Dan Pfeiffer, The White House


whitehousebannerIt’s not exactly a secret that Washington hasn’t worked as well as it should. Between the constant gridlock and partisanship, most people just tune this town out. That was especially true this year when the government literally shut down.

Yet, even in spite of all that, thanks to the grit of the American people, this country continues to move forward. After the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, folks are getting back to work and the economy is getting stronger.

And late this year, Washington took a cue — and managed to make some progress itself.

While it’s too early to declare a new era of bipartisanship, what we’ve seen recently is that Washington is capable of getting things done when it wants to. And there’s an opportunity next year for this town to do its job and make real progress.

Here are just a couple areas where there’s been progress made recently — check them out, and then take a look at our full 2013 year-in-review.

For the first time in years, both parties in Congress came together and passed a budget. This budget doesn’t include everything that everyone wanted — but our economy will grow a little faster, be a little fairer for middle-class families, and create more jobs because of it.

Our businesses created 2 million jobs in 2013. That’s more than 8 million private-sector jobs in just over 45 months.

The economy is growing. Just last week we learned that, over the summer, our economy grew at 4.1% — its strongest pace in almost two years.

We’ve cut the deficit in half since 2009. That’s four years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II — and it means we’re improving our nation’s long-term fiscal position while strengthening our economy.

We produce more oil in the U.S. than we import from abroad. Thanks to an all-of-the-above strategy, we’re reducing our reliance on foreign oil — and that means lower energy costs for consumers.

The American auto industry is thriving. Last month, the auto industry added more than fifteen thousand jobs. And just a few weeks ago, the United States sold its final stake in General Motors.

Americans are getting better health coverage. Since October 1st, more than 1 million Americans have selected new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. And millions more are getting better health care thanks to increased protections and benefits.

There’s a little less gridlock in Congress. Leaders in Congress took action so that executive and judicial nominees (except to the Supreme Court) can be confirmed with a simple majority vote. Now we’re filling critical vacancies, and the government will work better for Americans because of it.

So while the politics in Washington can be frustrating and change takes time, that’s no excuse for inaction. In the New Year, we need to help American businesses continue creating jobs, make sure Americans are ready for those jobs, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that give families a fair shot at financial security.

We also need to look out for those who are searching for a job. Congress needs to extend unemployment insurance, something we’ll be making a priority when members come back to work.

There’s a lot of unfinished business, but there are also things we can build on. If you saw some things in this list that you think more people should know about, then pass them on.

Thanks, and happy holidays.

Dan

Dan Pfeiffer Senior Advisor The White House @Pfeiffer44

MedlinePlus Health News


12/27/2013 09:41 AM EST
Source: HealthDay – Video
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Healthy Living, Parenting
12/26/2013 04:00 PM EST

Brain scans found seniors with both poor memory and prior head injury have more plaque buildup

HealthDay news image
Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Alzheimer’s Disease, Concussion, Memory

12/26/2013 04:00 PM EST

Patients who started with chemotherapy had worse response, researchers say

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Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Page: Oral Cancer

12/26/2013 02:30 PM EST
A study of U.S. Medicare claims finds a jump in extra doctor consultations before cataract surgery, but no clear medical reason for the added costs. Source: Reuters Health
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Cataract, Talking With Your Doctor, Vision Impairment and Blindness
12/26/2013 02:00 PM EST

This flu strain tends to hit younger adults harder than older adults, CDC says

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Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Page: H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

12/26/2013 02:00 PM EST

Study found wider access gaps in South and Midwest, and among blacks

HealthDay news image
Source: HealthDay
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12/26/2013 12:24 PM EST
The dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate might slow joint damage for people with mild arthritis in their knees, according to a new study. Source: Reuters Health
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Dietary Supplements, Knee Injuries and Disorders, Osteoarthritis
12/26/2013 12:00 PM EST
Cost of these prescription drugs a burden on U.S. economy, researchers say Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Antibiotics, Children’s Health, Health Insurance
12/26/2013 10:28 AM EST
More strain at work might mean more illness in old age, according to a new study from Finland. The study found both physical and mental job strain were tied to hospital stays later in life. Source: Reuters Health
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Mental Health, Occupational Health, Stress
12/26/2013 09:00 AM EST

Plan ahead, keep meds handy and make time to cuddle, expert says

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Source: HealthDay
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Harassing scientists needs to stop — now


{UCS

The Virginia Supreme court just agreed to hear a disturbing case. The question: whether to hand over the private emails of climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann to people who have been trying to destroy him professionally for a decade—all because they disagree with his research.1

When Dr. Mann’s scientific findings angered the oil industry, an industry “think tank” sued for access to Dr. Mann’s private correspondence.2 Another “think tank” compared him to a convicted child molester.3 His research has been twisted again and again by the media.

Researchers are often ill-equipped to deal with media or politicians. That’s where we come in—to help them defend their science in the court of public opinion. Thanks to you, UCS is the first place many scientists turn when they’re targeted.

There are only a few days left, and we need you with us to help provide scientists the training and resources they need to stand up to attacks and effectively counter misinformation in 2014. Make a tax-deductible donation today.

Sadly, Dr. Mann is just one of many scientists under threat. Luckily, they can count on UCS members to have their backs. In fact, thanks to you, we’re often the first group scientists turn to when dragged into court or defamed in the media:

  • Climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe was called a “babe” by Rush Limbaugh and sued by a Koch-affiliated group for access to her emails.4 We provided Dr. Hayhoe with extensive media training in order to handle the firestorm she faced.
  • Researcher Dr. Shaun Marcott was sent hate mail and online bloggers twisted his groundbreaking findings to obscure the facts.5 We helped Dr. Marcott overcome the misreports and take his actual findings directly to Congressional leaders.

For Dr. Mann, we were able to fact check the court filings in his case. We’re here to support researchers as they defend their work—and these scientists are counting on you to stand with them.

Help do even more for scientists in 2014—make your year-end gift before December 31!

The climate deniers aren’t resting—so neither can we. Almost every day, there’s a new need to stand up for scientific facts or to expose the money and influence behind a lobbyist, ideologue, or corporation out to undermine scientists in pursuit of their own private interest. That won’t change in the New Year, so I’m glad you’re on our side.

Kathleen Rest Sincerely, Kathleen Rest Kathleen Rest, PhD, MPA Executive Director

P.S. I wanted to share something Dr. Hayoe told us: “I received a lot of advice about how to respond to the attacks, but the Union of Concerned Scientists was the group that had my best interests as a scientist at heart.” Hearing that scientists value our work always inspires me, and I hope you understand the powerful impact you have as a part of this community. Thank you for considering a year-end gift today.

1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2013/10/09/prince-william-foia-case-on-global-warming-headed-for-virginia-supreme-court/ 2. http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/va-ag-timeline.html 3. http://blog.ucsusa.org/cei-compares-climate-scientist-to-a-child-molester 4. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/01/newt-dumps-leading-climate-scientist 5. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/03/response-by-marcott-et-al/

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

A holiday poem


Al Franken - U.S. Senator, Minnesota
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the state
Attention was focused on one single date
Our fundraising goal that we’ve set with such care?
By 12/31, all the cash must be there!
We were nestled all snug at our campaign HQ
(No time for a nap when there’s much work to do!)
Matt Burgess was checking the numbers again
Frowning while wielding his famous red pen
I’d dropped by his office to check in and chatter
But seeing his face, I said, “Matt, what’s the matter?”
He said, “Rove and the Kochs could go on the attack
And the funds to respond? Right now, there’s a lack.”
“That’s awful,” I said, “and we’re nigh out of time.
By the way, why are we speaking in rhyme?”
“Ignore that,” he said. “Here’s the key information: We need folks to click here and make a donation!

This race will be tough, and there’s so much at stake
To take it for granted would be a mistake
So please give a little (or maybe give more)
And here’s Matt again to explain what it’s for:
For cell phones! For staplers! For gas and for rent!
For the volunteers’ snacks (trust me – money well spent)
Just look at these spreadsheets tacked up on my wall
We need their support to help pay for it all!

And that’s to say nothing of each right-wing smear
We’ll see on TV in the coming New Year
They will hope Minnesotans are easily conned
And when they attack, we’ll need help to respond
I’m reaching out to all you passionate folks
Because only you can beat Rove and the Kochs
Fighting back’s easier than you might think You can do it in seconds: Just click on this link!
There’s a reason we’re focusing hard on this goal
(And it’s not just to fill Karl Rove’s stocking with coal)
The wondering eyes of the pundits and press
Will be looking to see if we’ve met with success
Now the deadline’s approaching, we’re nearing the whistle
The time’s gonna fly like the down of a thistle
So let me exclaim, ‘ere we close out the year
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all, please click here!

NRDC


Holiday_ECard_12-12-13

Photo: Steven KazlowskiWatch a two-minute video of the 2013 Victories you made possible with your support.Your tax-deductible donation
will help us save wildlife and wildlands and protect our shared environment in the year ahead.

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