Friday, June 29, 2007

No, this is not Taco Bell in New York

Please don't invite me to this restaurant :-)

Kudos Mika B

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski refused to talk about Paris Hilton as a *Lead Story* on the Morning Joe show.

For more on this stand for journalism visit:

Tell your Representative Not to Go Backwards on Food Safety

An amendment, called Section 123, was quietly added to Title I of the 2007 Farm Bill a few weeks ago, and it is a huge step backwards on food safety. If passed, it would hamstring state and local food safety efforts by wiping out critical authority on meat, poultry and biotechnology.

The sweeping language of Section 123 would prevent states from prohibiting the sale of USDA-inspected products. This provision could prevent local health inspectors at a supermarket from condemning contaminated meat or spoiled poultry! Since 90% of food inspections are done at the state and local level, the impact could be severe.

Section 123 also prohibits states from passing laws that protect animal welfare, such as laws on horse slaughter and sale of horsemeat.

Finally, Section 123 prohibits state and local laws on biotechnology -- such as laws to review whether or not to grow genetically-engineered rice in a state.

After recent problems with Melamine in pet and livestock feed, Listeria in chicken, and E. coli in spinach and ground beef, we should be strengthening our food safety system, not weakening it! Tell your Representative to stand up for food safety and oppose Section 123 in the Farm Bill.

Take Action

African-American Issues Are All-American Issues

Last night I had the opportunity to view one of the best presidential candidate forums that I've seen in quite awhile. Yet strangely the post debate/forum coverage of the "All-American Presidential Forum" moderated by Tavis Smiley and aired on PBS is today being dismissed by most of the major media outlets as simply the candidates pandering to black voters on black issues. I don't get it since when are the issues of healthcare, AIDS, education, poverty, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, outsourcing, and foreign trade just issues of concern to the black community?

Yes, this was the first debate which address many of the aforementioned domestic issues. And yes many of the issues are critical to the lives of African-Americans but for news venues like CNN to dismiss the forum as primarily an event for a black audience is misleading and unacceptable.

In case you missed the broadcast you can view the video at:

Posted By Pamela Lyn to Get the Facts & Get Involved at 6/29/2007 04:38:00 PM

African-American Issues Are All-American Issues

Last night I had the opportunity to view one of the best presidential candidate forums that I've seen in quite awhile. Yet strangely the post debate/forum coverage of the "All-American Presidential Forum" moderated by Tavis Smiley and aired on PBS is today being dismissed by most of the major media outlets as simply the candidates pandering to black voters on black issues. I don't get it since when are the issues of healthcare, AIDS, education, poverty, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, outsourcing, and foreign trade just issues of concern to the black community?

Yes, this was the first debate which address many of the aforementioned domestic issues. And yes many of the issues are critical to the lives of African-Americans but for news venues like CNN to dismiss the forum as primarily an event for a black audience is misleading and unacceptable.

In case you missed the broadcast you can view the video at:

Here are a few clips courtesy of YouTube viewers

The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Pakistan

excerpt from

A View From the Roof of the World

Read the entire article at:

From atop the Shawal Pass in Pakistan's remote Chitral, the Hindu Kush is seen in all its glory. White peaks surge like a churning ocean across the horizon, undulating heavenward towards their confluence with the mighty Himalayas.... Shepherds say that rare snow leopards slip down from the boulders to snatch their goats, disappearing again for weeks.

On both sides of the disputed line that divides Pakistan from Afghanistan, the air is fraught with peril. From Afghanistan, comes the ubiquitous buzz of U.S. helicopters and young boys who tell stories of fighting the Americans from house to house and tree to tree.

On the Pakistani side, the fires of war feed a growing fundamentalism that the authorities appear powerless to tame.

The 3,300-strong Kalasha people, who claim bloodlines from Alexander's armies and who worship a pantheon of gods not unlike the one ascribed to Mount Olympus, claim that "Talibanization" is fast crushing their fragile culture.

During my hike up and back to the Afghan border, two young Muslim men descended on my young Kalasha guide, Asmat, and threatened to stone him to death for daring to bring an infidel into their domain.... Sympathetic Muslim locals described them not as Taliban, but as "mujahedeen," the hallowed term once used for militants in the war against Soviet aggression.

In the valley below, a yellow oriole streaks through the sky and a young Kalasha girl clad in an embroidered dress and a headdress of cowry shells climbs a mulberry tree in search of fruit. At a three-day funeral for a favorite son drowned in a logging accident, men and women greet each another traditionally by kissing the backs of one another's hands. Elders bathe the boy's body in wine as men and women celebrate his life with song and dance.

By contrast, in the nearby "village of the converted," Afghan refugees crowd into homes and women, bound by the Islamic tradition of purdah, flee for cover at the sight of a foreigner.

...Once was the day when the multi-ethnic and multi-religious state of Chitral, a glistening gem of the British Raj, could ensure that the Kalash practiced their faith virtually free from oppression.

...Though President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and his deputies have singled out the dwindling Kalasha culture for preservation - designating 13 new police posts for Kalasha women applicants - locals say that the reality on the ground does not match promises from Islamabad.

Upstream, speakers at the mosques pump out fire and brimstone messages aimed at the alleged debauchery of the Kalash. When Kalasha women court openly with different males as they have done for centuries, they are targeted as harlots.

Though Pakistani police officials recently stopped soldiers for smuggling the Kalasha version of moonshine to the district capital where it is a favorite at polo matches, the alcohol production, a small source of outside income, has also become a target for hard-line Islamic groups.

The Al-Khidmat Foundation, an off-shoot of the welfare organization set up by the deceased Egyptian mentor of Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, is a leading actor here.... In Chitral, as across Pakistan's Northwestern Frontier Province, orphans and impoverished youth are recruited - sometimes by force - for strict schooling. Where several years ago there was one Islamic school, or madrasa, in the three small Kalasha valleys, there are now 16 and many of them feed recruits into the war in Afghanistan.

"We live in a hub of Islamization and so we are being crushed," says Lakshan Bibi, 32, a Kalasha woman who runs a self-help NGO and who was recently kidnapped for ransom.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The US Supreme Court Turns the Clock Back on School Integration

Here's something else to add to the legacy of the Bush administration. plk

excerpt from

Supreme Court rejects school race plans

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Write

A half-century after the Supreme Court outlawed segregated schools, sharply divided justices clamped new limits Thursday on local school efforts to make sure children of different races share classrooms.

The court voted 5-4 to strike down school integration plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle, a decision that imperiled similar plans that hundreds of cities and counties use voluntarily to integrate their schools.

The ruling does not affect several hundred other public school districts that remain under federal court order to desegregate.

Justices disagreed bluntly with each other in 169 pages of written opinions on whether the decision supports or betrays the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling that led to the end of state-sponsored school segregation in the United States.

...Chief Justice John Roberts asserted in his majority opinion that by classifying students by race, the school districts are perpetuating the unequal treatment the Brown decision outlawed.

...Crucially for school districts seeking guidance, Justice Anthony Kennedy went along with the court's four most conservative members in rejecting the Louisville and Seattle plans but also said race may sometimes be a component of school efforts to achieve diversity.

...Justice Stephen Breyer, in a pointed dissent he read in the courtroom, said those measures have had only limited success in promoting integration.

Breyer was more expressive than usual in the elegant courtroom, grimacing a time or two, shaking his head and rolling his eyes as Roberts read from his opinion.

Joined by the other liberals on the court, Breyer said Roberts' opinion undermined the promise of integrated schools that the court laid out 53 years ago in the Brown decision.

...On the other side, Justice Clarence Thomas, the court's only black member, wrote a separate opinion endorsing the ruling and taking issue with the dissenters' view of the Brown case.

...Civil rights leaders, trying to make the best of the decision, said Kennedy's opinion, when combined with the four dissenters, showed that a majority of the justices support the continuing use of race-conscious measures to integrate public schools.

...Dennis Parker, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program, said, "Even so, the rejection of the Seattle and Louisville school plans represents a significant step backwards in a nation where schools are becoming increasingly segregated by race and ethnicity."

School districts that have plans that resemble the ones struck down by the court are expected to look for other ways to make their schools racially balanced without specifically relying on race.

...The ruling also could unsettle the more than 2,000 magnet schools that educate 2 million children since many were created under desegregation plans, said UCLA education expert Gary Orfield.

...The Jefferson County and Seattle school systems, whose integration plans were the subjects of Thursday's decisions, employ slightly different methods of taking students' race into account when determining which schools they will attend.

...The Louisville case grew out of complaints from several parents whose children were not allowed to attend the schools of their choice. Crystal Meredith, a white, single mother, sued after the school system turned down a request to transfer her 5-year-old son Joshua Ryan McDonald, to a school closer to home.

...After a federal judge freed the Jefferson County, Ky., school board, which encompasses Louisville, from his supervision, the board decided to keep much of the court-ordered plan in place to prevent schools from re-segregating.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said he was disappointed with the ruling because his city's system had provided "a quality education for all students and broken down racial barriers" for 30 years.

Deborah Stallworth, a Louisville parent who successfully sued to end court-ordered busing in 2000, said: "We send children to school to be educated, not as a social experiment."

The Seattle school district said it used race as a factor only at the end of a lengthy process in allocating students among the city's high schools.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Never Lose A Holy Curiosity"

Do you ever wonder if Jesus actually said the things that many Christians claim he did? Or, the Prophet Muhammed? Or Buddha?

What would each of them really say about using 6 year olds as suicide bombers, the treatment of women around the world or justifying wars with religion?

Are the lives we lead shaped by our faith? Or have we shaped religions to justify the lives we want to lead?

" The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.

Never lose a holy curiosity. "

-- Albert Einstein

poster by Tim Nyberg

If you appreciate the poster at the right, please visit the "Justice and Compassion" blog to view other posters in this series and read the accompanying commentary.

Dear Friends,

My apologies for the lengthy absence. Once again I've spent a little time searching for answers and spiritual direction. In my desire to motivate and encourage others I found myself in need of motivation and encouragement and questioning everything.

I must admit that sometimes I envy those individuals that know beyond a shadow of a doubt that each day they are walking the path to their destiny. Because for me, it seems that at least every other day a thought crosses my mind that I may have missed a turn here or there.

As many of you know, in addition to this blog I also have two others that are mostly geared toward social and political commentary and activism. And as you can imagine, sometimes it's not easy to separate social issues and faith. Note, I didn't say religion and politics because religiosity and politics are man-made systems that are biased and divisive by nature. While, for me, matters of faith and a concern for the health and welfare of mankind and the planet focuses your life on spiritual truths that binds each of us, one to the other and to God.

But enough of that. I'm back to the blogosphere and inspired to try to share more material which will hopefully make you pause for thought.

The Corporate Axis of Evil

an excerpt from

Big Business, Bad Business

Corporate Accountability International

June 27, 2007

For 30 years, Corporate Accountability International, formerly Infact, has challenged irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions—like those of NestlĂ©, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria—around the world.

Corporate Accountability International today announced that Exxon, Halliburton and Wal-Mart are the three newly elected inductees to its Corporate Hall of Shame. The membership organization, which wages winning campaigns against irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions, opened online voting in May with five other potential inductees: Coke, Ford, Kimberly-Clark, Merck and Nestlé. Corporations were nominated for a variety of factors, including documented abuses that harm people and the environment, political influence and interference, and public deception.

Approximately 8,592 separate voters cast online ballots from around the world May 16 through June 20, with Exxon and Halliburton being selected by half of all voters, and Wal-Mart just narrowly beating out Kimberly-Clark to become the third inductee.

Voters also had the option write-in their own candidates, and more than 300 people did so, with corporations such as Monsanto, Massey Energy and McDonald’s named most frequently.

...“The Hall of Shame demonstrates that thousands of people are fed up with irresponsible corporations,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of Corporate Accountability International.... Fortunately, the public’s demand for corporate accountability is universal, and the voting for Hall of Shame underscores the desire to eradicate shameful business practices.”

Even though ExxonMobil is the most profitable corporation in the world, the oil giant is still using its legal clout to avoid paying $4.5 billion in punitive damages from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.... As the only oil corporation that still denies the urgency of climate change, ExxonMobil spent nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 funding “junk science” from front groups that confuse the issue. Despite record oil-prices and industry profits, Exxon continues to receive billions of dollars from publicly-funded corporate handouts, in the form of tax breaks and royalty relief (for oil taken from public lands).

...Now Congress is investigating $2.7 billion in waste and overcharging by Halliburton—including bills for three times the meals that U.S. troops actually received in Iraq. With these sky-high prices comes an embarrassingly low level of service, such as water contaminated with feces that Halliburton delivered to troops for bathing, laundry and even making coffee. Now, after charging taxpayers billions of dollars for their government contracts, Halliburton has announced plans to cut and run, moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, which will likely make it easier for the company to pay less U.S. taxes. But Halliburton had been violating U.S. laws for years, operating in Iran until April 2007 under the guise of one of their subsidiaries.

...And now Wal-Mart is the subject of the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, involving 1.2 million women who are current or former employees. Meanwhile, Congressional investigators estimate that each Wal-Mart store receives nearly half a million dollars a year in government subsidies. (Wal-Mart has padded its bottom line with more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks and other public subsidies, including deals that allow them to use sales taxes paid by some store customers to pay for improvements to the store property.)

Has The New American Revolution Begun?

Maybe this July 4th, the Bush administration should take a history refresher on what the American people did the last time they were tired of a King George. The American people have had enough and at least a few people in the Senate seem to know it.

How will history remember the reign of King George Bush? Will Patrick Leahy, Russ Feingold, John Kerry and Arlen Specter be remembered as firing a few of the opening salvos of the revolution? Who will be remembered as a collaborators? And then there's Dick Cheney?

I can't wait to see this all retold in 10 years on the history channel!

Senate subpoenas WHouse documents in spying probe

By Thomas Ferraro

A Senate chairman heading an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program subpoenaed documents on Wednesday from the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney's office, the National Security Council and Justice Department.

Setting up a possible courtroom showdown, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy gave the administration until July 18 to turn over specified materials that the White House last week declared off limits and highly classified.

In letters accompanying the subpoenas, Leahy wrote: "Over the past 18 months, this committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program."

...Leahy's panel, on a bipartisan vote of 13-3, authorized the subpoenas last week in another attempt to determine the administration's legal justification for warrantless surveillance begun shortly after the September 11 attacks.

...Critics charge Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, conducted by the National Security Agency, violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires warrants.

...Interest in the justification of the program, which the administration said targeted people in the United States with suspected terrorists ties, increased last month after former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Judiciary Committee.

Comey told the panel about a March 2004 hospital-room meeting where then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales tried to pressure a critically ill John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, to set aside Justice Department concerns and sign a presidential order reauthorizing the program.

...Last week, a House committee set off another political firestorm when it reported that Cheney has refused to comply with an executive order that created government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information.

On June 26, 2006, five members of the U.S. Congress spoke at the ACLU-sponsored “Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice” rally. In order of appearance, they were: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Jerome Nadler (D-NY), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). Each of them ripped President George W. Bush and V.P. Dick Cheney for shredding the U.S. Constitution, condoning torture, gutting the ancient Writ of Habeas Corpus and spearheading the passage of the draconian Military Commissions Act, etc.

Ask US Senators to Support the "Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act

Dear Friend,

Did you know that 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their country each
month? Many are targeted for death for their religion,
ethnicity, or work they did for the United States.

Despite the growing crisis, the U.S. has essentially closed its
doors to this vulnerable population.

This is embarrassing - but we can do something about it! Join me
in urging your Senators to cosponsor the "Refugee Crisis in Iraq
Act." The bill would extend a lifeline to some of Iraq's most
vulnerable refugees and displaced people.

Simply click below - it takes no more than a minute:

A Civil Response to A Lunatic

Try as I may to disregard Ann Coulter and people of her ilk, I am compelled to share Elizabeth Edwards' replies to Ann's recent cry for help. Will someone give Ann the help she so desperately needs?

What the label "Made In China" May Mean To Your Health

Chinese regulators find widespread abuses in food industry
By David Barboza
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SHANGHAI: After weeks of insisting that food here is largely safe, regulators in China said that they had recently closed 180 food plants and that inspectors had uncovered more than 23,000 food safety violations.

The nationwide crackdown, which began in December, also found that many small food makers were using industrial chemicals, dyes and other illegal ingredients in making a wide range of food products.

The government has moved aggressively in recent months to enforce food safety regulations and to crack down on fake and counterfeit foods amid a series of global scares involving Chinese food exports.

But the announcement Tuesday on the Web site of the country's top quality regulator, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, added fuel to concerns about rampant fraud in the food industry here.

Regulators said 33,000 law enforcement officials had combed the nation and turned up illegal food-making dens, counterfeit bottled water, fake soy sauce, banned food additives and illegal meat processing plants.

"These are not isolated cases," Han Yi, director of the administration's quality control and inspection department, told state-run news media.

China Daily, the country's English-language newspaper, said Wednesday that industrial chemicals, including dyes, mineral oils, paraffin wax, formaldehyde and malachite green, had been found in the production of candy, pickles, biscuits, and seafood.

...Last week, officials said a company in Anhui Province, not far from Shanghai, was selling a two-year-old rice dumpling mix as fresh, according to the state-controlled media.

...Tainted food ingredients also leeched into U.S. meat and fish supplies, and other problem foods, like tainted fish, have turned up in Europe and other parts of Asia.

China has strongly denied that its food exports are hazardous and has seemingly retaliated in recent weeks by seizing American and European imports.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Australia Using Troops To Combat A Social Problem

There is sure to be much discussion on whether this is a noble attempt to improve conditions in Aboriginal communities or whether this is a racist reaction. After all he Aussie's track record with Aboriginal society is on par with the US' relationship with the Native American tribes. I can't imagine using federal troops to combat child abuse, pornography and alcholism but on the other hand there is nothing I feel more strongly about than the need for society to protect all children.

Let's watch this situation closely.


Australia cracks down on Aborigines
Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

read the entire article at:

Federal troops arrived Wednesday to enforce tighter regulations on welfare payments and a ban on pornography and alcohol in Aboriginal communities.

Sydney, Australia They are deployed around the world, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the South Pacific, but in an unprecedented move Australian soldiers are being sent this week into their own backyard.

Troops are to be stationed across the Outback as the Australian government launches a massive crackdown on the alcoholism, sexual assault, and social dysfunction that a recent federal investigation alleges are tearing apart Aboriginal communities.

Shocked by the findings of an official report released earlier this month, the government of Prime Minister John Howard has decided to ban alcohol, confiscate pornography, and make welfare payments conditional on good parenting in more than 60 isolated Aboriginal townships.

But the government's robust intervention touched off a firestorm of political debate within Australia, with some politicians and Aboriginal leaders saying it smacks of racism and discrimination.

Amid an epidemic of child sexual abuse and domestic violence, all children under the age of 16 will be subjected to a compulsory medical checkup to make sure they are not being mistreated.

The first soldiers will start arriving in remote desert settlements in the sparsely populated Northern Territory starting Wednesday, backed up by police, social workers, and government officials.

The report, titled "Little Children are Sacred," found that "rivers of grog" [alcohol] are leading to the breakdown of Aboriginal society, with children as young as 3 exposed to hardcore pornography and others sexually abused by both black and white men.

It said teenage Aboriginal girls were prostituting themselves for drugs and alcohol with white miners in remote parts of the Outback.

The Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have, until now, been governed by the local government, based in Darwin.

Mr. Howard's decision effectively places the townships' governance in federal hands.

Blighted Aboriginal communities The federal investigation shattered any lingering image of Aboriginal communities as tranquil desert outposts of dot painting and didgeridoo-playing.

It showed that a large proportion of the country's 450,000 indigenous people struggle with unemployment, ill health, high rates of crime, social alienation, and suicide.

Announcing the most dramatic shakeup of Aboriginal affairs for 40 years, Howard said the alcohol-fueled sexual abuse of Aboriginal children was a "national emergency."

"We are dealing with children of the tenderest age who have been exposed to the most terrible abuse from the time of their birth, virtually," Howard said.

A former conservative prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, said the government's actions were a "throwback to past paternalism" because there had been no consultation with Aboriginal people.

An Aboriginal activist and academic, Boni Robertson, described the emergency measures as "knee-jerk nonsense" that breached Australia's antidiscrimination laws.

As part of its sweeping overhaul, the federal government plans to scrap a 30-year-old system by which outsiders had to have a permit to visit Aboriginal townships.

The government said the permit system had enabled a veil of secrecy to be drawn over appalling levels of gang violence, substance abuse, and domestic violence.

But Aboriginal groups said that scrapping the permit system meant that settlements would be more vulnerable to drug dealers and "sly-grog runners," as smugglers of prohibited liquor are known.

"Removing permits could provide a free-for-all peddling of alcohol and marijuana and pornography, or the inflicting of further sexual or physical abuse on children," says David Ross, director of the Central Land Council in Alice Springs.

"At least with the permit system it was possible to ask somebody what they were doing in the community," he says.

One of the communities to which troops and police reinforcements will first be deployed is Mutitjulu, located in the shadow of Uluru, also called Ayers Rock.

The village has been branded a national disgrace -- a forlorn shanty-town ravaged by the scourge of petrol sniffing.

But indignant community leaders in Mutitjulu say they need social workers, not soldiers, and, on Tuesday, threatened to stop tourists from climbing Ayers Rock in protest of the government's actions.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

For more on this story:

Australian Aborigines fear government will snatch children

Abbott reassures indigenous parents,20867,21975213-5006790,00.html

Community residents flee, fearing children will be taken,20867,21968081-5006790,00.html

A Society of iPods, Xbox(es) and Sick Children

Children Sicker Now Than in Past, Harvard Report Says

By Angela Zimm

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- The number of American children with chronic illnesses has quadrupled since the time when some of their parents were kids, portending more disability and higher health costs for a new generation of adults, a study estimates.

An almost fourfold increase in childhood obesity in the past three decades, twice the asthma rates since the 1980s, and a jump in the number of attention-deficit disorder cases are driving the growth of chronic illnesses, according to researchers at Harvard University in Boston.

The report is published in a themed issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on children's health.

Doctors and public health officials should be bracing for a wave of chronically ill young adults with weight-related ailments that include diabetes and heart disease.

``We will see much greater expenditures for people in their 20s than we ever saw before, and no one is thinking how we should prepare for that,'' said James Perrin, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the report's lead author, in an interview.

It's certainly worrisome and we look at it as a call to action.'' The journal's reports also included findings that family- based weight-management programs work best, that white children have the highest rate of diabetes, that childhood cancer survivors face risks for serious health problems when they become adults, and that children with serious illness are more likely to die at home than in 1989.

``An estimated 60 percent of 5- to 10-year-old obese children already have one associated cardiovascular disease risk factor, and more than 20 percent have two or more risk factors,' researchers said in the report.

Environmental, Social Changes While genes may play a role in obesity, asthma and ADHD, environmental and social changes are behind the surge, researchers said.

Also in this week's JAMA, a study found that inner-city black and Hispanic children who participated in a weight-loss program involving their parents were able to control their weight better than those who received traditional weight-loss counseling in a clinic.

Most of the cases are type-1 diabetes, a form in which people must take insulin every day because their bodies don't produce the hormone, which is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

White children had a 26.1 rate, blacks were at 25.4, and American Indian youths scored 25, the study said.
Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


A Wake-Up Call for US Minority Women

"Of U.S. women currently living with the virus, about 64 percent are African Americans, and another 15 percent are Latina. 
HIV-AIDS remains the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34, and a top-four cause for black women 35 to 54.
It's also the fourth-leading cause of death for Latina women 35 to 44."
The statistics in this article aren't entirely new news but they are startling.   
We live in a society where everywhere you turn people are talking about sex, better sex, longer sex,  more sex,  sex ad infinitum.    If you live in the US you know that virtually not an hour of television goes by when there's not an ad for a male enhancement or  erectile dysfunction product.  But where are the ads for condoms?   Heaven forbid.  People are offended by those.   And while the majority of people claim that they are offended by the pornographic and misogynistic images in hip-hop and gangsta rap videos, that industry continues to gross billions of dollars. 
No I am not blaming the rise in minority women with HIV/AIDS on rap music or the media in general.  But it is interesting to consider that the group that is repeating demeaned in rap videos as "bitches" and "hos"   now accounts for 64% of new HIV/AIDS cases among US women. 
People don't want to talk about sex and responsibility,  sex and HIV/AIDS  and, sex that leads to death.    Too morbid, simply not entertaining enough.  But the equation is simple  Unprotected Sex + HIV Positive Partner =  An Eventual Death Sentence.
Too many women are putting themselves, or being put at risk by others, for  HIV infection.   Sadly, the statistic that this article doesn't mention is how many of these women are married or in other relationships that they assume to be monogamous.  
Women need to start asking themselves a few simple  questions, 
  • Is it worth dying for? ,
  • Would someone who loves you ask you to risk your life?  and,
  • Do you trust your partner with your life?
AlterNet: AIDS Among U.S. Women Is on the Rise
Jeff Fleischer, Women's eNews.
Read the entire article at:

In 1989, when a South Carolina hospital offered free tube tying for low-income women, Juanita Williams decided to have the procedure. She didn't know that part of her health screening involved a test for HIV.

"I found out that I was HIV-positive when I was lying on the gurney waiting for surgery," said Williams, a grandmother of three. "The doctor stuck his head in the door and told me they couldn't do the surgery because I had AIDS, and I had to leave the hospital.  He pointed my clothes out and pointed to the fire escape.

Williams was among about 1,000 activists who gathered in Chicago recently for SisterSong's national conference on women of color, sexuality and safety.

At a time when HIV and other sexually transmitted infections disproportionately affect African American and Latina women, the gathering stressed the importance of talking openly about sex instead of allowing societal taboos to prevent conversations about risks and safety.

"Everyone is telling us what not to do, but who's telling us what to do?" says Loretta Ross, the national coordinator for Atlanta-based SisterSong, a collective of some 80 organizations focused on reproductive health for women of color.  "'Just say no' ain't worked for drugs, sex or politicians."

While men still make up the vast majority of reported HIV-AIDS diagnoses in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that diagnoses of women rose 17 percent from 2001 to 2005, with more than 9,800 women diagnosed for the first time in 2005.

Of U.S. women currently living with the virus, about 64 percent are African Americans, and another 15 percent are Latina.  HIV-AIDS remains the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34, and a top-four cause for black women 35 to 54. It's also the fourth-leading cause of death for Latina women 35 to 44.

Younger women remain at higher risk and only cancer and heart disease kill more women annually.

Nearly 75 percent of African American women who contract HIV do so through heterosexual sexual activity, as do about 70 percent of Latina women.

"Right now our only ways of protecting ourselves are the ABCs: abstaining, being faithful, using a condom," Patel says. "But that doesn't work for all of us. We can't be sure that our partner's going to be faithful or we can't negotiate using a condom ... We need a tool that we can initiate, that we don't have to depend on anybody else for."

One possibility is the female condom, a 6.5-inch sheath with rings on both ends that has proven effective at preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. But the item is still fairly new, is not as widely available as other methods, and its average cost nationwide is $2.50.

This summer, a study is examining whether the diaphragm used for birth control can also work to block infections. And then there are microbicides, substances still being researched that would reduce the risk of HIV and other infections when applied to the vagina or rectum before sexual activity.

"It could be a gel, a cream or a vaginal film, or maybe one day a vaginal ring like the Nuva ring," Patel said. "Researchers are looking at products that are both contraceptive and non-contraceptive giving women more options."

Three of those options are furthest along, already undergoing trials, and each attempts to stop the virus from entering healthy cells. Researchers are looking at buffer gels to maintain the vagina's natural acidity, which is too high for HIV to survive, to counteract the presence of semen, which usually turns that natural acidity into a base.

While those treatments are not expected until 2008 at the earliest, another recently available vaccine prompted its share of discussion at the SisterSong conference.

Just as HIV-AIDS remains a particular problem for women of color, so does the human papilloma virus, or HPV.

HPV is actually a group of more than 100 types of virus--with about 30 transmitted by sexual activity--and the primary cause of cervical cancer (as well as genital warts).

While the HPV vaccine has been available nearly a year, Deborah Arindell, vice president of the American Social Health Association, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., said the lack of access to quality health care often combines with the stigma of sexual transmission to prevent women from getting vaccinated.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

Read the entire article at:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gee, Could Dick Cheney Be Hiding Something?

According to an Associated Press article, Vice President Dick Cheney's office has exempted itself from a presidential executive order that was designed to protect national security information collected by the government and requires the executive branch to give the Information Security Oversight Office at the National archives data on how much material it has classified and declassified.

The article states, "The Information Security Oversight Office has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resolve the legal dispute over whether the order applies to Cheney's office. So far, the Justice Department has not ruled on the issue."

That's right. They asked good old Alberto Gonzales to rule on an issue involving Dick "I Shoot My Friends" Cheney. All I can say is good luck to ISOO. In a few days, Alberto Gonzales will probably forget they ever discussed this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How Not To Hire An American

While Bush et al has everyone looking for an fundamental Islamic terrorist around every corner, the real threat to America has waged war and won.

Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explains how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Bush and Congress really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers." Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week

Despite an over-abundance of college grads, big business insists that American professionals are not capable. In reality, H1B visa-holders are paid far less than American workers. And most H1B visas go to poorly skilled high tech workers. Once again Lou Dobbs, exposes corporate America and its War on the Middle Class.
Source: Lou Dobbs June 3, 2007

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Future of Conservative Journalism

Dow Jones family to consider sale

The family that controls the Dow Jones media group has said for the first time that it will consider selling the firm to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The Bancroft family, which controls 64% of Dow Jones' voting rights, said it would also look at any forthcoming rival offers.

News Corporation made its $5bn (£2.5bn) bid at the start of May, but the Bancrofts have not commented until now.

Dow Jones owns the Wall Street Journal and other newspaper titles.

URL: Dow Jones family to consider sale

Yes you are reading this correctly. The same corporation that owns the Fox News Network could own the Wall Street Journal. Just imagine. plk

Al Gore: The Assault on Reason (Video)