Kellogg recalls 28 million boxes of stinky cereal

Knitted from Fruit Loops

Kellogg is voluntarily recalling about 28 million boxes of Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks cereals because an unusual smell and flavor from the packages’ liners could make people ill…

Kellogg is trying to identify the substance on the liners that’s causing the problem and is offering consumers refunds in the meantime.

The products were distributed throughout the U.S. and began arriving in stores in late March.

Only products with the letters “KN” following the use-by date are included in the recall. Products in Canada are not affected.

Too bad they had to retrieve this crap so soon. Probably had a shelf life good for another decade or so.

Is it time for website?

They could have a tits-for-tithes promotion for new members.

On Friday, ICANN … voted to allow the application of the controversial “.xxx” top-level domain name for sites that display adult content.

The domain, which would need further approval before going live on the internet, would be applied to adult entertainment sites just as “.com” is now.

The .xxx internet suffix, which was first proposed six years ago by ICM Registry, a group that sells domain names, “will provide a place online for adult entertainment providers and their service providers who want to be part of our voluntary self regulatory community,” according to that company’s news release.

Adopting .xxx will be optional. However, some tech blogs speculate a push to make the domain mandatory for adult-only sites.

ICM Registry has already taken 110,000 pre-reservations for the domain, which could be available in early 2011, if not sooner, its news release states.

The “debate” over the xxx domain idea has been around for a long time. Its emergence probably has no implications whatsoever (but don’t expect that to stop the “debate”).

Congressional panic over Apple’s EULA

Just days after a sensationalist report by the LA Times suggested that Apple was spying on users’ location based on an incorrect understanding of the company’s revised privacy policy, two Congressmen, one a chair of the House Privacy Caucus, have demanded that the company answer a series of basic privacy questions.

The original report by David Sarno of the LA Times set off a firestorm of privacy panic three days ago after it suggested Apple was tracking iPhone users’ locations in some radical new way that other devices weren’t, and assumed that users were powerless to do anything about it…

The report has since been amended twice, once to note that users can turn off Location Services entirely or on a per-app basis, while also stating “there’s nothing to indicate that these settings prevent Apple itself from gathering and storing location data from Apple devices,” and again two days later to acknowledge that the privacy policy change is not really new at all, but rather simply a restatement of the privacy policy contained in the company’s product EULAs, which contained precise language instructing how users can withdraw their consent for system wide and per-app data collection.

What the LA Times failed to report is why the change in presenting the privacy policy was made, and how users can opt out of geographic location data used by Apple’s iAd program. Formerly, Apple and third parties used Location Services solely to power features such as locating the device in Maps, Find My Phone, GPS driving directions, and similar applications. With the company’s purchase of Quattro Wireless, it’s now in the business of display advertising, and can potentially allow third parties to collect geographic and other user information to enable ads to provide more relevant and targeted results.

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California welfare debit cards used for million$ at casino ATMs

California welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards withdrew more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors between October 2009 and last month.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order requiring welfare recipients to promise they will use cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs” of their families. The order also gave the state Department of Social Services seven days to produce a plan to reduce other types of “waste, fraud and abuse” in the welfare program.

The moves came after The Times reported Wednesday that officials at the department failed to notice for years that welfare recipients could use the state-issued cards to withdraw taxpayer cash at more than half of the tribal casinos and state-licensed poker rooms in California. The state initiated the debit card program in 2002.

Casino withdrawals, which represented far less than 1% of total welfare spending during the eight months for which the department released data, averaged just over $227,392 a month.

Schwarzenegger has already ordered the vendor that runs the state welfare system’s ATM network to prohibit the cards from working at casino machines…

No one noticed this was going on for eight years?

As foolish and unproductive is the practice of gambling away your welfare check, the failure of bureaucrats to keep an eye on spending is an example of how useless most “government jobs” become in the United States.

Republicans continue to block checks to unemployed

If you wondered how Republicans care about workingclass families…

Senate Republicans have once again blocked legislation to reinstate long-term unemployment benefits for people who have exhausted their aid, prolonging a stalemate that has left more than a million people without federal help.

With the Senate apparently paralyzed by partisan gridlock, the fate of the aid, as well as tax breaks for businesses and $16 billion in aid for cash-strapped states, remains unclear. California and dozens of other states are hoping for federal aid to help balance their budgets.

Republican lawmakers — joined by Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska — maintained a unified front to sustain a filibuster of the $110-billion bill. The vote was 57 to 41; the majority was three short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and bring the bill to a final vote.

So much for democracy.

If there were ever evidence that this is the party of no, this is it,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who added that several governors would be arriving in Washington next week to make the case for the bill to help states, businesses and those who have been out of work more than six months…

The unemployment extension would add about $30 billion to the national debt. Democrats say all the provisions in the bill are offset by spending cuts and tax increases except the jobless benefits, which Congress traditionally has approved as an emergency without looking for a way to pay for them. Benefits for the long-term unemployed lapsed at the end of May because of the congressional stalemate.

The Labor Department estimates that more than 1.2 million long-term unemployed will have lost their benefits by the end of this week.

Any idea how many times in my life I’ve seen the Republican Party do their utmost to impede or disable unemployment insurance? I lived and worked, been unemployed and out on the job trail through several major recessions since I started as an apprentice machinist in 1955.

Time after time, Republicans used beancounter excuses to try to halt the legislation FDR got through Congress in 1935 to aid folks out of work during the Great Depression. And here we are, now – struggling out of the Bush/Bankers Great Recession and the Party of NO continues their crusade against working people.

Google and YouTube defeat Viacom in copyright lawsuit

Viacom board of directors meeting

Google won a landmark victory over media companies as a Manhattan federal judge threw out Viacom Inc’s $1 billion lawsuit accusing the Internet company of allowing copyrighted videos on its YouTube service without permission.

Viacom claimed “tens of thousands of videos on YouTube, resulting in hundreds of millions of views,” had been posted based on its copyrighted works, and that the defendants knew about it but did nothing to stop illegal uploads.

But in a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said it would be improper to hold Google and YouTube liable under federal copyright law merely for having a “general awareness” that videos might be posted illegally.

Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough,” he wrote. “The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity…”

The lawsuit went to the heart of perhaps the biggest issue facing media companies in the last decade: how to win Internet viewers without ceding control of TV shows, movies and music.

It was seen as a test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a 1998 federal law making it a crime to produce technology to circumvent anti-piracy measures, and limiting liability of online service providers for copyright infringement by users.

New York-based Viacom is controlled by Sumner Redstone and owns cable networks such as MTV and Comedy Central as well as the Paramount movie studio.

They are typical of the Ferengi who control much of the entertainment “industry” around the world. And industry it is.

These creeps wouldn’t know or care about creativity or talent if they fell over it on the 2nd tee of their favorite country club. Talent is a commodity to be bought – at the lowest possible price – and distributed at the highest possible profit margin.

All else is myth. Including the Fair Use doctrine which is supposed to give consumers a couple of old-fashioned rights to do with what we spend our dollars and pennies on.

Any Republicans left out there? Or only Rushicans?

We asked all the Republican officials here in Washington. There are hundreds of them, for just one of them to step forward and say that he or she disagrees with Rush on anything. Anything.

We got this idea when a U.S. congressman from Georgia had to tip-toe backward on something he’d said. He’d actually dared to defend the Republican leadership against Rush’s charges. But not for long. After a few hours of withering nervousness, the Congressman decided that it was the better part of valor to tell Rush that he was sorry for what he’d done.

How can this happen in a democracy?

But listen up. It continued like this.

I thought for sure it might stop, this kow-towing to the radio man down in Florida, when Rush went so far as to back BP in the oil mess. He went out there and took “BP’s” side, attacking the President for being so unpleasant with the big oil company by getting it to set aside $20 billion for the people whose lives have been sunk by the oil spill.

Well, not even that got not a single congressperson to step up and say, “this is where I get off, where I cut Limbaugh loose.”

When we had the congressman from Louisiana on, not even “he” would side with his party’s leadership and take on Rush. While saying Rush didn’t speak for him, that he spoke for himself, he still would not complete the thought and say, darn it, Rush is wrong, couldn’t do it.

Perhaps he “can’t” do it. Maybe no Republican can do it, the way things are today.

We continue to look for that lonely Republican to stand up against big, bad BP and win one for the folks who are really getting messed with, the folks the chairman of BP calls the “small people.”

I happened to see this segment – usually unlikely because Matthews reminds me of nothing more than the traditional four-flusher big city pol he worked for, Tip O’Neil.

He made an interesting point as an aside. The Congressional Republicans, the RNC big dogs control the pursestrings; but, they have no clout with the teabaggers, NRA-types and the bible-thumping malcontents who seem to be all that’s left of rank-and-file membership in the Republican Party.

The declassé brigade fear RINOs as much as they do Black People, Hispanics, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. They don’t even know the names of Republicans in Congress from more than two states away. They do listen to Glen Beck and Rush, O’Reilly and the rest of the 19th Century leeches sucking an income out of the airwaves of America. That really is who they obey.

The Republican Party is just another radio church, after all.