Author Archives: FrancescaBuzzi

What Should We Do With The Kyoto Protocol?

The annual U.N. climate talks, this year COP-17, began five days ago in Durban, South Africa. The major question this year is what we should do with the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012. John Prescott, former U.K. labor minister and one of the leading delegates at the Kyoto negotiations, is calling for the Durban delegates to “stop the clocks” on the Protocol, enabling the mechanisms to continue while a new international accord is reached. The UK’s former chief scientist, Sir David King, argues that the Protocol should be abandoned and in its place should be introduced a “muscular bilateralism”, whereby nations commit to voluntary emissions reductions in cooperation with each other.

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Filed under Climate Change, Environment, U.S Foreign Policy

GOP Candidates Attack Federal College Loan Program, Education

In the GOP debate last night, candidates made harsh statements about federal student loans and, by extension, college education in general. Rep. Ron Paul called student loans “a total failure” and said the U.S. should abolish them; Gov. Rick Perry managed to remember that he doesn’t think “the federal government should be in the business of paying for programs and building up huge debt out there,” adding that the U.S. should “force universities to be more efficient.”  Newt Gingrich called student loans “an absurdity” because they allow students to “stay in college longer because they don’t see the cost.” These statements show not only the inequality inherent in a plan to drop monetary education assistance, but also the devalorization of education in America. Continue reading

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Filed under 2012 Election, North America, U.S. Politics

Oh, Rick Scott.

Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) ran a successful campaign with the motto “Let’s Get to Work” in a state whose unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Throughout the campaign, he promised he would create 700,000 jobs in addition to state economists’ forecasts for a natural growth of 1 million jobs. As it turns out, he was just kidding. This indifference towards people in need isn’t surprising, coming as it is from the man who made his millions in the fraudulent for-profit hospital business.  Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, North America, U.S. Politics

Religious Freedom v. Freedom from Discrimination

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court found itself at the crossroads of two federal protections: freedom from discrimination in the workplace and freedom of religious practice. Cheryl Perich taught secular and religious subjects at a Lutheran school in Michigan before she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. After being deemed medically fit to reenter the workplace, she was fired. At any secular school, this case would inevitably have been decided in her favor under the defense of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading

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Filed under North America, Supreme Court

“This is what hope looks like.” -Tim DeChristopher

Today it was decided that Tim DeChristopher, a climate activist I’ve seen speak twice at Wesleyan, is going to prison for disrupting an illegal government auction of public land to private oil and gas companies. He went to the auction, which he knew to be unlawful and inevitably destructive, pretended to be a bidder, and proceeded to jack up the prices for oil executives trying to lease government land. He won 14 bids. His actions forced the Bureau of Land Management to admit that they’d held an illegal auction and to cancel all leases (the auction was during December of 2008, a parting gift from the Bush administration to the oil industry). He essentially conducted nonviolent protest of a very creative sort.
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Filed under Breaking News, Climate Change, Environment, Human Rights, U.S. Politics

Frackin’ With Texas’ Water Supply

The very industry that Texas thrives on is threatening its already scarce water supply. During the worst drought and biggest wildfires in the state’s history, the oil and natural gas industry used 13.5 billion gallons of its water in fracking operations. Continue reading

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Filed under Environment, North America

Planned Parenthood Victory

Planned Parenthood of Indiana won a legal battle against the state today, as U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt halted Indiana’s plans to defund the reproductive health agency. The state passed a law last month blocking any Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood on the grounds that federal law prohibits using Medicaid from funding abortions (in most cases). The law “cut off $1.4 million to Planned Parenthood, which serves about 9,300 clients in Indiana who are on the state-federal health insurance plan for low-income and disabled people who receive Medicaid,” reports the New York Times. Continue reading

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Filed under U.S. Politics, Women's Rights