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16 Feb 2012 19:11


Culture: Study: Common sweetener in organic food tied to high arsenic levels

  • the research Extremely high levels of arsenic have been found in food products such as infant formulas, organic cereal bars and energy shot drinks. These are foods that use organic brown rice syrup (a common substitute for high fructose corn syrup) as a sweetener and main ingredient. The impact of such concentrated levels of arsenic might cause more damage to babies than scientists realize.
  • the damage Arsenic has been known to cause cancer, chronic diseases and developmental defects. According to the article, “one of the infant formulas tested contained twice the inorganic arsenic allowed in drinking water … one cereal bar contained 12 times the legal limit for drinking water.” Research has been done for arsenic levels in drinking water, but little is known about levels found in food. source

29 Aug 2011 17:42


Politics: House Republicans plot major deregulatory push

  • Deregulation = jobs: A memo obtained by ShortFormBlog contains details of an upcoming Republican effort to push massive deregulatory legislation through the House of Representatives, in hopes of unshackling “costly bureaucratic handcuffs” faced by businesses. The letter, sent today by Eric Cantor to the House Republican caucus, details the “Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations,” and how Republicans plan to address them. “By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations,” Cantor wrote, “we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers.” Some key proposals:
  • Weakened emission limits  The TRAIN (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation) Act, along with the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, would delay implementation of EPA standards intended to limit air pollution.
  • Limiting union power The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act would limit the National Labor Relations Board’s power, rescinding its ability to influence relocation of manufacturing plants.
  • Farm dust for all The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act would, as expected, restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate farm dust, allowing it to do so only within state and local regulations. source
  • » In keeping with Republican orthodoxy, Cantor also proposes to two tax cuts (one for government contractors, another for small businesses), and the repeal of unspecified provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What do you all think of Cantor’s plan? Read the whole thing at the link. (AP Photo)

08 Apr 2011 20:28


U.S.: Government shutdown deal: National Journal says we’re closer

  • Here’s what the National Journal says is happening: It looks like the latest numbers on Obama’s desk are a lot closer and show actual compromise. WIll it be enough to prevent a government shutdown? Well, we’ll see. The deal the National Journal has suggests a temporary extension to get through the weekend while details are hashed out at the beginning of the week. “While leadership staff insist there is no deal yet,” they write, “that caution belies significant progress in narrowing long-standing differences and the widening assumption in both parties that a shutdown will be averted and all that remains unknown is the precise procedural steps that will walk everyone back from the abyss.” Here are some quick hard numbers from their report:
  • $39B the size of the planned standard budget cuts from fiscal 2010
  • $550B the size of the defense budget through the end of 2011
  • nothe cuts to the EPA and Planned Parenthood aren’t in the deal source

16 Mar 2011 14:56


Politics: GOP-led committee may scuttle California’s emissions standards

  • cause The big shift from a Democratic House to a Republican one doesn’t simply mean a vote-count edge; it also means Republicans gain control of the various House committees and subcommittees. For example: the Energy and Commerce Committee, helmed by Rep. Fred Upton.
  • effect The aforementioned committee approved a bill for the House’s consideration that would bar the EPA from enforcing automobile emissions standards in California. Said Rep. Joe Barton: “We should not put the U.S. economy in a straight jacket because of a theory that hasn’t been proven.” source

02 Feb 2011 13:30


U.S.: EPA seeks new regulatory limits on perchlorate in drinking water

  • 26 states had the toxic rocket fuel chemical in their tap water source

31 Aug 2010 14:07


Biz: Our cars are squeaking by when it comes to Fuel Efficiency 101

  • 59 mpgThe fuel efficiency required for a vehicle to receive an A+ rating under the EPA’s new vehicle-grading proposal.
  • B-The average grade that a car currently on the highway would receive; most SUVs would get a C+ or lower. source

24 May 2010 10:43


Biz, U.S.: Oil spill: Is Obama’s oil-drilling ban actually getting followed?

  • seven new offshore drilling projects have been given the go-ahead since Obama banned new drilling projects
  • five projects have gotten environmental waivers like the controversial one that leaky oil rig got source
  • » Oh, and also: There were even more approvals and waivers approved in the period between the April 20th blast that caused the spill and when the Obama administration announced the changes. Oh boy. That doesn’t look good.

07 Dec 2009 10:37


U.S.: The EPA calls a spade a spade, says greenhouse gases a danger

  • This is a big deal, guys. The Obama administration now has a new tool to cut down on greenhouse gases. It’s the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA now will formally say that greenhouse gases are a danger to human health – something which will give them the right to do something even if Congress doesn’t act on regulating carbon emissions. Good timing, too, what with that whole Copenhagen emissions summit thingy starting up today. source

26 Aug 2009 10:50


Biz, U.S.: A giant business lobby wants a Scopes trial for global warming

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Full of jerks who hate science. When millions of businesses band together under one massive umbrella to fend off scientific theories with lots of evidence, expect people like us to take notice. The massive business lobby, trying to avoid tightened emissions regulations, wants to have the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a trial on man-made global warming. We hope, just like the Scopes trial, it’s a circus. source

03 Mar 2009 21:22


U.S.: Obama flips the Bush endangered species policy like THAT!

  • He just let the experts back into the room. Barack Obama, while celebrating the 160th anniversary of the Interior Department, announced that he was changing a Bush environmental policy finalized in December. The policy allowed federal agencies to decide if projects would endanger species – a major tenet of the Environmental Protection Act – without consulting the experts. Obama, in an announcement, gracefully reversed that policy. This is why Michelle is taken, Jack Cafferty! source