Over on the homepage, Jason Mark has an article on how the transportation bill reauthorization could finally be an opportunity for progressives in Congress to begin tackling climate change. "Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s oil use and about 25 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions," Jason writes. Shifting funds in the transportation bill away from highway construction and redirecting it toward mass transit might not immediately solve the country's emissions problem, but it would at least give consumers greater options to lower their carbon footprint.
When Jon Huntsman announced last month that he would not be actively campaigning for votes in the Iowa Caucuses, he said, "I'm not competing in Iowa for a reason. I don't believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol." It was assumed that Huntsman -- former supporter of the stimulus, climate-change solutions, and civil unions for same-sex couples -- was ducking out of Iowa to avoid confrontation with the state party's active social conservative base. By rejecting ethanol subsidies, he might indeed be offending Iowans of all stripes.
President Obama stopped by the White House briefing room late Tuesday afternoon to make a speech that announced, well, essentially nothing. The only straight news from Obama's speech was scant information on an invitation extended to Congressional leaders for a meeting at the White House on Thursday. After he interjected himself in the debate during a press conference last week, it isn't surprising that Obama will assume a prominent role in pinning down a deal, so the announcement of the meeting isn't too noteworthy.
Earlier this morning Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann launched her presidential campaign for real with a speech in Waterloo, Iowa. What made this declaration different from Bachmann's pseudo announcement at the Republican debate two weeks ago? This time she turned her full attention to wooing Iowa Caucuses goers.