This is a surprise: Shell announces it will abandon plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean. The Times credits cheap oil and the resulting falling profits for industry's unwillingness to embark on big projects like drilling in the Arctic; Obama fans no doubt figure that he let Shell move forward on its existing drilling leases knowing they'd abandon them, but that's a hell of a thing to count on, and I certainly wouldn't discount all the bad PR generated by drilling opponents (bad PR helped along by Shell's previous misadventures in the Arctic).
The Justice Department orders Hudson City Savings Bank (which serves the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas) to pay over $30 million to stop "structuring its business so as to avoid majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods." That "structure" includes not putting branches in such neighborhoods, working with brokers there, or making customers close on houses all the way up in Fairfield, CT. The Rand Paul Freedom Brigade would tell us that you should be able to sell to whatever customers you like. But the rest of us would ask why that should result in segregation, and assert that the freedom of black folks to live wherever they like is more important. Redlining is real, folks, and any program that would end racism must destroy redlining.
John Boehner, now on his farewell tour, warns against the "false prophets" who "whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know...are never going to happen," a criticism apparently directed at his far-right flank. Anyone else think it would be rich for the man who owes his entire Speakership to his far-right flank to "warn" anyone about them? Seriously, this guy would still be bumbling along as Minority Leader if Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, et al hadn't "whipped people into a frenzy" in 2009 and 2010.
Ho hum, Jeb Bush thinks Pope Francis I should clam up about climate change, because he's "not a scientist." We could debate whether the Pope's several years working in a food lab before seminary school, or his secondary school diploma in chemistry, make him a "scientist" per se, but, ah, what's Jeb Bush's scientific expertise, exactly? Jeb Bush's scientific expertise derives from the same source as the rest of his "expertise" -- whatever his big corporate donors tell him. Having to keep big campaign donations coming really makes you much less free.
Finally, The Nation profiles John Fetterman, the Mayor of Braddock, PA who is also running for the 2016 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. You know the road to hell is paved with the skulls of folks who say "I'm not focus-grouped, I'm not poll-tested" and don't deliver on that promise -- and you're also witnessing a Presidential candidate who perhaps isn't as focus-grouped or poll-tested as he should be! -- but Mr. Fetterman seems to know how to talk to people who don't start out agreeing with him, and that's a good thing. It might even help get him past the Establishment figure the Establishment hates (Joe Sestak) and the Establishment figure no one cares about (Katie McGinty) in the primary.