Paul Ryan convinces reporter he cares about poverty by spending time with black people

But reality doesn’t jive with Congressman’s words By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos Labor –  Rep. Paul Ryan’s crusade to brand himself as a Republican poverty crusader has run into a few snags. But lucky for him, Ryan has Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins to issue a lavish, 7,000-word tongue bath paying tribute to Ryan’s willingness to step outside Republican norms and make himself all uncomfortable and awkward by talking to poor people (black ones, even). When it comes to fighting poverty, Ryan — so unafraid to think big when it comes to ending Medicare as we know it — highlights small-bore solutions. His answer to astonishingly high poverty among black men in some communities, and to discrimination against people with criminal records? They should go to programs run by local pastors who can then refer them for jobs. The results of the program Ryan visits with Coppins “speak for themselves,” Coppins writes: Since 2005, [Pastor Darryl...

Read More...


US Senate Can’t Muster Even Modest Minimum Wage Increase

Jon Queally, staff writer – The effort to bring national low-wage to $10.10 is on verge of defeat According to Gallup, the historic approval rating of raising the minimum wage is close to 75%. Despite that consistent public support, however, even soft-ball efforts to increase the stagnant level of low-wage pay have faced constant opposition in Congress. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has been flat-lined for nearly forty years and that widespread income and wealth inequality has been shown to harm the overall economy, but neither of those facts have been enough to overcome the opposition of the powerful interests that maintain their grip on both political parties in Washington. An admittedly weak bill by progressive standards, the bill now in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is expected to be defeated in a procedural vote on Wednesday according to numerous reports. According to The Hill:...

Read More...


‘Gun enthusiasts’ threaten woman for selling a safer gun

  By Hunter, Daily Kos – At some point you have to recognize that the “gun enthusiasts” have lost the plot. Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. A few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers were all it took.Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. “Belinda?” the person wrote. “Is that you?” Her offense? Trying to market and sell a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it. There was no issue here about government mandates or the like, mind you. Her crime was the supposition...

Read More...


‘Tortured to Death’: Oklahoma Under Fire for Horrific Execution

Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams – Man writhes in pain after administered drugs don’t work and dies of massive heart attack only after procedure “halted” by officials Despite repeated warnings and protest, the state of Oklahoma went ahead with its controversial use of untested lethal injection drugs on Tuesday night that resulted in the “horrific” death of convicted killer Clayton Lockett who “writhed” in pain, “clenched his teeth” and later died from a massive heart attack brougt on by the state-administered drugs. After seeing the drugs were not working as intended, the prison officials “halted” the execution but it was too late for Lockett. “It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched,” said Lockett’s attorney, David Autry. Due to the incident, the subsequent execution of Charles Warner, scheduled to receive the same dose of lethal drugs just two hours after Lockett, was postponed. Warner’s lawyer,...

Read More...


Another woman from Wasilla … on Sarah and waterboarding

OP-ED By Rdeforrest, Daily Kos –  Not everyone from Wasilla agrees with Sarah Palin. I feel it is important for my reputation as a human being who grew up in Wasilla, AK to take a stand. My family and I moved to Alaska in the early 70’s. I went to public school in Wasilla from 1st through 12th grade, and I graduated from Wasilla High School in 1986. During that time, I was also a Blue Bird, a Camp Fire Girl, a Rainbow girl, a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and I took History classes from a lady named Jean Krauss. (Do you remember her, Warriors?) There is nothing in my upbringing in Wasilla that ever promoted or tolerated the idea that it is OK, good, or necessary to torture anyone. In fact I clearly remember learning about the Geneva Conventions in which it is stated “Grave breaches of the Third and...

Read More...


Liberal Outside Money Groups Spend Big in North Carolina

By Theodoric Meyer and Kim Barker, ProPuiblica –  Most people have come to associate outside money — the hundreds of millions of dollars from politically active nonprofits and super PACs pouring into American elections — with conservatives. And why not? Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, conservative groups have far outspent their liberal counterparts. In the 2012 federal election cycle alone, conservatives shelled out almost two and a half times the amount of outside money as liberal groups, including labor unions. But an early look at spending on television ads in North Carolina, home to a hotly contested Senate race and a number of competitive state races, shows that liberals are asserting themselves as never before. They are spending almost as much as conservatives in the Senate race and pouring funds into state contests that conservatives haven’t yet spent a cent on. A ProPublica analysis of North Carolina’s top three markets shows...

Read More...


FBI said to be investigating Kansas Gov. Brownback associates in Medicaid scheme

by Joan McCarter – Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) just had a big ol’ wrinkle thrown into his re-election campaign in the form of a reported FBI probe into three of his former employees, including his former chief of staff, in an influence-peddling case. The three have been working on Brownback’s Medicaid privatization scheme, which turned management of the state’s existing Medicaid program over to subsidiaries of three large health insurance companies. Kansas has refused Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The core of the investigation is whether these three confidants of Brownback used their connection to Brownback and his staff for financial gain. Parallel Strategies was founded by David Kensinger, Brownback’s former chief of staff and campaign manager and current director of the governor’s political organization Road Map Solutions; George Stafford, a longtime fundraiser, employee and adviser to Brownback; and Riley Scott, a senior staff member to Brownback while...

Read More...


Kids’ Happiness Doesn’t Depend on 2 Natural Parents, Says Study

Cites relationship quality, bullying at school as key factors (HealthDay News) — Children who live with a stepparent or a single parent are just as happy as kids in homes with two biological parents, a new British study finds. “It’s the quality of the relationships in the home that matters — not the family composition,’ said Jenny Chanfreau, of the NatCen Social Research team that conducted the study. “Getting on well with siblings, having fun with the family at weekends, and having a parent who reported rarely or never shouting when the child was naughty, were all linked with a higher likelihood of being happy all the time among 7-year-olds,” she said. Researchers analyzed data collected from nearly 13,000 British 7-year-olds who took part in a 2008 survey. There was no significant difference in happiness levels among children in three different parenting situations: living with a biological parent and stepparent;...

Read More...


5 Important Vitamin Combinations for Optimum Health

by Christina Sarich, Natural Society – We’ve all heard that we should take our vitamins, but did you know that combining certain nutrients helps the body to absorb them more readily, and can even boost their efficacy over taking the vitamin or mineral alone? Consuming vitamins together creates a synergistic effect in the body. Following are five important vitamin combinations to ward against disease and attain a great health boost: 1. Vitamin E and Sesame Seeds – Vitamin E is wonderful all on its own. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, guarding against cardiovascular disease. The only problem is that one of the important nutrients in Vitamin E, tocotrienols, are hard for the body to assimilate since only the fat and skin tissues can absorb them. Eating sesame seeds has been shown to improve absorption of Vitamin E tocotrienols by up to 500%. 2. Vitamin K and Vitamin D – These two vitamins all by...

Read More...


Study: Number of Innocent People Sentenced to Death Much Higher Than Thought

Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams – Researcher: ‘Most of these undiscovered innocent capital defendants have been re-sentenced to life in prison, and then forgotten.’ At least one in 25 people sentenced to death in the United States is innocent. So finds a damning study published Monday in leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors, hailing from Pennsylvania and Michigan, employ a statistical technique called “survival analysis” to arrive at their conclusions. According to what researchers call a “conservative estimate,” between 1973 and 2004, at least 4.1 percent of people in the United States handed death sentences were innocent. Yet, during this same time period, only 1.6 percent of them had been exonerated. The remaining innocent were either executed or had their sentences commuted to life in prison. Death sentences are sometimes reversed in situations where the “accuracy of the defendants’ convictions is in...

Read More...


Tea Party Grifters Get Noticed, Finally

by Reinvented Daddy – Five years after Dick Armey laid out the blueprint for a racially fueled astroturf uprising as a last ditch gambit to save the Bush-devastated Grand Ole Party from extinction, four years since Glenn Beck’s ‘Sermon On The Mall’ was witnessed by a mighty pilgrimage of the bigoted, the mean and the stupid, the Washington Post has now, finally, discover that the multitude of Tea Party Evangelists are nothing but grifters.  That’s some serious investigative reporting there.  Breaking news.  Now, who would have guessed? Uh, ANYONE WITH A BRAIN! Here’s the WP’s revelation: A Washington Post analysis found that some of the top national tea party groups engaged in this year’s midterm elections have put just a tiny fraction of their money directly into boosting the candidates they’ve endorsed. This is yet another example why Daily Kos is the Best Damned Newspaper in the nation, reporting next...

Read More...


Why State Unemployment Trust Fund Debt Matters

Great Recession caused spike in red ink By Jake Grovum, Stateline Staff Writer –  State unemployment insurance trust funds, the engines that finance jobless benefits for millions of Americans, were battered by the Great Recession and went deep into debt to meet the demand from the unemployed. Years after the worst of the crisis, many states are still saddled with huge debt, according to a Stateline analysis of U.S. Treasury data showing trust fund balances from 2007 through the first quarter of 2014. At its worst in early 2011, states’ collective debt owed to the federal government reached more than $47 billion. Through the first part of 2014, 16 states still owe more than $21 billion to Washington. Many other states borrowed billions from the harder-to-track private bond market to cover funds that were insufficient to pay benefits. Altogether, three dozen states turned to Washington for loans during the Great Recession, more than...

Read More...


Oklahoma Gov’s daughter Performs Fake War Dance and Calls Natives “Sheep”

by bahesmama for Native American Netroots – Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country were alerted to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s daughter, Christina Fallin’s latest gaff when her band Pink Pony announced via Facebook “I heard Pink Piny was wearing full regalia tonight.” Protestors led by Choctaw musician Samantha Crain staged a protest at the Norman Music Festival in Oklahoma and Native American’s reaction via social media was outraged as Fallin wore a Native American-style fringed shawl with the word “Sheep” on the back and performed a fake war dance while her boyfriend Steven Battles ridiculed the protesters and flipped them off from the stage. Earlier that day, Crain noted on her Facebook page, “Publicity stunt or not, even if they are lying, their attitudes, their insincerity, their irresponsibility, their general lack of caring about anything other than the advancement...

Read More...


Democracy Corps poll shows Obamacare getting more popular in Republican districts

by Joan McCarter – The Republican flail over Obamacare is showing in some of their districts. The reality is that Republicans don’t have anything but repeal to bring to the table, and that the law is working. What that means, according to new polling from Democracy Corps, is that the law is gaining support, even in Republican districts. According to the findings, 43 percent of respondents in districts held by a Republican member of Congress now say they oppose the health care law because it “goes too far.” That number was 48 percent in December. Opponents still outnumber the 41 percent who say they favor the law. However, Democracy Corps also registers 9 percent of respondents in Republican districts who say they oppose the law because it does not go far enough, a group that ostensibly includes a chunk of voters who wanted a more liberal piece of legislation. (How...

Read More...


Report: Pesticide Pushers Spin Bee Crisis to Protect Profits

As hive collapse threatens global food supply, report says chemical industry employing Big Tobacco-style PR blitz to deflect blame By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams staff writer –  Worldwide bee deaths have now entered a crisis state threatening the global food supply and, according to a new report out Monday by Friends of the Earth, the human-made epidemic has been worsened by an industry-funded disinformation campaign. The report, Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits, details how the leading pesticide corporations—Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto—are taking a page from the playbook of Big Tobacco companies to stall any potential legislation from protecting bee colonies. According to report author and noted food industry critic Michele Simon, these corporations are engaging in a full-throttled public relations blitz, which includes funding industry-friendly research, targeting children, attacking regulators, blaming farmers and “pretending to care” by creating their own greenwashed “save the bees”...

Read More...


The Canadian health care system I disparaged

Commentary: single-payer regime up north represents a better way By Wendell Potter, Center for Public Integrity –  When I returned home after a two-week speaking tour of Canada and began catching up on news about Obamacare, I was angry and upset, and not just at politicians and special interests that benefit from deception-based PR tactics. I was — and still am — mostly angry and upset with myself. And I know I always will be. Over the course of a two-decade career as a health insurance executive, I spent hours and hours implementing my industry’s ongoing propaganda campaign to mislead people about the Canadian health care system. We spread horror stories about “rationed care” and long waiting times for medically necessary care. Our anecdotes were not at all representative of most Canadians’ experiences, but we spent millions of dollars to persuade Americans that they were. At every stop between Halifax and...

Read More...


Why Women May Be More Likely to Get Alzheimer’s

More women than men get Alzheimer’s disease, in part because women tend to live longer than men and the chances of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age. But new research suggests there may be genetic reasons as well. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine are reporting that women who carry the APOE-E4 gene, which increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, are more likely to develop the disease than men who have the same gene. More than one in seven people carries a copy of the APOE-E4 gene. Everyone carries some version of the APOE gene, which plays a role in how cholesterol and fats are shuttled throughout the body. But certain variants of the gene affect Alzheimer’s risk. People who carry the APOE-E2 variant, for example, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, whereas those who carry the APOE-E4 variant are at increased risk. Numerous studies going back to the early...

Read More...


Fearing Abuse, States Challenge FDA on Painkiller Approval

By Michael Ollove, Stateline Staff Writer – Notwithstanding a court order, Massachusetts and other states plan to restrict use of a new painkiller drug, setting up a showdown with the federal government over who gets to decide the best way to protect public health. In the case of Zohydro, the argument pits the needs of millions of chronic pain sufferers against the urgent desire of states to combat an already catastrophic epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  Although there haven’t been specific cases of Zohydro abuse in Massachusetts, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick fears the powerful new drug will make the painkiller abuse crisis even worse. In the first round earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel came down on the side of Washington, ruling that Massachusetts could not ban a drug deemed to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. In thwarting Patrick’s move—perhaps the...

Read More...


French Parliament Permanently Bans All GMO Maize Effective this Year

By Christina Sarich, NaturalSociety –  France has never been a big fan of Monsanto, Dow, or any biotech’s GMO creations; this is evidenced by the nation’s continued rejection and voiced concerns of GMOs. Well this week, the French Parliament passed a law prohibiting genetically modified maize from being grown anywhere in the country due to concerns about its effects on the environment. The law concerns any strain of GM corn that is adopted by the European Union. The Parliament passed the law following a decree from last month, which halted Monsanto’s ‘insect-resistant’ MON810 maize, which is to be allowed to be cultivated in the EU. Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya have also been bullied into growing MON 810, even though it was shown to be a failed crop. MON 810 was withdrawn from the South African market because it developed an incredible insect intolerance that caused many farms that grew it to be defunct. Italy has also moved...

Read More...


Abu Ghraib 10 Years Later: Challenging Corporate Impunity for Torture

Ten years ago, the world got its first glimpse of images that would forever tarnish the United States’ reputation for how it conducts its wars.  On April 28, 2004, a “60 Minutes” broadcast leaked photos of US soldiers humiliating, tormenting, beating and sexually assaulting detainees at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  A decade later, survivors of these acts of torture are still waiting for justice. Private corporate contractors, hired by the US government to interrogate detainees, played a key role in directing and encouraging the acts of the low-level soldiers in those photos. Tasked with collecting intelligence, civilian interrogators exploited a vacuum of military leadership at the prison to direct soldiers to “soften up” detainees and “set the conditions” for interrogation – euphemisms for instructions to torture.  Yet, despite universal outrage and demands for justice when the photos were released, 10 years after the scandal came to...

Read More...