Tis the Season of Traveling While Trans: A Few Suggestions and a Vital Resource You Print Out and Carry With You

Transsexual and transgender people are  members what of what the late supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall described as a despised and discriminated against minority.

While we should never ignore abuse by bigoted people in power there are times when we just want to see a friend or relative in a distant city.  It is exhausting to have every moment of your waking life be a struggle and just getting to a destination to be with loved ones shouldn’t be a hassle.

White TS/TG people are not alone in having to deal with this sort discrimination.  People of color deal with it every day.  As do people from the Middle East or with “foreign sounding names’.

Here’s a few tips:

Dress for comfortable travel.  Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on.  Avoid extreme make-up or fashion statements that draw attention to you.

Pack your jewelry.  (Taking it on and off in a crowded screening line may well result in the jewelry winding up on the floor lost.)

Even if you normally carry a lot of stuff in your hand bag, don’t.  Less stuff in bag means less time in screening to be targeted.

Do not under any circumstances get high or have a couple of drinks before screening.

The TSA people are supposed to be professionals address them as sir or ma’am, with a confident smile.

Have your ID (preferably gender appropriate ID) conveniently located.  (It has been so long since any of this was a part life, I am not certain about the details of coping with not having appropriate ID or no match ID.  Check some of the trans-legal sites for advice.)

Prosthetics:  For some reason sick small minded people seem to derive pleasure abusing people who are bodily different.   Check the LGBT legal sites on this.

Last week there were two stories about a sister who was detained at the D/FW Airport, I’m posting the first report I saw on this story then the ooops report that came a couple of days later:

December 11: From planet transgender:  Tegan Smith Handcuffed Dragged Off Plane at Dallas Love Field “for being trans”

December 15: From Lexie Cannes:  Justice for trans woman’s rough airport experience becomes undone by lack of facts shared on social media

Life is too short and already too pain filled for us to do things that add more.

Have a good and safe trip as well as a happy holiday.

The TSA actually has guidelines for the rules and regulations governing your right to travel with dignity.  This is the result of work by a lot of those often maligned activists.  Use this tool

A copy can be printed out at Transportation Security Administration:  http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/transgender-travelers

Transgender Travelers

Special Considerations

TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner. These travel tips will explain the various screening processes and technologies travelers may encounter at security checkpoints.

Preparing for Travel

Making Reservations: Secure Flight requires airlines to collect a traveler’s full name, date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable) to significantly decrease the likelihood of watch list misidentification. Travelers are encouraged to use the same name, gender, and birth date when making the reservation that match the name, gender, and birth date indicated on the government-issued ID that the traveler intends to use during travel.

Packing a Carry-on: All carry-on baggage must go through the screening process. If a traveler has any medical equipment or prosthetics in a carry-on bag, the items will be allowed through the checkpoint after completing the screening process. Travelers may ask that bags be screened in private if a bag must be opened by an officer to resolve an alarm. Travelers should be aware that prosthetics worn under the clothing that alarm a walk through metal detector or appear as an anomaly during Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening may result in additional screening, to include a thorough pat-down. Travelers may request a private screening at any time during the security screening process.

Contacting TSA in Advance of Travel: Travelers may contact TSA prior to a flight through the TSA Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.

The Screening Process

Private Screening: Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. A traveler may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.

Travel Document Checker: The traveler will show their government-issued identification and boarding pass to an officer to ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match. Transgender travelers are encouraged to book their reservations such that they match the gender and name data indicated on the government-issued ID.

Walk Through Metal Detector: Metal detectors are in use at all airports.

Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT): Screening with advanced imaging technology is voluntary and travelers may “opt out” at any time. Travelers who “opt out” of the AIT screening are required to undergo a thorough pat-down by an officer of the same gender as the traveler presents.

New Advanced Imaging Technology Software: TSA has upgraded all millimeter wave advanced imaging technology units with new software called Automated Target Recognition to further enhance privacy protections by eliminating the image of an actual traveler and replacing it with a generic outline of a person.

Pat-Down: A pat-down may be performed if there is an alarm of the metal detector, if an anomaly is detected using advanced imaging technology, if an officer determines that the traveler is wearing non-form fitting clothing, or on a random basis. If a pat-down is chosen or otherwise necessary, private screening may be requested. Pat-downs are conducted by an officer of the same gender as presented by the individual at the checkpoint.

Prosthetics: Travelers should neither be asked to nor agree to lift, remove, or raise any article of clothing to reveal a prosthetic and should not be asked to remove it.

Behavior Detection Program: Behavior Detection Officers screen travelers using non-intrusive behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers. Officers are designed to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to aviation and/or transportation security. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening, which can include a pat-down and physical inspection of carry-on baggage.

TSA recognizes that exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Referrals for additional screening are solely based on specific observed behaviors.

Reporting Travel Issues or Concerns

Travelers who believe they have experienced unprofessional conduct at a security checkpoint are encouraged to request a supervisor at the checkpoint to discuss the matter immediately or to submit a concern to TSA’s Contact Center at: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.

Travelers who believe they have experienced discriminatory conduct because of a protected basis may file a concern with TSA’s Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement at: Civil Rights for Travelers.

Travelers may also file discrimination concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The Sandy Hook Tragedy, Anti-Trans Violence and Codes of Masculinity

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/the-sandy-hook-tragedy-anti-trans-violence-and-codes-of-masculinity_b_2317794.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


Words fail. And yet words are preferable to bullets. After the intense emotional response passed, I was left with two particular thoughts. First, on the political/policy front, when will we prioritize our children over the Second Amendment? Nate Silver recently wrote that language matters; over the years, the debate has shifted from “gun control” to “gun rights” to “Second Amendment.” Such an evolution in political language mirrors the descent of gun-control advocates into a pit of despair and a sense of futility.

The second thought relates to the fact that the perpetrators of mass murder are almost always male. What is it about our codes of masculinity in this society that valorize violence to such a degree that shooting sprees are becoming commonplace?

I want to mention that our failure to fund the treatment of mental illness is critical, but I hope people distinguish between what we commonly think of as mental illnesses — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression disorders, which are very uncommonly associated with violence and often treatable with talk and/or medication — and what seems to be at play in these instances of mass murder. The disorders associated with these killers — borderline personality disorder (emotional dysregulation), sociopathy/psychopathy and similar conditions — are more poorly understood. We see them on CSI and Criminal Minds, but we rarely talk about them in decent company, hiding in fear and shame from recognizing that there are human beings who have no empathy or conscience and, when unable or unwilling to adequately regulate their emotions, can and will perform evil acts. A major piece in The New York Times Magazine earlier this year discussed this conundrum in detail, focusing on nascent sociopaths.

As a member of the trans and gay communities, I am not naïve about violence. In particular, trans women of color are significantly more likely to suffer a violent attack than the average citizen. Class, race and ethnicity all play a role in the increased prevalence of such violence, and the fear thereof, which in some communities is a daily fact of life. Those women, however, are not at risk from the uncommon sociopath but are caught up in subcultures of young men whose code of masculinity allows no room at all for gender variance, and the more prevalent cross-cultural code of masculinity then channels that rejection of others into violence.

I am supporting a project run by famed trans activist Riki Wilchins in D.C. that is an attempt to reach out to those subcultures and engage with them to discover the source of their intolerance of trans women and the routine use of violence as a response. A common response was, “Transgender — that’s just a longer word for ‘gay.'” These young men have cut down to the bone of transphobia and homophobia: a violation of the code of how men are supposed to behave. Men do not flirt with other men, nor do they dress up like their mothers. Being associated with such a person — walking down the same block, let alone actually speaking to one another — is a sin punishable by ostracism from the band of brothers. And to prove that there was no sexual interest involved at all, the man whose identity is on trial can redeem it often only by acting out violently against the trans woman. Violence is the only acceptable response to a challenge of masculinity.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/the-sandy-hook-tragedy-anti-trans-violence-and-codes-of-masculinity_b_2317794.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Two women sue Texas Troopers for illegal roadside cavity search

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/19/two-women-sue-texas-troopers-for-illegal-roadside-cavity-search/

By David Edwards
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A federal lawsuit filed by two Irving women claims that Texas State Troopers humiliated them by performing illegal cavity searches on the side of the road after a cigarette butt was thrown out of their car window.

State Trooper David Farrell called in a female trooper to perform cavity searches of Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs, because he said that he smelled marijuana and the women were “acting weird,” attorney Scott Palmer told KTVT on Tuesday.

Angel Dobbs recalled that the female trooper, Kelley Helleson, asked for her permission to perform the search and then told her to “shut up and just listen.”

Dashcam video shows Helleson searching the anuses and vaginas of both women with the same latex gloves in full view of other passing cars.

“At this point, I’m in clear shock. I can’t even believe this is happening,” Angel Dobbs explained. Turns me around goes down into the front of my pants into my inner thigh and at which point she goes up with two fingers. I just look at her and say ‘oh my God, I’ve just been violated.’”

And then the trooper performed the same procedure on Ashley Dobbs without changing her gloves.

“She went down, then turned me around, and went down my front and then she actually dug,” Ashley Dobbs said. “I didn’t know what I could say, what I could do. I felt hopeless.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/19/two-women-sue-texas-troopers-for-illegal-roadside-cavity-search/

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Boycott The Salvation Army

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What Is it About Men That They’re Committing These Horrible Massacres?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/gender/what-it-about-men-theyre-committing-these-horrible-massacres

“But what about the men?” It’s a question that’s been asked by few in the context of the recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

By Meghan Murphy
December 18, 2012

 “But what about the men?” It’s a question that’s been avoided by the mainstream within the context of mass shootings.

The recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut sparked thousands of conversations across the continent about gun laws, mental illness, and violence. And sadly, we’ve been here before.

We’ve had conversations about access to guns – the victims would still be alive today, after all, if there were no gun. We’ve talked about the need to better address mental illness in North America – about how people need access to services and treatment. With proper support, potential perpetrators could get the help they need before it’s too late. And what about the media? We see violence all the time in movies, video games, and on television. Have we become so desensitized to violence that mass murder has become par for the course? Or, worse, a way to achieve fame in a culture obsessed with celebrity as a goal unto itself?

All these factors are relevant. All of these conversations should be had. But no one is asking what is, for once, the single most important question: What about the men?

In 1984, a 39-year-old man opened fire at an upscale nightclub in Dallas after a woman rejected his aggressive sexual advances . The man, Abdelkrim Belachheb, went out to his car, retrieved his gun, and returned to the bar, shooting the woman to death. He then reloaded his gun and killed a total of six more people . Capital punishment quickly became the center of the national conversation. In fact, Belachheb’s crime is most remembered as it lead to the passage of House Bill 8 in Texas —the “multiple murder” statute, which made serial killing and mass murder capital crimes.

That same year, James Oliver Huberty, a man whose ‘volatile temper’ and history of domestic violence is documented, opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant in California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by a police officer. At the time, this shooting was the “ largest single-day, single-gunman massacre in U.S. history .” Shocked, liberal politicians used the incident to lobby for stricter gun laws. Others wanted to know why he wasn’t able to access the mental health services he needed.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/gender/what-it-about-men-theyre-committing-these-horrible-massacres

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Russell Brand Interviews Westboro Baptist Church

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Social Security: Will Obama Cave?

From The American Prospect:  http://prospect.org/article/social-security-will-obama-cave

The deal between the White House and the GOP includes changes to the cost-of-living formula that amount to needless cuts for seniors.

Robert Kuttner
December 18, 2012

Once again, President Obama seems to be on the verge of folding a winning hand.

Widely leaked reports indicate that the president and House Speaker John Boehner are making a fiscal deal that includes hiking tax rates back to the pre-Bush levels with a threshold of $400,000 rather than the original $250,000, and cutting present Social Security benefits.

Obama, the reports say, will now settle for as little as $1.2 trillion in tax increases on the rich rather than the $1.6 trillion that he had originally sought. The difference, in effect, will come out of the pockets of workers, retirees, the young, and the poor.

Especially foolish is the cut in Social Security benefits, disguised as a change in the cost-of-living adjustment formula. Before getting to the arcane details of the formula, here’s the bottom line. The proposed change will save only $122 billion over ten years, but it will significantly cut benefits for the elderly.

Because the cut is in the form of a change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the longer you live, the more is the total cut. On average, the cut is about 3 percent a year, but if you live twenty years after you start drawing benefits (the average), that adds up to over ten thousand dollars.

Put this in the context of the reliance of the elderly on Social Security. More than 70 percent of all recipients depend on Social Security for more than half their income. The average Social Security benefit is less than $15,000 a year, and in recent years all of the cost-of-living adjustments and more have gone to defray the annual increases in Medicare premiums and other health costs.

One interesting detail in Obama’s apparent cave-in on Social Security is the role played by some prominent liberals, notably Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

The proposed change involves a shift to something called the Chained CPI. Supposedly, when the price of something goes up, people substitute cheaper products. The application of the Chained CPI to the elderly (who are already scrimping) is problematic—more on that in a moment—but Greenstein has had kind words for disguised cuts in Social Security via the Chained CPI.

Continue reading at:  http://prospect.org/article/social-security-will-obama-cave

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Why Democrats Must Break With Obama on Social Security Cuts

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/171840/why-democrats-must-break-obama-social-security-cuts

John Nichols
on December 19, 2012

There are a lot of complicated ways in which to describe the schemes being floated by President Obama and congressional Republicans to abandon the traditional Consumer Price Index in favor of the so-called “chained-CPI” scheme. But there is nothing complicated about the reality that changing the calculations on which cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients are based has the potential to dramatically reduce the buying power of Americans who rely on this successful and stable federal program.

So the word for what is being proposed is “cut”—as in: President Obama and congressional Republicans are proposing to cut Social Security.

“This is a cut affecting every single beneficiary—widows, orphans, people with disabilities and many others. It is a cut which hurts the most those who are most vulnerable: the oldest of the old, those disabled at the youngest ages, and the poorest of the poor. Perhaps fittingly, this will be done during the holiday season, when the American people are distracted,” says Nancy Altman, the founding co-director of the advocacy group Social Security Works. “They will cut Social Security not openly but by stealth—through a cruel cut known colloquially as the chained CPI.”

This is what Democrats—and most Republicans—said during the recently finished campaign that they would never do.

If Obama cuts the deal, he will, in the words of CREDO political director Becky Bond, be engaging in a “massive betrayal” of his own campaign commitments, and of the voters who reelected him barely a month ago.

The question is whether the president’s backers will back the betrayal.

The only responsible response is to say “No!”

The American Association of Retired People has does just that, rejecting the “chained-CPI” scheme as a “dramatic benefit cut would push thousands more into poverty and result in increased economic hardship for those trying desperately to keep up with rising prices.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/171840/why-democrats-must-break-obama-social-security-cuts

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Reverend Billy Is the Anti-Claus With Message of No-Click Christmas

From Truth Out:   http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13394-the-anti-clause-reverend-billys-no-click-christmas

By Greg Palast
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Even for New York, this was WEIRD.  There were a half-dozen Santa Clauses on Second Avenue getting a sermon from a Midwestern preacher who looked like a cross between televangelist Jerry Falwell and a white-haired Elvis.

The Santa crew and their mini-skirted elves were on their way to get drunk (drunker?) with another thousand Santa impersonators at “SantaCon,” an annual gathering of St. Nicks. But they were willing to let the Reverend Billy attempt to save their souls.

Reverend Billy did not object to their plans for lubrication, but to their original Sin:  collaborating with the Devil’s work known as “Christmas Shopping.”

Was this some kind of joke?  Yes, and a brilliant one.

Reverend Billy, pastor of the Church of Stop Shopping, is the Stephen Colbert of American hyper-commercialism. For more than a decade, the Reverend has been bringing Americans the Good News that there is life after Wal-Mart.

“Repent and give up your iPod to the Lord!  Steve Jobs is not the iSaviour!”  The Santas, cracked up as, one by one, they got the joke.

Like Colbert, the Reverend is never seen out of costume nor out of character. In his reversed collar, bouffant hair-do, white pointy shoes and Elmer Gantry suit, he has, in fact, performed 200 for-real baptisms, as many marriages – and been arrested 70 times.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13394-the-anti-clause-reverend-billys-no-click-christmas

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On the 12th day of Christmas … your gift will just be junk

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/on-12th-day-christmas-present-junk

Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake?

The Guardian, Monday 10 December 2012

There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly-button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub-holder; a “hilarious” inflatable Zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World Map.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine T-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped iPhone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog. No one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/on-12th-day-christmas-present-junk

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Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy:

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TSA Finally Investigating Cancer Risk of X-Ray Body Scanners

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/tsa-investigation-cancer-risk-x-ray-body-scanners

Lingering questions on the safety of backscatters have forced the TSA to commission an independent study.

By Michael Grabell, ProPublica
Wed Dec. 19, 2012

This story first appeared on the ProPublica website.

Following months of congressional pressure, the Transportation Security Administration has agreed to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to study the health effects of the agency’s X-ray body scanners. But it is unclear if the academy will conduct its own tests of the scanners or merely review previous studies.

The machines, known as backscatters, were installed in airports nationwide after the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day 2009 to screen passengers for explosives and other nonmetallic weapons. But they have been criticized by some prominent scientists because they expose the public to a small amount of ionizing radiation, a form of energy that can cause cancer.

The scanners were the subject of a 2011 ProPublica series, which found that the TSA had glossed over the small cancer risk posed by even low doses of radiation. The stories also showed that the United States was almost alone in the world in X-raying passengers and that the Food and Drug Administration had gone against its own advisory panel, which recommended the agency set a federal safety standard for security X-rays.

 The TSA maintains that the backscatters are safe and that they emit a low dose of X-rays equivalent to the radiation a passenger would receive in two minutes of flying at typical cruising altitude.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Senate homeland security committee, introduced a bill mandating such a test earlier this year.

“I am pleased that at long last the Transportation Security Administration has heeded my call to commission an independent examination into the possible health risks travelers and TSA employees may face during airport screenings,” she said in a statement Monday night.

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/tsa-investigation-cancer-risk-x-ray-body-scanners

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Coal Exports Emerging As Major Climate Fight In The Pacific Northwest

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/19/1359511/coal-exports-are-emerging-as-a-major-climate-fight-in-the-pacific-northwest/

by Jules Boykoff
Dec 19, 2012

In the Pacific Northwest, activists and their allies are ramping up for a full-throttle battle over a proposal to haul coal across the west for export to China. Big Coal’s latest master plan promises to generate a second epicenter of climate-change resistance—our very own Keystone XL pipeline showdown.

With coal prices plummeting, thanks in large part to the spike in natural gas use, coal barons are desperate to offload their lucre. Showing ever-greater verve, they’re dumping it in overseas markets, especially China. The US Energy Information Administration projects US coal exports will hit an all-time high in 2012—some 125 to 133 million tons—more than doubling 2009 export levels and surpassing a record set in 1981.

When it comes to climate disruption, these are ghastly numbers. After all, 2012 looks like it’ll be the hottest year on record for the contiguous US. The year brought devastating drought and catastrophic storms. While we can’t peg any single weather event to climate change, this is precisely the sort of climate seesaw scientists have predicted. Meanwhile, the Arctic suffered record losses in sea ice and snow cover. And globally, 2012 is on course to become the ninth hottest year ever. Revving up coal consumption—the dirtiest of fossil fuels—is not going to help matters, to say the least.

That’s where the Pacific Northwest enters the picture. This month the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staged what may well be the only public meetings on the permitting process for the US coal industry’s hail-Mary moment: to convert the western United States into a railroad and barge pipeline for coal mined in Montana and Wyoming and hauled along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean for export to China and elsewhere.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/19/1359511/coal-exports-are-emerging-as-a-major-climate-fight-in-the-pacific-northwest/

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World Bank Says Poor People Need Coal

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/12/ifc-responds-criticism-over-coal-financing

By Tue Dec. 18, 2012

Last week, I reported on environmental groups calling foul on the World Bank for even considering a proposal to finance a new coal-fired power plant in Mongolia. Funding the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine project, which also includes a 750 megawatt coal plant, was out of line with the Bank’s stated concern that the world is heading to devastating and irreversible climate consequences.

Rio Tinto has asked the World Bank Group’s private funding arm, International Finance Corporation, for part of the money needed to start construction on the project. IFC was not able to comment at press time, but did send a lengthy email response on Tuesday. Basically they argue that poor nations need energy, that the World Bank is increasingly shifting its focus toward renewables, and that renewable energy can’t meet all of Mongolia’s needs.

I’ll post the full response, from IFC communications officer Josef Skoldeberg, and let you evaluate for yourself:

The world must tackle the problem of climate change more aggressively. But this will be achieved by energy transitions by the largest consumers of coal, not by foreclosing on energy options that mean access to basic electricity for the world’s poorest people. This is not the terrain on which the battle against climate change will be won.

The problem with coal emissions rests squarely in the most highly industrialized nations. If you took all the developing countries in the world and added up all their emissions together, it still would be one-third of the emissions of the United States, European Union, and China combined – just one-third.

Increasingly, the World Bank Group only invests in coal in very rare circumstances – when poor countries have no other realistic options to rapidly ramp up renewable energy alternatives and power is needed for basic energy needs for hospitals, industry and factories, and to light schools, heat homes and cook meals. We have moved away from funding coal and have moved toward the funding of renewable energy. The Bank Group doubled lending for renewable energy in the last five years.

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/12/ifc-responds-criticism-over-coal-financing

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Grapefruit Is a Culprit in More Drug Reactions

From The New York Times:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/grapefruit-is-a-culprit-in-more-drug-reactions/

December 17, 2012

The patient didn’t overdose on medication. She overdosed on grapefruit juice.

The 42-year-old was barely responding when her husband brought her to the emergency room. Her heart rate was slowing, and her blood pressure was falling. Doctors had to insert a breathing tube, and then a pacemaker, to revive her.

They were mystified: The patient’s husband said she suffered from migraines and was taking a blood pressure drug called verapamil to help prevent the headaches. But blood tests showed she had an alarming amount of the drug in her system, five times the safe level.

Did she overdose? Was she trying to commit suicide? It was only after she recovered that doctors were able to piece the story together.

“The culprit was grapefruit juice,” said Dr. Unni Pillai, a nephrologist in St. Louis, Mo., who treated the woman several years ago and later published a case report. “She loved grapefruit juice, and she had such a bad migraine, with nausea and vomiting, that she could not tolerate anything else.”

The previous week, she had been subsisting mainly on grapefruit juice. Then she took verapamil, one of dozens of drugs whose potency is dramatically increased if taken with grapefruit. In her case, the interaction was life-threatening.

Last month, Dr. David Bailey, a Canadian researcher who first described this interaction more than two decades ago, released an updated list of medications affected by grapefruit. There are now 85 such drugs on the market, he noted, including common cholesterol-lowering drugs, new anticancer agents, and some synthetic opiates and psychiatric drugs, as well as certain immunosuppressant medications taken by organ transplant patients, some AIDS medications, and some birth control pills and estrogen treatments. (The full list is online.)

Continue reading at:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/grapefruit-is-a-culprit-in-more-drug-reactions/

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