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Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 12:12 PM
Number of posts: 2,833

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Talking Reuters & Public Citizen, not junk. FYI, 'US Just Finished 46th in a Press-Freedom Contest.'


The United States Just Finished 46th in a Press-Freedom Contest
At least the birthplace of the First Amendment managed to come in one spot ahead of Haiti.

FEB 13 2014, 5:56 AM ET

Every year, Reporters Without Borders ranks 180 countries in order of how well they safeguard press freedom. This year, the United States suffered a precipitous drop.

The latest Press Freedom Index ranked the U.S. 46th.

That puts us around the same place as UC Santa Barbara in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. If we were on the PGA tour we'd be Jonas Blixt of Sweden.

If we were on American Idol we'd have been sent home already.

Countries that scored better include Romania, South Africa, Ghana, Cyprus, and Botswana. And 40 others. Put simply, it's an embarrassing result for the country that conceived the First Amendment almost 240 years ago. These rankings are always a bit arbitrary, but we're not anywhere close to the top tier these days. Why?



U.S. Senator Reid, son combine for China firm's desert plant
Fri, Aug 31 05:06 AM EDT

...The Langfang, China-based ENN Energy Group hopes to build what would be the largest solar energy complex in America. The site chosen with Rory Reid's guidance is in tiny Laughlin, Nevada, a gambling town of 7,300 along the Colorado River, 90 miles south of Las Vegas.


...Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the non-partisan advocacy group Public Citizen, said the senator is dealing with "an iffy ethical landscape" because of the family connections and should recuse himself from the project. "Is this just happening because ... it benefits the Reid family, or did Harry Reid actually believe in this?" Holman said.


In December, Clark County commissioners voted unanimously to sell up to 9,000 acres of public land to the subsidiary at pennies on the dollar.

The deal spurred local controversy. Separate appraisals valued the land at $29.6 million and $38.6 million. The commission agreed to sell it to ENN for $4.5 million.

More from Reuters (haven't look around elsewhere): http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/21/nv-first-solar-idUSnBw215764a+100+BSW20140321

Like I said, not a subject I know enough about to parse all this, but what's clear is that our media misses a lot.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Apr 17, 2014, 10:22 PM (1 replies)

That's dated, I think efforts to deny inconvenient science are bipartisan.

Clearly, it's fair to regard many Democrats as science denying, too, although in different ways from Republicans whenever either subscribes to "science" rather than science (the former occurring when $ is the driver behind the research, not truth).


Press Release

NRDC Report: Potentially Unsafe Chemicals in Food Threaten Public Health
Gaping loophole needs to be closed

WASHINGTON (April 7, 2014)


Press Release

New study finds toxic chemicals in University fan gear
HealthyStuff.org ranks university fan gear in a Toxic Tournament. Which team wins the Most Toxic Product award? Consumers decide in this study

March 19, 2014


Press Release

Harvard School of Public Health

Growing number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children

Boston, MA – Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children—such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia—according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed.

The report will be published online February 15, 2014 in Lancet Neurology.


Published in ASRM Press Release

Highlights from Fertility and Sterility: Environmental Chemicals Harm Reproductive Health
Ob-Gyns Advocate for Policy Changes to Protect Health

September 24 , 2013
by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs

Washington, DC—Toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies, and are associated with numerous other long-term health problems, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). In a joint Committee Opinion, The College and ASRM urge ob-gyns to advocate for government policy changes to identify and reduce exposure to toxic environmental agents.

“Lawmakers should require the US Environmental Protection Agency and industry to define and estimate the dangers that aggregate exposure to harmful chemicals pose to pregnant women, infants, and children and act to protect these vulnerable populations,” said Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, president of The College.

Dr. Michael P. Wilson PhD: What The Public Can Do
from Penelope Jagessar Chaffer PLUS 3 years ago

Dr. Michael P. Wilson discusses the Baby Tooth Study as an example of public advocacy and how the general public can bring about legislation and change.


Science, potentially interfering with commerce, having little to no traction among either Democrats or Republicans (not to mention, DU). Explain it.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:40 PM (0 replies)

NEW: Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Neurobiological Subtype of Autism Spectrum Disorder


JAMA Psychiatry

Original Investigation | April 09, 2014

Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Neurobiological Subtype of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Evidence From Brain Imaging

Suzanne Goh, MD1; Zhengchao Dong, PhD1,3; Yudong Zhang, PhD1,2; Salvatore DiMauro, MD3; Bradley S. Peterson, MD1

Author Affiliations
1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
2New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
3Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 09, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.179

Link from Twitter by Generation Rescue.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:39 AM (0 replies)

@NRDCPress: WH's first pollinator #garden designed to support #bees, monarch #butterflies & other

White House's first pollinator #garden designed to support #bees, monarch #butterflies & other pollinators


Sylvia Fallon’s Blog

Pollinators find a home at the White House
Posted April 7, 2014

This past week Michelle Obama held her sixth annual White House garden planting. Each year the first lady has welcomed kids from local schools to help her plant fruits and vegetables and talk about healthy eating. This year Michelle Obama expanded her garden to include the White House’s first pollinator garden designed to support bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

This is an exciting new development and provides a great opportunity to talk about the ‘food’ that pollinators themselves depend on – as well as the important role they play in our own food production. The White House has kept bees on their grounds for several years now, but this is the first time that they have specifically planted native, flowering plants to provide good sources of pollen and nectar for these and other native bees.

Additionally, the new pollinator garden hosts at least two different species of milkweed – the plant that monarch butterflies are dependent on for reproducing. Monarchs have been in decline across the country in large part due to the extensive loss of milkweed in agriculture from the use of the herbicide glyphosate (also known as Round Up) in connection with Round Up resistant crops. Planting milkweed in our gardens and schoolyards is one of the best things that we can all do to help the monarch butterflies come back.

Organizations like Monarch Watch (which NRDC has partnered with to plant milkweed) provides milkweed plants to schools, businesses and the general public for planting what they call “monarch waystations”- areas that can support monarch reproduction along the butterflies’ amazing migration from Mexico to Canada and back. In February, President Obama announced a commitment with the leaders of Mexico and Canada to work together to help preserve the monarchs’ migration. So it’s a great first step to see the White House itself become a waystation for monarchs by planting milkweed in their first ever pollinator garden!

To help NRDC and Monarch Watch plant milkweed in other locations click here. You can also join NRDC in telling EPA to impose restrictions on the use of herbicides that are eliminating milkweed by clicking here.

And see Michelle Obama discuss the White House’s new pollinator garden here:

EPA Petition link (please see original article)
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sat Apr 12, 2014, 08:49 AM (10 replies)

Food containing potentially toxic synthetic chemicals and toxic lunch bags, too. Full circle?


March Badness - Most Toxic Product Award Announced!
April 1, 2014

Over 2,000 March Badness fans voted in the past two weeks - The University of Florida Lunch Bag has won the Most Toxic Product award! The lunch bag contained levels of lead that exceed the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) standard.

HealthyStuff.org tested 65 university-themed products (representing 19 universities) for substances that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity, and cancer. The study found that over 71% of the products tested contained one or more toxic chemicals, including arsenic, lead, bromine, chlorine and mercury and cadmium. Several of the products tested routinely exceeded CPSC standards for lead (15%) and phthalates (16 of 18 tested).

The popular items HealthyStuff.org tested include banners, t-shirts, key chains, and drink koozies, purchased across the nation from different retailers.

Take a look at our "Who's in your bracket?" video and our EcoSports Center to learn more about these toxic products.



These products were purchased from 7 retailers, including Home Depot (7), Kroger (8), Pro Image Sports (5), Target (15), UConn Co-op Bookstore (4), Walgreens (12), and Walmart (14).
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Apr 11, 2014, 08:29 PM (0 replies)

THE HILL (RegWatch Blog): Environmental group sounds alarm on college sports merchandise



March 19, 2014, 02:25 pm
Environmental group sounds alarm on college sports merchandise
By Tim Devaney

College basketball fans risk exposing themselves to toxic chemicals when they cheer on their favorite teams during March Madness, according to a new study from an environmental research group.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Ecology Center found that seven out of 10 college sports products sold in retail stores — like basketball jerseys and sports t-shirts — contain hazardous chemicals.

The Ecology Center released the results Wednesday on its website, healthystuff.org, where it is hosting a "March Badness" bracket of the most toxic college sports gear, which also includes football products.

"Showing your team colors during March Madness shouldn't be bad for your health, yet researchers have found that dangerous chemicals like arsenic, lead, phthalates, and toxic flame retardants are common in the products they tested," Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said in a statement.


Share on facebook - 38
Share on twitter - 45
Share on more - 36
Comments - 27

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Apr 11, 2014, 02:39 PM (0 replies)

IACC Full Committee Meeting, April 8, 2014. Mito disease discussed + plans for follow-up, July 2014.

If you missed it, I strongly urge you to watch the entire session.


IACC Full Committee Meeting, April 2014 Video

Air date: Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 8:45:00 AM
Views: Total views: 477, (471 Live, 6 On-demand)
Runtime: 06:48:21

Category: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

Description: The IACC will meet to discuss ASD research and services activities.
Author: Dr. Thomas Insel

Overview page: https://iacc.hhs.gov/events/index.shtml
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Apr 11, 2014, 01:14 PM (0 replies)

NRDC Report: Potentially Unsafe Chemicals in Food Threaten Public Health


Press Release

NRDC Report: Potentially Unsafe Chemicals in Food Threaten Public Health

Gaping loophole needs to be closed

WASHINGTON (April 7, 2014)
– Federal protections to keep potentially unsafe chemicals out of our foods are woefully inadequate and may be putting the health of Americans at risk, a Natural Resources Defense Council investigation found.

The food safety protection system is marred by minimal supervision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, rife with apparent conflicts of interest in safety evaluations, and rendered all but toothless by a gaping loophole that allows companies to simply declare as safe hundreds of chemicals added to our foods—without any notification to the FDA or the public, according to an NRDC report released today.

“Americans should expect that their food is safe to eat, but sadly today there’s no guarantee because safety oversight from federal agencies and food manufacturers is shockingly weak and hidden from public scrutiny,” said Tom Neltner, NRDC health scientist and report co-author. “Congress should close the loophole responsible for this failing now. Until it does, FDA should strictly limit companies’ conflicts of interest and require them to disclose to the agency when they self-approve the safety of a chemical. And consumers should demand that their grocery stores and their favorite brands sell only food with ingredients deemed safe by federal food safety experts.”

The findings in NRDC’s report, “Generally Recognized as Secret: Chemicals Added to Food in the United States,” focus on a key shortcoming in the safety oversight of chemicals in food, a loophole in a federal law known as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS.

The report shows:

* 275 chemicals used by 56 companies appear to be marketed as GRAS and used in many food products based on companies’ safety determinations that, pursuant to current regulations, did not need to be reported to the FDA or the public. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

* Information obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act shows that when FDA does learn of a chemical proposed to be used in food, the agency often asks tough questions, but because of the GRAS loophole a company is not bound to answer them and not prohibited from continuing to sell the chemical for use in food.

* Based on information from notices submitted to the FDA, but later withdrawn, companies have sometimes certified their chemicals as safe for use in food despite potentially serious allergic reactions, or adverse reactions in combination with common drugs, or have proposed using amounts of the chemicals in food at much higher levels than company-established safe levels.

* When companies seek FDA’s voluntary review of their GRAS safety determination, the agency rejects or triggers withdrawal of that determination in one out of every 5 cases. At least in some instances, companies may have withdrawn their notices in order to avoid having an FDA rejection made public.

* The public and FDA are in the dark about hundreds of chemicals found in our food because companies aren’t required to submit the safety determination to FDA for its review.

These problems are rooted in a 1958 law which included an exemption designed for common ingredients such as vinegar and vegetable oil. The exemption avoided an extended FDA approval process because there was a consensus in the scientific community that a chemical’s use was generally recognized as safe to consume. In the ensuing years, however, companies have heavily used this GRAS exemption to self-approve hundreds, if not thousands, of ingredients added to food, NRDC’s report says.

More troubling, companies are allowed to hire their own experts, which may be their own employees, to determine the safety of chemicals used in food. This can present a serious conflict of interest, especially when FDA does not review the GRAS decision, because the evaluators may have a financial incentive to provide positive results, according to NRDC’s report.

In four case studies, NRDC found that chemicals that were subject to a withdrawn GRAS notice have been listed as an ingredient in foods marketed to the public, despite FDA’s serious concerns about their safety. They are:

* Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): A company determined as safe for use in beverages including teas, sport drinks, and juices, despite FDA’s citation of evidence it may cause leukemia in fetuses in human cells tests and animal studies showing it affected the thyroid, testis, spleen, pituitary, liver, and gastrointestinal tract.

* Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA): A company determined as safe for use in beverages, chewing gum, coffee, tea, and candy, despite FDA concerns that estimated exposure was well in excess of what the company itself considered safe.

* Sweet lupin protein, fiber, and flour: A company determined as safe for use in baked goods, dairy products, gelatin, meats, and candy, despite FDA-raised questions about whether or not the chemicals would cause serious allergic reactions in those with peanut allergies.

* Theobromine: A company determined as safe for use in bread, cereal, beverages, chewing gum, tea, soy milk, gelatin, candy, and yogurt and fruit smoothies, despite FDA’s question about the estimated consumption being five times higher than the safe consumption level reported by the company.

“The law places responsibility on FDA to ensure food Americans consume is safe. If the FDA is in the dark about the identity and safety of hundreds of chemicals, it cannot do its job. The “generally recognized as secret” loophole undermines public health,” said NRDC health scientist Maricel Maffini, the report’s coauthor.

A link to NRDC’s report, FOIA documents and a video about the GRAS issue is here:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:13 PM (4 replies)

Dr. Michael P. Wilson PhD on what the public can do.

Dr. Michael P. Wilson PhD: What The Public Can Do
from Penelope Jagessar Chaffer PLUS 3 years ago

Dr. Michael P. Wilson discusses the Baby Tooth Study as an example of public advocacy and how the general public can bring about legislation and change.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Apr 9, 2014, 10:32 PM (0 replies)

Don't know, personally, but the video cites a CDC conference call @ the time re:unpublished paper,

(from memory) describing the rate to be 1:50. Apparently, also on that same recording someone stated, "It's not rare."

You should really pursue dialogue directly with the parents. Diverse group, however, many are self-proclaimed vaccine safety advocates and probably started out the same as you and me. Don't you catch the paradox here? Any parents claiming adverse reactions vaccinated first. That means, in reality, they can't be what they've been labeled by the bullies, despite the rampant abuse and urge to turn away.

The schedule isn't static and has changed over time. The number of doses has approximately tripled since 198?, birth to 18. Theoretically, if the schedule in the future again grew substantially, would it be justifiable to savagely vilify those who wanted to comply with the 2014 schedule as antivaxxers?

Also, as immunization schedules vary with country, are public health officials from those countries themselves to be regarded as antivaxxers if fewer are advised than here?

RIDICULOUS. The use of undefined terms is profoundly unscientific. That's branding, nothing more. Contact Ginger Taylor for more info on her video (names, transcript, etc). She's a Hopkins grad and her research is meticulous.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Apr 7, 2014, 02:21 PM (0 replies)
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