EPA shuts down office that protects children from harmful chemicals

The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist as a standalone entity following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill on Monday.

One of the key functions of NCER was to give out grants to scientists that are investigating the effects of chemical exposure on human health.

The EPA states that the staff from the offices will be reassigned within the agency. It’s not clear what will happen to the grant and fellowship programs that NCER has been giving out for the past decade.

However, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 would have dramatically slashed funding for NCER by more than 90 percent, but the most recent budget deal did not touch the program.


A detailed review of the Science to Achieve Results Research Program (a primary NCER grant program, referred to as STAR grants) by the National Academies of Sciences lauded its results:

“STAR has had numerous successes, such as in research on human health implications of air pollution, on environmental effects on children’s health and well-being, on interactions between climate change and air quality, and on the human health implications of nanoparticles. Those are just a few examples; many more could be cited.”


More examples from the STAR report:

“In 2016, a research project partially supported by a STAR grant recognized that infants could be exposed to arsenic through rice cereal (Karagas et al. 2016), and this recognition led the Food and Drug Administration to propose regulations to protect infant health (FDA 2016). Another example is the discovery by the University of Washington Children’s Center that farmworker children had increased exposure to the pesticide ingredient azinphos-methyl which is a neurotoxicant (Curl et al. 2002), which informed EPA’s decision to phase out the use of azinphos-methyl (EPA 2006).”


In the past, NCER programs also support prevention and/or treatment of childhood asthma, preterm births, leukemia, and the list goes on. The EPA stated that the office is being eliminated as part of a merger of three EPA offices “to create management efficiencies within the organization.

On top of this news, the White House announced on Friday that President Trump plans to nominate a Dow Chemical Co. lawyer to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of solid waste.

Advertisements

Illinois Ash Pits leak BMN investigation fundraiser

A new report shows that toxic waste from coal ash pits in southern Illinois is leaking into the Vermilion River, Illinois most scenic & traveled river. These pits are from a now-closed Power Station that was owned by Dynegy Inc.

Back in January Prairie Rivers Network announced, citing problems documented in the Houston-based company’s own internal reports, that it plans to file a suit against Dynegy for repeatedly violating an Obama-era regulation, the Clean Water Act. The group said it decided to challenge the company on its own because federal and state regulators have failed to address well-known hazards at the shuttered plant near Oakwood, about 25 miles east of Urbana.

We hope to get on the ground coverage and water samples from the river and surrounding water supplies connecting to the river. To learn more about the situation visit the link at the bottom.

These funds will be used to purchase a raft, water testing kits, emergency equipment such as rope, life jackets, and a flare gun.

These funds will also help with travel costs such as gas and will help cover equipment costs such as batteries for camera and recording gear. Any extra funds will be saved and go towards other on the ground reports.

Click here to donate to our investigation for equipment.

Article:

https://berningmedianetwork.com/2018/02/26/dynegy-inc-facing-suit-for-toxic-waste-from-its-ash-pits-leaking-into-a-popular-illinois-river/

Middle school teacher in Florida caught running white nationalist podcast

On Saturday Huffpost reported that a public middle school teacher in Florida has been secretly hosting a white supremacist podcast under a false name.

Dayanna Volitich is a 25 year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School, and also hosts a white nationalist podcast called “Unapologetic,” where she bragged about teaching her ideology to students and tricking the school’s principal into disregarding parent complaints that she was injecting political bias into the classroom and onto her students.


The name she went by was “Tiana Dalichov”, which we was known as in her podcast and on social media. She has also claimed that Muslim terrorism will continue “until we eradicate them from the face of the earth,” and has also praised neo-Nazi leaders.

The executive director of educational services for the Citrus County School District, Scott Hebert, told HuffPost that the district would investigate.

“She does not speak on behalf of the Citrus County School District,” Hebert said. “The views she’s listed [online] are really not in line with how our district operates.”


As of March 4th Dayanna Volitich has been “removed from the classroom,” Citrus County School District Superintendent Sandra Himmel announced Sunday in a statement:

Photograph via Facebook


This isn’t the first time a teacher has been caught spreading white nationalist views on school grounds. A article by Forward reported that a substitute teacher in Maryland was fired after it was discovered that he worked for a think tank run by prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.


Featured photo via Twitter

Dow Chemical Attorney to lead an EPA office responsible for contaminated sites

On Friday the White House announced President Donald Trump will be nominating a senior attorney at Dow Chemical Co. to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s office that is responsible for highly contaminated Superfund sites.

Peter Wright would lead the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management if confirmed by the Senate. The office’s responsibilities include the Superfund program, the brownfield program for redeveloping sites, emergency response operations, landfill regulation and also underground storage tanks.

In a statement from Scott Pruitt in a Hill report, he said:

“Peter is exceptionally qualified to lead the Office of Land and Emergency Management, he has the expertise and experience necessary to implement our ambitious goals for cleaning up the nation’s contaminated lands quickly and thoroughly.”


Since being appointed, Pruitt has made the Superfund program a priority for his time at the EPA. The agency currently has more than 1,300 sites on its priority list, and Pruitt has accused the Obama administration of not doing enough to clean them up. Leaving potentially more environmental hazards for public health.

If confirmed, Wright would potentially be overseeing sites that Dow is responsible for cleaning up. The EPA has identified contaminated sites in California, Michigan and elsewhere as places that Dow is potentially responsible for.

Ethics guidelines may require Wright to recuse himself from matters relating to Dow, which merged last year with DuPont Co.


Featured photo via Common Dreams

Who is David Hogg, an 18 yearold high school student that hopes to be a journalist

David Hoggs is an 18 yearold high school student and survivor of the Parkland school shooting that took place two weeks ago. Since the shooting himself and of her classmates have taken on congress to do something and implement common sense gun laws. But David has become a target for the conspiracy community, who believe he is a crisis actor or that this was a false flag by the government.

I covered false flags in an article earlier this year that goes over false flags that have actually happened in the United States and can be factually backed up. Just like you can easily backup that David Hogg isn’t a crisis actor, he’s s a student.


So lets go over 5 facts about David Hoggs that you should know:

1)David Hogg is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School and wants to become a professional journalist

David Hogg is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High and loves broadcast journalism, CNN reported. He’s a Teenlink reporter for the Sun Sentinel, according to his Instagram profile, a student filmmaker, and a surfer. His family moved to Florida several years ago, when he was a freshman, and chose Stoneman Douglas High partially because of the TV production classes the school offers. Hogg once wrote on Reddit about moving in the middle of his freshman year and how hard it was because so many people in high school weren’t authentic. He talked about missing his friends from Los Angeles, whom he still visits. He then told someone else on the site that the first few months can be really hard, but it does get better. As a sophomore, he created some of his own broadcast packages and decided that TV news was his passion.

Hogg has been very outspoken since the shooting, criticizing the NRA and advocating for gun control legislation. He was one of the first students who was interviewed nationally about the horrific event.

Some have said that Hogg appeared too calm in the videos he did inside the school during the shooting. But others have pointed out that how a person reacts in a situation can really depend on their proximity to danger. Hogg never personally encountered the shooter because he was hiding in a closet, so his reaction might be very different from another person who had actually seen the shooter.

The allegations that Hogg and others were crisis actors may have partially originated from an email allegedly sent to journalist Alex Leary from Florida District Secretary Benjamin A. Kelly, along with Donald Trump Jr. liking two tweets about the conspiracy.

Florida State Representative Shawn Harrison later announced that Kelly had been fired from his position as Harrison’s District Secretary after the tweet was released.

Robert Runcie, who is currently the superintendent of Broward County Schools, told the Tampa Bay Times that Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg were, indeed, students at Stoneman. “These are absolutely students at Stoneman Douglas. They’ve been there. I can verify that,” he said. “Anything to disparage such brilliant and passionate youth who have the courage to stand up and do what they’re doing, I just think it’s outrageous and disrespectful for someone to make those allegations.”


2)Hoggs posted about Stoneman High before the shooting, the yearbook theory was also debunked

One of the rumors circulating is that Hogg was a “paid crisis actor,” since he appeared in both California and Florida. As stated in the previous section, he was in California on vacation in August. But he’s frequently posted about life at Stoneman Douglas High long before the shooting happened.

He has also posted numerous articles around Parkland and Stoneman Douglas High School as you see in the photos below:

In addition to his time at Stoneman, some people are also talking about a photo of Hogg sitting at a CNN table. This may be a photo from a CNN tour, which would be a normal thing for an aspiring journalist to do. In fact, others have said that when they visited CNN in Atlanta, they got to role play being an anchor or take “fake photos” on set. Read some of the Yelp reviews here to get an idea of what happens on the tour.

In a 2013 article posted on “Mom Voyage,” this was written about the CNN tour: “Start with a ride on the world’s longest escalator to the working studios of CNN.

Then, from behind the glass, you’ll look into a live newsroom, complete with anchors, reporters, camera people…the works! At the end of the tour, future television stars will certainly appreciate the ability to sit behind an anchor desk and take their turn at reporting the news. It makes for a fun experience and a great photo opp!”

A fake Antifa “parody” account shared a video of a yearbook with Hogg’s name in it, as “proof” that he wasn’t going to Stoneman Douglas High. However, this video moves so fast that you can’t see a date or clearly read the yearbook’s full cover. A tweet shared later debunked this video, which you can watch here.


3) He Appeared in a California Video that Went Viral While He Was on Vacation in August

Hogg’s appearance in a video that went viral in California caused some people to question his authenticity. In fact, the photo below is one of the many photos circulating on social media pointing out that he was interviewed in August 2017 in California before being interviewed this past week in Florida.

The viral video showed an argument that started when his friend put a boogie board on a trashcan at the beach and a lifeguard got very angry. Hogg talked to CBS Los Angeles about the incident, saying it was his friend who put the board on a trash can on the beach. A lifeguard asked his friend to move the board, and his friend did, but then said, “I didn’t know it was a crime to put your board on a trash can.” Then the lifeguard approached angrily and Hogg recorded the interaction. His video later went viral. He said they felt threatened because the lifeguard seemed unpredictable.

This video caused some people to question whether Hogg was truly a student. But as Hogg explained in a previous video, he was visiting the Los Angeles area in August. In fact, it’s not uncommon for him to visit California — his YouTube channel also shows another video he made while visiting California on vacation last winter.


4) Kevin Hogg, his dad, is a retired FBI agent who taught David perseverance and composure

David’s father, Kevin Hogg, who is a retired FBI agent, spurred more social media posts questioning Hogg’s authenticity. The Gateway Pundit ran a story about Hogg called “Exposed,” which started some of the rumors about him. The headline read: “School Shooting Survivor Turned Activist David Hogg’s Father in FBI, Appears To Have Been Coached On Anti-Trump Lines.” The story pointed out that in an interview with CNN, Hogg defended the FBI and blamed President Donald Trump, before he revealed that his father was a former FBI agent. “I think it’s disgusting, personally,” Hogg said. “My father’s a retired FBI agent and the FBI are some of the hardest working individuals I have ever seen in my life. It’s wrong that the president is blaming them for this.”

Some people said that Hogg was an attempt to “prop up the FBI” after the FBI failed to follow up on a tip about Nikolas Cruz’s plans for a school shooting. But in reality, it’s not surprising that a teen would defend an institution that employed their parent. Hogg once wrote on Reddit that his dad was training at Quantico and learning about future terrorist threats right before 9/11 happened. In fact, he’s written multiple appreciative posts about his family on Reddit and in other places. He wrote: “My dad has been saving since before I was born. I love my parents so much and am blessed to have their financial support. The reason they have saved so much for my college is because both were kicked out of there house at 18 basically and had to pay their way through college…”

David said his dad worked long hours, often leaving at 6 a.m. and not getting home until midnight. Sometimes as soon as he got home, he had to immediately leave for an emergency. That was when David learned to admire his dad and all other FBI agents, which was reflected in his recent interviews. David told the Daily Beast that he admired his dad because Kevin’s not judgmental, but tries to see both sides of a situation. “He’s just a nice guy,” David said.

David and Kevin are so close that David called his dad during the shooting. “I love you,” he told Kevin. “I’m on my way,” Kevin told his son. David said his calm composure during interviews was partially because of his Dad’s example. He can see both sides of an issue. And although he’s pro gun reform, he’s also pro Second Amendment, believing that anyone who’s not mentally unbalanced and doesn’t have a criminal record should be able to purchase and own a firearm.


5) He Had Trouble in an Interview, Which stirred up allegations that he was coached

Hogg has appeared in a lot of videos, answering questions about the shooting. Behind-the-scenes clips were shown for one of these videos, which you can watch above. Hogg keeps asking for a chance to repeat his words after losing his train of thought. Some people believe this is a sign that he was coached. But remember, Hogg is only a senior in high school and just went through a very traumatic situation. It’s absolutely possible that he simply had trouble keeping this thoughts together and the videographer gave him retakes, so they could show a short clip of what he wanted to say rather than a longer clip full of repeated words and pauses. It’s not uncommon for a TV news interview to be “practiced” a time or two before the final taping, so the interviewee knows exactly what they want to say and can say it quickly and succinctly. You can hear the cameraman or reporter telling him when he pauses, “It’s OK. You’re fine David, you’re fine.” Since the video is cut in several places, it’s possibly some of the “coaching” lines are just helping Hogg remember what he last said or where they left off in the interview.

Hogg responded to the allegations against him by telling BuzzFeed News: “I just think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died and it just makes me sick. It’s immature, rude, and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won’t.”

Some people have also pointed to the following photo, which was taken for CBS show a few days after the shooting. They say it’s unusual for the group to be smiling for the camera, but it’s really not that strange to be smiling in a photo a few days after a tragedy, if you’re asked to smile:

Hogg also has a Reddit account and he’s been very open about sharing his identity there, including posting his full name and sharing the lifeguard video that went viral. His posts reflect a conscientious teen who’s concerned about others, such as when he wrote: “Im fine with breaking HOA rules but the problem it that first responders wont be able to get though if me and others park on the street [sic].” He also posted about how society should be more accepting of overweight people because they often can’t afford to eat healthier. When asked seven months ago what people have gotten too accustomed to, his response included politicians’ lies, lobbyists, and “the danger of party politics.”

Months ago, in answer to a question about why we need more love in the world, he talked on Reddit about how he helped a 94-year-old woman go online and see a neighborhood that she grew up in. He said she almost cried, then showed him New York City on Google Street View, and it was the most fun he had all summer.


The truther community could have found their truth is they actually did some digging. But instead they decided to rely on other conspiracy pages for information instead of actual fact based sources. Remember writing research papers in school, you need at least 3 sources.

Nancy Pelosi Endorses Illinois Congressman Who is Against Gay Rights and Abortion

Rep. Dan Lipinski’s is a Democratic representative for Illinois, and is currently serving his 7th term in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district. Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District has been represented by Dan Lipinski for 13 years.

The 3rd district has traditionally leaned from the moderate to conservative side, but has steadily become more progressive. In fact, in 2016 they supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. And that move leftward has produced a progressive challenger to the centrist Lipinski.


Where is Illinois 3rd district?

This largely suburban, Democratic-leaning district reaches roughly from the southwest edge of the city, to the southwestern suburbs (parts of Western Springs and Burbank) and down to northeastern Will County (Lockport).


Lipinski however did fail to receive an endorsement from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other elected Democrats have voiced support behind his opponent, Marie Newman.

Marie Newman is a progressive running for Illinois 3rd district, and her campaign has been fueled by the progressive anger at Lipinski’s opposition to reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and Obamacare. However, his views apparently aren’t enough for Nancy Pelosi to not throw her support behind him. Once again proving to do anything to protect establishment politics from being hurt by Progressives.

On Thursday, less than three weeks before the March 20 primary, Lipinski did pick up one notable supporter: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.



Pelosi has continued to show greater tolerance for Blue Dog Democrats than others in her caucus have. Since the 2016 elections, Progressives have criticized the DCCC for refusing to apply a reproductive rights litmus test to 2018 candidates, which it never has, yet Pelosi insisted there was room in the party for anti-abortion candidates. “This is the Democratic Party, this is not a rubber-stamp party,” she told the Washington Post.

So instead of throwing her support behind a progressive candidate that stands for something her party’s majority supports, she throws her support behind a man who has continuously voted against her as minority leader. Pelosi’s time may be running to an end as well, as she is facing a rising progressive candidate in California.


Featured photo via NYT

Social Media platforms see a new competitor, Vero

Theres a new but not so new app taking over social media and thats Vero. Vero was originally released back in 2015, but has spiked on Apple’s App Store, jumping to the top trending spot and becoming a phenomenon out of virtually nowhere.

Apple says the spike started around February 18th after members of the Cosplay and Tattoo community joined and pushed for the app after recent algorithm changes on Facebook and Instagram that has suppressed and deleted their posts. So far, the app has been downloaded more then 500,000 times, according to the Google Play Store. Numbers for iOS downloads aren’t available.



Vero’s feed is built around what your connections post and isn’t manipulated with algorithms, meaning you’ll get a true view of what your friends are posting. But it also means that if you have one friend who happens to be a particularly prolific poster, and we all know one, they’ll likely eat up your entire feed.

With the recent activity in the app Vero and friends were thrown off by the demand in the application. The only errors people are currently experiencing are server issues due to increased downloads. But all things have their bugs at the start and Vero should be given the chances to flourish as a new platform for independent voices.

If you’re tired of the advertising on social media, thats no worry over on Vero. Vero is a subscription based application. The company has said that the first million users will be able to sign up for free, and will be releasing information about pricing within the upcoming weeks.

Vero also allows you to categorize your friends into different categories: Close Friend, Friend and Acquaintance. Vero says that this allows users to better customize which audiences can see their posts.

So say if you don’t want your acquaintances seeing photos of you partying last weekend, then you can simply set the privacy to ‘Close Friends’ and ‘Friends’. Your connections won’t see how you categorize them however, so theres no worry on offending anyone.

Another thing people worry about online is privacy. Facebook takes a lot of information and really doesn’t say why or where it goes. The company is also very open with the kind of personal information it collects and why.

Vero users can create posts ranging from photos, links and music, to movies and TV shows, books and places. You can also create collections of those items based on what you follow.

Many social media sites have popped up and been trendy for a bit and then disappears to the bottom of the app stores. The question is, will people who voice frustration with current socialism media networks support the switch and deactivate their Facebook accounts.

Only time will tell us that answer.


Make sure to follow us on Vero