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June, 2009:

A Second Look | Iraqi Forces Assume Control Over Cities From US Troops

via Iraqi Forces Assume Control Over Cities From US Troops

BAGHDAD — AP Iraqi forces assumed formal control of Baghdad and other cities Tuesday after American troops handed over security in urban areas in a defining step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for U.S. combat troops to finish their pullback to bases outside cities.

(snip)In a ceremony rich with symbolism, the top U.S. military commander in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger, gave his Iraqi counterpart the keys to the former defense ministry building, which had served as a joint base.

(snip)The withdrawal, required under a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, marks the first major step toward withdrawing all American forces from the country by Dec. 31, 2011. Obama has said all combat troops will be gone by the end of August 2010.

Bush and McCain - Warmongers

Iraq will soon be over. This is another major step to freeing the United States from the dictatorial oppression of George W. Bush. Bush’s war for oil cost more lives than was taken on 9/11, one of many excuses Bush used to “stay the course” in Iraq.

We will stay the course set by Obama now, ending this six year nightmare.

I am sad that this celebration in Iraq isn’t front page news all over the world. It should be.

This is a big deal! Don’t let it go unnoticed!

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A Second Look | Claire McCaskill Tweets Like a Republican & The Myth of Clean Coal

via Think Progress » Claire McCaskill Tweets That Clean Energy Bill Will ‘Unfairly Punish’ Missouri.

Last night, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will establish the first national standards for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and global warming pollution. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) responded on Twitter this morning, saying that the legislation’s cap on carbon pollution would “unfairly punish” Missouri’s families and businesses:

Claire McCaskill tweets on cap and trade

Who needs Luntz or Norquist when we have a DEMOCRAT to put out the weekly Republican talking point?

Thanks Claire.

At any rate, I want to urge everyone to follow the link back to the original story at Think Progress and read through some of the readers’ comments. One in particular grabbed my attention as being representative of the right-wing echo machine at full speed. The commentator is trying to make the case that coal doesn’t pollute:

Tim Vaculik Says:

Folks, we have the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the WORLD.

If we want to get away from using coal, fine! Let’s invest in NUCLEAR power plants like the French!

June 27th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

You know, there are many things that could be said about this one statement, but here’s what I have to say.

Actually what we have, Tim, are coal fired electric plants that have never stopped pouring billions of tons of CO2 into the air. They don’t have the technology to stop it. They claim that coal is “clean” because they capture the particulates, or ash, in smoke stack scrubbers before the hot smoke is released. They take that ash and pour it into water pools called impoundments that they dig on whatever land is available, sometimes near streams so that the polluting ash can seep into the water, and sometimes the ash dams burst causing an ecological catastrophe and either injuring or endangering human life. Many of these dams have not been inspected in 20 years.

The coal fired smoke that is still released into the atmosphere has the ash removed so that it is invisible and appears to be “clean” when in reality not one pound of CO2 is removed. “Clean coal” is a lie.

The FutureGen project in eastern Illinois was abandoned last year due to cost overrun. The Department of Energy, along with some private investors, began the project to develop the worlds first coal fired electrical plant that would capture and store carbon dioxide given off from burning coal. They gave up when the price tag went over $1.8 Billion.  It was in the news again a few days ago because another two of the private investors dropped out and the Department of Energy is looking for more.

And don’t get me started on mountain-top removal.

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A Second Look | Rep. Boehner Looks Back, No One Following

via House Passes Historic Climate Change Bill.

After a tense debate, in which the margin of success or failure never moved beyond a handful of votes, the House of Representatives passed the most sweeping climate change policy ever considered by Congress early Friday evening.

This deserves A Second Look not only because it is a big victory for progressive Democrats and maybe the biggest to date, but conversely it is the biggest failure for the ultra-conservative far-right. Boehner and his crowd have stood defiant, united against anything “Obama” and won the media wars even if they could not garner the votes to stop any legislation.

But this time is different.

This time Boehner has made a silly and failed attempt to use his floor time, a parliamentary procedure, to garner support but he’s shouted down by the boisterous Democratic caucus.

Hoping to stem what seemed increasingly like a Democratic victory, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) deployed an infrequently used parliamentary procedure to delay the bill’s consideration – reading before the House a 300-page amendment that had been offered to the 1,200-page bill Friday morning.

After an hour of reading the text derisively, Boehner finally surrendered the floor. A raucous Democratic caucus quickly asked for vote to be taken, after which it was revealed that the White House and Democratic leadership’s efforts had paid off. The House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 by a vote of 219 to 212. Forty-four Democrats voted against the measure and only eight Republicans yes.

The wall of Republican unity that we witnessed against the stimulus bill has a crack – 8 yes votes on an issue that the Republicans claimed was non-existent – they were convinced of it.

It also looks like the Blue Dog Democrats held strong with their forty-four votes though, and it makes me all the more anxious to elect better Democrats.

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