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Midday open thread: EPA downplayed contamination from fracking; 'shrooms help cancer patients

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is School Time Rock—Time to use the Electoral College:

Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -- School Time Rock: Time to use the Electoral College

On this date in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus.

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86-year-old astronaut Buzz Aldrin evacuated from South Pole for medical reasons: According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, the second man to walk on the moon was on a visit with a private tourist group when his health deteriorated. It said, as precautionary measure, he was taken on the first available flight to McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast. His condition was described as stable.

• Study: Psychedelic mushroom may relieve anxiety, depression in cancer patients:

The work released Thursday is preliminary and experts say more definitive research must be done on the effects of the substance, called psilocybin (sih-loh-SY'-bihn).

But the record so far shows "very impressive results," said Dr. Craig Blinderman, who directs the adult palliative care service at the Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He didn't participate in the work.

“Big Mac” creator dead at 98: Michael James Delligatti invented the double-patty burger to boost his struggling McDonald’s franchise in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1967. He had to get permission from McDonald’s HQ first, and that took some talking. By 1969, it was 19 percent of his business and, eventually, a big hunk of the fast food chain’s worldwide business. In the United States, a Big Mac is 540 calories, 28 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein—according to the company website.

The EPA played down its own finding in study on fracking risk to drinking water: Marketplace and APM Reports investigated and discovered that EPA officials changed its 2015 report on whether the fracking drilling process could pollute drinking water supplies. The executive summary of report, the only part that most people—including reporters—read, said there was no evidence of “widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water. But, in fact, the EPA study had uncovered more than two dozen cases in which fracking polluted water resources as well as hundreds of spills that reached soil, surface water, and groundwater. Thanks to the EPA’s toning this down, oil and gas companies and their enablers in traditional and social media could claim that criticisms of the process were wrong.

Obama administration boosted fossil fuel projects around the world:

Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed.

Barcelona pigeons now have easier access to birth control than some American women.

Project on Government Oversight explores how the FDA, by law, must depend on “strings-attached” money from industry:

From September 2015 to January 2016, teams of FDA officials held 70 meetings with drug company executives and lobbyists to set goals that could have far-reaching consequences for the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA, and anyone who uses or pays for prescription drugs.

At issue: How the Food and Drug Administration should go about approving new drugs.

The meetings, closed to the public, weren’t just talks. They were negotiations. And if the two sides didn’t reach an agreement, the FDA could find itself in a world of hurt.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: If you thought the Kellogg’s thing was crazy, you won’t believe what Greg Dworkin found! And that’s about it. Except for the assault on health care, Trump’s cabinet of foreclosure profiteers, still more Gop election fraud & the upside-down Carrier “deal.”

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Midday open thread: EPA downplayed contamination from fracking; 'shrooms help cancer patients

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