Ballot Initiatives, Explained

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Democracy & Government 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for ballot measures. By Gail Ablow   A reader, Mary Ellen Quinn, asks: “Why does a state like California have so many ballot initiatives and referenda? Could any one of them throw that state into turmoil the way the Brexit has rocked Britain?”     Short answer: When California voters go to the polls this November, they will have to plow through the longest, fattest ballot they have seen in almost two decades. In addition to the candidates running for office, there will be 17 ballot initiatives — or “propositions,” as California refers to them — for voters to consider. Overwhelmed voters can blame nonvoters, in part, for the time they will spend poring over the proposed policies. That’s because the number...

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We’re Helping Deport Kids to Die...

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Nicholas Kristof   NYTIMES Nicholas Kristof nduras told Elena to be his girlfriend, even though she was only 11, she knew better than to reject him. Credit Nicole Salazar/Show of Force — Humanity on the Move TAPACHULA, Mexico — Elena was 11 years old when a gang member in her home country, Honduras, told her to be his girlfriend. “I had to say yes,” Elena, now 14, explained. “If I had said no, they would have killed my entire family.” Elena knew the risks because one of her friends, Jenesis, was also asked to be a gang member’s girlfriend, and declined. Elena happened to see the aftermath, as Jenesis staggered naked and bleeding away from gang members. “She had been raped and shot in the stomach,” Elena recalled in the blank tone of a...

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Healthy eating can include ‘a lot’ of (good) fat, analysis of 56 diet studies concludes...

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] To Your Health By Ariana Eunjung Cha  WASHINGTON POST (iStock) Hanna Bloomfield’s bosses at the Department of Veterans Affairs had been reading a lot about the plant-based Mediterranean diet. Some highly publicized recent studies had shown that eating lots of fresh vegetables and olive oil along with maybe a splash of red wine could have tremendous health benefits, and they wondered whether it was something the VA, as an organization, should consider recommending to its more than 9 million patients. They tasked Bloomfield with figuring out whether this health effect was real — or simply hype. Bloomfield, associate chief of staff for research for the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and a professor at the University of Minnesota, pulled 56 previously conducted studies on the subject and re-analyzed all the data. Her work...

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For the first time, scientists explore the atmosphere of an Earth-sized exoplanet...

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Speaking of Science By Rachel Feltman washington post Artist’s view of planets transiting a red dwarf star in the TRAPPIST-1 system. (NASA, European Space Agency and Space Telescope Science Institute) Forty light years away in the constellation Aquarius, a trio of planets orbit a small, cool star. They are worlds quite unlike our own, tidally locked so that each has a face in constant day and another in eternal night. But now two of these exoplanets have become a little less mysterious. Researchers have begun to examine their atmospheres, and have showed that at least two of the worlds have small, contained atmospheres — like the ones that surround Earth, Venus or Mars. Their results were published Wednesday in Nature. [Why NASA’s top scientist is sure that we’ll find signs of alien life in the next decade]...

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Why one of the world’s best fossil sites is full of severed bird feet...

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Speaking of Science By Brian Switek WASHINGTON POST One of the isolated legs found in Germany. (Gerald Mayr) Prehistoric creatures aren’t exactly renowned for their table manners. Most dinosaurs, for example, were incapable of chewing and had to swallow their food whole. But some ancient eaters were messier than others. And in southwestern Germany, something especially sloppy left severed bird feet strewn about a dense fossil boneyard. The Messel Pit is one of the greatest fossil sites in the world. Within stacks of 47-million-year-old oil shale is an unmatched record of life in and around an ancient lake. There are early mammals preserved down to their fur, pairs of turtles that somehow died in the middle of mating, dozens of plant species and more than 1,000 bird skeletons. It’s the closest paleontologists can...

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Norovirus strikes the Republican National Convention...

Jul 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] To Your Health By Joel Achenbach, Elahe Izadi and Ed O’Keefe July 19 at 6:30 PM A worker adjusts the sign for the California delegation at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Saturday. (John Moore/Getty Images) CLEVELAND — A terrifying word circulated Tuesday at the Republican National Convention: norovirus. A dozen staffers in the California delegation who had arrived in Cleveland early have fallen ill with the extremely contagious virus, California GOP chairman Jim Brulte said. The virus causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea and has been known to spread explosively through people in closed places, such as cruise ships, schools and nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brulte said that, so far, no delegates or alternates have shown symptoms. He said his delegation will continuing to attend the...

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California’s Mandatory Vaccination Law Takes a Hit...

Jul 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The debate over vaccine choice and medical freedom in California is heating up. The legality of the state’s new medical mandate will now be questioned in court on the basis of constitutionality, discrimination, and invasion of privacy. A high-class legal team is leading the challenge. New information about a planned secret meeting between a doctor in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and officials from the California Medical Board was just uncovered which has also lead to a formal complaint being filed against the CDPH for alleged collusion and attempts to illegally garner medical information from student records. Such actions may be a violation of several state laws already in effect. Those fighting California’s new mandatory vaccination law are supporting the legal team’s efforts to overturn what is viewed as a gross...

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Guest Column: A response to criticism of the movie “Vaxxed”...

Jul 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Jenny Smith I must respond to the inaccurate opinion column written by Nicholas Seabrook about the movie, “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe.” “Vaxxed” is not “anti-vaccine.” It is about malfeasance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 10,000 documents have been handed to U.S. Rep. Bill Posey who is also in the film. The movie is about a senior scientist and four others who were responsible for analyzing data in relation to the MMR vaccine and autism. What they did was slice and dice the data to get rid of that effect (MMR causing autism). The movie recommended splitting up the MMR vaccine into single vaccines since studies did not show this effect. Does that sound anti-vaccine? Andrew Wakefield never said in his article (later pulled from the Lancet )...

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How an Indigenous Community Is Boosting Crop Productivity While Conserving the Rainforest (Video)...

Jul 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment “We are reforesting and restoring the land so that our grandchildren and our children have a future.” By Laura Jamison / Rainforest Alliance   VIA ALTERNET naranjilla fruit Photo Credit: Rainforest Alliance In the Napo province of Ecuador, the Kichwa people have been cultivating naranjilla—a citrus fruit that looks like a tomato but tastes like a blend of lime and rhubarb—and selling it informally in markets across the country for many years. In fact, naranjilla production has been the primary cash crop for indigenous Kichwa communities in the Hatun Sumaco parish. Unfortunately, naranjilla has also been the primary driver of deforestation in the area—and thus directly contributing to climate change. Without direct access to markets, the Kichwa had traditionally sold their harvests to middlemen, who promoted dangerous quantities of highly toxic, red-listed pesticides...

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Commentary: Update of Toxic Substances Control Act a worthy step that’s long overdue...

Jul 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., center, joined by, from left, Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito R-W. Va., talks about bipartisan legislation to improve the federal regulation of chemicals and toxic substances, Thursday, May 19, 2016. J. Scott Applewhite/AP In a groundbreaking report six years ago, a National Cancer Institute panel warned that it was time to pay closer attention to environmental causes of a disease that takes more than a half-million American lives each year. “[T]he true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated,” the panelists wrote in their transmittal letter to President Obama in April 2010. “With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States,...

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Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly stifle whistleblowers, auditors say...

Jul 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The Energy Department lets its private contractors police themselves, producing “chilled work environments” in which employees who find wrongdoing have no useful path for complaints By Patrick MaloneCENTER FOR PUBLIC...

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Turkey rounds up thousands of suspected participants in coup attempt...

Jul 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Middle East Turkish Prime Minister: 2,839 members of military detained Embed Share Play Video0:53 Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says 2,839 members of military have been detained in connection with an attempted coup. (Reuters) By Erin Cunningham, Liz Sly and Zeynep Karatas WASHINGTON POST ISTANBUL — The Turkish government on Saturday quelled most of the last threats from an attempted military coup, but it was a greatly diminished Turkey that emerged from the chaos of the night before. As dazed citizens stumbled through streets littered with the remains of tanks and armored vehicles used by the renegade troops, authorities embarked on a sweeping roundup of thousands of people suspected of involvement in what appears to have been a long-planned effort to replace Turkey’s democratically elected government with a military junta. The widespread sense...

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14 to 1: Post-Katrina Architecture by the Numbers...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The postdiluvian landscape contains little cutting-edge design but rather an abundance of familiarity and replication. What does this reveal about New Orleans society? Richard Campanella with Cassidy Rosen Musicians’ Village, a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans. [Tanya Lukasik] All human landscape has cultural meaning — no matter how ordinary. … All our cultural warts and blemishes are there, and our glories too. — F. Pierce Lewis, “Axioms of the Landscape,” 1976 Last year the world media converged noisily on New Orleans to mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This year marked a quieter but still significant milestone: it’s been a decade since the actual start of the structural recovery, which began tentatively in early 2006. So this is an apt moment to assess the results. How have the citizens of...

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Hamburg Creates a Vibrant Neighborhood by Creating Spaces for People...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Dennis Pieprz Cities develop over time. A relatively “new” city might be as old as a century. Any city or neighborhood younger than twenty years old, in urban design terms, is a newborn, a place in the-process-of-becoming. In Hamburg, Germany, a startling work in progress is underway, in Hafencity, a mixed-used district that when completed will be home to 12,000 residents and almost 40,000 office workers. In the early 1990s, as the 19th century Elbe River warehouse district fell into disuse, Hamburg officials began to reimagine the river islands that were once the bustling hub of the city. The new district, one of the largest urban redevelopments in Europe, has numerous community and cultural buildings, including the much delayed (and anticipated) Elbe Philharmonic Hall, by Herzog & De Meuron, located prominently at...

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How Brandcentric Architecture is Destroying Our Sense of Place...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Ben Willis In 2013, an online game called Geoguessr caught fire across the social media landscape.  The user is placed in a randomly-selected Google street view—anywhere from a desolate stretch of highway in Alaska to the downtown streets of Monaco—and then asked to pinpoint on a map where in the world they have been dropped. It’s a Sherlock-Holmes-meets-Carmen-San-Diego style challenge that puts the regional identities of the world on digital display. The game has now received sponsorships from the likes of Lufthansa and the Intercontinental Hotels Group, which means I wasn’t the only person who experienced an extreme wanderlust while playing it. After a few minutes (or hours, if I’m being honest) playing Geoguessr, it became clear that the most difficult landscapes to pinpoint are, in fact, the landscapes that many of...

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At Least 84 Dead After Truck Crashes Into Crowd In French City Of Nice...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] WORLDPOST Local officials said scores more were also injured in the attack. 07/14/2016 05:41 pm 17:41:49 | Updated 2 days ago Charlotte Alfred World Reporter, The Huffington Post Willa Frej Reporter, The Huffington Post The truck deliberately zigzagged with its headlights off through a large crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. At least 84 people were killed including 10 children, French officials said. More than 200 people are currently hospitalized, including 25 people on life support. The truck was “loaded with arms and grenades,” a local official said, but some were reportedly fake. The driver has been identified as a 31-year-old French-Tunisian named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. The vicious Bastille Day attack in the French city of Nice that killed at least 84 people, including 10 children, was an act of terrorism, France’s President Francois...

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Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Communism and Revolutions...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout | Interview (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout) As global capitalism, with neoliberalism being a necessary accompaniment, has covered now the entire globe, it is extremely useful to revisit some of the great radical traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries — namely, anarchism and communism. What do they stand for? What are their main differences? Did Soviet Communism represent an authentic form of socialism or was it a “reformed workers’ stage” — or, even worse, a tyrannical form of stage capitalism? In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky shares his views on anarchism, communism, and revolutions in hopes that the new generation of radical activists does not ignore history and continue to grapple with questions about strategies for social change. C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, from the late 19th...

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Berned Out? Don’t Mourn—Organize...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Election 2016 The Sanders campaign is over, and we are left with the centrist Democrat as the only option to save the country from a rabid Republican. By Sonali Kolhatkar / Truthdig  VIA ALTERNET NEW YORK CITY – MARCH 31 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appeared before thousands of supporters at St Mary’s Park, The Bronx Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com Backers of Bernie Sanders are angry over his decision to endorse Hillary Clinton, a rival he spent more than a year critiquing and challenging, distinguishing his positions from hers. I get it. There is a deep sense of betrayal for a faction of the American left who had probably given up on the U.S. political system, only to find inspiration in the progressive values of a white-haired senator from Vermont. I admit...

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Police Are Using Tragedies in Dallas and Orlando to Demand More Militarized Weapons...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Grayzone Project As Black Lives Matter protests continue, police are clamoring to bulk up their arsenals. By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com Police killings of black people, which last year outnumbered lynchings of African Americans during the worst year of Jim Crow, have touched off two years of nationwide protests for racial justice that have forced police brutality into the global spotlight. Yet even as police violence is more visible, these same forces are continuing to kill, as underscored by the recent deadly police shootings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Now, amid a fresh nationwide resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests, these same police departments are invoking the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse LGBTQ nightclub and the killing of five Dallas police officers to ramp up...

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Did An Entire Region Of The U.S. Just Disincentivize Renewables? This Lawsuit Says Yes....

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock During the 2014 polar vortex, wind generation saved consumers $1 billion, according to industry estimates.   During the polar vortex of 2014, power companies struggled. There wasn’t enough natural gas power in the pipeline (pun intended), and prices skyrocketed. The shortage was expensive for homeowners — some saw their monthly bill go up five-fold from January to February — but for utilities, it was expensive, dangerous, and scary. No one wants to be on the hook for a bunch of families losing power in the middle of a -7°F night. Following the prolonged cold snap, PJM, the entity that oversees utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and parts of Appalachia and the Midwest, put a plan into action: It would help the local utilities ensure that power was...

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Oil Spills Are Actually Good For Birds, Fish, And The Economy According To The Oil Industry...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling  CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Bill Haber   For the past few weeks, the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) has been holding hearings on the matter of a proposed oil-by-rail terminal that could be built in Vancouver, Washington. If approved, it would be the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country, handling some 360,000 barrels of crude oil, shipped by train, every single day. It would also greatly increase the number of oil trains that pass through Washington, adding a total of 155 trains, per week, to the state’s railroads. Environmentalists worry that an increase in oil trains could lead to an rise in oil train derailments, like the kind seen in early June when a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude derailed outside the Oregon town of Mosier,...

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Climate Change, Bats, And Zika: 2016’s Weirdest Relationship...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha PageCLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock A worker fogs a residential neighborhood with insecticides to kill mosquitoes.   Particularly if you live in the Northeast, you might notice that it is really hot out. And buggy. Much of the United States has gotten a lot of rain this summer, too, providing breeding ground for mosquitoes. At some point, it’s expected that some of these mosquitoes could start carrying the Zika virus. Zika’s outbreak, which started last fall in Brazil, has caused at least three infants in the United States — and thousands across South and Central America — to be born with microencephaly, a defect characterized by incomplete growth of the head and brain, and which is linked to many health complications. Understandably, people are worried. The House of Representatives recently passed a...

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Fire From New Mexico Fracking Site Explosion Keeps Burning Three Days Later...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alejandro Davila Fragoso CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Kendra Pinto   A massive fire at a fracking site in rural New Mexico that scorched 36 oil storage tanks and prompted the evacuation of 55 residents is dwindling but still burning Thursday, some three days after the first explosion was reported. The fire that started Monday night is mostly out, WPX Energy, the Oklahoma-based company that owns the site, reported Wednesday. However, “small fires” remained at four of the 36 tanks, the company said. No injuries have been reported and according to the company no drilling was taking place at the site prior to the storage tanks catching fire. On Thursday morning plumes of smoke continued to billow from the five-acre oil production site located near Nageezi, a Navajo Nation town some 135 miles northwest...

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David Hertz’s Los Angeles Oasis...

Jul 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The architect and environmentalist is known for repurposing materials. Now a new device is helping him turn air into water. By Sheila Marikar   NEW YORKER MAGAZINE The L.A. architect and environmentalist David Hertz has a knack for repurposing stuff: planks of wood into skateboards, the wings of a Boeing 747 into the roof of a house, crushed LPs (smashed by teens in a gang intervention program) into flooring for a record label’s headquarters. But when a former client told him, last year, that he knew a guy who had invented a way to turn air into water, Hertz was incredulous. “I was, like, sure, let’s try it,” Hertz said. “It sounds like alchemy. And it sounds too good to be true, but let’s try it.” Hertz connected with Richard Groden, a general contractor...

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A Burst of Federal Rulemaking May Help Millions of Animals...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment The Obama Administration has pushed animal welfare ahead in a remarkable slew of rulemaking actions and policies. By Wayne Pacelle / The Humane Society of the United States   VIA ALTERNET Bengal Tiger in forest show head and leg Photo Credit: dangdumrong/Shutterstock The recent months have been big for animal protection. Walmart announced it would go cage-free for its egg purchases, and a number of other retailers did the same. “In a virtual tidal wave of announcements, nearly 100 retailers, restaurants, food manufacturers and food service companies have revealed cage-free plans in the last year,” writes Meat & Poultry magazine about The HSUS’s efforts, In April, our Humane Society International team helped to pass an anti-cruelty statute in El Salvador – this is the third country in Central America that we’ve persuaded to establish a legal standard against the practice. These are big gains in our campaign to start...

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WATCH: Bill Nye Answers the Looming Question About Juno...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Environment Here is what powers NASA’s Juno spacecraft. By Alexandra Rosenmann / AlterNet   The launch of NASA’s Juno spacecraft naturally has astrophysicists and other science aficionados cheering. It also has a lot of people scratching their heads wondering how such wonders are possible. Bill Nye has the answers about how NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter today, uses light from the sun to keep running. “Three solar rays take light and convert it directly into electricity,” Nye, the “science guy” explained. “A little motor is powered by a solar panel also. When we turn it to the light, the motor starts to run.” As you might expect, Nye added, moving farther from the source of light means “less and less electricity to drive the motor.” And the energy required to...

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Are We Really Free? Looking Back at the Fourth of July...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   (Photo: Roberto Raimondo)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT The concept of “freedom” is at the very least ambiguous, and, at the most, destructive to those being deceived by false patriotism. The people who benefit from the uncontrolled pursuit of money push the concept of individual freedom on the rest of us, making us feel unpatriotic if we disagree. “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself,” once blathered Milton Friedman, whose economic theories made America the most unequal developed nation. However we interpret the concept, we may not be as “free” as we’re led to believe.  Is Our Nation Really “Free”?  According to the watchdog organization Freedom House, in terms of political and civil liberties the U.S. is tied for 44th freest country, after UK, Chile, Japan, Portugal, and most...

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Flesh-eating bacteria scare along Gulf Coast has locals on alert...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Mississippi Infections from Vibrio vulnificus are rare and there is no official tracking of cases – but some people have started to cobble together their own ideas Beachgoers take to the Gulf’s shores for a long holiday weekend in Orange Beach, Alabama. Photograph: Brynn Anderson/AP Matthew Teague THE GUARDIAN   At the peak of the summer vacation season, a flesh-eating bacteria has infected the shores of the Gulf Coast. Brain-eating amoeba forces closure at North Carolina waterpark after death From Texas to Florida, the water-borne bug – a strain called a Vibrio vulnificus – has spooked locals and tourists in the way shark attacks do: infections are rare, but when they strike, the victim is likely to lose a limb or die. There is no central authority tracking cases – states are not...

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The Developing World is Awash in Pesticides. Does It Have to Be?...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides threaten the environment and human health in many parts of the world. But research is pointing to a better approach. By Aleszu Bajak BILL MOYERS & CO. Pesticides help developing countries produce more food — but also take a toll on human health and the environment. (Photo by Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID/Flickr cc 2.0) This post originally appeared at Ensia. In today’s globalized world, it is not inconceivable that one might drink coffee from Colombia in the morning, munch cashews from Vietnam for lunch and gobble grains from Ethiopia for dinner. That we can enjoy these products is thanks, in large part, to expanded pesticide use across the developing world. Every year, some 3.5 billion kilograms (7.7 billion pounds) of pesticides — a catch-all term for the herbicides, insecticides and...

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Missing the Biggest Story about Trump’s Twitter Images...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Media It’s no accident that Trump’s social media feeds keep using neo-Nazi imagery; he’s actively courting hate. By Todd Gitlin BILL MOYERS.COM The latest dog-whistle images from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. The original image is on the left; the one that replaced it is on the right. (Twitter via CNN) Over the holiday weekend, major media rightly piled on about Donald Trump’s recent recycling of neo-Nazi imagery — in particular his Hillary-hating blast featuring a six-point star affixed onto a heap of $100 bills. As both The New York Times and The Washington Post prominently reported, Trump cut and pasted neo-Nazi images from the internet when he unleashed the latest round of his Twitter barrage at Hillary Clinton as “most corrupt candidate ever.” The Times’ Alan Rappeport was judicious, perhaps...

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