The winter solstice …
… the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.  In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year
The idea that President Barack Obama just didn’t know what he was doing is beyond absurd; he was definitely held back by his aids but he governed for the people. I cannot say that about our current administration. There are strong feelings, passions and possible misunderstandings in this era of trump, but it seems like it’s time for trump supporters to hit the “panic button” especially after the midterms and time for DEMS to call it game over! To be sure the game of politics is clearly just beginning as DEMS take over the House and at some point voters on both sides of the aisle had to see the actions being made, accept the truth of where this admin wanted America to go and made some serious decisions in 2018 to change the faces of Congress. It’s possible that Congress previously led by republicans will now be held to a minimum of spending on hearings based on revenge, his 3rd shutdown has begun while the government of tantrums is far from over and the chaos is beyond holding America hostage for no quantifying reason. The check on mr trump has been voted into office during the midterms … YaY! yet, the long road ahead is going to keep us wide eyed mouthed and gasping as we endure this era of trump
So, for this coming New Year, pledge to be ready for Election 2020… lean left. The point to my blog; is to blow off steam … offer up some info from those who know, maybe question, challenge some who think they know, ask, plead or yell for a call to action with signatures that can create change …and
Yes, Words do Matter contrary to how most conservatives seem to feel.
I thank everyone who even takes the time to visit my blog let alone read and respond to the articles and even some actually sign petitions … I thank you … much gratitude.
In this era of trump one might be thinking the end of days, what with republicans trying to legislate more guns in stadiums schools and other alarming places, allowing more concealed weapons in open spaces least we think about what life will look like under what seems like Martial Law depending on your zip code or skin colour. We must stand our ground and have the Audacity for Hope and Change.
Have a Merry Christmas &
Happy New Years
Jun 7 2010, 12:21 PM ET | Comment
The story turns on theft and incompetence by the Interior and Treasury Departments, with culprits including Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the same Minerals Management Service now at the center of the BP oil spill fiasco. Over the past 100 years, government record systems lost track of more than 40 million acres and who owns them. The records simply vanished. Meanwhile, documents were lost in fires and floods, buried in salt mines or found in an Albuquerque storage facility covered by rat feces and a deadly Hantavirus. Government officials exploited computer systems with no audit trails to turn Indian proceeds into slush funds but maintain plausible deniability.
The lack of accountability is confirmed in the government’s own reports and testimony dating to the early 20th century. Conclusions of “fraud,” “corruption,” “institutional incompetence,” “deficiencies in accounting,” “the accounts lack credibility,” “multifaceted monster,” “organizational nightmare,” “dismal history of inaction,” “criminal negligence,” and “sorry history of department mismanagement,” are found regularly between 1915 and the present. Congress ordered an accounting in 1994 but interior secretaries in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations were held in civil contempt for not forking over records. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Texas Republican nominated by President Reagan who oversaw the case for a decade, called the whole matter “government irresponsibility in its purest form.”
I sat in Lamberth’s courtroom in 1999 when Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt both lost his cool and conceded that the government couldn’t provide accurate cash balances of most accounts and that “the fiduciary obligation of the United States is not being fulfilled.” But the dispute would not end, as the Clinton and Bush administrations fought unceasing adverse rulings in a case inspiring 3,600 separate court filings and 80 published decisions. No single case, including the antitrust action against Microsoft, has been as heavily litigated and defended by the government, say lawyers.
The government’s chief nemesis has been Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, the accountant-turned-banker who in 1987 started Blackfeet National Bank, the first national bank on a reservation. With a very small team of attorneys led by a Washington banking specialist, Dennis Gingold, her suit has inspired 3,600 court filings and 80 published decisions. Not even the antirust action against Microsoft was as heavily litigated by the government.
The historic resistance melded with an unsympathetic appeals court often overruling the dispute’s two trial judges. It ordered removal of Lamberth, now the district court’s chief judge, due to harsh language toward the government. Last year, it threw out a ruling by District Judge James Robertson, Lamberth’s successor, that the Indians were owed $476 million, a pittance compared to the reduced, $48 billion they were seeking by then. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both urged settlement during the 2008 campaign.
A resolute Judge Robertson then hauled Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and plaintiffs into his chambers last year. He made clear to one and all that, in light of the latest appeals court ruling, both sides had the choice between spending maybe another 10 years in court or trying to finally settle. The initial atmosphere was not necessarily conducive to harmony. Career government employees in the Interior, Justice and Treasury departments felt burned after years of being belittled by both the plaintiffs and Judge Lamberth. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs had minimal trust in the government. But political appointees in the Obama administration, including Salazar and Attorney General Eric Holder, took their cue from President Obama’s own support of a settlement. Dozens of meetings ensued, with the many prickly issues including how far back in time one would go to try to determine who should benefit.
Ultimately, Judge Robertson prodded what, given all the legal setbacks, is an impressive $3.4 billion deal announced in December. Ironically, before the recent congressional recess, the House approved the deal and Robertson announced his retirement, meaning District Judge Thomas Hogan becomes the third, and hopefully final, arbiter in the case. He would oversee a so-called “fairness hearing” in which objections can be raised.
There is inherent complexity in wrapping up. If the Senate approves, there will be a media campaign throughout Indian Country, including direct mail, newspaper and broadcast public service advertisements. Garden City Group of Melville, New York, which handled the major class action against Enron, will be claims administrator. It will get computer lists from the Interior Department, with the account information of perhaps 500,000 Indians and then doublecheck names and addresses. How good are the records? Nobody is really sure.
The $3.4 billion will be placed in a still-to-be-selected bank and $1.4 billion will go to individuals, mostly in the form of checks ranging from $500 to $1,500. A small group, such as members of the Osage tribe who benefit from huge Oklahoma oil revenues, will get far more, based on a formula incorporating their 10 highest years of income between 1985 and 2009. As important, $2 billion will be used to buy trust land from Indian owners at fair market prices, with the government finally returning the land to tribes. Nobody can be forced to sell. As for the winning lawyers, their take is capped at $100 million, actually low by class-action standards, though Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, an orthopedic surgeon, has groused about the fees.
The fairness hearing will be interesting since many Indians have a hard time believing they’re not still being shafted. “This proposed settlement fixes nothing, the U.S. won by legal weaseling,” writes a member of the Upper Midwest’s Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe on a message board. He’s not alone. Like a family victimized by homicide, Indians may never experience enough healing to truly recover. But, finally, as hard as it is for them to believe, there really may be some justice.
President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama City — marking the first full meeting between the leaders of the two countries since we announced a new diplomatic path with Cuba.
The two presidents discussed our shared histories, significant policy changes, and the positive response in both countries to this thaw in relations. “This is obviously a historic meeting,” said President Obama — who was in Central America for the seventh Summit of the Americas, a tradition that brings together the leaders of North and South America to discuss issues that impact the region.
In this week’s address, the Vice President laid out his and the President’s plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students. A better-educated citizenry is necessary to ensure that the United States continues to out-compete the rest of the world. Making two years of community college free is good for workers, good for companies, and good for our economy.
More than 120,000 people signed a petition calling for a ban on the dangerous and unacceptable practice of conversion therapy — and on Wednesday, we responded. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy is neither medically or ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. That’s why the Obama administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.
Last week, the President made an important announcement about preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, traveled west to champion high-tech jobs in Louisville and clean energy jobs in Salt Lake City, had some fun at the 137th-annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and flew to Jamaica for a meeting with leaders of Caribbean nations.
by Aaron Severn
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association
I wanted to loop you in on the latest updates on American wind power. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its Annual Market Report for 2013, as well as its First Quarter 2014 Market Report.
So what’s new?
The U.S. wind industry did not install much wind power capacity in 2013, reflecting the impact of the policy uncertainty that the wind industry faced throughout 2012.
The numbers were small:
In total, though, wind power is making impressive contributions to the U.S. electricity supply:
As you may recall, Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of 2012. Then, our legislators extended the credit in early January 2013, allowing projects that started construction by the end of 2013 to qualify for the credit (rather than requiring that they be operational by the end of 2013, as required in the past). The uncertainty throughout 2012 caused wind project development to come to a halt, and manufacturing orders to cease, resulting in little development and significant job loss as noted above.
How’s this year looking so far?
The PTC extension in 2013 allowed developers to put plans back in motion. As a result, 2014 is off to a great start:
Is there a catch?
Yes – federal policy for the wind energy industry is still uncertain. The PTC expired again, at the end of 2013. Without an extension, the wind industry is looking at the prospect of near-term downturns in project development, and job layoffs as well.
The Senate Finance Committee has acted to extend the PTC, and a credit that developers can choose instead of the PTC, the investment tax credit (ITC). They extended these provisions as part of the EXPIRE Act in early April. The bill moves to the Senate floor for consideration next, and we will keep you updated on that front. It will be important to weigh in with your Senators about the importance of extending the PTC through the EXPIRE Act.
Thanks, as always, for your support. I encourage you to check out these resources if you’re interested in more information:
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association