Got a 90-degree reading today, as good a time as any to call it quits. The line is open. Final notes:
* WACKY DAYS IN BAXTER COUNTY: Republican Rep. John Burris is far too conservative for my tastes, obviously. But he is not bat**** crazy like his opponent Scott Flippo in the Republican runoff for Senate covering Baxter, Boone and Marion counties. Flippo has wildly misrepresented the impact of the private option on Arkansas (it’s overwhelmingly positive and, no it hasn’t closed doctors offices or raised taxes as his ads apparently claim.) His own explanation of the Affordable Care Act is incoherent (see this wild ramble in the Baxter Bulletin) except to the extent that he ties it to the foreign-sounding black man in the White House. Outside dark money of the most reactionary sort is backing Flippo. In these times, John Burris passes for a voice of moderation in the Republican Party. I hesitate to say this because it might be that Baxter County is just that far gone and I shouldn’t encourage them. Flippo also apparently didn’t understand the dubious nature of holding a campaign rally at the courthouse, a polling place. He’s moved his free food fest tonight to a local pub (shades of Louisiana-style Kingfish politics). Flippo has stuffed mailboxes with attack pieces, four in one day according to Burris. They include a shot of Burris enjoying a breakfast sandwich. That’s a damaging image to Flippo somehow. I approve of the sausage-egg-and-cheese combo myself.
* AND SPEAKING OF BAT***: Arkansas Republicans, following a national script but with elevated decibels, have gone nuts on the proposed carbon emission rules, stating flatly that they mean tax increases, electric rate increases and economic disaster to Arkansas. They’d play hell pointing to facts to support these assertions other than boilerplate U.S. Chamber of Commerce propaganda. They’ve said they same thing about every other advance in clean air and water law before and been wrong every other time. Not that this historical reality will shut up the crazies, but here’s a calm word from Bill Clinton on the subject.
The proposed rule presents both challenges and opportunities. It gives states the flexibility to meet their carbon reduction goals through their own formulas, providing utilities, their employees, and the people they serve the power to choose the options that work best for them, including energy efficiency, investments in natural gas and renewable energy, and improvements in old power plants that emit the most carbon dioxide. States will need to involve all their stakeholders—utilities and their workers, businesses and their employees, and citizen rate-payers—to fashion solutions to fit their particular challenges and opportunities.
We’ve known about the dangers of global warming, ocean damage, and the other problems of climate change for too long to delay this important action. Yes, we can’t solve the problems alone, but we can’t expect China, India and the other big global emitters of carbon to make similar reductions if we don’t lead by example.
As I said, recent history has shown that actions to improve health and the environment are net creators of jobs, good-paying jobs for American workers that can’t be outsourced overseas.
However, it is imperative that the states most reliant on coal to generate electricity and those with people who work in the coal industry be given ample resources to deal with any dislocation that occurs—not just for retraining, but for employment in the new businesses and jobs this rule will generate. They haven’t done anything wrong, and they have a right to be part of a better future.
* BUFFALO RIVER DROWNING: A Boy Scout leader from Louisiana drowned Monday on a Buffalo River float trip.
* VICTIMS IDENTIFIED: The State Police has identified the two men killed when a blown tired apparently caused a log truck to overturn and spill its load on U.S. Highway 65 at bridge construction site, leaving another 21 people injured, some seriously.