Dolphins drowning in oil


The California coast is drenched in oil from a shoddy pipeline rupture, while Plains All American CEO Greg Armstrong raked in over $5 million in compensation last year, and is guaranteed $29 – $87 million in golden parachute cash! Enough is enough, dolphins are dying. Sign now calling on California’s Attorney General to file charges:

SIGN THE PETITION

Justice For Some


By

The Cleveland Police Department Reaches a Settlement with the Department of Justice

Memorial Day weekend has hosted several important developments in the world of criminal justice. Today, the Cleveland Police department—which has come under fire in recent months in the nationwide debate over police tactics—agreed to follow some of the strictest standards in the nation over its officers’ use of force. Cleveland agreed to the terms as part of a settlement reached with the Department of Justice over what justice officials called a “pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force.”

According to the Justice Department’s report, the Cleveland police department used stun guns inappropriately, punched and kicked unarmed people, shot at people who did not pose a threat, and failed to report or investigate most of these incidents. As a part of the settlement, Cleveland agreed to some of the most rigorous policing standards in the nation. These include:

  • Prohibiting officers from unholstering a firearm “unless the circumstances create a reasonable belief that lethal force may become necessary,” and documenting every time that occurs.
  • Banning pistol whipping, the firing of warning shots, and the use of neck holds (that pistol whipping had to be explicitly barred says enough).
  • Creating a community police commission, made up of ten representatives from around the community.
  • Allowing an independent monitor to track its progress.

The settlement comes just two days after a white Cleveland officer who fired at least 49 shots at two unarmed African Americans was acquitted of manslaughter by an Ohio judge. Officer Brelo’s acquittal—as the latest in a series of troubling racially charged incidents across the US in places like Baltimore, Staten Island, and Ferguson, MO—prompted protests that remained largely peaceful but still resulted in the arrest of 71 people.

Some bad news also came out of the criminal justice sphere this weekend. On Friday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed three important criminal justice reform bills. In addition to vetoing a bill to limit civil asset forfeiture, and a bill to remove the penalty for marijuana paraphernalia, Hogan also vetoed a felon re-enfranchisement bill that would have restored voting rights to 60,000 ex-felons. Restoring access to the ballot for ex-felons is a priority in the criminal justice reform community and Hogan’s veto will serve as an important test to see whether reform advocates will show that choices like Hogan’s can have political repercussions.

BOTTOM LINE: Agreements like the one made between Cleveland and the Department of Justice have the potential to create meaningful change to a flawed system. But as Gov. Hogan’s vetoes remind us, there is much more work to be done to convince some elected officials to do their part.

Mary Jane could be executed any day


Earlier this month, Mary Jane Veloso’s scheduled execution was paused because of global outcry to save her life. But her fate remains uncertain, and she could still face execution any day. Read on for more information.
Petitioning Joko Widodo

Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso! End Human Trafficking!

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FDA/USDA ~~ Alerts & Safety May


USFDA_footer

05/30/2015 09:50 AM EDT
Paleteria La Jalpita of Pasco, Washington is recalling ice cream bars and popsicles because it may contain undeclared milk and sulfite. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk or sulfite run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

 

05/27/2015 05:12 PM EDT Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc., a Lakewood, Colo., based natural grocery chain, is recalling two lots of Natural Grocers brand Macadamia nuts as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
05/26/2015 05:56 PM EDT  Jose Madrid Salsa of Zanesville, Ohio has issued a voluntary recall of Jose Madrid Salsa Original Mild Salsa packaged in 13oz jars, due to potentially improperly sealed jars. An unknown number of jar lids may have been convex instead of vacuum sealed.
05/26/2015 05:57 PM EDT House of Spices of Flushing, NY is recalling its 200 gm packages of “Laxmi Dry Apricot” food treats because they contained undeclared sulfites. Consumers who have severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.
05/26/2015 05:56 PM EDT
Jose Madrid Salsa of Zanesville, Ohio has issued a voluntary recall of Jose Madrid Salsa Original Mild Salsa packaged in 13oz jars, due to potentially improperly sealed jars. An unknown number of jar lids may have been convex instead of vacuum sealed.
05/23/2015 08:20 PM EDT Falcon Trading Company, Inc./SunRidge Farms of Royal Oaks, CA announced that it has taken the precautionary measure of voluntarily recalling the one bulk item mentioned below. This item was distributed to the East Coast on May 7, 2015.
05/23/2015 09:11 AM EDT  Falcon Trading Company, Inc./SunRidge Farms of Royal Oaks, CA announced that it has taken the precautionary measure of voluntarily recalling the one bulk item mentioned below. The product may contain very small stainless steel wire, the kind and type used in the screening process during manufacturing.

 

Recall Summary Name of product: Nest Booster SeatOXO Nest Booster Seat

Hazard: if you bought one from September 2014 – present

Consumer Contact:

OXO at (800) 545-4411 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at info@oxo.com or online at www.oxo.com and click on Customer Service under the Contact Us tab at the bottom of the page for more information.

The stitching on the restraint straps can loosen which allows the straps to separate from the seat, posing a fall hazard to children

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/OXO-Recalls-Nest-Booster-Seats/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=Recalls+RSS#remedy

 

LQNN, Inc. Recalls Poultry, Beef and Pork Products Produced Without the Benefit of Inspection and Misbranded With Unauthorized Use of the USDA Mark of Inspection

LQNN, Inc., a Garden Grove, Calif. firm is recalling approximately 213,192 pounds of chicken, beef and pork products that were produced without the benefit of inspection and misbranded because of the unauthorized use of a USDA mark of inspection. The products which were moved and sold in commerce, included the unapproved use of another facility’s mark of inspection, which has been identified as Establishment number 18995. LQNN, Inc., operating as Lee’s Sandwiches, has been processing products from federally-inspected establishments and re-packaging them without the benefit of inspection. Products produced without inspection present potential of increased human health risk.

05/19/2015 06:50 PM EDT  A&S FOOD TRADING INC at 4425B 1ST AVE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11232 is recalling HUA ZHI YING BRAND GOURD CANDY because it contains undeclared sulfites. People who have severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.

NHTSA Statement on Takata Air Bag Inflators

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received notification from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota that they are conducting limited regional recalls to address a possible safety defect involving Takata brand air bag inflators.

“Today’s action is influenced by a NHTSA investigation into six reports of air bag inflator ruptures, all of which occurred in Florida and Puerto Rico.

“Based on the limited data available at this time, NHTSA supports efforts by automakers to address the immediate risk in areasthat have consistently hot, humid conditions over extended periods of time.

Consumers impacted by the recalls should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from their vehicle manufacturer. NHTSA remains in close communication with the supplier and automakers to gather additional data and will take appropriate action based on our findings.”

05/18/2015 11:15 AM EDT ZYK Enterprises, Inc. a Duvall, WA establishment, is recalling 2,522 pounds of boneless veal trim and whole veal muscle cut products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
05/15/2015 08:48 PM EDT OC Raw Dog of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA is voluntarily recalling 2055 lbs. of Turkey & Produce Raw Frozen Canine Formulation, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. An organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
05/15/2015 10:09 PM EDT Aurora Products, Inc. is conducting a voluntary recall of RAW MACADAMIA NUTS packaged under the Aurora brand label and various Store brand labels. Products are being recalled because they have the potential to contain Salmonella which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Blue Bell Ice Cream Recalls 3 oz. Institutional/Food Service leads to layoffs of 1450 of listeria

Safety 2015-04-21 | http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm439533.htm

Firm’s Press Release Third Recall Expansion. FDA Investigates Listeria monocytogenes in Ice Cream Products from Blue Bell Creameries.

FDA Investigates Listeria monocytogenes in Ice Cream Food

2015-05-14 | http://www.fda.gov/food/recallsoutbreaksemergencies/outbreaks/ucm438104.htm

contact with the potentially contaminated ice cream, it is Blue Bell urges consumers who have purchased these items pm CST or go to bluebell.com

05/14/2015 07:15 PM EDT AA Poultry Processing, LLC, a Ridgeland, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 2,191 pounds of chicken and 21 pounds of turkey products, which may have been contaminated with trichloro-s-triazinetrione, which is not approved for use in poultry processing.
05/11/2015 12:44 PM EDT  Good Seed Inc. of Springfield, VA is recalling all packages of soybean sprouts and mung bean sprouts because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections to individuals with weakened immune systems.
05/02/2015 02:14 AM EDT Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc. of Richmond, BC, Canada is voluntarily recalling sliced apple and products containing sliced apples, from its Northeast Fresh Facility located in Brampton, ON, Canada because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
05/02/2015 01:17 AM EDT
Bi-Lo Supermarket #5406, a Rossville, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 11-22 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with pieces from a small plastic pop-up timer.
05/02/2015 01:17 AM EDT
Victory Kitchens, a Toronto, Ontario, Canada firm, is recalling approximately 4,672 pounds of chicken noodle soup products that contain chicken from a country that is not eligible to send product to the U.S.

Free Market Fever Dream


By

Review of Rand Paul’s Taking a Stand

One thing is clear from 2016 hopeful Rand Paul’s ambitious, wide-ranging attempt at defining a cohesive policy agenda for his presidential campaign— Paul really does think he’s Mr. Smith gone to Washington. So much so, in fact, he begins the first page of the first chapter of his new book with a quote from his 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination for CIA Director: “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important” (p. 1).

There is, however, an overarching problem with Dr. Paul’s Prescriptions: he’s diagnosed some very real problems, but a slavish devotion to the market and its various invisible appendages means he provides readers with entirely the wrong medicine. Below are just a few examples of Dr. Paul’s problematic prescriptions for some of our country’s biggest problems:

The influence of big money: Paul is right that “cronyism creates special playgrounds and safe niches for a few connected individuals” (p. 76). If he were serious about ensuring that “no one can lobby for special breaks,” (p. 162) however, he would move aggressively to support measures that expose and limit the influence of big money in the political system. Instead, in one of the more ironic moments in Taking a Stand, Paul begins his chapter on wiretapping and Edward Snowden with an excerpt from his remarks at the Koch-affiliated 2014 Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit (p. 79). That’s right, Paul opens a chapter on transparency with a speech hosted by one of the two biggest dark money spenders of the 2012 presidential election.

The shrinking middle class: Another winner for that Invisible Hand! According to Paul, the free market is “the engine that will pull the middle class from its rut and return to it the promise this great class of American workers once held” (p. 76). But rather than redistributing money to the already-rich via a series of tax schemes – a flat tax (pp. 156-157), suspended capital gains taxes (p. 158), and reduced payroll taxes (ibid.), to name a few –middle class Americans require courageous leaders to stand up for policies support working families: paid sick leave, overtime protections, a strong minimum wage, and more.

Health Care: Nothing new to see: “Health care is overregulated and in serious need of market reforms” (p. 38) and “there is no moral price” (p. 40) when it comes to health care costs – even for those who can’t afford coverage, even though almost 1 in 10 Kentuckians have taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act to access health insurance. And let’s not forget that it is in fact the Affordable Care Act that seeks to bring a truly transparent market to the health insurance industry.

Education: Get rid of Common Core, the “national curriculum” (p. 131) (actually a set of math and English standards developed by states – semantics!); while we’re at it, let’s see what those teachers are really worth since “We have no idea of the value of teachers because we’ve never really had a marketplace for education” (p. 129). Of course education should foster competition and innovation – but not without the guardrails necessary to ensure our students receive a quality education.

Income Inequality: Here’s the problem according to Dr. Paul: under President Obama, “the poor have gotten poorer, and the rich have gotten richer” (ibid.), and “failed Great Society policies… for too many years have chained the poor to poverty” (p. 167). But Paul’s prescription isn’t surprising: “What the Republicans offer is less tangible than a government check. The promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets, lower taxes, and fewer regulations doesn’t arrive in a mailbox at the first of the month” (pp. 109-110).

BOTTOM LINE: Free markets can be a force for good and for growth, but for markets to be truly free they must not be distorted by big business or big money. Paul’s pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps fantasy and blind faith in the invisible hand ignores the very real challenges facing working families. Readers – and voters – be sure to heed the warning label.