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Fla. judge strikes down Obama health care overhaul

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By The Associated Press

Associated Press Writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report.

 PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – A federal judge declared the Obama administration’s health care overhaul unconstitutional Monday, siding with 26 states that argued people cannot be required to buy health insurance.

Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson agreed with the states that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. He went a step further than a previous ruling against the law, declaring the entire thing unconstitutional if the insurance requirement does not hold up.

Attorneys for the administration had argued that the states did not have standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Monday the department strongly disagrees with Vinson’s ruling and intends to appeal.

“There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing this law and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal,” she said in a statement.

The final step will almost certainly be the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have already upheld the law and a federal judge in Virginia ruled the insurance mandate unconstitutional but stopped short of voiding the entire thing.

At issue was whether the government is reaching beyond its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce by requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties.

Vinson said it is, writing in his 78-page ruling that if the government can require people to buy health insurance, it could also regulate food the same way.

“Or, as discussed during oral argument, Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals,” he wrote, “Not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier, and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system.”

Obama administration attorneys had argued that health care is part of the interstate commerce system. They said the government can levy a tax penalty on Americans who decide not to purchase health insurance because all Americans are consumers of medical care.

But attorneys for the states said the administration was essentially coercing the states into participating in the overhaul by holding billions of Medicaid dollars hostage. The states also said the federal government is violating the Constitution by forcing a mandate on the states without providing money to pay for it.

Opponents of the health overhaul praised the decision Monday afternoon. House Speaker John Boehner said it shows Senate Democrats should follow a House vote to repeal the law.

“Today’s decision affirms the view, held by most of the states and a majority of the American people, that the federal government should not be in the business of forcing you to buy health insurance and punishing you if you don’t,” he said in a statement.

Democrats just as quickly slammed the decision.

“This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt by those who want to raise taxes on small businesses, increase prescription prices for seniors and allow insurance companies to once again deny sick children medical care,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a prepared statement.

Former Florida Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after President Barack Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law in March. He chose a court in Pensacola, one of Florida’s most conservative cities. The nation’s most influential small business lobby, the National Federation of Independent Business, also joined.

Officials in the states that sued lauded Vinson’s decision. Almost all of them have Republican governors, attorneys general or both.

“In making his ruling, the judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start; ObamaCare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people,” Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.

Other states that joined the suit are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Facebook Unfriend Finder

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

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I recently started using a Google Chrome plug-in called Unfriend Finder. It’s important to understand this app is not available for people who use Internet Explorer as their browser. You need to be using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera— You also have to have a healthy mental status because I’m still a little crazed over one of my “friends” that dumped me.

When you log into Facebook the tab sits at the top of your page and updates you to changes in your friends list. If anybody gets rid of you or quits Facebook the notice sits there in red….mocking you.

New Report on the U.S. Unauthorized

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Pew Hispanic Center Release

WHAT:  The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, will release a report with new estimates and trends for the national and state unauthorized immigrant populations in the U.S. in 2010.

 The report also includes new national and state estimates on the size of the unauthorized-immigrant labor force, and on the countries of origin of unauthorized immigrants. It updates and expands on recent Pew Hispanic Center estimates on the number of births to unauthorized immigrants.

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Responding to inappropriate comments from your child

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Priscilla J. Dunstan, McClatchy-Tribune

We have all experienced that moment of embarrassment when our child comments rudely on something they shouldn’t, and we rush to silence them and say our apologies. Often the feelings of the person are still hurt and our child is left somewhat confused as to what they have said or done to cause the problem.

If what they have said is not untrue, just inappropriate; or something taboo and not to be commented on, this can be hard for a child to understand. Often appealing to their dominate sense both for what they say and also for how they hear, will give them the ability to create positive comments rather than the inappropriate ones.

For visual children what they see and how they are seen is extremely important. My visual brother to this day will comment on my weight, not meaning to be critical, but because he equates something being emotionally wrong with me if I’m too thin or fat. Asking about my weight is his way of asking is everything OK in my life. Visual children will comment, sometimes inappropriately about what they see, especially if something is visually off or new. If you are aware of their motivations for their comments, like “you’re too fat,” “you’re bald,” or even odd things like “people with blue eyes are scary,” you will know how to show them a better way, by commenting on visual similarities.

When my tactile son was 3, he was very upset about a boy a year or so older than him who was in a wheelchair. The thought of not being able to run, jump and wrestle equated to nonexpression. He was adamant that this child was dying and expressed loudly this viewpoint. Once I explained that actually, he could move a lot, and that he just had wheels for legs, he immediately was relived, ran over to the boy, to race him, and they have been steady friends ever since. Alleviating my son’s fears by explaining a tactile value worked 100 times better than if I was to say, “Don’t say that, it’s not nice.”

Taste and smell children of course are very conscious of the emotions surrounding comments, and can end up being more upset at offending someone than the offended person. Teaching these sensory children how to make amends is very important. They need to know the world doesn’t end because of hurt feelings and that there are ways to “take back” insensitive comments. This will also teach them not to be so sensitive to others’ insensitivity, because everybody sometimes says things thoughtlessly.

Auditory children remember every word spoken to them and often repeat things said on the quiet at home, to the person in question. As these children respond to logic and have a keen sense of meaning. Teaching them how something is said and appropriateness of when to say it will go a long way to their development of empathy. Changing one word in a sentence can be the difference between hurt feelings and gratitude. By teaching your auditory child these tools, they will be able to express themselves freely, but with sensitivity.

We all say things that can be misunderstood. Children are still learning to navigate the social matrix of expression. Explaining situations to them through their dominant sense will enable them to understand more fully the implications of verbal comments and how best to edit them

Priscilla J. Dunstan is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Priscilla and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.

Celebrity Baby Scoop: Mayim Bialik says women don’t need to fear their bodies and birth

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Desiree Fawn, McClatchy-Tribune

Attachment parenting advocate Mayim Bialik has been highly vocal in promoting a natural take on family life. The former child star, who first stole our hearts as Blossom in the 90s, is now raising two young boys Miles, 5, and Frederick, 2 with husband Michael Stone.

Earlier this month we happily announced that Mayim will be joining the Celebrity Baby Scoop team as a guest blogger. Recently we had a chance to chat with the “Big Bang Theory” actress about everything from home births to breastfeeding, and the challenges that come with completing a Ph.D. in neuroscience with two young boys at home.

Celebrity Baby Scoop: Please share your birth stories. How can we help shatter some some of the fear-based myths about childbirth? Please give us some statistics on the benefits of home births and intervention-free births.

Mayim Bialik: I think the ultimate message is that for those that want to have a natural birth; there are ways to do it successfully and healthily. It is beneficial to the mother and the baby. I refuse to give in to a set of beliefs that makes women afraid of their bodies and birth. I have been very open about our birth stories; my first son was born in a hospital after a weekend of labor at home, but I didn’t use any pain medication and my second son was born at home unassisted until pushing, with my almost 3-year-old watching the whole thing from his highchair. It has been documented that most births can proceed successfully if left uninterrupted and without medical “interventions” — but you need to be surrounded by a community that understands that birth doesn’t progress a centimeter an hour. That’s not normal nor has it ever been.

CBS: How did you manage your PhD studies with newborns/sleep deprivation?

MB: I had my first son when I was done with my coursework, so by the time he was born; I was in the data collection phase of my graduate work and could be with him all the time. I’m still sleep deprived (I am still nursing my younger son 4-6 times a night), but I have the support of women who help me manage to get my head around this new way of life through support groups such as La Leche League. It’s when we fight, get angry or become resentful about the lack of sleep that we “can’t function.”

CBS: What is your best advice to new moms who are struggling with breastfeeding? Do you believe that some people just aren’t ‘cut out’ for breastfeeding?

MB: Barring extremely rare genetic conditions, 99 percent of all women can successfully breastfeed if they are given the proper education and resources to do so. Can some women not tolerate the challenges breastfeeding sometimes presents? Yes. But, it’s not for me to tell them to do so if they choose not to pursue it further. We all do the best we can with the support and resources and education we have.

CBS: How do you manage motherhood and career?

MB: I have a husband who’s completely dedicated and committed to being with our kids while I’m at work. I pump when I am away from my son, and I give my boys all of my time as their caregiver when I am home.

CBS: Do you want your kids to enter showbiz? Why or why not? Why do you think so many child stars have struggled?

MB: I don’t think show business is compatible with our lifestyle and our kids. They don’t have the personality for it really- they don’t smile on command; they’re very shy. I think the reason why some child stars struggle, or have struggled is because mental illness is pervasive in our society whether you’re in show business or you’re not.

CBS: How do you and your hubby keep the romance going, do you have special date nights?

MB: We don’t use a nanny or babysitters (laughs) we haven’t had a date in 5 years! Our time together is when they go to sleep; that’s why they go to bed at 6p.m.!

CBS: We love you on “Big Bang Theory” and recently read that you said it was the most challenging sitcom you had worked on. Please explain.
MB: “Big Bang” is a show where they keep you guessing. They play with the lines until the very last minute. It’s a very creative, keep-you-on-your-toes sort of set.

CBS: Any other upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?

MB: I’m coming out with a book about parenting by intuition. It will be published by Simon and Schuster in the spring of 2012. It will focus on holistic parenting and will have anecdotes from our experiences from an attachment parenting household.

Celebritybabyscoop.com features daily updates on baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip. Read more at www.celebritybabyscoop.com.

What’s wrong with our immigration laws

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
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Associated PressLOS ANGELEos - A Mexican actress pleaded guilty Friday to making a false statement to immigration authorities in a case alleging she engaged in a phony marriage to gain U.S. residency.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real told Fernanda Romero to return for sentencing on April 11 but gave no indication of what her sentence might be.

The maximum would be five years in prison, plus a fine and probation, but prosecutors have not sought jail time.

Romero had small roles in several films, including “Drag Me to Hell,” but is best known for her role in the Mexican soap opera “Eternamente Tuya.”

Federal immigration agents sat at the prosecution table in court but did not speak. The issue of whether she could be deported was not raised at the hearing. It could be addressed at sentencing.

The actress had been living in the United States for 10 years, occasionally working as a model, before she and Kent Ross married in 2005.

Prosecutors contended they married so Romero could obtain permanent residency then lived in separate homes and dated other people.

The couple were charged early last year. A mistrial of the case was declared in September after jurors reported deliberations had grown hostile. The plea deal avoids a retrial.

The guilty plea came on a limited section of the original allegations against Romero, with the remaining charges to be dismissed at sentencing.

The statement at issue was made by Romero to immigration authorities when they were investigating the marriage. She told them Ross and her mother “hang out all the time,” which authorities said was false.

“In truth and in fact defendant’s mother and co-defendant Ross had only met on a few occasions,” the plea agreement states.

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Romero declined to give interviews but her lawyer, Michael Nasatir, issued a statement on her behalf.

“I deeply regret my making this misstatement to (immigration officials) and take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to all of those who have supported me through this difficult time,” the statement said.

Ross previously agreed to plead guilty to falsely stating on immigration forms that he and Romero were living together in 2005 and 2006. His plea hearing was postponed until Feb. 4.

 

Average fuel prices in Ohio increase slightly

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

COLUMBUS — Gasoline prices in Ohio are up for the second week in a row and are well above the prices from this time in 2010.
A survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express said the statewide average is about $3.10 per gallon for regular-grade gas. That’s up from $3.08 [...]

Ohio’s Medicaid cost could jump $1.6 billion

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

COLUMBUS — The head of the new Governor’s Office of Health Transformation says Medicaid will cost taxpayers in Ohio $1.6 billion more next year if no changes are made, and he’s trying to reduce costs.
Greg Moody told The Columbus Dispatch the administration wants to evaluate the rates paid to care providers and expand home or [...]

Challenges Facing Stateside Puerto Ricans in the 21st Century

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

puerto-rican-parade1By Angelo Falcón

Angelo Falcón, a political scientist, is President and Founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) based in New York City.

Editor’s Note – The views and opinions expressed in this article are of those of the author only.  They in no way reflect the views and opinions of hispanicohio.com or its partners and affiliates.

The Puerto Rican population living stateside has, according to the latest figures from the Census, grown to 4.2 million, compared to 3.5 million in Puerto Rico. We were able to document the size of the stateside community growing larger than that of the Island for the first time in 2004 when we published the Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans. During the first decade of the 21st Century, this is the first time since 1910 that Puerto Rico’s population has declined, while the stateside boricua population has continued to increase, reflecting an outmigration from Puerto Rico perhaps as great as that of the 1940s.

 The fact that there are now more Puerto Ricans living in the states than in Puerto Rico poses some interesting questions about the relationship between the two communities. Because most stateside Puerto Ricans maintain strong ties with their homeland as a result of having relatives and friends there, many owning property and just their pride in being Puerto Rican, there has always been a desire to be supportive of each other. Since stateside Puerto Ricans have three full voting Members of Congress, and Puerto Rico only has a nonvoting Resident Commissioner representing it in the U.S. House of Representatives, those Puerto Ricans living stateside have come to the rescue of Puerto Rico time and time again when the US Federal government has treated the US citizens of Puerto Rico unfairly in terms of budget and other policy matters.

 On the other hand, Puerto Rico has not been as supportive of the development of the stateside Puerto Rican community as it could be. While there are many obvious ways that a mutually beneficial relationship between the two communities could be nurtured, the government of Puerto Rico, whether under the pro-statehood Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) or the pro-Commonwealth Partido Popular Democrata (PPD), has shown a certain paternalism and dismissive attitude towards Puerto Ricans stateside. This was not always the case, as with Puerto Rico’s establishment of a Migration Office in New York City back in 1948, but has certainly become the case with the latest incarnation of that office into what is known today as the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA).

 During the Administration of Puerto Rico Governor Sila Calderon in 2001-5, it appeared that Puerto Rico had finally gotten the message that investing in the stateside community was good politics and made economic sense, establishing offices in 12 locations in the Puerto Rican Diaspora stateside. Subsequent governments of Puerto Rico, no matter whether led by the PNP or the PPD, dismantled these offices to the point where today they only have two, one in Washington, DC and the other in New York. And even in the private sector, there is much hushed commentary in Washington, DC circles how Island corporate and political interests have captured and displaced the core mission of the only stateside Puerto Rican national civil rights in the Beltway, the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC), turning it into a largely lobbying firm for those interests and away from its original mission of representing the interests of the stateside Puerto Rican community.

 Meanwhile, the stateside Puerto Rican population has spread out more and more geographically. Where New York City was once home to 80 percent of the Puerto Ricans residing in the United States (outside of Puerto Rico), today less than a quarter live in the Big Apple, although it remains the largest concentration with close to 800,000 Puerto Ricans. The big story for this community is what I call the “Florida phenomenon.” The state of Florida has the second largest concentration of Puerto Ricans of all the states with 728,637 in 2009 (4 percent of the state’s population).

 As a result of a number of factors, the stateside Puerto Rican reality has become more complex than ever. Economically, this population has become more diverse, pointing to the development over time of a geographic economic polarization, with high poverty areas in the traditionally Puerto Rican regions of the Northeast and Midwest, and more affluence in more newly settled areas in the South and West. While for decades the political consensus for stateside Puerto Ricans (although not its leadership) was pro-Commonwealth for Puerto Rico, the “Florida phenomenon” I mentioned has introduced a strong pro-statehood element in the last twenty years for the first time, presenting the possibility of a geographic political polarization on the status question.

 On top of these relatively new challenges facing stateside Puerto Ricans is the challenge of the seemingly growing invisibility of specifically stateside Puerto Rican issues as the immigration debate continues to grow. While not directly affected by these immigration issues, having been made U.S. citizens by an act of Congress in 1917, Puerto Ricans have and continue to play a leading role in the struggle for the protection of immigrant rights. However, in the process, issues affecting Puerto Ricans directly, like employment, housing, education and so on, have become marginal in today’s public policy agenda. A report late last year that showed largely U.S.-born and English-dominant Puerto Rican youth in worst straits in many ways than more newly-arrived Latino immigrant youth was an eye-opener for Puerto Rican leaders whom themselves have neglected these issues within their own community.

 While it may sound trite to observe that the stateside Puerto Rican community (as well as Puerto Rico) is at a major crossroads today, this is certainly the case. Puerto Rican activists throughout the United States have the feeling of a community with a proud history of struggle for civil and human rights having become nearly invisible in this country’s public policy discourse. There is a growing feeling that stateside boricuas need to get back to basics to organize at the grassroots as well as figure out new ways to enlist a growing and more affluent professional class into a new movement for change. These, alas, are just some of the challenges stateside Puerto Ricans face in the 21st Century. So, as we used to say all the time, “¡Pa’lante, siempre pa’lante!”

Snowy weather en route to Medina County tonight

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

More snowy weather is on tap this week for Medina County and Northeast Ohio.
A winter-storm watch is in effect this evening through early Wednesday in Medina County. Snow will start to fall overnight with 2 to 4 inches possible by Tuesday morning, according to a National Weather Service report.
A second blast of the storm is [...]