Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Countdown is Progressing and (Our) Space Ship Is About To Blast Off on Its Voyage of Discovery

And, because of the incredible speed of your rocket, our Trip is (NOT) short...

Zoë Bell on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show This Week!


How the White House is changing the way we respond to petitions:

Today, the White House responded to 20 outstanding petitions on our We the People platform.

Nearly 2.5 million people who had petitioned us to take action on something heard back from us today.

We want to make sure those responses aren't the final page -- but rather, the start of an ongoing conversation.
We're starting that conversation on Twitter -- where folks across the White House are taking your questions all day long (I'll be personally taking your questions on @Goldman44 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern). Follow @WeThePeople, and join in using hashtag #WeThePeople.
Moving forward, we're going to be changing a few things about We the People. Here's what that will look like:
  1. First, from now on, if a petition meets the signature goal within a designated period of time, we will aim to respond to it -- with an update or policy statement -- within 60 days wherever possible. You can read about the details of our policy in the We the People Terms of Participation.
  2. Second, other outside petitions platforms are starting to tap into the We the People platform. We're excited to announce today that Change.org is choosing to integrate with the We the People platform, meaning the future signatures of its 100 million users will count toward the threshold for getting an official response from the Administration. We're also opening up the code behind petitions.whitehouse.gov on Drupal.org and GitHub, which empowers other governments and outside organizations to create their own versions of this platform to engage their own citizens and constituencies.
  3. Third, and most importantly, the process of hearing from us about your petition is going to look a little different. We've assembled a team of people responsible for taking your questions and requests and bringing them to the right people -- whether within the White House or in an agency within the Administration -- who may be in a position to say something about your request.
You can get some more details about today's release and announcements -- and learn a little more about We the People -- here.

But in the meantime, we want to hear from you:

Check out We the People -- where you can create or add your name to a petition.
Then, let us know what you think of the platform here -- or tweet your feedback to @Goldman44 or @WeThePeople.

Illinois Legalizes Bobcat Trapping

In Defense of Animals
Last month, we asked our Illinois supporters to speak out against Bill 352, which proposed to reinstate an annual bobcat trapping and hunting season within the state after years of protection. Despite massive public objection, (with an estimated 75 percent of voters against this legislation) and thousands of phone calls and letters, we regret to inform you that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has approved this deplorable bill.

Taking effect on Jan. 1, the Illinois bobcat population will endure a gruesome four month hunting and trapping season. The small, shy creatures will suffer from brutal hunting tactics including hounding. This exhaustive chase by hunting dogs usually results in the terrified creature collapsing or fighting the dogs in self-defense, often leading to the deaths of both animals. Furthermore, the use of cruel hunting devices including guns, arrows and steel foothold traps will cause immense suffering and death to the previously protected animals.

The Illinois bobcat population has just started to recover from a century of slaughter, outlawed 40 years ago. Reinstating this barbaric hunting and trapping season places this growth in jeopardy. Forty years of protection allowed their fragile population a chance at survival. Now, without continued protection, the Illinois bobcat population faces a devastating collective experience and a drastic decline.

Please express your objections to Rauner's devastating decision by posting to the Governor's Facebook page and Twitter account.

Picture explained by Big Cat Rescue: When the rescuers were trying to catch this bobcat, he was running on all four paws, even though both front legs had been chewed off. This bobcat kitten had obviously been struggling to survive for days, as the bones were completely dried out.

Think Progress: One Simple Chart Explains The Climate Plans Of Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders

When Hillary Clinton released a fact sheet detailing her plan to fight climate change on Sunday night, her presidential campaign characterized it as “bold.” Indeed, the goals outlined in the plan are significant — a 700 percent increase in solar installations by the end of her first term, and enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years.
But not everyone thought Clinton’s plan was as bold as her campaign made it out to be. That seemingly included the campaign of her Democratic rival, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, which sent an email to reporters titled “What Real Climate Leadership Looks Like” about an hour before Clinton’s plan was scheduled to be released.
What does real climate leadership look like? According to the O’Malley campaign’s email, it looks like having a definitive position on every controversial policy in the environmental space. Arctic drilling, fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline — O’Malley’s climate plan details strong stances on all of those topics. The plan Clinton released on Sunday does not.
Clinton’s plan does include ways to achieve her stated goals in solar energy production, including awarding competitive grants to states that reduce emissions, extending tax breaks to renewable industries like solar and wind, and investing in transmission lines that can take renewable power from where it’s produced to where it’s needed for electricity. She also proposed cutting some tax breaks to fossil fuel companies to pay for her plan, though she hasn’t proposed eliminating them completely like Sanders and O’Malley have. Vox’s Brad Plumer called Clinton’s goals “certainly feasible in principle, but the gritty details will matter a lot.”
Of course, many presidential candidates haven’t fully fleshed out their policy strategies yet — Clinton, for her part, has acknowledged that Sunday’s release represented only the “first pillar” of announcements about climate and energy. By contrast, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — her main contender for the Democratic nomination — hasn’t formally released a climate policy plan yet. But he has publicly stated his positions on many of the most hot-button environmental issues, including some that Clinton has not yet addressed.
With all that in mind, here’s a look at what voters can expect from each of those three Democratic presidential candidates when it comes to tackling climate change, based on their public statements and official plans so far.
It’s worth noting that this checklist isn’t definitive. Just because Sanders has said he supports many of these policies doesn’t necessarily mean he will include them in his official climate plan when and if he releases one. And just because Clinton hasn’t included some of these issues in her current plan doesn’t mean she won’t (or will) in the future.
It’s also worth mentioning that just because O’Malley has included all of these things in his climate plan doesn’t mean he’ll be able to achieve them. His plan leans steeply to the left of even the Obama administration’s climate strategy, which the Republican-led Congress is fighting tooth-and-nail to dismantle.
That a Democratic presidential nominee might have a difficult time achieving their climate goals, however, can be said about any of the candidates — especially considering the fact that more than 56 percent of current congressional Republicans don’t believe climate change exists at all. For environmentalists and climate hawks, that may mean that the candidate with the most aggressive goals represents the safest option.