Marsha Blackburn invents new way to deny global warming: Humans are not ‘the cause for carbon emissions’
Judge rules against Hooker’s assisted suicide lawsuit...and more
John Jay Hooker has terminal cancer and has doctors who have expressed a willingness to prescribe him a lethal dosage of painkillers.
The doctors sought protection from prosecution if the 84-year-old Hooker was administered the drugs.
But Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled against the plaintiffs on Tuesday, saying they “do not have standing to bring this action.” She said administering such drugs would be engaging in “criminal conduct.”
State law allows a person to refuse end-of-life care, but assisted suicide is illegal in Tennessee. LINK
Syrian Refugees 'Challenge Every Moral Fiber Within Us,' Says CorkerThe flood of refugees from the civil war in Syria "should challenge every moral fiber within us," U.S. Senator Bob Corker said Tuesday morning.
The remarks by the Tennessee Republican opened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee aimed at finding ways to help the 11 million people — half of them children — whom the conflict has displaced.
The hearing came as resettlement organizations in Tennessee and across the nation are preparing themselves for a wave of refugees from Syria.
"These are people just like us that want only to be able to raise their families in dignity and cherish the same values and things that we all care about."
Aid groups urged the United States to focus on reuniting families and preparing for them to stay in the country permanently. They also said the U.S. has to do more to rebuild political institutions in the Middle East and to help negotiate a peace agreement.
Corker expressed skepticism about what the Obama administration is doing to end the civil war. He said it's missed chances to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he blames for the conflict. LINK
Marsha Blackburn invents new way to deny global warming: Humans are not ‘the cause for carbon emissions’House energy committee Vice Chair Marsha Blackburntook global warming denial to the next level this week by suggesting that humans were not even causing carbon emissions.
The same week that Pope Francis was scheduled to speak in Washington on the need to address climate change, Blackburnspoke to the BBC as part of a Radio 4 documentary, “Climate Change – Are we Feeling Lucky?”
Blackburn declared to BBC Radio 4 that the “jury is still out saying man is the cause for global warming, after the earth started to cool 13 years ago.”
After an interviewer pointed out that scientific data showed a substantial rise in temperature on the surface of the Earth, Blackburn countered that “we’ve cooled almost 1 degree (F)” in the last 13 years.
Blackburn said that she based her arguments after speaking to “different researchers,” but she declined to name them.
“There are some that feel like human activity is the cause for carbon emissions and because of that we need to revert to where we were in the 1870s for carbon emissions,” she explained. “I just choose to disagree with that.”
The BBC asked if there was any scientific evidence that could change the congresswoman’s mind.
“I don’t think you will see me being persuaded,” she said.
Blackburn also argued during the interview that the theory of evolution was false, the BBC reported.
Scientists agree that human carbon emissions are dwarfed by natural carbon emissions. But as the New Scientist pointed out, an increase in emissions that started during the Industrial Age has thrown the Earth’s natural carbon cycle out of balance.
“But the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently shows that natural emissions are usually balanced by natural absorptions,” the magazine explained in 2007. “Now slightly more CO2 must be entering the atmosphere than is being soaked up by carbon ‘sinks’.”
Royal Society Professor Brian Hoskins called Blackburn’s views “absolutely staggering.” LINK
The Tennessee Pre-K Debate: Spinach Vs. Easter GrassTeachers, parents and politicians have long wrestled with the question:
How important is preschool?
A new answer comes in the form of astudy — out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. — that is as clear as it is controversial.
The focus of the research is Tennessee'sVoluntary Pre-K program. It's state-funded preschool on a grand scale, serving 18,000 of the state's poorest children, costing about $86 million a year and built on one big assumption:
That the answer to that earlier question is, "Very."
And Vanderbilt researcher Dale Farran says that at first glance, her team's results showed a big positive impact.
"The children who'd had the Voluntary Pre-K program were much better prepared for kindergarten by all of our achievement measures — significantly so," Farran says.
The Vanderbilt researchers followed nearly 800 children through the program along with a smaller control group of kids, most of whom did not attend pre-K.
Here's where the controversy starts: By the end of kindergarten, Farran noticed something odd in the data: "The children who had not had pre-K caught up," she says. Keep in mind, all of the kids in the study are low-income, which makes the team's next headline even stranger.
"By the end of second grade," Farran says, "the children who'd had state pre-K were underperforming the control children. And that continued into third grade."
Let me repeat that: The kids who'd gotten no pre-K started doing a little better than the kids who got state-funded pre-K.
That kind of return on investment would make any politician queasy. And Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made clear he'll be doing a cost-benefit analysis. LINK
Sandra Clark: CAMPAIGN FINANCE THEN AND NOWI don’t know Megan Barry, but I’m proud that she won election as Nashville’s first female mayor.
It’s been 95 years now since women won the right to vote. Youngsters need to be reminded.
It’s been 43 years since I won election as state representative from District 16. During that campaign I got a check for $50 from a woman in Nashville that I’d never met or heard of.
So when I got to Nashville, I phoned her and went by her office to say thanks.
Osta Underwood was an early female lawyer (who made a career in insurance after no law firm would hire her) and an early proponent of women’s rights. She never said whether she was a Republican or a Democrat, and I never asked.
As I left, she quoted an Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I never saw or talked with Osta Underwood again.
I’m tempted to send these words and $50 to Megan Barry.
After all, we trailblazers have to stick together. LINK
Donald Trump's Tax Plan Could Balloon The Debt By 75 Percent
Donald Trump's tax plan would increase the national debt by more than 75 percent over the next decade, according to an analysis by a conservative think tank.
Trump claims on his website that his plan "doesn't add to our debt." But the businessman-birther, who believes wrongly that vaccines cause autism, should at least recognize when numbers don't add up.
The plan, introduced on Monday, promises massive benefits for wealthy Americans. Trump would reduce the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, slash the tax rate for the largest corporations from 35 percent to 15 percent, lower the tax rate on stock and bond profits, and entirely eliminate the estate tax. That last tax applies only to the estates of dead millionaires, while securities earnings overwhelmingly flow to the very richest households.
As a result, the Tax Foundation found that Trump's plan would boost the incomes of the top 1 percent of taxpayers by 21.8 percent, while those of the lowest-income Americans would rise by only 1.4 percent. The national debt, meanwhile, would jump by $12 trillion over the next decade.
The Tax Foundation, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Koch brothers, presented another set of calculations based on favorable assumptions of economic growth that it said would be driven by Trump's policies. Under that scenario, the national debt would climb by just $10.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Under that more favorable scenario, the Tax Foundation concluded that the lowest-income households would see their incomes rise by 10.7 percent, while incomes for the top 1 percent would rise by 27 percent.
The total federal debt held by the public is currently $13.08 trillion. LINK
Why Speaker Boehner can't govern: Primaries, parties, privacy, and porkIt comes as no surprise to me that John Boehner is stepping down as Speaker of the House. He has had a tough time of it; an unruly caucus of his own party and a President of the other party. No doubt much attention will be given to the fact that he was about to be challenged as Speaker but it is a challenge that most people think he would have survived. And much attention will be paid to the uncompromising stance of the Tea Party members in his conference. But probably not enough attention will be given to the fact that John Boehnerbecame Speaker at a point in time when four different reform ideas—all enacted with the best of intentions—interacted in ways that made his job impossible. These are structural and will impede the job of the next Speaker as well. LINK
Crockett Policy Institute