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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 36,376

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Alabama facing Budget Crisis too!

Alabama's government - and by that I mean your government - is in serious financial trouble.

The state budget that pays the freight to put state troopers on the roads to help protect us, that pays the cost to keep criminals behind bars, that pays the cost to provide the only real medical care the poor and sometimes the old in Alabama receive, is in deep trouble.

How deep? The immediate hole is about $260 million. But the real hole, the deeper one in long term cost is $700 million.

The deep red ink is threatening the very ability of the state to meet basic services, such as allowing you to renew your driver's licenses in a timely way. More seriously, it threatens to make state prisons - already in crisis due to overcrowding and years of sexual abuse by some guards of female inmates - even more dangerous for inmates and yes, correctional officers. And critical health services provided through Medicaid could face cuts that could likely result in the sick becoming sicker.

But don't worry. Republican members of the Alabama House of Representatives have come up with a plan. Kinda.

They want to reinstitute electrocuting death row prisoners should the current practice of lethal injection be ruled unconstitutional or if the poison drugs needed to carry out the killings are unavailable. Who knew "Yellow Mama"--the nickname given long ago to Alabama's electric chair--could be used to help solve a budget crisis.



Thursday TOON Roundup 4- The Rest





Middle East




Thursday TOON Roundup 3- O'Liely and Mr. Terror


mr. terror

Thursday Toon Roundup 2- Terror at the Mall

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- Stupid Crooks

Yarn Bombing Movement Spreads to Share Scarves, Hats in Public Places

“Chase the Chill” has become a social media movement that inspires people to leave warm scarves, often with a note, in public places for anyone to take.

“I’m not lost,” it says on many of the homemade tags. “Take me if you’re cold.”

Scarves draped on trees, posts, signs, and other public locations first appeared in downtown Easton, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 2010, according to the original Chase the Chill group on Facebook.

Susan Huxley, a crochet teacher, writer and blogger, who started the Easton group with some friends, says she saw homeless people walking to the shelter down the street, often without the proper clothing to keep them warm.



Homeless man helps push cars up snowy hill, wins Internet

Random acts of kindness typically maintain their randomness.

But occasionally, an act of benevolence goes viral and leads to the Internet’s version of a winning lottery ticket.

Such was the case when a Colorado Springs homeless man named Shelby Hudgens was caught on camera helping to push cars up a slippery hill during a messy snowstorm over the weekend.

Pretty soon, Hudgens was on the local news — and soon after that, he found himself sleeping in a hotel room paid for by a viewer, according to NBC affiliate KOAA.



The girl who gets gifts from birds

Lots of people love the birds in their garden, but it's rare for that affection to be reciprocated. One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return.

Eight-year-old Gabi Mann sets a bead storage container on the dining room table, and clicks the lid open. This is her most precious collection.

"You may take a few close looks," she says, "but don't touch." It's a warning she's most likely practised on her younger brother. She laughs after saying it though. She is happy for the audience.

Inside the box are rows of small objects in clear plastic bags. One label reads: "Black table by feeder. 2:30 p.m. 09 Nov 2014." Inside is a broken light bulb. Another bag contains small pieces of brown glass worn smooth by the sea. "Beer coloured glass," as Gabi describes it.

Each item is individually wrapped and categorised. Gabi pulls a black zip out of a labelled bag and holds it up. "We keep it in as good condition as we can," she says, before explaining this object is one of her favorites.



GOP anti-vaxxer now chair of House science and tech subcomittee

Freshman U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, hosted his first town hall meeting last week in Cartersville. The last question he fielded was on the hot topic of vaccines.

Specifically, a woman in the crowd wanted to know if Loudermilk would hold a hearing on whether some crucial data was withheld from a 2004 Centers for Disease Control study that found no link between vaccines and autism.

Loudermilk answered, in part, out of personal experience:

“I believe it’s the parents’ decision whether to immunize or not. And so I’m looking at wife – most of our children, we didn’t immunize. They’re healthy. Of course, home schooling, we didn’t have to get the mandatory immunization.”



Elizabeth Warren- The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

By Elizabeth Warren

The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?

One strong hint is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.

ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

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