Monday, February 9, 2009

Sen. Leahy Proposes ‘Truth Commission’ for Justice Department

Sen. Patrick Leahy, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed establishing an independent “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate several allegations of wrongdoing at the Justice Department during the Bush administratin

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy greets Attorney General Eric Holder after Holder was sworn in at the Justice Department Feb. 3.
The Vermont Democrat said the commission should investigate the department’s once-secret warrantless wiretapping program, the politically motivated firings of some U.S. attorneys and the department’s highly controversial memos on the treatment of terrorism detainees.

“Many Americans think we need to get to the bottom of what went wrong and I agree,” Leahy said at a Georgetown University speech. Leahy said his proposal marked a middle ground between prosecuting former officials in President George W. Bush’s administration and doing no investigations at all.

The truth commission should have subpoena power and witnesses would not face charges except if they commit perjury, he said. “Rather than vengeance, we need a fair minded pursuit of what actually happened,” he said.

Interview with Madoff client Ian Thiermann

(Reuters) - Abby Frucht's parents lost their $1 million in life's savings with the collapse of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC Her parents lived off the money in a retirement home in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Reuters spoke with Frucht. Below are excerpts from the interview.

My dad is 85 and my mom is 79. We don't know how long they can stay there. We're working that out now. We're waiting to see what happens with SIPC (the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which maintains a reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at failed brokerage firms). It's remotely possible that we will get some money back and we will keep them in their assisted living facility for as long as we possibly can. My sisters and I have power of attorney over them so we have been putting our heads together to try and find a way to keep our parents comfortable.

They have a couple of months where they have some cash in a checking account. But that's not very much money. We're sort of doing two things at once. We're looking at what our options might be to try and keep them where they are. But we are also waiting with our fingers crossed for some word from the SIPC.

They are very elderly they can't possibly go back to work. They are very comfortable and happy where they are. They both have health issues. And they've made friends there. That's where they have live for about 15 years. It may have been longer than that. They retired there.

My dad was a doctor on Long Island before he retired. A friend of his introduced him to Madoff. Unfortunately, it went on from there. The reason it's so surreal is that my parents have been using this money to support themselves and not living high off the hog. They have had a serene and comfortable retirement. And they have also managed to take care of the family. I have two sisters and their four grandchildren. They would take everyone on little trips now and then. We went to California six years ago. We had nice dinners and a lot of fun. Looking back on that kind of thing, it's surreal to imagine that money that we were using to fund those trips was basically monopoly money.

In a way I feel fortunate that this happened now rather than 10 or 15 years ago when my parents were still useful, and they would have really suffered the loss of their money.

Right now, they live a very sedate life. Basically my mom reads the paper all day and my dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. It's difficult to know even how much he realizes what's happening and that's a blessing. I think he would be really hurt by it. He was very proud at the fact that he had managed to save up some money and look after himself and my mom so well and help out with our kids when we needed it, which wasn't that often. But there were times when he did -- for education expenses, medical expenses, things like that. So I think it's a good thing he's at the stage he's in now rather than having him be at the stage he was six years ago when he really would have been much more devastated by the news than he is now.

But what hurts too is that he was a really good man, my dad. He did everything that he felt he was supposed to do to provide for his family in a respectable way. And he trusted Bernard Madoff. To think that all those years back he was being lied to. Not only lied to, but robbed. And not only robbed, being inadvertently forced to participate in an illegal activity, which my dad never ever would have either imagined or condoned.

It's been a fairly harrowing experience for me and my sisters.


Ian Thiermann, age 90, has abandoned retirement and now works the aisles of a grocery store to make ends meet after losing his life savings of $750,000 to Madoff. He now hands out fliers hawking avocados and pork ribs at a supermarket in Ben Lomond, California. Thiermann, owner of a pest-control company in Los Angeles before retiring 25 years ago, enjoyed returns of 10 to 12 percent each year on his savings for about 15 years regardless of whether markets rose or fell. He lived on those returns, devoting much time to nonprofit work.

We didn't even realize we were a part of it.

A very close friend said that he and his family had been involved in an investment for the previous 30 years - 30 years, you understand. And they received the same amount, it wasn't a great amount but on average about 10 percent, over the years, even in the crashes that had taken place. They were never been affected by the crashes.

He said there's an opportunity to get into this thing. And we could form a partnership and so forth and get into it. We knew him very, very well. A number of us we're trying to be thoughtful of our own investments. Here's a guy and his family who has been in it for the last 30 years.

We had been in it for about 15 years. And in the last recession in the 1990s, we just received the same amount, about 8 to 10 percent, and we were extremely pleased. It didn't affect us at all. And then suddenly, when the crash took place and so forth, I called our friend and said this sounds really serious, can we get out and put it in something else. He said ‘that's a good idea'. So he did. We got word back that everything had been put into Treasury bonds. That's what he thought. He was dealing with this guy Madoff for all those years. And he had confidence in him.

He called us around December 15 and said ‘I've lost everything and you have lost everything'.

We had borrowed on the houses and we paid 5 percent on the mortgage and we were getting 10 to 12 percent, it was an additional income. So we don't have any cash reserves. And we still owe on the houses of course. That in a nutshell is what happened.

We're in a very small town in California. We were in a family-run grocery store. A very, very good store. We happened to be in this store about the time we learned of this crash. I guess we didn't look quite as happy as we usually are. And the store manager who we know very well said, ‘What's wrong?' We said, Have you heard about this Madoff?'. And he said, ‘Oh my god', pardon me, and then he told me to call on January 1 and that he might have something for me. So he did. I now work there as a beginner and I deeply appreciate it. While we are getting our social security still, if that fails then this country is going to be facing problems.

African Americans More Religious Than Overall U.S. Population

(EP News)—As a part of Black History Month, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life released a new analysis that paints a detailed religious portrait of African-Americans. The analysis finds that African-Americans are markedly more religious than the U.S. population as a whole on a variety of measures, including reporting a religious affiliation, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and the importance of religion in people’s lives.

Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are among the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation, with fully 87 percent of African-Americans describing themselves as belonging to one religious group or another.

The analysis also finds that nearly eight-in-ten African-Americans (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56% among all U.S. adults.

These are among many findings of the new Pew Forum analysis detailing the unique nature of religion in the African-American community. Other highlights include:
A large majority of African-Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular faith (72 percent) say religion plays at least a somewhat important role in their lives; nearly half (45 percent) of unaffiliated African-Americans say religion is very important in their lives, roughly three times the percentage who says this among the religiously unaffiliated population overall (16 percent).

African-Americans express a high degree of comfort with religion’s role in politics, with roughly six-in-ten saying that houses of worship should express their views on social and political topics and roughly half saying that there has been too little expression of faith and prayer by political leaders. At the same time, most African-Americans support certain restrictions on the mingling of politics and religious institutions, with nearly six-in-ten (58 percent) saying that churches and other houses of worship should refrain from endorsing political candidates.

The link between religion and some social and political attitudes in the African-American community is similar to that seen among the population overall. For instance, just as in the general public, African-Americans who are more religiously observant are more likely to oppose abortion and homosexuality and more likely to report higher levels of conservative ideology.

On a variety of other questions, including political party identification and opinions about the proper role of government in providing services to the citizenry and assistance to the poor, there are few differences in the views of African-Americans across religious groups. Perhaps most strikingly, the partisan leanings of African-Americans from every religious background tilt heavily in the Democratic direction.

The analysis is based on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Forum in 2007 and released in 2008, as well as other Pew Research Center surveys.

VIDEO: Nadya and Angela Suleman Speak Out On Octuplets

Nadya Suleman, mother of fourteen children, recently gave birth to octuplets in California. After several miscarriages and a divorce and still wanting to start a family Suleman pursued in-vitro fertilization treatment at a California clinic. She had six children in five pregnanies through 2006 with IVF. She had six remaining embryos at the clinic and asked her doctor to implant them all at once. Suleman says that the chance one embryo will implant is about 60% but she was informed that there was a very small chance that all embryos would implant and some may even split.

Watch Nadya Suleman's interview with Ann Curry:

Suleman's mother, Angela, is the primary care giver for the children. She says she was "practically raising" her six grandchildren even before Nadya gave birth to eight more siblings. Angela did not support Nadya's decision to implant her six remaining fertilizaed embryos in an effort at one more pregnancy:

She justified it by saying that those frozen embryos were living human beings, however to me, anything frozen is not living and she did not have to have them thawed and she could have also if she wanted to donated them to couples that have no children but to have them all is unconscionable to be. She really has no idea what she is doing to her children... and to me.

Black History: MLK on Negro Riots and Armed Revolution Part 1 and 2

Using sound rationale and history, Dr. King deconstructs the fallacies of black American violent revolution.

Part 2

Stimulus Bill: Putting $900 Billion in Perspective

At this moment in time, the Stimulus bill is winding its way through the Senate. A vote is currently expected sometime tomorrow.

Since the bill the House passed is different than the Senate version, a Conference Committee consisting of members of both the House and Senate will gather to hammer out the differences. Then that version will go to a vote in both the House and Senate. Assuming passage, it will then be presented to President Obama for signature into law.

So currently we don’t know what the Stimulus bill will look like, but most reports are showing it will be in the neighborhood of $900,000,000,000. (That’s 900 billion dollars.)

That is an incomprehensible amount of money.

I went through this exercise back in October when the previous “bailout bill” was passed to the tune of $700 billion.

Let’s try to wrap our minds around just how much 900,000,000,000 is:

There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year.

If you had a time machine and wanted to go back in time 900 billion seconds, you’d find yourself whisked back in time a total of 28,539 years.

Want to talk to Plato? Sorry, he won’t be born for another 26,102 years.

Want to watch the construction of the Egyptian pyramids? You’re going to have to wait about 25,800 years.

OK, so what can you do now that you’ve traveled back in time 900 billion seconds?

Well, since you’d be in the Upper Paleolithic era (aka the Late Stone Age), you might be able to catch a Cro-Magnon man making a cave painting.

But hey, at least the Ice Age won’t start for another 7,000 years

Newt and Callista Gingrich Share Their New Ronald Reagan Documentary With Greta Van Susteren

http://AmericasNewsToday.Org/ Newt and Callista Gingrich Share Their New Ronald Reagan Documentary With Greta Van Susteren

Washington Week in Photos: Faces

The AP's David Ake shows us the best photos of the week from the nation's capital. (Feb. 9)

Chrlie Rose Show: President Obama’s week in review

President Obama’s week in review with Jeanne Cummings, Mark Halperin and Al Hunt

Nissan Cuts 20,000 Jobs; Posts First Loss This Decade

Nissan will cut 20,000 jobs globally, as the Japanese automaker announced Monday its first loss in nine years.

Nissan said it expects a net loss of $2.9 billion for its fiscal year, which ends March 31. Nissan said in October it estimated its annual earnings would be $1.8 billion.

"Our worst assumptions on the state of the global economy have been met or exceeded," Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said Monday. Declining consumer confidence and lack of access to credit are "the most damaging factors," he added.

"In 1999, Nissan had a crisis," said Ghosn, who oversaw Nissan's restructuring in 1999 that included elimination of more than 20,000 jobs. "Today everyone has a problem. The financial crisis was supposed to be solved by now and it's not."

The 20,000 jobs equal about 9 percent of Nissan's workforce; the automaker's workforce will drop to 215,000 employees from 235,000. Of the job cuts, 60 percent will be in Japan, 20 percent will be in the U.S. and Europe and 20 percent will be in other regions.

In the U.S., Nissan's plants are on a four-day workweek indefinitely. Nissan recently announced it will eliminate about 110 jobs in its regional sales, marketing, product planning and design operations. It is moving its design operations from the Detroit suburbs to its California center.

In Japan, Nissan is in talks with unions about shortening the work week to four days.

The company will scale back new model introductions to 48 from a previously planned 60 over the next five years.

On Monday, Nissan created a position called chief recovery officer and named Colin Dodge to that post to oversee corporate planning and control. The automaker said Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga will expand his responsibilities to oversee the company's three sales regions.

Nissan also eliminated its second-half dividend.

Roundup: Florida Doctor Loses License Over Live Birth Case

Florida Doctor Loses License Over Live Birth Case
A Florida doctor has lost his license over a case in which a teenager, seeking an abortion, instead gave birth "to a baby she says was killed when clinic staffers put it into a plastic bag and threw it in the trash," reports CNN. The teenager, Sycloria Williams, discovered she was pregnant at 23 weeks and scheduled an abortion. When she came to Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique's clinic for an abortion, she then gave birth. The suit says, "The staff began screaming and pandemonium ensued. Sycloria watched in horror and shock as her baby writhed with her chest rising and falling as she breathed."

A clinic co-owner entered the room and used a pair of shears to cut the baby's umbilical cord, the suit said. She "then scooped up the baby and placed the live baby, placenta and afterbirth in a red plastic biohazard bag, which she sealed, and then threw bag and the baby in a trash can."

Staff at the clinic did not call 911 or seek medical assistance for Williams or the baby, the suit said.

Renelique arrived at the clinic about an hour later and gave Williams a shot to put her to sleep. "She awoke after the procedure and was sent home still in complete shock," the suit said.

Police were notified of the incident by an anonymous caller who told them the baby was born alive and disposed of.

"The complainant [Williams] observed the baby moving and gasping for air for approximately five minutes," according to a police affidavit requesting a search warrant for the clinic.

Two search warrants found nothing, but officers executing a third warrant "found the decomposing body of a baby in a cardboard box in a closet," the suit said.

The baby was linked to Williams through DNA testing, the lawsuit said. An autopsy showed it had filled its lungs with air prior to death. Documents from the state Department of Health said its cause of death was determined to be "extreme prematurity."

Fewer than 1 percent of babies are born at less than 28 weeks, according to the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization aimed at reducing premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.

Infants born at that stage may survive, but require treatment with oxygen, other medical help and mechanical assistance to help them breathe. They are too immature to suck or swallow and so must be fed intravenously.

Babies born before about 32 weeks of gestation face the highest risk of health problems, the March of Dimes said.

"I don't see this as an abortion story," said Karen J. Nelson, chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood of Western New York, to the Buffalo News. "I see this as a story about an individual doctor accused of violating medical standards, and the officials in Florida are taking care of it."

Casey Votes Against Global Gag Rule, Said to Be "Cooperating...with Evil"
Anti-choice Sen. Bob Casey Jr. voted against an amendment to the SCHIP expansion that would have reinstated the global gag rule, and Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino has accused him of "cooperating with ... evil." "Martino praises Casey for supporting children's health insurance, but disputes his arguments. The Helms amendment, he says, does nothing to stop groups from promoting abortion with their own money. He chastises Casey for supporting artificial contraception," reports. CitizensVoice adds, "Casey contends legislative amendments authored by the late Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and the late Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois and adopted into federal law forbid the use of U.S. funds by foreign groups to pay for or promote abortions."

Future of Legislation Addressing Reproductive Health in Obama Era
What's the future for federal legislation addressing abortion in the Obama era? Progressive measures will likely move more slowly than pro-choice advocates may have expected, reports James Oliphant on the Baltimore Sun.

Despite gains in the House and Senate in last year's elections, there are still significant numbers of moderate Democrats, particularly in the House, who either oppose abortion altogether or are not in favor of sweeping changes, instead preferring a more incremental approach. And any large-scale effort involving something as polarizing as abortion necessitates spending political capital, something the Obama White House needs in abundance at the moment to ensure the survival of its economic policies.

Oliphant examines the prospects for the Freedom of Choice Act:

Topping [the anti-choice movement's] list of concerns is what's known as the Freedom of Choice Act, first introduced in the early 1990s. To abortion-rights supporters, the legislation would codify the constitutional right to abortion that was established by the Supreme Court in 1973 and prevent states from limiting that right.

But pro-choice members of Congress respond:

At the same time, Democratic leaders on the Hill are taking a go-slow approach. The office of Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and past sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, says there are no plans to reintroduce the bill in the immediate future. And Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said the bill "is not our top priority right now."

Sen. Boxer to Chair Subcommittee on Global Women's Issues
Sen. Barbara Boxer will chair a new Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women's Issues, Women's eNews reports. Boxer said the subcommittee would address the "overlooked issue" of violence against women. "Too often, we turn our eyes away as women are persecuted, abused and treated as second-class citizens. But even the most conservative historians have noted that when women are given the freedom to live up to their full potential, society as a whole flourishes," Boxer said.

Study Finds No Link Between Fertility Drugs and Ovarian Cancer
Feministing picks up a New York Times story reporting that a large-scale study has found no link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer. " the individual drugs (but may have been treated with one of the other medications).

"After adjusting for risk factors, the researchers concluded there was no increase in ovarian cancer risk associated with the drugs, nor was there an increased risk for women who underwent 10 or more cycles of treatment or for women who never became pregnant despite treatment," the Times reports on the conclusions of the study.

"Personhood" Movement Spreads reports that 15 states have introduced or will soon introduce "personhood" amendments, state constitutional amendments that define life as beginning at the moment of conception:

The Personhood movement is catching fire as Maryland joins 15 other states across the country working toward the legal recognition of all human beings as "persons" under the law. Delegate Don H. Dwyer, Jr. will introduce a Personhood Amendment this coming week in the Maryland General Assembly. The amendment recognizes all human beings from their biological beginning as "persons."

16 illegals sue Arizona rancher By Jerry Seper

Claim violation of rights as they crossed his land

An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Trial continues Monday in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress and other crimes. Also named are Mr. Barnett's wife, Barbara, his brother, Donald, and Larry Dever, sheriff in Cochise County, Ariz., where the Barnetts live. The civil trial is expected to continue until Friday.

The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

Attorneys for the immigrants - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States - have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.

The immigrants are represented at trial by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also charged that Sheriff Dever did nothing to prevent Mr. Barnett from holding their clients at "gunpoint, yelling obscenities at them and kicking one of the women."

In the lawsuit, MALDEF said Mr. Barnett approached the group as the immigrants moved through his property, and that he was carrying a pistol and threatening them in English and Spanish. At one point, it said, Mr. Barnett's dog barked at several of the women and he yelled at them in Spanish, "My dog is hungry and he's hungry for buttocks."

The lawsuit said he then called his wife and two Border Patrol agents arrived at the site. It also said Mr. Barnett acknowledged that he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.

In March, U.S. District Judge John Roll rejected a motion by Mr. Barnett to have the charges dropped, ruling there was sufficient evidence to allow the matter to be presented to a jury. Mr. Barnett's attorney, David Hardy, had argued that illegal immigrants did not have the same rights as U.S. citizens.

Mr. Barnett told The Washington Times in a 2002 interview that he began rounding up illegal immigrants after they started to vandalize his property, northeast of Douglas along Arizona Highway 80. He said the immigrants tore up water pumps, killed calves, destroyed fences and gates, stole trucks and broke into his home.

Some of his cattle died from ingesting the plastic bottles left behind by the immigrants, he said, adding that he installed a faucet on an 8,000-gallon water tank so the immigrants would stop damaging the tank to get water.

Mr. Barnett said some of the ranch´s established immigrant trails were littered with trash 10 inches deep, including human waste, used toilet paper, soiled diapers, cigarette packs, clothes, backpacks, empty 1-gallon water bottles, chewing-gum wrappers and aluminum foil - which supposedly is used to pack the drugs the immigrant smugglers give their "clients" to keep them running.

He said he carried a pistol during his searches for the immigrants and had a rifle in his truck "for protection" against immigrant and drug smugglers, who often are armed.

ASSOCIATED PRESS DEFENDANT: Roger Barnett said he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.

A former Cochise County sheriff´s deputy who later was successful in the towing and propane business, Mr. Barnett spent $30,000 on electronic sensors, which he has hidden along established trails on his ranch. He searches the ranch for illegal immigrants in a pickup truck, dressed in a green shirt and camouflage hat, with his handgun and rifle, high-powered binoculars and a walkie-talkie.

His sprawling ranch became an illegal-immigration highway when the Border Patrol diverted its attention to several border towns in an effort to take control of the established ports of entry. That effort moved the illegal immigrants to the remote areas of the border, including the Cross Rail Ranch.

"This is my land. I´m the victim here," Mr. Barnett said. "When someone´s home and loved ones are in jeopardy and the government seemingly can´t do anything about it, I feel justified in taking matters into my own hands. And I always watch my back."

On Peanut Butter, Salmonella, and Cheap Food

For almost a month, the major food headline is the peanut butter salmonella outbreak plaguing our country. Eight deaths, thousands of hospitalizations, over 1600 products recalles, and just one single company responsible for it all.

Peanut butter sales are down 25%. Big brands Jif and Peter Pan have taken out newspaper ads with coupons to assure the public their products are safe. From a PR perspective, having to boast that your product is not poisoned goes to show how distressed the entire peanut marketing industry is these days.

Calls for a unified Food Safety system are increasing. New head of USDA Tom Vilsack said on Friday that a single agency would be better equipped to prevent and manage outbreaks such as this. With respect to the USDA and FDA he said “No matter how you slice it, the systems are different. The coordination is not what it needs to be. Neither one of them is as modern as they need to be.” [NY Times]

Peanut Corporation of America, the family owned peanut processor responsible for the tainted products, is now being scrutinized for poor sanitation and hygiene at the plant, knowingly shipping products after discovering contamination, and perhaps a few other corners cut. The plant has been shut down.

When it was operational, PCA employees earned minimum wage and received almost no benefits. Many were temps with zero job security.

How does this affect food safety?

Why would any temp earning a few dollars an hour, without any prospects for advancement, be interested in anything going on at the plant? Whether improving a process, reporting a sanitary problem, or any other issue that may cause friction with management, manual laborers know to keep their eyes, ears and mouths shut.

So why not pay better and get more from employees, including safety improvements?

To understand this, we need to take a look at the food industry value chain, and try to learn why manufacturing plants would be so cheap.

Supermarkets lure consumers with the promise of cheap food. The competition is cutthroat, with average margins around 1%. Big brands and manufacturers are asked by grocers to lower prices they pay for goods. These vendors then do the same to their suppliers. Note that there are many suppliers for each ingredient type. These suppliers, such as PCA, need to compete primarily on price, as there is no importance to brand in a commodity such as peanuts. In fact, most suppliers have to compete in tenders at least once a year in order to win major accounts, each time squeezed a bit more to provide better pricing.

And that’s where trouble starts to brew. Because on Monday, a manufacturer needs to choose between fixing a broken machine or a fixing a leaky roof. A broken machine means no sales, no revenue. A leaky roof means a tiny chance for a salmonella outbreak. Most, we’d like to believe, make the morally correct decision.

If you were the owner of a plant barely breaking even, what would you do?

Would higher prices for food necessarily improve food safety? Probably not. A lot of the extra money would evaporate before it ever reached the employees of a manufacturing plant. But maybe one day, a brave brand may decide to distinguish itself on the safety record of its products, charge a premium and make sure the extra cash is divided among the entire value chain in order to ensure strict safety measures.

On average, our food is the cheapest it has ever been in the history of mankind. But not for everyone. In the case of this salmonella outbreak, there’s a small number of consumers that ended up paying a very dear price, their life.

As with organic foods, there should be many consumers willing to pay a premium to know they are getting safer food. Perhaps this is an opportunity …

Chris Brown Turns Himself Into Police For Reported Assault On Rihanna

A night that could have ended in success, instead led to jail time at the Los Angeles police station for R&B singer Chris Brown. The Grammy nominated artist voluntarily turned himself into authorities last night after being investigated for an alleged assault early Sunday morning, purportedly involving his girlfriend Rihanna.

Both Brown and Rihanna were scheduled to perform at the music awards ceremony, but were nowhere to be seen at the event after canceling earlier on in the day. Brown finally turned himself into the LA police at 6:30 p.m., just as the Grammy’s were kicking off, according to Karen Smith, an LAPD officer.

The alleged incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning in L.A.’s Hancock Park, where Brown, 19, and an “unidentified woman” began to heatedly argue until the woman called 911 claiming Brown as her attacker, according to US Magazine. Brown fled the scene of the incident, and when police fund the victim, she appeared to have injuries.

Sources have not confirmed whether or not Rihanna was the assault victim, but the couple were reportedly seen together at Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy party on Saturday night in Beverly Hills. Though a source reported to E! Online that the 20-year-old singer was seen adorned with bruises after the confrontation early Sunday morning, Rihanna has blamed her cancellation on a “traffic mishap,” according to reports.

Brown is currently being held by police on $50,000 bail and will face court charges on March 5th. His actions are considered a felony, and he maximum penalty for Brown could result in a penalty of four years.