The good, the bad, and the ugly responses to Obama's new environmental initiative
True
League of Conservation Voters

Obama just crossed another thing off his Rhymes-With-Bucket List.

On Aug. 3, 2015, just one month before his historic trip to Alaska, President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32% in 15 years. This eco-friendly initiative aims to position the United States as a world leader in environmental economics by regulating pollution-heavy industries like coal and incentivizing sustainable energy sources.

Cause for celebration, right? Well, reactions in the Wild West of the Twittersphere have run the gamut. From the good ... to the bad ... to the downright ugly. Here's a recap:


THE GOOD

The Clean Power Plan promises to create tens of thousands of new jobs. But it's not just lip service — studies have shown that clean energy gives rise to more robust economies. Hooray for economics!

It's shaping up to be especially beneficial for low-income and minority communities. Go team!

Politicians, scientists, and other experts working together toward a common goal? What a novel concept!

I'm just including this one for POTUS lookin' suave.

And there it is, all summed up in one easy image!

THE BAD (AND THE UGLY)

Look, as someone with a bit of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, I get the whole "You can't tell me what to do!" attitude. But I'm willing to let it slide when it comes to, you know, the future of the entire planet.

Um, whaat? This is called a false equivalence, and like all logical fallacies, it's, well, not logical.

This is one of the more civil criticisms of President Obama that I've seen on Twitter. Take that as you will.

Yes. Yes, we have heard that before, and it turned out to be the truth (barring a few rare exceptions).

Hi, can we please start putting our collective health and future ahead of individual gain? K thanks.

A few loud detractors can't change the fact that we're headed toward a brighter, cleaner future.

It's only fair to acknowledge that the Clean Power Plan is not 100% perfect. But few things ever are (especially in politics). If we waited any longer to take action — if the country continued to get bogged down in bureaucratic details — it might be too late for us to make a difference. And judging by the overwhelmingly positive responses to the plan, it's clear that most of us were eager for something like this to happen.

But many of us are eager for more.


If we want a sustainable future, we all have to do our part. You can start by telling President Obama to stop Shell from drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Because green initiatives can do a lot, but they can't fix an oversight like this.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less