Thursday's HOT MIC

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In the months before he left office, President Obama proposed thousands of new regulations on everything from clean air to consumer protection.

If they had all been enacted, the regulatory burden on American business would have been crushing.

Since Donald Trump took office, his administration has cancelled hundreds of those regulations - the largest deregulation push in history.

Reuters:

In a report, the Trump administration said it had withdrawn 469 planned regulatory actions that had been part of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda published last fall. Officials also reconsidered 391 active regulatory proceedings actions by reclassifying them as long-term or inactive "allowing for further careful review," the White House said.

The administration's move to eliminate regulations makes good on a much-repeated Trump campaign promise to promote business-friendly policies. Investors have also anticipated the action, helping to push share prices higher on hopes fewer regulations will unfetter business growth and lead to higher corporate profits.

The Trump administration has identified nearly 300 regulations related to energy production and environmental protection it plans to rescind, review or delay across three agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior and Energy Departments.

Trump had already identified several of the regulations as targets in his March executive orders on energy, but they will now undergo a formal rulemaking process to be rescinded or revised.

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to place "regulatory reform" task forces and officers within federal agencies in what may be the most far reaching effort to pare back U.S. red tape in recent decades.

Trump has vowed a sweeping cut in U.S. regulations and previously ordered agencies to repeal two rules for every new one adopted.

The Interior Department is reviewing an Obama-era rule that directed companies to reduce venting and flaring and methane leaks from oil and gas production on federal and tribal land, according to a White House semi-annual government wide regulation report.

Representatives of the oil and gas industry cheered.

“We just got through eight years of a regulatory onslaught, aimed at curtailing oil and gas production. So we are very supportive of the administration’s efforts to roll back regulation,” said Kathleen Sgamma, head of the Western Energy Alliance representing oil and gas drillers in Western states.

She said membership was particularly pleased about the effort to repeal the methane rule, which the industry estimated would have cost about $50,000 per well. Methane is one of the gases scientists say is driving global climate change.

Obama couldn't have been under any illusions about most of those regulations. His only hope that they would be enacted was if Hillary Clinton had been elected.

She wasn't. And Obama's regulatory legacy will be much reduced because of it.

Charlie: Add "violator of English grammar conventions" to the list of offenses. Wasn't that all lower case thing cool about ten years ago? Someone needs to let Manning know everyone stopped doing it while he was in prison.

Hmmm.

  • Near traitor
  • Betrayer of his country
  • Violator of his oath
  • Unjustly released felon

Yeah, those are more dangerous than the usual SJW.

Forty-eight years ago today, two Americans landed on the moon. Those of us old enough to remember recall the pride we felt as Americans in this spectacular achievement — perhaps the greatest technological feat in human history.

Propelling the astronauts toward the moon was a rocket the size of a 35-story office building. The Saturn V is still the largest flying vehicle ever built by humans. It generated 7.5 million pounds of thrust, burning fuel at the astonishing rate of 20 tons per second.

The entire Apollo system — the Saturn V, the command module, the service module, and the Lunar Lander — weighed 260,000 pounds. This is by far the largest payload ever lifted into space. It is estimated that 400,000 human beings laid their hands on at least one of the two million parts in the vehicles. It is also estimated that up to one-third of all the hours worked on the system from 1966 to the day of the moon landing in 1969 were in unpaid overtime.

There were so many things that could have gone wrong on the mission that Neil Armstrong believed he only had a 50-50 chance of survival. But at the time, everything about Apollo 11 seemed inevitable. The people had enormous confidence in NASA back then — and considering their achievements, it was well deserved.

How about today? NASA still manages to astonish the world. Consider the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by Pluto or the continuing saga of the Mars rovers — launched in 2003. Spirit and Opportunity are still making jaw-dropping discoveries about Mars to this day. The Kepler space telescope has discovered thousands of what appear to be Earth-like planets and the mysteries of the cosmos are being unraveled by a series of science platforms that allow us to peer back to the beginning of time itself.

It's not so much that NASA lacks imagination. What they lack is money. It is horribly expensive to put a man in space and keep him alive. And there are legitimate questions about whether the taxpayer should pay for these spectaculars in the first place.

China will be going to the moon in the next few years. But the future in space does not belong to governments. The revolution that is unfolding in the private sector will eventually lead to cheap, reliable transportation into space that many industries are ready to exploit.

We've been hearing this since I was in books. But Space X and their reusable launch system is blazing a path for private industry. I don't know when or if many of the ventures and start-ups today will make it. But there's no turning back now. Commercial exploitation of space will be a reality sooner rather than later.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of former congressman Ralph Regula, R-Ohio. He served Ohio's 16th congressional from 1973-2009 and was my representative for a decade. He'll be remembered for many things, but I particularly appreciate the role he played in establishing the Children's Farm at the National Zoo and in creating the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeast Ohio, one of the few national parks in this part of the country. On a personal note, our family met him once on a trip to D.C. We showed up at his office expecting to be met by an intern for our tour of the Capitol. While we were waiting, Regula arrived and stopped to say hello. When he heard that we were from his district, he stopped what he was doing and ushered us into his office, closing the door behind us if I recall correctly. When I told him our kids were homeschooled (they were around 8 and 10 at the time) he encouraged us and told us we were doing a great thing. When he found out I volunteered at the Akron Zoo, he told me about his work at the National Zoo and his farm back home (he was fond of his goats!). Before we left he brought in a photographer to take a picture. A few weeks later I was surprised and very pleased to receive an envelope containing several 8 x 10s of the photo and a personal letter from Regula. It was on that trip that my eldest son fell in love with Washington and vowed to someday live and work there. I don't doubt that Regula's personal touch had something to do with that decision. He was revered in the 16th district, in large part, because of his dedication to constituent services, something of a lost art these days.

Here's a nice tribute to him from Sen. Sherrod Brown, D, Ohio, who served with Regula in the House:

Roger, I understand $2 mill may be pocket change for Exxon-Mobil, but the problem is that this breathes more air into the stupid Russia controversy. "Reckless disregard" for Russia sanctions is a problem, even if the violation was small. Did Trump's people fail to vet Tillerson properly for this? With the media and Democrats breathing down their necks about Russia, one might hope Trump's team would be looking for something like this...

Secretary of State, after all, is the highest position in a cabinet. Former secretaries of State ran for president since early in the nation's history. Tedious as I find the entire Trump-Russia narrative, this kind of thing is indeed bothersome, for someone who thinks Romney was correct in 2012...

The juice is loose!

And he's taken over the news.

O.J. Simpson says he's lived a "conflict-free life." No, seriously — watch the video here.

Roger, you might remember me writing about Hyperloop here in 2013.

What I want to know is: this guy successfully merged with moving traffic, and he's in a plane.

What can't people on I-25 manage this?