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The Outstanding Public Debt is:

$ 7 , 7 8 3 , 1 0 6 , 5 2 7 , 5 0 6 . 1 2

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $2.16 billion per day since September 28, 2007! Stop the wars! Balance the Budget! Tell Congress and the White House! This debt clock was developed and is maintained by Ed Brillig.


Check out our coverage of Wikileaks. What I like most about Wikileaks is that it is not biased by biased media, but rather real information from the source being presented authentically, by somebody who is willing to risk his life to share the truth.

More than a century ago, our ancestors had a simple plan for dealing with energy generation. Set fire to everything that will burn. What could be easier and more sensible? No one had a clue at the time that there were unintended consequences that would involve billions of dollars in cleanup schemes within a few decades.

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What Do Republicans Have Against Biking and Walking?
In these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress. October 28, 2011 | How in the the world can biking and walking be controversial? They’re good exercise, fun to do and—as an alternative to driving everywhere—help us save money and the environment. Both biking and walking are increasingly popular for transportation and recreation today, thanks in large part to a recent flowering of federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient. But in these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress. In September, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn proposed stripping all designated federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects from the pending Transportation Bill.

New Film Exposes Connection Between the Kochs and a Small Community Dying of Cancer
Exposed: Koch Industries and Cancer Risk, (which you can watch below) is a chilling demonstration of just how horrific a price people are forced to pay. The film is set in the town of Crossett, Arkansas and focuses on a community of residents on Penn Road. Among 15 families, there have been at least 11 deaths from cancer, and many more people are ill. The source of their anguish seems to be coming from a foul smelling canal of water, steaming with toxic pollutants, that runs through the woods near their homes. If you were to follow the stench all the way upstream, one woman in the film explains, it leads to the town's only manufacturer and main employer: Georgia Pacific. A Koch Industries subsidiary

Why the Whole Idea of the U.S Achieving 'Energy Independence' Is a Sham That Enriches Big Oil and Coal
In late August, Oil Change International shattered the myth that the Keystone XL, which is to transport tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas, will be used domestically. Refiners based in Port Arthur, where the oil will end up, are focused on exporting oil to Europe and Latin America. The majority of the heavy tar sands oil extracted in Alberta will never end up being burned in the United States. To top it off, Port Arthur, where the dirty oil is to be refined, is in a Foreign Trade Zone, where the company can operate without paying any U.S. taxes.

Nearly 10 Years Ago Today, The U.S. Began Borrowing Billions To Pay For The Bush Tax Cuts
As debates about deficit reduction continued to be heavily tilted toward cutting spending, which threatens to undermine a fragile recovery, rather than raising revenue from those who can afford it, it’s important to remember the budgetary impact of the Bush tax cuts. Nearly 10 years ago today, on August 1, 2001, the Associated Press reported that the Treasury Department was tapping $51 billion of credit in order to pay for the budgetary cost of the first round of Bush tax cuts’ rebate checks. The AP reported at the time that Democratic Party opponents of the tax cuts worried that they’d return government budgets to “red ink“:

The World at 7 Billion People: How Much More Growth Can the Planet Support?
With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident. Where we go, nature retreats. We are entering an epoch scientists have begun calling the Anthropocene, a break with the geologic past marked by humanity's long-term alteration of the natural world and its biota. We are inadvertently bringing on the sixth mass extinction not just because our appetites are vast and our technologies powerful, but because we occupy or manipulate most of the land in every continent except Antarctica. We appropriate anywhere from 24 percent to nearly 40 percent of the photosynthetic output of the planet for our food and other purposes, and more than half of its accessible renewable freshwater runoff.

House Republicans Massively Chop Funding for Wildlife, Clean Water and Air
The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee has approved a restrictive spending bill for Fiscal Year 2012 that allows uranium mining on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon, prohibits funding for the U.S. EPA to set greenhouse gas standards, and exempts oil and utility companies from the Clean Air Act. The EPA's budget would be cut by $1.5 billion and the Interior Department would take a $715 million hit under the bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee

Equality and the Good Life
New research shows that, among developed countries, the healthiest and happiest are those with the most equality. Inequality is a reflection of how strong hierarchies are, how much we share or how much we don't. It shows us which part of our potential we're developing. What game do I play? Have I got to fend for myself? Or have I got to get people to trust me and cooperate with me? Is my survival dependent on good relationships? Are you my rival? Have I got to keep what I've got, defend it? Or can we share? We've lived in the most egalitarian and the most awful, hierarchical, tyrannical societies.

Michele Bachmann under fire for 'gay therapy,' police reports, IRS work
Michele Bachmann is now facing the kind of scrutiny that comes with being a major presidential candidate. ABC News reported Monday that the controversial clinic run by Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, and owned by the couple has suggested in counseling that prayer could help switch a patient’s sexual orientation. According to the Herald: “She and her staff over the years have requested police protection or investigations when her house was egged; when protesters threw glitter on her or held up critical signs... In a different vein, the Wall Street Journal Monday took a look at Bachmann's oft-repeated assertion on the stump that she has worked as a tax attorney. Bachmann, the Journal states, in fact worked as counsel for the Internal Revenue Service and represented the government against taxpayers, something, the article notes, might not sit well with the tea-party faithful with whom Bachmann stands shoulder-to-Shoulder.

The Relentless Christian Crusade to Prevent Kids from Learning Science
Religious Right strategies to introduce fundamentalist Christianity into public school science classes have (ironically) evolved over the years. In decades past, state legislators passed laws flatly barring the teaching of evolution or requiring “balanced treatment” between creationism and evolution. Those efforts were struck down by the courts. Undaunted, Religious Right activists returned with a host of new ideas and presented them to friendly lawmakers. They advocated teaching the “weaknesses” of evolution, asserted that public school teachers had a free-speech right to attack evolution in class and even advocating pasting anti-evolution disclaimers in science books. When courts rejected those gambits as well, the creationists retrenched and relabeled. Creationism became “intelligent design” (ID), a concept that its proponents swore was not necessarily religious (although they were unclear on who the designer could be other than God). That gambit floundered in court as well, bringing us to the newest incarnation of creationism: Teach the controversy.

Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President
The death of liberal institutions that once made incremental and piecemeal reform possible, which once could respond to the suffering of the poor, the unemployed and working men and women, which once sought to protect the Earth on which we depend for life, means the last thin hope for reform is embodied in acts of civil disobedience. There are no established institutions that will help us. The press ignores the cries of the underclass and the poor. The labor movement is atrophied and dying. Public education is degraded and being rapidly dismantled. Our religious institutions no longer engage in the core issues of justice. And the Democratic Party is on its knees before Wall Street. The most basic government services designed to ameliorate the pain, including Head Start and Social Security, are targeted by our corporate overlords for destruction. The Kyoto Protocol, which was not nearly ambitious enough to prevent environmental collapse, has been gutted so companies like Exxon Mobil can continue to amass the largest profits in history.

American History 101 For Bachmann
Bachmann has for some time peddled the notion that the nation's founding fathers worked "tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States." She is simply wrong about this. The last of the revolutionaries generally recognized by historians as the founders — signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and their chief political and military comrades — passed in 1836, with the death of James Madison. That was twenty-seven years before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, and twenty-nine years before the finish of the Civil War. But Bachmann has never been bothered by the facts. If Michele Bachmann wanted to talk about a founder who was on the right side of history, she could have done so. But that would require her to do more than talk about American history. She would have to read it. And she would have to do so with an eye toward understanding America as a work in progress where there have always been debates between progressives, like Paine and his "winter soldiers" of the visionary American revolution, and the "sunshine patriot" conservatives who were — and are — too afraid, or too wrongheaded, to do right by their fellow human beings.

Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North
AGUA NEGRA, Mexico — The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive. A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States. This trend may lead to labor shortages in the United States.

Foreign Press Says What America’s Won’t: Sarah Palin is a Traitor
Sarah Palin has made it to the big time; she’s now being called out by international media. To attack the President of the country at a time when the USA needs to close ranks and stand together to consolidate the enormous strides his (President Obama’s) intelligent and respectful approach has achieved in building bridges, when her party’s period in government bombed them, Spankin’ Sarah Palin comes across as a pitifully inadequate anachronism from the times of the Far West.”

The Sky Really is Falling
The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation—the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry—is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Budget Problems? Try Ending the Many Wars
To the wayfaring American citizen, the view of Washington, D.C., from abroad is as bizarre as that of Oz. One cannot believe what is happening. How can Republican leaders have convinced themselves that the way to be re-elected is by doing away with Medicare and Social Security—about all the security that America’s old people have to hang on to these days. (Not the rich ones. There are not very many rich, old people in the United States—look around you.) If the government would like $3 trillion to round out the budget for next year, why not call off the wars that nobody can any longer explain? Afghan operations alone are set to run to $113 billion this fiscal year, according to The Washington Post. The Pentagon is asking for $107 billion in the next fiscal year for Afghanistan alone. The cost of maintaining a single American soldier in Afghanistan for a year is $1 million. That’s because of the stupefying cost of transporting supplies and the continuing construction of bases there. (But aren’t we supposed to be leaving?)

Rights come from governments
Those who buy into the myth of American exceptionalism do so because they view the Founding Fathers’ foresight — made manifest in the Constitution — as unique. And it’s true, though the U.S. charter was culled from the best law of hundreds of years back to the Magna Carta in 1215. There is a certain segment of conservatism, however, that insists American exceptionalism was given to us divinely. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., writing in the Indianapolis Star, said God gave us the rights we enjoy, and a big government threatens them. Quite the contrary. Government is the reason for those rights.

Inside the FOX News Fear Factory
The key to decoding Fox News isn’t Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. It isn’t even News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch. To understand what drives Fox News, and what its true purpose is, you must first understand Chairman Ailes. “He is Fox News,” says Jane Hall, a decade-long Fox commentator who defected over Ailes’ embrace of the fear-mongering Glenn Beck. “It’s his vision. It’s a reflection of him.” Ailes runs the most profitable – and therefore least accountable – head of the News Corp. hydra. Fox News reaped an estimated profit of $816 million last year – nearly a fifth of Murdoch’s global haul. Fear, in fact, is precisely what Ailes is selling: His network has relentlessly hyped phantom menaces like the planned “terror mosque” near Ground Zero, inspiring Florida pastor Terry Jones to torch the Koran. Privately, Murdoch is as impressed by Ailes’ business savvy as he is dismissive of his extremist politics. "You know Roger is crazy," Murdoch recently told a colleague, shaking his head in disbelief. "He really believes that stuff." "What’s fun for Roger is the destruction," says Dan Cooper, a key member of the team that founded Fox News. "When the light bulb goes on and he’s got the trick to outmaneuver the enemy – that’s his passion."

A Question Of Values | Brian McAfee
The Muskegon, Michigan Tea Party helda rally in the Muskegon area for April 15. In relation, it is important to take a look at them and their Republican cohorts to see what they are up to and what they really seem to want. What so far have they pretty much across the board supported? First, there was, of course in worshipful homage to the rich, the tax cut for the rich. Naturally they were in favor of the extension in President Bush's tax breaks for the most affluent Americans and big oil in the amount of approximately $700 billion, which will continue to explode the federal budget deficit. Despite this massive win, Tea Party leaders griped that Republicans had given up a push for the full repeal of the estate tax.

Focus on the Family CEO Admits: "We're Losing" on Gay Marriage
Even the bigotry-peddlers knows it's true; gay marriage, once a "wedge issue" is fast becoming a losing issue thanks to the growing pro-equality feelings of American young people (and open-minded older folks as well, of course!). Jim Daly, the president and CEO of Focus on the Family, which funds attacks against marriage equality across the country, concedes in a new interview that “We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage,” says Daly in the interview. “I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that.”

Citizens Groups: Delay Controversial Natural Gas 'Fracking' Process until Strong Safety Regulations Are in Place | LISTEN
LANSING - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - Citizens groups today urged Michigan to delay a controversial method of extracting natural gas until it adopts strong safety regulations and full accountability measures essential to protecting public health and safeguarding Michigan's freshwater supplies. The drilling process, called horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is quickly becoming the prevalent method for extracting natural gas.

Governor Snyder and Bullypolice Co-Founder Kevin Epling Urge Passage of "Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Legislation"
In Governor Snyder's education speech, he repeated a call his predecessor made many times for anti-bullying legislation. Those who have been pushing for years for this gathered to discuss the dangers of bullying. They've been trying to get a comprehensive anti-bullying bill through our legislature for years, and now that the governor is calling on the legislature to pass this, they feel like this time it's going to happen. Kevin Epling, whose son killed himself in 2002 after being bullied, was at the event. He's been working for years to inform schools, communities and the state of the need for prevention against bullying in schools.

Extremists Behind the GOP's War on Women: the Taliban Style Christian Right
By failing to fully interrogate so-called social conservatism and understand its religious motivations, the press and pundits continue to provide cover for candidates with an extreme agenda, which they're far from finished carrying out. By failing to fully interrogate so-called social conservatism and understand its religious motivations, the press and pundits continue to provide cover for candidates with an extreme agenda, which they're far from finished carrying out. The Tea Party is full of religious zealots hell-bent on undermining the rights of women. Submission is a central tenet of Gothard's teachings. His evangelical critics have described the insular world of Gothard's organization as "a culture of fear" and Gothard's teachings as a "parody of patriarchalism," the "basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context," and "anti-woman." The core of Gothard's authoritarian teachings is a chain of command of spiritual authority from God to the husband and father, who is responsible for seeing to his wife's and children's obedience in order to ensure their eternal salvation.

World-renowned Bible scholar says the Bible is full of fibs, forgeries and downright lies
Ancient "books" weren't mass-produced, thus couldn't become bestsellers. While forgery wasn't illegal then, it was frowned upon. Forgers, if exposed, faced public shame. Yet some braved that risk as a means of hawking their agendas: doctrine that the devout would devour if declared by Matthew or Luke but dismiss if propounded by a random guy named Flavius. It's relatively easy to fool illiterate hordes. For example, the First Epistle to Timothy — attributed to Paul, although Ehrman insists it's forged — forbids females from becoming pastors or even speaking aloud in church. For example, the First Epistle to Timothy — attributed to Paul, although Ehrman insists it's forged — forbids females from becoming pastors or even speaking aloud in church. Faked scriptures warning us to speak the truth: Some liars lie for what they say is our own good. Parents assure their children that people are kind. Spouses never confess those one-night stands. Is it sometimes okay to lie? In Forged, Ehrman argues that hearing the truth might be a human right.

Benton Harbor City Commission defies Emergency Manager
In defiance of an order that prohibits them from taking any action, the Benton Harbor City Commission passed a resolution last night declaring the appointment of Emergency Manager Joe Harris unconstitutional and calling for his removal. Commissioner Dennis Knowles, who drafted the resolution, said that it will be mailed to officials on city letterhead but that city commissioners will have to buy the stamps to do the mailing because they are no longer able to order supplies. “This is about democracy … it is about human rights. It is a litmus test to see if the Constitution even still exists.”

Parsing the subtext of the racist ‘birther’ conspiracy
It’s time to recognize the “birther” conspiracy wingnuts for what they are. They’re racists. There is no other explanation for the circus sideshow that’s been going on since the inception of the Obama administration. The birthers, including most recently the windbag carnival barker, Donald Trump, just can’t stand the fact that a man born to a white mother and black father could ever succeed at anything in this country, much less become president.

Michigan: Pay Now. Pay Later.
Water levels in the Great Lakes are projected to significantly fall—by about a meter in Lakes Michigan-Huron—over the next several decades, placing system connectivity throughout the Great Lakes at risk; by 2030, connectivity could fall by approximately 25%. This would be highly damaging to regional economies; the transport of cargo over the system is responsible for over $3 billion in regional business and personal revenue. 1 Warmer temperatures, lost soil moisture, and drought will likely have a significant effect on the state’s $63.7 billion agriculture industry. The predicted 20-40% increase in precipitation in the region and related effects are likely to further hinder the sector, rather than offset such occurrences. 2 Approximately 1.6 times of the Michigan’s current electricity demand could be generated by renewable energy sources in the state, should these sources be fully exploited. 3 According to a new study, a failure to mitigate the effects of climate change could begin to cause serious gross domestic product and job losses within the next several decades. Between 2010 and 2050, it could cost Michigan $18.3 billion in GDP and nearly 108,000 jobs.

Right-Wing Bullies Continue to Hold the Nation Hostage
When I was a small boy I was bullied more than most, mainly because I was a foot shorter than than everyone else. They demanded the cupcake my mother had packed in my lunchbox, or, they said, they’d beat me up. After a close call in the boy’s room, I paid up. Weeks later, they demanded half my sandwich as well. I gave in to that one, too. But I could see what was coming next. They’d demand everything else. Somewhere along the line I decided I’d have a take a stand. The fight wasn’t pleasant. But the bullies stopped their bullying. I hope the President decides he has to take a stand, and the sooner the better.

American Family Association: All Immigrants Must "Convert To Christianity"
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is doubling-down on his view that the U.S. should ban Muslim immigration, and on Wednesday he called Muslim immigrants a “toxic cancer.” We believe in freedom of religion for Muslims ... But if they insist on clinging to their religion, they will need to exercise their freedom of religion in a Muslim country which shares their values. The U.S. should use the Book of Numbers when establishing its immigration policy. According to Fischer, all new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home”. [Editor: These are the same Christian Taliban Right "Wing Nuts" who are involved in the kill the gays campaign against gays and lesbians. At least they area an equal opportunity hate group.]

American Family Association: No First Amendment Rights for Muslims
While the American Family Association claims that one of its founding objectives is to “defends the rights of conscience and religious liberty from infringement by government,” [Editor: You have the "right" to practice their interpretation of Christianity] its chief spokesman Bryan Fischer continues to show his contempt for religious freedom. Fischer, the AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis, repeatedly demanded that the US deport all Muslims and prohibit and purge Muslims from the military, and also called for the banning and destruction of mosques. Fischer today attempted to reconcile his ardent opposition to Muslim religious liberty with the Constitution’s First Amendment by claiming that the Constitution actually doesn’t apply to or protect Muslims at all

A Question Of Values And Ethics | OpEd
The Muskegon Tea Party has scheduled a rally in the Muskegon area for April 15, it is important to take a look at them and their Republican cohorts to see what they are up to and what they really seem to want. First, of course, in worshipful homage to the rich there was the tax cut for the rich, 1.8 billion from Michigan's new Republican and 700+ billion from from the new Tea Party lead U.S. House of Representatives in Washington. Who are the targets for the billions in cuts coming from the Right in congress both in Michigan and nationwide?

Attention Tea Party

We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS - the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People - have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry,, racism and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of a political movement. 

Being such aggressive proponents for the Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Information as we are, we have hitherto allowed you to continue preaching your benighted gospel of hatred and your theatrical exhibitions of, not only your fascist views, but your utter lack of Christ-like attributes. 

Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man - except for yourselves - has frequently crossed the line which separates Freedom of Speech from deliberately utilizing the same tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse that have been previously exploited and employed by tyrants and dictators, fascists and terrorist organizations throughout history. 

ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes & close your public Web sites. Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS: We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your activists will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines.

The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.

Anonymous Hackers Threaten to Take Down Tea Party Websites
The Anonymous group known for hacking and taking down numerous websites including Paypal and Bank of America for blocking donation payments to the Wikileak owner Assange, the church of Scientology and their recent attack on the Westborro "God Hates Fags" church has now focused its attention on the Tea Party by posting this message on the Tea Party Patriots message boards. The Oregon Tea Party Facebook page has already been subjected to an onslaught of image macros, desus, flames and herp derps, along with at least one message explaining why it was being smacked around. The Oregon Tea Party's Facebook page is now gone ... completely.

Radiation from Japan Nuclear Plant Found in US Rain
Traces of radioactivity from damaged nuclear power facilities in Japan have been detected in rainwater in the northeast United States.

Plutonium Found Leaking Out Of Japan Nuclear Plant
March 29, 2011 | Highly toxic plutonium has seeped into the soil outside the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, officials say. The plutonium, which showed up in two different soil samples taken from the plant, is the latest contaminant found to have escaped from the facility.

The Biggest Threat Facing the Country Today Is Fast Creeping Ignorance
It's reached epidemic levels in government. Isn't wanton ignorance among those we trust with nuclear policies, war, famine, jobs, the national debt and more, a concern? For instance "3/4ths of Senate GOP Doesn't Believe in Science: The Tea Party and its allies had made it unacceptable to the GOP base to be anywhere except pandering to the anti-science crowd." (Full Story)

Glenn Beck Dropped By Radio Station Because His Bizarre Religious Rants Hurt Ratings
March 28, 2011 | A radio chain that dropped Glenn Beck from five of its stations since January did so, in part, because the show's content was hurting ratings, the company's president said Monday. "He bounces around pretty radically, I think he confuses people, they're not sure where he is coming from."

One Year Later, the Falsehoods Continue
One year ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act If anyone thought the law’s passage would end distortions about the health care law, they were seriously mistaken. We’ve conducted more than 400 separate fact-checks on health care since 2007, including more than 150 since the law was signed in 2010. Today, to mark the law’s one-year anniversary, we’re highlighting 10 of the most significant falsehoods we’ve checked about the health care law in the past year.

Oh No, Have We Hit Peak Coffee?
It's time to wake up -- climate change is happening here and now, and it's killing our buzz. k' -- first oil, then fish, then chocolate, now coffee -- Richard Heinberg's 'peak everything' thesis is looking more and more astute. In this case, it's because coffee, like cocoa, are picky, finicky plants -- they require just the right temperature and amount of rainfall to produce a decent yield. And climate change is screwing it all up: yields are way down, it's becoming impossible to plant in certain regions, and as a result, prices of coffee beans are soaring.

Our Dead and Dying Trees
Mounting evidence that dates back to the late 1980’s, reveals nanoparticles of heavy metals and toxic chemicals from Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Programs have contaminated our water, soil and air. This toxic contamination is causing environmental stress on every living thing on this planet, including humans, animals, forests, oceans, etc. Environmental Voices (www.environmentalvoices.org) has begun a study on our declining forests. Certified laboratory tests on tree bark of dying trees indicate the presence of aluminum, barium, strontium and titanium. Tree bark, from a tree in Solano Beach CA, had certified test results as follows: Aluminum 387 mg/kg, barium 18.4 mg/kg, titanium 15.2 mg/kg, strontium 113 mg/kg. Water nourishes our forests and certified laboratory tests of samples from a Pit River arm tributary tested at 4,610,000 ugl (ugl=ppb or parts per billion), over 4,610 times the maximum contaminant level for aluminum in drinking water for the State of California. With the facts that the Welsbach nanoparticles are changing the pH of the soil and that our water sources are contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals; how will we be able to survive on this planet?

Prepare for Economic Disaster
The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst. In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food. But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically. So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents? How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent? For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to take for granted that massive amounts of cheap oil and massive amounts of cheap food will always be there. So what happens when that paradigm changes?

Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40% within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Crisis? Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due climate change and population growth, scientists have said Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production.

Sixth Mass Extinction May Have Already Started
A new study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature states just that. And it's man-made. The IUCN lists 18,351 species on its "Red List of Threatened Species," considered the global standard for the conservation status of animal and plant species. All are at risk based on current and projected habitat loss or destruction due to human encroachment and climate change. Of those, 1,940 are listed as critically endangered, meaning the species' numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations.

TSA Controversy Explodes
March 3, 2011 | The TSA, already facing a significant public backlash, has been thrust firmly into the media spotlight again this week as the controversy over the agency’s domestic security takeover has been heightened with the exposure of multiple unsavory stories of secret plans, security failures and outright criminality. The latest incident to be exposed occurred Saturday night at JKF International Airport, as a passenger was allowed to board a plane with three boxcutter knives in his hand luggage. Two Screeners and a TSA supervisor all failed to detect the boxcutters, and they were only discovered when they fell out of the luggage and were reported by a flight attendant. In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple boxcutter incidents.

Change has swept the country
Attitudes about gay marriage are evolving. Many feel that the law is unconstitutionals. The president has friends who are gay, and Obama has suggested in interviews that his thinking is affected by how much marriage means to his staff. Perhaps not coincidentally, the gay rights movement has spent the last year talking about the issue in just such terms. In past debates over same-sex marriage at the state level, gay activists have focused on the rights and benefits they and their partners are denied because they can't marry. All relationships are about love, partnership and care.

Michigan Partner Benefits Victory
Today’s ruling by the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) to continue offering same-sex partner health benefits to state employees. We applaud the MCSC’s decision to respect and treat fairly all state employees and their families. We need your help to ensure that all Michiganders are treated with full equality and respect. We now need to ensure that towns and municipalities follow the commission’s lead protecting LGBT employees and families. An agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been drawn up to do just that and is awaiting a vote by the commission. All Michigan families deserve the same level of protection and recognition. Civil Service Commissioner Andrew Abood said it best today when describing the commission’s ruling saying, “It’s not about cost-benefit. It’s about doing what’s right.” However, in this case “doing what’s right” in a moral sense is the same thing as doing the right thing for Michigan’s economy. This MCSC decision will allow us to attract and retain the best and brightest employees to public service in our state. And that can only be good for Michigan.

  • Tell the MCSC that you support a vote to approve the agreement drafted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to extend health benefits to all eligible individuals. Call the commission at 1-800-788-1766. Let the commission know how important protecting Michigan’s LGBT employees and families is important to you.

Union battle in the Midwest a pull for political power
The labor fight blazing in Madison, Wis., and other state capitals is more than a feud over budgets or the rights of government employees. It is a battle that could fundamentally change the practice of politics in this country, with enormous consequences in 2012 and beyond.

Our Messed Up Food System
Should you ever want to see firsthand how completely dysfunctional our modern food system is, I urge you to hop a flight to Santa Barbara, California. The agricultural county exports 99 percent of what is grown there while 95 percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the county are shipped in from elsewhere.

Qaddafi, Bush And The Iraq Big Lie
While the US government expresses outrage over the brutality of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi toward his own people, we’re missing a complex but significant wrinkle that ties Qaddafi to America’s cover-up of the true path to war in Iraq.

What "original intent" would look like
If a Tea Party constitutional reading suddenly took sway and we returned to the original document as conceived, what would the American republic look like? Much to the surprise of Bachmann and others, there wouldn't be that much freedom and democracy. The truth is, we've come in a long way over the years in our effort to perfect our democracy. I doubt that any of us want to go back to the way it was in the days of the Federalist Papers.

Stunning Hypocrisy from Tea Party Republicans
February 3, 2011 | It's only been a month since the new Tea Party lawmakers took office, but the entirely predictable results of their ascension are already coming in. The Republican Party's newest class of “mavericks” have again stormed into office intent on proving their theory that government is inherently evil by screwing up everything in sight. Before we embark on our tour of the Tea Party politicians' early moves – and those of the party they were supposed to be “taking back” -- let's recall exactly what they promised...

The FBI Has Been Violating Your Liberties in Ways That May Shock You
February 3, 2011 | Last week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, introduced legislation to extend the Patriot Act past its February 28 expiration date to December 2013. Though the extension once again saves some of the most nefarious, First-Amendment trampling provisions of the act -- roving wiretaps, secret access to third-party records, the hunting of targets unafilliated with foreign powers -- Leahy released a statement assuring us that the new extension will increase citizen protections (since 9/11, the FBI has been responsible for up to 40,000 violations).

Michigan Partner Benefits Victory
Today’s ruling by the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) to continue offering same-sex partner health benefits to state employees. We applaud the MCSC’s decision to respect and treat fairly all state employees and their families. We need your help to ensure that all Michiganders are treated with full equality and respect. We now need to ensure that towns and municipalities follow the commission’s lead protecting LGBT employees and families. An agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been drawn up to do just that and is awaiting a vote by the commission. All Michigan families deserve the same level of protection and recognition. Civil Service Commissioner Andrew Abood said it best today when describing the commission’s ruling saying, “It’s not about cost-benefit. It’s about doing what’s right.” However, in this case “doing what’s right” in a moral sense is the same thing as doing the right thing for Michigan’s economy. This MCSC decision will allow us to attract and retain the best and brightest employees to public service in our state. And that can only be good for Michigan.

  • Tell the MCSC that you support a vote to approve the agreement drafted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to extend health benefits to all eligible individuals. Call the commission at 1-800-788-1766. Let the commission know how important protecting Michigan’s LGBT employees and families is important to you.

Mortgage Lenders Committed Massive Fraud and Now Wall St. Wants to Escape from the Lawbreaking
January 27, 2011 | They committed widespread fraud – largely whitewashed by the corporate media – and, in the process, threw the economy into a tailspin. They've broken into and stolen people's homes, and, in the name of “efficiency,” bilked state governments out of billions of dollars in real estate transfer fees. They've even admitted to ripping off – and foreclosing on – soldiers deployed overseas, in violation of the law. And they shredded a bedrock principle of capitalism, throwing hundreds of years of settled property law into doubt and in turn creating a massive drag on Main Street's economic “recovery.”

Reasons Global Capitalism Makes Our Lives Worse -- And How We Can Create a New Kind of Economy
January 16, 2011 | To many of us, a society where no one goes hungry, where there is no unemployment, where people are happy and they have spacious homes and lots of leisure time seems like fantasy. But it's not a fantasy for Helena Norberg-Hodge -- she saw it firsthand in the tiny Himalayan region of Ladakh, a remote mountain community that borders Tibet.

Got Carp!
A study identifying aquatic pathways that may exist between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, as well as solutions to the challenges we face protecting the Great Lakes from Asian Carp.

A ‘Budget-Busting’ Law?
Republicans and Democrats both misrepresent the fiscal effect of the health care law. A reality check please...

Canadian municipal trash no longer coming to Michigan
DETROIT — The years-long practice of allowing Canadian municipal trash to roll into Michigan has come to a close, Michigan's U.S. senators said Monday. Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin announced they've been given assurances that officials from Ontario will honor an agreement the sides negotiated four years ago to stop shipments of city waste to Michigan as of Dec. 31, 2010. The lawmakers said the agreement prevents more than 40,000 trash trucks from entering the state and stops 1.5 million tons of waste from being dumped here. "This is a great victory for Michigan in the fight against Canadian trash," Stabenow said. "This trash poses serious health, safety and security threats to Michigan families and our communities." [Editor: I wonder if the U.S. has stopped shipping toxic waste to Canada for deep injection well disposal, as part of the deal?]

Here's Why We Should Really Be Concerned About the Huge Bird and Fish Die-off
As news reports of the eerie incident spread, similar stories began surfacing all over the world: Massive fish kills by the thousands in Brazil, New Zealand, the Arkansas River and the Chesapeake; more bird deaths in Louisiana, Kentucky and Sweden; and tens of thousands of dead crabs (aptly named dead devil crabs) washing ashore in the U.K. A recent infographic on Mother Nature Network reveals that in the last 500 years, 900 species of plants and animals have gone extinct and 10,000 more are close to making that list. We've done the most damage, however, in the last 100 years. Biologically rich Ecuador has the most to lose, with 2,211 endangered species, but the U.S. is a close second (1,203 endangered species).

We're Blaming the Wrong People for Polluted Tap Water
January 8, 2011 | Advertisement Recent coverage of the revelations of increased levels of hexavalent chromium (also known as chromium 6) in some of our nation's water supplies vilified the wrong institutions: our municipal water utilities. The real culprits are the industries that dump this and other pollutants into our drinking water sources, and the elected officials who are short-sightedly failing to fund our drinking and wastewater systems.

Top US Official Murdered After Arkansas Weapons Test Causes Mass Death
Jan 4th | A shocking report prepared for Prime Minister Putin by the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) states that one of the United States top experts in biological and chemical weapons was brutally murdered after he threatened to expose a US Military test of poison gas that killed hundreds of thousands of animals in Arkansas this past week. According to this report, John P. Wheeler III, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C. from 2005-2008, when he became the Special Assistant to the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Logistics and Environment, was found brutally murdered and dumped in a landfill, and as we can read as reported by Fox News

Asian carp may be on their way
TRAVERSE CITY — Scientists whose genetics-based research became a lightning rod in the debate over protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp have made their case in a newly published article that says at least some of the dreaded invaders have gotten beyond an electric barrier meant to block their path to Lake Michigan

What’s happening to America’s wildlife?
A mysterious illness is threatening the bat population in North America, and so far it has killed more than 1 million of the creatures On Dec. 31, about 2,000 red-winged blackbirds fell dead from the sky in central Arkansas. Some 100,000 dead drum fish suddenly washed up on a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Ozark. In the last 50 years, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by 50 percent. In the past five years, mass disappearances has been reported in 24 states, an event that is now known as colony collapse disorder. According to National Geographic, 1,050 species in the U.S. and its neighboring waters are listed as endangered and another 309 are listed as threatened, or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees
The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Clothianidin has already been banned by Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia for its toxic effects. So why won't the EPA follow? The answer probably has something to do with $262 million in sales in 2009 alone.

Which Banks Got Emergency Loans from the Fed During the Financial Meltdown
We combined the Fed’s three programs that loaned directly to banks and other financial firms with the goal of getting them to start lending again. We hope to post on the Fed’s other programs soon. The numbers here reflect the cumulative amount a bank borrowed. Banks often rolled loans over from one into another, so the amount outstanding any given time would be far lower.

Death Eaters on Wall Street
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a stunning expose on a publicly-traded company called Life Partners Holdings. Are you ready for this? Life Partners creeps around asking the unemployed, the elderly and the sick (especially people with HIV/AIDS) to sell them their life insurance policies for cash. Then they bundle these policies into securities and sell them to vultures -- oh, I am sorry, “investors.” Then the “investors” sit around and wait for people to die -- the sooner the better for the purchasers of these death bonds. The future of this industry “looks bright,” chirps National Underwriters.

Number Of Uninsured Americans Soars to Over 50 Million
As the Great Recession has sown unemployment and downgraded work even for those people who have held on to their jobs, the number of Americans lacking healthcare has swelled beyond 50 million, according to a sobering new report from the Kaiser Foundation. Among the report's most troubling findings: The number of Americans without any health care coverage grew by more than four million in 2009. That left almost one-fifth of non-elderly people uninsured. Among those between 19 and 29 years old, nearly one-third lacked coverage. The study underscores the degree to which the recession has accelerated the loss of basic elements once viewed as inextricable pieces of a middle class life. The number of Americans lacking medical coverage now exceeds the population of Spain. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/27/uninsured-americans-50-million_n_801695.html

Is Your Boss Ripping You off?
The full extent of employer cheating is not known. But one study shows that in New York City alone, workers are cheated out of more than $18 million a week. Another study, covering more than 4,000 workers in Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as New York, found that more than one-fourth of the workers had been paid less than the minimum wage. It's not just the cheated workers who are harmed. We are all harmed, notes former Obama White House adviser Van Jones, since wage theft "keeps lawfully earned pay from being spent where it will do the most to strengthen our economy."

Senate votes to abolish 'don't ask' policy
12-December 2010 | The Senate voted to abolish the 17-year-old ban on gays and lesbians in the military known as "don't ask, don't tell" on Saturday, ending a tumultuous chapter in American civil rights history and the last bastion of legal discrimination based on sexual orientation. "By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay," Obama said in a statement following the Senate vote. "And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love."

Study Confirms That FOX News Makes You Stupid
December 15, 2010 | Advertisement Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

House Votes to Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to overturn the ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers serving in the U.S. military, passing legislation repealing the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The bill—a so-called “standalone” measure not tied to any other legislative items—passed 250 to 175 in a virtual party-line vote. It now advances to the Senate.

Metro area's water system thick with corruption, feds say
With more than 4 million customers and more than $800 million in annual revenue, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is one of the largest municipal utilities in America. It also was awash in corruption, including bid rigging, extortion and the steering of contracts to companies run by Bobby Ferguson, a longtime friend of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, according to federal agents.

America: Why R UR Peeps So Dum?
As William Edwards Deming famously demonstrated, no system can understand itself, and why it does what it does, including the American social system. Not knowing shit about why your society does what it makes for a pretty nasty case of existential unease. So we create institutions whose function is to pretend to know, which makes everyone feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes the savviest among us -- those elites who run the institutions -- very rich, or safe from the vicissitudes that buffet the rest of us.

Obama Tax Deal Further Concentrates Wealth & Power
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “We can have democracy or concentrated wealth. But we cannot have both.” By the Brandeis Test, President Obama’s “Tax Deal” fails. By extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and instituting a significantly weakened estate tax, more wealth will flow into the hands of the richest one percent –and within that to richest one-tenth of one percent. Most of us are aware of President Obama’s willingness to trade away his campaign promise to let the tax cuts for high income households expire. This will cost $60 billion next year and an estimated $700 billion if it is permanently extended.

How Our Trillion-Dollar Empire Is the Cause of Our 'Deficit Problem'
December 8, 2010 | The United States spends more on its military and security services than the rest of the world combined, yet in the midst of a major debate over our fiscal situation, that enormous drain on our national treasure isn't really "on the table". Next year’s defense spending, narrowly defined, is expected to come in at $711 billion, when you include all the extra dollars hidden away in other parts of the budget, that number rises to around $1.45 trillion (each year). That figure represents around 40 percent of next year’s budget. [Editor: the wars the U.S. government is engaged in, and the cost of maintaining hundreds of military bases throughout the world is killing the United States. Just as overspending for defense killed the Soviet Union. Our Union too is stumbling badly and about to free fall. We must end these outrageous military expenditures now and save our economy, jobs, education, and health care today, tomorrow will be to late. The U.S. doesn't have a deficit problem. Citizens do not have to suffer and sacrifice. The United State government has a war spending problem.]

Toxic Flame Retardants Found in Butter
Scientists found extremely high levels of a flame-retardant chemical in a sample of brand-name butter. It's not clear how widespread the problem is, but the finding raises health concerns. PBDEs are known to disrupt hormone function and have been associated with a range of health concerns, including cancer as well as reproductive, developmental, and neurological problems.

Good news blows into Michigan: State lands 1st large wind turbine assembly plant
In a major boost for Michigan's emerging wind-energy industry, Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to announce today that the state has attracted its first large wind turbine assembly plant.

4 Scenarios for the Coming Collapse of the American Empire
Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country's role and prosperity in a changing world.

"There Is a War Being Waged Against the Working Families of America"
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave a lively, impassioned speech before Congress earlier this week on how the U.S. is becoming a banana republic and waging a war against its working families. At a time when the middle class is disappearing and when the top 1% now earns more income than the bottom 50 percent, this Congress is going to have to be very careful about how it goes forward on deficit reduction. In my view, we must not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly or the poor. Instead, we’ve got to do away with the enormous tax breaks and loop-holes that have been given to millionaires and billionaires and take a hard look at the excessive amount of money we spend on the military as well as some other government agencies.

Here Come Homeland Security Internet Police, and They're Already Shutting Down Web Sites They Don't Like
December 3, 2010 | Last week, the Department of Homeland Security seized 82 domain names for allegedly hawking counterfeit goods. A few sites on the list, though, stuck out: Onsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com and dajaz1.com are popular music blogs that were generally involved in the promotion of artists, rather than outright piracy. Well-known among rap fans for posting the latest videos, singles and remixes (always hosted from third-party download sites), their seizure was shocking, not just to the hip-hop blogosphere, but to music sites everywhere. Their inclusion on a list of sites that profit from manufacturing hard goods seemed arbitrary and ignorant. Furthermore, these sites were directly involved with artists, widely viewed as outlets that could help artists build buzz and promote their upcoming albums. ICE began seizing domain names mere days after Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, blocked the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that would effectively allow the government to censor any Web site it sees fit, and one that is widely viewed as an attack on our free speech.

Beyond the light switch: Can clean energy manufacture green jobs?
It's not a pipe dream. Vacant manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio and elsewhere have been filling up with manufacturers of the raw components of solar cells or some of the 8,000 moving parts that go into a modern wind turbine. These form the foundation of the clean-energy economy—and the source of so-called green jobs.

Building Community: An Economic Approach
Wall Street is basically dedicated to eliminating jobs or outsourcing jobs in order to increase financial profits of the biggest corporations and to increase the financial assets of the world’s already richest people. Now what we need is a money system that actually is doing what you just said, is connecting real resources with real needs, creating real community wealth at the community level. But that requires a financial system that is rooted in the community and accountable to community interest and that operates by life values rather than financial values. Bay Bucks in NW Michigan

How People Are Relearning How to Live as a Community
In the past, neighbors knew each other and engaged more naturally in mutual aid, sharing common resources and helping those in need. Nowadays, our mutual aid muscles are out of shape and pretty flabby. Clubs help us to start flexing and stretching them again, little by little. Clubs also chip away at our resistance to being helped. “People at first resist simply receiving—they think they can’t show up to a potluck empty-handed,” Jared says. “We tell them it’s okay—it’s okay to receive if you need help. We say we’re putting the ‘luck’ back in potluck.”

Catastrophic Blizzards, Heat Waves and Floods: Global Warming or Just Crazy Weather?
December 3, 2010 | Officially it's not even winter yet, but freakish 60-mile-an-hour blizzards and frigid temperatures have already walloped the Pacific Northwest, while record a-foot-in-a-day snows hit the Northern Plains and Rockies. With improbable weather becoming routine, forecasters may be in for another wild ride this winter. There's no way of knowing exactly when or where extreme cold or heavy snow is going to hit during the next three months, but the forecast does call for a 100 percent chance of someone -- most likely a Republican who wants to gut environmental regulation -- seizing on such weather as proof that the planet isn't warming.

Revealed: DoD 'Waterboarded' Guantanamo Bay Prisoners with Neuropsychiatric Drug
December 3, 2010 | The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding." The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not.

We Must Subvert and Shine Light on Secrecy Regimes That Spawn Evil
The State Department has blocked all its employees from accessing the site and is warning all government workers not to read the cables, even at home. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told The Guardian the developments are an example of the, quote, "privatization of state censorship." Assange said, quote, "These attacks will not stop our mission, but should be setting off alarm bells about the rule of law in the United States."

Is the Crackdown on Wikileaks and Threats of Julian Assange's Arrest Exactly What He Was Planning?
December 3, 2010 | Media speculation about the motives behind Wikileaks and its mercurial founder Julian Assange is somewhat entertaining in light of the fact that Assange has laid it out in great detail -- in essay form, no less. Assange is an anarchist whose stated goal is to provoke an over-reaction on the part of the state that will expose its authoritarian nature, turn it inward in a spasm of paranoia and ultimately prevent it from functioning. And he may get his wish.

Creepy Christian Patriarchy Movement Shackles Daughters to Their Fathers and Homes
November 29, 2010 | “Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”

Wi-Fi Makes Trees Sick, Study Says
Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University. The city of Alphen aan den Rijn ordered the study five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees that couldn't be ascribed to a virus or bacterial infection. In the Netherlands, about 70 percent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10 percent five years ago. Besides the electromagnetic fields created by mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs, ultrafine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also be to blame. These particles are so small they are able to enter the organisms.

Why Religious Believers Are So Desperate for the Atheist Seal of Approval
Believers seeking the Atheist Seal of Approval for their beliefs seem to see atheists as the gold standard. They know that most atheists have rejected religion for a reason: they know we take religion seriously, and that we've examined it carefully and thoughtfully before rejecting it. They know that we're more familiar with the tenets and traditions of religion than most believers: that we not only know more about religion in general than most believers do, but that we know more about specific religious beliefs than the people who actually adhere to those beliefs. They see that, as Julia Sweeney so eloquently put it, we take religion too seriously to believe in it. They see how passionately we value the truth -- and they respect that. So if they can get us to give their religion a thumbs-up... that would really mean something. Yes, most atheists understand that different religions are, you know, different. We get that some religions do more harm than others; that some religions are more out of touch with reality than others; that some religions are more grossly contradicted by hard evidence than others.

Michigan's Activist Judges & Moral Police: the RepubliCorp Agenda
Nov 25, 2010, 06:14 AM EST MOUNT CLEMENS — Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski insisted on her "own personal views of morality." "If you don't want to teach your children morals, I will."

You Elected Them: No new extended claims for Michigan's jobless after Saturday
Nov 23, 2010, 07:02 AM EST LANSING — Michigan says it will stop taking new extended unemployment benefit applications after Saturday because Congress has failed to renew the program. The state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth says about 162,000 Michiganians exhausted their jobless benefits from January through November and about 181,500 will exhaust their unemployment benefits from this December through April 2011, barring an extension by Congress.

One of our readers writes
If you agree, please pass it on. This is an idea that we should address. For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that passed ... In all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever . The self-serving must stop. If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around. Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ." Please, at the same time, repeal any past laws not complying. You are one of my 20.

Why Do Americans Keep Getting Suckered By Right-Wing Lies?
Until progressives change the mind sets of the tens of millions who believe right-wing mythology, elections will be disappointing regardless of who is in the White House. Almost half of the public is either misinformed or subject to unanswered right wing narratives. If I believed that there was a chance of Sharia law being imposed in the United States I too would be gravely concerned. If I believed that most Europeans and Canadians had inferior health care to that of average Americans, I too would be against health care reform. If I believed that man-made global warning did not exist or that there were nothing we could do about it and that environmental efforts were responsible for unemployment I’d be against cap and trade. If I believed that prisoner abuse would make my family significantly less likely to be killed by terrorists, my thinking about torture would be different. And if I believed that the problems with the economy had been caused by too much government instead of too little, that my personal freedom was threatened by the government instead of large corporations, I’d probably be in a tea party supporter and a Republican.

Why the Deficit Is Simply Not an Economic Problem Now, or in Future Decades
Despite ubiquitous claims to the contrary, the United States does not have a “deficit problem,” over either the short or the long term. That’s because a large fiscal deficit is an economic issue, and what we face is a political problem -- a profound disconnect between what Americans expect to receive from the government in services, and what they expect to pay for it in taxes. Political reality is driven by the widespread but false belief that we have out-of-control government spending and are taxed to death, it is, again, a problem of an electorate with bad information. According to estimates, over 90 percent of our national debt is the result of our “defense” spending, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could turn out to effectively represent “unfunded mandates” of more than $3 trillion dollars. So we could look at the budget gap as an unsustainably expensive military problem, and address that issue directly without being forced to accept those “painful cuts” to Social Security, Medicare and other popular programs. Tax reporter David Cay Johnston points to hundreds of billions in potential tax revenues being sheltered, legally and otherwise, in offshore havens and through various loopholes -- and tax subsidies -- worked by corporate America and the country’s highest earners.

Conservatives May Deprive Millions of Jobless Benefits Just in Time for the Holidays
If Congress does not vote over the next week and a half to re-authorize federal unemployment benefits through next year, before they expire November 30, nearly 2 million women and men and their families will face a dismal holiday season. One estimate is that the number could reach 4 million by May with the current emergency benefits program having expired and the additional workers left unaided. It's hard to imagine anything more urgent than this. "It is hard to imagine that Congress could deny help to out-of-work Americans, except that is exactly what happened this summer when federal benefits lapsed for 51 days, cutting off 2.5 million people. Senate Republicans and a few Democrats insisted that reducing the deficit was more important," the New York Times said editorially last week. "That did not stop many of the same senators from preserving tax loopholes for certain wealthy money managers."

TSA X-Ray image, with the colors inverted. Are you comfortable with this image, or do you feel violated?

Flyer's Rights
Welcome to the Largest Non-Profit Airline Consumer Organization Contact the Hotline Now: 1-877-359-3776

The 7 Creepiest Things About the TSA's "Porno Scanners"
The invasive scanners can see your tampons, give you cancer and make your grandmother cry -- and they're not cheap. Why do we keep using them? Here are several of the absolute creepiest things about scanners that everyone should keep in mind when flying at the holidays, or any other time of the year.

Body Scanner Operator Caught Masturbating at Colorado Airport
"The young ladies were going through the scanner one by one, and every time one went through, this guys face was getting redder and redder. His hand was moving and then he started sweating. He was then seen doing his 'O' face. That's when the security dragged him out of his booth and cuffed him. He had his pants round his ankles and everybody was really disgusted," Jeb Rather, a passenger on a flight to New York told CBS news. Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that critics have likened it to a virtual porn shoot.

TSA Won’t Touch Muslims’ Junk
November 15, 2010| Thirty-one-year-old John Tyner, a 31-year-old recently unleashed the “Don’t tase me, Bro” moment of airport security. While about to receive a genital check from TSA security, Tyner agreed to a search of non-intimate areas but said, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” However, Muslim women will not have to face such worries. CNSNews.com has reported that Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — which is frequently tied to domestic terror plots — has been guaranteed that TSA officials will only pat down Muslim women in the head and neck area. Muslim women consider airports’ high-image body scans a violation of Islamic Shari’a law. Add this to the growing proof that political correctness is not merely totalitarian but suicidal. The president made an exception to airline security protocol big enough to drive a jihad through — and applied it only to the adherents of Islam. Roman Catholic nuns can be groped en masse, but Obama rushed to defend the dignity of Muslim women.

Scientists Warn Airport Body Scanners May Cause Cancer
Statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays," Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, told AFP. "No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner," he said. Some 315 "naked" scanners are currently in use at 65 US airports, according to the TSA.

ABC producer says TSA agent felt inside her underwear
As the busiest travel days of the year approach, more and more passengers are accusing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of going too far with his is a positive and a negative view of the imagetheir screenings. A retired teacher from Lansing, Michigan, says he had to walk through an airport and board a plane covered in urine after TSA agents tore open his urostomy bag during a pat-down. A flight attendant who is a breast cancer survivor says she was horrified when, during an "aggressive" pat-down at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport, she was ordered to expose her prosthetic breast to two female TSA staffers.s

Travelers' 5 Most Demeaning TSA Horror Stories ... s0 far
As the TSA mulls how to screen passengers "less invasively" (never mind that they shouldn't have been invasive in the first place), and National Opt-Out Day approaches, several new stories have come out illustrating why the TSA's approach to airline safety is not just ineffective -- it's a violation of basic human dignity.

Airport 'Porno Scanner' Scandal Shows the Idiocy of America's Zero Risk Culture
The lede on the DRUDGEREPORT most of Monday showed a Catholic nun being patted down at an airport security checkpoint, with the caption starkly declaring that "THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON." He's right. Ten years after 9/11, Americans who fly are facing a Faustian choice between subjecting themselves to a virtual (and potentially medically damaging) strip search conducted in questionable machines run by federal employees or a psychologically damaging pat-down of their bodies. Osama bin Ladin must be giggling himself silly this week.

Fear Pays: Director of Homeland Secuirty Cashes In Again and Again
After last month's plot to send bombs from Yemen to the United States aboard a cargo plane, former U.S. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff's whiskerless visage was ubiquitous on cable news. Solemnly warning that the nation needed stronger security procedures, Chertoff patiently repeated his talking points on ABC News's "World News Tonight", "Fox and Friends", CNBC's "Squawk Box" and Bloomberg TV. Almost unmentioned in these appearances: Chertoff has a lot to gain financially if some of these measures are adopted. Between his private consulting firm, The Chertoff Group, and seats on the boards of giant defense and security firms, he sits at the heart of the giant security nexus created in the wake of 9/11, in effect creating a shadow homeland security agency. After the arrest of the underwear bomber last Christmas, Chertoff hit the airwaves and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post advocating the full-body scanning systems without disclosing that Rapiscan Systems was a client of his firm. The aborted terror plot prompted the Transportation Security Agency to order 300 machines from Rapiscan. Yet last spring, the Government Accountability Office reported that, "It remains unclear whether [the scanners] would have been able to detect the weapon" used in the aborted bombing attempt. And according to a recent report by DHS's Inspector General, the training of airport screeners is rushed and poorly supervised.

Investigate the TSA, Not the Guy Who Refused to Go Through Its 'Porno Scanners'
Tyner was now allowed board his flight after he refused to allow himself to be groped, and now he could face both prosecution and a fine of $11,000.But his real crime was making the “don’t touch my junk” video showing exactly what happened during his encounter with the TSA, which sparked a public backlash. The new pat-down policy for refuseniks, which started on November 1, has been described by the Airline Pilots Association as “sexual molestation” — and it’s nothing more than a way to punish people who might boycott the Department of Homeland Security’s expensive new boondoggle scanners.

Airport Body Scanning Raises Radiation Exposure, Committee Says
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Air passengers should be made aware of the health risks of airport body screenings and governments must explain any decision to expose the public to higher levels of cancer-causing radiation, an inter-agency report said. Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, said the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety report, which is restricted to the agencies concerned and not meant for public circulation. The group includes the European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.

The Glove: Communicable Disease Transmission and the TSA
Latex coverings 'have been in crotches, armpits, touching people who may be ill' Those latex gloves Transportation Security Administration agents wear while giving airline passengers those infamous full-body pat-downs apparently aren't there for the safety and security of passengers – only the TSA agents. Responding to the question, "Does the TSA change latex gloves after each sexual assault?" another wrote on the same forum, "I seriously doubt it.

TSA staff vent their anger at patdown searches
Furious security staff have hit back at pat down searches in place across America, claiming that they hated dealing with obese travellers and those with personal hygiene problems. There has already been a angry passenger backlash against the measures introduced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). But after being contacted by a travel blog, 17 staff have also expressed their disgust after the policy was put in place last month. The staff said that they hated having to carry out the body searches, with one claiming that it was worse for him than the passenger.

Find Your Farmers Market
The USDA rebooted its National Farmers Market Directory, which now includes a mapable, searchable database of the country's 6,132 farmers' markets.

Tourism vs. Mining: Which Will the Great Lakes Region Choose for its Economic Future?
The disaster at Massey’s West Virginia Upper Big Branch mine is an example of unenforced regulations. Reports now show that safety inspectors were not given access to the mines that took the lives of 29 miners when it collapsed last April. Testimony has also revealed that workers were expected to take risks and evade inspections. Today environmental activists along with other Upper Peninsula (UP) residents and Native American tribes are fighting mining interests in the courts. They argue that state agents did not apply the new law when issuing a permit to Kennecott to mine for copper and nickel in the UP.

BP: Broken Promises
As of last week, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility had approved only 92,293 out of 314,913 individuals and businesses that had applied for compensation."Why can't they just explain why they denied me?" said Sheryl Lindsay, an Orange Beach, Ala. wedding planner whose business has plummeted. "Why are they so secretive?" Lindsay sought about $240,000 for lost revenue because of beach wedding cancellations and received a check for just $7,700. That's it. Normally, by this time, I would have 50 on the books," Lindsay said. "I'm at my breaking point. I don't know what else to do except file bankruptcy."

Jon Stewarts The Rally To Restore Sanity Causes a Mainstream Media Meltdown
On this one day regular people wanted to show that media may be broken, but America isn’t. The American people came calling today, and their message was loud and clear. They not only want their country back, but they want their sanity back as well. What the media could not figure out was that Jon Stewart had a message that was bigger than politics. His message was that America is fine. It is our media and hyper partisanship that is broken, and Stewart advocated for everyone to work together to solve our problems. The media won’t like it, but this rally was about how great America can be, and how much of a problem they have become.

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery
One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009. The stunning figure was released earlier this month by the Social Security Administration, but apparently went unreported until it appeared today on Tax.com in a column by Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston. On the other hand those that remained at the top increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million. The wealth is astounding, says Johnston. "That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!

Keeping Fear Alive
There's no getting around the fact that politics are fueled by fear, from smear ads convincing us the other candidate is going to raise our taxes and take away our guns, to people trying to tell you that the President wasn't born here and is going to kill our grandmas.

The New Tax Man From Ancient Rome
Sheila Rice, who sold her Maryland home to avoid foreclosure, was surprised to learn JPMorgan Chase was her property tax collector. But the bank can't claim to be the first private company to play the role of tax man: It's taken part in a more than 2,000-year-old tradition that, from its very start, has been tainted by abuse. Like many great American traditions, the tax farming game was perfected by the ancient Romans. Provincial governors, and later Rome itself, sold tax-collection rights to private companies called publicani. As in modern America, this was a speculative bet -- a company paid a local government's tax debt, and then tried its own hand at recouping the loss. The Roman version was plainly brutal. In ours, the brutality is subtle. But in the estimation of one expert in ancient finance, it's just as bad: In our own way, we're sliding toward the conditions of ancient Rome, where private tax collectors employed soldiers to wring excessive amounts of cash from debtors.

Tea Party ‘founder’: Tea Party has been hijacked!
A financial blogger and ex-CEO credited with being one of the original "founders" of the Tea Party has come out against the movement, saying it has been hijacked by the very people it was protesting and is now obsessed with "guns, gays and God." In a "message" to the Tea Party Wednesday, Karl Denninger declared that he "ought to sue" anyone who uses the Tea Party name "for defamation."

Abstinance Only Education a Huge Failure
All five states with the highest teen birth rates have adopted policies requiring that abstinence be stressed when taught as part of sex education, HIV education or both, the group found. Of the four states with the lowest teen birth rates, none requires that abstinence be stressed to students, according to Guttmacher. The report makes it crystal clear that the teen birthrate is lower in states that provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sex education. The report demonstrates that the surest way to reduce teenage pregnancy is to provide young people with comprehensive, medically accurate sex education

Traverse City Commissioners Unanimously Pass Equal Rights Protection Ordinance
04-Oct-2010—Simply stated, the Traverse City Equal Rights Protection Ordinance reads: No person shall adopt, enforce or employ any policy or requirement which has the effect of creating unequal opportunities according to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity, for a person to obtain housing, employment or public accommodation...

Speech to the Traverse City Commissioners | M'Lynn Hartwell
04-Oct-2010—If we want to live in a free country, we have to accept that people are different. We are not free – if we are only free to be like everyone else.

Michigan’s Gay-Bashing Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell
Michigan’s Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has gained national attention recently for his bizarre crusade to smear Chris Armstrong, an openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan.

Whose Water? The Struggle for Public Ownership of Freshwater
September 22, 2010—We go to Michigan, where from the city of Detroit, to the farmlands and countryside, citizens are battling to gain greater control over the bounty of the great lakes.

This Country Just Can't Deal with Reality Any More
As Election Day 2010 approaches – as the United States wallows in the swamps of war, recession and environmental degradation – the consequences of the nation’s three-decade-old decoupling from reality are becoming painfully obvious. Yet, despite the danger, the nation can’t seem to move in a positive direction, as if the suctioning effect of endless spin, half-truths and lies holds the populace in place, a force that grows ever more powerful like quicksand sucking the country deeper into the muck – to waist deep, then neck deep. Trapped in the mud, millions of Americans are complaining about their loss of economic status, their sense of powerlessness, their nation’s decline. But instead of examining how the country stumbled into this morass, many still choose not to face reality.

How Right-Wing Billionaires and Business Propaganda Got Us into the Economic Mess of the Century
The Great Recession that began in 2008 wiped out $13 trillion in Americans' household wealth —in home values and stocks and bonds—stoking the kind of anger we’ve seen from pissed off progressives and from the Tea Partiers who dominated the news in the summer of 2009. But although a lot of people threw around some angry rhetoric—and even invoked the specter of armed revolution—the reality is that when the economy nosedived, we basically took it. We didn’t riot; we took the bailouts, tolerated our stagnant wages, and accepted that Washington wasn’t about to give struggling families any real relief.

Where the Salmonella Really Came From
The cause of this outbreak is factory farming, which has also been the cause of virtually every instance of bacterial food contamination we have seen here in recent years. [Editor: More specifically, the problem is traced to the practice of mixing dead and diseased animal slaughter house waste into the feed livestock and poultry eat today. Something that had never been done before we began to see the outbreaks.]

Michael Moore Teaches Rahm Emanuel a F**cking Economics Lesson
September 7, 2010—Dear Rahm Emanuel, I read this week that — according to a new book by Steven Rattner, your administration's former "Car Czar" — during White House meetings about how to save the tens of thousands of jobs that would be lost if GM and Chrysler collapsed, your response was, "Fuck the UAW!"

Deficit Fear-mongering Only Helps the Rich
Forget the Neo-Hoover deficit hawks who say we have to cut government spending and trim upcoming deficits. We didn't get into this mess and aren't remaining in it because of budget deficits. In fact, the only way to reduce long-term deficits is to restore jobs and growth so government revenues rise and expenses like unemployment insurance drop. Ignore the government haters who say we have to void or delay upcoming regulations of Wall Street and big business. We got here because Wall Street went bonkers, the housing bubble burst, and the middle class couldn't continue to spend because their health-care bills were soaring and their pay was stagnating. New regulations of Wall Street and big business are necessary to avoid a repeat. And don't believe the supply-siders who say we have to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Because the wealthy save rather than spend most of their incomes, extending their tax cut won't do squat.

Why all the Idiocy about Unemployment?
We’re at a critical point in the jobs crisis. Nearly 30 million of us don’t have jobs or have been forced into part-time jobs. It’s not like there’s no work to do. We have millions and millions of kids to educate. We desperately need to slash our energy use–and with an army of workers, we could weatherize every home and business in the country. Our bridges and roads will take decades to repair. We need to build an entire national system of efficient public transit. When Wall Street is in trouble, we come to the rescue with trillions in bailouts. We’ve poured hundreds of billions more into two wars. But when it comes to investing in our people to get needed work done, we can’t seem to summon the will or find the cash.

U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study
Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday. The current report uses data from nationally representative patient and physician surveys in seven countries in 2007, 2008, and 2009. It is available here

'Code Red' for the Great Lakes, Asian Carp Penetrate Electric Barrier
"This live bighead carp was caught well beyond the electric fence that was supposed to stop them, only six miles from Lake Michigan. There are no other physical barriers before these monsters reach Lake Michigan," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the Great Lakes Office of the National Wildlife Federation. "If the capture of this live fish doesn't confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will," Buschbaum warned. "We need to pull out all the stops; this is code red for the Great Lakes."

Traverse City #8 Beach Town in America
Traverse City is now proudly posted as America's #8 beach town. The beach itself is a major factor in the ranking. AOL even called Traverse City the "Malibu of Michigan." But they also judged the beach towns on other things they offer, like festivals and downtown shopping. Traverse City holds its own on the list against coastal towns in places like California and Florida. In fact, we're the only Midwest city to make the cut.

Photo ©Utopian Empire Creativeworks

Dan Scripps, Representative for the 101st. District Presents Legislation to Ban Drilling in the Great Lakes | Listen to Audio
Traverse City—Representative Dan Scripps announces legislation that will constitutionally ban drilling in the Great Lakes. While drilling in the lakes is already prohibited, it is a law that could be reversed at any time legislatively. This legislation would amend the Michigan constitution to permanently ban drilling. Michigan would be the first Great Lakes state to permanently ban drilling. The legislation will have to pass the Michigan House and Senate, and then the prohibition would appear on the November ballot, giving Michigan voters the right to decide the issue. Rep. Scripps is joined by members of the sport fishing community, as well as the council chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and other allies and supporters. DontDrillMILakes.com

BP Refinery Dumps Mercury into Lake Michigan
A BP (BP) refinery in Indiana will be allowed to continue to dump mercury into Lake Michigan under a permit issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The permit was issued in connection with the plant's $3.8 billion expansion, but only late last week began to generate public controversy. It gives the company until at least 2012 to meet the federal standard. The action was denounced by environmental groups and members of Congress. "With one permit, this company and this state are undoing years of work to keep pollution out of our Great Lakes," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., co-sponsor of a resolution overwhelmingly approved by the House last week that condemned BP's plans. Studies have shown that mercury, a neurotoxin, is absorbed by fish and can be harmful if eaten in significant quantities, particularly by pregnant women and children. Each of the eight Great Lakes states warns residents to avoid certain kinds of fish or limit consumption. The permit comes as the states, working with the federal government, are trying to implement the $20 billion Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, an umbrella plan to restore the health of the lakes signed in late 2005.

Local food could bring many more jobs to Michigan
6/8/10—If Michigan farms supplied all of the fruits and vegetables that people eat here during the growing season around 4,000 jobs would be created, according to a new study commissioned by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

GOP timber plan gets chopped down
6/8/10—A GOP plan to raise money by logging more of the state forest has been abandoned for lack of support. The House GOP budget proposal, released in March outlined a plan that they said would raise $25 million for the state by making significant changes to Michigan’s forestry operations. The GOP plan was to harvest 100,000 acres of Michigan forest next year and transfer timber sales to the Dept. of Agriculture, where trees would be treated as an agricultural product and logging operations would be exempted from the state business tax. The proposal is not included in either the Senate or House appropriations bills. “I think the House GOP simply had no traction for the idea,“ MDNRE spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said. Rep. Mike Lahti (R-Hancock), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on DNRE, “is pretty well-versed on forestry issues and is in continual talks with our staff about forest management,” she said. The timber plan was criticized by the Sierra Club, which called it a giveaway to industry and warned that by forcing lots of timber onto the market it would depress prices. MDNRE Forestry Management Division Chief Lynn Boyd said that the proposal would compromise the sustainability of the state’s forest system and conflict with recreation, hunting and wildlife habitat management. Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) said that he supported the GOP timber plan.

What does Kennecott’s UP mine have in common with BP’s Deepwater Horizon?
6/7/10—According to Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation Kennecott’s planned Upper Peninsula nickel sulfide mine, like BP’s Gulf oil wells, is a high risk underground extraction operation characterized by inappropriately cozy relations with regulators. In a blog post titled Coming soon: Michigan’s version of the BP disaster Buchsbaum writes that acid mine drainage is the inevitable result of the mining planned by Kennecott near Lake Superior and that the state’s own experts have warned that the operation poses a significant risk of mine collapse.

Children From Lesbian Families Have Better Academics Than Their Peers
June 9, 2010—Results of a brand new study show us that children raised by lesbian couples are well adjusted and fit in just fine in school. The study followed up to 78 children for a 20 year period, from the time the children were born until they graduated high school and proved that the lesbian family home has only positives when it comes to school. Children from lesbian families were found to be less likely to be aggressive, less likely to engage in illegal activity and had no difficulties when it came to fitting in socially with their peers. Children from lesbian families were also found to be more apt when it came to their academics than children of a similar age from traditional families. “This is a straightforward statistical analysis. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review .

Study: Kids of Lesbian Parents Are Well-Adjusted
June 7, 2010—Children raised by lesbian parents develop into psychologically healthy teens and have fewer behavior problems than their peers, according to the latest report on a long-running study that began in 1986. ''Contrary to assertions from people opposed to same-sex parenting, we found that the 17-year-olds scored higher in psychological adjustment in areas of competency and lower in problem behaviors than the normative age-matched sample of kids raised in traditional families with a mom and a dad," says researcher Nanette Gartrell, MD, the Williams distinguished scholar at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. More than 270,000 U.S. children were living in households headed by same-sex couples in 2005, according to Gartrell, and nearly twice that number had a single gay or lesbian parent. The teens raised by lesbian parents were rated higher in social, school, academic, and total competence.

Controversy Surrounds Tests of Nutro Dry Cat Food
Controversy is swirling around recent tests on a sample of Nutro dry cat food, which detected what two leading veterinarians consider “worrisome” levels vitamin D3. The non-profit group that hired a private lab to test the food disagrees and calls the Nutro sample “one of the most deadly pet foods we've tested to date.”

Beware of Sewage Sludge Being Marketed as Fertilizer
Only 1 percent of the hazardous materials in sludge are regulated. Most national and local gardening shops around the country sell sludge-based fertilizers. One option is Milorganite, a fertilizer advertised as “organic biosolids.” Say what? “Biosolids” is a euphemism for sewage sludge. It was created in the early 1990s by the “Name Change Task Force” of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Once known as the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations, WEF is the sewage industry’s main lobbying and public-relations organization. The deceptive wording has not changed one startling fact: Sewage sludge contains hazardous materials, such as dioxins, PCBs, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and toxic heavy metals. But “biosolids” certainly sounds nicer than “toxic waste.” The propaganda campaign was a success: “Biosolids” now appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton argue that America would have benefited from completely rethinking waste treatment. Beginning in the mid-1800s and continuing today, combined sewer systems—where storm water, household sewage and industrial waste are mixed together—discharge massive amounts of polluted water, most of it “treated,” into rivers, lakes and oceans. When the wastewater is “treated,” toxic sludge—a product of wastewater treatment—is produced. Not putting human waste into the sewer in the first place would have allowed its use as a fertilizer to enrich agricultural soil.

Food in the U.S. Is Still Tainted with Chemicals That Were Banned Decades Ago
April 22, 2010—In a photograph from a 1947 newspaper advertisement, a smiling mother leans over her baby's crib. The wall behind her is decorated with rows of flowers and Disney characters. Above the photo, a headline reads "Protect Your Children From Disease Carrying Insects." The ad, for wallpaper impregnated with DDT, captures a moment of historical ignorance, before the infamous insecticide nearly wiped out many birds and turned up inside the bodies of virtually everyone on Earth. Thirty-eight years after it was banned, Americans still consume traces of DDT and its metabolites every day, along with more than 20 other banned chemicals. Residues of these legacy contaminants are ubiquitous in U.S. food, particularly dairy products, meat and fish.

Traverse City Clean Energy Campaign by the Sierra Club
Ask Traverse City to Weigh Environmental Impacts of Woody Biomass Plants vs. Michigan's Forests
A headlong rush to build wood biomass power and fuel plants across Michigan is raising concerns among conservationists and foresters alike. Proposed wood biomass facilities in the northern Lower Peninsula alone will require the annual sustainable harvest from 1.6 million acres of forestlands to feed these burners. And that total doesn't include a proposal before Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P) to build multiple wood biomass facilities. TCL&P deserves kudos for committing to meet 30% of its power needs from renewables by 2020. But TCL&P has not done an environmental assessment of proposed wood biomass facilities to consider and disclose all the pluses and minuses. A recently released TCL&P integrated resource plan is a start, but it falls short of Michigan environmental protection act standards of review, and a public input process for the plan has not been announced. Environmental review is needed to understand wood biomass impacts on water, air quality, the impacts of odors, noise and traffic, as well as to disclose ash disposal plans and to protect forest biodiversity. Because much of the forest land within the range of the TCL&P proposed wood biomass plant is publicly owned, all of us have an interest in this decision as well! Click Here to Urge Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok and TCL&P Executive Director Ed Rice to do a full environmental review with public input before deciding Traverse City's future energy course!

Facing the Threat from the Far Right, Noam Chomsky Says He 'Has Never Seen Anything Like This'
“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Chomsky added. “I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.” “I listen to talk radio,” Chomsky said. “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

Two Right-Wing Billionaire Brothers Are Remaking America for Their Own Benefit
To achieve genuine grassroots power, we have to know the full dimensions of the plutocratic powers we're up against. Most Americans are totally unaware of these interests, which have attained a dangerous reach by quietly embedding themselves (and their self-centered worldview) much more deeply in our society's governing institutions than they want us to realize. So let's take a peek at them, beginning with a look at the intricate web of power woven by a huge corporation you've probably never heard of, even though your consumer dollars are financing its agenda.

Small Pets Prove Susceptible to Flea Poison
Warning that the powerful poisons can endanger dogs and cats, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require new instructions and labeling for on-spot flea products. The products, including the popular Frontline and Advantage brands, are small vials of liquid pesticides that pet owners apply monthly to the backs of dogs or cats to kill fleas and ticks. The EPA began investigating the products after discovering a sharp rise in the number of pets reported to be sick after they were treated.

Rehearsals for a Civil War
Feb22—Amid the general incoherence of the Tea Party rebels and the failure of progressives to recognize the structural changes underway in a peak oil world, lies a deadly swamp of paradox where all parties may drown in the quicksand of their own muddled intentions. The Tea Party appeals to the swelling numbers of the new former middle class angry at the sudden vanishing of their accustomed perqs and entitlements to a predictably comfortable suburban existence. They're mad at the government and hot for "liberty." But how do they propose to maintain the hyper-complexities of suburban life without taxes to pay for fixing the countless roads their lives depend on or to run the gold-plated central school districts that seem to exist solely to provide Friday night football?

Jim Kunstler on 2010
The Long Emergency is officially underway. Reality is telling us very clearly to prepare for a new way of life in the USA. We're in desperate need of decomplexifying, re-localizing, downscaling, and re-humanizing American life. It doesn't mean that we will be a lesser people or that we will not recognize our own culture. In some respects, I think it means we must return to some traditional American life-ways that we abandoned for the cheap oil life of convenience, comfort, obesity, and social atomization. The successful people in America moving forward will be those who attach themselves to cohesive local communities, places with integral local economies and sturdy social networks, especially places that can produce a significant amount of their own food.

High Court Will Hear Anti-Gay Funeral Protest Case
March 8, 2010—The Supreme Court is getting involved in the legal fight over the anti-gay protesters who show up at military funerals with inflammatory messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers." The court agreed Monday to consider whether the Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps and his band of protesters' message, no matter how provocative and upsetting, is protected by the First Amendment. Members of a Kansas-based church have picketed military funerals to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

Vitamin D deficiency is why you get flu and other infections
A new study led by researchers at the University of Copenhagen has confirmed that vitamin D plays an important role in activating immune defenses against infectious diseases like flu. Vitamin D deficiency has already been linked to a wide spectrum of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, autoimmune disease and many others.

Who's Getting Rich From the Naked Full-Body Scanner Boom?
Since the alternative is being groped by airport screeners, the scanners might sound pretty good. The Transportation Security Administration has claimed that the images "are friendly enough to post in a preschool," though the pictures themselves tell another story, and numerous organizations have opposed them as a gross invasion of privacy. Beyond privacy issues, however, are questions about whether these machines really work -- and about who stands to benefit most from their use. When it comes to high-tech screening methods, the TSA has a dismal record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies, and there are signs that the latest miracle device may just bring more of the same.

Liberals and Atheists Smarter: Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History
Feb. 24, 2010—More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

Hate Groups, Vigilantes and Conspiracists on the Verge of Violence
“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. "We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws,

Prepare for a low plastic future
More and more studies are implicating plastics in health problems ranging from reproductive disruption to obesity to ADHD to cancer. The FDA has vowed to be more responsive to health concerns about plastic. And consumers have shown that they will respond quickly and dramatically to perceived health threats from products, especially when risks are higher for children, as they seem to be with plastic.It seems clear that the more we learn about how plastics affect human health, the more urgently we may try to usher in a "low-plastic" future. Businesses that see this future coming can minimize their risk and even gain a competitive advantage by acting now.

Bankers Made Reckless Bets on the Economy, Knowing Taxpayers Were Going to Pick up the Tab
What we have now is not real capitalism. I give it the name "ersatz capitalism" because what we're doing is socializing losses and privatizing gains. That's worse than real capitalism, of course, because it means that there are distorted incentives. So the banks can write these credit default swaps and crazy derivatives knowing that if things go bad, the taxpayer is going to pick up the tab. So the first point I want to make is that today's system is not real capitalism. It's gambling at the expense of the taxpayers.

General Motors Developing Diesel/Electric Hybrids
GM is now working on a range of diesel-electric powertrains, with production tentatively slated to begin by the middle of the decade. Engineering of the new powertrains is currently ongoing at GM’s diesel headquarters in Turin. Diesel-electric powertrains hold the most promise as hybrids are most efficient in city use while diesel are most adapt to highway cruising. “If you want the best fuel consumption, you have to go with the diesel-electric hybrid. [Editor: the strong advantage of diesels will be their ability to run on a wide variety of fuel ranging from homegrown biodiesel from algae, to vegetable oil from the grocery store, or deep fat fryer.]

State tax credits to the rescue!
“This is huge,” said James McBride, vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “This is the rebirth of the auto industry in this state.” Officials said the Detroit automaker intends to consolidate in Michigan the assembly of its battery systems and the next generation of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles they will power. According to Mlive.com’s coverage of the issue, this latest round of advanced battery tax credits break down like this: $100 million for Fortu PowerCell’s possible manufacturing facility in Muskegon Township, $42 million for pack assembly, and $78 million for Ford Motor Co. The company already has received tax incentives to build the new all-electric Ford Focus in Dearborn.

Ten clean technology predictions for 2010
In 2010, clean cars will form part of a broader shift to smart mobility. Smart mobility will quickly permeate beyond simply the transport sector, and will be integrated into the new energy paradigm and influence the design of urban systems, even shipping ports. Look increasingly in 2010 for eco-city designs based on concepts such as “new urbanism.” Leading governments around the world will rethink tax systems, fiscal incentives and budgets to encourage greener forms of work and transport based on smart mobility concepts (SNCF, the French state-owned rail operator, set up a fund in 2009 specifically to invest in e-mobility.)

Automakers Launch Website Focused on CO2 Reductions
Today, global automakers launched a new website called www.DrivingSustainability.com to focus on the need for an integrated, economy-wide approach to CO2 reductions. A National Program is a priority to automakers because a national fuel economy program allows manufacturers to average sales nationwide, so customers in all 50 states can continue to buy the types of vehicles they need for family, business and leisure. A National Program also avoids conflicting standards from different regulatory agencies, and it gives automakers much needed certainty for long-term product planning. In addition, a National Program delivers overall greenhouse gas reductions equal to or better than those that would be realized under separate programs by different regulatory bodies.

Breaking News
GM Invests $336 Million in Detroit-Hamtramck Plant for Chevy Volt
Michigan Jobs—General Motors will invest $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, with extended-range capabilities, in 2010. This brings GM’s combined Volt-related investments in Michigan to $700 million, covering eight facilities. Detroit-Hamtramck will be the final assembly location for the Volt, using tooling from Grand Blanc, lithium-ion batteries from GM’s Brownstown Township battery pack manufacturing facility, camshafts and connecting rods from Bay City, and stampings and the Volt’s 1.4L engine-generator from Flint. The Volt will be built on the existing assembly line at Detroit-Hamtramck. Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring, with the start of regular production scheduled for late 2010.

The Chevrolet Volt: Real Technology, Real Investment
Nearly three years ago at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we revealed what will soon become the first mass-produced electric vehicle designed, developed and manufactured by a U.S. automaker on U.S. soil – the Chevrolet Volt. When the Volt was revealed many considered it to be nothing more than vaporware. However, today it’s obvious that the Volt is not only very real, but that it has become an economic multiplier for the state of Michigan, the country and the electric vehicle industry.

The investment in Detroit-Hamtramck is in addition to GM’s $364 million of investment in seven other GM facilities including:

  • $37 million in Bay City, Mich. to produce cam shafts and connecting rods for the Volt’s engine generator. You know, that generator that will allow the Volt to travel more than 300 miles in addition to the initial 40-mile, all-electric range when the Volt won’t use any gasoline or produce any tailpipe emissions.
  • $23 million in our Flint, Mich. Tool and Die facility to build the dies to stamp metal parts for the Volt.
  • $202 million at our Flint Engine South plant — this is where we’ll build the 1.4-liter engine generator that provides Volt an extended-range capability of more than 300 miles.
  • $1.7 million at the Flint Metal Center, in presses to stamp parts.
  • $30 million in the Weld Tool Center, in Grand Blac, Mich., to produce the robotic weld tool cells that were installed at our Detroit/Hamtramck plant.
  • $27 million in the Alternative Energy Center at the GM Tech Center in Warren, home of our new, state-of-the-art battery lab where we test and refine the Volt battery pack.
  • $43 million in Brownstown Township, Mich., to open the world’s first OEM-owned, high-volume, lithium-ion battery pack plant.  We expect battery-pack production to begin there early next month.

General Motors Calls For Electric Evolution
We have significantly expanded our commitment to electrically-driven vehicles at GM, and are now in the midst of an extraordinary transformation. GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles. This is a big deal. The Volt is powered by our exclusive Voltec electric propulsion system. When running off its battery, the Volt operates as a traditional battery-electric vehicle. In this mode, it has a gas-free range of up to 40 miles – which is more than the average daily commute for three-quarters of Americans. And when the driver of a Volt needs to go farther, the car’s engine-generator kicks in, seamlessly, to produce enough electricity to power it for another 300 miles. The engine-generator eliminates the “range anxiety” of electric-only vehicles – the fear of being stranded by a depleted battery

First Algae Powered Car Will Cross the U.S. on 25 gallons
Just yesterday San Francisco saw the unveiling of the world’s first algae fuel-powered vehicle, dubbed the Algaeus. The plug-in hybrid car, which is a Prius tricked out with a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug, runs on green crude from Sapphire Energy — no modifications to the gasoline engine necessary. The set-up is so effective, according to FUEL producer Rebecca Harrell, that the Algaeus can run on approximately 25 gallons from coast to coast! MORE ON ALGAE BASED FUEL: CLICK HERE

Green Car of the Year
The Audi A3 TDI (as in turbo diesel) was the winner. It is the same basic power-plant seen in last years winner with some changes to the engine management system for a bit more torque and “engine hum” to better fit Audi’s sport-luxury image. All of this was done and it achieves 42mpg on the open road (32 city), while reducing its CO2 output by 50% over the “base” A3 with a 2L turbocharged gas engine. Warren Buffet this week predicted in 20 years that all cars sold here will be electric. That’s pretty bold, but I have to agree that the electric car in urban areas will be a significant player if some of the hurdles in the infrastructure can be fixed. The hydrogen fuel cell is another key player in our future, again providing we have a clean source for the gas and overcome the infrastructure hurdles. In my not so humble opinion I think the fuel cell will be the bigger player in our future as the infrastructure to support will be easier to put into place.

Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Passes 1 Million Miles
DETROIT (September 11, 2009) — The Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles today passed 1 million miles of gasoline and tailpipe pollution-free driving by homemakers, accountants, computer game designers and others using the vehicles every day in real-world conditions. More than 50,000 gallons of gasoline have been saved so far in the fuel cell Equinox, more than 100 of which are part of the largest consumer fuel cell demonstration fleet in the world.

Asian carp DNA found in Lake Michigan
January 19, 2010—The DNA of Asian carp has been found in Lake Michigan for the first time, researchers said Tuesday, igniting a new round of calls for urgent action and renewed criticism of Illinois and the federal government for allowing the voracious carp to migrate up the state's waterways. The alarming find came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to address the carp issue, rejecting Michigan's request for an injunction to force Illinois to stop its waterways from flowing into Lake Michigan. That left the issue in the hands of federal and state officials in Illinois.

The Plastics Many Use Every Day Linked to Heart Disease, Study Confirms
BPA is commonly used in consumer plastics, particularly polycarbonate plastic items such as many sunglasses, reusable bottles, food packaging, and baby bottles. It also lines the inside of food cans. In a sampling of U.S. adults, those with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than those with the lowest concentrations of BPA. BPA's ability to mimic estrogen—and spur reproductive mutations in the womb—has been well documented, leading some cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to ban BPA-containing products. People can limit their exposure by not microwaving polycarbonate plastic food containers (which normally have number sevens on their undersides), avoiding canned foods, and using BPA-free baby bottles, according to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Johnson & Johnson expands Tylenol recall
16-jan-10—Johnson & Johnson expanded a recall of over-the-counter medications Friday, the second time it has done so in less than a month because of a moldy smell that has made users sick. The broadening recall now includes some batches of regular and extra-strength Tylenol children's Tylenol, eight-hour Tylenol, Tylenol arthritis, Tylenol PM, children's Motrin, Motrin IB, Benadryl Rolaids, Simply Sleep, and St. Joseph's aspirin. Both caplet and geltab products were recalled. Almost three weeks ago, the company's McNeil Consumer Healthcare Products expanded its recall to include Tylenol Arthritis Caplets.

Factually challenged news channel hires factually challenged Palin
PolitiFact.com named Palin's death panels claim its "Lie of the Year." During the health care debate, Palin also falsely linked the Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the Senate health care reform bill and nonbinding mammogram guidelines to death panels.

Plastic: Degrading Poisons into Ocean Water
Until we stop participating in trashing the planet and ourselves we are slashing away at our planetary wrists in ecocide. Charles Moore, the sailor who discovered the Northern Pacific Garbage Patch and who has dedicated his life's work to fighting the plastic plague, warns that unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, the plastic stew would double in size over the next decade. (Feb. 4, 2008, The Independent - UK)

Factory Farming Could Cause a Pandemic
Michael Greger, M.D. delineates how a virus begins, mutates, and becomes dangerous. As with so many problems we are seeing lately -- environmental or health -- factory farmed meat seems to be a big part of the cause. A graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., serves as Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. An internationally recognized lecturer, he has presented at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, and was an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. His recent scientific publications in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Critical Reviews in Microbiology, and the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition, and Public Health explore the public health implications of industrialized animal agriculture. So far, only thousands of people have died from swine flu. Unless we radically change the way livestock are raised for food, though, it may only be a matter of time before a catastrophic pandemic arises.

In the latest hit movie Avatar, the lush, mineral-rich moon Pandora is under assault by human intruders seeking to extract a fabulously valuable mineral called "unobtainium." Opposing them are not only a humanoid race called the Na’vi, loosely modeled on Native Americans and Amazonian jungle dwellers, but also the semi-sentient flora and fauna of Pandora itself. While our own planet may not possess such extraordinary capabilities, it is clear that the environmental damage caused by humans since the onset of the Industrial Revolution is producing a natural blowback effect which will become increasingly visible in the coming decade.

China Rises, the U.S. Declines and the Planet Strikes Back
Our two wars have been sucking us dry in two countries where state-owned Chinese companies have just scored significant economic victories. While we've been running around playing whack-a-mole with the Taliban and 'investing' billions each year in the corrupt Karzai government, China has been investing in things that might actually be of some value, like a big copper mine. Chinese energy companies had gained a stronger foothold in the future exploitation of Iraq’s massive oil reserves than had U.S. multinationals. The ironies were legion and painfully visible. What, then, will be the dominant characteristics of the second decade of the twenty-first century? Prediction of this sort is, of course, inherently risky, but extrapolating from current trends, four key aspects of second-decade life can be discerned: the rise of China; the (relative) decline of the United States; the expanding role of the global South; and finally, possibly most dramatically, the increasing impact of a roiling environment and growing resource scarcity.

Unaccompanied minor flights | Tech tools for parents
Many family lawyers assist their clients in learning more about long Flightaware distance parents and about how major airlines unaccompanied minor programs work. While researching the David and Sean Goldman case, I learned about a very helpful Internet tool that allows parents on both ends of the flight to keep track of where their children are in the journey. See Flight Aware at http://flightaware.com/live/flight/XFL5

Who's Getting Rich From the Naked Full-Body Scanner Boom?
The TSA has a dismal record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies. Will the "digital strip search" device just bring more of the same?

How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities
A growing number of Americans, mounted on their bicycles like some new kind of urban cowboy, are mixing it up with swift, two-ton motor vehicles as they create a new society on the streets. They’re finding physical fitness, low-cost transportation, environmental purity. In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.

America the Traumatized
In America today, it seems we all have a touch of post-traumatic stress disorder, as evidenced by our increasingly vitriolic political environment, where reality is denied and histrionics run riot. Anger, we're told, is the natural reaction to trauma; in people with PTSD, the anger is out of control. By that measure, the millennial decade has brought us 10 years of PTSD politics -- with no end in sight.

Bottled water sales dry up
For the first time in decades, the $11.1 billion bottled water industry is stuttering. Experts say that an increasing sense of environmental awareness across the U.S. is influencing consumer choices. Environmental groups take credit after campaigning for years against the industry over waste, safety concerns and the corporate privatization of water.

Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much?
There are no "blessed wars". Yet virtually all evangelical, conservative and many mainstream church leaders were active supporters of the Bush wars.

"The Health Care Bill Is A Total Fraud On The American People" | CLICK HERE
Before anything else, for those have not been paying attention, we are NOT the right wingers. The Republicans won't vote for the bill, but for the WRONG reasons. For them it's not vicious and exploitive of the people enough. They in fact secretly want it to pass, because they know it is destined to be the most despised piece of legislation in American political history, and woe unto any Democrat who votes for it in its present form.

What's Wrong With the Healthcare Bill? Ask a Nurse.
"It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the health-care crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry," says National Nurses Union co-president Karen Higgins, RN.

Great Lakes Carp Threat Prompts New Lawsuit
Michigan asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to sever a century-old connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system to prevent Asian carp from invading the lakes and endangering their $7 billion fishery. State Attorney General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit with the nation's highest court against Illinois, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

The Evolution Of An Eco-Prophet
"The pathway that I think is likely to be the winner is enzymatic hydrolysis, which essentially uses engineered enzymes to break down the cellulose, the lignin, into fermentable compounds that would then yield many more liters per hectare than any of the first-generation ethanol options," Gore tells me. "I think it's going to play a significant role … One of the many advantages of third-generation biofuels is that they can yield fuels like biobutanol that don't have any blending problems. You just burn them directly. Enzymatic hydrolysis, if I can make another point about that: there is no theoretical upper limit to how efficient they can become.

The Economy Will Contract In 2010
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned there's a "significant" chance the U.S. economy will contract in the second half of next year, and urged the government to prepare a second stimulus package to spur job creation. "The likelihood of this slowdown is very, very high," Stiglitz told reporters. "There is a significant chance that the number will be in the negative range." Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University, called on Washington to make more funds available to state governments who face a drop in tax revenue. "If you don't prepare now, and the economy turns out to be as weak as I think it's likely to be, then you'll be in a very difficult position," he said.

Insurance Industry Shapes Health Care Bill
An analysis of public documents by Northwestern University's Medill News Service in partnership with the Tribune Newspapers Washington Bureau and the Center for Responsive Politics found a revolving door between Capitol Hill staffers and lobbying jobs for companies with a stake in health care legislation. At least 166 former aides from the nine congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping health overhaul legislation -- along with at least 13 former lawmakers -- registered to represent at least 338 health care clients since the beginning of last year, according to the analysis. Their health care clients spent $635 million on lobbying over the past two years, the study shows.

Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids
WASHINGTON — Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials. The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called “snatch and grab” operations

Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition United States Movement
Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.

The Earth is Hiring
No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done.

Britain Unveils Whopping Tax On Bank Bonuses; U.S. Windfall Tax Proposal Going Nowhere
British bankers are going bonkers today after the UK government announced that it wouldn't stand idly by as they showered themselves with obscene bonuses made possible by last year's massive infusion of government money. Across the pond, however -- where the Wall Street titans whose companies were saved from dissolution by an infusion of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are about to reward themselves with a good chunk of that money in the form of year-end bonuses -- no such action is in the offing. Much of Wall Street's imminent largesse is not the product of skill, but is a direct result of taxpayer support. In other words, Wall Street's earnings have been an unexpected transfer of wealth from taxpayers.

These Jobs May Not Come Back
The real question facing the nation, and one that Obama's summits and speeches aren't addressing, is this: What if the job losses this time around aren't temporary, the "ebb" part of the ebb and flow of the business cycle? What if employers are hacking away at their permanent workforce? There is support in the data for the idea that many of the lost jobs aren't coming back. In November, a record 55.1 percent of job losses were categorized as permanent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Michigan population loss cost $4.4 billion
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan has lost $1.9 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in home equity value in three years because of population declines in 63 of its 83 counties, according to a Michigan State University study. Michigan and Rhode Island were the only states to lose population in 2006-08, the report said. Michigan lost about 80,000 people in that time, and Rhode Island lost about 2,000, it said. Michigan had about 10 million residents in 2008, about 90,000 less than it had in 2005, according to a Census Bureau estimate. Michigan is expected to lose 1 million jobs this decade, with about a third of those lost this year alone, according to a November report from the Pew Center on the States.

An Open Letter to Congress From US Scientists on Climate Change and Recently Stolen Emails
As U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, we want to assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In the last few weeks, opponents of taking action on climate change have misrepresented both the content and the significance of stolen emails to obscure public understanding of climate science and the scientific process. We would like to set the record straight. The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.

America Without a Middle Class
The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s. But core expenses kept going up. By the early 2000s, families were spending twice as much (adjusted for inflation) on mortgages than they did a generation ago -- for a house that was, on average, only ten percent bigger and 25 years older. They also had to pay twice as much to hang on to their health insurance. To cope, millions of families put a second parent into the workforce. But higher housing and medical costs combined with new expenses for child care, the costs of a second car to get to work and higher taxes combined to squeeze families even harder. Even with two incomes, they tightened their belts. Families today spend less than they did a generation ago on food, clothing, furniture, appliances, and other flexible purchases -- but it hasn't been enough to save them. While the middle class has been caught in an economic vise, the financial industry that was supposed to serve them has prospered at their expense. America today has plenty of rich and super-rich.

We've Got a Global Fishing Crisis
Before making any bold statements about the nature of the fishing industry, I had to get the facts. A handy piece of software called Fishstats was used, and the results that appeared on my screen were dreadful: there was a crisis, entirely of civilization’s making, and yet we were still pulling fish out of the sea like we owned the oceans. To say we have a poor understanding of the oceans is an understatement, to say the least, yet Industrial Civilization seems to use that lack of understanding as a reason to continue its assault on the greatest climate control mechanism on Earth, and one of the most important sources of food. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

My Quest To Analyze Every Man-Made Chemical In My Body
Every day we're exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals, some of which seep into our bodies and remain there for decades. What that means for our health, we don't fully understand--but I subjected myself to a battery of new tests in search of answers . WHERE TOXINS COME FROM | 50,000 PRODUCTS

  • All American adults carry around hundreds of synthetic chemicals in their bodies.
  • “Many synthetic chemicals have intrinsic hormonal activity,” and hormonal disruptions carry a high likelihood of causing disease (British Medical Journal).
  • “It is clear that environmental and lifestyle factors are key determinants of human disease—accounting for perhaps 75 percent of most cancers (British Medical Journal).

Climate Fog
A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found that the percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening at all has dropped eight points in just the past year. The past few years have been fairly temperate. The economic crisis has pushed issues perceived as not immediately vital to the back burner. And a good portion of the decline in belief in the climate science comes from sheer partisan polarization: for certain Americans in the era of death panels, birthers and Glenn Beck, if Barack Obama says the world is warming, then it must not be.

Goldman Sachs Loaded and Ready for Bear
Senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank. Some of these dorks might actually think that they’re going to forestall proletarian rebellion by keeping guns in their Hamptons beach houses. The bailout was meant to keep the curtain drawn on the way the rich make money, not from the free market, but from the lack of one. Goldman Sachs blew its cover when the firm’s revenue from trading reached a record $27 billion in the first nine months of this year, and a public that was writhing in financial agony caught on that the profits earned on taxpayer capital were going to pay employee bonuses.

World carbon emissions overshoot
OSLO (Reuters) - The world has emitted extra greenhouse gases this century equivalent to the annual totals of China and the United States above a maximum for avoiding the worst of climate change, a study estimated on Tuesday. Global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers said in the report that almost all major nations, including European Union countries that pride themselves on climate policies, were lagging since 2000 in a push for low-carbon growth. It said the world was already far above a "budget" of total emissions of 1,300 billion tons of carbon dioxide from 2000-50 which it estimated as the maximum permissible while avoiding the worst of climate change.

Biomass: a Guide for Michigan Energy Consumers
Burning biomass (wood, tire and waste) for energy production needs to become part of the public debate. For one thing, It's a profound water issue --millions of gallons a day, and potentially serious water pollution from the fly ash and airborne particles. Our forests can't take any more logging than is already occurring! It's also a profound public health threat. It is also time that we take a serious look at what really constitutes biomass. You may be surprised.

We only have months, not years, to save civilisation from climate change
Saving civilisation is going to require an enormous effort to cut carbon emissions. The good news is that we can do this with current technologies. Plan B aims to stabilise climate, stabilise population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy's natural support systems. It prescribes a worldwide cut in net carbon emissions of 80% by 2020, thus keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations from exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm) in an attempt to hold temperature rise to a minimum. The eventual plan would be to return concentrations to 350 ppm, as agreed by the top US climate scientist at Nasa, James Hansen, and Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC.

Eliminate animal farming on planet Earth
Now along comes Stanford University biochemist Dr. Patrick O. Brown who, as reported in (of all places) Forbes, will spend the next 18 months focused on "put[ting] an end to animal farming." Explains Dr. Brown, "There's absolutely no possibility that 50 years from now this system will be operating as it does now... I want to approach this as a solvable problem.

California Marriage Protection Act
California voters outlawed gay marriage in 2008, largely on the argument that a ban is needed to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. If that's the case, then Marcotte reasons voters should have no problem banning divorce. "Since California has decided to protect traditional marriage, I think it would be hypocritical of us not to sacrifice some of our own rights to protect traditional marriage even more," the 38-year-old married father of two said.

Why are Green Companies Ditching the Chamber of Commerce?
The US Chamber of Commerce is the largest not-for-profit business organization in the world. It represents over 3 million companies. It's arguably the most powerful lobbying group in the nation. And it's doing everything it can to stop climate legislation.

Meijer can be prosecuted
Acme—Schneider asked state police in January 2008 to investigate possible felonies after details emerged of Meijer's secret role in financing a 2007 recall campaign that targeted the Acme Township Board of Trustees. Meijer's actions came to light during then-township Treasurer Bill Boltres' lawsuit against the retailer.

Eating meat causes more than half of global warming (conservatively)
World Bank agricultural scientists Robert Goodland, who spent 23 years as the Bank’s lead environmental advisor, and Jeff Anhang, a research officer and environmental specialist for the Bank, argue convincingly that more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are attribut able to our desire to eat chicken, pigs, and other farmed animals. That’s right: Add up all the causes of climate change, and you find that eating meat causes more than everything else combined.

One bite at a time
I heard from a lot of people who wanted help in making the transition to a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet. Let's face it: If you've been eating meat all your life, this sort of a change can be daunting even just to think about, let alone act on. Happily, it's easier than ever today to make the transition from meat-eater to vegetarian, and the following suggestions should help even the most die-hard carnivores make the switch.

Vegetarian is the New Prius
Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

Global Warning - The impact of meat production and consumption on climate change
A farmer can feed up to 30 persons throughout the year on one hectare with vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats. If the same area is used for the production of eggs, milk or meat the number of persons fed varies from five to ten. Dr Pachauri challenged our reliance on high meat consumption, showing how livestock production releases 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, can pollute water and soils, damages our health and often causes suffering to animals kept in factory farms. (includes power point and video)

It's time for Americans to start cutting our baby emissions
Let's not wait for climate change, he says. Let's start depopulating right now. Instead of burning down our numbers with oil and gas, let's cut the birth rate to one child per couple, for a few generations at least. The population would dwindle by about 5 billion people over the next century, ensuring the habitability of the Earth for the 1.6 billion who remained. At that point, they could all reap the rewards of a more spacious planet, sharing in "the growing joy of watching the world daily become more wonderful." It seems like a notion from the fringe, but Weisman's book has become a mainstream best seller. Could population control be the next big thing in green culture?

Women and Minorities Getting Left Out of Green Job Market, New Study Finds
After all these years and so much progress, even in a sector dedicated towards achieving the noble aim of an emissions-free economy, it appears some prejudices still plague us." Well, he might not have said it exactly like that. But it appears to be the unfortunate truth: women--especially minority women--are getting largely left out of the green job market.

Lake Michigan on the Brink of Being Invaded
If you thought round gobies and zebra mussels were scary invaders of the Great Lakes, brace yourself for the arrival of Asian carp, a voracious fish that could decimate the lakes' native fisheries. Capable of growing to 4 feet in length and 100 pounds in weight, have the capability to take over ecosystems. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 90 percent of the lifeforms in some stretches of the Illinois River are Asian carp. Filter feeders, Asian carp were introduced to the United States in the 1970s to help keep wastewater treatment facilities and aquaculture ponds clean. Floods in the 1990s enabled them to reach the Mississippi River, and they've been headed north ever since. They can spawn multiple times during each season and quickly out-compete native species by disrupting the food chain everywhere they go." Federal authorities on Friday acknowledged that an electric fence that was being counted on to prevent the carp from reaching Lake Michigan has failed, leaving carp just just one lock from being able to swim the final 25 miles to the lake, home to both Indiana Dunes and Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes national lakeshores. Groups worried about the carp reaching the lake have called for the immediate closure of all waterways and locks leading from Chicago into Lake Michigan.

Asian Carp Could Hurt Boating, Fishing Industry in Great Lakes
On Friday, federal officials reported biological evidence that the fish appear to have breached an electrical barrier designed to keep them out of the Great Lakes. The fish themselves haven't been seen but if the evidence is accurate two species of Asian carp are now about eight miles from Lake Michigan. A lock, which is often open to allow ships to pass, could hinder their progress. Asian carp can grow to four feet long and weigh as much as 100 pounds and can eat up to 40% of their weight daily. The fish have been steadily moving up the Mississippi River for nearly two decades. In sections of some Midwest rivers they now make up 90% of the biomass. Asian carp were first brought to the U.S. in the 1970s, to eat algae and other microscopic waste from fish.

Asian Carp Emergency
The Asian carp, a monstrous, invasive fish, has been knocking at the door of the Great Lakes for decades. Now bad news is spreading that the fish may have breached an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, entering Lake Michigan. University of Notre Dame researchers have found DNA evidence of a breach. Here's what's at stake: The native fish population in the Great Lakes, the world's largest source of surface freshwater, which touches lives in the United States and Canada, and a $7 billion sport fishery. In a strange coincidence, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is getting ready to start taking proposals for funding from a $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which aims to, among other things, address invasive species in the lakes.

Government Overpaid Wall Street Banks In AIG Bailout, Says TARP Watchdog
Billions more than necessary went to U.S. banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America Corp.; and Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo & Co.; and European banks including Societe Generale, Deutsche Banke, UBS and Calyon.

Fed Chairman Blames Banks For Continued High Unemployment
"Banks' reluctance to lend will limit the ability of some businesses to expand and hire," Bernanke said. "Because smaller businesses account for a significant portion of net employment gains during recoveries, limited credit could hinder job growth." Bernanke predicted that the unemployment rate will get worse before it gets better.

Christian Bootcamp Seeks to Arm Home-Schooled Youths for "Spiritual Warfare"
As Thomas sees it, the crisis facing today’s young people is a direct result of American secularism-- you know, those pesky rules separating religion and government. In his telling, the lead culprit is the Supreme Court which has usurped God’s legal authority, outlawing prayer in schools, sanctioning abortion and gay rights, and allowing infidels -- AKA Muslims -- to live freely among us.

Sarah Palin Thinks That You're Stupid
Her book is hardly out the gates, and it's already facing a torrent of criticism from mainstream news sources for including various untruths and flat out lies. It appears that everyone's favorite vice presidential candidate has gone rogue with some of the facts.

Health Care Passes House
In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous. The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

Michigan's Bart Stupak Amendment, Threatening Women's Rights
The amendment, named for Representatives Bart Stupak, D-Mich, and Joe Pitts, R-Penn. Stupak is a so-called "Democrat for Life;" Pitts has been a dogged supporter of failed abstinence-only policies, domestically and internationally, and was among those who succeeded in adding language forbidding the provision of contraceptive supplies for HIV-positive women in US global AIDS funding.

Our Economy Was a Scam and Now We're Dead Broke
With peak oil, population pressure, vanishing world resources and global warming, we can never again be what we once were -- a civilization occupying a relative material paradise through a danse macabre of planetarily unsustainable growth. Somewhere in the smoking wreckage lie the solutions. The solutions we aren't allowed to discuss: adoption of a Wall Street securities speculation tax; repeal of the Taft-Hartley anti-union laws; ending corporate personhood; cutting the bloated vampire bleeding the economy, the military budget; full single payer health care insurance, not some "public option" that is neither fish nor fowl; taxation instead of credits for carbon pollution; reversal of inflammatory U.S. policy in the Middle East (as in, get the hell out, begin kicking the oil addiction and quit backing the spoiled murderous brat that is Israel.

Our Free Market Makes Economic Collapse Inevitable
Americans are mad at bankers. Just Google the three words "I hate banks," and see what comes up. But nowhere has the anger been more palpable than outside the annual convention of the American Bankers Association in Chicago this week. There's some historical irony in the timing of this meeting and the protests. 80 years ago this week, on October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed, bringing the Roaring Twenties to a screeching halt. The Roaring Twenties -- that era of flappers, bathtub gin, and dancing 'til dawn, of reckless speculation and living it up while raking in money from the stock market and buying on credit as if there were no tomorrow. The ultimate judgment came from Al Capone, the city's celebrated gangster. The market's "a racket," he said. "Those stock market guys are crooked."

Conservatives Are Rewriting the Bible to Free It From "Liberal Bias"
While the Conservative Bible Project (CBP) has so far been regarded largely as a joke, it does raise some interesting questions. The idea of writing a sacred text through a wiki is largely unprecedented. The CPB also marks an escalation in what Robert S. McElvaine has called “Grand Theft Jesus”—the appropriation of the Christian tradition for political ends.

Equal Rights - Not Special Rights - for Christians
At first glance, I thought this story was good news: Oklahoma is going to build a Christian prison! About time, I thought, I can think of a few Christians who deserve a few years for faith-abuse. But no…it's a prison to be administered by Christians to give Christian criminals special privileges. Not quite as appropriate, but more in line with what we've gotten used to from our dominant faith tradition.

Who's Really Behind Organic Food Brands
Over the past decade many small organic food brands have been snapped up by giant corporations. Clearly, this can be bad for standards and quality.

The 10 Weirdest, Grossest Ingredients in Processed Food
Everyone now knows that processed and fast foods are not the bastions of nutrition, but that shouldn’t make these ingredients found inside them any less revolting. This list sends a clear message: when a packaged food contains more than five ingredients and includes some that are difficult to pronounce, stay away. Make a b-line straight to the organics aisle

Meat is Murder ... and worse
Foer writes in his new book, Eating Animals, that he struggled with ambivalence over eating meat for most of his life, but never committed until he adopted his dog, George. "She changed things for me," Foer tells Guy Raz. "This dog opened up the way that I thought about animals." Foer argues that there's no difference between the value of the lives of pets and the lives of the animals that we eat every day. "If our next-door neighbor kept a dog in the conditions that well more than 90 percent of pigs are kept in, we would call the police. We wouldn't just be offended. We wouldn't just think it was wrong. We would be compelled to take action," Foer says.

How You Can Fight Global Climate Change by Buying Pollution Permits
Here’s a revolutionary plan from Sandbag that enables you and me to end carbon emissions by simply buying up and destroying European pollution permits by retiring them off the market, at $40 per permit or ton of CO2. Sandbag buys up carbon credits from those who have already made energy efficiency investments and as a result have cut their pollution to below their previous level. We buy these clean companies’ credits through Sandbag, and then destroy them so dirty companies can’t buy them.

In Battle Over Gay Marriage
October 26, 2009—In a San Francisco courtroom two weeks ago, a prominent lawyer opposed to same-sex marriage made a concession that could mark a turning point in the legal wars over the purpose and meaning of marriage. The lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, has studied the matter deeply, and his erudite briefs are steeped in history. He cannot have been blindsided by the question Judge Vaughn R. Walker asked him: What would be the harm of permitting gay men and lesbians to marry? “Your honor, my answer is: I don’t know,” Mr. Cooper said. “I don’t know.” [EDITOR: The truth is stable gay and lesbian relationships add strength and integrity to a community. The argument that we need to procreate is ridiculous when we are already facing the threat of global climate change brought about by two many people operating to many polluting devices. In short we are already over-populated beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. We must lower birth rates, and achieve negative population growth if we are to survive as a species.]

Senate passes gay hate-crimes bill
A bill to make violence against gays and lesbians a federal crime cleared the Senate Thursday and is headed to the White House for final approval. The 68-29 vote was a victory for civil rights groups that have been fighting for years to expand the federal hate-crimes law beyond attacks motivated by bias based on religion, race, national origin or color. The new bill, which President Obama is expected to sign, includes penalties for assaults based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender, disability or gender identity.

Meet the Senators in the Creepy Right-Wing Cult Trying to Defeat Health Care Reform
They are the nation's powerful: senators, congressmen, business executives and the strong-armed leaders of Third World countries. Together, in secret, they worship a Jesus unrecognizable to most practicing Christians. (In their secret theology, the leadership model of Adolf Hitler is one of which Jesus would approve.) He is Jesus the power broker, who works his will through well-situated men committed to free enterprise of a most unregulated sort. Things are as they are in the world because that's the way God wants them.

Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor to be Renamed for Former Gov. William G. Milliken
The William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, seen as a portal for the state park system and tourism opportunities in Michigan, is located in the heart of downtown Detroit along the riverfront. It is 31 acres in size, located on a reclaimed brownfield that had been impacted by 300 years of industrial use.

Plan to Ditch the U.S. Dollar's Dominance Uncovered
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.

5 Reasons the Baucus Health Bill Fails
The Baucus health care proposal is a terrible bill. And the Senate's foremost health care expert is having none of it.

Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells
All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe. Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

Great Lakes toxic cleanups lagging badly
Cleanup of the most polluted sites in the Great Lakes is moving so slowly it will take 77 more years to finish the job at the existing pace, according to a federal report. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still does not know the full extent of the problem even though the highly contaminated spots were identified two decades ago, said the report by the agency's inspector general. "Without improved management, coordination and accountability, EPA will not succeed in achieving the results intended" for the recovery program

Nadler introduces bill to overturn DOMA
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced on Tuesday the Respect for Marriage Act, which would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. At a Capitol Hill press conference, Nadler called the Respect for Marriage Act “the first step to overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and sending that ugly law into the history books where it belongs.” “Our bill ensures that all married couples, including lawfully married same-sex couples, will have the same access to federal responsibilities and benefits, including critical programs like Social Security that are intended to ensure the stability and security of American families,” Nadler said.

Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire
Obama is doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops deployed now than the Soviets ever had, at a time when public support for it is sinking like a rock.

Bill would declare Mich. waters a public resource
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A state lawmaker wants to designate all Michigan waters -- including groundwater -- as a resource held in trust for the public. Rep. Dan Scripps, a Democrat from Leland, introduced a bill Wednesday to amend Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. The new provision would direct state agencies to protect waters and other public natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Former national security officials criticize Peter Hoekstra
A group of former national security officials and military officers who have worked on the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals have written a letter to Rep. Pete Hoekstra criticizing him for “politicizing” the debate over a possible plan to transfer Gitmo detainees to a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan. The writers of the letter include Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a highly decorated retired military intelligence officer and JAG attorney who was assigned to the military tribunals at Gitmo and blew the whistle on what he called trumped up charges against many being held there; Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, former deputy national security adviser; and Michael Kraft, a former senior adviser to the State Department Counterterrorism Office. Click here to read the full text of the letter

Thanks to EPA You May Be Unknowingly Drinking Water Contaminated With Weed Killer
August 24, 2009—One of the nation's most widely-used herbicides has been found to exceed federal safety limits in drinking water in four states, but water customers have not been told and the Environmental Protection Agency has not published the results. Records that tracked the amount of the weed-killer atrazine in about 150 watersheds from 2003 through 2008. In 2004, the European Union banned atrazine because it was consistently showing up in drinking water and health officials, aware of ongoing studies, said they could not find sufficient evidence the chemical was safe. [EDITOR: Isn't it interesting that in Europe products must be proven to be "safe", where in the U.S. products must be proven to be "unsafe". Europe seems to have a much higher standard of safety when it comes to chemicals the human organism consumes via food and water.]

Mancelona plant source of tainted water
A six-mile-long plume of contaminated groundwater from a polluted northern Michigan factory site is threatening the Cedar River, one of two sources for the area's drinking water. "I would have to say this is one of the largest contaminations we've ever seen," Janice Adams, a senior geologist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, told The Detroit News for a Monday story. The state has spent more than $14 million battling the tainted groundwater generated at the Mancelona plant, which made auto parts in southern Antrim County. Dura Automotive Systems Inc., which operated there most recently, closed the factory in February. The now-defunct Mount Clemens Industries Inc. operated the plant from 1947 to 1967, when workers used trichloroethylene, or TCE, to degrease the machinery. To dispose of the chemical, workers poured it on the ground or dumped it into seepage pits.

Alba well blocked indefinitely
A new deep-injection disposal well won't be drilled near this Antrim County community, at least not anytime soon. A circuit court judge indefinitely blocked an energy company from drilling such a new well in Antrim County's Star Township. By doing so, he closed the book on a lawsuit filed by the county, township and environmental group Friends of the Jordan River Watershed.

Is Baucus Destroying Health Care the Way Phil Gramm Wrecked Banking?
Sen. Max Baucus appears set to derail health care reform the same way Republican Sen. Phil Gramm stymied banking reforms and sparked today's economic catastrophe. Will somebody stop Baucus -- and save the country? Is Max Baucus about to do to America’s health care system what Phil Gramm already did to the nation’s banking system? Let’s hope someone stops Baucus before it’s too late. Just as Gramm argued that the banking industry could police itself without government rules and safeguards, Baucus is tying the hands of Congressional reformers who understand that we can’t trust the insurance and drug companies to protect consumers and control costs. If Baucus is successful, health care costs will continue to skyrocket and hurt the nation’s economic well-being, compounding the damage caused by Gramm’s reckless role in stifling banking reform.

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat
It only takes a small handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up their civil rights, abandoning democracy and doing what they're told, just so they can keep their jobs, windows and families intact. The main imperative in life becomes staying off the goons' radar. All the enforcers need to do is make an horrific example out of one or two troublemakers every now and then -- and the resulting fear will keep everybody else quietly in line. Conservatives have tried to subdue other Americans this way for centuries, so there's nothing new going on here. And this is the way they've always done it: they used race (and yes, the birthers and anti-health care rioters are, at root, all about race) and economic calamity to whip up a posse of terrified, well-armed vigilantes, and then turned them loose on society to "enforce order."

Whitehouse Reality Check
With the outrageious fear tactics created by the right wing, it has become necessary to create a web site at WhiteHouse.gov/RealityCheck to help you separate fact from fiction and share the truth about health insurance reform. Other than that, we urge our readers to exercise common sense. If it sounds to outrageous to be true, it probably is a lie.

Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America's Dirty Work
The recent spate of town hall dustups may look like an overnight sensation, but they've been years, even decades, in the making. Since the days in the late 1970s, when the Neoconservative movement began its takeover of the Republican Party, it has cultivated a militia of white people armed with a grudge against those who brought forth the social changes of the '60s. These malcontents have been promised their day of retribution, a day for which they are more than ready. Few seem to understand that they are merely dupes for a corporate agenda that will only worsen the conditions in which they live. Why, you may ask, would men of power and fame shake the rough, unmanicured hands of gun enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, gay-haters, misogynists and racists? Because somebody's got to do the dirty work. Magnates don't like to soil their French cuffs, and it's hard for a bunch of rich guys to garner sympathy for threats to their bottom lines. It's the classic inside-outside game that the right wing of the GOP has played for the last two decades.

Food processors' spraying leaves west Michigan wells contaminated
John Dekker feels like he's camping out in his own home. He showers with bottled water and drags his laundry to a Laundromat. He can't sell his house without disclosing its glaring flaw -- his well is contaminated. Neighbor Kari Craton's fingernails turned orange; her appliances were destroyed. Diana Bennett's garden is useless. Some 50 families live near a plume of groundwater contaminated with metals that spread from the local Birds Eye processing plant. At a nearby Minute Maid juice plant, there's another plume. In rural west Michigan, food processors have sprayed so much wastewater onto fields that heavy metals seeped into groundwater, contaminating wells. The list of tainted sites keeps growing. And the contamination plumes continue to spread as the Department of Environmental Quality and companies argue behind closed doors over what must be done.

10 Amazing Truths You Already Suspected
Go ahead, pretend you didn't know. Pretend it wasn't obvious. Are you sure? by Mark Morford Let's start out easy. How about a big, dumb, obvious, forehead-slapper of an of-course-you-already-knew, shall we?

US Still Paying Blackwater Millions - Outcry Grows From Veterans, Elected Officials
Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company's owner, Erik Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for "security services" in Iraq. "These contracts with Blackwater need to stop," says Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. "There's already enough evidence of gross misconduct and serious additional allegations against the company and its owner to negate any possibility that this company should have a presence in Iraq, Afghanistan or any conflict zone--or any contract with the US government."

Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls
The GOP is willing to disrupt the health care debate if they can't win it. It's time that this whole shabby (and insane) business be exposed, vilified in run out of town on a rail by whatever responsible Republicans -- if any -- that are still in the party and who want to see the fortunes of their party revived. Republican leaders taking insurance industry money via lobbying firms and using it to organize what amounts to roving bands of thugs not only need to be exposed but thrown out of the public debate forever. They should become absolute pariahs. It's time to give this garbage in name: insurance industry funded fascism.

Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?
It's so easy right now to look at the melee on the right and discount it as pure political theater of the most absurdly ridiculous kind. It's a freaking puppet show. These people can't be serious. Sure, they're angry -- but they're also a minority, out of power and reduced to throwing tantrums. Grown-ups need to worry about them about as much as you'd worry about a furious five-year-old threatening to hold her breath until she turned blue. Unfortunately, all the noise and bluster actually obscures the danger. These people are as serious as a lynch mob, and have already taken the first steps toward becoming one. And they're going to walk taller and louder and prouder now that their bumbling efforts at civil disobedience are being committed with the full sanction and support of the country's most powerful people, who are cynically using them in a last-ditch effort to save their own places of profit and prestige. We've arrived. We are now parked on the exact spot where our best experts tell us full-blown fascism is born.

Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls
Conservatives now know they were wrong: about the country, the free market, war for fun and profit, and what the American people really want. They made their best case and were rejected by the American people -- and by history. Bush was their man and he turned out to be a fool. So now all the the Republican gurus have left is what the defeated Germans of World War Two had: a scorched earth policy. If they can't win then everyone must go down. Obama must fail! The country must fail!

40 Reasons to Abstain from Having Children
People who don't have kids have more sex, more career success and a far smaller environment footprint than people who do. The truth is the more your fecundity increases, the fewer there are of you who can call yourselves happy... Becoming a parent means giving up everything else: your life as a couple, your leisure time, your sex life, your friends, and if you're a woman, your career success.

Food Miles & Your Carbon Footprint
The number of miles your food travels from farm to plate makes a difference in your personal climate-change footprint. But not as much as eating red meat and dairy, which are responsible for nearly half of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions for an average U.S. household. New research published in Environmental Science & Technology finds it's how food is produced, not how far it's transported, that matters most for global warming.

What's your water footprint
How much water is consumed in the production of common everyday items, and why you should care.

Corn Syrup's Mercury Surprise
Are grape jelly and chocolate milk bad for kids' brains? If the specter of obesity and diabetes wasn't enough to turn you off high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS), try this: New research suggests that the sweetener could be tainted with mercury, putting millions of children at risk for developmental problems.

Assassinations, Weapons Smuggling, Wife-Swapping—The Latest Accusations Against Erik Prince and Blackwater
Grand Rapids—These eye-raising allegations, among others, are contained in the anonymous declarations of two individuals claiming to be ex-Blackwater employees, which were filed in federal court yesterday and first reported by the Nation's Jeremy Scahill. (Find their sworn statements here and here.) Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
Michigan—A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

Climate-Change Calculus
Among the phrases you really, really do not want to hear from climate scientists are: "that really shocked us," "we had no idea how bad it was," and "reality is well ahead of the climate models." Yet in speaking to researchers who focus on the Arctic, you hear comments like these so regularly they begin to sound like the thumping refrain from Jaws: annoying harbingers of something that you really, really wish would go away.

The people of Michigan find victory

Big Rapids, Michigan: Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation stopped Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.’s attempt to pump more water from a stressed stream and lake for its Ice Mountain bottled water in Mecosta, Michigan on Monday, July 6. CLICK HERE TO READ RELEASE

Ten Ways Banks Take Your Money
Consumers need to keep their guard up as financial institutions increasingly impose new fees and charges. Banks and credit-card companies have gone on the offensive and for many consumers, that could mean an unexpected financial sting. Late fees, loan-origination fees, over-the-limit and overdraft charges helped generate 53% of banking-industry income in 2008, according to R.K. Hammer, up from 35% of income in 1995. At $19 billion, credit-card penalties for late payments and over-limit charges were up 80% between 2003 and 2008.

Meijer, Acme Twp. group sign no-lawsuit agreement
Meijer Inc. and a developer have agreed to pay $75,000 to a group that fought their proposed superstore in a rural Michigan community. Under a deal signed Wednesday, Concerned Citizens of Acme Township agreed not to sue Meijer or the Village at Grand Traverse LLC. Also released from liability were a law firm and a public relations firm that represented the companies. The state of Michigan also fined Meijer more than $190,000 last year for violating campaign laws.

Chamber of Commerce Launches $100 Million Campaign to Protect Wall Street's Power at Our Expense
Perhaps the greatest public deception surrounding today's financial meltdown is the notion that it is unique -- a once-in-a-lifetime crisis that reflects bad luck rather than any fundamental problem with the U.S. banking system's sway in global politics. The truth is that throughout the 1980s, the major money center banks were in much the same situation they find themselves in today. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to spend $100 million on a lobbying push to tell you the otherwise. It's a very careful strategy designed to ensure that Wall Street maintains the power to hijack the economy and demand epic bailouts from ordinary citizens as a reward for its own greed.

Former Evangelist Fears Right-Wing Lunacy Will Lead to More Murder
What are the Republicans in Congress and the other "respectable" leaders on the far right -- from Focus on the Family's James Dobson to Rush Limbaugh, from Laura Ingraham to the leaders of the NRA -- doing to stop the right-wing domestic wave of terrorism exploding in the aftermath of President Barack Obama's election? I ask this as a former evangelical right-wing and "pro-life" leader who quit the right and the Republicans in disgust over their extremism. Who on the right-wing radio shows, among the Republicans in Congress and in far-right media such as Fox News, will now try to cure the sickness of their right-wing followers -- before it explodes again? If the mainstream right doesn't stand up to try to tamp down the fear levels in its very own lunatic fringe, and if it doesn't lower the pitch of its anti-Obama rhetoric, then it is complicit in whatever comes next.

Michigan voters shifting views on gay couples
Michiganders are increasingly supportive of gay-friendly policies, supporting a range of issues from inheritance rights to civil unions but continuing to balk at gay marriage, a new poll suggests. The shift in opinion was evident in almost every demographic group, including self-identified Republicans. He attributed much of the change to the sharply higher number of poll respondents who said they know a gay or lesbian person in 2009 (80.2%) compared with in 2004 (56%).

Kalamazoo poised to pass anti-discrimination ordinance
In Kalamazoo, the City Commission appears poised to approve a gay rights bill Monday night. 15 cities in Michigan already have local ordinances like the one being considered in Kalamazoo, cities like Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Lansing. Monday night, Kalamazoo could become the 16th.

Traverse City, Mich., up-and-coming foodie haven
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—Attention, traveling foodies: Something yummy is happening in the Traverse City area, and it's even grabbed the attention of luminaries such as celebrity chef Mario Batali, who has a summer home on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula just northwest of town. Long a top Midwestern tourist draw for its lakes, rivers, forests, beaches—and the orchards that inspire the self-proclaimed moniker "cherry capital of the world"—the Traverse City area is now home to an increasingly varied and sophisticated culinary culture with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. The Lake Michigan resort town is awash in award-winning restaurants and wineries, artisan bakeries, dairies and farm markets. The area's food scene "has just exploded" in the past decade, Batali said in a phone interview: "What you're seeing up there is a renaissance, the rise of a gastronomic subculture that makes it a fascinating place to be."

Gas Pump Thievery: Who's Really Behind the Rising Prices at the Pumps?
What's going on here is not the "magic of the marketplace," but some hocus-pocus by brand-name dealers. What might surprise you, though, is that the wheeler-dealers now jacking up our pump prices don't operate under the BPExxonMobilShellChevron brands -- but the logos of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street traders that have been placing vast, unregulated, secretive bets on the future price of oil. They're playing an electronic casino game in a global "dark market" of exotic derivatives and credit swaps. If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's because this is the same game that Wall

Taking Down the Corporate Food System Is Simple
The time has come for people who are ready to challenge the paradigm of factory-produced food and to return to a more natural, wholesome and sustainable way of eating (and living) to make that declaration to the powers that be, in business and government, that established the existing system and continue to prop it up. It's time to opt out and simply start eating better -- right here, right now. Impractical? Idealistic? Utopian? Not really. As I'll explain, it's actually the most realistic and effective approach to transforming a system that is slowly but surely killing us. All the food staples that our great-grandparents relished and grew healthy on have been banished from today's supermarkets. They've been replaced by an array of pseudo-foods that did not exist a mere century ago.

US Climate Report Details Energy, Agriculture Harm
Climate change has already caused "visible impacts" in the United States and poses particular risks to the U.S. "Human induced climate change is a reality, not only in remote polar regions (and) in small tropical islands, but every place around the country -- in our own backyards." The House climate bill aims to reduce carbon emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Its success is considered crucial to U.S. legitimacy at international talks on climate change in December, but chances of passage in the U.S. Senate are unclear. The United States is the biggest per capita emitter of the climate-warming gas carbon dioxide. "The White House report on climate change is a stark confirmation of what scientists have been saying for years: unless we dramatically curb our emissions, the world will face unprecedented climate disruptions that will lead to drought, flooding, rising seas, food insecurity and mass displacement,"

The American Empire Is Bankrupt
This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Eating Meat Is Not Natural
Eating meat is a relatively recent phenomenon in human evolution. And our bodies have never adapted to it. I noticed the frequently stated notion that eating meat was an essential step in human evolution. While this notion may comfort the meat industry, it’s simply not true, scientifically. “The birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.” That jibes with what Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine President Dr. Neal Barnard says in his book, The Power of Your Plate, in which he explains that “early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands. To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.” When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us, because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”

Wolverine Mum On Coal Plant’s Price
When Wolverine Power Cooperative announced plans to build a new, coal-burning power plant near Rogers City, the company said it would cost about $1.2 billion. But although a lot has changed in the coal and utility industries since Wolverine’s announcement three years ago, the co-op refuses to publicly discuss how those changes affect its proposed plant’s 2006 price tag. Many financial experts familiar with the energy and coal industries say that those changes have made the cost of new coal power very high, and made investing in new coal plants very risky. That, they say, is why utilities around the United States cancelled approximately 100 new coal plants in recent years, often in favor of less risky, cheaper energy efficiency and renewable energy plans.

FOX Propaganda Network Goes to New Lengths to Distort Reality
In the two months that followed the website's launch, The Fox Nation has displayed an uncanny ability to mislead readers, twist the truth, spread wild conspiracy theories, and misrepresent the reporting of legitimate journalists and media outlets. At times, the website has been downright frightening. In early May, it ran a photo of a rifle pointed in the direction of a photo of Obama's head. Debunked conspiracy theories are also finding new life on the website. Fox News, often employs the use of questions for its headlines rather than straightforward assertions. It's as if they are pre-emptively saying, "We made no such statement. We simply asked a question." So, is TheFoxNation.com simply the seedy underbelly of Fox News parent company chairman Rupert Murdoch's evil, right-wing media empire?

UN Human Rights Council Blasts US
The UN Human Rights Council has issued a report blasting the US for killing civilians, violating human rights and creating a “zone of impunity” for unaccountable private contractors to fight its wars. The UN group also criticized the US use of drones to attack Pakistan. The report, released this week was authored by Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Most Bankruptcy Tied To Medical Bills
Sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses, according to a nationwide study released today by the American Journal of Medicine. [Editor: Save Lives. Support Single Payer Insurance]

Our Economy Is Going to Keep Tanking Until We Stop Shoveling Billions to Rich People
There's a cycle going on here: if you don't put money in consumers' hands, you get repetitive cycles of layoffs and growing unemployment. For the past ten years, we have been a nation ignoring massive wealth transfer and wealth concentration through a rigged Wall Street. As simple and clear as this picture is, some of the brightest minds in this country are unwilling to connect the cause and effect of wealth in too few hands to bankruptcies and a tanking economy.

Face-Off Over 'Fracking': Water Battle Brews On Hill
Environmentalists and the natural gas industry are getting ready for a battle in Congress over something known as "hydraulic fracturing." "Fracking," as the industry calls it, involves injecting a million gallons or more of water and chemicals deep underground to pry out gas that's locked away in tight spaces. Environmentalists want the federal government to regulate the practice because, fracking may be harming nearby water wells.

President Proclaims June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
In the Proclamation, the President states, “As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Studies indicates that significantly more American's are progressive (despite Republican claims to the contrary)
Significant majorities of Americans favor progressive solutions to the nation's problems and reject the right's worldview. That's true whether the issue at hand is taxes, war and peace, the role of government in the economy, health care, and on and on. Republican and conservative activists repeat the assertion that America is right leaning ad nauseum -- as it's in their interest to do -- and most of the political press corps swallows it whole. The idea is like a zombie -- you can bludgeon it, burn it or get Dick Cheney to shoot it in the face, but it keeps coming -- it will not die. The persistence of the center-right narrative, even in the face of piles of evidence suggesting it's little more than a myth, has very real consequences on our political discourse.

Green is the color and the future of Jobs and Energy in America. “Smart” Money today is investing in renewable energy and energy conservation technology.

37 Million Green Jobs Possible In U.S. By 2030
The renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) industries represented more than 9 million jobs and $1,045 billion in U.S. revenue in 2007, according to a new report from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and Management Information Services Inc. The renewable energy industry grew three times as fast as the U.S. economy, with the solar thermal, photovoltaic, biodiesel and ethanol sectors leading the way, each with 25%-plus annual revenue growth.

Governor wants utilities to rethink coal and balance energy production in Michigan
February 3, 2009 LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to make it harder for utilities to justify building new coal-fired power plants, encouraging them to instead rely on more energy conservation. Speaking Tuesday in her seventh annual State of the State speech, Granholm called for reducing the state's reliance on electric plants powered by coal and natural gas 45 percent by 2020. The Democrat said she wants to see 100,000 homes and 1,000 schools in the state weatherized to reduce energy consumption, and get more homes and schools to install solar and wind energy systems. She suggested the monthly savings would pay for the cost of the improvements. Some of that weatherization work can be done by people who have lost their jobs, she added. Four companies have requests before the state Department of Environmental Quality to build new coal-fired power plants, the most requests for new coal plants anywhere in the country. The state already has 19 coal-fired plants. In making it harder for companies to build new power plants that rely on coal, Michigan is following the example of other states. Wisconsin officials recently rejected a request for a new coal-fired power plant, and Kansas officials have rejected proposals to build two plants in the southwest corner of the state.

Mich. governor wants utilities to rethink coal
February 3, 2009 LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to make it harder for utilities to justify building new coal-fired power plants, encouraging them to instead rely on more energy conservation. Speaking Tuesday in her seventh annual State of the State speech, Granholm called for reducing the state's reliance on electric plants powered by coal and natural gas 45 percent by 2020. The Democrat said she wants to see 100,000 homes and 1,000 schools in the state weatherized to reduce energy consumption, and get more homes and schools to install solar and wind energy systems. She suggested the monthly savings would pay for the cost of the improvements. Some of that weatherization work can be done by people who have lost their jobs, she added. Four companies have requests before the state Department of Environmental Quality to build new coal-fired power plants, the most requests for new coal plants anywhere in the country. The state already has 19 coal-fired plants. In making it harder for companies to build new power plants that rely on coal, Michigan is following the example of other states. Wisconsin officials recently rejected a request for a new coal-fired power plant, and Kansas officials have rejected proposals to build two plants in the southwest corner of the state.

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