Friday, May 30, 2008

Iowa Labor Services Buckle To Agriprocessors

Amount Of Fines Reduced From $182,000 to $42,750

The state has agreed to reduce by three-fourths a fine against the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville for violations of workplace safety regulations.

On May 12, Agriprocessors was the site of the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history. Nearly 400 workers were detained.

Nearly two months earlier, on March 20, the Iowa Division of Labor Services said it was citing the plant for 39 violations of workplace safety rules.

The agency proposed a fine of $182,000. The sanctions were based on inspections that took place in October 2007 and February 2008.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

New York Governor David A. Paterson Orders Recognition Of Gay Marriage

New York's Governor Of Infidelity Issues New Directive
As If New York's Human Rights Law Intent
Was to Legalize Gay Marriage

Gov. David Patterson of New York has told state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where they are legal, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

New York agencies have been told to recognize same-sex marriages performed in places where they are legal.

The governor's legal counsel told state agencies in a May 14 memo to revise policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in California and Massachusetts as well as Canada and other countries that allow gays and lesbians to marry, said Erin Duggan, the governor's spokeswoman.

The memo informed state agencies that failing to recognize gay marriages would violate the New York's human rights law, Duggan said.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Immigration Then... and Now...

Illegals Come For Jobs, And Social Benefits
Telling More Of The Story

During those prior major waves of immigration, the United States didn't have a welfare state. Native-born Americans survived the Great Depression of the 1930s without a welfare state.

Costly social benefits provided to the working poor include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (now called TANF, formerly AFDC), food stamps, school lunches, Medicaid, WIC (nutrition for Women, Infants and Children), public housing and Supplemental Security Income.

Health care is another huge cost. Nearly half of immigrants are either uninsured or on Medicaid, which is nearly double the rate for native-born families. Federal law requires hospitals to treat all comers to emergency rooms, even if uninsured and unable to pay.

Hospitals try to shift the costs onto their paying patients, and when the hospitals exhaust their ability to do this, they close their doors. In Los Angeles, 60 hospitals have closed their emergency rooms over the past decade, which imposes another kind of cost.
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Note: Illegal aliens account for less than 5% of the U.S. adult population,
but were 17% of the federal prison population in 2004, imposing a
net cost of $1.8 billion in court and incarceration expenses.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When Will Iowa Schools and Colleges Offer Women's Wrestling?

The State of Iowa Has Some Of The
Best Wrestling In The World
(Some Women Compete Against Males)

Missouri Baptist University, a small Christian liberal arts institution, is starting a team this fall. Oklahoma City University, the alma mater of three Miss Americas, began a program in 2007. And Menlo College in San Francisco, which specializes in business management and where nearly two-thirds of the students are men, has had a women’s wrestling team since 2001.

The growth of such an unconventional women’s sport at these small, private institutions has little to do with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX and everything to do with their bottom line. Officials at tuition-hungry colleges say women’s wrestling is an untapped market of prospective students, one that has curiously been all but ignored by bigger universities.

The inclusion of women’s wrestling in the Olympics beginning in 2004 provided a huge boost to the sport’s popularity and credibility. Five thousand girls nationwide wrestled in high school in the 2006-7 academic year, yet only eight colleges offer it as a varsity sport. Three of those eight programs are starting this fall.

Rosters fill up nearly as quickly as colleges create teams. “When we can get so many girls to come here for a first-year program, that’s 20 to 25 extra students who normally wouldn’t have looked at Jamestown College,” said Cisco Cole, the women’s wrestling coach there.
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Ramona Cunningham Back In The News

She's Ain't What She Used To Be...

Ramona Cunningham suffers from major depression and had "overdosed on handfuls of medicine" in an attempt to kill herself last fall, a psychiatrist testified this morning.

Cunningham, the former chief executive of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium, did not join three co-defendants who stood trial last month on fraud and conspiracy charges in Davenport. Her attorney, William Kutmus, argued that she was unable to assist in her defense. Federal prosecutors have argued that their expert witness examined Cunningham and found her mentally fit.

Today’s hearing was scheduled to determine when and if she will stand trial.

Cunningham faces 30 charges related to the CIETC pay scandal. Prosecutors allege that nearly $2 million in public money was misspent over a three-year period, with much of it going to huge salaries and bonuses for CIETC’s top executives.

Federal prosecutors have argued that their expert witness examined Cunningham and found her competent to stand trial.
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Read All Posts About CIETC...

Appeals Court: Judge Abused Discretion
In Failing To Return Children To Families

An appeals court ruled Thursday that Texas didn't have the authority to keep hundreds of children from a polygamist sect in state custody, a ruling that could derail one of the largest child protection cases in U.S. history.

The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, in response to motions from 41 sect mothers, ruled that Child Protective Services did not present enough evidence at an April hearing to show that the children were in immediate danger of abuse, which would have justified keeping them in state custody. The court said Judge Barbara Walther abused her discretion in failing to return the children to their families.

The impact of the decision was not immediately clear, but it probably means that the approximately 130 children of the 41 mothers will be returned to their families at least temporarily. The court gave Walther 10 days to comply and release from state custody the children, who are scattered across the state in temporary foster homes.
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

$12-15-a-Gallon Gas?

Time For A Lifestyle Change
Time To Prepare For Changed Economy

It may be the mother of all doom and gloom gas price predictions: $12 for a gallon of gas is “inevitable.”

Robert Hirsch, Management Information Services Senior Energy Advisor, gave a dire warning about the potential future of gas prices on CNBC’s May 20 “Squawk Box”. He told host Becky Quick there was no single thing that would solve the problem, due to the enormity of the problem.

“The prices that we’re paying at the pump today are, I think, going to be ‘the good old days,’ because others who watch this very closely forecast that we’re going to be hitting $12 and $15 per gallon,” Hirsch said. “And then, after that, when oil – world oil production goes into decline, we’re going to talk about rationing. In other words, not only are we going to be paying high prices and have considerable economic problems, but in addition to that, we’re not going to be able to get the fuel when we want it.”
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

White House Denies Plan To Attack Iran Before Term Ends

Leave Iran Problem To Next President
Or Let
Israel Take Them Out

The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon "through peaceful diplomatic means."

Pictures of the week Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.

The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

British Scientists To Create Hybrid Human-Animal Embryos

- Science Research Gone Mad -
Scientists Create “Cytoplasmic Hybrids” or “Cybrids”

Part Animal/Part Human No Longer Mythology

British scientists will be allowed to research devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using human-animal embryos, after the House of Commons rejected a ban yesterday.

The main kinds of admixed embryo permitted by the Bill are “cytoplasmic hybrids” or “cybrids”, which are made by moving a human nucleus into an empty animal egg. These are genetically 99.9 per cent human. As well as true hybrids, it also allows chimeras that combine human and animal cells, and transgenic human embryos that include a little animal DNA.

The most immediate implication of the Commons vote will be to allow teams at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and King’s College London, which already hold licences to create cybrids, to continue their research. Though they were cleared to start these experiments by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in January, their licences would have been rescinded had MPs voted for a ban.

Cybrids could carry the DNA of patients with genetic conditions to create stem-cell models of these diseases for studying their progress and testing new treatments. Human eggs could be used but are in short supply because of risk to donor women.

It is legal to culture admixed embryos up to 14 days and illegal to transfer them to a human or animal womb.
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Monday, May 19, 2008

Illegal Immigration Tied To Identity Theft Cases

389 Illegals Detained From Postville Plant
Arrest warrants Were Issued For 697

Julie Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that such thefts are among the agency's highest priorities and an illustration that illegal immigration may be a driving force behind the nationwide growth in identity theft cases.

• An estimated 8.3 million Americans fell victims to some form of identity theft in 2005, according to an FTC survey last year.

• An investigation by MSNBC in 2005 found that a Social Security number from suburban Chicago had been used by illegal immigrants to get jobs at 37 businesses. "People need to wake up to this problem," Richard Hamp, an assistant attorney general in Utah, told "They are destroying people's credit, Social Security benefits and everything else. This problem has been ignored by the federal government, and it's enormous."

• Each year, millions in payroll tax deductions end up in a special catch-all account because of mismatched names and Social Security numbers. The size of the fund, which also includes errors because of misspellings and things such as married women who are paid under their maiden names, apparently began to skyrocket in 1986, when a new federal law required workers to produce Social Security cards to get employment.
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Activist Judges Overrule California Voters On Marriage

California Now Becomes The Second State
To Legalize Same Sex Marriage

The California Supreme Court today overturned a California law defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

the 4-3 ruling overturns a marriage law passed by 61% of California voters in March 2000.

"This decision is especially brazen given that 61% of voters passed such a marriage law precisely to protect marriage in 2000."

"Perhaps we should drop all pretense and change the preamble from 'We the People' to 'We the Judges.'"Proponents of a constitutional amendment to protect marriage are planning on filing a stay on the court ruling. Defenders of traditional marriage in California have gathered 1.1 million signatures in hopes of landing the amendment on the ballot this November.

For more information on the California amendment fight, visit

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Agriprocessors In Postville: Bad News

- Agriprocessors Are Bad Corporate Citizens -
Bad Managers Plus Illegal Workers

AUGUST 2006: The company agrees to pay $603,086 to settle a complaint by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Federal prosecutors had accused the owners of discharging pollutants into Postville's city water treatment system.

SEPTEMBER 2006: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issues a "letter of warning" to the plant, based on failure to meet minimum requirements for sanitary conditions. Rodents had been seen in offices, and other unsanitary conditions were noted outside the plant. The letter noted multiple instances of unsanitary conditions that had gone uncorrected over the previous 90 days.

Food Contamination
DECEMBER 2006: USDA inspectors find fecal contamination of chickens being processed. In one case, an inspector has to intervene three times to correct the problem. A day later, an inspector finds that about half the chickens he observes being processed are contaminated with feces and bile. A week later, inspectors note that at least 70 percent of the chickens are contaminated with feces. Two days later, inspectors report finding two pallets of beef that had "a rancid smell and (were) slimy to the touch." Hydraulic oil is seen dripping from an overhead motor onto raw chickens being processed. A few days later, inspectors see the same problem.

JANUARY 2007: USDA inspectors find "a large amount of fecal and bile contamination" on chickens being processed. Three areas are deemed "out of compliance, with fecal material sprayed everywhere around them." An inspector halts the meat-processing line and raises the issue with a worker who wanted to restart the line without taking corrective action.
JANUARY 2007: The USDA announces that Agriprocessors is recalling 2,700 pounds of frankfurters because of possible underprocessing.

Product Mislabeling
JULY 2007: The USDA announces that Agriprocessors is recalling 35,860 pounds of frozen beef and chicken products because they may contain egg albumen, a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.

Violations of Safety Rules
MARCH 2008: The Iowa Division of Labor Services cites Agriprocessors for 39 violations of workplace safety rules and proposes a $182,000 fine. The sanctions are based on inspections that took place in October 2007 and February 2008. Inspectors say the violations relate to hazardous chemicals and inadequate emergency response plans. Federal officials put the case "on hold," according to Kerry Koonce of Iowa Workforce Development. As of Tuesday, the matter remained unresolved.
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