EPA Unlikely to Limit Perchlorate in Tap Water

From the Washington Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon, is poised to rule as early as today that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children across the nation.

According to a near-final document obtained by The Washington Post, the EPA’s “preliminary regulatory determination” — which was extensively edited by White House officials — marks the final step in a six-year-old battle between career EPA scientists who advocate regulating the chemical and White House and Pentagon officials who oppose it. The document estimates that up to 16.6 million Americans are exposed to perchlorate at a level many scientists consider unsafe; independent researchers, using federal and state data, put the number at 20 million to 40 million.

Some perchlorate occurs naturally, but most perchlorate contamination in U.S. drinking water stems from improper disposal by rocket test sites, military bases and chemical plants. A nationwide cleanup could cost hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, and several defense contractors have threatened to sue the Defense Department to help pay for it if one is required.

Racist Anti-Obama Flyers

From Newsday.com:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Residents in one northern New Jersey town received fliers over the weekend attacking Barack Obama’s candidacy on racial grounds, in what one national watchdog group is calling the first racist flier distribution against the candidate.

Roxbury Mayor Tim Smith said the fliers were dropped off at about 25 to 50 of the township’s 8,000 homes. He said nothing like it had happened before in the community of 26,000 residents.

“I’m sickened by this,” Smith said. “It’s not at all representative of our community. I want the world at large to know we’re not that kind of community _ this is a place where people take care of each other and nobody cares where you’re from or what you look like.”

The flier shows unflattering photos of Obama, including a doctored one making him look like Osama Bin Laden, above text that reads: “Black Ruled Nations most unstable and violent in the world.”

The flier cites poverty, HIV, and unemployment rates in Haiti and South Africa, and warns: “The United States of America will be next! Why should we seal our fate by allowing a black ruler to destroy us?”

Update:

The Smoking Gun has a picture of the flyer.

Roger Ebert on Creationism

Ebert posted a wackjob creationist Q&A on his site which led many in the blogosphere to assume that his site was hacked since Ebert has always appeared to be a supporter of evolution. He didn’t even bother to review Expelled and in a previous Q&A had this to say:

Q. Readers want to know if the Movie Answer Man is too PC to review “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”?
Ruddy Spencer, Tucson, Ariz.

A. The last I heard, it is not considered Politically Correct to agree with Darwin. I think it is more like, oh, intelligent.

It’s obviously not a hack since by now it would have been fixed so my guess is that it’s just a failed attempt at satire.

Update:

Ebert answers.

Some days ago I posted an article headlined, “Creationism: Your questions answered.” It was a Q&A that accurately reflected Creationist beliefs. It inspired a firestorm on the web, with hundreds, even thousands of comments on blogs devoted to evolution and science. More than 600 comments on the delightful FARK.com alone. Many of the comments I’ve seen believe I have converted to Creationism. Others conclude I have lost my mind because of age and illness. There is a widespread conviction that the site was hacked. Lane Brown’s blog for New York magazine flatly states I gave “two thumbs down to evolution.” On every one of the blogs, there are a few perceptive comments gently suggesting the article might have been satirical. So far I have not seen a single message, negative or positive, from anyone identifying as a Creationist.

What was my purpose in posting the article? Can you think of a famous Creationist? Perhaps I was trying to helpfully explain what Creationists believe. The article, although brief, was accurate as far as I could determine, which explains why there have been no complaints from Creationists. What was there to complain about? Nor have I received any praise from Creationists, which speaks well for their instincts; they’re apparently more canny than the evolutionists who believe I have lost my mind.

But the purpose of this blog entry is not to discuss politics (a subject banned from the blog). Nor is it to discuss Creationism versus the theory of evolution (that way lurks an endless loop). It is to discuss the gradual decay of our sense of irony and instinct for satire, and our growing credulity.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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The intelligent man now knows that we live in a natural world,
that gods and devils and the sons of God are all phantoms, that our
religion and our Deity are much like the religion and deities of
other nations, and that the stone god of a savage answers prayer
and protects his worshipers precisely the same, and to just the
same extent, as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Which Way” (1884)