Saturday, April 18, 2015

Alison Cassady: The Clean Power Plan: A critical step toward decarbonizing America’s energy system

  The United States is in the midst of an energy transition in which cheap natural gas is displacing coal as the go-to fuel choice for electricity generation. While this trend has helped reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants, switching fuel sources does not go far enough to achieve the deep reductions necessary to prevent catastrophic and irreversible climate change. Ambitious deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technology must form the cornerstone of any successful climate mitigation strategy. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA’s, Clean Power Plan is a critical part of the U.S. strategy to transition away from carbon-intensive fuels and toward a cleaner energy future.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Michael Josephson: Appreciating appreciation

  There’s a song called “Thank God for Dirty Dishes” that makes the point that if you’re lucky to have enough food to make dirty dishes, you should be grateful.

  So instead of grousing about your property taxes, be thankful you own property. When you have to wait in line at the bank or are stuck in traffic, just be grateful you have money in the bank and a car to drive.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sam Wolfe: President’s support for conversion therapy ban is a huge step forward

  President Obama’s public support for a nationwide ban against the harmful practice of conversion therapy is an important step toward achieving equality for all LGBT youth and protecting them from the psychological abuse of being told they can and should change their sexual orientation.

  These bogus and dangerous conversion therapy services have no basis in science and are based on the lie that there is something wrong with LGBT people – that they’re sick and can be “cured” or “repaired.” The practice, in fact, has been thoroughly discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rebecca Vallas: Cutting Social Security Disability Insurance won’t help anyone go back to work

“The injustice to the disabled should be corrected not simply by preserving these [Social Security] benefit rights but also by helping them to return to employment whenever possible.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

  Policymakers and elected officials on both sides of the aisle have long shared the goal of helping people with disabilities work. However, recent proposals to cut Social Security Disability Insurance for beneficiaries who attempt to return to work represent a step in the wrong direction that would undermine this bipartisan objective.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Fiddling while Alabama burns

  As the world turns in Alabama politics, a lot has happened in the first three months of 2015. After Inauguration Day, a federal judge in Mobile ruled that Alabama’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was not constitutional under federal law. In appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court it was obvious that the high tribunal conferred with the lower court ruling and gave every indication that they would render a final edict on the subject come June. By midsummer same-sex marriage will be the law of the land as decreed by the omnipotent U.S. Supreme Court.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jacob G. Hornberger: Draft registration and America's serf society

  With the start of baseball season, fans will once again be exhorted to stand up and glorify the troops. Among those fans will be teenagers who will be proudly singing some variation of “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”

  But neither American teenagers nor any other American is able to reconcile the freedom he is so proud of with the fact that the federal government forces every man to register for the draft when he reaches the age of 18.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1452 I pray that we have real prison reform in Alabama

  A half loaf is better than no loaf. This is an old saying that contains much wisdom. However, the challenge is knowing when the choice is truly between a half loaf and no loaf. The choice is even more difficult when it’s a quarter loaf or a fifth of a loaf or sometimes just a few slices. The loaf/slices choice is one I struggled with in the Alabama Senate last week.

  The issue was prison reform. Republicans appointed a nearly 30 member Alabama Prison Reform Task Force. Only two members were African American in spite of race being a central issue. The Task force developed a series of recommendations, but the bill was filed before the Task Force made its recommendation. Suffice it to say that the bill is way, way less than a half loaf.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Business case for the Green Climate Fund

  Since 2014, more than 30 countries have pledged support to launch the Green Climate Fund, or GCF, a new multilateral fund that will invest in projects that help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate effects. More than $10 billion has been pledged by countries from both developed and developing regions for the fund’s preliminary capitalization. The Obama administration requested $500 million in the fiscal year 2016 federal budget as an initial contribution toward the $3 billion U.S. pledge. Now is the time for Congress to appropriate this initial contribution and continue the bipartisan legacy of multilateral climate finance.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D.: The conditions are ripe for a major Middle Eastern war

  For years, the great nations of Europe spent huge sums of money to build their military might. They assembled themselves into blocs, all the better to play a dangerous game of power politics.  Slowly, surely, they were stumbling toward war.

  In June 1914, an assassin shot the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the powder keg was lit. The results were disastrous.

  The Middle East today looks frighteningly similar to the Europe of the early 20th Century.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sarah McBride: A return to the status quo: Indiana’s so-called RFRA fix

  Indiana legislators recently announced their much-anticipated fix to the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. The amendment was prompted by a national outcry from businesses, faith communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, Americans and their allies in response to the discriminatory consequences of the bill, which could nullify existing municipal sexual-orientation and gender-identity nondiscrimination protections in Indiana.