Meet Republican Carly Fiorina


Meet Republican Carly Fiorina of California: She’s anti-choice, anti-gay and she’s mocked climate change concerns as just being “worried about the weather.” And like so many other Republican candidates this year, she’s a multimillionaire corporate executive trying to buy her way into public office.

Now meet California’s Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer: She’s a progressive leader who’s spent her career fighting for everyday Americans against corporations, Wall Street lobbyists… and multimillionaire corporate executives like Carly Fiorina.

Senator Boxer stands up and leads in a U.S. Senate that needs progressive women.

Carly will stand up for corporations instead of people and she’ll do anything to win. That’s exactly why Carly Fiorina is writing million dollar checks to her own campaign. She wrote herself $2.5 million in January and then $1.1 million more in May. That’s a lot of money — and it makes Carly a formidable candidate who’s able to go negative and scare California voters.

But it’s also the backing of just one person… the world’s smallest fan club. So today, we’re going to help Barbara Boxer send California a message: 100,000 Americans stand strong with Barbara Boxer, while her opponent stands alone.

Contribute $3 to Barbara Boxer today and help her reach 100,000 donors

Senator Boxer is a strong woman with a record of leading progressive victories in the U.S. Senate and she can win again on Election Day. But she’s facing her toughest opponent yet in a year that the pundits claim will be a tough election for Democrats. So here’s the thing, if some Democrats lose this November, it’s never been more important for us to make sure progressive leaders like Barbara Boxer win.

We’re proving people matter more than money, so it doesn’t matter how much you contribute today. What matters is the message of support showing that everyday Americans contributing small amounts can beat back the power of multimillion dollar corporations and their lackeys who run for Congress.

Carly Fiorina’s support amounts to herself and her checkbook. Barbara Boxer has the support of over 100,000 Americans.

Let’s prove it — Contribute $3 to Barbara Boxer right now

Thank you for everything you do to make sure progressives win in 2010.

-Charles

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

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Mark Ruffalo with Earthjustice


Earthjustice - Take Action Today

Five years ago, millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Gulf still hasn’t fully recovered from the spill, yet now the Department of the Interior is proposing to open even more of our coastal waters to offshore drilling. This shortsighted and irresponsible policy would put our coastal ecosystems and communities at even greater risk.

Earthjustice is partnering with groups across the country to demand action now to keep more drill rigs out of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. And we need your help.

Join me in telling the Obama administration to stop new leasing in the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans.

New offshore drilling and leasing in those areas would open fragile and priceless coastal ecosystems to damage from pollution and spills, pose immeasurable risk to economies and communities up and down the Atlantic seaboard, and accelerate global climate disruption.

An oil spill in any body of water causes irreparable damage. It’s just not worth it. If we’re going to successfully turn the tide on climate change, we must move away from all fossil fuels—whether it’s fracking, tar sands, mountaintop removal, or offshore drilling—and focus our efforts on increasing renewable energy.

Now is the time to tell the Department of the Interior that drill rigs have no place in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Sincerely,

Staff photo

Mark Ruffalo
Actor, Earthjustice supporter,
and founder of Water Defense

What Happens When Breast Milk Goes Big-Business?


 Photo: Scott & Zoe/Getty Images

Last week, the New York Times reported that Prolacta Bioscience — which buys, pasteurizes, and resells breast milk — has raised $46 million from investors. In hospitals, extremely premature babies are treated with the concentrated, high-protein (and highly expensive) formula. With its new funds, Prolacta now has the resources for research into possible new therapeutic uses for breast milk.

But while Prolacta’s product helps sick babies — and can give breast-feeding mothers a way to earn money for their milk — not everyone is thrilled about the entrance of big business into what’s largely been community-based, nonprofit work.

One concern is that with cash incentives, companies like Prolacta may draw donors from nonprofit milk banks, threatening the health of preemies whose parents lack the money or insurance for Prolacta’s products. “The nonprofit milk banks have a long history of providing milk to the sickest babies, and provide it based on medical need and not on insurance reimbursement or financial resources,” Kim Updegrove, executive director of the nonprofit Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, told the New York Times.

And breast-milk banks were struggling to meet demand well before Prolacta’s latest initiatives. In 2011, Time reported that the rise of online milk swapping had led to “critically low” levels of breast milk and “urgent calls” for donations from members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. (Milk banks screen their donors and supplies for safety; they also charge a fee for their milk, whereas milk-swapping is free.)

For moms who want to breast-feed but lack the time and money to do so, getting paid for excess milk is very appealing. The cash influx could provide essential income to poor moms after birth and allow middle-income moms more financial security; the U.S., after all, remains one of the few countries without paid maternity leave laws, and selling milk is a rare opportunity to make money while at home. (Donors to milk banks are not usually paid, though expenses like shipping are covered.) But community organizers have expressed concern that Prolacta and its competitors are exploiting low-income women. Before Prolacta started paying donors last year, the company was accused of not making it clear to women that their donations were going to a for-profit company.

In January, when Oregon-based Medolac Laboratories launched a campaign in Detroit, the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association took action. Detroit has the highest infant mortality rate; executive director Kiddada Green said the initiative “reek[ed] of exploitation.”

The organization expressed a series of concerns in an open letter:

As a group of mothers, community activists, and lawmakers in the greater Detroit area, we are writing to you in the spirit of open dialogue about your company’s recent attempts to recruit African-American and low-income women in Detroit to sell their breast milk to your company, Medolac Laboratories.

We are troubled by your targeting of African-American mothers, and your focus on Detroit in particular. We are concerned that this initiative has neither thoroughly factored in the historical context of milk sharing nor the complex social and economic challenges facing Detroit families. It is also troubling that no community organizations serving or advocating for African-American breastfeeding families in Detroit have been consulted in the development of such a program that is meant to benefit those families.

Medolac Laboratories, which had the backing of the Clinton Global Initiatives, subsequently dropped their campaign. For Green, the issue wasn’t that women were being paid to donate milk; it was that the campaign was framed as a community initiative when no community members had even been consulted.

Trusting a business to protect the best interests of low-income women is risky. (The rise of infant formula in the developing world offers a cautionary tale about corporations claiming to help mothers and children, while actually reaping profits at their expense.) Prolacta could drive milk banks to extinction, and then sharply cut pay incentives, meaning only the most desperate women donate and Prolacta can charge a higher premium for their limited product.

Then again, while corporate breast milk raises its own set of concerns, it would also be a mistake to idealize more “natural” approaches. Online milk-swapping is sometimes cheerily touted as the modern-day equivalent of wet-nursing, which ignores the practice’s fraught history of forcing slaves to perform as “sucklers” and using poor immigrants whose own children sometimes died of neglect. While not everyone agrees that women should get paid for donating breast milk, it’s essential to acknowledge that breast-feeding is work — and it places major demands on women’s time and bodies.

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Sea Lions Vs Climate Change


Voracious sea lions invade Columbia River

Pinnipeds are lured in record numbers by millions of smelt, and to the dismay of many they’ve taken over virtually every inch of dock space in Astoria basin

SeaLionsTheresaTillson2_stjbcq

California sea lions have flooded into the Columbia River in record numbers, thanks to a phenomenal abundance of smelt during a season in which food has been scarce for the voracious pinnipeds just about everywhere else.

The pinniped invasion has overwhelmed the East Mooring Basin in Astoria, Oregon, where 2,340 sea lions were counted recently. That shatters last year’s record count of 1,420 sea lions, and represents “a mind-boggling number,” Bryan Wright, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,” told OPB News.

sealions

Sea lions have commandeered virtually every inch of dock space and are piling on top of one another, because there is not enough space to accommodate all of them, when they’re not foraging for smelt and salmon.

The blubbery mammals are said to be causing damage to docks and making it port authorities to rent or lease slips to boaters.

Some have come to the sea lions’ defense, saying they could represent a tourism boon if people will pay to see them.

Normal sea lion counts in the basin, from late March through May, average fewer than 300.

The Astoria invasion occurs at a time when young sea lions, who are not strong enough to travel long distances to find food, are starving in California, filling care facilities to capacity.

Unusually warm water in the Eastern Pacific, from Mexico to Alaska, is blamed for displacing bait fish populations the sea lions rely on for sustenance.

SeaLions copy

The so-called “warm blob,” caused in large part by a lack of significant winds and the upwelling those winds typically cause, was blamed for last year’s heat-up, with sea surface temperatures during the spring and summer averaging well above normal.

The phenomenon appears to be evident again this year.

The older and stronger sea lions are lured to the lower Columbia River in part by the early stages of the salmon run, but also by millions of smelt that have returned to the river to spawn.

Harborseals-SteveJeffries

Harbor seals also are foraging on the bounty. The accompanying image showing 6,000-plus seals grouped near the mouth of the river was captured last month by Steve Jeffries, a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The presence of so many sea lions and seals is cause for concern because the developing salmon run could be decimated by so many voracious pinnipeds.

(The Washington agency has a permit to euthanize a certain number of sea lions each year, to protect salmon entering the river mouth at the Washington-Oregon border.)

While many locals are unhappy with the problems being caused by the sea lions inside the basin, a group called the Sea Lion Defense Brigade tells KGW News that perhaps they will turn out to be a valuable tourist attraction.

“People that come to visit these guys are more than willing to spend money on tourism,” Defense Brigade spokeswoman Veronica Montoya said. “On seeing these guys, on visiting these guys.”

Perhaps, but more than likely, the waterfront community probably wishes it could have its docks back.

–Follow Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter