One of the first actions the Trump administration took when it entered office was to crack down on the Environmental Protection Agency, starting with its social-media feeds and website.
In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator regularly huddled with fossil fuel firms and electric utilities about how to combat federal environmental regulations and spoke to conservative political groups about what they called government “overreach,” according to thousands of pages of emails released Wednesday.
Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 52-46 to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday afternoon, after a marathon all-night session in which Democrats held the floor for hours to oppose his nomination.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a Ten Commandments monument placed on State Capitol grounds must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion. The 6-foot-tall (1.8-meter) stone monument, paid for with private money and supported by lawmakers in the socially conservative state, was installed in 2012, prompting complaints that it violated the U.S. Constitution's provisions against government establishment of religion, as well as local laws.
Tensions on the Supreme Court over America's use of the death penalty boiled over on Wednesday as the justices appeared badly split in a case challenging Oklahoma's lethal injection method as a breach of the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The nine-member court's five conservatives seemed likely to side with Oklahoma in the case brought by three death row inmates, while its four liberals expressed doubt about the propriety of using the drug at the center of the dispute.
The recent news on the front page of the New York Times was stark. As thousands of diplomats were gathering in Lima, Peru, to work on an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, scientists and climate-policy experts were warning "that it now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet’s atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a large body of scientific research, that is the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding—events that could harm the world's population and economy."
Today is the midterm election for the United States, where many seats in the House and Senate will be determined. It seems pretty obvious that the House will remain in control of the Republicans. It seems likely the GOP will get a slight majority in the Senate today as well. What does this mean? Well, in the short term and for many issues, not a lot. This previous Congress will go down in history as the least effective ever, since all it really did is block White House initiatives. They couldn’t even approve a surgeon general nomination! A GOP majority in the Senate will probably mean more of the same, since they’ll lack the supermajority needed to prevent Democratic filibustering of big items.
A new poll shows a Democrat within striking distance of Oklahoma’s incumbent governor. Will the die-hard red state turn Sooner blue? The Great Republican Wave is supposed to crest in the first weekend of November, knocking down senators, members of Congress, state lawmakers and governors from Florida to Alaska. But some Democrats are hoping they have at last found a firewall in the unlikeliest of places: Oklahoma, a state that by reputation is as welcoming to Democrats as Saudi Arabia. A poll out on Monday by Democratic polling firm Clarity Campaign Labs shows Democratic state lawmaker Joe Dorman trailing by just 2 percentage points to Republican incumbent Mary Fallin, with voters disapproving of the job Fallin is doing by a 46-42 margin.
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