Archive for the ‘media’ Tag

Latino KKK: Brown Beret Says “This is America–Go back to Europe”   Leave a comment

Hi All!

My goodness, so much has been happening since I last updated my blog that I’m not sure where to start, but I’m going to go ahead and start with this video that I meant to post a few days ago but I was speechless to make comment on it.

Well, I guess the video speaks for itself.  This most likely will not make it into mainstream liberal media, much the way the new black panther video went. 

This is jus the most lunatic, insane thing I have ever seen or heard in my entire life.  These people are REALLY out of touch with reality!

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Car Bomb Signals New Dimension to Mexican Drug War   Leave a comment

And we want this here

What is this going to take for anyone to realize that this is a WAR?!!!!  You know–bring troops, lay the law down and all that.  These aren’t just simple drug cartels, as though they are not worth the effort.  These are TERRORISTS!  I have said that from the very beginning.  I’ve pointed out that this has gotten way out of control.  This has been going on since I lived in California, over almost two years ago, and it’s only going to get WORSE! 

Which, apparently, it has.  And this happened right across the border from Texas!!!!!

This is what the Taliban use.  This is what Middle Eastern terrorists do.  Next there’ll be suicide bombers. 

AND THEY ARE CROSSING OVER HERE TO AMERICA WITHOUT BEING STOPPED!

THEY ARE COMING HERE WITHOUT A PROBLEM–WHAT MAKES ANYONE THINK FOR ONE MINUTE THAT THIS WON’T HAPPEN HERE??????

SEAL THE BORDERS PLEASE, MR PRESIDENT!  THIS IS SAD!  THIS IS PATHETIC! 

And I’m tempted to say, “Don’t these drug cartel guys have anything better to do with themselves that kill people?”

This is wrong on so many levels!  Mexico needs to get their act together.  We can send troops to two countries overseas thousands of miles away, but we can’t send them to our borders to PROTECT AMERICA!!!!?????? 

This, to me, sounds more eminent and important.  I’m not bashing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by any means, I’m just pointing out that we need to also be thinking about the home front.  When this starts happening here, and I’m sure it will, is Obama going to protect us?  Doubt it. 

These people need to be stopped!

Car bomb signals new dimension to Mexican drug war

AP

AP – The remains of a vehicle are cordoned off in a street in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, …
 

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL and E. EDUARDO CASTILLO, Associated Press Writers Alicia A. Caldwell And E. Eduardo Castillo, Associated Press Writers Sat Jul 17, 2:29 am ET

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A drug cartel has used a car bomb for the first time in Mexico’s decades-long fight against traffickers, setting a deadly trap against federal police in a city across the border from Texas, the mayor of Ciudad Juarez said Friday.

Mayor Jose Reyes said federal police have confirmed to him that a car bomb was used in the attack that killed three people Thursday.

It was the first time a drug cartel has used a bomb to attack Mexican security forces, marking an escalation in a raging drug war that already is extremely deadly: On Friday alone, a dozen people were killed and 21 wounded in a series of gun battles between soldiers and cartel gunmen in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, the federal Interior Department said.

In Thursday’s bombing, federal police and paramedics were lured to the scene by a phone call reporting that shots were fired at a major intersection and a municipal police officer lay wounded, Reyes told The Associated Press.

As the paramedics were working on the wounded man, a parked car exploded, he said.

Reyes said authorities later determined that the wounded man was not a policeman, although he was wearing a fake uniform. The man was among the three people who died in the attack. The others were a federal police officer and a medical technician.

Brig. Gen. Eduardo Zarate, the commander of the regional military zone, told reporters that up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of explosives might have been used, although investigators were still trying to determine what type.

He said the bomb might have been detonated remotely with a cell phone, adding that burned batteries connecting to a mobile phone were found at the scene.

“From what distance? We don’t know. But we think it was a distance that allowed (the assailants) to watch the area, waiting for the police to get out of their vehicle,” Zarate said.

The car bomb demonstrates the growing boldness and military sophistication of Mexico’s drug traffickers, who have dramatically stepped up attacks against security forces and government officials since President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of troops and federal police to crush the cartels in their strongholds.

“We have to change the way we operate,” Reyes said. “We’ve started changing all our protocols, to include bomb situations.”

City and federal authorities said the attack appeared to target only security forces.

“The threat was directed at the police departments, so it is not a threat against the population,” he added. “But we have to be very careful with our police departments, their actions and how we protect them, and of course, how we protect the population from the fallout.”

A graffiti message appeared on a wall of a Ciudad Juarez shopping mall Thursday night warning of more car bombs.

In Nuevo Laredo, meanwhile, the shootouts in at least three points of the city prompted the U.S. Consulate to warn American citizens in the city to remain indoors. The Consulate said gunmen were blocking some streets with hijacked vehicles at the height of the battles.

“We have received credible reports of widespread violence occurring now between narcotics trafficking organizations and the Mexican Army in Nuevo Laredo. We have credible reports of grenades being used,” the Consulate said in a statement. “We advise all U.S. citizens in Nuevo Laredo to remain indoors until the security situation improves.”

The Mexican Interior Department said it “energetically condemned the cowardly acts.”

Seven of the 21 wounded were listed in serious condition, and three of the seriously wounded were children apparently caught in the crossfire, the Interior Department said in a statement.

The dead included nine suspected gunmen, two civilians and one soldier. Nuevo Laredo has been the scene of vicious turf battles between the Gulf cartel and their former allies, the Zetas drug gang.

Army officials reached by phone in Nuevo Laredo declined to comment.

Roadblocks have been another tactic to recently emerge in Mexico’s drug war. Gangs in the neighboring northeastern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, where Nuevo Laredo is located, have thrown up the blockades to impede soldiers from coming to the aid of colleagues under attack.

Drug gangs have previously attacked Mexican soldiers and police with grenades and powerful rifles, and there had long been fears they might turn to bombings. Soldiers have seized homemade explosives from gang vehicles after gunbattles, and assailants have stolen explosive material from transport vehicles.

Federal police said the bombing attack was in retaliation for the arrest of a top leader of the La Linea drug gang, Jesus Acosta Guerrero, earlier in the day.

Police said Acosta Guerrero, 35, was the “operations leader” of La Linea, which works for the Juarez drug cartel. He was responsible for at least 25 killings, mainly of rival gang members, and also ordered attacks on police, a federal police statement said.

The Juarez cartel appeared to claim credit for the attack in the graffiti message, which accused federal police of supporting the rival Sinaloa cartel, led by Mexico’s most-wanted kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“What happened … is going to keep happening against all the authorities that keep supporting ‘El Chapo,'” the message read. “We have more car bombs.”

Calderon’s government has long faced allegations that his government does not pursue the Sinaloa cartel as aggressively as other gangs, accusations he vehemently denies.

Oh snap!  Even the mainstream media is bringing this sordid detail up.  I NEVER expected to see that!!! 

Sorry compadre, you got busted!

The question is though–what will America do about it?  Probably nothing.  Obama will just continue to kiss Calderon’s feet and roll over like a puppy to have his tummy scratched, completely ignoring the facts and the problems.  All the two of them talk about is why Arizona isn’t allowing un-hindered illegal immigration up through its deserts.

GEEEEEEE!  I WONDER WHY?!!!! >rolls eyes

What appeared to be the charred bottom half of the explosives-rigged car still lay at the scene of the attack Friday. The debris from the blast was spread out over a 300-yard (300-meter) radius. The explosion also blew out the windows of a nearby home and blackened the corner of the building nearest to the crash.

“Thank God we weren’t home,” said a woman who lives in the damaged house. She refused to give her name, citing safety concerns, before driving away from the scene Thursday.

Although the car bomb was a new tactic, it was far from the deadliest attack on Mexico’s security forces. Last month, a carefully planned ambush killed 12 federal police officers in the western state of Michoacan.

And a week before July 4 local and state elections, suspected cartel members ambushed and killed the leading candidate for governor of Tamaulipas. Calderon called the assassination — which followed a series of attacks and threats against candidates throughout the campaign — evidence that drug cartels were trying to control Mexican politics through intimidation.

Federal Attorney General Arturo Chavez said he could not confirm if the latest attack involved a car bomb and said investigators were running forensic tests to determine if the assailants packed the car with explosive material or launched grenades.

Chavez said the killings did not qualify as terrorism.

“We have no evidence anywhere in the country of narco-terrorism,” he said.

The attorney general says at least 24,800 people have been killed in drug-gang violence since Calderon launched his military-led offensive in 2006.

Ciudad Juarez has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world, with more than 4,000 people killed since the beginning of 2009. Reyes said at least 14 police officers have been killed in the city and surrounding areas in recent weeks.

___

E. Eduardo Castillo reported from Mexico City.

First of Arizona Anti-Illegal Immigration Law S.B. 1070 Hearings Held Today   Leave a comment

Well, it has begun.  The courts are finally going to be hearing the cases against Arizona’s anti-Illegal Immigration laws which mirror the Federal Law on the books. 

Firstly, please note that these trials are happening in Phoenix—a reputed ‘Sanctuary City’—with a judge that sides with Illegal Immigrants.

This does not bode well.  I am trying not to be negative about this and I’m praying for a miracle, but seriously folks . . . the odds are totally against them, even THOUGH THEY ARE IN THE RIGHT!  My prayers are with Arizona though this and it looks like these first frivolous law suits might get thrown out, but still . . .

And the fact that this officer refuses to comply with FEDERAL LAW should also be put under examination.  If he refused to pay his Federal Taxes—which paying them IS A FEDERAL LAW—do you honestly think he would get away with it and be able to use the fact that he refuses to pay his taxes as a reason to sue in court?  THAT is ridiculous!  I can see the point of these illegal immigrant groups that are suing, no matter HOW misguided, but not this guy!  He’s the most misguided of them all!

Sorry, I like to use the term ‘misguided’ in reference to those who are ‘misguided’ and ‘misinformed’ about the law.  LOL!!!  It just seems fitting.

Anyway, you had better believe that next week, when the Department of Justice makes their case, I will be paying attention!  My ears will be perked and my hackles raised to find out what is going to go down and will be until a verdict has been issued.

WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS PEOPLE!  SUPPORT ARIZONA!  FRIEND GOV. JAN BREWER ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE!  IF YOUR STATE ISNT’ ONE OF THE 9 WHO IS SIDING WITH ARIZONA, BUG YOUR CONGRESS-PERSON!  THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN!

>steps off soapbox<

K, here’s the article:

Attorney: Immigration law puts cop’s job at stake

By JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press Writer Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press Writer – 3 mins ago

PHOENIX – A Phoenix police officer’s attorney says the officer could be fired if he doesn’t enforce the state’s new immigration law, which he has sued to block.

Officer David Salgado and the statewide nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa filed one of seven lawsuits to try to overturn the law.

Attorneys for the Arizona governor told U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton Thursday that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Salgado and the group lack legal standing to sue and that there’s no valid claim of immediate harm.

Bolton didn’t rule immediately after hearing approximately 40 minutes of arguments on Gov. Jan Brewer’s dismissal motion.

Instead she began hearing arguments on the challengers’ request for an order blocking implementation of the law beginning July 29.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge heard arguments on Thursday morning over whether Arizona’s new immigration law should take effect at the end of the month, marking the first major hearing in one of seven challenges to the strict law.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also is considering Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to dismiss the challenge filed by Phoenix police Officer David Salgado and the statewide nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa.

Bolton began by quickly dismissing Brewer as an individual defendant to the lawsuit, a motion unopposed by Salgado’s lawyer. She then began considering whether to dismiss the case.

Bolton said last week that she may not rule on the officer’s request to block the law before it takes effect July 29.

Hearings on the six other lawsuits, including one filed by the federal government, are set for next week.

The large ceremonial courtroom at the main federal courthouse in Phoenix was packed with more than 100 spectators as the hearing began. More than a dozen lawyers were in place along two L-shaped tables, evenly divided between each side. The jury box was filled with law clerks for judges who work in the building who came to observe.

Protesters and supporters of the law gathered outside the courthouse amid heavy security.

About two dozen supporters of the law, many dressed in red, white and blue, held up signs praising Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a major backer of the crackdown on illegal immigrants, and one said “American Pride.”

About 50 feet away a group opposed to the law held up signs calling for repeal of the law.

The groups competed with each other using bullhorns.

“We demand an injunction. We demand a federal intervention,” opponent Sandra Castro of Phoenix, 22, yelled into a bullhorn.

The law requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person’s immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

Supporters say the law was needed because the federal government hasn’t adequately confronted illegal immigration in Arizona, the busiest illegal gateway for immigrants into the United States. Opponents say the law would lead to racial profiling and distract from police officers’ traditional roles in combating crimes in their communities.

Since Brewer signed the measure into law April 23, it has inspired rallies in Arizona and elsewhere by advocates on both sides of the immigration debate. Some opponents have advocated a tourism boycott of Arizona.

It also led an unknown number of illegal immigrants to leave Arizona for other American states or their home countries and prompted the Obama administration to file a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law.

Salgado’s attorneys argue the judge should block the law before it takes effect because it would require an officer to use race as a primary factor in enforcing the law and because the state law is trumped by federal immigration law.

Attorneys for Brewer asked that the officer’s lawsuit be thrown out because Salgado doesn’t allege a real threat of harm from enforcing the new law and instead bases his claim on speculation. They also said the state law prohibits racial profiling and that it isn’t trumped by federal immigration law because it doesn’t attempt to regulate the conditions under which people can enter and leave the country.

The other challenges to the law were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, civil rights organizations, clergy groups, a researcher from Washington and a Tucson police officer.

Bolton plans to hold similar hearings July 22 in the lawsuits filed by the federal government and civil rights groups.

__

Associated Press Writers Paul Davenport and Michelle Price contributed to this report.

British Government Plans to Bribe Patients Into Health   Leave a comment

Wow.  This is really powerful.  And you KNOW my cynical mind has brought this positive sounding article down to a negative.

Consider: It sounds too happy.  Too fluffy.  Too positive.  There has GOT to be more to this than meets the eye.  It sounds too good to be true, or to be as real as it’s sounding!  Monitoring these people every week?  Really?  It sounds like these people are criminal drug addicts on parole being tested to make sure that they’re clean.  And I fail to see how this is going to have long term benefits considering the first woman they highlighted has been smoking for 35 years.  Yes, she is going to be better off without smoking, but the damage is done.  There is no coming back from that.  She is still going to have major health problems that are going to cost her insurance and the socialist healthcare a lot of money. 

Of course, they are known for denying medical treatment to those in need if they deem them less than fit.  It just screams ‘Twilight Zone—don’t sign the contract until you read the fine print’!  Are they selling their future medical help for their resulting health issues from these bad habits for a bit of money now?  I sure hope not! 

It’s kind of ironic that this article came out today considering that yesterday the White House just decided to enact new rules to the Health Insurance companies to offer preventative healthcare, which includes screenings, lab tests and the like—where the insurance companies make their money—for free.  That can’t bode well for the insurance companies down the road when they aren’t making any money.  It will most likely drive them out of business and then we are stuck with government healthcare.  Isn’t that what we were promised WOULDN’T happen?

I’m not against preventative healthcare by any means, way, shape or form.  I’m all for it.  But making it a law?  THAT has gone over the line!

Anyway, here’s the article.  The new rules I will put up in another post:

Special Report: In austere times, can bribery be healthy?

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent Kate Kelland, Health And Science Correspondent – Thu Jul 15, 9:26 am ET

DUNDEE, Scotland (Reuters) – Moira Christie has to ring the doorbell when she goes to visit friends these days. That’s a new thing for her. Until a few months ago, everyone knew she was coming because they could hear her hacking smoker’s cough from far down the street.

“My cough was my calling card,” the tiny 54-year-old Scot says with a laugh. “But not any more. I’m not coughing now. My friends and relatives can’t believe it. They say ‘You’ve never given up! You? Never!’ — but I have, I’ve done it, and I feel so much healthier already.”

Christie is not only quieter and healthier, she’s a little richer too. That’s because the local health authority paid her to quit. The scheme is one of a clutch of experiments cropping up across Europe, the United States and parts of Latin America which use financial incentives — cash payments, gift cards, shopping vouchers and the like — to encourage or cajole people to drop their bad habits and live more healthily. “The underlying rationale of incentives is that healthier people are less costly to the system than sick ones,” says Harald Schmidt at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The experiments have grown out of studies in the relatively new discipline of behavioral economics, which examines how emotional factors affect economic choices. Some public health experts are yet to be convinced that bribing people can work. But as healthcare costs keep rising in such heavyweight nations as the United States and heavy-smoking locations as Dundee, and as governments move to cut huge budget deficits, hundreds of local authorities, employers and health insurers — even the occasional former investment banker — are dabbling with health incentive schemes.

PAY NOW, SAVE LATER

The idea is simple: pay people to act now and governments will reap the rewards later in lower healthcare costs. Statistically speaking, people who shun harmful habits are more productive and have less need for expensive hospitals, doctors and medicines. By changing “habitual health-related behaviours,” says Theresa Marteau, director of the Center for the Study of Incentives in Health and a psychology professor at King’s College London, those behind the schemes aim to make more people healthier for longer. Specifically, “they’re trying to tackle the big four that are responsible for most of the world’s premature deaths and illnesses — excessive eating, smoking, drinking and lack of exercise,” says Marteau.

Many in Dundee are at risk from all four. Moira Christie had smoked for around 35 years by the time she joined her incentive programme, which is called Quit 4 U. The scheme is backed by Britain’s National Health Service and was born out of a similar project, Give It Up For Baby, which aims to reduce shockingly high rates of smoking among mums-to-be in Dundee. In some of the poorest areas of the city up to 40 percent of pregnant women and half of all adults smoke, while rates of obesity and alcohol-related illness are among the highest in Europe.

“What we have here is a cocktail of influences on our most deprived communities who have the worst health — a cocktail which ensures that trying to change their behavior through simplistic messages is just not going to work,” says Andrew Radley, a public health expert who along with colleague Paul Ballard has championed Quit 4 U and is now overseeing its expansion into other areas. “You therefore have to work with them to come up with motivators that are actually part of their way of thinking.”

Participants get 12.50 pounds ($19) on a grocery store card every week they stay off tobacco, building to a potential total of 150 pounds after three months. For mums-to-be who stay off cigarettes, the payments continue until the baby is three months old. Anyone who gets that far would take home 650 pounds. Participants in both schemes commit to regular carbon monoxide breath tests to prove they’re not cheating.

The lure of extra cash has so far proved enough to get even some of the most die-hard tobacco addicts to quit. Margaret Robertson, a former 40-a-day smoker who attends the weekly breath test and support group sessions alongside Christie, is proud of the little nest egg she’s nurturing. “I’m letting it build up until Christmas. That’s when it’ll really help,” says Robertson, 61, who started smoking when she was 11 years old and has just completed her sixth smoke-free week in 50 years.

“MEGA UNHEALTHY”

When Dundee’s first pilot project started in 2007, critics condemned the idea of incentives as little more than state bribery. So far, though, the results have been impressive: 12-week quit rates are more than double those achieved in any previous years.

By the end of the first year, 55 mothers in the city of Dundee, which has a population of 140,000, had quit smoking using the incentive scheme, and 140 had quit across the coastal Tayside region of eastern Scotland. The year before, just six pregnant women had made contact with Tayside’s stop smoking services — and none of them stayed in touch beyond four weeks.

Even these pilots can be cost-effective, argue Ballard and Radley. They put the overall cost per quitter at 1,700 pounds, which might sound a lot until you consider that smoking costs Britain’s taxpayer-funded health system some 5 billion pounds a year according to a 2009 study by Oxford University researchers. Globally, the World Lung Foundation estimates the annual cost of smoking is $500 billion in medical expenses, lost productivity and environmental harm.

“The whole methodology of this incentive scheme is defined by community-based research. It is driven by what is of most value to the target audience,” says Ballard. If you get it right, it can be “an approach that can really deliver results.”

There is no doubt Scotland can do with the help. It is known, after all, as the land whose citizens don’t just eat Mars Bars and pizza in perilously large amounts, but deep-fry them first. A study published last month found that almost the entire adult population of Scotland — 97.5 percent — have habits that are deemed “dangerous to health” including smoking, heavy drinking, taking no exercise, being overweight and eating a poor diet.

Ballard calls Dundee an “incredibly unhealthy” city in a “mega unhealthy” nation. In truth, the rest of the developed world is not much better. Obesity, smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise are causing more protracted and expensive diseases, and killing more residents of the rich world earlier, than anything else. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2015, around 2.3 billion adults worldwide will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

In Europe, the WHO reckons obesity alone is already responsible for up to 8 percent of all health costs and between 10 and 13 percent of deaths. Experts predict that in Britain almost nine out of 10 adults and two thirds of children will be overweight or obese by 2050. By then the medical bill and loss of productivity could top 50 billion pounds a year.

Little wonder that drug companies are spending billions of dollars searching for treatments and cures for cancers, diabetes and heart disease. But why develop drugs when the best thing we could do to improve our health is quit smoking, stop eating so much fat, salt and sugar, exercise more and cut back on alcohol? And if getting more people to do that is difficult, which of course it is, then why not pay them?

“INCENTIVES CULTURE”

Former investment banker Winton Rossiter is convinced paying people to get healthier is the next big thing. Rossiter, a 55-year-old American-born businessman who’s lived in England for 20 years, has become one of the pioneers of British incentive schemes. Three years ago he founded a company called WeightWins which now promotes a scheme called “pounds for pounds”.

“We earn incentives from shopping in certain places, flying certain airlines — so why not get financially rewarded for doing something that’s positive?” he says. “We’re in an incentives culture where people need a reason to even think about getting healthy.”

Rossiter’s firm has been running a pilot scheme in Kent, southern England, where the taxpayer-funded local health authority asked him to help cut a 24 percent adult obesity rate. The programme works by adding up how much weight each participant has lost and how long it remains off. A sliding scale of payments is applied; those who lose the most and keep it off earn the most money.

Rossiter says his programme is already working. By last month, of the 402 people who started a “pounds for pounds” plan in the Kent scheme, 321, or 80 percent, had lost weight, while just 20 percent either stayed the same or gained weight. Less encouragingly, more than three-quarters of participants had dropped out by 12 months, meaning their progress, or lack of it, could not be counted in the final results.

Rossiter makes his money through a joining fee, which starts at 45 pounds sterling and goes up to 135 pounds, plus a monthly subscription fee of between 10 and 30 pounds. Participants can earn rewards of up to 3,000 pounds. To get that, they’d have to lose 150 pounds of weight over 21 months and keep it all off for at least three months.

“You get paid to lose weight — two things people definitely want to do,” he says.

In the Kent scheme, taxpayers footed the subscription bills via the local health authority. But Rossiter says the cost to local governments could be returned many times over. He’s broken down British government data that estimated the annual cost of obesity at between 3.3 billion pounds sterling and 3.7 billion pounds. For every pound of obesity weight that is removed permanently, he says, the government saves 170 pounds in medical expenses and 1,200 pounds in lifetime economic costs. Kent paid Weight Wins around 12 pounds for every pound of fat lost.

WAITING FOR THE CALL

Public health scientists are less enthusiastic. “I think they can be useful in some instances, but it depends very much on how they’re implemented,” says Harvard’s Schmidt. Both King’s College’s Marteau and Tammy Boyce, an expert at the King’s Fund healthcare think-tank in London, say the Kent pilot was “not a proper trial” because it lacked the proper scientific procedures needed to evaluate the outcomes.

Marteau’s sense is that the best evidence to support the use of incentives schemes can be found not in large, cross-societal groups, but in specific niches of unhealthy behavior where all the usual health messages have failed. Here, it seems, an immediate and relatively large reward may be enough to change a pattern. “The two places where incentives really have been found to be effective are in drug addict abstinence programmes, and in smoking cessation in pregnancy,” she says. “And when you think about it, these are outliers” — extreme, addictive behaviours generally shown by people on the margins.

Former banker Rossiter is undeterred. Frustrated by what he sees as dithering among public health officials, he is planning to take “pounds for pounds” direct to the public via the internet, where anyone can pay a joining fee and sign up to win cash rewards for slimming down.

“If obesity really is the public health crisis and the ticking timebomb that we keep hearing about, then we need to throw out some of our scepticism and prejudices and really push this thing forward,” he says.

So sure is Rossiter that his scheme will work, he’s ready to guarantee “long-term results” for any government in Europe prepared to back the scheme. “If Scotland wanted to put a million overweight people into my programme, I would guarantee long-term behavior change and weight loss or they would get their money back. But I’m still waiting for the call.”

Perhaps he should meet Gianluca Buonanno, the flamboyant mayor of the small north-western Italian town of Varallo, and another big enthusiast of using health incentive schemes to make whole nations healthier.

A few years ago, Buonanno set up a plan which promised to pay oversized residents 50 euros ($70) for losing 3 to 4 kilograms in a month, a further 200 euros if they kept the weight off for 5 months, and yet more if they managed to keep their weight down for a year. The scheme, he says, was a great success, particularly for one 42-year-old woman who said she had become so fat that her husband “would not even look at her any more”.

“Sixty percent of participants reached their objectives,” Buonanno told Reuters. He’s now lobbying in Italy’s parliament for the plan to be scaled up across the nation. The results, “can’t be measured only in prizes. If a person feels better, consumes less medicine, then the nation’s entire health system gains.”

“TRENDY IDEA”

The notion of health incentives has been popularised in the past few years by books like ‘Nudge’ and ‘Freakonomics’, which describe how such concepts as “behavioural economics” and “choice architecture” can be used to engineer people toward healthier habits. It’s no coincidence that as the Obama administration started to show an interest in behavioural economics, one of the authors of Nudge, Cass Sunstein, joined the White House staff.

Wow.  THAT was a FREAKY paragraph!  “Engineer people towards healthier habits”? 

To me, that’s very ‘Brave New World’-esque.  What else are we going to ‘engineer people towards’?  I shudder to think…

“Incentives are definitely becoming a very trendy method,” says public health specialist Boyce, who has watched with dismay as governments have become excited by the idea of old-fashioned bribery. The idea, she says, allows politicians to cozy up to the powerful food and drinks industry lobby and duck out of writing tough legislation for better health. It satisfies many governments’ desires to be libertarian and business-friendly and avoid slapping taxes on high-fat or high-sugar junk foods.

WHAT?  So . . . those in congress should not be responsible people, but the ‘subjects’ must submit to the tests?

I’m sorry but I am MAJORLY creeped out right now just from that ‘engineering’ statement!!!!  Seriously, I got chills and this doesn’t make me feel better!

Britain’s health minister, Andrew Lansley, said last week that the country’s new coalition government does not believe in “lecturing or nannying” people to change their behavior, preferring a “non-regulatory approach”. It has not indicated whether incentives may be a part of that.

Mike Kelly, director of public health at Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which advises government on cost-effective health policies, says incentive schemes are popping up all over the place. So far, though, there isn’t much in the way of hard scientific evidence about incentivising people for health. “If these things are going to go forward it ought to be on a proper evidence-based set of principles. And we desperately need to know whether it is a cost-effective option.”

The London-based Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Center (EPPI-Center) published a review last year that found there were studies underway on around 130 incentives schemes globally. More than half were in the United States, with Britain, Germany and Mexico among active countries. It found around half the schemes were aimed at getting people to stop smoking, with healthy eating next and obesity targeted by a minority.

HEALTH INSURERS SEE POTENTIAL

In the United States, where healthcare is largely handled through private insurance companies, major employers such as Safeway and General Electric are also getting into incentives in a big way. In recent years they have begun paying bonuses or offering health insurance discounts to employees who give up bad habits or keep their weight and cholesterol levels in check. That, in turn, has spawned a clutch of new companies such as VirginHealthMiles and RedBrick Health, who sell “pay for prevention schemes” to big corporations.

In Germany, Barmer Ersatzkasse, a large sickness fund which insures around 6.8 million people, offers incentives to members who take part in any or all of 17 named healthy activities — from turning up for immunisations to giving up smoking or going regularly to the gym. Members get a bonus card on which points are credited; anyone earning 500 or more points over two years can redeem them against such “healthy” prizes as cycle helmets or sports watches. Families can pool their points and trade them in for a bigger reward such as a Nintendo Wiifit console (1500 points) or even swap them for hard cash rewards of up to 30 euros a year per person.

The fund also offers schemes giving discounts on premiums to people who don’t use health services that much — a bit like a “no claims” bonus on a house or car insurance policy.

CARROT AND STICKS

The German plan highlights one of the potential disadvantages in such schemes: they may prove self-selecting. Harvard’s Schmidt, who has studied health incentives in the United States and Germany, says incentives may not only improve insurance plan members’ health — so their costs go down — but may also attract more healthy people in the first place. That risks leaving those in the poorest health, who are often also society’s poorest financially, facing higher costs for the healthcare they urgently need.

That’s just one of a broader set of problems that Schmidt sees as inherent in the incentives idea. Why should fat people get paid to do what thin people are doing already? Why should smokers who quit now get a bonus when those who quit last year didn’t? If regular gym-goers were already quite happy to pay for it, why should taxpayers’ money be used to subsidise others just in the hope a few more may be nudged in the same direction? Won’t some people become adept at gaming the system?

Schmidt breaks those affected by incentive schemes into groups:

* the “lucky ones” — those who already go to the gym regularly and will now get extra cash or prizes for doing so;

* the “yes I can” group, who find the incentive gives them exactly the nudge they needed;

* the “I’ll do it tomorrow” group who never quite get around to it and feel punished by not being able to get the reward;

* the “unlucky ones” who have no hope of getting to a gym because of their work or family life or disability;

* and the “leave me alone” group which is self-explanatory.

For all but one or two of these groups, incentives would likely fail, Schmidt says, so using taxpayers’ money to fund them doesn’t look like much of a deal. “I don’t have a problem with incentives if they work. But…” His voice trails off and he gives a shrug of the shoulders.

FOOLS RUSH IN?

What evidence there is from scientific assessments is not that encouraging either. Marteau cites a so-called Cochrane review — a systematic analysis of previous peer-reviewed studies — conducted in 2008 on using incentives to help people stop smoking. It found that none of the 17 trials it analysed had higher quit rates at six months when incentives were used.

On obesity, the findings are similar. A 2008 systematic review looking at eight weight-loss trials which were followed up for at least a year found that incentives had no positive effect on weight loss or weight maintenance at 12 or 18 months.

The King’s Fund’s Boyce worries that governments are starting up incentives plans before any proper scientific analysis has been done. “You wouldn’t do this with a drug,” she says, pointing out that many years, even decades, of trials and tests are conducted on medicines before they are distributed to the general public. “But for some reason we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment and attach ourselves to ideas like this that don’t really have a big evidence base.”

BABY THOUGHTS

But such scepticism doesn’t cut it with Rebecca Garside, who is 28 and just a few weeks off giving birth to her first baby. As part of Dundee’s scheme to stop pregnant mums smoking, she’s at her local pharmacy blowing into a carbon monoxide monitor to prove that despite 11 years as a smoker, she has finally given up.

As the blinking green light officially confirms her as a non-smoker, she strokes her swollen belly. Health statistics suggest her baby will now be a healthier weight and less likely to need intensive care after birth, and that both Garside and her child will be less likely to develop a range of costly chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease and cancer.

But Garside is thinking of the more immediate future. She is saving the “quit” credits on her supermarket gift card, she says, for “all those things I know I’ll have to buy when the baby comes along.”

“Buggies, nappies, and even my weekly food shopping. It’ll definitely be a help.”

(Additional reporting by Philip Pullella in Rome, editing by Simon Robinson and Sara Ledwith)

That sounds so lovely—but the nay-sayers are right.  It probably won’t help and there will DEFINITELY be people playing the system! 

This does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling and this isn’t happening in America.  Yet.

Yet Another Vacation for Obama?   1 comment

Really?  Yet ANOTHER vacation?  For reals?

Apparently so. 

How about a lovely stay at La Fronteir de Arizona?  It’s lovely this time of year!  You can stay at The Hotel of Sinaloa, but watch out for those pesky homicidal cartel varmints!  You can tour the American/Mexican border free of any kind of American interference, including the land that is blocked off and given back to Mexico!  You might even see a crossing illegal in its natural habitat!  Make sure you bring your camera!

I’m sure Gov. Brewer would LOVE to chat with you and show you around! 

Okay, sarcasm aside—really?  Vacation and golfing again?  I’m lucky if I get one week off from work to do anything and haven’t had such in like two years!!!  And before that, 6 years! 

It must be nice to not have to take responsibility for anything!

Hope he has a good time.

Here’s the article:

Obama’s Maine island long visited by rich, famous

By CLARKE CANFIELD, Associated Press Writer Clarke Canfield, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 3 mins ago

BAR HARBOR, Maine – Serving as a summer retreat for Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Morgans, this town and the surrounding area have long been known as a place where well-heeled and well-known visitors could beat the heat — and have their privacy respected.

President Barack Obama is the latest influential visitor to flee to Maine in search of a cool ocean breeze. When he arrives Friday for a three-day visit, he’ll be the first sitting president to visit Mount Desert Island since William Howard Taft a century ago.

People in Bar Harbor, a town of 5,000 residents that bustles with tourists in the summer, say they are excited about Obama’s visit.

But with the area’s history of business barons, political power brokers and famous actors among them for generations, they’re used to having the rich and famous in their midst. People in Maine, they say, aren’t likely to get too flustered by the presidential visit.

“There are still famous and wealthy people all over the island, and their privacy is very much respected,” said Craig Neff, owner of The Naturalist’s Notebook, a shop in Seal Harbor village not far from where lifestyle maven Martha Stewart owns an estate originally built for automobile tycoon Edsel Ford. “If I were a billionaire, I would certainly appreciate it. It’s always been that way.”

Beginning in the late 1800s, well-heeled families from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and elsewhere came to Mount Desert Island, where they built summer homes to escape the city heat. The 108-square-mile island, located 3 1/2 hours northeast of Portland, is connected to the mainland by a causeway.

There are four towns on the island — Bar Harbor is the largest — and much of the land is owned by Acadia National Park, which was established in 1916 and draws visitors with hiking trails, spectacular scenery and ocean views.

Obama will be the fourth sitting president to visit the island, said Debbie Dyer, curator of the Bar Harbor Historical Society. Chester Arthur visited in 1882, Benjamin Harrison in 1889 and Taft on July 18, 1910, nearly 100 years to the day before Obama’s visit, she said.

Dyer has a newspaper clipping with an old photograph showing Taft playing golf at the island’s Kebo Valley Golf Club, where the newspaper reported the president ending the day with a score of 100. Maybe Obama, who has a fondness for golf, will play at the club, she said.

If he doesn’t play golf, he could hike any of the park’s 125 miles of trails, bicycle its carriage roads or go boating in the cold waters off the island, Dyer said.

“I’m so glad they’re coming to enjoy the beauty of the island so we can share our little neck of the woods,” she said.

Earlier this week, there weren’t any signs in the windows of the numerous shops in Bar Harbor acknowledging the president’s upcoming visit. No restaurants were offering Obama Burgers or the like on their menus. That would be so unlike Bar Harbor, which tries to maintain a somewhat dignified and low-key demeanor.

Residents respect the privacy and space of the well-known people when they come to visit. Stewart can often be found at the Bar Harbor farmer’s market, and the late actor Paul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, enjoyed quiet breakfasts at a local spot when visiting their daughter when she attended Bar Harbor’s College of the Atlantic years ago.

Last summer, Susan Sarandon visited the Sherman’s Books & Stationery bookstore without any fanfare, said Laurie Cote, who works there. People in town treat celebrities just like everybody else, she said, although she admits she’d like to see Obama.

“All that being said, I still hope I get my picture taken with him,” she said.

Still, there’s a certain excitement that the president has chosen the island for his vacation. If he walks the streets of Bar Harbor, he’ll be able to buy Maine gifts ranging from place mats with directions on how to eat a lobster and jars of blueberry jam to wooden models of sailing ships or baseball caps with moose or pine trees on them.

Lou Zawislak, 65, lives in New Orleans and is renting a cottage in Bar Harbor for the summer. As a Maine native, he knows that the culture in Bar Harbor “is to give people their space.” But that’s not dampening the chatter he’s hearing about Obama’s visit.

“People are wondering where will he stay and what will he do,” Zawislak said. “And will there be a sighting?”

‘Invisible Gorilla’ Test Shows How Little We Notice   Leave a comment

This is an interesting article.  I remember this test.  No, I didn’t see the gorilla the first time way back when, but I saw him this time.  Even in the second video, but I won’t tell you what other monkey business was going on that I sorta noticed but not enough to make a definitive announcement. 😛 

It’s my feeling that this is how the media works with the people.

I KNOW it sounds nuts, but hear me out…

Mainstream media focuses on certain events in any given time.  Sometimes they are focusing on events (Lindsey Lohan anyone?) while OTHER events are taking place and, unless you are PAYING ATTENTION, you will miss it.  I guess the consensus is that if CNN, MSNBC, ABC and the like are not showing something over and over and over again and talking about it nonstop, then it must not be important.  Thus, the subject or event is lost and no one thinks anything of it. 

It is also fair to note that people don’t generally research things for themselves.  They expect the media to do that for them, but those people that aren’t paying attention, will then fail to realize that the media is only feeding them what they want to hear. 

Case in point: The Arizona anti-Illegal Immigration Law.

The liberal left-leaning media railed against this act.  They cried foul and bashed it into the ground, spreading misinformation and fear to the populace.  Even Obama did the same by illustrating that the bill supports Nazi-style stops while going out for ice cream.  Then, the media praises Obama for suing Arizona with backing from Calderon and the like and is shocked into speechlessness when polls come out that a majority of American’s support the Arizona law.

What they are NOT saying (the “invisible gorilla” of the situation) is that racial profiling is NOT the case.  What they are NOT saying is that THAT accusation, the one that EVERYONE is focused on, the one that EVERYONE brings up and STILL brings up, is not even IN THE affidavit against Arizona!  

What they are NOT saying is that Mexico, a foreign power, is backing Obama in suing Arizona, and it is AGAINST the Constitution.

What they are NOT saying is that American land has been handed back over to Mexico.

What they are NOT saying is that the Arizona law IS THE FEDERAL LAW and IS MEANT TO ENFORCE FEDERAL LAW that is currently NOT BEING ENFORCED by the federal government.

What they are NOT saying is that there are cities in America, mostly in California, that are ‘Sanctuary Cities’ that openly DEFY FEDERAL LAW BY OVERLOOKING THEIR ILLEGAL STATUS!

What they are NOT telling you is that Mexican terrorists and drug cartels are shooting American police officers on American land, robbing Americans on American land and sucking American taxpyers dry, planning to cause mass American deaths on American land, threatening the American people on American land in their rallies, that Mexican Military helicopters are flying in American Airspace, that the border isn’t complete, that 74% OF AMERICAN’S SUPPORT THE ARIZONA LAW!

Oh there is a lot more.  But, that’s just what I can think of atop my head.

Here is the article in question…

‘Invisible Gorilla’ Test Shows How Little We Notice

livescience.com – Tue Jul 13, 10:00 am ET

A dumbfounding study roughly a decade ago that many now find hard to believe revealed that if people are asked to focus on a video of other people passing basketballs, about half of watchers missed a person in a gorilla suit walking in and out of the scene thumping its chest.

Now research delving further into this effect shows that people who know that such a surprising event is likely to occur are no better at noticing other unforeseen events – and may even be worse at noticing them – than others who aren’t expecting the unexpected.

The so-called “invisible gorilla” test had volunteers watching a video where two groups of people – some dressed in white, some in black – are passing basketballs around. The volunteers were asked to count the passes among players dressed in white while ignoring the passes of those in black.

Watch the video for yourself:

These confounding findings from cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris detailed in a 1999 study revealed how people can focus so hard on something that they become blind to the unexpected, even when staring right at it. When one develops “inattentional blindness,” as this effect is called, it becomes easy to miss details when one is not looking out for them.

“Although people do still try to rationalize why they missed the gorilla, it’s hard to explain such a failure of awareness without confronting the possibility that we are aware of far less of our world than we think,” Simons told LiveScience.

Gorilla infamy

Of course, these results are utterly counterintuitive, with 90 percent of people now predicting that they would notice the gorilla in the video. The problem is that this video has become so famous that many people know to look for a gorilla when asked to count basketball passes.

In new research, Simons decided to use the infamy of the invisible gorilla to his advantage, creating a similar video that asked for the same results from the audience.

“I thought it would be fun to see if I could monkey with people’s intuitions again using almost the same task,” Simons said.

Stop now! Before reading further, try his test out:

The idea with this new video was to see if those who knew about the invisible gorilla beforehand would be more or less likely to notice other unexpected events in the same video.

“You can make two competing predictions,” Simons said. “Knowing about the invisible gorilla might increase your chances of noticing other unexpected events because you know that the task tests whether people spot unexpected events. You might look for other events because you know that the experimenter is up to something.” Alternatively, “knowing about the gorilla might lead viewers to look for gorillas exclusively, and when they find one, they might fail to notice anything else out of the ordinary.”

Expecting the unexpected

Of the 41 volunteers Simon tested who had never seen or heard about the old video, a little less than half missed the gorilla in the new video, much like what happened in the old experiments. The 23 volunteers he tested who knew about the original gorilla video all spotted the fake ape in the new experiment.

However, knowing about the gorilla beforehand did not improve their chances of detecting other unexpected events. Only 17 percent of those who were familiar with the old video noticed one or both of the other unexpected events in the new video. In comparison, 29 percent of those who knew nothing of the old video spotted one of the other unexpected events in the new video.

“This demonstration is much like a good magic trick in which a magician repeatedly makes a ball disappear,” Simons said. “A magician can lead the audience to think he’s going to make the ball disappear with one method, and while people watch for that technique, he uses a different one. In both cases, the effect capitalizes on what people expect to see, and both demonstrate that we often miss what we don’t expect to see.”

“A lot of people seem to take the message of our original gorilla study to be that people don’t pay enough attention to what is happening around them, and that by paying more attention and ‘expecting the unexpected,’ we will be able to notice anything important,” he added. “The new experiment shows that even when people know that they are doing a task in which an unexpected thing might happen, that doesn’t suddenly help them notice other unexpected things.”

Once people find the first thing they’re looking for, “they often don’t notice other things,” Simons said. “Our intuitions about what we will and won’t notice are often mistaken.”

Simons detailed his new findings online July 12 in the journal i-Perception.

UPDATE: 9 States Back Arizona Anti-Illegal Immigration Law in Court!   1 comment

YAY 9 STATES BACK ARIZONA ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAW!

I WOULD have chosen a USA Today article to post but…I don’t like them much >rolls eyes< call me picky…LOL!

Anyway, here ya are!  We need to get more states to back Arizona up!!!  Come on, America!  Stand up for what’s right!

Brief for 9 states backs Arizona immigration law

By David Runk The Associated Press | Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 2:25 pm |

DETROIT – States have the authority to enforce immigration laws and protect their borders, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Wednesday in a legal brief on behalf of nine states supporting Arizona’s immigration law.

Cox, one of five Republicans running for Michigan governor, said Michigan is the lead state backing Arizona in federal court and is joined by Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Arizona law, set to take effect July 29, directs officers to question people about their immigration status during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic stops and if there’s a reasonable suspicion they’re in the U.S. illegally.

President Barack Obama’s administration recently filed suit in federal court to block it, arguing immigration is a federal issue. The law’s backers say Congress isn’t doing anything meaningful about illegal immigration, so it’s the state’s duty to step up.

“Arizona, Michigan and every other state have the authority to enforce immigration laws, and it is appalling to see President Obama use taxpayer dollars to stop a state’s efforts to protect its own borders,” Cox said in a statement.

Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, in a statement released by Cox’s office, said she was thankful for the support.

In a telephone interview, Cox said the nine states supporting Arizona represents “a lot of states,” considering it was only Monday that he asked other state attorneys general to join him. The brief was filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona on the same day as the deadline for such filings.

“By lawsuit, rather than by legislation, the federal government seeks to negate this preexisting power of the states to verify a person’s immigration status and similarly seeks to reject the assistance that the states can lawfully provide to the Federal government,” the brief states.

The brief doesn’t represent the first time Cox has clashed with the Obama administration. Earlier this year, he joined with more than a dozen other attorneys general to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal health care changes signed into law by the Democratic president.

Like with his stance on health care, the immigration brief again puts Cox at odds with Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Granholm, who can’t seek re-election because of term limits, disagrees with the Arizona law, her press secretary Liz Boyd said. The Michigan primary is less than three weeks away on Aug. 3.

“It’s a patently political ploy in his quest for the Republican nomination for governor,” Boyd said

Sour grapes much, Ms. Boyd?