April 18, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Guest Observer Archive

How Strategic Planning Is Paying Off and Strengthening North Texas | Commentary

While the country as a whole has been paralyzed from years of slow economic growth, Fort Worth and Dallas havenít let that blur their visions for their own futures.

Congress Should Extend the Production Tax Credit, Develop a Long-Term Alternative | Commentary

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee addressed several expiring tax provisions, including the production tax credit for wind energy. Although this provision has been extended multiple times with broad bipartisan support since 1992, it is one of several energy policies that have become unnecessarily politicized.

Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse | Commentary

This year, food security is set to suffer another big setback, and the culprit could not be cuter: honeybees. Last winter, Americaís beekeeping industry lost nearly half of all its bee colonies. And the numbers keep falling. Last summer, in the largest bee kill on record, more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Oregon as a direct result of exposure to an insecticide applied to trees for cosmetic purposes.

An Up(Hill) Climb for Women on Congressional Staffs | Commentary

As political pundits and campaigns ramp up for the 2014 midterm elections, the media is focusing again on the female vote and female candidates. There is good reason for the attention on women. The 2012 elections brought more women than ever before into the halls of Congress. Even at a relatively paltry 18 percent, female participation is now at record-breaking levels for Congress. In 2012, exit poll results showed that women accounted for 53 percent of voters, showing that the female vote is a key determinant for winning an election in America today.

Exploiting Our Daughters: Fighting Sex Trafficking | Commentary

The stories sound too horrible to be true. One woman tells of the boyfriend she loved forcing her to perform sex acts on strangers to pay for the rent. Another young girl says she was kept in abandoned warehouses and was shipped with dozens of other women in the back of trucks like cattle. News reports detail the story of a teenage girl who had her pimpís initials forcibly tattooed on her eyelids to show that she was his property. Sadly, the personal accounts of sex trafficking are as common as they are horrific.

A Warning to Congress: Renewal of Wind Energy Subsidies Will Lead to a Big Boost in Carbon Emissions | Commentary

The wind industry may be feeling butterflies as the sectorís Production Tax Credit (PTC) is up for renewal again. But Washingtonís usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time round because of a new twist: experts are warning a renewal will lead to increased carbon emissions.

All Aboard the Music Bus | Commentary

Harmony. Unity. Parity.

Why Budget Politics Matter | Commentary

Early this month, President Barack Obama released his fiscal 2015 budget blueprint ó a document that would look familiar to anyone who has reviewed the budgets of preceding years. The document ó and the administration ó takes the position that we need to address and resolve the challenges of our tax code. What are needed now are substantive steps to make tax reform a reality. Political talking points need to be transformed into meaningful reforms.

Japan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: All In, or Out?

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will give congressional lawmakers an update on the Obama administrationís trade agenda Thursday, including its efforts to close out Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. While that agreement is expected to be concluded in the coming months, U.S. agricultural groups are concerned that it may fall short of the comprehensive deal they had hoped for.

Full Employment Requires Job Growth in Manufacturing, Reduction in Trade Deficit | Commentary

Though job growth over the past six months has averaged about 175,000 new jobs per month, economists agree that number isnít where it should be. Full employment, in which nearly everyone willing and able to work has the chance to do so, remains elusive.

The US-China Relationship Begins With Our Young People | Commentary

First Lady Michelle Obama recently traveled to China to promote educational exchange, and she called on young Americans ó from every background, every walk of life ó to study in China, learn Mandarin and forge friendships that will deepen cross-cultural understanding. Her message: Understanding China is a critical skill, one that all Americans must gain in order to compete, collaborate and succeed in the 21st century.

Barra Can't Blame 'Old GM' for Today's Problems | Commentary

Why did General Motors wait a full decade to recall more than 1.6 million vehicles that have been connected to 31 deaths and dozens of injuries?

Crafting the Taiwan Relations Act | Commentary

For 35 years, the Taiwan Relations Act has provided a vehicle for peace in the Pacific and a means of maintaining a direct relationship with the more than 23 million Taiwanese people who are one of our most important allies and trading partners.

It's Time to Address the Public Health Threat of Chronic Kidney Disease | Commentary

Chronic kidney disease came as a surprise to Nancy Vice of Warminster, Pa. Severe, unexplained back pain at age 27 sent her to the hospital, where she received her diagnosis and learned she would immediately have to begin dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. Her mother donated a kidney, and Nancy had five years of good health until the transplant failed. For the past 17 years, she has relied on dialysis to survive.

Filling Gaps in the Fight Against Nuclear Terror | Commentary

A little past midnight at a gas station in Mexico a man approached a car, forced the driver and passenger out at gunpoint and bound them in an empty parking lot before driving off. In the carjacked vehicle was Cobalt-60, a highly radioactive material that could be used to make a dirty bomb. The radioactive cargo disappeared for two days before eventually being recovered.

Free the Brews! | Commentary

There are 1.2 million home brewers across the county producing more than 2 million barrels of beer each year. Young Americans love craft beer, and brewing new options to satisfy our sophisticated palates has become an exciting business for young entrepreneurs.

When We Sideline Science, Our Democracy Suffers | Commentary

Is the House Science Committee sidelining science? Based on a new, comprehensive look at the witnesses who have appeared before the committee in the past 12 years, it seems so.

Is There Anything Bipartisan in the Attempts to Improve Obamacare? | Commentary

Republicans, at long last, are coalescing around a broad Obamacare replacement plan, set to be released by House leadership later this month. While Republicans will undoubtedly use it to pummel vulnerable Democrats in November, the $1.4 trillion question is really what happens after November.

Keystone XL Is a Pipeline for Imbalanced Energy Policy Decisions

The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline is about more than clean energy. The scientific documents being used to support it are riddled with corporate conflicts of interest. The business case has never been strong. Officers at the State Department ó on the job since before Secretary John Kerryís tenure ó greased the skids for the pipeline despite being paid to render impartial judgment. Every aspect of the project, from business to science to politics, truly stinks.

Natural Gas Exports Can Help America and Our Allies

I recently visited Ukraine to speak directly with leaders in the region. We talked about ways the United States could support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They stressed the role energy policy plays in this crisis.

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