Despite over two and a half weeks of rescue efforts, six coal miners
remain trapped in Utah in a tragedy
that has also claimed the lives of three rescuers. The
conditions apparent at the mine, as well as the treacherous rescue
into question the quality of federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA) procedures. MSHA approved the mine operation plan in June, just months
after serious structural problems forced the operators to abandon work in an
area that was only 900 feet from where the miners are trapped.
A new ballot measure in California
change the way that California's 55 presidential electoral votes would be
allocated; not to make sure that every vote counted, but to make sure that any
right-wing candidate for President could lop off a significant number of that
state's electoral votes.
We may say as a country that we value families and mothers, but a rise in job
discrimination complaints by moms highlights how far most workplaces are from
that ideal. Yesterday, to help clarify the responsibilities of
employers, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) issued
guidelines on what kinds of discrimination against parents is
We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse. The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.
Illinois gained headlines in 2005 for its first-in-the-nation plan to
provide health care for all children in the state, called AllKids. Pennsylvania followed suit in 2006 with its own Cover All Kids plan.
Now the Governors of each state have proposed comprehensive health care
reform packages with the goal of universal access to health care. The
plans build on reforms in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, but
go further in key areas of affordability and system reform.
At the beginning of February, we reported
on an expose of special loopholes used by Wal-Mart to slash its state
taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The scam involves
Wal-Mart and other companies dividing themselves into separate
subsidiaries, buying land and buildings, then deducting the rent paid
to itself as a business expense. But states are moving to eliminate
the loophole and reclaim the lost revenue:
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
spend $11.4 billion each year on marketing. Much of that is spent on
salespeople, known as "detailers", who visit doctor's offices to pitch
the latest drugs, in order to increase prescriptions for their
company's products-- usually at the expense of older, cheaper, and
often more effective drugs.
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania sued the Bush Administration
this week claiming they failed to adequately regulate emissions of
mercury and other pollutants at older cement plant kilns. Last
December, the EPA announced
new limits on mercury and hydrocarbon emissions from cement kilns built
after December 2, 2005, but left weak rules in place for kilns from
before that date. The states argue that the Clean Air Act requires the
EPA to limit mercury from all kilns, not just new ones.