JanF

President Obama: “Climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now.”

President Obama is in Alaska for a three day visit. While there, he attended the GLACIER conference. GLACIER is “Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience” and is chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama:

… climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now. Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety — now. Today. And climate change is a trend that affects all trends — economic trends, security trends. Everything will be impacted. And it becomes more dramatic with each passing year.[…]

I’ve come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating this problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it. And I believe we can solve it. That’s the good news. Even if we cannot reverse the damage that we’ve already caused, we have the means — the scientific imagination and technological innovation — to avoid irreparable harm. […]

… the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers is past. The time to plead ignorance is surely past. Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone. They’re on their own shrinking island.

FACT SHEET: President Obama to Announce New Steps to Enhance Administration Collaboration with Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, and Local Communities

President Obama will meet with leaders from the Alaska Native community along with Governor Bill Walker, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, and Senator Lisa Murkowski to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes, including by furthering progress in developing cooperative management strategies for fish and wildlife. The President will also announce that the Federal Government has officially restored the Koyukon Athabascan name of Denali to the tallest mountain in North America, previously known as Mt. McKinley. This designation recognizes the sacred status of Denali to generations of Alaska Natives.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century. In his address, the President spoke to ways in which we can address these challenges, including the transition away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources like wind and solar, an effort in which America is already leading. And he stressed that while our economy still has to rely on oil and gas during that transition, we should rely more on domestic production than importing from foreign counties who do not have the same environmental or safety standards as the United States. The President looked forward to his upcoming trip, and promised that while he is in office, America will lead the world to meet the threat of climate change before it’s too late.

President Obama: “We are deeply optimistic about American ingenuity”

Last night, President Obama was in Las Vegas and spoke at the National Clean Energy Summit.

President Obama:

Yes, we’ve become the world’s number-one producer of oil and natural gas, but we’ve also become a major player in clean energy. And these advances have helped to grow our economy and created a steady stream of well-paying jobs. They’ve also helped us reduce the dangerous emissions that contribute to climate change. […]

So if you care about climate change, the very fact that companies realize clean energy and energy efficiency are not only cost-effective but cost-saving should give you a big jolt of hope. […]

So we see the trend lines. We see where technology is taking us. We see where consumers want to go. And that, let’s be honest, has some big fossil fuel interests pretty nervous — to the point where they’re trying to fight renewable energy. (Applause.)

Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy, and suddenly you’re not for it anymore. (Laughter.) That’s a problem. […]

There is something big happening in America right now. For the first time, we can actually see what our clean energy future looks like. […]

This generation of Americans is hammering into place the high-tech foundations of a clean energy age. It’s the same people who first harnessed the power of the atom, the power of the sun; the same spirit of people who connected the continent by road and by rail, who connected the world through our science and our imaginations; the same people who set foot on the Moon, and put a rover on Mars, and probes the farthest reaches of our solar system.

That’s what Americans do. We can do anything.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. “… it’s about treating where it hurts”

Leonard Pitts, Jr. has something to say about #BlackLivesMatter:

This is a column about three words of moral cowardice:

“All lives matter.”

Those words have risen as a kind of counter to “Black lives matter,” the movement that coalesced in response to recent killings and woundings of unarmed African Americans by assailants — usually police officers — who often go unpunished. Mike Huckabee raised that counter-cry last week, telling CNN, “When I hear people scream ‘black lives matter,’ I’m thinking, of course, they do. But all lives matter. It’s not that any life matters more than another.”

As if that were not bad enough, the former Arkansas governor and would-be president upped the ante by adding that Martin Luther King would be “appalled by the notion that we’re elevating some lives above others.”

“Elevating some lives.” Lord, have mercy.

Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time for Congress To Pass a Responsible Budget

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke to the economic progress that our country has made, from 13 million new jobs created over the past five and a half years, to 17 states raising the minimum wage. Congress needs to do its part to continue to help grow the economy, but instead left town last month with a great deal undone. Congress failed to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, which enjoys bipartisan support and is tasked solely with creating American jobs by growing exports. And most pressingly, the Republican Congress failed to uphold their most basic responsibility to fund the government, leaving them only a few weeks once they return to pass a budget, or shut down the government for the second time in two years. The President made clear that Congress needs to get to work on behalf of the American people and reach a budget agreement that relieves the harmful sequester cuts and keeps our economy growing.

Say His Name: Radazz Hearns

From ThinkProgress:

When Radazz Hearns was shot seven times by police in Trenton, New Jersey earlier this month, police claimed the 14-year-old pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot them while running. Now, the attorney general’s office says those allegations are unsupported, and an eyewitness says Hearns was actually unarmed and trying to pull up his pants as he ran.

According to the attorney general’s office, Hearns was one of three teenage boys questioned by three Targeted Integrated Deployment Effort (TIDE) officers near an apartment complex, after a shooting was reported nearby. An anonymous police source alleged Hearns ran away from the cops and reached for what the officers thought was a gun. At one point, they say, Hearns turned around while running and attempted to shoot at them. The three officers opened fire, hitting Hearns seven times in the legs and butt.

Eyewitness Rhonda Tirado, who watched the chase and shooting from her home, paints a different picture of what happened. Tirado alleges the boys were laughing and joking for 15 minutes before the cops arrived near her house, and agrees that the three males were confronted by the officers. She also contends Hearns tried to flee. But Tirado says the teenager looked like he was trying to pull his pants up — not grabbing a weapon.

Those police were amped and they didn’t give that little boy a chance,” she explained to NJ.com. “There was no room for no chase. They just shot that little boy right there.”

Radazz Hearns is “lucky” … he was released from the hospital on Monday and is expected to recover from his wounds.

Unlucky: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Samuel DuBose, Christian Taylor …

Deal me in!

Friday night, Hillary Clinton, along with the other 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidates, spoke at the Wing Ding Dinner, an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser in Clear Lake, IA.

There is a lot at stake in the 2016 presidential election, an election where the contrasts between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party could not be more stark. On the environment, climate change, diplomacy rather than war, women’s rights, income inequality, racial justice, poverty, access to affordable health care, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and more … on issue after issue one party stands firmly on the side of the people and one stands firmly on the side of the special interests and those who do not value the dignity of human life.

One such issue is the full on assault on women’s health. In 2016, all of the the declared Republican candidates have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and many of them have declared their support for new abortion restrictions: no exceptions for any reason including to save the life of the mother. That restriction is not just ignorant (in an ectopic pregnancy, for example, neither the pregnant woman or the fetus would survive) but so out of the mainstream view on abortion that only 9% of Americans support it. Even their refusal to exempt the cases of rape and incest are at odds with most Americans as a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll (PDF, pg 15) showed that 83% support keeping abortion legal when the physical health of the mother is at risk or in cases of rape and incest.

In 2012, after losing the presidential election, and women’s votes by 12% (including a whopping 38% of unmarried women), the Republican National Committee conducted a post-mortem. One of the “shocking” discoveries was that people believed that Republicans are completely out of touch with women’s issues including equal pay, family leave, and reproductive rights. The RNC boldly declared that they would change their language (but not their policies) and in 2014, they Etch-a-Sketched away their Senate candidates’ extremist positions on fetal personhood laws and gained a majority in the U.S. Senate and in the 114th Congress.

Fast forward to 2015 where their current crop of candidates make cavemen look like feminists.

Secretary Clinton had this to say about women’s issues Friday night:

“… when it comes to women’s health and women’s rights, Mr. Trump’s words are appalling, but so are the policies of the other candidates. Senator Rubio brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to an abortion. Governor Bush says $500 million is too much to spend on women’s health. And they all want to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Well, why don’t they try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening. Or the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to contraception. Or anyone who was protected by an HIV test.

Now, this might work in a Republican primary, but it sure doesn’t work in 21st century America. I am so tired of politicians shaming and blaming women. I am tired of Republicans dismissing the contributions women make to our economy and ignoring the obstacles that hold so many back from contributing even more. We cannot afford to leave talent on the sidelines. Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they’re going to take care of their child or what happens when a family member gets sick. That is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and it’s also an economic growth strategy.

“This isn’t complicated. When you shortchange women you shortchange families, and when you shortchange families you shortchange America. And I know when I talk about this some people think, “There she goes again with the women’s issues.” Like, Mitch McConnell said recently I’m playing the gender card.

“Well, if calling for equal pay and paid leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in. Let me add, if helping more working parents find quality, affordable childcare is playing the gender card, then I’m ready to ante up.

Hey, deal me in, too! Let’s take this fight to the Republican Party in 2016 and let’s take this fight to them with the strongest candidate on women’s issues that we have: Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton: If this feels like a full on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is.”
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