From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/11/atrazine-cancer-epa
By Tom Philpott
Mon Nov. 7, 2011
The EPA, which regulates pesticide use, has been operating under the assumption that the chemical is “not likely to be a human carcinogen.” But in 2009, the agency launched what it called a “comprehensive new evaluation of the pesticide atrazine to determine its effects on humans.” As part of the process, it charged a panel made up of independent scientists and public health experts to “evaluate the pesticide’s potential cancer and non-cancer effects.”
Last week, the EPA released the minutes of the panel’s final meeting, which took place July 26-28. Its conclusions were stark. The panel criticized the EPA for lumping all forms of cancer together in its atrazine assessment, noting that “it would be useful and appropriate to make conclusions for individual cancers as opposed to making a blanket determination for cancer in general.” It then gave a list of cancers for which there is “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential”: ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia, and thyroid cancer. For other cancers—prostate cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancers, and childhood cancers—the panel found that “there is inadequate evidence” to determine whether or not atrazine is a cause.
At another point in the minutes, the panel pointed to “strong” epidemiological evidence linking atrazine to thyroid cancer, and “suggestive” evidence linking it to ovarian cancer. “Many on the Panel believed that the epidemiology data failed to provide compelling evidence that atrazine is not carcinogenic,” the minutes stated.
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/11/atrazine-cancer-epa
By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND | Sat Nov 5, 2011
(Reuters) – Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that makes it more difficult for minors to obtain permission for an abortion.
Ohio law already requires either parental permission or court order for any woman under 18 to legally obtain an abortion.
The new law signed late on Friday would require a judge to, “hear evidence relating to the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding of the minor.” Judges will also have to ask if the minor understands the consequences and alternatives to the abortion.
The law has already come under fire from Ohio abortion rights groups, chiding the governor for signing the bill late on Friday so it might go unnoticed.
“This bill ignores the fact that there are circumstances, such as a violent home, where telling her parents is not a safe option for some minor women,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in a statement.
Complete article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/05/us-abortion-ohio-idUSTRE7A41KE20111105
I think it is time for all nations to end this medieval bowing to arcane superstition.
I hereby suggest one austerity measure I could really get behind for this country. I suggest the US follow the Irish and close their Vatican embassy.
After all times are tough and you know we have to trim the fat from our budget and all.
Perhaps we could privatize the embassy and sell it to the Koch brothers or perhaps Exxon. If there are no takers perhaps we could rent it to the rich and famous as a honeymoon getaway, there by realizing a return on all the money we wasted on it.
Either way it is time to get meddlesome sectarian factions wanting to impose their religious beliefs upon others, no matter what their sect. That means no Sharia of any sort Christian or Muslim should be permitted in the US.
No more privileging of superstition based ideologies with special treatment.
End Frivolous Government Spending on waste such as the Vatican Embassy.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/ireland-closure-vatican-embassy-catholic
Cardinal Sean Brady expressed his “profound disappointment” over the move, which comes after diplomatic clashes this year between the Fine Gael-Labour coalition and the Holy See over the Vatican’s handling of the clerical child sex abuse scandals in Ireland.
“This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries,” the cardinal said on Friday.
The Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, said the decision followed a review of overseas missions which gave “particular attention to the economic return from bilateral missions”.
Gilmore said the government had also decided to close Ireland’s embassies to Iran as well as its representative office in Timor-Leste He said the coalition was obliged to implement cuts to meet targets set out in the EU/IMF rescue programme for the Irish economy.
The foreign minister pointed out that the closure of the three embassies would save about €1.25m (£1.1m) a year. He said that while the embassy to the Holy See was one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yielded no economic return, and that Ireland’s interests could be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador. The administration will be seeking the agreement of the Holy See to the appointment of a senior diplomat to this position, he added.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/ireland-closure-vatican-embassy-catholic
Several thousand protesters, some shouldering a long black inflatable replica of a pipeline, formed a human chain around the White House on Sunday to try to convince Barack Obama to block the controversial Keystone XL project.
The protest, which had been weeks in the making, had been intended to put pressure on Obama to stop the pipeline, which would transport crude from the Alberta tar sands across the American heartland.
Organiser Bill McKibben described it as subjecting Obama to symbolic house arrest.
“That is the second biggest pool of carbon on the planet. If the US government goes ahead and makes it easier to develop that oil-sands project, then there is no credible way to insist that they’re working hard on climate change,” McKibben told the crowd.
Not that Obama was there to notice. As protesters gathered opposite the White House he took advantage of a glorious autumn day to go golfing, returning just as the protest was winding down.
A number of protesters carried blue signs quoting Obama’s 2008 campaign promises to act on climate change. Others borrowed his election slogan, chanting: “yes we can, stop the pipeline.”
Organisers initially claimed a turnout of 6,000, later doubling the number to 12,000. They included the actor Mark Ruffalo, climate scientist James Hansen, and the Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams.
by Greg Palast
November 6, 2011
Here’s what we’re told:
Greece’s economy blew apart because a bunch of olive-spitting, ouzo-guzzling, lazy-ass Greeks refuse to put in a full day’s work, retire while they’re still teenagers, pocket pensions fit for a pasha; and they’ve gone on a social-services spending spree using borrowed money. Now that the bill has come due and the Greeks have to pay with higher taxes and cuts in their big fat welfare state, they run riot, screaming in the streets, busting windows and burning banks.
I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it because of the document in my hand marked, “RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION.”
I’ll cut to the indictment: Greece is a crime scene. The people are victims of a fraud, a scam, a hustle and a flim-flam. And––cover the children’s ears when I say this––a bank named Goldman Sachs is holding the smoking gun.
In 2002, Goldman Sachs secretly bought up €2.3 billion in Greek government debt, converted it all into yen and dollars, then immediately sold it back to Greece.
Goldman took a huge loss on the trade.
Is Goldman that stupid?
Goldman is stupid—like a fox. The deal was a con, with Goldman making up a phony-baloney exchange rate for the transaction. Why?
From The Christian Post: http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-explains-why-women-shouldnt-lead-men-59818/
By Anugrah Kumar
October 30, 2011
John Piper, author of What’s the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible, explained why men, and not women, should be the leaders in their homes and the church.
“The Bible really cares about the dynamic between men and women. It has nothing to do with a woman’s incompetency,” Piper said during a 40-minute Q&A session at a recent seminar, “Let the Nations Be Glad!” organized by the Desiring God ministry.
“A man’s headship in the home is not based on his being superiorly competency,” said Piper, the pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., as he responded to the question of what’s the place of women in missions.
Men are not superior, Piper said. “She is more competent than you [men] in most ways.” He said a wife could be smarter, more read, and know her Bible better than her husband. “This has to do with God’s created dynamic of what a man is and what a woman is in their gut with regard to the ballet of leadership and submission.”
Piper explained when he says the Bible calls godly men to be the leaders in their homes and the leaders and elders in the church, “I don’t mean that with regard to ministering to women and ministering to children.”
by Stephen Gray
31 October 2011
Shorter University, Georgia, is set to ask its 200 staff to sign statements assuring their employer they are not gay.
The move, which is legal as the university is privately funded, will see anyone who does not adhere to the Personal Lifestyle Statement risking immediate dismissal.
The statement also requires staffers to reject premarital sex and adultery.
It is mandatory for new employees and current employees whose contracts are due to be renewed.
Don Dowless, president of the university, said: “I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is and of what the board has passed, including the president, would not be allowed to continue here.
“Anything outside that is not biblical, we do not accept. We have a right to hire only Christians.’
By signing the document, employees agree to reject “all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality.”
By Chris Rodda
November 4, 2011
For the past three years, an atheist Army sergeant has had to remain silent as lie after lie was told about him by an Air Force Major named Jonathan Dowty. Major Dowty, a.k.a. JD the Christian Fighter Pilot, is a Christian officer who belongs to the Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization that thinks the real duty of a military officer is to raise up “a spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
As a devout Christian officer, Major Dowty has made it a practice to publicly attack and defame atheist and other non-Christian enlisted service members by name, knowing that they can’t respond to defend themselves because he’s an active duty officer, so it would be insubordinate for them to respond to him.
Major Dowty has relentlessly targeted five particular service members on his christianfighterpilot.com blog — three atheists and one Muslim in the Army, and one Air Force tech sergeant who practices an earth-centered religion. All of these service members are or have been clients of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and include my fellow blogger here on Freethought Blogs, foxhole atheist SGT Justin Griffith.
Well, one of the soldiers Major Dowty has been lying about on his blog, SGT Dustin Chalker, just got out of the Army, and is now free to fight back against this Christian bully who has dogged him for the last three years.
Dustin’s “first order of business” upon becoming a civilian was to go straight to Major Dowty’s blog and post a little comment on a post that Dowty wrote about him just this week. Dustin’s comment, submitted last night, has not yet shown up on Major Dowty’s blog, where the comments are, of course, “moderated,” so I thought I would post it here.
By John Lyon
Arkansas News Bureau
November 2, 2011
LITTLE ROCK — As Mississippi heads for a vote Tuesday on a proposed constitutional amendment to define personhood as beginning at conception, a group in Arkansas says it is preparing to submit a similar amendment to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
Preston Dunn Jr. and his wife, Dorothy Dunn, of Blytheville filed papers with the Arkansas Ethics Commission in September to create a ballot question committee called Personhood Arkansas to advocate for an amendment to the state constitution.
Preston Dunn, president of the group, told the Arkansas News Bureau today that tentative language for the proposed amendment reads: “No innocent person shall be denied the right to life. With respect to the right to life, the word ‘person’ applies to all human beings, including unborn offspring, at every stage of their biological development.”
Dunn, an electrician at a steel mill, said the group has four members now but will work to build a statewide alliance of like-minded churches, organizations and individuals. He said the group expects to have a proposed amendment ready to submit to McDaniel later this year or early next year.
If McDaniel approves the language, the group will have to collect 78,133 signatures by July 6 to place the proposed amendment on the November 2012 ballot.
Dunn said he plans to travel to Mississippi on Saturday to canvass for that state’s personhood amendment.
“If it did happen in Mississippi, that will be a great shot in the arm to what we’re trying to do,” he said.
From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/11/farm-bill-supercommittee
By Tom Philpott
Wed Nov. 2, 2011
Remember the farm bill, that monstrously complex, twice-a-decade omnibus legislation that shapes US agriculture and hunger policy? You know, the one that Michael Pollan and other sustainable foodies wrote so much about four years ago? Well, it’s back, earlier than expected (the last one doesn’t expire until 2012). And it has found itself caught in the crosshairs of DC budget hysteria—in a way that will likely reinforce the worst, most agribiz-friendly elements of US ag policy and defund the best parts, including programs that help farmers transition to organic and help communities start new farmers markets.
In a story two weeks ago, Politico‘s David Rogers laid out what’s going on. The House and Senate ag committees have created a joint panel of four who are working furiously to do in a matter of days what usually takes more than a year: craft national food and farm policy for the next half-decade. They want to get it done in time to submit it to the budget-slashing “supercommittee,” whose work is scheduled to be done by Nov. 23.
The ag panel seeks to cut farm bill spending by $23 billion over the next 10 years, Rogers reported. The panel hasn’t submitted its proposal to the supercommittee yet—it’s expected to do so early this week—but Rogers wrote that broad outlines have emerged:
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/11/farm-bill-supercommittee
Sunday, November 6, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz (Reuters) – There is no bank of telephones at Mary DeCamp’s campaign headquarters, no volunteers eager to bring her message to the masses.
The Green Party candidate for mayor of Tucson, who is days away from losing her home to foreclosure, is flanked by fellow Occupy Tucson activists as she directs her long shot bid for public office from a borrowed tent in a local park.
“November 10th is my eviction date,” the aptly named candidate said cheerfully on Friday, while unpacking signs after police had pushed Occupy Tucson campers from one park to another a night earlier.
DeCamp could have saved her house, she said, and could have taken handouts from friends and family to keep her mortgage current. But she said she gave up after months of phone calls from the bank hounding her about late payments as she fell further behind.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/06/bp-pan-american-energy-sell-off-blocked
• Sale of Pan American stake was to fund Gulf spill costs
• Putative buyer Bridas puts blame on BP’s ‘behaviour’
A key part of a BP fundraising programme to help pay compensation and liabilities connected to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has collapsed in an acrimonious dispute with a business owned by a Chinese state oil group.
The failure of a $7.1bn (£4bn) deal to sell its 60% holding in Pan American Energy and a decision not to sell it on elsewhere indicates that BP has diluted plans announced less than a fortnight ago to raise $45bn by selling off businesses.
BP will have to pay back $3.5bn it had taken on deposit for the now-failed sale of its 60% stake in Pan American Energy to an Argentinian buyer, Bridas, part-controlled by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
The proposed sale was one of the largest single disposals that BP had drawn up under its plans to bolster its finances to ensure it could meet all liabilities with regard to the Macondo blowout, in which 11 oil workers died and swaths of coastline were damaged by oil pollution.
The setback has been made worse by the fact that Bridas put out a statement at the weekend that said the decision to pull out “was prompted by legal issues, by the manner in which BP has behaved during the transaction and the signature”.
But it also comes amid unease about BP’s relatively new chief executive, Bob Dudley, who failed to pull off a major share-swap and Arctic exploration deal with Rosneft of Russia despite earlier announcing it with great fanfare.
From The Rabble Canada: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/11/xl-pipeline-dog-can%E2%80%99t-hunt
As thousands get ready for a big last push on President Obama against the XL Pipeline in Washington DC this weekend, decision makers should remember Elvis Presley’s sage advice: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” If, or when, XL goes down, how many politicians, businessmen and labour leaders will get pulled under with it?
By any measure, TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL project has gone horribly wrong. This $7 Billion project was supposed to have been under construction seven months ago. It has yet to receive critical US state approvals, and the once expected pro-forma approval from the White House is now very much in question.
As thousands surround the White House on Nov. 6 to up the pressure on Obama, the Nebraska State legislature is pressing ahead with legislation to force a rerouting of the pipeline around an ecologically sensitive grass lands and the Ogallala aquifer. The Nebraska decision would effectively delay construction by two or more years.
In corporate offices they must be asking how this project has become Canada’s hound dog that can’t catch a rabbit, and has fewer friends every day. Its hard to have sympathy for TCPL, the pipeline builder, and oil companies like Exxon that want to fill up the pipe with raw bitumen. They rejected all criticism of the development model and estimated that the billions of dollars at play would run over top of the opposition. Instead of addressing the economic and environmental concerns, TCPL hired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager as their chief lobbyist, throwing into question the legitimacy of the US State Department’s environmental review.
But as culpable as the industry is, the fundamental responsibility for this mess lies at the door of Steven Harper and the “sympathetic administration” of the oil industry by the National Energy Board of Canada. While the U.S. debate and regulatory process over XL dealt with jobs and environment, neither were given any serious attention by Canada’s federal government or the NEB. The development model was flawed from the outset and given approval without due diligence.
Continue reading at: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/11/xl-pipeline-dog-can%E2%80%99t-hunt