Showing posts from December 6, 2014

Study Links Fracking to Infertility, Miscarriages, Birth Defects

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[The controversial method of oil and gas development behind the U.S. energy boom may pose potent risks to children and pregnant women. Note the references to benzene, again. *RON*]
By Alan Neuhauser, US News & World Report, 5 December 2014
A new study links shale oil and gas development to a host of developmental and reproductive health risks, and says the processes involved – including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – pose a particularly potent threat to what researchers called "our most vulnerable population."

“Children, developing fetuses, they’re especially vulnerable to environmental factors,” says Ellen Webb, the study's lead author and an energy program associate at the Center for Environmental Health. “We really need to be concerned about the impacts for these future generations.”

The risks from exposure to toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials include a parent's worst nightmares: “infertility, m…

Contrary To BP PR, Most Oil Spill Claims Are Legit

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[It is important for British Columbians to understand now, that this is how oil companies behave after the inevitable environmental disaster occurs. While you're at it, check out SCOTUS Justices still haven't recused themselves from BP case despite family ties*RON*]
 Farron Cousins, DeSmog Blog, 6 December 2014

For more than a year, oil giant BP has waged a massive public relations battle to convince Americans that the company has been bamboozled by the oil spill claims process relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout.

This BP PR campaign has involved full-page newspaper ads paid for by the company suggesting it is being swindled by Gulf Coast residents who were not affected by the oil spill. BP spokesepeople have appeared in the media to argue that the claims process has been “absurd.” And evidence even suggests that the company has employed online “trolls” to attack legitimate victims on social media websites.

BP has spen…

Anger in France over city’s plan for ‘Nazi style’ badges for the homeless

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[France's lovely little contribution on the front lines of the class wars. *RON*]

Henry Samuel, The Telegraph / National Post, 5 December 2014 
The southern French city of Marseille has been forced to scrap a system of yellow triangles intended to help spot homeless people after it was accused of employing Nazi-style tactics.

The cards, which were given to homeless people, detail their health issues and are yellow in order to be easily spotted.
Human rights groups and government ministers criticised the “yellow triangle cards” in France’s second city, saying they are “stigmatising”, and hark back to the Star of David sewn on to Jewish people’s clothes during the Holocaust.

La Ligue des droits de l’Homme, a human rights group, said it was troubled by the resemblance “of this card and the yellow star that the Jews had to wear during the Second World War”.

Marisol Touraine, the social affairs minister, said: “I’m shocked. Forcing homeless people to …

German state elects reform communist leader in historic shift

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[Even in the heartland of austerity, the worm continues to slowly turn. *RON*]

By Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters, 5 December 2014

(Reuters) - The reform communist Left party took power in a German state on Friday for the first time since reunification, ending a quarter century of conservative rule in Thuringia and raising the chance of a left-wing threat to Angela Merkel in the next federal vote.

The Left, which traces its roots to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) that once ruled East Germany and built the Berlin Wall, will run the state southwest of Berlin with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in a three-way coalition.

Thuringia voted in September in state elections which produced a close result, leading to protracted negotiations involving four parties. Eventually the three left-leaning parties agreed on a coalition and on Friday the state assembly elected the Left party's Bodo Ramelow, a 58-year-old trade unionist from West Germany…

No climate-change deniers to be found in the reinsurance business

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[An older piece, and takes a while to get the point (skip beyond the first set of asterisks), but still interesting. "How did Munich Re and the other reinsurers get it right so early? The answer, in a word, is fear—fear of losses that could destroy their business. No industry has more incentive to know the effects of climate change than the reinsurance and insurance industries." *RON*]

Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 28 November 2013

The Bavarian city of Passau, about 200 kilometres east of Munich, has been called Germany’s Venice. It floats like a battleship, with church towers as funnels, at the confluence of one mighty river, the Danube, and two lesser ones, the Inn and the Ilz. The city is famous for its baroque and Gothic architecture; its star attraction, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is home to Europe’s biggest pipe organ.

It is also famous for its floods.

They happen every few decades or so, turning public squares and narrow, cobblesto…

Conservative MP’s private member’s bill could be used against pipeline protesters, critics say

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[The corporatocracy at work. Vancouver South MP Wai Young wants mandatory minimum prison sentences of 2 to 10 years for anyone who interferes with "critical infrastructure". Burnaby Mountain comes to mind. *RON*]

Justin Ling, National Post, 5 December 2014
OTTAWA — A private member’s bill backed by the minister of justice taking aim at industrial thieves could be used to punish environmental protesters, lawyers say.

The bill, introduced by Conservative MP Wai Young on Wednesday, would slap harsh penalties on anyone who damages or interferes with “critical infrastructure.”

While Bill C-639 was originally intended to beef up fines for anyone caught stealing wire from power facilities, the language in the legislation goes further. It creates a new Criminal Code offence for anyone who damages, destroys, incapacitates, “obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation” of any critical infrastructure. The mandator…

Quote du jour

View the original article delusional hubris here: Rich Kinder responds to environmental protests against Kinder Morgan

"I want to put on my gravestone, 'No good deed goes unpunished.' We thought we were benefiting the neighbors, but we got protestors."