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Major TV networks spent just 50 minutes on climate change — combined — last year.

Nanette Barragán is used to facing off against polluters. Elected in 2013 to the city council of Hermosa Beach, California, she took on E&B Natural Resources, an oil and gas company looking to drill wells on the beach. Barragán, an attorney before going into politics, learned of the potential project and began campaigning for residents to vote against it. The project was eventually squashed. In November, she won a congressional seat in California’s 44th district.

To Barragán, making sure President Trump’s environmental rollbacks don’t affect communities is a matter of life or death. The district she represents, the same in which she grew up, encompasses heavily polluted parts of Los Angeles County — areas crisscrossed with freeways and dotted with oil and gas wells. Barragan says she grew up close to a major highway and suffered from allergies. “I now go back and wonder if it was related to living that close,” she says.

Exide Technologies, a battery manufacturer that has polluted parts of southeast Los Angeles County with arsenic, lead, and other chemicals for years, sits just outside her district’s borders. Barragán’s district is also 69 percent Latino and 15 percent black. She has become acutely aware of the environmental injustices of the pollution plaguing the region. “People who are suffering are in communities of color,” she says.

Now in the nation’s capital, Barragán is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s newly formed environmental task force and a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which considers legislation on topics like energy and public lands and is chaired by climate denier Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican. She knows the next four years will be tough but says she’s up for the challenge. “I think it’s going to be, I hate to say it, a lot of defense.”

Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.


Cat pulled from rubble 16 days after Italy earthquake (video)

Amongst all the wreckage, the rescue of a tenacious house cat brings a glint of light to the tragedy. […]

Marijuana-Themed TV Doctor Show To Air On WXYZ

A marijuana-themed episode of Ask Dr. Nandi, a syndicated television show featuring metro Detroit area physician Dr. Partha Nandi, will be broadcast on ABC television Sunday, Feb. 24 at 5pm. The episode was taped in 2014 and has been aired previously through the show’s syndication network. The show is recorded in an Oakland County studio […]

Croatia Legalizes Medical Marijuana, Sort Of

Wherever there are people suffering, and medical marijuana can help those suffering people, medical marijuana should be legal. I think you would be hard pressed to find any country on the planet that doesn’t have people that would benefit from medical marijuana. Croatia is no exception. ;The nation of Croatia legalized medical marijuana the last week, […]

The Collared Lion Killer

I had previously penned a piece entitled “More-On: The Lion Dentist,” and stated that “I may have misspelled a couple of words in that headline, but the pronunciation is correct.” The same is true here; please read the headline here anyway you feel it best describes the lion slayer who killed Cecil. Thursday night ABC News “20/20” featured the story of Walter James Palmer, the detested dentist who reportedly slaughtered Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe. He has become the poster boy for trophy hunters, probably because of the circumstances surrounding Cecil’s butchery. The lion was beloved, collared as part of an Oxford University study, and allegedly baited out of his protected reserve using the carcass of an elephant being drug behind a pickup truck by the hunting crew. (It was not reported where these alleged trolls obtained the dead elephant parts.) And if that wasn’t enough to cinch Palmer’s place in disgrace, it is further alleged that a spotlight from the truck may have been used to blind Cecil, at which point Palmer wounded him with a sophisticated bow and arrow. Keep in mind that Cecil was accustomed to being around vehicles and often approached them on his preserve so tourists could photograph him. It is further alleged that the wounded Cecil was left to suffer while Palmer and his crew went to sleep, then 40 hours later finished the dirty deed, followed by beheading and skinning the lion, then leaving his rotting carcass for the other vultures in the area. It is also alleged that that the hunting crew may have attempted to deceive authorities by removing Cecil’s GPS collar, moving it about to confuse those looking for him, and finally hiding the collar. Of course Palmer is by no means alone in the blood “sport” of trophy hunting. There are many others who get their pleasures from killing elephants, lions, giraffes, and other descendants of Noah’s Ark, then happily posing for photo ops with their dead bodies. It is a genetic defect unique to humans– the only species that kills as a recreational pastime. Calling this a “sport” may sound like a fun game, but the animals never volunteer to play. I have a hunch the hunted animals would prefer to happily sit on the sidelines and not be tormented and killed. Hunters also like to distinguish between “legal” and “illegal” kills, a difference entirely irrelevant to the dead animal. But that distinction helps make Palmer one of the most hated hunters in the world. Through the Freedom of Information Act, ABC News “20/20” obtained a photo of Palmer with a bear he reportedly illegally killed in Wisconsin in 2006. “Bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” According to allegations in the report, here’s what Palmer did do– he tried to bribe his guides about $20,000 to lie about the circumstances of the illegal kill. His scheme reportedly failed and he plead guilty to a felony, was fined and sentenced to one year on probation. Palmer’s dental office has been closed and he has apparently been in hiding since killing Cecil. There have been no known efforts to bait Palmer out of his protected sanctuary. Unlikely as it may seem, ABC found that he has a friend. This individual reportedly knew Palmer since they were kids, who together hunted pheasant, geese and white-tailed deer in the fields of North Dakota. The boyhood pal reportedly reminisced “Had a lot of good times up here.” (As an aside, while this may have been fun for the boys, I assume the birds and deer did not have such a good time.) At any rate, it was probably good practice for serial animal killer Palmer. The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reports that he allegedly grew up to kill at least 43 other animals, including moose, deer, buffalo, a polar bear and a mountain lion. He is also seen posing with another dead lion and with an elephant. Palmer’s friend also reportedly told “20/20” that Palmer was generous and was the “type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back.” He certainly has been generous. He has been reported that he allegedly paid $50,000 to kill Cecil and $127,500 to settle a prior sexual harassment lawsuit. As far as giving you the shirt off his back, perhaps he should keep it on– it might expose an embarrassing yellow streak. Let’s end on a happier note: — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

Flinstones-themed ‘Bedrock City’ Up for Sale

Have you ever wanted to own your own real-world town inspired by a classic cartoon but decided that the Jetsons is just too futuristic for you? Well it just so happens that you are in luck, because Arizona’s Flinstones-themed “Bedrock City” is now on the market. The 30-acre property—complete with theme park, campground, gift shop, convenience store and restaurant—is being listed for just $2 million, ABC reports. The site’s original owners negotiated a licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera, the studio responsible for the Flinstones, when it opened in the early 1970s, but any future owners would need to hatch a deal of their own to keep the park in its current condition. Its attractions include an enormous green brontosaurus slide and a faux volcano (appropriately dubbed Mt. St. Wilma). [ABC] […]

Californian thieves have graduated from car stereos to 150 lbs Prius battery packs

No electrocuted thief found yet… […]