Health

NFIB and AHIP: Hidden influence-peddling in Washington

-- by Wendell Potter, The Center for Public Integrity

I was not among those who believed the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision would open the floodgates of corporate money to influence elections and public policy. While the decision enables corporations to call for the election or defeat of federal candidates, those expenditures have to be reported and few corporations will take the risk of losing customers by getting involved in politics so publicly.

Efforts to Deliver "Kill Shot" to Paid Sick Leave Tied to ALEC

By Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari

Paid Sick DaysIn a victory for working families, New York is poised to become the largest U.S. city to require businesses offer paid sick days to workers. Community activists and labor leaders struck a deal with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to allow a vote on a paid sick leave ordinance that would cover almost 1 million people. But workers in more than 700 other large American cities must choose between spreading their illness and getting paid.

Chemical Industry Clout Delays EPA Regulation of Hexavalent Chromium

Contaminated Jug of Water at Hinkley Meeting (Source: PBS)The hit 2000 film Erin Brockovich, which tells the story of how a novice legal clerk holds a huge corporation liable for contaminating a town's drinking water with the carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium, or chromium (VI), ends in justice for those harmed. But as it turns out, Hinkley, California, the real-life town featured in the movie, is still contaminated.

New Study Reveals Widespread and Copious Use of Toxic Flame Retardants

A study published this week in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, "Novel and High Volume Use Flame Retardants in US Couches Reflective of the 2005 PentaBDE Phase Out," reveals that 85% of couches purchased in the United States between 1985 and 2010 contain chemical flame retardants. The most prevalent include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tris (1-3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP), and the newer Firemaster 550 (FM 550) mixture, as well as tris (4-butylphenyl) phosphate (TBPP), which according to the study has not been reported to be used as a flame retardant until now.

Industry Claims that Fracking Will Lead to "Energy Independence" Debunked in New Report

As CMD has reported, the fossil fuel industry has been engaging in an aggressive PR and political campaign to convince Americans that drilling for oil and gas domestically is the only way that the nation can break its dependence on foreign oil, bring down prices at the pump, and usher in a new era of economic prosperity. A new report from the DC-based public interest group Food & Water Watch knocks down these claims one by one. While the industry uses the phrase "energy security," the report contends that only industry profits will be secured by the expansion of controversial hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for shale oil and gas.

Will GOP Governors Really Try "Nullifying" Obamacare?

Despite Americans overwhelmingly rejecting Mitt Romney and his plans to "repeal Obamacare on day one," an effort to nonetheless thwart the federal health care law on the state level is underway, led by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Cato Institute, with help from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a key holdout and has not indicated whether he will continue to actively block the health care law.

A Referendum on "Legitimate Rape": Akin, Mourdock Defeated

The people of Missouri and Indiana were, in effect, given a referendum on "legitimate rape" on election day, and they soundly rejected the concept by defeating U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. The two legislators had stirred controversy over their verbal attempts to characterize the validity of a rape victim's experience in order to push forward their anti-abortion agendas.

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