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Posts tagged "Barbara Boxer"


It’s about time to change the team name! 

h/t: Michele Richinick at

h/t: Molly Redden at Mother Jones

A group of senators is asking for more broadcast coverage on climate change, following a Media Matters analysis which found that Sunday shows aired only scant coverage on the issue last year.

On Thursday, January 16, a letter spearheaded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was sent to the top executives of four major television networks, expressing “deep concern” about the lack of coverage on global warming, deeming it a “serious environmental crisis” which “poses a huge threat to our nation and the global community.” The letter cited findings from a recent Media Matters study, which revealed that Sunday news shows dedicated merely 27 minutes of coverage to the issue of climate change throughout all of 2013. They wrote that “this is an absurdly short amount of time for a subject of such importance.”

The senators concluded with a call to action: “We urge you to take action in the near term to correct this oversight and provide your viewers, the American public, with greater discussion of this important issue that impacts everyone on the planet.”

The other senators that signed the letter were Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).


h/t: HuffPost


Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s pick for Defense secretary, supports equal benefits for same-sex military couples.

He made the pledge in a Monday letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., where he also promised to support government-paid abortions for military women in cases of rape and incest and to improve sexual assault prevention programs ordered by Congress.

Boxer endorsed the nomination of the former Republican senator after receiving the letter, which also outlines Hagel’s views on Iran, Israel and Hezbollah.

RELATED: Sen. Schumer endorses Hagel

On gays in the military, Hagel said he fully supports the 2010 repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I know firsthand the profound sacrifice our service members and their families make,” Hagel said, referring to his own combat service in Vietnam. “If confirmed as secretary of defense, I will do everything possible to the extent permissible under law to provide equal benefits to families of all our service members.”

His options are limited as long as the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 remains in effect. That law prevents most same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits, including military health care, housing allowances and travel payments.

Boxer also asked about Hagel’s support for programs to combat sexual assault in the military and for the change in abortion policy that was ordered as part of the 2013 defense authorization bill.

Hagel said he is “committed to the full implementation of all recent policies and procedures” on sexual assault and will “ensure” the programs have full resources.

On abortion and reproductive rights, Hagel said he “will fully implement all laws protecting women service member’s reproductive rights” and additionally pledged to work with Congress and the White House “to ensure female service members continue to be afforded world class health care, including reproductive health care.”

“My goal is to ensure that the health care provided to our service members remains contemporary with the care provided to the private citizens of our nation,” Hagel said.

A Democratic congressman has launched an investigation into True The Vote, a conservative Tea Party group that has attempted to purge thousands of registered voters from voting rolls across the country ahead of the November presidential election.

The organization is pursuing an aggressive ground campaign to challenge people’s right to vote based on their residency and citizenship, such as the hundreds of college students who failed to identify their dorm room numbers on voter registration applications.

In a letter to Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of True The Vote, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) accused the Texas-based organization of challenging the registration of thousands of legitimate voters “based on insufficient, inaccurate, and faulty evidence.”

"True the Vote, its volunteers, and its affiliated groups have a horrendous record of filing inaccurate voter registration challenges, causing legitimate voters — through no fault of their own — to receive letters from local election officials notifying them that their registrations have been challenged and requiring them to take steps to remedy false accusations against them," wrote Cummings, the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The letter continues: “Multiple reviews by state and local government officials have documented voter registration challenges submitted by your volunteers based on insufficient evidence, outdated or inaccurate data, and faulty software and database capabilities. Across multiple states, government officials of both political parties have criticized your methods and work product for their lack of accuracy and reliability.”

"Your tactics have been so problematic that even Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has condemned them as potentially illegal," Cummings states in his letter.

Cummings told The Huffington Post that it appears that True The Vote has been extremely selective in whom it targets for a challenge.

"We have asked True The Vote to provide us with documentation that shows exactly how they select folks to go after and challenge," Cummings said. Cummings said some of what he’s heard about the group’s strategy has been disturbing and, if true, threatens fundamental American rights.

"It does appear that they are quite selective in who they challenge, and it appears they primarily go after people who might be inclined to vote Democratic," Cummings said. The congressman said that in Ohio, for example, True The Vote has targeted nine of 13 districts won by President Barack Obama in 2008.

"It also appears they challenge, at disproportionate rates, African Americans," Cummings said, characterizing these tactics as "blatant." He questioned True The Vote’s intent and said that Engelbrecht has made it public knowledge that she’d like to see Obama defeated.

Cummings said, “You would think someone trying to address voter fraud wouldn’t be talking about who they want in the White House; it would be ‘I want to talk about fair elections.’”

True The Vote’s website describes the organization’s mission as to “restore truth, faith, and integrity to our elections.”

The group and its offshoots in various states have gained a reputation for aggressively challenging the legitimacy of properly registered voters. Critics say their tactics are often flawed and especially target poor and minority communities.

The group has also filed lawsuits against election officials in Ohio and Indiana, and instructs volunteers on how to use software to cross-check voter rolls against driver’s license records and property records, among other databases. A Government Accountability Board in Wisconsin, where True The Vote raised questions about thousands of voter signatures, called the results of the group’s process "at best flawed."

Last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked the Justice Department to “protect Americans from voter intimidation” in the face of “widespread efforts by Tea Party-linked groups to intimidate voters and suppress the vote, particularly in low-income and minority neighborhoods.”

In a letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Boxer asked that they uphold the tenets of the Voting Rights Act.

"No group can be allowed to intimidate or interfere with this fundamental right that is essential for American democracy," Boxer wrote.

"This type of intimidation must stop," Boxer continued. "I don’t believe this is ‘True the Vote.’ I believe it’s ‘Stop the Vote.’"

h/t: Huffington Post

The Senate hearing on climate science this Wednesday, unsurprisingly enough, appears to have changed little with respect to the politics of climate change on Capitol Hill. Indeed, a significant portion of the discussion was dominated by debate over Dr. John Christy’s particular brand of denialism, a well-trod debate.

Nonetheless, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was more than surprised when informed by Senator Barbara Boxer that roughly 98 percent of climate scientists, contra Christy, accepted that anthropogenic warming was real and serious — he was outraged:

Sessions: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…

Boxer: The conclusion that you’re coming to is shared by 1-2 percent of the scientists. You shouldn’t be offended by that. That’s the fact.

Sessions: I don’t believe that’s correct.

While these denialists debated the Committee’s Democrats on the role of climate change in fueling the current devastating drought, the best available science suggested that the current troubles are some of the earliest signs of a “dust-bowlification” of the United States as a consequence of global warming.

h/t: Zack Beauchamp at Think Progress Climate