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Between the killer whale that drowned a SeaWorld trainer in February to Monday’s tragic mine explosion that killed at least 25 people in West Virginia, stories about workplace hazards have been dominating the airwaves. Luckily, Public Citizen is here to keep track of them.

Our Workplace Health & Safety Digest tracks the latest in occupational policies and hazards, from the Protecting America’s Workers Act (or PAWA) legislation introduced in Congress to fines dished out by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

You can receive roundups of workplace news e-mailed to you and visit our online archive of stories.

Sign up now to stay up-to-date with the nation’s on-the-job happenings.

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In this recent Huffington Post article from Ryan Grim, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) compares the creation of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Apparently, conservatives like Hatch think that comparing the CFPA to the federal regulator charged with preventing big business from destroying the environment and exposing the public to toxic chemicals is a good argument against it. Seriously. Does anyone actually think we would be better off without an EPA, or if industries had MORE freedom to pollute?

While so many Americans struggle in today’s gloomy economy– in no small part as a result of the toxic banking products polluting our economic environment — it’s more important than ever to realize that what’s good for Wall Street’s bottom line isn’t necessarily what’s good for the rest of us. Just like we need an agency to keep mercury and lead out of our drinking water, we need one to keep exploding mortgages and predatory loans out of our communities.

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USA Today’s Ken Dilanian, Tom Vanden Brook and Ray Locker reported today on retired military officers being employed as by a company that helps contractors win Pentagon contracts. At the same time, these same retired officers are also being employed by the military to help run war games:

In a marketplace awash in consulting firms that help defense companies sell to the Pentagon, the Durango Group has a unique advantage.

The Colorado-based firm has become a base of operations for retired officers who also are handsomely paid by the military for their advice. No other defense consulting firm employs more “senior mentors” than Durango. Of the 59 former officers who work for Durango, 15 also serve as mentors, a USA TODAY investigation found.

As Durango associates, the retired officers are paid to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts. As mentors, the retirees are paid by the military to help run war games, which also gives them access to classified strategies and weapons systems. Durango cites these mentoring assignments on its website as signs of its associates’ unique connections. (more…)

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gummy teethHere in Public Citizen’s press office, we’re always keeping an eye out for Public Citizen’s appearance in the media. Here are some recent highlights:

In “K Street, watchdogs praise new lobbying rules” in TheHill.com, David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, weighs in on a new White House policy on lobbying and economic stimulus spending.

(more…)

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