Angus Davis feels better, so I guess everything is right and good in the fiefdom of downtown Providence. Lame duck Governor Chafee is not feeling like having a big fight, so Angus will get his way. As the new corporate zoning Czar for the city, I wonder if Mr. Davis would consider helping to rehabilitate the poor and downtrodden, rather than just exiling them from his high tech encampment.
Truly, Diane Ravitch is an amazing woman — no matter what side of the education reform movement you are on, you must admit this. She is 74 years old and blogs about 10 times a day, runs all over the country defending public education and helping to build morale for an industry being brutally attacked, and still finds time work on a book. Since she started her blog last April, I have learned so much from her.
Here’s an eye-opener from Vermont’s Bernie Sanders: a report on the 26 men who have spent $61 Billion dollars in this year’s election.
Here is a list of the billionaires:
1. Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casino, is worth nearly $25 billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th richest person in America.
While median family income plummeted by nearly 40% from 2007-2010, Mr. Adelson has experienced a nearly eightfold increase in his wealth over the past three years (from $3.4 billion to $24.9 billion).
Forbes recently reported that Adelson is willing to spend a “limitless” amount of money or more than $100 million to help defeat President Obama in November.
While $100 million sounds like a lot, it equals the same percentage of Adelson’s wealth that $300 to $400 does for the typical middle class family (with a net worth of about $77,000).
Sheldon Adelson owns more wealth than the bottom 40.2% of American households or 47.2 million American families.
2. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William) are worth a combined $103 billion, according to Forbes. They have pledged to spend about $400 million during the 2012 election season.
The Kochs own more wealth than the bottom 41.7 percent of American households or more than 49 million Americans.
3. Jim Walton is worth $23.7 billion. He has donated $300,000 to super PACs in 2012.
4. Harold Simmons is worth $9 billion. He has donated $15.2 million to super PACs this year.
5. Peter Thiel is worth $1.5 billion. He has donated $6.7 million to Super PACs this year.
6. Jerrold Perenchio is worth $2.3 billion. He has donated $2.6 million to super PACs this year.
7. Kenneth Griffin is worth $3 billion and he has given $2.08 million to super PACs in 2012.
8. James Simons is worth $10.7 billion and he has given $1.5 million to super Pacs this year.
9. Julian Robertson is worth $2.5 billion and he has given $1.25 million to super PACs this year.
10. Robert Rowling is worth $4.8 billion and he has given $1.1 million to super PACs.
11. John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made his fortune betting that the sub-prime mortgage market would collapse, is worth $12.5 billion. He has donated $1 million to super PACs.
12. Richard and J.W. Marriott are worth a combined $3.1 billion and they have donated $2 million to super PACs this year.
13. James Davis is worth $1.9 billion and he has given $1 million to super PACs this year.
14. Harold Hamm is worth $11 billion and he has given $985,000 to super PACs this year.
15. Kenny Trout is worth more than $1.2 billion and he has given $900,000 to super PACs this year.
16. Louis Bacon is worth $1.4 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
17. Bruce Kovner is worth $4.5 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
18. Warren Stephens is worth $2.7 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
19. David Tepper is worth $5.1 billion and he has given $375,000 to super PACs this year.
20. Samuel Zell is worth $4.9 billion and he has given $270,000 to super PACs this year.
21. Leslie Wexner is worth $4.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
22. Charles Schwab is worth $3.5 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
23. Kelcy Warren is worth $2.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
While being a member of Congress definitely has its benefits, it seems to be a pretty frustrating job these days. Take, for instance, this article by Ezra Klein outlining why this is the worst Congress ever:
Nevertheless, some people are trying to get work done, or at least make it look that way. In fact, some are willing to stay up all night if that’s what it takes to get some attention:
Senate Democrats to Hold “Midnight Vigil” on DISCLOSE Act
If GOP Blocks Effort to End Secret Election Spending, Democrats Will Continue Debating Past Midnight and Ask for Second Vote Tomorrow
Washington, DC – With Senate Republicans threatening to block debate this evening on the DISCLOSE Act, Senate Democrats are sending a clear message that they won’t back down easily. If Republicans succeed in blocking a key procedural vote on the measure today, a group of Democrats have pledged to hold onto the Senate floor late into the night tonight in an effort to bring greater attention to the issue and force a second vote on the bill tomorrow.
The late night “midnight vigil” effort will be led by the members of the Citizens United Task Force, which includes U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Al Franken (D-MN). The group was organized by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, who will also take part in tonight’s effort.
“We recognize that you don’t win every fight in round one, and this is a fight worth continuing,” said Whitehouse, the lead sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act. “Putting an end to secret election spending by special interests is an essential step in protecting middle class priorities. For that reason, we are committed to continuing the debate on the DISCLOSE Act late into the night and asking for a second vote tomorrow if need be. We can’t let the special interests off the hook after just one round.”
The DISCLOSE Act requires any organization that spends $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report within 24 hours, identifying any donors who gave $10,000 or more. It will require political groups posing as social welfare organizations to disclose their donors and will prevent corporations and other wealthy interests from using shell corporations to funnel secret money to super PACs.
“We are determined to prove that transparency is not a radical concept,” said Udall. “Our bill is as simple and straightforward as it gets – if you are making large donations to influence an election, the voters in that election should know who you are. The American people are blessed with common sense. They know that when someone will not admit to something, it is usually because there is something to hide.”
“This is too important an issue to let it lie quietly,” Shaheen said. “New Hampshire voters were subjected to a flood of negative ads this primary season, many of them fueled by unregulated, secret money. It isn’t right. We need to stand up for accountability and fairness in our politics.”
“Tonight we will debate whether we truly believe in the first three words of our Constitution: ‘We the People.’ The flood of secret money unleashed by Citizens United is drowning out the voice of the people,” said Merkley. “Indeed, those who oppose disclosure are seeking to replace ‘We the People’ with ‘We the Powerful.’ This is wrong in so many ways. It’s way past time to shine a light on the darkness and discover who or what this money really stands for.”
“Coloradans have been inundated with attack ads funded by a small number of people through anonymous groups,” Bennet said. “Disclosure would at least provide information about who is behind these ads and bring accountability that bolsters democracy in our elections. Unfortunately, a minority of senators are poised to block progress on the DISCLOSE Act and prevent necessary transparency in our election system.”
“The DISCLOSE Act will not fix all of the evil effects of Citizens United, but it is certainly a step forward,” said Sen. Franken. “And it will bring much needed sunshine to our political system, which will go a long way toward reducing the number and dishonesty of negative attack ads that further corrode our public dialogue and ultimately threaten our democratic system.”
“We believe that all of the unlimited cash allowed by the Citizens United decision must at least be disclosed,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “This legislation seeks to limit the damage of the Supreme Court decision that has given corporations and the very wealthy unprecedented sway over our elections, and represents one of the most serious threats to the future of our democracy.”
Individuals are encouraged to follow the floor debate throughout the night on Twitter, using the hashtag #DISCLOSEVote.
Kmareka is proud to cross-post with Elizabeth Carrollton, from Drugwatch.com. Ninjanurse spends her working days nagging people to take their meds, and needs to add the caveat that general advice and debate on the internet is no substitute for medical care for your own individual situation. So talk to your doctor and don’t even think about ignoring diabetes if you like doing stuff like seeing and walking and staying alive.
A Balanced Diet and Healthy Lifestyle for Type 2 Diabetes
The course of action a physician takes to manage diabetes is directly related to the severity of the patient’s diabetes. In some instances, diabetes health can be controlled through diet, exercise and other similar healthy lifestyle modifications. Although prescription drugs may be needed in addition to eating a balanced diet, only a physician can make this call.
Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are much higher than the normal range, which on a glucometer is around 90. Once a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes has been established, it is imperative for a physician or registered dietician to create a course of action based on the patient’s weight and lifestyle.
Diabetes medications are also taken into consideration at this time. Patients need to be aware of the severe side effects of certain medications like Actos, which increases the risk of bladder cancer. Additionally, other diseases and health issues are part of the diagnosis and treatment process.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus, the main factor in eating for diabetes health is to limit sugar intake. The National Institutes of Health also declares that eating smaller portions more frequently is essential in regulating glucose levels. In other words, rather than eating three larger meals per day, a person with diabetes should aim to eat smaller meals about five times a day.
Besides sugar being an issue, carbohydrates are also a variety of food that should be limited, due to their effect on glucose levels. This is because carbohydrates like white bread and crackers generally cause sugar levels in the body to increase.
Besides restricting sugar and carbs, a person with diabetes should incorporate foods into his or her diet that are part of a well-balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables, for example, are a vital component of a healthy diet, since they contain the necessary nutrients for cells and organs to function properly. Not to mention, the vitamins and minerals in veggies and fruits help support a healthy immune system.
Plus, the fiber within fruits and vegetables plays a positive role on cholesterol levels and on heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) note that fiber is important to heart health, which is oftentimes comprised by diabetes and certain diabetes medications, such as Actos.
Living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise affects heart health, diabetes health and overall health. Being overweight, especially being in the category of obese, contributes to cardiovascular problems, such as congestive heart failure, which are made worse by taking certain diabetes drugs like Actos. Moreover, being overweight can lead to type II diabetes. It may worsen the severity of the diabetes if a person gains weight after he or she received a diagnosis of diabetes. When a person is considered to be in the stage of prediabetes, gaining weight can force that person into having full-blown diabetes.
Therefore, living an active lifestyle can help one maintain a healthy weight that can help manage diabetes, prevent complications of diabetes and prevent cardiovascular disease. It reduces stress and according to the National Institutes of Health, exercise contributes to a lower blood sugar and prevents future weight gain.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.
Don’t be fooled by the Change.org petition by Students First — it’s a scam for the corporate-funded reform movement.
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
A reader submitted this post:
It tells the now-familiar story of how an unwary person was conned by Michelle Rhee’s Students First. The reader was going through her email, and along came a “puppies-and-kittens” petition from Change.org, and “Click!”
Too late: “And suddenly, there it was…the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Trojan horse of all Trojan horses: Join the Fight to Save Great Teachers, a petition initiated by Students First, the education policy lobby run by faux education expert, Michele Rhee. Remember her? The mythologized Bee Eater who got results in the Washington, D.C. schools, and then quickly ducked out when her mayoral patron was evicted from office?”
This blogger was repentant but not fooled:
- Elevating the teaching profession by valuing teachers’ impact on students;
- Empowering parents with real choices and…
View original 367 more words
Short interview with Sen. Whitehouse in which he extolls the virtues of Netroots Nation, appreciates the value of the Occupy Movement, and talks about his efforts to keep funding for wellness and health. He also talks about his phone conversation with President Obama following the Buffet Rule vote in the Senate, and how the fight is not over to change our tax policies to support the middle class.
Last night former Green Party candidate David Cobb spoke at the Pawtucket Public Library on the topic of corporate personhood. Mr.Cobb is an organizer for Move to Amend, a citizen’s response to the Citizen’s United decision that, in layman’s terms, says corporations are people just like you and me. Really big people. Who speak money as a first language.
Cobb is a lawyer, and did review the history and uses of corporations, pointing out that all of the 13 original colonies were corporations. He outlined the balances and regulations that would bind a corporation to the public good. Including an expiration date.
I like that, seeing as people have expiration dates it’s tough to compete with Immortal Persons.
I have to get to work, so more later. Here’s a Supreme dissent from Citizens United posted on the Move to Amend home page…
“. . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010
David Cobb warmly praised Occupy for bringing the issue of economic justice for ordinary citizens, the 99%, to the debate. He drew a Venn diagram showing that this issue unites the Occupation and the Tea Party. Having attended 3 Town Halls and heard considerable hostility toward the president, ‘illegals’ and the unemployed, I am not so optimistic about finding common ground. I tried to do this with people who saw accessible health care as not only expensive, but a moral threat. Still, it does not serve We the People to be fighting each other over crumbs when concentration of wealth and power allow a few to walk off with the whole cake.
Equal opportunity does not sprinkle down from an Invisible Hand. We have to defend the right to a basic, decent public life from private profiteers. Like pulling weeds, it never ends.
The article linked below captures many facets of the complicated beast known as psychiatry under the influence of corporate pressure from Big Pharma. In particular what struck me were the descriptions of how colleagues of Irving Kirsch, whose research exposes that antidepressants on the whole are no more effective than placebo, have been ostracized and dressed down for supporting him.
I could go on for days with shop talk about how as a therapist I approach my clients and their use of pharmaceuticals for mood stabilization. My overall philosophy is to tread cautiously in those waters, and to support patient education and self-leadership. I help clients do what they want to do after they have educated themselves as best they can about all of the relevant issues.
Anyway, for those who can stand to have the curtain pulled aside and to look directly at this beast of an issue: Why Antidepressants Are No Better Than Placebos.
Before I was a nurse, I was an Emergency Medical Technician, and later, the OSHA nurse in one of my jobs.
One day I was working in the community, and asked to deal with a situation. A man who lived in a building thought he was exposed to some floor-stripping chemicals used in a renovation. The man was a veteran who suffered from terrible migraines and he had to avoid noise and fumes. He wanted to know what chemicals he was smelling in the hallway, so he could talk to his doctor. Everyone was hesitating, possibly worried about liability.
It seemed simple enough to me. I said there had to be a Material Safety Data Sheet as OSHA required. So–give it to him.
I remember the look of gratitude on the man’s face, and I was sorry he even had to ask more than once for what was a simple, reasonable and just request. I had assumed that it was a settled legal precedent that public safety is more important than institutional or corporate immunity from consequences.
Of course, I was wrong about that. Corporations can get away with wiping out entire towns. But Pennsylvania takes it to a whole new level. Never mind no MSDS or OSHA, they have passed a doctor gag rule that can financially ruin any doctor who discloses the names of the chemicals that are poisoning their patients. Fracking– mining for natural gas, is a dirty process.
The law grants physicians access to information about trade-secret chemicals used in natural gas drilling. Doctors say they need to know what’s in those formulas in order to treat patients who may have been exposed to the chemicals.
But the new law also says that doctors can’t tell anyone else — not even other doctors — what’s in those formulas. It’s being called the “doctor gag rule.”
Talk about an industry-friendly law. A mining company has the right to release chemicals into the air and water, but a doctor can lose everything if she tells her patients what they were exposed to…
Plastic surgeon Amy Pare practices in suburban Pittsburgh where she does reconstructive surgeries and deals with a lot of skin issues. She tells me about one case, a family who brought in a boy with strange skin lesions.
“Their son is quite ill — has had lethargy, nosebleeds,” Pare says. “He’s had liver damage. I don’t know if it’s due to exposure.”
The family lived near natural gas drilling activity, and there was some concern that the boy may have been exposed to some of the chemicals being used. Producing natural gas is a pretty industrial process and gives off a lot of fumes. It uses a lot of chemicals to open wells to get the gas flowing.
Pare’s first step was to figure out what chemicals the drillers were using. But that information isn’t easy to get. In this case, Pare says, the patient’s family had a good lawyer who helped them find out what kind of chemicals the gas company was using.
“If I don’t know what [patients] have been exposed to, how do I find the antidote? We’re definitely not clairvoyant,” she says.
Someone has to stand up for public health, even when corporations claim that ‘proprietary trade secrets’ are at risk. We’re not talking about the Colonel’s secret recipe here, we’re talking about chemicals that go into the air and water.
A gag-rule so severe is a disincentive for doctors to care for their patients.
It’s better if the law creates a disincentive for mining corporations that use dangerous chemicals.
Or maybe the chemicals are harmless, like they claim?
I remember that the man who asked for the MSDS sheet was grateful to get it and we heard no more about it. Take the gag off the doctors and shine some light on industry. Sunlight is healthy.