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Al Gore Makes Another Stop on his Climate Change Crusade

As the record books check off 2016 as the (new) hottest year in history, the evidence of climate change only becomes more glaring. Al Gore—one of the most noteworthy champions for awareness—continues his appeal to the public, over 40 years after his crusade started.

Recently, Temple Emanu-El played the New York host for former vice-president’s Gore’s enlightenment, and publicity tour (he has a new book and sequel to his 2007 Oscar winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth coming out this year). The temple setting was fitting, as he preached on the dangers of climate change to a congregation of believers.
The one-time Tennessee congressman originally brought the issue of global warming to the national stage in 1976, when he organized a congressional hearing on the topic. Since that time, the human race has made great strides in protecting our habitats. However, as we take steps forward, we continue to take several steps back.

Gore opened his presentation with three questions anyone concerned about climate change should ask themselves: Do we really have to change? Can we change? Will we change? And for all three, Gore gave a resounding “yes!” He even harkened back to Renaissance era astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (who was the first to theorize the sun was the center of our solar system), as he facilitated the notion that belief systems can be changed. This is relevant in a time period when our President, Donald J. Trump, is an admitted climate change denier.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Governors Association meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

When a political figure of such status questions such a key issue, the only way for this environmental activist to respond, are with the difficult to swallow facts at hand—even if the current government regime seems to dispute actual facts.

Humans continue to pollute the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels, destroy rain forests with controlled burns, and release large sums of methane into the air from livestock and the melting of the polar caps. Gore put it best when he said, “We are using this [the atmosphere] as an open sewer.” And this sewer is eroding our lone defense against the intensive power of the sun—the ozone layer.

Because of the boom in global industrialization since World War II, carbon emissions into the air have increased at a staggering rate. Recent evidence has found that since the 90’s, pollution has weakened our ozone so seriously that we are now 150 times more likely to have an unusually hot day than we would have 40 years ago. Adding to the knowledge that the planet is being slow cooked like a stack of ribs, is that since 2001 we have seen 16 of the 17 hottest days ever recorded.

Last year the American southwest saw days so hot, that they were officially designated as life threatening. In July, parts of Iraq reached a high of 129 degrees. The same time the year before, Iran reached a heat index (a measure combining temperature and humidity in the air) of 165 degrees.

What makes this heat even more dangerous is that it sucks the moisture out of soil. This loss of moisture has made droughts last longer and cost countries like China and India billions. From 2006 to 2010, 60 percent of what was once fertile soil in Syria is now desert. And for already arid regions like the Middle East and northern Africa, they could “soon be unlivable.”
But that sapped moisture doesn’t leave the ground and go unaccounted for. It often goes into the air as humidity, causing “atmospheric rivers.” When these rivers flow they cause an unusual weather phenomenon dubbed a “rain bomb.” These were once a rare occasion. Yet they are happening so much more often that they have even been caught on camera. Rain bombs however, are the least of many people’s worries.

Along with rivers in the air, ocean temperatures continue to rise. A warmer ocean surface means more storms, and violent ones at that. Houston, Texas was victimized by these brutal weather patterns as they endured five major floods from 2015 to 2016. The US as a whole has had seven “once in a thousand year” weather events recently. In the United Kingdom, while they have had the hottest years on record for them, from November 2015 to January 2016 the region saw the wettest three month period in over 100 years.

Along with fierce weather, our warming planet has seen massive loses of ice in the artic. The western section of Antarctica is in “irreversible levels of retreat.” Gore hammered home the seriousness of the problem when he displayed a slide of a 100 mile rift in one section of the ice shelf, which is the size of Delaware. He noted that there unfortunately no stopping this section from breaking off of the continent, and melting into the waters of the ocean.

When that happens, sea levels will rise to dangerous heights. Major American cities like Miami (#1) and New York (#3) are some of the most at-risk cities for permanent flooding in decades to come.

The planet is ferociously reacting back to the treatment it has been dealt by human industry. And so, people’s lives are being put in danger on a daily basis. At the beginning of the decade, 55,000 people died in Russia from the combination of droughts and forest fires. Riots occur across the globe over dwindling food supplies. Diseases, like the Zika Virus, are on the rise because of unhealthy conditions. Even the US Surgeon General stated that climate change is causing a medical emergency.

Even on a shallow level, the results of climate change are a concern because they can cause significant problems for the global economy. The situation is ripe to cause an abundance of “political chaos.” On two occasions Gore had to calm himself while speaking, as his strong passion for the subject got him close to yelling out his frustrations.

If you are feeling a chill of discomfort, and mild fear wash over you then good—you care. But, there is hope. Carbon dioxide levels have stayed steady in the last three years. And despite all the backwards steps we have taken with carbon emissions, technology has made great strides in making humans an environmentally cleaner inhabitant of this planet. Many more cities in the US, and abroad, are aiming to use 100 percent renewable sources for energy—for example, wind and solar.

President Trump promised during his election campaign to put more Americans back to work. Focusing on the coal industry, which has long been a primary source in carbon emissions. Yet Gore insisted on the massive job and money making opportunities in the clean energy industries.

Wind turbine service tech is one of the nation’s fastest growing jobs. Not to be outdone, employment in solar energy outnumbers those in oil, gas and coal combined. We have progressed 70 times faster in solar use than 2001 estimates expected. And with higher demand, comes serious investment from governments and the private sector. “This is a dramatic success,” said Gore.
These forms of energy are also much more affordable for the customers that use it. This is because renewable energy is cheaper, since it costs nothing to produce. And even when the sun isn’t out, and the wind isn’t blowing, battery technology has come so far that it is more than adequate to sustain energy levels when renewables are not available.

“This is our home, we have to change,” implored Gore as many of the people in attendance nodded in agreement. When asked by an audience member what can one person do to incite change from a less influential position, Gore listed his four suggestions: Learn about the subject, win the conversation (meaning don’t let individuals in denial go unchallenged), be forceful in making change amongst your own social circles, and be politically active.

Al Gore has been a force for change in the fight for protecting our environment. And we all can be an influence of change for our friends, families and communities. But if you don’t believe me, let Mr. Gore tell you why:

Will 2017 See the End of Obamacare?

In 2017, the possible end of Obamacare will be a major news story to follow. With attacks on two fronts, the Obama administration could see one of their most notable policies disappear. Or be changed in a way where it is no longer recognizable.

In this audio report, we analyze the problems that may spell doom for Obamacare in the new year. While the system has been beneficial to millions of Americans, its inherent flaws have dogged it since its inception.

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The Unstoppable Support, Meets the Immovable Trump

Donald Trump has turned himself in a political unicorn. In a format where hopefuls for office must walk a public relations tight rope, Trump has thrived using political tactics that are often detrimental to a campaign. In an April 2015 tweet (which was then deleted), Trump said, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?” These are the moments that have shown how the Trump-icorn seems impervious to bad press.

Political campaigns in America are often a popularity contest. Missteps in this process can easily alienate voters, and permanently damage any run for office. Yet, since Donald Trump entered the race to be the GOP representative for president, he has verbally bucked many common sense trends of previously successful campaigns.

“[Trump] has built his brand around saying things no one else will say, and when he does, he just reaffirms what it is he said he would do,” says Mike Morey, Managing Director of SKDKnickerbocker. SKDKnickerbocker is a public affairs agency that gives consultation to Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and candidates for public office.

In the spring of 2015, Donald Trump made it official that he was running for president. And because of this, all of his actions would be scrutinized like never before. One of his earliest comments at the beginning of his run, was the aforementioned tweet about Hillary Clinton’s ability to satisfy her husband. It is the kind of derogatory comment that should hurt a campaign in its early stages. Yet by June, he was actually up three percentage points. Giving him 12 percent of the support amongst republican voters.

As 2015 entered its summer months, Trump too started to heat up. A topic of focus at the time was Trump’s thoughts on American relations with Mexico. In June, he made it publicly know his desire (if elected president) to build a wall on the US/Mexico border. He explained why in a July tweet when he said, “billions of dollars gets brought into Mexico through the border. We get the killers, drugs and crime, they get the money!” And of course, since they were getting the money, he felt the Mexican government should be the one paying the bill to build his wall.


Trump has also been quoted as saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.” He continued, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” These comments were viewed as offensive by many Mexican and Mexican-Americans. Yet by August of 2015, just like in June, Trump’s poll numbers again rose. In a Quinnipiac University poll, his support among Republicans was at 28 percent.

Once winter came around, the Trump campaigns focus moved on to Muslims and Muslim-Americans. The topic of Islamic refugees was leading the news cycle because of the humanitarian crisis brought on by war in Syria. However, Trump used the subject as an avenue to proclaim his thoughts on Muslims in a much broader scope.

In November, he told Yahoo News he would be open to the idea of requiring Muslims within the country to register with a government database. Or possibly have them carry specialized identification cards. Yet he did not stop there. He also indicated a willingness towards constant surveillance on these people, and warrantless searches of mosques.

Despite his divisive views on Mexicans and Muslims, the immovable object that is the Donald Trump campaign stood firm. At the start of 2016, Trump moved to the front of the pack as the favorite to be the GOP representative for president. In a CNN poll in January, Trump had 41 percent support from the party’s voters. The next closest was Texas senator Ted Cruz at 19 percent.

During his run for the Republican nomination, his April 2015 tweet about Clinton weren’t his only unsettling statements regarding women. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt last year, he said he supported the notion of shutting down the government just to defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parent has been a lightning rod subject for Americans with different religious ideologies about pregnancy.

He also took aim at Fox News host Megyn Kelly, after her moderation of the first Republican presidential debate in 2015. He was questioned about his history of disparaging remarks towards women. This upset Trump and put Kelly in his crosshairs. During an interview with CNN, Trump spoke about his frustrations with Kelly’s moderation style when he said, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her—wherever.” Which would seem to allude to a woman’s monthly menstruation as the force behind her line of questioning during the debate.


In the face of disapproval from Mexican-Americans, Muslim-Americans, and many female voters, Trump now stands toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton in a race for the presidency of the United States. And despite his questionable comments, there is clearly a contingent of Americans who agree with Trump’s views and will support him in November.

“In large part, [Trump supporters] see him as a megaphone for articulating the anxieties they have and have been afraid to articulate for fear of being called racist, xenophobic, sexist or bigoted,” Mike Morey notes, when trying to explain Trump’s rising numbers. “Unfortunately, there are large sectors of the American public who hold fringe values and have been rightfully marginalized. They are feeling a bit more empowered as Trump has brought some of their perspective into the mainstream.”

In May of this year, a CNN poll had Trump 13 points behind Clinton for support among likely voters. In August he was just three points behind in a Morning Consult Survey. By September he was either two points behind Clinton (ABC News/Washington Post), four points ahead (LA Times/USC), or tied (CBS News) in certain national polls.

Trump’s ability to circumvent debatable campaign maneuvers is incomparable. In 1972, Edwin Muskie was a front-runner for winning the democratic nomination for president. During his campaign, a New Hampshire newspaper published two editorials that made scandalous claims about the Maine senator. To combat the accusations, he gave an impromptu press conference in front of the newspaper’s offices. The media there, to report the press conference, said Muskie got emotional and shed tears. His aides said it was falling snowflakes melting on his face. Muskie never got the nomination for the democratic party.

Bob Dole fell off of a stage at a rally in California during his presidential race against Bill Clinton, in 1996. The image of an elderly man—he was 73 at the time—falling down while just trying to shake hands, underscored the age gap between the two candidates. And possibly pushed some voters towards Clinton.

Though all of these pale in comparison to some of the notable moments in the Trump campaign. Those mens’ run for office floundered soon after those political miscues. Trump has only gained steam from what should have been poison pills for his campaign. Yet it would seem the American standard for what we expect from political candidates has greatly changed.

“The fact is a presidential candidate asked Americans to go view a sex tape of a former beauty pageant winner [Alicia Machado] and mocked a disabled reporter [New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski] on national television, and yet he is still considered a viable candidate for the presidency,” says Morey. “That should tell us all we need to know about what society is willing to accept in a political leader.”

Morey furthers his point about the change in standards when he harkens back to the 2008 presidential election when he says, “Since the vice presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin, we have entered an era of entertainment politics, where formally crass and amateur qualities that would have sunk someone, are now almost assets in a two-year reality show for the presidency of the United States.”

Now, in his latest moment of controversy, a recording from 2005 has been released of Trump making inappropriate comments. During a planned interview with the television show Access Hollywood, in a down period when microphones were thought to be off, Trump cavalierly spoke about fondling and kissing women in a non-consensual manner. He claimed his celebrity status allowed for the behavior. It is now just another test for American standards of what is acceptable behavior from elected officials.

Donald Trump’s campaign of hard line stances and alienating proclamations has been groundbreaking. Not because this is a new tact for aspiring politicians, but because it has actually worked. What it says for our society is that we have altered what we see as acceptable behavior from politicians—for the worse. And an individual who would never have even made it past his own party’s primary in previous elections, is possibly weeks away from holding the highest position on the planet.

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Six New Jersey Newspapers Call for Governor Chris Christie to Resign

When you are out of your own state for 261 days to serve your own agenda, or that of others, one has to expect ramifications. Especially when you endorse one of the most divisive presidential candidates in recent memory. Governor Chris Christie is starting to feel some serious heat.

Though I doubt a resignation is coming any time soon, the former GOP candidate hopeful has a lot of making up to do with his constituency.