NJ joins California lawsuit against EPA

by Star Ledger Staff and wire reports
January 02, 2008, 5:07 PM

California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today for denying its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs, challenging the Bush administration’s conclusion that states have no business setting emission standards.

New Jersey joined the lawsuit and other states were expected to follow. The legal challenge was anticipated after the EPA on Dec. 19 denied California a waiver it needs under the federal Clean Air Act. The lawsuit was filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. read more

Making it isn’t all about hard work.

The myth is simply this: that if an individual will work hard, follow the rules, and be patient that they can be successful. . . The truth is that in accumulating wealth hard work plays a very small role . . . no group has worked harder than the slaves that built this country, the Chinese that built the railroad, or the Mexicans that continue to do the menial labor that drives our information society.

Today, as Tim Wise writes in “The Mother of All Racial Preferences” white baby boomers are benefiting from the largest transfer of wealth in American history as they inherit their parents’ estates. Some of that wealth dates back to the years of slavery, when Blacks were forced to work for free while their white owners and the American economy accumulated the benefits of their toil. Another large category of the transferred wealth is land, much of it stolen by the American government from Native Americans and Mexicans and sold for a pittance to white settlers. For the average white family, however, some of the largest sources of wealth are the result of racial preferences in government policies that were started in the 20th century. read more

Kids’ toy putting kids in coma

Aqua-dots, which were supposed to be the latest and greatest kid toy, are putting kids in coma and their lives at risk.

The toys were supposed to be made using 1,5-pentanediol, a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead contained the harmful 1,4-butanediol, which is widely used in cleaners and plastics.
 
The Food and Drug Administration in 1999 declared the chemical a Class I Health Hazard, meaning it can cause life-threatening harm.
 
Both chemicals are manufactured in China and elsewhere, including by major multinational companies, and are also marketed over the Internet.   read more

Verizon tinkers with dns & search settings

Overrides Internet Searches With Its Own Results

by Martin H. Bosworth, November 3, 2007

Subscribers to Verizon’s high-powered fiber-optic Internet service (FiOS) are reporting that when they mistype a Web site address, they get redirected to Verizon’s own search engine page — even if they don’t have Verizon’s search page set as their default.

“It was the very first thing I noticed when Verizon finally got FiOS installed here the other day. Very annoying and hardly in the spirit of net neutrality, eh?,” wrote one Webmaster World user, who originally had Google set as his default search engine. read more

More profound than chocolate

Vanilla has converted a new addict.

The truth is, I bought my very first vanilla bean only last week when I was making rice pudding. It’s not that I didn’t know how fantastic they are in all of their clarity of flavor and little-goes-a-long way charm, I was just both too cheap to buy them, and too afraid to go down that slippery slope whereby no extract would do ever satisfy me again . . .

This hasn’t kept me from feeling despicably posh in the week since as my worst fears were quickly confirmed: nothing else will ever do, ever. Fine, brownies don’t need freshly-scraped vanilla speckles, and maybe not banana bread either. Apple pie can do without and, yes, butter cream frosting as well. But custards, creams, puddings and, for certain, white cakes just hit the big time because, sweet mercy, fresh vanilla is a flavor more profound than chocolate. More profound. Than chocolate. Hold me. read more

Human Services directors spread misinformation about kids’ healthcare programs

Four regional directors of the Department of Health and Human Services signed their names on copycat letters sent to editorial pages across the country, spreading misinformation about opposing children’s health insurance proposals.

All four somehow managed to come up with identical wording for the same dishonest points.

For example:
The President supports reauthorizing this important program for low income children [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] with enough new funding to ensure that no one currently enrolled loses coverage. read more

From Migrant Worker to Neurosurgeon

by Stephen J. Dubner, August 9, 2007

There is an incredibly interesting and moving first-person article in the current New England Journal of Medicine. It’s called “Terra Firma — A Journey from Migrant Farm Labor to Neurosurgery,” by Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who is the director of the brain-tumor stem-cell laboratory at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico in the mid-1980’s, as a teenage migrant worker who didn’t speak English. Through a long series of hard jobs, accidents, inspiration, and mentorship, he wound up attending Berkeley and then Harvard Medical School. It isn’t a long article; “go read it, now. read more

Mr. Bush – give our kids better health care!

An Immoral Philosophy, by Paul Krugman

When a child is enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip), the positive results can be dramatic. For example, after asthmatic children are enrolled in Schip, the frequency of their attacks declines on average by 60 percent, and their likelihood of being hospitalized for the condition declines more than 70 percent.

Regular care, in other words, makes a big difference. That’s why Congressional Democrats, with support from many Republicans, are trying to expand Schip, which already provides essential medical care to millions of children, to cover millions of additional children who would otherwise lack health insurance. read more

No Quechup Please – say “no” to invites

I was surprised to receive an invitation from a colleague to join the quechup.com network so we can continue our [non-existent] friendship there. I figured G had sent out a notice to everyone in her address book without first removing the people she doesn’t really want to “be friends” with. I only got part of this right.

Every one in G’s address book did get an quechup.com invite, but those invites weren’t sent by G. I’ve been following up on this story since then. read more

Free museum admissions?

I was looking for a list of free admissions hours to museums in the city. I found out that some museums are always free, some allow people to pay “whatever they wish to pay” [which can be a one penny donation] and some are free on certain days, or during certain hours.

In a New York Times article, Roberta Smith intended to propose a challenge to museums to gradually lower their fees until they were always open to the public at no charge. “. . . it is through [artwork] that we discover and explore important aspects of our humanness. [Museums] should be equally available to all, for the good of the individual and society as a whole.” read more

Nobel laureate calls for removal of Bush

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women’s Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.

“Right now, I could kill George Bush,” she said at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. “No, I don’t mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that.” read more

The Doctor Will See You—In 3 Months

The health-care reform debate is in full roar with the arrival of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, which compares the U.S. system unfavorably with single-payer systems around the world. Critics of the film are quick to trot out a common defense of the American way: For all its problems, they say, U.S. patients at least don’t have to endure the endless waits for medical care endemic to government-run systems.

In reality, both data and anecdotes show that the American people are already waiting as long or longer than patients living with universal health-care systems. read more

Google Shaping Wireless Airwaves Auction

. . . influence Google is having on a closely watched government auction of $10 billion in licenses to provide wireless service. The Web search giant has hired some big guns to help it shape the rules for how the auction will be carried out, reflecting the company’s growing interest in the wireless industry and the rising stakes in the battle for a crucial chunk of airwaves.

Google’s agenda is clear. As a provider of a host of Internet services, including search, e-mail, and online video through YouTube (NWS), Google wants to ensure its content can flow unimpeded and untaxed over the world’s broadband networks. One way to do that is by making sure there’s plenty of competition in the market for high-speed Internet access—in particular, from providers other than behemoths like AT&T (T) and Comcast (CMCSA). “Google’s key interest here is in seeing fourth and fifth [broadband access] pipes to the home to compete with cable and telecom companies,” says Whitt. read more

Nation-state Walmart store “police” use harsh interrogation tactics

Excerpt from article by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Justin Kenward, who worked at a Target store in Chino CA for three years, wrote to tell me about his six hour interrogation, in 2003, by the store’s “Asset Protection” agents, who accused him of wrongly giving a fellow employee a discount on a video game a year earlier:

After about an hour of trying to tell them that I don’t remember any thing about that day let alone that transaction, I had to use the restroom. I asked if I could and was denied. This goes on for about another hour when I say “Look I have to pee, bad, can I go to the restroom?” Once more I was told no. So I stand up and start walking out the door, and was stopped. At this point I thought to my self “They’re looking to fire me!” So I start to think of ways that transaction might have came to be. I say something like read more