Supreme Court deals major blow to Keystone XL project ~ CNN



Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for several pipeline projects to proceed under a fast-track permitting process but excluded the controversial Keystone XL expansion from their ruling, forcing major delays.

Though the case is a partial win for the Trump administration, the exclusion of Keystone XL is a major defeat for a President who made good on a campaign promise to move forward with the project through executive order.
A federal judge in May sided with environmental groups, requiring that new oil and gas pipelines must undergo a lengthy permitting and regulation process in order to build across bodies of water.
That judge’s ruling canceled the so-called “Nationwide Permit 12” for several new pipelines, which authorized and fast-tracked work on pipelines that run across bodies of water. That ruling stated that the Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the projects’ environmental impact on endangered species. The ruling required the projects that received such a permit to stop construction while the environmental impact study was completed.
The Supreme Court on Monday invalidated that lower court ruling in part, allowing many projects to go ahead while the environmental reviews are done, but excluded the Keystone XL. The Keystone XL pipeline must still abide by the arduous environmental review process, the justices ruled.
If lengthy enough, that process could jeopardize the pipeline’s existence, pending the outcome of the 2020 election. Democrat Joe Biden has pledged to rescind the permit for Keystone if he wins.
The targeting of Keystone by the Supreme Court represents the third loss in a week for Trump-supported pipeline projects. In January 2017, President Donald Trump signed executive actions that advanced both Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines.
Earlier Monday, a district court ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down by August 5 during an in-depth environmental review of the controversial project. The rare shutdown of an operating pipeline marks a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmental groups that have fought fiercely for years against the oil pipeline. Opponents have argued the pipeline could contaminate drinking water and destroy burial and prayer sites of Native Americans.
And on Sunday, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline initially announced in 2014 that had been set to stretch hundreds of miles across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
The Keystone XL expansion project is no stranger to controversy. Facing pressure from environmental groups, President Barack Obama vetoed legislation that would have approved the project in February 2015 and rejected a presidential permit from the company attempting to build the project later that year. And in 2017, a total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the existing Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota.
Right now, the Keystone Pipeline system stretches more than 2,600 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, east into Manitoba, Canada, and then down to Texas, according to parent company TransCanada. That pipeline already functions and transports crude oil from Canada. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would stretch from Hardisty down to Steele City, Nebraska, would complete the entire proposed system by cutting through Montana and South Dakota.

Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules ~ NYT

The ruling, a victory for the Native American and environmentalist groups who oppose the pipeline, said that it must be emptied of oil by Aug. 5.

Credit…Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune, via Associated Press

The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5, a district court ruled on Monday.

The decision, which could be subject to appeal, is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American and environmental groups who have fought the project for years, and a significant defeat for President Trump, who has sought to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline alive.

“Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline,” Mike Faith, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a statement.

“This pipeline should have never been built here,” he added. “We told them that from the beginning.”

The ruling, by Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle. It essentially vacates a federal permit that had allowed the pipeline to operate while the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which had granted the permits for the pipeline, conducted an extensive environmental impact review.

Energy Transfer, the Texas company that owns the pipeline, said in a statement on Monday that it would file a motion to stay the decision, and if that failed, appeal to a higher court.

“We will be immediately pursuing all available legal and administrative processes and are confident that once the law and full record are fully considered, Dakota Access Pipeline will not be shut down and that oil will continue to flow,” it said.

In his opinion, Judge Boasberg wrote that the court was “mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause” but that it had to consider the “potential harm each day the pipeline operates.”

“This is shocking news,” said Ron Ness, the president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, adding that the pipeline has operated reliably for years, and that the ruling would hurt the state’s economy and encourage other, less safe means of oil transportation.

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Long-lasting, far-reaching heat wave to swallow much of Lower 48 ~ The Washington Post

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In some areas, that heat may not relent for weeks

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for temperature anomalies through July 19. (Pivotal Weather)

July 6 at 1:58 PM

An enormous swath of heat is about to swallow much of the Lower 48, bringing a long stretch of temperatures in the 90s, above the century mark in some areas.

In the coming week, over 80 percent of the Lower 48 will see temperatures top 90 degrees, and 40 million people could see temperatures above 100.

The worst of the heat is predicted to focus in the central and western United States, where it will also be most persistent.

The heat is originating from a sprawling ridge of high pressure, called a “heat dome,” deflecting storm systems north as much of the nation bakes. The event looks impressive both in coverage and duration, lasting in some areas up to a month.

The heat dome could also intensify thunderstorm activity over parts of the northern border states and the Upper Midwest, brewing thunderstorm complexes capable of producing strong wind gusts. They’re a staple of a pattern meteorologists refer to as a “ring of fire” — because most of the storms occur along the ring-like edge of the round heat dome.

The relentless, punishing heat may force more people indoors into air-conditioned environments where the novel coronavirus spreads more easily compared with outdoor settings, including in states such as Arizona and Nevada where cases have recently spiked.

Heat set to occupy much of the Lower 48

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is already hoisting headlines for a significant batch of heat, writing “widespread excessive heat is probable, with the highest chances in the central U.S. where hot temperatures will combine with increased humidity.”

The National Weather Service’s forecast for high temperatures on July 10. (Pivotal Weather)

Just about every corner of the Lower 48 will experience a fair share of the heat, which will become potent late this week into the weekend. Already, a tongue of 90-degree heat was snaking its way into Montana on Monday, with upper 90s to near 100 possible Tuesday in eastern Wyoming and western Kansas. By Wednesday, a high of 104 degrees is expected in Pueblo, Col., where highs topping 100 degrees are possible for the entire remainder of the week.

It’s not just the Plains dealing with a wicked summer sizzler. Heat will be ramping up late in the week over the Eastern United States, though temperatures should remain a touch more modest beneath an upper-level wave of low pressure in the Southeast. That will cap temperatures in the lower 90s for places such as Nashville, Birmingham and Atlanta late this week, but tropical humidity could make it feel closer to 100.

To the north, lower to mid-90s are possible across the Midwest, including in Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis. A few upper 90s are even forecast over parts of Michigan and Ohio on Friday, with the National Weather Service forecasting a 97 in Flint and 96 in Detroit.

In the Northeast, a brief backdoor cold front that brought cooler onshore flow for Independence Day is relenting, allowing the heat to reign once again. Washington, D.C., had already racked up 10 consecutive days with highs at or above 90 degrees on Sunday, with 90s likely every day this week. Friday hit a sweltering 97 degrees.

The capital’s longest 90-degree stretch last year persisted for 12 days; current indications suggest the ongoing streak could rival the 16-day span of 2011. If Washington eclipses 18 days, which appears possible, it would mark its longest observed heat wave since the 1980s.

Even New England will probably feel the heat by the weekend. Highs in the mid-90s are possible in northern Vermont, with one or two 90s likely all the way up into extreme northern Maine along the Canadian border. That’s an area that has already challenged or tied several all-time heat records this summer, becoming the East Coast’s warmest on June 19.

No end in sight

The European model anchors a dome of excessive heat over the Four Corners region, bringing widespread anomalous warmth to the Lower 48. (WeatherBell)

Looking at the pattern ahead, there isn’t an end in sight that can be reliably forecast at present. In the short term, two main concentrated regimes of more intense heat exist — one over the Southwest and another squeezing over the Great Lakes and Northeast. There are signs a thunderstorm-producing disturbance over the northern Plains could energize a pocket of slightly cooler and more unsettled weather over the East Coast this weekend, but any cooling would be brief. Thereafter, a single sprawling coast-to-coast “ridge” of heat could engulf most of the country by mid-July.

“The current outlook has [the heat] going through at least July 19,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center. “Two weeks? Easily. Our three- to four-week outlook does have a tilt towards above-normal temperatures. The end of July is our hottest time anyway.”

The scale of the high-pressure dome sparking the heat is something Rosencrans estimates occurs around once a year.

Brutal heat in the desert Southwest and California

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures above 115 degrees in parts of Arizona on July 13, with highs in the triple digits in California’s Central Valley. (WeatherBell)

Parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California, in particular, are in line to deal with the worst of the heat in the coming weeks, albeit without the humidity. That’s where models anchor the most unforgiving core of heat this weekend. Those cruel conditions will expand eastward early next week.

In addition to bringing temperatures in the 110s to Phoenix, the heat will help ward off moisture needed to jump-start the already-delayed Southwest Monsoon. The seasonal influx of thunderstorm activity is relied upon each July to bring an end to Arizona’s wildfire season.

Much of California’s Central Valley also looks to spend most days in the 90s to near 100.

The heat’s remarkable signature on weather maps

The American GFS model simulates anomalies in the height of the halfway point in the atmosphere’s mass, showing how much the air column is swelling in the Southwest. A tropical disturbance should reside well southwest of the Baja Peninsula. (WeatherBell)

When the air warms, it expands. That makes a column of air taller. The opposite takes place when the air cools. Meteorologists plot this effect on weather maps, charting the height that marks the halfway point of the atmosphere’s mass. This batch of heat is so severe that a rarely seen number has made an appearance on maps: 600.

That marks 600 dekameters, or 6,000 meters — 3.73 miles in height. Data indicates the lower half of the atmosphere’s mass is so warm that the column it occupies has risen a football field and a half in altitude to accommodate the swelling air.

“[Ordinarily] we might see 600 for a day, but you see a 600 [dekameter] contour in the week-long average [for this event],” Rosencrans said.

Where the heat may spark strong storms

Ray Skwire captured this incredible photo of a destructive windstorm entering northeast Philadelphia on June 3. (Ray Skwire)

The unrelenting heat isn’t the only problem. The combination of unusually hot temperatures and high humidity could fuel strong thunderstorms at times over the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest.

They’re called “ridge runners” because they surf along the northern periphery of cresting high pressure. It’s a position that allows the storms to feed off the high’s juicy heat while tapping into wind energy from the jet stream, shunted north by the high.

Late this week, the northern Plains could see a few storms, but the better chance of “ridge-running” windstorms — thunderstorm complexes also known as “mesoscale convective systems” — may materialize toward the middle of the month from Minnesota to the northern Ohio Valley, if current model trends hold.

A similar pattern brought a destructive “derecho” with 80- to 90-mph wind gusts to areas near and east of Philadelphia on June 3.

Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo! ~ PARADE

Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo! Here’s 14 of the Artist’s Most Inspirational Quotes on Life, Love and Laughter 



(Bettmann/Getty Images)


Happy birthday, Frida Kahlo! The painter, best known for her self portraits, was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico, the same city where she died shortly after her 47th birthday in 1954.

To celebrate the esteemed artist, we’ve rounded up a collection of quotes from Forever Frida: A Celebration of the Life, Art, Loves, Words, and Style of Frida Kahlo,out July 9, by Kathy Cano-Murillo, who founded a nine-member Latina art collective called The Phoenix Fridas.

Read on and for some of Kahlo’s best quotes on life, love and laughter.

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”

“I was born a bitch, I was born a painter.”

“I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”

“Perhaps it is expected that I should lament about how I have suffered living with a man like Diego. But I do not think that the banks of a river suffer because they let the river flow, nor does the earth suffer because of the rains, nor does the atom suffer for letting its energy escape. To my way of thinking, everything has its natural compensation.”

“I don’t want you to think like I do. I just want you to think.”

“It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”

“Can one invent verbs? I want to tell you one: I sky you, so my wings extend so large to love you without measure.”

“It is not worthwhile to leave this world without having had a little fun in life.”

“I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of ‘madness.’ Then: I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: ‘Poor thing, she’s crazy!’ (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s—my madness would not be an escape from ‘reality.’”

“I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have hope that you do, and I’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.”

“I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.”

“There is nothing more precious than laughter.”

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”

“My blood is a miracle that, from my veins, crosses the air in my heart into yours.”


Frida Kahlo Was a Painter, a Brand Builder, a Survivor. And So Much More. NYT

The artist and pop culture icon meticulously built her own image. A sweeping survey at the Brooklyn Museum examines how she did it, and why.

Credit…Clockwise from top left, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums; Javier Hinojosa, via V&A Publishing (dress and lipstick); Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20 Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation; Nickolas Muray Photo Archive; Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn Museum




Frida Kahlo’s exhaustively documented crossover from artist to pop culture icon isn’t happenstance. The painter meticulously crafted her own image on a par with Cleopatra. If she were alive today, she’d probably be teaching a branding class at Harvard. Now it’s America’s turn to see how, and, more important, why she did it.

Some of the contents of the home she shared with her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera — known as La Casa Azul (Blue House) in Mexico City — will be accessible for the first time in the United States in “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, from Feb. 8 to May 12. Their belongings were to be locked away until 15 years after Rivera’s death, according to his instructions, but the task of unsealing and inventorying them didn’t happen until much later, in 2004. This is the biggest stateside show devoted to Kahlo and a considerably expanded iteration of last year’s exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The sweeping survey adds greater insight into Kahlo’s collecting habits through works culled from the museum’s vault as well as the New York chapter of her timeline, and includes works lent by local institutions and galleries. The supplementary mix of Mesoamerican objects, one of the many types of art the couple favored, with her paintings and photographs divulge her yearning for Mexico’s indigenous and agrarian culture and her conflicts with capitalism, especially in the income inequality she witnessed during her travels in the United States.

Visitors will better understand Kahlo’s skill in searing her likeness into the public imagination, even if it meant dangling monkeys around her head and cultivating her most recognizable physical traits — a statement ’stache and unibrow. Neither her disabilities from polio and a bus accident, nor her frequent relapses of pain deterred Kahlo. By the time she died at the age of 47 in 1954, she left behind a public persona that is still being mined well into the 21st century; today she has more than 800,000

“People have an insatiable curiosity with her, and this presentation is a rare opportunity to see how she built her identity,” said Catherine Morris, a senior curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, who organized the Brooklyn Museum’s version of the show with Lisa Small, senior curator of European Art. Here, they share some of their insights.

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New Mexico: Images of the Land of Enchantment ~ The Atlantic


New Mexico is the fifth-largest state by area and is sparsely populated, with nearly half of the state’s 2.1 million residents living in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. Below are a few glimpses of the diverse geography and history of New Mexico and some of the wildlife and people calling it home.



Shiprock, the remnant of an ancient volcano, rises more than 1,500 feet above the surrounding land in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico’s San Juan County.

David Clapp / Getty


Reading Orwell for the Fourth of July ~ NYT




Opinion Columnist


This Fourth of July, it’s worth taking stock of the state of freedom — and of our attitudes toward it — at home and around the world.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin just won a “plebiscite” ratifying his right to stay in power until the year 2036. In Hong Kong, a new security law came into effect effectively putting an end to the right of peaceful protest. In Poland, a runoff election will decide if the country continues its slide toward illiberalism.

In the United States, these stories barely make a dent on public consciousness. Conservatives and liberals alike have ceased to care very much about the denial of freedom to others.

We also have our own problems with freedom.

For once, the main problem isn’t Donald Trump. The president may be an instinctual fascist, a wannabe autocrat. But, after nearly four years in power, he’s been unmasked as an incompetent one.

Trump may have privately praised Xi Jinping for building concentration camps for Uighurs. Congress still passed legislation to impose sanctions on China for them. He may want to bring Russia back to the G7. The other six won’t let him. He may have sought to abolish DACA for the Dreamers. John Roberts decided otherwise. He may call the press an “enemy of the American people.” That enemy still operates without restraint when it comes to slamming him.

To adapt the Lloyd Bentsen line, Donald John Trump, you’re no Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The more serious problem today comes from the left: from liberal elites who, when tested, lack the courage of their liberal convictions; from so-called progressives whose core convictions were never liberal to begin with; from administrative types at nonprofits and corporations who, with only vague convictions of their own, don’t want to be on the wrong side of a P.R. headache.

This has been the great cultural story of the last few years. It is typified by incidents such as The New Yorker’s David Remnick thinking it would be a good idea to interview Steve Bannon for the magazine’s annual festival — until a Twitter mob and some members of his own staff decided otherwise. Or by The Washington Post devoting 3,000 words to destroying the life of a private person of no particular note because in 2018 she wore blackface, with ironic intent, at a Halloween party. Or by big corporations pulling ads from Facebook while demanding the company do more to censor forms of speech they deem impermissible.

These stories matter because an idea is at risk. That’s the idea that people who cannot speak freely will not be able to think clearly, and that no society can long flourish when contrarians are treated as heretics.

That idea, old as Socrates, formerly had powerful institutional defenders, especially in the form of universities, news media, book publishers, free-speech groups and major philanthropies.

But those defenders are, on account of one excuse or another, capitulating to people who claim free speech for themselves (but not for others), who believe all the old patriarchal hierarchies must go (so that new “intersectional” hierarchies may arise), who are in a perpetual fervor to rewrite the past (all the better to control the future), and who demand cringing public apologies from those who have sinned against an ever-more radical ideological standard (while those apologies won’t save them from being fired).

As in so much else, George Orwell was here before us. In connection to the recent vandalism of monuments and destruction of statues, a line from “1984” has been making the rounds — “every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered.” But the Orwell essay to which I keep returning is a little jewel from 1946, “The Prevention of Literature.”

Orwell’s concern then was not just with Russian totalitarianism, but with the arguments used by much of the Western intelligentsia to justify repression.

“What is sinister,” he wrote, “is that the conscious enemies of liberty are those to whom liberty ought to mean most.” He was particularly calling out Western scientists who admired the Soviet Union for its technical prowess and were utterly indifferent to Stalin’s persecution of writers and artists. “They do not see that any attack on intellectual liberty, and on the concept of objective truth, threatens in the long run every department of thought.”

Every department of thought. Right now, all the Twitter furors, the angry rows over publication decisions, the canceled speeches and books, the semantic battles about which words take an uppercase and which don’t, may seem remote to those who care about more tangible issues: depression, disease, police abuse, urban decline. Yet the issue that counts the most is whether the institutions that are supposed to champion liberal ideals will muster the moral confidence to survive. On this July 4, it’s very much in doubt