Monday, July 30, 2007

Grist interviews Barack Obama

Environmental mag Grist has published an interview with Barack Obama about his presidential platform on energy and the environment.

Amanda Griscom Little interviews Barack as part of series on the environmental policies of presidential candidates. Here's an excerpt:

Q. How central will energy and the environment be to your campaign?

A. I consider energy to be one of the three most important issues that we are facing domestically, along with revamping our education system and reforming our health-care systems. The opportunities for significant change exist partly because the awareness of the threat of climate change has grown rapidly over the last couple of years. Al Gore deserves a lot of credit for that, as do environmental activists and outlets like Grist. People are ready to recognize the magnitude of the climate problem and take it on.

On the controversial issue of liquid coal, with southern Illinois being rich in coal deposits, Obama says:

Our original bill on coal-to-liquids -- which generated a lot of heat in the environmental community, no pun intended -- proposed $200 million for demonstration projects, to see where this technology might take us.

If the technology exists for us to use coal in a clean fashion, then that is something all of us should welcome, particularly because China and India are building coal-fired power plants at a rapid rate, and they likely have lifespans of several decades. Coal is a cheaper resource, and they're going to be figuring out a way to exploit it, so we should help to find technologies that will ensure that if it is used, it is used cleanly. The U.S. is recognized as the global leader in understanding better geologic coal-sequestration technologies. If we abandon that leadership, we risk leaving the rest of the planet wide open to investing billions in polluting infrastructure.

But I stress again that my position has been consistent throughout: If we are using coal in the absence of these clean technologies, then we are going to be

And on nuclear power:

I think that with nuclear power, we have got to see if there are ways for us to store the radioactive material in a safe, environmentally sound way, and if we can do that and deal with the some of the safely and security issues, [nuclear power] is something that we should look at.

Note that Illinois has made huge investments in nuclear power and has the largest nuclear industry in the nation.

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Obama in Vibe Magazine and other news

Candidate Barack Obama is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Vibe magazine along with an accompanying article inside.

Vibe is an urban/music magazine catering toward the African American community and founded by producer Quincy Jones.

Hank Johnson supports Obama

U.S. Rep Hank Johnson of Georgia became the first Democratic congressional representative in that state to endorse Barack Obama.

Johnson stresses Iraq as a key issue in his support for Obama:

“Today more than ever, a fundamental change in the way we do our business in Washington is crucial,” said Johnson. “Barack Obama, who had the sound judgment to oppose the Iraq War early on, is the only candidate who will turn the page on this disastrous foreign policy and lead our nation to a new standing in the world.”

Barack talks "big tent" with CBN

In an interview with CBN, the fundamentalist broadcasting network run by Pat Robertson, Obama had this to say on religious tolerance:

Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community.

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Obama has progressive in Illinois State Senate

The New York Times has a nice article on Barack Obama has a neophyte, former community organizer senator at a time when the Illinois State Senate was dominated by Republicans.

“One of my first comments to Barack was, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ ” said Denny Jacobs, a former senator and self-described “backroom politician, not one of those do-gooders that stands up front and says we got to make changes.”

Senator Obama’s answer? “He looked at me sort of strange.”

Obama comments on experience at Indianapolis fundraiser

A WISHTV8 reporter questioned Barack Obama at an Indianapolis fundraiser about talk that the current diplomacy rift with Hillary Clinton shows his lack of experience.

"Well, actually that's not what people are saying. That's what some of the pundits are saying. The people aren't saying that at all because they recognize that, if we keep on doing the same things that we've been doing over and over and over and they don't work, at some point you should try something different."

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