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Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change 583

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:14AM (#42882357)

    Our Dear Leader has spoken: spend spend spend and don't argue about how to pay for it. Just keep spending and everything will work out ok.

  • Excellent. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:17AM (#42882375)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:22AM (#42882419)

    Well, if he was a Republican... he'd do the same, then lower taxes. Maybe a hair different on what exactly he'd spend it on, but otherwise, very little difference.

    There's so little actual difference left between the two parties' stances that the strife and "you people"-ing has long since ceased to make sense. Why then even do it? Clearly it's not about any actual issue, and hasn't been for a long, long time.

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

    by Dodgy G33za ( 1669772 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:27AM (#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.

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:29AM (#42882473)

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

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:31AM (#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 @09:33AM (#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?
  • Horrible Analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:35AM (#42882515) Journal

    There was a certain King Canute who went to the beach one day and ordered the tide to stop flowing. I can imagine Obama's ideas and efforts will have exactly the same effect.

    Your analogy is terrible. History and other countries have shown that industry and consumers don't give a shit about the environment. And that goes for both capitalistic and socialistic societies. We've shown in the past that government regulation can fix things like CFCs and the pollution of drinking water so what's so batshit insane about proposing we fix this with regulations?

    Your analogy would work if King Canute had previously ordered a lake to split in two and it had worked.

    While he's at it he should make tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes illegal.

    I don't know what this is? Some throwback to that bullshit logic about gun control? I guess people are still being murdered so we should revoke all the laws outlawing murders? I mean, when murdering is outlawed then only murderers will have the ability to murder people!

    It's not about controlling the weather. The weather is a symptom of the problem of spewing tons and tons of carbon and greenhouse gases into the air and environment. So he's tackling the root cause of the problem, not making a symptom illegal ... is this some new parroted right-wing narrative you're getting from Facebook or something?

  • Yeah, god forbid Congress set our tax levels back up to the high rates of the Ronald Reagan era. That Reagan dude was clearly a fucking socialist.
  • by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:11AM (#42882887) Homepage

    If we don't need hundreds and thousands of workers as cheap labor, then we don't need to outsource of jobs.

    So what are you going to do with the people who can't hold down a high-tech/creative job? They don't magically vanish, and putting them all in prison would be horribly expensive.

  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:24AM (#42883041) Homepage

    I like Victor Davis Hanson's take: []

    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 hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:27AM (#42883079)
    I agree, lets also trim government down to the same size as it was then. Oh wait - can't have that, can we?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:29AM (#42883107)

    Coming up on this last election, I made the mistake of thinking the appropriate question was really, "why vote for either of them". For this reason, among others.

    But now I'm left wondering if I screwed up. Not that my vote matters more than anyone else, but I was listening to the Address and thinking, as much as I disliked Romney, would his Address have been, "spend billions, raise taxes, ban guns, spend billions more"? I don't think it would have been. His platform, for all the things I disagreed with, was more like, "curb spending, close tax loopholes, that's all." I mean, he wasn't going to get to shut down PBS, or any of the other hyperbole we ate up.

    Honestly, I feel like a sucker.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:31AM (#42883127)

    It should be noted that it was his Democrat buddies that put the kibosh on closing Gitmo.

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

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:34AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:34AM (#42883173)
    Honestly, I feel like a sucker.
    If you believed the math on his tax plan worked, you damn well should feel like a sucker.
  • Re:Get on with it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:42AM (#42883261) Journal

    Politicians shouldn't suggest 'grand plans' for any country.

    That's what a Monarch does. Politicians in a democratic republic should realize they have no fucking business proclaiming anything.

  • by lowlypeon ( 232191 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:44AM (#42883275)

    The possibility of a new ice age was definitely out there in popular media. Big cover story in Newsweek, for example. It was the kind of story that sells. And I'm old enough to have been there at the time too.

    It was NEVER taken very seriously in the scientific press, though. Go do any searches through the serious scientific magazines and you'll find that even in the 60s and 70s the vast majority of articles in serious scientific journals focused on the possibility of future warming caused by greenhouse gases, not future cooling because an ice age was overdue.

    The climate change story is fairly consistent. The changes to climate cause weird weather. Weather that's out of place and unusual for where it's occurring. 80% of the weird weather involves too much heat, but some places will locally see cooler than normal weather at times.

    Regardless of weather Fox takes it seriously, it's difficult to find more than a handful of climate scientists who don't accept the science behind climate change and global warming.

  • by JackieBrown ( 987087 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:22AM (#42883749)

    Do people actually believe that nonsense? Obama is left, not left center, not center, left. The majority of what he does is extremely partisan, which is why many believe he may officially be the most divisive president in history.

    Unfortunately, people to believe this. It scares me on how extreme that means a lot of our people are.

  • by balsy2001 ( 941953 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:43AM (#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.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:53AM (#42884121) Homepage Journal

    There is never a good reason to vote Democrat - OR Republican.

    My vote, this time and last, happened to be for the Democrat. But, I wasn't voting "for" the democrat, so much as I was voting "against" the other guy.

    Give us some mainstream, centrist choices, who aren't bought and paid for by corporate interests, then I might vote for that choice. Until then, there is no difference between the parties. The single most important issue in America today, is that idiot "War on Terra". Has Obama attempted to have the Patriot Act repealed? Nope. Has he attempted to reign in Homeland Security? Nope. Has he renounced any of the special powers that the Bush administration pushed for? Nope. Has he fought for internet freedom? Well - sorta. Internet freedom was a great thing when the Arab Spring was blooming, but it's no longer a good political tool, so Obama follows Bush's lead now, pushing for more and more control.

    The same corporations own both parties, so there is no reason to vote "for" either one.

  • by BeansBaxter ( 918704 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:33PM (#42884663) [] The lone piece of significant legislation related to gun rights during the Reagan administration was the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Signed into law by Reagan on May 19, 1986, the legislation amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 by repealing parts of the original act that were deemed by studies to be unconstitutional. The National Rifle Association and other pro gun groups lobbied for passage of the legislation, and it was generally considered favorable for gun owners. Among other things, the act made it easier to transport long rifles across the United States, ended federal records-keeping on ammunition sales and prohibited the prosecution of someone passing through areas with strict gun control with firearms in their vehicle, so long as the gun were properly stored. However, the act also contained a provision banning the ownership of any fully automatic firearms not registered by May 19, 1986. That provision was slipped into the legislation as an 11th hour amendment by Rep. William J. Hughes, a New Jersey Democrat. Reagan has been criticized by some gun owners for signing legislation containing the Hughes amendment.
  • Re:Get on with it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:45PM (#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.

  • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @02:34PM (#42886039) Journal

    The problem is not - NOT - revenue. It is spending. The Federal Government is spending over 3 TIMES more per capita, in constant dollars, than it did back in those high-marginal rate days.

    Sorry, but that doesn't prove we're spending too much. In fact, we may still be spending too little. The optimal amount is the amount where spending an additional dollar brings less than a dollar in economic benefits. Only when you can prove we're past that point will you be able to truthfully claim that we have a spending problem.

  • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @03:45PM (#42886963) Homepage

    The optimal amount is the amount where spending an additional dollar brings less than a dollar in economic benefits. Only when you can prove we're past that point will you be able to truthfully claim that we have a spending problem.

    Your standard of evidence is backward. It's always safer to assume that spending is just consumption, not investment, unless there is evidence to support the position that it produces more in economic benefits (net present value, of course) than it costs. Those who claim that additional spending will result in a positive ROI are the ones with something to prove.

    This is an impossible task, of course, as economic benefit is not something you can aggregate and measure across individuals in a non-voluntary system. Voluntary trade may not result in an ideal allocation of resource, but no non-voluntary system can objectively be said to produce a better allocation—just one more in line with the preferences of the few specific individuals in charge.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas