Archive for Federal regulations

GOP Rep. Gingrey on climate change: Gov't should “put surgical mask on rear ends of every cow”

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Rep. Phil Gingrey

Back in 2010, our dear Paddy (R.I.P.) posted a video of Rep. Phil Gingrey: Seniors Would Lose Care To Save Money For "Injured Professional Athletes." In that post, Paddy said, "You've got to admit that they get pretty creative when they're desperate."

A couple of days ago, Phil Gingrey joined six other Republicans in a debate hosted by the state GOP. Or to put it another way, seven conservatives tried their level best to out cray-cray each other to win a Senate seat. Roll Call:

In front of a couple hundred voters at the Columbia County Exhibition Center just outside Augusta, the candidates sought to fortify their conservative credentials on immigration, the Second Amendment, abortion and what can be done to improve confidence in the economy.

Wait. Didn't we recently hear that Republicans were backing away from issues like abortion and gay rights because they were losers with voters? So much for that. And so much for that Big Outreach Effort they insist is mandatory in order to win elections. But I digress. Back to the Whacko Zone...

Rep. Jack Kingston, trying to make a case for electing creaky old DC insiders, said “I’m not going to apologize for being a long-term soldier fighting for the conservative cause." Since when has he ever apologized for anything? Moving on.

And anti-immigration (there's that outreach thing again), anti-John Boehner (there's that Republicans Eating Their Own thing again) Rep. Paul Broun decided he would “die for your right” to carry a lethal weapon. Note to Broun: Innocent people die because of such irrational reverence for killing machines.

But the big winner of the Questionable Sanity Award goes to Rep. Phil Gingrey:

Gingrey highlighted his three decades as an OB-GYN to prove he was no professional politician, noting he has delivered 5,200 babies. On government regulations meant to curb climate change, Gingrey quipped that maybe the government should “put a surgical mask on the rear ends of every cow” to stop the release of methane.

Speaking of face coverings, how about a soundproof surgical mask that covers the speaking end of every right wing radical?

Note to Gingrey: Regulations keep us alive by protecting us from poisons in our food, air, and water. Or perhaps you'd prefer Chinese milk laced with melamine instead?

cow kiss

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Rep. Steve King Is Trying To Kill Us

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diseased food animals

Eat diseased food, you'll get sick or even worse, you'll die.

That's why we have Federal food inspectors who keep the chances of disease ridden food from making it to our shelves. As least we have it now, but if Republican Steve King has his way, that won't be the case much longer. And if you're like me, you become suspicious when a committee's findings are are being kept hush-hush. Fruther that suspicion when a silent amendment is being sought. You start wondering what it is that the Tea Party extremist Steve King is afraid we'll all find out? Could it be he favors animal cruelty, substandard food quality, sick and diseased animal bi-products being used, tainted ingredients, unregulated chemical content, unsafe food handling -- or all of the above?

HuffPo:

A group of law professors have written to the House and Senate blasting a controversial amendment to the farm bill currently undergoing negotiations.

In it, they reportedly criticize the Protect Interstate Commerce Act introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an Amendment that seeks to limit states’ power to supervise their own farming standards. If passed, the amendment would ban states from requiring agricultural and livestock conditions that are stricter than those in other states, so long as the products are intended for out-of-state sale.

The experts allege that the amendment is a food safety risk, writing that there is “a significant likelihood that many state agricultural laws across the country will be nullified, that public health and safety will be threatened, and that the amendment could ultimately be deemed unconstitutional.”

Fortunately, there are hundreds of protesters to this bill. And coming out against this heinous lack of restrictions are a bi-partisan group on Capitol Hill: 23 Senators and 169 Congresspeople. But it's not just shaking the foundations in Washington. This absurd, dangerous self serving bill by Steve King is being fought by hundreds of other organizations. I highly recommend you look over this list to find out who is supporting us by bashing Steve King and his Republican cohorts as they wish to flood the market with tainted food. Click here for the list.

Keep your eyes open. If King and his Tea Party people have their way, they'll literally kill you.

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What The Hell Is Net Neutrality?

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Net-Neutrality-all-bits

Wired:

Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn't set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn't some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.

Okay, so how does that affect me? Are we facing a shutdown or what?

Not a shutdown -- but the Internet super highway is about to erect toll booths.

toll booths

We obviously have net neutrality at the moment. Because of it I don't have to wait longer for one site to download than another. Competition as to the fastest provider, Google, FireFox, Yahoo, AOL -- it's pretty much the same. I have choices, but I don't have to pay more or less to use one over the other.

But for how long?

Not much, if the court goes the way it's leaning. And that's going to mean big changes -- subtle at first, but costly over the long run for we, the consumers. At the same time, it'll ring up obscene profits for the telecoms.

First, this opens the door to fees charged you for data uploads, downloads and speed of access. We had those once and net neutrality pretty much did away with those.

Then let's say you like to visit your favorite site. If they don't pay a fee, it may take longer to download them than another similar site and you might go away to their competition. Or our carriers may instill a surcharge on us to be downloaded at a faster speed or more available to some search engines than others.

This is a real threat. Let's say you like to get your up to the minute sports scores from ESPN.com. They may be deep pocketed enough to pay a large fee not to speed up their delivery, but to slow down full access for other sports reporting outlets by making usury demands for their accessibility and availability.

And don't forget the door this opens to advertising revenues. If you're already tired of the ads embedded in many video clips, how about having to watch one before you can open every one of your emails? Texts. Tweets. Instagrams.

Also, telecom providers will, if this law changes, make it harder for reuse and access to news and information. That might hurt Rand Paul in his speech stealing endeavors, but it also hurts small independents who need to rely on major news gathering outlets to bring you timely and complete stories. Rebroadcast of clips and even some YouTube entries may become impossible.

We're not talking about copyrights, though they are affected. We're talking about the potential for locations like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram and YouTube to charge fees for numbers of tweets sent or received, messages posted or even accessed. They can start institution of levels - The Gold level allows unlimited access while Silver allows less posts or comments and the most costly, ala carte pricing.

be scaredA huge commercial door is about to be opened and it's frightening.

...companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others declared a war on the internet’s foundational principle: that its networks should be “neutral” and users don’t need anyone’s permission to invent, create, communicate, broadcast, or share online. The neutral and level playing field provided by permissionless innovation has empowered all of us with the freedom to express ourselves and innovate online without having to seek the permission of a remote telecom executive.

But today, that freedom won’t survive much longer if a federal court — the second most powerful court in the nation behind the Supreme Court, the DC Circuit — is set to strike down the nation’s net neutrality law, a rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010.

This is something  that we all need to watch. We've been blessed with net neutrality for some time now. And we can't afford to lose it. It's a freedom that should be as dear to us as the first amendment -- freedom of speech.

As we saw with the striking down of the Citizens United case, individuals rights are being trumped by big business and political committees fronting for specific special interests. This could soon hit us all. Our favorite sites could be forced into financial hardship or even worse, extinction.

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Calling Western Union

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telegraph office

In days long before mine, there was something called the telegraph office. It's where you went to send a very important message. Often times, it was the announcement of a special event -- a birth, a promotion and in the most dire of circumstances, a death. These messages were sent over the wire in Morse Code - a series of dits and dahs, or dots and dashes. They then were translated to words and glued to a yellow paper, put in an envelope to ensure privacy, and delivered right to your house. It was an event when one came.

old time telephone

Then, over time, the telephone became the common source of relaying such news and along with it's availability the Western Union telegraph office went into hiding. They changed their primary business of using the wire to notify people to sending money. Yes, money was "wired" to a telegraph office and the person came in and upon proper proof of identification, you picked up cash. Now, with cell phone proliferation, and the internet, money's as easy to transfer as the click of a few buttons on any of your internet connected devices and presto. Money goes where you need it to go. So the telegraph offices have become even more endangered if not outright extinct. Think about it. When's the last time (if ever) you saw an actual telegram?

telegram death notice

Now, over the years the word telegraph is still with us, even it the telegraph isn't. And it's commonly used, too. But for a new use. It means to signal. Stop. To allude to Stop. To hint at or tease Stop. It's saying something without using the actual words. Stop.

Okay, I just put the "stop" in there to see if you really knew your telegraph or thought you did. The use of a "." was not available in a telegram because in the language of Morse Code, a period meant the letter "e". So to break up sentences, you inserted the word, "stop." Stop.

I'm almost to my point. Telegraph now means to convey an idea without saying the exact words. In poker a player refers to an unintentional tip of a bluff with a  what's referred to by the poker sharks as a "Tel." One "l". Why? because it doesn't mean to tell you something, it's short for telegraphing. In other words, saying what you are thinking without verbalizing.

Now comes my point. In a Talking Points Memo today, a headline read GOP Telegraphs Mass Filibuster. In this article they go on to say

Senate Republicans are standing firm by their threat to block every one of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, insisting on eliminating all three vacant seats on the country’s second most powerful court.

Now that's not telegraphing in today's vernacular. That's basically old English usage. They are announcing and broadcasting their intentions. There's no allusion about it. It's straight forward obstructionism. But they don't want to call it that, so here's how the GOP intends to telegraph their plans.

Republicans appear to be united behind Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) legislation to reduce the number of active judges on the D.C. Circuit court from 11 to eight. He proposes eliminating one seat, transferring one to the Second Circuit and transferring another to the 11th Circuit. (During the Bush administration, Grassley led a successful effort to reduce the size of the D.C. Circuit court from 12 to 11.)

“It’s way overstaffed,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), another Judiciary Committee member, told TPM on Thursday. “It does not need these judges, and we don’t have the money.”

How amazing this ruse considering two things -- a record backlog of cases pending because of a shortage of judges to hear the cases -- and how little money would be saved in salaries. Assuming the federal officials who have brought these cases were right even half of the time, the fees, fines and penalties paid by those found guilty would more than cover the expenses. Oh, and did you forget that court costs are assessed if someone's found guilty? The government doesn't pay them. I guess Grassley and Sessions and their cronies don't even know that much. Maybe we need to stop telegraphing things to them and come right out and say it. You're not being honest here. You're simply obstructing justice under the cloak of fiscal responsibility. Pathetic.

Senate Judiciary committee

So what's left?

If Republicans stand by their threat and filibuster, it’ll leave Democrats with a tough choice: either back off and concede defeat, or threaten to roll back the filibuster on a partisan basis via the nuclear option and confirm the judges by themselves.

But the Democrats are afraid of what will happen when the Republicans retake the Senate. Well facing down justice or a threat of the Republicans even retaking the senate, I'll go with justice.

What's even more amazing in the telegraphing of the Republican's intentions is on one hand you have Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) telling TPM.

"...I will consider each of the judges on the basis of his or her merits.”

And then you have this telegraph from the Republicans on the committee.

...the Judiciary Committee on a party line vote of 10-8. Every Republican voted against her, although they didn't criticize her or take issue with her qualifications.

We all know there's nothing progressive about the GOP, even the term contemporary makes them shudder. So perhaps I'm wrong and they really are telegraphing news in the "traditional" sense. They're giving an official notice. This telegram reads: Decision reached. Stop. Halt all progress. Stop. No new judges. Stop. Our party is dead. Stop.

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