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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

moms rising

Last Sunday, I took a walk with Joan Blades, the formidable co-founder of MoveOn.org and a powerful new group called Moms Rising . It was something we'd emailed about for weeks, a single hour snatched from the jaws of overscheduledness. In between periodically swatting down my rambunctious two boys, who'd been cooped up too much of the day and were squabbling, nagging and occasionally running into the street, I heard tell of just a few of the things Joan is doing.

The main crusade on Joan's mind that day has to do with flame retardants, for reasons I soon understood. As she explained, California law actually requires furniture manufacturers to use these potentially toxic chemicals, including Chlorinated Tris, a suspected carcinogen which was removed from children's sleepwear for safety reasons 30 years ago.

One group of fire retardents, PBDEs, has been implicated as a potential contributor to a variety of neurological and developmental deficits -- and has been found to have increased 40-fold in human breast milk since the 1970s.

The good news is Moms Rising has already won a round with the powerful lobbyists promoting these dangerous chemicals in the name of fire safety. Last month, the group helped encourage national lawmakers to remove a section in the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act that would have increased the quantities of toxic flame retardants in home furniture.

Meanwhile, the group is fighting hard for other long-delayed reforms including children's health insurance and family leave. As Joan said -- I'm pretty sure she said it; I was brokering a sibling peace accord at the time -- there's no reason why these issues shouldn't be non-partisan. And it's heartening to see mothers using their precious "free" time to defend our stake in the future. As soon as I find a good sitter, I mean to join them....

Friday, November 16, 2007

tune in saturday for presidential candidates forum

Please excuse my copying this from a Grist email, but it's worth passing on. I am so glad this is being done!

This Saturday presidential candidates will gather in Los Angeles for the first presidential forum on energy and global warming. The event will be a critical opportunity to hear from the candidates on their positions and to further elevate our issues in the presidential election.

More than a thousand people will fill the theater to watch the event, and due to overwhelming interest, we are giving everyone the chance to tune in!

You can watch the live webcast at www.grist.org/webcast

The event, which is sponsored by Grist and Living on Earth, will start at 5:15 EST with a welcome address from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Each of the candidates will then get 30 minutes on stage to talk about their vision for solving our energy problems and answer questions on their policies.

Here's the schedule:

5:30 EST-Congressman Dennis Kucinich
6:00 EST-Senator Hillary Clinton
6:30 EST-Senator John Edwards

Head over to www.grist.org/webcast to watch the presidential forum on energy and global warming.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

hilary's energy plan

Announced yesterday, it's being hailed as ambitious (Grist gave it an "A") but alas, isn't bold enough to include a carbon tax. In fact, none of the candidates so far has dared to propose such a tax -- they're all talking about "cap and trade" programs, which are much less straightforward and have many more opportunities for shenanigans and misfires. Hilary's plan now matches John Edwards' energy policy, announced last March. I wish someone would break out of this timid pack.