1.) U.S. environmentalists reside inside a sustainably harvested, ecologically processed bamboo barrel of contradictions — “The Obama administration has set a target of having 80 percent of America’s electricity come from ‘clean energy sources’ by 2035, but ironically one of the biggest obstacles to this goal could come from within the environmental movement itself,” reports The Daily Caller’s John Rossomando. The Chamber of Commerce and the pro-plant Vermont Journal of Environmental Law have both noted increasing resistance by renewable energy advocates to renewable energy projects. “NIMBY activism has blocked more renewable projects than coal-fired power plants by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and using other long delay mechanisms, effectively bleeding projects dry of their financing,” writes the Chamber in a new report. “Recent examples,” notes Rossomando, “include environmentalist lawsuits seeking to block construction of a solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert due to threats to the endangered desert tortoise and environmentalists suing to block the construction of a 75-wind turbine project in Nevada due to threats to local wildlife.”
2.) Senate wise guys would be lying if they told you they weren’t salivating over a government shutdown — Perhaps inspired by the pseudo-populist uprising of upper-middle class government workers in Wisconsin, Senate Democrats are refusing to consider the House’s meager budget cuts. “The House has spent more than 70 hours debating spending this year, and has produced a bill,” reports the Washington Times. “The Senate has spent less than five hours officially debating spending, and has rejected the House bill, but has yet to produce an alternative of its own.” In lieu of learning how a calculator works, Wiseguy in Chief Chuck Schumer has spent the last few weeks pretending to sympathize with House Speaker John Boehner. “After days of positive negotiations, with significant flexibility shown by the speaker, the House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts,” Schumer said. Boehner responded in kind on Friday: “At no point in the 34 days since the House acted have the Democrats who run the Senate and the White House put forward a credible, long-term plan to resolve their budget mess.”
3.) Facebook sends friend request to Robert Gibbs — A job offer from Facebook may keep former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs off the campaign trail, where he is likely to offend large swaths of Democratic voters by calling them rubes. “Facebook is in talks to hire Gibbs for a senior role in helping to manage the company’s communications,” reports Dealbook. “Mr. Gibbs, who left the White House in February after two years on the job, had been planning to help establish President Obama’s re-election campaign before taking a private sector job, these people said. Facebook, however, is pressing Mr. Gibbs to consider the job more quickly.” Gibbs has reportedly consulted White House advisor David Axelrod about what he should do. This is Axelrod’s chance to disappear the man who coined the slur “Professional Left.”
4.) Conservatives refuse to get railed by rail projects — “Conservative activists are deriding the high-speed rail proposals set out by President Obama in his State of the Union address and 2012 budget as wasteful spending that imposes new mandates on cash-strapped state governments,” reports The Hill. Their complaints come complete with a name, too: “ObamaRail.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn’t start the anti-rail trend, but he’s certainly given it new life. “Look, you look at the studies of these things, when they get built, [they] cost way more than they think,” Scott said after rejecting $2.4 billion in federal rail money for a transit line that would take tens of people from autopsy-happy Orlando to former boom town Tampa, presumably more than once a day.
5.) U.S. draws the line at helping Syrians — “U.S. officials are virtually ruling out an international intervention to stop political violence in Syria, despite a widening crackdown against dissidents there,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Obama administration officials made clear on Sunday that they aren’t seeking to mobilize the international community to act against Syria and President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces, as it has done in Libya. In part, they said, their position is based on the view among some analysts that President Assad could become a reformer, and in part on the fact that Syria’s crackdown on dissent hasn’t been nearly as harsh as Libya’s has been.” Also, because it only makes sense to have one policy for Egypt, another for Libya, a third for Bahrain, a fourth for Syria, etc., etc. Call it Foreign Policy Cafeterianism.
6.) White House worried that Americans will misinterpret GE not paying any taxes — Shortly after the New York Times reported that General Electric would not only not pay any taxes for 2010, but that it would receive a tax benefit of more than $3 billion, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Pres. Obama is worried “that Americans, I’m sure, who read that story or heard about it are wondering, you know — you know, how this could be.” For those keeping an eye on the revolving door, Obama made General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the start of this year. Around the same time, Pres. Obama delivered his State of the Union Address, in which he railed against companies using armies of lobbyists and tax experts–much like the former IRS agents and congressional staffers who work for GE!–to avoid paying taxes. When asked why Obama appointed “to the head of the Competitiveness and Jobs Council a person who is now the poster child for abusing the system to get out of paying taxes,” Carney replied, “The jobs and competitiveness council is designed for just that.”
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