tagged w/ Bipartisanship
It’s hard for me to imagine that Republicans, who have spent the last three and a half years painting him as a foreign-born, Kenyan, secret Muslim, socialist, Marxist, pinko-commie-crat, would perform such a dramatic about-face. Sure, a president can dream, but they hate Obama with a passion, and it’s my guess that they would go out of their way to paint him as an abject failure, even in a second term.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=42009It’s hard for me to imagine that Republicans, who have spent the last three and... more
Levels of copper, cadmium, lead and other metals in Southern California's coastal waters have plummeted over the past four decades, according to new research from USC.
Samples taken off the coast reveal that the waters have seen a 100-fold decrease in lead and a 400-fold decrease in copper and cadmium. Concentrations of metals in the surface waters off Los Angeles are now comparable to levels found in surface waters along a remote stretch of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.
Sergio Sanudo-Wilhelmy, who led the research team, attributed the cleaner water to sewage treatment regulations that were part of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and to the phase-out of leaded gasoline in the 1970s and 1980s.
"For the first time, we have evaluated the impact of the Clean Water Act in the waters of a coastal environment as extensive as Southern California," said Sanudo-Wilhelmy, professor of Biological and Earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
"We can see that if we remove the contaminants from wastewater, eventually the ocean responds and cleans itself. The system is resilient to some extent," he said.
The USC researchers compared water samples from roughly 30 locations between Point Dume to the north and Long Beach to the south to samples taken in the exact same locations in 1976 by two researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz: Kenneth Bruland and Robert Franks.
"We wanted to assume that the Clean Water Act was working, but we needed good data to allow us to compare water conditions 'before and after,'" he said.
"Fortunately for us, we have the data generated by Bruland and Franks. That gave us a rare opportunity to see the impact of cleaning our sewage and see the effect on the coastal ocean. The population of Southern California has increased in the last 40 years, the sewage treatment has been improved, and the levels of metals in the coastal ocean have declined."
Sanudo-Wilhelmy's team-which includes USC doctoral researcher Emily A. Smail and Eric A. Webb, associate professor at USC Dornsife-published its findings this month in Environmental Science and Technology.
More at the linkLevels of copper, cadmium, lead and other metals in Southern California's coastal... more
Following a vote in its Senate on Thursday evening, Mexico is poised to become just the second country in the world to enshrine long-term climate targets into national legislation.
The margin of the vote was huge - 78-0 - indicating that all political parties have found common ground on this issue.
Now all that's needed is the signature of President Felipe Calderon, which is expected to materialise next week.
The bill enshrines a number of measures in law, including:
30% reduction in emission growth measured against a "business as usual" pathway by 2020, and 50% by 2050
35% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2024
obligation for government agencies to use renewables
establishment of a national mechanism for reporting on emissions in various sectors
The targets look pretty demanding at first sight - especially for a country where the population is growing and the economy expanding, and where oil makes a significant contribution to the national coffers.
So why is it taking steps that to the eyes of many will probably look like economic suicide?
Tlajomulco, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, recently saw a major oil pipeline fire
I had a chance to ask three Mexican parliamentarians recently when they came to London to look at how the UK, the first country in the world with this sort of national legislation, is doing it.
The views of Eric Luis Rubio Barthell, Nicolas Bellizia Aboaf and Porfirio Munoz Ledo were quite diverse - perhaps not surprising, as they come from different political parties.
"Mexico has a long tradition in multilateral politics," said Mr Munoz Ledo, a founder member of the centre-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) who now chairs the Foreign Affairs Commission.
That tradition re-asserted itself at the UN climate summit in Cancun in 2010, he said - and "this legislation is a strong commitment coming out of Cancun" to reflect that international commitment on climate change in national legislation.
For Mr Bellizia Aboaf, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which despite its name is considered more of a centrist party these days, it was more about practical issues.
"My state of Tabasco has suffered quite heavily the consequences of climate change," he said.
Low-lying Tabasco has traditionally suffered from flooding but the events of 2007, when water covered 80% of the state, were especially severe.
Yet Tabasco also has nearly 1,000 oil and gas wells in operation - a microcosm of Mexico in general, which is the sixth largest oil exporter in the world.
Traditionally, big hydrocarbon-producing countries have fought tooth and nail against action on climate change; and Mr Rubio Barthell, also of the PRI, said Middle Eastern oil-exporting countries have repeatedly asked Mexico to take this stance too.
But as the country has developed, oil and gas have become progressively less important to the economy as a whole.
That's why a more green economic vision makes sense for a number of politicians.
"I personally think this climate change topic should be an economic and energy issue, not an ecological issue, though I recognise that opinions are divided on this," said Mr Rubio Barthell.
And for Mr Munoz Ledo, the transition implied by a 35% renewable energy target is necessary and absolutely achievable.
The 2010 summit in Cancun put the UN climate convention's journey back on the road
"Mexico is aware this is the end of the oil era, so we need to implement this fiscal reform - and if we go through it, we'll be able to do without this oil," he said.
Solar energy, hydro-electricity, geothermal, biofuels and nuclear are options that are going to be explored.
The irony is, of course, that Mexico has traditionally been a younger and poorer cousin of the giant to its north, the United States, which has repeatedly declined to establish legislation of anything like this strength, citing impacts on economic growth.
"Power for the US is based on the army and energy and oil," Mr Munoz Ledo said.
"In 1989 you had [George] Bush senior coming into office from an oil background; if you go through Clinton and Obama, they serve the oil interest first.
"We're talking about the politics of neo-liberalism here which is based on oil interests and indebtedness - this is why so many in the US don't accept climate change, even though it's based on scientific evidence."
More at the linkFollowing a vote in its Senate on Thursday evening, Mexico is poised to become just... more
In July 2011, the Brisbane Times reported that Australia’s carbon price was dead in the water. Polling revealed that support for the legislation was low and that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had done a poor job explaining the bill. Down in the trenches, mud was flying: a politician compared a progressive activist organization supporting the carbon price, GetUp!, to the Hitler Youth League (GetUp!, by the way, is also the organization that produced this moving and wildly viral video in support of marriage equality last fall).
Despite ferocious opposition, the carbon price squeaked through the Australian parliament months later, sending a jolt of optimism through the global community. Like other climate bills, it ended up being pockmarked with holes gaping enough to drive an SUV through, but one of the largest per-capita carbon emitters in the world was clearly willing to throw its hat in the ring on climate action. The skeptics had been proven wrong.
Here in the U.S., activists perked up at news of Australia’s carbon price but overall seem hardened to federal policy after the American Clean Energy and Security Act failed to pass in 2010 (many environmentalists were opposed to the hulking and imperfect bill anyway, adding another layer of ambivalence). And don’t even mention the attitude in Congress. “We’re busy enough fighting off attacks on the EPA” is the mantra Democratic Congressmembers and environmentalists alike are fond of repeating these days.
But like crocus bulbs shifting under the frozen ground, a movement has been building for federal climate policy. And the time is right: belief in climate change among the general public has just taken an upward turn, according to Brookings.
Partly due to the pressure applied by groups like Citizens Climate Lobby, politicians and other leaders are beginning to warm up the public on carbon pricing.
NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen has been promoting fee-and-dividend legislation for years, recently appearing on MSNBC with Treehugger’s Brian Merchant. Soon after, the Washington Post editorial page released a small flurry of pieces on carbon taxation. First, that famous tag-team, Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, along with former Republican House members Sherwood Boehlert and Wayne Gilchrest , endorsed a carbon price in an op-ed:
We could slash our debt by making power plants and oil refineries pay for the carbon emissions that endanger our health and environment. This policy would strengthen our economy, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, keep our skies clean — and raise a lot of revenue.
Then the paper’s fickle editorial board endorsed Pete Stark’s existing carbon tax bill (H.R. 3242 – the Save Our Climate Act) currently languishing in committee. Leadership on the issue from politicians, even from well-known liberals like Stark, is sorely needed. Especially when the public, for better or worse, forms opinions based on their statements.
The LA Times editorial page, too, has been drumming up support for a carbon tax. Their neighbor to the north, British Columbia, passed a carbon tax three years ago and the evidence of its success is a hopeful sign.
Just do it. Put a price on carbon, one way or another. How much is levied, and where and exactly how it’s levied, aren’t as important as the principle that we all pay something for emissions.
In Canada — and in California — it will take time, and trial and error, to get climate change regulations off the ground and working. It’s difficult, yes. Complicated too. But it’s not economic or political suicide.
One can’t deny some heavy lifting is in order, but with luck we can learn from our past missteps. The environmental community will need to better communicate its goals, think outside the insular lobbying strategies of yore, and truly work with groups across the political and interest spectrum from unions and environmental justice groups to business and religious leaders, and especially Republicans.
That last point may seem like a joke in the current political climate but behind the scenes, many Republicans do support a carbon tax. David Roberts of Grist has even gone as far as calling carbon pricing a fundamentally conservative policy. Case in point: Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney’s economic advisor Gregory Mankiw is a strong proponent of a carbon tax, and his observations about the resistance to the policy reflect Roberts’ own:
In the debate over global climate change, there is a yawning gap that needs to be bridged. The gap is not between environmentalists and industrialists, or between Democrats and Republicans. It is between policy wonks and political consultants.
Among policy wonks like me, there is a broad consensus. The scientists tell us that world temperatures are rising because humans are emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Basic economics tells us that when you tax something, you normally get less of it. So if we want to reduce global emissions of carbon, we need a global carbon tax. Q.E.D.
We’re encouraged by statements from conservatives like Mankiw, Boehlert and Gilchrest, but what’s really moving us these days is the growing army of committed citizen lobbyists around the country we’ve seen jump into the lion’s den. They’re inspiring us to rethink our rote pessimism, and the idea that the general public can’t be rallied around this issue.
More at the linkIn July 2011, the Brisbane Times reported that Australia’s carbon price was dead... more
By David Edwards
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Why does Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hate Christmas?
The Arizona senator slammed President Barack Obama on Thursday for buying Christmas gifts for his daughters instead of meeting with the House Republicans who are refusing to pass a payroll tax cut extension.
“The four previous presidents I served under, including President Clinton, would be calling them over to the White House and sitting down with them and looking them in the eye and saying, ‘Look, we need to fix this,’” McCain told CNN’s Ali Velshi.
“The Republicans are losing this fight. We need to get back on track. There is no doubt about that,” the senator admitted. “But I think it requires some presidential leadership as well as a little bit of bipartisanship.”
“In times like the past, in the past, four presidents that I served under, they have exerted a lot more leadership than going shopping.”
A two-month extension of the payroll tax cut was passed with the bipartisan approval of 89 senators — something that is almost unheard of on serious legislation — but House Republicans are demanding that cut be extended for a year. Americans’ taxes will automatically go up if a bill is not signed in the next week.
Watch this video from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Dec. 22, 2011.
"I think the Old Kermudgeon is still Pissed that he Lost!!!!"By David Edwards
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Why does Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hate... more
Gee willikers, it seems Congress's deficit "super committee" is having trouble reaching their $1.5 trillion deficit. Who could've guessed a committee of 6 Democans and 6 Republicrats wouldn't rise above the obstruction in Congress's bowels to avoid a prolapse in the nation's economic ass. The answer: the same dolts who didn't see the economic implosion coming.Gee willikers, it seems Congress's deficit "super committee" is having... more
Meet Little Fixer, the guy who apparently helps politics get done! He helped out with the debt ceiling, deficit negotiations and much more. Little Fixer is here to stay, at least for Republicans.
http://veracitystew.com/2011/09/15/bipartisansh-video/Meet Little Fixer, the guy who apparently helps politics get done! He helped out with... more
After months of frustrating negotiations, I finally came to a deal with my dogs last week that allows them to crap on the living room rug as much as they like.
It was a bipartisan deal. At first, the dogs demanded the right to crap not only in the living room, but in the hallway, in the office, in our bedrooms and on our beds if they felt like it.
Originally, I asked the dogs to start earning their keep by at least auditioning for a few “dog food” or “pet store” commercials. This way, they could bring in some added revenue to our accounts, and we would be able to afford the constant rug shampooing their crapping would make necessary.
They refused this outright and said that if we didn’t let them poop wherever and whenever they pleased, they would maim my wife and stepson.
Well, this was unacceptable. So our talks dragged on through the weeks and months until we approached the August 2nd deadline for our home to be inspected and appraised by the people who own the property.
http://technorati.com/politics/article/bipartisan-deal-with-my-dogs-leads/After months of frustrating negotiations, I finally came to a deal with my dogs last... more
Washington's chronic overspending is just like a junkie's addiction to drugs. Unless the cycle of addiction is broken, our economic and unemployment situation will continue to suffer. Washington is out of time. To avoid hitting rock bottom, Washington must cut spending today. To spread this message, Washington Could Learn a Lot has created this video. Learn more at washingtoncouldlearnalot.com.Washington's chronic overspending is just like a junkie's addiction to... more
As long as there are sides to take, people will take them.
As long as there are the democratic and republican parties, this country will stay divided.
The US gov't needs to hit the reset button.
Divided. We. Stand.As long as there are sides to take, people will take them.
As long as there are... more
From foreign policy to economics to social policy to philosophy, this is 180° in less than 180 seconds!From foreign policy to economics to social policy to philosophy, this is 180° in... more
Bipartisan PolitiFact's choice of Lie of the Year for "A government takeover of health care" must have been a tough choice. But, it'll give everyone the chance to voice the opinion that whoever picked it is a dead-wrong ass cake and there's nothing Americans like more than eating their ass cake and having it too.Bipartisan PolitiFact's choice of Lie of the Year for "A government takeover... more
US President Barack Obama has announced a bipartisan agreement has been reached to extend soon-to-expire Bush era tax cuts to all Americans.
Referring to the bitter wrangling over the issue, Mr Obama said he would not "let working families become collateral damage for political warfare".
Some Democrats have said the deal, which must be voted on by Congress, is too generous to the wealthy.
Unemployment benefits will also be renewed under the agreement.
The BBC's Steve Kingstone, in Washington, says the deal represents a climb-down by President Obama.
It marks a reversal of his position, first laid out in his 2008 campaign, that tax cuts should only be extended at incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
Following November's mid-term elections, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and increased their power in the Senate.
Mr Obama's announcement came two days after the US Senate rejected President Obama's preferred tax plan.
Elements of the framework deal include:
A two-year extension of income tax cuts for all Americans enacted in 2001 and 2003 under former President Bush
A 13-month extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed
A 35% tax for two years on estates worth more than $5m
A Social Security tax cut that would see the tax drop from 6.2% of pay to 4.2% for one year
Allowing businesses to write off all their capital investments for tax purposes during 2011
Extending the Earned Income Tax Credit, the child tax credit and tuition credits
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11933043US President Barack Obama has announced a bipartisan agreement has been reached to... more
Finally . . . more sites voicing our frustration
It is amazing how public’s growing frustration with our elected officials is snowballing.
www.bipartisanshipnow.orgFinally . . . more sites voicing our frustration
It is amazing how public’s... more
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
Image courtesy of Flickr user Mad African!: (Broken Sword), via Creative Commons LicenseOn Monday, the White House released its plan for health care reform, which resembles the Senate bill with additional concessions for liberals and labor unions. Tomorrow, President Obama will hold a televised health care summit. Obama is billing the summit as a last-ditch attempt to solicit Republican ideas for health care reform. In fact, he’s hoping to give the GOP enough rope to hang itself.
It takes two…
As Katrina vanden Huevel argues in the Nation, bipartisanship takes two parties, but the Republicans have refused to negotiate unless health care reform starts over from scratch. That’s not bipartisanship, that’s showboating. President Obama is giving the Republicans one last chance to waste the entire country’s time so that he can point to the sorry spectacle and say, “Look, what they made us do.”
In other words, the White House has finally accepted what progressives have been saying for months: There’s no way to pass an acceptable health care reform without using the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.
What’s in the White House plan?
What does the White House want for health reform? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summarizes some highlights of the Obama plan: Increasing premium subsidies for working families; delaying the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans and increasing the threshold at which plans are subject to tax; and empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to crack down on exploitative premium hikes, like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem of California.
In AlterNet, Byard Duncan points to a lesser-known but important facet of the president’s plan, reviving the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—which would modernize the Indian health care system, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans, and not a moment too soon. American Indians are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes, 5 times more likely to die of alcoholism, and 6 times more likely to die of tuberculosis than any other ethnic group. If Obama’s plan is approved, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will get a 13% budget increase to address these and other pressing issues.
Abortion continues to cast a shadow over health reform. As Nick Baumann explains in Mother Jones, the original House health care bill only passed by 5 votes. Then Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) resigned and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) only voted for the House bill because he liked the Stupak abortion funding ban, which is no longer operative. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his coalition of anti-choice Democrats supported health reform last time around in exchange for their notorious amendment. Nobody knows how many of them Speaker Nancy Pelosi can keep in the fold. At this point, she has the counter-intuitive advantage of having nothing to offer them.
The Senate’s abortion language can’t be modified through reconciliation for procedural reasons. The Stupack Pack’s bluff has been called: Either they’ll kill health reform out of spite, or they’ll fall into line. They could go either way.
Speaking of abortion, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that “Amelia”, a young pregnant woman in Nicaragua is being denied chemotherapy because it might hurt her fetus. Amelia’s doctors say she needs an abortion, but all abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan women’s groups are urging people to write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Nicaraguan government officials to protest.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
Image courtesy of Flickr user Mad... more
So much for the lockstep repubs we've been going on about. What exactly does this mean? Are the some Independents and Liberals in 'ol taxachusets reaping revenge on Brown staff maybe? But according to the article Four other Republicans and two independents joined fifty-five democrats to hurdle over stalling procedures.
From the article:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A modest job-creation bill advanced in the Senate on Monday as the chamber's newest Republican bucked his party and sided with Democrats on a $15 billion package of tax cuts and highway spending.
Republican Scott Brown joined four other Republicans, 55 Democrats and two independents to overcome a procedural hurdle that sets up a final vote later this week.
Brown was widely hailed as a conservative hero after his surprise victory in Massachusetts last month gave Republicans enough seats to block most Democratic legislation.
His election prompted President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats to call for increased bipartisanship, and an earlier version of the bill was written with Republican input."
More at link of course.
Maybe Scott Browns victory really is not a call for Republicans to take control and ruin things like they did for the last 12 odd years. Nor are the Democrats finished. Perhaps the so-called "Stupid Americans" really aren't stupid at all and are going to elect officials that are willing to work together.
Maybe. Just maybe. . . wishful thinking?So much for the lockstep repubs we've been going on about. What exactly does this... more
The recent Republican Q&A session with President Obama was neither a snoozer nor a bloodbath. Instead, it was a productive discussion of the pressing issues this nation is facing today. So why not have more?
"If these types of Q&A sessions became regular, it would fundamentally change the electoral and political process in the future. If people knew the politician they elected would have to hold their own against hundreds of people from the opposing party, without sounding stupid or getting defensive, candidates who played to the lowest common denominator would be kicked to the curb. There would be a premium placed on open-mindedness and the ability to compromise, both of which are sorely lacking from American politics today. And it would help shape a transparent government, a concept that seems almost oxymoronic in the post-Bush years."
Read more: http://www.ypnation.net/why-obama-should-do-more-gop-qasThe recent Republican Q&A session with President Obama was neither a snoozer nor a... more
As you may be aware, I've teamed up with a group of about 50 other thinkers, bloggers, insiders and outsiders to help promote the idea of Question Time -- a regularly held, televised and webcasted forum in which the President would take questions from Members of the Congress, much as President Obama did with the Republican House delegation on January 29th and members of the Democratic Senate yesterday. This is truly a bipartisan endeavor, with everyone from Markos Moulitsas to Grover Norquist on board.You can sign our petition to Demand Question Time here, and follow us on twitter here.
Just a brief word about why Nate Silver signed onto this cause: "perhaps I'm an idealist, but I tend to think that the lack of open, unmediated, and honest dialog between members of Congress, between the Congress and the Executive, and between both Congress and the Executive and the public, is the greatest threat to the efficacy of our democracy today". While structural constraints like the filibuster certainly also play a large role, these structures are nothing new -- it's the ways that our political culture have evolved around them that may be more problematic. In particular, it seems to me that there is a need for conversations that are not staged, that are not reduced to 30-second soundbytes, and that are not filtered through the lens of the media. A Question Time period, if reasonably well structured, could be a significant step toward achieving that goal. Politics needn't always be zero-sum, particularly at the time when our country faces a number of threats -- from the economy, to Islamic and other forms of radicalism, to the aggregation of power by elites, to the the changing climate -- in which we will all sink or swim together. That's why you're seeing Democrats and Republicans, technocrats and populists all working together to agitate for Question Time.
Earlier today, Nate Silver was forwarded a comprehensive report on Question Time periods written by Matthew Glassman, an analyst for the Congressional Research Service, which contextualizes them relative to both the experience in parliamentary systems, of which they are a common facet, and relative to the American experience. Calls for question time periods are not new and have been proposed periodically by members of both the Executive and Legislative branches, including William Howard Taft, Walter Mondale, Estes Kefauver, and candidate John McCain among others. But, obviously, they have yet to become a regular feature of American democracy. Our hope, then, is more to make the issue a little "stickier" in the eyes of both the public and our elected officials and less to advance some specific proposal.
Nevertheless, the details of the idea may matter -- from my vantage point, for example, President Obama's session with the House Republicans, which seemed more spontaneous, was considerably more constructive than his session with the Senate Democrats, which felt more staged. Therefore, I am going to address a handful of questions that Glassman raises in his report, as well as a couple of others that are salient to the conversation. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and do not reflect an official position of the Demand Question Time coalition
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/few-questions-about-questiontime.htmlAs you may be aware, I've teamed up with a group of about 50 other thinkers,... more