You are browsing the archive for 2015 February 28.

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Boiling Point: Why Do We Let Big Oil Send Workers to Their Deaths?

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By Jonathan Rosenblum, Tikkun

We are experiencing a vast number of preventable deaths.

Picture this: You’re at the airport, about to board your flight. As you wait by the gate a pair of airline pilots chat nearby. They are your crew.

“I’m so exhausted,” says one, sipping a large coffee. “This’ll put me at 15 duty hours today. And I haven’t had a day off in a month – at least 12 hours every single day for the last 30 days. The stress is just killing me.”

“I know,” replies the other, yawning widely. “I haven’t really seen my family in a month. When I was driving home last night I could barely keep my eyes open. I hope I can do better on the flight tonight.”

Would you get on the plane? Of course not. The public wouldn’t buy tickets under these circumstances, which is why we have rigorously enforced laws against airlines overworking pilots.

But what if your job depended on getting on that plane? What if your job depended on boarding that plane not just once, but every day – would you get on it?

That’s the choice workers whose products we consume every day have been forced to make. They are refinery workers, subjected to Big Oil’s penchant for working people beyond exhaustion in the name of profits. The jobs inside refineries and cockpits, though of course technically dissimilar, share a common intolerance for error. But we have strict laws governing the safety of airline pilots, while the inhumane overwork of refinery workers proceeds largely within the shadows of our economy, outside of our view and beyond our daily consciences.

That may be changing, however.

Currently more than 6,000 oil refinery workers and their families are walking picket lines, the first national oil walkout since 1980. Workplace safety is the main issue – for the workers and their families, as well as for communities surrounding refineries. In the coming weeks the number of strikers could swell.

In exposing unsafe working conditions to the public, the refinery workers are raising not only contract demands, but also a deeper challenge about the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The (Not Entirely New) Republican War on American History

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By Steve Singiser, Daily Kos

The GOP struggles to control the past.

Headline #1—“Oklahoma Republicans may have outlawed Advanced Placement courses”:

Oklahoma Republican legislators are debating whether Advanced Placement courses should be taught in their state's public schools. Let's pause to absorb that, shall we? Oklahoma lawmakers do not want their state's students to be able to take classes that will allow them to earn college credit while still in high school, thanks to a far-right conspiracy theory about the College Board's latest AP U.S. History framework. One bill currently being considered would specifically ban the AP U.S. History course, while some legislators think that an anti-Common Core law passed last year may already apply to all AP courses.

Headline #2—Georgia Republicans latest to propose airing of right-wing propaganda as 'history' in public schools:

Georgia wants to “encourage” middle schools and high schools in Georgia to show the latest right-wing propaganda project of an admitted felon in history classes. Which is totally cool, though, because, you see, this six-pack of Georgia right-wingers only wants to show this propaganda because they are convinced … convinced! … that history classes are already a cesspool of left-wing propaganda.

Conservative contempt for academia has long been established, the conservative euphoria over Scott Walker's lack of a college degree being a recent example. But this goes deeper—this is not just a curious strain of anti-intellectualism that has long been a staple of Republican rhetoric. This is a war on the study of American History itself, and it seems entirely plausible, if not likely, that the driving force is far more about contemporary politics than it is about historical dispute about interpretations of the past.

Follow me past the jump for an explanation of why the War on History might have more to do with 21st century politics than events of the prior centuries.

 

Despite the fact that these two legislative assaults on the study of American History in schools are recent, by no means do they exist in isolation. Republican attempts to alternately stifle the study of American History, or attempt to retrofit common historical interpretations to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fox Doctor Doesn't Know Difference Between Crack and Marijuana

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

Dr. David Samadi has some interesting theories.

Fox News Medical A-Team member Dr. David Samadi asserted over the weekend that “crack babies” were caused by women “smoking this whole marijuana business.”

On the Saturday edition of Fox & Friends, host Clayton Morris reported that a recent study published in Scientific Reports found that marijuana was less dangerous than any other common recreational drug, including alcohol and cigarettes. 

“I think it’s a very dangerous study,” Samadi argued. “People need to be very careful about not getting the wrong message from this study. They’re using a lethal dose as a comparison. For example, they’re putting pot against or weed against cocaine or alcohol. We know you need less amount of alcohol to die. So, they’re using death to see what’s dangerous and what’s not.”

“They’re extrapolating a lot of these animal studies and surveys that doesn’t make a lot of sense and coming with this whole thing that pot is safer,” the doctor insisted. “Absolutely not. It’s a huge fraud.”

Samadi warned that marijuana could cause memory loss, mood changes and psychosis. 

“It actually causes heart attacks,” he added. “It increases your heart rate. And on and on.”

“We’re seeing in Colorado that we had 13 kids that came to the emergency [room] and ended up in the ICU as a result of overdose from marijuana,” Samadi said. “Now we have crack babies coming in because pregnant women are smoking this whole marijuana business.”

The Fox News Medical A-Team doctor concluded by calling medical marijuana “the biggest scam I’ve ever seen.”

“I challenge any doctors, come to my Facebook, convince me how this is healthy for you. I’m 100 percent against this.”

Watch the video below from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast Feb. 28, 2015.

 

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A Message to Republicans: Millions of Americans Won't Forget How You Treated Their Mom and Dad

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By Walter Einenkel, The Daily Kos

Congressman Luis Gutierrez dropped a simple fact during the House Judiciary Committee a couple of days ago.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez dropped a simple fact during the House Judiciary Committee a couple of days ago. While republicans denounced the President's executive action on immigration reform and tried to pretend that they are not holding the Department of Homeland Security hostage, Mr. Gutierrez had this to say:

This is a very perilous place for my friends in the majority. Because you have 5 million American citizen children who are never going to forget for a generation how it was you treated their mom and their dad. How it was you treated their mom and their dad; and if you treated them in a cruel manner.

 

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Sneaky Ways Big Food Is Marketing Junk As Natural and Healthy

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By Lindsay Abrams, Salon.com

The “snack better” movement is based on a lot of lies

Americans are finally beginning to figure out that they’re too good for junk food, and the industry is feeling the burn. Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest cover story — “They’re Gr-r-ross” – takes the form of a premature eulogy to Tony the Tiger, and portrays the beloved mascot sporting a gas mask.

Big Food itself isn’t even denying it anymore: Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, recently acknowledged the monumental challenge of consumers’ renewed interest in healthful food, coupled with a growing suspicion that the sought-after fare can’t be found in cans or packages; what Morrison characterized as our “mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied on for so long.”

Hearing Morrison’s distress cry, food and agriculture writer Tom Philpott asked, “Is the junk-food era drawing to a close?”

To which I would respond: maybe. But maybe it just wants us to think it is.

True, there are signs Big Food’s offerings aren’t flying off the shelves the way they used to. As Philpott details, a number of major convenience food companies — the owners of brands like Reddi-Wip, Chef Boyardee, Oscar Mayer deli meats and Velveeta cheese — are reporting sluggish sales and diminishing profits, while Kellogg’s is attempting to reverse its slump by releasing new products, with an emphasis on simpler ingredients. The amount of calories Americans consume from sugary drinks, moreover, has been declining for more than a decade. New dietary recommendations  reinforce that trend toward the healthful, advocating for a diet high in plants and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, even suggesting taxes on the latter to further influence behavior.

There are other indications, though, that we’re less enlightened than we’d like to believe. For one, there’s that whole problem of Americans snacking so much, our days have basically turned into one giant meal. In a Nielsen survey from last August, 91 percent of respondents said they snack daily, 25 percent do so three to five times per day, and 17 percent of respondents said they snack more now …read more

Source: ALTERNET