Archives for October 2013

Marissa Alexander will be Prosecuted Again for Defending Herself

Marissa Alexander, the African-American mother from Florida serving a 20-year sentence for self-defense, will had a status hearing today. In case you’re not familiar with her case, Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to stop an attack by her abusive husband — but was not allowed to use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law to support her defense. … [Read more]

Treatment Denied: 4 Bizarre Reasons Patients Are Refused Medical Care

Although doctors still haven’t perfected the “Star Trek” body scanner that can diagnose with one swipe of the patient, 21st century medical advances are still pretty impressive. Just because the diagnostic and treatment procedures exist, however, that doesn’t mean that everyone in the free world can have access to them. Maybe it’s a growing trend, or it could just be that news spreads faster these days, but a number of bizarre reasons for denying medical treatment have come to light, even for — or especially for — those with health insurance.… [Read more]

Poverty and Student Achievement

“If you think education’s expensive, wait ’til you see how much ignorance costs.”

These were the words of President Barack Obama this past Friday  in Brooklyn, New York, at a local high school where he addressed students and faculty of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a joint venture between IBM and the NYC Public School System.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: How can I stretch my food stamp allowance to make healthy meals for my family?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

How can I stretch my food stamp allowance to make healthy meals for my family?

Kindest Regards, Emeril J. Lagasse, Fall River, MA

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Cameron Wolf

Dear Emeril,

Love your Yukon Gold potato nest recipe, the one filled with tiny creamed onions.  That dish could be scaled up to provide crispy housing for the homeless and starving, and any tiny onion babies they have still clinging to life in those red “right-to-starve” states.… [Read more]

In the Shadow of China’s Growing Cities: Farmers Resort to Self-Immolation

Throughout rural China, controversial land acquisitions have been taking place since 2009, often without consent of or compensation to the local residents. In an effort to continually expand China’s growing cities, the Party has been forcibly acquiring land in the surrounding rural areas. Here we would call this eminent domain, and most of the victims of this process are pretty angry, but China has allowed things to go to a whole new level.… [Read more]

Locked Up In America

A new Gallup survey was released yesterday that indicates opinions in America are shifting with regard to marijuana use. Given the legal penalties for drug use, and the current overcrowded state of America’s aptly named ‘prison industrial complex, it’s time to revisit the nation’s record on crime and punishment.

With so many behind bars for drug charges at a time when the legalization of marijuana spreads across the country, Americans are paying more attention to the question, “Why do we have so many prisoners?” With 25 percent of the world’s prisoners comprised of Americans in U.S.… [Read more]

Diagnosing the Causes of Medical Debt in the U.S. (Infographic)

With the rollout — and consequential fallout — of Obamacare, the real importance of healthcare reform had been temporarily swept aside to clear the stage for politics. While the dust settles on the budget battleground, we are revisiting the initial reasons behind the reform. As the average age and weight of the people in the United States increases, health issues become more pressing.… [Read more]

Where Do We Go From Here?

During this past week the debt ceiling was raised and a government shutdown was ended after 16 days of political rhetoric and hand-wringing. The attempt by the radical right wing of the Republican Party to defund the Obama administration’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a complete failure. The Tea Party Caucus of the minority party held the federal government hostage over this one issue — at least initially — and they walked away with nothing and at the end of the day.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Are we still fighting The Civil War?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Are we still fighting The Civil War?

Fond Regards, Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Vinc LeVinc, 2004.

Dear Charo’s Tangles,

So lovely to hear from you again after all this time. My readers may not know this, but before entering politics and getting himself elected into office in New York, Mr.… [Read more]

Back from the Brink?

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican….” H.L. Mencken

He’s no Teddy Cruz

These words, penned in 1949 by the peerless ‘Sage of Baltimore’ have additional piquancy in the aftermath of the latest American political comedy series masquerading as effective governance.… [Read more]

Congress: You Should Have Seen This One Coming

Congress: you should have seen this one coming.

I know you’re busy congratulating yourselves for hauling yourselves out of a self-created mess that was the government shutdown, but in that time did you stop to think about the implications of your pointless turf war? Others around the world certainly have.

How embarrassed would you be, Congress, to find that while you’ve been in your filthy trenches China has provocatively suggested that our time as a leading nation is waning?… [Read more]

About the Environment: Is Business Digitization Helping To Save Trees?

We hear a great deal about a wide range of environmental issues in today’s world. In broad terms, these issues mostly consist of climate change and pollution; more specifically, they comprise issues of material waste, fuel consumption, water pollution, and any number of other problems with significant environmental risk.

But one issue that seems to get surprisingly little coverage in broad economic discussions is that of paper consumption and,  through it, the process of tearing down trees.… [Read more]

Bridging the Digital Divide: Google Fiber Is Closer Than You Think

Will the nation see a bridge over its digital divide? When will cities that aren’t part of a metropolitan statistical area with more than several million people have access to the technology they need? We’re moving in that direction; on August 15, 2013, Google confirmed that Provo, Utah will be the second city after Kansas City to get Google Fiber, with Austin, TX not far behind.… [Read more]

Collateral Damage

As a result of their attempt to block the Affordable Care Act, the American people have become collateral damage in the latest Republican assault on the Presidency of Barack Obama. They have shutdown the federal government with smiles and glee in their heart — knowing, but not caring about the ramifications of such actions. Just as Robert E.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: So, is it time for the voters of Ohio to recall John Boehner?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

So, is it time for the voters of Ohio to recall GOP Speaker of the House, John Boehner?

Regards, Somehow uncertain independent Ohio voter John Q. Public

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Mark Trevorrow

Dear Junk Pukeblitzer,

Thanks for writing in, yet again, as you begin the long process of letting somebody else eventually make up your State’s mind for you.… [Read more]

Is This Disneyland, Or Am I In Prison?

No country has more faith in the power of an adorable mascot than Japan. Their talisman-like powers have been employed in almost every walk of life: museums, theme parks, tourist attractions, festivals, and even whole cities. What is it about these mascots that make it appropriate for them to be as superfluous in a society as dedicated to serious work as Japan?… [Read more]

Janet Yellen nomination for Fed Chair set for today

It was a good day when Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and economic advisor to President Obama withdrew his name for consideration as new the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. It’s an even better day now that Janet Yellen has been nominated for the position. If confirmed, Ms. Yellen will make history as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central banking system.… [Read more]

Right now, the POTUS is not blinking

“We are not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills.” ~ President Obama

The 8-day old U.S. government shutdown has been described as ‘a game of chicken‘. Today at a press conference, President Obama announced that he spoke with House Speaker John Boehner and told him that “Hanging the threat of economic chaos over the heads of the American people should not be part of any discussion about the government shutdown.”  That certainly set the stage for what is now clear: the president is not blinking as of right now on the issue of the debt ceiling and defaulting on the nation’s debt.… [Read more]

Into the Wayback Machine to 1000 CE

Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas) stated that harnessing wind power will make the earth hotter because it will make the wind slow down. This is not the first time members of the Grand Ole Party have made absolutely astonishing statements when it come to science. The Party of No is the party of No because they know nothing.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs Vera: Which is worse? The Shutdown or Barilla™?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

What’s worse, The Shutdown or Barilla™?

Guido Boehner, Annapolis, MD

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Michael Johnstone.

Dear Giovanni NoBarroehner,

This is a very easy question to answer, especially if you are a female lady who ever came from a family, even one of those families that doesn’t count enough to deserve eating a specific brand of dried paste that is for sale in many shops and markets.… [Read more]