Saturday, May 28, 2016

Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets On Yelp

The vast majority of reviews on Yelp are positive. But in trying to respond to critical ones, some doctors, dentists and chiropractors appear to be violating the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA.

 https://www.propublica.org/article/stung-by-yelp-reviews-health-providers-spill-patient-secrets

Friday, May 27, 2016

Trump turns down debate!

By roguevalley
 
Here is what happened. A Dem with a spine challenged a Nazi to a debate and dared him to step forward. HRC at the same time was home hiding because the Inspector General's report showed she was lying for over a year on her server fiasco.

The only grown up in this mess challenged Trump and showed him to be a coward, a blowhard and a sissy.

Bernie did that, not HRC who is still trying to absorb her 9% trustworthy rating v NINETY ONE PERCENT untrustworthy rating in the last poll.

Consider in that total that EVEN HER SUPPORTERS DON'T TRUST HER! Among the 91% who said she's untrustworthy were her 'supporters'.

Bernie showed what a DEMOCRAT looks like. HRC is still counting her fingers.

Donald J. Trump Statement on Debating Bernie Sanders

Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women’s health issues. Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders - and it would be an easy payday - I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.

Player Haters Ball


Copabanana again among Philly eateries asked to close by health dept.

By Sam Wood, STAFF WRITER

The health department usually inspects a Philadelphia eatery once a year. At Copabanana on South Street, however, sanitarians have dropped in six times since January and asked it to shut down twice.

The margarita and burger joint has a chronic problem with keeping food at safe temperatures. When perishable items are stored between 42 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, toxic bacteria - the types that can cause food poisoning - can multiply quickly. On May 18 a sanitarian found calamari and coleslaw stored at 46 degrees, 5 degrees warmer than is considered safe. On April 18, Copabanana was cited for failing to reheat food items to 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds; raw chicken was found in the lukewarm danger zone. On Feb. 22, the list of improperly refrigerated foods included spinach dip, sour cream and octopus.

At other eateries asked to shutter their doors to fix health violations, the two most common violations included rodent infestations and not having a food-safety certified person present.

The eateries listed below were inspected between May 17th and 27th. Each inspection is generally regarded as a "snapshot in time" and is not necessarily a reflection of day-to-day conditions at the business. Most violations were corrected on site.

Included with each listing is an edited selection of infractions noted by health department sanitarians. Click on the restaurant's name to see a detailed report. Visit Philly.com/cleanplates for a searchable database of inspection reports.

If you suspect you've contracted food poisoning at a Philadelphia eatery or have a sanitation complaint, contact the health department at (215) 685-7495.

Manakash Cafe & Bakery
4420 WALNUT ST 19104
14 violations, 8 serious.
Food safety certified person not present; employee had open beverage container in food prep area; black residue, pink slime in ice machine; Windex stored with syrup for beverages; evidence of insect activity, roach and numerous flies; employees not wearing hair restraints. Inspected May 26.

Ed's Buffalo Wings
3513 LANCASTER AVE 19104
35 violations, 14 serious.
No person in charge present; food not protected from contamination; improper hand washing procedures; employee with dirty fingernails touched ready-to-eat food with bare hands; empty paper towel dispenser; food held at unsafe temperatures; employees not wearing hair restraints; general cleaning needed throughout facility. 17 violations addressed on site. Inspected May 26.

Gonzalez Grocery
1400 N 7TH ST 19122
19 violations, 7 serious.
Food safety certified person not present; empty paper towel dispenser; deli meats uncovered and unprotected from possible contamination; food held at unsafe temperatures; facility does not protect against entry of insects, rodents and other animals; cleaning needed in restrooms. 13 violations addressed on site. Inspected May 26.

Sunshine Food Market
4261 LANCASTER AVE 19104
26 violations, 8 serious
Food safety certified person not present; no soap and no sign in toilet room reminding employees to wash hands; 8 jars of expired baby food and 5 boxes of baby cereal; pink slime and black residue in ice machine; walk-in cooler holding food at unsafe temperatures; live cockroaches and evidence of vermin in basement. Inspected May 24.

New Good Brother Chinese Restaurant
2768 N 24TH ST 19132
15 violations, 3 serious.
Food safety certified person not present; thermometers not available; mouse droppings along floor perimeters. Inspected May 23.

Almonte Mini Market
883 N 5TH ST 19123
14 violations, 7 serious.
Food safety certified person not present; food residue in hand wash sink; 12 expired containers of baby food; food residue on slicer. Inspected May 23.

Dim Sum Garden Philly
1020 RACE ST 19107
25 violations, 5 serious.
Mouse infestation, droppings on floor perimeter, shelves, in bowls and canned goods; kitchen hand wash sink blocked by buckets; bean sprouts stored under raw chicken; food held at unsafe temperatures; frozen chicken thawing at room temperature in sink; inaccurate thermometer on display case; clean and sanitize shelves and work table in food prep area. 48 hour closure ordered May 19.

The Bakeshop on 20th
269 S 20TH ST 19103
Food safety certified person not on premises. Patron observed with a dog at cashier ordering station. Inspected May 19.

George's 9th St. Lunch
1007 S 9TH ST 19147
10 violations, 3 serious.
Evidence of rodent activity in kitchen, mouse droppings in storage area, on floor throughout kitchen area, on slicer, under sinks; employee observed touching bread and cooked eggs with bare hands; no soap at hand wash sink; person in charge didn't use gloves while working with ready-to-eat foods; cigarette butts in kitchen under hand sink and trash can. Inspected May 18.

Copabanana/Hurricane
342 SOUTH ST 19147
12 violations, 6 serious.
Employee consuming drink at food prep station; calamari, raw shrimp and coleslaw at unsafe temperatures; hand wash sink blocked by trays; employees not wearing effective hair restraints. Previously asked to cease and desist on Feb. 22. Inspected May 17.

Almonte Family Grocery Store
1770 MASCHER ST 19122
21 violations, 5 serious.
No hot water; improper hand washing procedures; no soap at sink; accumulated residue on slicer; foods held at unsafe temperatures; customers in kitchen food prep area; cat in basement; overflowing garbage in trash container; restrooms need to be cleaned. May 17.

samwood@phillynews.com
215-854-2796 @samwoodiii

Thursday, May 26, 2016

No Consoles For Old Men - Ageism In The Game Industry

In this timeless blog, veteran developer David Mullich writes how, after a long career encompassing many highly-regarded games, "no game studio or publisher seemed willing even to give me a phone interview."

The great Trump overload


Hello Pot, Meet Kettle.

By Juanita Jean

Hello Pot, Meet Kettle.

I gotta tell you something. Republicans are smoking way too much weed. I have proof.

Newt Gingrich is calling Mitt Romney incompetent. Yeah.

Newt says that Romney’s attempt to derail Trump was “pathetic” and “not particularly effective.”
“It’s pathetic… I don’t know what happened to Mitt, but it is weird; it is bizarre,” Mr. Gingrich said in an interview with reporters and editors of The Wall Street Journal, commenting on the 2012 presidential nominee’s attacks on Mr. Trump. “Having a guy like that go berserk in public makes you wonder what his problems are.”
As I recall, Gingrich was one of the original candidates in 2012 and was also the first or second to drop out. That was pathetic – joyful for me – but pathetic nonetheless.

Gingrich wants to be Trump’s vice presidential candidate. That means they will have 7 wives between them, which is kinda amazing since they are running in the Jesus First political party.

Admit it, you’re enjoying watching these grown men line up to kiss The Donald’s butt.

I do. Boy howdy, I do.

Crossposted at juanitajean.com

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sanders Ahead of Trump by 15 Points, Hillary Just by 3

 
A major national poll has some surprising numbers in it. 
 

A shocker. A new NBC News/Wall St Journal poll has Bernie up 54 to 39 over Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, according to the same poll,  Hillary Clinton no longer has a double digit lead over Donald Trump like she did just a month ago - her lead over Trump is just 3 points.

On the other hand, while less than a quarter of likely Republican voters backed Trump a month ago, he’s since gained 14 points. Only 66% percent of Sanders supporters say they’d vote for Clinton in November, which her supporters say will rise if Sanders drops out. After all, that’s what happened on the Republican side. But 17% of Sanders supporters have already vowed to vote for Trump if Clinton is the nominee - a greater margin than Clinton had of Republican voters when Cruz and Kasich remained in the race.

Hillary Clinton wins with all the demographics that Trump loses with painfully. In a general election, she would win African American voters 88% to Trump’s 9%. Still, with other demographics - such as women and young people - Sanders would defeat Trump by a greater margin.

Just last week, Bernie Sanders told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell he was the stronger candidate to defeat Donald Trump. “The case we’ll make [with the super delegates] is that I am the stronger candidate. It’s not just the polling. Our campaign is the campaign bringing in working class people,” Sanders said.

Related Stories

Friday, May 20, 2016

Trump Plays Fantasy SCOTUSball, Picks Judge Who Hates Him

By Dominic Gwinn

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee and Dark Lord of the Sith Donald Trump climbed atop his podium to announce his potential SCOTUS picks yesterday, and they were pretty much the same wingnuts and religious zealots the GOP’s been ramming and cramming down our throats for years.

Trump-Scalia
Trump/Scalia, BFF’s 4 LIFE!
 
Disregard the fact that Trump was never, ever, ever going to put his teeny little hands together, pray to the angry spirit of Ronald Reagan, and do the bidding of Reince Preibus, those were all just fancy-talkin’ brain words! Suggestions of ideas he might potentially consider after maybe putting some serious speculative thought towards an actual policy platform.
“The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”
Out of the 11 names put forward to replace the fat, bloated corpse of Justice Antonin Scalia, ONLY eight were men, but don’t fret, ya’ll!

The rest were the same, regular old white people endorsed by the batshit fringe groups, like the Federalist Society, who make sure that all 10 Commandments are prominently displayed in front of local courthouses.

Of the nominated judges, six were appointed to federal appeals courts by The Decider, George W. Bush, and five were appointed by Republican Governors to state Supreme Courts.

Naturally, Barry Bamz sicked Josh Ernst on an eager press gaggle to lay the smackdown on Donald’s Judicial Legion of Doom. Earnest said he’d “be surprised if there are any Democrats who would describe any of those 11 individuals as a consensus nominee,” pointing out that’s exactly what Orrin Hatch had called Judge Merrick Garland in 2010.

Then he reminded the Senate, once more, to do its damned job and give Garland a hearing.

Our personal favorite of the Trump Crop is fast-tweetin’ Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, because this guy’s got some serious huevos:
Willet Tweet Haiku
Justice Don Willet, bangs wife on Constitution, SCOTUS nod hates Trump
Willet Tweet Evangelicals
Jesus, these Evangelicals sure seem to cry a lot!
Willet Tweet Darth Trump
Plot Twist: The 2nd Death Star was built by illegal Bothan immigrants.
Willet Tweet GOP Con
“I’ve felt a great disturbance in The Force…”
Justice Willett has been firing off against Trump since last year, and he hasn’t really stopped, which is Double-Plus Good considering he is now being eyeballed to tell us what we can and can’t do with unborn babies, public sector unions, and immigrants.

Now that some advisor has no doubt informed Trump of Willett’s tweets, we’ll assume he’s not at the top of the list; the real question is whether the new “more presidential” Trump can refrain from starting a Twitter war with one of his own handpicked (cough!) potential nominees.

[Politico / NYTimes]

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How A Failing MSNBC Gave Rise to America’s Premier Progressive News Site: The Young Turks

By

It’s an oldie but a goodie!

In this clip from the 2011 version of The Young Turks, host Cenk Uygur explains why he turned down a different role on MSNBC in favor of continuing to build his online progressive empire which he had begun just a few years before.

Seeing the sort of drivel which Comcast-owned MSNBC turns out daily now and the scores of liberal commentators they have scorned and tossed aside, we know without a doubt that Cenk made the right choice.

As more people wake up to the reality of corporate media and the growing conservative vein in MSNBC, more people flock to online outlets like The Young Turks. In this way, MSNBC is giving a gift to progressive online outlets, but not willingly.

We should all be grateful for that day in 2011 when Cenk said “no thanks” and instead continued to provide non-corporate, progressive news to a massive and loyal audience online.

Watch.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How 3 Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud

By David Dayen

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File
In this July 2, 2008, file photo a foreclosed home is seen for sale in Sacramento, California. 

Below is an excerpt from Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, published on May 17 by The New Press.

There is a rot at the heart of our democracy, rooted in a nagging mystery that has yet to be unraveled. It gnaws at people, occupies their thoughts, leaves them searching for answers in the chill of the night. Americans want to know why no high-ranking Wall Street executive has gone to jail for the conduct that precipitated the financial crisis.

The oddest thing about the predominance of the question is that everyone already assumes they know the answer. They believe that too many politicians, regulators, and law enforcement officials, bought off with campaign contributions or the promise of a future job, simply allowed banker miscreants to annihilate the law in pursuit of profit. But they must not like the explanation very much, because they keep asking why, as if they want to be proven wrong, to be given a different story.

Maybe they don’t like the implications of a government that lets Wall Street walk. It does too much violence to the conception of the country they have in their mind, with its ideals of justice and fairness. It explains the dis-empowerment people feel in the face of a rigged economic and political system, with differing standards of treatment depending on wealth and power. It engenders a loss of faith in core institutions, turning our democracy into a sideshow, where the real action happens offstage. It inspires people to don tri-cornered hats and protest crony capitalism, or pitch camp at the base of Wall Street and refuse to move. It generates a profound anxiety, for if bankers can bring the economy to the point of ruin and get away with it, what’s to stop them from doing it again? It makes our economy seem too fragile, our laws too impotent.

Or maybe people just want the details filled in, to confirm their suspicions, so they can point fingers at those who created this two-tiered system of accountability. There must be a set of facts that prove we’re living in a new Gilded Age, where holders of prodigious wealth guide government policy the way a string guides a marionette. There must be a smoking gun.

Those details are available, but not where most chroniclers of the financial crisis have ever cared to look. They usually take a ten-thousand-foot view, recounting stories of the hubris of bank CEOs or tracking the swashbuckling, without-a-net exploits of those tasked with stanching the bleeding. But few have offered the perspective of millions of ordinary Americans, the ones who never visited a Wall Street office tower or a Washington conference suite, and who endured most of the suffering that resulted from the crash. At ground level, the crisis was not a cautionary tale of greed or an adventure plot: It was a tragedy, too casually hidden from view.

Starting in 2009—as the crisis raged—three of these ordinary Americans decided to take on this mystery for themselves, to fill in those details, to understand what Wall Street perpetrated and why. In so doing, they played a significant role in uncovering the largest consumer fraud in American history.

They didn’t work in government or law enforcement. They were not experts in real estate law. They had no history of anti-corporate activism or community organizing. They had no resources or institutional knowledge. They were a cancer nurse, a car salesman, and an insurance fraud specialist, and they were all foreclosure victims. While struggling with the shame and dislocation and financial stress that foreclosure causes, they did something extraordinary: They read their mortgage documents. Wall Street’s scheme was not hidden but readily apparent in millions of pieces of documentary evidence, and to be a whistle blower, you just had to pay attention. 


All whistle blowers are a little bit crazy. They obsess over things most people overlook. They see grand conspiracies where others see only shadows. In this case, these whistle blowers, armed with only a few websites and a hunger for the truth, found that the mortgage industry fundamentally ruptured a centuries-old system of U.S. property law; that millions of documents generated to foreclose on people’s homes were phony; and that all those purchasing a mortgage in America were taking a gamble that they would be tossed onto the street with nothing, even if they made every payment and played by the rules. Virtually everyone to whom they presented this information reacted the same way: “That can’t be true.” Right up until the day the banks admitted it.

These three—Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Szymoniak— unearthed another layer of the mystery, too. After they exposed foreclosure fraud and forced the nation’s leading mortgage companies to stop repossessing homes, they saw firsthand the unwillingness of our government to deliver any consequences. In fact, walk into any courtroom today and you will see the same false documents, the same ones Lisa, Michael, and Lynn exposed, used to foreclose on homeowners.

As America searches for understanding amid the perversity of the financial crisis, they should know that there were a few determined people, far from the corridors of power, who tried to write an alternative history, one where the perpetrators of fraud get rounded up and put away. But the same democracy that allows ordinary Americans to collaborate and organize and build a movement allows their deep-pocketed opponents to use the tools of entrenched power to counteract it. And we have to reckon with the fact that, in our current system of justice, who you are matters more than what you did.

Michael Redman, one of these whistleblowers, sat next to me one night as he told me his story, and said over and over again, “I don’t believe your book. I lived through it, and I don’t believe it.” I will forgive readers their skepticism, as even a protagonist in the tale shares it. It is unbelievable. That doesn’t make it untrue.

A Knock at the Door

February 17, 2009

The sun crept down over the Intracoastal Waterway, separating Palm Beach from its companion cities to the west. With the proper nautical chops, you could navigate from Norfolk, Virginia, to Key West through this shore-hugging water highway bordering open ocean, down through the Great Dismal Swamp, under the Hobucken Bridge, across the marshy lowlands of South Carolina and Georgia, and through the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve, on the Indian River near the city of Edgewater.

Eventually you would hit Palm Beach, located on a 16 mile long barrier island of manicured lawns, ritzy mansions, and precisely fashioned grains of sand, a place where American ingenuity and truckloads of money summoned paradise out of the Atlantic. A few miles inland, amid vacationers and part-time snowbirds seeking refuge from winter winds up north, a car motored down Route 80 to tell Lisa and Alan Epstein that their bank wanted to take their home away.

Florida felt the worst of the Great Recession’s force, a financial hurricane that spared almost nobody, not even in paradise. This was one of the “sand states,” warm-weather regions of the country with economies disproportionately based on real estate. Home prices in Florida, Arizona, California, and Nevada surged more than 264 percent from 1998 to 2006. Over half of all subprime mortgages written in 2006 were issued in these four states. “Sand states” turned out to be an accurate description of the market’s feeble foundations, as prices crumbled and industries that supported and sustained the bubble washed out.

In fact, Florida suffered two waves of foreclosures. The first engulfed those who purchased or refinanced mortgages at the height of the bubble, in 2004, 2005, and 2006. While tagged as “irresponsible,” these homeowners actually suffered from inadvertent timing and susceptibility to predatory lending. When prices sank, borrowers went “underwater”—owing more on the mortgage than the homes were worth. They couldn’t sell or refinance to escape, and many couldn’t afford the payments to begin with. This led to defaults, even in Palm Beach.

Then came the second wave, relentless ripple effects from unemployment in real estate, construction, and pretty soon everything else, swallowing those who paid their mortgages effortlessly for years. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of Floridians needed help, and help was slow to come. 


So it was not uncommon to find cars like the four-door sedan motoring past West Palm Beach’s shiny subdivisions. Process servers contracted by “foreclosure mill” law firms, so named because they pumped out foreclosures the way a textile mill would fabrics, made their daily rounds here, unsmilingly handing homeowners legal documents and informing them that as a result of their failure to pay their mortgage promptly, their lender would place them into foreclosure.

By early 2009, one in 22 Florida homeowners had received some sort of filing like this, such as a notice of default, court summons, auction sale, or foreclosure judgment—nine times the historical average. Local sheriff’s deputies used to deliver the papers, but there were now too many to handle.

So the foreclosure mills had to hire private contractors; it represented one of the few recession-era growth industries in the state. 


Nobody on either side of the transaction felt particularly good about it. The process servers greeted eyes filled with tears, faces lined with desperation. The full force of post-recession fury at Wall Street malfeasance and personal tragedy refracted onto them. Though business boomed, it was shit work, the misery beat. In fact, you can almost understand why some contractors ducked the emotional tumult by resorting to “sewer service”—a popular scam where they would simply throw envelopes in front of the home, technically fulfilling their obligations while ensuring that the homeowner would not see the complaint or know to show up for court. This was illegal, but it also carried the benefit of being way faster than actually knocking on the door, increasing volume—and profits.

Sensing opportunity, some process servers and foreclosure mills even invented fake recipients of foreclosure papers. In Pasco County, Judge Susan Gardner found numerous charges for serving papers to “unknown spouses” and “unidentified tenants.” One process server in Miami listed 46 defendants on a single property, racking up $5,000 in fees. He claimed he had to serve everyone in the state with the same name as the homeowner, in case one of them was the real defendant. Every two-bit business in Florida had its own way of skirting the edges of the law to get ahead; this was a particularly crude one.

As for the homeowners, news of foreclosure tore through their front door like a wrecking ball. Taking a family’s house involved taking their spirit and snuffing it out like a candle, the bright light fading into smoke. Millions of Americans who thought they gained a foothold in the middle class, a clear pathway to wealth and economic security, absorbed the collateral damage of a fatal miscalculation on Wall Street.

This evening’s pageant of process serving would come to rest at 607 Gazetta Way, in an unincorporated area near West Palm Beach, a classic post-boom development of oversized properties on small lots. Built in 2006, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story home with a clay tile roof and yellow siding was wedged between a collection of larger properties all painted the same, as if the builder decided yellow was the optimal color to convince buyers to take the leap. Inside the house, the Epstein family had no warning of their impending visitor.

Lisa Epstein sat on a ledge in the master bathroom, hospital scrubs rolled to her knees, her daughter Jenna kept upright in the bathtub by a reclining baby seat. Lisa’s brown hair was pulled back with her trademark multicolored scarf, the kind you would see in the 1970s, maybe on Rhoda or The Bob Newhart Show. She had blue eyes, soft features, and a laugh you could hear across a crowded room.

When she got excited she got very loud. But at the moment she focused on her daughter in the tub.
Blond-haired, big-eyed Jenna had been born with a mild form of spina bifida. Her spinal cord was tethered at the base, something that could generate motor control problems as she grew. The child would turn two in March; surgery had been scheduled for April. And Lisa could think of practically nothing else, ministering to Jenna at nearly every waking moment. As a cancer nurse, she worked with families coping with the stress of a sick child. Now she was experiencing the same emotions: consumed by the same yearning to keep her daughter comfortable, and at stray moments wondering how this beautiful creature could be marked for affliction.

Lisa was 43, a nurse, a wife, and a new mother. She had only lived in the house two years. And her live was about to change forever.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

She did not hesitate for a second. “That’s about the house, Alan!” she yelled out to her husband.

“They’re from the bank, and it’s not good news!”