As climate science continues to be attacked and politicized, it’s time for us to shower some much-needed affection on the scientists who are helping us understand the changing world around us.
As a reader of this blog, we know you love climate scientists. And with Valentine’s day coming up tomorrow, now is your chance to show your appreciation for the necessary research that scientists are doing around the world.
Climate Nexus has rolled out a new social media campaign called “I Heart Climate Scientists,” that features pictures of people (and animals) expressing their love for the work that climate scientists do.
From the Climate Nexus campaign:
“Climate change deniers are sending hate mail and threats to dedicated climate scientists working to protect our families, finances and future. Show these hardworking experts some love ? even digital hugs count this Valentine?s Day. Remind them their work is valuable, their opinions respected, and that they are not alone.”
The campaign has it’s own Facebook page and twitter hashtag #iheartclimatescientists, so be sure to take your pictures and send them in! (Paste a link in the comment section here too.)
Valentine’s Day is a good hook for the I Heart Climate Scientists campaign. But you can help extend it far beyond that. Help combat the bullying and the political threats by showing year-round how much you appreciate what climate scientists do through Facebook and Twitter.
A broad coalition of the grassroots progressive movement is launching a 24-hour effort to mobilize 500,000 people opposing Republican efforts to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. GOP senators “plan to file an amendment mandating the project to the Senate transportation package Monday,” the Hill reports. In a Daily Kos diary, 350.org founder Bill McKibben — who led thousands of Americans who got arrested last summer in front of the White House in opposition to the pipeline — explains the “powerful, unified fight” to “keep this pipeline dead“:
We’re going to war at noon eastern today–non-violent war, but a powerful, unified fight against the heart of right-wing power, the fossil fuel industry. We’re out to collect half a million emails in 24 hours telling the Senate: back up the president and keep this pipeline dead. It’s going to be the most concentrated burst of environmental activism this millennium–and it needs you.
This effort includes a diverse coalition of the national environmental movement — including the Environmental Defense Fund, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation and Green For All. As McKibben said, it’s “everyone else who’s ever tried to save a whale, clean a lake, build a park, find a solar job.”
The 24-hour push isn’t just a “green” cause, but one of the American progressive movement. Other organizations participating in the petition drive include MoveOn, Credo, Democracy for America, Public Citizen, Change.org, the Labor Network for Sustainability, and businesses like Patagonia.
Bill McKibben will be on the Colbert Report tonight to discuss the effort to prevent the destruction of our climate for the profit of foreign oil companies.
The Obama administration’s 2013 budget promises to “build a fair and stable economy for the LGBT community, while continuing to defend their rights.” Below are seven investments for reducing anti-gay bullying, hate crimes, and HIV/AIDS infections:
– 4 percent increase to strengthen anti-discrimination enforcement: The Budget also proposes an increase for the Community Relations Service in the Department of Justice to fight hate crimes and provides a $14 million, or 4 percent, increase over the 2012 enacted level for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing Federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee.
– Funding boost to combat hate crimes: In addition to the protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Budget also proposes an increase for the Community Relations Service to fight hate crime.
– $86 million to combat bullying: The Budget provides $86 million for grants to States and local educational agencies under the Department of Education?s Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students program to fund activities aimed at preventing and reducing substance use, violence, harassment or bullying, and promoting student mental, physical, and emotional health.
– Increases funding for HIV/AIDS research and prevention to $28.5 billion: The Budget prioritizes HIV/AIDS resources within high-burden communities and among high-risk groups, including gay and bisexual men, Black Americans, Latino Americans and substance users. Compared to 2012, the Budget increases domestic discretionary HIV/AIDS funding at HHS by $119 million and Veterans Affairs (VA) HIV/AIDS funding by $74 million. Overall, total U.S. Government-wide spending on HIV/AIDS increases from $27.7 billion in 2012 to approximately $28.5 billion in 2013.
– Expands the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program by $75 million: The Budget includes an increase of $75 million for care and treatment through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Budget includes $1 billion for AIDS drug assistance programs, an increase of $67 million above 2012 levels to expand access to life saving HIV-related medications for uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS. Based on current projections, this increase in funding for ADAP, combined with sufficient state contributions, will eliminate ADAP waiting lists in 2013.
– $330 million for housing assistance for people with HIV/AIDS: The President?s Budget requests $330 million for HUD?s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, to address housing needs among people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
– Support global AIDS prevention and treatment: The Budget fully funds the balance of the Administration?s historic three-year, $4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, in recognition of this multilateral partner?s key role in global health and its progress in instituting reform.
Economists estimated in 2011 that the United States needed $2 trillion in immediate investments just to bring its infrastructure up to date, and with borrowing costs low and the nation’s unemployment rate still high, such investments would allow the country to fix its crumbling roads and bridges while also putting unemployed Americans back to work. President Obama is attempting to take advantage of that opportunity by releasing a budget that takes billions of dollars in war savings and pours them into infrastructure investments and job creation programs.
Obama laid out his budget proposal, which includes the Buffett Rule to raise taxes on millionaires and aims to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, today in Virginia. The budget includes billions in spending on infrastructure programs, worker training, and higher education investment, all in attempts to create jobs and bolster the nation’s economic recovery:
The president will propose using half of the money from ending Americas’ two foreign wars to subsidize investment in infrastructure as part of his request for over $800 billion in multi-year spending on job creation and transportation.
The Obama budget also includes funds for worker training to prepare American workers for open jobs through community colleges and other avenues and invests in higher education to make Americans “the most skilled workers in the world” in the future, Obama said.
Republicans have already opposed multiple attempts to invest in infrastructure spending and create jobs, as they fought efforts to include further infrastructure measures in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, fought a 2010 attempt to pass a large-scale infrastructure bill, and blocked the American Jobs Act last fall, even as the infrastructure in their districts continues to crumble. Multiple Republicans have already announced their opposition to this budget.
Obama’s budget may not be perfect — it cuts spending from areas that need investment and it includes less revenue than bipartisan plans like Simpson-Bowles — but considering the tough budgetary environment, it is a step forward on the road to economic recovery. The GOP, meanwhile, continues to tout budgets that force radical spending cuts, jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery and putting America on a path that economists say increases the likelihood of yet another painful recession.
Google reported today that several of its services, including Gmail and YouTube, have been blocked in Iran since February 10th. In response to an email query, the company told Bloomberg that Google Videos and their encrypted search have also been blocked. Iran’s state-run Mehr news agency reported on February 11th that Gmail and Hotmail were both inaccessible, leaving more than 30 million Iranians unable to access their accounts. Iran has faced criticism recently over a crackdown on other media sources, blocking access to outside channels and harassing and detaining journalists and their families.
As predicted, Catholic League President Bill Donohue has condemned rapper Nicki Minaj for her performance at the Grammys on Sunday, in which characters playing Catholic priests tried to exorcise Minaj’s gay alter ego, Roman. Donohue said in a statement:
Minaj’s performance began on stage with a mock confessional skit. This was followed by a taped video depicting a mock exorcism. With stained glass in the background, she appeared on stage again with choir boys and monks dancing.
Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer. Finally, “Come All Ye Faithful” was sung while a man posing as a bishop walked on stage; Minaj was shown levitating.
None of this was by accident, and all of it was approved by The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys. Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy. Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam.
Notably, Donohue has nothing to say about the real travesty of the night, the fact that the Recording Academy invited back Chris Brown, who infamously battered his then-girlfriend, the singer Rihanna, on his way to a Grammys party, to perform not once, but twice at this year’s awards ceremony. At least Donohue’s making it clear that Catholic imagery, not Catholic teaching, is his priority.
A new bill in Arizona is seeking to impose harsh restrictions on teachers? conduct, even in their own homes. The bill, SB 1467, states that educators at the state?s public schools and universities can be fined, suspended and ultimately fired if they ?engage in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the Federal Communications Commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.?
That does a great deal to limit what can be taught in classrooms. Banning books is certainly not a new practice, but this law would cover far more than controversial books. Here?s a look at some of the key books that would be outlawed in Arizona classrooms:
Worse, as Angus Johnston notes, the bill is so ineptly drafted that it could intrude deeply into teacher’s private lives. SB 1467 doesn?t just ban public speech or conduct, but all speech and conduct. That means public school teachers in Arizona will be forbidden from engaging in any FCC-regulated activities no matter where they are. That means no sex, no going to the bathroom, no cursing and no showering. Ever.
One of the bill’s five sponsors, State Senator Lori Klein (R-AZ), has some experience in the national spotlight. Last summer she raised eyebrows when, during an interview with a reporter from the Arizona Republic, she took out a loaded handgun and pointed it at the reporter’s chest. And in the middle of Herman Cain’s sexual harassment scandal, Klein dismissed the allegations against Cain because he had “never been anything but a gentlemen” to her, “and I am not an unattractive woman.”
The great Phil Ochs
This weekend, Charles M. Blow at The New York Times, one of our great social-issues columnist, tackled the controversy over Roland Martin's Superbowl tweets last weekend:
This week, Roland Martin, a bombastic cultural and political commentator was suspended by CNN from his role as a political analyst on the network for Twitter messages published during the Super Bowl.
One message read: ?If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham?s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.? Another read: ?Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass.?
Blow assumes good will and good faith on the part of Roland Martin?and still holds him to account for being part of the masculinity patrol. No matter how jovially, mocking deviation from a narrow vision of manhood has real-world consequences, as Blow explains perfectly.
Words have power. And power recklessly exerted has consequences. It?s not about being politically correct. It?s about being sensitive to the plight of those being singled out. We can?t ask the people taking the punches to also take the jokes.
And it?s about understanding that masculinity is wide enough and deep enough for all of us to fit in it. But society in general, and male culture in particular, is constantly working to render it narrow and shallow....
The man that we mythologize in the backs of our minds is a cultural concoction, an unattainable ideal, a perfect specimen of muscles and fearlessness and daring. Square-jawed and well-rounded. Potent and passionate. Sensitive but not sentimental. And, above all else, unwaveringly heterosexual and without even a hint of softness....
And this narrowed manhood ideal has a truly damaging effect on boys....
We have created this culture, and we can undo it.
Please do read the whole piece.
The FY 2013 budget that the Administration will release today is, in the long run, a meaningless document in substantive terms, so I don't want to spend that much time on it. But I was a little surprised with the pushback I received about my assessment[...]
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