Midday open thread: Drillers win lease bids on land near Bears Ears; Sarkozy questioned for 2nd day
Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Trump's attacks on Mueller, explained:
• Oil and gas drillers snap up 51,000 acres in leases in southeastern Utah in federal auction: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease sale included land near the former boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument. The Trump regime reduced the size of Bears Ears, as designated by President Barack Obama in late 2016, as well as the Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients monuments. The reduction is being litigated, and many legal experts say the courts will almost certainly rule against Trump in the matter. All 43 parcels up for leasing at the auction averaged $28.68 per acre, ranging between $2 and $93 per acre. Total proceeds from the auction were $1.56 million, according to the BLM. Lawsits can be expected:
“We won’t sit idly by while President Trump and Interior Secretary (Ryan) Zinke auction off America’s cultural and public lands heritage to the oil and gas industry,” said Stephen Bloch, legal director with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. The alliance argued that the BLM did not adequately study potential impacts on wilderness and cultural sites
• Wreck of USS Juneau, sunk in 1942, discovered: Five American brothers—the Sullivans—died as a consequence of the Naval Battle of Guadacanal, a crucial Japanese loss. While sailing away after the battle to get repairs, the Juneau was struck by a Japanese torpedo and sank in 20 seconds. Two of the Sullivans died in the sinking, another died when he slipped into the water from a life raft and did not return, and two others died in the days afterward awaiting rescue. The brothers had signed up for Navy duty in January 1942 on the condition they all serve on the same ship, which the Navy reluctantly agreed to. All but 10 of the Juneau’s 687 men were lost, the remainder being picked up eight days after the Juneau sank. On March 17, Micosoft co-founder Paul Allen's research crew onboard the RV Petrel discovered the Juneau in 13,800 feet of water. Using advanced technology and submersible drones, Allen’s team has, over the past few years, discovered several World War II wrecks, including the USS Indianapolis and the USS Ward.
• Smithsonian Institution moves portrait of Michelle Obama because of “high volume of visitors”: The portrait, by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, was unveiled last month, along with one of former President Obama by artist Kehinde Wiley.
• Two leaders of pan-Indian organizations challenge proposed changes in federal policy: The two—Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, and Ernie Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association—wrote an op-ed on the subject:
The Department of the Interior has embarked upon changes to Federal Indian policy that could negatively impact our tribal nations for generations to come.
Interior’s draft regulations on Tribal Land recovery would increase considerably the barriers standing in the way of tribal sovereignty, and give an increased role to state and local governments in deciding whether tribes are eligible to claim and restore lands that have been stolen from us.
We strongly urge tribal leaders to attend consultation sessions in your area to demonstrate Indian country’s unified resolve to oppose these regulations and equitably restore the land base of every tribal nation.
xIÃ¢ÂÂm so proud of my @NRA rating, IÃ¢ÂÂll wear it on my chest. I invite my colleagues to join me in wearing our F ratings every day until the GOP finally stands up to the gun lobby and helps us pass common sense gun safety legislation. Find me to get a pin. #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/sOECS54QOK— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) March 19, 2018
• Police detain former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for second day of questioning over campaign funding. The police are probing allegations Sarkozy, who served as France’s president from 2007-2012, received millions of euros in illegal campaign funding from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Sarkozy, France’s rightwing president from 2007 to 2012, was first taken into custody on Tuesday morning by investigators specialising in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, and held in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre, as part of an inquiry into whether Gaddafi and others in Libya illegally financed his successful election campaign in 2007.
The former president, 63, was allowed home at midnight on Tuesday but had to return to police custody at 8am on Wednesday. Police have a further 24 hours to question him. After that, Sarkozy can be either released, told to return for further questioning, or can be brought before a judge to potentially face charges.
• Study shows dry Permafrost may release 2.4 times more greenhouse gases than previously thought:
The research contradicts previous studies that suggested dry permafrost would contribute more to global warming than water-saturated permafrost, and it would do so mostly by releasing carbon dioxide. By studying samples of water-saturated permafrost in the laboratory over a seven-year period, the study's authors found that the samples produced equal amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. They were then able to derive models that predicted water-saturated permafrost would release about 2.4 times the greenhouse gases that dry permafrost would.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin & Joan McCarter reflect on our previously impossible-to-imagine situation: Cambridge Analytica, the Austin bomber, DO NOT CONGRATULATE, IL-GOP nominating a real Nazi for Congress, and yet another government shutdown on the horizon.
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