[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Donald Trump’s treatment of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (you’re president of that too, Donald) has been criminally negligent. As he’s golfed five times in nine days, it’s been civilians like chef José Andrés who are filling the vacuum to assist their fellow Americans. But while his efforts and others are no doubt saving lives, too many people remain in crisis.

The Wall Street Journal profiles Sonia Negrón Bell, who trekked from Chicago to Puerto Rico to aid her ailing parents after her father—normally a subdued man, she says—texted to say that “things are bad here.” Negrón Bell called airline after airline until she found one that would allow her to ship a new generator and supplies, and after arriving on the island, drove hours in treacherous conditions to her parents’ home:

She felt a pang when she saw her parents’ pitch-black two-story house. The homes on either side had light from generators. She feared she would find her parents starving or bedridden—or worse.

As soon as Ms. Negrón Bell pulled up, her father appeared in the driveway.

Mr. Bell got out and hugged him. Her mother shuffled slowly out to the porch. “I love you,” she said to Ms. Negrón Bell, who replied, “I love you too.”

Her parents appeared to be holding up—just. It was sweltering inside the house. Pedestal fans stood idle. The refrigerator door was open and inside, it was bare. On the floor were a few buckets partially filled with water.

Ms. Negrón Bell and her husband opened their luggage and began pulling out supplies. They turned on solar-powered lamps and several battery-operated fans. Ms. Negrón Bell made her mother a plate of Vienna sausages and crackers.

“Thank you, Sonia,” Ms. González said. “Thank you.”

According to the town’s mayor, Aguada didn’t see any regular truck shipments with supplies until 12 days after Maria hit.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

The poultry industry really, really wants to process the chickens you eat at rates of more than 140 per minute. Under former President Obama, the USDA considered and then backed off of an increase to 175 chickens per minute going down the line being eviscerated and inspected. Under Donald Trump, the National Chicken Council hopes that the sky’s the limit, asking for plants to be allowed to operate “at any line speed” if they adopt a new inspection system.

The Obama-era cap is an "arbitrary" limit that is holding back the industry's ability to compete in the global marketplace, the National Chicken Council stated in its petition.

Granting waivers would help the Trump administration achieve its goals of "reducing regulatory burdens on the industry," the council said, adding that it would help poultry plants cut costs and expand production to meet rising demand.

Because what you really want to hear about the meat you’re eating is that cutting costs was the producer’s primary goal, and that the government went right along with that.

Do chicken eaters trust the safety of that new inspection system? The jury is out on that and under Trump we can be sure of never getting trustworthy data. But one thing is for damn sure: if line speeds increase, the workers who process chickens will lose limbs.

Poultry workers are almost twice as likely to suffer from serious injuries as workers in private industry, and more than six times as likely to have a work-related illness. Two poultry and meat processing plants, Tyson Foods and JBS/Pilgrim's Pride, are among the 10 companies with the highest number of work-related amputations and hospitalizations, out of more than 14,000 companies reporting to the federal government, Berkowitz, a former Obama Labor Department official, discovered.

But what are the hands and arms of a heavily immigrant workforce when a bunch of big companies could profit? Nothing, in Trumpworld.

[syndicated profile] ontd_political_feed

Posted by blackjedii

Tightening The Leash On Fake Service Dogs

Chris Slavin was in an elevator a couple years ago with Earle, her yellow lab service dog, sitting calmly beside her wheelchair. The elevator doors opened and in walked a woman holding a purse. In the purse was a teacup poodle the color of apricots.

The doors closed just as the poodle spotted Earle. That’s when the trouble started. In an instant, the poodle leaped from the purse, flung himself at Earle, and clamped his teeth into the bigger dog’s snout, leaving Earle bleeding onto the elevator floor.

“As soon as this occurred the woman said the poodle was a service dog,” said Slavin, who has a severe spinal injury that requires use of the wheelchair. “She then said he wasn’t a service dog but an emotional support dog. Finally, she admitted he was a pet she just wanted to bring in the building with her.”

Incidents like that one in Reading, Massachusetts, not far from where Slavin lives in Danvers, have spurred 19 states to enact laws cracking down on people who try to pass off their pets as service animals. The push has been gathering steam in recent years: Virginia implemented its new law in 2016, and Colorado followed suit this year. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal.

“Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” said Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, who introduced the Massachusetts bill. “Their animals aren’t trained and end up misbehaving in these public places, which gives real service dogs a bad name.”

Service dogs, which are trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, were first used by people with vision and hearing impairments. They are now also used by those who use wheelchairs or have other impairment in mobility, people who are prone to seizures or need to be alerted to medical conditions, like low blood sugar, and people with autism or mental illness. The American Humane Association, which promotes the welfare and safety of animals, says there are 20,000 service dogs working in the U.S.

Supporters of the new laws compare those misbehaving dog owners to people who acquire handicap signs so they can park in spaces intended for disabled people. The laws make it a misdemeanor to represent an untrained dog as a service animal, and usually come with fines of no more than $500 for an incident.

But because there is no certification or official national registry of legitimate service dogs, there is no way to verify whether a dog has undergone rigorous training to become a service animal.

That makes it hard to enforce the laws, said David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law and editor of its Animal Legal and Historical Center website, which follows public policy issues related to animals. He said he’s not aware of anyone who has been prosecuted anywhere for violating them.

Rather, he said, the laws are largely symbolic, and meant to educate dog owners as well as people who let pets into spaces where they don’t belong. “Maybe you can scare some people into being honest.”

People who pass off their dogs as service animals in order to take them into stores, restaurants, libraries, sporting events and offices are a real problem, he said, for the proprietors of those establishments, their customers and disabled people who genuinely rely on the help of their service dogs.

“A service animal is trained to be in public and to be under control and non-intrusive and not bark,” Favre said. “They are trained not to be a nuisance in any way. You should hardly even know they are there.”

Because of Earle’s training as a service dog, Slavin said, when the poodle attacked him, “My dog never moved, never retaliated, never barked.” He did nothing. That is the way a service dog is trained. They are not going to ever be aggressive. Ever.”

"Four on the Floor’

Earle performs many functions for Slavin. He picks up items she drops, retrieves keys, opens doors, puts objects like library books on counters that Slavin can’t reach, and returns change or credit cards to her after purchases. She credits Earle with “enabling me to truly become part of my community.”

Service dogs receive up to two years of training, which can cost more than $40,000. Before they are placed, their new owners are often required to live at the training center for a week or two to learn about caring and interacting with their dogs. Many training centers provide the dogs free of charge to disabled clients, defraying their costs through fundraising. The waiting time for a service dog is often two years or longer.

But for people who want to pass off their pet as a service dog, it’s easy enough to be convincing. Anyone can go online and purchase for about $20 the types of vests that legitimate service dogs usually wear.

The vests may help the fake service dogs gain entry, but their behavior, and that of their owners, often gives them away. Trained service dogs don’t go off-leash, bark, knock things off shelves, jump on people, play or fight with other dogs, or grab food off tables, trainers say.

And owners of real service dogs don’t carry them in shopping carts or purses. “The rule is four on the floor,” with all four feet on the ground except when a dog is performing a task, said Katelynne Steinke, a paraplegic in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her own yellow lab service dog.

The problem is that the proprietors of establishments where people bring their dogs have no way of determining whether a dog is a real service animal.

The American with Disabilities Act requires all places open to the public, such as businesses, government agencies and entertainment venues, to give access to service dogs and their owners. And it permits them to ask only two questions: whether the dog is required because of a disability and what tasks the dog is trained to perform. It is illegal to request documentation for the dog or to ask the nature of the owner’s disability.

There’s another complication: the growing use of “emotional support dogs,” which are intended to provide comfort to those with anxiety or other emotional problems. Some of them may have received special training, although nothing as rigorous as the training for service dogs. (Emotional support dogs are not covered under the ADA and can legally be denied access.)

Some service dog owners say many businesses, unable to tell fake service dogs from real ones, allow all of them in. Many owners of service dogs avoid those places for fear of exposing their animals to danger from untrained dogs. Other businesses, they say, simply bar all dogs from the premises, even if it violates the ADA.

The National Disability Rights Network, which advocates on behalf of people with disabilities, is sympathetic to those who want to crack down on pet owners who misrepresent their dogs as service animals. But Ken Shiotani, a senior staff attorney with the organization, said the laws should aim to educate, rather than punish, and the penalties for violations should be minimal. “We want to have a positive impact on people to help them realize that what they’ve done has this very negative effect.”

Advocates for the laws agree.

Cathy Zemaitis, who helped draft the Massachusetts bill and is director of development for National Education for Assistance Dog Services, a Massachusetts group that says it has trained over 1,700 dogs since 1976, said the laws should launch a national effort to teach people not to put dogs in situations they are not trained for — and to educate the public on the need for legitimately trained dogs.

The long-term goal, Zemaitis said, is the creation of a national certification program and registry for legitimately trained service dogs. “This is the beginning of a much larger conversation we need to have.”


no control

Oct. 17th, 2017 05:58 pm
[syndicated profile] ao3_derekstiles_feed

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/blueinkedbones/pseuds/blueinkedbones">blueinkedbones</a>


Stiles dropped out of school.

That's it, that's the story. That's the whole story.

There wasn't a bigger reason. He just didn't know what he was doing there. Werewolves, and fox demons, and the whole world's just oblivious. And none of this actually matters. Philosophy, like Stiles really has to delve into the trolley problem to learn about making hard decisions. Sacrifices. He's all full up on the idealism he can stomach.

And just, and just. Scott's gonna be a doctor. Gonna save lives, make the world a better place. And Derek never went to college, because his whole family was massacred when he was in high school, but he's still breaking his back for every in-danger stranger in Beacon Hills.

Stiles, he's just taking up space.

Words: 2054, Chapters: 1/?, Language: English

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Good news. The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, understands that we have a First Amendment and how it works. That was kind of in question, because he was keeping his head down and refusing to answer questions after the short-fingered vulgarian fascist in the White House attacked the free press, threatening to "challenge their License." He was threatening NBC in particular. Which doesn't have a license. Because networks don't. Individual stations do. But Pai kind of cleared that up, too, when he was finally forced to respond Tuesday, speaking at a telecom law conference.

"I believe in the First Amendment," Pai said at a telecom law event in Washington, without mentioning Trump by name. "The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on content of a particular newscast."

Pai was looking more and more pathetic as his silence on the issue, particularly when his current and former fellow FCC members like current member Jessica Rosenworcel and former chair Tom Wheeler were calling him out.

Democrats have refused to let the issue die in recent days, with FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel warning in a weekend television appearance that “history won't be kind to silence" on Trump's threats to the First Amendment. […]

"He is making himself complicit in the coercion that the president was engaging in," former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, said in a weekend interview on CNN, calling Pai's failure to address the issue "shocking."

Better late than never?

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed
Campaign Action

This is just sad reporting from CNN:

Sammy Rolon is living in a makeshift clinic set up at a school. He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and is bedridden. He's waiting for surgery that was scheduled before Hurricane Maria smashed into Puerto Rico. Now, he can't even get the oxygen he needs.

There is help available for the 18-year-old -- right offshore. A floating state-of-the-art hospital, the USNS Comfort, could provide critical care, his doctor says.

But nobody knows how to get him there. And Sammy is not alone.

The US Comfort hospital ship was deployed much later than it should have been but even though it's been in Puerto Rico about two weeks now, it's only at 13 percent capacity (33 of 250 beds being used).

Unfortunately, that's just the tip of the iceberg for the challenges facing the U.S. territory. The AP reports that people are bathing in contaminated water and some are even drinking from contaminated streams.

With hundreds of thousands of people still without running water, and 20 of the island’s 51 sewage treatment plants out of service, there are growing concerns about contamination and disease.

“People in the U.S. can’t comprehend the scale and scope of what’s needed,” said Drew Koslow, an ecologist with the nonprofit Ridge to Reefs who recently spent a week in Puerto Rico working with a portable water purification system. 

Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Ricans are fleeing the island without plans to return.

As of Friday, 83 percent of the island still lacked electricity. At night, most Puerto Ricans are living in the dark and the lights aren't expected to go back on for many until December.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

The most anti-immigrant members of Congress and other political wannabes won’t even acknowledge the basic humanity of undocumented immigrant youth, but that doesn’t change the fact that immigrant youth are a part of their communities, making contributions as business owners and taxpayers. Immigrants are more than their taxes, but when the Trump regime is hellbent on smearing these families as “welfare queens” (so it’s immigrant youth taking taxpayer-funded golfing weekends?), we’re going to talk about the fact that immigrants help keep Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and Steve King’s state and district running:

When Sessions was senator, he accused then-President Barack Obama of executive overreach for enacting DACA. But as the CAP data shows, his home state of Alabama would lose $188 million in GDP annually from removing DACA workers. Sessions’ birth town of Selma, Alabama, which lies in the 7th congressional district, would see a drop of $21.8 million once it takes away DACA from the 500 current recipients and 700 DACA-eligible people. Overall, roughly 4,803 people are current DACA holders in the state of Alabama, the American Immigration Council reported, while another 4,000 residents could have aged into DACA had they been given the chance to proceed with the program.

Rep. King has long led the charge to dismantle the DACA program, including introducing House bills to end the program during the Obama years. Earlier this year, King tweeted a controversial photo of him holding a beer out for federal immigration agents after they deported a DACA recipient. If DACA ends without a solution, the 4th district which he represents stands to lose $53.8 million once it strips away DACA from the district’s 800 DACA recipients, according to the report’s data.

Sessions should already know that anti-immigrant platforms are a disaster for all Americans. When Alabama enacted what was at the time the most anti-immigrant law in the nation, crops rotted in the fields when immigrant and Latino workers fled the state. In King’s Iowa, Asian, African, and Latino workers “have filled jobs at pork, egg and turkey plants.” New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno—fresh off launching a racist Willie Horton-style ad attacking immigrants—is also from Iowa, and her home district stands to lose nearly $50 million without DACA recipients. Overall, the national GDP stands to lose an estimated $460 billion from Trump ending DACA, including $71 million from his home district. Meanwhile, gains from passing the bipartisan DREAM Act could be as high as a cumulative $1 trillion. Passing DREAM isn’t just morally the right thing to do, it also makes simple economic sense.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Campaign Action

The House of Representatives continues its week-long break, as states continue to panic about how they're going to continue providing health care to children without new congressional authorization of federal funds. That authorization expired on September 30. Everyone knew the deadline was coming, and yet here we are. Five states and some territories got an injection of leftover funds from the Trump administration this week, but that source is finite.

Arizona will receive $21.8 million, California $176.9 million, Minnesota $3.6 million, Washington $10.4 million and Oregon $14.2 million. The balance of the $230 million is going to the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.

The extra money will help those states keep their programs going a little longer. Minnesota, for example, said that the additional funds will keep its CHIP program running through the end of this month.

That means Minnesota only has enough until the end of the month. That's nine working days away, three of which the House isn't even in. The Senate could be speeding things along by passing their version of the bill this week, having it sitting in the House ready to go first thing next week. But no. Instead it's working on the budget resolution that's going to allow them to try to pass tax cuts for the 1 percent with only 51 votes.

Priorities, don't you know.

Y: You

Oct. 17th, 2017 03:24 pm
[syndicated profile] ao3_derekstiles_feed

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/brokxnharry/pseuds/brokxnharry">brokxnharry</a>


Stiles lost four years of memories, of life. And suddenly, he's twenty-one, graduated from high-school, and living with Derek Hale. None of it makes any sense to him, so he tries to remember, even if it kills him.

Words: 10511, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Series: Part 25 of Teen Wolf A-Z Challenge (with songs)

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

One of the beautiful things that often happens in communities facing struggle is how they come together in times of tragedy to support one another. Though this happens quite regularly, these are things that almost never make the mainstream news. It is much more preferable for the media and conservative political pundits to pathologize communities (specifically communities of color) than it is to acknowledge the work they may be doing internally to curb cycles of violence, poverty and oppression. Despite popular misconceptions, the very communities that are experiencing racialized police violence are working hard to support those in need and are turning tragedy into a reason to do good for others.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, where Philando Castile was murdered last year, this is certainly the case. A memorial fund in Castile’s name was set up to help cover the cost of student lunch debt. The fund recently raised enough money to cover student lunch debt across St. Paul for an entire year.  

The Philando Feeds The Children Fund was started by Pam Fergus, a local community college professor who was inspired by stories of Castile having helped pay for student’s lunches with his own money.

“We just had this little idea that we were going to help do Mr. Phil’s job and make sure you guys have good lunch to eat every day,” Fergus told students, according to a WCCO report.

In total, more than 2000 donors helped the fund raise over $72,000—well above the initial $5,000 goal—which was presented to officials at [J.J. Hill Montessori School where Castile worked] on Friday by Castile’s mother Valerie.

This is an admirable thing but also critically important. Hunger is a huge problem among America’s public school children. Most public school teachers (around 75 percent) report that their students regularly come to school hungry and that this has a significant impact on student performance. While this should concern all of us, it doesn’t bother the political party in power one bit. Republicans have been trying to cut free and reduced school lunches for years under the guise of giving more flexibility and authority to states. All this really means is that they don’t care if poor students are going to school and unable to eat. That is shameful and inhumane. In a country with as many resources as this one, it should be impossible for poor families to actually go into debt for school lunches. We can pay for everything under the sun when we want to (especially military weaponry) but we have no desire to feed poor kids. 

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

A federal district judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide injunction Tuesday on Donald Trump's third attempt at implementing a Muslim ban, which was set to take effect on Wednesday. Politico's Josh Gerstein writes:

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson granted a temporary restraining order, concluding that Trump appeared to run afoul of federal immigration law when he issued a proclamation last month restricting travel to the U.S. by citizens of eight countries.

Six of the eight nations are majority Muslim, but the judge's ruling does not focus on that issue.

Judge Watson wrote that the government failed to make the case for why allowing more people into the country would be "detrimental" to national interests. He also charged that the order "plainly discriminates based on nationality."

The federal government will almost certainly appeal the ruling and, ultimately, the case will likely head back to the Supreme Court.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed
Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Choose your own sexual harassment adventure:  Jackass:

Republican candidate for Georgia governor Michael Williams said Monday he opposes any ban on bump stocks, and will give away one of the devices. [...]

Williams said he will give away a bump stock "to one lucky winner" in a show of defiance as momentum grows for more restrictions in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting.


Google on Tuesday launched a new Doodle on its homepage celebrating the life and career of Selena Quintanilla, the Tejano singer known for hits like "Dreaming of You," "I Could Fall in Love," and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Quintanilla was shot and killed by the former president of her fan club in 1995.

The new Doodle illustrates the story of Quintanilla's life through an animated video that shows her singing at home as a young girl, performing in cafes and at weddings, and finally in the center of a large stage and jamming on a tour bus. The brief video is set to one of Quintanilla's most recognizable songs, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Google is launching the Doodle on the anniversary of Quintanilla's first studio album, "Selena," which debuted 28 years ago. In addition to the Doodle, Google will be rolling out a new exhibit for the late singer on its Arts & Culture website.

This should prompt some angry tweets about “fake” news:

The Forbes list of 400 richest Americans shows that the billionaire-in-chief's fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. As a result he dropped to #248 on the list, after coming in at #156 last year.

Want to live dangerously?

Jim Bakker has had it with his critics.

The disgraced televangelist is demanding that “mean people in America” who make fun of him stop watching his show, which is essentially an infomercial for his doomsday food mixed with predictions about an impending apocalypse.

He’s warning that there will be dire consequences for those who continue to watch and mock.  

If you don’t want to hear it, just shut me off,” he said in a clip from Friday’s show posted online by Right Wing Watch. “Especially you folks that monitor me every day to try to destroy me. Just go away. You don’t have to be there. You don’t have to hear it.”

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Trump’s new low: a rambling, goalpost-moving lie about how he & previous presidents expressed condolences to Gold Star families. Armando has budget questions; predicts more $$$ troubles for Kushner. Is Trump planting a mole to spy on Mueller?

x Embedded Content

YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray have reached a deal to restore the funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies that subsidize the deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for lower-income Obamacare customers.

As one part of the deal, the subsidies would be funded for two years, a step that would provide at least short-term certainty to insurers. The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers.

A Democratic aide tells Greg Sargent that it includes $106 million in restored outreach funding for open enrollment, in addition to that two years of CSR funding. Meanwhile, Alexander has told reporters that there is "meaningful flexibility." What that "flexibility" is, or what Murray agreed to in terms of loosening Obamacare regulations, is as of yet unclear. Axios is reporting that it includes a "’copper plan’ for people older than 30, which would be less comprehensive than other ACA plans but would have a lower premium,” and “shorter review time for states seeking waivers from some of the ACA's coverage requirements.” More details should be forthcoming.

In a simultaneous press conference, Trump seemed to endorse the Alexander-Murray deal, but also seemed awfully confused as to exactly what it was he was talking about. He might have just been endorsing the thing that he's not claiming as his own plan, the Graham-Cassidy block grants idea, which failed to get enough Republican votes in the Senate. He also said that it has enough votes to pass. It does not. So who knows what the hell is going on in that addled brain.

In the short term, this development isn't likely to have an effect on premiums for 2018, as the big hikes we've seen in a few states just happened this week. There really isn't enough time or certainty for insurers to count on this happening, and for the reimbursements to start flowing.

[syndicated profile] icanhascheezburger_feed
hedgehogs with long ears

Long Eared hedgehog are different to their close hedgehog cousins due to their huge ears, the length of which varies from 3 to 5 centimeters. This size of the ear is an adaptation to the hot climate area, which is inhabited by these animals. Long-Eared hedgehogs are found in deserts, semi-deserts and steppes. Check out these adorable photos. Via: Sharesloth

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Tagged: long , ears , hedgehog


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