Instead of trying to eliminate hunger, we continue to talk about personal responsibility. A whopping 15.6 million American households experienced at least some food insecurity in 2016, meaning that more than 12 percent of the population did not always know when or how they would get their next meal. Despite this, Congress is debating making it even harder for the hungry to access government assistance. The House farm bill included revisions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) work requirements, adding more bureaucratic hurdles and decreasing available exemptions. President Trump supports the provision, signaling that as the House and Senate reconcile their farm bills the issue may become a sticking point.Why would such a wealthy nation not only allow hunger to persist, but even put forward policies likely to exacerbate it? The answer rests in part in a misconceptualization of hunger. Paternalistic rhetoric about the importance of work in qualifying someone to receive governmental aid forgets the very reason we have food-based welfare in the first place — hunger and food insecurity — and strikes a blow against SNAP’s purpose. This rhetoric transforms the food choices and physical bodies of SNAP users into markers of how undeserving recipients are, implicitly asserting that starvation-level hunger is the only legitimate kind of hunger, and that it doesn’t exist in the United States. The end result is more hungry Americans.
Friends and foes of the oft-maligned pit bull terrier may soon have a final answer on whether the dogs can live within Yakima city limits. More than 30 years after the dogs were banned by city ordinance, the Yakima City Council again will consider allowing them. That’s almost entirely the result of new requirements approved by the council in June that pit-bull advocates say eliminate the need for the ban.The new requirements include spaying or neutering a dog that’s been impounded more than once in 12 months, expanding the definition of a potentially dangerous dog to include those that chase someone in a “menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack,” and increasing the cost to register a dog that has not been spayed or neutered.
Saying it “hide(s) the ball” and calling it “outright ‘trickeration,’ ” a Tallahassee judge has ruled that a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ending dog racing shouldn’t go on the November ballot. But in a statement, Attorney General Pam Bondi – who supports a dog-racing ban – said her office “will appeal this decision immediately and seek an expedited review by the Florida Supreme Court.” Among other things, Circuit Judge Karen Gievers‘ 27-page order (also posted below) said Amendment 13‘s ballot title and summary would mislead voters into believing a ‘yes’ vote was an outright ban on greyhound racing. The amendment bans betting on live dog racing in Florida, and doesn’t make clear that trackgoers in Florida could still bet on ‘simulcast‘ dog races outside Florida, she said. Live racing is still conducted at 11 tracks in the state. It also doesn’t make clear, Gievers added, that a vote for the amendment is a vote for other gambling – such as card games and slot machines – to continue at tracks that have them.
Energy suppliers are taking cyber threats seriously by shoring up physical infrastructure and hardening against cyber warfare. But they are competing with one arm tied behind their backs because they are using decades-old private radio systems to control these facilities, as opposed to the advanced broadband technology available today. That's because historically, most policymakers have been primarily focused on protecting consumers from rate hikes. That's an important objective. And Public Utility Commissions, or PUCs, also have the responsibility to facilitate technological and regulatory innovations that could enhance the consumer experience and promote more reliable and secure systems. By making access to dedicated broadband a priority for utilities — and by allowing them to include these investments in their rate base — PUCs will further enable grid modernization, vastly improving upon the dated technology employed today. That would result in the ability for first responders, health care providers and citizens to have lasting confidence in the reliability of the grid and the services they receive from it.
But there is a glimmer of hope now as Congressional leaders on a bipartisan basis are pushing a major reform in the Farm Bill to wire rural communities with broadband – especially those places universally believed to be impossible to wire because of their relatively small population and the huge land masses and distances between users. The Senate version of the Farm Bill pending now in Congress has a plan to solve this problem. It reforms broadband loan and infrastructure programs to ensure funds are targeted on areas that are currently unserved by high-speed internet. It enlists the two federal agencies with the most experience in broadband deployment – the FCC and NTIA – to map out and prioritize the unserved areas. And most important, it puts a stop to corporate manipulation that would divert funds needed to wire unserved rural areas into areas where broadband service is already available – putting an end to the wasteful practice where federal broadband funds are diverted to areas already served by the private sector, doubling up broadband for the “haves” while leaving the real “have-nots” marooned in the analog past.
n the past, fear that an abuser would hurt a beloved pet made it less likely a family would flee a home with domestic violence. Now, victims can call for help knowing that their furry friend will be safe and that they’ll someday be reunited. Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services, Pawsible Angels and Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic have created a new partnership with the owner of a shelter location who prefers to be anonymous. If a family calls Open Arms for help with domestic violence, the agency will ensure their pets get examined by a veterinarian, are kept safe and are eventually reunited with their humans.
Heavy rains and flood waters that flowed into the Chesapeake Bay in July might have exposed a serious problem along Maryland’s border: Pennsylvania. Record rains carried tons of sediment and debris over the Conowingo Dam, which regulates flow from the Susquehanna River coming out of Pennsylvania five miles upstream. The five days of rains from July 22 to 27 were so intense that the river ran three feet above flood stage, forcing Exelon — the power company that operates the dam — to open 20 flood gates. Flows at the dam exceeded 300,000 cubic feet per second, a rate not seen since Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.As the gates opened, trash, wood, plastic, and other objects came spilling out into a mass thick enough that it completely surrounded boats and docks miles downstream. Sediment containing polluted suburban and agricultural runoff also poured out.
Gov. Kim Reynolds has dropped an outspoken Medicaid adviser who repeatedly voiced concerns about how private management companies were treating Iowans with disabilities. David Hudson spent two years as co-chairman of Iowa's Medical Assistance Advisory Council, whose duties include monitoring the state's shift to private management of its $5 billion Medicaid program.“I felt that I was asking the questions the governor should have been asking,” he said in an interview at his Windsor Heights home. “… I guess I pushed back too hard or something.”
On Sept. 19, 1985, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Mexico City, collapsing more than 400 buildings and killing thousands of people. Immediately following the quake, people poured into the streets, trying to extricate trapped civilians and attend to wounded victims.Volunteers saved an estimated 700 lives following the natural disaster, said Natalie Enclade, director of the individual and community preparedness division at FEMA.But their lack of training also led them into dangerous situations. An estimated 100 volunteers died trying to save others, Enclade said.Heeding the lessons of the Mexico City earthquake, the city of Los Angeles — another earthquake-prone metropolis — developed an emergency response training program for civilians.“They recognized that citizens would likely be on their own during an emergency disaster — at least at first,” Enclade said.Disasters throughout California in the following years encouraged other agencies to adopt similar programs.In 1989, for example, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake ripped through the Santa Cruz mountains about 60 miles south of the Bay Area, causing significant damage in San Francisco, including in the heavily populated and tourist-filled Marina District. As in Mexico City years earlier, volunteers — many untrained — surged outside to help.In 1993 — after other states began developing their own local programs — FEMA took notice and created the federal CERT program and a common curriculum.Over the past 25 years, CERT programs have grown from a handful to about 2,800 nationwide.
Florida’s southwest coast, a ribbon of inlets and barrier islands normally brimming with wildlife, has become a red tide slaughterhouse this summer. Dead fish by the thousands have clogged inlets and canals. Since Sunday, 10 dead Goliath grouper, the massive reef fish that can live four decades or more, have floated to the surface. At least 90 sea turtles have been found stranded as the tide stretches well into nesting season. And Tuesday, as hundreds of residents packed a standing-room-only Cape Coral yacht club to hear about the federal government’s efforts to deal with water conditions, a dead manatee washed up at a nearby boat ramp. The list goes on: earlier this month the carcass of a whale shark was found on a Sanibel beach with red tide in its muscles, liver, intestines and stomach. Hundreds of double-breasted cormorants, brown pelicans and other seabirds have been sickened or died.