Saturday, April 19 2014

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350.org and Bill McKibben Reacts to Recent Keystone XL Delay

350.org co-founder Bill McKibben issued the following response to the news that the State Department and Obama Adminsitration will be delaying a decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline:

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Drunken Trees: Dramatic Signs of Climate Change in Alaska
Full story: National Geographic

Texas Hospital Discriminates Against Physicians Providing Abortion Services

Two Texas physicians filed a lawsuit today against University General Hospital Dallas (UGHD) after their admitting privileges were arbitrarily and unexpectedly revoked—privileges they were forced to obtain due to HB2, the sweeping unconstitutional Texas state law currently being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights and other advocates on behalf of women's health care providers in the state.

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Scientific Review of Shale and Tight Gas Development (Fracking) Reveals Public Health Hazards and Gaps

Researchers from the scientific organization PSE (Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy), the University of California, Berkeley and Weill Cornell Medical College conducted the first systematic literature review of public health effects and routes of exposure of contaminants associated with shale and tight gas development (i.e., fracking). The research shows that many of the studies reviewed identified associations between the development of shale and tight gas and elevated levels of toxic compounds in the environment. The researchers note that while the scientific literature on this modern type of natural gas development has grown recently, more epidemiological studies are needed to investigate public health impacts.

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How to piss away $175 K of water: Portland Water Bureau drains 38 million gallons of drinking water after man caught urinating into reservoir
Full story: KGW

Vanishing Pearls: How BP turned a whole community into an endangered species
Full story: Grist.org

DeFazio tours abandoned mine in preparation for legislation to reform 1872 Mining Act
Full story: Ventura County Star

Terror From the Right: Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City

At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, a 7,000-pound truck bomb, constructed of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and nitromethane racing fuel and packed into 13 plastic barrels, ripped through the heart of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion wrecked much of downtown Oklahoma City and killed 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center. Another 500 were injured. Although many Americans initially suspected an attack by Middle Eastern radicals, it quickly became clear that the mass murder had actually been carried out by domestic, right-wing terrorists.

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Endocrine Disrupters Not Just in Plastics--They Are Also in US Meat

It is no secret that our bodies and environment are swimming in estrogen. Puberty is occurring as early as eight-years-old in children and recently babies in China developed breasts. Frogs and fish are becoming "intersex" and losing their male characteristics from excreted estrogens in the environment and waterways. In England, the Daily Mail ran a feature on the phenomenon of women's bra cup sizes increasing independent of their weights, likely because of environmental and livestock chemicals. The website Green Prophet, speculated that women in the Middle East are not yet experiencing cup inflation because their environments have not become similarly estrogenized.

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Vermont Makes Huge Advance for your "Right to Know"

The Vermont Senate today voted 28-2 to approve legislation that would require foods produced using genetic engineering (GE) to be labeled in Vermont. Minor changes made by the Senate must still be approved by the state House, which previously approved the measure (107-37). Pending the governor's signature, the law would take effect July 1, 2016.

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Death From Above: How American drone strikes are devastating Yemen
Full story: Rolling Stone

Opposition to Seismic Airguns Mounts, Local Officials Call on President Obama to Stand Up to Big Oil

Today, Oceana announced that 110 local elected officials and 155 conservation and animal welfare organizations have joined the mounting opposition against seismic airgun use along the East Coast. Six coastal towns have also passed local resolutions opposing their use (Cocoa Beach, FL, Carolina Beach, NC, Caswell Beach, NC, Nags Head, NC, Bradley Beach, NJ and Red Bank, NJ.) Oceana expects more local officials to join the stand against Big Oil in the coming weeks.

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Can White People Be Terrorists?

A former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who founded his own militant racist group was arrested for shooting and killing three people at two Kansas City-area Jewish community centers on April 13. When he founded the White Patriot Party in 1980, Frazier Glenn Miller said its goal was "the creation of an all-white nation within the 1 million square miles of mother Dixie" ("White Patriot Party," Terrorism Knowledge Base).

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Report: Voluntary Corporate Political Spending Disclosure Does Not Work

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today released "The Myth of Corporate Disclosure Exposed," a new report exposing the failure of major corporations to keep their promises on political spending disclosure. CREW compared political spending reports from 60 companies to contributions disclosed on tax forms filed by section 527 political organizations such as the Democratic and Republican governors' associations and found significant discrepancies for more than one-third of the companies.

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Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Taxpayer $1,259 a Year, Small Businesses $3,923

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it's a good time to be reminded that ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for special interest loopholes in our tax laws. A new U.S. PIRG report released today revealed that the average American taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,259 in state and federal taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

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Federal Court Declares OH Ban on Recognizing Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Unconstitutional

Today, in a strongly worded ruling, a federal court in Ohio declared Ohio's ban on recognizing out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples unconstitutional in all respects. The opinion further extends "heightened scrutiny" - a high level of judicial review - to its review of the harms suffered by the children of same-sex parents when they are denied birth certificates listing both parents, and finds that the State of Ohio has no justification to discriminate against them in this way. The Court also held that the state violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution by denying recognition to out-of-state adoption decrees and by refusing to amend the birth certificates of Ohio-born children.

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Dozens of Monkeys Died at Charleston Laboratory; Whistleblower Provided Proof and Grisly Photographs

A whistleblower from inside a major provider of monkeys for U.S. research laboratories has made available grisly photographs and other proof of the horrific deaths of dozens of monkeys at Alpha Genesis, Inc. located near here, according to a national animal research watchdog.

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Accusation of FBI spying stalls 9/11 hearing
Full story: Miami Herald

Frazier Glenn Miller, Longtime Anti-Semite, Arrested in Kansas Jewish Community Center Murders

Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, of Aurora, Mo., was arrested today for the murder of three people at two separate Jewish Community Centers in Overland Park, Kan. Miller, who was arrested using the alias Frazier Glenn Cross, has been in the movement nearly his entire life. Miller is the former "grand dragon" of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which he founded and ran in the 1980s before being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against African Americans.

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Report Shows E-Cigarette Marketing Campaigns Lighting Up Among Young Users

Eleven Democratic lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives today released a report that shows a dramatic recent increase in the marketing of electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes – with extensive resources being dedicated to social media, sponsorship of youth-oriented events, and television and radio advertisements that reach substantial youth audiences. The report, "Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth," is the first comprehensive investigation of e-cigarette marketing tactics and was compiled using responses from eight e-cigarette manufacturers received by the lawmakers from their investigation into the industry and other publicly available information.

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Scientists, Farmers and Educators Ask the President and Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to Jump Start Recovery of Monarch Butterflies

In a letter delivered to the White House on Monday, leading monarch scientists, farmers, and educators asked President Obama and the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to direct five federal agencies, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Farm Service Agency and Bureau of Land Management, to establish a monarch butterfly recovery initiative to restore habitat for this species on both public and private lands.

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DC's Sewage Green Scam will Keep Potomac Watershed Filthy

The District of Columbia's new plan for preventing combined sewage overflows into the Potomac avoids taking steps needed to cure the problem, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, millions of gallons of sewage and dirty storm water will continue to be discharged into the Potomac River and Rock Creek, exposing District residents to harmful microbial pathogens, such as fecal coliform, E. coli, enterococci, giardia, and shigella.

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Epidemic That Has Killed Millions of Bats Across Eastern U.S. Has Now Reached Wisconsin, Michigan

The devastating bat-killing disease that has already killed more than 7 million bats across the East has spread to Wisconsin and Michigan, state wildlife officials announced this week. During routine surveys of bat hibernating areas late this winter, biologists discovered signs of the malady known as white-nose syndrome that was first documented in upstate New York in 2006. Subsequent lab testing confirmed the presence of the disease in the two upper Midwest states, bringing to 25 the total number of states where the disease is present. White-nose syndrome has also spread to five Canadian provinces.

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'Redskins' Team mascot hurtful reminder of past suffering of Native Americans – UN rights expert

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, today called on the owners of the Washington Redskins Football team, to consider "the hurtful reminder that the term 'redskins' represents of the long history of mistreatment of Native American people in the United States."

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Rep. Waxman Statement on the Resignation of Secretary Sebelius

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Secretary Sebelius for her remarkable tenure leading the Department of Health and Human Services. After nearly one hundred years of struggle, the Secretary was essential in making comprehensive health care reform a reality for the American people.

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Brennan Center Urges Congress to Pass Democracy Restoration Act

Today, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced the Democracy Restoration Act, which would restore voting rights in federal elections to nearly 4.4 million Americans citizens with criminal convictions in their past.

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Secure Communities and ICE Deportation: A Failed Program?

Secure Communities, a massive government surveillance program launched in 2008 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has failed to increase the removal of its primary announced targets: noncitizens who have committed crimes other than minor violations. According to a new examination of detailed agency records by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, the number of such individuals deported by ICE has actually declined over the last four years.

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American Rivers announces America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2014

American Rivers today announced its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers®, naming California's San Joaquin River the Most Endangered River in the country. Outdated water management and excessive diversions, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a breaking point.

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U.S. House Flunks 'Report Card' on Church-State Issues

The Secular Coalition for America today released its 2013 Congressional Report Cards for the U.S. House and Senate. A majority of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives earned failing grades, but a majority of U.S. Senators earned a grade of "B" or above.

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House Majority Aims to Dismantle Endangered Species Act with Piecemeal Approach

Today the House Natural Resources Committee begins the latest chapter in their ongoing war to undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA), our nation's premier safety net for plants, fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, with a legislative hearing on four bills. Each of these bills is consistent with the anti-environmental report and series of anti-conservation recommendations Representative Doc Hastings and his self-appointed, partisan "ESA Working Group" issued earlier this year, which outlines an aggressive and hostile legislative strategy to weaken or even eliminate protections for imperiled wildlife.

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