cassandra_m's Latest Posts
Or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest by 3 Councilmembers who work for or have recently worked for Connections CSP in Wilmington. Sunday’s NJ has a great article by Andrew Staub and Beth Miller detailing the concerns that quite a few people have had over what appeared to be conflicts of interests between the roles of City Council members and Connections employees or consultants for Hanifa Shabazz, Mike Brown and Darius Brown.
The House of Representatives is getting to vote on its version of the Farm Bill — this GOP led version cuts 2.5% of SNAP funds. It is estimated that this might throw about 2.5M Americans who need food help off of the program. As a protest — 26 Democrats in the House have started a week-long SNAP Challenge (some reports have some of their staff joining them), where they pledge to live on the $4.50/day subsidy SNAP provides. Our representative, John Carney, is on the list of Democrats doing this challenge.
Tales of Security Theater — the NFL has posted new security rules for attending their games starting next season. These new rules include size limits on purses, a list of prohibited items and a requirement for carrying what you do bring into the stadium in a clear bag. You get a bigger bag if you buy the special ones (with or without branding!) from the NFL or you an use a gallon-size ziplock bag. You can still have anything you want in the parking lot. The one that slays me is the prohibition against bringing in seat cushions. I don’t think that this is about security — I think that it is about making it quicker to get people in the gates. But I’m definitely rolling my eyes at this BS.
This is a great Father’s Day Video (even though it was made for Mother’s Day) — where two Dads take the challenge of experiencing simulated labor pains. A doctor rigged up electrodes that she strapped to the abdomens of these guys and then started the simulation. Love that their wives stroll into this thing, drinking coffee and being utterly nonchalant. Then the wives drop right into birth coaching mode. Hilarious! (Approx. 3 and a half minutes long.) More boys need to try this out.
It just makes people think that you are trying to hide something, which, apparently, the Markell Administration is doing. Today’s NJ brings us another story of the ongoing issues surrounding the PBF refinery at Delaware City. In the main, it looks like the refinery is expanding its operations outside of its permitted area (staging and unloading rail cars outside of the boundary of the plant; a planned barge shipment of oil over to a NJ plant), and taxpayers aren’t being allowed to see whether or not there are violations of the state’s Coastal Zonal Act here.
Obama, who ran for president in 2008 on a platform of reversing some of the Bush administration’s encroachments on civil liberties, instead defended the programs. ”I came in with a healthy skepticism about these program,” Obama said, noting his administration has strengthened some program safeguards. “My assessment and my team’s assessment is that they help us prevent terrorist attacks.”
Did you know it is OK to shoot escorts who won’t have sex with you in Texas? A Texas jury acquitted a man who shot an escort he contacted via Craig’s List. She’s dead, but:
During closing arguments Tuesday, Gilbert’s defense team conceded the shooting did occur but said the intent wasn’t to kill. Gilbert’s actions were justified, they argued, because he was trying to retrieve stolen property: the $150 he paid Frago. It became theft when she refused to have sex with him or give the money back, they said.
Time to give Texas back to Mexico, I’m thinking.
Let’s get the important stuff out of the way — the Holy Trinity Greek Festival starts tomorrow at 11AM. If you are in town (even if not, my office orders carry out once during this week), you can FAX in an order and pick it up curbside for a killer lunch. And there is even a shuttle bus to bring cubicle dwellers from downtown to the festival for lunch.
….and they smear Karl Rove in the process. Now I don’t much care about smearing Karl Rove, but these wingnuts can’t critique Grover Norquist on any of his policy stands, so they just decide that he is Muslim. Seriously,
This Sunday’s NYT provides a must-read for those of us interested in resolving the long-term problem of reducing health care costs. This piece take a look at how colonoscopies are performed and charged to demonstrate the scope of the problem. And basically the scope of the problem comes down to Profit incentives, rather than health incentives. It also shows how hard it is to even get cost data for procedures — even by a physician doing the procedure. Certainly our health care system pays dearly for heroic end-of-life care, but it certainly looks as though basic procedures done by our physicians in their offices or their physician centers are ripe for cost review.
Today’s Open Thread is in the form of a Chart of the Day. Chart of the War on Drugs era, most probably. But this chart comes from a 2005 study, taking a look at trends in incarceration of drug offenders. It was cited over at Wonkblog this week, noting some of the small changes in the War on Drugs:
The Farm Bill (S. 954) was being worked by the Senate the last few weeks, in an effort to get a bill done and voted on before the recess. This bill looks much like last year’s bill (but adding some additional support for Southern crops such as rice, cotton and peanuts). As this bill came out of the Agricultural Committee, it had cut $4.5 BILLION from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand offered an amendment (#931) to restore those cuts:
Yesterday, there was a protest at the Sallie May HQ down in Newark:
They carried signs, chanted and sang as they marched to Sallie Mae’s offices before the company’s annual shareholder meeting. They came demanding to meet with company leaders in hopes of airing their concerns with rocketing student loan debt. “We were sold degrees that aren’t worth what they were worth,” said Sara Fitouri, a first year law school student at the University of Denver who is $145,000 in debt. “We don’t believe students should have to pay those debts.”
The students were successful in getting company officials to agree to a sit down meeting with leaders. Sallie Mae Board Chairman Anthony Terracciano told the students they would get their meeting, but not today because company leaders were all busy in board meetings.
For the past few weeks, the back and forth over coming to some agreement over the Wilmington budget for the next fiscal year has been a source of a great deal of cynicism, exasperation and a fair amount of entertainment. While there is not alot to be proud of here — at bottom we have a new administration who seems to think that they can get things done by fiat. For all of the yelling and screaming about what the Wilmington City Charter says — it still gives the Administration the power to spend the money that City Council allocates to it. That is pretty basic everywhere. Even though the Council spent much of its time rubber-stamping much of the Baker Administration’s work, I wish I could be more hopeful in a more energized Council who will actually do what the Charter expects of them.
This all started when young Zachary Maxwell wanted to start packing and taking his lunch to school. His parents, however, thought that the school lunches as described and pictured on line looked like they would be just fine. So young Zachary smuggled in a camera to school in order to show his parents the reality of those school meals. He kept filming (even got busted once) and made a short documentary called Yuck — A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch. Love this kid. Anyway, this doc has won some awards and has been playing the festival circuit. I’m posting the trailer and another piece with clips below. It sounds as if this entire film will be online shortly, but I don’t know when:
Memorial Day has come to be a day when we are all urged to remember those armed services members who have served and who are currently serving the country. This is important and I hope we all have some time to reflect on the sacrifices made by these men and women on our behalf.
This is a xTed Talk (approx. 8.5 mins long) featuring an 11-year old who has figured out how conglomerate-produced food isn’t exactly the healthiest choice. Since we’re close to the point where locally grown food will be getting plentiful, this guy has good advice:
Even more details of how DelDOT was organized as a conduit of taxpayer dollars directly to developers is in this morning’s News Journal. This is a remarkable story — including some detail on how DelDOT specifically locked in higher appraisal values just to ensure that developers could loot the Treasury for the maximum amount.
Hecklers of speeches — especially major ones — aren’t new. A public disruption of a speaker is meant as an attempt to embarrass the speaker and get attention for the heckler and the heckler’s cause. Yesterday, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink attended the President’s speech at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair yesterday and proceeded to heckle him 3 times during the speech. The video below (approx 8 minutes long and I apologize for the commercial) shows that segment of the President’s speech. I couldn’t hear everything she said, but it seems clear to me that she was calling for the immediate release of some number of the Gitmo prisoners. While the President was proposing a new plan to close Gitmo. What is fascinating to me about this clip is the President’s reaction to Ms. Benjamin’s interruptions. Not only did he appear to be listening to her, but he validated her concerns (or some of them) as important and worth listening to. I can’t imagine GWB managing this kind of respect towards someone yelling at him, and whoever was yelling at him would have been immediately hustled away from the event — not given two more times to disrupt. I haven’t had a chance to see the entire speech to know what exactly the President said, so I’m not here agreeing or disagreeing with what he proposed yesterday. But I am pretty proud of the way he handled this:
Not sure that big news is made here — discussing gun safety (universal background checks), kids aging out of foster care, gay marriage (approx. 13 minutes):
Have you heard about this app? Buycott installed on your smartphone can scan products you intend to buy and give you a rundown of that product’s corporate history. It can also give you data on what those corporations do with the money they earn from your purchases. Interesting, right? For people who are trying not to buy anything from Koch Industries, for example, data from the scans you take can help you leave their stuff on the shelf.