Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

Continue reading

California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

Continue reading

Oakland police banned from amateur boxing events

OAKLAND, Calif.—Trouble at an amateur boxing match has resulted in the Oakland Police Department being banned from future events.The head of the International Association of Boxing says after a fracas at the Sacramento Radisson Friday night, Oakland police officers will be banned from fights sanctioned by the association until tape of the incident is reviewed.

Steve Fosum, the association’s president, says during a “Badge vs. Badge” fight, supporters of an Oakland police officer fighting in a bout became involved in a shouting and shoving match with dozens of spectators.

Thought it’s not clear if those involved in the shoving match were Oakland police, or friends and relatives, event organizers say the troublemakers were off-duty Oakland police officers.

A police spokesman said police did not have enough information to comment, but the department would conduct an internal investigation.

San Jose union begins organizing pot workers

A major California labor union is organizing medical cannabis workers in Oakland, a move that analysts say will help efforts to legalize marijuana and open the door for the union to organize thousands more workers if state voters pass a measure in November to allow recreational marijuana use by adults.

The 26,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose is believed to be the first union in the country to organize workers in a marijuana-related business. It is considering new job classifications including “bud tender” – a sommelier of sorts who helps medical marijuana users choose the right strain for their ailment.

Continue reading

Los Angeles teacher call for Mexican revolution in the US

California To Collect $100 million in Cannabis Taxes This Year

While the State of California begins to debate the consequences of taxing and regulating cannabis for personal use, it’s important to note the state is already taxing and regulating the agricultural product used by 2.9 million Californians monthly. California Board of Equalization official Anita Gore told the Express this week that the board estimates it collects anywhere from $50 million to more than $100 million in sales taxes per year from medical cannabis dispensaries.

That’s on top of the millions of dollars municipalities like Oakland have begun collecting in local sales taxes and fees. Gore said the board doesn’t have more precise figures because dispensaries are not required to report the exact business they are in. Their taxes come in under several categories of business like “retail” and “pharmacy,” Gore said.

The board estimates the state can make $1.4 billion annually from fully integrating the vibrant cannabis market into the economy.

US school for disabled forces students to wear packs that deliver massive electric shocks

Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)  has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.

The rights group submitted their report this week, titled “Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center,” after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Findings in the MDRI report include the center’s practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso — in many cases for years — as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child’s back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).

The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps — more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.

A former employee of  the center told an investigator, “When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is ‘like a bee sting’ and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks. These kids are under constant fear, 24/7. They sleep with them on, eat with them on. It made me sick and I could not sleep. I prayed to God someone would help these kids.”

Continue reading