Stormy weather

Keeps rainin' all the time

PRESENTED BY MOUNT JERRY

Ugh, here we go: The top story of the day is that one of the stars of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has been indicted, apparently for hush-money payments during the 2016 election to one-time sex partner Stephanie Clifford1 (and possibly Karen McDougal).

As Clifford said on America’s top news outlet in 2018, “I know you don’t believe in climate change, but a storm's a-coming, baby.

Sing it, Etta:

If you scroll down through news websites enough,2 you might also find a headline today somewhere like: “Nearly 90 million under severe storm threat with potentially violent tornadoes possible” or “Dangerous Storms and Tornadoes Are Expected in Midwest and South.” From the Storm Prediction Center:

“A severe weather outbreak appears increasingly likely this afternoon and evening, across a large portion of the Mississippi Valley and into the lower Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. At least a few long-track, strong to potentially violent tornadoes are probable, particularly over portions of the Mid-Mississippi Valley to the Mid-South. Swaths of intense damaging wind gusts along with very large hail are expected as well.”

Scientists are now increasingly able to confirm the obvious, that global warming pollution is fueling these severe storms. Oh, and some other scientists also have some report about Antarctic abyssal overturning circulation collapsing as the ice sheets melt, “with implications for global ocean biogeochemistry and climate that could last for centuries,” blah blah blah.

Stormy weather

Let’s go to Lena for her reaction:

TEAM BIDEN TODAY: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are visiting the tornado-ravaged, majority-Black town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, today, with Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.), Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

This morning, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, filed suit against Norfolk Southern “for the unlawful discharge of pollutants, oil, and hazardous substances” during the toxic East Palestine derailment. The suit seeks to hold the company “accountable for unlawfully polluting the nation’s waterways and to ensure it pays the full cost of the environmental cleanup.” And as Tom Perkins noticed, the EPA Inspector General has announced an investigation into the quality of the EPA response to the disaster. And yesterday, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) introduced his first piece of legislation, the Railway Accountability Act.

The Inflation Reduction Act represents Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) version of the Green New Deal—not too green, not a lot new, not much of a deal. Biden’s original take on the Green New Deal, his Build Back Better agenda, was a modest, pro-business interpretation of decarbonizing the American economy in the direction of climate justice. But it was pointing in the right direction.

However, Manchin doesn’t actually want to decarbonize the American economy. The IRA mandated oil and gas lease sales like the Gulf of Mexico sale held this week, and IRA’s tax credits for electric vehicles are hobbled with language designed to prevent them from applying to cars on the market.

Today, after much speculation about whether the Biden administration would try to ignore Manchin’s intent, the Internal Revenue Service finally released its guidance on the EV tax credits. The rules will go into place on Tax Day, April 18th; the very brief summary is that very few cars will now qualify for the full $7500 credit (for income-qualified buyers), but some will still get a $3750 credit. Over the coming years, sourcing restrictions will tighten, pushing more domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles, more domestic mining of minerals like lithium, nickel, aluminum, and copper, and more free-trade agreements for those minerals.

BUT I REPEAT MYSELF:A train carrying ethanol derailed and several cars erupted in flames early Thursday in Raymond, Minnesota, triggering an evacuation of people living near the crash site, officials said.” This time, it’s one of Warren Buffett’s BNSF trains that went kablooey.

Can you guess the one Democrat among the top ten House members getting the most money from the oil and gas industry? Here’s a hint: he’s the anti-abortion politician who then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) went to bat for in a tight primary race right after the Dobbs decision was handed down. Another hint: he was the only Democrat in a safe Democratic district to vote for the GOP fossil-fuel giveaway package on Wednesday. Yeah, yeah, it’s our pal Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has received $1.3 million in oil-and-gas contributions over his career up to 2022, as Public Citizen’s Alan Zibel notes. Though Cuellar comes comparatively cheap—in less time, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hoovered up over $2.8 million, and Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), whose brother owns an oil company, pulled in $1.1 million in only two election cycles. Fossil-fuel donations to the GOP absolutely skyrocketed in the 2022 cycle.

Finally, in a reprise worth celebrating, here’s the First Lady of Song:

Let’s close the week with some other climate wrangling, for better or worse:

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1 Professionally known as Stormy Daniels.

2 No space on MSNBC.com though.

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