America's Greatest Citizen, Ralph Nader, tells us why trains carrying crude oil are "unsafe at any speed." If you've told the Department of Transportation to mandate better tank cars and better emergency preparation, you'll be familiar with most of the issues Mr. Nader raises -- plus you'll learn (I did not know this!) that the number of tank cars on American railroads has increased fortyfold just over the last five years, that railroads were never supposed to transport such dangerous stuff (or they wouldn't run "next to schools and under football stadiums"), and that even the right-wing government of Canada has taken stronger steps to make oil transportation safer than the U.S. has.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces his Administration will ban hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," due to health risks. Which are legion, as you know -- if you can't drink the water, you can't be healthy in the first place -- but it still took pretty much all of Mr. Cuomo's first term for him to make a decision. At least he made the right one -- and fracking supporters squealing ZOMG WHAT ABOUT TEH JOBZ!!!! should note that the state has already essentially banned tracking since 2009. Maybe they should get involved with solar and wind; I hear they're pretty promising, and they leave a lot less wreckage in their wake.
I'd rather not celebrate prematurely, but apparently at least four big telecom corporations have been privately telling investors that strong net neutrality regulations from the FCC wouldn't really change very much. This is the opposite of what they tell us, of course -- they tell us that ZOMG TEH REGULASHUNZ KILLZ TEH JOBZ!!!!! It would have been nice if the author -- or, indeed, any of the folks the article quotes -- had remembered that the net neutrality regime is the regime everyone already lives under.
Paul Waldman says liberals seem "happy" with the budget fight we all just lost. I wonder to whom he's talking -- I hope it's not just people inside the Beltway, who are notoriously ignorant of things that happen outside the beltway. His thesis is that liberals came around to legislation they didn't particularly like (i.e., the Affordable Care Act) in 2009 and 2010 because it was better than the status quo, but that since "there won't be any more big liberal initiatives enacted through legislation" (any more?), liberals feel more, well, liberated. "Liberated" to draft Elizabeth Warren (a Republican until 1996) to run for President, apparently, but liberated to fight for good works despite the odds?
ProPublica tells us about the New York state Deputy Comptroller asking state charter school regulators to demand more financial transparency from charter schools -- and hearing nothing from any of them. Remember that the whole point of letting a charter school use public money is that the state must make sure the charter schools are doing what they're supposed to do. Why people think they can get away with just not doing their jobs is beyond me. Oh, wait, they all lived during Tha Bush Mobb years, too.