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A message from David Macdonald to all supporters of the Cecil Appeal (also maybe good news re: cubs)

This is from the site Jimmy Kimmel mentioned. After he mentioned it, of course the site crashed for awhile because it couldn't handle the flood. Hopefully everyone wanting to donate will return and try again when it is less busy.


(Emphasis added)

July 30, 2015
We are deeply grateful for the hundreds of messages of support you have sent – the value people attach to lions and wildlife conservation inspires us. We hope to keep in touch with you all as the months go forward. Many people ask about the fate of Cecil’s cubs – we are keeping watch. As you probably know, the natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs. This may not happen because Cecil’s brother is still holding the fort. Meanwhile, because of the heavy flow of traffic to our website, some people trying to make donations have been told "please come back later" – we beg you not to forget us, and do please try again later – make a note in your diary to try again tomorrow or the next day, or contact Hannah Curwell-Parry in the UK or David Stiles in the USA and we will get back to you. We depend on donations for all of our work. We are working with the University technical people to try and increase the capacity of the website. Once again, we thank you for your support and inspirational commitment to wildlife conservation.

If everyone who is outraged by this tragedy donates even a small amount to conservation, some good can come of this.

What's asbestos doing in kids' crayons?

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, a national nonprofit, commissioned a test of crayons and found that several brands - some marketed under the kid-appealing names of Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers - contained asbestos fibers.

OK, so maybe your child isn't going to be breathing in crayons, and the asbestos just might stay put. Then again, contaminated crayons could release microscopic fibers as they are worn down, the EWG contends, adding that the average child uses 730 crayons by the age of 10.


All of the crayons and toys that contained asbestos were imported from China. (The complete results are available at www.asbestosnation.org.)


Astoundingly, this wasn't the first time asbestos had been found in either product. Contaminated crayons were found in 2000, and toy crime-scene kits tested positive for asbestos in 2007.

After the previous findings, American crayon manufacturers pledged to stop using talc. But did everyone else? That's why the EWG tested the products again. This time around, Lunder said, no American-made products tested contained any asbestos.

The National Cancer Institute has concluded that "overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure."

So plenty of people are concerned.

Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, called the presence of asbestos in toys "an unacceptable risk." Landrigan, who reviewed the study, but was not involved in it, is an asbestos expert and former senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency on children's environmental health.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kidshealth/20150719_What_s_asbestos_doing_in_kids__crayons_.html


Also at the Environmental Working Group's own site:

Kids lovingly wear down crayons through frequent use—as many as 730 crayons by age 10, according to Crayola—and sometimes chew or eat them. Fingerprint kits contain loose powders that kids blow and possibly inhale; the kits even include brushes and straws that make this easier.

The suspected origin of the asbestos in the items that tested positive is talc, a binding agent in crayons and an ingredient in fingerprint powder. Asbestos deposits are frequently found in talc mines and may contaminate talc products. Although the crayons pose a lower risk than the powders, scientists agree that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

The dangers of asbestos have been public since the 1970s. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has known about asbestos in crayons for 15 years, and eight years ago asbestos was found in another brand of fingerprint toy. Shockingly, these products are legal in 49 states—only Connecticut bans asbestos in children’s toys.

This is cool - O'Malley gives keynote at ESRI conference


O'Malley Monday address echoed ideas presented earlier by Esri founder and president Jack Dangermound, who said the world is entering a geographic Age of Enlightenment, or geoenlightenment, in which maps and data are combined in dynamic ways to show people how to improve their world. O,Malley is a former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland and used GIS in his administrations to identify problem areas that required government services. He is a Democratic presidential candidate and used the occasion to present his vision of what federal government should be, collaborative in the way the Internet is. He also said there is an imperative to deal with climate change. "Climate change is the biggest economic and business opportunity to come to the United States in100 years," he said.


I'm guessing that O'Malley's invitation to keynote this conference was due to his use of GIS in the Maryland StateStat system.

I give O'Malley a huge plus over the other candidates for his apparent grasp of technology and vision towards its effective use in good governance.

Google News: Sandra Bland

Please just do that.

On news.google.com, for me, this is what comes up under Top Stories:

James Eagan Holmes
Angela Merkel
Primetime Emmy Awards
Planned Parenthood
Jeb Bush

I'm not sure what makes that up, but I suppose if more of us started searching for and reading about Sandra Bland, maybe she would show up on more people's news feeds.

Oh and if you have a blog, maybe write a post.

I just think what happened to her is more important than Jeb Bush, and far more deserving of investigation than Planned Parenthood.

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Case to Give 'Right-to-Work' to All Public Employees


On the final day of its most recent session, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider a labor law case that experts say could dramatically limit the power of government employee unions.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was brought on behalf of 10 California public school teachers who sued for the right to leave their union and not still pay "agency fees." If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, it could have the same effect as extending right-to-work law protections to all public employees by invalidating the involuntary extraction of agency fees from worker paychecks. Previous decisions have recognized workers' right to not have union dues extracted, but agency fees are still allowed. These fees are typically 80 percent of the full dues payments. ....

Also more here:
SCOTUS Case Could Bring "Right to Work" to All 50 States

Now joining us to discuss all of this is Samantha Winslow. Samantha is joining us from New York. She is a staff writer for Labor Notes. And before that she was an organizer for SEIU United Healthcare Workers, west in California.
Thank you for joining us, Samantha.


DESVARIEUX: So we should note that the court will begin hearing the case in its next session, so that's not until the fall. But this is a very important case because the court has even decided to take it on. Supporters of right to work legislation say that public sector workers should be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to not pay if they don't want to be in a union.
So for you, Samantha, considering that argument, shouldn't we sort of take a listen to what they have to say? That if in order for them, that they shouldn't be paying these union dues if they're not a part of the union.

WINSLOW: Well, they have the right to not be in a union right now. And so what the compromise is is that they have to pay a fair share of the dues that full members pay. And the thinking behind that is that they enjoy the benefits of the union contract. They enjoy the wage increases that the union negotiates, and they enjoy the job security. And they can even be represented if they face discipline or some kind of attack from their employer.
So that was what the Supreme Court decided three years ago to compromise, to say that yes, you have the right to be a member or not be a member. But you do have to pay a fair share of dues to cover the representation that is required by law.


(Apologies if this is already posted. I saw it and thought it too important not to post, and didn't see it here.)

I always think of "right to work" as "right to work for less". I am in a non-union job in the IT industry and see very well what we lose by not having a union.
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