Have several seats: A US Court of Appeals just put EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in his place after he tried to delay environmental regulations on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. Despite his title, Pruitt hasn't really been much of an environmental defender, and many of his policies have been in the interest of fossil fuel industries. For now, the rule on methane stays in place, but the EPA says it could appeal the case to the Supreme Court. We'll be watching.
Son of a beach: New Jersey lawmakers weren't able to pass their budget last week just before Independence Day weekend, which mean tons of government services were MIA. State parks and beaches were shut down because of the budget issue and many were turned away from their favorite recreational spots. There was a huge exception for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who became an instant meme when he was caught lounging on the sand while everyone else watched from the sidelines. It's no surprise that Christie's approval rating has tanked. On Monday the budget was passed and people got to celebrate Independence Day in public parks just in time for the fireworks.
A toast to your health: According to doctors, if you have a daily glass wine, a beer or a cocktail it will reduce your chances of a heart attack and live longer. But is that really true or just a science-based urban legend? It's been reported that even low-levels of alcohol consumption ups the possibility of breast cancer and screws with your brain. Now, the National Institutes of Health are getting to the bottom of whether or not drinking is good for you, but their research is being sponsored by alcohol manufacturers. If this sounds like a conflict of interest that's because it is. Can the public really expect, these companies to fund a study that encourages people to stop using their product? Yeah, right.
Desperate measures: A0 severe drought has caused a near-famine in northern Kenya, making it incredibly difficult for 2.6 million people to find food. Women and girls are now placed in a vulnerable position of sex work to provide food for their families. The pay on transactional sex is low, and there has been an increase in both gender-based violence and forced marriages. But there's a way to make a difference. The International Rescue Committee is accepting donations to support the women in these communities, which supplies job education, preventative healthcare for sex workers and mental health programming. Donate to ensure that this critical humanitarian program can continue.
Lost childhood: A new report by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality says black girls are seen as older than their white peers beginning at age five. This means adults treat black girls with less sensitivity, nurture them less and deny protections. Most kids want to be seen as grown-ups, but when adults deprive some children of just being allowed to be kids it can have lifelong consequences -- more strict forms of classroom discipline, higher rates of incarceration, and stereotypes just to name a few. The major takeaway is that kids are just kids and should be treated as such, no matter their skin color.
Holler for a dollar: Republicans in Missouri must have a sick sense of humor. What they've done to the city of St. Louis' minimum wage is an absolute joke. In 2015, the city approved a pay-rate of $10 per hour, but the state just set the bar at $7.70. The state's action are technically legal because of preemption law, which basically allows them to overrule local government decisions. Now, the city is being forced to reduce wages for already low-income earners. The Fight for $15, a campaign to increase the wages to $15 per hour, has sounded off calling the state's move "disgusting."