100 EPA Officials Turned Their Lunch Break Into A Rally To Protest Their New Boss

“I think Pruitt will shackle us”

There’s a revolt underway at the Environmental Protection Agency. In what is being called the first public protest of federal employees against President Donald Trump’s administration, roughly 100 current EPA employees used their lunch break Monday to rally outside of the agency’s Chicago office. Joined by a couple hundred other supporters gathered in solidarity, the protesters called for the senate to reject Trump’s nominee Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator. These protectors of our air, water, and climate are so worried about the threat to their agency’s mission and their lives’ work, that they aren't afraid of publicly calling out the man who could soon be their boss.

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]The EPA needs to be able to enforce the rules when companies are breaking the law.[/quote]

“I think Pruitt will shackle us,” Sherry Estes, an EPA enforcement attorney, told Reuters. “The EPA needs to be able to enforce the rules when companies are breaking the law.”

According to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in comments to the AP, this marks the first time that current EPA employees had publicly criticized Pruitt or the Trump administration, adding, “Between Scott Pruitt and the EPA workforce, you have a mutual lack-of-admiration society.”

Earlier on Monday, a group of 447 former EPA officials published an open letter to senators, urging a vote against Pruitt’s confirmation. The former employees—including regional administrators, attorneys, scientists, and librarians from both Republican and Democratic administrations—called out Pruitt’s track record as attorney general of Oklahoma, a record that reflects a chronic opposition to the enforcement of federal environmental laws, and a skepticism, if not outright denial, of the scientific consensus on climate change.

A few highlights from the three-page letter:

Pruitt’s hostility to environmental protections is unprecedented in a nominee to run the EPA, and a more complete background of his history of fossil fuel industry favors can be read in this “get to know” portrait from last month. Monday’s letter from former EPA officials recalls a scathing quote from William K. Reilly, who was head of the agency under President George H.W. Bush. Reilly told Yale Environment 360 that “(there) has never been a more explicit and opposing interpretation of the authority and responsibility of EPA by an EPA nominee.”

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Between Scott Pruitt and the EPA workforce, you have a mutual lack-of-admiration society.[/quote]

Last week, Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works boycotted a Wednesday vote, denying the committee the quorum necessary to advance the confirmation vote to the full senate. Republicans quickly changed the rules to quash the boycott, and voted unanimously to endorse Pruitt. The full senate is expected to vote on Pruitt later this week—meaning that now is a good time to call your senators and urge them to reject #PollutingPruitt.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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