Priority Issues in the News

EPA’s scientific advisers warn its regulatory rollbacks clash with established science – Washington Post 12/31/2020

“,,,Three of the four draft reports, posted online Tuesday, suggest that the administration’s proposals conflict with established science. They were prepared by members of the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board …. ‘It really calls into question to what degree these suggested changes are fact-based as opposed to politically motivated,’ said Steven Hamburg…. It is noteworthy that an advisory board dominated by scientists appointed by Trump — some of whom advocate looser federal rules — found serious flaws in the science behind several of the proposed changes, Hamburg said in an interview.”

How We Know that Global Warming is Real – Washington Post 12/19/2019

“Sonnblick Observatory opened and began recording the weather in 1886…. the troves of data it produced are used today to monitor a new sort of disaster, one that was scarcely foreseeable by 19th-century meteorologists but that now constitutes the single most significant fact about the planet’s environment…. How can it be possible to take Earth’s temperature, not just for this week or this year, but for decades and centuries? The answer begins with nearly 1,500 weather stations already operating by the time Sonnblick began recording. The telegraph allowed all those readings to be collected and analyzed to show weather patterns.”

Why big business can count on courts to keep its deadly secrets – Reuters 12/19/2019

“…big business and its legal lieutenants succeeded in a focused, concerted campaign that has ensured that secrecy cloaks lawsuits alleging that their products can kill or injure people….They turned protective orders into pro forma exercises to muzzle lawyers who might otherwise share pertinent information with regulators or the public. And they succeeded in getting judges to routinely seal court filings, thus ensuring that when lawsuits are settled before trial, as usually happens in product-liability cases, the evidence remains hidden.”

2020 Dem Candidates Views on Gun Control – Politico 12/16/2019

Slow wage growth is a key sign of how far the U.S. economy remains from a full recovery – Economic Policy Institute 11/1/2019

“A crucial measure of how far from full recovery the economy remains is the growth of nominal wages (wages unadjusted for inflation). Nominal wage growth since the recovery officially began in mid-2009 has been low and flat. This isn’t surprising—the weak labor market of the last seven years has put enormous downward pressure on wages. Employers don’t have to offer big wage increases to get and keep the workers they need. And this remains true even as a jobs recovery has consistently forged ahead in recent years.”

How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong – NYTimes 11/8/2019

“Few thought it would arrive so quickly. Now we’re facing consequences once viewed as fringe scenarios.

For decades, most scientists saw climate change as a distant prospect. We now know that thinking was wrong. This summer, for instance, a heat wave in Europe penetrated the Arctic, pushing temperatures into the 80s across much of the Far North and, according to the Belgian climate scientist Xavier Fettweis, melting some 40 billion tons of Greenland’s ice sheet.

Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the Arctic and produce Sahara-like temperatures in Paris and Berlin, the prediction would have been dismissed as alarmist. But many worst-case scenarios from that time are now realities.”

Climate change could end mortgages as we know them – CBS News 11/8/2019

“Climate change could punch a hole through the financial system by making 30-year home mortgages — the lifeblood of the American housing market — effectively unobtainable in entire regions across parts of the U.S.

That’s what the future could look like without policy to address climate change, according to the latest research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The bank is considering these and other risks on Friday in an unprecedented conference on the economics of climate change.”

Why Democrats keep winning on health care – Politico 11/6/2019

“Voters in Virginia and Kentucky sent a clear message on health care Tuesday night: Medicaid expansion and preexisting conditions are winning issues for Democrats, even as President Donald Trump and his allies try to undercut Obamacare. And strident GOP attacks on abortion weren’t enough to stave off Republican losses.

Democrat Andy Beshear, who claimed victory in Kentucky’s tight gubernatorial race, and Virginia Democrats who took back control of the state legislature promised to defend Obamacare’s popular insurance protections for preexisting conditions, and they railed against Republican plans to contract the law’s expansion of Medicaid to millions of poor adults.”

How Pending Decision on Obamacare Could Upend 2020 Campaign – NYTimes 10/18/2019

“A federal appeals court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act could be a huge headache for the president and take Democrats’ focus off Medicare for all.

Three judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals are weighing whether to uphold a Texas judge’s ruling that the law’s requirement for most Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and that the rest of the sprawling law cannot function without it. It is hard to imagine a thornier domestic issue for President Trump, whose administration not only refused to defend the law in the case filed by Texas and 19 other states but sided with the plaintiffs, asking the court to invalidate it.”

After Democrats Seize Power In Virginia, Gov. Northam Focuses On Gun Control – NPR 11/8/2019

“‘We had a tremendous tragedy in Virginia Beach over Memorial Day weekend. We lost 12 precious lives,’ Northam told NPR’s All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly on Friday, alluding to a mass shooting that took place at a municipal building earlier this year.

‘So I think Virginia spoke loudly on Tuesday and said enough is enough,’ Northam said.

The interview comes just days after Democrats seized control of both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly. The change of power in the state house, coupled with Northam residing in the Governor’s mansion, means it’s the first time Democrats will have total control of the legislative agenda since 1993.”

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