Media

As a press secretary at the Union of Concerned Scientists, I’m occasionally quoted in the press. In my ongoing effort to impress friends and relatives and establish Google dominance for “Aaron Huertas,” I will link to those articles here. Occasionally, I may also highlight articles that I did a lot of work to promote as well as citations from other ventures in my capacity as Private Citizen Aaron Huertas.

On October 21, 2013, I was quoted by National Geographic regarding the effects of the government shutdown on scientific work.

On September 25, 2013, I presented findings from a climate change workshop at the National Academy of Sciences second conference on the Science of Science Communication.

On December 21, 2012, I participated in a panel discussion on Thom Hartmann’s “The Big Picture.”

On November 2, 2011, FoxNews.com quoted me regarding a “book” that attacks a climate science body.

Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.com that age is irrelevant and shouldn’t impact the conclusions of the major scientific work.

“Attacking scientists based on their age instead of their work is misleading and more than a little offensive to younger researchers,” Huertas said. “The IPCC’s materials are thoroughly vetted by many scientists and are open to public comment, too.”

Regardless, scientists agree about climate change, Huertas argued.

“What we can’t do is bury our heads in the sand or be distracted by attacks on scientists,” he said.

On October 6, 2011, I attended a National Archives event about how broken Congress is and asked a question. I felt the panel had done a good job describing the problem and outlining some solutions, but didn’t really address what could be done to make those solutions a reality. Some of the Former Members of Congress and other panelists, it turned out, had some good suggestions.

On August 16, 2011, Scientific American ran a piece by a great independent journalist named Douglas Fischer. He quoted me regarding the cropping up of a new anti-science group on climate change.

“Every country has its own home-grown marriage of folks who are skeptical of the science and the ideological groups who just don’t want regulation,” said Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The playing field is a little bit uneven. To succeed all they have to do is give people an excuse, give them a little grain of doubt, and they’re done.”

On July 2011, the Washington Post published a letter from Private Citizen Aaron Huertas about one of my main gripe with their paper: Their 5 Myths feature.

I found the Business section’s variation on The Post’s popular “5 Myths” feature refreshing [“5 Truths about the deficit and the debt,” July 17]. Communications scholars have found that features like the Outlook section’s “5 Myths” often aren’t the best way to correct misconceptions. By placing the myths in short, bold-face sentences followed by relatively dense paragraphs explaining why those myths are wrong, it’s likely The Post is unintentionally reinforcing those very myths.

The Post’s Shankar Vedantam wrote about a study that quantified the effect of typical myth vs. fact presentations [“Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach,” Sept. 4, 2007]. When a social scientist had subjects read a flier produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that took a typical myth-busting approach, 28 percent of the older subjects remembered false statements as true just 30 minutes after reading the flier. “Three days later,” The Post reported, “they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual.”

The Business desk was right to conspicuously drop the myths and instead focus on “5 Truths” about the debt. That’s the right approach for clearing up disinformation that passes for political discourse.

I hope your other writers will emulate the “truth and only the truth” approach the Business desk took.

Aaron Huertas, Washington

 

On Dec 3, 2010, I spoke to FoxNews.com for a story in which my views were juxtaposed with those of a few climate contrarians. Definitely one of my favorite headlines.

Even those who believe man’s actions are raising the planet’s temperature admit that the U.N.’s climate group has struggled. “It’s been a tough year for the IPCC,” Aaron Huertas, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.com.

He believes the organization is learning from its mistakes, as well as the suggestions of the group that publicly detailed its flaws just a few month ago. “To its credit, the IPCC is taking recommendations from the InterAcademy Council to heart, and I think their future reports will be better for it,” he said.

And Huertas defended the group and its work with language just as loudly as the climate skeptics criticized it.

“Groups that oppose action on climate change spend a lot of time attacking the IPCC. But they never attack the National Academy of Sciences, even though they are making the same basic points.”

Nevertheless, Huertas said the science is sound … depending on whom you listen to, of course.

“I follow the skeptical blogs, and most of what’s on there I wouldn’t even call science,” he said. “A lot of it is just politics. At the end of the day, I ask people: ‘Who do you trust? A pundit on the radio talking about climate science or the scientists at NASA?’”

“I’m going with the scientists at NASA,” Huertas said.

On November 22, Dan Vergano of USA Today interviewed me regarding the impact of a Congressional report attacking a climate scientist.

“The report was integral to congressional hearings about climate scientists,” says Aaron Huertas of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. “And it preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists.”

On October 21, I was honored to be interviewed by Public Radio International’s The World regarding a report on automaker emissions my organization released. This was quite rare, since normally the report authors would do all interviews. But they were both unavailable and The World is such an excellent program, so I went for it. One of the nice things about public radio is that skillful editing can make you sound way smarter than you do in person.

On September 23, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed me regarding Joe Bastardi’s climate change views.

“He’s among a minority of meteorologists, mostly on television, who say these things and who don’t have expertise in what’s happening with our climate from a long-range perspective,” said Aaron Huertas, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s about as valid as a climate scientist criticizing Mr. Bastardi’s annual hurricane predictions.”

On September 11, the Washington Post published a letter I wrote complaining about their uncritical use of the “Face on Mars” picture:

Marc Kaufman’s excellent Sept. 4 front-page article regarding new research into life on Mars ["Not 'life' but maybe 'organics' on Mars"] was oddly accompanied by a picture of the so-called Face on Mars taken by Viking 1 in 1976. The late Carl Sagan and other scientists long pointed out how shadows cast over the rock formation produced its face-like appearance in the photo. Subsequent higher-resolution photos of the rock formation taken by the Mars Global Surveyor in 2001 and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2006 reveal that the rock is hardly face-like at all.

While visually interesting, such rock formations reveal more about humans’ intrinsic ability to recognize faces, even when there are none, than they do about the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The rock formation on Mars is more like New Hampshire’s now-collapsed Old Man in the Mountain than like Mount Rushmore.

The prospect of finding microbial life on Mars is exciting enough. The Face on Mars has been long debunked and shouldn’t be mentioned alongside ongoing scientific research into extraterrestrial life.

Aaron Huertas, Washington

On July 19, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted my criticism of media coverage of emails stolen from climate scientists:

“The accusations were on A1, the exonerations are usually on A15,” said Aaron Huertas, press secretary for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

On July 16, a Scripps Howard News article quoted me at a fun event I helped put together where UCS and some other groups melted an ice sculpture near the Capitol:

The press secretary for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Aaron Huertas, compared the recent scandal to tobacco companies’ denial of a link between tobacco and lung cancer.

“People attack the science instead of debating the policies,” Huertas said.

On July 14, I was quoted in the Charlottesville Daily Progress ragging on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and climate contrarians generally:

Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Cuccinelli’s investigation into Mann is baseless and unnecessary.

“Mike Mann has had his name dragged through the mud for years,” Huertas said. “Every time someone looks into him, he comes back perfectly clean.”

Huertas said it is preposterous to believe that climate change is the result of a conspiracy by scientists such as Mann. “That’s the same type of thinking we see from people who don’t believe we landed on the moon,” he said.

On July 2, 2010, I was quoted in a Charlottesville Daily Progress article criticizing Virgina Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation into climate scientist Michael Mann based on a review of one of his court filings I helped write:

“If you’re an attorney general investigating Mike Mann, you think you’d at least have the common courtesy of pinning the right accusation on him,” union spokesman Aaron Huertas said. Cuccinelli’s office declined to comment on the union’s analysis.

On May 8, 2010, I gave a presentation at DC Nerd Nite about science and media. It was fun and luckily someone was taking video. I’m very happy that YouTube allows you to add errata to videos.

In November 2009, Newsweek ran a letter I wrote.

I was surprised to see Al Gore’s essay (“The Plan That Saved the Planet”) on the historic choices we face regarding energy and climate change followed by Karl Rove’s “Scrap Cap-and-Trade” piece attacking the leading legislative proposal to reduce carbon emissions. Rove’s essay repeats debunked claims about cap-and-trade systems and fails to offer an alternative method for significantly reducing carbon emissions to the levels scientists say are necessary. Rove’s opinion piece was an unworthy counterpoint to Gore’s serious call to action.
Aaron Huertas Press Secretary, Union of Concerned Scientists Washington, D.C.

In October 2009, I worked with UCS climate scientists to counteract some misinformation in the book SuperFreakonomics.

  • On Sunday, October 18, Stephen Dubner posted a response to the claim that he and Levitt misrepresented the views of one scientist, Ken Caldiera. UCS posted a response urging Dubner to publish a more thorough response to the many scientific misrepresentations the book makes. Meanwhile, Joe Romm responds to this particular claim on his blog.
  • On October 20, Nathan Myhrvold responded to criticisms of the book and his quotes in it. UCS responded, pointing out that Myhrvold’s blog post, in which he states, “Geoengineering is proposed only as a last resort to try to reduce or cope with the even greater harms of global warming!” directly contradicts the main premise of the book’s chapter and his quotes in it.
  • I attended an event at which Levitt and Dubner spoke and solicited a response from Dubner regarding geoengineering and answering their scientific critics. Dubner wrote about this on his blog and I responded accordingly.

In October 2009,Maclean’s quoted me regarding President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. It was Columbus Day.

The new standards would cut greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and light trucks 30 per cent by 2016. “This is the single biggest step the United States has ever taken to reduce oil consumption and emissions,” says Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Mass…

Given that the House of Representatives has already passed a climate change bill, and that Obama has pledged to use the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate major polluters if the Senate does not act, there is hope for a breakthrough. “That sort of progress is completely unprecedented,” says Huertas. But other countries are rightly skeptical of talk and good intentions from a country that produces one-quarter of world emissions. After all, Bill Clinton backed the Kyoto Protocol but never got it through the Senate. “The rest of the world needs to be able to see something concrete to be able to agree to an effective deal,” says Huertas.

In October 2009, ThinkProgress quoted me regarding an ongoing kerfuffle with the  authors of SuperFreakonomics.

Melanie Fitzpatrick, one of the climate scientists on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ staff, produced a rebuttal of the SuperFreakonomics chapter which points out the many ways it misrepresents climate science. Our communications team simply passed this critique on to media outlets that were planning on covering the book, including NPR. Our organization believes it is incredibly important for scientists to accurately communicate climate science to the media and the public. UCS’s criticisms are valid and NPR rightfully recognized the value of informing their listeners that the book misrepresents climate science.

In September 2009 the town of Hurricane, Utah adopted a resolution opposing climate change legislation. Unfortunately, the towns’ resolution was based on a flawed understanding of climate science.The Salt Lake City Tribune quoted me in the end of the article:

 

Aaron Huertas, a spokesman for Union of Concerned Scientists, which is dedicated to finding environmental solutions to world problems, said government studies estimate the cost to the average consumer of proposed cap and trade legislation is about the price of a postage stamp a day.

“At the end of the day [cap and trade] makes polluters responsible for what they are putting in the air, where now they are not,” said Huertas.

He also disputed Hirschi’s characterization of global warming, saying research has shown global temperatures are rising in concert with the emission of greenhouse gases

“It’s an open and shut case with the scientific community,” said Huertas.

In August 2009, News Channel 8 asked vacationing private citizen Aaron Huertas, who was buying gear at Target, about a Bike Ambassador program in DC. He had this to say:

Area riders say it’s about time. “A bike is just the most efficient, the healthiest way to get around the city,” said rider Aaron Huertas.

But some say it’s also the most dangerous. “The more we can do to mitigate that danger, the greener and healthier the city will be,” said Huertas.

In July 2009, I worked with a scientist to rebut a misrepresentation of a climate science paper. Reuters thought this rapid rebuttal was interesting. I was very happy the reporter discussed the difference between being a “skeptic” which is awesome and being a “contrarian” which is decidedly less so.

Aaron Huertas has been in this game for a while, so he figured there might be problems as soon as he saw the headline on the release from Rice University: “Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong.”…

But Huertas, press secretary at the Union of Concerned Scientists, figured the initial headline from Rice University might be used by those skeptical about climate change — he calls them contrarians because he feels all scientists are skeptical — to argue that the carbon dioxide generated by human activities isn’t to blame for global warming.

“We haven’t heard a member of Congress that opposes climate legislation incorrectly cite this study yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time,” Huertas said in an e-mail accompanying his non-profit group’s analysis of the study.He sees this as a matter of science education, made more difficult when those who oppose acting to curb climate change choose their own facts. “You’re dealing with an opposition movement that literally doesn’t care what the research is, they can just make stuff up,” Huertas told me.

In January 2009, Private Citizen Aaron Huertas submitted an idea to the President’s Briefing Book (pdf) at Change.gov. Thanks to the dedicated forum-goers at TwoPlusTwo.com my entry calling for the legalization of online poker was the top vote-getter in the Technology section. I still have a hard time believing President Obama might actually have read words that I wrote. Perhaps he has.

Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker, 46890 points

Let online poker players in the United States play legally and without fear of prosecution. Reform the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to exempt poker, a game of skill, from the law. Boost the economy by letting American companies and American players make money and pay taxes instead of sending online poker businesses offshore. Protect online poker players by regulating the industry to ensure that no one is ever cheated.
– AAHue

Some gaming trade publications covered it based largely on a press release from the Poker Players Alliance.

In August 2008, Clear Channel pulled down some advertisement UCS took out in the airports each political party was using for its national convention. The Rocky Mountain News quoted me on the removal:

Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the scientists group, said it is still “trying to figure out” why the DIA sign was removed.

“Obviously, we think the decision to take down both advertisements in both locations is unfortunate, because we were hoping people going to the conventions would be seeing these advertisements and thinking about nuclear weapons policy,” he said.

In November 2007, the Washington Post published a letter from me in my capacity as Private Citizen Aaron Huertas regarding acupuncture:

Regarding the “Making It” feature in the Nov. 18 Post Magazine:

I was dismayed that The Post would put its spotlight on a practitioner of acupuncture without noting the lack of scientific evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness. Acupuncture, which involves poking a person with needles, is rooted in Chinese folk medicine and is based on the idea that such therapy “unblocks” spiritual energy in the body.

Scientific studies have not produced clear evidence in favor of acupuncture. Some people who submit themselves to acupuncture probably benefit from a placebo effect. For others, their ailments might have improved without any therapy, but they still attribute their recovery to acupuncture.

The article did note that the featured acupuncturist was frustrated by limitations that insurance companies place on acupuncture. But it failed to note that insurance companies view acupuncture skeptically because there is no clear evidence that it works.

AARON HUERTAS

Fairfax

In May 2006, I won a competition to speak at George Washington University’s commencement ceremony. The Washington Post noted the content of my (very short) speech.

GWU’s ceremony was mostly politics-free, despite the storied career of the featured speakers. Aaron Huertas, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in political communication, gave a speech about the importance of using technology responsibly.

The speech itself is available on ITunes.

In May 2002, I delivered a speech at my highschool graduation in my capacity as senior class president. Friends tell me my Jersey accent tends to fade in and out now.

To

 

President Barack Obama

 

From

 

The American People

 

CITIZEN’S
BRIEFING BOOK

 

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Note from the Transition:

 

As a closing act for the Transition, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett requested that
the Office of Public Liaison create a process by which Americans outside of
Washington could come together to present ideas directly to the President – a
“Citizen’s Briefing Book.”
The idea was to use the Transition website, change.gov, to create a grassroots
version of the research binders that presidents receive every day. But instead of
advice from top government officials, the Citizen’s Briefing Book is composed of
ideas submitted by ordinary people and reflecting the enthusiastic engagement
from the public we saw throughout the course of Change.gov.
125,000 users submitted over 44,000 ideas and cast over 1.4 million votes, with
the most popular ideas accumulating tens of thousands of votes each. This book
contains some of the top ideas, broken into groups by issue area. You can tell how
popular each idea was by looking at the number next to it – it represents how
many people voted for the idea, with 10 points awarded for each positive vote. In
addition, you will find a “word cloud” for each category of ideas representing the
frequency with which various words and concepts appeared through the entire
process.
Out of the tens of thousands of submissions, these ideas found the most support;
here they are, unvarnished and unedited.

 

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Contents

 

Economy6

 

•  Revoke the George W. Bush tax cuts for the top 1 %, 57080 points 6
•  Let’s make reduced-scale farming profitable! Less dependence on imported foods! 42070 points 6
•  Reform the IRS and Stop the Tax Loopholes, 32840 points 7
•  Encourage Trade Schools, 32150 points 7
•  More Stimulus Focus on Green Jobs, 30470 points 7

 

Education8

 

•  An end to the government sponsored abstinence education to be replaced by an introduction of age

 

appropriate sex education, 65350 points 8

 

•  Healthy Kids Learn Better, 15060 points 8
•  Focus on the Art and Creativity, 12970 points 9
•  Libraries of all types need our support, 10810 points 9
•  Lost SCIENTISTS and ENGINEERS, 10480 points 9

 

Energy & Environment 10

 

•  Commit to becoming the “Greenest” country in the world, 70470 points 10
•  Bullet Trains & Light Rail, 65100 points 10
•  Increase MPG requirements now! 46120 points 11
•  Implement a National High-Speed Rail Program, 38720 points 11
•  Re-install the White House solar panels, 28910 points 11

 

Foreign Policy12

 

•  The permanent closure of all Torture facilities. (Facilities such as: Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib),

 

61250 points12

 

•  Re-evaluate aid to Israel, 37240 points 12
•  Time for CHANGE in Cuba, 18020 points 13
•  Close School of the Americas (WHINSEC), 17610 points 13
•  Engage strongly for Israeli-Palestinian peace, 13990 points 13

 

Health Care14

 

•  Stop using federal resources to undermine states’ medicinal marijuana laws, 66170 points 14

 

4

 

•  Get the Insurance Companies out the Health Care, 55080 points 14
•  Allow the terminally ill the honor of passing as they choose, 40850 points 14
•  Health Freedom IS Our First Freedom, 30430 points 15
•  Increased Funding for Childhood Cancer, 16500 points 16

 

Homeland Security18

 

•  No More Wars On Abstract Concepts, 38250 points 18
•  Enact legislation that protects “whistle blowers” 36390 points 18
•  Eliminate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so we don’t lose any more soldiers, 35840 points 19
•  A New Decentralized Energy Grid, 14920 points 19
•  Find a Balance Between US Security and Civil Liberties, 15660 points 19

 

Service20

 

•  National Service Corps, 9350 points 20
•  Create an online E-Library, 8100 points 20
•  Expand Small Business Innovation Programs, 6550 points 21
•  National Service program, 6250 points 21
•  National Service for College Students, 4850 points 21

 

Technology22

 

•  Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker, 46890 points 22
•  Restore Net Neutrality Protections to the Internet, 46220 points 22
•  Vote and debate all bills online and show what industries contribute the most to each Representatives

 

campaign, 40080 points22

 

•  Each of the 50 State Governors should create a version of this site to gather ideas from their

 

constituents, 25730 points23

 

•  National WiFi, 23540 points 23

 

Veterans24

 

•  Signing bonuses for enlistment should not be revoked due to injuries beyond the control of the soldiers

 

who risk their lives to save ours, 14530 points 24

 

•  Our military have been subjected to unacceptable tour extensions, 7460 points 24
•  Upon exiting the military every soldier must be given formal notice in writing, using clearly spoken

 

language, a detailed synopsis of their medical benefits, 6320 points 24

 

•  Ensure that veterans suffering from exposure to Agent Orange are fully covered by their VA benefits,

 

5710 points 25

 

•  VA Hospital Reform now, 3560 points 25

 

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Additional Issues26

 

•  Ending Marijuana Prohibition, 92970 points 26
•  Revoke the Tax Exempt Status of the Church of Scientology, 52470 points 26
•  Bring Back the Constitution! 50160 points 27
•  Honesty and Transparency, 45610 points 27
•  people talking to government, 41740 points 27
•  End the “War” Against American Citizens, 40510 points 28
•  Establish a Do Not Mail registry to prohibit junk mail, 37240 points 30
•  END PAY-TO-PLAY CULTURE IN WASHINGTON, 28930 points 30
•  Enact more laws that protect the welfare of American citizens and less laws that benefit Big Banks and

 

Big Corporations, 27490 points 30

 

•  Marriage Equality, 26400 points 31
•  Credit, 25970 points 31
•  Provide dis-incentives for suburban sprawl, 24170 points 31
•  Bush Administration Investigation, 23820 points 32
•  No Raise for Congress, 23400 points 32

 

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Economy

 

Word Cloud
Revoke the George W. Bush tax cuts for the top 1 %, 57080 points

 

The notion that giving the owners of the companies more money so that it will eventually trickle
down to the common people is absurd. People WITH money HAVE money because they know
how to KEEP money.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

Let’s make reduced-scale farming profitable! Less dependence on imported foods! 42070 points

 

Large, industrial, corporate farms have driven the smaller, local-based food production farms
into non-existance.  It is the combination of the productions from these larger farms and food im-
ported from other countries that feeds this nation. We need to reduce our dependence on these
other nations.  It will help our own economy, reduce fuel use and emmisions, and bring back a
natural part of any healthy society — a succesfull agricultural system!
A trend has been growing over the last few years promoting and advocating the purchasing of
products from these local farms, but more needs to be done to complete the vision of an agricul-
turally self-sufficient nation.  Only through the efforts of local growers, consumers, purchasers,
stores, and governments will this vision be achieved… the large corporations and farm systems
are simply too big for the ‘little man’ to work with.  There is still room for these large farms in the

 

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bigger picture, but we MUST HAVE access to local produce, meats, dairy products, and materials
to fill the needs of a nation that has a large population and a large need for healty, fresh food.

 

– aplkorex

 

Reform the IRS and Stop the Tax Loopholes, 32840 points

 

Stop taxing the poor and the middle class and stop the rich from avoiding taxes. In his article
entitled : “Fiscal Therapy” found at http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2009/01/
fiscal-therapy.html the author talks about some of the loop holes in our tax system and that the
IRS needs to be brought to the 21st century.
The author David Cay Johnston, in his article entitled: Fiscal Therapy says: “End Legal Tax Cheat-
ing. The marginal tax rate for cops and teachers is more than 40 percent—25 percent for income
taxes and another 15 percent for Social Security and Medicare taxes. The marginal rate for some
hedge fund managers, five of whom earned more than $1 billion in 2007, has been zero. That’s
because many of these speculators have been able to avoid taxes by operating through offshore
partnerships under rules that let them defer income taxes. Executives, entertainers, and athletes
also have been able to amass vast untaxed fortunes: For example, Roberto C. Goizueta, the ceo
of Coca-Cola in the ‘80s and ‘90s, built a nest egg of more than $1 billion, but was able to defer
taxes on most of it until he died.”
Please read the rest of the article. I am sure all his points can be verified with a little research.
Thank you

 

– gems

 

Encourage Trade Schools, 32150 points

 

Learning a trade, or two, should be encouraged as an alternative to college.
There are lots of things we spend an exorbiant amount of money on, other than cars, that could
benefit good repair technicians.  We have this idea that if something is on the blitz we should
immediately throw it away and buy another because we know the company will not send anyone
out to fix it.
Along with the potential to stay employed in a bad economy, it would at the very least reduce
our waste output.  I believe it is also one of the reasons why so many of our jobs have been out-
sourced.

 

– Tynil

 

More Stimulus Focus on Green Jobs, 30470 points

 

Green jobs was the promise and green jobs rather than old style support jobs for the oil-based
system of highways etc. should be the funding focus of economic stimulus right now.

 

– Dr. J

 

8

 

Education

 

Word Cloud
An end to the government sponsored abstinence education to be replaced by an introduction of
age appropriate sex education, 65350 points

 

1-4 teenagers have a sexually transmitted disease.  AIDS still exists. The longer we keep our
children in the dark about their bodies, the longer these facts will continue to be true. The longer
we endanger the very children we seek to protect. Sex WILL happen. As adults our own histories
have proven that. It is wrong to expect more from our children than we could from ourselves.
We can, however, help them to understand the consequences and beauties of the decisions they
choose to make. I do NOT imply that sex education will solve the world’s problems. I DO mean
to imply that when teenagers understand the gravity of what they possess and all of its dangers
they will make decisions that are more adult in nature. Sex is an adult decision. I agree. I also
agree that the decision to not have sex is also an adult decision. Informing our youth is part of
helping them grow. We cripple them with fear tactics, when we could instead empower them to
live safe, responsible lives.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

Healthy Kids Learn Better, 15060 points

 

Connect local farms with nearby schools, institutions and shelters to ensure that we are en-
couraging and supporting farmers so they may produce healthy local commodities to promote
a healthy local community.  I am mostly concerned about school caferterias.  We should evalu-

 

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ate and enhance the USDA programs that regulates vendors that provide food for schools and
other institutues.  Due to tight budgets (or lack of nutritional training) school caferterias are
providing low quality food to our children.  A chicken nugget that is filled with preservatives and
breading shouldn’t be considered as a protein when ensuring that our children are eating a nu-
tritionally balanced meal.  Schools are serving sugary, fattening foods to our children filled with
MSG and other harmful additives.  They are teaching our children that this is the way to eat.   As a
concerned parent I have questioned them and they say that they are limited by their budget and
approved vendors.  Some of the children can only count on the food that they get from and eat
at school.  Shouldn’t we demand that children get a high quality protein breakfast every morning
and a well balanced high quality lunch and afternoon snack along with daily physical exercise to
ensure our children can meet their highest potential.
I do not have all the solutions but I do think this should be part of the discussion when it comes
to education, health care, nutrition and the environment.

 

– Healthy Kids Advocate

 

Focus on the Art and Creativity, 12970 points

 

It is always the arts that are first to be cut back in our schools and communities, yet the arts are
at the very center of creativity. This is where creative skills are born, not just for artists and musi-
cians, but for scientists, engineers, researchers, innovators, and all thinking peoples. Now, if ever,
is the time when we need creative thought and creative action to find the means and the human
energy and spirit to find our way out of the problems that face us.

 

– Maples

 

Libraries of all types need our support, 10810 points

 

“The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the
greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all
our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the
collective knowledge of the human species.  I think the health of our civilization, the depth of
our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be
tested by how well we support our libraries.”  ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Carl said it best. Please continue and expand upon the support provided to libraries of all types.

 

– NJ Busch

 

Lost SCIENTISTS and ENGINEERS, 10480 points

 

Our great NASA’s Scientists & Engineers “IN TOTAL” are less than China graduates in a single
year !!! We are not the innovators anymore, and we need the Safety, Security, and prosperity it
brings to our country. For a committed period of time, Scientist & Engineer degree programs
should be FREE to any American with the apptitude. We need this as a country to be
the greatest again.

 

–Brain Labor

 

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Energy & Environment

 

Word Cloud
Commit to becoming the “Greenest” country in the world, 70470 points

 

If America committed itself to this creed it would solve many problems at once. By creating the
economic incentives and legislative benchmarks, going green will:
• Completely revamp American industries and help them compete in global markets.
• Save America’s auto industries by creating a change or fail incentives.
• Put millions of people back to work.
• Rebuild our infrastructure in ways that provide everyone with clean safe transportation.
• Eliminate America’s need for foreign oil (by 2020 not 2050) making America safer.
• Renew the American Dream and restore America’s leadership and respect in the world.
Thank you.

 

– Rob Beeson

 

Bullet Trains & Light Rail, 65100 points

 

Train transportation funding should be increased at the federal level. I think that the one issue
keeping many people from using trains to travel to and from other cities is that they are too slow.
What we really need are bullet trains between cities, like the ones that are prevalent in Japan.

 

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To increase the number of individuals using trains, the trains have to be much faster, and have to
arrive at terminals at a greater frequency.
Additionally, more funding should be removed from road construction and moved to funding
light rail initiatives in major U.S. cities.

 

– J.M. Lee

 

Increase MPG requirements now! 46120 points

 

After spending tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out poorly run domestic auto
makers, maybe we should make it a requirement that they focus any/all taxpayer money into
improving their product to relieve America dependency on foreign oil.
If we want US automakers to be successful again, it’s time to stop making Escalades and start
selling affordable products that will benefit the micro and macro Economies in the US, not to
mention the Environment.

 

– M. Johnson

 

Implement a National High-Speed Rail Program, 38720 points

 

A true high-speed rail system, with electric trains running at 150-200 miles per hour in the
country’s most heavily travelled corridors, would do a lot to improve the mobility of America’s
citizens. Building such a network, much like constructing the Interstate Highway System, would
employ thousands of people, providing a beneficial economic stimulus. It would provide indi-
viduals with an environmentally-friendly, fast, and comfortable alternative to automobiles and
airplanes. And it would help restore the health of many of our nation’s inner cities.

 

– Yonah Freemark

 

Re-install the White House solar panels, 28910 points

 

Make the White house an example of “Green” living. You may not have agreed with the Presi-
dency of Jimmy Carter but I think we can all agree that he was right when it came to our depen-
dency on oil. Take this action further by making all government and state buildings “green.” If the
government buildings are “green” and the cars that they drive are “green” then the evolution of
“green living” is fostered by example.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

12

 

Foreign Policy

 

Word Cloud
The permanent closure of all Torture facilities. (Facilities such as: Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib),

 

61250 points

 

Let us again be human rights advocates. Torture is a popular debate in the current American
discourse. The reaction of the US to photographs of our smiling soldiers at Abu Grahib made
clear that America is no longer the defender of human rights. The reality of war is that horrible
things happen. We know this. We are not alone in this knowledge. Torture is not new. The world
knows this. What has changed is our public stance on human rights violations such as torture.
As a country, we now condone torture openly, which is far different than merely knowing that it
happens in war. Most parents know that their children drink from time to time but they do not
condone it. Condoning torture is the beginning of devolution.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

Re-evaluate aid to Israel, 37240 points

 

Re-evaluate aid to Israel
Reevaluate whether the level of and the basis for the aid we provide Israel is appropriate given
our tough economic circumstance. Presently I fail to see the benefits to our country that would
justify the extraordinarily high per-capita level of aid.

 

– Citizen Cyr

 

13

 

Time for CHANGE in Cuba, 18020 points

 

Dear President Obama,
I recently returned from taking my daughter on a OFAC approved family visit to Cuba. Please
show my eight year old daughter that we supported the right presidential candidate by allow-
ing her to visit her 85 year old great grandmother, 91 year old great uncle and 94 year old great
aunt when whenever we choose,
Thank you

 

– ChiChi

 

Close School of the Americas (WHINSEC), 17610 points

 

Dear President Obama, The School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Insti-
tute for Security Cooperation) is part of the conventional thinking that military repression is a
solution to social and political problems. The existence of the SOA/ WHINSEC is part of a larger
failure in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. It is a symbol of oppression and U.S. domina-
tion for most Latin Americans and should be shut down without delay. I am urging you to issue
an executive order to close down the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)

 

– pagz4u

 

Engage strongly for Israeli-Palestinian peace, 13990 points

 

The crisis in Gaza is further evidence of the tragic consequences of American disengagement
from Middle East diplomacy.  President-elect Obama must make strong American leadership to
bring about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict an urgent priority of his foreign
policy agenda, starting on day one.
Time is about to run out on the two-state solution. The U.S. can no longer simply facilitate dis-
cussions, we need to actively put the solutions on the table and bring the parties to agreement.
Ending this conflict is an essential American interest, vital to our efforts to address other threats
in the region and to restoring our reputation around the world.

 

– Isaac @ J Street

 

14

 

Health Care

 

Word Cloud
Stop using federal resources to undermine states’ medicinal marijuana laws, 66170 points

 

Our federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration continues to raid marijuana (can-
nabis) dispensaries and compassionate use clubs in locations where local and state law allows
them to operate.  Medicinal marijuana is one of the most widely-supported issues in drug policy
reform.  Our federal government is wasting scarce resources — and hurting sick people — by ar-
resting patients and their caregivers; it should stop doing so.

 

– Phil Mocek

 

Get the Insurance Companies out the Health Care, 55080 points

 

The reason that our country pays more for health care than anywhere else in the world and
still has poor health outcomes is that the system is run by profit-seeking insurance companies.
Health insurance should not be a for-profit field.

 

– T. Desmond

 

Allow the terminally ill the honor of passing as they choose, 40850 points

 

Families huddle together across the country struggling with life and death decisions for their
loved ones. The opinions of Congress have no business in these painfully personal decisions.
Teri Schivo was a perfect example of Congress “acting on behalf of the public” when they should
have stayed home. If a dying family member makes a psychologically sound decision to end their

 

15

 

pain then they should be allowed to pass as they please. If doctors have done all that they can do
for an unresponsive patient and enough time has passed for a miracle to have happened then it
is understandable and humane that a family might choose to shut down the machines that push
breath through lungs that no longer live. Know your place as members of Congress; we know our
place as citizens.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

Health Freedom IS Our First Freedom, 30430 points

 

Health Freedom – Our First Freedom!
Health Freedom means the right to control what happens to your body, choosing your own
health path, making our own health choices as you see fit.
Please vote for health freedom so we can have:
Access to high potency nutrients and supplements
Protection from Codex
Absolute medical privacy
Meaningful organic standards
Access to raw milk, bitter almonds and other health aides
Irradiation-free foods
Freedom from:
- Unlabelled GMO foods
- Coercedor mandatory vaccinations and other medical treatments including psychiatric or other
drugging
- Involuntary experimentation on foster children, prisoners and civilian populations
- Chemtrail spraying
- Coerced/mandatory surgical or other procedures such as infant circumcision or electroshock
for children or adults
- Human or animal chipping
- Loss of our children because we choose not to vaccinate or drug them
Freedom to:
- Choose health practitioners who offer the treatments we want
- Farm and process food
- Provide information about the relationship between health and foods/nutrients
- Drink municipal water free of fluoride and other toxins
- Receive insurance coverage for natural medicine
- Divest the FDA of all food regulation.
- Sue drug and vaccine manufacturers for damages caused by their products
- Use natural methods to treat, prevent, mitigate or cure diseases as we choose

 

16

 

- Protect our children as we, not authorities, see fit
- Give birth under the circumstances we see fit

 

– JJ Monte

 

Increased Funding for Childhood Cancer, 16500 points

 

Dear President Obama:
Childhood cancer is the number one killer disease of our children today: More than from asthma,
diabetes, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies, and pediatric AIDS combined.  Our children, your
children, have a 1 in 300 chance of being diagnosed with cancer before age 20.  Each school day,
46 more children are diagnosed.  Survival rates, while improving, have leveled at around 75%;
and each day 7 children die from cancer.  In addition, each day, nearly 40,000 children are in
treatment.
Treatments for childhood cancer have not changed for 20 years, with “down-sized” adult treat-
ments being the primary means.   These treatments leave 60% of the SURVIVORS with long-
term health issues ranging from infertility to developmental problems to major organ damage to
higher risk for secondary cancers.
Yet funding for our children’s number one killer is woefully inadequate.   Our generation has
mobilized against breast, color and prostate cancer, yet we have grossly failed our children in
funding improvements in their care.   Funding for research into prostate cancer is over $2000 for
each year of potential life lost.  Similarly, colon cancer and breast cancer receive approximately
$350 and $150 respectively for each year of potential life lost.  Childhood cancer receives about
$23 for each year of potential life lost.   We are ashamed.
I did not know this until Father’s Day 2007 when my 14 year old son AJ was diagnosed with can-
cer.   He was a happy, healthy, athletic young man that was a joy to be around.  He supported you.
Unfortunately, in December 2008, I was forced to answer a question I hope no other Dad ever
hears: “Dad, what is hospice?”  AJ left us on January 5, 2008.
But as promised, we fight back.   I, along with an incredible young woman who has survived child-
hood cancer, have founded People Against Childhood Cancer, or PAC2 (www.curechildhood-
cancer.ning.com).  In four months we are over 3,000 strong and will never stop on behalf of the
children we love. We seek ways to increase funding for this horrible elephant in the room that
America refuses to acknowledge.
The NCI and the American Cancer Society direct less than 3% of all funding to childhood can-
cer.    Last year, a huge victory for the childhood cancer community was the Carolyn Price Con-
quer Childhood Cancer Act, allocating $25 million for the next five years for childhood cancer
research.   In today’s world of billions and trillions, much of it going to those that barely deserve it,

 

17

 

I again have to be ashamed.
We are not protecting the youngest and most innocent of our society to the best of our abilities.
You have the power to directly fund more research in your budget.  Please consider including a
major line item in your budget to fund research to save our children.   We are sure Malia Ann and
Natasha would approve.
Sincerely,
Bob Piniewski and Lori Keith
Founders – People Against Childhood Cancer

 

– AJs Dad

 

18

 

Homeland Security

 

Word Cloud
No More Wars On Abstract Concepts, 38250 points

 

We’ve had the “War on Terror” and the “War on Drugs”. Neither of these had any clear goals or
strategy, but were instead a catch-all banner for spending money without having to show results.
The results have been devastating, and have only increased the problems they were supposed to
solve.
If the president is to use the word “war” when asking the nation for its dollars and other sacri-
fices, that “war” should be against a specific target — geographical or political — with measurable
criteria of achievement, and an exit strategy if it doesn’t achieve what was expected. Congress
should have to approve any substantial changes or extensions to that plan.
No future president should have the kind of carte blanche which was granted to Bush, and which
resulted in the horrors of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo.

 

– Woozle

 

Enact legislation that protects “whistle blowers” 36390 points

 

Across the nation secrets are being guarded by everyday citizens. People employed to moni-
tor our drinking water, research our environment, mediate our commerce, gather foreign intel-
ligence, guard our ports, review our taxes, instruct our children, welcome our veterans, invent

 

19

 

our cures…so on and so forth. They are the closest monitors we have to regulate genuine safety
in society. When they speak out, we should listen. When their claims are proven to be true, we
should thank them by ensuring protection from the many forms of retaliation that inevitably
manifest when defending Americans from negative motivations. These “whistleblowers” speak
out because they see harm being done, not because they look forward to risking the future of
their families. Unfortunately, for these brave people, retaliation outweighs thanks received. For
those who speak out in defense of our nation, citizens and employees must have the freedom to
protect society.

 

– http://warismyconcern.wordpress.com

 

Eliminate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so we don’t lose any more soldiers, 35840 points

 

During a time of war, the military has discharged soldiers fluent in Arabic and Farsi because of
their sexuality. Who cares who they fall in love with? Our country needs to be protected.
As many qualified officers have already said: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a failed policy and should be
immediately suspended.

 

– Joshua Coker

 

A New Decentralized Energy Grid, 14920 points

 

We desperately need a new Decentralized Energy Grid (DEG). If implemented intelligently,
(Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded) this grid would:
• Make America safer from Terrorism and Cyber-Terrorism.
• It would put millions of Americans back to work.
• It would encourage local green energy generation that would share the profits between the
utilities and the consumers.
Thank you,
Rob

 

– Rob Beeson

 

Find a Balance Between US Security and Civil Liberties, 15660 points

 

With the reversal of many civil liberties by the Bush administration in the past eight years in the
name of Terrorism, we need to find a balance between protecting our country  without giving
up our cherished rights as American Citizens. I am hoping a balance can be met without giving
agencies carte blanche and no oversight.

 

– Admiralu

 

20

 

Service

 

Word Cloud
National Service Corps, 9350 points

 

We need to expand, or perhaps create anew, Americorps. There needs to be an organized fash-
ion in which the youth of this country are required to serve it. Israeli citizens are required to serve
in the army of their country, and that makes sense for such a small population in their somewhat
precarious position.
We don’t need everyone to serve in the military. But the present feeling in this country that we’re
“entitled” to the best handed to us on a silver platter has GOT TO GO. If every high school gradu-
ate were required to do a year or two of public service – helping in nursing homes or visiting shut
ins, delivering Meals on Wheels, working in the VA hospitals, working on public works projects,
whatever – it would accomplish many thing, but two most important.

 

– Kate E.

 

Create an online E-Library, 8100 points

 

Start a program scanning the library of congress into an online library where it can be accessed
for free.  It would make it so much easier and cheaper for public/ school libraries to offer the
people they serve quality access to knowledge.  Going hand in hand with the plan already in place
to drastically expand broadband lines and invest in 21st century schools, this would do much to
improve American education while making it more cost effective.  It would also save money and

 

21

 

the enviornement by reducing the amount of paper purchased by the government when stocking
multiple libraries with the same books.

 

– Kevin J. Kauth

 

Expand Small Business Innovation Programs, 6550 points

 

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has been providing near-term growth
with long-term benefits for many years now. It is an established yet dynamic program created
and administered by the federal government.  http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sbir/
index.html
Because the program administration and guidelines are already in place, an expansion of the
program could be accomplished almost overnight, perhaps by merely generalizing a previous
Executive Order (for example, 13329).

 

– Next Generation

 

National Service program, 6250 points

 

Develop programs which provide minimal salary (perhaps plus room and board) for high school
graduates (perhaps college) to serve in Health Care, education. National Parks, construction of
low cost housing, weatherization of public buildings.  An apprenticeshp program to give young
graduates enough experience to find out if this is a life career while still making a “basic trainee”
level salary.  Perhaps this program could become mandatory as an alternatvie to military service.

 

– punahou

 

National Service for College Students, 4850 points

 

College students over the summertime are looking for ways to connect themselves to each other
and their country.
Set up a National Program that allows college students to travel and volunteer time in communi-
ties all over our country. Create a resource that allows locals to “host a student” for the summer-
time who is volunteering in the community (much like foreign exchange).
Set it up at the National level to allow students to find opportunities that fit interests and skill-
sets that they have.
Setup geographically appropriate training hubs for people to learn special skills (like the army) to
bring back to their own communities. Foster a sense of generational pride where older kids pass
the torch to younger kids, and where people can meet and form friendships through common
purpose.
Also see my other related idea, “Facebook for National Service”

 

– kong

 

22

 

Technology

 

Word Cloud
Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker, 46890 points

 

Let online poker players in the United States play legally and without fear of prosecution. Reform
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to exempt poker, a game of skill, from the law.
Boost the economy by letting American companies and Ameican players make money and pay
taxes instead of sending online poker businesses offshore. Protect online poker players by regu-
lating the industry to ensure that no one is ever cheated.

 

– AAHue

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