A lawsuit against Georgia was brought under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) yesterday, over claims by the Justice Department that voting procedures in the state don’t adequately ensure that military and overseas voters can particiapte in the August federal primary runoff election. The Justice Department seeks a court order guaranteeing that Georgia will conform with the Overseas Voting Act and “ensure that Georgia’s military and overseas voters, many of whom are member of our armed forces and their families serving our country around the world, will be provided the opportunity to vote,” read a statement from Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
by Max Frankel
Yesterday morning, as high temperatures and drought in the Midwest intensified, the Farm Foundation held a forum to discuss the impact of long term drought on agriculture. Remarkably, until I asked a question about it, the topic of climate change did not come up.
The panel was made up of Matthew Rosencrans, a member of the drought monitoring staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; David Anderson, a professor in the Agricultural Economics department at Texas A&M; Jay Armstrong, a farmer and seed salesmen from northern Kansas who sits on the boards of numerous agricultural organizations; and Kitty Smith, an economist and policy expert with the American Farmland Trust. The question and answer period was moderated by former Congressmen Charlie Stenholm (D-TX).
The participants went through their presentations about drought data collection, the effects of drought, and long-term drought planning without once mentioning climate change once. When I asked about it, I was not received warmly.
“They call it weather,” said Mr. Armstrong.
Though he admitted to seeing some increased volatility in the weather, he accused the media of overstating the problem, talking “about what used to be a forest and is now a desert” and not putting enough emphasis on “what used to be a desert and is now a forest.” (Mr. Armstrong should talk to Dr. Craig Allen, who thinks that “rising temperature is going to drive our forests off the mountains.”)
Congressman Stenholm didn’t seem too pleased with my question, judging by his disapproving stare.
Mr. Anderson, the economist from Texas, described the devastating effects of last year’s Southwestern drought. Anderson estimated the economic losses in the agriculture sector from that drought to be in the billions; almost $4.5 billion in corn, wheat, hay, and cotton and more than $3 billion in livestock.
And as that drought unfolded, leading climate scientists warned about the influence of anthropogenic climate change on the intensifying crisis.
Texas A&M, climate scientist Andrew Dessler said last August that ?there is absolutely no way you can conclude that climate change is not playing a role here. I?m quite surprised that anyone would even suggest that.? Texas climatologist Katherine Hayhoe also recently explained that ?our natural variability is now occurring on top of, and interacting with, background conditions that have already been altered by long-term climate change.?
In addition, NASA climatologists, including James Hansen, released peer-reviewed research concluding that the Texas heat wave was “a consequence of global warming because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming.” The future is even more worrisome — see “James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don?t Act Now.
“Yesterday, USDA released its weekly crop condition report and the areas of declining production predictably match the areas of drought. In particular, Illinois and Indiana, two large Midwest grain producing states that were challenged by poor planting conditions in the early spring, now face increased lack of moisture.”
Ironically, the frequency of extreme rainstorms in the Midwest that damage crops and cause flash flooding have doubled in the last 50 years, according to a survey of rainfall data by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.
The increasingly dire influence of human-induced climate change on the agricultural sector has encouraged some to speak up. In April, the former president of the American Corn Grower’s Association said that farmers are “at the front lines of global warming ? it?s a grave threat to rural livelihoods and quality of life. That?s why I support EPA policies to cut global warming pollution from automobiles and power plants.?
In spite of the mounting evidence and concern within the agricultural sector, it is astonishing that no one discussed climate change in a forum called “How Drought Reshapes Agriculture and Food Systems.”
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College and an intern at the Center For American Progress.
This is it. In minutes from now, the Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act, potentially impacting the access to health insurance for millions of Americans and certainly the legacy of the 44th President. The case will be announced from the[...]
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What will they do? Cartoon by DonkeyHotey
Predictions of what the Supreme Court will do today are flying all over the intertubes. Not one to be left behind, I now offer my own:
1. Whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars a challenge to the individual mandate at this time.
SCOTUS Answer - Hell No!!! When we don't want to decide a case, we'll tell you. 8-1.
2. Is the Minimum Coverage (individual mandate) provision constitutional?
SCOTUS Answer: Do you think Justice Kennedy would let the government make you eat your broccoli? Hell No. 5-4. The usual suspects.
3. If the Minimum Coverage provision is unconstitutional, what else must go?
SCOTUS Answer: There's is a fire sale at the ACA. EVERYTHING MUST GO. Actually, I think all the regulatory reform goes. Only Medicaid expansion survives. 5-4. The usual suspects.
4. Does the Medicaid expansion constitute unconstitutional coercion of state governments?
SCOTUS Answer: Does Arizona have the right to protects its sovereign borders? My prediction - 7-2, Medicaid expansion survives. Justice Scalia delivers obscene gesture from the bench in dissent.
Your turn in the poll and comments. More info here.
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This is how repugs win issues that should be dead-bang losers for them: they hide their real agenda behind a reasonable-sounding proposal that liberals feel obligated to support because it's so reasonable.
Since 1920, Kentucky has taxed gasoline at the pumps to pay for road construction and repair.
But with the advent of motor vehicles that do not use gasoline as their chief source of fuel, an advocacy group is pushing for legislation to require "next generation" vehicles to pay for road usage.
Kentuckians for Better Transportation, whose 240 members include local governments, road contractors and other businesses, wants the General Assembly to consider adding a fee to annual auto registrations for electric cars and other vehicles that run on fuels other than gasoline.
This nation desperately needs trillions of dollars to repair and rebuild our transportation system. The place to get those dollars is by cancelling the billions in subsidies to Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal, then levying massive taxes on their trillions in profits.
Not by punishing the electric car industry that is saving all our oil-soaked asses.
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As we await the Supreme Court ruling on health care, two of the other major stories of the week have reached a conclusion. Congress has reached agreement on a compromise package that will avert three separate deadlines and deliver some of the more robust[...]
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The Washington Post has this interactive tool to figure out what you might stand to lose if the conservative Roberts Court does what most analysts expect (and all Republicans fervently dream of) and overturns the Affordable Care Act. You might be surprised to find that a complete repeal (which the Republican Congress promises even if the Court doesn't deliver it) will affect just about everyone, to varying degrees.
Some insurance companies have said that they'll continue to honor some of the provisions of the law. Promises, promises.
If you're uninsured or have a pre-existing condition, what you lose is the hope that the status quo was going to change for you in 2014. And you know who you have to thank for it: the GOP.
In anticipation of today's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Twitter users took to levity, making humorous predictions about what the Justices would rule. Here are the top ten:
Court rules 6-3 that the middle seat is entitled to BOTH armrests. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) June 28, 2012
5-4 Justices rule that broccoli has the same free speech rights as people #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Dahlia Lithwick (@Dahlialithwick) June 28, 2012
5-4, Supreme Court rules "justice is not blind." But, Roberts notes in majority opinion, "it may be deaf." #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? David Corn (@DavidCornDC) June 28, 2012
8-1 removing baby from the corner, with Alito dissenting that removal could infringe on baby?s 1st amendment rights. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? amaeryllis (@amaeryllis) June 28, 2012
8-1, rule that (Roberts writing majority opinion) "this court should stay friends no matter what." Scalia dissents. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) June 28, 2012
6-3, holding Congress may regulate my milkshake via commerce clause bc it brings boys from other states to the yard. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Jake (@UCCowboy) June 28, 2012
Scalia thought Roberts was writing it. Roberts thought Scalia was writing it. Everyone is totes embarrassed. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Dan Munz (@dan_munz) June 28, 2012
Court rules 8-1 that DayQuil bubble-packs are hard to open. In dissent, AS opines "Just use your talons like I do." #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Christopher Zorn (@prisonrodeo) June 28, 2012
8-1 that Justice Breyer puts the lotion on his skin or else he gets the hose again. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 28, 2012
In an 8-1 decision, SCOTUS overturns ruling that it is indeed the heat and not the humidity. #otherSCOTUSpredictions
? Don Botts (@DonBotts) June 28, 2012
The sense I got at various Dept of Health meetings is that the stakes are very high. A lawyer who specializes in health care said that this will be the biggest decision since Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that mandated access to public school for all America’s children. There are people who dedicate their career to making health care available to all. A few months ago they could not imagine the Affordable Care Act being undone, but today anything is possible.
The crisis will eventually force reform. Crowded emergency rooms, exploding costs and preventable suffering and death are today’s reality. Patients are not consumers, health care is a public need and good– not a venue for profit.
However this plays out, we will not give up. The life you save may be your own. I’m off to work another day in health care, hearing and seeing firsthand the consequences of our fractured ‘system’ and trying to make it work.