Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Energy 202: Trump to waive environmental rules to construct border wall

Washington Post ^ | August 2 at 9:24 AM | By Dino Grandoni 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Tuesday that it will use its authority under a George W. Bush-era law to bypass environmental rules in order to construct a section of President Trump's promised border wall.
The announcement underscores the commitment from DHS -- now without a permanent leader after John Kelly's ascended to become White House chief of staff -- and theTrump administration more broadly making good on the president's signature campaign promise, despite not yet having a plan for the wall in place nor funding for its construction approved by Congress (though that is in the pipeline).
DHS issued the environmental waiver for a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, starting at the Pacific Ocean and extending eastward, that the department describes as one of the busiest for illicit border crossings.
"The sector remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads," DHS said in a statement.
Under normal circumstances, a federal agency must complete an environmental impact study before beginning a major infrastructure project on public land. But a 2005 law grants the federal government broad authority to waive such environmental examinations and other legal requirements in order to expeditiously build a border barrier. Michael Chertoff, homeland security secretary under Bush, used the waiver five times, the department said.
In this case, the waiver will be used to construct prototype walls, along with roads and other infrastructure, called for in a January executive order signed by President Trump.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

North Korea: Should we act now or wait?

The American Thinker ^ | 08/02/17 | Robert Arvay 

It seems possible that plans are already being implemented to invade North Korea. I am not speaking of contingency plans; I am speaking of a date certain, a definite schedule, with step number one being the recent flyover of B1-B bombers near the North Korean border. I am not, of course, privy to any such information, but President Trump seemed supremely confident when he made his assurances that (inexact quote) "we will handle North Korea."
The reason for all this is that the Norks (as the North Koreans are informally referred to in military parlance) have nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which pose as close to a clear and present danger as we dare to allow without taking decisive, pre-emptive action – immediately.
The only constraint now is feasibility. Are we able to attack and win? Can we accept the consequences of action versus those of inaction?
The consequences might be cataclysmic. North Korea reputedly has thousands of artillery guns in caves, within firing range of Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Seoul is a huge metropolis with some eight million or more inhabitants. I've been there, and it is easily comparable to most large American cities. Those artillery weapons can be expected to deploy within minutes, to fire an overwhelming barrage, and to kill as many as a million people within the first hour of a major war. There can be no doubt that the Norks would do this in the first moment they perceived an existential threat.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Gen. Kelly Bars The Door: New Chief Of Staff Cracks Down On Oval Office Access

Hotair ^ | 08/02/2017 | Ed Morrissey 

How does a new chief of staff establish his authority? By acting as a doorman, first and foremost. Axios’ Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan report that John Kelly has succeeded in controlling access to the Oval Office, part of his mission to instill discipline on a chaotic West Wing:
The door to the Oval Office used to be wide open, with favored officials drifting in and out — even in the middle of meetings — to kibitz with Trump.
Now, the door is closed. Gen. John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, has taken control in dramatic fashion, and is already imposing unmistakable signs of order after just a few days on the job[.]
The increased discipline has improved the atmosphere and the focus already — on both sides of the door. Trump has picked up his game to match Kelly’s new businesslike approach, preparing better for the meetings that do take place in the Oval Office:
Even POTUS appears to be trying to impress his four-star handler, picking up his game by acting sharper in meetings and even rattling off stats.
Sounds impressive. In fact, it sounds so impressive that it still sounds suspiciously like someone in the White House trying to make Kelly look too impressive. The more Kelly gets credit for order in the White House, the more Trump may question whether Kelly’s stealing his thunder. The added anecdote about Trump trying to impress Kelly seems especially calculated to get Trump jealous of Kelly’s press. Perhaps all of that backbiting and scheming left with Kelly’s hiring, and the brief Robespierrian reign of Anthony Scaramucci might have been enough to discourage any further descent into palace intrigue. Perhaps.
The Associated Press report from yesterday also sounded a cautionary note on how long Kelly might go before tripping over the Machiavellian environs of the Trump White House:
David B. Cohen, a University of Akron political science professor writing a book on chiefs of staff, applauded Kelly for doing “things that should have been done on Day One of Reince Priebus’s tenure.” He said Scaramucci’s removal sent a clear message “that going off-script and being undisciplined” would no longer be tolerated at the White House.
But Cohen wondered how long Mr. Trump would go before undermining Kelly.
“President Trump is his own worst enemy,” he said. “He instinctively likes to be his own chief of staff and he’s a pretty awful one.”
On the other hand, Trump’s also no dummy. He might have thought his usual organizational environment of pitting everyone against everyone else would transfer to the public sector, but he had six months to see the results, and they were pretty dismal. Trump appears to have learned a hard lesson and is changing his approach to meet the challenges. The immediate success of Kelly’s leadership can only help Trump feel as though he made the right decision.
It’s only been a few days, so don’t get hopes too high. So far, though, it appears Kelly is doing an expert job at the first task of any competent chief of staff — gatekeeping. It might not be as dramatic as it sounds, or as it was in Fellowship of the Rings, but it’s not easy — especially when working for someone who isn’t known to appreciate formality and discipline.


A Few Thoughts

friendly emails | 8/2/2017 | unknown 

Just thinking

* If you attempt to rob a bank you won't have any trouble with rent/food bills for the next 10 years, whether or not you are successful.
* Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?
* What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?
* If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
* Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?
* Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?
* Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.
* Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty
* The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims".
* Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.
* 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
* Your future self is watching you right now through memories.
* The doctors that told Stephen Hawking he had two years to live in 1953 are probably dead.
* If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.
* Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.
* If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.
* If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, we'll just call it "2's Day".
(it is on Tuesday)

Psychologists say more and more young people are entitled

Indy 100 ^ | 27 July 2017 | Greg Evans 

Research has discovered that large amounts of young people are developing an entitlement complex.
The psychological trend comes from the belief that you are superior to others and are more deserving of certain things.
This form of narcissism has some significant consequences such as disappointment and a tendency to lash out.
Psychology Today reports that some examples of entitlement range from the disregard of rules, freeloading, causing inconveniences and like to assume the role of leader when working in groups.
So called millennials, who were born roughly between 1988 and 1994, tend to have this characteristic as a 2016 study found.
The University of Hampshire found that youngsters who were studied on issues of entitlement scored 25 per cent higher than people aged 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over that age bracket.
Dr Joshua Grubbs, who conducted the research, which was published in the Psychological Bulletin is quoted by Spring as saying:
“ At extreme levels, entitlement is a toxic narcissistic trait, repeatedly exposing people to the risk of feeling frustrated, unhappy and disappointed with life.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Cops: Bride Pulled Handgun On Her Groom

The Smoking Gun ^ | 8/1/17 

AUGUST 1--During a post-nuptial dispute, a Tennessee newlywed removed a 9mm pistol from beneath her wedding dress and pulled the trigger while pointing the weapon at her new husband, police charge.
Officers were summoned last week to a Murfreesboro motel where Kate Elizabeth Prichard, 25, and her spouse James Jarid Burton, 30, were squabbling only hours after exchanging vows.
When cops arrived at the Clarion Inn, Prichard--who was in her wedding dress--and Burton denied that anything was amiss. But interviews with witnessed contradicted the couple’s tale of marital bliss.
As described in a Murfreesboro Police Department report, Prichard and her spouse were engaged in an alcohol-fueled argument outside the motel. During the quarrel, cops allege, Prichard pulled out a handgun from her wedding dress and pointed the weapon at Burton’s head. Prichard pulled the trigger, but the gun did not discharge since it was unloaded.
Prichard then allegedly placed a round into the gun and fired a shot in the air, prompting those nearby to scatter.
Police recovered a spent shell outside the motel and found Prichard’s handgun in a motel bathroom (where she allegedly stashed the 9mm after the shooting).
Charged with aggravated domestic assault, Prichard was booked into the Rutherford County jail on the felony count. She was subsequently released from custody after posting $15,000 bond.
Prichard and Burton (who is known as “J-Rod”) are pictured above in happier times.
In advance of her marriage, Prichard last month got a pubic tattoo declaring “Property of J-Rod.” In a June 27 Facebook post, Prichard assured a friend that the tattoo did not hurt, adding, “Happiest I have been, finally get to be real.” In a photo caption accompanying a shot of Prichard's new ink, Burton noted, “Yes it's official. I love her crazy ass.”
Burton was arrested in 2015 for allegedly shooting a member of a rival motorcycle club in the foot during an argument inside a Clarksville clubhouse. Originally charged with aggravated assault, a felony, Burton subsequently pleaded guilty to a reduced count of reckless endangerment. (x pages)

Trump Administration Sets Up Inquiry Into Discrimination of White College Students

NY Times ^ | 8/1/2017 

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.
The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities.
The document does not explicitly identify whom the Justice Department considers at risk of discrimination because of affirmative action admissions policies. But the phrasing it uses, “intentional race-based discrimination,” cuts to the heart of programs designed to bring more minorities to university campuses. Supporters and critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

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