Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green?s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we?re reading. What are you?
Some birds are adjusting their migration patterns and adapting to climate change better than others, researchers found. [Bloomberg]
A crucial flood monitoring system used for 46 years on the Connecticut River in Middletown was shut down Friday because of a lack of federal funding, according to a meteorologist from the National Weather Service. [Patch.com]
Tensions with Iran are adding at least 30 cents to a gallon of gasoline in the United States, and experts say gas prices have only just begun to rise. [CNN]
BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp are liable for civil damages under federal pollution laws over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a U.S. judge ruled, exposing them to billions of dollars in potential fines. [KGMI]
For the second time in recent months, northern Georgia has been hit with what is believed to be a tornado that struck the Kingston Highway area Wednesday night, leaving one person dead and many residents preparing to clean up. [Rome Newswire]
The family holding company that controls Danish toymaker Lego has agreed to buy 32 percent of a German offshore wind energy project from Denmark’s DONG Energy for more than $500 million, DONG said on Thursday. [Reuters]
Hurricane-force winds and blowing snow are wreaking havoc in Denver. [Associated Press]
The UK Ministry of Defense is to de-classify submarine data to help shed light on climate change in the Arctic. [BBC]
Canadian Solar, one of the world’s largest solar companies, announced the supply of 2,800 solar modules for a rooftop system in the Danish city of Virum. [MarketWatch]
Promise Energy, an affiliate of Adam Capital – a leading clean energy finance company – has announced a major US distribution agreement with Baymak, a division of BDR Thermea – a global leader in solar heating and storage equipment. [Promise Energy]
Germany’s government will reduce solar power incentives by between 20 percent and 30 percent from March 9, rather than from April 1, which is what had been expected, a statement released by the Economy and Environment ministries said on Thursday. [Reuters]
Thousands of coastal residents, business people and property owners will be affected by a trial starting Feb. 27 in New Orleans federal court to determine who must compensate BP spill victims. [Bloomberg]
President Obama is heading to Florida on Thursday to promote an energy strategy that the administration says will reduce dependence on foreign oil in the long term, with the subtext that the federal government can do little to halt the current rise in gasoline prices. [AP]
Energy Secretary Steven Chu will appear before a U.S. Senate committee on March 13 to discuss an Obama administration-ordered analysis of his agency?s clean- energy loan program, which gave money to failed Solyndra LLC. [Bloomberg]
If John McCain weren?t on the ballot in 2008, you could make a strong case that his state, Arizona, would have been in play for Democrats, regardless of who they nominated. Hispanics were a huge share of the population, a significant share of the electorate?at 16 percent of all voters in the state?and a solid block of supporters for the Democratic Party?in 2008, they supported Barack Obama with 55 percent of the vote.
The percentage of Hispanics in Arizona has remained steady since then, at around 30 percent, but the voting age population has increased to 845,000, and now constitutes 19 percent of Arizona residents of voting age, up from 17 percent in 2008. What?s more, intense Republican antagonism?through intrusive, draconian laws?have thoroughly alienated Hispanic voters.
All of this is to say that conditions have moved Arizona to the column of states which are ?in play,? and recent polls bear that out. For example, in its latest survey of the state, Public Policy Polling found that President Obama is tied with Mitt Romney at 47 percent support, a 5 point improvement since November of last year. PPP?s Tom Jensen doubts that Obama would actually be able to beat Romney, but?all things equal?a lot of that depends on the composition of the electorate. 15 percent of the residents surveyed by PPP identified as Hispanic, and of that number, 64 percent approve of Obama. If the Hispanic share of the Arizona electorate were to match its share of the voting age population, there?s a good chance that Obama would win.
Of course, none of this played into last night?s debate performance, where Republicans continued to praise aggressively anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona and other states. At the moment, 72 percent of Latinos say the GOP either ?did not care about their support or was hostile to their community.? If Republicans continue on their current path, that number will only go up.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi went sharply after oil speculation late yesterday, taking up a strategy to answer Republicans on rising gas prices that has not been employed much in the political sphere.[...]
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Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer. Yesterday the story broke that Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. White[...]
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Last week Sean Brodrick used my space to tell you some Inconvenient Truths About Alternative Energy. I think he is right on track about the natural gas sector, and you need to pay attention.
Just look at what’s happening in the energy markets right now …
Iran is cutting off shipments to some of its biggest European customers — just out of spite for the nuclear technology dispute. Who will get dragged into this squabble next?
Furthermore — and I bet you’ve noticed — it’s costing more to top off your car’s gas tank these days. We’re almost back to the 2008 “super-spike” gasoline prices in some parts of the U.S.
The headlines simply prove Sean’s point: . . . → Read More: Get Aboard the Natural Gas Wave with These ETFs!
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If you needed yet another poll showing that people think birth control is a good thing and health insurance plans should provide it, while simultaneously showing the importance of how poll questions are worded, here you go. Quinnipiac included a series of questions on the issue in its national poll, and got wildly different answers depending on the specific question, finding that two out of three ways you ask about employer-provided birth control coverage, solid majorities are in favor.
Quinnipiac. 2/14-20. MoE ±1.9 percent.
Q: Do you think that health insurance plans should cover birth control as preventive care for women or not?Asked in a "what should happen" vein, without reference to government, people want their insurance plans to cover birth control. You can get a virtually even split on the issue if you ask a question that sounds like it was written by a committee composed of Grover Norquist, Rick Santorum and Jim Bob Duggar. And if you describe President Obama's policy in some detail, a solid majority is in favor?notably, this poll finds 45 percent approving of Obama's performance as president, so a significant number of people who disapprove of Obama's overall performance support him on this issue.
Q: Do you think the federal government should require private employers to offer free birth control coverage as part of their health insurance benefit plans or not?
Q: As you may know, President Obama recently announced an adjustment to the administration's health-care rule regarding religiously affiliated employers providing birth control coverage to female employees. Women will still be guaranteed coverage for birth control without any out-of-pocket cost, but will have to seek the coverage directly from their insurance companies if their employers object to birth control on religious grounds. Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's decision?
With that in mind: Please, Republicans, keep pushing on this one!
The poll also reminds us that a lot of the people who want Planned Parenthood defunded by the government want that because they just want Planned Parenthood gone: Of the 31 percent who want Planned Parenthood defunded, 39 percent would still take the same view "If you knew that federal government funding to Planned Parenthood was being used only for non-abortion health issues such as breast cancer screening." That means that 12 percent of the total respondents want to see Planned Parenthood defunded even if that means low-income women lose access to breast cancer screening. Totally coincidentally, I'm sure, 12 percent is also the percent of people who told Quinnipiac they thought birth control was "wrong." Funny!
FDL's Jon Walker posted a telling entry regarding the chances of any of the GOP candidates against Obama in November. It's telling in that the numbers show the race well within traditional GOP election-theft margins.It wouldn't be this damned close[...]
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As Heather already noted, Willard made a big show out of making these outrageous and specious claims about Iran:
We must not allow Iran to have nuclear weapon. If they do, the world changes. America will be at risk. And some day nuclear weaponry will be used. If I'm President, that will not happen. If we re-elect Barack Obama, it will happen," he said at the CNN Republican debate on Wednesday night.
That he made such a claim comes as no surprise. After all, Newt Gingrich made this insane claim in the same exchange:
This is an administration which, as long as you're America's enemy, you're safe.
And let's not leave out Rick Santorum:
In the meantime, when the radicals in Egypt and the radicals in Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood, when they rise against either a feckless leader or a friend of ours in Egypt, the president is more than happy to help them out.
When they're going up against a dangerous theocratic regime that wants to wipe out the state of Israel, that wants to dominate the radical Islamic world and take on the great Satan, the United States, we do nothing. That is a president that must go. And you want a leader who will take them on? I'll do that.
Three outrageous claims in the span of six minutes, and a moderator who followed up with each of them asking what exactly they might do to stop Iran, a sovereign country, from arming themselves with nuclear weapons.
Oh, wait. No, John King said nothing. Nothing. No followup with Willard on his claim that he, and he alone would prevent that nation from arming. No followup with Newtie about whether he consulted with Gaddafi and Bin Laden before making such an inane statement. And no followup with Santorum about how he could refer to the United States as the Great Satan while claiming Satan was attacking the United States.
So let's be serious for a minute. Three out of the four candidates were calling for war against Iran even though we have no proof they are even trying to build nuclear weapons or want to. Only one candidate on that stage had a lick of sense, and his words were carefully parsed. Ron Paul said this:
The Iranians can't possibly attack anybody. And we're worrying about the possibility of one nuclear weapon. Now, just think about the Cold War. The Soviets had 30,000 of them. And we talked to them. The Soviets killed 100 million people and the Chinese, and we worked our way out of it.
And if you want to worry about nuclear weapons, worry about the nuclear weapons that were left over from the Soviet Union. They're still floating around. They don't have them all detailed. So we're ready to go to war. I say going to war rapidly like this is risky and it's reckless.
Barack Obama agrees with him, at least with regard to loose nukes and diplomatic solutions, though Ron Paul also stated our opposition to them having nuclear weapons is encouraging them to obtain one. Still, early in his administration he identified the loose nuclear weapons issue as the biggest threat to national security we have, and set to doing something about it. Here's what Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic has to say about Iran and Obama:
There is another reason we have arrived at this moment of high tension: The Obama Administration, through its stalwart opposition to the Iranian nuclear program, has narrowed Iran's maneuverability, and forced the regime to make some obvious errors (the alleged sponsorship of an attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, for instance). It is precisely because the Obama Administration has constructed a sanctions program without precedent, and because the Obama Administration has funded and supported multinational cyber-sabotage efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, that Iran is panicking and lashing-out.
It is not only Israeli leaders who have doubted Obama's commitment to stop Iran's nuclear program; Iran's leaders themselves didn't take Obama seriously. After all, George W. Bush labeled Iran's government a member of the axis of evil, but then did nothing much at all to thwart its ambitions. But Obama, while avoiding rhetorical drama, has actually done more to stop Iran than the Bush Administration ever did.
Why didn't John King force these warmongering bloodthirsty candidates to admit they want a war with Iran? They should have had to go on the record about it, because they would have discovered that only 17 percent of Americans think we should go to war with Iran, regardless of what Fox News says. And yet that's what each and every one of those candidates whose name is not Ron Paul was saying on that stage Wednesday night. They were standing up there saying that war with Iran is inevitable, and that President Obama is some kind of wimp for not engaging in that fashion.
Why was John King silent? Could it be because war is profitable for CNN? After all, their ratings soar when there's a war or breaking news. Or is he a collaborator?
Someone had better step up soon and force these candidates to actually talk turkey about what they think they will do as President. As long as they get to make sweeping pronouncements with absolutely no foundation or follow through, they just throw red meat to the bloodthirsty and then wear it like a badge of honor.
Are GOP candidates paying a price with women voters for the recent tough talk on contraception? Mitt Romney's poll numbers suggest yes. [...]
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Last night's debate in 100 seconds. No huge gotcha moments, but some compelling back and forth between Mitt and Rick -- and a heaping dose of "this is what the presidential candidates are debating ... really?" Watch.[...]
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