A few things our POTUS said today …


The White House, Washington

Earlier today, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a Climate Summit, where President Obama and other world leaders gathered to discuss their actions and commitments to tackle the growing problem of climate change.

In his address at today’s summit, the President made one thing very clear:

No nation — including ours — is immune to climate change.

He’s right. We’re already feeling the effects — the past decade has been America’s hottest on record. In the west, the wildfire season starts earlier in the spring, lasts later into the fall, and burns more acreage. And California is experiencing record drought.

But the worst part: Carbon emissions across the globe are still rising, and that will make the effects of climate change even more damaging over time.

Find out how President Obama is taking action — then take the next step and stand with him.

Find out more about the state of our climate.

Last year, President Obama put forward a Climate Action Plan that will cut carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the effects of climate change, and lead international efforts to fight climate change across the globe.

And we’re making progress. In 2009, the President pledged that we would cut our carbon emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We’re on pace to meet that target.

Just last week, the Administration announced new actions to cut carbon pollution by almost 300 million metric tons through 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 60 million cars off the road for a year, at the same time saving American consumers $10 billion on their energy bills.

These are tangible, important steps. Yet even though we’re making ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions while making critical new investments in clean energy, the reality is that climate change is worsening faster than our efforts to address it. As the President made clear today, all the world’s major economies have to step up for us to successfully protect our planet.

We also know that most people get it. Just this past Sunday, nearly 400,000 people — including the U.N. Secretary-General — marched in the streets of New York to show their support for action against climate change. And similar events were held on the same day in more than 160 other countries.

Fighting climate change isn’t an option — it’s an obligation. We may not see the full fruit of our efforts in our lifetimes, but we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to leave this world a better place.

See the current state of our climate, and learn more about the President’s plan to protect our planet.

Thanks,

John

John Podesta
Counselor to the President
The White House
@Podesta44

Hobby Lobby Grows


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Hobby Lobby’s Effects Are Being Felt Beyond Birth Control

It’s been almost three months since the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that for-profit, secular businesses who have religious objections to birth control may defy federal rules requiring that they include contraceptive care in their employees’ health plans because it violates the employer’s religious liberty rights.

The ripple effect of the Hobby Lobby decision could lead to a cascade of poor outcomes for the nation. And now, the repercussions of that decision are starting to come out — including the potential for it to be broadened even farther and threaten the rights of even more people, including children.

First: A federal judge in Utah cited the Hobby Lobby decision to say that a member of a polygamous religious sect could refuse to testify in a federal investigation into alleged violations of child labor laws because he objects to testifying on religious grounds. The case involves the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which broke off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the domination commonly known as Mormons — due to a century-old dispute over polygamy. (The sect’s leader is currently in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting two underage girls — the youngest of whom was 12 years-old — that he claimed have taken as wives.) Before Hobby Lobby, it’s unlikely that the claim would prevail. Although federal law offers fairly robust protections for religious liberty, this law only applies when the federal government “substantially burden[s] a person’s exercise of religion.” Hobby Lobby, however, largely wrote the word “substantially” out of this law.

Second: Religious conservatives are admitting what they really want out of Hobby Lobby, which is to push the decision even further and restrict birth control access even more. Last month, the Obama administration announced an accommodation for employers with religious objections: they can exempt themselves completely from the federal rule requiring employer-provided health plans to cover birth control, so long as they inform the government that they seek a religious exemption and tells them which company administers their health plan. But now, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — the same Becket Fund that represented Hobby Lobby in its successful lawsuit in the Supreme Court — has filed a court document on behalf of Ave Maria University, saying that even that degree of accommodation is insufficient. Ava Maria doesn’t even think they should be required to let the government know that they are not providing their employees birth control at all. If the justices honor Ave Maria’s idiosyncratic objection, then it is unclear that the Obama administration could design any accommodation that will survive the Supreme Court.

Third: What if children with parents who have religious objections to vaccines could attend public schools, and those public schools could not compel them to get vaccines? That is a very real possibility with widening religious liberty exemptions. In all 50 states, schools require students to get vaccinated for preventable diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and chicken pox before they enroll. But parents are increasingly obtaining a non-medical exemption to the requirement through a “philosophical objection” loophole. For example, compared to just seven years ago, twice as many California parents are deciding against vaccinating their kindergartners, according to public health experts in the state. This past year, California has faced a record-breaking whooping cough epidemic.

BOTTOM LINE: The Hobby Lobby ruling is already having effects that go beyond the Supreme Court ruling. These decisions ignore a fundamental fact: religious liberty is the right to practice religion as you wish and the freedom to not have religion imposed on you by others, especially corporations.

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Google walks the talk …VICTORY: Google Dumps ALEC


GOOGLeYesterday, after months of pressure and the signatures of nearly 115,000 people, Google announced it was ending its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

This is not just a victory for us, but for the millions of Americans whose lives are made more difficult by ALEC’s anti-environment, anti-education and anti-worker agenda.

Our voices are being heard – Google’s exit followed quickly on the heels of Microsoft’s departure from the group less than a month ago.

Now it’s time for Facebook to join them. Please, help us turn up the pressure on Facebook by telling them to leave ALEC – today!

Across the country, people are pushing back against backroom deals and pay-to-play politics. They know that ALEC and the crooked politicians they work with have no place in our state legislatures.

With your help, we’ve shone a light on ALEC’s greed and power grabs. That’s why more than 90 corporations and 400 state legislators across the country have pulled their support from ALEC in just the past few years.

So, take a moment to savor this great victory and then help keep this momentum going by signing our petition telling Facebook to say goodbye to ALEC.

Thanks for your great work,

Marisol

Comptrolle​r Stringer & ABB Highlight Families & Flexibilit​y on September 29th


A Better Balance
You’re invited to a forum on Families & Flexibility
Families & Flexibility Monday, September 29, 2014
Join A Better Balance & NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on September, 29 for a forum on Workplace Flexibility & Scheduling.
If we want to remain a global economic power, we must support policies that see family and work as complementary, rather than competing interests.
New America President & CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter will be giving the Keynote address and the panel will be moderated by The New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse & Rachel Swarns.
Monday, September 29, 2014 8:30 am-12:00pm
Baruch College/ CUNY Newman Conference Center, 151 E. 25th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10016
RSVP here or by phone at 212-669-4466

UCS … Upcoming events news and information


{UCS

Could a Fukushima-scale nuclear disaster happen here?

Meet Dr. Edwin Lyman, nuclear power safety expert and co-author of our book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster,

and

learn about the future of nuclear power in the Northwest.

Monday, October 6, 7:00 p.m.,

at University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle.

 

If we raise an additional $200,000 this September, a UCS donor will give a $1 million grant to fund our Center for Science and Democracy.

Fracking companies hide hundreds of chemicals from public scrutiny—blasting them into our own backyards. We all have a right to know what may be threatening our families’ health and safety.

Help change the policies that keep fracking secret. Donate now.

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