Steven Higgs

Study finds mercury emitted into atmosphere transforms, enters food chain

January 8, 2012

Mercury released from Ohio River Valley industries is damaging the brains of children around the world.

That's a conclusion that can be drawn from a University of Washington (UW) study published online Dec. 19 in the journal Nature Geoscience, which concludes mercury in the upper atmosphere can circulate for "long periods of time" before falling back to the Earth's surface.

“Much of emitted mercury is deposited far from its original sources,” the paper's lead author Seth Lyman said in a UW news release. “Mercury emitted on the other side of the globe could be deposited right at our back door, depending on where and how it is transported, chemically transformed and deposited.”

January 4, 2012

Update: Bloomington activists on Jan. 5 released a video of the New Year's Eve arrests, which can be linked to here. The Bloomington Alternative has requested copies of all visual and audial recordings made by police during the confrontation.

If mainstream media reports on a New Year's Eve demonstration in downtown Bloomington are given any credibility, the only crimes committed that evening were perpetrated by a couple protesters, and the city's lightweight mayor may take away Occupy Bloomington's tents for their indiscretions.

But mainstream media reports on social justice issues, especially on the police, have little to no credibility. By institutional design, they are propaganda for the economic elite, managed by law enforcement to shock the masses (and produce profits for media companies). The real news from Bloomington is that the "noise demo" that took place along its streets as the year turned was part of a coordinated, ongoing, global struggle against the corporate police state.

Presidential candidate stresses jobs, environment, health care and peace

December 26, 2011

Seven weeks before Jill Stein declared her candidacy for president, the Lexington, Mass., physician outlined her priorities in a plan she called the "Green New Deal" – jobs, climate change, universal health care and peace. When she announced her bid for the Green Party nomination on Oct. 24, 2011, the Chicago native presented herself as an alternative to the two "Wall Street parties.”

“They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment and driving us towards the calamity of climate change,” she said in a news release accompanying her announcement. "… We need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.”

Indictments issued against former IURC chair for official misconduct

December 15, 2011

While citizen advocates hail indictments charging Gov. Mitch Daniels's chief utility regulator with official misconduct, they say David Lott Hardy is but a symbol of rampant corruption during the outgoing governor's two terms. A Marion County grand jury on Dec. 12, 2012, indicted the former chair of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on three felony counts in cases concerning Duke Energy Corp.

"Although assaults on democracy are bipartisan and in Indiana date back to the Bayh administration, Mitch Daniels has taken crony capitalism to new heights," ValleyWatch's John Blair said in a statement issued to The Bloomington Alternative. "It seems there is nothing he won't do to enrich his corporate friends at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers. And although he must share the blame with his appointed IURC, which is still inherently corrupt, it is clear the problem here runs to the top of the Daniels administration."

Former Salt Lake mayor says Democrats, Republicans sustain corrupt system

December 14, 2011

Americans who feel betrayed by timid, capitulatory leadership from Democrats like President Barack Obama and Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly now have a candidate to consider at the presidential level. On Dec. 12, 2011, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced his candidacy on the Justice Party ticket and the next day laid out a cogent progressive agenda on Democracy Now!

"Although hailing from a solidly red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years," host Amy Goodman said in her introduction to the report. "During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War."

Domestic enemies left them no choice

December 5, 2011

Watching the world's youth combat the rapacious oligarchy that has poisoned their futures reminds me of a student who told me in the early 2000s that he was graduating with a $40,000 debt. That young man was born at the dawn of the Reagan Revolution. Those in the streets today were born at the end of its namesake's eight years in office. They are all Ron Reagan's kids. And their futures have been stolen.

They've been biologically contaminated since they were zygotes and psychically assaulted since the first reverberations of corporate media penetrated their developing auditory canals. Their parents ignored the clear and present dangers posed by the totalitarian-capitalist economic system Reaganism spawned and embraced it wholeheartedly. As a consequence, they have now lost, or are at risk of losing, their incomes, homes, retirements and children.

Financial interests top his campaign contributors

November 27, 2011

Odds-on-favorite for Indiana governor Mike Pence has a strained relationship with the truth, according to a Pulitzer Prize-winning Website. Of 13 recent statements made by the six-term Republican congressman that were fact-checked by, 10 were either false, mostly false or half true. Only three were rated true.

An accounting of Indiana's Sixth District congressman's campaign contributions by the Center for Responsive Politics, however, show his relations with the economic elite are anything but troubled. Since 2000, Pence has collected $10.3 million, with securities and investment, lawyers/law firms, health professionals, real estate, and miscellaneous manufacturing and distributing the top five industries underwriting his career.

November 19, 2011

The two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement took me back to the summer of 2008, when I had an opportunity to ask author Bill Moyers about civil disobedience in 21st century America. Bloomington was abuzz at the time with an emerging direct-action movement against the greedy, antidemocratic forces driving the I-69/NAFTA Highway through Southwest Indiana. But the PBS journalist wasn't optimistic that "a great rolling movement of civil disobedience," as he described the 1960s, was imminent.

"At this moment, I can't say that civil disobedience has a promising future," he said after a book reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan. "... But you never know when a tipping point is coming." Among the "deteriorating" forces that the winner of more than 30 Emmys and three George Polk Awards said could tip the balance were infrastructure, mortgages, home foreclosures and stagnant wages.

A conversation with Peter Seybold, Part 2

November 13, 2011

Peter Seybold might have been born and educated in the Northeast, but the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) sociology professor found the Hoosier state's labor movement intriguing from the dawn of his political awakening back in New Jersey.

"When I became interested in politics I didn't know much about Indiana," he said during an interview in late October 2011. "But I thought, 'Wow, this must be an interesting place. Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh as senators – this must be a pretty interesting place.'"

That is not what democracy looks like
November 5, 2011

In 30 years reporting on the local political scene, I've never witnessed a more cowardly display than the Nov. 4 Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting.

The only truths that can be culled from the proceeding is that this group of "community leaders" is prepared to turn our future over to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), demonstrably the most corrupt and incompetent of all the state agencies. And they just didn't have the guts to do it on Friday.

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