by Max Brantley
Not much new to report this morning. If all goes well, I'm going to catch at least three movies today at the Little Rock Film Festival. But if anyone would like to forward details of the coming charges against state Treasurer Martha Shoffner, you know where to find me.
Someone asked about impeachment. Here's what the Arkansas Constitution says. There is a presumption of innocence under the law, of course. But the facts of the coming charge seem likely to add to the case that Shoffner would best serve the public by resigning. if that were to happen, the governor would appoint someone to serve the remainder of the term, which ends next year.
* DON'T LET THE FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD IRS STORY: The New York Times has dug into the operation of the Cincinnati office of the IRS where Tea Party tax-exempt organizations got singled out for attention. The story may be more muddled than the get-the-conservatives conspiracy that has been established. Maybe it's as much or more about agency incompetence rather than politics. Fat chance this will change the story arc now.
* TAR SAND PIPELINES AND THE KOCHS: A day late, but here's a story to read and ask U.S. Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin of Mayflower about. It's about a vast pile of Canadian oil waste rising in Detroit. It's owned by the lovable Koch billionaires and is a nasty byproduct of Canadian tar sand exploration, a venture that put nasty crude into the pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower and which would put still more in the Keystone XL pipeline that Tiny Tim is pushing so hard to get built. That pipeline will allow the Koch boys to move Canadian tar sand product across sensitive U.S. aquifers en route to refineries in Texas that will ship finished products overseas. All this to further encourage pumping more dangerous gases into the planet's warming air.
An initial refining process known as coking, which releases the oil from the tarlike bitumen in the oil sands, also leaves the petroleum coke, of which Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled. Some is dumped in open-pit oil sands mines and tailing ponds in Alberta. Much is just piled up there.
Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.
Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.
Residents on both sides of the Detroit River are concerned that the coke mountain is both an environmental threat and an eyesore.