Washington

Inside the Beltway: Biden should re-visit ‘drill, baby, drill’


Once upon a time, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin proclaimed “drill, baby, drill,” when it came to discovering oil in the wilderness.

The year was 2008, and a presidential election was in full swing. Ironically, Mrs. Palin — the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain at the time — debated the relevance of “drill, baby, drill” with then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden. The two did not agree on the idea. At all.

Here were are, 13 years later, and Mr. Biden as president still does not agree with the three-word phrase. He has, in fact, suspended the approval of oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. The move has now alarmed more than one analyst.

“This order would also void leases entered into in good faith by companies who complied with federal regulations and environmental impact analysis requirements of the U.S. Interior Department and other agencies under the Trump administration,” advises H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow in environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank.

“President Biden doesn’t care about the law, any more than he cares about America’s hard-won energy security and independence, high-paying union jobs, Alaskan natives, or the Alaskan or U.S. economy,” Mr. Burnett adds.

And the outcome? Uh-oh. Look to the pump.

“In an era of rapidly rising energy costs since the Biden administration took office, this is just another example of the ‘tone-deafness’ towards the American people, who are caught up in soaring costs just to keep the family car running. With ANWR leases gone, the market will likely react with even higher gasoline prices based on fears of future shortages and possibly more restrictions,” predicts Anthony Watts, also a Heartland senior fellow.

“Not only that, this order may be illegal since the contracts have already been agreed to and signed. It boils down to this: Is the U.S. government as good as its word? With Biden in control, apparently not,” Mr. Watts adds.

REPUBLICANS GET BACK TO CHURCH

Gallup has measured Americans’ attendance at religious services since 1939. The pollster now reveals that the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person church attendance in the U.S. to its lowest level on record.

Consider that in 1955, a record 49% of Americans attended church in person weekly. In a new Gallup poll conducted in mid-May, 20% of the respondents said they had gone to a church, synagogue, mosque or temple in person at some time in the preceding week.

The poll, which differentiated between attending church in person or participating remotely, also provided the sentiments of multiple demographics.

Among Republicans, 31% said they had attended church in person; 18% of independents and 14% of Democrats agreed. Among conservatives, 29% had gone to their house of worship, along with 18% of moderates and 12% of liberals.

And what about remote attendance? Gallup also found that 10% of U.S. adults had worshipped via the internet. That included 9% of Republicans, 9% of independents  and 12% of Democrats — along with 9% of conservatives, 12% of moderates and 9% of liberals.

The poll of 1,016 U.S. adults was conducted May 3-18 and released Tuesday with an upbeat title: “In-person religious service attendance is rebounding.”

SMALL BOOK, BIG FOIAS

Dr. Anthony Fauci has a new book arriving in five months titled “Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward.”

It is only 80 pages long, and set to be published by National Geographic, which is also planning a documentary about Dr. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The federal agency has already advised Fox News that Dr. Fauci will not be “profiting” from any book sales.

“The earnest reflections in these pages offer a universal message on how to lead in times of crisis and find resilience in the face of disappointments and obstacles,” said Barnes & Noble in a summary of the forthcoming book.

But wait. Through the Freedom of information Act, BuzzFeed News obtained 3,200 pages of Dr. Fauci’s emails for the January-June period of 2020. The Washington Post went the same route, landing another 800 pages of emails. Both news organizations have already gone public with the content — now being mined by CNN, Fox News, Newsweek, New York Post and The Hill — to name a few.

Many are interested in whether Dr. Fauci was “censored” during his time as a COVID-19 expert and spokesman with the Trump administration.

A single email in the BuzzFeed cache of emails revealed the answer.

“I actually have not been muzzled at all,” the doctor noted in an email to an unidentified woman, dated Feb. 28, 2020.

FOXIFIED

Fox News completed May as the most-watched cable news network, sweeping the competition with an average 2.2 million primetime viewers throughout the month, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC drew 1.5 million and CNN 913,000.

Other numbers reveal the rest. Four of the five top cable news programs for May included “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2.9 million viewers), “Hannity” (2,634,000), “The Five (2,631,000),” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” (2.5 million) and “The Ingraham Angle” (2 million).

And a word about Greg Gutfeld, who is marking his second month as host of a daily late-night talk show, averaged 1.7 million nightly viewers in May, he also drew a larger audience than ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” and the TBS programs “Conan” and “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 80% of U.S. organizations hiring “industry and manual service workers” say it is now difficult to find those workers.

• 76% say they had seen an increase in “employees identifying as burned out.”

• 60% reported that productivity has increased in the last year.

• 49% say it is difficult to retain their workers.

• 40% say they expect a “significant number” of their employees will still work remotely one year after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

SOURCE: A CONFERENCE BOARD SURVEY OF 231 HUMAN RESOURCES EXECUTIVES WHO REPRESENT LARGE COMPANIES, CONDUCTED APRIL 1-30 AND RELEASED JUNE 2.

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