Quick Takes

* This looks interesting.

President Obama will propose a $10-per-barrel fee on oil production to fund a new green transportation plan, the White House announced Thursday.

The proposal would go toward a $32.4 billion annual push to green the transportation sector by funding public transit, an urban planning initiative and clean vehicle research, the White House said in a fact sheet. Obama will include the plan in the budget request he releases next week…

But the proposal represents a new front in Obama’s climate change end-game: After finalizing carbon reduction regulations for the electricity sector last year, he is turning his attention back to the transportation sector, which accounts for 30 percent of American carbon emissions every year.

* The Obama administration continues its work on behalf of Native Americans.

Federal officials on Wednesday outlined a plan to improve care at hospitals that treat Native Americans in four Great Plains states, including creating a multi-agency group to focus on quality and patient safety and designating a single organization to accredit Indian Health Service hospitals.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services detailed the steps to The Associated Press ahead of a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday afternoon in Washington that’ll discuss the quality of care at IHS hospitals in the region.

The hearing and promised reforms come weeks after federal inspections highlighted serious problems on a pair of hospitals on South Dakota reservations and months after inspectors uncovered inadequate care for a man who died of kidney failure two days after seeking care from a hospital in Nebraska.

We’ll add this one to the list I published here last fall.

* Here’s what happens when you stop funding Planned Parenthood.

The state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.

The analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, documents a significant increase in births among women who had previously received birth control at clinics that no longer get state funding.

* Greg Sargent says that Sanders is implicitly attacking Clinton’s integrity.

Sanders constantly points to the funding of her campaign — and her acceptance of speaking fees — as symptomatic of this problem. But Sanders does not want to take the final step and say that Clinton personally is making the policy choices she does precisely because she is beholden to the oligarchy, due to its funding of her campaign. The upshot is that Sanders is indicting the entire system, but doesn’t want to question the integrity of Clinton herself — or perhaps doesn’t want to be seen doing that. This is the central tension at the heart of Sanders’s whole argument.

Kevin Drum weighs in with a response.

Is it true that Sanders is just too nice a guy to name names? Maybe. But I’m a little less inclined to be generous about this kind of thing. To my ears, it sounds more like typical political smarm. “Hey, I’m not saying she’s a crook. I’m just saying she drives a pretty nice car, amirite?” Contra Sargent, I’d say that Sanders is very much questioning the integrity of Clinton herself, and doing it in a pretty familiar way.

* Finally, here’s what happens when Barry Levinson – the guy who brought us Wag the Dog, Rain Man and Diner – imagines a writer pitching a movie idea to a studio executive about a presidential candidate.

Writer: It’s called “The Man in the Gold Tower.” We cut to the interior of this golden building, 40… 50 stories high. A man is coming down an escalator; we’ll call him “The Billionaire.” He gets off the escalator, cameras swarming around him in a mall-like area. He announces he’s going to run for President of the United States.

You’ll have to go read the whole thing to find out if the studio executive will buy such an outlandish pitch.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.