Midday open thread: EPA workforce reduced to Reagan level; oil prices rise, briefly, above $70

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is The Trump anthem

• What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

Republicans’ lessons for Democrats: Next president must ‘look backwards’ at GOP crimes, by Jon Perr Oprah, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and how to adjust to change, by David Akadjian Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, Oprah is just another distraction, by Egberto Willies DNC, RBC, take up 2020 presidential nomination rules: It must reject voter suppression by caucuses, by Armando The most vulnerable House members of 2018, in two charts, by David Jarman Water is life. Puerto Rico, potable water and El Yunque, by Denise Oliver Velez Republicans are why we can’t have anything nice. Not even Oprah, by Susan Grigsby Trump’s ‘fake news’ awards put him in dictator territory, by Sher Watts Spooner No, Oprah should not run for president, by Mark E Andersen  Putting it all on the line: Black women’s activism and the death of Erica Garner, by Kelly Macias Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh make clear to Trump who’s the right-wing boss on immigration, by Ian Reifowitz

Mars has ample amounts of water in the form of ice:

Sizable deposits of water ice lurk just beneath the surface in some regions of Mars, a new study reports.

The newfound sheets appear to contain distinct layers, suggesting that studying them could shed considerable light on the Red Planet’s climate history, researchers said. And the ice is buried by just a few feet of Martian dirt in places, meaning it might be accessible to future crewed missions. […]

Researchers already knew that Mars harbors subsurface water ice, and lots of it. For example, MRO’s ground-penetrating Shallow Radar instrument recently found a buried ice layer that covers more ground than the state of New Mexico.




Trump signing the Martin Luther King Day proclamation would be like if Harvey Weinstein showed up to the Golden Globes wearing black.

— Frederick Douglass (@gettinnoticedmo) January 12, 2018

Nepalese woman dies after being exiled to outdoor shed during her period.

Will higher oil prices give Trump regime a boost?

Brent crude oil prices rose above $ 70-per-barrel for the first time in a little over three years in trading yesterday before falling back slightly, while WTI, the U.S. crude benchmark, also rose to its highest levels since late 2014. […]

Yes, prices remain modest compared to the first half of the decade, which saw prices above $ 100 in several years. But if prices keep climbing (a big if, to be sure), it could provide a political lift for the White House as it pushes for expanded industry drilling access.

More broadly, higher prices will come as a relief to petro-states including Saudi Arabia (especially as it plans the massive IPO of state oil giant Aramco) and Russia that rely heavily on crude revenues for federal spending.

• Alaska blows past record with end-of-year heat wave:

In its hottest December ever recorded, Alaska was a stunning 15.7°F above the 20th century average. And the year ended with Arctic sea ice hitting an all-time record low.

While the East Coast had a cool December and New Year’s week, Alaska baked. Last Tuesday, Anchorage hit 48°F, warmer than southern cities from Atlanta and Jacksonville to Houston and New Orleans. […]

Climate models have always predicted that human-caused warming would occur at least twice as fast in the Arctic, compared to the planet as a whole, thanks to Arctic Amplification — a process that includes higher temperatures melting highly reflective white ice and snow, which is replaced by the dark blue sea or dark land, both of which absorb more solar energy and lead to more melting.

Unfortunately for the rest of the globe, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.

EPA workforce shrinks to size it last was under Ronald Reagan:

The EPA says its current level of 14,162 people was last seen during the final year of President Ronald Reagan’s second term, which ended in January 1989.

More than 18,000 people worked for EPA in 1999, said John O’Grady, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, which represents many EPA employees.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: A $ #*+load of Dotard J. Trump’s racism. Trump chickens out on London, blames Obama. Why would a Dem serve on the “voter fraud” commission? Let Maine’s Matt Dunlap explain. Fun Facts Corner! What is the deal with these “anti-terror” tourists?

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