Republicans Unfit to Govern Dept: All laws must quote from the Magna Carta

January 5, 2012

For a biologist, P. Z. Myers is really good at finding historical and legal error, you know?  He’s got this post up at his FreeThoughts blog — I copy here in the entirety because I’m laughing too hard to rewrite it.  And P. Z. writes well, and he won’t mind:

New Hampshire has some world-class lunatics

Too bad they’re in the legislature. The latest wacky idea from a trio of Republicans is to require that all new bills reference the Magna Carta.

House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.

“All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,” is the bill’s one sentence.

You might be wondering why the Magna Carta . . . I think the three stooges should be wondering that, too.

Vita admitted he needs to “bone up” on the content of the charter

In other words, he has no idea what’s in the Magna Carta. I’m guessing he’s also a Christian of the the type that has a similar reverence for the contents of a document they’ve never read.

Yeah, I’ll have a little more to say about it later — especially about how this cuts just the opposite of what Republicans have been screaming about for much of the last four years.


National Radon Action Month: Test to see whether your home is safe

January 5, 2012

Press release from EPA today:

January 4, 2012

EPA Recognizes National Radon Action Month: Test for Radon Gas to Protect Health

21,000 Americans die from radon related lung cancer each year

WASHINGTON
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging Americans this January, as part of National Radon Action Month, to take simple and affordable steps to test their homes for harmful levels of radon gas. Radon, a colorless odorless gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon can seep into a home from underground and if left to accumulate, high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Improving indoor air quality by increasing awareness of environmental health risks, such as radon gas, supports healthier homes and communities.

“Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “Radon can be found in every single state. Nationally, elevated radon levels are in as many as one in 15 homes – a statistic that is even higher in some communities.”

Approximately 21,000 people die from radon related lung cancer each year in the United States, yet elevated levels of this health hazard can be prevented through these simple steps:

  • Test: EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes, both with and without basements, be tested for radon. Affordable Do-It-Yourself radon test kits are available at home improvement and hardware stores and online or a qualified radon tester can be hired.
  • Fix: EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels above 4 Picocuries per Liter (pCi/L). Addressing high radon levels often costs the same as other minor home repairs.
  • Save a Life: By testing and fixing for elevated levels of radon in your home, you can help prevent lung cancer while creating a healthier home and community.

Radon is a natural, radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can enter homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings such as holes or pipes. In addition to testing for radon, there now are safer and healthier radon-resistant construction techniques that home buyers can discuss with builders to prevent this health hazard.

In 2011, EPA announced the Federal Radon Action Plan, along with General Services Administration and the Departments of Agriculture; Defense; Energy; Health and Human Services; Housing and Urban Development; Interior; and Veterans Affairs. This action plan will demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals.

More information on how to Test, Fix, Save a Life, obtain a text kit, or contact your state radon office: http://www.epa.gov/radon or call 1-800-SOS-RADON

More information on the Federal Radon Action Plan: http://www.epa.gov/radon/action_plan.html

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