Tag Archive: climate change

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse holds Google hangout on climate change

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Last Thursday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) held a Google hangout video conference sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters. Also on hand for the video chat were Gene Karpinski, President of LCV, and LCV’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld. Senator Whitehouse is perhaps the leading Senator on climate change issues, and has given a “Time to Wake Up” environmental speech on the Senate floor every week for the past 100 weeks that the Senate has been in session, i.e., over the past three years. Whitehouse also took questions from the Google hangout audience, and worked with LCV to use the Twitter hashtags #TimeToWakeUp and #100Reasons to further the interaction with the audience. Here are some highlights from the video conference:

The one-word difference between liberals and conservatives

"Birther" protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

“Birther” protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

Anyone who pays attention to the arguments made by conservatives (and Republicans, same thing nowadays) versus those made by liberals and Democrats knows that their respective ways of thinking and speaking is entirely different. Researchers have even found that conservative and liberal brains work very differently. But what the scientists haven’t mentioned is that you can usually identify whether someone is a liberal or a conservative by listening for one word.

Republican presidential primary problems

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

In the 2012 Presidential primaries, the Republican Clown Car had a crackup. The GOP candidates fell all over each other to kowtow to the narrow, extreme Republican primary base (comprised, for example, in Iowa, of 60 percent Evangelical Christians). Michele Bachmann said that the HPV vaccine causes “mental retardation,” and Herman Cain mocked the very idea of having foreign policy knowledge. Then came Willard Mitt Romney‘s disastrous “Etch-A-Sketch” moment, in which Romney’s Communications Director dumbly asserted that, after lurching to the right in the primaries, Romney could simply “hit a reset button” for the general election, “like an Etch-A-Sketch,” as if no one would hold Romney accountable for the positions he was taking and as if the giant Memory Machine known as the Internet didn’t exist. Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch moment perfectly summed up the Republican Party’s 2012 problem. Romney’s Republican rivals such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum pounced on the Etch-A-Sketch statement as proof that Romney could not be trusted by the GOPs conservative base. Romney ended up being trusted by no part of the electorate. Fast forward to the present day, and it appears that the GOP is poised to repeat these same mistakes of 2012.

The Democratic Party of Yes vs. the Republican Party of No

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Last Saturday’s event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, was a jarring reminder of how the Democratic Party has become the party of “Yes” while the Republican Party stands in the way of progress as the party of “No.”

On issue after issue, including voting rights, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, equal pay for women, diplomacy instead of warmongering with Iran, tackling climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun safety laws, high-speed trains, stopping police violence, renewable energy and more, the Democrats are the party of “Yes” while the Republicans define themselves by being against these things, and especially, being against whatever President Obama is for. Republicans now pathologically say “no” to things even if, as is the case with the Affordable Care Act, repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and executive action on immigration, Republicans previously (even recently) supported those very things.

Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

The solar energy explosion of 2015

Solar installation on Walmart store, Mountain View, CA

Solar installation on Walmart store, Mountain View, CA

Did you notice a lot more solar panels in 2014, on homes, schools, shopping malls, street lights, road signs, public lands and elsewhere? If so, you weren’t imagining things. Solar energy installations are taking off in the United States and elsewhere around the world, to the point where 2015 is shaping up to be the Year of Solar Power. Take a look at some of the recent growth in solar energy:

An issue-based approach for Democrats and progressives

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Mainstream Democratic and progressive voters don’t agree on everything, but they all seemed to agree on one thing after last Tuesday’s elections: the Democratic Party let them down. Democratic officeholders and candidates running for election ran away from President Obama and his agenda. One example was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Grimes not only refused to assert that she had voted for President Obama, she was reluctant to tout the stunning success of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky (known as Kynect), and instead began most answers by naming problems with the ACA that need fixing.

Running away from the President’s record in 2014 made no sense for Democrats, as President Obama’s agenda literally was the Democrats’ agenda. Every law that President Obama signed, from the Stimulus to the Affordable Care Act, was something that a majority in Congress, and certainly a majority of Democrats in Congress, first had to pass. Perhaps some Democrats need to go back and read their Constitution, or watch Schoolhouse Rock.

The Smithsonian museums are liberal!

IMG_0565If you visit the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington, D.C. (free admission courtesy of your tax dollars) and have your political antennae extended, you’ll find some refreshingly liberal facts. Among them are:

The Obama White House message on climate change

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On Wednesday night, Organizing for Action (OFA), the grassroots organization that pushes for President Obama‘s agenda, held a conference call to discuss the Obama administration’s proposed new Environmental Protection Agency rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The call featured Rohan Patel, who is special assistant to President Obama and White House Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Patel spoke about what the Obama administration seeks to accomplish with the new EPA rules, as well as the White House messaging on climate change.

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.