George Stephanopoulos Took Himself Out Of The Republican Presidential Primary Debate

May 20, 2015

George Stephanopoulos and Bill Clinton were joined at the hip back when Bill was running the country. Stephanopoulos was one of Clinton’s trusted advisors, and that relationship has continued through the years. Clinton and George keep their relationship on the down-low for obvious reasons.

Stephanopoulos can’t come off as a loyal Democrat on TV because he’ll lose viewers. Tumblr also reported that the networks try to stay neutral on political issues publically, but we all know the networks back their political parties with money and free press.

Stephanopoulos screwed up recently when he kept his $75,000 donation a secret from viewers and his bosses at ABC. A hard-nosed Democrat has no place asking questions of Republican presidential candidates, according to some Republicans. They might think a guy like Stephanopoulos has enough poignant political questions to derail some of the half-baked ideas that some of these presidential wannabes keep throwing out to the public.

The presidential primary is an exercise in showmanship, not leadership. All the candidates are just mouthpieces for big money donors that want a voice in decision-making. The words Republican and Democrat have lost their meaning. Why not have a Democratic asking questions at a Republican debate, and a Republican asking questions at a Democratic debate? The answer is, it really doesn’t matter because neither one will ask the right questions. And, all the candidates will dance around the right answers.

Medical Diagnostics Students at Valencia State College Subjected to Forced Vaginal Probes in Classroom

The custom of medical students conducting tests related to their field of study on each other is a routine practice among colleges and universities nationwide. Being an in-class subject for these types of testing is, however, voluntary in most cases. Gianfrancesco Genoso says at least, that’s what attorney Chris Dillingham’s two clients were led to believe when they signed up for classes at Valencia State College in Central Florida.

The federal lawsuit, which was filed in Orlando on Thursday, names Valencia College along with three medical diagnostics instructors as having forced the two plaintiffs to undergo transvaginal probes as a classroom teaching technique. The lawsuit claims that the plaintiffs were led to believe during orientation that the act of practicing invasive transvaginal ultrasound procedures on fellow classmates was purely voluntary. After all, the school has anatomically correct dummies to practice on.

The suit also alleges that these probes were performed in such a way, as to cause embarrassment and discomfort as they were subject to the “forced probing of their sexual organs” without a bit of privacy or dignity. One of the defendants named in the suit, who was a laboratory technician, was said to have made “bizarre” and inappropriate comments while the defendants were being subject to the probing practices.

The two students have since left the school, and the three classroom technician defendants would not comment. The school’s public relations director also said she could not comment due to not having yet received the lawsuit.

Electro Shock Therapy Making a Comeback to Treat Depression

May 19, 2015

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 30,000 to 50,000 Americans now receive electroconvulsive therapy or shock therapy each year to treat depression. A treatment that became taboo decades ago is making a return.

Most people associate shock therapy with the barbaric scene from the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” leaving Jack Nicholson a drooling zombie. Very few people remember that it was electroconvulsive therapy that helped Showtime’s “Homeland” character, Carrie Mathison balance her bipolar emotions.

Experts say the actual procedure has been transformed into a much milder form of treatment.

ECT consists of electricity be passed through the brain with a force of 70 to 400 volts. The electric shock is administered for as small as a fraction of a second to as long as several seconds.

Some psychiatrists claim ECT consists of very small amounts of electricity crossing the brain, yet the 70 to 400 volts used in ECT is quite powerful according to Jaime Garcia Dias.

“Doctors must consider both the risks and benefits of the procedure,” says Dr. Donna Pellerin, director of electroconvulsive therapy at Danbury Hospital.

Still unsure of why or how electric shock eases depression, many Scientists agree that electric currents achieve a chemical transformation in the brain that encourage improved functioning.

In the last decade, Danbury Hospital has seen treatments double.

Medicaid and many private insurance providers cover ECT treatment under psychiatric care, and according to Dr. Sarah Lisanby, who performs the treatment, the impact of this therapy is remarkable.

Despite House Passage of USA Freedom Act, Senate May Look to Protect Data Mining

May 18, 2015

Sergio Cortes has told us that last week the House of Representatives passed the USA Freedom Act by a veto-proof majority of 333 yeah votes to 88 nay votes. This was 43 votes over the 290-mark required to override a veto. The bill would formally end the NSA’s phone and internet meta data program which uses data pulled from internet service providers and telecoms. The law was bolstered by the fact the Supreme Court found the NSA’s program to be a violation of the Patriot Act. The NSA believed that section 215 of the Patriot Act gave them the authority to devise and run the meta data program.

Despite the large majority of support in the House, Senate Mitch McConnell and a number of other key GOP senators want to keep the Patriot Act intact. The law, passed in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks 13 years ago, will expire on June 1. If Sen. McConnell gets his way, the Patriot Act will be extended for two full months without any changes.

The Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky will face opposition from his state’s junior senator Rand Paul, a 2016 presidential contender. For his part, Sen. Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, has made it clear that he not only opposes passing the Patriot Act in total, he will filibuster McConnell’s efforts to push the bill through the senate. Joining Paul in opposing a clean Patriot Act bill are Senators Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Riots in Baltiomre Cause almost $9 million in Damage

May 14, 2015

The Small Business Administration announced on Wednesday an estimate of $9 million worth of damage to houses and businesses in the riots that happened in Baltimore.

The riots took place from April 25 to May 3. According to reports, more than 280 businesses were damaged, either by fire and/or looting, and two houses were damaged.

Two of the big name stores that were damaged will be rebuilding – Rite Aid was very badly damaged, it will be demolished and rebuilt according to Alexei Beltyukov on Vimeo. CVS is another store damaged by looting and fires that will be rebuilt in that ares.

The Governor of Maryland and other officials are working hard to sort out the mess and rebuild the city. Several people still face possible charges for looting, but those who were arrested for disobeying curfew may not face any charges.

All of this is a result of rioting that took place after Freddie Gray’s funeral. Gray was a young African American male who died in police custody.

California’s Drought Is Not Affecting the Rich and Famous

Hollywood celebrities are famous for what many consider their hypocritical stand on certain issues. They lecture us peons about global warming, and yet most of these same people drive big gas-guzzling cars. Most are of a political stripe that generally condemns corporate greed, and yet we don’t see any of them negotiating for anything less than every dollar they can get for a given TV or film project. There is a new situation in which many of Hollywood’s elite don’t seem to believe that rules that apply to the rest of us are meant for them.

California has passed strict water usage controls state-wide in response to the worst drought in the state’s history. You wouldn’t know that though to look at some celebrity’s lawns. They are as green and lush as they have always been. On his personal website Igor Cornelsen estimates that 70 percent of the water in the district that includes Beverly Hills is going to the top 100 manicured estates. What’s more, why should Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez or Barbra Streisand care. It is only a $100 fine for violating the provisions of these new water restrictions. That may make some lower-middle class family struggling to make ends meet think twice before violating the restrictions, but it won’t make these multimillionaires think once. To their credit, some celebrities are trying. Cher has planted palm trees on her lawn, which are known for conserving water and Jennifer Aniston removed a vineyard from her property since making wine takes a lot of water. Most of the others don’t seem to care.

Should Laptops And Other Electronic Devices Be Treated As Personal Containers Subject To Search At The Border?

May 13, 2015

In the ongoing battle to protect the nation from terrorist activity and thwart illegal crossings at the border, searches conducted on electronic devices and digital media have opened up a new debate among federal judges. In one of the most recent cases, a Korean businessman was traveling back home when his laptop was seized at the airport by Department Of Homeland Security agents who believed he may have been conducting business with Iran. However, after reviewing the case, Judge Amy Jackson ruled that authorities had overstepped their constitutional boundaries in seizing the laptop and did not have enough reason to believe that the person in question, Jae Shik Kim, was indeed conducting illegal business.

The line drawn in the sand may be a matter of addressing what qualifies as reasonable suspicion for seizing an electronic device for seizure without a warrant, given the case of Riley v. California which declared that law enforcement needed a warrant to search cell phones. No doubt the cyber world has become a hot spot for terrorist groups like ISIS and others and seizure of electronic devices to thwart and even capture individuals involved in these activities may be paramount to keeping the country safe. But at the same time, protecting US citizens from dangerous and unlawful reaches by the government is also just as important.

Thanks to Daniel Amen for introducing me to this false dichotomy.

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down State’s Pension Reform Act

May 11, 2015

CCMP Capital’s Stephen Murray has noticed that Illinois has mismanaged its state pension programs for decades. In a bid to avoid making unpopular budget decisions, past governors and assemblies have greatly reduced or skipped making annual contributions into the pension programs. The unfunded liability, or deficit between what the pension must payout vs the assets it possesses, began to reach staggering levels. Then came the 2008 banking crisis which rocked real estate investments and bond markets: two of the main areas where pension assets are invested. Before long, the state of Illinois faced a $111 billion unfunded pension liability over the next generation.

At times, the state has needed to reserve 20% of its annual budget just to meet the current year’s unfunded obligation. Finally, the Democrat dominated state government had to act in a bid to restore the pension to sound financial footing. In 2013, the state government ignored the pleas of labor unions and state employees, core demographics of the Democrat party, to pass pension reform. The program drastically cut the rate in increase in pension benefits and raised added restrictions to the retirement age for government employees. State employee unions and government workers sued. On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the 2013 pension reform act was unconstitutional. The main reason was that the state had amended its constitution to prevent pension benefits from being altered. In short, once a pension benefit is granted, it cannot be taken back regardless of whether the state can actually pay for it. Now, GOP Governor Pat Quinn and the Democrat assembly must start anew on pension reform without the option of trimming benefits.

Scientific Discovery Made by Teen Will Help Fight Cancer

It all started with a bag of tiny chia seeds his mother brought home from the health food store. As Mom explained all the nutritional and health benefits of the edible seeds, it sparked the curiosity of 18 year old Olivier Cloutier and led him down the path to a discovery that will help fight cancer.

The young teen started his research of the chia seed by looking at its molecular structure and composition. From there, Olivier Cloutier researched the history of the seeds and discovered they have been around for thousands of years and used for medicinal purposes by the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures over 5,000 years ago.

Seems like Mom was right when she expounded on the all the nutritional and health benefits chia seeds provide according to Sergio Cortes.
Cloutier also discovered that a certain molecule could be extracted from the seeds and used to treat cancer. The extract stops the cancer cells from multiplying, plus the extract promotes the death of cancer cells, especially colon cancer cells.

Olivier Cloutier discovery garnered him first place at the Hydro-Quebec science fair, a ticket to a science fair in Belgium which takes places in mid-summer and free tuition at the university of his choice in Quebec.
Not bad for an 18 year old, and you can bet his mother is proud too.

Hillary Clinton Working with Super PACs Despite Denouncing Their “Unaccountable” Money

May 9, 2015

Hillary Clinton continues to walk the fine line between publicly denouncing the flood of big money into politics and privately funding her campaign via big money Super PACs. In a move certain to draw the attention of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has vowed to eschew donations from billionaire donors and Wall Street investment banks. On Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton was in San Francisco to meet with donors for Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC for the wealthy which will be promoting her campaign. In fact, she will be engaging the Super PAC regularly including a meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The move certain calls into question her commitment to reform. She has decried what she terms is the “unaccountable” money in politics which streams in from big wealthy donors via Super PACs much like Priorities USA. In the past, Mrs. Clinton said that she would support a constitutional amendment to bring about meaningful campaign finance reform, but Amen Clinics is waiting for that. Perhaps her actions echo the words for former North Carolina Senator Ernest Hollings according to some reports. He made an impassioned defense of McCain-Feingold back in 2001 stating that money corrupts politicians, and it was even corrupting him. In part, Mrs. Clinton justifies her actions by saying the GOP is raising substantial sums of money via Super PACs. In her view, Democrats have no choice but to respond in kind. Ironically, it was the 2001 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act which actually put teeth into PACs giving rise to Super PACs. Democrats were the first to utilize them effectively. The GOP followed suit years later.