Gun advocates upset over NFL’s rejection of assault rifle ad: “A year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, America’s gun nuts are in a major tizzy over what may be the biggest and most unlikely victory for sane firearms policy in 2013: the National Football League’s rejection of an assault rifle TV ad in the upcoming Super Bowl. “ — AlterNet 12/6/13
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
“The biggest downside of the ACA is the reliance on the private insurance industry. It does not have to be this way, however. There is yet another provision in the Affordable Care Act that can open the door for states to institute their own single-payer healthcare system.”
“The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states [that] chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.” — Truthout 12/7/13
Uruguay: Lawmakers authorize marijuana production and sales: “Members of the Uruguay Senate approved legislation this week authorizing the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to all citizens age 18 and older. Members of Uruguay’s House had previously approved the measure months earlier. The bill now goes to President José Mujica, who intends to sign the measure into law in the coming days.
“Once adopted, Uruguay will be the first nation in modern history to regulate the licensed production and sale of cannabis.
“This is an attempt to bring an end to the illegal drugs trade by identifying the market and bringing it into the light of day,” said President Mujica in a statement.” — NORML 12/12/13
The 10 worst things about working in fast food and retail: “A new study by an MIT economist shows in detail how the U.S. labor market is steadily shifting to a service economy. As skilled production and administrative workers lose their jobs, they have moved into jobs in retail, fast food, home healthcare and childcare. There are many reasons why this shift is not ideal. Here’s a roundup of the worst things about working in the service industry.” — AlterNet 12/13/13
Thousands of homeless people live in shantytowns in super-rich Silicon Valley, California: “That people live and die on the streets of Silicon Valley is no news to the poor, of course. With more than 6,500 tech companies in all, Santa Clara County is home to the biggest stars in the tech universe, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Apple. But the land of high-tech milk and honey is also a prime example of the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.
“For all its stock-option millionaires, the San Jose/Santa Clara County region (pop. 1.8 million) also has the nation’s fifth largest population of homeless (after New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego), according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The main culprits? Budget cuts that have frayed the safety net and sky-high housing costs.” — AlterNet 12/15/13
“Once again, the Sunshine State has been deemed the most dangerous in the nation for homeless people — the third such designation it has earned since 2008 — according to the National Coalition for the Homeless’ 2012 database of known cases of violence.
“In fact, Florida had more than double the number of hate crimes against the homeless in 2012 (15) as the runner-up, California (7), according to the report.” — Huffington Post 12/23/13
R.I.P. JOAN FONTAINE
Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine dies at age 96: “Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” and “Rebecca” and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray, died Sunday. She was 96.
“Fontaine, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, died in her sleep in her Carmel home Sunday morning, said longtime friend Noel Beutel. Fontaine had been fading in recent days and died “peacefully,” Beutel said.”
“Fontaine’s pale, soft features and frightened stare made her ideal for melodrama and she was a major star for much of the 1940s. For Hitchcock, she was a prototype of the uneasy blondes played by Kim Novak in “Vertigo” and Tippi Hedren in “The Birds” and “Marnie.” The director would later say he was most impressed by Fontaine’s restraint. She would credit George Cukor, who directed her in “The Women,” for urging her to “think and feel and the rest will take care of itself.” — CBS News 12/15/13