Suppressing Science For Monsanto?

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Groups Demand Investigation of USDA
‘It is imperative that the USDA maintains scientific integrity and does not allow for harassment, censorship or suppression of findings that counter the interests of industry,’ say farmworker, environmental, and food safety groups

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

More than 25 farmworker, environmental, and food safety organizations sent an open letter this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture demanding that the agency investigate reports that its scientists are facing retaliation and suppression of their research on controversial neonicotinoid insecticides that pose a danger to pollinator and human health.   [Read more…]

Tide Turning Against Plastic Microbeads in Toiletries

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

Microbead products and alternativesThere are signs that the era where plastic microbeads from personal care products pollute bodies of water worldwide and aquatic food chains might be drawing to a close.

Microbeads are miniscule spheres of plastic commonly added as abrasives to personal care products like face scrubs, shower gels and toothpaste. They’re designed to wash down the drain, but because of their small size, they escape sewage treatment plants. Once discharged into oceans, rivers or lakes or onto land, they’re virtually impossible to clean up.   [Read more…]

California Vaccination Law Passes Education Committee

By Doug Porter

The California Senate Education Committee has approved a modified version of SB277, a controversial measure making vaccinations a prerequisite for enrollment in both private and public schools throughout the state. 

Medical exemptions for inoculations will be permitted and amendments were added expanding homeschooling options for unvaccinated children. Gone will be the personal-belief and religious exemptions currently exercised by about 10% of parents with school aged children in California. 

The Senate Committee’s action came the day after a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ruled out the possibility that immunizations could cause autism in a small group of children who were already primed to develop the disorder.    [Read more…]

California Chamber of Commerce Wants to Kick Widows to the Curb

By Doug Porter

It’s the time of year again when the the Golden State’s Chamber of Commerce issues it’s hit list of “job killer” bills being considered in Sacramento. This year there are 17 or so items on the preliminary list; more are expected to be added as the session goes on.

Included in the “Increased Unnecessary Litigation Costs” section is AB244, introduced by  Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D- Stockton). The measure would clarify protections in the California Housing Bill of Rights, specifying that widows and other surviving family members are covered in their dealings with mortgage servicers.

Presently these homeowners can find themselves caught in a “Catch 22” if they seek a loan modification. Servicers inform them that they can’t be considered for a modification until they assume the mortgage. But, they won’t let them assume the mortgage unless they demonstrate that they can afford it. As a result, mortgage payments are missed, fees rack up, and foreclosure can be the unnecessary outcome.   [Read more…]

Californians Won’t Take the Drought Seriously Until Government Takes the Drought Seriously With These 5 Measures

Californians want immediate action from their government

The citizens of California will not take the drought seriously until they see that their government is taking the drought seriously. Until government at all levels – from the state to the smallest township – shows Californians that it is enacting measures to immediately deal with the drought – now in its 4th year – people in this state won’t face up to the drought themselves.

And until government enacts these 5 measures – at a minimum – , government is not taking the drought seriously:

1. Ban All Fracking

California must ban all fracking immediately – the process by which oil companies use to extract oil.   [Read more…]

Nuclear Shutdown News – March, 2015 Edition

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and highlights efforts of those who are democratically working to bring about a renewable energy future. As nuclear plants in the US are approaching or surpassing their 40 year operating life, their ability to operate properly and safely lessens, creating more and more problems across the nation.

Here’s our March report:

Diablo Canyon – Last Nuke Plant in California

On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE).  According to FOE, the suit alleges that the “NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon’s nuclear plant license.” And …   [Read more…]

Voting Made Easier: Legislative Actions Aim to Make Elections More Accessible

By Doug Porter 

San Diego legislators at both the federal and state level are working to remove barriers limiting voter participation. 

California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla are proposing to register every eligible resident who goes to a DMV to get a license or renew one, with the ability to opt out. In Washington DC, Congresswoman Susan Davis has introduced legislation ending constraints on voting by mail. 

Research recently published in the Oxford Political Analysis Journal indicates that as many as an additional four million Americans wanted to vote in the 2012 election , but were stymied by restrictions on voter registration. California currently ranks 38th out of the 50 states in voter registration.    [Read more…]

Passionate Pleas for Safer San Diego Streets Fall on Deaf Ears at Uptown Planners Meeting

BikeSD / BikeSD Blog

On Tuesday March 24 between 200-250 people packed the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral for a special Uptown Planners meeting. It’s quite possible that that was the most number of people that church has held in recent years.

While many of you and us were out last night testifying and desperately pleading for safer access through along University Avenue, to a board that ignored all public testimony for safer streets except for the comments on using public spaces for private vehicle storage – parking – a 74 year old woman crossing Camino Ruiz in a marked crosswalk suffered life threatening injuries after being hit by an SUV. No word yet on whether the driver has been charged.

Earlier this month, our endorsed candidates Michael Brennan and Kyle Heiskala were successfully elected to the Uptown Planners at the Community Planning Group election. But last night’s meeting was a special meeting and Brennan and Heiskala haven’t yet been seated – so they were unable to vote on the issue.   [Read more…]

San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The City of San Diego has finally allowed the opening of the City’s very first medical marijuana dispensary.

This opening of the first “legal” pot shop in San Diego comes 19 years after California voters passed Prop 215, making medical marijuana legal.

And the County of San Diego has only allowed one dispensary to open to date – a storefront opened last summer in an unincorporated area outside El Cajon.

The shameful history of nearly 2 decades for both the City and County of San Diego that viewed together initiated delays, stalls, and outright resistance to the spirit of Prop 215, stands in deep contrast to the wishes of the state’s voters.

On this issue at least, the implementation of the medical marijuana law, our local governments have been very undemocratic as they have quite openly stymied what the voters, the people, wanted.   [Read more…]

Here Come the Obama ‘Vote or Die’ Squads

By Doug Porter

Following a speech before the City Club of Cleveland yesterday, President Obama responded to a question about the influence of money in elections by talking about universal voting as a solution.

Cue the conservative outrage: “Obama calls for mandatory voting in U.S.,” screamed one headline. At UT-San Diego the headline was toned down to “OBAMA FLOATS IDEA OF MANDATORY VOTING IN U.S.”

This story is a really sad commentary on the state of American “journalism.” The President spends and hour and a half speaking about economic policy in front of a business group. This one quip is going to end up being passed around on the internet as something along the lines of ‘The Black Panthers Are Going to Force People to Vote.” There’s probably an email smoldering in my backup account as I’m writing this.   [Read more…]

San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant ‘have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life’

By Sarah Lazarre / Common Dreams

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday (March 16) against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city’s bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by City of San Diego and San Diego Unified Port District and focuses on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). “PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay,” the complaint reads.   [Read more…]

The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draftso far: The meat and soda industries hate it.   [Read more…]

Unist’ot’en Camp: The Best Medicine

By Will Falk

I’ve decided to go off my medication. This decision is one I’ve been struggling with for months. It’s not a decision I make easily, but I think it’s the best decision for me. Ever since I was diagnosed with severe depression and prescribed anti-depressants in November, 2012, I have had a dubious relationship with my medication.

It is true that I have been on anti-depressants and have not tried to kill myself since August, 2013. It is also true that I was taking my anti-depressants each time I tried to kill myself. I know that my decision to stop taking my pills will cause friends and family anxiety. But, I truly feel this is the best decision for me.   [Read more…]

The Old Hippie Gets a Medical Marijuana Card

The Ol’ OB Hippie Writes / The OB Rag

I’m finally going legal after 50 years – or at least almost 50 years. I started smoking pot when I was a freshman in college. And I still smoke – but the other day, I went legal and obtained my medical marijuana card, and now I can smoke legally for the first time in a half century. And god I need it – for all my genuine ailments, from chronic back pain to insomnia to other problems whose symptoms are relieved by the inhalation of the medicinal gift from nature.

Actually my very first joint was during my first year’s Christmas break – I was going to college on the East Coast and had flown home for the 2 week break. Pot smoking literally exploded here in OB and Point Loma in 1966-67. It blew up in OB. And of course, PLHS was called “Pot Loma” after that large bust behind the church – I think – in 1968. Plus we all thought it would be legal by 1976. Seriously.   [Read more…]

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Renewable Solutions Are Here Now and Technically Feasible Today

It is now clear, at least from a technical perspective, that we could eliminate fossil fuels over a period of 20 to 40 years. That’s if we went full steam ahead without being blocked by fossil fuel corporations, the politicians beholden to them and various other vested interests who stand to profit from the status quo.

In 2009 Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, came up with a detailed, groundbreaking road map for just how this could be accomplished. Their study showed how 100% of the world’s energy could be supplied by wind, water and solar (WWS) resources by as early as 2030. Their paper, which appeared in Scientific American, is called “A Plan for a Sustainable Future by 2030.”   [Read more…]

Immigration Standoff: Congressional GOP Hoping to Learn from the Second Kick of a Mule

By Doug Porter

The logjam on Capital Hill has gotten to the point where even the Daily Fishwrap editorial board has noticed.

“It doesn’t seem to matter much which party controls Congress or whether a single party controls both houses or just one. Either way, there is still unacceptable impasse on key issues.”

The Republican strategy to stop President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is failing. The clock is ticking on what would be a largely symbolic (but politically damaging)  shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

House and Senate GOP leaders are pointing the finger at one another. Senate leader Mitch McConnell says the ball is back in the House’s court. House Majority leader John Boehner trotted out his bi-annual warning to Democrats to “get off their ass.”   [Read more…]

Ocean Beach Icon Mike Hardin Passes On

By Doug Porter

We interrupt this broadcast…. Restaurateur Mike Hardin passed away yesterday.

Here’s Frank Gormlie at the OB Rag:

One of the most successful businessmen and restaurateurs in OB’s history, has passed away. Mike Hardin, owner of the most famous restaurant in the seaside village, Hodad’s Burgers, on Newport Avenue died in Fresno.

His body was found in a Fresno hotel on Thursday, Feb. 5th, after Mike had traveled to Northern California to see his daughter. Cause of death is unknown at this time…

There’s plenty more news today.. GMO’s…Hackers…UCSD and right wingers with their underwear in a bunch over something the president said….   [Read more…]

Anti-Vaxxers Immune To Debate, Shaming

California Legislators Move to End Personal Exemption

By Doug Porter

The most recent outbreak of measles appears to be abating, and that’s good news. Sadly, the “debate” over the “rights” of parents who chose to opt out of vaccinations continues. Debate is all well and good, but this is clearly a case where government needs to intervene to protect the public.

Yesterday a bicameral group of legislators announced they were proposing legislation eliminating the personal belief exemption for vaccinations in California. State Senators Dr. Richard Pan and Ben Allen along with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) say they will move to require immunizations in all school age children with exceptions allowed only for medical reasons.

Dr. Pan told reporters he was open to discussion about keeping the religious exemption.

What we’ve learned over the past few weeks is that characterizing those opposing standard childhood vaccinations as right or left wing is really just a distraction. Data dumps by well-meaning public health officials and public shaming aren’t getting the job done.   [Read more…]

Anti-fracking Coalition Calls for Shutdown of Toxic Injection Wells

The permission to pollute was granted because of the capture of the state’s regulatory apparatus by Big Oil and other corporate interests

By Dan Bacher

A coalition of anti-fracking groups and the Center for Biological Diversity today urged the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately shut down hundreds of injection wells that are illegally dumping toxic oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers during the midst of a record drought.

Oil and gas companies over decades used more than 170 waste disposal wells to inject oil and gas wastewater into dozens of aquifers containing potable water, in violation of state and federal law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The majority of these violations are located in California’s Central Valley, while others are near San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.

“Oil companies in drought-ravaged California have, for years, pumped wastewater from their operations into aquifers that had been clean enough for people to drink,” said David Baker, reporter. “They did it with explicit permission from state regulators, who were supposed to protect the increasingly strained ground water supplies from contamination.”   [Read more…]

Bad News for San Diego: It’s Business as Usual

By Doug Porter

The downside of business as usual in San Diego continues to make the news and not in a good way.

A local business leader tells a boldfaced lie in radio interview. Housing is too expensive for most people. The latest city hall scheme of dreams about a football stadium is already wrapped up in controversy.

Also, yet another GOP Presidential contender wades into the vaccinations controversy, the House will vote yet again today to repeal Obamacare and over-the-counter supplements sold in retailers nationwide are not even close to the real deal….   [Read more…]

Voice of San Diego’s Intern ‘Irony’ is Just the Latest Insult

By Doug Porter 

Earlier this week Voice of San Diego Editor/CEO Scott Lewis took the Center on Policy Initiatives, a local think tank, to task for a Facebook posting soliciting for unpaid internships to assist in a campaign aimed at increasing minimum wages. 

In the essay and subsequent social media postings, Lewis said he found the idea of volunteer interns working on this particular issue to be ironic. And he seemingly disparaged the notion that the trade-off of job experience and/or college credit as a smokescreen for exploitation.

The old saying about people who live in glass houses comes to mind when viewing the web journal of a high school student who interned with Voice of San Diego.    [Read more…]

Pests: Can’t We Just Kill Them All?

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko

I escort spiders out of my house, use humane traps to relocate attic rats, and save honey bees from drowning in pools. Yet I’ve been known to hunt with a vengeance a mosquito that’s ruining my sleep, repeatedly buzzing in earshot in search of exposed skin. At such moments, I might push a button, if one existed, to rid the world of mosquitos forever.

However, recent press about disastrous blowback when humans target species deemed a nuisance should give pause to impulses to wipe out even the most bothersome of pests. Two examples. First, the 90% decline in the population of the monarch butterfly in the last two decades from spraying herbicide on genetically modified corn and soy in the Midwest, inadvertently destroying the milkweed on which the monarch caterpillar must feed. And second, the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from rampant misuse of antibiotics, both to treat viruses in humans and to fatten up livestock that aren’t sick. Consequently, people are at risk of picking up antibiotic-resistant superbugs when they’re hospitalized or even from eating meat.   [Read more…]

University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

By Doug Porter

Physicians at all 10 University of California student health centers will hold a one-day unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday.

They gave notice to the UC system on Friday, following the failure of 41 bargaining sessions over a year’s time to gain an initial contract for The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD). Over 90% of the student health doctors voted in favor of striking in meetings during December.

The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the  California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) saying the universities are failing to negotiate in good faith. In one instance cited, the UC administration increased pension contributions without negotiating over the issue.   [Read more…]

On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

Reproductive rights advocates say legislation would cause entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small businesses

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

On the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirms a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion, House Republicans passed a far-reaching anti-choice bill that women’s health advocates say would cause the entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small business who provide comprehensive health care to their employees.

After pulling a more extreme anti-abortion bill at the last minute due to intra-party dissent, the GOP on Thursday voted 242-179 in favor of alternative legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that restricts federal funds for abortion.   [Read more…]