This got missed in the mainstream media.
Monday morning, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the state’s Government Accountability Board against Gov. Scott Walker, citing comments Walker made during a prank call phoned in by a Buffalo, NY blogger Ian Murphy masquerading as David Koch, one of the billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries and a top contributor to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.
The Democratic Party complaint sites multiple issues summarized by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The complaint charges that Walker:
1. Asked the impostor posing as Koch to run ads in the districts of Republican incumbents in swing districts. That would constitute an illegal, third-party coordination to initiate an independent expenditure.
2. Spoke to the impostor from his office in the State Capitol. The law prohibits requesting a political contribution inside any state-owned building.
3. Asked the attorney general’s office to look into strategies to force the Democratic senators to return. According to the complaint, “this constitutes a misuse of the independently elected office of the attorney general for primarily political motivations.”
4. Conspired with others about the idea of planting troublemakers to “incite violence in the peaceful crowds,” as that “would scare the public into thinking that maybe the governor has to settle to avoid all of these problems.” The complaint alleges that such activity constitutes a conspiracy to recklessly endanger safety.
5. Disclosed that he would send out layoff notices to working people to exert political pressure on his political opponents in the Senate. According to the complaint, “this use of threat against, and intimidation of, public sector employees for political purposes constitutes an unfair labor practice.”
6. Accepted the invitation to be flown out to California by the impostor posing as Koch. According to the complaint, state public officials may not use his or her public position to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself or herself.
NY Times Alert:
Majority in Poll Opposes Weakening Bargaining Rights for Public Workers
As labor battles erupt in state capitals around the nation, a majority of Americans say they oppose efforts to weaken the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions and are also against cutting the pay or benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
16 Million Americans at Risk for Toxic Acid Exposure. This is unacceptable.
At least 16 million Americans, many of them unaware of the threat, live in the potential path of HF if it were to be released in an accident or a terrorist attack, a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News has found. The government maintains closely controlled reports outlining worst-case scenarios involving highly hazardous chemicals. The Center reviewed reports for the 50 refineries that use HF. The reports describe the most extreme accidents anticipated by the plants’ owners. The information is not published and is not easily accessible by the public.
A recent spate of refinery equipment breakdowns, fires and safety violations has heightened concerns. Over the past five years, authorities have cited 32 of the 50 refineries using HF for willful, serious or repeat violations of rules designed to prevent fires, explosions and chemical releases, according to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration data analyzed by the Center. These “process safety management” standards require companies to conduct inspections, analyze hazards and plan for emergencies.
In all, at those 32 refineries inspectors found more than 1,000 violations, including nearly 600 at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, where 15 workers were killed and 180 injured in a 2005 explosion. Although only some of the violations involved HF, they can be an indicator of operational weaknesses, particularly worrisome at refineries using the chemical, industry and government insiders say. Even a fire causing little damage can foreshadow a more serious event, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main trade association, notes in a 2010 guidance document for its member companies.
BBC Reports: A court in Ecuador has fined US oil giant Chevron a reported $8bn (£5bn) for polluting a large part of the country’s Amazon region.
The oil firm Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, was accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and Amazon rivers.
Campaigners say crops were damaged and farm animals killed, and that local cancer rates increased.
Condemning the ruling as fraudulent, Chevron said it would appeal.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadoreans, in a case which dragged on for nearly two decades.
The plaintiffs said the company’s activities had destroyed large areas of rainforest and also led to an increased risk of cancer among the local population.
The trial began in 2003 after almost a decade of legal battles in the US. At that time, a US appeals court ruled that the case should be heard in Ecuador.
Environmentalists hope the case will set a precedent, forcing companies operating in developing countries to comply with the same anti-pollution standards as in the industrialised world.
I started replacing my incandescent bulbs a few years ago. I stopped when I heard a report that the new bulbs contain mercury. Mercury is a very toxic substance. So, i stopped replacing my old bulbs and have waited for someone to come up with a safe replacement. The problem is in California we began phasing out the old bulbs this year and federal standards will kick in for the rest of the country next year.
Today I found this article and I am inclined to stock up on the old incandescent bulbs as we just have not found a suitable and safe alternative.
The Orange County Register reports today:
The LED bulbs sold as safe and eco-friendly can contain high levels of lead, arsenic and other hazardous substances, a new UC Irvine study shows – the same bulbs widely used in headlights, traffic lights, even holiday lights.
The toxic material could increase the risk of cancer, kidney disease and other illnesses, although the risks are more long-term than immediate; a single exposure to a broken bulb is unlikely to cause illness.
The lights should be treated as hazardous materials, and should not be disposed of in regular landfill trash, he said, because of the risk of leaching into soil and groundwater.
NY TIMES UPDATE: Keith Olbermann, the former MSNBC anchor and liberal firebrand, will host a prime-time program for Current TV, the low-rated cable channel co-founded by Al Gore, starting in the spring.
Huffington Post reports today: Keith Olbermann will announce what the next chapter of his career will be in a conference call at 11 AM on Tuesday.
Olbermann, who left MSNBC in January, said that he and his “new partners” will make an “exciting announcement regarding the next chapter” of his career, according to Yahoo’s Michael Calderone.
Stay tuned for more….
Oh my, will these people ever get down to the business of doing something real for the everyday American instead of pandering to special corporate interests? It’s getting tiresome. The Republican mantra is pay less, or no taxes. Have less, or no regulations. Do away with the Department of Education, the EPA, privatize Social Security, reduce Medicare and Medicaid down to nothing. How do these people get elected?
In the months since Republicans claimed the House, [Fred] Upton’s taken a much harsher stance against regulating emissions. He faced stiff competition from more conservative members for the energy and commerce committee for the chairmanship, and he had to overcome complaints that he was “too moderate” for the post. (Then there’s the money factor: Koch was among Upton’s top contributors this election cycle, along with several other energy companies.)
Now Upton is floating the idea of using the Congressional Review Act to block the EPA’s new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Under the obscure law, which is rarely invoked and even more rarely successful, Congress can overturn regulations from the executive branch within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register. It’s a pretty drastic move, especially to block regulations from the EPA that were based on a directive from the Supreme Court—and on overwhelming science, which Upton once recognized, indicating that the greenhouse gases do indeed pose a threat to humans.
Politicol news reports:
Republican Rep Fred Upton of Michigan, Republican Rep Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, and Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma… all of these Republicans plan to [try to] kill any regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on carbon. The three republicans initiated a bill called Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 designed to kill ANY regulations to stop pollution by their corporate friends and to reduce the effects of pollution on climate change.
The bill from the three amigo republicans also intends to stop the Clean Air Act under the EPA to regulate carbon release and greenhouse gas emissions.
The same old arguments of “hurting big business” harming competitiveness, costs jobs are their reasoning behind this bill to help more corporations to pollute without paying for their environmental damages. These arguments or rather excuses which are not based on fact have been used for the last 20 years to prevent any movement on cleaning up the environment.