Saturday midday open thread: Pelosi wants to revive climate committee; U.S.-Korea talks stalled

Second summit between North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un and wannabe dictator Donald Trump could be on chopping block.

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

  • How the Brett Kavanaugh fight strengthens the case for the Democratic House to impeach, by David Adkajian
  • Rising Arctic temperatures triggering alarms about climate change, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • We must not be complicit in Trump’s distortion of the huge Democratic Midterm 2018 win, by Egberto Willies
  • The first House investigation should be into the voting problems of the midterm election, by Frank Vyan Walton
  • A reminder. Now that we control the House, Democrats must aid Puerto Rico, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • The legacy of Greg Orman’s independent campaign for Kansas, by Chris Reeves
  • Doughboys, Devil Dogs, and Hellfighters, by Mark E Andersen

Democrats plan to resurrect House climate committee: 

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California will ask her colleagues to reconstitute the select committee, which was created under her watch 11 years ago and disbanded by Republicans after they took control of the House in January 2011. The plan was described by senior Democratic aides who asked not to be named before a formal announcement. […]

In its previous iteration, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was not authorized to advance its own bills, but it still used dozens of hearings to emphasize Democratic priorities, evaluating advancements in renewable power and the consequences of climate change. The panel’s work helped pave the way for broad legislation to create a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions that passed the House in 2009 before faltering in the Senate.

Meeting between Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un’s deputy canceled: North Korea has been out of the U.S. media lately, partly because of the midterm elections and partly because of focus on the deluge of Donald Trump’s shenanigans and machinations. But while most media attention was elsewhere, talks between Washington and Pyongyang stalled. North Korea has cancelled plans for Kim Yong Chol, who serves as Kim’s No. 2 as vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party, to meet the secretary of state in New York. That meeting was meant to prepare the way for the second summit that Trump and Kim are supposed to hold as early as January. Trump remains confident that it will still occur, but Nikki Haley, who remains the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations until the end of December, said Thursday, “There’s no time to stall or no time to delay or try and get past not going through with what was agreed in Singapore,” referring to the June meeting between the two leaders.

MIDDAY TWEET

Researchers claim Sprint is throttling Skype without adequately informing users. The company say it’s not doing this. But David Choffnes, assistant professor of computer and information science at Northeastern, created Wehe, an app used to track how wireless carriers are behaving after net neutrality rules were repealed last June. His team has conducted nearly 2,000 tests since January:

Choffnes and his team analyzed more than 719,417 tests conducted by 100,000 users across 135 countries, and discovered that wireless carriers routinely throttle streaming video applications. While carriers often claim this kind of throttling only occurs in response to network congestion, evidence suggests the practice is often tied to efforts to upsell users to pricier plans.

Vietnam and U.S. complete clean-up of dioxin that contaminated the Danang Airport for four decades: That toxic chemical was a contaminant in Agent Orange, the herbicide that was sprayed over large portions of Vietnam to kill off vegetation that gave communist guerrillas and the North Vietnamese Army concealment during what Vietnamese call the American War. Agent Orange also caused devastating birth defects in the offspring of many people who were sprayed with it and a range of mild to horrible effects on U.S. military personnel who came into contact with it. For years, the U.S. government and makers of dioxin refused to admit it was causing health problems in U.S. veterans and, sometimes, members of their families. The cleanup “is proof that we are opening a future of good cooperation between the governments of Vietnam and the United States,” Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said in a ceremony Wednesday celebrating the completion of the decontamination of the 74-acre site. “Today marks the day that Danang airport is no longer known as a dioxin hotspot, the day that Danang people can be assured that their health will not be destroyed by chemicals left over from the war.”

Company seeks $2 billion loan guarantee from taxpayers for proposed natural gas refinery. Proposed by Northwest Innovation Works, the operation would transform fracked gas into methanol in Kalama, Washington, and would be the largest of its kind in the world. Among the investors is the Chinese government and a New York-based private equity firm. A heavily redacted draft Department of Energy presentation obtained by the non-profit Columbia Riverkeeper gives some insight into NWIW’s financing and the costs that may be borne by taxpayers if the DOE approves. 

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