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Health & Environment

The Gulf Disaster Will Keep Destroying Lives For Years to Come

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  • The gulf spill presents physical and mental threats to those nearby and across the country.
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  • Is There Anything We Can Do About It?
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  • Too bad there's no sound science to prove BP's responsible.
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Byard Duncan, AlterNet

Photo Credit: Public Citizen

Despite President Barack Obama’s recent, high-profile frolick in the gulf – during which he made a point of eating seafood and swimming in the region’s seemingly “unpolluted” waters – questions remain about the spill’s impact on both the region and the country as a whole: Will cleanup workers and residents suffer the same health problems that devastated those living and working near the Exxon/Valdez spill two decades ago? Will Americans from D.C. to L.A. face increased risks of eating contaminated seafood? All available evidence seems to say, “yes.”

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Since cleanup efforts began, Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals has documented  a steady increase in “health complaints believed to be related to exposure to pollutants from the oil spill.” And according to a “Recordable Injury and Illness Data Sheet” compiled by the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, more than 300 oil-related illnesses were reported in a period of less than two months. These maladies strongly resemble many of the 11,000 that were reported soon after Exxon/Valdez, and range from nausea, faintness and difficulty breathing to dehydration and heat exhaustion.

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Oil spill cleanup workers at risk! Manny Herrmann, American Rights at Work

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  • BP's record on worker safety is beyond pathetic.
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  • Sign our petition: Any worker who wants safety equipment – like respirators – should get it, and BP should pick up the tab.
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Americans drowning in prescription drugs

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  • America has become a nation of druggies. The seniors are being drugged for nearly every symptom a doctor can find, children are being doped up with (legalized) speed, and middle-aged soccer moms are popping suicide pills (antidepressants).
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  • This Is Your Country on Drugs
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  • Mind Over Meds
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Mike Adams, NaturalNews.com

Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was just released (1). Nearly a third of Americans use two or more drugs, and more than one in ten use five or more prescription drugs regularly.

The report also revealed that one in five children are being regularly given prescription drugs, and nine out of ten seniors are on drugs.

All these drugs came at a cost of over $234 billion in 2008.

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Related:

This Is Your Country on Drugs, George Kenney, In These Times
Melody Petersen talks about how we’re hooked on Big Pharma.

Mind Over Meds, Daniel Carlat, New York Times | NY, in Mind Freedom

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  • Over the past few years, research studies have shown that therapy is just as effective as medications for many conditions, and that medications themselves often work through the power of placebo. In one study about three-quarters of the apparent response to antidepressants pills is actually due to the placebo effect.
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  • This Is Your Country on Drugs
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Summary: Health Care Reform: Week of September 5

4 New Items including:

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  • Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money
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  • Fewer to get care with GAMC alteration
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Steve Sack

With many still in dark, groups shed light on new health care law, Richard Wolf, USA Today

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  • With many still in dark, groups shed light on health care law
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  • Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick
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A misguided push to dump health board, Star Tribune | MN
Bills would protect special interests, not taxpayers.

Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money, Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo

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  • Pawlenty's order contains various points of explanation, taken right from Republican arguments against the new law.
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  • Playing politics with the peoples health. This move to swear off federal health care money could be worth a lot -- namely, a potential gain of five points in the Iowa caucuses in 2012.
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Fewer to get care with GAMC alteration, Warren Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Now only one hospital remains to offer coordinated care, with 3,500 slots for 18,000 low-income adults.
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  • Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money
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Simpson: Veterans 'Not Helping Us' Save Country From Debt

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Aging vets' costs concern Obama's deficit co-chair

Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility co-chairman Alan Simpson

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If Social Security is "a cow with 310 million tits" then what's the proper metaphor for veteran's benefits? We don't know. But Alan Simpson seems to think they're too expensive. Or too overused. Or something. Anyway, it's bad.

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"The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess," said Alan Simpson, co-chair of the White House's fiscal commission, according to the Associated Press.

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Simpson was referring specifically to the disability benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs dispenses to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

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Aging vets' costs concern Obama's deficit co-chair, Mike Baker, AP News, in Talking Points Memo
VA's move to sweeten benefits for aging vets worries Obama deficit chair; Senate to review it.

10 Ways Your Taxes Pay For Environmental Devastation

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Despite recent green investments, an array of government subsidies pay big dirty industries like oil, coal and factory farms to destroy the environment in every way possible.

Stephanie Rogers  EcoSalon

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Urban sprawl, pollution, over-consumption, deforestation…like it or not, U.S. taxpayers are still paying for all of these things to occur in America and beyond. Despite recent investments in green jobs and technology, an array of government subsidies pay big dirty industries like oil, coal and factory farms to destroy the environment in every way possible while greener, healthier industries like solar power and vegetable farms get a pittance.

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10. Highways
When gas prices rose dramatically in 2008, Americans began flocking to mass transit in droves, resulting in declining revenues for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Naturally, the Bush Administration’s response was to take money from already underfunded mass transit and use it to pay for highways that are already, as Slate put it, “paved with gold”. Billions of dollars are pumped into the highway system every year, which encourages the polluting car culture and leads to further sprawl, while mass transit continues to fall by the wayside.

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It's the Opportunity, Stupid!

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The elected officials who steered this turnaround have abdicated their responsibility to uphold our nation's best interests, and have shown us, and the world, an America woefully deficient in both leadership and ingenuity.

Robert Redford, Huffington Post

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

A small minority of Senators robbed America of a cleaner, more prosperous future last week (July 18-24). In the middle of the biggest oil disaster in American history, the hottest summer on record, and a war with an oil-rich nation, this group of cynics blocked efforts to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation. This was the moment brimming with potential for new jobs, a more robust economy and cleaner environment -- this bill would have guided America down a profoundly safer and more productive path.

So therefore, the Senate is left to vote on an anemic energy bill of such remarkably limited scope that it could have been passed during the Bush era.

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What is fuelling floods and fires?


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  • While most climate experts say that it is too soon to draw any conclusions about a link with climate change, many agree that current events fit in with the warnings issued by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the past 20 years.
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  • The truth: Still there, still inconvenient
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  • Who Cooked the Planet?
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Julia Slater and Renat Künzi, Swiss Info

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Tourists in Moscow wear face masks against the smog (Keystone)

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As flooding in Pakistan disrupts millions of lives, and huge areas of Russian forest burn, many people are wondering whether they are linked.

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Flooding of a 1,000km stretch along the Indus river has already claimed about 1,600 lives, and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes. Over 13 million people have been affected.

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In Russia temperatures have stood for weeks at almost 40 degrees; fires have destroyed villages and forests, while a pall of smog lies over large stretches of the country, including Moscow. More than 50 people have died as a direct result of the fires, while the mortality rate has doubled in the capital, the authorities admit.

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The truth: Still there, still inconvenient, James P. Lenfestey, Star Tribune | MN
As 'Climategate' scientists are cleared, no doubt about warming remains.

Who Cooked the Planet? Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY<www.nytimes.com>

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  • Will any of the deniers say “O.K., I guess I was wrong,” and support climate action? No.
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  • The truth: Still there, still inconvenient
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