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Archive for January, 2012

Drawing the Right Lessons from Fukushima

January 27th, 2012


This piece first appeared in The Huffington Post.

As we approach the March 11th anniversary of the T?hoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, one focus in this country has been the impact of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and its implications for nuclear energy facilities in the United States. Watching the coverage of the tsunami’s impact on the Fukushima plant was undeniably frightening, and some now have concluded that nuclear energy is just too risky for use in the United States. We believe that the opposite is true: that it is far too risky for the U.S. not to keep nuclear energy as a significant part of our electric power mix.

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Obama rallies his troops in SOTU

January 25th, 2012


This piece originally appeared in Politico.

A speech about fairness is bound to be divisive. Mitt Romney figured that out. In a “prebuttal” delivered hours before President Barack Obama’s  spoke on Tuesday night, Romney said, “It is shameful for a President to use the State of the Union to divide our nation.”

There was only one problem. He didn’t. The president did talk about fairness. He even demanded that millionaires pay higher taxes. But he found a way to do it that wasn’t divisive. He used the image of all Americans fighting together as a team.

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Mr. President, an idea on immigration

January 24th, 2012


This piece currently appears on CNN.

Count on it. President Obama will devote three sentences to immigration reform in the State of the Union.

Two dozen lawmakers will jump to their feet and applaud. One-third of the audience will give an obligatory clap. The rest will sit silently, stifling a yawn.

Five years ago, comprehensive immigration reform legislation seemed possible and deeply bipartisan. Now it seems as unlikely and distant as President Bush’s mission to Mars. And as for bipartisan? In the last go around, a Republican president led the charge. Today, no serious GOP presidential aspirant has the guts to support reform—evidenced again last night as both front-runners promised in the Florida debate to veto even the initially-Republican authored DREAM Act, and Romney grasped for straws by suggesting “self-deportation.”

Can immigration reform be saved?

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Newt Gingrich – Mr. Electability?

January 23rd, 2012


This piece first appeared in The Huffington Post.

They say Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. Not in South Carolina, they didn’t.

Newt Gingrich insisted that his victory in the South Carolina primary was an act of defiance of the nation’s elites. In his victory speech, Gingrich called it a victory for those “who feel that the elites in Washington and New York have no understanding, no care, no concern, no reliability, and in fact do not represent them at all.”

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Take Action: State of the Union Seating Campaign

January 23rd, 2012


“The dialogue in Washington isn’t working for anyone—not Congress, not Americans, and not America. We urge the leaders of both houses of Congress to permanently retire partisan seating at the State of the Union.”

– Jon Cowan, President, Third Way

If you support YOUR Congress sitting together at the State of the Union – please contact your members of Congress to let them know where you stand (and they should sit) in 2012.

Last year, with the leadership of Senators Mark Udall and Lisa Murkowski, we helped to end more than a century of tradition and had members of Congress sit together during the President’s State of the Union address. After another year of partisan heartburn, we are renewing and expanding this request:

1) Sit together during the State of the Union and make mixed seating permanent. The spectacle of one side of the room leaping to its feet and the other sitting glumly on its hands is just that – a spectacle. Let’s end this running joke once and for all.

2) Agree to a 24-hour ceasefire. In the 24 hours leading up to the State of the Union, we ask that politicians and their campaigns speak only about the merits of their ideas, not the demerits of the opposing party’s ideas.the other sitting glumly on its hands is just that – a spectacle. Let’s end this running joke once and for all.

3) Spend a weekend together. We ask that Congress set aside one weekend each year to gather together and spend time getting to know each other.

In short, we’re asking for Congress to sit together, not apart. Talk to each other, don’t yell. Know each other, don’t be strangers.

Here are some of the ways that you can help:

1. Tweet

Tweet your members of Congress using the hashtags #SitTogether and #24hrcivility. Call out egregious cases of incivility using the hashtag #24hrcivility.

2. Post

Ask your friends to support the #SitTogether campaign on your Facebook page. Link the letter to Congress and post the video or #SitTogether graphic on your page.

3. Tell the Story

Write a blog post about why civility in Congress matters and send us the link to your work. We’ll compile posts and add your entry on our Storify page. Check out our interactive Sit Together Tumblr and encourage others to play on Facebook and Twitter.


Examining Newt’s Victory in South Carolina

January 23rd, 2012


The early exit poll results reveal two crucial factors behind Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina:

                (1) The Base

Gingrich consolidated the far-right base of the Republican Party. In South Carolina, 36% of Republican voters described their views as “very conservative.” Their support for Gingrich (47%) was greater than their support for Santorum (24%) and Romney (19%) combined.

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