Category Archives: The Environment

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Fights Regulations On Penis-Deforming Chemicals

Today’s Penis Post…

Seems to be the Theme of the Week.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce really has come out of the closet.  They used to be a respected organization, but they are really destroying that image quickly as they aggressively and openly push their far right agenda.

Their moto seems to be Corporations First, People Last….

At least it’s getting easier to call attention to their blatant disregard for average people.  Or people period.  Unless they are Rich.  Or a Corporation.

Remember:  Thanks to the Roberts Supreme Court, Corporations are people, too, now…

Very Important People.  They’ve pretty much bought the government with the Chamber of Commerce in the vanguard.


As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — one of the largest and most influential big business lobbying groups in the world — fired a letter off to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, telling him to block the regulation of extremely toxic chemicals in consumer plastics. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of such chemicals, the chamber letter declares that that EPA “lacks the sound regulatory science needed to meet the statutory threshold for a restriction or ban of the targeted chemicals.”

A wide body of scientific research has linked these chemicals, including phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), to declining birth rates, stillbirths, and an increasing number of birth defects. Many of the chemicals under review for increased regulation have already been banned in Europe and Canada.

In fact, studies have shown that these plastic chemicals are directly linked to an alarming rate of male genital birth defects such as hypospadias, a condition in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside, rather than at the end, of the penis. A report by the Center for American Progress’ Reese Rushing details many other risks associated with the chemicals slated for regulation.

The Chamber letter to Sunstein is signed by chief lobbyist Bill Kovacs. Why is Kovacs fighting so aggressively to continue to allow birth defect and miscarriage-causing chemicals to be used in household items and food containers? Perhaps it is because the Chamber is heavily funded by some of the largest plastics manufacturers in America. According to investigations by the New York Times and ThinkProgress, Dow Chemical and Proctor & Gamble have contributed millions to the Chamber’s war chest in recent years.

via U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Fights Regulations On Penis-Deforming Chemicals | ThinkProgress.

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Taxes reach historic low

Something to ponder at Tax Time….

From the Orange County Register:

For the past two years, a family of four earning the median income has paid less in federal income taxes than at any time since at least 1955, according to the Tax Policy Center. All federal, state and local taxes combined are a lower percentage of per-capita income than at any time since the 1960s, according to the Tax Foundation. The highest income-tax bracket is its lowest since 1992. At 35 percent, it’s well below the 50 percent mark of much of the 1980s and the 70 percent bracket of the 1970

via Taxes reach historic low – News – The Orange County Register.

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Use It Up, Wear It Out – Consumers Hold On to Stuff Longer –

Some positive news on the environmental front…

I hope this becomes long term behavior and we move away from being such a disposable society…

Of course, in a Consumer driven economy, this is a mixed blessing to the economy…

Throw away the cellphone after two years? Not so fast. Ditch the flat-panel TV for an even thinner model? Maybe next year. Replace the blouse with the hole? Darn it!

Walt Truelson of Portland, Ore., has stopped replacing his car as frequently as he used to and has switched to paying for cellphone minutes as he uses them, rather than subscribing to a monthly plan.

Consumer spending has picked up, but for some Americans the recession has left something behind: a greater interest in making stuff last.

For a number of products — cars, phones, computers, even shampoo and toothpaste — the data shows a slowing of product life cycles and consumption. In many cases the difference is mere months, but economists and consumers say the approach just may outlast a full recovery and the return of easy credit, because of the strong impression the downturn made on consumers.

It is hardly the stuff of generations past, those stung by the Great Depression, who held onto antediluvian dishware and stored canned goods until rust formed on the lids. But for the moment, many citizens of a throwaway society are making fewer visits to the trash and recycling bins.

via Use It Up, Wear It Out – Consumers Hold On to Stuff Longer –

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Filed under Energy, Media, Politics, Social Commentary, The Environment

Rising seas threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100: study | The Raw Story

I guess losing a few American cities might- just might- make GOP politicians finally believe in Global Warming…

But I’m still not sure even that would do it…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rising seas spurred by climate change could threaten 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, a new study says, with Miami, New Orleans and Virginia Beach among those most severely affected.

Previous studies have looked at where rising waters might go by the end of this century, assuming various levels of sea level rise, but this latest research focused on municipalities in the contiguous 48 states with population of 50,000 or more.

Cities along the southern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico will likely be hardest hit if global sea levels rise, as projected, by about 3 feet (1 meter) by 2100, researchers reported in the journal Climate Change Letters.

Sea level rise is expected to be one result of global warming as ice on land melts and flows toward the world’s oceans.

Using data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the scientists were able to calculate in detail how much land could be lost as seas rise, said study author Jeremy Weiss of the University of Arizona.

Rising coastal waters threaten an average of nine percent of the land in the 180 coastal cities in the study.

Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia could lose more than 10 percent of their land area by century’s end, the study found.


New York City, Washington DC and the San Francisco Bay area could face lesser impacts, according to the study.

via Rising seas threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100: study | The Raw Story.

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Coble seeks repeal of light bulb standard-

With all that’s going on in the world, one of Greensboro’s Congressmen can’t focus on anything but light bulbs.

As I’ve said many times, the Republicans can only look backwards…

The idea here is to save energy and lower electric bills, but Howard doesn’t seem to get that…

Could be because he’s a 15 watt bulb in a 100 watt socket…just not bright enough…

GREENSBORO — U.S. Rep. Howard Coble is among those urging colleagues in Congress to turn off the lights on a controversial provision of the 2007 energy bill.

The Greensboro Republican is a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal what some refer to — erroneously — as the incandescent bulb ban. Texas Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, all Republicans, were the original sponsors of the repeal measure.

The legislation is a long way from passing, but it is in keeping with Republican pledges to roll back laws they see as interfering with personal freedoms.

“It seems to me the Congress and the government is inserting its oars in waters where it doesn’t need to go,” Coble said Tuesday, adding that people ought to choose which kind of light bulb they want to use for themselves.

“This ought to be a personal decision rather than being an edict from on high.”

The 2007 bill sets energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. It doesn’t specifically ban incandescent bulbs, but it would phase out the cheap, 50 cents-a-piece, single-filament model based on Thomas Edison’s century-old design.

The rationale behind the bill had to do with cutting down the energy Americans use by making lighting fixtures more efficient. Rather than ban possession or use of any one bulb, it prohibits retailers from selling the less energy-efficient models, phasing in the new rules between 2012 and 2014.

via Coble seeks repeal of light bulb standard : : Greensboro & the Triad’s most trusted source for local news and analysis.

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Filed under Energy, Greensboro, North Carolina, Politics, The Environment

The Conservative Constitution of the United States

Priceless- and scarily accurate…

From David Cole in today’s Washington Post….

Here are the Amendments.  I encourage you to click the link to see the actual “Constitution”.


1. Congress shall make no law abridging the Freedom of Speech, except where citizens desecrate the Flag of the United States; respecting an establishment of Religion, except to support Christian schools, religious apparitions in food products and the display of crosses and creches in public places; or abridging the free exercise of Religion, except to block the construction of mosques in sensitive areas as determined by Florida Pastors or the Fox News Channel.

2. The right to bear Semi-Automatic Weapons, AK-47s or Bazookas shall not be infringed by background checks, safety locks, age limits or common sense.

3. The right of Corporations, Hedge Funds, Business Leaders and Lobbyists to spend endless cash on campaigns and influence-purchasing shall not be infringed. The so-called right of Unions to associate shall be denied as fundamentally un-American and contrary to the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce.

4. Marriage and the benefits thereof shall be restricted to the Union of a Man and a Woman, consecrated in a Christian house of worship, with vows to expose any and all progeny to daily viewings of Bill O’Reilly.

5. All persons born or naturalized in the United States are Citizens of the United States of Real America only if their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were Citizens, and only if they pledge opposition to Health Insurance Reform or New Taxation. Any Citizen convicted of providing material support to Terrorist organizations, wearing clothing bearing images created by Shepard Fairey, or displaying Nancy Pelosi bumper stickers shall be stripped of Citizenship.

6. Aliens, of this world or another, shall have none of the rights guaranteed herein to Citizens.

7. Corporations shall have all of the rights guaranteed herein to Citizens, and then some.

8. No White Male shall be denied equal protection of the law through Affirmative Action or otherwise. In keeping with the intent of the Framers, as discerned by the Honorable Justice Antonin Scalia, distinctions on the basis of sex shall not be deemed to deny equal protection.

9. The right to be uninsured and make other people pay the costs of one’s Health Care shall not be infringed under any circumstances.

10. Congress shall make no law limiting Americans’ right to warm the Planet by using all the energy they darn well please.

11. The Unborn shall have the rights to life, to vote, to bear arms, to practice Religion except in a mosque in Lower Manhattan (see First Amendment) and to make campaign contributions, but once the child is born, it shall have no rights if it is an Alien (see Sixth Amendment).

12. No one may be required to do anything He or She does not want to do. Ever.

via The Conservative Constitution of the United States.

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Filed under Health Care, History, Politics, Social Commentary, The Economy, The Environment

Deep Roots Market Proposes Downtown Grocery Store | | Triad, NC | Local News

This is great news from the News & Record.

I always want to support Deep Roots more, but they don’t ever have everything I need.  Hopefully this will enable them to carry more local produce and fresh, safe meats.  I love the idea of a cafe.

And this will be very convenient for us.  Good news all around!

Deep Roots Market announced it has signed a contingency lease agreement with North Eugene Partners, LLC to build a downtown area grocery store.

The builder will construct a 10,500 square foot building on the 600 block of N. Eugene Street, between Smith St. and Fisher Ave.

Final lease signing and construction will be depend on certain conditions being met in the next few months. If the project goes forward as scheduled, construction will begin in March and the store will open in October.

Downtown residents have long hoped for a grocery store within easy driving and walking distance.

The proposed store, on the northern perimeter of downtown, will be easily accessible to downtown residents and workers, but will also be connected by major roads to all parts of Greensboro. It will be located along the proposed path of the Downtown Greenway.

Deep Roots has been in business since 1976 and focuses on local, natural, and organic products. By expanding to this larger store, Deep Roots will be able to add a deli and café, clean-raised fresh meats, and a beer and wine section, as well as expanding other selections of the store. The new store will also offer a community room which will be available for classes, meetings, and other uses.

Deep Roots Market is owned by over 1,700 households in the Greensboro area. For more information about Deep Roots Market visit

via Deep Roots Market Proposes Downtown Grocery Store | | Triad, NC | Local News.

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Filed under Food, Greensboro, North Carolina, The Environment, Virginia

My Thoughts: Why Politics Matter

I’m tired of people saying Politics doesn’t matter and tuning out of the Political process.  Not only is this an abdication of responsibility, it’s stupid.

Politics does matter and the votes taken in various elected bodies do impact everyone’s  life.

In fact, Political decisions impact almost every aspect of day-to-day life.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Drafting young men during the Vietnam War was a political decision as was ending the Draft.
  2. Going to War with Iraq and Afghanistan was a political decision.
  3. Creating Social Security and Medicare was a political decision.  Destroying them could be, too.
  4. Ending Slavery was a political decision.
  5. Granting Women the right to Vote was a political decision.
  6. How much money your hometown gets for roads and economic development is a political decision.
  7. The books and curriculum used to educate your children in public schools is a political decision.
  8. Financial Aid for College is a political decision.
  9. Whether or not you can park your car in your yard or put a ratty sofa on your front porch is a political decision.
  10. How much you pay in property, sales and income taxes are a political decision.
  11. Whether your food is safe and how this safety is assured is a political decision.
  12. Whether you have adequate Health Care is a Political decision.

These are just a few impacts off the top of my head.  So when I hear people say they aren’t voting or that one side is as bad as the other, or that it just doesn’t matter, it pisses me off.

Admittedly, I am passionate about this…I used to work in Politics and spent a good deal of time in Washington and Richmond.  I have been “behind the curtain.”  I’ve smoked cigarettes over cocktails at the Congressional Club with now Speaker John Boehner and ridden the back roads of Virginia with Senator John Warner.  I know neither side is perfect and I well know how the “other side”-for whom I used to work- manipulates the process and puts out false information.  I’ve seen the decline in civility by both sides and made my well-known choice.

I came to the conclusion that the Republicans look backwards with fear while the Democrats look forward with hope.  I’ve also reached the conclusion the Republicans cater to the wealthy and Corporate elite- as do the Democrats to a lesser degree.  This is an informed, fact-based decision I made as part of my personal journey.  You can disagree with me, but you can’t call me uniformed or accuse me of not thoroughly examining the issues to reach my decisions.

I also think we have a moral obligation in America to ensure our elected officials don’t forget the poor, the sick, the hungry, the elderly, college students hungry for learning but limited in funds and the homeless.  I think one of the main purposes of government is to ensure we have safe, reliable transportations– by road, by air and most urgently by train.  I think the government should level the playing field by allowing those who are born to less have the same opportunities as those who are born with more.  I think the government should ensure our food supply is safe, but not over burden local growers.  I think a lot of things…

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect them to be involved and to make fact-based decisions.  I can respect that…

I can’t respect people who tune out facts or don’t do their own due diligence.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Several Elections have been decided recently based on just a few votes difference.
  2. When given the facts, more people support the policies of the Democratic party, but more Republicans vote.
  3. Not voting for the Legislative branch of Government impacts the Executive and Judicial Branches.  Elected officials appoint and approve Supreme Court justices. Sometimes Judges decide Elections.  It’s all connected.
  4. When you vote, you have an obligation to know what the person you are voting for really stands for- not that they are the cutest or most telegenic or that you just know their name or Party.

For Democracy to work, you must have an informed, active electorate.  I hope people are paying attention to what is going on in Washington, the State Houses and the Supreme Court.  These decisions do matter and do impact your lives.

The Elites count on people being confused, misinformed and lazy when-and if- they vote.  It’s up to us to prove them wrong.  We haven’t done a great job the last year or so…

I may be dreaming, but here are a few things that I think would help rectify the situation:

  1. Get the big money out of politics.  Block Corporate donations and self-financing wealthy candidates by leveling the playing field.  Move to Public Financing of Elections with each qualifying Candidate having the same amount of money to spend.
  2. Require the Television and Radio stations to run an equal amount of adds for each qualifying candidate and/or Political Party.  Remember, the airwaves are Public Property that is leased to the media.  We need to make them do their civic duty and not just profit off a broken system.
  3. The media needs to do its job and check facts and call attention to mis-representations of facts- and lies- by all Candidates, Politicians and Parties.  I would love to re-implement the Fairness Doctrine- if for no other reason to put Fox News out of business- but that is impractical.
  4. Separate News from Entertainment.  The line has blurred too much….
  5. End Corporate monopolies of the Media.  Limit the number of media outlets that any one Corporation can own.
  6. Encourage people to check the facts on reputable web sites and from other non-mainstream media sources.  Form non-partisan grass-roots groups to educate them on how to do it…
  7. Enforce the Separation of Church and State.  Churches and Religious organizations who become involved in Politics should lose their tax exempt status.
  8. Encourage the growth of Third-and Fourth- Parties by making it easier for their candidates to get on the ballot and have appropriate funding.
  9. Require a fixed number of debates for all offices.  Don’t let politicians hide behind adds.  Put the public and media spot light on them all.
  10. End the revolving door between elected officials and lobbyists.  Elected Officials should not be able to lobby their former colleagues.  This is how the  insider Boys Club perpetuates itself.
  11. Develop and enforce ethics rules at all levels of Government.  With real, still penalties and not slaps on the hands.  Independent boards should manage inquiries and not political cronies.
  12. In Politics, just like in other areas of life, we need to encourage civility and reasonable debate- not encourage blood sport and boorish behavior.
  13. Make it easier to vote.  We need to find a secure way to vote via the internet.  We need to extend and expand early voting.
  14. We need to be confident all voting machines are secure and not subject to manipulation.
  15. Focus on encouraging more voters, not suppressing voters.

We need to encourage people to pay attention by restoring trust in the media and elected officials who represent the Public Trust.

This is not a game.

It is not a reality TV show.

Bottom Line:  Get serious, people!

Discuss among yourselves….


Filed under Education, Health Care, History, My Journey, Politics, Race, Religion, Social Commentary, The Economy, The Environment, The South, Virginia

Aisle Not: Why One Woman Quit Grocery Stores for a Year | TakePart – Inspiration to Action

I would love to be able to get to this point…

I hate the professional Food Industry almost as much as the Pharmaceutical Industry….

Both have greatly contributed to the unhealthy, over-weight lifestyle so many Americans now lead…

If you haven’t seen “Food, Inc”, buy it or put it on your NetFlix list today.  It’s a real eye-opener.

One year ago, Carla Crownover kissed grocery stores goodbye.

She had just seen Food, Inc., Participant Media’s documentary on the seedy underbelly of the food industry, and she wanted nothing to do with the conventional food system that feeds the majority of Americans.

She pledged to abstain from grocery stores for 365 days and to go on a quest to find out where all the food she eats comes from. The end result? “I’ve learned a lot,” she told readers on her blog, Austin Urban Gardens.

TakePart caught up with Crownover recently, fresh after her one-year mark, to learn more about what it’s like to live off the food grid.

Prior to seeing Food, Inc., Crownover was already a conscientious eater. “I shopped the perimeter of the grocery store and didn’t buy many products in boxes or cans. I didn’t want to eat anything that had been manipulated to cook faster, or be ‘instant,'” she explains. “I had dropped diet sodas from my diet a couple years ago, and was leery of foods manipulated to have a long shelf life.”

When she sought out more information from Food, Inc., the film shocked her.

“Everything about factory farming [in the film] disgusted me. The feedlots packed full of animals standing in their own waste bothered me on several levels. I like to eat beef, but I don’t want the animal to have to live a horrible and unhealthy life so that I can have a steak.”

She saw genetically engineered chickens in the film that were too big to stand and never saw the light of day. “The chickens I get now from a local farm are free range up until their last moment,” she says. “The farmer once told me, ‘We like to believe they only have one bad day.’ And I loved that.”

via Aisle Not: Why One Woman Quit Grocery Stores for a Year | TakePart – Inspiration to Action.

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Filed under Education, Food, Health Care, Pets, Politics, Social Commentary, The Economy, The Environment

Italy Bans Plastic Bags in 2011

This is a great move from both an environmental and oil dependency standpoint….

As usual, that means the U.S. will be one of the last countries to follow suit…

Supporters of the law say plastic bags use too much oil to manufacture and take decades to break down in landfills. The Italian environmental group Legambiente estimates that the plastic bag ban will save Italy 180,000 tons of CO2 emissions, according to The Daily Telegraph.

“This marks a key step forward in the fight against pollution, and it makes us all more responsible in terms of recycling,” Italy’s environment minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, told Agence France-Presse.

Other European cities have implemented similar measures, but Italy’s is believed to be the first nationwide ban on plastic bags on the continent. Many countries charge customers for plastic bags.

via Italy Bans Plastic Bags in 2011.

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Filed under Food, Oil Dependency, Politics, Social Commentary, The Environment