By Doug Porter
San Diegans joined with protesters in twenty other cities in North American yesterday to express opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline project, calling upon President Obama to block it and for leaders at all levels to take action in the fight against global warming.
Five hundred people rallied locally in Mission Bay Park, hearing speeches from, Dr. Jeffrey Severinghaus, director for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Program and Mayor Bob Filner.
Severinghaus told the crowd the misinformation about climate change in the nation’s media made scientific research in the field more important than ever.
“There is no such thing as Republican physics or Democratic physics. Physics is physics. Accurate science is desperately needed, now more than ever, and that is why I’m speaking up We need to draw a line in the sand on the use of tar sands,” he said. “Those who will suffer the most are not yet born. We need to act now and speak for them.”
The Mission Bay rally was part of a nationwide protest, sponsored locally by sandiego350.org, Citizens Climate Lobby, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Health Coalition and Greenpeace.
In Washington DC, an estimated 40,000 people braved below-freezing temperatures to rally at the foot of the Washington monument to protest against the Keystone pipeline.
Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental activist group, 350.org, told the crowd :
“This movement’s been building a long time. One of the things that’s built it is everybody’s desire to give the president the support he needs to block this Keystone pipeline”.
“It’s time for the president to stand up,” he said, describing the 1,000-plus mile pipeline as “one of the largest carbon bombs in history.”
In Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters led by environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr., Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar marched on City Hall. The Los Angeles Times quoted Waxman:
“We’ve seen climate change coming for a long time, but now it’s here, and it’s getting worse faster and causing greater harm than we ever expected,” Waxman said. “There is simply no more important fight for the future of our children and grandchildren.”
In San Francisco, organizers estimated that more than 4,000 people gathered outside the Ferry Building. They chanted and held signs with slogans such as “Stop Tar Sands,” “Tar Sands = Game Over For Us All,” “Stop Keystone XL” and “Climate Action: It’s Our Obligation.”
The proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would run nearly 2,000 miles to connect Canada’s oil sands to refineries around the Gulf of Mexico. Because the northern leg of the pipeline would cross an international border, it requires Obama’s approval.
While its creation would purportedly create up to 20,000 jobs for U.S. citizens, many believe that its negative environmental impact outweighs its economic benefits, such as decreasing America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil. Some climate scientists say the production of tar sands emits more greenhouse gases than that of conventional crude oil.
While the proposed pipeline was the focus of yesterday’s demonstrations, at the heart of the movement opposing its construction is a growing fear that actions to mitigate climate change may be too little and too late to have any impact.
The Pope’s Retirement Plans
The announcement of Catholic Pope Benedict’s resignation last week certainly raises some interesting questions. Then again, there are always questions about one of the world’s most secretive institutions. One thing we know for sure: the soon-to-be retired pontiff won’t be living in a beach condo somewhere.
The Washington Post ran with a story this weekend examining the revelations about the retiring Pope’s tenure in the ‘VatiLeaks scandal, the unprecedented leak of the pontiff’s personal correspondence.
Much of the media — and the Vatican — focused on the source of the shocking security breach. Largely lost were the revelations contained in the letters themselves — tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI. Last week, he announced that he will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign.
The next pope may bring with him an invigorating connection to the Southern Hemisphere, a media magnetism or better leadership skills than the shy and cerebral Benedict. But whoever he may be, the 266th pope will inherit a gerontocracy obsessed with turf and Italian politics, uninterested in basic management practices and hostile to reforms.
While the Post story focused on the broader issues of the Vatican’s governance and financial dealings, a Reuters story addressed the most common rumor circulating about Benedict’s retirement: that it was somehow connected to existing scandals or soon-to-be revelations in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world. From Reuters:
Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
Manchester’s Interests Deep in the Heart of Texas
UT-San Diego’s publisher Doug “Papa” Manchester has more than one reason to be thrilled about all the coverage his newspaper has been giving to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s forays into California lately.
No detail of the governor’s activities has been too small to be covered, as he’s visited California, splitting time between his vacation home in San Diego and a high profile, low budget campaign to woo businesses to his domain. Sunday’s paper even gave side-by-side comparisons of the Texas state capital and San Diego.
While Perry’s campaign has thus far been a failure, all the publicity for Texas has be considered a plus for the Dougs Manchester: that’s right Dougs, as in plural. It seems as though “Papa” has a 1,000 room hotel opening in Austin. From the UT-SD:
Expected to open in 2015, the $350 million project will be managed by luxury operator Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Manchester Texas Financial Group announced this week. The 1,000-room hotel, which will be connected to the Austin convention center by way of a skybridge, will be the second tallest highrise in downtown Austin
It’s a risky venture, especially when you consider that the 880 room convention hotel opened in 2003 has yet to surpass two thirds of the 300,000 annual room rentals promised for the city prior to its opening.
Project manager for this new project is none other than Doug “the son” Manchester.
So we can see why they’d want to drum up a little business for Texas. That, and the fact they’re mighty bitter in Lynchesterland over having lost their shirts in last fall’s elections. (h/t SD Reader)
It’s Guns or Heath Care, Says GOP Senator
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told viewers of Fox News Sunday the government should protect the Defense Department from automatic spending cuts due to sequestration by slashing $1.2 trillion from the Affordable Care Act. From Think Progress:
…Graham suggested that the sequester’s across-the-board cuts to federal spending, including about a roughly 7.5 percent reduction in military spending, would be “destroying the military.” But rather than agree to President Obama’s proposed alternatives to the sequester, the South Carolina Republican said we should save money by eliminating health care for the 30 million people covered by the Affordable Care Act.
This is Progress, I Think
President Obama’s proposed legislation on immigration reform ‘leaked’ out over the weekend via USA Today. It seems as though he’s serious about making this issue a priority.
A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA TODAY would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years.
The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. In addition, the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa, under the draft bill being written by the White House.
If approved, they could then apply for the same provisional legal status for their spouse or children living outside the country, according to the draft.
And it didn’t take Newt Gingrich more than a day to come out and admit to ABC’s This Week that Republicans are likely to oppose any immigration reform proposal introduced by President Obama because they personally dislike the Commander-in-Chief.
Now if they could just admit it’s because the President is Black, maybe we could start talking….
Mississippi Officially Ratifies 13th Amendment Abolishing Slavery
No, that’s not an old headline. It happened just two weeks ago, after Dr. Ranjan Batra, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, watched Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and wondered afterward what happened when the states voted on ratification.
It turns out that Mississippi was one of four states to vote against ratification back in 1865. While the legislature finally passed a resolution in support of the 13th Amendment in 1995 (some lawmakers refused to cast a vote), because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification was not official.
Thanks to some folks that happened to watch Spielberg’s film who asked questions, that ‘oversight’ has now been corrected. (h/tClarionLedger.com)
California Foreclosure Law Makes a Difference
Data released on Friday from RealtyTrac, an Irvine-based company that tracks distressed properties nationwide, shows that foreclosure activity nationally is accelerating downward, dropping 7% in the last month.
Experts credit the national decline to California, where the landmark Homeowners Bill of Rights went into effect in January. Since implementation there has been a 39.5% decrease in foreclosure filings from December to January. The legislation was the focus of a major organizing campaign by progressive groups led under umbrella of the Courage Campaign.
“California‘s landmark Homeowners Bill of Rights is showing real and immediate results for homeowners. The data released today is proof of what we said for months during the fight to pass the legislation — that this bill is a vital first step to stabilizing the house market and bringing relief to millions of homeowners around the state. This legislation, now a model that other states are seeking to emulate, would never have passed if it wasn’t for the campaign run by progressives organizations throughout the state, particularly the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), PICO California, and the California Reinvestment Coalition. We hope the federal government will follow California’s lead,” said Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the Courage Campaign
Gormlie on Planning Boards: So Now He’s A Historian…
Frank Gormlie, editor of the OB Rag (he’s on SDFP’s editorial board, too!) will give a program on the history of the Ocean Beach’s Planning Board and the importance of O.B. residents taking part in their community groups.
Gormlie was a member of the first O.B. Planning Board, one of the first community planning groups in San Diego. His talk will cover the importance of a good community plan that reflects what the residents want, and how they want to shape their future.
Frank will stress the participation of residents in running for the board, going to meetings and voting in the election. Current, former and future planning board members are encouraged to attend. The event will be held Thurs., Feb. 21, 2013 at 7pm at Point Loma United Methodist Church 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O. B.
Why I Call Them Teahadists
Just because there are too many examples to pass by these days. From Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (not a liberal think tank!) via Roll Call:
Think about it: We have a sequester looming, one that could wreak havoc at the Pentagon; a coming series of budget confrontations that create real challenges in the management of the Defense Department; and an ongoing war.
And a little group of willful men and women, including those who have been the loudest critics of the sequester, are keeping the next head of the department from getting into office and beginning the hard job of managing the turbulence ahead.
That’s only the first on a list of irresponsible acts. If National Review is accurate, the unanimous Senate Republican response to deal with our debt problems and immediate budget crises is a constitutional amendment to balance the budget with a cap on spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and supermajorities required to raise revenues or the debt ceiling.
If I were al-Qaida and looking to destroy America from within, I would love to see this amendment added to the Constitution.
North Park Alert!
As part of our ‘grassroots news’ mission here at the San Diego Free Press we’re going to start expanding our neighborhood coverage in the coming weeks. And all you hipsters in North Park are first in line as we launch this grand plan, so expect to see us in our SD Free Press tee shirts prowling around. (Other neighborhoods shouldn’t be jealous, we’re headed your way as the year moves along.) So if you live or work in North Park and would like to pen a neighborhood-centric essay, drop us a line. Contact@SanDiegoFreePress.org
On This Day: 1841 – The first continuous filibuster in the U.S. Senate began. It lasted until March 11th. 1970 – The Chicago Seven defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention. 1998 – Rob Smith (the Cure) did battle with the forces of musical evil (Barbara Streisand) on the TV show South Park.
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