The Keystone XL Pipeline: Three Stories to Help You Understand the Debate

November 14, 2014 The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has become the single most important environmental issue in the U.S.—even though its environmental impact may not even be that great. The pipeline would move some 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the Canadian oil sands in Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska and then down to the Gulf of Mexico. Keystone would make it easier for Canadian producers to sell their landlocked crude to the rest of the world—which is exactly what environmentalists fear. Oil sands crude is dirtier and … Continue reading

Keystone XL Pipeline Facts: Pros and Cons

November 14, 2014 The Keystone XL Pipeline is a project to extend the existing Keystone pipeline, which carries heavy crude oil from the oil sands of Canada to U.S. refineries. It was approved by the Republican-controlled House on November 14, and will now proceed to the Senate. The current pipeline reaches to Cushing, Okla., Wood River and Patoka, Ill., and Texas’ Gulf Coast. The proposed Phase IV, Keystone XL, would begin in Alberta and extend to Steele City, Neb., essentially replacing phase I of the existing pipeline with a … Continue reading

Shades of complexity dominate the debate over ‘net neutrality’

(Net Neutrality definition and Q & A) Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post, November 29, 2014 “…At one level, net neutrality is a solution to a problem that, for the moment, doesn’t exist. While Americans pay higher rates for slower service than Internet users in other countries, a combination of public opinion, regulatory pressure and antitrust consent decrees has restrained Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, prioritizing or otherwise discriminating against other people’s content — the evils net neutrality aims to solve…what the net neutrality debate is really about is deciding … Continue reading

Net neutrality essential to our democracy

In May, HBO comedian John Oliver opened his segment on net neutrality by saying, “The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.” He then delivered an incisive 13-minute monologue that was anything but boring, drawing more than 7 million views on YouTube. Indeed, as Oliver demonstrated so effectively, while net neutrality may seem like a dull subject, protecting it is essential to not only the future of the Internet, but also the future of our democracy. … Continue reading

Immigration: Top 10 pros and cons

What Are the Solutions to Illegal Immigration in America? 1. Using the Term “Illegal Alien” 2. Amnesty 3. Deportation 4. Mexican Border Fence 5. Civilian Border Patrols 6. Terrorist Threat 7. Economic Burden 8. Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants in the United States Illegally 9. Using State and Local Law Enforcement vs. National Only 10. Border Militarization Weighing Economic Pros and Cons of Legalizing Undocumented Workers (June 5, 2013, PBS) … Continue reading

Transcript: Obama’s immigration speech

…Tonight I’m announcing those actions. OBAMA: First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over.  Second, I’ll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders proposed. Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already had live in our country. I … Continue reading

IG: Billions lost to potential child tax credit fraud

Potential abuse of a popular tax-credit program is costing the government billions of dollars, the IRS inspector general said in findings that may ramp up the debate over undocumented workers getting government benefits. The IRS paid out at least $5.9 billion in improper payments of the additional child tax credit in fiscal year 2013…The IG previously reported that unauthorized workers were a major source of the improper payments…It also noted that its budget has been cut by $850 million since 2010, with 13,000 fewer staff…The $1,000-per-child tax credit is among the … Continue reading

(CBS 60 Minutes) Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure

Steve Kroft reports on why our roads, bridges, airports and rail are outdated and need to be fixed “There are a lot of people in the United States right now who think the country is falling apart, and at least in one respect they’re correct. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our airports are out of date and the vast majority of our seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete. All the result of decades of neglect. None of this is really in dispute…” (more) … Continue reading

Federal gas tax increase of 15 cents is coming…or is it?

Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Republican Congressman Tom Petri will stand together on the one year anniversary of Blumenauer’s introduction of the UPDATE Act (HR 3636), which would increase the gas tax by fifteen cents over 3 years and tie it to inflation. The current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon has not been increased since 1993. Receipts from the tax have been outpaced by transportation expenses by about $16 billion annually in recent years as construction costs have risen and cars have become more fuel efficient. The current level of federal … Continue reading