Friday, February 5, 2016

Obama plans to include an oil tax in his last budget

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From: "Vox Sentences" <>
Date: Feb 4, 2016 8:08 PM
Subject: #YOLObama plans to include an oil tax in his last budget
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Obama to propose $10/barrel fee on oil; the FDA finally gets tough on opioids; the UN is expected to rule Julian Assange has been unfairly detained.

Obama to propose $10-per-barrel fee on oil; the FDA finally gets tough on opioids; the UN is expected to rule that Julian Assange has been unfairly detained.

Vox Sentences is written by Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind.


They're calling it an "oil fee," but c'mon

Y'know, a barrel.
  • President Obama's budget will include a proposal for a $10-a-barrel "fee" on oil, to be paid by oil companies. [Poilitico / Michael Grunwald]
  • The revenue the fee would bring in — some $32 billion a year — would go toward improving transportation infrastructure and researching lower-carbon alternatives. [NYT / Coral Davenport]
  • Oil is already very, very cheap. And the speculation over Obama's proposal might be driving it even cheaper. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk]
  • Oil companies are losing so much money that they're being forced to choose whether to cut the dividends they pay to their stockholders — or take a hit on their credit ratings for borrowing the money instead. [Wall Street Journal / Sarah Kent and Bradley Olson]
  • Logically, cheap oil is good for the rest of the economy. But recently — for unclear reasons — the current trend toward cheap oil has made stock traders bearish, too. [New Yorker / James Surowiecki]

Opioid crackdown

It's my wife and it's my life.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • The FDA has agreed to create a committee to review new applications for opioid painkillers, which addiction advocates hope will make it harder for new opioids to get approved. [Reuters / Toni Clarke]
  • The FDA's decision comes days after the Obama administration announced $1 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic, in the form of both heroin and prescription painkillers. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • The recent rise in heroin addiction — particularly in white communities — has turned the opioid crisis into a national issue. [NYT / Katharine Q. Seelye]
  • But the heroin crisis is pretty obviously a cause of the larger crisis in painkiller addiction. [Vox / German Lopez]

"Arbitrarily detained"

The Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange currently resides.
Carl Court/Getty Images
  • The UN's working group on arbitrary detention is expected to rule on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being unfairly held in Great Britain. [BBC ]
  • British police are looking to arrest Assange to extradite him to Sweden, where he faces charges of sexual assault. [The Guardian / Nick Davies]
  • He's been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since receiving asylum there in 2012. [BBC ]
  • Assange is waiting for the official decision. But he has announced that if the reports are wrong, and the UN rules against him, he'll voluntarily give himself up to British authorities. [The Verge / Amar Toor]
  • Most alleged rapists aren't hunted down as assiduously as Assange has been. That's caused some people to complain that his prosecution is politically motivated (which is probably true) and unfair (which doesn't necessarily follow from being politically motivated). [Ms. Magazine / Michaela A. Null]


A new study confirms what we've always suspected: Romantic comedies make people less afraid of male behavior that's objectively creepy and bad. [The Guardian / Ben Child]

  • Introducing the Icelandair Stopover Buddy Service: for when you're getting to Europe through Reykjavik and just want a nice Icelandic friend to go hang out at geisers with. [Icelandair]


"The neural pathways that are activated when viewing another person's social pain are the very same ones that are active when you watch someone withstand physical pain." [NY Mag / Melissa Dahl]

  • "Playwrights, poets, and scientists have proposed that everyone on the planet is connected to everyone else by six other people. In honor of Friends Day, we've crunched the Facebook friend graph and determined that the number is 3.57. Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people." [Facebook / Sergey Edunov, Carlos Diuk, Ismail Onur Filiz, Smriti Bhagat, and Moira Burke]
  • "Her ashes also remain. … It will be up to her adoptive parents – also now her convicted murderers – to decide what happens to them." [The Guardian / Giles Tremlett]
  • "There are a few things we are certain about. We know that you can't live without food, and that if you eat too much, you get fat. There are certain essential nutrients - vitamins and minerals - that you need to have. You should make sure there is no lead or mercury or other toxins in your food. After that the knowledge base gets thinner and thinner." [David Allison to Washington Post / Peter Whoriskey]


How one man held his breath for 23 minutes [YouTube / Sarah Turbin]

Goran Čolak

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