Monday, June 27, 2011

Idaho Will Defy No Child Left Behind, Schools' Chief Luna Tells Duncan

The state of Idaho has fired a shot across the bow of the Obama Administration's NCLB education policy by declaring that it will ignore the federal law without applying for an exemption as required. Many educators believe the misplaced emphasis on standardized testing in this Bush era law is counterproductive, and by flouting it Idaho hopes to add momentum to a national movement to have it repealed.

Death threats for Australian climate scientists

This post is a couple of weeks old but it nonetheless demonstrates the perils of speaking out against mainstream industrial interests in our global world today. If you have the courage to articulate unpopular opinions, you will likely become the object of scorn, threats and other efforts aimed at discrediting your voice or that of the institution or organization that you represent. This is true even if you are an academic and have scientific studies backing up your arguments. Such is the state of the world and so now are we at the point where people with courage and conviction, who are aware of the risks and willing to sacrifice based on principle, must rise to the occasion for the sake of the planet and future generations.


Chronic illnesses and a propensity of doctors to order expensive tests for patients has lead to an explosion of expenses for healthcare in the US. Meanwhile, there is little emphasis spent on preventing disease in this country, and our health insurance model leads to a lot of unnecessary healthcare expenditures that produce a lot of profits for industry but very little for the population. These issues present a big problem for the country and are dragging the economy down as healthcare now represents 17.6 percent of GDP. Single payer healthcare, anyone?

Dane County Sheriff's Office Investigating Alleged Prosser 'Chokehold' Incident

Good grief. The controversial conservative justice in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, and ally to Gov. Scott Walker, is now accused of physically assaulting one of the liberal members of that court. This is after another verified incident in which he called the chief of the court a 'total bitch,' and other recent claims by members of the Court that the conservative majority fudged the legal facts in their decision to uphold an injunction by another court on the anti-labor bill that Republicans passed without public comment a few months ago. There seems to be a great deal of turmoil on the bench in Wisconsin's Supreme Court and now there are two investigations into the latest demonstration of uncivil conduct there.

Bernie Sanders to Obama and the Democrats: Stand Up to the Economic and Political "Schoolyard Bullies"

Bernie Sanders made an important speech today on the Senate floor urging President Obama, Democrats and working people to stand up to the Republican who seek to defund Medicaid and Medicare and they continue to serve wealthy corporations and billionaires rather than the interests of the American people. As a veteran community organizer the Senator stressed that it is time for people to make their voices heard on critical issues that will dramatically affect the future well-being of Americans, and give the President the courage to stand up and fight.

The full text of Sanders' speech can be read here:
Bernie Sanders Tells Obama, "We Will Not Balance The Budget On The Backs Of Working Families"

If you wish to support Senator Sanders' push in defense of working families and include wealthy individuals and corporations in the 'shared sacrifice' that is being called for, please read and sign his petition.
Shared Sacrifice Petition Sponsored by Bernie Sanders

E. Coli and the Misuse of Antibiotics

Finally there's another piece in the media about the antibiotic resistance characteristics of the E. coli outbreak that recently struck in Germany. The author also states that the source of that pathogen is still unknown, and refrains from blaming it on bean sprouts as so much of the media has mindlessly parroted the official line. Bravo.

A Decade of Dangerous Food Imports from China

This report from Food & Water Watch details a long list of unsanitary and unhealthy practices from China's agricultural industry, a major exporter to the US. Let's all start paying some serious attention to the myriad food issues that abound in our increasingly global world.

New York State must treat hazardous fracking waste as such

This release by the Citizen's Campaign for the Environment details the loopholes that allow natural gas companies to dump untreated fracking wastewater in public waterways. Key to the logic of states who wish to ban current fracking practices is that the chemicals that are shipped to drilling sights are required to have warnings about their toxicity displayed on shipping containers yet when these same chemicals are pumped into the ground the responsibility to inform the public about the dangers disappears down that deep hole in the ground. CCE also points out that due to the nature of the drilling these fluids accumulate radioactive characteristics from the earth and massive levels of naturally occurring salts, in addition to the chemicals used in the process.

Natural gas fracking is being falsely hailed as a clean alternative to America's energy needs and the wave of the future by industry and numerous politicians, including the Obama Administration, who are beholden to Big Oil interests. The Times' Ian Urbina, who broke the influential investigative piece on fracking dangers to drinking water supplies during the winter, lays out details of the support and opposition to this widespread and unregulated practice. This report, however, focuses on revelations revealed from internal documents within the governments Energy Information Administration that the industry may be over-hyped, beset by conflicts of interest and set up for financial bust, regardless of the environmental issues.

Behind Veneer, Doubts on Future of Natural Gas