Monday, October 27, 2014

Empower yourself against manipulative politics. Vote Smart.

Comentarios From Maria: Latinas -Spotting the signs early, is only half the battle to breast cancer survival

During the month of October, organizations nationwide have been doing their part to raise greater awareness for the most common cause of death from cancer in Hispanic women – breast cancer. And though Latinas have lower overall breast cancer rates than white women, the US Department of Health and Human Services notes Hispanic women are more likely than whites to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is more advanced and harder to treat. As a working mother of two very beautiful mini reflections of me, I make time for my health first because I understand this disease can take hold of anyone, including me.

The American Cancer Society estimated 2,400 breast cancer deaths in 2012 – this would be the equivalent of approximately 7 Latinas per day, or about 1 death every 4 hours. As such, it is absolutely critical for Hispanic women to carry out regular breast cancer screenings to increase early detection and talk to your doctors about any unusual changes you may notice right away. We must not be frightened, feel embarrassed, or remain silent – prevention is crucial.

Studies show that Hispanic women cancer patients’ experiences are embedded in culturally based values of family and faith that are interrelated and culturally bound. For many of our sisters, friends, and family members who may be battling valiantly through this disease, this unfamiliar loss of independence can feel very isolating. And while actively helping our loved ones manage their side effects is part of the overall treatment process, equally important is building a loving, compassionate, and supportive environment that can aid in generating meaningful breakthroughs during such a difficult time.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whistleblower Reward Program, Tip Line Launched for Factory Farm Workers

Tools Will Facilitate Reporting of Cruelty at Factory Farms, Slaughterhouses and Livestock Auctions
A hotline for reporting cruelty and neglect on factory farms, at livestock auctions and in slaughter houses will empower employees at those facilities who have witnessed cruelty or other unlawful acts.

The Humane Society of the United States, which launched the hotline (1-888-209-7177), offers whistleblowers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who have committed acts of cruelty to farm animals.

The HSUS will work with the United Farm Workers to distribute the hotline to workers at factory farms, slaughterhouses and livestock auctions.

The hotline was launched after agribusiness interests and their legislative allies made it virtually impossible to document cruelty on factory farms in a handful of states. Those states have passed “ag gag” bills, which criminalize undercover investigations of agricultural facilities.

Traffic Still Sucks On The 405, Even With Those New Carpool Lanes

Remember Carmageddon? Its sequel Carmageddon II? Jamzilla? The Rampture?

Thanks to all those pesky closures now have a shiny new 10-mile carpool lane. What we don't have is less traffic, according to a new study from traffic service provider INRIX.

Jim Bak said its analysts found "relatively no change" in travel speeds and times. The company compared data between the second and third weeks of September in 2013 and those same weeks in 2014 on the northbound 405 between the 10 and the 101 freeways, according to KNX. Between 4 and 7 p.m. it looks like the average travel time between those two freeways is actually about a minute slower than last year, KPCC notes.

It's not all bad news: INRIX notes that rush hour seems to be ending earlier. Last year it took about 28 minutes to drive from the 10 to the 101 between 7 and 8 p.m. This year it took 22 minutes.

Just because traffic isn't any better doesn't necessarily mean the carpool lane was a complete waste of 5 years and $1 billion dollars.

9 Awesome Dia De Los Muertos Events In Los Angeles

Dia de los Muertos celebrations that honor those who have gone to the other side kick off early this weekend in Los Angeles. We've got events throughout the city that will have music, dancing, and food, as well as art exhibits and ceremonial altar decorations. Most of these events encourage folks to get in the spirit of this Mexican holiday and dress up with calavera (skull) and calaca (skeleton) makeup and costumes. Here are some of our favorite events.

Olvera Street
Olvera Street will be having a days-long celebration for Dia de los Muertos from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3 with daily events at the El Pueblo Historical Monument. This includes nightly candlelight Novenario processions honoring the deceased from Oct. 25 to Nov. 2 starting at 7 p.m. each night. Free sweet bread (pan de muerto) and champurrado (a Mexican hot drink) will be served to folks who stop by. And on the weekends, expect celebrations with "face painting, street theater performances, strolling mariachi bands, Aztec dancers, art workshops, puppets, ballet folklorico, piƱatas." Decorated altars will be on display in the plaza and in a number of stores on Olvera Street throughout this celebration.

Grand Park
Over in downtown's Grand Park, you can celebrate Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 1. From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be a bevy of musical acts like electronic group Palenke Soultribe, Aztecan and Oaxacan dance troupes, art installations, decorated altars on display and food vendors. Most importantly, there will be a bar at the event. If you want to get your face painted (yes, adults are welcome to do it), it will cost $5.

Calavera Fashion Show At Mariachi Plaza
Tropico de Nopal Gallery Art-Space and Eastside Luv are teaming up this year to bring on their "Calavera Fashion Show & Walking Altars" event at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. Expect food, a beer garden, and face painting booths at this 21+ event. There will be DJs spinning on the ones and twos, and you'll also have the chance to belt out some tunes with karaoke in the plaza (we're talking about MorrisseyOke and MariachiOke). Folks are encouraged to get dressed in Dia de los Muertos attire and make sure to bring dancing shoes so you can celebrate those "who have passed to el otro lado." Tickets range from $20 to $80.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breaking News: HBO to launch Internet-only service next year

Los Angeles Times | October 15, 2014 | 8:16 AM
HBO announced today that it will break the cable TV bundle by offering its service directly to consumers over the Internet in the U.S. beginning next year.

HBO is currently available only to subscribers of pay-TV packages. But growing competition and changing consumer behavior has forced HBO's hand.

"It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," CEO Richard Plepler said at an investor conference in New York. "In 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States."

More soon at

Here Are Five Facts from the White House Report on Millennials

Today, the Council on Economic Advisers released a new report that looks at the so-called "Millennial" generation. And while you might think that this group of Americans -- mostly in their mid-20s -- is all about smartphones and mason jars, you'd be wrong.

The report comes ahead of President Obama's visit with Los Angeles entrepreneurs, technologists, and creatives -- and it takes a close look at the trends and circumstances that have shaped Millennials. It finds a generation shaped by transformation, that came into its own in the midst of the financial crisis, but is also more diverse and educated than any other generation.

Here are some of the most interesting facts from the report:

Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S.

They're shaped by technology, value creativity, and are innovative (see, founders of Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr).

More Millennials are going to college, especially women. But when you couple that with rising tuition, they're also left with an ever-increasing share of the student loan debt burden.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they are much more likely to have health insurance without being job-locked.

Millennials are moving into urban areas and they're paying rent. They're less likely to own a home during their 20s than previous generations.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why the Middle Class Gets Screwed—My Short Sale Taught Me How the Rich Really Think

I was taught growing up to “keep my word” and that your handshake “meant something.” Yet businessmen and individual wealthy people make decisions that are far less moral than a short sale. People “incorporate” so they can avoid legal responsibility for individual actions. It works great. You can stiff creditors, declare bankruptcy, pollute daily and raid pensions to enrich individual executives. If it all goes wrong, like it has so often for Donald Trump, you can keep your mansions and individual fortunes. It is no accident that the best-paid CEO in America has never made a dime for the company. If regular Americans acted like corporations and the moneyed class, our country would collapse in a week from systemic theft, corruption and greed.

I always knew business was getting over on me, but I had no idea the extent until I started looking to short-sell. I first learned all I could about private home financing. I called up some shady investment groups around town and questioned them at length. I didn’t end up using them, but they were frank, informative and unashamed.

“Who would pay 11 percent on a home loan?” I asked.

“Rich people,” said “Bill” from the legal loan-sharking company. “The rich have terrible credit.”

Rich people = bad credit: Just let that sink in.

Bill told me in roundabout ways that rich people never pay a bill if there is any way around it. If something goes wrong in an investment or a business, they always preserve their own assets first.

Most Americans are clueless about business and finance. Instead, we are a caste of customers. We consume short-term predatory lending, school loans that can never be discharged, inflated mortgages, high-interest credit cards, fast food and overpriced automobiles. We “invest” in basic IRAs, doomsday prepping or Ponzi schemes. The worst part is that no matter how much money we gain or lose, the investor class always gets paid.

During the same five- or six-year period my house value tanked, I also lost tens of thousands of dollars in retirement accounts. At the same time, my “money manager” collected a fee day after day, month after month. Since he is the dealer of America’s crack-based stock market, he got paid regardless of performance.

Middle-class Americans just aren’t the same species of human as the wealthy, but we refuse to even discuss the class issue in America. “Class” is for the British, even though the U.K. now has more upward mobility. There have been many great essays and movies about the parallel but unequal capitalist systems in America. There exists a baffling, byzantine maze of corporate and personal benefits enjoyed by the super-rich and investment class both indecipherable and unavailable to regular people.

Lest I be accused of “sour grapes,” because I’m not rich, let me be clear. I live what used to be a middle-class life. We vacation every year without fail, own a home and live in a nice neighborhood. My hands stay clean at work. Of course, it could all crumble tomorrow, but for the moment, I’m a “winner” of some kind. Because I’ve reached some small level of financial stability, I’ve had the time to look around and see how utterly broken the system has become for most people.

Living a middle-class life is an impediment to meaningful change. We are taught that we have everything we should dare to expect and capitalism has “worked” for us. Middle-class people are also urged to hate poor people, and those who cannot or will not work. They are the “other,” the moocher class. Poor people are the reason you haven’t gotten a raise in five years or that your house is worthless or that your company only gives you one week off a year. Those who have something detest those with nothing. We’re letting rich people get away with fleecing America, while turning our rage on poor people.

When you examine it, you cannot blame the rich for the oligarchy we’ve become or for what looks more and more like the return of Dark Age feudalism. Rather, the blame lies with my fellow work-a-day slobs who vote for politicians and policies that favor investment and wealth over the work of regular people. Middle-class Americans are self-flagellating and dispirited over their own lack of wealth, as if it were a character flaw. At the same time, they fall for the deception that everyone can be rich when, of course, most people lack the connections, education and plain old luck to even get close.

I can uncover an individual’s actual potential for wealth with one easy test: If you equate business opportunity with a multilevel marketing scheme, like Amway, you will never be rich. If that doesn’t work, just ask yourself if you think you’ve got a shot at winning the lottery. If the answer is “yes,” you will most assuredly die poorer than you are now.

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North Carolina GOP Senator/Candidate Accused Of Welfare Fraud

The word 'fraud' is becoming a bitter pill for the North Carolina GOP to swallow this week. After the alleged voting fraud committed by the Koch brothers via AFP/Americans For Prosperity, there is now a welfare fraud allegation against Republican candidate, Senator Wesley Meredith. This from the Conservative party extremists that basically call America's poor, unemployed, and welfare recipients, 'lazy, undeserving, benefit-sucking, scum of the earth.'
North Carolina's reports:

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, (Republican) party chair Linda Devore said the Cumberland County GOP looks forward to Senator Meredith refuting the allegations made Tuesday by his opponent, (Democratic) Fayetteville attorney Billy Richardson.
On Tuesday, Richardson released a load of Meredith's public and private financial and public assistance documents. They indicate Meredith and his ex-wife, Elizabeth Meredith, received welfare in the late 1990s. At the time, the couple earned annual incomes in the six-figure range.

The linked article above is the GOP trying to save face. Of course, Meredith called Richardson's document release a 'below the belt' personal attack. That said, Meredith has not denied the allegation.

This story follows news of a new Republican Koch Brothers investigation for allegedly sending out false, misleading, and confusing voting information to hundreds of thousands of NC residents.

WTF...Arizona Teacher Fired for Breaking up Racist Bullying of 4th Grader

25 year veteran Elementary Teacher Pam Aister was fired this week by the Fountain Hills Arizona School District after breaking up an incident of Racial Bullying by Four Students against one other.

“He was called the n-word, ‘monkey’, and ‘coon,’ Aister told KNXV.

Ainster told KTAR-FM that she also said to the group, “If you’re picking on him, you’re picking on me. It’s not five against one, it’s five against two, and there will be no more taunting, teasing or racial names.”

But parents of the alleged offenders claim that Ainster used abusive language telling them to "shut up" and that one had an "ugly face", an allegation that Ainster denies. In the end the School Board, following the recommendation of their attorney, voted to terminate Ainster on the basis of reports from the parents.

Isn't it an interesting world, assuming Ainster's claims are essentially true and even that the counter claims against her are valid, where a pack of bigoted bullies can rely on their parents to protect and escalate their bullying in order to remove a teacher whose primary crime was to stand up against their racist taunting - even if somewhat vehemently - in order to protect and defend a vulnerable child?