Archive for December 7th, 2011

Sugar-laden children’s cereal

| December 7, 2011 | Reply
Sugar-laden children’s cereal

Would you give your child a Twinkie for breakfast? Some children’s cereals offer the equivalent of a Twinkie to your child in terms of sugar, according to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG has just issued its report on this topic.

Parents have good reason to worry about the sugar content of children’s breakfast cereals, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 84 popular brands. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of high-sugar cereals, according to EWG’s analysis. A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. Most children’s cereals fail to meet the federal government’s proposed voluntary guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to children. Sugar is the top problem, but many also contain too much sodium or fat or not enough whole grain.

The bottom line: Most parents say no to dessert for breakfast, but many children’s cereals have just as much sugar as a dessert – or more.

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National Geographic photo showcase

| December 7, 2011 | Reply
National Geographic photo showcase

What else can be said about National Geographic’s photos that hasn’t already been said? Check out the National Geographic Homepage for photography for many jaw-dropping photos, including this photo of Camel Thorn Trees, Namibia.

If you are wondering what to get someone for Christmas, and they don’t yet have a subscription to National Geographic, consider it. I’ve blogged on NG stories regularly, for good reason.

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Pearl Harbor remembered

| December 7, 2011 | 1 Reply
Pearl Harbor remembered

TPM offers a slide show of horrifying and sobering photos of the attack at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

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A Deep Blue Paranoid Moment (DBPM)

| December 7, 2011 | 3 Replies
A Deep Blue Paranoid Moment (DBPM)

“Just Because I’m Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out to Get Me!”

OK, so sometimes I do go off the deep blue end but, I really think that very nearly all of our communications are monitored without warrant or our knowing consent. “So what?” you say, “If you’re not doing anything wrong what do you have to worry about?”

If a US citizen cannot have their most private information free from others, we have no civil society but a state where any innocent series of calls or conversations could be made to look as though some wrongdoing were afoot. I’m an attorney and I have to be sure my communications are kept both secret and confidential. If others know what we’re up to in a given case, it sorta takes the wind out of sails and stacks the deck against us. How would they know? Easy!

Old analog cell phones, some digital cells and the phones you can walk around with that have a base at work or home and talk can be listened to with a police scanner and the courts have ruled that since the signal is readily available to monitoring there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your conversations and a warrant isn’t needed to listen or record the calls.

The major phone companies just gave up all your calling data to the National Security Agency (NSA) , except Qwest, when the government simply asked for it. The telcos then went to Congress and got themselves a ban on any consumer lawsuits for illegally releasing your private, confidential calling information.

We also all heard about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) illegal interception of US citizens’ communications under the Bush administration. Many of the Bush secret “anti-terror” policies have been continued by the Obama administration.

Faxes and e-mails from offices should now have a warning notice to recipients that the sender cannot guarantee that some government agency is not intercepting the communication without their knowledge or consent or a search warrant.   And see here.

It’s so bad that some citizens, like reporters, use so-called “burner phones” for calls to confidential sources and toss them after one or very few uses so as to not have their locations or sources compromised. Of course, then the reporters or whoever are now acting “suspiciously” and may have their innocent conduct of just wanting privacy used to have some eager beaver go get a roving wiretap on the person under the so-called USA Patriot Act.

The US House and Senate just passed a “Defense Authorization Act” for President Obama to sign which includes another “authorization for the use of force” against suspected al Qaeda terrorists and allows for the possible indefinites detention of US citizens without charge, denies such US citizen “suspects” access to US civilian courts, and denies them access to counsel, all of which have never been allowed before in US history. President Obama must veto the bill.

I don’t think it reasonable that we have to have any fear that all our communications are monitored by some government agency.

So much has been justified in the “war on terror” that maybe I’m not so paranoid after all.

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Hurdles Newt Gingrich faces from the perspective of the GOP

| December 7, 2011 | Reply
Hurdles Newt Gingrich faces from the perspective of the GOP

At Mother Jones, Tim Murphy showcases quite a bit of Newt Gingrich baggage that will make it difficult for him to get the GOP nomination. The baggage falls into two categories: A) Newt’s personal family values baggage and B) Positions that he has taken on issues like health care reform, immigration and the environment that will horrify modern-day GOP ideologues. Check out, especially, Gingrich’s 2005-2007 position on health care reform, which dovetails quite well with Barack Obama’s approach.

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