Friday, June 13, 2008



More Hispanics die on the job than other U.S. workers and the rate is highest among the foreign-born, according to a federal study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The construction industry accounted for a third of the Hispanic deaths, declared the report, which reviewed more than 11,000 Hispanic work-related deaths between 1992 and 2006. About 95 percent were men. From 2003 through 2006, the states that had the highest number of Hispanics had the most deaths on the job, the CDC found: 773 in California, 687 in Texas and 417 in Florida. New American Media

Hispanics lost nearly 250,000 jobs over the past year because of the recent slump in the construction sector. These findings emerge from the Pew Hispanic Center's analysis of the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau. New American Media

RICHARD BURTON, CHAIR, NAACP PRISONER RIGHTS SUB-COMMITTEE The war on drugs has failed; We must make peace, heal our wounds, and change our laws. The drug war can't be won, and we have lost. We merely repeat the mistake of Prohibition. The harder we try to stop this evil, the more lucrative we make it, and the more it spread. The war on drugs cannot be eradicated by making it more profitable and at the same time creating more jails/prisons, disparities, casualties and tax burdens. This view is shared by activists like Jack Cole, a retired police lieutenant who worked on the front lines of the war on drugs, and who feels that prohibition causes more damage than the drugs themselves do. According to Cole, "The war on drugs was really responsible for about 99% of all the things that we attribute to the, quote, 'drug problem.'" Furthermore, Cole maintains that the federal government's attempts to stamp out the drug trade merely "inflates the values of these products virtually by up to 17,000 percent" and "creates an obscene profit margin, making many people willing to kill." Rutgers University professor Douglas Husak gives more detailed statistics, citing studies that have shown that the types of crimes generated by illegal drug use occur "when drug users and dealers battle over drug sales, turf, and other aspects of illegal drug sales." Husak maintains that the crimes caused by the drug trade "would be virtually eliminated if drugs were available at retail stores." Cole, the retired policeman, expresses much the same sentiment when he says that drugs need to be legalized "so that you can control it and regulate it and keep it out of the hands of our children." The goal of legalization is not to encourage drug use, but to discourage the victimization of drug users, as well as society, at the hands of the illegal drug trade.

Wild Atlantic salmon are commercially extinct, and runs of Pacific salmon south of the Alaska panhandle are experiencing catastrophic collapses. . . What happened to the mighty chinook of the Pacific Northwest? Regional fisheries officials have blamed ocean conditions for a temporary decline in the plankton and small fish that juvenile salmon feed on. But most of the problem is man-made. Spawning salmon need gravel streambeds and cold, fast-running water to lay their eggs. Giant pumps have been piping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to towns and farms in California¹s Central Valley, degrading river habitat and even sucking up young fish before they reach the sea. Farther north, dams on the Snake River have prevented egg-bearing fish from reaching streambeds inland. Overfishing is also a factor; too many nets have been scooping up too many fish for too long. What¹s more, higher water temperatures brought on by global warming prevent the eggs of spawning females from maturing. It¹s not surprising that the only consistently healthy salmon runs left are those in the cold waters of Alaska. New York Times

A standard principle of design should be comfortable, bright stairs that serve as more than fire escapes, that encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. This stair is in the Institute of Molecular Genetics for the Czech Academy of Science, and fittingly, is modeled after the form of the DNA double helix.

The designers, Jan Sestak and Marek Deyl of Prague's Studio P-H-A,, wanted to create a bright central meeting space. Sestak told Architectural Record: "The chief aim was to bring daylight as far as the ground level" of the six-story interior, Sestak says, adding that in the absence of more formal social spaces, daylight would induce resident scientists to gather in the generous stairwell. Treehugger

There's no doubt that the plucky, affordable G-Wiz electric vehicle has played a big part in making EVs popular in the UK capital, despite safety concerns from some. And while their looks are not universally adored, we suspect that part of their appeal is in their quirky, unusual appearance - something that their UK distributor GoinGreen have sought to play on with loud color options and unique wraps. GoinGreen's press release informs us that it is 'the largest zero-emissions auto distributor on the planet today' . . . The company launched the improved performance G-Wiz i this year with a range of up to 48 miles per charge, a certified top speed of 50mph and increased safety features. The vehicle is apparently also upgradeable to take lithium ion batteries when they are introduced. Treehugger

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) has proposed a national popular vote for president, advance voter registration for teenagers before they reaching voting age and reform of the presidential primaries. Nelson would get the national popular vote for presidential by a constitutional amendment.

The American College of Emergency Physicians recognized Francis Miller Fesmire, MD, FACEP, medical director of the Chest Pain Center at Erlanger Medical Center, as a "Hero of Emergency Medicine." He was honored with the Emergency Medicine Foundation's "Young Investigator Award" in 1996 and gained international notoriety when he won the 2006 "Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine" for a 1988 case report detailing a unique cure for hiccups. His current interest is the development of artificial intelligence networks to assist physicians in clinical decision making. The Chatanoogan Times reported that: "The Ig Nobel award is a spoof on the Nobel Prize, Dr. Fesmire said. The cure that he described in a brief paper proposed digital rectal massage as a cure for hiccups, he said." 'It's one of these things that's gonna haunt me for the rest of my life,' he said, laughing." Annals Of Improbable Research


At June 13, 2008 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more promising approach to electoral reform, that does not require a constitutional amendment, is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill would make every vote politically relevant in a presidential election. It would make every vote equal.

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

To be involved in the National Popular Vote bill effort . . .
You can check the status of the bill in your state at

If it's still in play in your state, let your legislator(s) know what you think. If you need help to identify and/or contact your state representatives, senators, and/or governor about National Popular Vote, you can search by your zip code using online sites such as .

Sign up to get email updates -

Help get the word out and show your support.

Tell a friend-

Distribute literature at political, civic, or other meeting, convention, or conference.
Post on discussion groups.
Write letters to editors, OpEds, and/or blog.

Responses to many common misinformed critiques are at

Up-to-date information and materials are at


At June 13, 2008 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A national popular vote would perpetuate the 2 corporate party stranglehold on U.S. politics. Instant Runoff Voting would do more to break that monopoly.

At June 18, 2008 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it takes some merged form of both to have any useful effect.

With the first commenter's plan, you don't need a majority to win, just like now. E.g., Dem 45%, GOP 46%, Green 9%. This would give the election to the GOP candidate even though more than half of the Green vote would probably prefer the Dem.

Under these same figures with IRV and the intact electoral college system it still comes down to swing states being the only ones that count. (I think it's amusing that all the supporters of IRV seem to believe most Americans would vote for a third party if they didn't consider it a wasted vote. The truth about IRV (as evidenced by the countries like Australia who tried it and lost most of their smaller parties) is that it leads to the same two party rule as our current system.

The real way to begin serious change in this regard is proportional representation.

At June 18, 2008 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That should be "system.)"


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