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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

What a difference a new PM makes: Obama and Trudeau discuss clean energy proposals

In their first formal meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to disagree over Islamic State air strikes while presenting a united front to boost clean-energy production after the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama and the recently elected Trudeau met Thursday in Manila in talks that focused on how the U.S. and Canada were cooperating on trade, energy and climate change. Recent points of tension -- including Canada’s decision to pull out of a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State, Obama’s rejection of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone oil pipeline and brewing trade disputes over lumber and labeling rules -- received little emphasis.

“There are no closer friends we have than the Canadians,” Obama said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which wraps up Thursday. He said he planned on hosting Trudeau at the White House in early 2016. "We are confident he’s going to provide a great boost of energy," he said of his Canadian counterpart.

Trudeau, on his first international trip as prime minister, has said a foreign policy priority is to repair ties with the U.S., which have frayed in recent years over Keystone, country-of-origin labeling rules and other issues. Obama has repeatedly reached out to the young politician whose surprise victory and message of change have given him the kind of celebrity status the U.S. president enjoyed at the start of his term.


Blue Dog Dems to back GOP refugee bill

Source: The Hill

Bucking President Obama and party leaders, Blue Dog Democrats will support GOP legislation to bolster security checks on Syrian and Iraqi refugees, the group announced Wednesday evening.

"In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, we must step back and reassess our existing procedures for admitting and monitoring refugees from Iraq and Syria," Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) said in a statement.

"I am proud of America's legacy as a welcoming nation to people fleeing violence in their home countries," he added, "but during the process of admitting refugees from countries associated with ISIS, we have to ensure that those coming to the U.S. do not pose a threat to the American people."

The conservative-leaning Blue Dogs are 15 members strong, though only 10 have announced their support the Republicans' bill — just enough to earn the group's official endorsement, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/260695-blue-dog-dems-to-back-gop-refugee-bill

NYT op-ed: Why I Provide Abortions

IN public health, you go where the crisis is. If there is an outbreak and you have the ability to relieve suffering, you rush to the site of the need. This is why, a year and a half ago, I returned to my hometown, Birmingham, Ala., to provide abortions.

For the previous two years, I had been flying to the South from Chicago to provide care to women whose access to abortion services was limited to a few clinics, despite the fact that abortions are deemed legal by the Supreme Court. These women face harsh life circumstances and incessant hostility, merely for wanting to exercise their rights.

My decision to provide abortions represented a change of heart on my part. I had been working for 12 years as an obstetrician and gynecologist, and had never performed abortions because I felt they were morally wrong. But I grew increasingly uncomfortable turning away women who needed help.

Ultimately, reading a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged me to a deeper spiritual understanding. I was moved by his discussion of the quality of the good Samaritan and of what made the Samaritan “good.” The Samaritan reversed the question of concern, to care more about the well-being of the person needing help than about what might happen to him for stopping to give help. I realized that if I were to show compassion, I would have to act on behalf of those women. My concern about women who lacked access to abortion became more important to me than worrying about what might happen to me for providing the services.


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest








Thursday TOON Roundup 2 - Refugees

Thursday Toon Roundup 1-War

House Bill Would Make It Harder To Prosecute White-Collar Crime

CEOs could be off the hook for even gross negligence.

Zach Carter
Senior Political Economy Reporter,

House Republicans on Monday unveiled legislation that would decriminalize a broad swath of corporate malfeasance, a move that injects white-collar crime issues into the thus-far bipartisan agenda on criminal justice reform.

The public debate over criminal justice reform has focused on reducing severe sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But some influential conservative voices, including the billionaire Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation, have quietly advocated for curbing prosecution of corporate offenses as well.

The House bill would eliminate a host of white-collar crimes where the damaging acts are merely reckless, negligent or grossly negligent. If enacted, it would make it more difficult for federal authorities to pursue executive wrongdoing, from financial fraud to environmental pollution.

Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr blasted the legislation in a statement provided to HuffPost, saying it "would create confusion and needless litigation, and significantly weaken, often unintentionally, countless federal statutes," including "those that play an important role in protecting the public welfare ... protecting consumers from unsafe food and medicine."



Jindal Exits Presidential Race, Returns To Louisiana With 8 More Weeks As Governor

Louisiana governor and GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal announced on Tuesday night that he’d be exiting the presidential race and returning to Louisiana where his incumbent will be elected on Saturday.

“This is not my time,” he said during a Fox News interview.

Jindal, who never gained much traction in the primary and recently was polling at under one percent, has just less than two months as head of Lousiana, a state that has been struggling under his leadership. Currently, his disapproval rating has hit a historic 70 percent.

Since Jindal took office in 2008, Louisiana has earned some dubious honors. The state has the largest gender pay gap in the country, with women making 66 cents for every dollar a man earns.



The Big Idea That Could Bring Disaffected Voters Back to the Polls

Bernie Sanders has a plan to expand, not “save,” Social Security—and it should be popular.
By William Greider

At his inauguration in 1981, Ronald Reagan declared that “government is not the solution—government is the problem.” The election of 2016 will tell us whether the American people are ready to overthrow the tyranny of that reactionary proposition. I know it’s possible—but only if the Democratic Party finds the courage to embrace a serious left turn.

The 2016 election is not actually about personalities. It’s about ideas—big ideas for governing that, win or lose, can change the country for better or for worse. Republicans are stuck in the past, still longing for the return of their dead president and his trickle-down Reaganomics. Left-liberal and progressive Democrats are prodding their party to reverse the Gipper in major ways by doing big things that would benefit millions of people—like expanding Social Security benefits instead of cutting them. So despite the media’s trivial pursuits, I expect the 2016 election will ultimately pivot on ideological conflict, powered by the great social and economic dislocations that have shaken society’s self-confidence. Dozens of right-left governing issues are already in play, setting up an emotional clash between bleeding-heart optimism on the left and nostalgic resentments on the right.

The most significant of these collisions may be the reemergence of an old and familiar argument about reforming Social Security. This time, left-ish Dems want to expand its benefits and protections and raise the payroll tax on top-level incomes to pay for the expansion. The herd of GOP candidates is once again promising to cut Social Security benefits and maybe turn the government system over to private enterprise (that is, the financial system that wreaked havoc on US prosperity). Veteran campaign reporters evidently think it’s boring, since they seldom mention the issue.

But don’t be surprised if the fight over this old New Deal program emerges next year as a crucial battlefront between the parties. In fact, it may provide Democrats with a great opportunity to change the shape of the American electorate and reconnect with disenchanted working-class voters who feel the Democratic Party abandoned them.



Toon: The GOP Fireside Chat

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