'/> Uncommon Hours: January 2012
Blogging on culture, politics, and the environment since 2008.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sierra Club Applauds President Obama for Rejecting the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

State Dept. Determines Project is Not in the National Interest

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Obama Administration determined that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest and announced that it will formally deny a federal permit for the proposed pipeline put forth by Canadian oil giant TransCanada. The 1,700-mile pipeline would run through six states, carrying toxic, highly corrosive tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries and ports in Texas.

In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:

“The Sierra Club and our 1.4 million members and supporters applaud the President today for delivering a decisive victory to Americans who want clean air to breathe and safe water to drink. Today’s decision represents another down payment on the Administration’s plan to move our country beyond oil. To paraphrase Vice President Biden, today’s news is a Big…Deal.

“President Obama’s announcement is an outright rejection of Speaker Boehner’s cynical attempt to play political football with Americans’ health. Unfortunately, we know that Big Oil and their cronies in Congress will not give up their endless pursuit of profits at the cost of Americans’ health and prosperity.

“We thank the President for listening to the concerns of American farmers, landowners and people who care about clean air, clean water and our climate future."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paul Rieckhoff: Our Troops Aren’t Political Props

A Message to All Candidates: Our Troops Aren’t Props
By Paul Rieckhoff 

Paul Rieckhoff
Our troops are many things to many people. Heroes, parents, diplomats, victims, villains, victors. But as the GOP Primary races roll through New Hampshire this week, there is one thing that all of America must understand they're not: political props.

And that's not just my opinion, it's the law.

This is why so many of us in the military and veterans community were so shocked and outraged last Tuesday night when we saw Corporal Jesse Thorsen step up to the microphone in uniform and endorse Ron Paul for President. We know the law—the military law under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). We know Article 88 of UCMJ prohibits contemptuous speech by commissioned officers against the President and certain elected officials at penalty of court-martial. We also know that service members are only allowed to attend political rallies as spectators, according to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which states, “In keeping with the traditional concept that members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity, and that members not on active duty should avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement…” And we troops and veterans understand why this directive exists.