Today, 75 scientists urged President Obama to stop oil and gas companies from using underwater explosions, which can harm whales and other marine mammals.

Because whales depend on sound waves to communicate, feed, mate, and travel, the blasting can disrupt the reproduction and feeding of blue whales and other endangered whales “over vast ocean areas,” the letter says. It expresses special concern for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which only 500 remain.

The blasts also “could have potentially massive impacts on fish populations,” according to the letter. In some countries seismic testing has driven away commercial species, resulting in dramatic drops in catch rates. Studies also show the airguns could kill fish eggs and larvae, interfere with breeding, and make some species more vulnerable to predators.  
“People are rightly concerned about the dangers of offshore oil spills, but seismic blasting is likely to have a terrible impact on Atlantic sea life before the first well is even drilled,” said Michael Jasny, director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project.

The seismic surveys, used by oil companies to locate oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor, were evaluated  last year by the Department of the Interior and would result in more than 20 million seismic “shots” over a multiyear period. “The Interior Department itself has estimated that seismic exploration would disrupt vital marine mammal behavior more than 13 million times,” the letter says.

Read the rest. And help whales by taking action here

Obama's Recovery: For The First Time In 30 Years, Unemployment Fell In EVERY State In 2014

Obama’s Recovery: For The First Time In 30 Years, Unemployment Fell In EVERY State In 2014

While Republicans continue the hackneyed talking point “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?,” President Obama is laughing all the way to the White House because for the first time in 30 years, unemployment fell in every state in 2014. Gee, thanks Obama.

This is something that has not happened since 1984, when Ronald Reagan was president. I’m guessing Reagan didn’t deliver the jobs either,…

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Limbo. That is where many of the beneficiaries of DACA+ and DAPA find themselves. What does not help their case at the moment is the flurry of mixed messaging that is being presented to them. On one hand you have President Obama pledging to hold accountable immigration officials who do not follow the guidelines set forth by the Department of Homeland Security for prosecutorial discretion. On the other hand, you have a voice recording from the ICE ERO Hotline (1-888-351-4024), where the following message is presented:

Until further guidance is given, ICE will not consider the new DAPA and  expanded DACA guidelines as the basis for exercising prosecutorial discretion. ICE will also not use these guidelines to determine whether individuals may request deferred action or to refer individuals to USCIS. The courts — does not enjoin nor impact the DHS Secretary’s overall arrest and removal prioritization of DHS enforcement resources or the existing 2012 DACA policy. ICE will continue to process individuals and respond to inquiries consistent with the enforcement priorities noted in the Secretary’s memorandum, dated on November 20, 2014.

The NY Times first wrote about Obama 25 years ago today

A Google search today for mentions of “Barack Obama” on the New York Times website yields more than 1.2 million results. His name has appeared in countless headlines over the years on stories about his numerous campaigns, speeches or White House adventures. This was not one of them.

The headline really proves how far we’ve come

“Tonight, we celebrate artists whose music and message help shape our culture. And together, we can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls.” —President Obama in a video message at the GRAMMYs.

Take the pledge at ItsOnUs.org

There’s really not much else to say about this one. As part of its own interview series with Barack Obama, BuzzFeed got our commander-in-chief to use a selfie stick (don’t knock it ‘til you try it). You can also watch Obama play imaginary basketball, draw cartoons, and try to eat cookies and milk. (Dear Ezra Klein: All I’m saying is, I’m just a little disappointed.)

And now a list of actual pull quotes:

  • "Thanks, Obama." — Obama
  • "Can I live?" — Obama
  • "YOLO, man." — Obama
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Today, President Obama announced three new national monuments, including the gorgeous Browns Canyon National Monument pictured here. Located in Colorado, Browns Canyon will protect a stunning section of Colorado’s upper Arkansas River Valley, which features rugged granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and mountain vistas that are home to a diversity of plants and wildlife. It is also one of the most popular whitewater desinations in the U.S.

The other new national monuments are Pullman National Monument in Illinois — a location iconic for its history of labor unrest and civil rights advances — and Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii — the site of an internment camp where Japanese American citizens, resident immigrants and prisoners of war were held captive during World War II. Since taking office, President Obama has protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters — more than any other President — helping to ensure that our public lands preserve all of America’s history. #FindYourPark

Photos of Browns Canyon by Bob Wick, BLM (mypubliclands).