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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Dems look to jam GOP on unemployment insurance

Dems look to jam GOP on unemployment insurance
December 5 at 1:46 pm

This, from Nancy Pelosi at a presser today, is a very interesting move:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Democrats would not support a budget deal that does not extend emergency unemployment benefits, which are set to lapse on Dec. 28 for about 1.3 million people.

“Yes indeed, we are making a very clear statement that we cannot, cannot support a budget agreement that does not include unemployment insurance in the budget or as a sidebar in order to move it all along,” she said at a hearing she held on unemployment benefits. “It would undermine who we are as a country.”

If this Dem hard line on unemployment insurance holds, it add another interesting, and unpredictable, factor to the ongoing budget talks, which are currently ongoing between Senator Patty Murray and GOP Rep. Paul Ryan.

According to a House Democratic leadership aide, the idea here is that, if the two reach a short term budget deal that funds the government at spending levels that are higher than the sequester, which is reportedly what is near happening, it will be harder for GOP leaders to round up House Republican support for it. That will mean a greater need for Dems in order to pass any final deal through the House. This gives Dems leverage to press House Republicans to agree to extend unemployment benefits. Pelosi’s suggestion of a “sidebar” seems important — it’s a signal that Republicans can find some other way to get it done, but get it done they must.


Obama Executive Order: Federal Government Must Triple Renewable Energy In 7 Years

Source: Think Progress


Obama now seems to be making good on those statements. On Thursday, the administration released an executive order http://assets.nationaljournal.com/pdf/131205_EOenergymanagement.pdf directing the federal government to triple its use of renewable energy by 2020, which would bring the government’s renewable energy usage to 20 percent. The order will apply to all federal agencies, including the military.

The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the executive order before it was published, noted that the federal government itself occupies approximately 500,000 buildings and operates 600,000 vehicles, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. The order does not disclose the cost of the transition, but says the goal will be reached “to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable.”
The top priority for federal agencies is installing agency-funded renewable energy on-site at federal facilities, and retaining renewable energy certificates, or RECs. An REC is a certificate that represents the environmental value of one megawatt-hour of electricity. In buying a REC, the government essentially pays a little bit of money in order to claim and keep track of the clean benefit of the electricity produced.

Obama has pledged to address climate change during his second term, and in a June speech detailed a three-tier plan for the administration. That plan would cut carbon pollution in America, lead international efforts to cut global emissions, and prepare the U.S. for the costly impacts of climate change. President Obama framed the action as a moral obligation to do what we can for “the world we leave our children.”

“This is the global threat of our time,” Obama said in June. “And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work.”

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/05/3024081/obama-order-federal-government-triple-renewable-energy-2020-2/

The New GOP Platform: Life Begins at Conception, Ends at Birth & is Resurrected by Incorporporation

The conservative crusade to declare everything a “person”—corporations, fertilized eggs—will have disastrous consequences.
By Dahlia Lithwick


But corporations aren’t America’s only new people. States and the U.S. Congress are also attempting to expand the definition of personhood in a different direction: Anti-abortion activists are attempting to redefine “personhood” to include the potential personhood of a fertilized egg. If the so-called personhood bills and ballot initiatives across the country succeed, a day-old zygote would have the same legal status as a person, with sweeping implications for criminal law, reproductive rights, and access to birth control.

So pause for a moment with me to ponder what it means that some of the greatest civil rights battles of our era are being fought to extend personhood into the weeks prior to viability and the years after incorporation? What does it mean for actual human “personhood”—as well as for reproductive rights and corporate control—that, if the far right succeeds in stretching these two legal fictions to their illogical extremes, American “personhood” will begin at conception, diminish somewhat at birth, and regain its force upon incorporation?


Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts

Source: Independent UK

Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts

Hunger in Britain has reached the level of a “public health emergency” and the Government may be covering up the extent to which austerity and welfare cuts are adding to the problem, leading experts have said.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities said that the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needed to be “urgently” monitored.

A surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action,” they write.

Despite mounting evidence for a growing food poverty crisis in the UK, ministers maintain there is “no robust evidence” of a link between sweeping welfare reforms and a rise in the use of food banks. However, publication of research into the phenomenon, commissioned by the Government itself, has been delayed, amid speculation that the findings may prove embarrassing for ministers.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-poverty-in-uk-has-reached-level-of-public-health-emergency-warn-experts-8981051.html

How Rich People Create Jobs

"Trickle Down Economics" gets the hook...

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger (all three known as BLT) were brought together as 2-month-old cubs and have grown up as a family.

The trio was originally owned by a drug dealer who didn't properly care for them, leading to neglect, poor health and severe injuries.

In 2001, Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit that cares for animals in need, came to the rescue, and took them to Locust Grove, Georgia, where they were treated for injuries.

With October slowly approaching, The Sanctuary entered a contest to help raise money. On August 15, CrowdRise, an online fundraising site, teamed up with RYOT, a social news platform to announce a challenge called #STARTARYOT, according to ncronline.com. They offered $75,000 to the nonprofit that raised the most money in five weeks.

On Oct. 10, they had announced that Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary had won. They even received an extra $10,000 for attracting the most unique visitors during the last week of the challenge.

More, plus great pics:


What's Wrong With America's Newspaper Opinion Columnists in One Chart


Bicycles outsell cars in most EU countries in 2012

Bicycles outsell cars in most EU countries in 2012

Figures from industry bodies indicate that bicycles outsold cars in 26 of the European Union's 28 states in 2012.

It is thought the trend reflects a slump in car sales brought on by the continent's economic crisis.

The popularity of cycling appears to be going beyond the traditional "cycling capitals" of northern Europe such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

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