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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
Number of posts: 15,196

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Don't Worry, Be Happy :)

From Playing for Change ... some of these kids can sing. And they're darn cute.

This new Song Around The World episode features children performing alongside PFC musicians on the Bobby McFerrin classic, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. Perfect message and a great song.

This video is part of PFC partnership with Okaïdi, a children’s clothing line based in France. Playing For Change Foundation is working with Okaidi to launch a music program across 10 primary schools in the Mirpur District of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Okaidi Foundation recently created these schools and is now partnering with the PFC Foundation to introduce music as part of their curriculum. Through this new initiative, over 500 underprivileged children between the ages of 6 and 12 will receive free music education as part of their weekly activities at school. Music is the Key!

Get ready to smile from ear to ear and move your dancing feet. Share this with your family, friends, and community, and together we can continue to make this world a better place!


HIPAA and celebrities (e.g. Whitney Houston's daughter)

So I'm watching CNN and they start talking about Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, who as you probably know, was taken to the hospital after being found unresponsive.

The announcer (sorry I'm not awake enough and I don't know CNN well enough to know who it was) makes a comment along the lines of "we don't know yet if there were drugs or alcohol involved".

That kind of pissed me off. WHY SHOULD WE EVER KNOW? Yes, realistically, we probably will at some point hear exactly what caused this young person's medical condition. But is it really any of our business?

And I thought of HIPAA, and how the whole point is that a person's medical details should not be revealed except to authorized persons. So who is the person who isn't just telling the media to go the f*ck away?

Okay, I'm fairly cranky this weekend for a whole bunch of reasons totally unrelated to this, except for the common thread that Mean People Suck. I think it's mean to slice and dice this person's psyche and situation in the media. I am not aware of anything that she has done to deserve it.

Is it just me? What do you all think?

Spraying wheat with RoundUp prior to harvest? Is this true?

The article here claims there is a common practice when harvesting non-organic wheat, to spray it with Round-up prior to harvest so that it withers and releases the seed more easily.

Does anyone here know if this article is remotely accurate? I generally buy organic for several things, but have not been religious about it when it comes to products containing wheat. If this article is true, that must change.


Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980. It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.

According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth and who I recently saw present on the subject at a nutritional Conference in Indianapolis, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 1990′s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it. Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield: “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed” says Dr. Seneff.


In synergy with disruption of the biosynthesis of important amino acids via the shikimate pathway, glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes produced by the gut microbiome. CYP enzymes are critical to human biology because they detoxify the multitude of foreign chemical compounds, xenobiotics, that we are exposed to in our modern environment today. As a result, humans exposed to glyphosate through use of Roundup in their community or through ingestion of its residues on industrialized food products become even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of other chemicals and environmental toxins they encounter! - See more at: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/#sthash.wUzF7tyz.dpuf

This website is unfamiliar to me. Can anyone here give any insight into the accuracy of this claim, and/or the credibility of the website?

Support EPA’s waters of the United States clarification. Open for public comment until Oct. 20.

Bay Journal: Science, not politics, should guide Clean Water Act clarification


On Aug. 2, nearly a half-million people in Toledo, OH, woke up to learn their tap water was contaminated with microcystin, a neurotoxin produced by a massive bloom of the algae Cyanobacteria in Lake Erie. It’s thought that nutrient overload, from farm runoff and sewage treatment effluent, contributed to the algae bloom.

In January, the drinking water for more than 300,000 West Virginians was poisoned when a Freedom Industries storage tank leaked, spewing 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane into the Elk River, just upstream from a water treatment plant.


Why has the public not demanded that the federal agency be given the necessary authority to enforce appropriate safeguards, so that our fresh water resources will not be subject to the vagaries of state and local authorities, nor to the whims of private landowners?

Instead, the EPA is being barraged by an army of opponents. Developers, property rights groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the fertilizer industry and a number of politicians are attacking its proposed clarification—not an expansion—of which “waters of the United States” are covered by the Clean Water Act.

The need for clarification arose from two Supreme Court cases, in 2001 and in 2006. The clarification would enable the EPA to better protect our wetlands, small streams and other important watershed features without being dragged into court every time someone wanted to avoid compliance by exploiting an ambiguity.

But this July, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed two bills that could limit the EPA’s authority. One of the bills would give states more authority over water pollution permits, while the other would block the agency’s ability to redefine which waters fall under its jurisdiction. These bills follow measures passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on July 9, which would significantly cut EPA funding and remove the agency’s authority to implement the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule.


The alarm has sounded. We hit the snooze button at our peril. If you care about having clean, safe fresh water, contact your U.S. congressman and tell him or her to support the EPA’s waters of the United States clarification. The proposed rule is open for public comment until Oct. 20.

Comment period originally ended in July but was extended to 10/20.


(PA-R Gov) Corbett, down in the polls, may now have to face the ...

"Corbett, down in the polls, may now have to face the porn"


A BIG BATCH of porny emails may be the very last thing Gov. Corbett, trailing badly in the polls to Democrat Tom Wolf, needs to hear about right now.

Still, a judge yesterday said the state Attorney General's Office may release emails requested in the last two months by four newspapers, including the Daily News, which may have been sent or received by Corbett's top deputies when he was attorney general.

The newspapers, in requests filed under the state's Right-to-Know law, described the emails as "pornographic" in nature.

They have been described to the Daily News as sexually explicit and, at times, misogynistic.

Soon to be ex-governor Corbett.

Does the First Amendment protect someone's "right" to speak to me in public? To get in my face?

Seriously. I'm reading a Boston Globe article about the SC buffer zone decision.


The high court ruled that the state law, enacted in 2007, imposed “serious burdens” on protesters who wish to speak with arriving patients.

I tend to think of the First Amendment as protecting me from going to jail for saying something like "Dick Cheney is a fraud who profits from death and destruction and the Iraq War was just another profit venture for him". This ain't nothin' - it's actually quite a lot, and a protection not available to citizens in many other countries.

I don't really find myself fretting over whether someone is restricted from blocking the sidewalk in order to sell me something - whether it's the latest crappy brand of gum, or the beliefs of their church, or LaRouchian political nonsense, or even to sign me up for Greenpeace. I accept that some of these people will occasionally hang out in the otherwise pleasant park where I like to walk on my lunch hour, and they may even annoy me at times, but that's okay. It's a small price for living in a free society.

But, aren't there already some sort of laws in most places that prevent people from blocking sidewalks?

And how in the world is "free speech", "freedom of assembly", etc. interpreted to mean someone can walk up to me and get in my face when I don't want to talk to them? I'm not going to call the cops on panhandlers, who I assume do what they do out of being disadvantaged (and normally panhandlers don't insist anyway), but if someone tries to talk to me to sell me something and I indicate "not interested" and they follow me and keep asking, that is harassment and I don't see how it is "protected". ESPECIALLY if they get too close to me - into my personal space, i.e. in my face. And if they touch me, that is assault, in my book, certainly if I have already indicated that I am not interested in interacting with them.

More than that, being frankly not the most "sociable" person on the planet, I do not acknowledge that a random stranger has any "right" to interrupt my thoughts and bother me when I'm walking on a public sidewalk. In other words, they do NOT have a "right" to speak to me, except in an emergency for my safety or the safety of others; that people sometimes do this is merely a generally accepted annoyance, not a "right". In my opinion.

So, I don't get why the First Amendment has anything to do with whether protesters have a "right" to speak with arriving patients. If they want to stand and hold signs somewhere, that's a different issue. But impede someone's path or speak to them? I don't get why that should be a "right" in the first place. But, on the other hand, I don't know why a "buffer zone" should be needed. If this is harassment - and I would consider it harassment - then why can't the harassers be arrested regardless of a buffer zone designation? If the cops know that this is a problem around certain clinics - and they do know, because it is - why not station more cops there?

Does it just come down to funding? Not enough cops to hang around and arrest people for harassment? The buffer zone makes it easier to demarcate a violation and therefore have a clear case and arrest, therefore more likely for protesters to avoid violating it?

Just to be clear, I am not happy with the SC decision. I think clinic buffer zones ARE needed, unfortunately. It's just that I wish that no one had to be subject to harassment on the sidewalk anywhere for any reason, and I wish "buffer zones" just for clinics were not needed for that reason. That might put me at odds with folks who want to accost me with progressive petitions or requests to join progressive groups, but I'm sorry, those groups have other ways to reach me (and they have generally succeeded).

People should just back off and let other people go about their business, whether it be a medical procedure or catching the commuter train on time (and not having to wait a half hour until the next one).


Is there a support page for the Bergdahl family?

I know there is a trash page attacking them on facebook.

If there is a well run support page I'd like to know.

I'm somewhat ambivalent about Bowe Bergdahl's reported actions in combat BUT I think that should be up to the military to judge and handle.

And I think the attacks on his family are utterly despicable, pathetic, and beyond the pale.

Apologies if this was asked and answered, if so please just post the link. Thanks.

"Just call him Gov. Chicken"



Well, here we go again.


Because he owes the kids of Central High School an apology.

What the hell was he thinking yesterday, when he canceled his scheduled visit to Central, where he was supposed to present the school with a well-deserved achievement award?

His appearance at Central was going to be historic, by the way, since it would have been the first time since he was elected governor that he'd actually stepped inside a Philadelphia public school.

Take a moment to digest the fact that the governor of this state has never visited any of the Philly schools whose kids are suffering the fallout of his draconian budget cuts. He has never seen firsthand the bursting classrooms, empty counselors' and nurses' offices and shuttered libraries.


Well, you can imagine the excitement Tom's impending visit generated in Central's students - a collection of some of the nicest, smartest, hardest-working kids you'll find anywhere. They're also some of the most engaged, the kind who grow into society's Big Somebodies. Notable alums include a governor (Leon Abbett), astronaut (James Bagian), comedian (Bill Cosby), Watergate lawyer (Sam Dash) and philosopher (Noam Chomsky), to name just a handful who've done themselves, their families and the school proud.

But at the last minute, your husband blew off his chance to meet these wonderful kids, to feel the school percolate with their energy, to see how 2,312 kids from countless cultures blend beautifully under one huge roof.

Your thin-skinned spouse backed out when he heard that his visit to Olney would be accompanied by - gasp! - protests. Please note that the protesters weren't planning to protest, say, Tom's stance on gay marriage, fracking or the newly defunct voter-ID law. They were going to protest the state's lack of funding to Philadelphia schools.

Oh, how dare they?

Much more at link.

Please remember this (add it to the pile, that is) and make sure you all vote this corrupt cretin out of office this fall.

Deadly Delays (or, where baby-lovers should be spending their time and attention ...

... rather than forcing women to have birth who don't want to, aren't ready, or have a problem pregnancy)


Nov. 16, 2013

The baby in Arkansas seems healthy at birth. Warm, fuzzy skin. A normal weight. But Aiden Cooper can't keep down formula.

Don't worry, he's fine, doctors assure his mother as they leave the hospital. You're just a first-time mom.

Aiden goes home and sleeps in a bassinet beside his mother's bed. Soon his stomach becomes swollen, bulging with veins. He breaks out in a rash. He is limp, pale, won't eat.

In North Carolina, a baby is born with chubby cheeks and the same button-nose as his big brother. At 11 days old, Garrett Saine turns gray, stops breathing, then turns blue.

Blood pours from the nose and mouth of a newborn boy in Wisconsin. A baby girl in Indiana has seizures, then quits breathing.

In each instance, doctors frantically try to figure out why the baby is so sick. Routine blood samples taken shortly after birth have the answers. But the samples haven't been tested.

They should have been sent to a lab within 24 hours to be screened for disorders that can often be treated if caught early. But they weren't. Instead, samples sit at hospitals for a few days. A week. Some samples are lost.

Nearly every baby born in the United States has blood collected within a day or two of birth to be screened for dozens of genetic disorders. The entire premise of newborn screening is to detect disorders quickly so babies can be treated early, averting death and preventing or limiting brain damage, disability and a lifetime of costly medical care.

Yet one of newborn screening's most important metrics — speed — is ignored for tens of thousands of babies' tests each year, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis of nearly 3 million screening tests shows.

In Arkansas, it took 3½ weeks for Aiden's blood sample to be tested. Infection raged through his tiny body as he lay in neonatal intensive care in Little Rock.

<snip> ... the entire article is well worth reading.

Especially if you are planning to give birth to a child soon, anywhere in the United States.

Some people think that "babies" are only "murdered" by abortion ... but babies are killed by failures in the system that could be easily addressed.

I want to know when the so-called "pro-life" people will start protesting the incompetence at these hospitals that kills and injures actual babies, and leaves families devastated and with huge medical bills and possibly a brain-damaged child to support for life.

Questions about "cancelled plans" FACTS

I apologize is this has been discussed-to-death already and I somehow missed it. If that's the case, toss me a few links and let this one mercifully sink.

Ok, here goes.

My understanding was that the problem of health insurance plans allegedly being cancelled was actually a relatively small number. First of all, the large majority of people have health insurance through their employer, and this issue is irrelevant to them. Right? (for all the points I make here, if I'm mistaken, just kindly point that out, and then maybe things will start making sense to me.)

So let's call all the people who could possibly be affected, the pool.

Secondly, some people in the pool will see that they can get a better plan for less money or at least, not much more, and some of them will go for that, and not give a rat's patootie about their previous plan. This would include people who have just discovered that they've been eligible for Medicaid for awhile now and didn't even know it. Take all these people out of the pool. (Of course, thanks to healthcare.gov website woes, the number that gets dropped from the pool here is probably smaller than it should be.)

Third, some people in the pool have crappy health insurance plans that were actually grandfathered because their insurance company was too incompetent or not greedy enough to try to screw them over. Take them out of the pool. (I have no idea what that number is, and perhaps it's vanishingly small, but as I understand ACA it is at least a theoretical possibility).

There's probably a couple more things reducing the size of the "cancelled policy" pool. Anyway, we started with a fairly small percentage of total health insurance policies, and now we are down to some number less than that.

But on NPR this morning I heard that now some people from various corners, including our oh-so-competent Congress, and our oh-so-moral-and-concerned-for-public-welfare health insurance companies/cabals, that Obama's idea to let this SMALL number of people continue with these crappy policies for ONE YEAR, will TOTALLY FUCK UP the formula and make everyone's rates rise.

Pardon me, but it seems fair to say even without having exact numbers, but knowing that it's a relatively very small number, and only for one year, that makes no sense.

So, my question for the knowledgeable: what ARE the numbers we are talking about? How many "cancelled plans" that are being complained about? (remember, we don't care about someone's plan being cancelled if that someone doesn't care.) Out of a total number of how many insurance plans being issued in any manner nationwide?

Also please note, I'm not trying to pass judgment on the merits of the one-year extension here. I just don't get how it's all that big of a deal from a rate formula standpoint, and if it buys breathing room to fix some technical issues, I'm probably ok with it. For a year.
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