Pam's Points: Let's talk about priorities - Earth, politics and jobs

Pam's Points: Let's talk about priorities - Earth, politics and jobs

August 5th, 2019 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

In this image taken on Thursday Aug.1, 2019, melt water flows into the fjord near Kangerlussaq in western Greenland. The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island's ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic. (Photo via Caspar Haarløv, Into the Ice via AP)

Photo by Caspar Haarløv

In this June 28, 2019 photo, sand and sediment spreads into the water north of Sermilik Fjord in Greenland. As climate change melts Greenland's ice, the coast is now awash in sand rather than ice. (Ben C. Solomon/The New York Times)

In this June 28, 2019 photo, sand and...


Yes, Earth is in the balance

The Greenland ice sheets poured 11 billion tons of melt water into the North Atlantic in just one day — Wednesday. And 197 billion tons of water July alone, according to CBS News. Wednesday's melt was the biggest melt day since at least 2012.

Scientists said Europe's historic heat wave had moved to Greenland. Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, told CBS that the July total was about 36 percent more than scientists expect in an average year.

Meanwhile, there is still one month left in the melt season, and the warm air mass is still lingering over much of Greenland, she said.

There's more. July may have been the hottest month in recorded history, according to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. "We have always lived through hot summers. But this is not the summer of our youth. This is not your grandfather's summer," he told CBS on Thursday.


The GOP vs the Trump Party

This should scare the socks off of America's Republicans: The lone black Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives announced last week that he will not run for re-election next year.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, 41, made his announcement in the midst of President Trump escalating his attacks on Baltimore, its representative Elijah Cummings and four other Democratic freshmen, women and minorities he said should "go back" to the countries they came from. (Spoiler alert: They're all Americans.)

So much for the Republicans' "big tent." This increasingly whites-only and boys-only club is now the Trump Party.

Hurd was one of four House Republicans to vote last month for the resolution to condemn Trump's racist statements about four liberal women he serves alongside.

Now pundits say there's a good chance that none of the four GOP dissidents who joined Democrats in the condemnation will remain in Congress come 2021. Susan Brooks of Indiana also has announced her retirement. There's speculation that Fred Upton may follow in Michigan, according to the Washington Post. And Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania is said to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

Brooks, the recruitment chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, is one of only 13 female Republicans in the House. Another GOP woman, Martha Roby of Alabama, announced her retirement just over a week ago.

And of the 250 total Republicans in Congress, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is now poised to be the only African American Republican left.

Hurd has been trying to sound a warning, but GOP leaders are afraid of crossing Trump.

According to the Washington Blade, Hurd told a June Pride Month audience: "If you're at the age of 40 in most places across this country, you have to whisper that you're a Republican. ... This is a party that is shrinking. The party is not growing in some of the largest growing parts of our country. Why is that? ... It's real simple. ... Don't be a racist. Don't be a misogynist. Don't be a homophobe. These are real basic things that we all should learn when we were in kindergarten. But, unfortunately, there's too many people that don't follow those things."

But it's not just racism and the other 'isms' that motivated Hurd. As a former CIA officer, he also has been urging his party to take the threat of Russian election interference more seriously, according to the Post. In questioning former special counsel Bob Mueller last week during the House Intelligence Committee hearing, he focused on the Kremlin's efforts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election. Last year, he spoke out about Trump's buddy-buddy appearance with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Maybe the tide is turning.


It's the economy, stupid

Tariffs are threatening our so-called "great economy."

Labor numbers show hiring slowed modestly in July as construction and warehouse companies didn't add many workers.

While the 164,000 jobs added last month still marks the 106th straight month of job gains, the gains are not what we think of as good jobs.

"Nearly all the job gains are coming from the service sector, not blue-collar jobs, a notable change from last year that could be a sign Trump's trade war is starting to bite certain industries," according to The Washington Post. "Manufacturing employment has been weak as the industry endures tariffs and slowing purchases from abroad. Construction and warehousing had anemic hiring in July, and employment in the primary metals, including steel and aluminum, declined."

Health care and business saw gains, the Post reported.

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