ALEC?s Polluter AgendaOn American Legislative Exchange Council task forces, corporate lobbyists and special interests vote as equals with elected representatives on templates to change our laws, behind closed doors with no press or public allowed to see the votes or deliberations. ALEC legislation benefits corporate profits at the expense of our environment and our health by making it easier for polluters to spoil our water and our air and by pushing climate change denial. ALEC proposals would destroy environmental regulations and health safeguards, eliminate clean energy competition, allow drilling on protected lands, and curtail recycling.
Repealing Pollution Protections
· ALEC?s ?Resolution in Opposition to EPA?s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources? opposes a Supreme Court decision that allowed the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases as pollutants. The resolution dismisses climate change concerns through misleading rhetoric.
· ALEC?s ?Resolution in Support of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act? supports the REINS Act, legislation that would give Congress the authority to block the enforcement of numerous federal protections, including clean air and water laws, safeguards for mine workers, rules that prohibit the sale of tobacco to children, and even protection from discrimination.
· ALEC?s ?State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives? would pull states out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the Western Climate Initiative, programs to cut greenhouse gases and carbon-dioxide emissions. It also uses language that denies that climate change is occurring.
· ALEC?s ?Climate Accountability Act? creates hurdles for state agencies attempting to regulate carbon gases by imposing cost assessments on carbon regulation, without any parallel accounting required of corporations whose actions are contributing to the climate changes underway.
· ALEC?s ?Resolution in Opposition of Carbon Dioxide Emission Standards? opposes environmental protections on carbon dioxide emissions.
· ALEC?s ?Conditioning Regulation of Non-Pollutant Emissions on Science Act? would impose new burdens on state regulatory efforts by creating a complex process the state must go through before passing new environmental protection regulations. The act would keep a state from responding quickly to public health issues.
· ALEC?s ?Intrastate Coal and Use Act? would prevent the EPA from overruling state permits for coal mining and prevent federal regulation of dirty coal products, like coal ash, if all the coal operations are conducted within the borders of a single state.
· ALEC?s ?Electricity Freedom Act? is an attack on states with plans requiring companies to get a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, undermining support for cleaner energy development.
Opposing Public Health Safeguards
· ALEC?s ?Voluntary Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act? gives legal protection to corporations against victims of lead poisoning.
· ALEC?s ?Environmental Priorities Act? requires that state environmental protections be approved by a corporate-backed panel where there is no representative from a public interest environmental group.
· ALEC?s ?Resolution Supporting the Private Ownership of Property? expresses opposition to public interest regulations that protect public health or the environment such as pollution emission limits.
· ALEC?s ?Environmental Services Public-Private Partnership Act? privatizes public water and sewage services and would prohibit local governments from requiring contractors to meet labor standards.
· ALEC?s ?Resolution on Packaging and the Municipal Solid Waste Stream? expresses opposition to waste reduction and mandated recycling laws.
· ALEC?s ?Resolution to Retain State Authority over Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Waste? opposes federal regulation of coal combustion waste (known as coal ash) as hazardous, although coal ash contains large quantities of toxic metals, including mercury and arsenic, that can get in our water.
· ALEC?s ?Eminent Domain Authority for Federal Lands Act? would authorize state governments to open federal public land -- such as national parks and protected wilderness areas -- for oil, gas, and coal exploration. It would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court?s constitutional interpretation that Congress has broader power to enact laws to manage federal land than states in Kleppe v. New Mexico (1976).
· ALEC?s ?Regulatory Costs Fairness Act? and ?The Private Property Protection Act? make taxpayers liable to land owners, including corporations, that claim their property value is diminished by government regulations, including laws that protect neighbors from polluters.
Criminalizing Environmental Protection
· ALEC?s ?Environmental Corrupt Organizations - Preventative Legislation and Neutralization (ECO-PLAN) Act? criminalizes environmental activism and gives the government the power to defund and shut down alleged ?eco-terrorist? activities, but does not provide a definition of ?animal and ecological terrorism.? This bill potentially gives law enforcement broad discretion to silence critics of environmentally hazardous corporate activities and business practices.
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Sean Duffy, teabagger and idiot. This is the same guy who whined that he would have trouble supporting his family on a Congressman's $174,000/year salary, is still looking for the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act, and embarrassed the Wisconsin GOP with his ridiculous calls for cuts to everything but Congressmen's pay.
In his inimitable whining, nasty, mean-spirited (and dare I suggest racist) fashion, he dishes with the Fox & Friends crew, telling them that voters are so stupid that they elected Barack Obama in 2008 because he can dance and sing, giving him a "cool factor" Mitt Romney will never hope to have.
The desperation of these people is beyond belief.If my 18-year old and 22-year old kids heard Duffy say this, the eyerolls would be so huge the pug would have trouble competing.
You a big banker worried that Jamie Dimon's JP Morgan debacle is going to blow open the dam holding back the floodwaters of reform? One of the top reformers in DC says there's little chance of that.[...]
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DONNA SUMMER was writing “Love to Love You Baby”; I was Miss Missouri. “Last Dance” came out in 1978, the year after the BeeGees and John Travolta blasted on the scene and shook American culture. I was Broadway bound and once I got there one thing I’ll never forget is a couple of years later walking up 8th Avenue to pass the small intersection where Studio 54 was ensconced. It was the very last gasp of the lines, costumes and revelry that was well beyond my coolness, but I gawked at the glorious spectacle, even if it was a dying belch. The club was sold in 1981, when everything changed everywhere and forever.
Ronald Reagan was in, but the partying had just started, as it turned westward, and so did I a few years later.
Donna Summer and club dancing, joyous, raucous and wild partying on the floor like you’re on stage in your own “Saturday Night Fever” contest, went together like 8 balls, hot women and fast cars in Los Angeles.
As a professional dancer, once I walked happily away from the decades of grind, I began enjoying the right of passage for the unattached and permanently single.
It was a time of L.A. rope lines, flashy dressing, and late nights that ended at sunrise.
Everyone thought they could live forever, while an entire generation of gay men were dying in dozens as the band played on. Somewhere around 1983, culture answered the Reagan devolution with Madonna and the bustier as outer wear. We didn’t wake up until Iran-Contra crashed around us, followed by the Keating Five, then Michael Milken and the financial catastrophe that was Ronald Reagan. The union busting, deficit imploding nightmare, and deregulating hatch of Rush Limbaugh hate radio, you know, the years Barack Obama remembers fondly. Henry Hyde’s war against women revved up through Reagan’s embrace of Jerry Falwell’s Immoral Minority, which segued into an awkward introduction of America to the new face of Alzheimer’s and the question of whether The Gipper had been sick during his presidency.
It explained so much.
The Cold War was over and the decade of the last gasp of America?s youthful exuberance would be a great economic boon, while conservatives worked to get even for Watergate, and the press dreamed of Pulitzers, after the Reaganites were turned out by the hicks from the sticks, Bill and Hillary Clinton. A couple who turned the Republican party into knots that took their eye off the biggest ball of all.
It all ended the first year of the 21st century, when frittering away the time during Clinton over sex exploded in the Twin Towers, because a man’s penis became more important than following terrorists and heeding William Jefferson Clinton’s warnings. Republicans don’t listen to Democrats even if it costs a nation its soul.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s “Gulf of Tonkin” WMD fiction was followed by torture.
All that was left was memories and dreaming.
…about the years of Donna Summer and the lighthearted effervescence her singing and that music unleashed in those of us who could hear it and dance to it, or just wish they could.
Donna Summer is dead. We look back on her music wistfully today, because it reminds those of us who listened to it or moved with it that the teenager country that once believed everything is possible and dreams come true, because we can do anything in this country, the place where that America actually existed, is dead, too.
Looking at the platform, this had to be done by a bunch of engineers. It's a pretty funny joke on the groom who thinks he's jumping from a high platform rather than a few feet above a small pond.
I was doing some late night tweeting a couple nights ago when a report came over the transom about far right sociopath Mike Coffman going off the deep end at a campaign fundraiser. Since Blue America is supporting Coffman's Democratic opponent, Joe Miklosi, I was happy to get the word out. Here's what Coffman had to say at the Elbert County Fairgrounds-- unprompted-- which stunned even his partisan GOP audience:
?I don?t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don?t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he?s not an American. He?s just not an American.?
Though Ridley Scott?s recent interview with The Daily Beast?s Marlow Stern runs a full two pages, virtually all of the media attention has been on its final sentence:
?And we?ll definitely be featuring a female protagonist [in Blade Runner 2].?
But the entire interview ? which focuses not on Blade Runner 2, but on Scott?s long history of films starring women ? is well worth reading. What it?s like to pitch a female-led action film, in Scott?s own words:
?It?s far more considered normal to have a female in the lead [than it was in the past], and yet, studios will always look at the bottom line and the value of a female lead versus a male lead globally, because none of the budgets for these films are getting any smaller, so they have to take into account the bottom line from a business standpoint.?
Last January, I wrote an article for The Atlantic called ?The Rise of the Female-Led Action Film? that traced the shift of the action genre ? which was once Hollywood?s most sexist genre, and has gradually become one of its most progressive. Ridley Scott and Alien writer Dan O?Bannon deserve much of the credit for this change; though Alien was groundbreaking in many ways, its most enduring legacy is protagonist Ellen Ripley, whose first silver-screen outing in 1979 represents the tipping point of the action genre?s shift from sexism to feminism.
James Cameron (the other great feminist action director) gets the credit for Ripley?s shift to a full-fledged action icon in the 1986 sequel Aliens. But the seeds of what the character would eventually become were sown in the original Alien?s ending. At its core ? and unlike its three direct sequels ? Alien is a horror movie, right down to the ?final girl? at the end. But Scott makes an important distinction that separates Ripley from the ?final girl? of Alien?s horror contemporaries:
“In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [?] that girl was still standing at the end covered in blood, but she?d survived rather than won. The difference with Ripley was that she had won and survived.”
Given his history, it?s unsurprising that Scott decided to cast Noomi Rapace as the lead in Prometheus after being impressed by her performance as Lisbeth Salander ? arguably the most iconic new female character of the decade ? in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
And the Blade Runner universe offers just as many opportunities for both insight and critique. Though the original Blade Runner?s feminist themes are far less front-and-center than Alien?s, there?s a scathing feminist critique embedded in its story as well. Blade Runner features an enormously gender-stratified society. All of the characters in power are men, and each of the major female characters is a replicant, with Daryl Hannah?s Pris getting the worst of it as a ?basic pleasure model.? When replicant Roy Batty breaks one of Deckard?s fingers for each of the female replicants he?s ?retired? during the film, he?s breaking the government tool that has literally dehumanized ? and eventually dispatched ? each of the most important women in his life. We know nothing about Blade Runner 2?s female protagonist, who could easily turn out to be a blade runner or a replicant (or both). But I?m thrilled by the idea of revisiting Blade Runner?s gender-stratified dystopia through the eyes of a woman.
by Ruy Teixeira
Given today?s economic problems, you?d think the public would be in a surly mood about environmental protection, seeing it as a secondary and perhaps conflicting priority to jobs and economic growth. That?s certainly what conservatives are hoping as they continue to push their environment-wrecking agenda.
Turns out, though, the public didn?t get the memo. In the recently released poll from Yale University?s and George Mason University?s climate change communication programs, 58 percent of poll respondents said that protecting the environment improves economic growth and creates new jobs. Just 17 percent thought environmental protection hurts growth and jobs, and 25 percent thought there was no effect.
In the same poll, when asked to choose directly which was more important?environmental protection or economic growth?the public decisively favored protecting the environment 62 percent to 38 percent when there is a conflict between the two goals.
So no, the bad economy has not turned the public off to environmental protection. Conservatives, if they are wise, will factor that into their political calculations.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. This is a CAP cross-post.
The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has ruled that same-sex couples who married in other states can obtain divorces in Maryland. According to the Baltimore Sun, the unanimous ruling stemmed from a 2010 case in Prince George’s County where a judge refused to grant a divorce to a couple who had married in California, which led to an appeal. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland earlier this year, but opponents are seeking a November referendum to overturn it. Assuming it is not overturned, the law will only take effect in January, 2013.
BENNETT: First of all, I’m not playing to the birthers, I’m not a birther. I believe that the president was born in Hawaii, or at least I hope he was…Hawaii has a special provision in their law that allows other government officials from other states to request what’s called a verification in lieu of a certified copy of a birth certificate. So I’m not asking for the certified copy of the birth certificate at all…I was frankly expecting that they would very quickly and very simply say ‘yes.’ Eight weeks later, they haven’t said, I can’t seem to get them to say yes.
In fact, Hawaii said “yes” over a year ago. Last April, Obama released a certified copy of his long form birth certificate to the public. And while that did nothing to quell the furor of birthers like Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it more than meets Bennett’s verification requirement.
And yet Bennett is insisting on still more costly and time-consuming work by the state of Hawaii to verify they have the original document on hand. The reason for his suspicion? Arpaio’s sham investigation into the copy released by President Obama raised sufficient questions:
BENNETT: When Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse released a press conference a few week ago, or a month ago or whenever it was, that the birth certificate posted on the White House website might be fraudulent, I started getting, as you might imagine, literally over 1,200 emails from people saying ‘well that’s proof, you should require the president to produce the original of his birth certificate in order to be on the ballot of Arizona.’
Arpaio’s press conference more closely resembled an SNL parody press than a serious investigation, and it was widely ridiculed for employing faulty “science” and drawing wild conclusions based on little more than technological anomalies.
Bennett is hardly the first person to propose removing Obama from the general election ballot this fall, but as secretary of state, he is the first person who is in a position to actually act on those threats. Bennett’s insistence that he is not a birther and is simply doing his due diligence as the state’s top election official is a distinction without difference, as it ignores the fact that he is accepting as possibility that Obama’s publicly available birth certificate is fraudulent.