Friday, March 15, 2013

Last Call

The White House is moving quickly on President Obama's initiative to increase research and development spending on alternative energy sources that he mentioned in his State of the Union speech.  First up: a $2 billion federal energy trust fund in direct R&D spending, paid for by oil & gas lease revenues:

Obama first called for an Energy Trust Fund in his State of the Union address last month. Under his plan, the $2 billion would come from royalties for federal oil and gas leases. The proposal asks Congress to include this in their 2014 budget.

This is today's second bit of good news for environmental advocates. The administration is also expected to announce that it is directing all agencies to take emissions into account when approving new projects, which includes highways, pipelines, and drilling plans. The guidance is expected to direct agencies to consider climate when they make assessments under the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act. The law was passed to look at more direct environmental risks, like the potential for oil spills or the destruction of habitat, but the White House Council on Environmental Quality is expected to tell the agencies to look at the potential impact on emissions now, too.

That's big news, especially given that the EPA has significant power to regulate emissions as a factor for public health risk.  This is definitely the right direction to head, as there's an environmental impact for all federal projects.

Republicans of course have their own energy plan, which is "drill baby drill" and screw any oversight.  now that the President has put a measure on the table, I'm sure the GOP will give it a fair shake (after pissing all over it).

Good Enough For My Son (But Not Yours)

Sen. Rob Portman has come around on same-sex marriage in part due to his son Will coming out as gay, and takes to the Columbus Dispatch to explain his evolution.

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.

I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.

On one hand, Portman's journey echoes that of President Obama's to an extent, and that of millions of Americans who have come to see their LGBTQ neighbors, friends, family members and loved ones as deserving of equality and happiness.  He gets credit for bending Dr. King's "long arc" a fraction closer to where it needs to be for all Americans, and he's in a position to actually do something about it as a United States Senator.

On the other hand, Portman's evolution should have been motivated by the other sons and daughters of his Ohio constituents, and not just his own.  I'll take it, but Portman still has a long way to go to even "moderate" Republican territory based on his dismal voting record.

The National Losers' Conference 2013

It's CPAC time again, and nobody's a bigger albatross around the neck of conservatives than "GOP Savior" Sen. Marco Rubio, who keep saying idiotic stuff like this:

I respect people who disagree with me on certain things, but that means they have to respect me too. Just because I believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. Just because we believe that life, all human life, all life, all human life is worthy of protection in every stage of its development doesn’t make you a chauvinist. In fact, the people who are actually close minded in American politics are people who love to preach about the certainty of science in regard to our climate, but ignore the absolute fact that life begins at conception.

You're never going to President, Marco.  Hell at this rate we may never have a Republican in the White house again.

Under no circumstances do I have to respect an ingnorant fool who says that denying same-sex marriage doesn't make him a bigot, who says life deserves protection at "every stage of its development" and then votes to slash pre-natal care, pre-school programs, K-12 education, student loans, health insurance, food assistance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and who calls scientific fact "closed minded" and spouts pseudo-science junk about life beginning at conception.

Go away, you awful, horrible idiot of a man.


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