Friday, May 31, 2013

Martha Coakley, MA AG, brings Federal Suit to Halt Catch Limits Decimating Mass. Fishing Industry

There are eleven nations that fish off the U.S.coastal waters, where US fishermen once could do the same - before Fish Catch - image of US Coast Guard Intercepting Foreign Fishing Vessel - article from Marine Science Today

Massachusetts State Attorney General, Martha Coakley, hasfiled a lawsuit against the Federal agency, NOAA, to stop the catch limits affecting the fishing industry in Massachusetts.

Catch Limits on fishing imposed in 2009, under the Obama Administration, have led to higher costs for consumers as the concept of supply and demand has driven prices of fresh fish up over the ensuing years, especially in states where fishing is a major industry.(WGME) In addition, the Federal Government has prepared ways to offer assistance to fishermen, as a result of the disaster caused by catch limits( Meanwhile, foreign fishing fleets are under no obligation to follow NOAA laws, and have been fishing unfettered offshore on all coasts with impunity.

New Bedford Fishermen protest against fish catch regulations - image Boston Globe

Therefore, the entire science behind the fish catch limits, is, in a word utter nonsense – most grocers now sell “sustainable, farm-raised fish”, which held the inland corporate fishing industry, however, does nothing for those self-employed fishermen who have enjoyed the waters off the Bay State since the Pilgrims landed. Higher costs for the regular folk, disastrous for the local fishing industry, and wholly ridiculous, as foreign fleets fish offshore, and are not subject to any “catch limits”.

Go Martha.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cosmetic Safety in the U.S. House HR 1385 – How to Take A Fantastic Idea and Muck it Up with Business Taxes, Registration and Over-Regulation.

What's in your lipstick? That can be troubling, a bill to insure consumer safety, goes too far, and stands no chance of passage - photograph by

Every woman in this country would be better served if the cosmetics used by herself and her family were essentially safe. The products one considers cosmetic range from diaper creams to men’s hair dye, to lipstick and cologne – all of which may contain substances that are carcinogenic, or offer a host of other toxic problems. Simply put, there is little in the way to protect the consumer, other than reading the label, should one exist. Most high end cosmetic companies do list ingredients in their products, including all products mentioned in the newly revamped HR1385 (read bill here), which has apparently reduced fees and regulations on smaller businesses, but, falls short in over-the top regulation that will end up costing consumers more in the long run.

The outlook by the American Sustainable Business Counsel suggests:

The sadly outdated U.S. law on cosmetic safety went virtually unchallenged until 2011, when the Safe Cosmetics Act was introduced in Congress. This bill would have given the FDA the authority and resources it needs to oversee the cosmetics industry, helping ensure that personal care products are free of ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive, neurological or developmental harm. It also would ensure that all ingredients are fully disclosed on product labels and on company websites, so that consumers can make informed decisions about their cosmetics purchases. Unfortunately, it died in committee.

But on March 21, 2013, the Safe Cosmetics Act (H.R. 1385) was reintroduced by Rep. Janice Schakowky [IL-9]. The bill has 15 co-sponsors and is currently seeking the consideration of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This bill introduces new measures that would bring the cosmetics industry into the 21st Century, which would benefit consumers, workers, and businesses.

The original 2011 bill was criticized by small businesses for its registration, fee and reporting requirements. The updated 2013 bill exempts businesses with annual sales receipts under $10 million from fees, and exempts businesses with annual sales receipts under $2 million from registration. This means that the updated bill promotes consumer safety while also enabling innovation by small and young companies.

Although the increased use of potentially toxic chemicals is generally seen as negative, one positive outcome is consumers’ increasing concern about exposure to chemicals. As a result, the market for natural and organic cosmetic and personal care products has grown steadily in recent years. As consumers increasingly seek safer products for themselves and their families, a growing number of companies are working to meet this demand – both because they want to do the right thing, and because they know they can make greater profits in the long run.

But these cosmetics manufacturers need objective, up-to-date scientific information to guide a marketplace where businesses throughout their supply chain, and ultimately consumers, can trust that the ingredients in their products are safe. Lack of full disclosure on the part of ingredients suppliers has lead to bad press, damage to company reputations, and costly recalls and reformulations for companies like Johnson & Johnson and Method, which inadvertently sold products containing toxic contaminants that were byproducts of the ingredients manufacturers’ production processes. The Safe Cosmetics Act will reduce costs to companies by eliminating the inadvertent use of such harmful ingredients in their products.

The Safe Cosmetics Act will give the FDA the authority and resources it needs to help ensure that personal care products are free of ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, and to ensure that ingredients are fully disclosed on product labels and company websites. This will deliver benefits to consumers and businesses alike. It will boost confidence in the cosmetics industry by allowing consumers to make fully informed decisions about the products they buy. It will level the playing field for companies that are already dedicated to manufacturing safe cosmetics. It will make U.S.-manufactured cosmetics competitive in the global market, create new opportunities for innovation in safer alternatives to ingredients deemed to be detrimental to human health and reduce companies’ exposure to liability arising from the inadvertent use of harmful ingredients in their products.

One might think that to simplify and protect consumers at the same time, it would behoove the Congress to rewrite, once again, this great idea of a Bill, to allow for oversight of the industry, by simply stating chemicals must be labled on all products – and those that the consumer might finds objectionable – carry a warning – similar to those found on say – ciggareetts. No need for fees, or needing government permission to produce a product. The bill extends to Salons, the Salon employees (who should, as graduates of a rigid scientific program of study – one must know what is in those solutions – and they must carry licesnes to boot) is rediuclous, given the fact that those employees should be aware of what is in the product in the fisrst place.

Rewrite the Bill and take it back to the floor where itwould stand better than a zero chance of passing. Take out the fees, and the incrfesae in need for more bureaucracy. As the beauty industry itself has grown more “organic “in recent years, one finds that companies such as Tarte, Wen, Hourglass, Josie Marin, to name only a few, produce exemplary products, which are labeled and include their ingredients. Therefore, as the industry evolves, with more companies turning to natural products, (including Vegan), one might think this bill is more show than pony. Perhaps fewer lawyers involved, and the addition of a business executive and a doctor (surely there must be one of two of those in the House that could be invited to sit in on this Bill.) would perfect it to the point where something might get passed.

That said, it would be lovely to know that the product one is using for body, hair or baby’s butt is safe from toxins – therefore, labeling would be beneficial, and that is all that is required. If the substances are so toxic as to be considered unsafe for Hazmat – then they should be banned for use near any human and/or animal.

One would like to think the aforementioned would be the work Congress is doing, yet…the effort should be applauded in part, and suggestions sent to one’s local Congressman or Woman to fix it so that a) it doesn’t’ cost consumers an arm and a leg, and b)it keeps men, women and children safer.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Child-Youth Homelessness – Huge Increase in Children and Young Adults Seeking Shelter, Chicago and Across the Nation. What Can We, as a Nation, Do to Help?

The Chicago Tribune reports that calls to a youth homeless hotline are suggesting that youth homelessness is on the rise in Illinois – with some young adults sleeping in the streets, as very few shelters are currently available. The suggestion of root causes are:

Family issues, sharpened by continued economic stressors, are a major factor, too, they said. The No. 1 issue cited in calls to the runaway hotline is "family dynamics" at 29 percent.

Hamann said he's seen an increase in the number of youth coming from intact families at the youth programs The Night Ministry runs, including The Crib.

"In the past, we mostly dealt with runaways, throwaways or lockouts," Hamann said. "But when the recession hit, we started to see youths from intact (homes), with foreclosures. Some family shelters don't take adolescents, and they had to make the conscious decision to split up."

However, homelessness among our nations children has been increasing for some time – The National Law Center reported in June of 2012, that: “public schools reported more than one million homeless children and youth, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education.

The 1,065,794 homeless students enrolled by U.S. preschools and K-12 schools in the 2010-2011 school year is the highest number on record, and a 13 percent increase over the 2009-2010 school year. This total underestimates the number of homeless children, because it does not include homeless infants and toddlers, young children who are not enrolled in public preschool programs, and homeless children and youth who were not identified by school officials.

Forty-four states reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with 15 states reporting increases of 20 percent or more. States with the largest increases in the numbers of homeless students include Kentucky (47 percent), Michigan (38 percent), Mississippi (35 percent), Utah (47 percent), and West Virginia (38 percent). The number of homeless children enrolled in public schools has increased 57 percent since the beginning of the recession (2006-2007 school year).”

The fact that we, as a nation, have children in the streets, speaks first to the breakdown of the family, secondly the quality of education – yes, the recession does play a role in this blight on our national treasure, but primarily the breakdown of the family unit, as a whole, appears to be the root cause.

During the 1890’s through Great Depression of the of the 1930’s there were homeless children, however, charities rose to the occasion, and attempted to help(Boston’s Wayward Children). The family unit tended to stay together, rather than break apart and leave children to fend for themselves. As society has evolved the prevalence of divorce and or children born out of wedlock find adolescents that are caught in between two biological parents, both of whom have remarried, with new families, living on the street – abandoned. This is not an affect of poverty as this crosses socio-economic lines – from lower to upper middle classes. There are those families that stay together, living in circumstances that can only be described as horrifying – those who suffer from mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism, and have, either as a result of, or in general, lost employment and housing, find themselves and their families living wherever the law will allow – One might look towards local food pantries and shelters, but those services are stretched thin, especially in this eight plus years of economic malaise.

Those who find themselves in the street, living from hand to mouth become victims of, child slavery, or child prostitutes. They are far too young to have the ability to find work, and if they were old enough the lack of education and skills would not allow for meaningful employment to sustain adequate living conditions –if there were jobs available.

Government programs apparently have done little to stave off this problem, and those youth 19-21 years of age who are added to this dynamic (see Chicago Tribune) should, for all intents and purposes not be in the situations they find themselves. From a personal perspective, living as an emancipated minor in the early 1970’s, finding employment and continuing an education was a primary factor in survival. Finding adequate living arrangement (roommates), and support from church, friends and family members made the transition from desperation to independence an easier road.

There are services that are available, especially New York’s Covenant House, which is a shelter that offers a myriad of services to homeless youth, including pastoral care, education and job training.

Covenant House highlights the causes of Teen Homelessness – to learn more about the issues and ways in which one might be able to lend a hand: visit:

Children are the nation’s national treasure, they should be the parent’s personal treasure, to hold and keep safe until such time as they are able to survive on their own. Sadly, more and more, this is not the case. It is unfathomable that over a million children do not have a home today – it is unconceivable. Making a donation to a local food pantry, either in cash and/or in goods, including food, clothing lends a helping hand, and may ensure a family with children stays together.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sheryl Attkisson – Doing One’s Job - the Right Way – Might Mean being ostracized by One's Peers - or Worse

When the Obama Administration had targeted AP and Fox News Reporter, James Rosen, for essentially working with sources, they criminalized journalism – using the 1917 Espionage Act, according to Michael Barone at the National Review.

The search warrant in the Rosen case cites Section 793(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. Section 793(d) says that a person lawfully in possession of information that the government has classified as secret who turns it over to someone not lawfully entitled to posses it has committed a crime. That might cover Rosen’s source.

Section 793(g) is a conspiracy count that says that anyone who conspires to help the source do that has committed the same crime. That would be the reporter.

It sounds as though this law criminalizes a lot of journalism. You might wonder how such a law ever got passed and why, for the last 90 years, it has very seldom produced prosecutions and investigations of journalists.

What of Freedom of the Press – apparently it depends on the administration and how it chooses to deal with a press corp that might appear hostile to its policies. Understanding that the manner, in which the public had perceived journalist in the past, was in line with Superman – those individuals who would go to any length to upend corruption in high and low places. That had changed over the past decades, with the political divisions between two identified parties becoming so distinct that the media, in most cases, holding progressive or liberal point of view, became less believable – it hammered away endlessly on one administration, and looked the other way for another – one whose policies more closely aligned with the career as a whole. There are exceptions to the rule of course, and they would be few and far between.

The spotlight is now on one Sheryl Attkisson - , not due to her sources, but, with the same criticisms that the other aforementioned news agencies have broadcast or published regarding mistakes, scandals of the current administration, this particular CBS reporter, has earned the ire of the White House – for doing something that every American strives for – their job, passionately and without regard to stretching the truth to fit the narrative.

According to Politico, this has brought attention to the Emmy winning reporter, who, in all fairness, reported on both the Bush and Obama administrations.
However, the difference between the two are stark – the Bush Administration constantly under attack by the press, then President Bush appeared to retreat, there were no bumbling and stumbling press secretaries, some sharp barbs – the public noticed, and a relentless press drove a presidency into the basement. Compare to the Obama Administration where there is never an unkind word, in print and broadcast except for a few lone voices, reporting on stories that would have and should have become front page, evening news, ad nasuem for weeks – had it been an Administration of another political identity. Therefore, when one is in a profession where the majority are of one political mindset- the lone-wolf who actually does their job, appears to be biased.

Herein lays the danger – administrations come and go – and although hard to believe that a Libertarian leaning, or Republican administration would in any way suppress the press – what if the shoe were on the other foot? – The press, as a whole, has lost the public trust when it comes to politics – now faced with losing more, their rights to work in their chosen field , one finds them (as a group), cannibalizing one of their own, who isn’t towing the party line.

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