For climate change reality, watch the insurance companies and local officials

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaks at Maryland Climate Change Summit, 2013

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley speaks at Maryland Climate Change Summit, 2013

The Obama Administration’s latest move to battle climate change — new Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to cut power plant emissions by 30 percent — will likely set off a Republican response not unlike their response to the Affordable Care Act. We can expect lies, delays and lawsuits from Republicans and their Big Coal corporate backers to block the EPA rules. However, while many Republicans have the luxury of being climate change deniers to score political points, insurance companies and state and local officials do not have this luxury. Even insurance companies run by Republicans, and Republican state and local officials, will have to deal with the actual effects of climate change, such as an increase in claims by homeowners and business owners for damage related to rising sea levels, storm surges and fires, increased health care claims, and state and local budgets depleted by disaster response and rebuilding. That’s why it will be important to watch what these insurance company executives and public officials do.

The media frenzy over the UCSB shooting frenzy

Gun play

Gun play

The University of California Santa Barbara killings by Elliot Rodger should have unleashed a unified national outcry to break the mental illness/gun accessibility chain, as exhibited by Richard Martinez, father of one of Elliot’s victims, Chris Martinez. Instead, some feminist writers have gone off on a tangent that has led to a separate media frenzy. From slamming so-called “pickup artists” to blaming the shootings on Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow movies, these articles appear to glom existing feminist theories onto a tragedy, or worse, as Judd Apatow tweeted about Ann Hornaday‘s Washington Post article, “She uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts.” In this case, such theories are woefully off base, and threaten to drive a wedge between men and women on an issue on which we all should agree.

CNN’s harvest of shame

CNN‘s desperate attempts to raise its flagging ratings have led to actions that can be viewed as either sad or comical. CNN spent months devoting the majority of its coverage to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, MH 370, beyond all reasonable proportion given that there were no new developments for days on end. The result was hours of cringworthy speculation, including the infamous moment where Don Lemon asked:

[W]hat if it was something, fully, that we don’t really understand? A lot of people have been asking me about that, about black holes and on and on and on, and all these conspiracy theories. Let’s look at this, ah, Noah says, ‘what else can you think? Black hole? Bermuda triangle?’ And then Deji says, ‘Huh? Just like in the movie LOST?’ It’s also referencing the Twilight Zone, which is a very similar plot. That’s what people are saying…  is it preposterous…?

Now that even CNN has had to curtail its MH 370 coverage due to lack of any news, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker recently gave some hints as to his plans for CNN’s direction. What emerged is an audience-driven format that seems to bear little resemblance to actual news coverage.

GOP Death Spiral report card

Cliven Bundy

Cliven Bundy

After the Republican Party’s losses in the 2012 elections at the Presidential, Senate and House of Representatives, the GOP released an “Autopsy” report that called for Republican outreach to women, blacks, gays, Latinos and Asians. Several months later, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said that the GOP was in a “demographic death spiral” that would continue unless and until the Republicans pass immigration reform and “get it off the table” in order to “get back in good graces with the Hispanic community.” Let’s see how that outreach is working for Republicans one year later:

Outside the belly of the beast at Ronald Reagan Library

IMG_0431
What happens when a couple of Democrats show up at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California? Well, the first thing is that they don’t go inside, because admission is $16 per person, and what sane Democrat would spend $16 to honor Ronald Reagan’s memory? But the outside of the Library is very telling, and of course they let you in the gift shop, because Republicans. We took photos that tell the full sordid story, so read on after the jump:

Bite-sizing climate change

Hurricane Sandy flooding, October 2012

Hurricane Sandy flooding, October 2012

Today, the U.S. Government released its annual National Climate Assessment (NCA) and it is deservedly scary. Just last month, the United Nations released its landmark report on climate change, and it also was duly scary. Both of these reports, like the ones published before them, indicate that climate change is here, that it is largely caused by human activity such as burning of fossil fuels, that climate change is partly responsible for severe weather events like storms and drought, that climate change, if unchecked, will cause massive economic and other upheavals, and that climate change can be mitigated by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and using more clean renewable energy. However, many people seem to find climate change too big and too scary, and thus feel frozen to do anything about it. Instead of treating climate change as such a big scary problem, as these reports often do, perhaps it is now time to bite-size climate change in order to solve it.

Messaging Maxim #7: You get the legislation or you get the issue

Thor's hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Thor’s hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Once again, Republicans in Congress have shot down a good proposal from the Democrats, this time a federal minimum wage hike. Instead of being dejected or just complaining about the “party of ‘no,’” Democrats should recognize that they have an important weapon, and it’s the hammer of having an issue on which to run.

Cliven Bundy’s problem isn’t racism, it’s hypocrisy


The media frenzy over Cliven Bundy kicked into high gear a little over a week ago, when Bundy gave a “news conference” (see video above) in which he talked about “the negro” now being “on government subsidy” and having “nothing to do”:

They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, were they better off as slaves picking cotton, having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidies?

President Obama slams Republicans on Affordable Care Act

President Obama held a press conference yesterday (see video above), and it turned into a masterful attack by the President against Republicans on the Affordable Care Act:

Everytown for Gun Safety takes on NRA with ad focusing on moms

Mayors against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have joined forces to form Everytown for Gun Safety, a new group dedicated to fighting the National Rifle Association to campaign for sensible gun laws. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting his name, and at least $50 million of his money, into Everytown’s campaign.