White Memorial Ofrece Taller Acerca de Opciones de Quirúrgicas para Tratar el Dolor de la Osteoartritis

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

White Memorial Medical Center, ubicado en Boyle Heights, en conjunto con la Arthritis Foundation el lunes, 25 de junio, presentará un taller informativo acerca de las opciones quirúrgicas para las personas que sufren por el osteoartritis.

El taller titulado “¿Es usted candidato para la cirugía de reemplazo de articulaciones?” cuenta con la asistencia el Dr. Kevin Pelton, cirujano ortopédico, quién hablará acerca de las opciones quirúrgicas y que estará disponible para responder a preguntas.

Personal del Arthritis Foundation y del White Memorial también estarán presentes para contestar preguntas.

El taller tocará los temas de los beneficios y los riesgos de la cirugía de reemplazo de articulaciones, así como prepararse para esta cirugía y su recuperación

Habrá traducción y estacionamiento gratuito (traiga su boleto de estacionamiento del hospital para que lo validen).

El taller será de 12 p.m. a 1 p.m. con un almuerzo con bufé ligero a las 1:15 p.m. La reunión será en el salón Capilla Oliver, en el hospital White Memorial Medical Center, ubicado en 1720 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033.

Para inscribirse, llame a Claudia Cabrera al (323) 260-2235 o envié un correo electrónico a cabrerCL@ah.org antes del 19 de junio.

New Thrills for Bell Gardens’ Skateboarders

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A small southeast city that doesn’t even have its own skateboard store is churning out some great skateboarders. Now, with help from a beverage company, the skaters are likely to get even better.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Más Diversión para los Patinadores de Bell Gardens

On June 9, Bell Gardens elected officials and residents gathered for the opening of two new skating features recently added to the Bell Gardens Skate Park located at 6627 Florence Place.

The skate park now includes a dual ramp with a 4-foot gap (picture an elongated triangle with the middle sliced out) and a manual pad (an elevated platform, also known as a grind box) donated by Red Bull North America.

Thirteen-year-old Anthony Galindo is a student at Suva Intermediate School and said he picked up a skateboard for the first time four and a half years ago. He’s been on the Bell Gardens Skate Team for two years.

Galindo said he and his teammates are excited about the new ramps that they think will help them learn “to do new stuff and get better.” Galindo’s brother, Alexander, and sister, Cynthia, are also on the team.

Anthony Galindo, center, receives a skateboard plaque from Bell Gardens Mayor Pedro Aceituno, left, and Councilman Daniel Crespo, right.

Eighteen year-old Jorge Jimenez says he’s been skating at the park since it opened 11 years ago, and has been on the city’s skate team for three years. He described Saturday’s event as “awesome” and “pretty sweet.”

Jimenez and his fellow team members each received a skateboard plank (boards without the wheels), engraved by the city of Bell Gardens, during Saturday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

“It’s pretty exciting to have your name on a skateboard,” Jimenez said; noting he plans to hang it, not use it.

The boards read: “Thank you for your outstanding performance in the Bell Gardens Skate Team” and are engraved with the city’s logo, according to Oscar Flores, Bell Gardens Recreation Coordinator.

“The [skate park’s] new features will make it more exciting to come here, and it will attract people from different cities,” Flores said. “It will put Bell Gardens on the map.”

According to Flores, the Bell Gardens Skate Team’s nine members earned the park upgrades donated by Red Bull North America during the last two “7 City Hustle” competitions.

“This unique skateboarding competition imagined by Bell Gardens recreation staff and sponsored by Red Bull North America, now in its fourth year, pits amateur skateboarders—ages 7 to 17—representing seven cities in an intense team competition,” Flores said.

Red Bull has hosted three of the four 7 City Hustle competitions in Bell Gardens, and will host the next competition scheduled for August. “We’ll have Team BG qualifying rounds coming soon in preparing to bring it back to BG!” Flores said.

The city’s association with Red Bull helped bring opportunities the city otherwise would not be able to offer, Flores said. The company has also sponsored an X-Game viewing party in the city and sent the skate team to the X-Games 2011 in a party bus, he added.

Flores and others frequently use the word “generous” when referring to Red Bull’s donation and sponsorships.

Bell Gardens Mayor Pedro Aceituno, a Red Bull beverage in his hand, said the
company’s events in the city are a big deal for kids in the community. He called the city’s partnership “fortunate for the city,” and noted that the company goes all out to publicize and produce the 7 Cities Hustle.

“Typically, parents don’t get to see their kids practice at the skate park every day, but during the 7 Cities City Hustle competition they were able to see how great their kids are doing,” Aceituno told EGP.

The mayor said the two new ramps are features kids in Bell Gardens wanted, but which the city could not afford. The association with Red Bull brought the upgrades for the skaters, without an added expense to the city, it’s a “win-win situation,” he said.

“We strongly believe in diversity in programs, not everyone wants to play baseball or soccer. Skating gives young people in the city the opportunity to exercise and get away from the television,” Aceituno said.

Councilmember Daniel Crespo noted that as developments in other cities have stalled, Bell Gardens has been able to upgrade the skate park and start construction on a new senior apartment complex. Still, the state’s elimination of $3 million in redevelopment funds will be a hit to the city this year, he said.

“We’re fortunate to have good staff, and when it comes to kids, we move forward,” he said.

Christian Urias, 15 is also on the skate team. Saturday he was dripping sweat as he skated under overcast skies, and tackled the new ramps.

He encouraged others to take up the sport. “Go for it. It’s fun. If you fall no one is going to make fun of you, it’s a part of skateboarding,” he said.

Jimenez encouraged kids to start skating wile they are young, and said the 7 Cities Hustle is a good opportunity for local skaters to learn “new stuff” and have fun.

The other members of the Bell Gardens Skate Team are Gilbert Estrada, Lucas Bedolla, Sonny Perera, Erick Valdez and Rene Serano, who, according to Flores, was not at the ceremony because he was busy filming a Nike commercial.

The next 7 Cities Hustle will be held Aug. 25 in Huntington Park.

Discriminación Tiene Efecto Negativos Sobre la Salud de Jóvenes

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Los jóvenes de más bajos recursos y de minorías sufren más discriminación en las escuelas que sus compañeros de otros grupos raciales, lo que repercute en su salud mental y física, según un estudio de la Universidad de Indiana.

“En la medida en que la discriminación aumenta en las minorías y otros grupos en desventaja hemos visto en las personas que su salud se deteriora y la afección más visible es la depresión”, dijo a Efe Eric Grollman, estudiante del doctorado en sociología de la Universidad de Indiana en Bloomington.

Grollman indicó que las jóvenes latinas “reportan discriminación por ser mujeres y mucho más cuando pertenecen a familias que sobreviven con programas de ayuda social, mientras que los chicos hispanos apuntan son discriminados por su raza”.

“Los incidentes de discriminación a los que están expuestos en los grupos en desventaja como los hispanos afectan a su salud, generando depresión, hipertensión, problemas del corazón y todo tipo de afecciones mentales”, indicó Grollman.

El autor del estudio explicó que esta depresión a menudo conlleva a que los jóvenes comiencen a “fumar, ingerir alcohol y drogas para hacerle frente al estrés que esos actos generan.

Los resultados del estudio, titulado “Múltiples Formas de Discriminación Percibida y Salud entre Adolescentes y Adultos Jóvenes”, fueron producto de un análisis sobre unas encuestas a 1.052 jóvenes de entre 15 y 25 años realizadas por el “Black Youth Project”, de la Universidad de Chicago.

“Los jóvenes latinos en las escuelas estadounidenses reportan que son excluidos de ciertas actividades por sus compañeros privilegiados, los maestros los tratan de manera distinta y en términos de disciplina los castigos son más severos según su raza y clase social”, destacó.

El investigador destacó además que el estudio, publicado en la edición de junio del “Journal of Health and Social Behavior”, muestra que las chicas latinas “son más discriminadas que, incluso, que los chicos latinos”.

Grollman dijo que además de ser tratadas de forma diferente por la raza, las jóvenes hispanas “son discriminadas por la clase social y el género”.

Explicó que lo novedoso del estudio es que está enfocado en jóvenes, a diferencia de los anteriores que están enfocados en las afecciones de salud producto de la discriminación sólo en adultos.

Industria de Reciclaje Prospera con Nuevas Tecnologías en el Interior del Sur de California

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Una planta de reciclaje de botellas de plástico en el Interior del Sur de California (Inland Empire), aprovecha las nuevas tecnologías para hacer del reciclaje un próspero negocio y una sólida apuesta hacia el futuro ambiental.

Con una superficie de 220.000 pies cuadrados y la capacidad de procesar 200.000 millones de botellas de plástico por año, la nueva planta de reciclaje de botellas de Carbonlite es una de las más grandes de su tipo en el mundo y una de las más avanzadas del país.

La planta de reciclaje utiliza tecnología de punta que permite el reconocimiento electrónico del poliéster que luego será usado en la fabricación de nuevas botellas y empaques de alta calidad para alimentos, tapetes y ropa.

El proceso además genera significativos ahorros económicos y energéticos, y disminuye el impacto medioambiental del desperdicio de plásticos.

Según Phillip Sanderson, vicepresidente de operaciones de Carbonlite Industries, con la madurez en las tecnologías de selección óptica e infrarroja (NRI) mejoró la calidad del poliéster y su aplicación hacia nuevos productos.

Junto con esto, la presión pública por productos cuyo empaque contaminen lo menos posible, generó un mercado que ahora empresas como la suya quieren aprovechar.

La planta, ubicada en la ciudad de Riverside y en la que trabaja un centenar de operarios, las 24 horas del día, los siete días de la semana, recibe las botellas plásticas desechadas en bloque y luego de separarlas, limpiarlas, seleccionan aquellas hechas a base de resina de poliéster (PET) para triturarlas.

El resultado de este proceso es la creación de una base de alta calidad que sirve para ser incorporada en la elaboración de empaques y nuevas botellas, entre otros.

Para la empresa esta solución está por encima de otros procesos como la degradación o la incineración, que además de destruir importantes recursos y emitir gases que generan efecto invernadero, desalientan el reciclaje.

Con el proceso, Carbonlite asegura ahorrar el equivalente energético de 40.000 viajes entre Los Ángeles y Nueva York por año y utilizar ocho veces menos carbono, además, afirma disminuir drásticamente el número de botellas de desperdicio destinadas a los rellenos sanitarios.

“Estamos muy orgullosos de lo que hacemos: tomamos un producto que hasta hace poco era descartado y lo convertimos en un material apto para los alimentos, que le reduce los costos al consumidor americano y aminora el impacto ambiental (del desperdicio) de los paquetes”, afirmó Sanderson a Efe, durante una reciente visita guiada a las instalaciones de Riverside.

En efecto, en gran parte debido a los avances en la automatización del proceso de selección de las botellas apropiadas, estos materiales que anteriormente eran exportados a China o simplemente enviados al relleno, vuelven a formar parte del proceso productivo.

“Cuesta menos convertir botellas de poliéster reciclado en una materia prima utilizable, que comenzar el proceso de fabricación (de los empaques) desde cero”, aseguró Sanderson.

La empresa vende el poliéster producido a embotelladoras y otros, pero además comercializa los demás subproductos del proceso, con lo cual crece el ciclo de vida del plástico.

“Cada día procesamos alrededor de 100.000 libras de desperdicios generados en California, que de otra forma irían a parar a los rellenos sanitarios de las localidades vecinas”, señaló Sanderson.

Sin embargo, queda mucho por hacer. La amplia disponibilidad de terrenos en Estados Unidos ha hecho en parte que todavía el país esté rezagado en materia de reciclaje con respeto a varias naciones europeas que llevan una ventaja de 10 años.

“Uno de los mayores retos de esta planta es que como no hay muchas de su tipo en el país todo debe ser ensayado por primera vez”, añadió Sanderson, para quien en este país todavía estamos en lo que llama “la infancia” en este tipo de iniciativas.

Sin embargo, las expectativas de Carbonlite son las de doblar su producción para 2013 debido al crecimiento del mercado, ayudado en parte por las regulaciones oficiales de varios estados que están convirtiendo al reciclaje en un tema obligatorio, no solamente en una opción.

Salesian Boys & Girls Club Ready for Summer Campers

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When Daisy Cuellar was a Salesian Boys and Girls Club member, there was no summer camp. Now, the recent Wellesley College graduate and City Terrace resident is working behind the scenes to help make sure that this year summer camp is available to club members.

Cuellar writes grant proposals for the Boyle Heights area-based Salesian Boys and Girls Clubs, where approximately 98 percent of the club’s members are Latino and over 35 percent are low-income or living in poverty, according to the club’s website.

The club offers valuable educational and life skills to students in need of help and guidance, and an incentive to stay out of trouble.

Cuellar says she has fond memories of submerging herself in the club’s leadership program.

She told EGP that when she was selected to receive the Boys and Girls Club “Youth of the Year” award, the Salesian staff went out of their way to drive her mother to the award ceremony in Sacramento.

My involvement “led me to make positive decisions,” and after four years away, “they’ve welcomed me back with open arms,” Cuellar told EGP. Today she is working to make sure that young people from the East Los Angeles community have access to those same positive life experiences.

According to Brother Tom Mass, the club’s executive director, they use to run a summer day camp program out of the Wabash location, but it’s been closed for years. They are now working to reestablish the program at that location, one of three branches in the Boyle Heights area.

The nonprofit Salesian Boys and Girls Club offers the national Boys and Girls Club core programs in addition to a spiritual component that is in accordance with the mission of Don Bosco to help the neediest children, Mass said.

While the after-school program has for the most part focused on academics, they have lately been trying to expand their horizons and be more creative in order to keep the children’s interest.

For example, the club recently offered a pet training program to its members. It also offers lifeguard training as well as an arts and crafts program that will culminate with a trip this summer to the Getty Museum, Mass said.

C.P.A. Jay Conner is in charge of resource development and says the club has brought in personal trainers to give the boys and girls some healthy life style tips.
This summer they are bringing in artists to teach visual, creative and performing arts skills to club members. They have also started a bicycle club and are working on establishing a community garden.

“We are making a robust effort to get more kids in the summer program …we could end up with twice as many [as prepared for], but we’ll be happy to deal with that crisis when it comes,” Conner said.

Next Wednesday, June 20, the Salesian Boys and Girls Club will take club members on their first field trip of the summer. They will go see a movie at a local movie theater then take a “learning tour” around the facility, Cuellar said. The theater field trips are made possible through a 2012 Summer Movie Express grant through the Regal Entertainment Group, Cuellar explained.

Summer campers will also take field trips to Dockweiler Beach on July 13, and Castaic Lake on July 20.

Summer activities at the club sites includes swimming, game room, arts & crafts, educational games, dance, and sports. But members can also expect an exciting summer camp experience filled with group cheers and a talent show, the organizers said.

The Salesian Boys and Girls Summer Day Camp (Wabash location) is open to youth, ages 6 to 12; children of all religions and background are welcome. A healthy lunch will be provided daily.

The program runs June 25 to Aug. 3, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per week, $10-$15 for additional siblings. Club membership is $5 and includes the regular club hours from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. No child will be turned away for inability to pay, according to the nonprofit organization.

For more information, call (323) 263-7519, or pick up an application at 3218 Wabash Ave.

The Salesian Boys and Girls Club branch near Soto Street in Boyle Heights will also be holding a Summer Day Camp, for more information call (323) 980-8551, or pick up an application at the club located at 2228 E. 4th Street.

The Salesian Boys and Girls Clubs are supported through grants, foundation funding and individual donors. The Wabash location was once an old Jewish Menorah Center in the 1930s but it was extensively remodeled became the Salesian Boys and Girls Club in 1966, according to the club’s website. For more information about Salesian Boys and Club programs, go online to http://www.salesianclubs-la.org/contacts.html.

Parade Today for Stanley Cup Champs, LA Kings

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A 45-year drought ended with the Los Angeles Kings’ 6-1 victory Monday over the New Jersey Devils and hundreds of jubilant, mostly well-behaved Kings fans spilled onto the street outside the Staples Center.

Today, King’s fans will have another opportunity to cheer their home team at a parade in downtown Los Angeles.

The parade will begin at noon Thursday at the corner of Figueroa and Fifth streets, then head south on Figueroa to Staples Center.

Kings players and their families, coaches, staff, broadcasters, alumni, the Ice Crew and mascot Bailey will ride on double-decker buses and other decorated vehicles along with the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to Quick as the most valuable player in the playoffs, and Clarence Campbell Cup, emblematic of the team being champion of the Western Conference.

Fans planning to attend the parade are urged to line the one-mile Figueroa Street parade route on both sides of the street as there will be limited access to the areas adjacent to Staples Center and L.A. Live, which will be controlled by the Los Angeles Police Department and Department of Transportation.

Metro urged fans to avoid traffic tie-ups and parking hassles by taking public transportation, including the Blue and Expo rail lines and the Dash bus line, to the parade.

The Kings are reminding parents planning on bringing their children to the parade to keep them close to prevent them from becoming separated from their groups.

Parade-goers are encouraged to drink water and use sunscreen, as many are likely to be standing along Figueroa Street for several hours and the forecast calls for sunny weather.

Parking will be available in Los Angeles Convention Center and Staples Center lots. Fans are also encouraged to take public transportation, including the Blue and Expo rail lines and the Dash bus line.

The parade is expected to last 30-45 minutes.

An hourlong “Championship Rally” will begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Staples Center, including specially produced video highlights, introduction of the team, coaching staff and executives with speech and reactions from many players, plus special presentations.

All of the more than 18,000 tickets to the rally were distributed Tuesday.

The LA Kings, Stanley cup in tow, were at Dodger Stadium last night and were joined by the LA Dodgers and LA Angels of Anaheim on the field for a team picture.
The Stanley Cup also toured the talk show circuit Tuesday, with goaltender Jonathan Quick and his teammates taking it to ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and team captain Dustin Brown to NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

LAUSD Must Use State Standards to Evaluate Teachers, Judge Rules

June 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Los Angeles Unified School District must comply with state law requiring that student performance, including test scores, be considered when teachers and principals are given job evaluations, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant finalized a 25-page tentative ruling he handed down Monday. The ruling was in response to a petition filed by a group of parents supported by EdVoice, a Sacramento-based education reform group. The lawsuit filed last Nov. 1 is aimed at making the LAUSD abide by a state law called the Stull Act requiring that evidence of student learning must be used in teacher and principal evaluations.

“Does the district comply with the Stull Act? The answer is no,” Chalfant said.

The judge said the law must be enforced regardless of any collective bargaining agreements with the district that may present obstacles.

“You can’t agree by contract to violate a law,” Chalfant said. Chalfant said the district has discretion how it will comply with the order. He also did not set a deadline for LAUSD compliance, saying the attorneys should meet and confer on the issue and consider including that information in a final judgment. He set a hearing on the judgment for July 24.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said outside the courthouse after the hearing that he was pleased with Chalfant’s ruling and that he hoped EdVoice leaders would take their case to other districts.

“This decision sews the seeds of change for public schools,” Villaraigosa said. “I’m hoping these fine individuals will sue other school districts up and down the state.”

Villaraigosa said the “better evaluations mean better teachers” and that translates to improved student performance.

“We can’t compete in a global economy if kids can’t make the grade,” he said.

The mayor said he hopes the order will be implemented within the LAUSD by September.

The use of standardized test scores is opposed by teachers’ unions. United Teachers Los Angeles attorney Jesus Quinones told Chalfant he opposed the issuance of the order, saying the district and the union are already doing many of the things specified by the law.

Quinones also chided critics who he said have suggested the LAUSD and the teachers do not care about the students.

“There’s absolutely no evidence of that. Those are just headline grabs,” Quinones said.

The nation’s second-largest school district on Monday issued a statement on behalf of Superintendent John Deasy in reaction to the tentative ruling.

“Dr. Deasy agrees with the judge’s tentative ruling, and … that the district has waited far too long to comply with the law,” the statement says. “This is why LAUSD has created its own evaluation system and has begun to use it. The system was developed with the input of teachers and administrators. Now the district needs to move quickly to comply with the law.”

Deasy attended Tuesday’s hearing and said afterward he agreed with Chalfant’s ruling.

The Wisconsin Union Fight Reconsidered

June 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The failed gubernatorial recall effort in Wisconsin has generated a degree of political hostility that is extraordinary even by today’s standards. Many people interpret Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to limit collective bargaining by government-employee unions as a general attack on workers and their right to organize. That may be the case, but it’s not the only interpretation available.

According to MSNBC, more than a third of those who voted to retain Walker were union members. Commentators like Chris Matthews are befuddled by that finding. Why would union members vote to retain the guy who limited collective bargaining by unions? It’s possible these people thought recall was too drastic a measure in a policy dispute, but another possibility suggests itself: maybe private-sector union members don’t regard government employees as brothers-in-arms

That wouldn’t be hard to understand. The average person correctly perceives government as out of control. Spending and taxes go up, and most people have no real say in the matter. Where does a lot of that tax money go? To government employees, of course. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on any particular person, but let’s face the facts: Government employees are tax consumers, not taxpayers. Nongovernment workers earn their money in the marketplace, and tax collectors at all levels forcibly extract a large portion of it. Government employees naturally want an ever-larger share.

But aren’t government employees taxpayers too? No, they are not. Their pay is tax money. When government employees appear to pay taxes, they’re merely rebating some of the tax money to the government. It would be far more efficient for the government to pay them less and not go through the charade of taxing them. Government employees may sincerely believe they pay taxes, but they are mistaken.

This analysis sheds light on the bargaining that takes place between governments and government-employee unions. Both sides of the negotiation have a basic goal: extraction of wealth from the taxpayers. And those taxpayers have no seat at the table! It is hardly an exaggeration to say that collective bargaining in the government realm is a conspiracy against the taxpayers, who of course include workers in private employment. If there is a harmony of interest, it is between government workers and their employers, not between government workers and private-sector workers.

Thus champions of real workers — those in the productive private sector — need not wring their hands over the limits put on government unions. No one has a right to tax money — that is, stolen money; therefore no one has a right to bargain, collectively or otherwise, to obtain it. If as a result of limits on bargaining, fewer people want to work for the government, why should advocates of liberty complain? The government function should be left to the competitive market anyway.

This is not to say that all is well in the private sector. Generations of government intervention have reduced workers’ bargaining power in favor of employers. Any interference with the free market that suppresses competition — occupational licensing, patents, subsidies, land-use restrictions, trade barriers, special tax treatment — reduces the number of firms bidding for workers’ services and also reduces self-employment opportunities. Even the labor laws reduce workers’ influence by, for example, outlawing wildcat strikes, sympathy strikes, and secondary boycotts. Abolishing the vast edifice of federal labor law would be more liberating for workers than for employers.

Does this mean we should applaud the governor of Wisconsin? Actually, no. State governments are in trouble because they spent profligately when revenues rolled in, and now they can’t meet the future pension and other obligations that have been imposed on the taxpayers. As a result, state governments face a crisis in legitimacy. Some governors realize this and are thus trying to save the discredited system by trimming spending (for now) and making political hay through reining in the government unions. The fiscal hawks even tout cutbacks as ways to raise more revenue. (Why is that a good thing?) But have you ever heard a Republican governor call for leaving education to the competitive market or abolishing all occupational licensing and zoning?

This is largely a fight over how to preserve a crumbling, corrupt system so that the people don’t start thinking libertarian thoughts.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.

Our Press Freedom Is Under Fire

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, the truth
Will set us free;
But it’s not found
On NBC.

Freedom of the press, that inspired rallying cry of our democracy, is becoming a poignant memory. In its latest ranking of how such freedoms stack up worldwide, Reporters Without Borders ranked the United States No. 47. We certainly rate way better than China, which clocked in at No. 174 out of 179 countries, but this truly is a shameful grade.

“The crackdown on protest movements and the accompanying excesses took their toll on journalists,” the organization noted in its explanation for the nation falling by 27 places in this annual ranking. “In the space of two months in the United States, more than 25 were subjected to arrests and beatings at the hands of police who were quick to issue indictments for inappropriate behavior, public nuisance or even lack of accreditation.”

The attack on media coverage of the Occupy movement’s many strands continued into 2012, particularly in the police’s crackdown in Oakland, California.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has suppressed data on civilian casualties in all of our many ongoing conflicts, thus leaving the media without critical data.

Even while being stiffed by the feds for basic information, corporate newshounds too rarely raise a stink or ask embarrassing policy questions, and the major media lost interest in the Afghanistan conflict years ago. The chief cause of this government/media non-aggression pact is that the mainstream media now belongs to America’s corporate family. No boat-rocking, please. The 50 corporations that controlled the vast majority of U.S. media operations in 1983, according to researcher Ben Bagdikian, seemed powerful, but by 2001, there were only seven. In the name of consolidation, media companies of all kinds have swallowed up affiliates and subsidiaries to the point where it’s almost impossible to keep track of who owns what. So while most reporters and editors get into the business to serve and protect the public interest, media managers make sure that the business serves itself. Most reporters and editors grasp this reality full well, and so tailor their product to protect their jobs.

Historically, advertising was the driving force behind this self-censorship. Today, given the declining numbers of newspaper readers and TV news junkies and the stiff competition for advertising dollars on the Internet, media outlets are scrambling for an elusive new model to pay the bills. Sure, bonanzas still crop up, such as expensive political campaigns. These aren’t trends to be lightly criticized, either in print or on the air. And so they generally aren’t.

But what about public radio and TV programming? Didn’t the government encourage public broadcasting in large part to ensure that audiences would be offered alternative views? Well maybe, but often that’s not the case. And while PBS and NPR remain dependent on Congress for their legal existence, government spending accounts for only a small portion of their overall budgets. Worse, our “public” radio and TV stations run corporate ads that acknowledge donations that keep them on the air. All those oil company greenwashing commercials make it sound like they only traffic in granola and solar panels.

Today’s top media battles, however, increasingly involve the Internet. Corporate service providers are fighting mightily to have it serve corporate interests, while media reform organizations are striving desperately for journalistic freedom. Worst of all, censorship is gaining ground, especially when it’s disguised as “cybersecurity” measures.

OtherWords.org columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative, and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut.

County Supervisors Want Feds to Pay for Detainees

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday agreed to oppose a federal policy that ends reimbursements to local governments for the costs of jailing individuals whose immigration status is unknown.

Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe recommended the board send a letter to its Congressional delegation and President Barack Obama in opposition to the new policy, adopted in response to the president’s budget proposal.

The federal government has partially reimbursed the cost of jailing foreign-born inmates whose immigration status is unknown since 1996. But the Department of Justice now says it will reimburse costs only for inmates verified as illegal immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security.

“This decision will have a tremendous impact on the county,” Antonovich said. “The federal government has failed to secure the borders, yet forces counties to pay for the high cost of housing, food and medical care for illegals in the jails.”

Last year, Los Angeles County accounted for more than 8 percent of jailed and undocumented illegal immigrants nationwide and 4 percent of inmates whose immigration status was unknown, Antonovich said, citing a federal database.

He estimated 80 percent of the “unknown” inmates are illegal immigrants. But if they cannot be verified as illegal, the county has to foot the full bill for their incarceration.

Antonovich said the Department of Homeland Security had not assigned enough Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to county jails and that inmates were often released from custody without being screened by ICE.

DHS has implemented programs to help state and local governments verify inmates’ status, including the Secure Communities Program, which checks arrestees’ fingerprints against DHS records.

The county was reimbursed $9.9 million for foreign-born inmates last year, down significantly from the $14 million paid out in 2010. Antonovich estimated the county’s cost for such inmates at about $70 million.

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