We support VA chief Shinseki He may be an easy target but he is not the source of current Veterans Affairs problems. As stated by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, “He is determined, focused and wants to factually understand a problem so he can get a sensible solution.” He is a soft-spoken soldier who does not pound the table or raise his voice. In 2003 he stood up to Rumsfeld when he said thousands more troops would be needed to secure postwar Iraq. For that he lost his job but not his integrity. We do not want a competent and honest man to be replaced with a glad-hand politician.
RIP Al Feldstein The activists of the 60’s got their early exposure to satire and inept government from the pages of Mad Magazine. Al cared about humor, kids and country and he made a difference.
America's congress, a sad but true April Fool (from Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader)
Spring brings new life to Hays as the first eaglet emerges from it’s shell. Pittsburghers are jubilant as we pray for his health and await the hatching of his two siblings.
Senator Yee, what in hell have you done? Bribes? Wire fraud?? Conspiracy to deal firearms?!! Your selfish attempt to make money any way you could shows a total lack of respect for the people who trusted you to represent them. Your actions have inflicted serious harm on the Democratic party and especially on the image of hard working Chinese Americans. Resign your position immediately. >Californians do not want you. "Shrimp Boy?" Give us a break.
The California Coastal National Monument has been expanded by 1,665 acres. We are overjoyed that this beautiful rugged coastline will be preserved for our children and their children. The additional acreage, in Mendocino County, includes tide pools, dunes, bluffs and the estuary of the Garcia River.
Between Kaiser Permanente and the Affordable Care Act more >Americans have the opportunity for quality health care. And that's a big win for everyone.
California policyholders congratulate Kaiser Permanente for their recognition as highest in customer satisfaction -- seven years in a row. Keep up the good work and continue to improve. Meanwhile, Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross are neck in neck in their race to the bottom of customer satisfaction as they appear to follow the motto, “profits before patients.”
Mexico’s Avocado cartels >Americans, particularly >foodies, face another dilemma as conscience shoppers; are we supporting violence against Mexican farmers and workers by snacking on our beloved guacamole? The Knights Templar, one of Mexico’s most violent gangs, extorts nearly every working citizen in many areas of Michoacan. Through kidnapping, assault and intimidation they collect at least 10% of earnings from everyone in the avocado business: from growers, pickers, truckers and exporters to sellers of pesticides and other farm products. We praise brave >Mexicans as they band together in armed citizen defense groups and begin to openly oppose the gang. Their actions have forced the Mexican government, notoriously corrupt at every level, to finally stand up to the cartel and provide additional support to the people of Michoacan. Thanks to KCRW for the broadcast on their Good Food blog: “Jose de Cordoba: Avocado Cartels”
>Americans and >Environmentalists love Bald Eagles, but none more so than Pittsburghers who have a nesting pair within city limits incubating three eggs. Bald Eagles had been absent from the Pittsburgh area for about 250 years but thanks to reintroduction efforts, which began 30 years ago, there are currently nests on all three rivers according to the Audubon Society of Western Penna. Outsiders may be surprised to learn of the nesting eagles within city limits but Pittsburghers are well familiar with the wildlife that exists in their many wooded areas. Not the least of which are wild turkeys, another majestic bird that, if Benjamin Franklin had his way, would have replaced the Bald Eagle as our national symbol. Click the link to see live activity from the Hays Bald Eagle cam.
Twelve Years a Slave >Americans, do not let this film go down as one of the best pictures never seen. Story, acting, and cinematography are undeniably first class. This film should be seen soon while it is still available on the big screen. It is to >Americans shame that the domestic gross for the Best Picture of 2013 should fall at number 69.
>Pittsburghers mourn the passing of Porky Chedwick, the Daddio of the Raddio. We celebrate the life of the most loved DJ of all time of any American city, bar none. Porky originated the “old sound” in the 1950’s and played the very best of the rare oldies. He sincerely loved and respected his fans.
Rest in peace Porky!
One of Porky's big sounds from the early '60's, Swingin' Little Chicky by the Belltones: http://www.youtu
Putin's aggression against >Ukrainians continues to undermine his oft-repeated claim that >Russians play by the international rules. Which just validates our own sidestepping of treaty and protocol. All of which concerns us because it may be setting the region up for a destructive confrontation. Hopefully Ukrainians can find a middle ground between Western and Russian alignment.
'12 Years A Slave' wins Best Picture! The Oscar Academy got it right!
We are heartened by the rain. And it is not the typical light sprinkles that puts the local networks on “Storm Watch.” It’s a bonafide winter storm from the Pacific. On Friday it dropped 2 1/4 inches on downtown Los Angeles and more in the foothills. The storm generated warnings of flash floods and mudslides and created 12 foot waves at some beaches. Last night some San Gabriel Valley residents were awakened by two reverse 911 calls; the first warning of a tornado (“…take shelter now…”) and the second warning of flash floods. Despite our elation over the rain experts say it will do little to relieve the drought. Nevertheless it’s better than nothing. And we love it.
Good job, kids! Keep it up!
Programming languages are not foreign languages, just as mathematics, sheet music, and art are not foreign languages. Specifically, programming languages don't have anywhere near the expressive power of natural languages, nor are they formed by thousands of years of cultural history. Kids need to become computer literate, no question about that. But this shouldn't come at the expense of exposure to foreign cultures. In fact, we need to ensure our kids are getting more exposure to other cultures, as the globe becomes smaller and smaller.
We must not ignore the >North-Koreans.
Nothing on Earth compares to the horrifying scale of inhumanity there, and the extent of oppression and despair that render them incapable of revolution. We must not mistake their inaction for satisfaction with their condition. As free people in the most powerful country on Earth, it is *our* duty to come to their aid.
Michael Kirby of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in DPRK, summed up the imperative: "At the end of the second world war, so many people said, 'If only we had known. If only we had known the wrongs that were done...' Well now, the international community does know. There will be no excusing a failure of action."
For starters, let's pressure our government to hold the >Chinese accountable for abetting this regime. Let's support NGOs, such as LibertyInNorthKo
A look at what might be! It's just a map, but it's enough to awaken our imagination and focus our hope for better public transportation!
Jimmy Fallon’s debut as host of “The Tonight Show.” We love his energy. His talent comes from the heart. What an opening night! Congratulations Jimmy!
Plant milkweed; save the monarch.
Monarch butterflies have one food source: milkweed. American farmers are destroying milkweed in their rush to plant genetically modified corn and soybeans. First through the use of herbicides that kill all plant life (save the modified corn and soybeans) and second by increased planting of corn and soybeans on acreage that historically grew milkweed.
The winter migrations of monarch butterflies used to blanket over 16 acres of forests in western Mexico. This year they were recorded on only 1.7 acres; a 90% decrease.
Our elected officials must take the lead in restoring milkweed. One easy to implement recommendation is to plant milkweed on the sides and medians of US roads along the butterflies’ migratory route.
In the meantime each of us can act by planting milkweed around our homes and neighborhoods. Seeds are available for the cost of postage (copy/paste URL in your browser) https://www.live
We stand behind LA’s Republique restaurant and their decision to add health care for their 85 full-time employees. The money to do so comes from a three percent surcharge added to each customer’s bill. Very reasonable; especially when you consider how many restaurants treat their employees, especially the wait staff. Republique’s method surprised some patrons and actually offended others (notably whining Yelpers). Sure they could have simply raised their prices by 3% but we agree with the statement they are making and the trust they are seeking from their customers
It was an impressively beautiful opening ceremony, projecting the high culture and artistry of Russia more than their international power (risked life of 11-year-old notwithstanding). On a stage like this, it's understandable that they presented Soviet-era brutality in very abstract terms. But even in those terms, some of the scenes were very utilitarian, cold and almost unhuman, making them some of the darkest in recent Olympics opening ceremony performances. Overall, fine job, >Russians.
It was great having the rain around! ...The associated traffic, not so much. But what's new?
Wowzers! Way to go, CVS!
This is going to be one *interesting* Olympics.
We're happy and hopeful about the peace accord reached between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Violence has claimed too many lives and wasted too much of our collective potential, and we look forward to a safer, more prosperous future. However, we must not rush to celebrate, as other violent movements remain which need to be addressed.
Drought emergency in California - declared by Governor Brown. This is the driest year on record and we support the conservation efforts proposed by Brown; not only in California but in all areas that face water shortages. Conservation will be easy once we recognize the condition and take responsibility for minimizing waste in our households. Examples include: - Take “navy showers:” get wet, turn off the water, soap up, turn on the water and rinse. - The same method applies for washing your hands: wet your hands, turn off the water, soap up then rinse. - Do not let water run down the drain as you rinse your dishes - rinse over a sink basin then transfer the water to a bucket where it can be used to flush toilets or water plants. - Replace grass lawns with drought tolerant native plants. The single most important thing we can do is to decide to do something about water waste. Once that is done the solutions will follow.
Should we believe what the chairman of the House of Intelligence Committee is saying? Did Snowden actually end up in the "loving arms of an FSB agent in Moscow?" I don't think so. I smell diversion.
We welcome Obama's remarks but more must be done. His speech struck us, mainly throughout the first half, as cluttered with rhetoric, deflection, and rationalization. Eventually, he rattled off a slew of Presidential directives and orders (more internal oversight and restrictions, annual internal reviews to declassify information and address private and foreign interests, and time limits on NSL gag orders and storage of foreign citizen data). We give him some credit for these executive orders, but they're flimsy. They can be rescinded at any time, by Obama or successive Presidents. So we demand Congress resolve this permanently, and affirm a commitment to prevent similar crises in the future. Our trust in government rests largely on our ability to hold Congress accountable, so we take any action that inhibits accountability as a manipulative, abusive affront to democracy. We want oversight, because oversight motivates restraint. And as technology continues to amplify the effects of these transgressions, in questionable cases we prefer our government errs on the side of transparency rather than secrecy, as we accept that a free and open society fundamentally entails risks to our physical safety. So Obama's most important statements were in this very spirit. We look forward to the replacement metadata collection program he intends to take to Congress, and on his call for them to create an independent civilian panel to argue significant cases in FISC. We expect Congress to go further, not only to strengthen oversight and other checks on existing programs, but also to institute a general oversight framework for *any* secret powers granted now or in the future (we cannot know that all such secrecy has already been made public). An American once wisely said, "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Today, five years later, he outlined a few steps his administration is taking to uphold that.
Patient dumping is disgusting. We believe few actions are more despicable than a hospital discharging indigent and/or mentally ill patients by dumping them on city streets; usually skid row. If this is how hospitals treat the helpless what can we expect from Wall Street, banks and other institutions? History shows that corporate corruption goes on for years before the justice system takes action. And what are the penalties? A financial fine, i.e. a slap on the wrist. We want these criminals brought to trial, the way the rest of us are. And the guilty should be imprisoned, the way the rest of us are. Financial fines are no deterrent for the wealthy, perhaps the prospect of ten years hard-time would nudge them towards decency.
We're surprised the >british accept net censorship. It's certainly necessary to take action to reduce child sex abuse and pornography, but the mandatory internet obscenity filter they're implementing seems to vastly overreach. First, it is managed by private corporations without clear transparency controls. Corporate partnerships with government are ominous to begin with, but are much more so when they're charged with enforcing "acceptable behavior standards" (as Commons Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz put it). Second, the content filter is installed at ISPs and enabled by default, requiring customers to opt-out of it to access content that is legal but deemed "obscene and tasteless". In a post-Snowden world, divulging anything to government should spark skepticism, but having to identify yourself as interested in obscene material in order to remove a corporate-managed filter seems to ask for trouble. Third, although supporters have referred to a slippery slope from consuming tasteless material to consuming illegal material, there is also concern for the slippery slope from filtration to protect children to filtration to protect against dissenting views of politicians or the government. In light of recent surveillance abuses, how can one expect anything less than a voracious appropriation of authority from government agencies. The filter's technical infrastructure expands the nanny state, but can be repurposed for a police state. It is easy enough for parents to install (or have installed) content filtering software on their computing devices. And the UK already has the Cleanfeed system for filtering child pornography. So this new content filter, originally sprung from the government's desire to address rising "commercialization and sexualization of childhood" and then expanded in the response to two highly-publicized child murders, is an overreaction that will have harmful consequences. We'd be content to silently observe all of this from a distance. But the American and British governments seem to be of the same mind lately when it comes to digital privacy. And, while more can and should be done to address child sex abuse, we are scared by the basic notion of empowering corporate and political entities to judge for us what information is and is not "acceptable".
We hold that the key to healthy living is *balance*, as illustrated in this piece about the unexpected negative effects of rigid adherence to what is stereotypically considered "healthy".
Clemency for Snowden! He shined necessary light on unconstitutional & antidemocratic government actions in the only meaningful way possible
Short workouts can be great! We're excited by studies showing that short but intense workouts can provide substantial health benefits. This is welcome news for those of us whose schedules are very impacted, and since this addresses one of the largest psychological barriers to exercise, we hope this can help turn the tide on the obesity epidemic afflicting so many.