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November 11, 2011

Congressional Republicans push to allow mining in the Grand Canyon

Row over plans to mine Grand Canyon - environment - 10 November 2011 - New Scientist
US POLITICIANS are at loggerheads over whether to allow uranium mining in north Arizona, near the Grand Canyon. Mining would create jobs, but might pollute the Colorado river, which provides the Southwest US with irrigation and domestic water. The White House wants to ban all new mining claims in the area for 20 years, but a group of Republicans is backing legislation that would render the ban meaningless. A steep rise in metal prices during the last decade led mining companies to register interest in exploiting thousands of new sites across the US, including several hundred near the Grand Canyon. In 2009, secretary of the interior Ken Salazar put a two-year freeze on anyone even seeking permission to mine in three areas around the Grand Canyon. The US Geological Survey has since found that uranium mining there could increase the levels of radioactive materials and heavy metals in the Colorado river. . . .

November 05, 2011

The Privileges of China’s Elite Include Purified Air

The Privileges of China’s Elite Include Purified Air - NYTimes.com
BEIJING — Membership in the upper ranks of the Chinese Communist Party has always had a few undeniable advantages. There are the state-supplied luxury sedans, special schools for the young ones and even organic produce grown on well-guarded, government-run farms. When they fall ill, senior leaders can check into 301 Military Hospital, long considered the capital’s premier medical institution. But even in their most addled moments of envy, ordinary Beijingers could take some comfort in the knowledge that the soupy air they breathe on especially polluted days also finds its way into the lungs of the privileged and pampered. Such assumptions, it seems, are not entirely accurate. As it turns out, the homes and offices of many top leaders are filtered by high-end devices, at least according to a Chinese company, the Broad Group, which has been promoting its air-purifying machines in advertisements that highlight their ubiquity in places where many officials work and live. The company’s vice president, Zhang Zhong, said there were more than 200 purifiers scattered throughout Great Hall of the People, the office of China’s president, Hu Jintao, and Zhongnanhai, the walled compound for senior leaders and their families. “Creating clean, healthy air for our national leaders is a blessing to the people,” boasts the company’s promotional material, which includes endorsements from a variety of government and corporate leaders, among them Long Yongtu, a top economic official who insists on bringing the device along for car rides and hotel stays. “Breathing clean air is a basic human need,” he says in a testimonial. . . .

November 01, 2011

High school that named lesbian couple as Prom King & Queen gets deluged with hatemail from Christians

I'm glad the school isn't apologizing or backing down, but rather calling the homophobic bullies out on their unacceptable behavior. Joe. My. God.: Loving Christians Deluge School With Threats Over Homecoming Lesbians
On Monday, Superintendent Bill Kowba interrupted a news conference on the district's financial troubles to comment on an issue he called just as significant as the budget. “What is essentially disappointing is that adults who have contacted the school, many not even San Diego residents, are demonstrating such a lack of tolerance and such a negative role model for children with their hateful comments,” Kowba said. Kowba calls the adults behind the threats "bullies." He also says if the calls and emails came from students, they would have faced disciplinary action. . . . Here's a few examples from God's Gentle People at Free Republic: -"Stupid, brainwashed, delusional girls. They are signing up for a life of pain, misery, heartbreak and sin." -"This is disgusting. It’s deviancy on display, and our kids have been trained to approve." -"The Principal should be brought up on charges and be made to register as a sex offender." -"Children who attend godless socialist schools will learn to think and reason godlessly!" -"The faggot indoctrination continues."