Coal Plants

Reform Movement Hails Clean Power Plan

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule for the Clean Power Plan, which requires states to significantly reduce carbon emissions through regulating coal power plants along with other mitigation strategies. The plan is expected to cut carbon emissions in the United States by up to 30%, making it a significant move to mitigate climate change in parallel with other greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies like regulating heavy duty vehicles and limiting methane. The rule is likely to shift conversations in some states from coal and other non-renewable fossil fuel resources to clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power. In announcing this historic rule, President Obama said: “Climate change is no longer just about the future that we’re predicting for our children or our grandchildren; it’s about the reality that we’re living with every day, right now.”

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US Senator Chuck Schumer and Comedian Amy Schumer at Podium

Far from a Trainwreck: When a Senator and a Comedian Join Forces

I remember going to a movie for the first time after the Aurora shooting. I don’t remember what movie I saw, but I do remember a strong desire to sit in the back row, so that if there were gunfire, I would be facing the right direction to see what was going on. When I saw that the back row was full, I took a nervous glance behind me, putting shaky trust in those sitting behind me to preserve my safety. The lights dimmed and the movie started, and I quickly became engrossed in the movie and forgot about my fear. Soon enough, the lights came on, and I walked out unharmed. Read more…

Villagers sitting around a tent.

For the Negev’s Bedouin Communities, Signs of Hope and Fear

Human rights and Bedouin advocates are breathing a sigh of relief this week, now that the elementary school in the Bedouin village of Al-Sayyid has been connected to the power grid, four decades after it was built. The four other schools in the village will be hooked up to the power grid by the time school starts in September. This movement comes in the wake of a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice, which convinced the Israel Electric Corporation to connect these schools to the power grid. Read more…

I Stand With Planned Parenthood

Senate Blocks Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Last night, the Senate voted 53-46 to block a bill that proposed to strip Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) health centers of key federal funding, which would have seriously undermined the clinic network’s ability to provide critical preventive care to millions of patients. Though many people associate Planned Parenthood with abortion, the organization’s clinics also provide affordable, quality preventive health care and treatment—including routine examinations, cancer screenings, contraceptive services, and HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing—to 2.7 million people across the U.S. Federal funding enables PPFA health centers to offer these services at a low cost, making them accessible to many patients, including young people, low-income individuals and people of color, who may not otherwise have access to important health care services.

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In memory of Shira Banki

The air stood still in Jerusalem’s Zion Square last night.

More than a thousand teens and young adults gathered there to attend a memorial service organized by the Jerusalem Open House. They came to grieve the loss of Shira Banki, the 16-year old girl who died yesterday afternoon days after being stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man at last Thursday’s Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride March. Read more…

Solidarity Forever Singalong

I have always loved musicals. When I was younger, I remember watching the musical Newsies, a movie about a group of young newspaper workers calling for fair treatment in response to new restrictions by newspaper giant Joseph Pulitzer that make it harder for them to earn money. I would belt out “Pulitzer may own the world but he don’t own us” along with my favorite characters. Through song, the characters illustrate what collective bargaining and organizing can be.

In addition, I remember loving Billy Elliot when I first saw it with my family. The scene when Billy’s family members were all marching on strike along with other coal miners was particularly striking for me.  “Solidarity, solidarity, solidarity forever. We’re proud to be working class, solidarity forever,” the coal miners sing. Though they were not the protagonists of the musical, I felt sympathetic to the coal miners’ experiences. How could these workers be experiencing this unjust treatment?

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Naftali Bennett speaks to crowd in Beit El.

What’s New with the Israeli Coalition Government?

When we last checked in with the Israeli governing coalition in June, we found fractures in the coalition dealing with Israel’s secular-religious divides, such as Religious Minister David Azoulay calling Reform Jews a “disaster for the nation of Israel”. Recently, however, the coalition has found itself embroiled in controversy that is perhaps the most divisive issue in Israel: the settlements. Here are some the stories we’ve been following: Read more…

President Obama Unveils New National Strategy to Combat HIV/AIDS

Last week, President Obama signed an Executive Order releasing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020. This new strategy builds upon the National/HIV AIDS Strategy that President Obama launched in 2010—the nation’s first comprehensive strategy addressing the issue. This new strategy’s vision is that “the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

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