Monday, July 27, 2015

Elephants - an endangered species

Yes, Katalusis readers, those awe-inspiring, magnificent creatures - the elephants - are being exterminated by greedy poachers. I'm posting this message from Jamie Rappaport Clark on their behalf:

To: Virginia Bergman

Donate Now

Help stop elephant extinction in its tracks!
elephants (c)  Riaan Fourie
Unless we act now, African and Asian elephants will slide towards extinction.
Donate Now Button
Dear Virginia,
If you love elephants, this will break your heart.
Reports have just come in showing that Tanzania, once the African elephant capital of the world, has lost two-thirds of its elephants to poachers in just four years.
"I had never seen anything like that – there were carcasses everywhere," reported one observer.
Can you imagine a world without elephants? That’s where we’re headed if we don’t act with the greatest possible urgency.
Make a donation of $30 or more, and we’ll send you our brand new "Stop Extinction in Its Tracks" bumper sticker, free. This sticker will show your support and help bring attention to this critically important issue!
You might be surprised to know that the United States is the second largest importer of illegal ivory in the world. The Obama Administration has taken some important steps to block illegal ivory imports and sales. But at the same time, the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and its cronies are pressuring in Congress to make it easier to import ivory and other elephant "trophies." It’s almost too shocking to believe.
As Americans, you and I must do our part to end the demand for ivory, stop the importation of illegal blood ivory into the U.S. and aid the elephant nations in their efforts to end the killing.
An elephant is ruthlessly killed for its ivory tusks roughly every 15 minutes. Unless we act now to stop it, both Asian and African elephants will continue to slide towards extinction.
Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport Clark
President, Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Please put these stickers on your car or bike – we need to wake people to the urgent extinction crisis going on around us!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The New York Times' bigoted coverage of anything Hillary

The claim by Peter Daou and Tom Watson that the NY Times has a Hillary Clinton problem is not news to me; I've been aware of the bigoted Times coverage of anything Hillary for years. Still, I'm grateful to Daou and Watson for shouting it from the rooftop at  #HillaryMen:

We love the New York Times. As New Yorkers, it’s part of our lives. We both know great journalists there. The Times is an institution that would leave New York and the country culturally poorer for its disappearance. In the 90s, Tom was a Times columnist on media and technology. Even earlier as a young political reporter in the Bronx, he did some stringing for the city’s paper of record. We respect the paper’s history and place in both the city and the world.

But the New York Times has a very serious Hillary Clinton problem. Through the shoddy, over-reaching work of a handful of its many talented reporters and the bad choices of a few editors, the paper seems to be actively running a campaign to prevent the election of the first woman president of the United States.

After running a story that initially - and falsely - described Hillary as the target of a federal criminal probe related to her emails, then having to retract a good portion of it, it’s not hard for readers to conclude that the New York Times opposes Hillary as a matter of policy.
Think Progress breaks down the events:

Friday, July 24, 2015

So we don't need more effective gun control laws?

An email landed in my inbox from Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly as they continue their push for adequate gun control laws in the U.S., even as the lead article at today's Huffington Post reports, "Gunman opens fire in Louisiana movie theater:  kills 2, then himself, nine wounded."

First read what Gabby and Mark have to say and then check out that article at Huffpo:

Virginia -

In life and in work, the greatest successes are almost always the product of a series of small steps.

We've found that to be true of Gabby's recovery, and in our work to fix our gun laws.

There are setbacks -- some minor, some almost impossible to bear. And there are victories -- some that go largely unnoticed, and others that feel transformational. Each require us to resist complacency and recommit ourselves to keep moving forward.

It's easy to look at our federal gun laws and say nothing has changed since Sandy Hook. But we can assure you, if you look at our work and the way the ground is shifting in states across the country, we're getting closer ... much closer.

We'll get there, but only if you stay in this fight.

Virginia - stick with us on the path to progress. Make a $3 contribution to Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC today.

Last night, there was another mass shooting in Louisiana. We wish we could say what happened in Lafayette is unthinkable, but it is not.

There will be calls, of course, that now is not the time to talk about how to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. We believe that's the wrong idea, and that with the increasing frequency of these events, now is precisely the time for that conversation.

We're committed to leading that effort.

Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly
Americans for Responsible Solutions 

Gabby and Mark may be overly optimistic about the nation's progress on gun control, but the Louisiana shooting should at the least motivate us to keep moving forward:

Lafayette Shooter Exhibited Violent Tendencies, Radical Views

The wife and other family members of the Louisiana theater gunman asked for a temporary protective order in 2008 against the man.

Court documents seeking the order said John Houser "exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements."

The documents said even though Houser lived in Phenix City, Alabama, he had come to Carroll County, Georgia, where he lived and "perpetrated various acts of family violence."

 Read more:

Monday, July 20, 2015

"All men and women are created equal"

Although I'm a day late in posting this message from Hillary Clinton on the 167th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments in Seneca Falls, I think we can agree that it matters to all of us as much as it has mattered to Hillary throughout her many years of public service. So Katalusis friends, please read Hillary's message and click on the link below to declare your support for equality:

167 years ago today:
Virginia --

When Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, and 97 other brave women and men signed their names to the Declaration of Sentiments in Seneca Falls 167 years ago today, they sparked a movement that altered the course of history.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” they wrote, “that all men and women are created equal.” All men and women -- incredible how just two words could change millions of lives.

We cannot forget the heroes who went to jail and even died to give women the right to vote, earn and keep wages, own property, serve in the military, and hold elected office. We owe it to our daughters and granddaughters to continue the march of progress in America and around the world.

I've been fighting for these ideals for my entire career -- and I want to take that fight all the way to the White House. Will you stand with me?

We must keep fighting for equal pay, especially for women of color, who often lose out the most. We must fight for equal access to good jobs, good health care, and good child care, for the rights of women to make our own reproductive health decisions, and to make sure that every little girl in America can be anything she wants when she grows up -- even President of the United States.

The full participation of women and girls in our society is more than an issue of fairness; it’s also a smart way to grow our economy. When women aren’t paid fairly, families lose out on thousands of dollars every year that could go toward paying for groceries or rent, saving for retirement, or sending a child to college. When we fight for equality, we fight for a better future for all of our children.

Sign your name to declare your support for equality and pledge to redouble our efforts to finish the work that began in Seneca Falls:

Thank you,


Monday, July 13, 2015

Hillary: Fixing the economy requires getting into corporate boardrooms

Sounds obvious doesn't it? Fixing the nation's economy requires "getting into corporate boardrooms and making changes there."  Leave it to Hillary Clinton to point that out to Jeb Bush and her other would-be opponents in 2016. (We're assuming here that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee.)

In her economic speech today, Hillary gave a preview, not only of her positions on economic matters, but also how she will respond to the likes of Jeb Bush in 2016:

Jeb Bush got a lot of attention last week when he suggested that Americans who want higher living standards need to work harder.

During a speech on Monday, Hillary Clinton happily served up a rejoinder: It’s the people running companies, not their workers, whose behavior needs to change.

In making this argument, Clinton wasn’t simply taking a swipe at a potential rival in the 2016 presidential election. She was embracing a critique that economists and even some prominent investors have been making with increasing urgency -- that corporate America’s focus on maximizing short-term profits has come at the expense of worker pay and, ultimately, the economy as a whole.

It’s an argument that Clinton is likely to keep making, no matter who becomes the Republican nominee.

Campaign officials had billed the speech, delivered at the New School for Social Research in New York City, as a major economic policy address -- Clinton's first since she officially announced her candidacy in April. The goal wasn’t to dwell on any one proposal in particular, campaign advisers stressed, but rather to sketch out, in broad terms, how Clinton would try to raise incomes and improve economic security for the middle class and poor. 

What followed was a laundry list of proposals -- including a bunch that have been the focus of recent economic policy debates in Congress, like creating an infrastructure bank and raising the minimum wage. Others, like increasing support for childcare and paid sick leave, are only now getting serious attention in Washington.

Read More:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Advocates for women and girls: Hillary and Malala

Serendipity? Headlines this morning announce the endorsement of long-time women's rights advocate HillaryClinton's 2016 presidential run by the American Federation ofTeachers and the school for Syrian refugee girls opened by Nobel Winner Malala on her 18th birthday.

Here's the scoop on Hillary's endorsement by the AFT, which boosts her chances for election as the first woman president in the United States:

Hillary Clinton has scored the first national labor endorsement of the election cycle.The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) today chose to back Clinton in the Democratic primary for president.
"In vision, in experience and in leadership, Hillary Clinton is the champion working families need in the White House," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement released this afternoon. "Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members, and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities."

Read More:

Hillary's support of students, families, and communities coincides beautifully with Malala's continued support of education for women and girls:

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, July 12 (Reuters) - Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated her 18th birthday in Lebanon on Sunday by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls and called on world leaders to invest in "books not bullets."

Malala became a symbol of defiance after she was shot on a school bus in Pakistan 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls' rights to education. She continued campaigning and won the Nobel in 2014.

Read More:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Let's help save the littlest porpoise!

Hi Katalusis friends, an important warning from Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife: 

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife
Take Action

Only 50 Vaquitas Left!
Vaquita (c) Raziel Levi Mendez Moreno
Vaquitas could go extinct within the next three years!
Take Action
Dear Virginia,
Unless we act fast, the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise species, could go extinct within the next three years!
New estimates place the global population of these pint-sized cetaceans at around 50 animals. That’s fewer than half as many vaquitas as scientists had believed. And at current rates of loss, scientists predict the vaquita could be extinct by 2018!
Vaquitas live in shallow waters in the northern Gulf of California, between the Baja Peninsula and the Mexican mainland. The primary threat to vaquitas is illegal fishing for another critically endangered species, a fish called the totoaba. The swim bladders of the totoaba are considered a delicacy in China, where these fish parts fetch more money per ounce than gold. In other words, vaquitas are going extinct because they are bycatch – accidental victims – of pervasive illegal fishing operations in their habitat.
Both the vaquita and totoaba are protected by international treaties restricting trade in endangered species. Tragically, many of the illegally obtained totoaba swim bladders are transported through U.S. ports. By curtailing this illegal trade, we can give the vaquita a fighting chance for a future by eliminating their deaths as bycatch.
Tell the U.S. government to take immediate action to stop the illegal wildlife trade transiting through the U.S. to China to help ensure the survival and recovery of the vaquita!
We’re in a race against time if these littlest dolphins are to be saved.
Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport Clark
President, Defenders of Wildlife

Sat, Jul 11, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What's wrong with having two smart people in the White House?

In 2008. a Clinton supporter responded to a criticism of Hillary's run for the Democratic nomination by asking her detractor: “What would be wrong with having two smart people in the White House?”

That question is equally relevant in the 2016 campaign as evidenced by Hillary's in-depth research on policy matters. After reading the article below, one might even wonder who is the smarter of the wedded pair: Hillary or Bill? Personally, I'm very comfortable with the notion of Bill and Hillary discussing national concerns at the dining room table in the White House. Surely the United States would benefit from their combined leadership:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earlier this year, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign lost count of its experts.

In the months before she began her second run for the White House, Clinton spent hours quizzing economists, lawyers, educators and activists about everything from executive compensation to the latest research on lead paint.

By last fall, the number of experts she had interviewed hit two hundred and her team stopped keeping track.

"It was like I hadn't left Harvard," Roland Fryer, an economist at the university, said of his meeting with Clinton to discuss successful charter school practices. "It was like talking to a colleague and debating over a cup of coffee."

The Democrat isn't an incumbent, and even with competition that's resolute but still far from offering a serious primary challenge, Clinton has a luxury few candidates enjoy: time to hit the books. The results have started to emerge, and Clinton plans to add to them by releasing a new domestic policy proposal nearly every week this summer.

To be sure, politics are at play as Clinton shapes her agenda. She is sidestepping foreign affairs, which has consumed much of the early debate among Republican White House hopefuls eager to paint the former secretary of state with President Barack Obama's record on the world stage.
She is not yet offering specifics on subjects where consensus among Democrats and independent voters will be harder to find: trade, limits on executive pay, regulating the country's finance industry, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

What Clinton debuts in the coming weeks will form the core platform of her campaign and, should she win the nomination and the presidency, her administration. It's an agenda Clinton describes as that of a "pragmatic progressive," centered on families and focused on economic growth, innovation and income inequality.

Read more:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Stop indiscriminate killing of wolves

Just got this urgent message from Jamie Rappaport Clark of Defenders of Wildlife – let's answer the call on behalf of these endangered Idaho wolves!

A kill order is still out on wolves in the Boise National Forest in Idaho.
We’re doing everything we can but we need your help!
Defenders of Wildlife

Kill Order for Wolves

Wolves in Boise National Forest are being trapped and killed.
Take Action
Dear Virginia,
A kill order has been issued. As you read this, wolves are being trapped and killed in the Boise National Forest by federal Wildlife Services. These wolves, for the most part, live exclusively on national forest land.
So why are these wolves being exterminated?
Because a sheep producer moving sheep through the national forest, requested they be killed.
Defenders has repeatedly and will continue to offer to help the livestock producer with non-lethal methods for keeping his sheep safe from wolves – but so far, he has refused all of our offers of assistance and has demanded the wolves in that part of the national forest be exterminated.
These wolves are dying, and the agency that should be protecting them is allowing them to be killed.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of the land and wildlife that inhabit national forests – not help facilitate the death of wolves. USFS should require that appropriate non-lethal deterrents be tried first, to permit wolves and sheep to coexist, rather than allowing for an immediate death sentence.
It is completely irresponsible for the U.S. Forest Service not to do everything they can to protect our wild wolves on national forest land.
You know the state of Idaho has declared war on wolves. The federal government should not be a willing participant in that war!
Thank you so much for your commitment and your compassion.
For the wolves,
Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport ClarkPresident, Defenders of Wildlife