Milky Way from Easter Island

November 6, 2016

National Science Foundation tweeted this out:

National Science Foundation tweeted this out: “#photooftheday: Moai under the #MilkyWay. #space #galaxy #astronomy #science http://bit.ly/2ffTmVZ Image credit: Anne Dirkse”

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Issues you haven’t heard discussed in the campaign, 3: Clinton on national service

November 5, 2016

Part 3 of a series, listing policy issues we’ve heard too little about during this presidential campaign.

This is borrowed wholesale from the campaign website for Hillary Clinton (unless otherwise noted), just to try to get a little discussion going on the real issues of the campaign.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is working on a series of issues not yet discussed, less than a week before the vote. Consider it public service, in the spirit of Fillmore, who remained ever conversant in public affairs and anxious to take a role to push for policies to improve America, as he saw it — and who, supported by his wives, founded the White House Library, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and the University of Buffalo (now SUNY-Buffalo) to further knowledge.

Beyond a military draft, which few people want in an era of a very successful all-volunteer military, should we ask more of our young people, ask them to serve the nation? How would such a scheme work?

Clinton’s policy paper introduction on national service:

There aren’t many places where people of all ages, all races, all backgrounds, all beliefs come together in common cause. But service is one of them, and that’s one of the reasons I think it’s so valuable, because in addition to the good work it does, it helps us reconnect with each other to feel more a part of our shared American life. I believe that one of the jobs of president is to encourage more service … .

Hillary, September 30, 2016

The generation of Americans coming of age today has changed our politics and our country. From racial justice and marriage equality to economic opportunity and climate change, they have put key issues at the top of the national agenda. Hillary Clinton believes we must do more to support activism and create pathways for Americans to serve and to lead.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Expand national service. Hillary will create more opportunities for Americans to participate in national service, creating economic and educational opportunities while improving communities. She will significantly expand AmeriCorps to allow hundreds of thousands of more Americans to serve their communities through organizations such as City Year, YouthBuild, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and other community organizations. To achieve this, Hillary will grow AmeriCorps to 250,000 members annually, fulfilling the goals of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. And she will create a National Service Reserve to enable millions of Americans across the country to engage in part-time volunteer service to their communities, taking on the most pressing challenges identified by state and local leaders and earning recognition for their contributions. Read more here.
  • Increase access to higher education. Hillary believes that if you serve your country through national and community service, you should be able to earn meaningful educational benefits. Her New College Compact will build on the current AmeriCorps Segal Education Award, on top of her plans to make debt-free college available to all by doubling the Segal Award and making it tax-free so that AmeriCorps members can earn more than $10,000 for college for every year of full-time service.
  • Strengthen international service. As secretary of state, Hillary saw firsthand the impact that Peace Corps Volunteers have around the world. That’s why, as president, she will continue to be a strong advocate for the Peace Corps. She will strengthen the program to provide more opportunities to send Americans abroad to work side by side with local leaders and address our most pressing global challenges.
  • Bring Americans together. Hillary strongly believes in the power of service to break down barriers by bringing together Americans from all backgrounds and uniting them in common purpose. She will ensure that national service remains at the top of her agenda as a broad-based solution to expand opportunity for people across America and strengthen our communities and our country.

Hillary has a strong record of supporting national service:

  • As first lady, Hillary advocated for Congress to reauthorize AmeriCorps so that tens of thousands more Americans would have opportunities to learn “how much more we get when we give.”
  • As senator, Hillary fought to protect AmeriCorps from budget cuts, and in 2003 stood alongside 150 mayors and governors in requesting funding to secure and grow the program. She also co-sponsored a bill to base AmeriCorps Education Award on the average public college tuition as a way to reduce student debt and allow more Americans to attend college in a time of rising costs.
  • As secretary of state, Hillary re-established the Peace Corps’s relationship with Indonesia after a 45-year hiatus. The first program in 2010 sent 19 volunteers, and now that number has grown to more than 100. Also under her leadership, the State Department provided $1 million to the Peace Corps to advance renewable energy efforts.

Read the fact sheet

Related:

I must confess a bias. In my time in Washington I met many former Peace Corps volunteers, and others who volunteered for VISTA and other programs. I found them without exception to be great leaders of people, and committed workers (in and out of government) who put service to the nation before their own welfare, often — and almost always to the great benefit of American people.

I liked them. Service to America had made them better people, and easier to befriend and respect.

Programs that train such leaders are priceless, in my estimation.

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Issues you haven’t heard discussed in the campaign, 2: Clinton, on gun violence, with mothers of gun violence victims

November 4, 2016

Part 2 of a series, listing policy issues we’ve heard little about during this presidential campaign.

This is borrowed wholesale from the campaign website for Hillary Clinton (unless otherwise noted), just to try to get a little discussion going on the real issues of the campaign.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub may do an entire series on issues not yet discussed, less than a week before the vote. Consider it public service, in the spirit of Fillmore, who remained ever conversant in public affairs and anxious to take a role to push for policies to improve America, as he saw it — and who, supported by his wives, founded the White House Library, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and the University of Buffalo (now SUNY-Buffalo) to further knowledge.

What about gun violence?

Gun violence prevention

From the right: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, Sec. Hillary Clinton, Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin),

I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets. We may have our disagreements on gun safety regulations, but we should all be able to agree on a few things. If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked. You shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.

Hillary, June 13, 2016

Too many families in America have suffered—and continue to suffer—from gun violence. It’s the leading cause of death among young African American men—more than the following nine causes combined. America cannot go on like this.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Expand background checks to more gun sales—including by closing the gun show and internet sales loopholes—and strengthen the background check system by getting rid of the so-called “Charleston Loophole.”
  • Take on the gun lobby by removing the industry’s sweeping legal protection for illegal and irresponsible actions (which makes it almost impossible for people to hold them accountable), and revoking licenses from dealers who break the law.
  • Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill by supporting laws that stop domestic abusers from buying and owning guns, making it a federal crime for someone to intentionally buy a gun for a person prohibited from owning one, and closing the loopholes that allow people suffering from severe mental illness to purchase and own guns. She will also support work to keep military-style weapons off our streets.

Hillary has a record of advocating for commonsense approaches to reduce gun violence:

  • As first lady, she co-convened a White House Summit on School Violence after the Columbine tragedy, and strongly defended the Brady Bill, which instituted federal background checks on some gun sales.
  • As senator, she co-sponsored and voted for legislation that would close the gun show loophole, voted against the dangerous immunity protections for gun dealers and manufacturers, and co-sponsored legislation to extend and reinstate the assault weapons ban.
  • As a candidate, she is honored to have the endorsement of many groups working to take on the epidemic of violence, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its Million Mom March chapters, the Newtown Action Alliance, and Everytown for Gun Safety—including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Read the fact sheet

Related:

What do you think? Why didn’t we hear more about this in debates, and in news coverage of the campaign?


Issues you haven’t heard discussed in the campaign, 1: Clinton, on fair taxes

November 3, 2016

presidential-taxes-13-638

Slide from the Motley Fool on Clinton’s tax plan; slide is from 2015, Clinton’s position isn’t changed much. She knows what needs to be done.

With an assist from Warren Buffet.

This is wholly purloined from the campaign website for Hillary Clinton (unless otherwise noted), just to try to get a little discussion going on the real issues of the campaign.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub may do an entire series on issues not yet discussed, less than a week before the vote. Consider it public service, in the spirit of Fillmore, who remained ever conversant in public affairs and anxious to take a role to push for policies to improve America, as he saw it — and who, supported by his wives, founded the White House Library, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and the University of Buffalo (now SUNY-Buffalo) to further knowledge.

It’s outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hardworking families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes.

Hillary, January 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton believes that we need an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. But when it comes to taxes, too often the wealthiest and the largest corporations are playing by a different set of rules than hardworking families.

Hillary is committed to restoring basic fairness in our tax code and ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay their fair share, while providing tax relief to working families. That’s not only fair, it’s good for economic growth, because she will use the proceeds to create good-paying jobs here in America—and make bold investments that leave our economy more competitive over the long run.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Restore basic fairness to our tax code. Hillary will implement a “fair share surcharge” on multi-millionaires and billionaires and fight for measures like the Buffett Rule to ensure the wealthiest Americans do not pay a lower tax rate than hardworking middle-class families. She’ll close loopholes that create a private tax system for the most fortunate, and she’ll ensure multi-million-dollar estates are paying their fair share of taxes. Read the fact sheet
  • Close corporate and Wall Street tax loopholes and invest in America. Hillary will close tax loopholes like inversions that reward companies for shifting profits and jobs overseas. She will charge an “exit tax” for companies leaving the U.S. to settle up on their untaxed foreign earnings. She will close tax loopholes that let Wall Street money managers pay lower rates than some middle-class families. And she’ll reward businesses that invest in good-paying jobs here in the United States. Read the fact sheet
  • Simplify and cut taxes for small businesses so they can hire and grow. The smallest businesses, with one to five employees, spend 150 hours and $1,100 per employee on federal tax compliance. That’s more than 20 times higher than the average for far larger firms. We’ve got to fix that.
  • Provide tax relief to working families from the rising costs they face. For too many years, middle-class families have been squeezed by rising costs for everything from child care to health care to affording college. Hillary will offer relief from these rising costs, including tax relief for Americans facing excessive out-of-pocket health care costs and for those caring for an ill or elderly family member.
  • Pay for ambitious investments in a fiscally responsible way. Hillary believes that we can afford to pay for ambitious, progressive investments in good-paying jobs, debt-free college, and other measures to strengthen growth, broaden opportunity, and reduce inequality. Hillary will use the proceeds from ensuring the wealthiest and the largest corporations pay their fair share to pay for these investments without adding to the debt.

Read the fact sheet

Related:

What do you think? What do your numbers show?

More, not from Clinton’s campaign:


2016’s Dakota statehood days – fly your flags

November 2, 2016

North Dakota's commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

North Dakota’s commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

South Dakota's commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area -- the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

South Dakota’s commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area — the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

Residents of North Dakota and South Dakota should fly their U.S. flags today in honor of your states’ being admitted to the union, on November 2, 1889.

Most sites note simply that both states were admitted on the same day; some sites, especially those that lean toward North Dakota, claim that state is Number 39, because President Harrison signed their papers first, after shuffling to avoid playing favorites.

Does anyone really care?

How much do you really know about the Dakotas?

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Global Warming is on the ballot; Bill Nye urges voting wisely

November 2, 2016

Bill Nye told Business Insider voters in 2016 can make a huge change, just voting for a president who will work on climate change.

Bill Nye told Business Insider voters in 2016 can make a huge change, just voting for a president who will work on climate change.

No secret that Bill Nye wants governments to act to slow and stop global warming.

Nothing if not hopeful, Nye explained to Mother Jones earlier that electing a president dedicated to making change could push Congress off the dime:

Electing a climate-friendly president is key, Nye says, because it could inject new life into Congress’ long-stagnant climate debate. “There are…many very reasonable people in Congress who are playing the hand they are dealt with these gerrymandered congressional districts,” he adds. “They have to please an extraordinary minority.” With the right leadership and timing, he says, the politicians just might take action.

A candidate rational about science and climate change is likely to be rational on other issues, too.

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November 2016 dates to fly the flag

November 1, 2016

An election day in Philadelphia, 1815. Display of the national flag runs to the earliest days of the U.S. republic.

An election day in Philadelphia, 1815. Display of the national flag runs to the earliest days of the U.S. republic. “John Lewis Krimmel, ELECTION DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE, (1815). Courtesy the Historical Society of Pennsylvania”

Eight events spread over six different days come with urgings to fly the U.S. flag in November: Six states celebrate statehood, Veterans Day falls as always on November 11, and Thanksgiving Day on November 24.

Did I say eight? 2016 is a federal election year; we fly flags at polling places on election day, so that makes nine events — but election day falls on Montana’s statehood day, so it’s still just six days. You may fly your flag at home on election day, too.

Two states, North Dakota and South Dakota, celebrate their statehood on the same date. Washington’s statehood day falls on Veterans Day, November 11 — so there are only six days covering eight events.

In calendar order for 2015, these are the seven days:

  • North Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state)
  • South Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state) (shared with North Dakota)
  • Election day, November 8 (nationwide)
  • Montana statehood day, November 8 (1889, 41st state)
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Washington statehood day, November 11 (1889, 42nd state) (shared with Veterans Day)
  • Oklahoma statehood day, November 16 (1907, 46th state)
  • North Carolina statehood day, November 21 (1789, 12th state)
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November (November 24 in 2016)

Most Americans will concern themselves only with Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. Is flying the U.S. flag for statehood day a dying tradition?

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Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

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