blood, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story, it’s no surprise that networks continue to produce shows that cater to fans of witches, vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Fascination with the paranormal has a long history, and its modern reach boomerangs from books to movies to television. WGN American recently launched its first original scripted program called Salem, a drama series loosely based on the infamous Salem witch trials. The show ignores the opportunity to shed light on the mass hysteria that affected parts of New England and instead picks up the mantle of puritanical 17th century America. Expressions of sexuality are proof of evil and deviance. The show should be subtitled Nothing Good Comes From Sex. (Spoilers ahead.)

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Despite a growing number of public officials calling for his resignation in light of a new Inspector General’s report on the dramatically longer wait times in a Phoenix hospital than what they were reporting, General Eric Shinseki is not the problem at the Veteran’s Administration (VA). The calls for him to be fired seem to be from those want a quick and simple solution to what is a much deeper problem. Firing someone, anyone, appears to be “doing something,” whether or not it will help or hurt the search for a solution.

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President Obama’s commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York on Wednesday was both a recognition of the complex world the Class of 2014 will face and an acknowledgement that the United States must adjust its foreign policy to reflect a world more dynamic than ever before.

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You can pick up any of Maya Angelou’s seven autobiographies or any of her poetry and find the story of her life. Born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri then raised Stamps, Arkansas, she entered adulthood in various parts of California. She suffered through the trauma of racism, poverty, sexual assault, and other personal horrors to become one of America’s most well-respected authors and speakers. Maya Angelou’s death, announced on Wednesday and which came at the age of 86, leaves a tear in the fabric of American literature. Later in life, she became an easy target for parody, but her legacy of carving out a path of identity through defiance and confidence is undeniable.

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National security blogger John Schindler thinks it’s time for partisans on both ends of the political spectrum to do some soul-searching and realize how they’re hurting the country. Writing at his XX Committee blog, the scholar of military history and strategy who teaches at the U.S. Naval War College accuses true believers on the left and right of being disdainful toward any other perspectives and neglectful toward the facts — making our politics dysfunctional and our country ungovernable in the process. The sensible majority of Americans, according to Schindler, get caught in the middle of this political holy war and either get taken for granted or viewed as dupes whenever they tilt toward the other side.

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