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Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change 583

Posted by Soulskill
from the climate-change-is-change-we-can-believe-in dept.
astroengine writes "President Barack Obama called for 'meaningful progress' on tackling climate change in his State of the Union speech in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. While acknowledging that 'no single event makes a trend,' the President noted that the United States had been buffeted by extreme weather events that in many cases encapsulated the predictions of climate scientists. 'But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it's too late,' Obama added." Other significant statements from Obama's speech: 34,000 troops coming back from Afghanistan over the next year; new gun regulations "deserve a vote"; rewards for schools that focus on STEM education; increases in tech research; a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00/hr and tie it to inflation; and a proposal to use oil and gas revenues to fund a move away from oil and gas,
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Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change

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  • along with the rest of the US government...
  • Excellent. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681)

    Best set of policies I've ever seen from an American President. Hope he manages to get some of them through.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They're just proposals. Merely ideas spoken out loud.

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        What else do you expect? It's a speech, not a bill. I suppose he could get up there and read proposed legislation but about the middle of paragraph 2, everybody would tune out, including Congress. THEY don't even read bills on the House floor.
  • by ixarux (1652631) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:18AM (#42882391)
    Nonsense. Climate change is God's wrath for allowing a black (probably Muslim, possibly alien) Democratic President to come to power.
    • Based on what the nutters keep claiming, it's fairly obvious that they think Obama is a Timelord.

    • Nonsense. Climate change is God's wrath for allowing a black (probably Muslim, possibly alien) Democratic President to come to power.

      Somehow I doubt that [telegraph.co.uk].

  • Get on with it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:27AM (#42882449)

    It strikes me that if you just let this man run the country for the remainder of his term without obstruction America could be the country that most people in the world have been told it is. And the whole world would be a better place.

    Alternatively you can obstruct him at every turn and show that you are hypocrites that talk democracy and freedom, but are nothing more than corporate shrills doing the bidding of lobbyists, none of which are working for the American people, let alone the world.

    And if you won't, for fuck sake let him run another country. Australia would love to have Obama as the leader. People of his mien come once a generation FFS.

    • Re:Get on with it! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tagged_84 (1144281) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:33AM (#42882501) Homepage
      Yeah as an Aussie I would say I'd much rather Obama than any of our politicians at the moment. They seem to have one of the easiest political jobs in the world and yet still fail to remotely suggest any grand future plans for our country, just more of the same sh*t I've been hearing for years.
    • It strikes me that if you just let this man run the country for the remainder of his term without obstruction ...

      Alternatively you can obstruct him at every turn and show that you are hypocrites that talk democracy and freedom...

      Comprehension of principles of democracy? : Epic fail

      Dodgy indeed.

      And if you won't, for fuck sake let him run another country. Australia would love to have Obama as the leader. People of his mien come once a generation

      Here is a helpful hint: The person being referred to in Jerusalem [youtube.com] is not President Obama.

    • by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:59AM (#42882741)

      It strikes me that if you just let this man run the country for the remainder of his term without obstruction America ...

      That's not how government works in America. Never has.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Alternatively you can obstruct him at every turn and show that you are hypocrites that talk democracy and freedom

      So, what you are proposing is that Congressmen prove that they are in favor of democracy by voting the opposite of the way their constituents elected them to vote and that they are in favor of freedom by voting to support a man who believes that the government can order you to act against your religious beliefs?
      Considering that polls consistently show that more U.S. citizens oppose Obama's policies than support them, I am not sure how you get the idea that voting for his policies represents democracy in ac

      • by Atzanteol (99067)

        Just so you know - the government is under no obligation to respect your religious beliefs when establishing law. Ask the Mormons about polygamy, or various cults about animal sacrifices, etc.

      • by femtobyte (710429)

        The government has always had an absolute ability to order you to act against your religious beliefs.

        Your religion might demand that you punch strangers in the face, or oppose interracial marriage. The government orders you not to go around punching people in the face, or to run a car dealership that refuses to serve interracial couples. "Freedom of religion" protections guarantee that you can continue believing and preaching that God is sending the country to hell for its lack of face-punching or abundance

    • Re:Get on with it! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:34AM (#42883171) Homepage
      He's a president, not a king; certainly not a god. He is not our ruler, but our leader. We do not serve him; he serves us. I realize that most of the world doesn't get this (at least, not the places in Europe and Asia where I've lived), but we Americans really do take the idea of citizenship and the republic quite seriously. And somehow, I doubt you were saying the same thing when Bush was president. (Not that he was great shakes either, but it's odd how so many people who had a real problem with Bush ostensibly on policy grounds are fine with those policies executed by Obama instead.)
      • by SoupGuru (723634)

        Yes, "Americans really do take the idea of citizenship and the republic quite seriously"

        I want what you're smoking.

      • Re:Get on with it! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by asylumx (881307) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:45AM (#42884815)

        We do not serve him; he serves us. I realize that most of the world doesn't get this

        Including folks in the USA. The president is who we chose. Putting him in office then telling him "No" every time he tries to do something is just ridiculous. We elected him, why and how is it possible to elect someone to our top-most leadership position and at the same time elect people who intentionally block him from doing *anything* at all? Something is seriously fucked up here.

    • Re:Get on with it! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cyn1c77 (928549) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:56AM (#42883445)

      I think that you've drunk way too much of the kool-aid. Obama is a decent guy, but he isn't a mini-god. Many of his progressive ideas are not being realized due to his inability or his opponents unwillingness to bring about compromise.

      It strikes me that if you just let this man run the country for the remainder of his term without obstruction America could be the country that most people in the world have been told it is.

      A socialist empire who takes care of its citizenry? Sorry, that's Europe.

      If you look at history and world opinion, America is generally thought of as being a defiant, controlling bully in international space. There are both economic (oil) and historical (WWII, national security) reasons for that.

      Internally, America was built on the foundation of freedom from British oppression and taxation. So it is only natural that many US citizens will oppose government efforts to both increase taxation and oppress what are currently viewed as freedoms.

      And the whole world would be a better place.

      That's purely your opinion. Obama has done some good (health care), but has also had a lot of bad things continue to happen under his watch:
      1. The US is still involved in Afganistan.
      2. North Korea and Iran are still defiantly working towards nuclear programs and torturing their citizens.
      3. Russia has become significantly more aggressive towards the US.
      4. China continues to destroy the US though cyberattacks and economic undercutting.
      5. The US economy collapsed and kicked off an international collapse.
      6. The Israelis and Palestinians are still at each other throats.
      7. Egypt, Libya, Tunisia are in a state of political upheaval and are at risk of being taken over by religiously oppressive regimes.
      8. Syrian people are being killed with no international assistance.
      9. The US supplied Mexican drug cartels with US weapons.
      10. Shooting rampages appear to have increased.
      11. Gitmo is still Gitmo.
      12. Like previous presidents, Obama also has acknowledged the need to maintain a kill list. What is particularly special is that his list also can include US citizens.
      13. The US deficit continues to go the wrong direction.
      14. The US congress partisanship is still stifling any change.

      So reviewing history as it currently stands gives me the impression that it's been more "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" and less "hope and change."

      Alternatively you can obstruct him at every turn and show that you are hypocrites that talk democracy and freedom, but are nothing more than corporate shrills doing the bidding of lobbyists, none of which are working for the American people, let alone the world.

      Bullshit. All good qualities aside, Obama is a politician to the core. He wants to do what he perceives as good things for the country. But above all else, he wants to be in power. To do this, he has had to cater to lobbyists and special interest groups just like every other politician in power.

      And if you won't, for fuck sake let him run another country. Australia would love to have Obama as the leader.

      Many in the US would buy him a first class plane ticket out of the country.

      People of his mien come once a generation FFS.

      I like your association to Hitler. (That was unintentional, right?)

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:29AM (#42882473)

    Giving a nice speech doesn't really convince me of his intentions after sabotaging Kyoto.

    • by fatphil (181876)
      And his "investment in clean energy" historically seems to just mean little more than handing out a billion dollars to businesses who had nothing but powerpoint slides. (And who had probably greased lobbyists palms with silver.)

      He's no hero, he's just a businessman who's currently CEO of the biggest business in the world, one that answers to noone, and who's friendly with lots of other businessmen who only answer to him.
      • by x0 (32926)
        No, he's not a businessman. Never has been. He's a 'Community Orginizer'...
        • No, he's not a businessman. Never has been. He's a 'Community Orginizer'...

          Bob Heinlein once described the two types of politicians as "business politicians" and "reform politicians".

          A "business politician" is one that stays bought.

          A "reform politician" is one that changes his positions if someone can convince him that his change is "for the good of the People".

          Not really sure which Obama is - most days he comes across as a business politician, some days he comes across as a reform politician.

      • Governments are not businesses. They print money, they don't trade for it. Citizens might be analogous to a "shareholder" but in point of fact it's an entirely different legal arrangement. You might consider it a natural monopoly on the use of force, but citizens can't exactly cancel their subscription to that.

        Governments are bad enough without trying to drag in inapplicable concepts to mismanage them with. They are not businesses, they should not be run as businesses, and electing someone to the Presidency

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:31AM (#42882487) Homepage

    Talk is cheap, and the State of the Union address is about pageantry and blowing hot air, not anything that will actually happen. Come back to me when you have a serious effort, which will probably involve legislation, a budget, an actual agency, probably some grant programs, and other tangible steps. Come back to me when thanks to some serious efforts and funding, we have solar or geothermal or hydro power that could handle the entire energy needs of the US. Come back to me when you have serious conservation efforts that make Americans not the most wasteful people on the planet.

    You know, people made fun of Jimmy Carter suggesting things like turning down the thermostat and wearing a sweater, and for installing solar panels on the White House, but he was basically right about the necessary course of action.

  • Circular Reference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmclapp (2834681) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:33AM (#42882503)
    Now, I'm no economics expert... But aren't minimum wage increases one of the (albeit small) contributors to inflation? And as such, wouldn't tying minimum wage increases to inflation create a circular reference of sorts?
    • by Talderas (1212466)

      Yes. Either because products are more expensive to product or because demand increases (thanks to more money to the consumer) and causes demand driven price increases.

    • If we were smart we would increase the minimum wage and at the same time impose tariffs and regulations on importing goods from countries that do not meet minimum human rights, worker pay, and environmental standards. But nobody wants to take on China so we will not do it. So a minimum wage increase if passed at all will increase outsourcing enough to offset inflation contribution.

    • So what about the people who get income not in the form of wages?
      They should raise the basic income but there is no basic income yet unless you count welfare and welfare is hard to get and they want to make people pay a fee to get it in North Dakota, see: http://www.topix.com/forum/health/womens-health/TEII96LUBC3DL8UJJ [topix.com]

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:04AM (#42882797) Homepage

      But aren't minimum wage increases one of the (albeit small) contributors to inflation?

      Some economists think that average wage increases are the primary cause of inflation, some think that price increases in important commodities are the primary cause of inflation. If you're in the first camp, then the importance of a minimum wage increase depends on what percentage of workers make minimum wage, which in the US is about 1% of all workers. If you're in the second camp, then the minimum wage increase has no effect on prices.

      And as such, wouldn't tying minimum wage increases to inflation create a circular reference of sorts?

      Of sorts, but the effects would probably vary a lot based on what industries we're talking about. The risk is this: The increase in pay leads to an increase in the price of, say, hamburgers, which leads to inflation, which leads to an increase in pay, in a vicious cycle. The alternative is that the increase in pay leads to decreased profits for McDonalds Inc shareholders, which has no effects on inflation whatsoever.

      • by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:01AM (#42883509) Homepage

        Economic history would suggest that inflation is caused by the government increasing money supply faster than the underlying material support (of population, resources and productivity) can rise, and deflation is the opposite. Which would explain why, for example, highly innovative industries like electronics and highly competitive industries like plastic surgery can see falling prices in an otherwise inflating economy, while low competition or low innovation or resource constrained sectors can see rising prices even in an otherwise deflating economy.

        I doubt that minimum wage changes affect prices much. But by raising the cost of labor, they certainly affect unemployment among the least well off, because there are fewer jobs that are profitable to hire out at, say, $9 per hour than at, say, $6 per hour.

      • by balsy2001 (941953) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:43AM (#42883983)
        It impacts more than just the big businesses profit. Many fast food restaurants are franchised. The details change but many times the store owner just kicks back a fixed percentage of revenue to the corporate office. When minimum wage increases that fixed percentage doesn't decrease. The profit margin in these businesses is typically not large say 10% or less of revenue and labor may come in at 20% of revenue (some of the big players like mcdonalds may have different numbers but these are representative of the numbers for smaller places in my community). The last change in minimum wage was almost a 40% increase (5.15 to 7.25) well if all else stays the same, in that scenario labor cost just went to 28% and profit went close to 0 or worse. The only options are to raise prices (which is a business killer in fast food) or to cut staff and hope the service doesn't degrade.
  • It works the other way around. Bring back US manufacturing jobs and there will be more demand for US engineers. Our jobs didn't get outsourced for lack of US skills. They got outsourced due to wage scales. How are you going to compete when some guy in China can do your job for less than the US poverty level?
    • The way we compete with China and India is by improving our skill sets and by automating our factories. If we don't need hundreds and thousands of workers as cheap labor, then we don't need to outsource of jobs. 3D printing is one example of tech that can help. AI may be can help too in this. The other thing that can help is high skill tech jobs like game programming. If more and more folks in the US start learning skills that are sparse then we don't need as many folks from India to do the same jobs. There
    • How are you going to compete when some guy in China can do your job for less than the US poverty level?

      The solution is tariffs on goods from or trade restrictions with countries that do not meet minimum human rights, worker pay, and environmental regulations.

    • Nobody has lost a job in the US because someone else could do the job in another country for less.

      I can safely say this because while labor may make up a high proportion of the costs of goods and services that you buy, manufacturing labor (as in "people who man assembly lines" - the people who actually lose their jobs when Dell closes a factory and buys circuit boards from Foxconn) make up a tiny proportion of the labor portion. The classic 80:20 rule, which applied during the 1980s and is, today, even w

      • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:28AM (#42883087) Homepage Journal

        "Nobody has lost a job in the US because someone else could do the job in another country for less."

        Hrmm. Obviously, you've never worked in IT.

        I know hundreds of people who were removed from their positions because someone on the other side of the planet could do the same job (actually, they did the job much worse, but apparently that's irrelevant compared to cost) for less than half the price, plus, they aren't being employed as an "employee" so, no health care, matching 401k contributions, or any of that other nonsense that makes a regular employee so expensive.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:20AM (#42882987)

      How are you going to compete when some guy in China can do your job for less than the US poverty level?

      Trade Tariffs.

  • by elucido (870205) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:00AM (#42882757)

    Because the trend is to turn us into either unemployed, or independent contractors, or temporary workers. An independent contractor can work for lower than minimum wage so the minimum wage doesn't matter when not everyone is paid in wages. Why not minimum income? Why not government guaranteed basic income? Watch this video for more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sDBF_MbflY [youtube.com]

  • Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it's too late,' Obama added."

    They *could* be just a freak coincidence...sure they probably aren't, but it's practically impossible to pin individual weather events, or even a pattern of weather events over the span of a decade or two, on global warming. If you toss around bullshit and FUD to support action on global warming you're becoming the enemy to beat the enemy, while simultaneously feeding into their conspiracy theories and jokes.

  • by M. Baranczak (726671) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:12AM (#42882895)

    Just like every other State of the Union, it doesn't tell us one damn thing we didn't already know. "The planet's getting warmer." "The poor don't have any money." "Rich people don't pay enough taxes." Zzzzz...

    How about this:

    "My fellow Americans: yes, the aliens are real. We used to keep them at Roswell, but that got a little too touristy, so Lyndon Johnson had them moved to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Ain't nobody gonna look there," he said, and he was right. Oh, and I really was born in Kenya - suck it."

  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:24AM (#42883041) Homepage

    I like Victor Davis Hanson's take: [realclearpolitics.com]

    Sadly we know the Obama boilerplate speech by heart, and so the inaugural address was by now unfortunately straw-man psychodrama. Five years ago, the well-delivered script caused fainting, now it should earn mostly yawns: Fault the well off; invest more borrowed money in more federal programs that have no demonstrable record of success; blame the bad news on others; ignore the $1 trillion-plus annual borrowing; threaten to use more executive orders; demonize the opposition; take bad news abroad and declare it good, and fluff everything up with the hope-and-change cadences that address the trivial and avoid the fundamental.

    He wrote that about the inaugural address, but frankly it also applies to the State of the Union, and pretty much every other public utterance by this President.

  • by JWW (79176)

    1) Fix the Economy

    or

    2) Fix Global Warming

    please choose one......

Chairman of the Bored.

Working...