Sunday, December 13, 2015

World Leaders Make Landmark Deal to Fight Climate Change

Leaders from more than 190 countries around the world forged an unprecedented agreement to begin to fight climate change driven by global warming. The "Paris Agreement" includes commitments to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from individual countries and promises by wealthier nations to help poorer nations adapt to the damaging effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The agreement sets a long-term goal of keeping the increase in the global temperature to "well below" 2°C degrees (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and calls on countries to "pursue efforts" to limit the increase to 1.5°C. It adds that "parties aim to reach a global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible."

While the agreement marks a declaration of worldwide war on climate change, it leaves some key decisions on how to fight the war to the future. Those detail decisions are to made to achieve specified goals over the next 10 to 15 years. The agreement also establishes an unprecedented international legal basis for addressing climate issues. Within the agreement, nearly every country on Earth laid out its own plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change impacts. Although those individual plans are not legally binding, the core agreement itself is.

Less optimistic is the reality that the emissions-reduction pledges agreed to by participating countries only limit global warming to roughly 2.7°C (4.9°F), leaving substantial questions on how to fight the global war war on climate change. Michael Mann, director of Penn State University's Earth System Science Center, emphasizes the agreement is just "the beginning of a process. These global commitments "get us roughly half way" to where the world needs to be, Mann reportedly told HuffPost in an email."

Further, current research suggests that forces already set in motion — the melting of glaciers, the release of carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost — could unleash considerable impacts that this agreement is unable to prevent, even if full implemented.

In addition to the carbon cutting of this agreement, quite a lot of carbon capture by human-made devices and human-planted forests may be required. The most important thing to come out of the conference is an agreement to improve on these commitments substantially in the years ahead. (carbon capture video)

Monday, December 7, 2015

SCOTUS May Change How Congress Represents America

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could cascade far-reaching changes in the way every election district in Texas — and every state in the nation — are drawn.

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, challenges Texas’ current method for drawing the lines apportioning state Senate districts. Texas, and every state in the union, draws election districts so they are roughly equal in population. Even those who can't vote — children, non-citizens, and felons — get equal representation.

The plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott, Sue Evenwel of Mount Pleasant and Edward Pfenninger of Montgomery County north of Houston, claim equal apportionment based on total population count, including children under the voting age, and particularly non-citizen immigrants, rather than just eligible voters — only adult citizens who aren't felons — leads to “gross malapportionment” of the value of their votes.

Because there are a larger number of potential "eligible voters" in Pfenninger's district than there are in Evenwel's district, Pfenninger says his vote counts for less. The case turns on the fundamental question about the role of elected representatives, asking whether they serve on behalf of everyone in their district or only those eligible to cast ballots. The share of non-citizens in the U.S. has grown from 2 percent in 1970 to 7 percent in 2013, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington. The portion of American born individuals who are under 18 years of age, and thus are not eligible voters, was 23.1 percent in 2014.

The person actually behind this case is Edward Blum, who has probably done more than anyone who does not sit on the Supreme Court to dismantle America’s civil rights laws. The pair of Texas Tea Party conservatives — Sue Evenwel and Ed Pfenninger — who filed the legal challenge to the way Texas draws its election district maps are working closely with Blum.

Karen Jacobs For Texas House of Representatives On BlogTalkUSA

Karen Jacobs, candidate for Texas state House of Representatives, District 33, joined me on BlogTalkUSA Eyes Wide Open: Democratic Blog Talk, to tell us about Hillary Clinton's November campaign stop at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas. We also discuss with Karen her decision to run for the Texas House of Representatives.

Karen's well spoken knowledge on a range of state, national and international issues shows why I urge all my friends to support and vote for Karen. Karen has been active with the Rockwall County community and Democratic Party candidates, working hard to get out the vote for state, local, and 5th District Court of Appeals candidates. Karen is committed to providing practical solutions to real problems confronting all Texans today.

Jacob Limon, Texas Director for Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign, also drops by to give us a Report, during the last half of the program!

Karen also spoke on Texas' Public Radio Network. Click this link to listen:

Jacobs visiting with Korean War veteran Hubert Howard and Vivian Joe

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Texas Democrats Vote Ballot Referenda For March 1st Primary Ballot

At a meeting in Austin on Saturday, December 5th, the Texas Democratic Party's Executive Committee approved a set of 6 ballot referenda for the public to vote on during the March 1, 2016 Democratic Primary.

Texas Democrats ballot referenda address economic security and prosperity for all, fair criminal justice reform, climate change, restoring the Voting Rights Act, fixing our broken immigration system, and opposing campus carry. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Texas Democrats are the champions of middle-class and working families across our great state. Our set of thoughtful ballot referenda prove that we believe in growing opportunity for all. I am proud that our state executive committee has put forth a set of solutions that deal with the everyday lives of Texas families.

"Democrats are focused on kitchen table issues and solutions that promote economic expansion and protect our families. Fighting for real opportunity for everyone, not just for the sons and daughters of the well-to-do, makes us the true pro-growth, pro-family, pro-worker, pro-business party.

“While Republicans are considering whether or not to put an un-American, unpatriotic Texas secession proposal on their ballot, Texas Democrats are having a substantive conversation about the solutions that are going to improve the daily lives of Texas families.
2016 Democratic Party Ballot Referenda: