Over the past two weeks, the United States has made international headlines for highlighting the time-sensitivity of addressing imperative environmental issues. However, within the past week alone, President Obama has made it clear that any obstruction of his vision for a sustainable future will be met with staunch opposition. As of this past Monday, August 3rd, Obama unveiled his new “Clean Power Plan” — a detailed list of standards set to reduce carbon emissions by 32%, from 2005 levels, by 2030. This, after the Supreme Court’s ruling against the EPA, will be the silver lining of one of many recent conservative attacks on environmentalism.
So what exactly does the Clean Power Plan have in store for the future?
Although far from perfect, the Clean Power Plan incentivizes renewable energies, nuclear power, and natural gas. Due to the fact that power plants are the nation’s single largest carbon polluter, the forced curtailment of coal-fired power plants buttresses the US’ commitment to leading the fight against climate change. However, the US needs to expand its environmental policy if they are to achieve the United Nations (UN)’s goal of delimiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C over pre-industrial revolution levels. In addition to this precedent, the UN Conference of Parties (COP) held in Paris, France this fall will draft and finalize the new global climate deal.
In the mean time, the US has pledged to reduce carbon pollution 26-28%, from 2005 levels, by 2025. With one-third of CO2 emissions in the US stemming from power plants, the Clean Power Plan necessitates a conversion from coal-powered plants to renewable sources in order to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, the US’ emission curbs fell short to its European counterparts — which are aiming to cut the European Union (EU)’s emissions by 40%, from 1990 levels, by 2030.Read more
Jim Webb: former Senator, decorated Vietnam War veteran, former Secretary of the Navy, Emmy-winning journalist, screenwriter, author. His latest descriptor: candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination, though there has got to be a huge portion of the population that doesn’t realize it. He’s not generating the buzz of Bernie, has barely a fraction of of the reputation of Hillary, and the press has barely recognized him as a part of this race. If I have one prediction, though, it’s that Jim Webb will not go down without a fight.Read more
If it weren’t for the never-ending series of Republican gaffes and sideshows, Bernie Sanders would undoubtedly be the most electrifying and dynamic story in the 2016 election cycle. For all of the hype that Sanders has received, often thanks to the media spinning Sanders’ rise as though he is right on the heels of Hillary Clinton, he’s actually still pretty far behind the Democratic frontrunner. Indeed, the latest CNN/ORC poll (July 26) puts Clinton ahead of Sanders by 37 points. Poll numbers aside, though, Sanders has certainly had an impact on this race - and it’s barely even started.
This week, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s ill-fated battle with Uber represented the latest phase in a national struggle between regulators and employers. While Uber would have you believe that De Blasio and city regulators are just bureaucrats resisting innovation and doing the bidding of taxicab industries, this is actually a battle over the very definition of what it means to be a worker.
Over the last few decades, the most significant legal trend in business has been the unprecedented rise of freelancers and independent contractors. As of 2012, approximately 10 to 30 percent of employers were misclassifying their workers, and that figure is growing—especially with the rise of the new “sharing economy.” In practice, this means that more workers than ever are no longer entitled to the hard-earned labor protections of the last century—protections including Social Security, a 40-hour work week with time-and-a-half for overtime, worker health and safety laws, worker’s compensation for injuries on the job, family/medical leave, minimum wage, insurance—and the list goes on.Read more
Martin O’Malley is a politician who has spent many years laying the foundation for a presidential run; it’s almost sad that he’s received virtually no attention when you consider how long he has pined for the presidency. And there’s no good reason why O’Malley should be dismissed as a serious candidate. At the very least, he should be sparking debate in the race for the Democratic nomination, more liberal than Hillary but less so than Bernie, experience working his way up the political ladder, impressive progress in his hometown of Baltimore and his home state of Maryland. Perhaps the country will rally behind O’Malley when they get to know him better through Democratic debates, but for now it’s truly a shame that he has scraped for only 2 million in donations.
On June 25, the Supreme Court ruled in King v. Burwell that individuals living in states that opted not to build their own exchanges are eligible for health insurance subsidies under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (colloquially known by much of America as Obamacare). The ACA, which the Department of Health and Human Services reported has insured roughly 16.4 million Americans since 2013, allows states to set up their own health insurance exchanges or participate in the federally run exchange program. 34 states currently rely on the federal exchange, as they opted out of creating state exchanges, and could have lost health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of King. Without subsidies, private insurance would have become unaffordable for millions of Americans previously enrolled in the federal exchange. In other words, 6.4 million Americans can keep their health insurance and the ACA is here to stay—yay!
The Caucus structure is new for the College Democrats of Massachusetts, instituted so that the organization could focus more deeply on key issues best analyzed by students passionate about the topic. CDM is very proud of the success of the Caucus system, and we look forward to the new strides that will undoubtedly be made by the 2015-2015 Caucus Leadership team!Read more
It’s a challenge to even write about Hillary Clinton, considering that it seems that most of America knows all that there is to know. The former First Lady of the United States, former Senator, former Secretary of State, bearer of seemingly infinite press coverage and influence in America over the last 20 years; unlike Lincoln Chafee, not many people are in need of a biography of Hillary Clinton. She’s the out-and-out favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination, but her candidacy hasn’t been without speculation - namely, does she even deserve to be president after such scandals as Benghazi and “emailgate”? Hillary Clinton ought to be subjected to the same scrutiny as other candidates, in the spirit of American democracy.Read more
Hope Springs Eternal for Generation Z
When you think about it, young adults have witnessed some tough times in America. One of my earliest memories is waking up for kindergarten one day and walking downstairs to find my father staring at the television, which showed two burning towers and emitted the screeching panic of various news anchors. I may have only been 5 on 9/11, but even a little kid can recognize when an entire country is on edge.
I am a proud member of what is being called “Generation Z”, the collection of people born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. We don’t really remember the prosperous Clinton years; our memories begin when America started confronting the demons of “weapons of mass destruction”,“Mission Accomplished”, and other farces that defined the Bush (or should we say Cheney) presidency. I remember the news in the background when I got home from school every day, not really understanding what a “troop surge” meant but vaguely understanding that U.S. soldiers were dying the same way they had in my textbooks. In 2007, most of us were affected by (even if we didn’t really understand) the worst economic recession since the Great one we’d learned about so many times in school.
An Uphill Fight of Kilometers, Not Meters
*Editor’s Note: This is the first in our series of blog posts profiling the (currently) five candidates for the Democratic nomination. We will be introducing the candidates in alphabetical order by last name.
Lincoln Chafee. A name that few in the country recognize, and fewer know to be a presidential candidate. Despite his relative anonymity at this point, Chafee ought to be recognized as a legitimate contender for the Democratic nomination. He’s campaigning under the slogan “Politics Change, Values Don’t”, a nod to his former years as a Republican in his home state of Rhode Island, but he crossed party lines for the exact reason he states - even as a Republican, his progressive values were evident and eventually caused him to divorce himself from an ideology that he disagreed with. Aside from his appropriately liberal promises and priorities, everyone should get interested in Lincoln Chafee because, well, don’t we all love to root for the underdog?
The chapters of the College Democrats of Massachusetts are the backbone of our organization, the constituents for which the organization works to bring more progressive political opportunities for debate. The chapter system wouldn’t function without the leadership of our team of Regional Directors, five individuals who each work in a specific region within the state to support and develop our various chapters in their jurisdiction, serving as the link between the chapters and CDM for chapter events, advocacy initiatives, and progressive goals. These five Directors are also responsible for assisting chapters in organizing events, inviting speakers, and lobbying; importantly, they keep CDM updated on what our amazing schools are doing throughout the year. We are indebted to our Regional Directors - meet them below!Read more