After an unsuccessful attempt to stop funding Planned Parenthood earlier this year, at least 17 local affiliates of Planned Parenthood are receiving grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure this year, the same number who received the grants in 2011. The total amount of the grants are still being worked out, and about six Planned Parenthood grant applications were turned down, mostly because the Komen affiliates lacked the funds. Planned Parenthood officials said they did not think politics played a role in the grants being awarded, and in some places, they said the connection between local Komen and Planned Parenthood groups deepened because of the outrage after the short-lived defunding.
John Rowe, CEO of Exelon: ?The EPA is simply enforcing the requirements of the existing Clean Air Act as the Act has been interpreted by the courts, including the Supreme Court.”
By Jorge Madrid and Celine Ramstein
For the first time in history, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to limit the carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants. This will slow the growth of the major pollutant responsible for global climate change, which threatens the health and safety of Americans. This new standard will have far-reaching public health impacts and finally put a limit on emissions from the single largest carbon pollution source in America: burning coal for electricity.
The Carbon Pollution Standard directs new power plants that begin construction after the rule is finalized should ?meet an output?based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt?hour.? The typical new coal fired power plant would have to reduce their carbon pollution by 40 to 60 percent. Natural gas power plants should be able to comply with this standard without additional controls.
The proposal was published in the Federal Register today. Now an official comment period begins for the next 60 days in which the public is invited to submit comments to the EPA on this proposed rule. EPA will probably conduct several public meetings in various major cities, too.
This historic proposal comes at a critical juncture, as Nobel Laureate and Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently reminded us the scientific evidence of climate change is getting more and more powerful, and that the pace of some effects have been underestimated: ?[sea level] is rising even faster than we thought?the numbers of violent rainstorms have increased faster than we thought.?
The new rule also offers a real chance to protect children and public health, which is why over 120 health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Thoracic Society and others are on record stating:
Climate change is a serious public health issue. As temperatures rise, more Americans will be exposed to conditions that can result in illness and death due to respiratory illness, heat- and weather-related stress and disease carried by insects. These health issues are likely to have the greatest impact on our most vulnerable communities, including children, older adults, those with serious health conditions and the most economically disadvantaged.
Prior to the proposed rule, there had been no limit to the amount of CO2 a power plant could emit. The impact of the new rule will be critical, as the U.S. is the second biggest carbon polluters in the world. Existing coal-fired power plants are responsible for about one-third of the U.S.?s total carbon pollution.
This proposal will also have positive effects for the economy, particularly in the clean energy sector, which grew at twice the rate of the overall economy during the peak of the recession (2008-2010), according to analysis by the Brookings Institution. A new report from Pew Environment confirms this growth trend, stating that ?clean energy investment continued a near-decade-long rally in 2011, rising 6.5 percent to a record $263 billion? and with half a million new jobs between 2003 and 2010.
Advocates for the coal mining industry and big utility companies have been adamantly resisting the carbon, mercury, and acid rain and smog pollution rules, calling them ?a regulatory train wreck.? However, this claim was directly contradicted by the CEO?s of several major power companies, who have acknowledged that they are well prepared for the new EPA rules and have had sufficient time to comply.
John Rowe, CEO of Exelon said:
?The EPA is simply enforcing the requirements of the existing Clean Air Act as the Act has been interpreted by the courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. The last major amendments to that Act are now over 20-years old. Neither the rules nor their implementation should be a surprise to anyone.?
Further, the proposal will also spur innovation and investment in cleaner and more efficient technologies, following the trend that power companies are already taking to modernize their plants. Benjamin Fowke, COO of Xcel Energy states: “Our proactive steps to reduce emissions through the MERP project in Minnesota and our plans for the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act in Colorado put us in good position to comply with these rules.”
Finally, the protections offered by the new rule enjoy overwhelming public support, as indicated in a bipartisan 2012 national poll conducted for the American Lung Association:
Once the proposed rule takes effect, the EPA will have taken a critical step to protect the health and security of all American Families. These first-ever national industrial carbon pollution standards for power plants will not only prevent gases that are accelerating global warming, it will spur innovation in clean technologies that will lead to more green jobs and reduce smog that triggers asthma attacks and other health consequences. EPA must then take the next step by establishing carbon pollution limits for existing power plants.
Last year, more than 800,000 Americans commented in favor of proposed rules to reduce mercury, lead, and other toxic substances from coal fired power plants. This support helped EPA adopt strict rules that will begin the reduction of these deadly pollutants.
This year, EPA needs to hear that hundreds of thousands of people who support limiting carbon pollution from new power plants to help it resist the millions of dollars of pressure ads and lobbying from big coal and utility companies. Please submit your comment in favor of the carbon pollution limits TODAY by clicking HERE to send EPA your support.
We know that climate science deniers and big polluters will be fighting every day to derail these first ever carbon pollution reductions. We must fight back by showing your support TODAY.
– By Jorge Madrid and Celine Ramstein
Gallup polls the Buffett Rule, and finds that America thinks it's a darned good idea.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Six in 10 Americans favor Congress passing the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would mandate a minimum 30% tax rate for Americans with a household income of $1 million per year or more. Majorities of both Democrats and independents favor the policy, while a majority of Republicans oppose it. [...]Those results aren't as one-sided as those found by PPP in polling done for Daily Kos/SEIU last fall, showing 73 percent support for the premise behind the Buffett Rule. At that time, the proposal hadn't been put in the middle of the presidential political debate, which heightens the controversy and makes the issue more partisan. By contrast, in our September poll, 66 percent of Republicans supported the idea, whereas in Gallup's current poll, just 43 percent of Republicans do.
Americans in general say that the distribution of money and wealth in this country is not fair, and thatmoney and wealth should be more evenly distributed. Plus, 59% of Americans last year agreed that households making $250,000 or more per year should pay higher taxes. The current results reinforce these findings and underscore the now well-documented conclusion that Americans in general support various proposals for increasing taxes on higher-income Americans.
But 60 percent is nothing to sneeze at, and Democrats should be confident in continuing to hammer the tax fairness and income inequality from now until the cows come home in November. They start on Monday, with the first of what is likely to be many votes on the Buffett Rule in the Senate.
Former House member and current Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, asked if he'd work to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, had a gem of an answer:
"Will, you know, will repealing it be a priority? If you came back and said, you know, that's really the thing that's hurting my business the most. My guess is there are other things that we can do that have a higher priority in terms of what I, what I believe might need to be done. I think you know we need to create -- that thing is a nuisance. It shouldn't be the law," replied Hoekstra.If Lilly Ledbetter was the thing hurting someone's business the most, that would signal they were discriminating to a truly astonishing degree; it's an important but, all things considered, pretty mild remedy. But under those circumstances, Pete Hoekstra says he would fight to repeal that protection for women, rather than saying, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't discriminate against every woman you employ." Because there's a word for a law that gives women a remedy for discrimination: "nuisance."
Quick, everyone, repeat after me: "Romney surrogate calls Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act a nuisance." No, Hoekstra isn't technically a Romney surrogate in the sense of having endorsed him in 2012 and acting on behalf of his campaign, but we're applying Hilary Rosen rules here, and Hoekstra is a member of Romney's party with a public platform, making further evidence unnecessary.
If only we'd known we could apply this standard back when Hoekstra ran his racist Super Bowl ad.
Oops (Jason Reed/Reuters)
It seems there are at least some prominent Catholics that aren't willing to put up with the hokum of Paul Ryan claiming that his screw-the-poor budget proposals are based on his "Catholic faith":
?If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and healthcare away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a Tea Partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder,? said Gehring. ?This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda.?Ryan had previously said that the "social magisterium" of the church governed his own ideas, and proceeded to roundly butcher the whole notion, claiming that being Catholic meant, well, believing that crap Paul Ryan says. This has not been going over well. Here's the statement in full.
Indeed, 59 Catholic leaders and theologians took issue with Ryan?s claims, signing a scathing letter that slammed the Ryan budget plan.
No word yet on whether Congress will be calling these Catholic leaders and theologians to hearings about the Ryan plan. I can only presume that since the Republicans are now best buddies with my old church, they'll get right on that. Or, and I suppose this is more likely, we're about to hear why Paul Ryan knows more about Catholic teachings than the people who actually teach them.
If you would like to fax Mr. Ryan a copy of the letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denouncing his budget, which makes for a fine little read itself, you can do so here.
Mitt ponders what position to take today. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)Greg Sargent poses a good question about Mitt Romney's support for children's health care. The Romney campaign has been going around asserting that the Obama administration raised taxes on "millions of Americans." When pressed to prove it, they pointed to a bunch of taxes?which haven't gone into effect yet?from the Affordable Care Act. The one that has is a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.
That tax funds an expansion of the Children?s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. So the obvious question, as posed by Sargent:
If Romney opposes this tax, does that mean he also favors rolling back the CHIP expansion?You've got to love those "pro-life" Republicans, putting smokers above children because "freedom." (BTW, those are the same smokers to whom employers could deny health insurance coverage under the Blunt amendment, because "freedom").
So this is a really good question that some enterprising reporter should be asking the Romney camp. Does he stand with those Republicans and want to take away health care from millions of children? Or does he want to stick with socialized medicine and healthy kids?
Here's the first real disappointment from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.[...]
Read The Full Article:
George Zimmerman's lawyer said Friday that he may ask the judge in the case to step aside because one of her husband's law partners has been hired as a legal analyst by CNN as part of its coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting. [...]
Read The Full Article:
Thursday was a bad day for the American Legislative Exchange Council. The conservative corporate front group, which has been a target of protests in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting -- which many connect to the ALEC-inspired "Shoot First" or "Stand Your Ground" laws -- continues to be exposed and pushed back against for its legislative agenda.
Nationally, Mars -- the candy maker -- joined the rush of companies abandoning ALEC in recent days, joining McDonald's, Wendy's, the Gates Foundation, Intuit and others:
Earlier this year, Mars, Incorporated reviewed all of its trade associations and sponsorships and decided not to renew the ALEC membership in 2012. In the past, we attended the ALEC annual meeting to create awareness of our positive economic impact and job creation in the communities where we operate. At no point was Mars ever involved in ALEC?s policymaking or Private Enterprise Board.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed an ALEC-written bill that would've limited liability for asbestos-using companies (or the current companies that own them). The Orwellian name for the bill was "The Innocent Successor Asbestos-Related Liability Fairness Act."
In Arizona, after multiple groups put pressure on Arizona Public Service, the state's largest energy company is leaving ALEC.
In Missouri, Democratic State Representative Mike Colona calls out ALEC:
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is not the innocuous, bipartisan organization it purports to be. Their agenda is radical and wrong for Missouri. I was a member and saw firsthand the sort of extreme legislation they push on state legislators around the country.
I disagree with ALEC's extremist agenda and encourage my colleagues in the Missouri General Assembly to end their affiliations with the group. If ALEC is too extreme for Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Kraft, Wendy's, Intuit and the Gates Foundation, it's too extreme for me and the people of Missouri.
In Texas, the Associated Press picks up on a call from Progress Texas for 83 of the state's elected officials, including nearly half of the state legislature, to abandon ALEC. As of Thursday, 10 had quit. Democratic State Representative Alma Allen said:
As a legislator, I value the input that non-partisan organizations contribute to various issues. However, I do not believe that the American Legislative Exchange Council is a non-partisan organization. Due to the legislation that ALEC has been involved in forming and promoting, I will not be renewing my membership. I value and listen to all opinions, but ALEC's agenda has become harmful to my constituents, and the people of the State of Texas.
As reported earlier, Virginia House speaker and former national ALEC chair William Howell insulted Progress Virginia Executive Director Anna Scholl, by suggesting that she couldn't understand his 'complicated' words, and went on to blame the organization for false reports about ALEC (that were accurate) and to claim that there was a liberal assault on the organization.
Both the Pentagon and the South Korean defense ministry have confirmed that the rocket was launched at 7:39am Seoul time, or 6:49pm Washington, D.C. time; a spokesman for the South Korean defense ministry said that a few minutes after the launch the rocket had broken up and crashed into the sea. North Korea hasn’t commented yet, either through official channels or the usually feisty (and congratulatory) Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK. – Foreign Policy
Reuters reports the embarrassment might lead to North Korea going nuclear in the next test.
“The possibility of an additional long-range rocket launch or a nuclear test, as well as a military provocation to strengthen internal solidarity is very high,” a senior South Korean defense ministry official told a parliamentary hearing.