Democrats renewed their push to cut oil subsidies this week, saying high gasoline prices and big revenues for oil and gas companies make this as good a time as any toeliminate billions in annual tax incentives to the industry. Republicans countered that higher taxes on oil companies would only mean higher prices for consumers.
Most experts agree, however, that the tax incentives in question don’t have much effect on gasoline prices, one way or the other.
The brutality in Libya has prompted the State Department to issue several statements in recent days stronglycondemning the Libyan government and calling the bloodshed “completely unacceptable”—though it stopped short of threatening sanctions.
The country’s dictator, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, said on Tuesday that the protesters who have been killed “deserved to die,” and he vowed to fight “until the last drop of my blood.”
A standoff is brewing in Madison, Wisconsin, over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive proposal to cut union rights for state workers. Walker says the cuts are necessary to bridge the state’s growing budget gap, while throngs of protesters have gathered to oppose the cuts, and state legislators have fled to avoid a vote. Here’s our quick breakdown of the basics.
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen of her constituents in Tucson this weekend has sparked criticism of Arizona’s lax gun control laws and renewed calls from some to tighten those restrictions. Six individuals were confirmed dead. Here’s our attempt to briefly break down a few of the issues at play:
Types of weapons available
In the Arizona case, the gun used by accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner was a Glock 19—a semiautomatic weapon with a 33-round magazine. The New York Times reported that this magazine is banned in six states and D.C., but not in Arizona. It was also previously illegal under a federal assault weapons ban that expired under the Bush administration in 2004.
The BP oil spill in the Gulf killed 11 workers in April, released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and triggered multiple government investigations and an overhaul of the nation’s offshore drilling regulatory agency.
Federal scientists estimated in August that between 53,000 and 62,000 barrels spilled into the Gulf each day until the well was temporarily plugged in July. BP has contested those numbers, arguing that the figures are flawed [PDF]. If the company prevails, it could reduce the size of its per-barrel pollution fines by billions of dollars, as well as what it may eventually have to pay to the government in lost royalties if the spill is found to be a result of BP’s negligence.