March 2012

India’s crackdown against militants creates questions about human rights

 

In order to deal with several militant insurgencies in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as other problems in the northeastern region of the country, India passed the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) several years back.  This law, which is supposed to facilitate the Indian government’s struggle against rogue factions, uses several questionable tactics which have since been labeled as authoritarian and anti-democratic.

AFSPA allows armed personnel to take virtually any action they feel necessary in order to enforce peace in the affected regions.  They may kill, arrest or force any person to submit to a search without any justification.  This effectively removes all rights from citizens in these areas and makes no allowance for them to complain, even when the death of innocents is involved.  Furthermore, there is no punishment for the soldiers, even if they are in the wrong.

Obama calls GOP stance on economic policies ‘madness’

President Obama continues taking shots at his GOP rivals

President Obama seems to be cruising to victory even though it is early days yet. The President himself is very confident and has even stated that if his idol Abraham Lincoln were to be running for President he would not be able to do so because of the state of the GOP at the moment. I thought this was very telling as he has always said that Lincoln was his favorite president in U.S. history.

CIANA Law Passes - More abortion barriers put into place

 

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, for those who have not heard of it, requires that pregnant teens have their parents transport them across state lines if they are seeking an abortion out-of-state.  Referred to fondly as the “Arrest Grandma Act,” the law imposes jail time on those who break it, including doctors if they perform an abortion on a teen from another state without a parent present.

As can be expected, this law is causing quite a bit of controversy.  There are no exceptions in the law for teens who have suffered from rape, incest of threats of physical violence, nor are there provisions in case of medical emergencies.  Therefore, if a teen happens to be the child of a single father and a victim of incest as well, she will no longer be permitted to have an abortion unless said father agrees, which is an uncomfortable situation at best.

Divide and Conquer – NOM’s attempt to use black voters to undermine gay rights

 

In a recent political move that can only be described as immoral and underhanded, the largest anti-same-sex marriage lobby in the U.S., the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), has organized a campaign designed to estrange gay marriage advocates from their African American and Hispanic supporters.  Documents that were unsealed by a Maine court due to a lawsuit pending against NOM concerning their campaign financing revealed how they planned to go about this.

The paperwork broke down the plan in terms of the “…goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks…” and that by promoting black spokespeople who agree with their agenda they would then “…provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”  They also stated their intentions to “Find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.” 

China's Rise and U.S. Power Not Mutually Exclusive

Call it Cold War thinking, but Americans should stop freaking out about the rise of China and India, and should work more on their national brand.

This may ask you step out of your cultural submersible, but the economic and cultural rise of Asia may not be an entirely bad thing. Now I’m not going to go as far as to say that the U.S. doesn’t need to continue to be competitive (although it seems bound and determined to try to do that in all the wrong ways), by the ratcheting up of China, India, South Korea, and other formerly “underdeveloped” nations’ economies could prove to be a boon to an industrious and interconnected global economy. Consider the reason that Europe chose to form the European Union and to introduce that practical and (adorably monickered) currency, the euro? The greater the number of independently stable national economies are part of a great economic community, the healthier and more stable that economy is.

Food and Drug Administration OKs BPA in Food Containers

Cites only industry-funded research in decision

Despite multiple studies that have demonstrated its toxicity, bisphenol-A will continue to appear in America's food and beverage containers. The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that they had decided not to ban the chemical from product packaging.

BPA can be found in many plastics used to store food and beverages, as well as in can linings. It's ubiquitous in Big Food's products--and the industry has fought to keep it that way. The research cited by the FDA to prove that BPA is a harmless compound doesn't seem to come from as neutral a source as some scientists might like. All the studies in the FDA's report were funded either by companies within the food industry or by the FDA itself. No neutral research was included.

Texas woman discovers mold on Kotex tampon

A mere four months after Kotex had to recall tampons contaminated with bacterium

 

Are all tampons created equally? Had I been asked this question a year ago I would have said other than comfort level, they are mostly created equally. After my latest finding I have no choice other than to question the quality of tampons. The quality of a tampon is vital considering where it goes; after all do we really know the long term effects of contamination in such an important part of our body?

Danielle Parr from Saginaw Texas recently discovered mold on a tampon that she took out of a brand new box. It’s fortunate that she even saw it considering that the actual tampon had a dark purple plastic applicator. How many women push the tampon out of the applicator prior to use? Most of us do not.

Obamaville

Santorum tries to scare us with District 12 like images and a doomsday scenario

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According to Rick Santorum, if we reelect Barack Obama, the world as we know it ends – at least according to his TV ad titled “Obamaville.”  We see sad children in old style dresses, a man pointing a gas spout at his head, and stacks of TVs that flash between images of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama.

Does the GOP really support business?

Be careful what you ask for

Republicans constantly claim to be the saviors of business in America.  However, are they really fighting for business – big and small? Big business seems to think that they are and provide millions of dollars in support of GOP candidates.  However, according to a New York Times article, “the return on investment has not always met expectations.”

Heatlh Care Reform at the Crossroads

If Obamacare is struck down, does it spell the end?

It seems that if the Affordable Health Care Law is overturned, many believe that it will serve a possible death blow to the Obama re-election campaign.  Yet, as I consider the implications of such an action, I wonder if it really serves as a death blow to the millions of Americans who currently do not have insurance and the millions more that will lose the current coverage afforded by the law.

The GOP VP campaign begins

Santorum and Gingrich are in

After expressing that another four years with President Obama would be better than having Mitt Romney as President, Rick Santorum is now throwing his hat in to be the Vice Presidential candidate.  In other developments, Newt Gingrich has scaled back his organization by laying off 1/3 of his staff and focusing his efforts on the nominating convention itself.  It seems that Romney’s nomination inevitability is becoming a reality to the other contenders.

Hey, Republicans, the "slippery slope" hypotheticals are getting old

The Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments on the constitutionality of the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare today. Pundits have been quick to assume that the mandate is done for. Their reasoning: the conservative justices, including moderates Roberts and Kennedy, asked a lot of tough questions.

Despite the fact that questioning is a key part of the Supreme Court justice job description, those in the know are assuming heated discourse is the death knell for Obamacare.

What exactly were these poignant questions warranting a complete media flip-flop on predictions of the ultimate ruling?

Mitt Romney’s California home will feature an elevator for his luxury cars

As if Americans haven’t been angered enough by Romney and his statements, here is another news story that could enrage some people

I do love Mitt Romney and his success, but I don’t love his chances against President Obama come November, especially after this latest bit of news. Romney will spend about $60K on a car lift that will serve as an elevator for his personal fleet of luxury vehicles in his beachfront California home.

Most people have been angered by some of the statements that he has made in this his second campaign to be elected as the president of the United States of America. Another additional detail is that he has even gone as far as getting a lobbyist to assist in the approval process by offering $20K.

Dick Cheney's heart transplant

A positive news source

Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a new heart transplanted on Saturday March 24, 2012. Mr. Cheney is reportedly doing well. When I saw this report on the Sunday morning news, my first thought was that the left was going to go nuts with accusations of preferential treatment due to Cheney’s position and wealth.

My first reaction was that the media would raise concerns that he “jumped the line” and got his heart before others who were waiting longer. Also, I was waiting for reports that someone his age should not receive a new heart when others, much younger, were waiting in line.

My expectations were proven correct when several networks raised these questions and almost all liberal cable talking heads frothed at the mouth with outright allegations of favoritism.

Hunger Games Déjà vu

Go on a Hunger Games Tour Just Like a Capitol Citizen!

Remember how the release of The Lorax was like a slap in the face to those of us who remember the original—or who at least give a damn about the environment? How its message is supposed to be about preserving the earth, but then it was used to like, sell toys and cars and stuff? How the packaging associated with said movie would likely reverse any thoughts of environmental activism inspired (if any), anyway, so what was the point?

It looks like The Hunger Games is being used in a similar ironic way.

The Affordable Care Act Back In The Spotlight

Obamacare got a last minute public pick-me-up before going to the Supreme Court.

An undeniable truth about democratic societies is that the people that are most complacent (and often most satisfied) are least likely to vote. In the case of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the people that are its casual supporters are legion, but are not nearly as vocal as the law’s opponents. As a result, the popular impression on the public may be that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a bad idea, or should even be repealed. However, in truth it’s much more popular than that, and in fact, some provisions of the law have wide bipartisan support, such as the ban on discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions. Finally, however, those happy with ACA hit back at all of the nay-sayers.

The best and Worst Employee benefits

Employee benefits are always taken into consideration when deciding on a new job. Some benefits are expected and highly needed. Then there are also benefits that are nice yet certainly not needed and often not even used.

Health Coverage

Health coverage is a given benefit that most if not all benefit packages contain. It’s an added benefit that secures the health and welfare of an employee and an employee’s family members. Unfortunately, not all health coverage is the same; in fact sometimes employees are better off declining health coverage and taking out their own health insurance in the private sector.

Are the People in Your Life Toxic?

We talk about a lot of different types of toxins on this blog. We have discussed chemical based toxins from industrial plants, food based toxins, packaging toxins and many other normal toxins. We haven’t really looked at toxic people.

Now I’m not saying that people are running around dying to expose you to toxins. I just thought we should stretch the word toxin and think outside of the box for just a moment. I know that I have toxic friends and I tolerate them and even care for them on a friend level. I have however been trying to free myself slowly from my toxic friends. Let me tell you briefly of my toxic removal.

Will Gas Prices Lead To Self Sufficiency?

It’s painful to go to the pump these days as gas reaches $4 and there is no expected end to the increases. The trouble in the Middle East is once again causing the price of oil to skyrocket and it’s the people commuting to work every day that feel the pinch.

It’s just not commuters that were hit hard either. Retailers and transportation companies are feeling the hit as well and that translates to higher prices for everything from airplane tickets to groceries. It’s possible this recent surge in prices may not go away anytime soon.

About 10 years ago, gas never reached about $2 a gallon and then after a surge in oil prices never goes below $3 anymore. A $10 gas purchase used to be able to get to ½ a tank and now you’re lucky to get three gallons.

When new stations open and run the 99-cent gas sale for two hours, hundreds of cars create bottlenecks of traffic as people try to reclaim the good old days when gas was a reasonably priced commodity.

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