President Barack Obama's second inaugural speech on Monday gave lawmakers, pundits and Americans a glimpse of what his second term may look like, but some are asking if his references to a more progressive, liberal America will motivate the public to inspire Washington to get along.
It may not be known for decades if the 19 minute, 2,114 word speech will be recorded as one of the most inspiring of all time, however the president used one paragraph in particular to highlight what he had done and what he wants to do in his second term. "It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm."
His specific references to equal pay for woman and his evolving support of gay marriage were most likely intended to remind those groups (who supported him in overwhelming numbers) why they need to stay committed to his cause. But in the latter half of his speech, the themes of immigration reform, gun control and climate change seemed designed as an attempt to give Americans a preview of the coming months. more >>
During the economic recession in 2009, the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), better known as "cash for clunkers," was billed as a way to both stimulate the economy and help the environment by encouraging Americans to trade in their older vehicles for a new, more fuel efficient vehicle. Writing for E Magazine, Jennifer Santisi, a freelance science and environmental writer, concludes, though, that the program did more harm than good for the environment.
Under the program, consumers who traded in an older vehicle were provided a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher toward the purchase of a new vehicle. About 690,000 vehicles were traded in under the program for a total cost of almost $3 billion.
One of the main problems Santisi pointed to was the engines and drive trains had to be destroyed, and could not be recycled, under the program's requirements. Guarding against potential fraud, the government did not want the vehicles that were traded in under the program to find their way back onto the streets. more >>
A recent survey found that while the majority of Americans believe the weather has become more extreme in the past few years, their viewpoints differ regarding what is causing this climate change.
A December survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the majority of Americans (63 percent) believe the severe weather is due to global climate change, while 36 percent (4 in 10) believe it is evidence of the "end times", as taught in the Bible's book of Revelation.
More specifically, the majority of white mainline Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (60 percent) believe the recent natural disasters are due to climate change, while the majority of white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) believe the weather is a foreshadowing of end times, according to the institute's recent press release. more >>
With a little over a month to go before his second inaugural, President Barack Obama already appears to be working on plans to address climate change in his second term by reducing emissions from carbon-based fuels and increasing the use of so-called "clean energy" sources.
Todd Stern, an envoy from the State Department, is representing the United States this week at a United Nations conference in Doha, Qatar, working on a global warming treaty. The goal of the conference is to reach an agreement that will reduce carbon emissions 17 percent by 2020.
While Obama is unlikely to get a bill aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon passed in Congress as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives, he may oversee significant changes without Congress. more >>
Officials at a U.N. meeting on climate change in Doha, Qatar have cited the support of scientists in claiming that devastating storms like Hurricane Sandy are not purely "coincidental" but actually affected by global warming.
America also had to defend itself against accusations that it has not been doing enough in the battle against global warming, and has failed to help poor nations that have been most affected by it.
The accusations stemmed from former President George W. Bushes' decision to drop the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 treaty limiting emissions of heat-trapping gases by industrialized countries. more >>
It's billed as a "Biblical epic" but a Christian screenwriter in Hollywood who has had a chance to read the script for "Noah" says there's a good chance that the movie, which is still in production, will be far from the truth of the Gospel.
"If you were expecting a Biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God you'll be sorely disappointed," Brian Godawa recently wrote in his analysis of an undated script he was able to get his hands on as a movie industry insider.
Godawa told The Christian Post that he is not 100 percent sure that the copy of the script written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel that he read has since been changed to reflect a more accurate portrayal of what's written in the Bible, but chances aren't good that is the case. more >>