Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks


On This Day: February 4

Rosa Parks
Born: February 4, 1913
Died: October 24, 2005
Age: 92 years old
Birthplace: Tuskegee, AL, United States
Occupation: Activist

Read Rosa Parks’ biography >>

Thoughts and prayers

After yet another horrific tragedy in Fort Hood this week, we here at the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility would like to offer our thoughts and prayers for all of those affected by this terrible event.

But we know all too well that our thoughts and prayers aren’t enough — we have to offer something more. It is times like this that we are reminded that only together can we address gun violence in our communities, here in our state and across the nation.

Fort Hood Needs More than Our Prayers

We in Washington State are standing together and taking the first step in addressing this problem: We’re going to bring I-594, which would apply existing background checks to all firearm sales in Washington, to the ballot in November.

Take a stand. Join us. Become part of the solution at our Ju‌ne 2‌n‌d event — just click here to RSVP.

In the face of these tragedies, we need to join hands and work together to make our state safer — and we can’t do it without you.

Thank you,

Zach Silk
Campaign Manager
Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility


IMMIGRATION: a repost from 2010 ThinkProgrss

The Neo-Know Nothings

In the heat of the fiery debate over Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB-1070, a new attack on immigrant rights is burgeoning within the Republican Party. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined a growing number of GOP policymakers seeking to review or revoke the citizenship clause of 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” While the call to revoke this birthright citizenship was traditionally confined to fringe political parties and right-wing demagogues, the rising call to repeal the amendment is becoming a mantra of the Republican mainstream. But in championing reform of birthright citizenship, Republican lawmakers are directly undermining “revered U.S. constitutional traditions” and reversing “one of our nation’s unique achievements, embodied in the current president and many others: that descent does not mean destiny.”

FRINGE POLITICS: The effort to revoke birthright citizenship has traditionally been a tenet of fringe, right-wing political groups. Indeed, the anti-immigrant bigotry expressed by contemporary right-wing radicals like former congressman Tom Tancredo reflects the xenophobia present around the time that the 14th Amendment was adopted. In the 1840s and 1850s, the nativist, anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party “rose to prominence” at the “zenith of Boston’s anti-Irish feeling” by opposing “foreign immigration” of Irish Catholics and believing that “Americans must rule America.” As Mother Jones’ Jen Phillips points out, “when you substitute the tea party for the Know Nothings, and Mexicans and Latinos for the Irish, and Phoenix for Boston,” the Know Nothing stance provides a “pretty accurate” reflection of today’s right-wing anti-immigrant sentiment. Another long-standing radical group, the John Birch Society, has been “speaking out” against immigration since 1963 and has called for “congressional action to end automatic birthright citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants.” While the Society insists it represents a mainstream members “from all walks of life,” conservative leader William Buckley “famously denounced” the Society in the early 1960s as “‘idiotic’ and ‘paranoid.’” Now, the Tea Party has picked up the banner, with Kentucky Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul (R) insisting that the constitutional right to citizenship “should be stopped.” A tell-tale sign of the radical nature of today’s right-wing demagoguery is the increasingly virulent rhetoric, characterizing undocumented workers as an “invading army,” using children to secure public benefits and demonizing them as “anchor babies,” a “politically charged term” used to “make these children sound non-human” and “to spark resentment against immigrants.” A “widely circulated” and blatantly sexist email by Minutemen member and Patriots Coalition founder Al Garza said “we need to target the mother” to address “the anchor baby racket” because “men don’t drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do.” Last year, Fox News host Glenn Beck sought to legitimize this sentiment, saying “the anchor baby thing has hacked me off…that baby is a child. It’s an anchor. It’s an anchor to stay here. … Why do we have automatic citizenship upon birth?”

MAINSTREAMING THE FRINGE: While previously relegated to the margins of the right wing, Republican policymakers are now embracing the extreme viewpoint and bringing the “anchor baby,” anti-birthright rhetoric into the legislative arena. After crafting the draconian SB-1070 law, Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce (R) has set his sights on an “anchor baby bill” — because granting citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil is somehow an “outrageous” “violation of the 14th Amendment.” Despite the twisted logic, Pearce’s idea echoes a burgeoning trend on Capitol Hill. Since 1995, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) has tried and failed seven times to pass legislation that would repeal or reinterpret the 14th Amendment. Reflecting growing popularity, Bilbray is receiving help from senior Republican Rep. Lamar Smith (TX), whose legislation to deny birthright citizenship has 93 cosponsors, including House Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (GA). While these efforts have precedent in the House, the notion of 14th Amendment revision is now taking hold in the Senate. Once thought to be a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced last week that he is considering a constitutional amendment to overturn birthright citizenship because that constitutional right is “a mistake.” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) supported congressional hearings into the amendment that would question whether citizenship is “a reward” for “illegal behavior.” And Sen. McCain (R-AZ), who once preferred a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants over “pleas[ing] the political extremists,” joined his colleagues in calling for hearings against the amendment. In embracing a traditionally radical idea, these senators have moved to the right of outspoken immigration hawks like Lou Dobbs, who insist that “the rule of law” requires recognizing children of undocumented immigrants as “citizens of this country.”

CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION: In their rush to eradicate birthright citizenship from the Constitution, Republican lawmakers are “squarely outside the American tradition.” As a Center for American Progress (CAP) report explains, the conservatives base their exclusive view on “specious” legal reasoning around the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, which found that “only descendants of those fortunate enough to be embraced by the founding generation could claim citizenship.” Conservatives insist that the framers of the 14th Amendment rectified the citizenship issue solely for slave descendants and did not intend it to be extended to immigrants. But, as the CAP report notes, framers of the 14th Amendment “explicitly rejected” that notion of America as a “country club.” As one framer put it at the time, “we are entirely ready to accept” that under the proposed amendment, “children born here” of immigrant parents “shall be declared by the Constitution of the United States to be entitled to civil rights and to equal protection before the law with others.” In two landmark decisions, the Supreme Court verified this “clear constitutional mandate” of birthright citizenship, ruling in 1982 that the “fourteenth amendment extends to anyone, citizen or stranger” regardless if “a person’s initial entry into a State, or the United States, was unlawful.” Not only would Republican efforts overturn the Supreme Court’s “time-tested reading” of the Constitution, but their “regressive approach” would have practical implications on American competitiveness, as evidenced by Germany’s restrictions on citizenship for migrant workers. Now, in Germany, “nearly half of foreign students” and “most children from migratory backgrounds, are assigned to the lowest educational track (Hauptschule), which primarily prepares them for low-skilled jobs.” Germany also has the largest disparity in an OECD study that examines immigrant versus native student academic performance. In “a startling contrast,” the majority of the 40 finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search were first-generation Americans, children of immigrants born on U.S. soil. By removing the constitutional citizenship right, Republicans would flout the Constitution and risk undermining unique achievement within the American citizenry.

Oncologist had discussions with Merck this week, and they rejected our request

Greetings from Mikaela & I, especially to the 200,000+ who’ve joined our team since our previous email update! At 405,000, we now outnumber our old hometown of Oakland, CA!

For both new and established #WeGotThis members, it’s essential that you join us on Facebook (, our blog (, and Twitter ( We post regular updates and requests for help on these pages, and you’ll miss great shareable content like the #WeGotThis video ( if you don’t join us!

You’ll find an update on Mikaela’s health & campaign progress later in this email, but we urgently need your help:

1. Mikaela’s Million — We are working with the folks on planning a day for us to deliver your petitions directly to Merck. Because doing this will require me to leave Mikaela, I want to maximize the impact by having 1,000,000 petitions to hand over. If each of you can get 1-2 of your friends or family to sign the petition, we’ll be able to hit this number easily. Please do it today; Mikaela does not have time to wait.

2. #WeGotThis shirts — Inspired by successful campaigns of the past, we are selling #WeGotThis t-shirts to help fund our campaign. They were designed by Mikaela herself and are available for $15 at They are only available until Tuesday (April 8), so buy yours today! The petition URL is on the back of the shirt, so these will be a great way to spread the word with your local community.

3. Social Media Crew: We want to start engaging directly with Merck through their social channels, but we need your help to amplify our noise. If you’re interested in getting involved with this effort, please shoot me an email ( and I’ll add you to our #WeGotThis social media email list. You’ll be prompted to share things like ready-made tweets, so it won’t be a huge time commitment. Before you sign up, please understand that Mikaela & I value the positive tone of the campaign, and will in no way be asking you to attack these companies through their social channels; in fact, we wholeheartedly discourage it.

On to the updates:

First, Mikaela’s health — SHE’S BACK HOME! It always takes her several days to recover from a hospital stay, so she ought to be fully settled by the end of the weekend. We posted a picture of her triumphant return on the #WeGotThis Facebook page, which you should definitely be following for more regular updates than these emails — visit and hit that “LIKE” button right now!

Our fundraiser ( has been a success and we should have our genetic test results within 2 weeks! Thanks to all who donated and those who continue to do so!

Next, an update on our campaign: We’ve had a productive, yet unsuccessful, week of seeking entry into more clinical trials, and we now feel comfortable saying that we have lost all hope on that front. We are shifting the entirety of our efforts to arranging compassionate use with Merck.

Just to be clear, Mikaela’s return home does NOT mean that we have won access to the treatment she needs. Our oncologist had discussions with Merck this week, and they rejected our request for compassionate use. We are not giving up, and our Congressman’s office is working with Merck & the FDA to find ways to assuage their concerns.

Thanks for your continued love and support. Mikaela & I are overcome by the personal level of interest many of you have shown in our cause. Your stories of not giving up and beating cancer fuel our fight, and you’re all playing an essential part in helping us to craft a similar story of our own someday.

With hope for a great week.


Toxic Fashions

Sometime around the 21st  of November in 2012, Greenpeace discovered and exposed Zara as one of maybe many companies using manufacturers that have toxic chemicals in their clothing… 

On the 29th of November,  a statement of commitment from Zara’s manufacturing company to toxic-free fashion ~~ below  Clothes rack

Achieving the Zero Discharge

        Inditex‘s commitment, in connection with the use of chemical substances in the manufacturing process of its products, is reflected in its chemical policy, which establishes restrictions and prohibitions in the use of these substances.

        So far, this policy has been developed and periodically updated in conformity with the most demanding international legislation and in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The policy regulates not only those “substances whose use is legally limited” and which, if present in the product above certain levels, could be hazardous for human health, such as: Formaldehyde, Arylamines, Phenols (PCP, TeCP), Cadmium, Lead, Chromium (VI), Nickel, Allergenic Dyes, among others; additionally, it limits the use of certain parameters not contemplated by the effective legislation, such as: Organochlorinated Compounds and Isocyanates. In order to guarantee the compliance of said policy by Inditex’s suppliers, Inditex carries out audits and regular inspections of the production processes and continuous reviews of the products.

        INDITEX Commitment to Zero Discharge

        27th November 2012

        In line with Inditex’s long-term sustainability program Inditex recognizes the urgent need for eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals (1).  According to its approach based on prevention (2) and the Precautionary Principle (3) Inditex is committed to zero discharges (4) of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of all products Inditex sells (5) by 01 January 2020. Inditex recognises that to achieve this goal, mechanisms for disclosure and transparency about the hazardous chemicals used in its global supply chain are important and necessary, in line with the ‘Right to Know principle’ (6). In line with this principle Inditex will increase the public availability and transparency of its restricted substance list and audit process and will set up public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain.

        Inditex also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chain and the lifecycles of products) within one generation (7) or less. This commitment includes sustained investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on systemic change and to affect system change across the industry towards this goal.

        The 2020 goal also demands the collective action of industry, as well as engagement of regulators and other stakeholders. To this end, Inditex will work with other companies in the apparel sector and other brands it could sell, as well as material suppliers, the broader chemical industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

        Inditex understands the scope of the commitment to be a long term vision – with short term practice to be defined by the following individual action plan:

        Individual action plan.

        1. Supply-chain disclosure.

        In line with Inditex’s commitment to the public’s ‘right to know’ the chemical substances used within its global supply-chain and the products it sells, Inditex will be taking the following actions:

        1. publish its updated ‘Restricted Substances List’ and audit processes by the end of April 2013, and annually thereafter.        

        2. begin public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain via individual facility level disclosure of chemical use and discharges data, to be achieved via an incremental process, beginning with the following actions:

        i) by no later than end of March 2013 public disclosure of at least 10 Chinese supplier facilities, plus at least 10 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (i.e. 20 facilities in total);        

        ii) by no later than December 2013, at least another 30 Chinese  supplier facilities (in addition to the facilities in i) above), plus at least another50 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (in addition to the facilities in i) above, i.e. 100 facilities in total;

        using a credible public online platform, with full facility transparency (i.e.  location and individual data of facilities) and covering at least the hazardous chemicals within the 11 priority groups of chemicals (8)


        2. APEO elimination policy.

        Inditex recognises the intrinsic hazardousness of all APEOs, and therefore acknowledges it is a priority to eliminate their use across its global supply chain. There are multiple supply-chain pathways for potential APEO contamination (including chemical formulations). Inditex will enhance both training and auditing of its supply-chain in conjunction with other global brands, as well as ensuring its suppliers have the latest information on APEOs,  highlighting where there is a risk that APEOs may enter into the undocumented contamination of chemical supplier formulations.

        In addition to these actions, Inditex will enforce its APEO ban with the following actions:

        i. initiate an investigation into the current compliance to this requirement, reporting the findings to the public and simultaneously strengthening its supplier legal agreement language to ensure only APEO-free chemical formulations are utilized by the end of April 2013,

        ii. work with its supply chain and other global industry leaders, to ensure the most current technological limits of detection are reflected via the lowest detectable limits within its testing regimes.


        3. Perfluorocarbon (PFC) elimination policy.

        In application of the precautionary principle, and recognizing that enough scientific evidence is available pointing towards a recognizable hazard posed by PFCs, Inditex commits to impose a ban on PFOS, PFOA, their salts and derivatives, and  telomeric alcohols by January 2013. This prohibition includes the manufacturing of any products Inditex sells.

        With respect to the use of PFCs, Inditex agrees to the following actions:

        i. Inditex commits to eliminate C8, C7, C6 PFC based substances in manufacturing, and in any of the products it sells no later than the end of 2013.

        ii. Inditex commits to work with suitable technical / scientific partners and stakeholders to find safer, non-fluorinated alternatives in the shortest timespan possible, with the goal of substituting all perfluorocarbon compounds with suitable, non-hazardous, non-fluorinated alternatives.

        iii.    The timelines for the elimination of all remaining PFCs will be as follows: elimination of 50% of all remaining PFCs (from the base of PFCs used as of 2012) used by January 2015; and the total elimination of all PFC use in manufacturing and in products by the end of 2015.

        The elimination of all PFC use by the products it sells will be supported by:

        i. A review of all products it produces to ensure there are no PFCs in the products we sell,

        ii. a rigorous system of control to ensure that no traces of PFCs find their way into its supply chain in line with the above.


        4. Targets for other hazardous chemicals.

        Inditex commits to regularly review the science of the chemicals used in the textiles/apparel industry and periodically update its chemical policy, at least annually, to further restrict or ban chemicals, as new evidence on their impact becomes available.

        In this context, its recognizes the need to not only report to the public the evidence of elimination of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals identified as a priority but also set clear intermediate progress targets on the elimination of hazardous chemicals (beyond these 11 priority chemical groups) and the introduction of non-hazardous chemicals by 2015 on the road to elimination by 01 January 2020.

        Inditex will also ensure that it is part of an industry wide approach to ensure the use of chemicals in the products its sells and that is managed responsibly and in line with the above commitment, and in particular the intrinsic hazards approach. In line with this, Inditex commits to reinforce the work of the sectoral chemical inventory and hazardous substance black list, aiming to establish this inventory, and the black list, based on an intrinsically hazardous screening methodology, by no later than December 2013.

        The individual actions covered above will be reassessed by Inditex at regular intervals – at least annually.


        5. Further Actions.

        Within 8 weeks of the public release of this commitment, Inditex will publish further actions for its Individual Action Plan:

        Including a number of substitution case studies (e.g. where in the past, or currently, Inditex has substituted any of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals as per below (8), with others non-hazardous chemicals) via a credible format (e.g. ‘Subsport system’).

      Download – Further actions included in the Individual Action Plan (updated as of 1st February 2013)


         (1) All hazardous chemicals means all those that show intrinsically hazardous properties: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT); very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB); carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (CMR); endocrine disruptors (ED), or other properties of equivalent concern, (not just those that have been regulated or restricted in other regions). This will require establishing – ideally with other industry actors – a corresponding list of the hazardous chemicals concerned that will be regularly reviewed.

        (2) This means solutions are focused on elimination of use at source, not on end-of-pipe or risk management. This requires either substitution with non-hazardous chemicals or where necessary finding non- chemical alternative solutions, such as re-evaluating product design or the functional need for chemicals.        

        (3) This means taking preventive action before waiting for conclusive scientific proof regarding cause and effect between the substance (or activity) and the damage. It is based on the assumption that some hazardous substances cannot be rendered harmless by the receiving environment (i.e. there are no ‘environmentally acceptable’/’safe’ use or discharge levels) and that prevention of potentially serious or irreversible damage is required, even in the absence of full scientific certainty. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, substitution through the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist. The Precautionary Principle is applied across all products sold by Inditex (and any entities directed by, or licenced by the Inditex “Group” of entities).

        (4) Zero discharge means elimination of all releases, via all pathways of release, i.e. discharges, emissions and losses, from its supply chain and its products.  “Elimination” or “zero” means ‘not detectable, to the limits of current technology’, and only naturally occurring background levels are acceptable.

        (5) This means the commitment applies to the environmental practices of the entire company (group, and all entities it directs or licences) and for all products sold by Inditex or any of its subsidiaries. This includes all its suppliers or facilities horizontally across all owned brands and licensed companies as well as vertically down its supply chain.

        (6) Right to Know is defined as practices that allow members of the public access to environmental information – in this case specifically about the uses and discharges of chemicals based on reported quantities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, chemical-by-chemical, facility-by-facility, at least year-by-year.

        (7) One generation is generally regarded as 20-25 years.

        (8) the 11 priority hazardous chemical groups are : 1. Alkylphenols 2. Phthalates 3.Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants 4. Azo dyes 5. Organotin compounds 6. Perfluorinated chemicals 7. Chlorobenzenes 8. Chlorinated solvents 9. Chlorophenols 10. Short chain chlorinated paraffins 11. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and chromium (VI).

Stay tuned in to see if they are able to succeed … Be a Seed for Change

written 2012