Tag Archives: Climate Change

5 things conservatives lie about shamelessly

5 things conservatives lie about shamelessly

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us are not surprised by the following list, it’s just good to know it’s out there for all to see…

Salon

The right still somehow insists that climate change isn’t real and that the ACA will euthanize old people

Mark Twain once famously said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Twain wasn’t praising lies with this comment, of course, but modern-day conservatives seem to think he was dishing out advice instead of damning the practice of dishonesty. Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick: One lie is easy for your opponents to debunk. Tell one lie after another, however, and your opponent’s debunkings will never catch up. By the time the liberal opposition has debunked one lie, there’s a dozen more to take its place.

Science educator Eugenie Scott deemed the technique the “Gish Gallop,” named for a notoriously sleazy creationist named Duane Gish. The Urban Dictionary defines the Gish Gallop as a technique that “involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it.” Often users of the Gish Gallop know their arguments are nonsense or made in bad faith, but don’t particularly care because they are so dead set on advancing their agenda. Unfortunately, the strategy is so effective that it’s been expanding rapidly in right-wing circles. Here are just a few of the most disturbing examples of the Gish Gallop in action.

1. Creationism. It’s no surprise creationists inspired the coining of the term Gish Gallop, as they have perfected the art of making up nonsense faster than scientists can refute it. The list of false or irrelevant claims made by creationists, as chronicled by Talk Origins, numbers in the dozens, perhaps even hundreds, and more are always being spun out. Trying to argue with a creationist, therefore, turns into a hellish game of Whack-A-Mole. Debunk the lie that the speed of light is not constant, and you’ll find he’s already arguing that humans co-existed with dinosaurs. Argue that it’s unconstitutional to put the story of Adam and Eve in the science classroom, and find he’s pretending he was never asking for that and instead wants to “teach the controversy.”



“Teaching the controversy” is a classic Gish Gallop apology. The conservative wants to make it seem like he’s supporting open-minded debate, but instead he just wants an opportunity to dump a bunch of lies on students with the knowledge that they’ll never have the time and attention to carefully parse every debunking.

2. Climate change denialism.This strategy worked so well for creationism it makes perfect sense that it would be imported to the world of climate change denialism. Climate change denialists have many changing excuses for why they reject the science showing that human-caused greenhouse gases are changing the climate, but what all these reasons have in common is they are utter nonsense in service of a predetermined opposition to taking any action to prevent further damage.

Skeptical Science, a website devoted to debunking right-wing lies on this topic, has compiled a dizzying list of 176 common claims by climate denialists and links to why they are false.  Some of these lies directly contradict each other. For instance, it can’t both be true that climate change is “natural” and that it’s not happening at all. No matter, since the point of these lies is not to create a real discussion about the issue, but to confuse the issue so much it’s impossible to get any real momentum behind efforts to stop global warming.

3. The Affordable Care Act. It’s not just science where conservatives have discovered the value in telling lies so fast you simply wear your opposition out. When it comes to healthcare reform, the lying has been relentless. There are the big lies, such as calling Obamacare “socialism,” which implies a single-payer system, when in fact, it’s about connecting the uninsured with private companies and giving consumers of healthcare a basic set of rights. In a sense, even the name “Obamacare” is a lie, as the bill was, per the President’s explicit wishes, written by Congress.

But there are also the small lies: The ACA funds abortionUnder the ACA, old people will be forcibly euthanized.  Obamacare somehow covers undocumented immigrants.  Congress exempted itself from Obamacare (one of the lies that doesn’t even make sense, as it’s not a program you could really get exempted from). Healthcare will add a trillion dollars to the deficit.

The strategy of just lying and lying and lying some more about the ACA has gotten to the point where Fox News is just broadcasting lies accusing the Obama administration of lying. When it was reported that the administration was going to hit its projections for the number of enrollments through healthcare.gov, a subculture of “enrollment truthers”  immediately sprang up to spread a variety of often conflicting lies to deny that these numbers are even real. It started soft, with some conservatives suggesting that some enrollments shouldn’t count or arguing, without a shred of evidence, that huge numbers of new enrollees won’t pay their premiums. Now the lying is blowing up to the shameless level, with “cooking the books” being a common false accusation or, as with Jesse Watters on Fox, straight up accusing the White House of making the number up. Perhaps soon there will be demands to see all these new enrollees’ birth certificates.

4. Contraception mandate.The ACA-based requirement that insurance plans cover contraception without a copay has generated a Gish Gallop so large it deserves its own category. Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check chronicled 12 of the biggest lies generated by the right-wing noise machine in just the past couple of years since the mandate was even announced. It is not “free” birth control, nor is it “paid for” by employers. The birth control coverage is paid for by the employees, with benefits they earn by working. The mandate doesn’t cover “abortifacients,” only contraception. No, birth control doesn’t work by killing fertilized eggs, but by preventing fertilization. It’s simply false that the prescriptions in question can all be replaced with a $9-a-month prescription from Walmart, as many women’s prescriptions run into the hundreds and even thousands a year. No, it’s not true that the contraception mandate is about funding women’s “lifestyle”, because statistics show that having sex for fun instead of procreation is a universal human behavior and not a marginal or unusual behavior as the term “lifestyle” implies.

5. Gun safety. The gun lobby is dishonest to its core. Groups like the NRA like to paint themselves like they are human rights organizations, but in fact, they are an industry lobby whose only real goal is to protect the profit margins of gun manufacturers, regardless of the costs to human health and safety. Because their very existence is based on a lie, is it any surprise that gun industry advocates are experts at the Gish Gallop, ready to spring into action at the sign of any school shooting or report on gun violence and dump so many lies on the public that gun safety advocates can never even begin to address them all?

A small sampling of the many, many lies spouted by gun industry advocates: That guns prevent murder, when in fact more guns correlates strongly with more murders. That gun control doesn’t workThat gun control is unpopular.  That any move to make gun ownership safer is a move to take away your guns. That a gun in the home makes you safer when it actually puts your family at more risk. That guns protect against domestic violence, when the truth is that owning a gun makes abuse worse, not better. Even the standard line “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a distracting bit of dishonesty, since most gun deaths aren’t murders but suicides.

How do you fight the Gish Gallop, when trying to debunk each and every lie is so overwhelming? There are a few tactics that help, including creating websites and pamphlets where all the lies can be aggregated in one place, for swift debunking. (Bingo cards and drinking games are a humorous version of this strategy.) A critical strategy is to avoid lengthy Lincoln-Douglas-style debates that allow conservatives to lie-dump rapidly during their speaking period, leaving you so busy trying to clean up their mess you have no time for positive points of your own. Better is a looser style of debate where you can interrupt and correct the lies as they come. I’ve also found some luck with setting an explicit “no lies” rule that will be strictly enforced. The first lie receives a warning, and the second lie means that the debate is immediately terminated. This helps prevent you from having to debunk and instead makes the price of participation a strict adherence to facts.

 

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Ban Coal: Coal Industry Chemical Threatens 300,000 in West Virginia

FEMA: The federal government sent 75 trucks - each carrying 18,500 liters of water - as well as bottled water to help provide water for those in need

FEMA: The federal government sent 75 trucks – each carrying 18,500 liters of water – as well as bottled water to help provide water for those in need.
 | Reuters

I’m not an advocate for coal so I agree that this report by Juan Cole is on point.

Juan Cole – Informed Comment

Some 300,000 West Virginians are at risk from their tap water after a company making MCHM spilled it into the river, turning it a little purple and making it smell like liquorice. MCHM can be fatal if imbibed, and otherwise it can make you vomit your guts out. It is used to wash coal of impurities.

Coal is destroying the earth. Some 40% of US carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. That amounts to 2 billion metric tons of C02 annually that Americans spew into the atmosphere by burning coal. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, extra amounts of which have been building up in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution and it is warming the earth and the seas inexorably. Humankind only has to 2020 to avoid going beyond a temperature increase of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If we go to 7, 8, 9 degrees F. increase, the whole weather system could become chaotic, threatening human life.

But apart from the threat burning coal forms in causing climate change, it is just really bad for you. Burning it releases massive amounts of mercury into the environment. Mercury is a nerve gas. It isn’t normal that you can only eat fish once or twice a week for fear of being mercury-poisoned. There is some evidence that it may be implicated in the increase in autism among children. Burning coal kills 13,000 Americans each year. That is four 9/11 attacks every year. We had a war on terror, but no president dares announce a war on coal.

And now it should be clear that some of the chemicals used in producing coal for power plants are themselves highly toxic and form a constant health threat.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Wind power is just about as inexpensive as coal, now. The American Midwest, the most highly coal-dependent region in the country, is the Saudi Arabia of wind. And, it has substantial potential for solar power generation, as well.

There are already as many American jobs in the solar power industry as there are American workers in coal mines. The workers can be retrained to install solar panels on people’s roofs.

The US and the world need to make a final push to go as green as possible as soon as possible. Coal is a drag on any such effort.

AP reports:

For the evils of coal see:

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy

Watch The Daily Show mock Trump and other global warming deniers

The Week

Fox News is having a field day using the freezing weather to question climate change. Jon Stewart isn’t amused.

Jon Stewart started out the first Daily Show of 2014 by vowing to give up all discussion of divisive and controversial subjects, like politics and religion. Obviously — thankfully — that didn’t last much longer than his decision to talk about the weather.

The weather, of course, is frigidly cold in New York and throughout much of the rest of the United States, which has predictably empowered global warming deniers. After a series of purposefully awkward jokes, Stewart made the relevant points: The global climate and your city’s weather aren’t the same thing, extreme weather of all types is actually baked into global warming, and globally we’ve notched at least 12 of the hottest years on record since 1995. None of that matters to the talking heads at Fox News, who predict that this cold snap — the “polar vortex” — will end all talk of global warming for good.

This isn’t all that unexpected — as John Aziz points out, belief in global warming fluctuates with the weather. But that doesn’t mean Fox News should fan those doubts, Stewart said. After a strange tangent about how angry his balls are, he lamented: “Apparently decades of peer-reviewed scientific study can be, like a ficus plant, destroyed in one cold weekend.”

Stewart really exploded when Fox Business host Stuart Varney acknowledged that his dismissal of global warming is “just my opinion.” Stewart then took on the common talking point that climate scientists are cooking the data on global warming because of the money and prestige from being a climate scientist — or, as Fox News’ Eric Bolling phrased it: “I think these scientists are laughing from their lavish laboratories and their vacations up at the arctic and their nice boats that are well-equipped.”

So corporations making millions by denying climate change are unimpeachable, Stewart paraphrased, “but keep an eye on those tricky climate scientist thousandaires.” If only there were an expert we all trusted to settle the debate once and for all, Stewart said — before noting Fox News’ turned to, of all people, Donald Trump.

Trump inserted himself into the conversation with a series of weather-related tweets, which he has interspersed with inspirational tweets about entrepreneurialism since late December. A sampling:

After taking some potshots at Trump’s hair, Stewart turned to senior climate correspondent Jessica Williams. The mocking of Trump continued as The Daily Show‘s makeup department got a rare chance to show off its special effects talents.

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96 Percent Of Network Nightly News’ Coverage Of Extreme Weather Doesn’t Mention Climate Change

My guess is that the corporate heads of those networks don’t want climate change mentioned because most of them probably feel it’s against their political ideology.  Of course there is also a “bottom line” factor as well. The networks’ biggest advertisers seem to be  energy related companies…

Think Progress

2013 was a big year for climate. Global carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history; global sea levels hit a record high; oil spills, coal mine landslides, and gas explosions beset the world.

But arguably the most visible and persistent climate event was the increase in ferocity of our weather. 2013 was marked by extremes in temperature and precipitation, conditions that fueled deadly wildfiresflooding, and storm surges.

Despite those facts, America’s major television news stations mostly failed to mention climate change when reporting on events like deadly flooding in Colorado, the string of major wildfires across the American West, and bouts of unseasonable temperatures across the country.

Those are the findings of a new survey released by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), a progressive media criticism group. The results were achieved through analysis of extreme weather news reports with more than 200 words from CBS Evening News, ABC World News and NBC Nightly News for the first nine months of 2013. Extreme weather event reports analyzed included news about hurricanes, drought, wildfires, floods and heat waves.

“Our study demonstrates that when weather is the news, the climate is seldom mentioned,” the organization wrote on its website. “It’s almost as if the climate and the weather were happening on two different planets.”

NewsWeather

CREDIT: FAIR.ORG

Out of this year’s 450 segments about extreme weather, just 16 of those reports mentioned climate change, according to the survey. “In other words, 96 percent of extreme weather stories never discussed the human impact on the climate,” FAIR said.

Breaking it down by network, CBS Evening News was the worst culprit of ignoring climate when talking about weather. According to FAIR’s survey, only two out of 114 reports about extreme weather mentioned the terms “greenhouse gases,” “climate change” or “global warming.” One of those segments was about flooding in North Dakota, wherein the only mention came from the mayor of Fargo, who commented: “Is it climate change? I really don’t know.”

On ABC World News, just eight out of its 200 extreme weather segments — approximately four percent — attributed weather outcomes to climate factors. NBC Nightly News mentioned climate change six times in 136 reports on extreme weather.

“It’s unrealistic to expect that TV newscasts would find a way to mention climate change or a warming planet in every significant story about extreme weather,” the organization wrote. “But you’re unlikely to ever bring up global warming if you don’t think that it’s real.”

While the scientific community is still studying certain aspects of the link between climate change and extreme weather, many connections are clear. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report did not establish whether there was a pattern suggesting an increased frequency of hurricanes and tornadoes due to global warming. But the connection between climate change and the severity of droughts, floods, wildfires and heavy rainfall is obvious. The relatively conservative IPCC warns of increased heat, drought, deluges, and sea-level rise — all the direct result of man-made global warming.

And, as Climate Progress’ own Joe Romm has pointed out, it is all but certain that warming-driven sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive, and that increased water vapor in the atmosphere from increased sea surface temperatures leads to five to ten percent more rainfall and increases the risk of flooding.

As for Hurricane Sandy, there’s little doubt that global warming worsened its impact. In particular, a September study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers found “climate-change related increases in sea level have nearly doubled today’s annual probability of a Sandy-level flood recurrence as compared to 1950.”

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Conservative media’s attacks on climate science effectively erode viewers’ belief in scientists

The Raw Story

When conservatives come away from Fox News feeling ever more certain that climate change is a hoax, it may have something to do with an overall attack on scientists as authorities to be trusted.

So argues a paper published in the August issue of peer-reviewed journal Public Understanding of Science, which connects the conservative disbelief in man-made climate change to a media-driven effort by conservatives to foment broad distrust of scientists.

“Cause and effect is always perilous,” said Jay Hmielowski of the University of Arizona, one of the authors of the study, to Raw Story. But of the conservative media’s attempts to portray climate science in a negative light, “it’s clear that their communication about scientists and global warming is effective.”

The authors used a polling sample of media consumption habits and political views taken in 2008, then compared a smaller sample from the same group reinterviewed about two-and-a-half years later. Researchers asked them which media outlets they watched and listened to, along with their belief in climate science and their trust of scientists.

More consumption of media identified as conservative – Fox News, Rush Limbpaugh and the like – correlated positively with both a loss of trust in the scientific community and a lack of belief that climate change was happening, Hmielowski said. And more consumption of other kinds of news media led to more trust in scientists and a greater degree of belief in climate change. Attitudes polarized over time, in direct relation to the amount and type of media consumed.

“What you’re seeing at the first time point is leading to belief in the second time point,” Hmielowski said.

The irony, though, is that an academic study examining conservative media resistance to climate science may itself be likely to win an attack by the conservative media. Hmielowski, citing previous academic studies, noted that “this coverage often includes specific critiques of mainstream scientists such as ‘the denigration of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals and scientific institutions by contrarian scientists’.”

But Hmielowski thinks he’s probably safe. “We’re not going after them directly – I mean, we’re showing that their message is effective – so I can’t imagine that they’re going to react to it.”

 

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520 scientists sign statement on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century

Full disclosure: I went to a Lutheran elementary school and middle school/High School.  I’m baptized and I believe in  a “Higher Power” than myself.  Oh and I watch as much scientific programming on TV as I can and read a lot of books.  So clearly, what I’m about to say has nothing to do with some hidden or overt bias against religion.

I’m one of those people who respect every religious view, unless it harms me, my family and/or humanity.

Those who would discredit the fact that our planet is approximately 4.5 billion years old and say instead that we’ve only been on this earth since the Creation which is roughly between 6000 -10,000 years, have a fatal flaw in my opinion.  The problem is, many Congressmen and Senators have the same view, and their legislation and policies have reflected that myopia on the subject many times over.

Their denial is costing us dearly in terms of  polar ice caps meltingocean variability  and simply put, life.

I recall a scene in the movie Titanic in which some people did everything possible to keep from drowning.  Then there were a few who consciously or unconsciously tried to pull people down with them as they drowned.  That’s how I see some fundamentalists who deny climate change and it’s a frightening thought.

To deny that our planet is in trouble due to climate change when you are a State or Federal lawmaker and pass or reject bills accordingly is a grave injustice to the rest of the world population.  It’s selfish, arrogant, ignorant and shameful.

Daily Kos

In the one month since it was written, 520 global scientists have signed on to this statement. You can, too. There is more information, including ideas for solutions, at Stanford University’s Millenium Alliance for Humanity & the Biosphere website.

Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life-support systems is overwhelming.We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path.

Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern:

  • Climate disruption—more, faster climate change than since humans first became a species.
  • Extinctions—not since the dinosaurs went extinct have so many species and populations died out so fast, both on land and in the oceans.
  • Wholesale loss of diverse ecosystems—we have plowed, paved, or otherwise transformed more than 40% of Earth’s ice-free land, and no place on land or in the sea is free of our direct or indirect influences.
  • Pollution—environmental contaminants in the air, water and land are at record levels and increasing, seriously harming people and wildlife in unforeseen ways.
  • Human population growth and consumption patterns—seven billion people alive today will likely grow to 9.5 billion by 2050, and the pressures of heavy material consumption among the middle class and wealthy may well intensify.

By the time today’s children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth’s life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future.

As members of the scientific community actively involved in assessing the biological and societal impacts of global change, we are sounding this alarm to the world. For humanity’s continued health and prosperity, we all—individuals, businesses, political leaders, religious leaders, scientists, and people in every walk of life—must work hard to solve these five global problems, starting today: 1. Climate Disruption 2. Extinctions 3. Loss of Ecosystem Diversity 4. Pollution 5. Human Population Growth and Resource Consumption.

The full statement has been signed by 520 global scientists from 44 countries. Those signatures were obtained within a month of completion of the statement, by direct email requests from the authors and their close colleagues to a targeted group of well-regarded global change scientists.   The signers include 2 Nobel Laureates, 33 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences,   42 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and several members of various European scientific academies.

PEOPLE WISHING TO READ THE FULL SUMMARY OR THE ENTIRE REPORT CAN FIND THEM AT http://mahb.stanford.edu.

AT THE SAME SITE PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO ENDORSE THE REPORT IF YOU AGREE WITH IT.  THE MORE ENDOSEMENTS THERE ARE FROM PEOPLE IN EVERY WALK OF LIFE, BETTER THE CHANCE THAT DECISION-MAKERS WILL PAY ATTENTION AND START TO TAKE ACTION.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AS FAR AS POSSIBLE AND URGE THOSE YOU KNOW TO SPEND A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO REGISTER THEIR SUPPORT.

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Filed under Climate Change, Earth

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?

Republican - Elephants on Balloons  :   http://mariopiperni.com/

Good question.

I also, I wonder why “the stupid” is more prevalent within the GOP than anywhere else?  Joe Barton is the same Representative who apologized to BP for being charged with a $20 Billion claims fund after the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  He called it a shakedown.  That’s the guy who is the subject of the following Piperni post…

Mario Piperni

Is it time yet to make a double-digit IQ a prerequisite to running for public office?

Via Foolocracy:

Texas Rep. Joe Barton doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. That’s partially because he is firmly in the pocket of Big Oil. The oil and gas industry is the largest contributor to Barton’s warchest.

However, Barton’s fervor to deny that humans have anything to do with climate change has taken a new direction. In a bizarre reference to the Great Flood of the Bible, Barton is using that as evidence that hydrocarbons don’t change the climate. How Barton draws that comparison is going to have to be left to the imagination. Barton doesn’t elaborate on what forty days of rain in antiquity has to do with the present-day earth warming.

Perhaps he is thinking that today’s rising sea levels are the same challenge that Noah had building an ark. If only the answer to climate change was so simple. Here is the great environmental insight from Barton:

“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that climate is changing. I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence.”

“I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

It’s probably impossible to pack more stupid into a single statement but that won’t stop Barton and his fellow Texas Republicans (Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Steve Stockman – to name a few) from attempting to do that very thing the next time they find themselves in front of a microphone. You can count on it.

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Obama Delivers One of the Best Speeches of His Presidency: a Tour de Force SOTU

obama-sotu-2013-5

obama-sotu-2013-5

I must say, I absolutely agree with the author of the following article, Jason Easley

PoliticusUSA

The Obama vision for America was laid out in sweeping fashion. President Obama delivered what might be the greatest State of the Union address from a president in at least 25 years.

Why was Obama’s address so good? It laid out a real vision for the future.

The president took on broad issues like climate change,”The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.”

Obama laid out the goal of slashing our energy waste in homes and business by 50% over the next 20 years, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”

The president proposed a comprehensive infrastructure repair program that uses public and private capital, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”

Continue reading…

 

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4 important takeaways from President Obama’s second inaugural address

The Examiner

President Obama took a final glance at over 800,000 cheering Americans, paused for a moment and said “I want to take a look, one more time…I’m not going to see again.” The United States witnessed history and with his eyes tearing up, the president walked off the stage and was set to start his second term as the president of the United States.

As President Obama continued through his second inaugural address, the tone of his second term became clear. Unlike some other speeches, President Obama used his platform Monday afternoon to address topics that, at times, seemed to linger in the background of his first term agenda. There were many takeaways following the speech, and here are just a few.

1. Climate change will be a major issue over the next four years:

During President Obama’s speech, the president addressed climate change and the adverse effects that ignoring the problem could cause. While many on the far right continue to push false theories that climate change and global warming are “conspiracy theories” from the “liberal” media, the reality is that climate change is very real and action needs to be taken. President Obama made it a point to bring up the controversial topic, laying the foundation for future legislation over the next four years.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

2. The push for LGBT equality will only continue

For the first time in an inaugural address, the LGBT community were brought up by name to the delight of over hundreds of thousands of screaming supporters. President Obama has made progress on LGBT rights over his first term, from repealing Don’t ask, Don’t tell, to openly favoring same-sex marriage. While the majority of Americans now support marriage equality, the push back from the Republican party and the far right shows no sign of slowing down and neither does the president.

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

3. President Obama will continue to fight for the “big three”

One major difference between Democrats and Republicans is their idea of what the proper role of government should be. While Republicans claim to want a small government, they increase the size of its role when it fits their party’s ideology. The GOP push for a reduced role of government when it might limit the profits of large corporation or level the playing field between management and labor, but when they can increase government to attack women’s rights or increase military spending, they jump at the chance. With the economy still struggling, Republicans continue to fight for cuts to necessary programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Knowing the fight will continue, President Obama drew his line in the sand.

“We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

4. Women will have a president who will fight for them

The phrase “War on Women” was a popular one this past election cycle, with both sides of the argument letting their voice be heard. Whether it’s the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke feud or the talking heads on Fox News, the fight for women’s rights (pay equality, contraception) will surely continue during the president’s second term and President Obama seems up for the fight.

‎”It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

The next four years will prove to be a major fork in the road for the United States and President Obama is driving the car. With a divided congress in front of him, President Obama will have to decide which way the country is going and mold his own legacy.

To read the full transcript of President Obama’s inaugural address, visit the Boston Globe.

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Filed under U.S. Politics

Businessweek Hurricane Sandy Cover: ‘It’s Global Warming, Stupid’

Thanks to New york City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the issue of global warming may finally be getting some much-needed attention.  Better late than never, as they say…

The Huffington Post

Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover story this week takes a direct approach to linking Hurricane Sandy and climate change.

As the storm approached the East Coast on Monday, many media outlets considered the link between the hurricane and climate change vital to its coverage. While the connection was broached on social media sites like Twitter, the discussion did not get noticeable attention on cable new networks that were continuously covering the storm.

Bloomberg Businessweek, however, made the connection loud and clear with its cover story. Above a photo of a flooded, powerless city street, the headline “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING, STUPID” appears in bold, underlined text.

Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel tweeted, “Our cover story this week may generate controversy, but only among the stupid.”

 

bloomberg businessweek sandy

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Filed under Global Warming, Hurricaine Sandy 10/2012