Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Last Call For A Buckeye Constitutional

The Ohio GOP's effort to make constitutional amendment ballot measures exponentially more difficult to pass -- in a blatant effort to sink a November ballot measure to guarantee abortion rights in the state -- went down in flames in tonight's special election.

Issue 1 was projected to fail on Tuesday, dealing a blow to Ohio Republicans who wanted to hamstring a November ballot question on abortion rights.

Decision Desk HQ, an election results reporting agency providing results and race calls for the USA TODAY Network Ohio, called the race around 8:09 p.m. The Associated Press projected that Issue 1 had failed around 9 p.m.

The no vote was leading 57% to 43% with more than 80% of the vote counted, according to unofficial results.

Results showed voters in urban counties voting overwhelmingly against Issue 1. The no side had more than 80% support in Cuyahoga County, more than 70% support in Franklin, Summit and Lucas counties and more than 60% of the vote in Hamilton and Montgomery counties.

Tuesday’s election was the culmination of a months-long fight that began last year, when Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Ashville, first introduced a plan to tighten the rules for constitutional amendments. The debate played out in the halls of the Ohio Statehouse, on the campaign trail and even in the courtroom as opponents tried to stop GOP lawmakers in their tracks.

Proponents of the measure said they wanted to keep controversial policies out of the constitution and reserve it for the state's fundamental rights and values. Critics argued the ballot measure was a power grab that would hamstring the rights of citizens to place an issue on the ballot.

Ohioans appeared to buy the message opponents were selling.

"Tonight, Ohioans claimed a victory over out-of-touch, corrupt politicians who bet against majority rule, who bet against democracy," Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters told reporters at an election night gathering in Columbus. "Tonight, Ohioans everywhere have claimed a victory for the kind of state we want to see."
The ludicrously corrupt Ohio GOP lost when they took their policy to the people in order to vote on it.  And remember, nullifying a 57%-43% ballot measure vote like tonight is exactly what this measure was designed to do in November to prevent abortion rights in the state from being enshrined in the state constitution.

November here is going to be a hell of a fight, but it's a winnable fight now.

Ridin' With Biden, Con't

President Biden is designating nearly a million acres in Arizona around the Grand Canyon as a National Monument, protecting the area from mining while preserving hunting, fishing, and grazing rights for Native American use.
The designation would protect the area from potential uranium mining. It also protects existing grazing permits and leases, existing mining claims and will support area hunting and fishing, officials said. It encompasses approximately 917,000 acres of public land, officials said.

The president’s trip to battleground Arizona is part of a three-stop Western swing to highlight his economic agenda and legislative accomplishments this week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping climate, tax, and health care law. The monument’s designation makes good on longtime calls from tribal leaders and environmental activists, as well as Arizona lawmakers, including Democratic Rep. RaĆ¹l Grijalva and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who have advocated for the lands surrounding the Grand Canyon to be protected.

Biden will designate Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, a move aimed at conserving “nearly 1 million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape,” Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory told reporters.

“This land is sacred to tribal nations and indigenous peoples. Its sweeping plateaus and deep canyons share many of the features of the Grand Canyon. The land includes some of the most biodiverse habitats in the region, providing refuge for wildlife like bighorn sheep, bison, bald eagles and songbirds. And the area’s meandering creeks and streams flow into the mighty Colorado River, a critical water supply to millions of people across the Southwest,” Mallory said.

“Many of us have worked for decades to safeguard our Grand Canyon homelands from desecration at the hands of extractive, harmful operations like uranium mining, and today, with the designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, we see these lands permanently protected at last,” Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition coordinator Carletta Tilousi said in a statement.

The Biden administration has been gathering public input on the designation for months, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland – the first Native American Cabinet secretary – visited the area in May and met with tribal leaders. Haaland and her staff hiked 10 miles into the canyon to visit Supai Village, a small village that is the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

Haaland described the visit as “one of the most meaningful trips of my life,” as she detailed the importance of the lands that make up Tuesday’s designation.

The Havasupai people’s ancestors, Haaland said, “lived, farmed, and prayed among the canyons and plateaus far beyond the borders of the reservation they occupied today.” She added that the Havasupai people “were driven out of their homelands” after the establishment of the Grand Canyon National Park in 1919.

“Their story is one shared by many tribes in the southwest who trace their origins to the Grand Canyon, and the plateaus and tributaries that surround it and who have persevered by continuing their longstanding practices on sacred homelands just outside the boundaries of the park,” she said.

The designation will help ensure that the lands can be used by indigenous peoples for religious ceremonies, as well as for hunting and gathering. But it also sends an important signal to native people, Haaland said.
Native American history, she said, “is American history. And that’s what tomorrow is all about: This president and this administration see Indian country. I’m speaking to you as the first Native American Cabinet secretary as a testament to that. Feeling seen means being appreciated for who we are: The original stewards of our shared lands and waters.”

Haaland continued, “These special places are not a pass-through on the way to the Grand Canyon. They are sacred and significant unto their own right. They should not be open to new mining claims and developed beyond recognition. We are in a new era, one in which we honor tribally led conservation, advanced co-stewardship and care about the well-being of native people.

Native American history is American history, good and bad. We absolutely need to remember that, and the lessons gained from it. Sadly, judging from the rate that we're wrecking the environment, we haven't learned much at all.

But we have to start somewhere, and this is a good act. $44 million will be invested in our national parks and monuments thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.  Would that it was ten or even a hundred times as much, but it's better than the cuts Republicans (and some Democrats, looking at you, Manchin) wanted in order to turn our national lands into strip mines.

Record heat will only get worse in states like Arizona, and all we can do now is try to control the damage. Of course, that could start with breaking up energy giants, but that's not going to happen.

Fusion News You Can Use

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have repeated their fusion power experiment from December, only with an even better energy yield.
A group of U.S. scientists say they have repeated their landmark energy feat — a nuclear fusion reaction that produces more energy than is put into it. But this time, they say the experiment produced an even higher energy yield than one in December that got international attention for making a major step forward toward the long elusive goal of producing energy through fusion.

This second achievement by researchers at the federal Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is another crucial step — albeit in a journey that may still take decades to complete — in the quest for an unlimited source of cheap and clean power. The successful effort was initially reported by the Financial Times on Sunday.

“We have continued to perform experiments to study this exciting new scientific regime. In an experiment conducted on July 30, we repeated ignition at (the National Ignition Facility),” Paul Rhien, a spokesman for the federal laboratory, said in a emailed statement. “Analysis of those results is underway, but we can confirm the experiment produced a higher yield than the December test.”

Rhien said the lab “won’t be discussing further details” of the July experiment until after more analysis. But the team plans to “share the results at scientific conferences and peer-reviewed publications as part of our normal process for communicating scientific results.”
That positive net energy yield is the key to fusion power, and the better we get at it, the closer we get to sustainable clean energy for everyone.

You know, if we don't barbecue humans off the face of the earth first.
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