nytimes.com — It is the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 7, and after a long night of celebrating and a short night of sleep, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wake up to confront the question awaiting every new administration: Of the campaign’s many promises, which few will become the real priorities? If they win the White House, Republicans are also more likely than not to hold on to the House of Representatives and win a narrow majority in the Senate. The party could then embark on the kind of aggressive legislative push that President Obama and the Democrats did in 2009. Only four years after Democrats seemed on the verge of historic policy gains, Republicans could reverse many of those gains and then some. They could cut the top tax rate to its lowest level in 80 years (as Mr. Romney proposes) and make major changes to federal programs.
thinkprogress.org — Not being served a cheeseburger because you’re African American is about as in-your-face as it gets. Climate change, while increasingly omnipresent, is never quite so personal. And that’s why calling for a civil rights style revolution on climate might not be the best analogy. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve used the comparison myself, and we certainly need to achieve the same scale as civil rights. But how we get there will be different. When you’re denied service in a restaurant, there’s no questioning the level of effrontery. But when it’s extra hot, or when a corn crop fails, or if disease spreads or food prices go up, or even if you house gets burned down by a wildfire or flooded by a hurricane, it’s still one-off from obvious, even if it shouldn’t be.
alternet.org — Climate change and the economic and equity crises of our communities may appear to have little in common, but they share a key determining factor—namely, our near-complete dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas. The carbon dioxide produced by driving our vehicles, heating (and cooling) our homes, and lighting our cities with fossil fuels is the main culprit behind climate change. Meanwhile, that same dependence on fossil fuels sucks billions of dollars every year out of communities across America, with the poorest households often hit hardest. But what if we found ways to power our homes, businesses, factories, and vehicles that didn’t warm the planet, that kept local dollars circulating in local economies, and that even created local jobs? What if we spread those climate-friendly, local-economy-boosting, job-creating ideas to every city and town across the country?
thinkprogress.org — At a gathering of ranchers in Kansas City last weekend, every meeting and meal was opened with a prayer, including a plea for rain to end this devastating drought. Drought-caused price spikes for feed are forcing many livestock producers to slaughter their herds to a level they can afford to feed. You won’t often see a direct link in these stories to climate change, and you are even less likely to hear such a link made by the farmers and ranchers themselves. The key is to understand farmers’ perspectives, be strategic about effective engagement and find common ground.
grist.org — In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the No. 2 position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there’s talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished? Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W. Bush’s triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what’s happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the “no blood for oil” global protests of 2003 to the present moment.
opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com — The tutorial in 8th grade biology that Republicans got after one of their members of Congress went public with something from the wackosphere was instructive, and not just because it offered female anatomy lessons to those who get their science from the Bible. Take a look around key committees of the House and you’ll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri’s Representative Todd Akin’s take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who’s been raped. On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers.
alternet.org — It wasn’t as big as we’d hoped. These things never are, until, well, they are. It didn’t really matter though: Hundreds converged from across the country for the Coal Export Action and 23 participated in five days of civil disobedience in protest of the coal industry’s latest scheme to save itself from obsolescence. The message we sent reverberated around the state capitol here in Helena, MT: We will not sit idly by while King Coal attempts to export coal from the Powder River Basin through port towns in Oregon and Washington to Asian energy markets.
thinkprogress.org — We are headed for record lows in Arctic sea ice area and volume. The death spiral will start to make headlines in this country when we beat the record low sea ice extent set in 2007 as monitored by our National Snow and Ice Data Center. We are getting close, as the latest data make clear. But the death spiral of Arctic ice deserves attention beyond its obvious indication of a warming planet. There is increasing scientific analysis suggesting that the loss of ice in the distant Arctic is helping drive the off-the-charts extreme weather we have been seeing right here in this country in recent years
thenation.com — “If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into it, then you are allowed to steal some,” said Shivpal Singh Yadav, a minister for public works for India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP). “But don’t be a bandit.” Caught on camera, Yadav’s words were replayed in newscasts across India on August 9, 2012, nine days after a power failure left half of India’s population—one-tenth of the planet’s people—without power. Among the Indian states that suffered the blackout, twice, was Yadav’s home state of UP. A preliminary government investigation into the cause of the blackouts found that “indiscipline of state electricity boards and faulty management by the northern grid operator Power Grid Corporation” was to blame for the blackouts. Yet two other simpler reasons, theft and climate change, should not be overlooked.
There has been a recent flurry of propaganda attacks on wind and solar energy by oil-and-coal-backed conservatives. A vitally important tax credit to help build a renewable energy industry in this country expires at the end of this year without Congressional action, and the old oil and coal industries -- along with certain other countries -- want to make sure it does expire. more »