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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

This Presidential election really matters.  It sounds so trite to say this. We have weathered a year of Republican primaries with every candidate putting forth their vision for “saving” America. Over the next six months, the country will witness the most costly campaigns ever waged in each party’s efforts to control the Congress and White House. But what really is at stake in this election is the US Supreme Court. (more…)

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Rick Santorum and his family (credit: Santorum for President website)

The new year certainly kicked off with a bang as Rick Santorum surged in the Republican primaries. His “faith, family and freedom” (in that order) platform translates into his party’s retro view that America can avoid decline only by returning to the days when religion (think Christian prayers in school) was central, families (think Mom home with many kids) were the cornerstone of society, and freedom (think heterosexual GI Joe) kept America “strong.”

What Santorum and his followers fail to grasp is that change is inevitable and happening, here and around the world. The rise of the Millenials, those 50 million American twenty-somethings born after 1980, is profoundly changing our global society, and there is no going back.
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I asked my daughter, Caroline Behringer, to write an update to my last post entitled “How do we get beyond Kyoto?”.  Caroline’s report provides an insider view on what occurred in Durban and is  posted below.

*Disclaimer: Title borrowed from a reporter at ClimateWire, who wrote what I believe to be the best account of the drama that unfolded during the final hours of the Durban climate negotiations (“How a Belligerent, Sleep-Deprived Crowd in Durban Arrived at Consensus”).

Sunday morning in the closing plenary (credit: AFP)

It’s 4:00am on Sunday morning, and I’m sitting on the floor in the back of a giant conference room in the International Convention Center in Durban, South Africa. We’ve been here for more than two weeks for the UN COP17 climate change negotiations. The space is filled with delegates from nearly 200 countries seated in rows facing the front of the room. I am fighting fatigue so that I can send updates to the media as quickly as possible, but my colleagues and dozens of others are spread out across the floor sleeping for the first time in three days.
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Caroline (left) marching with WWF in Durban

My 25-year old daughter, Caroline, is in Durban, South Africa for the Climate Change Conference.  Caroline is covering this 17th annual UN Conference, known as “COP 17”, as a media specialist with the World Wildlife Fund.  Caroline has been communicating with us daily on what’s happening in Durban, including her participation in the Global Day of Action march.
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Esraa Abdel Fattah (photo credit: Vital Voices)

I had the honor of introducing Esraa Abdel Fattah at the Middle East Institute’s 65th annual banquet dinner this week.  Esraa, 33, now famous as Egypt’s “Facebook Girl,” helped mobilize the January 25th demonstration in Cairo which sparked the Egyptian revolution that brought down President Mubarak.  In recognition of her efforts, Esraa was considered for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
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Occupy DC photo credit: Molly Riley/Reuters

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement excites me. I have seen Occupy DC protesters peacefully march down K Street and camp out in the heart of our nation’s capital. I read the op-ed commentators who search for a “message” and try to distill the protestors’ demands. Up to now, the media coverage has been largely dismissive by characterizing the Occupiers as “unemployed folks with nothing better to do.”(My stomach churns as these well-paid TV anchors try to marginalize young people who have come together for social change.) (more…)

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I have always loved Halloween. When I was a kid, I would dress up as anything I wanted to be, no matter how unrealistic.  This included everything from ballerinas to President of the United States. When my kids were growing up, we continued to live vicariously by hosting parties to bob for apples followed by neighborhood trick-or-treating in bright colored costumes with outstretched arms holding UNICEF milk cartons.

This annual celebration of ghosts and scary creatures is not religious, and is enjoyed by all families with children. Halloween provides a benign outlet for horror fantasies.

Less benign is the horror creeping into American families by conservative politics. (more…)

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