Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jeremiah Wright NAACP Dinner Full Speech April 27, 2008

OBM: Great speach.....The Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered an unapologetic speech on Sunday, alternately fiery and humorous as he defended the preaching that has taken center stage in the presidential campaign.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008







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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Out of Control Fraud: Our Tax Dollars at Work


For four generations now, the Bush family has been involved in supporting the country's enemies (most notably the Nazi Party in Germany) and robbing the country blind.

The family was directly involved and profited from the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s and has participated in security fraud as well.

With this understanding as a background, the Iraq War can be viewed as their "masterpiece."

The Bush family and its associates have stolen countless billions of dollars in the course of the war. In fact, one of their motivations for pushing the war in the first place was the opportunity for theft.

Chances are the destruction of World Trade Tower Seven, the home of crucial and now lost forever SEC and other federal law enforcement evidence and case files was carried out to cover their tracks.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is Peak Oil? & What Will Be the Effects?

Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum production is reached, after which the rate of production enters its terminal decline. If global consumption is not mitigated before the peak, an energy crisis may develop because the availability of conventional oil will drop and prices will rise, perhaps dramatically. M. King Hubbert first used the theory in 1956 to accurately predict that United States oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. His model, now called Hubbert peak theory, has since been used to predict the peak petroleum production of many other countries, and has also proved useful in other limited-resource production-domains. According to the Hubbert model, the production rate of a limited resource will follow a roughly symmetrical bell-shaped curve based on the limits of exploitability and market pressures.

Some observers, such as petroleum industry experts Kenneth S. Deffeyes and Matthew Simmons, believe the high dependence of most modern industrial transport, agricultural and industrial systems on the relative low cost and high availability of oil will cause the post-peak production decline and possible severe increases in the price of oil to have negative implications for the global economy. Although predictions as to what exactly these negative effects will be vary greatly, "a growing number of oil-industry chieftains are endorsing an idea long deemed fringe: The world is approaching a practical limit to the number of barrels of crude oil that can be pumped every day."[1]

If political and economic change only occur in reaction to high prices and shortages rather than in reaction to the threat of a peak, then the degree of economic damage to importing countries will largely depend on how rapidly oil imports decline post-peak.

Secondary Effects of Peak Oil

Peak Oil is a cascading effect problem. We know it, but we may not yet be informed enough to realize the cascading effect problem is so pervasive. We know that MOST of the energy we use and food we eat comes directly or indirectly from non-renewable petroleum deposits. It is often argued that our large population, though only occupying a small physical area on the earth itself, is only sustained through the use of all these non-renewable resources. The obvious fix to this is switch to renewables and sustainable agriculture so we can keep as many people from starving as possible. Why? Starvation leads to war, and with nukes available in the countries most affected (China and India), it would be a very bad thing.

Additional problems are power shifts. Russia used to be very powerful, then their economy collapsed and a lot of people suffered and the ruthless rose to greater power, a meritocracy of crime and influence. Now Russia has surpassed the Saudis for oil production and they currently provide most of the natural gas heating homes and powering industry in Western Europe. The Russians want more power and influence, so they play games with supply, chiselling its called. Chip a little here, a little there and soon the other guy will give you his last dollar and the shirt off his back to keep going forward to his dreams. This is a reason I don't respect those who "follow their dreams". The romantic times are over with the cheap oil. Following your dreams in today's world gets your frilly behind killed or jailed. I respect practical people. You should too. So Russia is going to continue to rise in power, and use that power to force its Will on the rest of Europe in a way Hitler only dreamed he could get away with. The only freedom from the tyranny of Russian influence in Europe will be renewable power. It will have to be cheap, pervasive, and reasonably efficient.

As the price of oil rises it will cause a severe contraction in the world economy. Most observers of this occurrence agree that this will translate into higher prices all the way down the food chain- literally- right down to bread and fruit- as not only road and air transportation will be affected directly but the price of nearly ever commodity and product consumed in the world economy will be impacted indirectly.

When world petroleum production peaks, energy prices will go up dramatically. There will be a recession similar to the recessions that followed the energy price increases of 1974 and 1979, but with one difference: the US Federal Reserve Bank is much more active in setting economic policy than it was then, and its main focus is fighting inflation, so we can expect much lower inflation and much higher unemployment than in the 1970s. As interest rates soar, housing prices will fall and the stock market will suffer.

Eventually, the rest of the decline in oil production would have to be absorbed by a prolonged economic depression. Whenever energy prices soar, the Fed will raise interest rates until they have slowed the economy enough to stop inflation. To keep the demand for energy from exceeding the physical supply, they might have to reduce the GDP by 10 or 15 percent over 15 or 20 years. That could mean unemployment over 20 percent - about as high as it was during the worst years of the Great Depression.

Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides, and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production: from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging. In addition, fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. If the price of oil rises substantially- all of these sectors of the food industry will have to pass on the extra costs to the consumer.

Commercial food production is oil powered. Most pesticides are petroleum- (oil) based, and all commercial fertilizers are ammonia-based. Ammonia is produced from natural gas. Oil based agriculture is primarily responsible for the world's population exploding from 1 billion at the middle of the 19th century to 6.3 billion at the turn of the 21st Oil allowed for farming implements such as tractors, food storage systems such as refrigerators, and food transport systems such as trucks

It's not just transportation and agriculture that are entirely dependent on abundant, cheap oil. Modern medicine, water distribution, and national defense are each entirely powered by oil and petroleum derived chemicals.

Most of the consumer goods we buy are made with plastic, which is derived from oil.

All manufacturing processes consume huge amounts of oil. For instance, the average car - including hybrids - consumes the energy contained in 25-50 barrels (or about 1,200-2,400 gallons) of oil during its construction, while the average computer consumes 10 times its weight in fossil fuels during its construction.

All electrical devices - including solar panels and windmills - make use of silver, copper, and/or platinum, all of which are discovered, extracted, transported, and fashioned using oil-powered machinery.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food Rationing in America Confronts Breadbasket of the World

BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008
URL: http://www2.nysun.com/article/74994

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

"Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. "You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

"You can't eat this every day. It's too heavy," a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. "We only need one bag but I'm getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it," the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried to exceed the one-bag cap.

"Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history," a sign above the dwindling supply said.

Shoppers said the limits had been in place for a few days, and that rice supplies had been spotty for a few weeks. A store manager referred questions to officials at Costco headquarters near Seattle, who did not return calls or e-mail messages yesterday.

An employee at the Costco store in Queens said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled.

The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come.

"It's sporadic. It's not every store, but it's becoming more commonplace," the editor of SurvivalBlog.com, James Rawles, said. "The number of reports I've been getting from readers who have seen signs posted with limits has increased almost exponentially, I'd say in the last three to five weeks."

Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales.

"I'm surprised the Bush administration hasn't slapped export controls on wheat," Mr. Rawles said. "The Asian countries are here buying every kind of wheat." Mr. Rawles said it is hard to know how much of the shortages are due to lagging supply and how much is caused by consumers hedging against future price hikes or a total lack of product.

"There have been so many stories about worldwide shortages that it encourages people to stock up. What most people don't realize is that supply chains have changed, so inventories are very short," Mr. Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, said. "Even if people increased their purchasing by 20%, all the store shelves would be wiped out."

At the moment, large chain retailers seem more prone to shortages and limits than do smaller chains and mom-and-pop stores, perhaps because store managers at the larger companies have less discretion to increase prices locally. Mr. Rawles said the spot shortages seemed to be most frequent in the Northeast and all the way along the West Coast. He said he had heard reports of buying limits at Sam's Club warehouses, which are owned by Wal-Mart Stores, but a spokesman for the company, Kory Lundberg, said he was not aware of any shortages or limits.

An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site, Seeking Alpha, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco. "I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just hoarding some for my own consumption," he wrote.

For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags. "At our neighborhood store, it's very expensive, more than $30" for a 25-pound bag, a housewife from Mountain View, Theresa Esquerra, said. "I'm not going to pay $30. Maybe we'll just eat bread."

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Church Sign Outrage: Pastor Questions Obama’s Faith With Link to Osama

Daily Motion
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

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'Perfect storm' food crisis grips globe

By Marc Lacey
in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

HUNGER smashed in the front gate of Haiti's presidential palace. Hunger poured on to the streets, burning tyres and taking on soldiers and the police. Hunger sent the country's prime minister packing.

Haiti's hunger, that has become fiercer than ever in recent days as global food prices spiral out of reach, rising by as much as 45% since the end of 2006 and turning staples such as beans, corn and rice into closely guarded treasures.

Saint Louis Meriska's children ate two spoonfuls of rice apiece as their only meal and then went without any food the following day. His eyes downcast, his own stomach empty, the unemployed father said: "They look at me and say 'Papa, I'm hungry', and I have to look away. It's humiliating and it makes you angry."

That anger is palpable across the globe. The food crisis is not only being felt among the poor but is also eroding the gains of the working and middle classes, sowing volatile levels of discontent and putting new pressures on fragile governments.

In Cairo, Egypt, the military is being put to work baking bread as rising food prices threaten to become the spark that ignites wider anger at a repressive government. In Burkina Faso and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, food riots are breaking out as never before. In reasonably prosperous Malaysia, the ruling coalition was nearly ousted by voters who cited food and fuel price increases as their main concerns.

"It's the worst crisis of its kind in more than 30 years," said Jeffrey D Sachs, the economist and special adviser to the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. "It's a big deal and it's obviously threatening a lot of governments. There are a number of governments on the ropes, and I think there's more political fallout to come."

Indeed, as it hits developing nations, the spike in commodity prices has pitted the world's poorer south against the relatively wealthy north, adding to demands for reform of rich nations' farm and environmental policies. But experts say there are few quick fixes to a crisis tied to so many factors, from strong demand for food from emerging economies such as China's to rising oil prices to the diversion of food resources to make biofuels.

There are no scripts on how to handle the crisis either. In Asia, governments are putting in place measures to limit hoarding of rice after some shoppers panicked at price increases and bought up everything they could.

Even in Thailand, which produces 10 million more tons of rice than it consumes and is the world's largest rice exporter, supermarkets have put up signs limiting the amount of rice shoppers are allowed to buy.

But there is also plenty of nervousness and confusion about how best to proceed and how bad the impact may be, particularly as already strapped governments struggle to keep up their food subsidies.

"This is a perfect storm," President Elias Antonio Saca of El Salvador said last week at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Cancun, Mexico.

"How long can we withstand the situation? We have to feed our people, and commodities are becoming scarce. This scandalous storm might become a hurricane that could upset not only our economies but also the stability of our countries."

In Asia, if Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia steps down, which is looking increasingly likely amid postelection turmoil within his party, he may be that region's first high-profile political casualty of fuel and food price inflation.

In Indonesia, fearing protests, the government has revised its 2008 budget, increasing the amount it will spend on food subsidies by about $280m.

"The biggest concern is food riots," said HS Dillon, a former adviser to Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture. Referring to small but widespread protests touched off by a rise in soybean prices in January, he said: "It has happened in the past and can happen again."

The Philippine government has started selling subsidised rice at military bases to ensure soldiers and their families have a sufficient supply of cheap grain, while other supplies are being stockpiled for the poorest members of society.

Last month in Senegal, one of Africa's oldest and most stable democracies, police in riot gear beat and used tear gas against people protesting over high food prices and later raided a television station that broadcast images of the event.

Many Senegalese have expressed anger at President Abdoulaye Wade for spending lavishly on roads and hotels for an Islamic summit meeting last month while many people are unable to afford rice or fish.

The rising prices are altering menus, and not for the better. In India, people are scrimping on milk for their children. Daily bowls of dahl are getting thinner, as a bag of lentils is stretched across a few more meals.

In Cairo's Hafziyah Street, peddlers selling food from behind wood carts bark out their prices. But few customers can afford their fish or chicken. Food prices have doubled in two months.

Ahmed Abul Gheit, 25, sat on a wooden chair by his own pile of rotting tomatoes. "We can't even find food," he said, looking over at his friend Sobhy Abdullah, 50. Then, raising his hands toward the sky as if in prayer, he said: "May God take the guy I have in mind."

Abdullah nodded, knowing full well that the "guy" was President Hosni Mubarak.

It is the kind of talk that has prompted the government to treat its economic woes as a security threat, dispatching riot forces with a strict warning that anyone who takes to the streets will be dealt with harshly.

Niger does not need to be reminded that hungry citizens overthrow governments. Its first postcolonial president, Hamani Diori, was toppled amid allegations of rampant corruption in 1974 as millions starved during a drought.

More recently, in 2005, it was mass protests in Niamey, the Nigerian capital, that made the government sit up and take notice of that year's food crisis, which was caused by a complex mix of poor rains, locust infestation and market manipulation by traders.

"As a result of that experience the government created a Cabinet-level ministry to deal with the high cost of living," said Moustapha Kadi, an activist who helped organise marches in 2005. "So when prices went up this year, the government acted quickly to remove tariffs on rice, which everyone eats. That quick action has kept people from taking to the streets."

In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically only consumed by the most destitute.

"It's salty and it has butter and you don't know you're eating dirt," said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. "It makes your stomach quiet down."

But the grumbling in Haiti these days is no longer confined to the stomach. It is now spray-painted on walls of the capital and shouted by demonstrators.

In recent days, President Rene Preval of Haiti – who has already seen his prime minister voted out – has patched together a response, using international aid money and price reductions by importers to cut the price of a sack of sugar by about 15%. He has also trimmed the salaries of some top officials. But those are considered temporary measures.

Meanwhile, most of the poorest of the poor suffer silently. In the sprawling slum of Haiti's Cite Soleil, Placide Simone, 29, offered one of her five offspring to a stranger. "Take one," she said, cradling a listless baby and motioning toward four rail-thin toddlers, none of whom had eaten that day. "You pick. Just feed them."

• Lydia Polgreen in Niamey, Niger; Michael Slackman in Cairo, Egypt; Somini Sengupta in New Delhi; Thomas Fuller in Bangkok, Thailand; and Peter Gelling in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Ex-NFL Player Tasered For Pointing At Cop

Incorrect body language, talking to an officer now results in "pain compliance"


Ex-NFL player Timothy Worley was tasered by Georgia police for "becoming confrontational" at a traffic stop according to news reports, but the video shows that the extent of Worley's aggression was merely pointing at the cop and raising his voice.

After Worley exits the vehicle and appears calm, the cowardly officer accuses him of "making fists" when Worley is doing no more than crossing his arms. Apparently, incorrect body language is now an offence that justifies "pain compliance" correction by means of a Tasering.

Worley even puts his palms together in a prayer-like pose in an attempt to reassure the officer he is calm but that is not good enough, after Worley points at the cop for half a second, the officer then approaches Worley who backs away but is then Tasered.

What should Worley's correct body language have been to have avoided 50,000 volts shooting through his body? Should he have kneeled and licked the officer's boots while he was being lectured?

Why are police being trained that simply talking to cops or pointing a finger is evidence of an imminent physical threat?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Homosexuality Explained in 17min.

Is homosexuality genetic, or is it something people choose? What if it's neither! Dr. Julie Harren, a Licensed Marriage and Family ... all » Therapist in private practice in Palm Beach, Florida, discusses the meaning and causes of homosexuality. Dr. Harren is also an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Graduate Counseling Psychology program at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Dr. Harren speaks in churches in churches, schools, and other settings on the topic of homosexuality.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Police Raid MoVal Black Barbershops in California

Thursday, 10 April 2008
By Chris Levister

Moreno Valley barbers targeted in the April 2 raids claim police used inspectors from the California Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) as a ruse to raid Black owned barbershops, intimidate customers and conduct "highly questionable" shop searches without a warrant.

Moreno Valley Police, BBC inspectors and city code compliance officers conducted a mid-day sweep of five barbershops and a beauty salon along busy Sunnymead Boulevard. Five of the six shops are owned and operated by African-American barbers.

Police Chief Rick Hall denied African-American barbershops were targeted and said "he had no information on customers being questioned or searched." He did however confirm that a customer was taken into custody for carrying a concealed weapon.

"This was a cumulative effort with the BBC the over arcing entity aimed at cracking down on business license and health and safety violators. Race was not a factor," said Hall. Chief Hall insisted individual businesses were selected from a list compiled by the city's code compliance office.

Contacted at the Sacramento offices of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) spokesman Kevin Flanagan said "Moreno Valley police sought out the agency's assistance."

"This was not our operation. Basically Moreno Valley police contacted us and said they wanted to look at these shops, naturally we agreed to go along," said Flanagan. "We found mostly ‘cleanliness' violations. Usually we'll only go along if there is a public safety issue. In my five years with the DCA I don't recall the agency participating in a local law enforcement operation like this. Our resources are scarce," he said.

A second DCA spokesman Russ Heimerich said "we tagged along, these types of operations are rare but not unheard of. The Moreno Valley raids appeared to be aimed at ‘shutting down drug operations'."

BBC inspectors routinely conduct random and targeted ‘health and safety' inspections on more than 250,000 establishments licensed under the state Bureau of Barbering and Cosmetology that offer barbering, manicurist, cosmetology, electrology and esthetician services.

Police reports show the raids resulted in at least two arrests, nearly $20,000 in fines and 49 citations mostly for health and safety infractions. Reports show police and code officers issued several citations for not having a business license, and parole violations. A barber was taken into custody for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and released.

Hair Shack, in business since 1984, was issued 11 BBC health and safety citations and fined $1,500. Owner and barber stylist Kevon Gordon, well known in city civic and business circles including the DARE anti-drug program, angrily questioned police tactics. "These were minor violations like combs out of place." He claims during business hours five law enforcement officers, three BBC inspectors and three code compliance officers bolted through his front door while he was away on lunch break.

Barber Ron Jones who was watching television with a customer in the shop lobby claims officers and inspectors jumped from their vehicles and rushed the shop.

"They said ‘this is a health and safety inspection'." Jones, a barber for more than 20 years who is used to BBC inspectors dropping in unannounced, claims he was shocked to see them accompanied by five police officers dressed in bulletproof vests. "When I asked what's going on, an inspector showed her badge and began inspecting equipment and supply drawers. She then asked for my driver's license, I complied. She wrote down the license number, as she handed the license back to me a police officer snatched it and left the building to run my license for outstanding warrants," said Jones.

Jones said officers conducted a lengthy search of the shop opening closets and drawers. He noted officers picked up a box of crackers from the counter and shook it. "They asked my customer - "do you have any outstanding warrants?" the customer replied "no" but was clearly intimidated and confused by the police action."

"They were looking for ‘something' beside business and health and safety violations," said Gordon who says he plans to ask for an investigation into the raid.

"I've been here 24 years. We serve men, women and children. I don't tolerate loitering, drug dealing or rough play. What were the criteria used for selecting a business? Was this racial profiling? What was BBC's ‘real' role in the raids? We have no prior history of police trouble," said Gordon.

He claims the huge police presence in and around his shop aroused the suspicions of neighboring business owners, threatened to impugn his community standing and left him and Jones humiliated in the eyes of customers, many of whom are law enforcement officers. "Did they raid the white owned nail salon two doors down? I want answers," demanded Gordon.

"I've never seen inspectors accompanied by police in flack jackets," said Donzell ‘Vader' Tate a barber at Top of the Line Barbershop since 2005. "I didn't know individual barbers needed a business license," said Tate who was cited for not having one.

"The police rushed in and locked the doors. When we asked for search warrants, an officer announced this is a ‘health and safety inspection'. They kept insisting, ‘this is a DCA operation'," said Tate.

L.C. Whitehorn, Jr., a Top of the Line barber since 2005, was taken into custody on three misdemeanor violations and released. He was also cited and fined for not having a business license. Whitehorn claimed the BBC inspector showed a badge and while she performed routine checks for cleanliness and professional licensing, police and code officers took over the barbershop and demanded that everyone including customers show identification. They questioned customers and asked if anyone had warrants,

In addition to Hair Shack, and Top of the Line, the series of raids targeted Fades Unlimited, Untouchables, Hair Professionals and Hair Sculptures.

Hair Sculptures beauty salon co-owner Jackie Brazeau who is Latino said while she welcomes code compliance in the industry, the heavy handed police tactics left her shaken.

"I was shocked and insulted. They walked in and demanded an inspection. This was unusual since one of the inspectors in the raid had performed a routine inspection in December." Brazeau said "police officers rushed to the rear of the shop and started opening cabinets and drawers. They appeared to be looking for drugs or something. It was very confusing. They searched the place said some trays were not labeled and left the shop."

"Wouldn't the energies of these state and local agencies be better spent educating and encouraging small minority business owners, particularly (Black male) owed?" said hair products supplier Lorenzo Griffin. "I've serviced the Hair Shack for 25 years I've never witnessed even a whiff of drug or criminal activity."

"This operation was clearly a blatant abuse of police power. They co-opted the authority of the DCA hoping to uncover rampant drug dealing and criminal activity - without a search warrant, in violation of the barber's civil rights," said Griffin.

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While You Slept Your Congress Took Away Your Constitution

YouTube | April 11, 2008

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Co-Payments Soar for Drugs With High Prices

Robin Steinwand had been paying $20 a month for her multiple sclerosis drug, which she keeps in the refrigerator. When she went to pick up her prescription in January, it cost $325.

NY Times.com

Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system for very expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions for medications that may save their lives or slow the progress of serious diseases.

With the new pricing system, insurers abandoned the traditional arrangement that has patients pay a fixed amount, like $10, $20 or $30 for a prescription, no matter what the drug’s actual cost. Instead, they are charging patients a percentage of the cost of certain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount to thousands of dollars a month.

The system means that the burden of expensive health care can now affect insured people, too.

No one knows how many patients are affected, but hundreds of drugs are priced this new way. They are used to treat diseases that may be fairly common, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, hepatitis C and some cancers. There are no cheaper equivalents for these drugs, so patients are forced to pay the price or do without.

Insurers say the new system keeps everyone’s premiums down at a time when some of the most innovative and promising new treatments for conditions like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can cost $100,000 and more a year.

But the result is that patients may have to spend more for a drug than they pay for their mortgages, more, in some cases, than their monthly incomes.

The system, often called Tier 4, began in earnest with Medicare drug plans and spread rapidly. It is now incorporated into 86 percent of those plans. Some have even higher co-payments for certain drugs, a Tier 5.

Now Tier 4 is also showing up in insurance that people buy on their own or acquire through employers, said Dan Mendelson of Avalere Health, a research organization in Washington. It is the fastest-growing segment in private insurance, Mr. Mendelson said. Five years ago it was virtually nonexistent in private plans, he said. Now 10 percent of them have Tier 4 drug categories.

Private insurers began offering Tier 4 plans in response to employers who were looking for ways to keep costs down, said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents most of the nation’s health insurers. When people who need Tier 4 drugs pay more for them, other subscribers in the plan pay less for their coverage.

But the new system sticks seriously ill people with huge bills, said James Robinson, a health economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It is very unfortunate social policy,” Dr. Robinson said. “The more the sick person pays, the less the healthy person pays.”

Traditionally, the idea of insurance was to spread the costs of paying for the sick.

“This is an erosion of the traditional concept of insurance,” Mr. Mendelson said. “Those beneficiaries who bear the burden of illness are also bearing the burden of cost.”

And often, patients say, they had no idea that they would be faced with such a situation.

It happened to Robin Steinwand, 53, who has multiple sclerosis.

In January, shortly after Ms. Steinwand renewed her insurance policy with Kaiser Permanente, she went to refill her prescription for Copaxone. She had been insured with Kaiser for 17 years through her husband, a federal employee, and had had no complaints about the coverage.

She had been taking Copaxone since multiple sclerosis was diagnosed in 2000, buying a 30 days’ supply at a time. And even though the drug costs $1,900 a month, Kaiser required only a $20 co-payment.

Not this time. When Ms. Steinwand went to pick up her prescription at a pharmacy near her home in Silver Spring, Md., the pharmacist handed her a bill for $325.

There must be a mistake, Ms. Steinwand said. So the pharmacist checked with her supervisor. The new price was correct. Kaiser’s policy had changed. Now Kaiser was charging 25 percent of the cost of the drug up to a maximum of $325 per prescription. Her annual cost would be $3,900 and unless her insurance changed or the drug dropped in price, it would go on for the rest of her life.

“I charged it, then got into my car and burst into tears,” Ms. Steinwand said.

She needed the drug, she said, because it can slow the course of her disease. And she knew she would just have to pay for it, but it would not be easy.

“It’s a tough economic time for everyone,” she said. “My son will start college in a year and a half. We are asking ourselves, can we afford a vacation? Can we continue to save for retirement and college?”

Although Kaiser advised patients of the new plan in its brochure that it sent out in the open enrollment period late last year, Ms. Steinwand did not notice it. And private insurers, Mr. Mendelson said, can legally change their coverage to one in which some drugs are Tier 4 with no advance notice.

Medicare drug plans have to notify patients but, Mr. Mendelson said, “that doesn’t mean the person will hear about it.” He added, “You don’t read all your mail.”

Some patients said they had no idea whether their plan changed or whether it always had a Tier 4. The new system came as a surprise when they found out that they needed an expensive drug.

That’s what happened to Robert W. Banning of Arlington, Va., when his doctor prescribed Sprycel for his chronic myelogenous leukemia. The drug can block the growth of cancer cells, extending lives. It is a tablet to be taken twice a day — no need for chemotherapy infusions.

Mr. Banning, 81, a retired owner of car dealerships, thought he had good insurance through AARP. But Sprycel, which he will have to take for the rest of his life, costs more than $13,500 for a 90-day supply, and Mr. Banning soon discovered that the AARP plan required him to pay more than $4,000.

Mr. Banning and his son, Robert Banning Jr., have accepted the situation. “We’re not trying to make anybody the heavy,” the father said.

So far, they have not purchased the drug. But if they do, they know that the expense would go on and on, his son said. “Somehow or other, myself and my family will do whatever it takes. You don’t put your parent on a scale.”

But Ms. Steinwand was not so sanguine. She immediately asked Kaiser why it had changed its plan.

The answer came in a letter from the federal Office of Personnel Management, which negotiates with health insurers in the plan her husband has as a federal employee. Kaiser classifies drugs like Copaxone as specialty drugs. They, the letter said, “are high-cost drugs used to treat relatively few people suffering from complex conditions like anemia, cancer, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and human growth hormone deficiency.”

And Kaiser, the agency added, had made a convincing argument that charging a percentage of the cost of these drugs “helped lower the rates for federal employees.”

Ms. Steinwand can change plans at the end of the year, choosing one that allows her to pay $20 for the Copaxone, but she worries about whether that will help. “I am a little nervous,” she said. “Will the next company follow suit next year?”

But it turns out that she won’t have to worry, at least for the rest of this year.

A Kaiser spokeswoman, Sandra R. Gregg, said on Friday that Kaiser had decided to suspend the change for the program involving federal employees in the mid-Atlantic region while it reviewed the new policy. The suspension will last for the rest of the year, she said. Ms. Steinwand and others who paid the new price for their drugs will be repaid the difference between the new price and the old co-payment.

Ms. Gregg explained that Kaiser had been discussing the new pricing plan with the Office of Personnel Management over the previous few days because patients had been raising questions about it. That led to the decision to suspend the changed pricing system.

“Letters will go out next week,” Ms. Gregg said.

But some with the new plans say they have no way out.

Julie Bass, who lives near Orlando, Fla., has metastatic breast cancer, lives on Social Security disability payments, and because she is disabled, is covered by insurance through a Medicare H.M.O. Ms. Bass, 52, said she had no alternatives to her H.M.O. She said she could not afford a regular Medicare plan, which has co-payments of 20 percent for such things as emergency care, outpatient surgery and scans. That left her with a choice of two Medicare H.M.O’s that operate in her region. But of the two H.M.O’s, her doctors accept only Wellcare.

Now, she said, one drug her doctor may prescribe to control her cancer is Tykerb. But her insurer, Wellcare, classifies it as Tier 4, and she knows she cannot afford it.

Wellcare declined to say what Tykerb might cost, but its list price according to a standard source, Red Book, is $3,480 for 150 tablets, which may last a patient 21 days. Wellcare requires patients to pay a third of the cost of its Tier 4 drugs.

“For everybody in my position with metastatic breast cancer, there are times when you are stable and can go off treatment,” Ms. Bass said. “But if we are progressing, we have to be on treatment, or we will die.”

“People’s eyes need to be opened,” she said. “They need to understand that these drugs are very costly, and there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with these costs.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 15, 2008
An article on Monday about a large increase in insurance co-payments for high-priced drugs misstated the way the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone is administered. It is injected, not taken in pill form.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008






The news at the grocery store is grim for many. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices rose by 4% last year, the largest increase in 17 years. And, the USDA predicts they will rise another 4% this year. Eggs are up 40% in the past year; milk up 26% a gallon; a loaf of standard bread, 20%.
All across the nation families, government agencies and food banks are feeling the pinch. So many people are in precarious straits our government figures 28 million Americans will be using food stamps this year, the highest level since the program began in the 1960s. Almost one in l0 people in Ohio get food stamps; one in eight in Michigan, and one in six West Virginians. The rising food prices make that assistance worth less and less and food banks and pantries are facing increased need and those same higher prices.

As so many people face empty fridges and bare pantries, American farmers are going all-out to meet the world-wide demand for food — and earning record prices for their efforts, as they should. Farm income almost doubled last year, and is now reaching an all time high. With grain prices skyrocketing and the federal deficit out of sight, this would seem the moment to cut back on those tens of billions of dollars that taxpayers shower on milk producers, cotton and rice farmers, and growers of corn, soybeans, wheat, and sugar — subsidies that keep coming whether they're needed or not. Our farm policies frankly are a ramshackle, a costly mess — a monster jerrybuilt by politics. What was supposed to be a temporary financial safety net for imperiled family farmers has become a huge boondoggle for a fraction of wealthy farmers, including landowners who've never gotten close enough to a barn to slip on the manure. But you don't have to take my word for it. Listen to a team of journalists from the Washington Post —which by the way, won six Pulitzer prizes this week. They spent over a year producing a long series of painstaking reports on farm subsidies. This account of what the post reporters found was produced by my colleagues at Exposé.

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OUR ECONOMY: Inequality of wealth and income

Researcher: Demetrius D.

Marriner S. Eccles who served as Franklin D. Roosevelt 's Chairman of the Federal Reserve from November, 1934 to February, 1948 detailed what he believed caused the Depression in his memoirs, Beckoning Frontiers (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1951):

As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth -- not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced -- to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation s economic machinery. [Emphasis in original.] Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.

That is what happened to us in the twenties. We sustained high levels of employment in that period with the aid of an exceptional expansion of debt outside of the banking system. This debt was provided by the large growth of business savings as well as savings by individuals, particularly in the upper-income groups where taxes were relatively low. Private debt outside of the banking system increased about fifty per cent. This debt, which was at high interest rates, largely took the form of mortgage debt on housing, office, and hotel structures, consumer installment debt, brokers' loans, and foreign debt. The stimulation to spending by debt-creation of this sort was short-lived and could not be counted on to sustain high levels of employment for long periods of time. Had there been a better distribution of the current income from the national product -- in other words, had there been less savings by business and the higher-income groups and more income in the lower groups -- we should have had far greater stability in our economy. Had the six billion dollars, for instance, that were loaned by corporations and wealthy individuals for stock-market speculation been distributed to the public as lower prices or higher wages and with less profits to the corporations and the well-to-do, it would have prevented or greatly moderated the economic collapse that began at the end of 1929.

The time came when there were no more poker chips to be loaned on credit. Debtors thereupon were forced to curtail their consumption in an effort to create a margin that could be applied to the reduction of outstanding debts. This naturally reduced the demand for goods of all kinds and brought on what seemed to be overproduction, but was in reality underconsumption when judged in terms of the real world instead of the money world. This, in turn, brought about a fall in prices and employment.

Unemployment further decreased the consumption of goods, which further increased unemployment, thus closing the circle in a continuing decline of prices. Earnings began to disappear, requiring economies of all kinds in the wages, salaries, and time of those employed. And thus again the vicious circle of deflation was closed until one third of the entire working population was unemployed, with our national income reduced by fifty per cent, and with the aggregate debt burden greater than ever before, not in dollars, but measured by current values and income that represented the ability to pay. Fixed charges, such as taxes, railroad and other utility rates, insurance and interest charges, clung close to the 1929 level and required such a portion of the national income to meet them that the amount left for consumption of goods was not sufficient to support the population.

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Joe Madison Breaks Down the Darfur Genocide and Slavery in Sudan

LISTEN HERE - 'real player only'

If you don't know what's going on in africa...here you go. Please black people get informed!!! and find out what you can do!!!!!

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Michael Eric Dyson Puts It Down


Author and cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson talked about his body of writing, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Professor Dyson talked about issues such as the role of the church in black culture. He discussed the problem of black people who excel being considered exceptions while those who do unacceptable things being considered part of the norm. Professor Dyson reacted to a video clip of John McWhorter from March 2, 2008, talking about hip hop. He also responded to a video clip from July 1, 2004, of Bill Cosby talking about personal responsibility. He responded to telephone calls and electronic mail.

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Monday, April 07, 2008


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The Church of Oprah Exposed

OBM:For thoes who call themselves Christians....If this is not enough I do not know what is!!!! People.....Ladies.....Sista's....Please wake up!!!!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

28 Million American's On Food Stamps By End Of This Year

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Jesse Ventura ...Nails It!!!!!

Jesse Ventura Part 1

Jesse Ventura Part 2

Jesse Ventura Part 3

Jesse Ventura Part 4

Jesse Ventura Part 5

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bill Moyers Journal on Race, Part 1, with former Senator Fred Harris (3/28/08)

OBM: Part 1 of this (GREAT) show, which focuses on racism over the years, giving a history whites would all do well to familiarize themselves with. One of the few real attempts that the U.S. government made to really look at and learn the destructive power of their racism. Unfortunately it came only after wide spread violence and years of horrible poverty. The problem is that after white people looked at what they had created as a country they quickly began to reinstitute the racist laws and practices that continued these problems during the Reagan years. I am a beneficiary of the racism atonement programs that were started after the Kerner report. My father was able to get a family sustaining wage job and our family flourished. My siblings I and received a much superior education than our parents. Being the youngest I received the best education of my siblings. Because of our education, free lunch programs, and even bussing (which became assimilation programs that I oppose) we all have been able to more easily build professional careers and maintain financial stability with our families. My point...while slow...the racial atonement programs did work and instead of ending them they should of continued and be enhanced, and not have been eliminated or become under funded, corruptly managed, or hollow political campaign speak.

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