Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Republican Governors Use Budget Woes To Wage War On The Arts

In five states Republican governors or legislatures have proposed either dismantling arts or completely eliminating funding streams in a renewed push to cut public funding for the arts and public broadcasting. The brazen, autocratic tactics employed by those pushing this agenda should make your blood boil.

Major Union Victory for Rite Aid Workers Offers Roadmap for Labor Movement

A very interesting and inspiring story detailing how Rite Aid workers were able to win a good union contract over a grueling five year period. They were able to win affordable health care, protections against outsourcing and wage increases despite Rite Aid's aggressive attempts to short-circuit their union movement in California with union-busters and intimidation. The union was persistent and creative over this long and costly battle, and found that reaching out to stockholders and board members can be a productive tactic in negotiations.

Court of Appeals Dismisses Monsanto’s Appeal of Biotech Beets Case, Preserves Victory for Farmers, Environment

A recent Court of Appeals opinion denying Monsanto's attempt to bypass legally mandated Environmental Impact Studies for GM Sugar Beets designed for human consumption is a victory in the battle against genetically modified biotech crops. The USDA willfully disregarded its legal responsibility to study the impact of this crop before permitting planting and the court has ruled that it must comply with the law. Apparently there have only been two EIS studies on the effects of biotech crops since they came onto the scene about 15 years ago, and they were both court-ordered. The USDA has consistently put the interests of Monsanto above those of the American people. Many battles remain in this arena and I also worry about how Supreme Court might rule should they hear such a case on appeal, but this is good news in the interim.’s-appeal-of-biotech-beets-case-preserves-victory-for-farmers-environment/

Why The US Government is Keeping You Vitamin D Deficient and Who Stands to Gain

A recent decision to lower the standard for levels of Vitamin D considered adequate by the Centers for Disease Control for good health have raised questions about conflicts of interest within the extremely secretive National Academy of Sciences. There is apparently a rush to patent several Vitamin D analog drugs, to treat Vitamin D deficiency, and this article speculates that the new lower levels for identifying deficiency are a deliberate attempt to create a market for the drugs when they are approved by the FDA. Whether or not you believe in this theory, the story raises legitimate questions about the motivations of scientists specializing in Vitamin D who are concurrently developing treatments for patent. The article also takes the CDC to task for failing to sound an alarm regarding the fact that 70% of the African-American population in the US are already Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue related to osteoporosis, MS, poor prognosis in breast cancer treatments, cancer, cardiovascular disease and severe asthma among others.

Vitamin D Deficiency Information

8 Possible Side Effects of Pesticides

This article was contributed by a reader and offers important information on the health risks that are connected to pesticide use in agriculture around the globe. I first read here about organ failure associated with pesticide use in India and several other specific side effects of our collective dependence on these agricultural chemicals.

The Pesticide Action Network is a terrific advocate for public health and vigilant regulation and study of the dangerous chemicals commonly found in pesticides.
Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Watch is another great resource for people concerned about the health effects of pesticides.
Pesticide Watch

Obama Justice Department Subpoenas New York Times Reporter In CIA Leak Case

The Obama Administration has been extremely aggressive in going after whistleblowers in court, having charged five persons with violating the Espionage Act (more than all other Presidents combined), and now they are going after journalistic sources. If the press is supposed to be the fourth pillar of our system of government, charged with keeping powerful interests honest (ha!), then protecting the freedom of the press and First Amendment rights are absolutely essential to the democracy.

Risk From Spent Nuclear Reactor Fuel Is Greater in U.S. Than in Japan, Study Says

This is an issue that should gravely concern us all. The largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet are stored at nuclear reactor sites, in spent fuel pools, all over the US. Apparently, when the reactors were conceived in the 60's it was assumed that spent fuel would be reprocessed to extract uranium and when that idea fizzled we never came up with another solution for dealing with this highly dangerous radioactive waste. This study urges swift action on the issue and I couldn't agree more that we have to bite the bullet and responsibly deal with the massive threat to the US population and humanity that the spent fuel represents.