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The State Of The Union

President Obama’s first State Of The Union address was a reminder that he is such a gifted speaker. Thoughtful, deliberate and persuasive, and at times acknowledging the partisan rancor that has distorted issues, he focused primarily on jobs. He defensively said change wasn’t easy. He was funny. Sure, there was the inevitable nationalism for such an occasion which draws us to one of the strongest points from his address: America must pass clean energy reform to compete in the global economy.

From the speech: I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future - because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.

Makes sense enough. A logical bipartisan effort. Yet the right was visibly annoyed—-even grumbling at the mere mention of climate change—-as cameras zoomed to House Minority Leader John Boehner for a reaction shot. And DTE shook our heads too but for different reasons than debased ideological squabbling.

Another Green Monday

It was only a few Another Green Mondays ago when we heavily criticized President Obama for his lackadaisical approach to Copenhagen. He wouldn’t show up, in effect sending a xenophobic message to world leaders who understand the urgency of climate change. Next, we heard Obama was swinging by on his way to pick up the Nobel. Now, the story’s different. This time he’ll appear at Copenhagen on the last day, December 18th. A White House press release stated, “based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the President believes that continued US leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference on December 18th rather than on December 9th. There are still outstanding issues that must be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, but this decision reflects the President’s commitment to doing all that he can to pursue a positive outcome. The United States will have representation in Copenhagen throughout the negotiating process by State Department negotiators and Cabinet officials who will highlight the great strides we have made this year towards a clean energy economy.”

This is very good news. Usually, the first days are reserved for handshakes, high-fiving, and protests. The most significant moment is at the end, and it appears a deal could be brokered. Perhaps Obama will be the closer. After all, ask any stand-up comedian, it’s not how you start but how you finish. But as the White House indicated, there has indeed been a shift in momentum despite skeptics foaming at the mouth while developing countries like India and China honor commitments. The whole world will have their eye on Copenhagen and we will too with a renewed sense of optimism, updating the site with the latest news.

Here are some stories you might’ve missed.

Obama speech reax: Bipartisan support for now

A generation after serving in Vietnam, Rep. Walt Minnick sat in the auditorium at West Point Tuesday surrounded by men and women in cadet gray uniforms being told by a president their lives could be sacrificed in another Asian country.

“It was an honor to be here, a generation later,” said Minnick, an Army veteran who was one of seven members of Congress asked to attend President Barack Obama’s speech on raising troop levels in Afghanistan. “There was rapt attention in that room. Their futures are on the line.”

For more reaction, or to leave a comment, go inside the blog.

Tuesday Video Double Bill: Now & Then

Bill McKibben sat down with Grist TV for a quick interview, saying the Obama administration “punted” when it was time for Copenhagen. McKibben believes the best hope for the climate talks from December 7th to the 18th will be a planetary education session since a binding agreement is slipping away. Watch HERE.

Only two months ago, climate activists were singing a different tune when Obama gave a hopeful speech to the U.N. He said: “No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent droughts and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples — our prosperity, our health, and our safety — are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.” It’s hard to understand the gravity of climate change by skipping out on Copenhagen. In addition to a punt, we’re calling a foul. Watch HERE.

A Letter To The President

This could be interpreted as a freebie for skeptics, like throwing chum to the sharks, or a wake-up call to those discontent with climate change policy. Too strong or not strong enough?

Dear President Obama,

cc: Sen. Kerry, Rep. Markey

Our nation faces the gravest threat to our security and well being and the most profound moral challenge since the great struggle to end slavery. We were blessed, then, to be led by another tall, slim politician from Illinois. However, the terrible prospect of climate cataclysm, though just as grave, is more encompassing and final and calls for Presidential leadership of a higher order then even President Lincoln displayed.

Lincoln triumphed over partisan politics and a ghastly civil war, but he did so by hewing to a moderate course, never straying beyond the boundaries of the national civic debate. As a student of Lincoln, you know well that the 16th President long resisted efforts to change the character of the national conflict from a political matter of secession to the moral imperative of ending slavery. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he was fully convinced that no compromise measure would be acceptable to proponents of slavery.

Trick or treat at Glenn Beck’s house…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey takes a close look at what would happen if Barak Obama and some friends were to go trick-or-treating at Glenn Beck’s house with what some might observe to be predictable results. Of course this is only a cartoon. Can you imagine what would happen if the same intrepid trio were to visit Rush Limbaugh’s real-life house in costume?

One has only to wonder at whether or not Bush or Limbaugh has the nerve to return the favor, ie., show up at the East Portal of the White House in costume. Can you imagine a weary set of Secret Service officers looking at a pair of unknown trick-or-treaters in costumes at the White House? Gee, I cannot help but wonder what treats they might find in their bags, should such an improbable event ever take place.

Of course there has to be an unspoken set of Secret Service rules to prohibit such a fanciful Halloween from ever taking place, much the same as Beck and Limbaugh probably do not allow trick-or-treaters, regardless of who they say they are in real life.

However, I’ll bet all of us commoners see a lot of faux Barak Obamas tonight.


Another Green Monday: The Climate Change Edition

Climate change: True or false?

Tis’ the question of the season and one we stake our lives on.

A disturbing new survey said the number of American citizens who believe climate change is related to human caused pollution is at its lowest in three years, 57 percent, down from 77 percent when “An Inconvenient Truth” was released. Climate professor Andrew Weaver blamed it on “a combination of poor communication by scientists, a lousy summer in the Eastern United States, people mixing up weather and climate and a full-court press by public relations firms and lobby groups trying to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the public.”

We caught some of that confusion all week. More at The Spovangelist. After reading a list of the eight most dangerous climate deniers. And during the Yes Men publicity stunt which was aimed at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s aversion to science-based climate policy. James Hoggan, author of “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming,” told Amy Goodman, “The PR stunt wasn’t pulled off by the Yes Men; the PR stunt is basically being pulled off by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and it’s been going on for decades.”

AT&T and Toyota helped fund a $100 million campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to kill clean energy and health care in Congress. Oil, gas and coal interests spend $300,000 a day lobbying the government and will step it up as climate legislation is drafted and Copenhagen approaches. It’s easy to feel bogged down under the weight of their crude logic.

A widespread call to environmental action couldn’t have come soon enough.  

Saturday at noon saw a group in Riverfront Park take part in 350. Around the world, the day was a success: 181 countries came together for 5,200 events. Again, this was an international event asking leaders to lower the CO2 parts per million to 350 (basically equivalent to 1990 levels, already a Washington state goal) and pass policies that are grounded in the overwhelming science.

Afterward, participants marched to the Community Building, past an under construction, energy efficient Co-Op and the neighboring Platinum-LEED certified Saranac for a presentation on climate change. Good to see a few in Spokane represented reality. Follow those instincts, your commitment and idealism, unselfishness and intelligent discern. We need to make certain our leaders know 350 is an attainable goal, economically too. The difficulty is the 43 percent of Americans convinced it’s a hoax, sadly turning climate change into one of the most contested issues of our time, while the planet says otherwise and will continue to do so.

 Here are some climate related stories after the jump.

Email of the day

The dubious honor goes to the Bush Administration for suppressing science and public health interests. A two year old email surfaced yesterday after it was sent but never opened. We hate it when that happens. It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the prior evidence on Bush concealing climate change findings and deliberate disinformation yet it doesn’t lessen how disturbing this news truly is.

From CBS: The e-mail and the 28-page document attached to it, released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, show that back in December of 2007 the agency concluded that six gases linked to global warming pose dangers to public welfare, and wanted to take steps to regulate their release from automobiles and the burning of gasoline.

The document specifically cites global warming’s effects on air quality, agriculture, forestry, water resources and coastal areas as endangering public welfare.

That finding was rejected by the Bush White House, which strongly opposed using the Clean Air Act to address climate change and stalled on producing a so-called “endangerment finding” that had been ordered by the Supreme Court in 2007.

There’s no groundbreaking scoop here—- just a reminder, we’re indeed in a much better place now when it comes to climate change. Obama’s certainly not above criticism at DTE, especially in terms of his reckless EPA appointees. To paraphrase Hunter Thompson, he has made some mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Bush does every day of his life, on purpose. Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

Bush set the bar victoriously low.

Worst of all: He got away with it.

Another Green Monday

Oh, back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my…lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight.  Excuse us if this feels like old news to you, but as two Eastern Washington University grads (we were on the quarter system), the thought of back to school doesn’t register in our brains until mid September.  So now that every blog and news site in the world has ran some sort of “green back to school” guide, allow us to come in and reaffirm some of the thoughts already echoed and to introduce some of our own.  This week we will feature stories on new school thoughts, old school thoughts, and just about everything in between, to show you what’s happening on campuses across America to better prepare the youth for an ever-changing environment. 

There was a time not that long ago where the trek to university was as celebrated as any other major milestone in one’s upbringing - for it was an understanding that that boy or girl would come back smarter and more equipped for the “real world”.  Well today the “real world” is as scary as a place as anyone ever imagined and in our opinion, a university is not preparing people for that.  We need foot soldiers coming out of college, to take the momentum of change and progression that fosters at college and spread the message.  More often than not that energy and passion dies the second they hit a cubicle, and in doing so, there is a generation of untapped potential wasting away.  It’s up to the youth and to young professionals to make a difference.  Don’t stand for people telling you things can’t get better, don’t stand for people telling you it’s too late, and don’t stand for old school beliefs carrying forward.

Here are some stories you might have missed last week.

On the Web: Heckling’s Top 10

Rep. Joe Wilson may be having his 15 minutes of fame for yelling “You Lie” during President Obama’s speech, but he’s not the first person to heckle a president during a speech. (And based on the direction political discourse is headed in America, he won’t be the last.)

But Buzzfeed has compiled a list of presidential speech interruptions, complete with video, that reach back to Ronald Reagan. While none of the others happen during an address to a joint session of Congress, they do show that heckling can happen at inopportune times.

Click here to see the list.

And for those of you who’d like to change the direction of discourse in this country, there’s this site, where you can plug in your own words to shots from the speech.

Obama reax from WA & ID delegations

When a president talks, congresspersons listen…and then they talk, too.

Such was the case Wednesday night when Barack Obama talked about health care reform, and members of Congress talked about Obama’s talk.

Go inside the blog to see what the honorables who represent the Inland Northwest had to say.

Watching with a crowd

Democrats apparently like to watch President Obama in groups.

The Democratic National Committee, through the Organizing for America campaign operation,  is organizing “watch parties” around the country to view Obama’s address tonight to a joint session of Congress tonight, including one in Spokane.

It’s at Toad Hall, 1427 W. Dean, starting at 5 p.m.

(An earlier version of this post said the speech started at 6 p.m., but that was incorrect. White House Web site says 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific.)

Luna: Obama back-to-school speech was ‘appropriate and timely’

Idaho state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna watched President Barack Obama’s back-to-school speech today with a classroom full of 8th graders at Fairmont Junior High School, and afterward Luna called the president’s speech “appropriate and timely.” He said, “I thought the message was very similar to messages that we hear public officials give to students often - it’s definitely something that I say every chance I get in front of students, that students need to be responsible for their education, they need to come to school every day ready to learn.”

Luna said the kids he watched with paid attention and took notes, then answered questions from both their teacher and him afterward. “I had a number of kids tell me that they were going to try a little bit harder this year … that even if they encounter obstacles or challenges, they were going to keep trying and do a little bit better every day.” Luna, a Republican, said he was puzzled by the outcry from some quarters over the president addressing school kids, “because I remember when I worked for the Bush Administration … the president was always at a school the first day talking to students. That’s why he was at a school Sept. 11 reading to students, because it was the first day of school in Florida.”

DC: Rammell’s One Sorry Guy

There was a time back in my naive younger days of journalism when the imbecilic behavior of politicians would confound me. “How can these so-called leaders be such embarrassing clods?” I would ask myself. As I grew older and wiser I realized the truth. Silly me. I had been holding politicians to a totally unreasonable standard, namely normal behavior. But politicians aren’t like you and me. These are deeply flawed human beings we’re talking about. That’s why they lie so much and toe-tap strangers in airport toilet stalls. That’s why Rex Rammell keeps digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Are politicians a cut above your average citizen? Or a cut or two below?

The question of Obama’s citizenship…

Good morning, Netizens…

I am certain few would argue with me when I say our country has a diversity of opinion nearly unequalled anywhere in the World. That is probably because we are a sum of the mixing pot, that undefined melange of races, creeds and colors of people who have decided to join us in our exercise of Democracy, that big-breed animal we take out of its cage every once in awhile and walk it proudly through the neighborhood. Unfortunately Democracy is like any large pet— you have to be responsible for its care, maintenance and feeding.

For many months now I have been listening to the endless discussions of Barak Obama’s birth certificate, his somewhat uncertain lineage and the continuous assertions that he is NOT a certified, dyed-in-the-wool American citizen and thus should not be President of the United States. I’ve been listening, and to some degree, have posed a few questions of my own about whether the presidency of Barak Obama adheres to the law.

This morning, cartoonist-to-the-world David Horsey has assumed the laurels of that particular discussion, thus relieving me of any further involvement in the argument, and I believe he has it pegged just about right. Sure, we all have the right, if not the obligation to question those things we personally find particularly objectionable or questionable. However, we should always look at the sources, those illy-defined “authorities” who have fueled our questions to begin with.

Authorities, authorities. There are so many authorities these days. Anyone who has Internet access can become an authority with less effort than they normally would reserve for answering nature’s call. However, with just a smidgen of perusal, one is left with the dominating question: who are the people who are questioning Obama’s birthplace?

That probably should be the question we are asking before we question the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate. Our version of Democracy voted for this Obamanation of Democracy, didn’t we?


Because MySpace is now the Detroit of the internet…

…join the lively discussion on Twitter. We’ve been pumping it up lately but entries shift from serious—-hebalYODA@BarackObama-STOP THE MISSION REPOSITORY- silvervalleyaction.com—- to informative recycling tips for lids on bottles. And yes, the Beaver Solution is a dam good idea. Check us out: http://twitter.com/DTE_Spokane.

Thurs. fun video: Stewart on birth cert. story

The Obama Birth Certificate “controversy” is getting more and more attention from the news media this summer. Apparently they have run out of stories telling people that Michael Jackson is still dead.

So much attention, in fact, that Jon Stewart weighed in last nigh, with clips of Lou Dobbs, Orly Taitz, Chris Matthews.

Wonder which way he comes down on the issue? click to see.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Weekend fun video: Can Obama pass nerd test?

John Hodgeman administers the ultimate nerd test to Barack Obama at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner. Can the president pass?

Palin: I Can Outrun Obama

This May 2009 photo provided by Runner’s World magazine shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a yoga pose near her home in Wasilla, Alaska. Palin says she’d come out ahead if she went one-on-one with fellow jogger President Barack Obama in a long run, according to an interview published online Tuesday. (AP Photo/Runner’s World, Brian Adams)

Question: Do you think Sarah Palin could beat President Barack Obama in a foot race?

Tues. fun video: Turn off the phone

When they tell you to turn your phone off, or at least put it on vibrate, it may be a good idea to listen…especially if you’re listening to the president.

Another Green Monday

Oh Hoopfest. This year DTE regrettably decided to watch from the sidelines as Spokane hosted the preeminent three on three basketball tournament in the world. All we could do is talk trash and make sure players decided to shoot for the recycle bins. Yes, we were disappointed by the lack of recycling information considering the massive scale of the event. The Downtown Partnership touted its four recycling bins, hardly a cause for dancing in the streets considering the 200, 000 players and fans, most with bottles in hand. We even caught CH2M Hill as a court sponsor, thinking they could hide from us. DTE never forgets. Despite all the moaning, Hoopfest remains an extraordinary event where everybody comes to play the best game on Earth, in our humble hoop dream opinion. Maybe the early morning pessimism stems from a case of the Mondays—-we just punched each other for saying that—-on a day that should be best spent out on the river. Here are some interesting stories you might’ve missed during the madness.

Photo of The Plastiki. (Image courtesy of ecorazzi)

Message in a bottle (on a ship of bottles). With respect to Thor Heyerdahl’s famous voyage, a ship of plastic bottles called “The Plastiki” will sail the Pacific on an 11,000 mile journey to send a message. “Waste is fundamentally a design flaw. We wanted to design a vessel that would epitomize waste being used as a resource,” said expedition leader David de Rothschild in the AP. Named after Heyerdahl’s 1947 “Kon-Tiki” raft, one of the team members is Josian Heyerdahl, an environmental scientist, the granddaughter of the explorer. The plan is for “The Plastiki” to be a 60-foot catamaran with the hulls made of 10,000 empty bottles stacked to make it float. No word on when they’ll set sail. Full story HERE. Also, check out their homepage, at theplastiki.com. 

Dear Science: Meet the new boss…same as the old boss? By now, we hope readers are aware of the overwhelming evidence that the White House of yesteryear censored reports on global warming to delay action. So we rejoiced when Obama said “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” However, new reports claimed the Obama administration went the other route by having the EPA suppressing science to fit its own ideology on climate action. Say it ain’t so. (Okay, spoiler alert: The agency rejected the report because the dude was an economist pretending to be a climatologist. What a mix-up!) Full coverage of this debacle in truthiness HERE.

Obama Gets Personal w/Fathers

In this Aug. 12, 2008, file photo, then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. walks down Kailua Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, with his daughters Malia, 10, left, and Sasha, 7, during their vacation in Hawaii.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

Item: Obama to fathers: Be involved in your kids’ lives/AP

More Info: Growing up without a father left a painful hole in his heart, President Barack Obama told boys at the White House Friday in a remarkably personal Father’s Day weekend message. He implored fathers everywhere — and the kids when they’re a bit older — to be involved in the lives of their own children.

Question: Was your father involved in your life?

Obama cast in stone?

When President Obama was in Egypt last week, he came across this hieroglyphic that looked like, well, like him.

Uh oh. If the folks trying to prove Obama can’t be president because isn’t a U.S. citizen because he doesn’t have a real birth certificate find out about this, they’ll have a whole new line of inquiry to set up. See, it turns out he doesn’t have a birth certificate because he was really born in ancient Egypt. They’ll need to check out the papyrus records under the name Kar.

The photo comes courtesy of Anderson Cooper’s AC360 blog on CNN .

Happy Fist Bump Day

Today has been declared National Fist Bump Day by, well, by people who apparently don’t have very much to do.

It commemorates the day one year ago when Barack and Michelle Obama knocked knuckles after he locked up the Democratic nomination. Some TV talking heads later questioned whether it was some islamo-fascist-black-panther-trilateralist-anarchist secret sign. (These are apparently people who don’t watch much sports on television.)

Anyway, feel free to bump, or not bump, as you see fit.

Friday a.m. video: What you missed Thursday, Obama v. Cheney

Barack Obama and Dick Cheney debate anti-terrorism policy in separate venues, courtesy of TalkingPointsMemo.

For John Stewart’s take on this, (which is, a bit longer but much funnier) go inside the blog

Friday’s fun video: Stewart rips Obama flip

In case you fell asleep last night before The Daily Show, Jon Stewart took on the the president’s shifting positions on releasing photos of torture and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Moral Kombat
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Obama Invite Divides Catholics

Item: Notre Dame president catches heat for Obama invite/AP

More Info: The Rev. John Jenkins … is getting plenty of criticism from Catholic leaders, students and alumni because of the university’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver its commencement address and receive an honorary degree Sunday. Opponents of the invitation, including at least 70 bishops, say Obama’s support for abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research contradicts church teachings and that Jenkins has created a breach with the church.

Question: I’d like to hear from local Catholics on this one. Do you agree with Rev. Jenkins decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver Notre Dame’s commencement address? Sunday.

Barack @ 100 — Prez Hits Milestone

In this Sept. 1, 2008, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally at the Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee. Today, he reaches an important milestone date for presidents — 100 days in office. Story here. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, FILE)

DFO: Comments by RedMan, Idawa, BlueinIdaho, & Brand X Ranch are included in a roundup of reaction of Obama’s first 100 days that begins on the SR’s Page One today. Link here.

Question: What is the most significant change that Barack Obama has brought about in his first 100 days in office?

Counting down to 100

President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office are up on Wednesday. Prepare for more reports like the one above from the national media.

Because of that milestone, The Spokesman-Review is collecting comments from readers on what they think of his presidency so far: Specifically, whether you’ve changed your mind about him, and why or why not?

Keep it clean and under 100 words, and we’ll print the best responses in Wednesday’s paper, and have even more available on line.

Spin Control readers can contribute just be clicking on comment.

For the newspaper version, we’ll need your name or your e-mail address.