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

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.

Row over cow settled by DNA tests


The cow in question

A woman in the southern Indian state of Kerala is set to win a court battle to keep a cow after DNA tests proved it belongs to her, her lawyer says…The woman, TS Sashilekha, had been accused by her neighbour Geetha of stealing the animal.

The acrimonious dispute even saw the cow in question appear in court.

It is thought to be the first time an ownership battle over an animal has been decided by DNA tests in India, where Hindus consider cows to be holy.

The legal battle between the two women began last year when Geetha claimed that a cow in her herd was the mother of the disputed animal…But DNA tests ordered by the court did not match, meaning that Sashilekha will get to keep the cow.

…N Chandra Babu, lawyer for Sashilekha, told the BBC, “It is a rare case and possibly the first of its kind in history. Perhaps this is the first time a DNA test was held on a cow to find out its real owner.”

After the disputed cow was produced in court, Sashilekha was allowed to keep it in her possession – but only after paying 45,000 rupees in securities.

I understand why the court would ask the eventual victor to provide security presumably covering the value of the cow. Hopefully, returned without charges. Another good reason why she is suing the accuser for costs and compensation.

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.

Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeAP Photo/Alberto Saiz

A man lays in a puddle of squashed tomatoes, during the annual “tomatina” tomato fight fiesta in the village of Bunol, 50 kilometers outside Valencia, Spain…

The streets of an eastern Spanish town are awash with red pulp as thousands of people pelt each other with tomatoes in the annual “Tomatina” battle that has become a major tourist attraction. At the annual fiesta in Bunol on Wednesday, trucks dumped 125 tons of ripe tomatoes for some 22,000 participants, many from abroad to throw during the hour-long morning festivities.

Phew! First look seemed like an outtake from the evening war news.

Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana’s St. John Parish water system

The water system in Reserve, Garyville and Mount Airy has tested positive for a potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba, the state Department of Health and Hospitals said…Officials say the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in samples taken from St. John the Baptist Parish’s Water District No. 1, which serves 12,577 people in those east bank communities.

There are no known cases of illness from the amoeba. But officials warned residents to take precautions against getting water in their nasal passages, which is how the amoeba can move to the brain…

“Families can take simple steps to protect themselves from exposure to this amoeba, the most important being to avoid allowing water to go up your nose while bathing or swimming in a pool,” state health officer Jimmy Guidry. “It is important to remember that the water is safe to drink; the amoeba cannot infect an individual through the stomach.”

The St. John public school system has ordered water fountains turned off at all schools and was taping them up, school system spokeswoman Jennifer Boquet said.

Water District No. 1 was sampled as part of the state’s surveillance program and was found to be out of compliance for maintaining minimum disinfectant levels set to control the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. The state imposed higher disinfectant levels after a 4-year-old boy Mississippi boy contracted the amoeba during a visit to St. Bernard Parish and died.

St. John is now under an emergency order to perform a 60-day free chlorine burn on the water system, in which the water lines are infused with free chlorine. That is a stronger, faster-acting disinfectant than the normal infusion of chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia.

Shouldn’t change the look and smell of Louisiana drinking water a whole boatload. When I lived in New Orleans it was usual to fill your bathtub with water green enough to look like a celebration rehearsal for St.Patrick’s Day.

The amoeba may not kill you; but, the crap the state of Louisiana adds to what passes for drinking water might.

Thanks, Mike