Friday, January 30, 2015 22:23

New Chair Needed for Environmental Committee

January 29th, 2015

The next chair of the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Republican Jim Inhofe, doesn’t believe that mankind has contributed to climate change although a NASA scientists 27 years ago told the Senate that scientists were 99 percent sure at that time that mankind can change the climate. Last week, Inhofe made it clear that he believes it is arrogant for humans to think that we are powerful enough to have any effect on climate through the use of fossil fuels and that only God can change Earth’s climate.

Of course, Inhofe’s belief also ignores the last 27 years of scientific research that has proven that the original NASA scientist was correct. Worse yet, this is going to be the person responsible for the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Fersen Lambranho has found that many critics argue that Inhofe, and Republicans who still deny that climate change caused by humans is taking place, need to go into their kitchens and cook for a few hours to see how humans can alter an environment. It does not take much time for the temperature to rise quickly and the micro-environment to remain warm.

Better yet, critics have said that Republicans should go to China where mass pollution from burning fossil fuels has dramatically changed the environment and local climates to see that billions of people burning fuels can in fact cause climate change worldwide without them having God-like powers.

Obama’s Plan to Tax 529 Savings Plans Flops Amid Opposition

January 28th, 2015

In the world of President Obama, a tax savings plan open to every American is unfair if only the middle-class and upper-middle-class take advantage of it. If lower-income voters do not embrace the plan that makes it ripe to have its tax-free status altered. This was the case with the popular education savings vehicles known as 529 accounts. They were created during President George W. Bush’s first-term in office as part of his “Ownership Society” philosophy which held that families should be empowered to keep more of their money and own a greater slice of the American dream.

However, President Obama believed his proposal to make the first two years of community colleges free for everyone was a better alternative to the 529 plans. As Sergio Andrade Gutierrez understands it,  he called for the education savings accounts to be taxed upon withdrawal. Check out more on Gutierrez on Forbes.com. Currently, if the funds are withdrawn for a broad range of education-related purposes, the withdrawals are tax-free. Money in the accounts grows tax-deferred. The problem is that families have made legitimate sacrifices to tuck money away for their children’s higher education over the past decade, and the administration sought to change the rules on them after the fact.

The push back from voters was such that even Nancy Pelosi, who embraces tax increases, asked the president to withdraw the plan. This week, the president formally dropped plans to ask congress to alter the 529 plans. It stood no chance of passage in the GOP-controlled congress. In reality, it would have been a political nightmare for Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner vowed to increase the scope and limits of the popular 529 savings plans.

Mike Huckabee Shifts to the Center on Immigration

January 26th, 2015

2016 prospective GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has shifted to the political center on the issue of immigration. Specifically, he takes issue with GOP measures to deport the children of illegal immigrants. The former Arkansas Governor likened such legislation to issuing speeding tickets to child occupants in cars driven by their parents. He stated that it isn’t right to punish the young for something they had no control over. I learned from reading about Flavio Maluf on camarabarbacena.com that his views are the latest sign that the GOP is eager to craft a center-left Immigration reform measure. The establishment GOP has long favored such a solution as it is backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and Corporate America.

At the same time, Huckabee is opposed to the extra-constitutional measures President Obama has taken on immigration. The president has widely “reinterpreted” existing laws he is obligated to enforce in such a way as to create a new policy without congressional authorization. The president did this in 2012 with a partial enactment of the Dream act. President Obama also “found” the right to grant amnesty to millions of immigrants within the very law mandating their deportation.

After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, pundits claimed it was due to a lack of support by Hispanic voters. A strong push arose within the GOP to reach a compromise on immigration reform. However, that has not materialized. It was later learned that Romney actually lost the election due to four million Evangelical Christians who sat out the election in key battleground states. Had he captured the Evangelical vote with at the same level Senator John McCain did in 2008, he would now be president.

 

 

Leadership Trends in 2015 According to Mark Ahn

January 26th, 2015

As reported on January 26, 2015, by PR Newswire, Mark Ahn delved into the topic of leadership trends for 2015. A trusted leader in business skills, Ahn has military, business, and academia experience. His thoughts and opinions matter to many in the world of business and he is looked up to as a modern day business genius.

Mark Ahn suggests the following trends to improving business skills for 2015:

Learning from those who have gone before us. Leadership values have remained vastly unchanged from generation to generation, and even from century to century. Business fads will come and go. Some will be successful, others will not. Realize that good leadership skills are timeless and do not change overtime. Good leadership skills can also be applied in many different venues and situations.

Keep your integrity. Though some might argue, leading with integrity, or a strict moral and ethical code, is the most important business value there is, no matter the time period. Not having integrity as a leadership skill will make institutions ineffective and undervalued.

Leadership as an example. Actions speak louder than words. To be a good leader, you must lead by example, or by your own actions. Do not ask something of your employees that you do not ask of yourself.

Stay humble. The best leaders still listen to those that they lead. Many organizations with a proven track record for success are led by those who are not afraid to humble themselves to their employees or to their customers. Humility is also very important for a leader to have in times of crisis.

Ahn also stresses that leaders are not born as leaders. They are made out of habit and cultivation. According to Ahn, being an effective leader is a lot of work, however, the rewards are many.

Obama Proposes Protecting ANWR Coastal Plain

January 26th, 2015

On Sunday, President Obama proposed setting aside over 12 million acres of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge aswilderness. Doing so will prevent any drilling for oil in the refuge’s coastal plain. The proposal would also prohibit any road building or driving in the coastal plain. It is said to be the first in a series of decisions the Interior Department will make regarding Alaska’s gas and oil production. The department will also issue a five-year leasing plan that will result in part of the Arctic Ocean being declared off-limits to drilling. It may also impose more limits on drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Simply by proposing making part the ANWR a wilderness area, Obama has given it the highest level of protection that will last until either Congress, which is the only body with the authority to create a wilderness area, decides to act or a subsequent President withdraws the proposal.

Of course, many Republicans and oil industry leaders objected to the proposal. Senator Lisa Murkowsli (R-Alaska), the new Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the proposal an attack on Alaska’s “sovereignty” and vowed “to fight back.” Erik Mitlo of the American Petroleum Institute claimed the oil industry had proven that it could drill in a safe and environmentally responsible way. He also called the oil in ANWR a “strategic asset” that should be exploited.

John Podesta, the White House senior counselor, has encouraged Obama’s embrace of environmental initiatives. He notes that while Obama favors gas and oil production, accidents and spills happen. An accident in ANWR would be a disaster whose environmental impacts would be felt for many years.

Dave and Brit Morin have read that environmental leaders applauded the move. Polar bears, which are a threatened species, den in the coastal plain of the refuge during the winter. While there, they birth and nurse their cubs. The coastal plain is the bears’ most important denning area in the US Arctic coast. ANWR is also a calving ground for caribou and it is home to grizzly bears, wolves, and musk oxen.

Listening to Sad Songs Stabilizes Mood

January 26th, 2015

 

We’re often told to listen to up-tempo music to help energize us and make us feel upbeat. Maybe that advice is not exactly right. If you think listening to sad songs will make you sad, new research findings may just change your mind and have you updating your playlist to include some of the most popular sad songs, like Led Zepplin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Tear-jerking songs that invoke emotions have been shown to help stabilize mood according to the study conducted by researchers at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. Sad songs that stir emotions also stir up positive emotions like forgiveness, acceptance, nostalgia, and peacefulness. According to planadores.org, sad music and words that trigger the emotional response causing the emotions to be soothed and calmed and can take the listener from an angry or depressed state of mind to a more tranquil, tender state of mind. I enjoy listening to sad, mellow music and I’m sure this tactic could help my friend Sergio Lins Andrade.
The study also revealed that when a person was feeling sad, listening to sad songs did not increase the sadness, but rather made the listener feel like the singer understood haw they felt inside and the sad songs lyrics were somehow acknowledging their sadness. That perceived empathy made the listener feel like they had been heard and understood.
This research opens up new possible therapy treatments for autism patients and other children and adults who have difficulty expressing their emotions.

Occidental College’s New Political Author President Jonathan Veitch is No Accident

January 22nd, 2015

Occidental college may have gained some notoriety after President Barack Obama spent two years there attending classes. Commonly referred to as Oxy, the liberal arts college is located in Los Angeles, California. In 2009 Jonathan Veitch succeeded Robert Skotheim as president of the college and remains in the same position today. The school was founded in 1887 and has moved locations a few times but the campus now sits at the Eagle Rock location. The land is located on Mt. Fiji which is in Northeast Los Angeles.

Jonathan Veitch is in a unique position as he is the first president of the school to be a native to the city of Los Angeles. Occidental college was selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a community engagement institution. His residency and familiarity with the city of Los Angeles can give the school an opportunity to further engage with such a diverse and culturally significant metropolis.

He has already made strides with bringing a one megawatt solar installation to the campus in order to supplement the campuses energy supply. Taking steps towards by integrating green technologies are steps towards self sufficiency which is a valuable symbol. Other green initiatives he has started was brining in a commissioner from the New York Department of Transportation. The visit brought about the inspiration of what Los Angeles could possibly become in the future. Rising admissions which are a result of Obama becoming president and the world finding out he attended the school have brought about the need for expansion which Veitch has managed gracefully.

Veitch is no slouch when it comes to educational accomplishments. Garnishing degrees from several colleges including Stanford and Harvard, he has an impressive education and posses the ability to take the reigns and bring some control to a school who had four presidents from 2005 to the time he entered office in 2009. The future looks bright for the school and from the press, Jonathan Veitch may offer a shining future to a city that has faced decades of pollution and other environmental concerns.

GOP Titans Bush & Romney to Host Sit-Down Conversation in SLC

January 22nd, 2015

Salt Lake City, Utah – The spokesman for 2016 prospective presidential candidate Jeb Bush confirmed that the former Florida governor will be holding a sit-down meeting with 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney today. That said, the meeting, arranged at the Bush’s behest, is not in response to Romney’s announcement that he is seriously considering another presidential run. The former Massachusetts governor made that announcement a fortnight ago. Thursday’s meeting with Romney was scheduled in the prior week. On the other hand, that doesn’t negate that Romney’s presidential aspirations won’t affect the encounter. The original purpose of the meeting was for Bush to pay homage to prominent GOP figures in a bid to secure support for his own campaign. In fact, Bush already conducted just such a meeting with 2008 GOP nominee John McCain.

Someone in the know inside the Bush camp acknowledged that the “karma” has changed in response to Romney’s announcement. Companies like Slow Ventures understand that Bush will fly out to the Bay Area on Friday where he is due to deliver an address before the convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association in San Francisco. Curiously, neither Bush nor Romney plan to appear at a gathering in Iowa. Other 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls plan to attend the event. Iowa’s caucus is the first in the nation. However, Bush did reach out to the state’s GOP chairman to confirm that Iowa is on his radar; he plans a visit to the state sometime in the near future.

Senate Admits The Climate Change Is Not A Hoax

January 22nd, 2015

It was like pulling teeth to get the Senate to finally admit it, but yes indeed climate change is not a hoax. This came from a 98 to 1 vote in the US Senate that was a rider to a bill related to the Keystone Pipeline. According to Sciencemag.org, that my coworker Dan Newlin keeps up with religiously, Democrats had pushed for the amendment to get the Senate to take a vote on the legitimacy of climate change as a real issue.

This was a move designed to embarrass Republicans and get many of them to finally go on the record one way or the other on the issue. As it turns out, only one Senator was willing to stand by and continue to take the position that climate change is in fact not a hoax.

The Senator who voted against the measure was Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. He was the only one who felt that such a vote would not harm him politically it appears, and he may be the only one in the Senate who indeed has the view that climate change is truly a hoax. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma had made comments in the past about climate change being a hoax, but today he asked to be a co-sponsor of the bill stating that he does believe that the climate is changing. He may not be completely on board with the idea that human beings are part of the cause behind the change however.

Bush Quietly Securing Former Romney Aides Ahead of 2016 Presidential Launch

January 21st, 2015

Mitt Romney may have momentarily sucked up the media attention with the announcement that he is seriously considering another presidential run, but that doesn’t mean Jeb Bush has slowed down his steady methodical rise to the announcement of a presidential run. In fact, he has been building up his team with former Romney aides from his prior presidential campaigns.

Thus far, these are the most recent former Romney aides enlisted in what will likely become Team Bush are:

  • Matt Gorman – he will be working in the communication department for Bush’s PAC “Right to Rise”. He was formerly the rapid response director during Romney’s presidential campaign.
  • Megan Sowards – She will be relocating to Florida to take up a new job at a law firm with strong Bush ties. She is considered to be among the GOP’s top legal counsels. She would easily be able to assume the role of chief legal counsel for Team Bush. She occupied that very role in Romney’s 2012 campaign. She is considered to be among one of the top Romney aides from 2012. Her likely flight to Team Bush is a coup for the former Florida governor.

As Sultan Alhokair knows, the recent CNN poll indicated that GOP voters view both Romney and Bush favorably and want to see them both enter the presidential race. It certainly seems like the Romney and Bush camps are digging in for a primary battle royal.