Help Haiti? Let Haitians Stay and Cancel Haiti's Debt

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have pledged that the US will do all it can to help Haiti following the devastating earthquake. But while getting assistance into Haiti right now is extremely difficult, there are two things the Obama Administration could do immediately to help Haiti that are entirely within its control. It could grant "Temporary Protected Status" to undocumented Haitians in the U.S. - so they can stay here instead of adding to Haiti's burden, work legally, and send home money to help their relatives - and it could support the cancellation of Haiti's debts to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where the U.S. Treasury department has decisive influence. So far the Administration has refused to move on either issue. Why the delay? Even the Washington Post editorial board - on foreign policy, not usually known for singing Kumbaya - calls the Administration to account on both issues.

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Democrats Should Stop Calling White Southerners Racists

By: Inoljt,

It's a fairly popular amongst Democrats to label white Southerners prejudiced and narrow-minded nowadays. Several days after President Barack Obama was elected, for example, the New York Times penned a thinly camouflaged article implying that white Southerners are racists. The Times article stated that:

Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows...Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.

It may feel good for liberals to label white Southerners as lacking "diversity, educational achievement, and economic progress," but insulting potential voters is probably not the best idea for getting votes. Democrats should want votes from the poor, the less educated, and the white. In fact, a lot of poor people, less educated people, and white people voted for President Barack Obama. That's how he won the election.

More below.

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U.S. Falling Behind in Green Jobs Growth

Throughout the 2008 election season, we were told that the green-energy economy would put our economy back on the road to recovery by creating tens of thousands of new jobs in wind, solar and other non-polluting energy sectors.

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A More Decent Society

Reform would make us a more decent society, but also a less vibrant one. It would ease the anxiety of millions at the cost of future growth. It would heal a wound in the social fabric while piling another expensive and untouchable promise on top of the many such promises we've already made. America would be a less youthful, ragged and unforgiving nation, and a more middle-aged, civilized and sedate one. - David Brooks; NY Times

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The Week in Climate News

Obama to Set Emissions Goals, the Right Wing Lies About the Contents of Leaked Scientist E-mails, and more

The last few days have seen two major stories in climate news: a rare policy pronouncement (or hint therefore of) from the White House and conservative distortion of some leaked British e-mails. Two smaller stories below the fold include continued negative fallout over the announcement that Copenhagen will not produce a legally binding treaty and two articles about Jewish action on climate change and the environment.

Administration to Set Emissions Goal

Although President Obama has yet to decide whether or not he will attend next month's Copenhagen climate conference, the White House did announce today that whomever it sends to Copenhagen will come armed with policy specifics. They weren't specific about just what those specifics will be, however. From the Washington Post:

The United States, under pressure from other nations as one of the world's largest greenhouse-gas polluters, will present a target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions at next month's climate conference in Copenhagen, Obama administration officials said Monday.

The development came as the European Union urged the United States and China to deliver greenhouse gas emissions targets at the long-anticipated summit, saying their delays were hindering global efforts to curb climate change...

The Obama administration has resisted talking specific numbers without the backing of Congress, which is not expected to pass climate legislation until next year at the soonest. The official would not offer details about the U.S. targets but said any U.S. goal will reflect the unfinished state of legislation on Capitol Hill and would not seek to get ahead of it.

A House-passed bill would slash heat-trapping pollution by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. A Senate bill seeks a 20 percent reduction over the next decade, but that number is likely to come down to win the votes of moderate Democrats.

The CRU Hack

Receiving perhaps the most attention is the story coming to be known as "the CRU hack." In short, the computers of the (British) University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) were hacked and 13 years' worth of e-mails from climate scientists were illegally leaked. Some of these e-mails use juvenile language to attack fellow scientists, and others illustrate ways that some climatologists use to gussy up their PR and make the presentation of dry data, shall we say, more pretty. The e-mails are embarrassing on the personal level, but meaningless when it comes to actual science.

But as usual, the right-wing doesn't care about actual science, and are doing their best to distort both the content and the context of the stolen messages. The Australia Herald-Sun called the e-mails"proof of a conspiracy which is one of the largest, most extraordinary and most disgraceful in moderrn [sic] science." A staffer to Repub john David Vitter wrote in an e-mail, "This could well be the greatest act of scientific fraud in history... Nearly all of the international data and models supporting the theory of global warming would have been influenced by data corruption and fraud."

But what are the scientists themselves saying? Hardly the same thing as the Republican and tea party spinmeisters, that's for sure. From Real Climate, a leading science blog by climatologists from NASA, other government agencies, and several universities:

(The Real Climate excerpt, the rest of this story, and two more stories are all below the fold.)

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