I am from Massachusetts, that mandatory health insurance state. I have not had medical insurance since 2008. I have not been to a dentist since 2008. I have not had a real job since 2008. Out of my three kids one is insured only[...]
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Columbia, SC ? House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Harry Ott, will hold a press conference on Tuesday at noon to call on Governor Haley to waive her confidentiality in the event that a complaint is filed against her with the House Ethics Committee.
Last Thursday, a circuit court judge dismissed a case brought by a prominent Republican activist accusing then-Representative Haley of illegally lobbying a state agency. The judge strongly suggested that the South Carolina House Ethics Committee would be the proper authority to adjudicate the case. Under current ethics laws, the only way for the public to know whether a complaint has been filed with the Committee is for Governor Haley to waive her right to confidentiality in the matter. The public deserves answers to these allegations. In 2009, Governor Mark Sanford set a precedent by waiving his confidentiality during the SC Ethics Commission?s investigation into his misuse of taxpayer funds. In the name of transparency, House Democrats will urge Governor Haley to follow Sanford's example and waive her confidentiality.
What: House Democrats Press Conference to Call on Governor Haley to Waive Confidentiality in Ethics Committee case.
When: 12pm noon.
Where: First floor lobby of the state house.
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DNC Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), calls for the repeal of Florida's Stand Your Ground law:
This case is further evidence that Florida?s ?Stand Your Ground Law,? which passed in 2005, needs to be repealed. The failure of the Sanford police to further investigate this crime as a result of their interpretation of this law is an injustice to Trayvon?s family and to all Floridians.But it seems to me that the recent discussion has been focusing on the question of whether Zimmerman might escape prosecution under the stand your ground law rather than the more important fact that Trayvon might be alive today had the law not passed.
My home state is fast approaching Wisconsin for sheer right-wing nuttery, especially when it comes to the energy industry. Gov. Tom Corbett, whose campaign was largely underwritten by the energy industry, has gone out of his way to see that the frackers reign supreme - especially when it comes to the health of Pennsylvania residents:
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction?but they won't be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will "gag" doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.
[...] There is good reason to be curious about exactly what's in those fluids. A 2010 congressional investigation revealed that Halliburton and other fracking companies had used 32 million gallons of diesel products, which include toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, in the fluids they inject into the ground. Low levels of exposure to those chemicals can trigger acute effects like headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness, while higher levels of exposure can cause cancer.
The EPA has tried to get these companies to voluntarily disclose which chemicals they use, but of course they refuse, insisting it's a "proprietary formula" and thus protected.
Pennsylvania law states that companies must disclose the identity and amount of any chemicals used in fracking fluids to any health professional that requests that information in order to diagnosis or treat a patient that may have been exposed to a hazardous chemical. But the provision in the new bill requires those health professionals to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will not disclose that information to anyone else?not even the person they're trying to treat.
"The whole goal of medical community is to protect public health," said David Masur, director of PennEnvironment. He worries that the threat of a lawsuit from a big industry player like Halliburton or ExxonMobil for violating a confidentiality agreement could scare doctors away from research on potential impacts in the state. "If anything, we need more concrete information. This just stifles another way the public could have access to information from experts."
Here's the interesting part: The provision was never in the original version. It was stuck in the final version that was reconciled in conference, which sure seems to indicate someone didn't want much attention:
The provision was not in the initial versions of the law debated in the state Senate or House in February; it was added in during conference between the two chambers, said State Senator Daylin Leach (D), which meant that many lawmakers did not even notice that this "broad, very troubling provision" had been added. "The importance of keeping it as proprietary secret seems minimal when compared to letting the public know what chemicals they and their children are being exposed to," Leach told Mother Jones.
The limits on what doctors can say about those chemicals makes it impossible to either assuage or affirm the public's concerns about health impacts. "People are claiming that animals are dying and people are getting sick in clusters around [drilling wells], but we can't really study it because we can't see what's actually in the product," said Leach.
For what other possible reason does this provision exist, if not to allow the energy companies to rape and pillage to their hearts' content?
The global economy is riding on a financial bubble that dwarfs the subprime crisis — a $22 trillion carbon bubble. On our present pathway, humanity is expected to burn through proven fossil fuel reserves by 2050, making global warming greater than 5°C (9°F) likely and civilizationally catastrophic effects irreversible. To have an 80 percent chance of keeping warming below 2°C, 80 percent of proven reserves need to stay unburned. The present estimated value of these civilization-threatening reserves is approximately $22 trillion.
Wow! Holy Rollers: The True Story of Christian Card Counters is a mindblowing documentary following a group of young Christians as they form a blackjack team and take casinos for over $3.2 million by using their math skills. Heads up: While strongly[...]
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The GOP primary is finally starting to fall into the groove reporters and pundits have insisted it was in all along. Romney is comfortably ahead in delegates, endorsements, and attacks from Democrats, and his current opponents are having a harder and harder time proving their relevance. Newt Gingrich is finally starting to fade from the limelight; his insistance that his campaign will make it to Tampa falls increasingly on deaf ears as embedded reporters flee his side with alacrity. And Rick Santorum?the conservative point man in the race?is starting to buckle under pressure to cede the nomination to Romney so the party can turn its attention to beating Barack Obama. Romney is trying to pretend his opponent no longer exists?in an interview with Wolf Blitzer today, he said, ?I'm not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,? which is basically the tack that all the party elite have taken with the Santorum campaign.
As pressure mounts, so does Santorum?s anger, as evidenced by his expletive-laced repartée with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny this weekend. As Molly Ball points out, though, ?Santorum isn't really angry at the media?he's angry at the facts.? But the facts are not liable to change, and the only purpose Santorum?s presence in the primary continues to serve is injuring Romney?s general-election chances?and his own credibility. A former Huckabee campaigner said Santorum?s campaign was viable "as long as it doesn't become a mudfest ... You've got one chance to get out of a race gracefully." A mudfest is just what it's become. If Rick plays his cards right and ducks out at the right time, he can follow in Romney's footsteps. Romney has been losing like a champ for the past decade, and finally, his superior dropping-out-and-running-again skills have been rewarded. If Santorum drops out soon, Who knows?, maybe he will be limping his way to a nomination four years down the road.
?Now, President Obama couldn't be here. I read that he is in Korea, at the DMZ. Would somebody tell me: Why do ya have to go all the way to Korea to get a Drivers License? Must be something to do with that birth certificate thing."
?Rick Perry, joking at Saturday's Gridiron Dinner
Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain released another ad today. The Internet was appropriately amused/horrified. Our favorite tweets about the incident:
Sixty-four percent of Californian voters approve of Governor Jerry Brown's new plan to raise taxes in order to balance the budget. Brown's new proposal includes a millionaire's tax, which he added to his plan to appease liberal critics and has strong public support.
As the market rises steadily higher, it's getting harder to find true bargains. And though a wide range of good stocks still have reasonably-priced shares, any market pullback would send most stocks lower from their 52-week highs.
This backdrop has led me to start raising cash in my $100,000 Real-Money Portfolio. One of my top rules of investing is to always have funds available if you think the market may soon present fresh opportunities.
Even as I see a moderate pullback coming, I may be wrong. The market may indeed march ever-higher. And that's OK. I still have 85% of my funds invested (albeit with one position representing a market hedge ). So I'm likely . . . → Read More: Is the Stock Market Overheated? Here’s my Plan…
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Trayvon MartinUnless the permissible extrajudicial penalty for smoking grass has been significantly raised, it's hard to see what possible relevance a little weed has in the death of Trayvon Martin. The guy who shot him didn't mutter, "These asshole tokers, they always get away." He didn't say "fuckin' stoners" under his breath.
The fact that the 17-year-old had been suspended from classes because marijuana residue was found in a Baggie he was carrying leaked to the media from authorities today just as other bits of information in this case have leaked over the four weeks since the shooting.
No doubt Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the right-wing ratpack will seek to make a big deal of the news. But what also transpired Monday was confirmation from the state Department of Juvenile Justice that Martin had no juvenile record whatsover.
Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and family attorneys said the leak and news coverage about the marijuana-related school suspension was all about demonizing the teenager. "The only comment that I have right now is that they killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton told reporters. Officials in Sanford, Fla., where Martin was killed, said there had been no authorized release of the information. Family attorney Benjamin Crump said, "If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is completely irrelevant. What does it have to do with killing their son?" Exactly right.
Meanwhile, at a meeting this evening of the Sanford City Commission:
Speaker[s], one after the next, in a packed Sanford Civic Center, have pressed city council members to say ? for the record ? whether they believe George Zim[mer]man should be arrested [...]Zimmerman's friend Joe Oliver keeps making the rounds trying to persuade everyone that the "real" story hasn't been told. Regarding the racial slur recorded during a police call Zimmerman made while he was following Trayvon Martin, Oliver told Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball":
"Go on the record today in support of the arrest of George Zi[mm]erman," said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. [...]
Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, was forceful.
"We're not asking for an eye for an eye. We're asking for justice, justice, justice," Tracy Martin said, pointing his finger for emphasis.
That?s a term I listened to over and over on there and to me, it?s a matter of interpretation of whether he?s saying ?coon? or ?goon.? There are a lot of parts of this country where people proudly call themselves ?coon asses,? in Louisiana in particular.Puhleez.
If George Zimmerman is wise, he will phone Joe and tell him he has stopped payment on the backhoe he rented because that hole his friend is digging is deep enough.
Pew Research has put together a helpful piece summarizing all the recent polling on the Affordable Care Act compared to polling done right after it was passed in March of 2010. Basically a few polls show it getting slightly more popular since it was[...]
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