• DamianTV

    by Published on 03-04-2014 06:05 PM


    The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations that would treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes, after one of the most personal debates to be heard on the council floor in years.

    On a 14-0 vote, lawmakers outlawed "vaping" -- the practice of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes -- in most work sites and many public places, including parks and certain beaches.

    Lawmakers voted to continue allowing e-cigarette use in so-called vaping lounges, where patrons can try the various e-juices that are loaded into the battery-powered devices. And they narrowly defeated a push by the e-cigarette industry to let the practice continue in 21-and-over establishments, such as bars and nightclubs.

    (more on link)
    by Published on 02-26-2014 11:58 PM


    (Reuters) - A California city is to consult its citizens on whether to impose a soda tax on sugary drinks, following failed bids by other local governments to pass similar measures.

    The Berkeley City Council will gauge local voter support for a penny-per-ounce tax - opposed by most of the soft drinks industry but which its backers say could help to curb obesity and diabetes - in an opinion poll next week.

    Depending on the outcome, it might include a referendum on introducing the tax in a city-wide ballot in November.

    Other U.S. cities have tried without success to enact such a tax amid a growing national movement to curb the consumption of high-calorie beverages. Proposals are under consideration in San Francisco and the state of Illinois.

    Attempts to tax sugary drinks in two other California cities, Richmond and El Monte, failed in the face of strong opposition from the beverage industry.

    (more on link)
    If they start putting a tax on anything with Sugar in it, they'll end up with a tax everything in the entire food industry.
    by Published on 02-21-2014 09:41 AM


    Privacy advocates in the Pacific Northwest are squaring off with local police over plans to install a system that would link surveillance camera video with databases containing photographs of hundreds of thousands of area residents.

    In Seattle, Washington, the City Council will soon decide on whether or not they should approve an ordinance that green-lights a $1.6 million federal grant, a large chunk of which will be used to purchase sophisticated facial recognition software that supporters of the measure say would help stop crime.

    Those Department of Homeland Security dollars would let the Seattle police pay for software that digitally scans surveillance camera footage and then tries to match images of the individuals caught on tape with any one of the 350,000-or-so people who have been photographed previously by King County, Washington law enforcement.

    “An officer has to reasonably believe that a person has been involved in a crime or committed a crime” before they begin to use the program, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told KIRO-TV this week

    Once the facial recognition software is initiated, though, it scours a collection containing close to a half-a-million area residents — including many who may never have been convicted of a crime.

    (more on link)
    by Published on 02-21-2014 08:39 AM


    The government wants a national database noting where license plates were spotted. Congress should regulate the runaway data-collection industry instead.

    The automobile has afforded greater freedom to so many different kinds of Americans: the mad dreamers portrayed in On the Road; the post-World War II families who suddenly had the means to pack their kids in the backseat and vacation a thousand miles from home; the Jim Crow-era blacks for whom cars were an alternative to racist public-transportation systems; the generations of American teenagers who cruised the local strip in their own versions of American Graffiti. This heritage is dear to many, and helps explain popular opposition to policies as diverse as toll roads, speed cameras, and permitting the Transportation Security Administration to expand its operations on the nation's highways. All challenge a romantic preference for an America where anyone can climb into a car, fill up, and drive wherever they damn well please unimpeded.

    Sympathetic as I am to that broad vision, its adherents sometimes resist sound reforms. The nation would be better off with better public-transportation infrastructure, more bike lanes, and lower carbon emissions. All of this can be accomplished without coercing anyone out of their cars. Meanwhile, a far more profound threat to the significant freedoms automobiles afford has garnered very little attention, and hardly any backlash, in part because it's been implemented so quietly: The U.S. government is pushing for infrastructure that could track every car trip we take.

    Is the relative anonymity the open road has long afforded something we're ready to give up? In an up or down vote, I'm confident the American people would say, "Hell no." But automatic license-plate readers threaten much of the privacy we've always enjoyed, on the road and at our destinations of choice, as never before.

    These devices garnered a bit of attention last summer, when the ACLU reported on how many states and localities have installed them on patrol cars, bridges, and highway overpasses, where they capture images of every passing vehicle. The intention is often to find stolen cars or to catch drivers evading warrants for their arrest. Yet in most cases, "these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen—not just the data of vehicles that generate hits," the ACLU explained. "All of this information is being placed into databases, and is sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems .... All too frequently, these data are retained permanently and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used."

    (continues on link)
    And if this doesnt work, another more sinister version will follow up right behind it until it gets shoved down our throats. Remember SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA?
    by Published on 02-16-2014 05:07 PM


    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed legislation on Saturday that raises the U.S. debt limit through March 2015, taking the politically volatile issue off the table with congressional elections coming up this November.

    Without an increase in the statutory debt limit, the U.S. government would have soon defaulted on some of its obligations and would have had to shut down some programs, an historic event that would have caused severe market turmoil.

    On a long holiday weekend in a desert resort area in southern California, Obama put his signature on the legislation without fanfare, while behind closed doors at the Sunnylands retreat.

    It was a quiet end to the latest chapter in what has been one of the more challenging aspects of his presidency, as he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly sparred with Republicans over increasing the country's borrowing authority.

    Extending the debt ceiling to March 2015 means the issue may not get caught up in election-year politics.
    Dog and Pony Show.
    by Published on 02-15-2014 02:13 AM


    Just days after warning his party that it will lose its electoral grip on Texas if it doesn’t broaden its appeal, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an even more dire prediction on Thursday: Forget losing Texas – the GOP might never win a presidential election again if it doesn’t change its tune.

    “I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime…unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said during an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck that aired Thursday. “And it has to be a transformation. Not a little tweaking at the edges.”

    The Kentucky Republican said the GOP needs to do a better job of tailoring specific messages to specific groups.
    by Published on 02-13-2014 07:39 AM


    Last year, the United States plunged 13 spots in the global press freedom index to number 46, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said on Wednesday.

    "Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example," the authors write. “This has been the case in the United States.”

    In the US, “freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs,” the non-governmental organization said.

    The US was singled out for its pursuit of spying leaker Edward Snowden, who exposed the National Security Agency’s secret mass surveillance programs around the world.

    The disclosures sparked global outrage and even some of Washington’s closest allies have denounced the spying programs.

    by Published on 02-07-2014 09:27 PM


    "Russia has banned digital currency Bitcoin under existing laws and dubbed use of the crypto-currency as 'suspicious'. The Central Bank of Russia considers Bitcoin as a form of 'money substitute' or 'money surrogate' (statement in Russian) which is restricted under Russian law. However, unlike use of restricted foreign currencies, Bitcoin has been outright banned. The US Library of Congress has issued a report examining the regulatory approaches national financial authorities have taken to the currency."
    by Published on 02-06-2014 08:02 AM


    "Speeding is against the law, and yes, even going 5 mph over the speed limit is breaking the law. But everyone does it, right? What about when you see a cop? Some cops are ticketing people for notifying fellow motorists about speed traps. In Florida, Ryan Kintner simply flashed his high-beams to warning oncoming cars that there was a cop ahead. He was given a ticket for doing so. He went to court to fight the ticket, and a judge ruled that flashing lights are the equivalent of free speech, thus he had every right to flash his lights to warn oncoming cars."
    First off, speeding is against the law? No Victim, No Crime. Second, theyre called Speed Traps because its a form of Entrapment. Cash Cow being Milked.
    by Published on 02-05-2014 10:49 PM


    WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Imagine getting pulled over for a traffic stop, and instead of getting a ticket, the officer takes your money. All of it.

    It happened to one man recently, who was driving on Interstate 80 through Northern Nevada. Now, he is fighting back.

    It's a case that focuses on our rights: Can law enforcement take your money or property, even if you are not charged with a crime?

    The driver was Tan Nguyen of California. He has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney. His attorney, John Ohlson said, "The basis of the stop was he was going 78 in a 75. The stop ended in a search, and the deputy took $50,000 from my client that belonged to him."

    Nguyen was not arrested. He was not charged with any crime. But Humboldt County Sergeant Lee Dove decided to confiscate a bundle of cash Nguyen happened to be carrying: $50,000 worth. Sergeant Dove even posed for a photo after seizing the cash.
    Does "Due Process of Law" even ring a bell anymore?
    by Published on 02-05-2014 08:17 PM

    Florida says mom must prove her dying son can't take standardized test

    Standardized testing has become something of an obsession in the United States, but Florida’s mandate is under heavy fire while the state attempts to force a disabled, dying boy to complete an exam he is simply incapable of doing.

    Ethan Rediske, an 11-year-old Florida boy, is expected to pass away any day now. He was born with numerous ailments, including severe brain damage and cerebral palsy. He’s also blind.

    On top of these health issues, the Orlando Sentinel reports that his lungs are constantly filled with fluid these days, he’s in a morphine coma and all he can do is utter a sound every once in a while.

    Despite his current condition, Florida insisted that his mother Andrea provide even more evidence that her son is incapable of taking the standardized test that's adapted for disabled children and required by the state – as well as the US Department of Education.

    In a letter obtained by the Washington Post, Andrea Rediske reached out to the school board and to a journalist at the Sentinel hoping to spread the word about her son’s situation.

    “Apparently, my communication through [the teacher] that he was in hospice wasn’t enough [for the school district]: they required a letter from the hospice company to say that he was dying,” the letter reads. “Every day that she comes to visit, she is required to do paperwork to document his ‘progress.’ Seriously? Why is Ethan Rediske not meeting his 6th-grade hospital homebound curriculum requirements? BECAUSE HE IS IN A MORPHINE COMA. We expect him to go any day. He is tenaciously clinging to life.

    “This madness has got to stop. Please help us.”
    by Published on 02-03-2014 09:04 PM

    Failure is half of learning. Just as Sound is half of a Movie. If you don't have sound, its like having half a movie. Applied to Education, when a person fails at something, they are still learning. They are learning how not to do something. When Edison was working on the lightbulb, he tried many times and failed. But for each failure, he learned from the mistakes and experiments how not to make a lightbulb, which finally resulted in a creation of a lightbulb that does work. He could not have succeeded without first failing.

    In our Public Schools, failure is directly tied to Obedience and Esteem, not wisdom. The system itself withholds praise for those that fail, and does not teach children how to overcome those failures. When the student fails, they are not encouraged to learn from their mistakes and figure out what went wrong. They are taught that as soon as they fail at something, if they are actually interested, they need to look to figures of Authority to provide them with the right answer. Intellectual Dependency. Get it wrong, then ask Authority to not explain, just provide the desired answer.

    I've been called Liberal a couple of times for expressing unpopular conclusions. What I am not trying to say is to reward everyone for failing tests. I don't want to lower the standards. I think we just need to look at and examine the specific parts of Education itself to figure out where Education isn't working. So try not to think of Education as only occurring in a Public School environment. Do try to think about it as you teaching someone else how to do something where there are no certificates to be given or tests to be scored. For example, teaching an old lady how to check her email account.

    Are grades important? ....

    Continued in forum...
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