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Midday open thread: Obama climate policy done with ‘thousand small hammers’; 2016 economic charts

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is Ode to the Pundits:

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Donald Trump’s candidacy made it a good year for cable news networks:

All three major cable news networks had their largest audiences ever, thanks to the drawing power of the nonstop surprises of the 2016 White House campaign that culminated with the election of Donald Trump.

Year-end numbers from Nielsen showed that the 21st Century Fox-owned Fox News Channel was the most-watched network in all of cable with an average of 2.43 million viewers in prime time, up 36% over last year. Only the four major broadcast networks had a larger audience.

Both Fox News competitors finished in the top 10 among ad-supported networks, with Time Warner’s CNN averaging 1.29 million viewers, up 77%, and NBCUniversal’s MSNBC seeing an 88% gain with 1.1 million viewers.

Obama in his second term used a “thousand small hammers” to shape climate policy: “The first term was essentially lost territory,” says a critic, but the second term was another story. Of the focus on smaller actions, David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at University of California, San Diego, said: “Frankly, I think that’s probably pretty good news, because there’s going to be such an effort to roll it back. Having dozens of things, not all of which are going to be rolled back, is better than having one or two prime targets.” As for the largest item—the Clean Power Plan—that right now awaits court action. 

Member of Mormon Tabernacle Choir resigns rather than perform at inaugural

Since ‘the announcement,’ I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul,” Jan Chamberlin wrote in a resignation letter to the choir president and choir members. “I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in choir for all the other good reasons. I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.

But she could not do it, Chamberlin said in the letter, she later posted on Facebook. “I could never look myself in the mirror again with self-respect.”

The Economic Policy Institute has 13 year-end charts that “show the difference between the economy we have now and the economy we could have”:

The root cause of the extraordinary rise in inequality and the near-stagnant growth of wages for typical workers over most of the past generation is the pay-productivity gap. Before the late 1970s, wages of the vast majority of workers grew in line with productivity. In the late 1970s, typical worker pay growth split from economy-wide productivity growth. Productivity is a measure of how much income is generated in an average hour of work in the economy. While productivity after 1979 grew more slowly relative to previous decades, it did grow steadily, offering the potential for broad-based wage gains. But income gains were not broad-based. 

Here’s Chart No. 3:

Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation chairman George Gillette cries in signing of forced sale in 1948 of the tribe
Tribal Chairman George Gillette, second from left, breaks into tears during the 1948 in signing ceremony that forced his people in North Dakota to give up 156,000 of land for a dam. “With a few scratches of the pen, we will sell the best part of our reservation.” he said. “Right now the future doesn’t look too good to us.”

Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation recover some land the government took for a dam impound in 1940-50s: The federal government flooded 156,000 acres of the tribe’s reservation in North Dakota. About 80 percent of the tribal membership, more than 300 families, were forced to move so the Garrison Dam could be built on the Missouri River. The best parts of the reservation were lost in this forced sale. Tribal Chairman George Gillette can be seen crying in this photo of the 1948 signing of the coerced “agreement.” The displacement exacerbated loss of language and culture and caused a decline in health when the community hospital was shuttered and not replaced until 2011, more than 60 years later. Now, the Obama administration plans to return 25,000 acres around Lake Sakakawea.

Researchers calculate how much porn is on Tumbler and Flickr.

Some of the best environmental reporting of 2016, according to Grist.

 More U.S. workers have highly volatile, unstable incomes:

The U.S stock market may be at record highs and U.S. unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession, but income inequality remains stubbornly high.

Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable schedules—without full-time, steady employment. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent. More Americans than before are part of what’s considered the contingent workforce, working on-call or on-demand, and as independent contractors or self-employed freelancers, often with earnings that vary dramatically month to month.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: #GunFAIL news. Russia sanctions. Anti-China rhetoric aside, Trump’s after a deal there. For himself, naturally. Trump Tower’s own “prosperity gospel” preacher to pray at inauguration. Brian Munroe notes the politics of health care are different in Canada.

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