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Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Senator Bernie Sanders: The president must reject the #KeystoneXL pipeline. #NoKXL

Bernie Sanders ‏@SenSanders 2h
The president must reject the #KeystoneXL pipeline. #NoKXL

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:42 PM (0 replies)

Next up.


Cowboys and Indians Protesting the Keystone Pipeline Together

By Dianna Wray
Wed., Mar. 19 2014 at 7:00 AM

Photo courtesy of Bold Nebraska

Cowboys and Indians are usually on opposing sides in stories of the Old West, but the modern variations have found something to unite them: opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a 1,700-mile pipeline that will tote sticky black bitumen from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Texas Gulf Coast refineries when -- and if -- the project is ever completed. The southern leg of the line is up and running, but the northern section -- the one that would cross the border into Canada -- has been in regulatory limbo for years now. Despite those delays, President Obama recently announced his decision on the Keystone would (Maybe. Probably. Possibly.) be announced some time this year.

The Cowboy Indian Alliance, aka the farmers, ranchers, and tribal communities along the northern edge of the Keystone route have banded together to try and prevent the pipeline from being approved. The Cowboy Indian Alliance has scheduled a protest.

On April 22, members of the group will ride into Washington D.C. and set up camp near the White House to urge the president not to approve the pipeline. The bigger part of the protest -- the one where they are expecting a ton of people to show up -- is scheduled for April 27.

"The name, I think, rocked people a little bit," Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, one of the groups involved in the alliance, said. "The name comes from an alliance in the 80s and 90s between ranchers and tribes. It's a little politically incorrect now, but when we brought everyone together on this we decided to revive it."

While most people would assume that landowners --- cowboys, ranchers and the like -- would be on opposite sides with the tribes, Kleeb says people overlook that they all have the land in common. "The tribes and the farmers and ranchers all share this very spiritual connection to the land we live on," Kleeb said.



April 22 – 27, Washington DC

On April 22nd, a group of ranchers, farmers and tribal communities from along the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route, called the Cowboy Indian Alliance, will ride into Washington DC and set up camp near the White House to tell President Obama to reject the pipeline.

On April 27th, thousands of people will join them to stand together for a final message that the Keystone XL pipeline and the tar sands must be rejected — to protect this, and future generations.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:54 PM (0 replies)

U.S. Fines Koch Industries Chemical Plant: Texas Facility to Spend More Than $45 Million on Upgrades

Not directly related to the XL pipeline issue, as far as I can tell, but the same location (Port Arthur, Texas) and polluters.

The Port Arthur plant manufactures ethylene and propylene, which are used to create plastics and other materials used in equipment such as medical devices and automotive parts.


U.S. Fines Koch Industries Chemical Plant
Texas Facility to Spend More Than $45 Million on Upgrades

March 20, 2014 2:48 p.m. ET

The U.S. government fined a Texas chemical plant controlled by Koch Industries Inc. $350,000 for emissions violations and will require the company to spend more than $45 million on upgrades.

The refining and chemical complex in Port Arthur, Texas, violated Environmental Protection Agency regulations designed to limit emissions from leaking equipment and operated the plant's flaring equipment improperly, allowing excess amounts of benzene and other harmful substances to be released, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Under a settlement with the government, Koch unit Flint Hills Resources will earmark $28 million for new leak-detection equipment and $16 million for a system to recover and recycle waste gases before they are flared into the atmosphere. The company also will spend $2 million to retrofit diesel vehicles operated by the city of Port Arthur with equipment to improve emissions and another $350,000 to help improve energy efficiency in local low-income homes.

"This settlement will mean cleaner, healthier air for residents of the Port Arthur area who continue to bear a disproportionate burden from the impacts of industrial pollution," said Robert G. Dreher, an acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department.

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 02:18 PM (0 replies)

Dr Martha Herbert: "A Whole Body Approach to Brain Health," 3/21 @ 3pm. Free and open to the public!


Tools for Well-Being Talk Series: Martha Herbert
A Whole Body Approach to Brain Health

Friday, March 21, 2014 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: MIT Media Lab (see link)

Speaker: Martha Herbert
Host/Chair: Rosalind W. Picard

Physical and biological needs of the brain must be met as a precondition for "higher" functions to be performed. Basic physical and biological functions are performed by an array of cell and tissue types without which neurons could not live or function. The quality of health, lifestyle, and environment can profoundly affect these physical and biological parameters. Transduction of molecular and metabolic biology into electrophysiological signaling is vulnerable to poor physical and biological health, and conversely can be tuned up by improving whole-body health. Many chronic neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions can potentially be modulated, improved or slowed in their progression in this fashion. In addition, poor health status can increase vulnerability to stress, brain injury and brain disease, while good health status may confer protective resiliency. Taking a whole body approach to brain health can open the way to many practical ways to support the brain through presently available health practices, and improve effectiveness of medical practice and can open new avenues for systems brain-body research.


Martha Herbert, PhD, MD is a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she is an assistant professor in neurology. She is an affiliate of the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging where she directs the TRANSCEND Research Program, which uses advanced brain imaging techniques and biomarkers to look at metabolic, perfusion, and brain function measures of brain change. She received her medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, her residency training at New York Hospital-Cornell and Massachsetts General Hospital-Harvard, and her doctorate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her academic research interests include how changes in whole-body physiology, structure and organization of movement may impact electrophysiology to alter brain function, development and structure; how environmental influences can act through our physiology to degrade molecular, tissue and neuroglial function—or create improvement and fulfill potential; and how emerging bioinformatics and small-scale measurement technologies can facilitate crowdsourcing of health and lifestyle data and build motivation to make these healthful changes. She works to convey to the scientific, policy and public communities that there is a better, more inclusive and action-promoting way of looking at autism, brain health and chronic disease, which is the message of her book, The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be (Harvard Health Publications and Random House, 2012, www.AutismRevolution.org and www.autismWHYandHOW.org).

Source: Twitter link http://ow.ly/uNn97
The video of the talk will be posted on http://wellbeing.media.mit.edu in the future but will not be streaming live.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 01:44 PM (0 replies)

Press Release - Secretary Jewell Announces Order to Implement Youth Initiative

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

Secretary Jewell Announces Order to Implement Youth Initiative Connecting Millions of Young People to America’s Great Outdoors

Sets Specific Goals to Work with Businesses, Conservation Groups and Youth Organizations to Provide Opportunities to Play, Learn, Serve and Work Outdoors

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Formalizing an ambitious initiative to connect America’s young people to the great outdoors, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today issued a Secretarial Order to significantly expand recreational, educational, volunteer and career opportunities for millions of youth and veterans on the nation’s public lands, including partnerships with businesses and youth organizations to support the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).

“If Americans are going to continue to have healthy lifestyles, healthy lands and a healthy economy, one of the steps we must take is to bridge the growing divide between young people and nature,” Jewell said. “Under this order, we are establishing specific goals that the department, as manager of America’s national parks, refuges and other public lands, will meet by working hand in hand with businesses, conservation organizations, Tribes, youth groups and other partners.”

The Secretarial Order formalizes the goals of the youth initiative Jewell first outlined at a National Press Club speech on October 31, 2013. It sets forth specific benchmarks for increasing Interior’s engagement with the next generation, empowers bureaus and offices to lead and implement a comprehensive strategy for meeting the goals, and outlines the accountability structure and implementation framework to achieve the goals, which are described as follows:

Play: Interior will develop or enhance outdoor recreation partnerships in a total of 50 cities over the next four years, to create new, systemic opportunities for outdoor play for over 10 million young people.

Learn: In four years, Interior will provide educational opportunities to at least 10 million of the nation's K-12 student population annually. In addition to welcoming students into public lands, Interior will leverage technology, including the recently launched National Park Service teacher portal, to bring our public lands to the classrooms.

Serve: In four years, Interior will attain one million volunteers annually on public lands. Interior will invest in volunteer management and coordination to ensure anyone who has an interest in devoting their time and talents to public lands has an opportunity to serve.

Work: Interior will provide 100,000 work and training opportunities to young people and veterans over four years within our bureaus and through public-private partnerships.

President Obama has made investing in America’s youth a priority. The President’s 2015 budget request for Interior proposes $50.6 million for youth programs and employment opportunities, a $13.6 million (or 37 percent) increase from 2014.

Read more: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/secretary-jewell-announces-order-to-implement-youth-initiative-connecting-millions-of-young-people-to-americas-great-outdoors.cfm

Sierra Club ‏@SCNearbyNature 6h
.@Interior @SecretaryJewell: Order to Implement Youth Initiative Connecting Millions of Young People to Outdoors http://ow.ly/uNbhX
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Mar 20, 2014, 08:32 PM (3 replies)

PBS: Take a Virtual Trip to China with the First Lady March 20-26


Take a Virtual Trip to China with the First Lady

VIDEO AT LINK - Welcome ( 中国欢迎您 ) from the First Lady

From March 20th-26th, the First Lady will travel to China. Grab your passport and travel across the globe to learn more about China’s unique culture and how international trips help foster global diplomacy. Check out:

NEW Resource Collections & Top Resources

First Lady Blog & Videos: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/first-lady-china-trip

Virtual Event
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Mar 19, 2014, 01:45 PM (1 replies)

As a matter of principle never adopt a defensive posture except fleetingly- it hypes the wrong focus

I had to actively suppress the impulse to address the snark of that article as, in fact, just yesterday Michael Pollan tweeted:

Michael Pollan ‏@michaelpollan Mar 18
"First Lady Has Food Industry in a Frenzy" - http://NationalJournal.com http://bit.ly/Otchvo


First Lady Has Food Industry in a Frenzy
Michelle Obama's push for better nutrition is bringing sweeping changes to agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, schools, and American homes.

By Jerry Hagstrom
March 16, 2014

By many accounts, the Obama administration is leading the most aggressive campaign to improve the nation's eating habits in many decades. If the President and first lady have their way, the American people will cut down on sugar and sodium and eat more whole grains, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables by the time he leaves office and in the years to come.

Many of those changes could result in multibillion-dollar shifts in how the government and consumers spend their money on food. Perhaps just as important, the efforts to reduce sodium, sugar, and fat will force companies to make changes in how they prepare, store, and ship food. But many of those initiatives are under pressure from food companies and from members of Congress.

On Friday, in a speech to the Partnership for a Healthier America—a private-sector group set up to push the administration's nutrition objectives—the first lady said:

"Because of what we have all done together, today, 32 million kids are getting healthier school meals. Tens of thousands of schools are removing junk food ads from their classroom. Fifteen thousand child-care centers will be providing healthier snacks and getting those cute little kids up and moving. Food and beverage companies have cut 6.4 trillion calories from their products. We will soon have better nutrition labels on 700,000 food items. Hundreds of new or renovated grocery stores are reaching millions of people in underserved communities."

But the very same day, at a House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, the opposition surfaced.

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Mar 19, 2014, 01:40 PM (0 replies)

PBS:Take a Virtual Trip to China with the First Lady from March 20-26.


Take a Virtual Trip to China with the First Lady

VIDEO AT LINK - Welcome ( 中国欢迎您 ) from the First Lady

From March 20th-26th, the First Lady will travel to China. Grab your passport and travel across the globe to learn more about China’s unique culture and how international trips help foster global diplomacy. Check out:

NEW Resource Collections & Top Resources

First Lady Blog & Videos: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/first-lady-china-trip

Virtual Event
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Mar 19, 2014, 01:08 PM (0 replies)

"Dr Wharton brings tremendous expertise & her customary wisdom & calm to complex leadership demands"

Well, that's good news.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Mar 19, 2014, 10:46 AM (0 replies)

If this was ho-hum nothin', paradoxically, it'd be plastered all over the media.

Here's a huge takeaway:



Our results have implications for the ongoing scientific quest for the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders.

We provide evidence that routinely expanding the scope of inquiry to include environmental, demographic and socioeconomic factors, and governmental policies at a broad scale in a unified geospatial framework.

It appears that detailed documentation of environmental factors should be recorded and used in genetic analyses of ASDs and failure to do so risks omitting important information about possibly strong confounders.

Scant online coverage includes:


Women living in the top fifth of areas with high levels of air pollution were more than twice as likely to give birth to a child with autism than those in less polluted areas. Those with the greatest exposure to these pollutants were another 50 times more likely to have a child born with autism.

"The environment may play a very significant role in autism, and we should be paying more attention to it," Rzhetsky wrote in the study, which was published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.


By Tara Culp-Ressler on March 17, 2014

We don’t know everything about autism, but research in this area continues to advance. Most experts believe that autism is caused by some combination of genetic and environmental factors that varies from one child to another. Over the past several years, we’ve learning more about just how influential those environmental factors can be.

A large study published this month, which relies on the data from 100 million medical records here in the U.S., found a significant association between autism and “harmful environmental factors.” University of Chicago researchers studied genital malformation in boys, a type of birth defect that’s already been linked to exposure to pesticides, and found a strong link with autism rates. A one percent increase in those defects corresponded to a 283 percent increase in autism.

“This gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong,” Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of genetic medicine and human genetics and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. Rzhetsky wants to use data from the Environmental Protection Agency to do follow-up research into the potential link between autism and toxins.

Rzhetsky’s study adds to a growing body of research that suggests the environment could play some sort of a role in autism rates. Previous work in this field has found that kids who live in areas with high pollution rates are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Kids with autism are more likely to have been born to a mother who lives with 1,000 feet of a freeway, and tend to have unusually high levels of exposure to air-pollutant chemicals. Researchers are quick to clarify that this doesn’t mean pollution single-handedly causes autism — it’s just one of the complex factors that can contribute to a kid’s risk of developing the disease, and something that should be investigated further.

Plenty of other evidence has already linked air pollution to a host of health issues, like heart damage and respiratory disease. This past fall, the World Health Organization officially classified it as a carcinogen. “The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,” Kurt Straif, the head of the WHO department that ranks cancer-causing agents, explained at the time.

Again, "Researchers are quick to clarify that this doesn’t mean pollution single-handedly causes autism — it’s just one of the complex factors that can contribute to a kid’s risk of developing the disease, and something that should be investigated further."
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Mar 17, 2014, 10:14 PM (1 replies)
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