Category: Politics

California legislature passes a seafood labeling bill the Feds should read

…The California Senate passed seafood labeling legislation in a vote of 25-10, directly following passage off the Assembly floor in a vote of 57-15. SB 1138, authored by Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will begin to tackle the complex problem of seafood fraud in the Golden State by requiring that all fish and shellfish be accurately labeled by the common name. Additionally, the legislation requires wholesalers and processors to label whether a species was wild-caught or farm-raised, and if it was domestically caught or imported…

…Said Senator Alex Padilla. “The seafood we order should be the seafood we are served.”

Americans are routinely urged to eat more seafood as part of a healthy diet. Yet consumers are often given inadequate, confusing or misleading information about the seafood they purchase. With more than 1,700 different species of seafood from all over the world available for sale in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect the American consumer to be able to independently and accurately determine what they are actually eating unless it is clearly labeled. SB 1138 will begin to turn the tide on seafood fraud…

Oceana, the bill sponsor, conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations worldwide between 2010 and 2012 by collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from grocery stores, restaurants, and sushi venues across 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. DNA testing found that one-third (33%) of the samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled. Alarmingly, California fared among the worst in the nation with 38% of seafood tested in Northern California mislabeled and 52% of seafood tested in Southern California mislabeled…

Finding the same fraud elsewhere – shouldn’t be a surprise. I expect the Northeastern group of states which supports wide commerce in seafood will work to emulate California’s model leadership.

Overdue and worth California legislators taking pride in doing what their craft is called to do by our Constitution.

Thanks, Mike

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Palliative care, end-of-life counseling moves forward even if politicians don’t

Pain

Five years after it exploded into a political conflagration over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year.

Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these “advance care planning” conversations as interest in them rises along with the number of aging Americans. People are living longer with illnesses, and many want more input into how they will spend their final days, including whether they want to die at home or in the hospital, and whether they want full-fledged life-sustaining treatment, just pain relief or something in between. Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently began covering the sessions for Medicaid patients.

But far more significant, Medicare may begin covering end-of-life discussions next year if it approves a recent request from the American Medical Association, the country’s largest association of physicians and medical students. One of the A.M.A.’s roles is to create billing codes for medical services, codes used by doctors, hospitals and insurers. It recently created codes for end-of-life conversations and submitted them to Medicare.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, would not discuss whether it will agree to cover end-of-life discussions; its decision is expected this fall. But the agency often adopts A.M.A. recommendations, which are developed in meetings attended by its representatives…and discussion with bible-thumping populist idjits is useless as ever. Why waste the time?…

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Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager named as Ron Paul’s bribery bagman


“Just make the check out to cash!”

The campaign manager for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican locked in a tough re-election battle, resigned late Friday in fallout from a scandal stemming from his time with the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign.

McConnell is facing Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in a race Republicans view as important if they are to secure control of the Senate.

While denying any wrongdoing during his time working for Paul, Jesse Benton said blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Benton was the spokesman for the libertarian Paul’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign when, during the Republican primary season, a supporter of a rival candidate was secretly paid by a Paul staffer to publicly switch sides.

Former Iowa Republican state Senator Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty this week to concealing $73,000 he was paid to endorse Paul over U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann.

McConnell has dropped Benton like the hot potato he obviously is.

Maybe handling a smooth job of bribery was one of the qualities that appealed enough to McConnell to choose him as campaign manager. Lots of money floating around the political career of a bought-and-paid-for hack like Mitch McConnell.

California first in line to ban single-use plastic bags in the United States

California lawmakers have approved a measure that would make the state the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

SB270 cleared the Senate on a 22-15 vote Friday and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. It was approved by the Assembly a day earlier.

Senators who had previously opposed the bill, including incoming Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, this time supported the measure after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

Typical American copout politicians. There isn’t a single one of these companies that needs a loan to shift production. If they’re that incompetent – they shouldn’t be in business.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup. About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

You may as well ask your Congress-critter, now, when will they get round to passing a matching national regulation. I expect I won’t still be alive when that happens.

Thanks, Mike

China ready to spend $16 Billion on charging stations for electric cars

China is considering providing as much as $16 billion in government funding to build electric-vehicle charging facilities and spur demand for clean cars, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The policy will be announced soon, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The people declined to provide further details of the plan such as how long the program would last or whether the chargers would be compatible with cars made by Tesla Motors…

Increased state funding would be a tailwind for carmakers coping with consumer concerns over the price, reliability and convenience of electric vehicles. It would also build on the tax breaks announced by China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, to fight pollution and cultivate its local EV industry, which includes BYD Co. and Kandi Technologies Group…

Among recent government initiatives, China will exempt new-energy vehicles — defined as electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles — from a purchase tax starting next month, and has ordered government departments to buy such vehicles for their official fleets.

Supporting a strategic and emerging industry like new-energy vehicles is a “win-win” for industrial development and environmental protection, the central government said last month in the statement announcing the waiver of the purchase tax. Developing new-energy autos is important for spurring innovation, promoting energy savings and reductions in emissions, and will help to drive domestic demand and nurture new avenues of growth, according to the notice.

Chinese governmental departments target a minimum of plug-in vehicles to 30% over the near term.

Let’s see. I’ll go peek at what the United States target is. Golly – a million EV’s on the road in another decade. Based on federal tax breaks for consumers.

There is a grouping of eight Democrat-dominated state legislatures collectively aiming for over three million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the road in the same sort of timeframe. Triple the federal goal!

Oh, that’s right. There’s a clot of bought-and-sold politicians in the way of any such national spending. It’s called Congress. Stuffed full of cowards and decrepit ideologues.

Republicans continue to trip over the Gender Gap — and more

GOP women

When it comes to the Republican Party’s path to a Senate majority, so much of the focus has been on the red states. But the difference between the GOP pursuing a lasting majority and one that is temporary — or even elusive — is how it performs in purple and blue states like Colorado and Michigan. And our brand-new NBC/Marist polls of Colorado and Michigan show Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) leading Cory Gardner (R) by seven points among registered voters…in Colorado’s key Senate race. They find Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) ahead of GOP challenger Bob Beauprez by six points… They have Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) up over Republican Terri Lynn Land by six…in Michigan’s Senate contest. And they show Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading Democratic challenger Mark Schauer by two points… So why are Udall, Peters, and Snyder all ahead in their contests?

Here’s an explanation: mind the gaps — the gender gap, the Latino gap, and the independent gap. In Colorado, Udall is up by 12 points among female voters…as Democratic groups like Senate Majority PAC are up with TV ads…on abortion and contraception. Indeed, 70% of Colorado voters in the NBC/Marist poll said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who supports restrictions on the use of contraception. And in Michigan, Peters is ahead by 13 points with women…

But the gender gap isn’t the only notable gap in our new polls — also look at the Latino gap. Our NBC/Marist poll shows that Latinos make up 16% of registered voters in Colorado, and Udall is winning them by 31 points…

And then there’s the independent gap. In Colorado, both Udall (by 50%-34%) and Hickenlooper (by 52%-35%) have the advantage with independent voters. By contrast, in Michigan, Gov. Snyder holds a 14-point edge among independents — which explains his narrow lead in this Democratic-leaning state. Remember: It’s often easier to win independent voters as a Republican governor or gubernatorial candidate in a blue state, rather than as a GOP Senate candidate…And Snyder won his 2010 GOP primary and then general election due to independent voters…

Kind of a catch-all article. Hardly any poll analysis is as tidy as Pew or fivethirtyeight.com. Still, the groupings examined in this portion of the NBC/Marist poll would have it appear that under-represented portions of the American population are pissed-off enough to vote in their own interest.

Comfortably Numb

Thanks, Ursarodinia

She knows how close my mind and heart are to Pink Floyd. This isn’t her most recent suggestion; but, it’s how I’m feeling tonight.

I look at numbers from some of the pollsters who suggest gerrymandering by Republicans, the incompetence of the gutless wonders in the Democratic Party [excepting the Greens, Gays and Lesbians, Black, Brown and Red Caucuses, Feminists and Grayheads - who all know better but stay stuck into the 2-party shithole] – will probably result in this ignorant land settling deeper into a bog of complacent whining and self-pity this coming mid-term elections.

At least there is music leftover from times when young and old were courageous instead of concerned about their social network presence.

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike

Bible-waving Republican candidate says God is above U.S. law

Michelle MacDonald, the Republican nominee for the Minnesota Supreme Court who neglected to disclose her upcoming trial for a DWI, is coming under fire for promising GOP officials that she would base her opinions on Biblical principles.

During a speech she gave at the Minnesota GOP convention in Rochester on May 30, 2014, she told the delegates that “when judges used to enter the courtroom, they would hold a Bible over their head, like this,” and then held a Bible over her head.

“In the words of George Washington,” she continued, “it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

According to Mount Vernon Library, that spurious quotation is “frequently misattributed to Washington, particularly in regards to his farewell address of 1796.

She concluded her speech by saying, “God bless you, God bless your children, God bless your families, and let’s all ask God to bless America again.”

It’s starting to look like this nutball theocrat is falling out of favor with establishment Republicans – mostly because of her DWI bust and her attempt to ignore it.

Too bad. I’d be encouraged that one of the state flavors of Republican was ready to rejoin the 20th Century, at least, by backing away from nutballs like MacDonald.

I don’t expect either to make any attempt to wander into the 21st Century.

Thanks, Mike

Florida’s ban on same-sex marrriage ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge overturned Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying that 50 years from now it will be seen as “an obvious pretext for discrimination.”

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ordered the state to recognize the marriages of couples who tied the knot in jurisdictions where they could do so legally. But he stayed the order while Florida decides on an appeal.

When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” Hinkle said. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

As it was with Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, every kind of bigotry held as just and holy by the ignorant and stupid – this, too, shall pass. The shame belongs to the ethically corrupt who try to profit politically from the continuance of bigoted laws.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, supporters of same-sex marriage have challenged laws across the country and have had an almost unbroken string of legal victories…

Overdue.