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Hola que tal amigo lector soy Mariella Godinez-Munoz del programa…

Su hermano Brian relata detalles de la vida de la…

Hola que tal soy Mariella Godinez-Muñoz presentadora del programa Hoy Wisconsin Today, que…

By Robert Miranda Commentary from the editor June 9, 2016…

Hola que tal soy Mariella Godinez-Muñoz presentadora del programa Hoy…

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, they serve some sort of purpose; teach you a lesson, or help figure out who you are, and who you want to become.

You never know who these people may be: your neighbor, child, long lost friend, or even a stranger who, when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment that they will affect your life, in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you, and at the time they seem painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize, that without overcoming those obstacles, you would have never realized your potential strength, or your hearts desire.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, as well as experiencing sheer stupidity; all occur to test the limits of your soul.

Without these small tests, whether they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a paved straight flat road to nowhere, safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life, and the successes and downfalls you experience, create who you are, and even the bad experiences can be learned from; in fact, they are probably the poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them; for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart…

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love, and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment, and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again…

Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high…

Hold your head up, because you have every right too. Tell yourself you’re a great person and believe in yourself… for if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.

Create your own life and then go out and live in it! “Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last… Tomorrow is Not Promised.”

062216robert ruiz pix

The wait for Cleveland is over, the King has returned from the NBA Finals with a championship trophy. Cleveland had not seen a championship trophy in over 50 years, but when LeBron James came out of high school and went straight to the NBA the same year that the Cavaliers won the NBA draft lottery, things were supposed to change. LeBron was the kid from Akron who would save Cleveland and deliver the championship that the city desired and deserved. LeBron instantly made the Cavaliers championship contenders and led them all the way to the doorstep before the San Antonio Spurs turned them away. While LeBron languished and hoped for a few more superstars to share the burden with, the Cavaliers surrounded him with Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. LeBron would leave Cleveland before winning a championship and would go on to win two with the Miami Heat.

The Shot, The Fumble, The Drive, The Decision, all of these things convinced sports fans in Cleveland that they were forever doomed in the sports world. When LeBron became a free-agent again after his contract in Miami concluded, Cleveland fans did not dare get their hopes up that the King could return, even amid the swirling rumors. One Sports Illustrated article later and LeBron was “Coming Home”. Things had changed in Cleveland since LeBron’s departure; they had two number one overall picks in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson who had learned to lead the team to a .500 record but were crucially missing that last piece of the puzzle. LeBron is the missing piece to pretty much every puzzle, and his return concluded with another trip to the NBA Finals. Standing in their way ended up being the team that would put together the greatest regular season in history the following year, the team with the 2015 MVP Steph Curry. The Warriors would win that best of seven series in six games and Cleveland fans once again succumbed to the idea that their city would never win a championship.

The 2016 Finals arrived and the Cavaliers were faced with a familiar opponent, the greatest regular season team of all time, and the 2016 unanimous MVP Steph Curry. This Golden State Warriors team had gone 73-9 in the regular season and had just won three straight elimination games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. When Golden State won three of the first four games, heartbreak again seemed inevitable for the city of Cleveland. At least until LeBron put the whole city on his back and carried them past the Golden State Warriors and into the history books as the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 finals deficit and win. LeBron would average 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game, leading both teams in every major statistical category. In the critical games five and six, LeBron scored 41 points each game and coupled with Kyrie Irving to ensure that there would be a game seven.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while and when I predicted the Cavaliers would win in seven games I did not expect that the series would go this way. Golden State may not be the greatest team of all time, like many expected they would be, but LeBron just may be the greatest player of all time. Sorry Chicago.

After the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) raised concerns that construction on Milwaukee streets could be contributing to spiking lead level contamination of drinking water in neighborhoods with large number of lead lateral water pipes, the city of Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) issued notices to homes on south 13th street in Milwaukee’s near Southside cautioning residents to flush their home water system before cooking and drinking water on June 10, according to Sandra Rusch Walton, DPW director of public relations.

The MWW notices were issued several days after FLAC members started voicing concerns about the construction on south 13th street.

The notice indicated to residents that “currently there is no definitive scientific research indicating that specific types of public works construction activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead concentrations in drinking water.”

That is true. However, there is good reason to believe that lead leaching may be occurring in Milwaukee neighborhoods where street construction is taking place because similar public works construction that took place in Antioch, Illinois, where city engineers were directed to find out why lead levels were mysteriously rising in homes in that city. What the Antioch engineers found is that public works construction similar to the kind of construction Milwaukee is undertaking caused lead levels in water to rise.

The notices sent to residents of south 13th street were sent by MWW as a “precaution”. Department of Public Works spokesperson, Sandra Rusch Walton made it a point to mention that the notices were hand delivered to the residents on South 13th street where construction is taking place between Historic Mitchell street south to Windlake Ave.

The notices sent to this neighborhood are insufficient. More needs to be done to get to answers raised by FLAC regarding construction work possibly causing lead in the water to spike, because of vibrations the heavy equipment on the street is making as sidewalk concrete is busted up into manageable chunks of concrete to be chopped up and used as aggregate in cement mixing. 

It’s unfortunate that MWW does not take a more proactive effort to determine if in fact the construction on south 13th street, and other neighborhoods of the city, might be causing the loosening of prosperous compounds protecting the inner lining of these lead lateral pipes from leaching increased amounts of lead into this neighborhood’s drinking water.

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis acted to test the water where city water mains were being replaced for fear of spiking lead levels. In fact a pilot test program was established in order to collect the data which was used to justify the suspension of water mains removal in neighborhood’s with higher numbers of lead laterals.

Before she did this there was no “definitive scientific research” indicating water mains construction “activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead levels in drinking water” before Milwaukee suspended water main replacement project.

The city should do the same kind of water testing to check for spiking lead levels at these construction areas as it did with the mains removal for neighborhood projects currently removing sidewalks and repaving streets.

If Milwaukee is truly seeking to become the Freshwater Capitol of the World, it must become a leader and set the example by going the extra effort and test the water in these neighborhoods where lead pipes are vibrating from street construction.

Testing the truth about the City of Milwaukee’s comment that the city “does a lot of testing”

Mayor Tom Barrett and his administration released a statement they’ve repeated in the past to the media after local TV news networks covered the FLAC press conference. The city response to the FLAC request for more lead water testing to see if spiking lead levels in homes with lead lateral service pipes along road construction sites is happening in the City of Milwaukee is consistent with past remarks by the Mayor. Here is WISN’s Channel 12 coverage.

That response was, “the city does a lot of testing”. Really?

In a memo from MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis dated June 8th to Mayor Barrett she stated that, “50 samples are collected every three years for lead. The last testing cycle was the summer of 2014. That cycle did include the pre-stagnation flushing instruction.” You can read that memo here.

Is testing 50 homes for lead every three years in a city where you have over 70,000 homes with lead lateral service pipes “a lot of testing”? This is utterly absurd!

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis did state in that previously mentioned Steering & Rules Committee that her department conducted lead water testing on six homes that were along a street construction site; five of which tested showed increased lead levels in drinking water.

So that brings the total homes tested for lead in the drinking water to 56 over the last three years. Once again, this is absurd at best.

If removing lead pipes to reduce poisoning of children is a priority, why no plan from Mayor Barrett?

Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works stated in response to the FLAC press conference and questioning by local TV News reporters that, “The mayor continues to make this issue a priority, that is, fixing the infrastructure in this city…”.

If that is true, why has Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works not developed a comprehensive plan, either operationally or financially, to test the water in the 70,000 homes that have been identified as having lead lateral service pipes; let alone why have they not started removing the lead lateral service pipes?

“Es una dulce armita”, dijo Martin Bryant respecto a su rifle de asalto semiautomático AR-15 cuando fue interrogado por la policía. Hace 20 años, el 28 de abril de 1996, Bryant tomó esa arma y llevó a cabo una masacre en el estado australiano de Tasmania. En 24 horas, en lo que se conoció posteriormente como la Masacre de Port Arthur, mató a 35 personas e hirió a otras 23. La violencia e irracionalidad del hecho, la mayor masacre que ha tenido lugar en la historia postcolonial de Australia, impactó de tal manera a ese país que en el transcurso de doce días se acordó una extensa y completa legislación para el control de las armas de fuego. Desde entonces, no ha habido otro tiroteo masivo en Australia. Esto nos lleva a Orlando, Florida, y a otra arma semiautomática.

Aproximadamente diez días antes de cometer la mayor masacre perpetrada por un solo individuo en la historia moderna de Estados Unidos, Omar Mateen ingresó al Centro de Tiro de St. Lucie, en Port St. Lucie, Florida, y compró un rifle semiautomático similar al AR y una pistola semiautomática de 9mm. El propietario del comercio y exagente de policía de Nueva York, Ed Henson, sostuvo que Mateen “pasó el control de antecedentes que debe pasar toda persona que adquiera un arma de fuego en el estado de Florida”. Mateen era ciudadano estadounidense y poseía un documento de identidad con fotografía emitido por el estado de Florida que le permitía portar armas. Entró a Pulse, un discoteca gay de Orlando, donde se celebraba una Noche Latina, y abrió fuego. Mató a 49 personas e hirió a más de 50.

Rebecca Peters, de la Red Internacional de Acción contra las Armas Pequeñas (IANSA, por sus siglas en inglés), dijo en “Democracy Now!”: “En Estados Unidos, el control de antecedentes generalmente consiste en mirar en una computadora si una persona tiene una condena penal. Eso no es un control de antecedentes. En la ciudad de Nueva York, si una persona quiere alquilar un apartamento o si quiere anotarse en la universidad hay un verdadero control de antecedentes. Las autoridades hablan con gente que conoce a esa persona. Le piden su opinión acerca de ella. Y de la misma manera, en Australia y en la mayoría de los países desarrollados, un control de antecedentes consiste en pedir referencias: al médico de la familia, al cónyuge o excónyuge, y se les pregunta si hay algo por lo que preocuparse”.

Si Omar Mateen hubiera sido sometido a un control de antecedentes más completo, podrían haber surgido detalles acerca de que agredía a su primera esposa, Sitora Yusufiy, con tal intensidad que ella lo abandonó solo cuatro meses después de haberse casado. O que Dan Gilroy, un compañero de trabajo de la compañía de seguridad en la que trabajaba Mateen, G4S, sentía que Mateen era “inestable”, que estaba “desquiciado” y “lleno de rabia” y que era racista y homofóbico, según declaró a ABC News. A pesar de ello, los informes indican que Mateen fue visto en Pulse en numerosas oportunidades y que utilizaba aplicaciones de citas gays. Mateen, que era un ciudadano estadounidense nacido en Nueva York, hijo de inmigrantes afganos, fue investigado en dos oportunidades por el FBIpor simpatías o declaraciones potencialmente terroristas. Aún así, adquirió dos poderosas armas semiautomáticas sin problema alguno.

Tras la Masacre de Port Arthur en Australia, Rebecca Peters encabezó la lucha que se libró a nivel nacional por el control de armas. “Para aquel entonces, habíamos luchado durante diez años para reformar las leyes que regulaban las armas, las cuales eran muy débiles en algunos estados y conformaban un desparejo collage a lo largo y ancho del país, como sucede en Estados Unidos. En abril del 96, ocurrió esta tragedia en la que murieron 35 personas y en ese momento, nuestro primer ministro dijo: ‘Llegó la hora. Después de la inacción de todos estos años, vamos a hacer algo’”. El primer ministro australiano de ese momento era el conservador John Howard.

Peters continuó: “Una parte crucial de las nuevas leyes es un adecuado control de antecedentes de las personas que solicitan adquirir armas. No se trata solo de la violencia doméstica, sino también de la depresión y el exceso de alcohol, así como de muchos otros factores que pueden ubicar a una persona en riesgo de cometer actos violentos, sin mencionar a personas que son apasionadamente racistas o resentidas”.

Las armas de fuego son aún legales en Australia, dado que, como dijo Peters: “La autoimagen de Australia es con frecuencia la de un hombre a caballo, al aire libre, con algún tipo de arma, no muy distinta de la imagen tradicional de los estadounidenses”. De hecho, los emblemáticos cazadores australianos al estilo “Cocodrilo Dundee” apoyaron la prohibición de las armas semiautomáticas, alegando que los “hombres de verdad” no necesitaban esas armas para sobrevivir en el campo. Australia cuenta actualmente con controles de antecedentes serios y las armas semiautomáticas son ilegales. Cuando la legislación fue aprobada, se obligó legalmente a los propietarios de armas como el AR-15 a vendérselas al Gobierno, tras lo cual esas armas fueron destruidas.

Esta semana, en Estados Unidos, el senador de Connecticut Christopher Murphy inició una acción obstruccionista en la Cámara Alta y prometió hablar, según dijo, “por todo el tiempo que pueda” para forzar al Congreso a iniciar un debate sobre el control de armas. “Estoy desesperado. Ya he visto suficiente. Ya he visto suficientes matanzas de inocentes y he visto la falta de acción de este organismo. Y es por eso que voy a permanecer en esta Cámara hasta que haya alguna señal, algún indicio de que podemos ponernos de acuerdo respecto a estas dos medidas, de que podemos encontrar el camino que nos permita avanzar para abordar esta epidemia de manera sensata y bipartidaria”.

Hace cuatro años, Christopher Murphy era miembro de la Cámara de Representantes cuando doce niños en edad escolar y seis adultos fueron masacrados en la escuela primaria Sandy Hook ubicada en su distrito. El asesino, Adam Lanza, utilizó un arma semiautomática similar al AR, al igual que lo hizo James Holmes en el tiroteo perpetrado en el cine de Aurora, Colorado, anteriormente ese mismo año. Estas armas habrían sido ilegales en virtud de una prohibición de las armas de asalto que el Congreso dejó expirar hace más de diez años. Es necesario prohibir las armas semiautomáticas, que no son otra cosa que armas de destrucción masiva, diseñadas para matar eficazmente a tanta gente como sea posible.

The Lutheran Church located on 55th Greenfield with the leadership of Pastor Press Hoffmann and a very caring congregation have been working alone side with the Milwaukee Homeless  Veterans  Services  (zip 53214) every Tuesday from 8 am till 10 am with for the food pantry.  Also every Thursday from 8am till 10am the church makes a breakfast were our veterans and who is in need can come, feel like at home and have a meal, as well as clothes, free books and with the collaboration of different entities brings what is need it help.

Volunteers in the kitchen serve you with a smile; some volunteer their music talent remembering the MUSIC IS LIFE GIVING. Available resources for the veterans, library, and dessert table, barista, Legal Clinics from Marquette at different dates that also volunteers their time.

Over 100,000 meals for the last 4 years has been served and before breakfast there is inspirational spirituals words, and I quote:  “We are here to LOVE not to convert them” , setting aside political agenda letting  the Peace of Christ reach beyond the walls of war. No angle and a bridge to relationships as conversation as human contact, giving to people without restrictions.

“In the Gospel of Mark”, as I continue speaking with Pastor Hoffman:  “talks about the early stages of Jesus ministry” He saw what the need was, saw the void, what could he do to help? And now we ask our selves what the need in this neighborhood is? And this is LOVE IN ACTION!

God bless you!

From: Job 42:5


Roberto Ruiz

Counting his time in Japan, Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose for number one all time in career hits with 4,257 after his double on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the MLB record books don’t count hits in Japan as hits in the Major Leagues, so the record will remain Rose’s until there is another great young hitter that survives in the big leagues for nearly 20 years. As it stands, Ichiro is approaching 3,000 career hits in the United States, and will be the second oldest person to ever reach 3,000 hits in major league history.

There is little debate as to who was better at hitting the baseball Ichiro or Rose, with Ichiro taking that distinction handily. Even though Ichiro was 27 when he came over to the United States, he has a career average of .314 which bests Rose’s batting average by 11 points and he didn’t have the benefit of years of MLB pitching prior to his prime baseball age. Ichiro will always be best known for slapping a ground ball between the shortstop and third baseman and already being three quarters of the way down the base path by the time the ball reached the infield.

Ichiro created his own style of batting, slapping at the baseball more than driving it and using the momentum created from his swing to start him down the first base line. You see most players take a massive swing and if they make contact with the ball they have to take a moment to center their body before taking off down the line; that was never the case with Ichiro. When you average less than ten home runs a year but are amassing 200 hits a year, clearly your goal isn’t to hit it over the fence.

I will never forget the fervor created by Ichiro during my one visit to Safeco Field in Seattle. While sitting in the stands during a meaningless regular season game, the stands were packed with fans that would ooh and ahh every time Ichiro came into the batter’s box. The chant of “I-Chi-Ro!” would pound through the stadium with seemingly every fan joining in.  He ended that night 2-4 with two singles, the perfect Ichiro game.

The disappointing part of Ichiro’s career is that he was rarely ever on championship contenders. He has never played in the World Series and has only played in the American League Championship Series twice, in 2001 for the Mariners and 2012 for the Yankees. He batted .346 in the postseason and it would have been wonderful to see him playing in the World Series, but the downside of spending the vast majority of your career in Seattle is that you are rarely playing on a contender. For years, the Seattle Mariners relied on Ichiro getting on base and Felix Hernandez throwing a no-hitter to be able to win baseball games.

It’s too bad Ichiro played on the west coast until he was 38 years old because if he had been playing for the Yankees or the Red Sox his entire career his legacy would be quite different. As it stands, he will be regarded by many as the all-time hits leader, and that isn’t too shabby.

takingsidesAlderman Jose Perez responded to my inquiry asking him if older homes with lead service connection lines, or lead lateral pipes, to the city’s water mains presented a risk to families where heavy machinery is now pounding and busting up concrete for road repaving and sidewalk replacement. The massive construction project is being done in Milwaukee’s near Southside, in a neighborhood where many homes have lead water pipes.

His response was “… it is my understanding that department (Public Works) staff has prepared an informational outreach effort for that area and are taking other steps to act in the best interest of the public’s health, safety and welfare”.

It is unclear what that “informational outreach effort” was. I’m waiting for the Milwaukee Public Works Department to provide me an answer as I’m in communication with their public relations director. I’m hoping I’ll hear from them Monday.

Meanwhile, I’ve been talking to renters and home owners in the area who tell me that they did receive information that construction in the area (2100 – 1700 blocks of south 13th street) would be taking place. However, no one recalls any information regarding precautions they should take regarding drinking the water during this construction phase.

This could potentially be a major public health tragedy. The city suspended water main replacements when it was learned that construction replacing the mains loosened the lead in these lead pipes thus contaminating the water.

Long-term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, particularly in children under the age of six and to the fetus of expecting mothers. Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning. Long-term symptoms include behavioral problems, adverse brain development, and anemia to name a few.

I got a sense that the alderman decided to punt this matter to the public works bureaucrats rather than realize the urgency of the issue and deal with this issue more aggressively, in order to get to the bottom of what is going on in this neighborhood he represents.

So did the city not go to these homes to inform and properly prepare residents that live in these homes about the potential health risk the construction on their block presented to the water they drink?

In Antioch, Illinois a similar issue was addressed in a more responsible way. An article about Antioch states:

“The properties with higher readings (Lead) were clustered near a massive road repaving and sewer replacement project. Engineers were able to deduce that vibrations caused by the construction were shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes and keep lead from leaching into the water”.

Since the City of Milwaukee busted up four near Southside city blocks, can someone explain why didn’t the Department of Public Works (and Alderman Perez) simply work out a plan to coordinate with home owners the removal of lead lateral water pipes?

This could have been a great opportunity to help fixed income and low income home owners reduce the out of pocket cost to them to finally get those hazardous toxic pipes out of their property.

In Antioch, located in Lake County, IL on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin, they tested the drinking water in the most high risk homes, older built homes with lead pipe laterals, and found alarming high levels of lead in the drinking water; in some cases lead levels 18 times higher than the federally mandated limit.

They “knew something was very wrong” and were unwilling to stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that the problem did not exist.

The Antioch Director of Public Works ordered the engineers to look into it and they discovered a pattern; they found that homes with higher lead readings were clustered near a massive street repaving project. The engineers deduced that the street construction was shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes and keep lead from leaching into the water.

The City of Milwaukee uses phosphates to coat lead pipe laterals to keep lead from leaching into the water as well.

Who is to say that the massive street repaving is not shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes on South 13th Street? The city has not indicated they have done any water testing in those homes, yet any other massive street repaving projects throughout the city where there are high volumes of homes with lead pipe laterals.

If levels of lead spike in drinking water during street construction projects we will not know

Unlike in Antioch, the City of Milwaukee does not concentrate their annual lead water testing in the most high risk homes, in Milwaukee that would be the 70,000 homes that have been identified as still having lead pipe laterals.

In fact the City of Milwaukee, through Milwaukee Water Works (MWW), only test 50 homes every three years under the Lead and Copper Rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The last testing was in 2014 in which they used the “pre-stagnation” or “pre-flush” or “end-of-line” testing method (they are all the same thing) which has now been proven to distort lead level testing results.

Additionally, MWW does not concentrate those 50 homes tested for lead on the over 70,000 homes with lead pipe laterals.

For the record, MWW tests daily for water quality parameters identified by the EPA; however that is at the water treatment plant and has absolutely nothing to do with the drinking water that comes out of the homes with lead pipe laterals.

What MWW does not do is test the drinking water in the homes with lead pipe laterals along streets that are undergoing massive street repaving and repair although they are clearly aware that the shaking of lead pipe laterals results in lead levels in drinking water to spike.

It appears the city has some explaining to do.

Esta semana, la justicia de California emitió dos fallos, uno en un caso de violación y otro en un caso de “delito de linchamiento”, que fueron noticia en todo el mundo. En uno de los casos, un estudiante declarado culpable de agresión sexual recibió una sentencia leve, mientras que la declaración que su víctima leyó en el juzgado trascendió rápidamente y fue leída por millones de personas alrededor del mundo. En el otro caso, una joven afroestadounidense que fundó una rama local del movimiento Black Lives Matter y contra quien se habían presentado cargos por “delito de linchamiento” fue declarada culpable y sentenciada a prisión. Estos dos casos no podrían ser más distintos, ni podrían, conjuntamente, ilustrar mejor las numerosas desigualdades por raza y clase social que existen en el sistema judicial estadounidense.

Ambos casos derivan de hechos acaecidos en 2015. El 17 de enero de ese año una joven asistió a la fiesta de una fraternidad de la Universidad de Stanford con su hermana. Bebió demasiado alcohol y no recuerda lo que le sucedió después. Entrada la noche, dos estudiantes de posgrado vieron que se encontraba inconsciente y que estaba siendo sexualmente agredida detrás de un contenedor de basura. Llamaron a la policía universitaria y fueron detrás de Brock Turner, el agresor de la joven y estrella del equipo de natación de Stanford, hasta capturarlo. Turner fue luego arrestado.

El segundo caso involucra a la activista de Black Lives Matter Jasmine Richards. Ella misma describió su activismo en un video publicado en Internet el año pasado:

“Fundé Black Lives Matter Pasadena en enero de 2015. La razón por la que lo hice es que sentía que no había ningún programa comunitario ni nada que se estuviera haciendo en mi comunidad. Y había habido muchos jóvenes asesinados por la policía de Pasadena. Kendrec McDade es el joven por el que actualmente llevo adelante todas estas acciones. Leroy Barnes fue asesinado por la policía de Pasadena. Big homie, conocido como Big BA, también fue asesinado por la policía de Pasadena. Lamentablemente se conoce a nuestra policía por el hostigamiento que ejerce”.

El sábado 29 de agosto de 2015, Jasmine había organizado una marcha pacífica para llamar la atención justamente sobre ese tipo de hostigamiento policial. Y como era de esperar, después de la marcha, como lo documentan grabaciones de video, llegó la policía y los agentes se comportaron de manera abusiva, redujeron a una joven afroestadounidense y la arrastraron por el suelo para arrestarla. A Jasmine se le imputó el cargo de “delito de linchamiento” por intervenir e intentar salvar del arresto a la joven. Uno de los puntos centrales del movimiento Black Lives Matter es la premisa de que los jóvenes de color, en todo momento, pero especialmente cuando son arrestados o se encuentran bajo custodia policial, pueden ser asesinados o gravemente heridos.

La ley que establece el “delito de linchamiento” data de 1933 y fue redactada inmediatamente después del infame linchamiento público de dos hombres afroestadounidenses en San Jose, California. Fue adoptada para disuadir a las multitudes que irrumpían en las estaciones de policía a fin de sacar a los prisioneros para lincharlos. Luego de que otro dirigente de Black Lives Matter estuviera a punto de ser acusado de “delito de linchamiento” en 2015, legisladores consideraron que la palabra “linchamiento” era ofensiva en ese contexto e hicieron que fuera retirada de la ley. Pero los cargos contra Jasmine fueron presentados antes de que el cambio de nombre entrara en vigor.

Nana Gyamfi, abogada de Jasmine, afirmó en el noticiero de “Democracy Now!”: “Lo que había eran niños en scooters y un par de adultos que estaban hablando acerca de la violencia amparada por el estado en Pasadena, acerca de que la policía mata a personas desarmadas en Pasadena. Se trata claramente de una persecución política tramada por la Oficina del Fiscal de Distrito de Pasadena, el Departamento de Policía de Pasadena y la Oficina del Fiscal de la Ciudad de Pasadena, una acción a la que nos estamos refiriendo como el intento de linchamiento de Jasmine Richards”.

Respecto al otro caso, en el Tribunal Superior del Condado de Santa Clara, el juez Aaron Persky entendió en la causa contra Brock Turner, que fue declarado culpable de intento de violación, penetración sexual con un objeto extraño de una persona en estado de ebriedad y penetración sexual con un objeto extraño de una persona inconsciente. Turner se enfrentaba a un máximo de catorce años de prisión. La víctima leyó una declaración de 7.000 palabras profundamente personal en el juzgado. Sin embargo, parecería ser que el juez Persky se sintió más conmovido por una solicitud del padre de Turner en la que redactó que no creía que la vida de Brock debiera ser arruinada por “20 minutos de acción”.

Tras declarar que una “condena a prisión tendría un grave impacto sobre él”, el juez sentenció a Turner a solo seis meses de cárcel y a un período de libertad condicional. Al igual que Turner, el juez Persky fue un deportista estrella de Stanford. El juez enfrenta ahora una campaña que busca su apartamiento del cargo, organizada por la docente de derecho de Stanford Michele Landis Dauber.

Jasmine Richards fue sentenciada a 90 días de prisión, más tres años de libertad condicional. A Brock Turner, a pesar de haber sido condenado por cargos de agresión sexual, probablemente se le de crédito por buena conducta y deba cumplir en prisión aproximadamente el mismo tiempo que Richards. Mientras que, para la víctima de Turner, la condena será permanente. Como le dijo a Turner durante el juicio al leer su declaración como víctima, en la que describió el impacto de la agresión: “Se quedó conmigo, es parte de mi identidad, ha cambiado para siempre la forma en que me comporto, la forma en que voy a vivir el resto de mi vida”.

takingsidesGovernor Scott Walker faces long term consequences of mediocrity. His failing policies of the last five years, the destructive actions that he and the Republican Legislature engaged in, which have hurt Wisconsin keep putting our state in unflattering news.

When first elected, instead of making the right decisions when he and his GOP cohort had the opportunity to grow Wisconsin’s economy, his past failed decisions are now amplified for the whole world to see how he is negatively affecting all of Wisconsin residents; including private sector businesses and his own donors.

In 2011, Scott Walker and the Republican legislature received the trust of the voters on the grandiose promise of generating 250,000 jobs. It was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Wisconsin placed 31,670 in one year. In four months as Secretary of workforce development Manny Perez placed 24,000 jobs. It seems incompetence is the true measure Walker now relies upon when appointing new secretaries to the position of workforce development since Perez left.

250,000 jobs would have generated a solid level of tax revenue for the State of Wisconsin via payrroll taxes and business taxes; not mention increased consumption. According to Walker in 2010, nothing was more important than the creation of 250,000 jobs! All the promises of jobs to Wisconsin equate to nothing more than betraying the public trust.

Scott Walker immediately after taking office reduced the technical school system budget, without even any analysis nor regard as to how such reduction would affect the technical school system’s ability to generate the qualified workers that would be needed by the private sector from 2011 to 2016. In doing so, Scott Walker and the Republican legislators not only damaged workers but also have impaired the private sector’s ability to compete by not having top quality workforce for jobs supposedly created.  Now Wisconsin supposedly has many positions listed in the job center (100,000 Scott Walker touts) that go unfilled. Who caused this? Scott Walker and his Republican legislatures. The cuts he made to the technical school system budget now show 5 years later a skills gap employers need to fill. Thanks Scott!

Those jobs that have gone unfilled have NOT generated the tax revenue for the State of Wisconsin that could have occurred from the employees and business side. This is basically unrealized tax revenue and it contributes to the fact that Wisconsin tax collections have missed expectations. Now Walker does not have money to pay for roads to support transportation which is needed by the private sector to compete, to transport Wisconsin products and to attract new private sector businesses. Less workers, no new jobs, skilled positions unfilled leaves Governor Walker postponing payments on Wisconsin debt. And he has reservations about the Obama economy…Who will end up paying for the interest on the debt? The people of Wisconsin!

Scott Walker and the Republican legislators gave the private sector, particularly, the manufacturing sector a 7.5% escalated tax deduction without conditions on business expansion, job generation, or wage increases. In return, businesses have not expanded and if they have, they have not increased hiring as Walker is still at a dismal 165,000 jobs generated. Even if businesses were able to increase openings for skilled employment today, the skilled technicians/workers needed to fill those positions have have not been generated since the tech school budget was reduced in 2011, and no coordinated workforce strategy has been planned.

So, where is the money? What did the private sector do with the generous tax deductions? Do not be surprised if they have moved the money to overseas bank accounts like the Kock Brothers have done as shown in the Panama papers! Because surely the money generated from Walker’s generous tax deductions have not resulted in additional investments in Wisconsin by these companies or additional hiring.

Frankly, The tax cuts were nothing more than a payout to business owners for the campaign donations they made to Scott Walker and Republican legislators. Basically, they bought the Governorship, the legislature, and the Supreme Court. The corporate robber barons selected the most mediocre candidate they could find and someone who would easily be controlled and Walker was very eager to be their faithful servant. This is why Republicans across the nation rejected Scott Walker and and are rejecting the entire GOP establishment. The GOP establishment is feeling the backlash they have created themselves by selecting billionaire servants, puppets of the elite donor class who have no regard for the people who voted them in.

Scott Walker has allowed corruption at WEDC ($140,000 million), has allowed the politization of WEDC, Financial Institutions, DNR, DWD and blatantly did not take action regarding the juvenile corrections scandal at Lincoln Hills and now there will be delays to repair roads, a blow to the Wisconsin economy.

The people in Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, and Pewaukee need to wake up. Scott Walker has already lost the support of Republican moderates and independents in rural areas. It’s understood that the business owners in these areas can exert strong influence on their employees to keep voting Republican, maybe giving raises to motivate their employees to vote in the Walker cartel has worked, but rest assured, Walker does  not have your back because you are nothing more than a pawn to him.

Maybe one day the people of Wisconsin will elect a governor who works to advance a great healthcare policy, restores the middle class, and the workers simultaneously, and believes in education. Wouldn’t that be great? A governor  who is a servant to the people of Wisconsin, not a puppet of big donors.

A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God. “Susie, can anybody ever really see God?” he asked.

Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: “No, of course not silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him”

Time passed, but his question still lingered so he approached his mom: “Mom, can anybody ever really see God?” “No, not really,” she gently said. “God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see Him.”

Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip.

They were having a great time together. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor and the grandfather stared silently at the exquisite beauty unfolding before them.

On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly:

“Granddad, I wasn’t going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I’ve been wondering about a long time. Can anybody–can anybody ever really see God?”

The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. “Son,” he quietly said. “It’s getting so I can’t see anything else.”

Jun 9, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the fourth quarter in game three of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports - RTX1FVBH

With a 3-1 series lead and two of the top superstars in the league, the Oklahoma City Thunder were sitting pretty in the Western Conference Finals against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Many people, including myself, assumed that the Thunder were going to advance to the NBA finals to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Warriors made fools of us all. Reminding us why they had the best regular season record of all time when they won the final three games to complete the comeback against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. There is no doubt that no matter who won the Western Conference that the NBA finals would be an exciting matchup, but it is a bit of a downer to get a rematch of last year’s matchup.

Kevin Durant has now played what will likely be his final game in a Thunder jersey. This series has to leave a bad taste in his mouth, especially after he got to see the best parts and worst parts of Westbrook in the same series. Some games Westbrook dominated like he was the best player in the league, but others he would literally and figuratively throw the ball away once the game got to crunch time. Billy Donovan, the coach of the Thunder, went from looking like a top tier coach to a college coach out of place in the professionals. Why would Durant stay in Oklahoma when he could go to a more prestigious team in a state that doesn’t make you pay income tax, like, San Antonio?

The real story though is the finals rematch that we all expected to happen most of the season but thought might not as of last week. Steph Curry and LeBron James get to battle it out again for NBA supremacy, except this time James is fighting to regain his spot at the top instead of trying to maintain a hold on it. Six straight finals appearances for James cannot end in only two championship rings, but that possibility is staring him in the face. James is an all-time great, he better make sure his legacy holds true and walk away with a banner to put in Cleveland.

Curry has to want this title as much as if not more than James though. His team just finished off the best regular season in NBA history and he was voted the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. It would be a shame to lose the best team ever moniker that will surely follow him around because he couldn’t overcome an aging LeBron.

This finals brings with it many questions that, frankly, I cannot wait to be answered. I can’t wait to see LeBron and Curry going toe-to-toe late into games, scratching and clawing to prove that they are the dominant entity in the NBA. The biggest question is who comes out on top?

My prediction: Cavaliers in seven.

takingsidesA few weeks ago, a letter was issued by the Obama administration directing public schools to provide transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms  in which a student sexually identifies him or herself with.

The letter issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education directs schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity–meaning a person who looks male but identifies as female would be able to use female bathrooms at public schools.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

There is no federal law which mandates that bathrooms must be accessible to students of different genders, the Obama notice is purely administrative. While it is not required by law to allow for mixed use bathrooms, the letter does threaten removing federal support for those public schools that fail to make accommodations for transgender students.

However, the federal directive isn’t deterring Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer from introducing a bill aimed at regulating a students’ use of bathroom and changing facilities.

Kewaskum Rep. Jesse Kremer said he “absolutely” plans to introduce a bill addressing the matter of bathroom and locker room use for passage in Wisconsin.

Rep. Jesse Kremer is not satisfied with the federal guidelines the Obama administration laid out in its letter. In the letter, it is directed that when students or their parents inform a school that the student is transgender, the school must treat the student in a way that matches with his or her gender identity.

According to federal guidance, any student — transgender or not — can ask for additional privacy options, and schools are free to put increased privacy measures in place within shared facilities.

The federal letter doesn’t carry the force of law, but implies that schools that do not follow the administration’s guidelines will risk losing federal funding.

Kremer said the administration’s letter doesn’t change anything in his eyes. He said he’s most concerned not with bathrooms, but with locker rooms and changing facilities.

A conservative Christian group Wisconsin Family Action, which worked with Kremer on his bill, said that the federal guidance puts students in danger.

WFA executive director Julaine Appling said the letter “puts a price tag” on the privacy and safety of students, particularly female students.

“This puts the privacy rights, safety and well-being of all students at risk. And what about girls who have been sexually assaulted? This decree says their fears are meaningless and should not be considered,” Appling said in a statement. “At a time when our society is decrying campus and date rape and rails against a so-called ‘war on women,’ you would think the government wouldn’t be interested in putting these women in situations that could easily re-traumatize them.”

State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, will be standing against the Kremer bill.

Zamarripa said Kremer’s transgender “bathroom bill” is more about ensuring that non-transgender students are not made to feel uncomfortable.

“Many of these same opponents have equated transgender citizens with pedophiles and other sex offenders with absolutely no evidence,” Zamarripa said in a statement. “Their sweeping generalizations and attempts to write their bigotry into law only further demonstrate the need for the government to protect transgender students’ rights”.

I’m sure that there are plenty of efforts being made to ensure transgender students are having their issues addressed, and the concerns of those supporting Rep. Jesse Kremer’s bathroom bill not get Medieval.

On the flip side, you have to give it to those Republicans. They sure know how to stir the pot with issues like this bathroom bill. To bad the democrats haven’t a clue on what needs to be done to stir up excitement.

La mañana del jueves 28 de enero se presentaba fría en Durham, Carolina del Norte. Esa mañana, Wildin David Guillen Acosta salió de su casa rumbo a la escuela pero nunca llegó. En el camino, fue detenido y arrestado por agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) y permanece detenido desde entonces. Wildin tiene actualmente 19 años de edad. Huyó de su casa en Olancho, Honduras hace más de dos años y fue detenido al cruzar la frontera, pero como en ese momento era menor, se le permitió reunirse con familiares que tenía en Carolina del Norte. Comenzó a asistir a la secundaria Riverside High School y estaba previsto que se graduara en junio de este año. Quería ser ingeniero. En lugar de ello, permanece encerrado en el tristemente célebre Centro de Detención Stewart ubicado en la zona rural de Lumpkin, Georgia, gestionado por la compañía con fines de lucro Corrections Corporation of America.

Wildin es solo uno de los cientos de miles de menores que, ya sea solos o con sus madres, han huido de la violencia en América Central en los últimos años. Principalmente provienen de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador. Actualmente, Honduras es uno de los países más violentos del mundo y Olancho cuenta con una de las tasas más altas de asesinatos, lo que provoca que muchos huyan del lugar. El Ejército de Estados Unidos y la Administración de Control de Drogas (DEA) tienen fuerzas especiales desplegadas de forma permanente allí, las cuales participan de operativos antinarcóticos que también han provocado la muerte a decenas de hondureños.

Wildin fue arrestado en el marco de una serie de operativos de inmigración llamados “Operación Guardián de la Frontera”. Muchos creen que el objetivo de estos operativos fue generar miedo entre quienes se encuentran aún en América Central y están considerando realizar el peligroso viaje hacia el norte, rumbo a Estados Unidos. “Como he dicho en repetidas oportunidades, nuestras fronteras no están abiertas a la migración ilegal”, dijo el secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Jeh Johnson, en aquel momento. “Si vienen aquí de forma ilegal, los enviaremos de regreso de conformidad con nuestras leyes y nuestros valores”, afrimó. Inmediatamente después del arresto de Wildin, familiares, amigos, compañeros de clase y profesores de la secundaria Riverside realizaron una contundente manifestación de valores, marchando en apoyo de Wildin y de otros cinco jóvenes arrestados de manera similar. A este grupo de jóvenes encarcelados se le llama con frecuencia “NC6” o “Los 6 de Carolina del Norte”, en español. La Comisión de Relaciones Humanas de Durham solicitó al ICE su liberación, al igual que lo hizo el Concejo Municipal de Durham.

Una profesora de Wildin, Ellen Holmes, sostuvo en un video que realizó en su apoyo: “Hay mucho miedo en nuestra comunidad, porque, desafortunadamente, no es el único menor que han detenido. Esto provoca ausencias y deserciones en nuestras escuelas. Está generando un intenso sentimiento de miedo en el seno de nuestra escuela y de nuestra comunidad”. Existe escasa evidencia de que los arrestos y las deportaciones masivas hayan reducido el flujo de refugiados centroamericanos hacia Estados Unidos, pero ciertamente han atemorizado a los estudiantes y a las familias que actualmente se encuentran aquí, lo que los obliga a mantener a los menores fuera de las escuelas por temor a que sean arrestados como Wildin.

La solicitud de asilo de Wildin fue rechazada y el 19 de marzo un juez de inmigraciones denegó la solicitud de reabrir su caso. El 20 de marzo se dispuso su deportación a Honduras. Sin embargo, debido a la enorme presión pública que ejerció esta organización de base liderada por jóvenes, la directora del ICE, Sarah Saldaña, emitió esa mañana una orden por la que se pospuso su deportación. La solicitud de asilo de Wildin se encuentra ante la Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración, en un proceso que podría tardar meses e incluso años en resolverse.

Paromita Shah, directora asociada del Proyecto Nacional de Inmigración de la Asociación Nacional de Abogados, dijo en el noticiero de “Democracy Now!: “Debería ser liberado. Noventa días, desde cualquier punto de vista, es un período de tiempo atroz para ser pasado en detención”. Shah estuvo en Washington, D.C., junto a varios estudiantes y a la docente de Riverside High Ellen Holmes, visitando a integrantes del Congreso y al secretario de Educación, John B. King Jr., para solicitarles que apoyen a Wildin.

Axel Herrera es uno de los estudiantes que fue a Washington. Al igual que Wildin, era un estudiante indocumentado de Honduras, pero ingresó a Estados Unidos a los siete años de edad y por tanto tuvo derecho acogerse a la Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA, por sus siglas en inglés), que otorga ciertas protecciones legales durante un período limitado a los inmigrantes indocumentados que ingresaron a EE.UU. siendo niños. “Hemos hablado con varios legisladores. Hemos hecho llamados. Hemos enviado cartas. Hemos obtenido el apoyo de algunos congresistas de Carolina del Norte, que se comprometieron a solicitar que nuestros compañeros sean liberados. Pero no hemos tenido la respuesta que esperábamos, que es tener a Wildin y a algunos de los demás estudiantes de ‘Los 6 de Carolina del Norte’ de regreso en nuestras escuelas”.

Wildin Acosta permanece detenido en la prisión privada del ICE en Georgia. Su solicitud de que se le enviaran las tareas escolares a la prisión fue inicialmente denegada. Tras las protestas de la población, la guardia cedió. Muchos estudiantes de secundaria son sancionados por negarse a estudiar. Wildin está encerrado en detención permanente y debe luchar por su derecho a estudiar. El secretario Johnson y todos los funcionarios del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas deberían aceptar que son esa determinación y ese compromiso los que van “de conformidad con nuestros valores”.

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11

Entering the NBA playoffs, there was a certain hesitance to enjoy any of the rounds prior to the conference finals. It was widely expected that the San Antonio Spurs would face off against the Golden State Warriors in a thrilling matchup of two regular season heavyweights that lost a combined 24 games this season and the Cleveland Cavaliers would coast into the Finals against fairly weak competition in the Eastern Conference. The Spurs were thoroughly dismantled by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a six game series, which made an even more intriguing matchup possible with the Warriors. The Cavaliers also have been surprisingly pushed by the Toronto Raptors while in Canada, though they have had no issues dealing with them when playing in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers head back for a game 6 tonight in Toronto which has proven to be a house of horrors for the big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. At this point the Finals is expected to be a showdown between the Cavaliers and the Thunder, an interesting rematch of a big three headed by LeBron versus Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

The real story of these playoffs has been the rise of Westbrook into super stardom. Westbrook has been a superstar for quite some time now, regardless of what Mark Cuban thought of him when the playoffs started. The surprising truth is that Durant has struggled to play up to his potential the past three weeks and Westbrook has more than picked up his slack. Durant is supposed to be the superior player, the 7 foot wing who is un-guardable and can get to his shot from anywhere on the floor, yet he has been struggling to shoot even 40% during these playoffs. Westbrook, meanwhile, has been playing his signature style of blitz-ball all over the court, picking up triple-doubles with ease and making every shot count.

The frenetic style of Westbrook should clash nicely with the play of the Cavaliers and make for quite an exciting series, let’s just hope that that is the series we get. LeBron has clearly slowed in his advancing age, but he is still undoubtedly one of the best players in the game today. Besides, who wouldn’t love to watch the pregame rituals of LeBron and his chalk toss and Westbrook with his dancing prior to a (hopefully) seven game series?

One would have to assume that the Finals will be a Cavs vs Thunder showdown, and we should be excited by the endless possibilities that series will produce. Will LeBron and the old guard beat down Durant and company again to stifle the uprising, or will Durant and Westbrook finally capture the playoff success and championship that have eluded the elite pairing for years.

takingsidesBy Andrew J Petto, PhD

Guest Columnist

Lead exposure is a serious problem, but the attention that the situation in Flint, Michigan, has had one good result: more people are thinking and concerned about exposure to lead, and more people are organizing to find solutions for their own communities. Though we have succeeded in stopping new lead from entering the environment, there are many ways that we can be exposed to lead was in use before changes that removed lead from gasoline, paints, pipes and plumbing fixtures, the solder used in electronics and plumbing, and so on.

What is lead and where do we find it?

Lead is a naturally occurring metal. Because it is relatively soft and because it combines easily with other metals and often lowers their melting points, it has been in use by humans for thousands of years. In fact, the word “plumbing” comes from the Latin word for lead: plumbum. In Wisconsin, the original Wisconsin “badgers” were lead miners in the southeastern part of the state, where lead ore deposits are quite extensive, giving us place names like Mineral Point (and Galena, Illinois).

In its natural state, lead is rarely much of a threat to human health, and most of the danger to human health is from lead products in the environment that are the result of human use of lead in various products and chemical processes The World Health organization coordinates international efforts to control and reduce lead exposure, and provides this summary:

More than three quarters of global lead consumption is for the manufacture of lead-acid batteries for motor vehicles. Lead is, however, also used in many other products, for example pigments, paints, solder, stained glass, crystal vessels, ammunition, ceramic glazes, jewelry, toys and in some cosmetics and traditional medicines. Drinking water delivered through lead pipes or pipes joined with lead solder may contain lead. Much of the lead in global commerce is now obtained from recycling.

The European water-treatment company Lenntech tells us that various lead compounds can enter the environment and can enter the body from air, water, and food (Read more In the case of drinking water, lead compounds are more likely to enter the water supply from pipes, solder, and fixtures is the water is acidic—and this seems to be one of the big problems in the water crisis in Flint. We also know that lead compounds in the soil and in dust can continue to be a problem, even long after lead in paints and fixtures has been eliminated.

Although paint has been removed from some of the more common sources, such as paints and gasoline, the possible lead exposure from public water supplies was received less attention. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports that the US Environment Protection Agency has identified over 70,000 lead service lines in Milwaukee’s public water system (Read more, where they also report that 60% of Wisconsin’s children known to have lead poisoning live.. Although a lot of the effort in preventing and controlling lead poisoning—particularly in children—has focused on lead in household sources, there is much less attention on lead in the public water supply.

What does lead do in the body?

The same thing that makes lead useful in making a wide variety of products is what is responsible for its effects on the body: it combines readily with many other chemicals. In the body, it can bind to the hemoglobin in the blood, it can replace calcium in important compounds throughout the body, with specific effects on the heart and blood vessels, bone, and the brain and nerves (details can be found here:

For most people, lead is absorbed and stored in the bone. This is one way that the body tries to protect itself from the adverse effects of lead. The problem is that lead can be released from the bone for many years after the initial exposure.

Because calcium is necessary for the proper function of muscles, nerves, and many other essential biochemical reactions in the body, lead can interfere with these functions in people of all ages. We are most concerned, of course, with the effects of lead on the nervous system in children. The World Health Organization (see below) emphasizes that children can absorb 4‒5 times as much lead as adults, even when they are exposed to the same levels in the environment. Many of the lead prevention and control programs are concerned with limiting children’s exposure because of the effects on the brain and nervous systems, as well as on the bones, but adults can also suffer effects from continued exposure.

How much lead is safe?

The World Health Organization reports that there is no known safe level of lead concentrations in the body (see below). However, many research and clinical studies show that blood levels above 10μg/dL (or about the same as 1/1000 of an ounce in an 8-ounce glass of water) cause serious problems in the function of nerves, the formation of blood cells, energy production in the cells, kidney function, and both and female male reproductive function. Higher concentrations, of course, lead to more and more serious problems.

Programs aimed at reducing lead exposure have been successful, but there is a lot of residual lead in some unexpected places. For example, much of the research literature points to lead consumption from fish and wild game. This may occur directly from the use of lead in bullets and bird shot, or indirectly in accumulations from wastewater discharge. Lead dust can also settle in waterways or on plants, and then be absorbed and accumulated in wild or domestic animals that we consume.

Getting the lead out

A comprehensive lead control and reduction program will need to consider all these sources of lead exposure. The importance of particular sources may be different for different populations. In an urban setting, paints, industrial by-products, and water mains could be the the most critical areas to focus attention. In rural or suburban areas, other sources could present more of a threat.

Because we know that lead poisoning is a life-long effect of exposure, even if we were able to remove all the lead in the environment in the next six months, we would still be dealing with the effects for a whole generation. But by focusing carefully on the sources of lead that pose the greatest risk to a community and reducing or removing those sources in order of the size of their effects, it is possible to reduce this risk to health significantly. We did this in removing lead from house paints and gasoline, and the effects were dramatic. The next logical step is obviously in water service lines, plumbing, and fixtures. But even that is just the beginning. The greater threat is from the lead that remains in the environment in our soil, food, and water.

Want more information?

Try these sources:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Lead-Safe Wisconsin site:

2014 Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lead information:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Effects of Lead:

World Health Organization, Health Effects of Lead:

US Consumer Product Safety Commission, sources of lead in your home: furnishings decorations/426protectyourfamilyfromleadinyourhome.pdf

Mayo Clinic Lead Exposure page:

Mayo Clinic Lead Poisoning page:

WebMD Lead Exposure Page:

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, lead in drinking water reports:

Report of WUWM’s Lake Effect Program:

Andrew Petto is a bioanthropologist and a senior lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology at the Department of  Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is currently coordinator of Wisconsin Citizens for Science and the state liaison for the National Center for Science Education.

“Bienvenidos a Fort McMurray. Aquí tenemos la energía”, es lo que dice el cartel que se ve al ingresar a esa ciudad ubicada en los bosques del norte de Alberta, Canadá, en el corazón de la zona de extracción de arenas alquitranadas. Los bosques que rodean Fort McMurray arden en llamas desde hace más de una semana, lo que ha provocado la suspensión de las operaciones en la vasta zona de arenas alquitranadas. Más de 90.000 personas han sido evacuadas, la mayoría de ellas de Fort McMurray, pero también miles más de los campamentos situados en los yacimientos de arenas alquitranadas, de donde se extrae lo que se considera como el petróleo más sucio del planeta, mediante la remoción de la arena alquitranada en minas a cielo abierto. Mientras tanto, más al sur del hemisferio, la importante compañía petrolera Shell ha iniciado operaciones de limpieza en el Golfo de México, donde hubo filtraciones en una plataforma petrolera que provocaron el vertido de más de 2.000 barriles de petróleo al mar, a unos 150 km de la costa de Louisiana.

La Administración Nacional Oceánica y Atmosférica informó esta semana en su índice anual de gases de efecto invernadero que la “actividad humana ha incrementado el efecto directo de calentamiento por dióxido de carbono (CO2) en la atmósfera en un 50% por encima de los niveles preindustriales durante los últimos 25 años”. La agencia espacial de Estados Unidos, la NASA, informó que este último mes de abril fue el abril más caluroso desde que se lleva registro, por el margen más amplio de la historia. Esto se da tras una sucesión de doce meses en la que cada mes rompió el récord de temperatura establecido para el mismo mes en el pasado.

La respuesta oficial al catastrófico cambio climático tomó forma en el llamado Acuerdo de París, el documento de 31 páginas acordado hasta el momento por 175 países. El acuerdo alcanzado en París en diciembre y firmado en abril fue la culminación de años de negociaciones que muchos criticaron por estar lejos de ser justas, ambiciosas o vinculantes. El acuerdo es supervisado por la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático, o CMNUCC, que en este momento lleva a cabo una reunión de alto nivel en Bonn, Alemania. Se trata de la primera reunión desde que se alcanzó el Acuerdo de París.

Kumi Naidoo, exdirector de Greenpeace International, nos dijo en París en vísperas de la publicación de la versión definitiva del acuerdo: “Hay tantos vacíos en ese texto que el avión en el que viaja el presidente de Estados Unidos podría pasar por uno de ellos. La conclusión, yo diría, es que hay huellas de la industria de los combustibles fósiles en demasiadas partes de ese texto”. Y agregó: “La mayoría de los que formamos parte de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil, nunca hablamos del ‘camino hacia París’, siempre hablamos del ‘camino que pasa por París’”.

Como parte de ese camino y previo a la cumbre de Bonn, se lanzó la campaña Break Free (Líberate de los Combustibles Fósiles, en español). Coordinadas a nivel internacional, se llevaron a cabo toda una serie de audaces acciones motivadas por la urgencia de la crisis climática. En diferentes partes del mundo se realizaron bloqueos y sentadas, cuelga de pancartas y toda una constelación de acciones de desobediencia civil. La siguiente es solo una muestra de algunas de las manifestaciones llevadas a cabo en las últimas dos semanas, según un resumen de la organización sin fines de lucro de acción contra el cambio climático

En el Reino Unido, activistas bloquearon el funcionamiento de la mayor mina de carbón a cielo abierto del país durante un día. Una acción de protesta similar detuvo cargamentos de carbón en Newcastle, Australia. En Estados Unidos, la gente ocupó vías de trenes durante toda la noche para detener los llamados “trenes bomba”, vagones cisterna cargados de petróleo que han explotado en el pasado, provocando la muerte a cientos de personas. En Alemania, 3.500 personas cerraron una mina de lignito y una central eléctrica cercana durante más de 48 horas. En Filipinas, 10.000 personas marcharon contra una planta de carbón proyectada. Organizaciones sociales y comunidades indígenas de Brasil obstruyeron el tránsito frente a las puertas de una de las mayores centrales térmicas de carbón del país. Por tierra y por mar, hubo personas que obstruyeron la entrada a las instalaciones de arenas alquitranadas de Kinder Morgan en Vancouver y, en Turquía, 2.000 personas marcharon hacia un gran vertedero de carbón y lo rodearon con una gigantesca cinta roja.

El reconocido lingüista y disidente político Noam Chomsky escribió recientemente un nuevo libro titulado “Who Rules the World?” (¿Quién gobierna el mundo?, en español). Chomsky afirma que los dos temas críticos que enfrenta actualmente la humanidad son las armas nucleares y el cambio climático y que resulta impactante ver lo poco que se tocan esos temas en la campaña electoral de cara a las elecciones de 2016 en Estados Unidos.

Chomsky dijo a Democracy Now!: “Cuando los republicanos de la Corte Suprema revocaron hace poco una normativa bastante moderada propuesta por Obama para regular la industria del carbón, fue como decirle al mundo: ‘No se molesten en hacer nada’. Al país más grande y más poderoso del mundo no le interesa, así que ‘sigan adelante y hagan lo que quieran’. Todo esto equivale literalmente a decir: ‘Corramos hacia el precipicio’”.

No obstante, mientras haya gente que lleva adelante acciones hay esperanza. En el estado de Massachusetts, hogar del profesor Chomsky, cuatro estudiantes de secundaria demandaron al Departamento de Protección Ambiental del estado, alegando que ese estado estaba infringiendo su propia norma de reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en un 80% para 2050 al no tomar medidas con la rapidez necesaria. Esta semana, el máximo tribunal del estado estuvo de acuerdo y Massachusetts deberá ahora implementar un plan orientado a reducir las emisiones.

Desde hace tiempo se escucha el llamado a salvar el mundo para las generaciones futuras. Pero resulta cada vez más claro que es la generación de los jóvenes la que nos va a salvar.

takingsidesOnce again Wisconsin is the focus of negative national attention. Once again Scott Walker proves his critics right who say he is an incompetent and unfit individual to be Governor of Wisconsin. Once again Scott Walker’s hypocrisy exposes itself to the public reminding us of how strongly he and the Republicans criticized Jim Doyle for playing gimmicks with state money to balance the budget, and how he, Scott Walker that is, would follow GAAP or Generally Accepted Accounting Practices, to make sure his administration would be one of superb transparency, honesty, and faithful steward of taxpayer money. Remember that gobbledegook Republicans?  Recall before the days of Trump and Cruz, those glorious days when people thought the Republicans had learned from past lessons and would not drink the Kool-Aid out of the Cup of greed when they get in power and protect the people’s money?

Well, look what happened here. Not only did the GOP drink the Kool-Aid you mutha-flowers have given Wisconsin a governor who is now postponing a $101 million debt payment, indicating once again the Governor’s and the Republican legislature’s incompetence and lack of economic vision.

Of course you establishment Republicans know that all of this is rooted to the bad decision that Walker and the Republican legislature made in past years. You loyal GOP players know what they did! Walker and his loyalists changed the agenda from creating 250,000 jobs in 2010 to one of union attack and gerrymandering the voting districts, they allowed the waste of $140 million of tax credits wasted in corruption at WEDC, they gave Wisconsin businesses unrestricted 6% tax credits and they did not expand business operations so as to increase tax revenue (that could have been used to pay the debt). These tax credits were mere payoff to donors than anything else, and we least not forget, Walker attempted to change open records law to hide the secret shenanigans he and his gringo cartel played against the Wisconsin taxpayer…need I say more?

So, now that Scott Walker and his gringo cartel postponed paying on the debt, do Republicans still believe the current Republican legislature is good for Wisconsin?

So…is Scott Walker and the current Republican legislature good for Wisconsin? They may be good for the Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha business owners but not for the rest of Wisconsin. Could it be that these business owners are subcontractors of the Koch Brothers? Maybe they should be investigated for secret bank accounts like the one discovered for the Kock Brothers in Switzerland in the Panama Papers.

Now you have proof why Republicans across the state and nation -except Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha- so strongly rejected Scott Walker. He, the Republican legislature, Reince Priebus, and Paul Ryan are under the direct controll of an establishment of business elites that keep them serving their needs by keeping Walker and his gumba cohorts under their control. Walker is a loyal servant to his corporate masters. Walker could careless about the people of Wisconsin who voted for him.

So keep making Wisconsin look good, Scooter. Soon we should be ready to default on the debt at the rate Walker’s administration is going.

HRC Supporters in Fantasy World

HRC supporters argue that Bernie Sanders remaining in the race is suppressing Clinton’s results in the national polls against Trump. This is the argument of braindead people stuck on a notion told to them. Their inability to think critically explains their unwillingness to test the validity of this argument. This is a level playing field and if HRC was as competitive, she would equal Sanders in these national polls. So the real question is, how much further ahead would Sanders be of Trump without Clinton in the race?

By landslide margins is the answer, and both Clinton and Trump know this.

I do wish that HRC supporters would cease their chatter about how many more votes she has won than Sanders. These results are limited to Democrats, and do not factor in the independents and republicans of the general electorate.

She has received 5% of the national vote, in a party that heavily favours her and represents only 29% of the electorate.

She has been running against an opponent who came from nowhere, starting with no money or organisation and who has accepted no funds from corporate America or special interests.

As a household name and with the entire DNC establishing backing her, along with wealthy and powerful donors, and the liberal media behind her, she has had every advantage.

When she has employed election rigging, voter fraud and suppression, illegal fundraising, a network of surrogates in the DNC establishment and media, a strategy of misrepresenting her opponent to distort the truth, and she has to copy his campaign themes and personality to boost her own popularity, the only place these results are only valid is on paper.

The true metrics are Bernie Sanders $200 million in small donations from 2 million donors making 7 million contributions, a network of 9 million volunteers (without a single paid troll), 1.2 million people attending Sanders rallies, with attendances in excess of 27,000 at single events, and his leading her for months in every poll against Trump.

She can only dream of such enthusiasm and passion from her base. This is the false picture that is painted when the hand of corruption controls the strokes of the brush.

The problem with Clinton’s poor favourability has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders. It is her own past wrong doings catching up with her.

It’s starting to sink in with her campaign and the Clinton media, Trump is going to be harder to defeat than they thought, and they are going to make a scapegoat of Bernie Sanders, the stronger prospect, to hide her weakness.

The Bucks need help. Their starting point guard is a former small forward who stands at 6’11”, their power forward entered the league with an offensive game that was supposed to make up for his defensive shortcomings but doesn’t, and the rest of their young nucleus appears to be more promise than results. The Bucks can’t shoot, especially from three, which might’ve been okay in the 1990’s but in this day and age that just isn’t going to cut it. Three-point shooters space the floor, spread out the defenders so that they can’t clog the paint and force you to shoot shots that you’re unlikely to make. Look at what Golden State and Cleveland are doing, their crunch time lineup consists of five players that can make a three-pointer with some semblance of consistency. Even when playing their regular five, they have at least three players on the floor that you can’t leave open from three.

For the Bucks, Khris Middleton was the only player that teams would feel the need to close out on. Rashad Vaughn, the Bucks first round draft pick last year, was supposed to be able to shoot threes and keep the defense honest, but he shot less than 30% from three last year, and barely 30% from inside the arc.

Almost every draft pundit predicts the Bucks to pick Jakob Poeltl from Utah with the tenth pick, but I have to question this logic. If there is one thing the Bucks do not need it is another player clogging the paint. What will Poeltl be able to do that John Henson can’t? He is bigger, so his defense will probably benefit the Bucks and may lead to a few more easy baskets, but what does he really do for this team? The Bucks desperately need a shooter. They are too far down in the draft to grab one of the can’t miss prospects which is fine because they already have a NBA version of Ben Simmons in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks need to pray that Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield fall to them at number ten. Though this may seem unlikely, crazier things have happened in NBA drafts. If the Bucks think that nobody worth taking will fall to them, they need to trade up. Trading down or taking a big man will do nothing for this Bucks squad, mostly because the NBA draft isn’t deep enough to be able to find good players often in the back of the draft.

No team made fewer three-pointers than the Bucks last year, and three-pointers are the present and the future. If they decide to roll the dice with the tenth pick, Wade Baldwin IV may be an option. He is certainly a boom or bust candidate, but that is the best the Bucks can hope for when they continue to be just good enough to not get a top pick but not good enough to make the playoffs.

The draft between the eighth pick and the fifteenth pick is no-man’s land, and it is where the Bucks have found themselves far too often to ever fully rebuild.

You never know, though, maybe a star will fall into our lap.