Friday, August 31, 2012

Early Puberty? A New Study Finds that Girls Exposed to Household Chemical Menstruate Earlier

by Lindsey Konkel of Environmental Health News
Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Girls exposed to high levels of a common household chemical had their first period seven months earlier than girls with lower exposures, according to new research by federal scientists. “This study adds to the growing body of scientific research that exposure to environmental chemicals may be associated with early puberty,” said Danielle Buttke, a reproductive physiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was the study’s lead author.

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UNITE HERE Launches a Consumer Boycott Against the Port

by Rachel Swan
Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Within days of our story about alleged wage violations at the Oakland Airport, representatives of the AFL-CIO and Oakland-based labor union UNITE HERE Local 2850 redoubled their lobbying efforts by writing a formal letter to the airport's primary concessionaire contractor, HMSHost, and all of its subtenants. The letter announced a formal consumer boycott at the end of August — i.e., today — to demand that all airport businesses hew to the Port of Oakland's living wage ordinance, and that an airport Subway franchise also reinstate two employees, Bikram Thapa and Hakima Arhab, who were fired in July, allegedly for union activity. UNITE HERE will officially launch its protest today at 11 a.m., requesting that airport patrons boycott See's Candies, Auntie Ann's Pretzels, Gordon Biersch, Jamba Juice, Subway, Otaez, Burger King, World Passage Duty Free, Silver Dragon, and Tech Showcase.

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Jon Stewart on Paul Ryan's Lies

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney obviously don't care if the news media points our their lies and deceptions, but should they care about comedian Jon Stewart? After all, lots of Americans get their news from the Daily Show — and not from the traditional news media that Ryan and Romney believe is no longer relevant. Here's Stewart mocking some of the lies and deceptions from Ryan's speech, and the questions is: Will it matter?

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Castlewood Could Owe $3.4 Million to Locked Out Workers

by Rachel Swan
Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Last week we reported that the Castlewood Country Club lockout, long contested by representatives of the labor union UNITE HERE Local 2850, was deemed illegal by Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board. On Friday, In These Times reporter Mike Elk added that the country club may be stuck with a $3.4 tab for two years of worker backpay. UNITE HERE spokesperson Sarah Norr came up with that figure by doubling the estimated $1.7 million in salary and benefits that Castlewood workers earned in 2009, the year before they came to blows with the club in a dispute over health care. Elk indicated that each of the club's co-owners would have to share a portion of the debt, which might inspire them to appeal the decision — Castlewood now has three weeks left to ask the National Labor Relations Board in Washington to review Anderson's decision. So far, the club hasn't indicated which course it will take.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Big Lies: Republicans Are Betting that Voters No Longer Pay Attention to the News

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan made it clear last night that he and Mitt Romney believe that they can win the White House by telling lies, over and over again. During his GOP convention speech, Ryan lied repeatedly and deceived the public proudly. We counted at least nine major falsehoods and outright deceptions — statements that can be easily debunked by the news media.

But Ryan and Romney have made it clear that they don’t care. They had to know that mainstream journalists would point out the deceit in Ryan’s speech — and it has been happening since last night. And because they had to know what the news media would do (even Fox News has called Ryan's speech "deceiving"), it seems clear that they’ve made what may be an unprecedented political calculation: that it won’t matter if the news media points out their lies and deceptions because many voters no longer pay attention to the news.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How an Obscure Federal Rule Could Be Shaking Up Presidential Politics

by Jake Bernstein of ProPublica
Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 9:22 AM

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's allies seemed to give a big old raspberry to presidential aspirant Mitt Romney on the front page of the New York Post on Monday. Anonymous sources told the paper that Romney demanded Christie agree to resign the governorship if he was offered vice president on the GOP ticket. Christie was said to have declined since he didn't think Romney would win. A spokesman for Christie said they were not commenting on the Post's report and suggested contacting the Romney campaign, which did not respond to emailed questions.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Billboards Mishandled

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 6:16 AM

Earlier this summer, the Oakland City Council quietly green-lighted five new billboards to be erected near the foot of the Bay Bridge, including two to three giant LED billboards that will light up the night sky. The council approved the billboards as part of the massive Oakland Army Base development project. The large signs will help finance the project and are expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a proposed job-training center in West Oakland. Councilmembers, however, mishandled the billboard approval process because they should have done more to inform residents about the new signs and offered them more of an opportunity to comment on them.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Oakland’s Latest Mess

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

The troubling saga of the Oakland Police Department took an ugly turn this week with the news that City Administrator Deanna Santana contends that Robert Warshaw, the independent court monitor overseeing OPD, made inappropriate advances toward her earlier this year. The revelation has already threatened the integrity of the oversight process of OPD and could delay a decision on whether the department should be put in federal receivership. In short, it’s a big mess.

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Flood of Secret Campaign Cash: It's Not All Citizens United

by Stephen Engelberg and Kim Barker of ProPublica
Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 7:09 AM

The emergence of nonprofits as the leading conduit for anonymous spending in this year's presidential campaign is often attributed to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which opened the money spigot, allowing corporations and unions to buy ads urging people to vote for or against specific candidates. But a closer look shows that there are several reasons that tens of millions of dollars of secret money are flooding this year's campaign. Actions — and inaction — by both the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service have contributed just as much to the flood of tens of millions of dollars of secret money into the 2012 campaign. Congress did not act on a bill that would have required disclosure after Citizens United and other court rulings opened the door to secret political spending.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bioenergy a Boon for California, If It Works

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Waste equals food. At least that’s what we were taught in ecology class. In the eyes of California’s Bioenergy Interagency Working Group, organic waste equals something a bit more 21st-century: low-carbon biofuels, biogas, and renewable electricity. In its 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan, released on Wednesday, the working group lays out a plan to convert more of the state’s considerable wood, forest, agricultural, food, yard, and animal wastes directly into energy through anaerobic digestion, biomass burning, landfill gas capture, and other technologies.

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