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What Now?! – 2/18/2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) blamed solar and wind power for the blackouts in his state in a Fox News appearance and said “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”

Washington Post: The governor’s arguments were contradicted by his own energy department, which outlined how most of Texas’s energy losses came from failures to winterize the power-generating systems, including fossil fuel pipelines.”

“Although renewable energy sources did partially fail, they only contributed to 13 percent of the power outages, while providing about a quarter of the state’s energy in winter. Thermal sources, including coal, gas and nuclear, lost almost twice as many gigawatts of power because of the cold… Critics have also noted that wind turbines can operate in climates as cold as Greenland if they’re properly prepared for the weather.”

Kansas City Star: Why did electric grids buckle under intense cold? Here’s what’s to blame — and not.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) suggested that going days without power is a sacrifice Texans should be willing to make if it means keeping federal regulators out of the state’s power grid, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Said Perry: “Those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals.”  He added: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

Colorado City, TX mayor Tim Boyd (R) said that “he had already resigned after he was widely condemned for writing on Facebook that people suffering in the cold without power shouldn’t look to their local governments for help,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

Boyd wrote in his typo-ridden post that “no one owes you are your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!”

Boyd continued, saying that he was “sick and tired” of people looking for handouts and that the current situation is “sadly a product of a socialist government.”

He concluded: “Only the strong will survive and the weak will perish.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) “blamed Republican leaders in Texas for what he says was a government failure to prepare for widespread power outages resulting from a massive winter storm that swept across the state this week,” The Hill reports.

Said O’Rourke: “So much of this was avoidable. Going back to the deregulation of our electric grid here in Texas, which has actually created an incentive to not weatherize or protect against these events.”

He added: “The energy capital of North America cannot provide enough energy to warm and power people’s homes. We are nearing a failed state in Texas. And it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters. It has everything to do with those in positions of public trust who have failed us.”

President Biden balked at forgiving $50,000 in student loan debt, “saying he doesn’t have the power to do so unilaterally,” The Hill reports.

Said Biden: “I do think in this moment of economic pain and strain that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, No. 1. And No. 2, I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not $50,000.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) warned her Twitter followers that the “case against student loan forgiveness is looking shakier by the day.”

Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer, Fox News reports.

Good.

The word is a better place now that he is gone, though we will be fighting the damage he did for many decades to come. May he burn in Hell forever.

Jonathan Chait: “His allies have praised his talents as a radio host, and he certainly possessed undeniable talent as a vocal entertainer. Yet his show was curiously devoid of any skill at argument. I am a big believer in listening to opposing arguments and attempting to understand them. I regularly read organs like National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and many others to understand how counterparts on the right see the world (and I do the same for those to my left).”

“Limbaugh’s program was useless in this regard. He could blather for hours without going from a premise to a conclusion. His only tools for processing opposing points of view were assertion, mockery, and resentment. Limbaugh liked to call himself smart, but he was a lifelong stranger to reason. He hid this weakness with a remarkable ability to gab smoothly and seamlessly.”

Rudy Giuliani is “not currently representing President Trump in any legal matters,” senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told CNN.  “Trump had signaled frustration with Giuliani last month after he became the first president in US history to be impeached twice. He told his staff to stop paying Giuliani’s legal fees.”

“Last fall, the Pentagon’s most senior leaders agreed that two top generals should be promoted to elite, four-star commands,” the New York Times reports.

“For then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the tricky part was that both of the accomplished officers were women…”

“So the Pentagon officials agreed on an unusual strategy: They held back their recommendations until after the November elections, betting that if Joe Biden won, he and his aides would be more supportive of the Pentagon picks than Mr. Trump, who had feuded with Mr. Esper and has a history of disparaging women.”

New York Times: “Admitting a degree of fault for the first time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about the scope of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake. … By failing to answer questions from state lawmakers, the public and the news media, Mr. Cuomo acknowledged, the state created a void that was ‘filled with skepticism, and cynicism, and conspiracy theories which furthered the confusion.’

“But he stopped short of a full apology for his handling of information about the death toll in the state’s nursing homes, an issue that has engulfed his administration in recent weeks.”

A new Siena poll finds Cuomo still gets strong approval on handling the pandemic, 61% to 34%. But his poll numbers might not stay that high if he continues if this shit: New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), one of the few Democratic lawmakers willing to criticize Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for his handling of the state’s nursing homes during the pandemic, said the governor threatened to “destroy” him unless he took back his criticism, the New York Times reports.

Said Kim: “He goes off about how I hadn’t seen his wrath and anger, that he would destroy me and he would go out tomorrow and start telling how bad of a person I am and I would be finished and how he had bit his tongue about me for months. This was all yelling. It wasn’t a pleasant tone.”

“Mr. Cuomo made good on his threat on Wednesday afternoon. In a remarkable retort, the governor used his press briefing to lob allegations of impropriety at the assemblyman.”

Jamelle Bouie: “If there’s a conflict, it’s less a war and more a small skirmish with an outmatched and outnumbered opponent. Seventy-five percent of Republicans want Trump to continue to ‘play a prominent role in the Republican Party,’ according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, and 87 percent say he should be allowed to “hold elected office in the future.” A recent survey from Morning Consult likewise shows Trump far ahead of his rivals in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, with 54 percent support versus 12 percent for the runner-up, Mike Pence.”

“The Republican Party belongs to Trump for as long as he wants it. Its most prominent politicians will follow his lead and attempt to build on his example. His children and in-laws will have a place as heirs to his legacy. If Trump decides to seek the White House for a second term, the nomination is almost certainly his to lose.”

“Ex-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns are among the leading candidates for U.S. ambassador to China,” Bloomberg reports. “The Biden administration is looking for someone with deep political ties or diplomatic experience for the crucial posting.”

Burns is the better choice, obviously. A career diplomat rather than a Third Way Hack and failed Mayor. But if Rahm must serve, better to ship him off to exile in China.

Washington Post: “It is a sweepstakes that comes along every four or eight years — intense jockeying in public and private as the well-heeled and well-connected seek coveted positions that come with lavish housing, a staff of chefs and an expectation that the U.S. envoy will put the digs to use for parties.”

“With its mix of famous figures and exotic locales, the competition always attracts interest. But it is under more scrutiny than usual this year as Biden stresses his desire to repair international relationships that frayed under Trump, with ambassadors likely to play a key role in that effort.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “has privately informed President Joe Biden that he won’t join any Democratic efforts to force through provisions in his economic rescue package if they are ruled in violation of strict Senate budget restrictions, the latest warning sign for Biden’s push for a hike to the federal minimum wage,” CNN reports.

“Manchin’s declaration is significant because it means that Democrats won’t be able to maneuver around an adverse ruling from the Senate’s parliamentarian without risking their chances of passing Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion rescue package in a Senate split 50-50 between the two parties.”

Trump ally and pillow magnate Mike Lindell “is the next target of a Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit over his wild claims about nonexistent election-fraud conspiracy, with the lead attorney representing Dominion telling the Daily Beast he expects to file the suit “imminently.”

USA Today: “Biden repeatedly promised during his presidential campaign to name a Black woman to the nation’s highest court for the first time in history if a seat opens on his watch. But that commitment has drawn attention to a lack of Black women on U.S. appeals courts – the pool from which Supreme Court justices usually are drawn.”

“Four Black women serve as appeals court judges out of 179 judgeships – all of them older than 65… There are 35 Black female federal district court judges, according to the center’s data, just more than 5% of the total number of judges.”

Mike Donilon, senior adviser to President Biden, argues in a memo to White House senior staff that GOP opposition to the Covid-19 rescue package would shrink the party’s already declining national support, Axios reports.

Writes Donilon: “There seems to be a growing conventional wisdom that it is either politically smart — or, at worst, cost-free — for the GOP to adopt an obstructionist, partisan, base-politics posture. However, there is lots of evidence that the opposite is true: This approach has been quite damaging to them.”

One data point: A new Economist/YouGov poll finds a decline in voters calling themselves Republicans since November (from 42% to 37%).

“President Biden [met] in the White House Wednesday with senior labor union leaders, who are hoping to win commitments for a massive federal investment in infrastructure as well as efforts to create jobs in clean-tech and alternative energy,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“White House officials have been holding regular meetings with lawmakers and outside groups as the president prepares to unveil an economic recovery package that will focus on improving U.S. infrastructure and creating jobs.”

“The Taliban have been encroaching on key cities around Afghanistan for months, threatening to drive the country to its breaking point and push the Biden administration into a no-win situation just as the United States’ longest war is supposed to be coming to an end,” the New York Times reports.

New York Times: “The Pentagon, uncertain what the new commander in chief will do, is preparing variations on a plan to stay, a plan to leave and a plan to withdraw very, very slowly — a reflection of the debate now swirling in the White House. The current deadline is May 1, in keeping with a much-violated peace agreement that calls for the complete withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 American forces.”

“The deadline is a critical decision point for Mr. Biden, and it will come months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that prompted the American-led invasion of Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda.”

CNN: “Biden’s bill will also likely join a series of other immigration measures that are narrowly focused on undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, are in the US under a form of humanitarian relief, and are working in agriculture — setting up a dizzying number of attempts to provide legalization to the undocumented population…”

“Biden’s bill, titled U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the US, boosts border technology, and targets the root causes of migration, according to a White House fact sheet.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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