In today’s On the News segment: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans will not raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama delays Obamacare for another year; researchers at the University of Cincinnati have discovered a way to turn used coffee grinds into biodiesel; California is working on a bill that would allow women’s clinics to stick to the same standards as primary care facilities; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. On the eve of the 9-11 anniversary, President Obama laid out an emotional case for a new military action. During the majority of his 17-minute speech from the East Room of the White House, the President tried to address the concerns of opponents to a Syria strike. President Obama argued that although Syria poses no direct threat to the United States, a military response to the use of chemical weapons is in our “national interest.” He said that our nation has an “exceptional” responsibility to punish nations that use weapons of mass destruction, and he asserted that we “know” the Assad regime was behind the attacks. In addition to laying out his reasons for military action, President Obama made an emotion appeal to those who oppose the strike. He invoked the Holocaust and World War I, and said, “What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way?” However, the President did call on Congress to postpone a vote on military action, in light of a possible diplomatic resolution. Despite his best efforts, it’s unlikely that the President swayed many opinions in his favor. Reviews from lawmakers after the speech were as wide-ranging as they were before the address. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The president justly made clear tonight that the threat of military action remains on the table.” And, Senator Chuck Grassley said, “I don’t think the case for military action has been made.” As our nation commemorates the somber day that nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives, we must consider the fact that we’re still at war more than a decade later. Regardless of whether diplomatic efforts in Syria are successful, many continue to ask whether we should be starting yet another war.
In screwed news… House Republicans have come up with their latest plan to hold our economy hostage. In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans will not raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama delays Obamacare for another year. In the last debt ceiling debates, Republicans demanded cuts to social programs to offset any increase in the debt ceiling, but this is the first time they’ve attached Obamacare to paying our nation’s debts. And, their plan would have the exact opposite effect of the cuts they have called for in the past. Delaying Obamacare would actually increase our deficit by more than $20 billion dollars. This is simply another attempt to keep Americans from seeing the benefits of Obamacare. Just like Medicare and Social Security, once people see how Obamacare helps them, there is even less chance Republicans will ever be able to repeal it. President Obama has repeatedly said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, but apparently that won’t stop Republicans from trying to hold our economy – and our health – hostage once again.
In the best of the rest of the news…
A breakthrough in biofuel may be hidden in your garbage can. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have discovered a way to turn used coffee grinds into biodiesel. They say that the process extracts oil from the spent coffee grounds, which is made into a biofuel. Then, the dried grounds are reused again to filter impurities out of the fuel. The new process could replace the corn and soybeans that are currently used to make biofuel, and those crops could be saved to use for food. Americans alone throw out about one million tons of coffee grounds each year, which means we’re dumping a ton a natural energy into landfills everyday. If these spent grounds could be used to power our cars, trucks, and homes, we’d have a constant supply of cleaner energy, and a great excuse to drink more coffee.
While states around our nation are forcing abortion clinics to close their doors, California is working on a proposal to do the opposite. Recently, many red states have enacted legislation that requires women’s health clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers, making it too expensive for them to stay in business. But, California is working on a bill that would allow clinics to stick to the same standards as primary care facilities. This would eliminate unnecessary updates, like widening hallways and building bigger parking lots, and it would protect women by ensuring that medical and safety standards are being met. California lawmaker Richard Pan, who proposed the legislation, said, “This bill creates parity, that’s all… We are not lowering standards. We are basically applying the same standards across the board.” The California Senate approved the measure on Monday, and it’s going back to the Assembly for a final vote. Other states may be eliminating a woman’s right to reproductive care, but California is on track to make sure that right is protected.
And finally…On Monday, a Thai Airways plane carrying about 300 people had a landing gear malfunction that caused it to slide off a runway in Bangkok, Thailand. Thankfully, everyone on board was okay, but the airline’s image may have suffered some minor injuries. To ensure their brand didn’t suffer further damage, shortly after all the passengers were accounted for, the airline sent a painting crew to the runway to quickly black out the company logo. Apparently, trying to hide the name of the airline was part of a “crisis communication” protocol. The airline alliance, anchored by Lufthansa and United Airlines, denied that their policy requires carriers to paint over the logo. But a statement issued later by Thai Airways said they have their own policy of “de-identifying” an aircraft after an “incident.” Rather than saving the company’s reputation, it appears that their foolish attempt to hide the accident just earned them more international attention.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, September 11, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.