Last night, Congress came within a single senator's vote of passing legislation to authorize a major crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would pump more than 830,000 barrels of high-polluting tar sands oil a day and carry and emit 51 coal plants worth of CO2 (pdf)—despite the fact that U.S. oil demand is falling and, you know, the planet is burning up—in exchange for 35 whole permanent jobs.
I'm sorry, I buried the lede: what I meant to say is that the runoff Senate race in Louisiana hasn't happened yet.
These great graphs from the Washington Post compare these five plans to one another and to current policy. Note than on the first metric, the ever-popular question of budget deficits, all five dip lower than current projections in just a couple years.
Pundits have been praising Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin
Republican who chairs the House budget committee, for the courage displayed in
his 2012 budget proposal. But their definition of "courage"
must be different from mine.
It's great to see David Beckmann convince Mark Bittman to join the fast against attempts to cut federal programs
that help the poor and the hungry. Bittman's dismissal of the religious element
of the effort by Bread for the World and others--"I doubt God will intervene
here"--betrays his unfamiliarity with Christian thought. (I'm tempted to send him
one of my ELCA "God's work, our hands" fridge magnets.) But thanks to Bittman's
involvement, now even the Nation is
giving the progressive evangelical effort positive coverage.
Yesterday, House Republicans passed a bill that, if enacted,
would repeal last year's health-care reform bill. It won't be enacted; it'll
never get past the Senate or the president. But the GOP took the House back in
part because of its promises to repeal reform, so a symbolic effort was
Good catch last week by Pat Garofalo: House
Speaker John Boehner wants to cut government spending, but it's still difficult
to get him to name any programs that should be slashed. This was a theme during
the campaign and the lame duck session that followed; it remains true now that
he's taken over the House.