January 20th, 2011

Knives for a pro.

Wal-Mart Shifts Strategy to Promote Healthy Foods

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, will announce a five-year plan on Thursday to make thousands of its packaged foods lower in unhealthy salts, fats and sugars, and to drop prices on fruits and vegetables.

The initiative came out of discussions the company has been having with Michelle Obama, the first lady, who will attend the announcement in Washington and has made healthy eating and reducing childhood obesity the centerpiece of her agenda. Aides say it is the first time Mrs. Obama has thrown her support behind the work of a single company.

The plan, similar to efforts by other companies and to public health initiatives by New York City, sets specific targets for lowering sodium, trans fats and added sugars in a broad array of foods — including rice, soups, canned beans, salad dressings and snacks like potato chips — packaged under the company’s house brand, Great Value.

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New York Times
Catsby down under.

Officers Down

What happens to Camden, N.J., now that it's lost half its police force?

Recently, the police chiefs of five major Northeastern cities gathered privately at a Philadelphia hotel to brainstorm ways for the Camden, N.J., police department to weather the impending layoff of nearly half its police force.

Among the solutions they came up with, according to Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy, were to have Camden partner with federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency; streamline the bureaucracy so each precinct operates independently rather than answering to a larger bureau; and try to build morale among the remaining officers. When Newark cut its force in 2010, McCarthy says, he looked at its thinned ranks as a positive change. "We've become like the U.S. Marine Corps, that does everything with nothing," he says.

But Camden's getting hit a lot harder than Newark. Newark lost 164 officers, or 16 percent of its police force. On Tuesday, Camden's budget crisis forced the city to lay off 168 officers, cutting its force by 46 percent. (Camden also laid off 67 firefighters and more than 100 other municipal workers.) As a result, the city's police chief says his department can't respond to traffic accidents in which no injuries are reported. Same with vandalism and petty theft. Long-term investigations will take a back seat to short-term emergencies.

Camden may be the most drastic example of police cutbacks in recent memory. But it likely won't be the last. "Given the national financial situation at state and local levels, we may see more of these," says Samuel Walker, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Which raises the question: What can cities like Camden, a drug-trafficking mecca billed as the second most dangerous city in America, do when faced with cuts? Is it possible for police departments to "do more with less"?

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king rad

Hospital Visitation Rights Become Right-er

Hospital Visitation Rights for Gay, Lesbian Partners Take Effect

Patients at nearly every hospital in the country will now be allowed to decide who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf -- regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or family makeup -- under new federal regulations that took effect Tuesday.

The rules, which apply to hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, were first proposed by President Obama in an April memorandum and later implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services after a period of public review.

They represent a landmark advance in the rights of same-sex couples and domestic partners who heretofore had no legal authority to be with a hospitalized partner because they were either not a blood relative or spouse.

Hospitals must now inform patients, or an attending friend or family member, of their rights to visitors of their choosing. The policy also prohibits discrimination against visitors based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

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Source is still surprised at the North Carolina thing
  • luomo

The End of New Deal Liberalism

We have reached a pivotal moment in government and politics, and it feels like the last, groaning spasms of New Deal liberalism. When the party of activist government, faced with an epic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disorders and heal deepening social deterioration, then it must be the end of the line for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson.

Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by American capitalism. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of corporate and financial interests. Collectively, the corporate sector has its arms around both political parties, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media.

What the capitalist system wants is more—more wealth, more freedom to do whatever it wishes. This has always been its instinct, unless government intervened to stop it. The objective now is to destroy any remaining forms of government interference, except of course for business subsidies and protections. Many elected representatives are implicitly enlisted in the cause.

A lot of Americans seem to know this; at least they sense that the structural reality of government and politics is not on their side. When the choice comes down to society or capitalism, society regularly loses. First attention is devoted to the economic priorities of the largest, most powerful institutions of business and finance. The bias comes naturally to Republicans, the party of money and private enterprise, but on the big structural questions business-first also defines Democrats, formerly the party of working people. Despite partisan rhetoric, the two parties are more alike than they acknowledge.


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Think Progress caught up with some GOP House members who are for repealing health care reform but refuse to give up their government-sponsored health benefits.

Writes TP: "In sum, only eight GOP congressman, or three percent of all House Republicans, have opted out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. One Republican loudly complained about having his own government-sponsored health insurance delayed approximately four weeks. But most GOPers have quietly continued to accept government-sponsored health care while loudly decrying the government’s role in helping provide health care to a segment of the American public."

How can Obama be pro-abortion? He's BLACK!

Here's a gem of a moment from Rick Santorum's interview with CNS News in which Santorum expresses his dismay that Barack Obama won't oppose abortion because, according to Santorum's logic, Blacks and fetuses have faced similar persecution under the Constitution because at some point both have not been recognized as persons.

Said Santorum: "The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer, is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well if that person — human life — is not a person, then, I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, 'we're going to decide who are people and who are not people.'"


GLBT Musuem Celebrates A Lie, Ignores The Truth

One pro-family leader in California says the state's new museum that celebrates homosexuality is a "propaganda porch."

San Francisco's GLBT History Museum is the first institution in the United States to openly commemorate the "gay," bisexual, and transgender movement. The 1,600-square-foot museum, located in the city's Castro District, will display items like Harvey Milk's pink sunglasses and sex toys, along with documents that memorialize the movement.

But Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, laments that the museum will be home to radical agendas.

"This is not so much a museum; this is a propaganda porch," he contends. "There [are] going to be some people who want to believe in lies while they're visiting, but anybody interested in real history is going to find so many pages ripped out of that book."

Thomasson further argues that the museum fails to mention the truth about alternate lifestyles, as it omits information about the AIDS epidemic, sexual crimes, and molestation, as well as the trampling of fundamental and religious rights in the name of "equality." Nonetheless, he believes the museum will continue to receive funding.

"I believe they'll have the money to keep this place open because it will become sort of a Mecca to them," the pro-family leader suggests. "And it's unfortunate -- celebrating a lie instead of acknowledging the truth."

The GLBT Historical Society currently relies on donations and volunteers to keep the museum open.


French Constitutional Council will debate gay marriage

A lesbian couple challenged the ban on gay marriage in France last May and expects to hear a statement from the French Constitutional Council by the end of January, according to Pink News.

Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hablau entered into a civil union 10 years ago and now have four children. They live in a village outside of Reims.

Lawyer for the couple Emmanuel Ludor said “They want to get married because they consider it an essential tool for building a family.”

The high court said gay marriage is “now the subject of wide debate in society, in particular because of the evolution of manners and recognition of marriage between same sex legislation in several foreign countries,” and suggested the case to be forwarded to the Constitutional council, according to Pink News.

Currently in France, gay couples can get a form of civil union called “Pacte Civil de Solidarité” (PACS) or “Civil Solidarity Pacts.”

MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

House Republicans: We love fetuses more than women, yay!!!

Health Care Debate Turns to Abortion Funding
By Brian Montopoli

On the heels of the House vote to repeal the health care reform law, Republicans turned Thursday to the issue of abortion, holding a morning press conference on the planned "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who led a press conference on the bill, said it would "make clear that taxpayer funding of elective abortion will not be the policy of this government."

The current law, he said, "does not reflect he will of the American people." Added the speaker: "Our members feel very strongly about the sanctity of human life."

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House Leadership Puts Anti-Choice Attacks Ahead of Jobs and the Economy
“Stupak on Steroids” proposal gets top billing, one day after House votes to repeal health-reform law

Washington, D.C. – Today, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said House leadership confirmed that attacking a woman’s right to choose will be a top priority in the new Congress. The proposed “Stupak on Steroids” bill received the designation H.R.3, signaling its importance to the anti-choice leadership.

“The news today is from Capitol Hill, but it might as well have come from another planet,” Keenan said. “As candidates, these lawmakers told voters they wanted to focus on creating jobs while limiting the role of government in our lives. Now, as these politicians take control of the House, they want to be able to interfere in our personal, private decisions, especially a woman’s right to choose. They are out of touch with our country’s values and priorities. What happened to the jobs agenda? How many people will be employed as part of their campaign to attack a woman’s right to choose?”

The politicians who “headlined” the event where the bill was introduced came from both political parties, including Rep. Dan Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Reps. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania. Pitts was hand-picked by anti-choice groups to serve as chair of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over many programs important to women’s health.

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Yeah, the second source is obviously slanted pro-choice, but a) I'm pretty okay with that, and b) This was the most detailed article I could find on what the proposed bill would probably entail (assuming it's similar to a bill from last year).

We WON! We Have Been Liberated from Socialized Medicine!!! Republican Pixie Fairy Dust works again!

Senate? What Senate? We dont Need no stinking Senate or the Constitution!

Republicans Claim To Have 'Repealed Obamacare' -- Except They Didn't

Republicans were pretty excited about yesterday's House vote to repeal health care reform. A bit too excited.

"WE JUST REPEALED OBAMACARE!" Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) tweeted in all caps
, exhibiting the same exuberance with which he screamed at President Obama during last year's State of the Union address.

Sarah Palin aide Rebecca Mansour retweeted an ally who tipped his hat. "Governor Palin's hard work and sacrifice made today's repeal of ObamaCare possible. Please tell the Governor Thank You."

One correct response to these statements is, "YOU LIE!"

Because they forgot about that part of the Constitution where bills can't become laws if the Senate doesn't do anything. And the Senate hasn't done anything.
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Kidnapped Baby Carlina White Reunited with Mother After 23 Years

Carlina White has excellent instincts.  The 23-year-old recently solved the mystery of her own kidnapping and was reunited with her birth mother, Joy White.  Carlina was born in Harlem Hospital on August 4, 1987 and stolen from the maternity ward.  It’s unclear who actually abducted Carlina, but she was raised by a woman named Cassandra Pettway, who now lives in Georgia.  Carlina was reared in Connecticut under the alias Nejdra Nance.  Understandably, Carlina feels no sympathy for her “bogus” mother, as The New York Daily News describes her.  She told reporters, “I want her to suffer.  I want her to do some time, like I suffered for 23 years.”

What is most remarkable about Carlina’s story is that her own doubts about her identity led her to solve her cold case.  According to the Daily News, “she began questioning whether she was really Pettway’s kin after her 16th birthday.”  Carlina’s suspicions were confirmed when she became pregnant at age 19 and “asked her fake mom for some paperwork on her background.”  Carlina says that was when “That lady told me she wasn’t my mother.”

Carlina began looking for herself on missing children sites, contacting the center for missing children in late December.  According to the Daily News, police “found three possible matches – including the 1987 hospital abduction.”  DNA tests were taken and matched Tuesday night, confirming that Joy White and Carl Tyson are indeed Carlina’s parents.  Joy, Carl, Carlina and her 5-year-old daughter, Samani, are getting to know each other this week in New York.  An incredible ending to an unbelivable journey!



A Chance to Change the Way We Look at Mental Illness

Written by Bassey Ikpi

Nigerian born poet/writer, mental health advocate.


I spent most of 2003 on the floor of various hotel rooms, my body balled into a tight fist. Depression was winding itself around my neck, daring me to breathe. Other times, I was lava and mania pulsating from my belly, rising with each moment until my brain was a spinning dervish. Those moments, which occurred while I toured with a Tony Award-winning show, ate at me -- feasted on my blood like the cruelest of vampires. I felt out of control. I was out of control -- never certain who I'd be when I woke up. Would I be the hyperactive, mile a minute, unable-to-stop-talking-or-thinking-long-enough-to-sleep-or-die girl? Or would I wake up the woman already steps from death? There were nights I lay in bed, eyes closed, willing my heart to stop. Anything to bring peace. Depression and hypomania were rude house guests, visiting and leaving without warning or introduction. I had spent most of my life this way. I'd learned to choreograph the moments when the depression hit. I'd use that time to sleep. And when the hypomania came rushing in, I'd use that time to work on the things the depression allowed me to put off. It was a perfect choreography; a scale that kept my life balanced for years. Until it didn't.
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Enforcing 'DADT' Cost The U.S. Military $200 Million Over Five Years

Discrimination turns out to be very expensive.

The Stars and Stripes reports on new numbers from the GAO:

The figure includes roughly $53,000 for each of the 3,664 gay servicemembers dismissed from fiscal 2004 through fiscal 2009.

According to the report, the majority of the expense came from recruiting replacements and retraining the new troops. More than a third of the discharged troops held “skills in critical occupations.” That included 23 language experts, whose training included years of language proficiency work prior to their dismissal.

But GAO researchers also estimated that the ban on openly gay troops also cost almost $8 million in administrative expenses. That includes legal work, commanders’ inquiries, pastoral counseling of servicemembers, and processing of separation paperwork.

Jemmy Rivington


Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798


The ink was barely dry on the PPACA when the first of many lawsuits to block the mandated health insurance provisions of the law was filed in a Florida District Court.

The pleadings, in part, read -

The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage.

State of Florida, et al. vs. HHS

It turns out, the Founding Fathers would beg to disagree.

In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.

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SOURCE will make Tea Baggers Cry

MY MIND. IT IS BLOWN AWAY! Also I'm counting down until Adams gets thrown under the Far Right Wing Bus. He can join Jefferson in their hate pantheon

Does Islamophobia Increase Hate Crimes for Others?

Does Islamophobia Increase Hate Crimes for Others?

— By Jen Phillips
| Thu Jan. 20, 2011 3:07 PM PST

In a new interview with Katie Couric as part of her 1-hour @KatieCouric show, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says that incidents targeting Muslims on on the rise in the US. "I think Islamophobia is on the rise, and I think the best way to counter it is communication," said Abdul-Jabbar. "To let people know who we are and what we believe in."

Abdul-Jabbar, who has been a public face for American Muslims at events like the Rally to Restore Sanity, is right about the lack of education surrounding Islam. A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center found that Americans were more confused about the faith: In July 2005, 23% of Americans said they didn't know what their opinion was of Islam, a figure which rose to 32% in 2010. The number of Americans who say they know nothing or very little about Islam (55%) remains about the same as it was in 2007. Perhaps one of the best examples of American misinformation is the increasing number (nearly 20%) of Americans who believe Obama is Muslim.
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Your sarcasm AMUSES me!

(no subject)

Mississippi law enforcement officers could be tasked with verifying the status of people they suspect are in the United States illegally if the state House agrees to an Arizona-styled immigration bill making its way through the Capitol.

Senate Bill 2179 passed the Senate 34-15 Tuesday after a heated debate that lasted more than four hours while opponents and supporters, including tea party members, watched from the fourth-floor gallery.

Its fate in the Democrat-controlled chamber remains unclear.

Similar immigration enforcement bills that went to the House last year died in committee, but lawmakers - particularly conservative Democrats mounting re-election campaigns - may be more favorable to the legislation this year.

House Judiciary A Committee Chairman Ed Blackmon, D-Canton, said he's not sure which committee will get Senate Bill 2179 but it originated in Senate Judiciary A, so it could go to his corresponding group.

"If it does come to my committee, I will look at it very seriously and try to get as much information on it as possible," Blackmon said. "I think there needs to be some close scrutiny on the actual impact of this legislation."

During the Senate debate, lawmakers questioned the bill's impact on legal immigrants, cities, law enforcement agencies and a host of other groups.

The bill would authorize local law enforcement officers to check a person's immigration status if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person may be in the country illegally during any "lawful stop, detention or arrest."

With the status check pushed back to a secondary status - as opposed to the Arizona bill's primary status, Senate Judiciary A Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said he thinks the Mississippi bill is an improvement.

"We did not want anyone to go out and start picking on or racial profiling people," he said.

Clarion Ledger