Friday, November 29, 2013

Why People Become Overweight !?- Harvard Health


 (This article was first printed in the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School “Weigh Less, Live Longer: Strategies for Successful Weight Loss.” For more information or to order, visit www.health.harvard.edu/WL.)
Everyone knows some people who can eat ice cream, cake, and whatever else they want and still not gain weight. At the other extreme are people who seem to gain weight no matter how little they eat. Why? What allows one person to remain thin without effort but demands that another struggle to avoid gaining weight or regaining the pounds he or she has lost previously?
On a very simple level, your weight depends on the number of calories you consume, how many of those calories you store, and how many you burn up. But each of these factors is influenced by a combination of genes and environment. Both can affect your physiology (such as how fast you burn calories) as well as your behavior (the types of foods you choose to eat, for instance). The interplay between all these factors begins at the moment of your conception and continues throughout your life.

The calorie equation

The balance of calories stored and burned depends on your genetic makeup, your level of physical activity, and your resting energy expenditure (the number of calories your body burns while at rest). If you consistently burn all of the calories that you consume in the course of a day, you will maintain your weight. If you consume more energy (calories) than you expend, you will gain weight.
Excess calories are stored throughout your body as fat. Your body stores this fat within specialized fat cells (adipose tissue) — either by enlarging fat cells, which are always present in the body, or by creating more of them. If you decrease your food intake and consume fewer calories than you burn up, or if you exercise more and burn up more calories, your body will reduce some of your fat stores. When this happens, fat cells shrink, along with your waistline.

Genetic influences

To date, more than 400 different genes have been implicated in the development of overweight or obesity, although only a handful appear to be major players. Genes contribute to obesity in many ways, by affecting appetite, satiety (the sense of fullness), metabolism, food cravings, body-fat distribution, and the tendency to use eating as a way to cope with stress.
A 2006 report in Science that studied more than 900 people showed that those who have two copies of a specific gene variant (called Insig-2) were 22% more likely to have a BMI higher than 30. Researchers believe the gene variant affects the regulation of another gene involved in fat production. In follow-up studies of more than 9,000 people (including people with Western European ancestry, African Americans, and children), they found that about 10% carried two copies of the gene variant.
In another 2006 study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers studied the activity levels of three different genes in fat samples from people who were normal weight, overweight, or obese. They took fat samples from around the participants’ internal organs and under their skin and found different levels of activity (known as gene expression) in the different samples. In overweight people, increased expression of two of the genes correlated with a tendency to be “apple-shaped.” These and related studies have helped researchers better understand how and why obesity occurs. They may also spur the development of new weight-loss treatments.
The strength of the genetic influence on weight disorders varies quite a bit from person to person. Research suggests that for some people, genes account for just 25% of the predisposition to be overweight, while for others the genetic influence is as high as 70% to 80%. Having a rough idea of how large a role genes play in your weight may be helpful in terms of treating your weight problems.

How much of your weight depends on your genes?

Genes are probably a significant contributor to your obesity if you have most or all of the following characteristics:
  • You have been overweight for much of your life.
  • One or both of your parents or several other blood relatives are significantly overweight. If both of your parents have obesity, your likelihood of developing obesity is as high as 80%.
  • You can’t lose weight even when you increase your physical activity and stick to a low-calorie diet for many months.
Genes are probably a lower contributor for you if you have most or all of the following characteristics:
  • You are strongly influenced by the availability of food.
  • You are moderately overweight, but you can lose weight when you follow a reasonable diet and exercise program.
  • You regain lost weight during the holiday season, after changing your eating or exercise habits, or at times when you experience psychological or social problems.
These circumstances suggest that you have a genetic predisposition to be heavy, but it’s not so great that you can’t overcome it with some effort.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can assume that your genetic predisposition to obesity is modest if your weight is normal and doesn’t increase even when you regularly indulge in high-calorie foods and rarely exercise.
People with only a moderate genetic predisposition to be overweight have a good chance of losing weight on their own by eating fewer calories and getting more vigorous exercise more often. These people are more likely to be able to maintain this lower weight.

What are thrifty genes?

When the prey escaped or the crops failed, how did our ancestors survive? Those who could store body fat to live off during the lean times lived, and those who couldn’t, perished. This evolutionary adaptation explains why most modern humans — about 85% of us — carry so-called thrifty genes, which help us conserve energy and store fat. Today, of course, these thrifty genes are a curse rather than a blessing. Not only is food readily available to us nearly around the clock, we don’t even have to hunt or harvest it!
In contrast, people with a strong genetic predisposition to obesity may not be able to lose weight with the usual forms of diet and exercise therapy. Even if they lose weight, they are less likely to maintain the weight loss. For people with a very strong genetic predisposition, sheer willpower is ineffective in counteracting their tendency to be overweight. Typically, these people can maintain weight loss only under a doctor’s guidance. They are also the most likely to require weight-loss drugs or surgery.
The prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States has been rising since the 1970s (see Figure 1). Genes alone cannot possibly explain such a rapid rise. Although the genetic predisposition to be overweight varies widely from person to person, the rise in body mass index appears to be nearly universal, cutting across all demographic groups. These findings underscore the importance of changes in our environment that contribute to the epidemic of overweight and obesity.

Figure 1: Trends in adult weight

Chart: Trends in Adult Weight
Percent of adults ages 20–74* who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese†
*Data are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population.
†Healthy weight, body mass index (BMI) = 18.5–24; overweight, BMI = 25–29; obese, BMI ≥30.
Sources: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (National Center for Health Statistics); Cancer Trends Progress Report — 2005 Update (National Cancer Institute, 2005).

Environmental influences

Genetic factors are the forces inside you that help you gain weight and stay overweight; environmental factors are the outside forces that contribute to these problems. They encompass anything in our environment that makes us more likely to eat too much or exercise too little. Taken together, experts think that environmental factors are the driving force for the dramatic increase in obesity.
Environmental influences come into play very early, even before you’re born. Researchers sometimes call these in-utero exposures “fetal programming.” Babies of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to become overweight than those whose mothers didn’t smoke. The same is true for babies born to mothers who had diabetes. Researchers believe these conditions may somehow alter the growing baby’s metabolism in ways that show up later in life.
After birth, babies who are breast-fed for more than three months are less likely to have obesity as adolescents compared with infants who are breast-fed for less than three months.
Childhood habits often stick with people for the rest of their lives. Kids who drink sugary sodas and eat high-calorie, processed foods develop a taste for these products and continue eating them as adults, which tends to promote weight gain. Likewise, kids who watch television and play video games instead of being active may be programming themselves for a sedentary future.
Many features of modern life promote weight gain. In short, today’s “obesogenic” environment encourages us to eat more and exercise less. And there’s growing evidence that broader aspects of the way we live — such as how much we sleep, our stress levels, and other psychological factors — can affect weight as well.

The food factor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans are eating more calories on average than they did in the 1970s. Between 1971 and 2000, the average man added 168 calories to his daily fare, while the average woman added 335 calories a day. What’s driving this trend? Experts say it’s a combination of increased availability, bigger portions, and more high-calorie foods.
Practically everywhere we go — shopping centers, sports stadiums, movie theaters — food is readily available. You can buy snacks or meals at roadside rest stops, 24-hour convenience stores, even gyms and health clubs. Americans are spending far more on foods eaten out of the home: In 1970, we spent 27% of our food budget on away-from-home food; by 2006, that percentage had risen to 46%.
In the 1950s, fast-food restaurants offered one portion size. Today, portion sizes have ballooned (see Figure 2), a trend that has spilled over into many other foods, from cookies and popcorn to sandwiches and steaks. A typical serving of French fries from McDonald’s contains three times more calories than when the franchise began. A single “super-sized” meal may contain 1,500–2,000 calories — all the calories that most people need for an entire day. And research shows that people will often eat what’s in front of them, even if they’re already full.

Figure 2: Portion inflation

Portion Inflation
Portion sizes for foods commonly consumed outside the home have increased over the years, and many experts believe this has contributed to overweight and obesity. Consider a typical fast-food meal that consists of a hamburger, French fries, and a soda. In 1955, consumers were offered only one portion size. Today they can select from multiple portion sizes. The chart above shows how all these portions compare, adjusting for size inflation over the years.
Based on data from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 2003, pp. 231–34.
Not surprisingly, we’re also eating more high-calorie foods (especially salty snacks, soft drinks, and pizza), which are much more readily available than lower-calorie choices like salads and whole fruits. Fat isn’t necessarily the problem; in fact, research shows that the fat content of our diet has actually gone down since the early 1980s. But many low-fat foods are very high in calories because they contain large amounts of sugar to improve their taste and palatability. In fact, many low-fat foods are actually higher in calories than foods that are not low fat.
In one year, the average American adult eats 40 pounds of white bread, 41 pounds of potatoes, 30 pounds of cheese, and 77 pounds of added fats (butter, lard, and cooking oil), and washes it all down with 52 gallons of soda. True, vegetable consumption has risen by about 12% since 1990 — but two-thirds of these vegetables take the form of potatoes (including chips, fries, and mashed potato), iceberg lettuce, and other low-nutrient choices.
In all, the Department of Agriculture reports that food consumption rose by 8%, or about 140 pounds per person per year, during the 1990s. Our nation produces 50% more food than we need, and the food industry spends $30 billion a year to be sure it does not go to waste. It works: In 2001, Americans spent $110 billion on fast food, up nearly twentyfold in just three decades.

The exercise equation

The government’s current recommendations for exercise call for an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. But fewer than 25% of Americans meet that goal. On the other hand, more people are exercising than in the late 1980s. According to a 2004 CDC report, the percentage of people who say they do no leisure-time physical activity (such as walking, golfing, or gardening) dropped from a high of 32% in 1989 to 25% in 2002.
Our daily lives don’t offer many opportunities for activity. Children don’t exercise as much in school, often because of cutbacks in physical education classes. Many people drive to work and spend much of the day sitting at a computer terminal. Because we work long hours, we have trouble finding the time to go to the gym, play a sport, or exercise in other ways.
Instead of walking to local shops and toting shopping bags, we drive to one-stop megastores, where we park close to the entrance, wheel our purchases in a shopping cart, and drive home. The widespread use of vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, leaf blowers, and a host of other appliances takes nearly all the physical effort out of daily chores.

The trouble with TV: Sedentary snacking

The average American watches about four hours of television per day, a habit that’s been linked to overweight or obesity in a number of studies. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-term study monitoring the health of American adults, revealed that people with overweight and obesity spend more time watching television and playing video games than people of normal weight. Watching television more than two hours a day also raises the risk of overweight in children, even in those as young as three years old.
Part of the problem may be that people are watching television instead of exercising or doing other activities that burn more calories (watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping, and less than other sedentary pursuits such as sewing or reading). But food advertisements also may play a significant role. The average hour-long TV show features about 11 food and beverage commercials, which encourage people to eat. And studies show that eating food in front of the TV stimulates people to eat more calories, and particularly more calories from fat. In fact, a study that limited the amount of TV kids watched demonstrated that this practice helped them lose weight — but not because they became more active when they weren’t watching TV. The difference was that the children ate more snacks when they were watching television than when doing other activities, even sedentary ones.

Stress and related issues

Obesity experts now believe that a number of different aspects of American society may conspire to promote weight gain. Stress is a common thread intertwining these factors. For example, these days it’s commonplace to work long hours and take shorter or less frequent vacations. In many families, both parents work, which makes it harder to find time for families to shop, prepare, and eat healthy foods together. Round-the-clock TV news means we hear more frequent reports of child abductions and random violent acts. This does more than increase stress levels; it also makes parents more reluctant to allow children to ride their bikes to the park to play. Parents end up driving kids to play dates and structured activities, which means less activity for the kids and more stress for parents.Time pressures — whether for school, work, or family obligations — often lead people to eat on the run and to sacrifice sleep, both of which can contribute to weight gain.
Some researchers also think that the very act of eating irregularly and on the run may contribute to obesity. Neurological evidence indicates that the brain’s biological clock — the pacemaker that controls numerous other daily rhythms in our bodies — may also help to regulate hunger and satiety signals. Ideally, these signals should keep our weight steady. They should prompt us to eat when our body fat falls below a certain level or when we need more body fat (during pregnancy, for example), and they should tell us when we feel satiated and should stop eating. Close connections between the brain’s pacemaker and the appetite control center in the hypothalamus suggest that hunger and satiety are affected by temporal cues. Irregular eating patterns may disrupt the effectiveness of these cues in a way that promotes obesity.
Similarly, research shows that the less you sleep, the more likely you are to gain weight. Lack of sufficient sleep tends to disrupt hormones that control hunger and appetite. In a 2004 study of more than 1,000 volunteers, researchers found that people who slept less than eight hours a night had higher levels of body fat than those who slept more, and the people who slept the fewest hours weighed the most.
Stress and lack of sleep are closely connected to psychological well-being, which can also affect diet and appetite, as anyone who’s ever gorged on cookies or potato chips when feeling anxious or sad can attest. Studies have demonstrated that some people eat more when affected by depression, anxiety, or other emotional disorders. In turn, overweight and obesity themselves can promote emotional disorders: If you repeatedly try to lose weight and fail, or if you succeed in losing weight only to gain it all back, the struggle can cause tremendous frustration over time, which can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. A cycle develops that leads to greater and greater obesity, associated with increasingly severe emotional difficulties.

A widespread problem

Percent overweight

Sixty percent of adults in the U.S.
are overweight
Percent of obese adults
One-third of American adults have obesity

Other causes of obesity

Clearly, our responses to today’s obesity-promoting environment, in tandem with genetic influences, are the most significant causes of overweight and obesity. But in some people, drug side effects, illnesses, and genetic disorders can also play a role.

Drug side effects

Several prescription drugs can cause weight gain as a side effect by increasing appetite or slowing metabolism. These include corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone (used for a variety of conditions to reduce inflammation); estrogen and progesterone (used in oral contraceptives); anticonvulsants such as valproic acid (Depakote, others); certain anticancer medications; and drugs such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), haloperidol (Haldol), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), and clozapine (Clozaril), which are used to treat psychiatric conditions.
Paradoxically, weight gain can also be a side effect of some drugs used to treat conditions that result from obesity itself. Among these drugs are insulin and glyburide (DiaBeta and others); these are treatments for diabetes, which is common among people with weight disorders. Several antidepressants may cause patients to put on weight, including tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine (Tofranil) or desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
When used to treat depression, SSRIs may cause weight loss initially, but within six months of treatment they can induce weight gain in a significant number of patients. On the other hand, sibutramine (Meridia), another drug that stimulates serotonin (like the SSRIs), is an appetite suppressant that’s used to promote weight loss. And in a small number of patients, SSRIs such as Prozac actually cause weight loss, making them useful as a therapy for weight disorders. Much more needs to be learned in this area; the relationship between weight regulation and serotonin (a key chemical communicator in the brain and elsewhere in the body) is obviously complex.

Illnesses that affect weight

A few illnesses that are characterized by an imbalance or an abnormality in your endocrine glands can also affect your weight. These include hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and certain unusual tumors of the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or the pancreas. However, in the vast majority of people, these illnesses are not responsible for weight gain. Most are extremely rare. Hypothyroidism, which is the most common, is seldom the main reason for overweight or obesity. Treatment with thyroid hormone, while medically necessary, does not usually cause a significant weight reduction.

Genetic disorders

Obesity is also a symptom of some rare and complex disorders caused by genetic defects. These obesity syndromes usually appear in early childhood and are tied to several additional medical problems. One such disorder is Prader-Willi syndrome, a form of obesity associated with mild mental retardation that occurs in about 1 in 25,000 people and has been traced to abnormalities in a group of genes on chromosome 15. People with this disorder are unusually short and have primarily upper-body obesity. A less common disorder, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, is similar to Prader-Willi syndrome, but is caused by abnormalities in different genes. Several other rare genetic syndromes cause obesity, but account for only a tiny fraction of all weight disorders.

Courtesy of and reposted from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Why-people-become-overweight.htm

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Democrat's Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle!









Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Shopping Guide To Stores That Won't Ruin Their Workers' Thanksgivings!

By Adam Peck and Bryce Covert on November 26, 2013 at 9:43 am


This year, more stores than ever are saying they will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day instead of waiting until the day after for Black Friday holiday shopping. But some are refusing to join the trend, instead preserving the holiday for their employees to enjoy with family and friends.


Radio Shack told ThinkProgress that it will be closed “In honor of Thanksgiving and the time-honored tradition of gathering with family and friends.” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook reportedly reversed some stores’ decisions to open because he felt that it’s important for workers to be with their families.

Other stores say their workers are excited to work on the holiday. But at Kmart, which will open the earliest starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, workers have reported being denied their requests to take the day off. Other workers may be volunteering to work because they get so few hours normally and need the extra money. Some may not have the vacation days to take the holiday, as the United States is the only advanced country that doesn’t guarantee all workers get paid vacation time.

But the stores that open early may not even see a benefit. They risk a big consumer backlash, with half of consumers saying they disapprove of the early hours. Two different polls have found that the vast majority don’t plan to shop on the holiday anyway. Shoppers and workers have also been petitioning stores to stay closed and give their employees a day off.

"This article was published by the Center for American Progress Action"

 By Adam Peck and Bryce Covert on November 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

3rd Annual Turkey Talk- Health Care Edition!

"Turkey Talk"

Turkey Talk 2013

The "Top 10 Scams" to Watch out For this Hanukkah, Christmas & Holiday Season in 2013!

 


The top scams in the 2013 Holiday Season -

Online threats are part-and-parcel of life on the Web -- but the end of the year proves to be a lucrative time to give cybercriminals the gift of your bank details or personal data.
As the holiday season comes in to full swing, more consumers use online banking and retail sites to complete their Christmas shopping. However, consumers are often duped by a number of tactics employed by criminals to profit from a lack of security awareness.
From fake charity campaigns to emailed shipping notifications, the ways that criminals attempt to steal your data are varied, creative and widespread. It's not easy to remain vigilant all of the time, but for some tips and advice on what to look out for, check out this gallery of the top ten scams this holiday season.

1. Mobile apps lacking Christmas cheer:

Due to the explosion in popularity for mobile devices, cybercriminals are now the creators of legitimate-looking apps that feature holiday shopping deals, celebrity endorsements and time-sensitive offers. However, these often-free applications, once downloaded to your smartphone or tablet, may steal or modify your data. Malicious apps may intercept your communication, steal your banking data, and may forward you to premium services. In addition, an app may bypass authentication systems by asking for a code to be sent to your mobile device.
How to stay safe: Review applications before downloading. In particular, check out its star rating, and what others have said about the software.

See also:

2. Holiday Mobile SMS Scams:

When you choose to download apps or files from the web, FakeInstaller tricks Android users into thinking the download process is legitimate -- and may send SMS messages from your mobile to premium rate numbers without your consent.
How to stay safe: Double check the legitimacy of files and apps you are downloading.

See also:
Image credit: CNET

 

3. The hottest gifts this season in scams:

As belts tighten, many of us look for holiday gift and travel deals online. However, malicious links to fake websites, phishing scams and phoney contests on social media can all be gateways for cybercriminals to gain access to your personal data or download malware on to your devices.
Not only this, but you run the risk of being hoodwinked into purchasing cheap products that you believe to be designer, only to find that amazing "deals" are for counterfeit products.
How to stay safe: Purchasing from official retailers lessens the risk of being duped, and try to verify low prices that look too good to be true.
See also:
 

4. Seasonal Travel Scams:

Emailed and social media travel deal links and notifications -- whether through shared content, competitions or paid-for advertising can all be used to trick users into submitting their personal data. In addition, if PCs become infected with spyware or malware when visiting a malicious site, scammers can install keyloggers or convince you to complete a fake purchase.
This isn't just it; while we all would love to brag we visited the Alps for $200, criminals that seize your money for a fake travel package is a common way that consumers can lose out.
How to stay safe: If something looks too good to be true, it probably is -- and you can save yourself heartache by following a few simple rules. If a website offer looks too good, then conduct a quick review on Google, such as "thiswebsite.com reviews" to find out if the service is legitimate, and don't forget to regularly perform anti-virus sweeps. This, in turn, can also help you find out if the firm -- while real -- is a poor choice to spend your hard-earned cash with.
If you accidentally click on phishing emails or conduct dubious online purchases, two-step verification purposes may help you if you accidentally give away your details -- rather than find your account cleaned out later.

5. E-Seasons Greetings? Not quite:

Merry Christmas, here's your malware. Postcards and snail mail seasons greetings are giving way to e-cards as a way to wish your friends and family a Merry Christmas -- and so naturally, malicious apps and software are in on the consumer trend. Legitimate looking e-cards may cause unsuspecting users to download viruses after clicking a link or attachment in an email.
How to stay safe: Check gift cards that you receive for suspicious misspellings in your name, the company's, or in the subject title. If you're concerned, it's best to simply click the delete button. One company you can trust is Jacquie Lawson E-cards as she gives one a way to get their card without clicking on a link, just follow the simple instructions.
Image credit: Blue Mountain
 

6. Malicious online games -- Be careful of the kids:

A common problem, many malicious apps pretend to be popular games on smartphones and tablets. From Angry Birds to Grand Theft Auto, malicious apps can be found within the Android and iOS ecosystem -- so if you hand over your device to amuse children, be aware of the games' sources. Malware, in-app purchases and social media pages embedded in the apps can all threaten your device's security -- and any accounts linked to it.
How to stay safe: Talk to your children about how to spot and avoid potential scams, and only allow them to download apps under your supervision -- where you can check the rating and comments left about an application. Buying and downloading games from reputable sources will also help.
See also:
Image credit: Angry Birds
 

7. Waiting for gifts to arrive? Don't be fooled:

Fake shipping notifications can pretend to give you updates on product deliveries, but in reality, can be scams that carry malware and software designed to infect your PC and devices. Some may ask you to click on links and input bank or address details.
How to stay safe: If it looks suspicious, contact your bank directly via phone, secure website, or in-person, and never input any bank-based details. In addition, checking the domain name on shipping emails is usually a sure-fire way to check legitimacy.
Image credit: Panda Security
 

8. Gift cards that are not always what they seem:

Gift cards are an easy option in the holiday season, but deceptive social media ads touting exclusive packages and deals can lead to fake purchases.
How to stay safe: Check the domain name and reputation of a seller before making any purchases.
Image credit: ThreatTrack Security Labs
 

9. Giving to charity, or a criminal's pocket?

Donating to charities is common this time of year, but cybercriminals capitalize on this -- and fake charity events and websites put donations straight into their pockets.
Emails and advertising campaigns may include the real charity's logo, details including the address, well-written pitches and links to donate online -- but don't be fooled.
How to stay safe: Do background research on the charity you’d like to donate to, and do not give out personal information if you have the slightest suspicion things are not what they seem. Be aware that these scams often surface in the wake of disaster -- such as the recent typhoon in the Philippines -- and don't give in to guilt-laden pleas, images of disaster, or "suggested donations." Even better, decide in advance which charities you want to give to and contact them directly, rather than risk a potentially fake donation on a whim.

10. Are you the one?

Romance scams are a constant threat to online users. Whether short or long term, users of dating sites are conned out of their hard-earned cash every day -- paying for an online person to deal with an emergency, or paying for them to visit. However, messages sent from a potential "love interest" can also include phishing scams, where the person accesses your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
How to stay safe: Log on to trustworthy dating sites, and no matter how nice the person seems to be, be extremely careful about giving out personal information -- and never give any money away.

See also: Essential apps for long-distance relationships

Image credit: Little Riot

Courtesy of ZDNet.

Monday, November 25, 2013

FACEBOOK REFUSES to Block this NutJob- Christian American Patriots Militia leader: We now have authority to shoot Obama | The Raw Story

Facebook continues to allow this guy and his group! 

Christian American Patriots Militia leader: We now have authority to shoot Obama! And FACEBOOK Leave the Nutjob and His group in place! They're afraid of RW Extremists!

By Travis Gettys
Monday, November 25, 2013 13:43 EST
Obama via AFP


An apparent threat made against President Barack Obama’s life posted on Facebook has caught the attention of the Secret Service.

Agents declined to comment on the post, which has been removed but was preserved in screen captures by Social News Daily, made Tuesday by Everest Wilhelmen, leader of the Christian American Patriots Militia.



“We now have authority to shoot Obama, i.e., to kill him,” Wilhelmsen posted on his Facebook page. “His willful violations and alienation of our Constitution, constant disregard for our peaceful protests and corruption of all the three branches of government, (i.e., rogue and illegitimate government), reveal the dictator that he is. Obama and his co-conspirators disrespect our Constitution (constitutional rule of law) and abuse the American people.”

The post was made the same day as a gathering of right-wing cranks, conspiracy theorists and gun advocates met at a park across from the White House demanding that Obama voluntarily leave office.
Wilhelmsen does not refer specifically to the Reclaim America Now rally, but he does circle the date as he attempts to constitutionally justify his apparent call for the president’s murder.

This is how Facebook handles complaints about hate-groups run by RWNJs---they do NOTHING! They are Cowards!


“The authority to kill Obama comes from the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution: He is levying war on the United States and aiding and comforting our foreign enemies – the 2nd Amendment gives us the right and duty (authority) to engage an enemy of the United States that does so with the design to reduce us under absolute Despotism. I would be very surprised, if Obama does not leave Washington DC today (Nov. 19th) … never to return, if he is not dead within the month,” Wilhelmsen posted.
Wilhelmsen is listed as the group administrator of the Christian American Patriots Militia’s Facebook page, which claims more than 1,400 members who operate as a “closed group” and cites a hodgepodge of Bible verses to justify armed rebellion against the U.S. government.

“God judges time morally and He will use whatever He sees fit to accomplish His ends,” the group says in its social media description. “So be prepared to wage war. And this is in fact why Obama has labelled Christians and other patriots as ‘terrorists,’ a lie to his army. Obama knows God may lead us to wage violent war in the defense of our Constitution.”

Wilhelmsen posts a variety of anti-Obama and anti-Muslim messages on his own Facebook page and Twitter account, including multiple links to a blog post that attempts to argue that military personnel are duty-bound by their oath to remove Obama from office as a criminal.

His social media accounts frequently compare to Obama to Hitler and warn against impending genocide, particularly against Christians and conservatives.

Two other apparent threats against Obama’s life drew the Secret Service’s attention in recent weeks.
A University of Connecticut student, 32-year-old Joshua Klimas, underwent psychiatric evaluation after agents said he admitted to sending threatening emails to the White House.

“If you do not resign by the end of the year I will kill you! You are a traitor and it is my duty under the United States Constitution to end your life for crimes against the American people,” one email read. “There will not be any more warnings only bullets flying in your direction from drones I built for the sole purpose of removing you from the office you stole from this country.”

An 81-year-old Wisconsin man, Elwyn Nels Fossedal, was ordered held last week by a magistrate after prosecutors said he told neighbors he would shoot and kill the president if he suddenly appeared in front of him at the post office.

Witnesses reported the incident, and Secret Service agents said Fossedal repeated the threat after they met with him to investigate.

If convicted of the threat, Fossedal could face up to five years in prison.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg, & Beastie Boys "Princess Machine" (a concert ...

Some of the 375 Bills Passed by Dem House, Blocked by Sen Filibuster, 111th Congress… If Only… | From: The PCTC* Blog

Some of the 375 Bills Passed by Dem House, Blocked by Sen Filibuster, 111th Congress… If Only...

Reposted From: The PCTC* Blog




By Request, I’m reposting this again, to remind everyone of just how much damage the GOP has done with their abuse of the filibuster, and to remind some progressives of the major bonehead moves they made in 2010.
                               ——————————————————
First posted on July 1, 2012:

In addition to the constant trashing of Obama’s actual record with lies and distortions, I’m also sick to death of claims that Democrats “had no spines” and couldn’t pass anything. Republicans held Congress from 1994-2006 and rigged the filibuster rules in 2005, under the threat of killing it altogether. They made it easier for a single senator to hold up a bill anonymously, and they effectively transformed the Senate into a body that requires 60 votes to pass that bill.

The SOLUTION to the problem in 2010 would have been to keep the House, and reduce the number of Republicans in the Senate. Instead, we had the Right Wing crying “Democrats can’t get anything done!” and the Left Wing crying, “Democrats can’t get anything done!” THAT is why Democrats lost so badly last year; instead of offering up an alternate viewpoint, we basically echoed theirs. That’s what drove turnout down, and gave the GOP one of the biggest wins in their history.

Read these and tell me Democrats weren’t trying really hard to make things better. Again; these are bills that were PASSED by the Democratic House, and BLOCKED by 40-41 solid votes in the Senate.  Compare these to the complete crap the current Republican-led House is producing, and then tell us again how there’s no difference between the two parties.

We really have to stop self-destructing. Democrats ARE much better than Republicans, the previous Democratic House, led by Nancy Pelosi, DID try like hell to make this country better.

Again; this is a partial list!

HR 12 – Paycheck Fairness Act – While the Lily Ledbetter Act was a good start, this bill would have mandated pay fairness and prohibited pay discrimination based on sex. In other words, while Lily’s Bill made it easier for women to sue, this would have created fair workplace system with regard to pay. In other words, Republicans voted in favor of paying women less money for the same job.

H.R. 20 — Melanie Blocker Stokes Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression Act – This bill would have provided for research into women’s health issues, specifically regarding postpartum health. That kind of reinforces the overall impression Republicans give, that they care a whole lot about the fetus, but couldn’t care less once the baby is born, and they don’t care about women at all.

H.R. 320 — CJ’s Home Protection Act – This bill would have provided for changes in building standards to require manufactured homes to come equipped with a weather alert radio and an alarm during certain weather conditions, like tornadoes. The bill allowed for possible exemptions based on geography on a limited basis, so it wouldn’t “force” anyone to install them where they weren’t needed. In case you think this type of thing is just silly, think again. NOAA weather radio was created in the wake of a “super outbreak” of tornadoes in April 1974. Within a 16-hour period, 148 tornadoes touched down, killing 330 people and injuring more than 5,000. Tornado warnings were being issued so fast, local radio and television stations couldn’t keep up. As most of us know by now, manufactured housing is more vulnerable during weather related events. Now, NOAA’s weather radio warning system covers 98% of the country, and the installation of what amounts to $20-50 worth of electronic equipment in manufactured homes could end up saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Basically, for the sake of political expediency, Republicans said no to saving lives during bad weather.
                     
H.R. 448 — Elder Abuse Victims Act – This bill would address legal issues regarding the elderly, and establish policies and procedures designed to minimize the negative effects of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Is there a segment of the population Republicans DO care about? They don’t care for women, they don’t care for the elderly, and their feigned care for fetuses ends at the birth canal. Perhaps they care about the troops…              

H.R. 466 – Wounded Veteran Job Security Act – This bill would actually provide job security for veterans who are receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered while fighting in defense of their country. It would prohibit employers from terminating employees who miss work while receiving treatment for a service-related disability. Guess that answers that question; they don’t care about the troops, either. This isn’t the only bill they have blocked having to do with the troops, either.

H.R. 515 – Radioactive Import Deterrence Act – This one has to make you scratch your head. Basically, this bill would prohibit the issuance of licenses to import of low-level nuclear material and waste to this country. It specifically exempts nuclear waste belonging to the United States, and it allows the president to make exceptions where necessary. Is this an industry Republicans are anxious to establish in this country? Do we really want to become a repository of the entire world’s nuclear waste? How safe would you feel if they opened a nuclear dump right next to the elementary school?

H.R. 549 — National Bombing Prevention Act – Yes, this bill would do exactly what you think it would do, and Republicans have blocked it. This is the language used by the CRS to describe the bill: “Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Protective Security Coordination Division of the Office of Infrastructure Protection an Office for Bombing Prevention to enhance and coordinate U.S. efforts to deter, detect, prevent, protect against, and respond to terrorist explosive attacks in the United States.” I don’t know about you, but taking whatever measures are necessary to prevent terrorist bombings would seem to me to be pretty important. Their blockage of this bill certainly indicates that they simply don’t really care about this country’s security. (By the way, they have also blocked H.R. 553 – Reducing Over-Classification Act, which is designed to make the Department of Homeland Security more efficient and responsive, which would save taxpayers a lot of money and make us safer over the long haul. Again; why do Republicans not want us to be safer? Next time someone suggests that Republicans want us to be attacked again, you simply have to think twice before dismissing the argument as paranoid delusion, don’t you?

H.R. 577 – Vision Care for Kids Act – Of course, this would provide eyesight screening for children who do not have insurance that covers this, and help provide them with glasses. Seriously, this is, at most, about $250-300 per year , at most, for the children with bad eyesight; how cheap are Republicans? And why do they pretend to care so passionately about the fetus, but have no regard for them once they’re born?

H.R. 626 – Federal  Employees Paid Parental Leave Act – This puts the lie to the concept that Republicans are all about the family. It also demonstrates just how much Republicans want to stick it to Democrats, because to stop this bill is completely irrational. This bill would allow federal employees to substitute any available paid leave for any unpaid leave for “either the: (1) birth of a child; or (2) placement of a child with the employee for either adoption or foster care. Makes available (subject to specified requirements) for any of the 12 weeks of leave an employee is entitled to for such purposes: (1) four administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or placement involved; and (2) any accumulated annual or sick leave.” In other words, folks, it allows federal money to take money they are already entitled to sooner than perhaps they originally planned. The actual net cost to the federal government would essentially be zero dollars above what they would already pay these employees. Does this sound like a political party that gives a damn about the average American or families? The answer, of course, is no.

H.R. 780 – Student Internet Safety Act –  For a political party that’s always railing about the disgusting content available to kids on the Internet, blocking this bill is especially hypocritical. This bill would provide money so that schools to teach children how to protect themselves against online predators, cyber bullying, or unwanted exposure to inappropriate material, as well as to promote parents’ involvement in their child’s Internet usage. Once again, Republicans demonstrate an unwillingness to protect our children. So far, they have denied kids basic vision care, denied their parents their right to take a proper parental leave without going broke, and now, they don’t care to protect them on the Internet.

H.R. 911 — Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act – This bill would actually improve oversight and prevent child abuse in group homes. Once again, they demonstrate their complete disregard for children once they’re out of the womb.

H.R. 985 — Free Flow of Information Act – This bill would provide for a federal shield law for journalists who actually do investigative journalism. So, here’s the question; are Republicans — who are always on about being “strict constructionists” — now against protecting the free press? As a shield law, it doesn’t even provide unqualified immunity, as federal judges could declare certain news stories as having a public interest based confidential sources. Perhaps they don’t care about this law, since it’s unlikely anyone from Fox News will ever come under it.

H.R. 1029 – Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act – Yes, another bill that does what its title says it will do, and Republicans blocked it. With all of their phony “tough talk” regarding immigration, this should come as a surprise to pretty much everyone, regardless of your level of racism. The intent of this bill is to crack down on alien smuggling and provide for better  border enforcement and stiffer penalties for violators. In other words, it does many of the things Jan Brewer is pissed off about in Arizona. So, what IS the Republican stance on immigration? They’re against going after employers who hire illegal immigrants, and apparently, they’re against stricter laws against those who smuggle people into this country. They’re apparently against anything that might actually work. If you’re in favor of immigration reform and you’re planning to vote Republican, think again.

H.R. 1110 – PHONE Act and H.R. 1258 – The Truth in Caller ID Act – These consumer protection bills would make it a crime for anyone to “spoof” their caller ID record when engaging in any sort of commercial transaction, or in any case in which the intent is to defraud the person on the other end of the line. Two common sense bills that prevent consumers from being ripped off, and Republicans have blocked both of them.

H.R. 1168 — Veterans Retraining Act – This bill would provide for assistance to help veterans who are currently unemployed with their expenses while retraining for the current job market. So, what do Republicans have against the unemployed, and why do they hate the troops?

H.R. 1171 – Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization – Once again, you have to wonder; what do Republicans have against those who have served our country? This bill would reauthorize programs in support of homeless veterans, to assist them with job training, counseling, and placement services through the Department of Veterans Affairs through 2014. Perhaps they think of “troops” the same way they think of “fetuses”; we should “honor” them while they’re fighting unnecessary wars, but forget them the minute they leave the service? They have also blocked H.R. 1172 — Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans which does nothing more than direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to include information about scholarships for veterans. Why do Republicans hate the troops once they come home?

H.R. 1262, Water Quality Investment Act – This bill would not only invest needed funds into improving water quality in areas where it’s needed, but it would also create jobs for those who work in that industry, so this is a double whammy. Apparently, Republicans don’t care if some folks have to drink contaminated water, and they certainly don’t want your tax money going to make your life better, do they?

H.R. 1293 — Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009 – Here’sanother bill in support of those who have fought for their country, passed by House Democrats and blocked from becoming law by Republicans. Clearly, Republicans hate the troops, because there is no other reason to be against this bill. This would increase the amount paid by the VA to disabled veterans for necessary home structural improvements from $4,100 to $6,800 for those who are more than 50% disabled, and from  $1,200 to $2,000 who are less than 50%, disabled. This means, if a veteran lost the use of his legs in service of his country, the country will pay for the wheelchair ramp so that he can live at home. Yet, Republicans, who have been admonishing everyone to love the troops without question, are denying them the ability to do so. By the way, the last time this ceiling was lifted was in 1992. If Republican presidents are going to start unnecessary wars, is it too much to ask to support those who actually put their bodies on the line? There isn’t even a fiscal reason for being against this bill, as the total cost of this bill, according to CBO estimates, would be a “whopping” $20 million. That’s about a quarter (25 cents) per family of four.

H.R. 1319 – Informed P2P User Act – This is an interesting bill for a couple of reasons. First of all, the bill itself is yet another consumer protection measure, designed to protect Internet users from malware that comes from installation of any peer-to-peer program. Frankly, this bill isn’t as crucial as many of the others shown here, in that it doesn’t directly adversely affect the lives of ordinary people. But it does demonstrate that Republicans are filibustering pretty much anything the House throws to them, because this bill was originally written and sponsored by Mary Bono Mack, a Republican.

H.R. 1380 — Josh Miller HEARTS Act – This is another one that should make one wonder, just what are these people for? This bill would provide matching grants to assist local school districts in purchasing defibrillators to have on hand to save lives, should a student, teacher, staffer or visitor have a heart attack. The school district would have to apply, and provide at least 25% of the cost. Why would anyone block something like this? It makes money for the manufacturers of the defibrillators, it creates a few jobs, and in the end, it saves lives. As someone who once watched a kid fall over and die during a PF class when I was in high school, I can tell you, this is a very real issue. And Republicans are playing politics with it.

H.R. 1429, Stop AIDS in Prison Act – Who in their right mind would be against this? This bill would provide testing of all prisoners during intake, provide for annual testing of inmates, testing of pregnant inmates, and provide for AIDS education for inmates. It would also direct prisons to develop policies for dealing with HIV. See, here’s the problem that Republicans never seem able to grasp when it comes to anything to do with crime and prisons; the vast majority of prisoners will one day be released. This should be a no-brainer; we have custody of these people, let’s do our best to make sure they’re less of a danger to everyone else when they get out.

H.R. 1469 – Child Protection Improvements Act – The Republicans once again demonstrate how little they care about children once they’re out of the womb. This is a no-brainer bill designed to enhance and streamline the processes for doing background checks, including identifying criminal histories for those people who are looking for jobs that put them in close proximity to children. In what universe is this not an important bill? Republicans are actually preventing us from putting in place better protections for our children, and to keep pedophiles and child molesters far away from them.

H.R. 1511 – Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act – This bill designates appropriations for fiscal years 2010-2011 to assist domestic treatment centers for torture victims, including training of health care providers. Once again, what do Republicans have against helping those who need it.? This is about making sure people who come here as torture victims have a shot at the American Dream, just like the rest of us. That’s the problem with these Republicans; they talk a great game when it comes to claims of providing opportunity, but they simply do not want to do what is necessary to make it happen.

H.R. 1514 – Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program Reauthorization Act – This bill does exactly what it says. It provides block grants to states to help them pay for juvenile justice. Those Republicans – tough on crime, but not so tough on criminals.

H.R. 1580 – Electronic Waste Research and Development Act – This bill would actually create research programs and grants to develop ways to make electronics more recyclable, to make them from materials that are more environmentally friendly and to create a better system of disposal of electronic equipment. In other words, folks, Republicans are blocking a bill that would make the creation and disposal of electronics, like cell phones, iPods and laptops more environmentally friendly, so that our children might not grow up to a poisonous planet. And lest you think they were simply trying to be “fiscally responsible,” the total cost of this bill would be $84 million (that’s an “m,” not a “b”) over 5 years. It’ll cost your family of four another quarter a year; think you can handle it?

H.R. 1585 — FIT Kids Act – This would develop programs targeted to making our kids healthy, by teaching them healthy eating habits, monitor physical education programs and providing local school systems with grants to help them improve children’s health-related programs. Once again; what do Republicans have against children who are born?

H.R. 1617 – Department of Homeland Security Component Privacy Officer Act – So, this bill would change little to nothing about the Department of Homeland Security, except to create Privacy Officer positions in several areas of the Department, whose duty would be to protect the balance between our need for national security and our right to privacy. In other words, someone would provide oversight to make sure that someone in the government didn’t decide that, say, tapping everyone’s phone and violating their right to privacy was absolutely necessary to keep everyone safe. Do they get that, when we allow our rights to be compromised in order to fight terrorism, the terrorists win. Republicans seem to want the terrorists to win.

H.R. 1622 – Research and Development Programs for Natural Gas Vehicles – This is one that has to make you shake your head, you know? This bill would make yet another alternative fuel more viable, and save us some money, so Republicans have to be against it. It won’t cost a lot of money; about $25 million a year over 6 years. There’s another quarter a year to your family of four, so that we can use our domestic supply of natural gas to wean ourselves from that “foreign oil” Republicans have been whining about for years. Of course, we all know their whines have been a joke, haven’t we?

H.R. 1675 – Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 – This bill would strengthen programs that allow the poorest people in society, with serious long-term disabilities to live independently by providing affordable rental housing, as well as adequate voluntary services and support. Currently, there is a chronic shortage of such housing in many areas, and this legislation would create more. In other words, it would create more opportunities for the disabled to be more self-sufficient, which is something Republicans have always claimed they were in favor of.

H.R. 1709 – STEM Education Coordination Act – The acronym STEM refers to Science-Technology-Engineering-Math, and this bill would create a committee under the National Sciences and Technology Council, to create and coordinate education programs and activities designed to enhance those areas of study, and make the United States competitive again. Imagine a country in which we were training our own scientists and engineers, instead of training scientists and engineers for other countries, so that they can kick our asses on the world economic stage? Dare we dream? This type of program is small in scope, but it’s a very good investment, because we need people who are versed in science and math, in order to compete in the world economy. This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, since Republicans have largely been anti-science for at least a decade. Oh – and once more, for those who think there’s a “fiscally responsible” purpose behind blocking this, this measure would cost $2 million per year – or about 2 cents per year for your family of four. They are also blocking H.R. 1736 – The International  Science and Technology Cooperation Act, which would establish a committee under the NSTC that would coordinate with international science and technology efforts, with a goal of strengthening “US science and technology enterprise, improve economic and national security, and support US foreign policy goals.” If you need any more proof that Republicans hate science and fear the future, there you go.

H.R. 1722 –Telework Improvements Act – This is another bill that just makes sense, if you have ever experienced traffic in DC. The highways are jammed, the Metro is packed like sardines, and if you want to park at an outlying Metro lot and take the subway into town, you’d better get there about 5 AM, or there will be no parking available. And it all happens between about 7-9 AM and about 5-7 PM. This bill would create a framework whereby government employees could telecommute about 20% of the time during each two-week period, without adversely affecting their productivity. And in this case, government could lead by example; most of us could do a large portion of our jobs at home right now; imagine if you only had to go into the office 2-3 days per week instead of five. Better yet, imagine you’re a business and you could stagger your employees in-office days so that you needed fewer offices? And with 20% less traffic on the road some days… Republicans are against progress, folks; remember that.

H.R. 1727 — Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act – Here is another bill from Republican Mary Bono Mack, which would create a national database of known convicted arsonists and bombers, that police agencies from all over the country could access, and possibly prevent major tragedies from occurring. This is another measure that just seems to make sense. If a known arsonist is in town, police should know it. Yet, Senate Republicans sit on it and prevent it from becoming law. So, when did the Republican Party become “soft on crime”?

H.R. 1741 — Witness Security and Protection Grant Program Act – In yet another example of how soft Republicans really are on crime, this bill would serve to strengthen protections for witnesses for homicides and serious felonies, such as rape. Essentially, it would provide block grants to states and local law enforcement agencies to help them get up to speed regarding best practices to prevent witness intimidation or tampering.  This is yet another bill that costs a whopping $20 million per year, so they can’t even hang the “fiscal responsibility” tag on it. Put simply, Democrats want to spend a quarter per year per family of four to increase the likelihood that murderers and rapists get put away in prison, and Republicans are working against that.

H.R. 1796 – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act – This bill would establish mandatory consumer product safety standards for carbon monoxide detectors, provide grants to states to provide CO detectors for homes with low-income families, as well as buildings housing the elderly or children, and to create a public outreach program to educate people on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Given that carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that causes brain damage and death,  and given that CO results in nearly 15,000 emergency room visits and nearly 500 deaths every year, this bill would save lives and health care dollars every year. The total cost of this program is about $13 million over five years, or which means it would cost a family of four less than a nickel per year. Compare that to the cost of a typical emergency room visit, or losing a close friend or relative from something so preventable. .

H.R. 1803 — Veterans Business  Center Act – Here’s another head scratcher, to be sure. What would you say to a bill that helps veterans start their own business? It’s about perfect, right? If you don’t think so, I have two words for you; GI Bill. This bill would set up a Veterans Business Center program within the Small Business Administration, which would specialize in such programs as grants for service-disabled veterans, help them develop business plans and secure business opportunities. In other words, folks, it would create jobs and offer opportunities those who have fought in defense of our country. And the Republicans are working against it. You have to wonder; do they hate the troops more, or the unemployed?

That’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to Democrats helping small businesses, and Republicans blocking them. About the time they were passing the very effective stimulus plan, Democrats in the House were passing a huge number of measures designed to help folks start or maintain small businesses. Check out all of these, and remind your small business owning friends that DEMOCRATS passed these bills, and REPUBLICANS are blocking votes on them.

In addition to the measure above, there was also H.R. 1807 – Educating Entrepreneurs through Today’s Technology Act – This bill would direct the Small Business Administration to contract with tech vendors to provide assistance to small businesses to get them up to speed with regard to technology. Essentially, it would help small businesses become stronger by providing free or inexpensive technical assistance to help them compete in the current economy. Republicans working against small businesses; imagine that…

Republicans are also blocking H.R. 1834 – Native  American Business Development Enhancement Act, which would create an Office of Native American Affairs within the SBA, which would assist Native Americans in starting small businesses. As a point of reference, unemployment on some Indian reservations is currently running twice the rate as elsewhere.

Republicans are also blocking H.R. 1838 – Amending Small Business Act to modify certain provisions regarding women’s business centers, which would, as it reads, make the SBA more responsive to small businesses that apply for loans and grants at women’s business centers. They are blocking H.R. 1839 – To amend the Small Business Act to improve SCORE, which is the Service Corps of Retired Executives, which provides expertise to small businesses, to make them less likely to fail, and more likely to grow and create jobs. H.R. 1842 – Expanding Entrepreneurship Act is also being held hostage by Senate Republicans. This bill would create and expand small business entrepreneurial development programs, with the specific goal of using them as a catalyst for job creation. And they are blocking H.R. 1845 — Small Business Development Centers Modernization Act, which would give a boost to SBDCs, providing business assistance that is often relied upon by small business owners to expand revenues and create jobs.

Seriously, folks; how many small businesses are hurting right now, and how many of them know that help would be on the way, if not for their Republican buddies holding it up?  Once again, folks; ALL of the above bills were pushed through by DEMOCRATS in the House, and BLOCKED by REPUBLICANS in the Senate. I know I’m writing this a lot, but  sometimes you have to repeat it to make it stick.

H.R. 1824 — Best  Buddies Empowerment for People with Intellectual Disabilities Act – I’m including this one because it’s flat out mean. This bill would increase grant funding for a well-established non-profit called Best Buddies International, an organization with chapters in high schools and college campuses all over the country, that pairs volunteers with intellectually disabled individuals, to increase their ability to function independently. The more intellectually disabled individuals can take care of themselves, and pay their own way in life, the better for all of us, in a variety of ways. In other words, it’s an investment; in the long run, creating more taxpayers means the rest of us pay less. Yet, Republicans are against this.

H.R. 1875 — End the Trade Deficit Act – This bill would establish the Emergency Trade Deficit Commission, which would look at what is causing the enormous trade deficit that is turning our economy to dust, and to consider ways to address it and fix it. Why would Republicans be against fixing the trade deficit? They’re always whining about the federal budget deficit (at least when they’re not in charge); do they not realize that the trade deficit is probably the number one cause of the budget deficit? Buy American, right?

H.R. 1879 — National Guard Employment Protection Act – This bill would grant greater employment and reemployment rights to individuals ordered to full-time National Guard duty by the Department of Defense. Currently, these rights are limited to the first five years only, and as we all now know, sometimes Republican presidents start wars and order National Guard troops to serve beyond their contract. Guess Republican Senators are more keen on protecting such presidents than the actual troops.

H.R. 1933 – A Child Is Missing Alert and Recovery Center Act – This bill would provide coordination and guidance for law enforcement agencies, and pool their resources in order to find missing children more quickly. Once again; if  this was for missing fetuses, one would have to think Republicans would be all over it. But it’s children, and they clearly do not care about them.

H.R. 2020 — Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2009 (I suppose it would have to be “of 2011” by now, huh?)– Why does it feel as if Republicans absolutely fear science and technology? This bill would make sure this country keeps up with the rest of the world when it comes to computers and information technology. That’s all. It provides for extensive coordination of research and development in areas having “the potential for significant contributions to national economic competitiveness and for other societal benefits.” I hate to break it to you folks, but other nations are way ahead of us in many technological areas, and we can’t even figure out what to do about the concept of net neutrality. Think our cell phones are nifty? Go to Japan or Finland. If you think we’re way ahead on web development, it’s because you can only speak English. For eight years, our government sat back and tried to push us back into the dark ages. We either catch up to the rest of the world, or we falter, and fall even farther down the economic ladder. And Republicans are blocking that progress.

H.R. 2093 – Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act – This bill would strengthen the Clean Water Act by directing the EPA to develop better standards for monitoring and assessment of coastal waterways. It would provide for better source identification and tracking of pollution sources, and it would increase testing for pathogens. In other words, it would take better care to insure that our beaches and recreational areas are safe for our kids to play in. It would also create a “rapid-testing” method to test for contamination in the case of spills. This bill doesn’t have a lot to do with the BP oil spill, but in the wake of that disaster, one would think that monitoring the health and safety of our waterways would be a little more important. But Republicans don’t care if you and your family are healthy, do they? By the cost of this program? A whopping $40 million, or 50 cents for every family of four in the country.

H.R. 2134, — Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act – This bill would create a Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission, which  would  evaluate our policies regarding illegal drug supply reduction and interdiction. The commission would emphasize international drug policies and programs directed at countries in the Western Hemisphere. They would essentially report on the condition of the “drug war,” and tell us what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs serious improvement. When it’s finished with its report, the commission goes away within 60 days, so it’s not like it creates another layer to the bureaucracy. The drug war is failing, and failing badly. Apparently, Republicans just don’t care about that, either.

H.R. 2142 – Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act – Yeah, I know; with all of the bitching they’re always doing about how bad government is, and how incompetent government is, one would think they’d be ecstatic to see a bill designed to make the government more efficient, increase its effectiveness and monitor and improve its performance. The purpose of this bill is to direct agencies to develop long-term strategies and goals, and to come up with plans to meet performance objectives. And every bit of information would be readily available on the Internet and elsewhere, for every citizen to look at and evaluate for themselves. In other words, this bill would make the government more responsive and accountable to everyone. But Republicans are against it. And lest you think they’re against it because they’re worried about the deficit, the total cost of implementing these programs at 17 different agencies would be a total of $150 million over five years, or about 35 cents per year per family of four, according to the CBO.

H.R. 2187 – 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act – The next time a Republican or Independent voter tells you the GOP got a bad rap for their non-response to Katrina, show them their blockage of this bill. The purpose of this bill is twofold; it would create a program of grants to renovate schools to make them more energy-efficient, and to save taxpayers money. The jobs created would help to alleviate economic problems in a number of hard-hit geographical areas. Which brings up the second part of this bill, which would provide a little extra help in rebuilding and modernizing schools in the Gulf Coast region, which is still reeling from the effects of Katrina. (The Democratic House passage of this bill pre-dates the BP oil spill.) Such a bill would create thousands of jobs and make substantial infrastructure improvements to educational institutions all over the country, and will result in significant cost savings over the long haul. But Republicans won’t let it happen.

H.R. 2200 – Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act – So how tough are Republicans on terrorism, really? This bill would not only fully fund the TSA, but it would implement a program to screen baggage for explosives, as well as a program to verify the identity and status of law enforcement officers who fly armed. And Republicans are blocking it.

H.R. 2221 – Data Accountability and Trust Act – This bill would actually create a regulatory structure that would require any business using personal information to establish security policies and procedures to protect that data. It would require information brokers and others to submit those policies and procedures to the FTC for approval, and it would prohibit such businesses from obtaining or disclosing, or soliciting to obtain, personal information by false pretenses. In other words, another step to make sure that e-commerce is safe, which would protect consumers and businesses in every transaction, and create a level playing field for everyone. But Republicans are blocking it.

H.R. 2352 – Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act – This bill essentially combines a number of other bills that Republicans had blocked in the Senate previously, and adds a few elements. The bill would again establish a Veterans Business Center Program; it would encourage and enhance Native American entrepreneurship; it would strengthen the Women’s Business Center Program (the bill’s description uses the term “broadening,” which seems unfortunate); it would improve the SCORE programs; it would recommend major enhancements to the SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs; it would  modernize and expand the Small Business Development Center Program; it would improve technology to create better distance learning and other educational programs for budding entrepreneurs; it would create a Microenterprise Training Center Program, to encourage and train low-income and unemployed folks to enter the market with a small business; it would establish a Military Entrepreneurs Program; and it would establish a Rural Entrepreneurship Advisory Council. In other words, this bill would encourage just about anyone with an idea to start a small business and hire people, and give them the knowledge they need to do so successfully. If small business is the backbone of the American economy, then why do Republicans object to strengthening the backbone?

H.R. 2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – This bill sets up a regulatory framework that would greatly improve our energy situation, which is probably our greatest national security concern for the future – or it should be, anyway. It would improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enable the overall transition to a clean energy economy, including provisions for agriculture and forestry related offsets. The provisions include: (1) creating a combined energy efficiency and renewable electricity standard and requiring retail electricity suppliers to meet 20% of their demand through renewable electricity and electricity savings by 2020; (2) setting a goal of, and requiring a strategic plan for, improving overall U.S. energy productivity by at least 2.5% per year by 2012 and maintaining that improvement rate through 2030; and (3) establishing a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and setting goals for reducing such emissions from covered sources by 83% of 2005 levels by 2050. Oh, now I get it – it’s that damn “cap-and-tax” that gets them! Does anyone actually care about the future of this country? The beauty of cap-and-trade is that the tax would constantly go down over time, as people use less and less energy. If only all taxes worked that way, huh?

H.R. 2510 – Absentee Ballot Track, Receive and Confirm Act – This bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to reimburse states for costs incurred in establishing an absentee ballot tracking program for federal elections. Couple that with H.R. 2499 – Puerto Rico Democracy Act, which would allow Puerto Ricans to hold a plebiscite to either confirm their current status as a commonwealth or approve a change in political status, as well as to hold another plebiscite every eight years after that, and you can see that Republicans aren’t big on democracy. Oh, wait; these are all bills they won’t allow to be voted on; I guess that’s apparent, huh?

H.R. 2529 – Neighborhood Preservation Act – This act would authorize any bank to offer a lease/purchase agreement  for up to five years to anyone for any property it came into ownership of through foreclosure. This exception to the law would only be allowed for two years, while the current housing mess shakes itself out. Such a move would do a couple of things; it would keep homes occupied, and mitigate the negative effect on home values of having too many empty homes in a neighborhood, and it would create home purchase opportunities that would otherwise not be available. This type of program would do wonders for stabilizing home values, which is key to fixing the housing market once and for all. And your Republican Party won’t even allow a vote on it. Look at the empty homes in your neighborhoods, and put the blame where it belongs; Vote Democratic.

H.R. 2554 – National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act – Remember that economic meltdown we had a few years back? I know you do. Well, apparently, Republicans would like you to forget about it. This bill would reinstate a key component of Glass-Steagall that was removed when Republicans rammed through Gramm-Leach-Bliley and made it possible for pretty much anyone in the world to call himself a “broker,” and sell any “financial instrument” he or she wanted to sell, without oversight. This bill would reestablish the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) as a nonprofit corporation to oversee licensing and insurance producer qualification requirements and conditions, although states would retain authority with regard to licensing, supervision, disciplining, and setting of fees, as well as insurance-related consumer protection and unfair trade practices. It also requires anyone applying for a license to undergo a thorough criminal background check, and all members will be required to continue their education as they work. It restores sanity to the insurance and financial services industry, and Republicans are blocking it.

H.R. 2611 – Authorizing the Securing the Cities Initiative of the Department of Homeland Security – Exactly what it says. You know, if Republicans really don’t want another terrorist attack, they sure have a funny way of showing it…
H.R. 2664 – Promoting Transparency in Financial Reporting Act – Again, Republicans would like us to forget the financial meltdown, which was largely the result of massive investment in a number of “financial instruments” that even experts had a difficult time understanding. This bill would work to create standards whereby disclosures for bonds and other instruments have to at least make sense and are written in “plain English.” The bill also includes a reassessment of outdated or arcane accounting standards in favor of principles-based accounting standards (you know, in which $2 + $2 = $4, instead of $6, including sleight of hand) in which everyone up and down the line deals with real, not hypothetical money, and encouraging the use of interactive data. The reason Republicans are against this is because they don’t believe in real investment with real money. Think about it; Every period in which they’ve bragged about the “booming” economy has featured phony money – money that doesn’t actually exist, but which they can put onto paper, as if it was actually real.

H.R. 2693 – Oil Pollution Research and Development Program Reauthorization Act – Once again, this bill was introduced and passed by the Democrats in Congress BEFORE BP’s deep water rig blew up and ruined a large swath of the Gulf of Mexico. But even nearly six months after that, this bill sits and waits to be voted on in the Senate. It would authorize a “comprehensive federal oil spill research program, complete a research assessment on the status of oil spill prevention and response capabilities, and develop a federal oil spill research plan. Directs the Committee to: (1) establish a program for conducting oil pollution research, development, and demonstration; (2) submit to Congress an assessment of the status of oil spill prevention and response capabilities; and (3) establish the priorities for federal oil spill research and development.” Gosh, I can’t think of any reason why we’d need something like that, can you?

H.R. 2749 — Food Safety Enhancement Act – Among other things, this bill would require that all food processing plants not already under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture be registered with the department, and any plant that produces contaminated food loses its registration. In other words, it would make our food supply safer. And Republicans are against it.

H.R. 2868 – Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009, Drinking Water System 
Security Act of 2009 and Wastewater Treatment Works Security Act of 2009 – This bill would  enhance security at chemical plants, wastewater treatment plants and drinking water facilities, to guard against terrorism. What do Republicans have against national security? I mean, one might get a sense that they actually want an attack while Democrats are in charge.

___________________________________________

This is a great resource that few will use, but should.

Gadget

This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.

LEAP