EPA Issues Report on Dangers of Global Warming

Here’ something which would have never happened during the Bush years. The EPA has issued a report on climate change based upon the science as opposed to being based upon administration ideology:

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House on Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public’s health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation’s economy and environment.

The proposal — which comes in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision ordering EPA to consider whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act — could lay the groundwork for nationwide measures to limit such emissions. It reverses one of the Bush administration’s landmark environmental decisions: In July 2008 then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected his scientific and technical staff’s recommendation and announced the agency would seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming pollution.

“This is historic news,” said Frank O’Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch. “It will set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution. And it is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving.”

The Voice of the Republican Party

We all know that for all practical purposes Fox is virtually a house organ of the Republican Party. Every now and then they slip and admit it (Hat tip to Think Progress):

“There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November [and] December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away,” said Bill Shine, senior vice president for programming at the Fox News Channel. “With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?”

They sure didn’t see themselves as “the voice of the opposition” during the Bush administration.

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Law Professor Questions If 90% Tax on Bonuses is Constitutional

Despite all  the talk about the 90% tax on bonuses passed in the House I don’t expect to ever see it enacted. I figure that it will fail to pass the Senate, possibly be vetoed by Obama if it does pass, and will have trouble holding up in court if it ever becomes  law. Greg Sargent reports that a former legal adviser to Obama does believe it is unconstitutional:

I just got off the phone with Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, who advised Obama during the campaign, and he says he’s leaning towards seeing the new House bill to tax back all the AIG bonuses as unconstitutional.

Tribe’s assertion could spell big trouble for the measure, because it could harden opposition within the Obama administration against the proposal at a time when Obama and his advisers are already expressing doubts about it.

Tribe had previously said that he thought the measure — which would slap a 90% tax on bonuses for executives whose family incomes exceed $250,000 — would pass constitutional muster. But now, after taking a closer look, he’s not so sure.

Tribe says the problem with the bill is that the Constitution forbids Congress from enacting a “bill of attainder,” which would essentially “legislate punishment of an identifiable class,” as he put it. Tribe noted that the Supreme Court had used that clause to slap down other laws.

Tribe says the main problem is that it’s hard to make the case that the law isn’t “punitive.”

“Its punitive intent is increasingly transparent,” Tribe says. “when you have Chuck Grassley calling on [executives] to commit suicide, and people responding to pitch fork sentiment, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t an attempt to punish an identifiable set of individuals who are the subject of understandable outrage.”

David Kurtz adds, “The White House is cool to this legislation to begin with. Tribe’s changing course may help give the necessary political/legal cover to slow roll it in the Senate or eventually veto it — if it gets that far.”

This might be more effective as a threat than as actual legislation, and the proposed tax, along with public outrage, does appear to be having an effect. The Caucus reports:

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced late Monday afternoon that 9 of the top 10 bonus recipients at the American International Group had given back their bonuses.

He also said 15 of the top 20 bonus recipients in A.I.G.’s financial products division had given the money back, for a total that he estimated at about $30 million. “Those bonuses will be returned in full,” Mr. Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters.

Another Bogus Conservative Attack Against Obama

Conservative bloggers continue their usual practice of finding nonsense to attack Obama about as a distraction from actual discussion of the issues. Today’s entry comes from Obama writing a letter to former French President Jacques Chirac. Right wing blogs are attacking Obama for President Nicolas Sarkozy, with some even suggesting that Obama doesn’t even know who the President of France is.

The Christian Science Monitor explains:

…we found out that another French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation…there is no evidence that the language has upset President Sarkozy or anyone else in France.

Obama clearly knew what he was doing in responding to Chirac’s letter. In assuming total ignorance on Obama’s part they were clearly confusing him with his predecessor in the White House.

Dow Up Almost 500 Points

The Dow was up 497 points today followng the announcement of the Treasury Department’s plan was released.

For the most part, market levels reflect weaknesses in the economy which have been a factor since last fall. I don’t put much weight on one day changes but many Republicans have attributed recent drops in the market to Obama’s actions as opposed to economic fundamentals. While today’s gain may or may not hold long term, it certainly does seem to be a direct response to an action of the Obama administration. I wonder how conservatives who have been blaming Obama for the drop since election day will spin this.

New Jersey Nanny Staters Threaten To Ban Brazilian Bikini Waxes


The State of New Jersey is threatening to ban Brazilian bikini waxes for those who are willing to risk pain, and possibly infection, to achieve the above look. AP reports:

New Jersey is drawing the line when it comes to bikini waxing.

The state Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling is moving toward a ban on genital waxing altogether after two women reported being injured in their quest for a smooth bikini line.

Both women were hospitalized for infections following so-called “Brazilian” bikini waxes; one of the women has filed a lawsuit, according to Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the cosmetology board.