April 2, 2017

Sunday School 4/2/17

We're going to spend some time in the Fox News Sunday classroom, as we did not have time to get to them last week.

Right off the bat, I was intrigued by the opening segment, reported by Kevin Corke from Washington, speaking to host Chris Wallace. I mean, who would have thunk that someone at Fox News other than Shepard Smith, would say this?
Chris, as usually is the case in Washington scandals, it's the cover-up and not the crime that usually ensnares. And there are legitimate questions about that with respect to the ongoing controversy over what House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes knows about possible surveillance of Trump aides and how he came about getting that information, Nunes you may recall claiming to have such compelling information he needed to rush to the White House and tell the president himself. But he did that without sharing what he found with fellow members of the Intelligence Committee, which is highly unusual. 
This as FOX News has confirmed that Nunes received key information from a pair of White House aides, calling into question no only his relationship with the administration, but his ability to be impartial.
Scandals? Cover up? Crime? Controversy? Claiming to have compelling information? Highly unusual? Calling into question the Republican's ability to be impartial?  Holy Horrors, Batman!

Also on the show today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who talked about why we don't need an independent investigator on Russia.
We've got a bipartisan investigation underway now. It's called the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Burr and Senator Warner had a joint press conference this week. I think they clearly laid out that they're going wherever the facts take them. We don't need another investigation We know the FBI is looking at it from their perspective. It's being handled appropriately and it will be handled well. 
He also promised we would see Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed this week -- one way or another.  Wallace questioned whether McConnell would use the nuclear option if he can't stop a filibuster.
Look, what I'm telling you is that Judge Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. The way in which that occurs is in the hands of the Democratic minority. And I think during the course of the week, we'll find out exactly how this will end.
He reminded us that even with the "most controversial Supreme Court nomination in history" (Clarence Thomas), "not a single senator, not one, not Ted Kennedy, not Joe Biden, no one said you had to get 60 votes." With that, McConnell threw the ball firmly in Chuck Schumer's court, pardon the pun.

The big deal of the show was EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who as we know is head of an agency with a suggested 31% cut in funding, who visited to talk about that environment thing. Wallace outlined some data presented during (or by) the Obama administration as the Clean Power Plan was being developed:
  • there would be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks per year and
  • 300,000 fewer missed work and school days and
  • 3,600 fewer premature deaths a year
  • half of all Americans - 166,000,000 people - now live in counties with unhealthy air
  • carbon pollution from the power sector would be reduced by 2005, would be 1/3 lower than in 2005
In a nutshell, here's Pruitt's response:
  • The president is keeping his promise to reduce overreach
  • pro-jobs and pro-growth and pro-environment are not mutually exclusive
  • the EPA and the federal government should not pick winners and losers
  • fuel diversity is important
  • we have shown leadership
  • pro-jobs and pro-growth and overreach and tools in the toolbox
Wallace also challenged Pruitt on his comment about the interview during which he was asked whether he believed "that it's been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate." Pruitt's answer, in case you've forgotten:
No, I would not agree that it's the primary contributor to the global warming that we're seeing.
When pressed on this, Pruitt said
No, look, Chris - I said... in my confirmation process, to individual senators as well, that there's a warming trend, the climate is changing. And human activity contributes to the change in some measure.  The real issue is how much we contribute to it and measuring that with precision. But then also, what is the process as far as the response, what can we do about it, the tools in the toolbox to address the CO2 issue?
One last question from Wallace:
Under the president's new budget, the EPA is cut 31 percent, that is more than any other agency And I want to put up some of the cuts that are included in the president's budget. Here are some of the 56 programs that would be scrapped: Great Lakes restoration, water runoff control for farmers, pesticide safety. What does that say about the commitment of this administration and you to cleaning up the environment when you're making a 31 percent cut of in your agency and cutting things like that, water runoff for farmers?
Well, said Pruitt.
Well, part of -- part of the issue, Chris, is that over the last several years, there has been a lack of commitment to state partnership. You know, we have state Departments of Environmental Quality across the country have the resources and the expertise to deal with clean water and clean air issues and so, renewing that partnership -- 
I've met with several governors, in fact within the first week of being on the job, I met with 20-plus governors. And those governors across the country are committed to pro-jobs and pro-environment. They have to serve their people in those states as well.
And I will tell you this, Chris, this attitude in Washington, DC, that people in Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas and Colorado and the rest of the country don't care about the water they drink or the air they breathe and are not going to take care of the water locally and (in their) states, I just don't believe that. That narrative is something we reject and we look forward to partnering with states across the country to achieve good outcomes.  
So there you have it. Seems in the eyes of the EPA administrator, each state can handle things individually. Just like students in our Sunday School classrooms have to handle their work individually. Well, maybe not the same; the latter seems more logical than the former, doesn't it?

See you around campus.