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+ - Fire retardants: ineffective, possibly dangerous, pushed by Big Tobacco->

Submitted by dalosla
dalosla (2568583) writes "The Chicago Tribune has a 4 part series on flame retardants in furniture. Their widespread use started when tobacco companies pushed the use of flame retardants to divert pressure from developing a safer cigarette, one less prone to starting fires. They secretly funded organizations that would support their goals, and one of their consultants helped create the National Association of State Fire Marshals. He influenced the organization's agenda while hiding his connections to the tobacco industry. These days, chemical companies that sell flame retardants have taken over the roll of advocating continued use flame retardants. However, flame retardants in furniture foam don't stop fires the real world, where upholstery readily ignites, and they might contribute to serious health problems. This appears to be yet another case of corporations secretly and not so secretly bending public policy to support themselves, even if it is to the detriment of the general public.

Part 1 came out Monday, and part 2 came out today, so stay tuned for the rest. It seems like every week the Tribune has a new front-page story on some political or corporate outrage. Too bad they have so much material to choose from. It makes me appreciate once again the roll of an independent press. Support your local investigative reporter!"

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+ - Astroturfing for Speed Cameras->

Submitted by dalosla
dalosla (2568583) writes "Chicago's mayor is pushing to change red light cameras near schools and parks into speed cameras. Just about everybody sees it as a cash grab by the city. Today's Chicago Tribune has an article about how the expanded speed camera program would benefit Redflex, the company that Greg Goldner, one of the mayor's long time political supporters lobbies for. This is of merely local interest, but of wider interest in the article would be information about Goldner's astroturfing for Redflex around the country. Redflex is the sole financial supporter for the Traffic Safety Coalition, a "grassroots" organization to promote more traffic camera usage and fight any attempts to restrict such cameras. Goldner has already successfully facilitated the killing of one anti-camera ballot measure in Texas."
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