Category Archives: Political

Dog Racing in Florida

Information about dog racing in the city of Miami and other parts of the state of Florida. Approximately thirty percent of the greyhound racing track in the United States are located in the state of Florida.”

The above quote prefaces the list of dog racing events and activities in the Miami area:  racing tracks and associations, etc.  Included in the list is a link to a website for the Florida Greyhound Association which represents breeders, owners, kennel operators, etc. and they are represented by a lobbying group in Tallahassee.

This is what happens when things go right.

This is what happens when things go right.

In fairness, there are some tracks that do show they care about the dogs.

This is what happens when things go wrong.

This is what happens when things go wrong.

On the other side of the coin, is a coalition of animal advocates, which just recently announced that it’s forming a political action committee called, “Committee to Protect Dogs,” which has as its purpose, to place on the ballot, reforms and a phasing out of greyhound racing in Florida.

There is also an advocacy group called, “Grey2K USA.”

“Greyhound racing in [Florida] is regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  In May 2013, GREY2K USA lobbied successfully for an animal welfare rule that contained several greyhound provisions and required that all greyhound deaths that occur at track facilities be reported.  Florida remains one of two states, along with Alabama, where greyhound injury reporting is not mandated.”

In today’s Sun-Sentinel, reporter Dan Sweeney posted his article, “Tougher Rules Sought For Racing Industry.”  The advocacy groups are slowly, surely, lobbying for better racing conditions and better holdings areas, and for the reporting of not only deaths, but also for injuries that befall these mistreated dogs.  Treating injuries means expenditures; killing the injured dogs is a viable option with some owners and trainers.

The best fulfillment of the advocacy would be for the dog racing to end; however, given the ingrained mentality of gambling and racing in general, here in Florida, this is not likely for the time being.  The gambling and racing enthusiasts and the tourism trade probably would not make it doable at this time.  The only possibility, as I see it right now, is for better and humane treatment, until there is a turnaround, and the dog racing institution will be closed down.

[Dog racing images are from bingdotcom]

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What Is Bernie Sanders’ Foreign Policy?

 

Today, I came across a blog named, “People’s War.”  It is the first time that I have seen anything – in newspaper and magazine articles or anywhere on the Internet – where Bernie Sanders’ ideas about foreign policies have been mentioned.  Although the video shows Bernie addressing the House of Representatives in 1991, it is apparent that he has always had these fervent beliefs and there is no reason to assume he has changed his opinion.

I strongly urge those of my followers who are interested in what Bernie has to say about his ideas of the world and world powers, and how methods other than war could solve the serious problems around the globe, rather than with human suffering and bloodshed.  His predictions of spending for all the necessary armaments will be increased exponentially, was proved right.  He also predicted that in order to pay for the war (Gulf War), there would be cutbacks on social services that aid our citizens.  It all came true.  This video was filmed in January 1991 in the House of Representatives’ chambers.

As an introduction to this video, let me quote from “People’s War“:

“Shortly after Sanders was first elected Vermont’s sole representative in the House of Representatives in 1990, he took a stand on his first major war as a Congressman — the 1991 Gulf War. He voted against authorizing the use of military force against Iraq despite acknowledging that Iraq had no right to invade and occupy Kuwait and that Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. For Sanders, these two facts were not sufficient reasons to go to war. Instead, he supported renewing diplomatic efforts and imposing sanctions on Iraq as non-military means of reaching the same outcome — ending Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait.

Sanders worried in 1991 that the Gulf War would be “laying the groundwork for more and more wars for years to come,” a prophetic statement given the subsequent U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the current war on ISIS. Although the 1991 Gulf War ended after a few weeks in a U.S. victory, Americans and Iraqis continued to pay with their lives for that victory in the years that followed. U.S. soldiers, possibly because of exposure to depleted uranium munitions or Iraq’s destroyed chemical weapon stockpiles, developed a range of illnesses collectively dubbed Gulf War syndrome. Sanders was at the forefront of the fight to win U.S. government recognition of Gulf War syndrome and get affected veterans the help and support they needed. At the same time U.S. soldiers were developing Gulf War-related illnesses, over 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of crippling post-war economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

Sanders’ record on Iraq-related issues over the past 25 years is entirely consistent with his core values as a democratic socialist: namely, that working people — in the U.S. and around the world — are entitled to a decent standard of living in conditions of peace and freedom. Whatever action furthered that outcome, he supported; whatever action impeded that outcome, he opposed.

But if the guiding principle of the Sanders doctrine is simple, the struggle to the advance[ment of] that principle amid the world’s wars and complex conflicts is not.”

 

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Florida’s Slow-Moving Medical Marijuana Bill

 

It was in 2014, that Florida’s legislature passed a medical marijuana bill – please see my previous post on Florida’s medical marijuana bill.  And, to date, no one has been helped.

One of the things holding it up is the fact that only 5 growers would have been allowed to grow the specific Charlotte’s Web strain under the current law.

A bill proposed for the 2015 legislature session never got a hearing.

Another bill has been filed for the 2016 session.  Supposedly, that limit of number of growers would be removed; and currently, only cancer patients and seizure sufferers are covered.  The number of eligible diseases would be increased.  Those that would be added include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • MS (multiple sclerosis)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • or any terminal illness.

Of course, the thing bogging down the implementation of the current law is RED TAPE.  So, what else is new?  The Florida Department of Health is in the fray, and nursery owners’ litigation is attempting to position their companies in the small “pot” of eligibility.

As you can imagine, families of sick members are keenly frustrated and angry with these legislative shenanigans while their ill family members of all ages are crying out for relief from their debilitating, painful symptoms.

Will we ever see a medical marijuana bill coming out of the Florida legislature?  Last year’s legislature passed that 2014 bill, hoping to have the “topic” done with. The passage was timed to take place before the last mid-term election.  They believed there was a great possibility that the voters would pass the amendment to the Florida constitution.  As it turned out, the voters missed out on that passage by approximately 2% of the required 60%.

There is a difference between passing a bill into law, and having the voters pass an amendment to the state’s Constitution.  A big difference!  A law can be changed at the whim of the state’s legislature at any time; however, an amendment needs to be added by the state’s voters.  The Florida legislature would rather keep control of the medical marijuana “problem,” and be able to change at will.  That’s why that legislative body wanted so desperately, to be able to pass a law and not wait for a possible state constitutional change.

Things are looking very good for the passage of an amendment in next year’s election.  More on that in another post.

 

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Pro-Birth Is Not Pro-Life

 

I was amazed when I read the headline, “Catholic Nun Explains Pro-Life In A Way That Will Stun Many.”  My curiosity encouraged me to read the article.  I thought, “What new slant/opinion/explanation would a Catholic nun give to this very heated, controversial topic that has been keeping right-wingers, pro-lifers, pro-family and “family values” folks, hot under their collars and vitriolic noises spouting from their mouths?”

SisterImage above and quote below are from an article by Leslie Salzillo, originally posted in the Daily Kos, and appearing in the Liberals Unite news magazine, dated July 31, 2015.

In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

I would add to the above quote:  “not a child loved.”  When an unwanted child is born, in many cases, the parent becomes an abuser, and the child suffers emotional and, perhaps also, physical abuse.

Any individual who would take the time and use average intellect, should understand the difference.

I’ve had many conversations with individuals regarding, if laws were passed in our country restricting abortions under ANY circumstance, who would support all the unwanted children that would be born?  The extreme, religious conservatives in Congress and in some states, want to restrict contraception information and other health care by clinics to couples or women or men who can’t afford private physicians, by limiting or stopping federal funding.  State funding through Medicaid is restricted in some states, because of those states’ refusal to expand necessary funding.  It makes no sense to someone who looks at the world through clear, unclouded glasses.

What also makes no sense is the fact that women, who can’t obtain abortions safely and legally, will obtain them “in the back alley.”  They put their lives in jeopardy.  Let’s be realistic here.  If a woman is desperate for an abortion, she will try any means to accomplish her goal.  And, she may not want to “wait 24 hours to think it over.”

The ultra-conservatives in our Congress want the general public to believe that Planned Parenthood is aborting left and right – like it’s an epidemic.  And that fetal body parts are being sold as an additional “side business” to support expenses of abortions.  Not true.

From HLN:

  • Anti-abortion group released video of what they contend is proof that Planned Parenthood sells organs and tissues
  • Planned Parenthood insists it does not make a profit from fetal tissue
  • The advocacy group says the money discussed on the video had to do with the cost to transport donated tissue
  • Selling fetal body parts is against federal law

The following quote is from Vox:

Planned Parenthood uses federal funds to cover reproductive health services — but not abortions

Both Title X and Medicaid provide low- to middle-income women with financial assistance to cover family planning costs. Medicaid might, for example, reimburse Planned Parenthood when it provides a patient with an HPV vaccine. And a Planned Parenthood clinic could use Title X grants to subsidize the placement of an IUD, which can cost upward of $500 for an uninsured patient.

The exact family planning benefits that Medicaid covers varies from state to state. But generally, many states will cover contraceptives, STD screenings, HPV vaccines, and cancer screenings as well as sterilization and reversal procedures — and will reimburse Planned Parenthood when it is the provider.

For more information about the services that Planned Parenthood offer, please click on the following link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/30/1406997/-Anti-Choice-Extremists-Shut-Down-Planned-Parenthood-s-Website-Homepage

BTW, Planned Parenthood clinics offer services for men.  I believe most people don’t know about those health services offered at the PP clinics.

 

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In The Beginning…. There Was Pony Express

 

pony 2

Love the requirement of “Orphans.”

pony

We’re too old to remember Pony Express, but we’re not too old to remember when stamps were only 4 cents.  Well, maybe just some of us.

stamp

The increases in postage for a letter or postcard have seemed to occur before we finished turning around from the previous raise in rate.

According to an article in the Washington Post:

The U.S. Postal Service has to roll the price back, the effect of a ruling that allows the post office to collect $1.1 billion to cover its recession-related losses.

What about my losses and yours?

Are we supposed to jump up and shout “Hallelujah?”  We still have to pay 49 cents until – when?  Eight more months!!

Then, what?

Well, if all goes according to Hoyle (who’s that?), we should see a drop – a what? – in postage rates.

I wonder where that $1.1 billion’s coming from?  If the USPS has to roll back its rates at the end of 8 months from now, that means we’ve been paying and will have paid that $1.1 billion for – let’s see – seven or eight years?  I may be a little off, but you get the idea.

Any guesses as to how much the USPS is going to lower their rates?  One cent, or two?

 

[Images from bingdotcom]

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#ME Where Are We?

 

During the first half of this year, there was much going on in the Health and Human Service (HHS) Department and regarding ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis):  we had the IOM’s (Institute of Medicine) outstanding, positive report (in my opinion) and then there was the P2P (Pathways to Progress) report.  The former was indicative of forward movement in the cause of ME and the latter, was not.

We’ve been ignored.

There were stand-offs, delays, and hidden refusals when the FOIA was used to obtain documents vital to the ME cause.

And where are we?  After all the hullabaloo and interviews of patients including Laura Hillenbrand, author of “Seabiscuit,” Jen Brea, co-developer of a movie, “Canary in a Coal Mine,” I ask again:

Where are we?

It looked like we had some strong headway for a while, in getting ME recognized as a VERY SERIOUS disease (which it is of course), and as such, needed MUCH MORE grant money from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for some serious and more timely research.

As far as I can see, we are not much further along in our battle – yes, I said, “battle” – to get concrete help for our ME patients – in order to get them out of the greatest “funk” – in the world.  My choice of word – being polite.  I am totally frustrated, angered, impatient, sad, screaming inside.

People running and doing walks, making videos, giving speeches, begging Congress, growing gofundmes on the Internet, writing articles in popular newspapers and magazines, yada, yada.

Still, I ask, “Where are we?

 

 

 

SANDERS’ SINGLE-PAYER DREAM

Many sensible arguments are opined in this article.

The Fifth Column

Bernie Sanders keeps single-payer dream alive: What the GOP Obamacare naysayers will never understand about health care Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush (Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster/David Becker/Ricardo Arduengo)

SALON

While Bush, Rubio and Paul speak in platitudes, Sanders — and the public — has a radical, popular, workable idea

After the King v. Burwell decision, GOP candidates postured all over the place, but were left without any coherent ideas to offer.

So, not surprisingly, the Republican field essentially responded to the Supreme Court upholding Obamacare by invoking the free market and related shibboleths, speaking mostly in broad terms, and getting tripped up by the truth when they tried to get specific.  We’ll turn to them in a moment. But first, we should note what Bernie Sanders had to say, as he also spoke broadly, but without the deception or obfuscation. The broad statements he made could be backed up with specific facts. He also skillfully praised what Democrats had accomplished without forgetting for a moment that more…

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Hillary Clinton Charged The Boys and Girls Club $200k Then Snubbed The Kids…

That Foundation may be the thing that gets stuck in her craw. A great deal of negative info being reported. Running out with that large check and not even looking at the kids? That’s a no-no, Hillary.

The Silent Soldier

(Screenshot credit, The Last Refuge) (Screenshot credit, The Last Refuge)

June 17, 2015

Daily Mail: Hat Tip The Last Refuge:

Hillary Clinton reportedly charged a Boys and Girls Club chapter $200,000 for an appearance, then left the premise without saying hello to children who benefit from the program.

The massive fee, which she donated back to her family foundation, was the largest the Long Beach, California, organization had ever paid a public figure for a speech, Politico reports.

By contrast, the club made $106,000 off the lunchtime, charity event – it’s lowest yield in 25 years. A contributing factor to the diminished proceeds: Clinton’s large entourage that took up seats that would have otherwise been sold to donors.

The details of the 2014 closed-press event were published in a Politico report today that cites a volunteer with the group as the source of the unflattering information.

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A Piece Of News I Suspected But Here Is The Disclosure

Walmart is cranking out billions but its employees and we taxpayers are being “thrown under the bus.”

walmart

Read this article on Raw Story

[image from bingdotcom]

From dozens of seizures a day to 33 straight days seizure free with medical marijuana

It’s unbelievable that our “lawmakers” continue to be blind to the benefits of medical marijuana. I can feel the frustration posted here of the families of sick children who can certainly be helped by medically-prescribed cannabis.