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Showing posts from July 25, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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History Shows That Stacking Federal Science Advisory Committees Doesn't Work

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[On regulatory capture of the EPA by the corporatocracy. The video is interesting as well; on the EPA trying to get a scientist to change her testimony to match up with their 'talking points.' *RON*]

Donald Boesch, DeSmog Blog, 24 July 2017

Scientists are busy people, but every year thousands donate many hours of their time without payment to advise Congress and federal government agencies. They provide input on all kinds of issues, from antibiotic resistance to mapping the world’s oceans in three dimensions.

The Trump administration has raised alarms by signaling that it is determined to replace scientific advisers who are not in line with its political philosophy. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is replacing most of the members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors and, very likely, its Science Advisory Board. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has suspended the activities of numerous advisory panels, including ma…

Some B.C. wildfire evacuees return to unrecognizable homes

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['Red fire retardant everywhere, all over everything.' Seeing this story made me think twice about this one: ‘Things are getting serious’ Williamtown resident speaks on toxic chemical scandal – video. How much research has been done on the toxicity of firefighting foam? *RON*]

Lien Yeung, CBC News, 21 July 2017

The return home for some B.C. wildfire evacuees was bittersweet after discovering a swath of their homes were saved but were nearly unrecognizable.

Dozens of Cache Creek residents close to the perimeter of the town found their yards, cars and much of their homes covered in firefighting chemicals.

Paradise dashed

"Red fire retardant everywhere, all over everything," said resident Nicky Horth.

The sea of red wasn't what she expected when she finally drove up to her home at the Sage and Sands Trailer Park on Wednesday afternoon.

"Tears," she recalled.

"We have a home but it's going to take a lot to clean i…

Poland's president signs controversial law despite protests

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[Andrzej Duda promised to veto two bills seen as limiting judicial independence but has now signed a third. See also: Why suspicion remains over Polish president's veto of contentious laws. Their are fears that he is simply slowing the process down to sneak it past the public. *RON*]

Kate Connolly, The Guardian, 25 July 2017
Poland’s president has signed into law one of three contested bills that organises the judiciary in a way that critics say limits their independence.

President Andrzej Duda announced on Monday after days of protests that he would veto two of the bills.

On Tuesday, his office said he had signed the third bill, despite demonstrations late on Monday in several cities urging him to also block that one.

The law allows the justice minister, who is also the prosecutor general, to name the heads of all lower courts.

Critics say it is unconstitutional, but welcomed the president’s rejection of the other bills. One of them would have a…

How Much Does the US Government Know About Your Sex Life?

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[Authorities can scoop up a surprising amount of intimate data. Clear your browser history now! :-) *RON*]
Sarah St.Vincent, Human Rights Watch, 24 July 2017

Wandering into the downtown New York branch of a popular adult store – one that seeks to be a friendly space for women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people – it’s impossible not to be struck by the colorful hues of the toys, lingerie, and other products on display. But as someone who makes a living researching how the state surveils its citizens, the thought that first strikes me is: I wouldn’t want Big Brother knowing what I bought here – or even necessarily to know I’ve been here at all.

Privacy rights and the free expression (and enjoyment) of sexuality are closely intertwined. Unfortunately, in the United States, that means both are under threat.

The possibility that the US government will gather and share data about your sex life – without a warrant and without you…

Even the media donates to Christy Clark

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[This is an older, pre-election posting from the Dogwood Initiative, but I just ran across it. The dollar sums involved are quite the eye-opener, even if you suspected this was happening. *RON*]

Kai Nagata, Dogwood Initiative, 8 May 2017

No wonder people have a hard time trusting news, polls

It’s no secret: Canada’s biggest newspaper chain is pushing hard for another Christy Clark majority government.

Postmedia, which owns the Vancouver Sun and The Province, donated $10,000to re-elect the BC Liberals. Both Vancouver papers have officially endorsed Christy Clark (neither editorial mentioned the RCMP investigation of party fundraising, or Big Money in politics).

Monday morning the Sun declared: “NEW POLL POINTS TO LIBERAL MAJORITY”. Accompanying the article was a PDF showing the NDP leading with 35 per cent support, the BC Liberals at 31 and Greens at 17, with 18 per cent undecided.

Here’s a screenshot of the article as it appeared on the Sun’s we…