Feds approve powdered alcohol


In other words, Palcohol would make it easier and cheaper to drink. Whether this is a good thing isn’t for us to say but Palcohol’s opponents include the liquor industry and some state legislators, who say they fear an outbreak of abuse.

An outbreak of alcohol abuse?  Is that supposed to be ironic?

Colorado, where marijuana is legal, last month passed a measure that temporarily outlaws powdered alcohol. Other states are considering similar measures…

Ban this.  Ban that.  Why not?  If I remember my American history lessons, alcohol prohibition was a success, so why not bring it back?

Deceptive advertising or highway robbery?


The FTC says that DirecTV’s offer of a discounted 12-month subscription package constitutes deceptive advertising because it requires a two-year contract that increases by $45 per month in the second year, with early cancellation fees of up to $480 for anyone who tries canceling before the two-year term is up…

Hey Verizon, are you listening?  My two-year contract (with a ridiculous cancellation fee) is almost up, and I, can’t, wait.

The FTC also charges that DirecTV violated the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA)…

Well, that’s a new one for me.  Who names these Acts?  How many Acts are on the books?  Is here a Highway Robbery Act?

Joan from Moreno Valley, California, agreed:  When you sign up, DirecTv representative are not honest in how they represent this company …. You have to pay a hidden fee to link the equipment after paying lease fees on said equipment. I STRONGLY suggest you do not use DirecTV or Dish for that matter. Additionally, with Direct even if you sell your house and not buy again, there is no way to get rid of the early cancel fee.

My choices in New Mexico are Comcast and Verizon.  Although satellite TV is available here, I don’t have a balcony, so it’s not available to me.  Plus, with the high winds in New Mexico, they’re talking about not allowing the satellite dishes at all.  If I’m stuck with Verizon again, well, that’ll just be my luck.

And this just goes to show you that not everyone with Irish ancestry is lucky.  Happy early St. Patrick’s Day.

States form task force to probe herbal supplement industry


Now Schneiderman has put together a coalition of state attorneys general from Connecticut, Indiana and Puerto Rico to further investigate the business practices of the herbal supplement industry…

How many states do you need to form a coalition?  And how come all the other states aren’t interested?

More than half of American adults take some kind of herbal supplement, spending an estimated $60 billion a year in the belief that the supplements have some kind of healthful effect, even though numerous studies have found that healthy adults who eat a balanced diet don’t need to take supplements and may not derive any benefit from them…

Okay, that answers my question.  Although corporate and industry influence is always a factor also.

A 2013 study from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research estimated there are about 65,000 dietary supplements on the market consumed by more than 150 million Americans, most of them supposedly medicinal herbs, although as Schneiderman’s research demonstrated, many of them don’t contain much of anything…

Ah, the placebo effect, where would we be without it?

Many consumers seem to feel that, even if supplements don’t do any good, they’re not likely to do harm. That’s not necessarily the case, however.  More than half of FDA Class I drug recalls between 2004 and 2012 were for “dietary supplements.” Class I recalls are reserved only for products whose use poses a high risk of “serious adverse health consequences or death.” One of the most dramatic examples of harm caused by use of supplements involved ephedra-containing herbal weight loss products, which caused hundreds of deaths before ephedra was banned from the market in 2004…

How could the harms from supplements be recorded if no one really knows what’s in a lot of those pills?  It’s just like all the toxins from fracking that we don’t know about, making some of us sick and unable to find the cause of our illnesses.

Renters fared worse than homeowners during the Great Recession


“Given their financial fragility and low levels of financial literacy, the findings suggest the renter population could have a difficult time responding to income shocks and the financial consequences associated with them,” the study concluded.

As robertmgoldstein says:  So many “no Duh” moments, so little time…

17 People Who Were Fired For Using Facebook


Virgin Airlines crew members were fired after publicly discussing the atmosphere of their job on Facebook. They shared the number of times that certain airplane engines had been replaced and that the cabins were infested with cockroaches. It was certainly terrifying.

If I did a lot of flying, after reading this, I might have nightmares about cockroaches… Do you know how big the roaches are in Texas?  Forget it, you don’t want to know.

Nathalie Blanchard had been living off of disability insurance for depression since 2008. But when Manulife, the Canadian insurance company making the payments, got into her Facebook page, they saw her “relaxing at the beach, hanging out at a Chippendale’s-style club, and generally having a lot of fun.” She immediately lost her insurance benefits.

Death by capability assessment (and Unum)



(Great billboard! :))


Extremely disturbing news has reached Vox Political, courtesy of Liza Van Zyl on Facebook. Extremely long-term readers may recall Liza was the lady who received a visit from police who claimed she had committed a criminal act against the Department for Work and Pensions, just before midnight on October 26, 2012 – being that she had been highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance…


(Hilarious cartoon! :D)

The Work Capability Assessment serves a twofold purpose: It shovels taxpayers’ money into the hands of private, profit-making firms, and in return those firms do their best to disqualify claimants from receiving payments…

We know that the Work Capability Assessment has been a catastrophe for people all over the UK. It is based on a system evolved by criminal US insurance firm Unum, designed to be hugely difficult and stressful. The stress of having to prepare for an assessment kills many, as does that of taking it. Some commit suicide when they are refused benefit, some die from the stress of having to appeal. Some who are granted the benefit die from its requirements – like trying to become ready for work in a year if they’re in the work-related activity group of ESA. Some who are granted benefit die from the strain of being reassessed, sometimes at short notice. Death surrounds the process…

Vox Political has spent nearly two years trying to get the DWP to divulge up-to-date figures on the number of deaths suffered by people going through the claim process that involves the WCA. The last published data – from November 2011 – showed around four deaths every three hours, or 220 per week. That’s a monstrous figure..

Reuben Chip Santos, 1982-2009


How many war memorials does one country need?  To remind us of the costs of war, there should be one on every street corner; not just in Washington, D.C., where most of us will never go.

And perhaps there should be a separate memorial for veterans who have lost their battles with PTSD.  A wall with the names of those who were unable to survive the pain and chose the only option they felt was available to end it.  America needs to not only hear the stories of people who commit suicide, but we need to look at visual representations of the results of their suffering.

When you look at this photo, what do you see?  What do you feel?

Look at the size of this wall, of the small print needed to fit the number of names engraved on it. And this represents just one war, the one in Vietnam. This shiny and beautiful memorial is a representation of suffering and death, of loss and tragedy. And it represents only one side of the conflict.

Does it matter how these young men and women died, whether it was in Iraq or in Detroit? Whether they were killed by people who speak another language or the DEA?  Why is one death considered righteous and one considered just another casualty of the drug war?

What is the purpose of violence and war?  Solely for defense?  Yeah, that’s what the federal government tells us, but that’s just not true.

The Veteran’s Mural Project in Shannon Alley


Shannon Alley, between Geary & O’Farrell and Jones & Taylor, doesn’t have the best of reputations–or the best of odors. In fact, since there are a couple of vacant buildings just around the corner on O’Farrell it is often used as a toilet or as a place for homeless people to sleep. As it turns out many of those homeless people are veterans, as photographer Amos Lee Gregory Jr. discovered while spending many nights in the neighborhood photographing them between November 2010 and April 2011…

So, he wanted to give a voice to the American veterans regardless of their discharge status, sexual orientation, length of service, branch of service, race, language or national origin. In March 2011 he photographed Rigo‘s “Truth” a mural on Market Street by the UN Plaza during a protest marking the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. This photograph has inspired many Veterans of all backgrounds to speak about their experiences in the US military and about peace, and it seems to have been the driving force to start this mural project.

The SF Vets mural project is an open project and they welcome all suggestions and contributions. They’re also asking anyone who knows of a veteran who has touched their lives or is a veteran themselves to contact them via their website or their Facebook group to request a mural concept in honor of a deceased veteran. Or if you are a veteran and want to do one yourself in the alley with them, they’ll be happy have you.

Kentucky Sued In Federal Court Over Drug Treatment Practices


The plaintiff, Stephanie Watson, is a nurse with an opiate addiction whose bond conditions forbid her from taking any medications that would be prescribed by her doctor to treat her addiction, such as Suboxone, Methadone or Vivitrol. The lawsuit argues that such a ban is unconstitutional.  The Kentucky policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Watson’s rights under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, the lawsuit alleges…

The suit seeks no financial damages beyond court costs and attorney fees; instead, it asks that the court require Kentucky to allow Watson and others in the system to receive medical assistance.