RePoWEr America – Our Choice, reimagined​: Check out the app


Al Gore‘s groundbreaking book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, has educated countless people across the globe about the climate crisis.

Today, the graphs and images in his revolutionary book come to life with the launch of the brand-new Our Choice app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The beautiful and intuitive design allows the user to view more than 250 stunning, full-screen images with an interactive map showing every photo’s location. A multi-touch interface allows you to explore everything you see in the book — including more than 30 interactive infographics and animations and more than an hour of documentary footage.

With original narration by Al Gore, the text and imagery of Our Choice are more vibrant than ever before — and the case for action is even more clear.

See for yourself:

http://www.ourchoiceapp.com

Thanks,

Maggie L. Fox

President and CEO

Alliance for Climate Protection

P.S. Don’t have an iPhone or iPad but want to read Our Choice? Buy the book here.

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Economy:Bernanke Meets The Press


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held the first public press conference in the history of the Federal Reserve yesterday, in an attempt to bring more transparency to the central bank (which faced its first ever audit last year). “I’ve personally always been a believer in providing as much information as you can,” Bernanke told the gathered press. The conference wa s held just hours after the Federal Reserve Board announced that it will end its program of quantitative easing (QE2) — aimed at boosting the sluggish economy — on schedule in June, due to its assessment that “the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace and overall conditions in the labor market are improving gradually.” However, at the same time, the Fed revised its projections for economic growth downward. Previously, the Fed had estimated that growth this year would be between 3.4 and 3.9 percent, but now it is only predicting growth at 3.1 to 3.3 percent, due to contractions in exports, construction spending and military spending. The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that first quarter growth registered at just 1.8 percent . And while most of the questions during the conference centered on Bernanke’s views on inflation, gas prices, and the nation’s deficit, little time was spent on arguably the most pressing problem facing the country: continued high unemployment.

‘VERY DEEP HOLE’: Bernanke acknowledged during the press conference that the nation faces a “very, very deep hole” when it comes to job creation, noting that we would have to create seven million jobs just to make up for those lost during the Great Recession. The unemployment rate currently stands at 8.8 percent, while the broader U-6 measure of underemployment is at 15.7 percent. The African-American unemployment rate is 15.5 percent, and the Hispanic unemployment rate is 11.3 percent. While the private sector has been slowly adding jobs, it would still take several years at the current pace in order to get back to full employment. In fact, at the rate of job growth that occurred in March, full employment would not be achieved until 2019. As The Wall Street Journal noted, “even adding 300,000 jobs a month would take almost five years to get back to full employment.” According to the Fed’s own estimates, the economy will not reach full employment for ano ther five years or six years, and the unemployment rate will still be between 6.8 and 7.2 percent in 2013. “The fact that we’re moving in the right direction, even though that’s encouraging, doesn’t mean that the labor market is in good shape. Obviously it’s not,” Bernanke said. To his credit, Bernanke also noted the problem with long-term unemployment, saying, “Long-term unemployment in the current economy is the worst, really the worst it’s been in the post-war period.” “We know the consequences of that can be very distressing, because people who are out of work for a long time, their skills tend to atrophy,” he added.

NO FURTHER ACTION: The Fed has a dual mandate to both ensure full employment and price stability (i.e. combat inflation). During the conference, The New York Times’ Binyamin Applebaum asked Bernanke, “Is it in the Fed’s power to reduce the rate of unemployment more quickly? How would you do that and why are you not doing it?” Bernanke replied, “While it is very, very important to help the economy create jobs and help to support the recovery, I think every central banker understands that keeping inflation low is absolutely essential to a successful economy.” Essentially, Bernanke’s response was that the Fed could do more but won’t due to worries about infla tion getting out of control. However, as many economists have noted, inflation at the moment is exceedingly low (the Fed isn’t meeting its own inflation targets, and its forecasts show inflation is contained for the foreseeable future ), while unemployment remains stubbornly high. In fact, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman noted, “there is no tradeoff: more expansionary monetary policy is good in terms of both unemployment and achieving the Fed’s inflation target.” And Bernanke, during his days in academia, actually chided Japan for failing to engage in more expansive monetary policy to get itself out out of its 1990’s slump. “The Bank of Japan could achieve a great deal if it were willing to abandon its excessive caution and its defensive response to criticism,” Bernanke wrote in 1999. So Krugman noted that “[Bernanke’s] own theories — and for that matter the doctrine endorsed by the Fed itself — says that the central bank should be doing much more quantitative easing, not stopping with the US still facing high unemployment.” As Center for American Progress Action Fund Fellow Matthew Yglesias wrote in the journal Democracy, “The idea that a time of unusually high unemployment and unusually low inflation would be a good moment for monetary policy-makers to start caring less about growth and more about price stability, especially when we already have price stability, is bizarre.” Bernanke did say, though, that if Congress enacts spending cuts in the short-term that will slow economic growth too much, the Fed will be forced to act, and the Fed Board also announced that it will be keeping interest rates at around zero for the time being.

POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP: Thus far, the steps to boost the economy that the Fed has taken have been too small and have thus ushered in lackluster results. But as the New York Times noted this week, “a vocal group of critics…argues that the Fed has already done far too much.” These include several Republicans in Congress, who have been fearmongering about the effect of the Fed’s attempt to spur economic growth. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote in a letter to Bernanke that, “you should prepare the Board for an early end to quantitative easing, along with other monetary measures to protect Americans from rising inflation.” House Republicans spent two hearings e arlier this year peppering Bernanke with questions about the specter of inflation. Senate Republicans have also refused to confirm Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond, who President Obama has nominated to the Federal Reserve Board, saying that despite his stellar economic credentials, he is not qualified for the job; Diamond is known to be an inflation “dove.” Late last year, several Republicans also introduced legislation that would strip the Fed of its responsibility for promoting full employment, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) calling the Fed’s full employment mandate “inappropriate.” By focusing more on inflation than full employment, even though inflation is low while unemployment is high, Bernanke and the Fed seem to be bowing to this Republican pressure.

help save Troy’s life


It’s not often that you could literally save a life by signing a petition. This is one of those times.

Last week we told you about Troy Davis, who could be put to death as soon as next month — despite overwhelming evidence that raises serious, unanswered questions about his guilt.

Please read more about the Troy Davis case below, then sign our petition asking the Georgia Pardon Board to spare Troy’s life. It takes just a moment, and it could be the most important action you take this year.

http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/troy/

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team

April 27th, 2011

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a white police officer. Though there’s major evidence that Davis didn’t commit the crime, Georgia is prepared to put him to death. We have a good chance of stopping this — but only if we speak up now.

The fact is, no physical evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the actual culprit in the officer’s murder.

Now, despite these and other facts, the state of Georgia has taken the first steps toward Davis’ execution — and only the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole stands between Davis and the lethal injection chamber.

Georgia may be about to kill an innocent man. That’s not justice. Please ask the Georgia Parole Board to spare Troy Davis’ life, before it’s too late — and it’s critical that you ask others to do the same:

http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/troy/

Since Troy Davis’ 1991 conviction, numerous facts have emerged that introduce significant doubt as to his guilt. These facts include:

All but two of the original witnesses against Troy Davis have signed affidavits recanting their earlier testimony. Most claim that their testimony was coerced by police officers.1

Multiple witnesses say that another man — one of the original witnesses against Davis — has claimed to have slain the fallen officer.2

The weapon used in the murder was never found. The only physical evidence connecting Davis to the crime was indirect, circumstantial — and new testimony disputes Davis’s connection to that evidence.3

In light of this evidence, the Supreme Court granted Davis another chance. But instead of an actual new trial before a jury, which would mean the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecutor, he got an evidentiary hearing before a single federal judge where Davis’ lawyers had the burden to meet an impossibly high and undefined legal standard.

In light of this, it was sad — but no surprise — when the judge rejected the new evidence and cleared the way for Davis’ execution. However, even he acknowledged lingering doubt, noting that the case against Davis was not “ironclad.”

But “ironclad” is exactly what the evidence should be in order to put someone to death. If the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole doesn’t act to stop Davis’ execution, they’ll run a serious risk of putting an innocent man to death. That is not acceptable.

Please join us, along with our partners at Amnesty International and the NAACP, in asking the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to save Troy Davis’ life by commuting his sentence to life in prison. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/troy/

Thanks and Peace,

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team

April 20, 2011

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU–your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

http://www.colorofchange.org/donate

References:

1. “Troy Davis – Finality over Fairness,” Amnesty International USA

http://act.colorofchange.org/go/808?akid=1959.1174326.F8eCrN&t=8

2. See Reference 1

3. See Reference 1

Twenty-five years ago today the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded


Twenty-five years ago today the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded — sending plumes of radiation around the planet and devastating the area surrounding the plant to this day. The world learned firsthand then about the dangers of nuclear energy. Unfortunately, as the recent events in Fukushima have showed us, we didn’t take the lesson to heart.

Greenpeace has been confronting nuclear dangers since we launched our first campaign protesting U.S. nuclear testing back in 1971. And we aren’t going to stop until we’ve realized our dream of a future free of nuclear disasters.

That’s why we are launching a new, ambitious campaign to fight dangerous nuclear power in this country. But we can’t do it without your support.

Please sign-up today to become a monthly Greenpeace donor and support our work here in the United States to make sure the next nuclear disaster never happens.

Together, we’ve already organized hundreds of vigils for Japan and sent 50,000 messages to Congress opposing nuclear giveaways in the budget. Meanwhile, our independent radiation monitoring crew continues their work in Japan and the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is on its way to conduct contamination tests on seawater and marine life in the area. In the U.S. we’re just getting started.

Many nuclear reactors in the U.S., some of which are the very same design as those that exploded and melted down in Japan, are seeking government approval to run for 20 more years. This is not a risk we need to take.

We want to make sure that many of these plants aren’t re-licensed. We’ll also oppose the construction of new nuclear reactors and urge members of Congress to cut the $36 billion in nuclear subsidies from President Obama’s proposed budget.

Just last year, we won a historic vote in the Vermont legislature to close down the aging Vermont Yankee reactor. We know our campaigns work. This isn’t going to be easy. But as the situation in Japan reminds us every day, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Your monthly support is needed to make this new work possible. Please help us realize a clean energy future free of nuclear disasters and make a monthly gift to Greenpeace today. When we look back at Fukushima 25 years from now, let’s be able to say that we took the lesson to heart this time.

Thank you for your support,

Philip Radford

Executive Director, Greenpeace USA

P.S. A monthly gift is the best way to support Greenpeace. It allows us to plan into the future and run campaigns that win. Please support our work by becoming a monthly donor today.