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Celia Wexler

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About the author: Celia Wexler is a senior Washington representative for the Scientific Integrity Initiative at UCS. A former award-winning journalist, Wexler is the author of Out of the News: Former Journalists Discuss a Profession in Crisis, published in 2012 by McFarland. At UCS, Wexler’s issue portfolio includes food and drug safety, protections for scientist whistleblowers, and government transparency and accountability. See Celia's full bio.

When “Sound Science” Isn’t

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”George Orwell

When I cited that quotation while speaking to a group of students last year, many of them had a hard time grasping what I was getting at. So let me be clear. Orwell, in his classic dystopian novel, 1984, described what it was like to live under a government that believed it could change facts, and make citizens believe them. It could, for example, proclaim that two plus two equaled five, and that would become the new reality. Read More

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Transparency Advances at the Consumer Product Safety Commission

It is fitting that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently released solid, informative policies advising agency staff, including scientists, on the appropriate use of social media to both do the work of the agency and as citizens with their own opinions. Read More

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New Threats To Whistleblowers

Do you believe that an employee working at a Defense Department commissary holds a position “sensitive” to our national security? If you answered, “No,” think again. Recently a federal judge held that someone who works at a base commissary could get valuable information about troop movements by observing how many sunglasses were ordered. Really? I think a terrorist might be more likely to use Google Earth than rely on a report of sunglass supplies. Read More

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Don’t Be Fooled by the “Moderate” Tag: The Regulatory Accountability Act Threatens Federal Scientific Integrity

People of good will can disagree about the role of government in protecting the public from harm. Libertarians believe that less government is preferable, even when risks to public health and safety are substantial. Others, including many environmentalists, tend to see a much larger role for government in ensuring our access to clean air and water, and protection from toxic chemicals, tainted food, dangerous drugs and devices, and other harms. Read More

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We Don’t Have To Give Up Our Place To Special Interests: Democracy Gives Us Options

There is a practice in the Senate, primarily of corporate lobbyists, to hire low-income folks, usually minorities, to hold their place in line before Supreme Court or congressional hearings. There are firms that actually hire the standees, and contract with lobbying firms or corporations. Depending on the interest in the issue, standees can wait for hours before a hearing starts.  Last time I checked with one of them, a standee told me he earned $10 an hour. Read More

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The American Community Survey: It’s Common Sense!

UPDATE Tuesday March 19 (see below)

We at the Center for Science and Democracy believe that our democracy thrives when debate about public policy is driven by independent data. That makes our public discourse more rational, and more civil. When information guides our public policies they also are more likely to be effective and well-thought-out. Read More

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Putting the Interests of Patients First: Conference Endorses Science-Focused Health Care

It’s not often that some of the best and most creative minds in medicine, medical ethics and healthcare all gather in one place. It’s even more rare when all these individuals are gathered together to focus on one problem—undue corporate influence on the treatment of patients in the U.S. Read More

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Shining A Light On Physician Payments: Delayed Rule Imperfect But Useful

Back in 2010, when Congress approved the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” it included a requirement to help all of us become more knowledgeable about our health care, and to reduce unacceptable conflicts of interest between physicians and drug and device makers. Read More

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All The Science News That Fits? The New York Times Disbands Its Environment Desk

Our new Center for Science and Democracy promotes evidence-based decision-making by our elected officials, guided by an informed public. But democratic discourse depends on journalism, too; to govern themselves, citizens need access to independent information. Read More

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Compounding The Problem

If you want to see what a world without regulatory safeguards looks like, you don’t have to look far. The current and evolving outbreak of fungal meningitis tied to one large compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts is a case study in what happens when state and federal regulators fail. It also shows what can happen when conflicts of interest get in the way of regulation based on the best available science. Read More

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