Friday, June 18, 2010

Our defeated regulatory apparatus

Interesting article in the Washington Post about the 30+ year struggle to regulate something as innocuous as sunscreen. *

A great illustration of how bad the regulatory system is working when corporations run the show and their wholly-owned servants in Congress and their revolving-door minions dominate the agencies.

Now think about how much worse it is when regulating a real big money enterprise like an extractive industry (mining, oil, grazing, timbering). Kinda explains the Gusher in the Gulf a little better, doesn't it?

(* The point of the article is how broken our regulatory system is, but since we mentioned sunscreens, we should talk about that too. Since the government can't even manage to persuade its corporate owners to keep E. Coli out of food, when it comes to products like sunscreen I'd settle for regulators forcing makers to get rid of the useless and misleading "sun protection factor" labeling system, which is totally bogus because it's non-linear and tells the consumer nothing. That is, SPF 30 is NOT twice the protection of SPF 15; SPF 45 is barely better than SPF 30, etc. The whole SPF rating system is designed to dupe the user and sell more of the high-markup stuff. With a little thought, it's possible to come up with a number of better alternatives.)


Great Seal of the state of WisconsinImage via Wikipedia

Jack Lohman, a retired businessman in Wisconsin, spends his days at civic activism, working to end the legal bribery system known as campaign financing, promote better election methods, and institute single-payer health care -- all in all, a true citizen hero.

He links to two must-watch videos in his latest newsletter:

How to deal with a grease fire in a frypan or saucepan on the stove

Watch how a scam works as it happens (luckily, although the mark didn't know it at the time, not real)

OK, both of those are fairly disturbing and distinctly not fun. So watch those first and then this one to feel better (also from Jack).
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True dat

We need fast, reliable trains from Eugene to Seattle. Luckily, Oregon transportation officials are developing a plan to make that happen.
Transportation is responsible for one-third of our global warming pollution. Too many of our trips rely on dirty cars and dirty fuels to get us from home to work. Rail is critical to make transportation more climate-friendly. That's why we need you.

Tell our state officials to think big!

Right now, we have the chance to restructure out transportation system and communities in a way that will help solve the climate crisis. Unfortunately, our state transportation officials aren't thinking boldly enough.

We need to maximize train ridership, reduce car-trips and global warming emissions, and integrate fast trains and high speed rail into local communities. This will require a regional, comprehensive, goal-oriented plan.

Fast trains can provide a backbone of rail for walkable neighborhoods connected by light rail, buses and bikeways. Our future transportation network can:
  • Serve the one-quarter of Oregonians who cannot drive due to age or disability.
  • Save consumers thousands of dollars in car-related costs.
  • Increase transportation capacity and reduce congestion.
  • Reduce global warming pollution.
But we need the right plan now.

Get fast trains on track! Click the link below to send a message to our state transportation officials.

And thanks, as always, for making it all possible.

Nicole Forbes
Environment Oregon Field Organizer

P.S. Feel free to share this e-mail with your friends and family.