Congressman Jim Himes represents Connecticut's 4th District in the United States Congress. He lives in Cos Cob.
Congressman Jim Himes represents Connecticut's 4th District in the United States Congress. He lives in Cos Cob.
Protect Shareholders. Strike the Financial Choice Act 2.0.
Shareholder democracy is being profoundly threatened by Section 844 of the Financial CHOICE Act 2.0. This new legislation, which was heard by the Congressional Financial Services Committee on April 26 and then passed by the House on June 8, contains a provision that would fundamentally impair investors' rights to file shareholder resolutions. It is now scheduled to be voted on in the Senate. The new rule would permit only a tiny fraction of the globe’s wealthiest investors (those who own more than 1% or more of a company’s stock) to file shareholder proposals. For example, raising the ownership requirement to 1% would leave only 11 investors with enough shares ($3 billion) necessary to file shareholder proposals at Wells Fargo. All other shareholders would be blocked from using their shareholder rights to address equity, justice, sustainability, climate, risk, and good governance issues. Sign our petition and make your voice heard. We will be sending signatures, as well as the letter linked below, to the Senate. Let’s work together to defeat this destabilizing legislation that will profoundly affect consumers, investors, and the economy at large.
#SAVEH2B: GET THE FACTS & STOP THE LIES!
Stop The Lies and Get The Facts! The H-2B Program Creates American Jobs • The H-2B program is essential for small and seasonal businesses that are committed to hiring a legal workforce but areunable to fill seasonal jobs with American workers despite extensive recruitment efforts. Seasonal industries that use theH-2B program include seafood processing, horse training, hospitality and amusement parks, forestry, landscaping,circuses, carnivals, food concessionaires, swimming pool maintenance, construction and stone quarries. • The H-2B program is important to workers. For H-2B workers, the program provides well-paying seasonal jobs that allowthem to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries. This program is also importantfor American workers whose year round positions are reliant upon seasonal laborers during peak seasons.• Every H-2B worker is estimated to create and sustain 4.64 American jobs. The H-2B Visa nonimmigrant program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis. H-2B workers are not considered immigrants. In order to qualify for an H-2B Visa, an employer must prove that there are not sufficient U.S. Workers who are capable of performing temporary services or labor. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS TAKE JOBS AWAY FROM AMERICANS.FACT: American workers are guaranteed first chance at every job later filled by an H-2B temporary laborer. By law, every open position must be properly advertised in the community and requires employers to hire any able and willing American workers to fill open positions. The fact is that H-2B temporary workers actually support American jobs and the U.S. economy. The H-2B program provides an opportunity for seasonal businesses to operate at a greater capacity, thereby retaining their full-time American workers and contributing more to their local economies. Additionally, temporary foreign seasonal workers help support many upstream and downstream jobs. According to the American Enterprise Institute study on Immigration and American Jobs, every H-2B worker creates or sustains 4.64 American jobs on average. MYTH: EMPLOYERS DON’T EVEN TRY TO HIRE AMERICAN WORKERS TO FILL THESE TEMPORARY HARD LABOR JOBS.FACT: Employers work extremely hard to hire American workers because 1) it is dramatically cheaper to do so, and 2) the law requires that employers demonstrate that every effort has been made to hire Americans before they can start the process of trying to hire a temporary foreign laborer. Again, the fact is that the vast majority of American workers are not interested in temporary seasonal manual labor jobs. Geography is a big obstacle for many employers; for example, many resort communities don’t have a sufficient local labor pool. And, in many cases, these types of seasonal jobs may not be appropriate for high school students due to the hours or labor laws that prohibit the use of heavy machinery by minors. MYTH: PAYING HIGHER WAGES WILL ENTICE AMERICAN WORKERS AND SOLVE THE SEASONAL TEMPORARY LABOR SHORTAGE.FACT: Hourly pay for these types of jobs have gone up significantly over the last few years because employers who use the H-2B program are required to pay their H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premiumwage dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. These temporary manual labor jobs often pay considerably more than the minimum wage, but American workers still won’t take the positions. Sadly, in many cases, employers who obey the law and use the H-2B program are often competing against businesses that choose to illegally hire undocumented immigrants and pay those workers considerably less. If wages were raised even higher, seasonal employers who use the program would not be able to sustain their businesses or their American workers. MYTH: THE H-2B PROGRAM REPRESSES WAGES FOR AMERICAN WORKERS BY PROVIDING A CHEAPER LABOR SOURCE.FACT: Hiring H-2B workers is a much move expensive and risky option. In addition to the fact employers are required to pay H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premium wage that is often well above the federal minimum wage, complying with the H-2B program is extremely costly, complicated and wrought with uncertainty due to an overly restrictive cap and a constantly changing regulatory environment. Employers turn to the H-2B program as a last resort, after extensive efforts to recruit American workers. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS OVERSTAY THEIR VISAS AND EXACERBATE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA.FACT: According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visa overstay in the H-2B program are rare. Workers who do overstay their visas are barred from using the program ever again. The fact is that the vast majority of H-2B workers and their employers are meticulous about compliance. Not following the strict program rules means the end of a well-paying seasonal jobs that allows these workers to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries – a risk these workers are not willing to take since they generally return to the same employer year after year. Additionally, when approving H-2B visas, the U.S. Consulate confirms workers’ ties to their home countries. Further, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires employers to promptly report any H-2B workers who do not report for work or who complete their work earlier in the season than anticipated. MYTH: THE H-2B RETURNING WORKER EXEMPTION IS UNNECESSARY.FACT: The H-2B program’s annual 66,000 cap (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) is not adequate to meet the demands of a growing economy. The cap for the first half of the fiscal 2016 was reached on March 15. The second-half cap was reached on May 12, leaving many seasonal employers shut out of the program with no access to legal seasonal laborers. Without the returning worker exemption passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the President of December 18, 2015, many companies would have had to close their businesses, lay off American workers or turn away customers.This provision is essential to the survival of small and seasonal businesses across the country and should be made permanent. An H-2B returning worker exemption is a narrow solution to a seasonal workforce shortage that focuses on workers who are valuable to their seasonal employers and who have never violate the terms of their past visas or other U.S. laws. These workers do not pose a security risk and they are not taking away jobs from Americans. The H-2B returning worker exemption in the omnibus appropriations bills simply provides that if an H-2B worker has been counted against the cap in one of the three prior years, that worker can return to work in the H-2B program in the current year without being counted against this year's cap. For more information please visit: https://www.SaveH2b.orghttps://www.facebook.com/SaveH2B/https://twitter.com/SaveH_2B https://youtu.be/UTYVEirlu3o To contribute further, please contact your Congressmen/women and tweet using the hashtag: #SAVEH2B.
Animals that are left outside in freezing temps with only a dog house as protection
I witnessed a dog tied up and left outside all day and this evening with temps below zero. The only protection the dog had was a dog house. Upon calling Animal Control and the police department, I was sad to learn nothing could be done because their is a dog house. A dog house in freezing temps offers little to no protection and animals need to be brought inside when the temperature drops below freezing. Owners need to be responsible and care for their pets if they are going to have the right and privilege to owner them. Please sign this petition and help us get the laws changed to protect animals from animal cruelty. No animal should be left out to freeze to death. PLEASE SIGN!!
Change the Connecticut Department of Children and Families policy on child removal
We are calling for support in the effort in changing the Connecticut Department of Children and Families' policy on removing children from parental care. The current policy regarding custody battles is the child is removed from the care of both parents and placed into government care, even if one of the parents is not at fault in the removal. I am speaking as one of the many afflicted by the unjust action that is taken in accordance to this policy, and with this petition we aim to represent the many others who have been wronged by it.
Redefine the Fairness to Pet Owners Act so that it is inclusive of misdiagnosed animals
Prescribing the MOST efficient tools to pet owners to help determine medication administration should be part of the Fairness to Pet Owners Act. For example: Diabetic animals require a glucometer to have their blood tested regularly so that their medication can be administered effectively. Using glucometers is not standard practice. I was instructed to use urine testing and its LIMITATIONS WERE NOT explained to me. Humans use blood testing in conjunction with urine testing why wouldn't animals? I was also not given a choice of insulin (human or animal). Animal insulin is most like an animals composition which reduces the risk of complications. In addition, if the American Veterinary Medical Associations ethics called "The Principles" were being utilized my animals quality of life may have been maintained instead of seriously impaired. My dogs primary physician should have been able to educate me and evaluate my animal; I did not need to see a specialist. Had proper intervention been established early on his quality of life may have been protected. He was very high functioning until he was given insulin. Once he entered into a crisis we were not treated with respect. PLEASE INCLUDE ENFORCING THE AVMA ETHICS IN THE FAIRNESS TO PET OWNERS ACT In my animals circumstances because he immediately declined and presented with an allergic reaction having a glucometer on hand would have been ideal in addition to being on the insulin that is designed for his species (not humans) may have prevented the allergic reaction. Supplementing him with thyroid medication which was prescribed by another doctor significantly helped him. He had rapidly lost weight, went blind, couldn't walk on his own and suffered further complications. Without further diagnosis and additional medication being prescribed my animal could have died. The initial prescribing specialist said I could sling him around and failed to give me a prescription she had noted in her case notes. The prescribers name at the pharmacy was a doctor I had never even met. I was given 10 pages of other animals records and they wouldn't release his diagnostic records to me. The Connecticut Dept. of Health did not verify that I received them in a timely manner which I did not; years passed and I still didn't get them in form that could be reviewed for clinical assessment. It is also important for medication to be distributed responsibly when diagnosis has not yet been determined. Treating the symptoms incorrectly may in fact exasperate the underlying cause. Before sending me to a specialist, my animals primary physician prescribed prednisone which should not be given to a diabetic dog. He also treated him aggressively with antibiotics for a tic disease that he does not have a titer for. PLEASE REVISE THE FAIRNESS TO PET OWNERS ACT Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 3174/S. 1200) "Introduced in House (07/23/2015) Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2015 Directs the Federal Trade Commission to require prescribers of animal drugs to verify prescriptions and provide copies of prescriptions to pet owners, pet owner designees, and pharmacies, without the prescriber demanding payment or establishing other conditions. Applies these requirements to medication for a domesticated household animal that consumers are not allowed to purchase without a prescription. Treats a violation of this Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act." https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3174 Supporting Information All veterinarians are expected to adhere to a progressive code of ethical conduct known as the"Principles" . This is a great concept if it is utilized and enforced. https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Principles-of-Veterinary-Medical-Ethics-of-the-AVMA.aspx * Did you know that animals are considered property(similar to a car)and historically there have been few legal ramifications for malpractice. How does this translate into how owners and animals are treated? https://www.animallaw.info/article/animals-property **** ALWAYS BE SURE TO (obtain a copy)OF THE REFERRAL FORM FROM THE PRIMARY DOCTOR TO THE SPECIALTY PHYSICIAN TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS ACCURATE before they start examining your animal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE BENEFIT MUST OUTWEIGH THE RISK!! In addition to the treatment we endured, I now find it concerning that my personal experience included an entity that predominantly influences the market and claims to be setting a standard of care(they have over 700 small animal veterinary hospitals across the United States and Canada, a nationwide clinical laboratory and diagnostic imaging company). According to one source, VCA has "1 of the 10 most over paid CEO's". In fact the CEO is also the chairman and the president of Veterinary Centers of America Antech Inc. . http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/executive-pay-america-top-10-overpaid-ceo http://news.vin.com/VINNews.aspx?articleId=32842 http://news.vin.com/VINNews.aspx?articleId=19664 http://news.vin.com/VINNews.aspx?articleId=31861 http://www.investors.com/research/the-new-america/animal-hospital-chain-vca-antech-profits-from-a-pet-loving-public/ IT IS CONCERNING WHEN A COMPANIES EMPLOYEES FILE AN ONGOING LAW SUITE AGAINST THEM BECAUSE THEY FEEL VIOLATED. I wonder how this effects their work performance? http://vcalawsuit.com/ The AVMA DOES NOT support this bill, they think it is an administrative burden https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/160615g.aspx ABOUT INSULIN https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/m-mah042913.php http://www.iddt.org/here-to-help/iddt-campaigning/animal-insulin-ministers-letter http://www.iddt.org/here-to-help/iddt-campaigning/synthetic-human-insulin-versus-natural-animal-insulinsynthetic-human-insulin-versus-natural-animal-insulin Animal based insulin's have been used safely and effectively for over 70 years although some animals and people may have better results with other kinds. Vetsulin is the only FDA approved insulin for animals.
Civil Law USA needs your help
- Update "SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE" statute.
SIGN & SHARE
LIKE & SHARE https://www.facebook.com/CivilLawUSA/ The current statute for review -http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/DF14C3B93C0EBF9387257A8E0073C4E0?open&file=1058_enr.pdf The story behind the statute: http://www.denverpost.com/2013/10/18/new-law-changes-alimony-landscape-for-divorcing-colorado-couples/ In the past, most alimony awards provided for payments to former wives by breadwinning former husbands. As the culture has changed, so that now most marriages include two wage earners, women are viewed as less dependent, and yet the courts have failed to update outdated laws and merely rule based on "suggested formulas" and "statutes" that actually do more harm then good, for both parties and the family as a whole. If you are seeking a divorce in Colorado or another "statute" state and you are going for "spousal maintenance" the court webpage provides you and your legal council with calculators to help prove your need in numbers prior to trial. With our courts taking 9 - 18 months to even go to trial or before a judge you will have plenty of time to secure your "calculated financial revenge". Both men and women fall victim to these court rulings. (Although more often then not it's men who receive the order to pay) This suggested statute leaves no recourse when the ex-spouse decides to move forward in cohabitation, or conceals income from the courts. Even with proof the courts in Colorado turn a blind eye and default to the "original order". - Cohabitation is a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage. Couples cohabit, rather than marry, for a variety of reasons. Top reason to keep their ex-spouse making payments. - Great Article that aligns with others having the same opinion, and what they did to create change and equal rights- http://fairdivorce.co.za/spousal-maintenance-does-more-harm-than-good/ Here are the stats- Re-marriage after divorce has declined more then 40% across all states and the rate is even higher in Colorado since this statue has been introduced. Reason for the decline is because this is only one of two ways that the payer can stop "payments". This proves that is not just a personal problem, this is becoming an epidemic that many people and families face. The increase in self inflected death, more commonly known as suicide has increased more then 25% among male payers that have high dollar payments and long term payment obligation. Leaving the "receiver" without any support and many children fatherless. This has to be stopped. The children of divorce already suffer the most as they are the innocent parties, often caught in the middle of it all. Studies show where there are long term payments (beyond 3 years) ordered, the division amongst one parent and the child actually occurs. Children are often caught in the middle of a "never ending" divorce/financial war. Generally, it is the payer who also suffers this loss. The receiver is known to play the victim and the payer is painted as the bully. The resentment caused for the long term financial punishment awarded by the courts aids in painting this picture of the payer. Children tend to err to the side of the protecting the "victim" parent that paints themselves always in need, ultimately cutting ties with the payer "bully" parent. This is not putting "families" first. About Me - Myself, the author of this petition am a woman. I have suffered through divorce, like many others in this country. I was a single mom of two for almost four years. During that time, I never asked for "spousal maintenance" and rarely received ordered child support from my ex-husband to support our kids. I personally struggled through every level of heartache one can imagine. I could not afford and attorney and had to do all my filings, pleading etc on my own. Walking through those first few years I thought somedays I would literally die from a broken heart or stress. Looking back, I would not have changed a thing. It made me stronger, a better mother, and a better wife now to my current husband. I want to make one thing very clear on my position. I am not arguing or minimizing that support when needed should be ordered. There are many situations that this does apply and is fair. Families that choose for one spouse or the other to stay home recognize that it is a job often more challenging than going to work outside the home daily, and that the need to provide updated training or work skills should be awarded. Or the spouse that is disabled. I am speaking to a much larger problem in my home state of Colorado and across our country. Our Personal Story- My husband was ordered and pays his ex-wife 40% of his income for 12 years, (some get this order for life). In addition, he is also paying 33% of military retirement to for life. During marriage ex-wife worked full time and was the primary bread winner. Ex-husband was active duty Army. Both always worked full time, and had only one minor child together. This spouse while active duty having served 20 years, did less then 2 years deployed. They were married 13 years of his military career, and only one year during the marriage was he deployed. Ex-wife had an affair, which lead to the separation/ then ultimately divorce. In 2011, the couple separated. Neither party filed for legal separation. The reason for divorce is not accounted for in Colorado, because it is a no-fault state. During the 4-year separation ex-husband left ex-wife all assets (cars, 401K, furniture, house) ex-husband voluntarily paid bills for the ex-wife and minor child without a court order. Little did he know he was committing financial suicide. He also worked diligently to paid off all joint marital debts totaling close to $80,000.00. While making his own major lifestyle sacrifices, living in a friend’s basement driving a 21-year-old car. During this time, his ex-wife manipulated the child and played the victim, refused to work to her full potential. Ex-husband filed for divorce in the mid-year of 2014. This was the year that the court adopted the new "statue/guidelines" for all spousal maintenance as a formula. So, the above facts, including the reason for divorce were all ignored during the hearing and "suggested statute formula" is now in place. The court systems made it very easy for her to calculate her new. "spousal maintenance" income prior to the hearing. At the time of hearing the ex-wife made sure to be unemployed "but looking” claiming to be in a destitute financial situation, stating she should be able to work and be on her feet within the year”. During the trial and months prior her boyfriend at the time and "now fiancé" was contributing more than $5,000.00 per month into her bank account. That money along with her ex-husbands total debt payoff, his asset relinquishment, and payments made for 4 years of separation were NOT accounted as income but as “gifts” to the ex-wife. As of today, (almost 3 years later) she does co-habituate in TX. To friends, family and her ex-husband claiming to be "engaged" To the court "single and in need". She stated to the ex-husband that she would continue to do so until the money runs out, at which time then she will remarry. Unfortunately, this is the case for many families in Colorado and across the USA. Fast forward today Oct 16th, 2017. Ex-husband filed modification for spousal maintenance based on the, lack of need for support and co habitation in Feb 2017. The ex-wife waited more than 6.5 months to comply with supplying documents required by the court, (she has an attorney, and docs were to be completed within 30days) thus allowing her time to paint the picture of "single/ in need" again. Although, nothing she submitted is worth any value of actual bills, etc. The court has failed in holding its own deadline dates / discovery documentation seriously for accurate and fair trials. In August of 2017, 7 months after filed for modification, (has yet to see a judge or have a trial) he is now been diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, and is undergoing treatment. The ex-wife has been relentless through this process filing after filing. The most recent filing she stated, " from what she has been told, his cancer is not that serious". He is undergoing chemo weekly and radiation daily. Has lost over 30 lbs and has not been able to eat even soft foods in over 35days. She is also filing to "rebuttal" any and all documentation of his caner, the severity. Trying to minimize the long term impact this will have on is health and ability to earn "her money". Per the current statute and court order, the ex-husband has no relief to this continued abuse from what spousal support is causing. Even if he fully recovers he has to suffer 10 more years working a high stress job, he does not have the same rights and privileges as the ex-wife. Unable to move on with his life, he is bound by earning potential, not quality of life. This is so far from that which maintenance was designed to do. Help the spouse in need, allowing them time to get on their feet. He has now paying ex-spouse (already 8 years, 10 more to go), has been stripped of the rights to focus on his own health, right to privacy without fighting the ex-spouse for relief from monies he is not currently earning, and is unable to pay. While racking up major medical bills now suffers hefty attorney fees along this already difficult journey. Adding more financial stress and harm to the payer. The ex-wife has had more than enough time and money to get back on her feet, she is also in good health. In fact, she travels regularly, despite being so destitute. Their child is now grown, no longer a minor and ex-wife has been engaged and living with her significant other for last 2 years. The ex-wife has made no effort to support herself or earn more money, because when she does the "payments stop". Thus holding the payer financially hostage. UNEMPLOYMENT DOES NOT ALLOW THIS TO TAKE PLACE. TO RECEIVE PAYMENT BENEFITS YOU MUST BE ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR A JOB, DOCUMENT PROOF AND BENEFITS ARE TIME RESTRICTIVE. I am petitioning the court change the, "suggested statute “surrounding spousal maintenance to align with the intent for which is was designed. To help families dissolve the marriage and give both parties a chance to recover, and to rise to each parties’ full potential for being self-supporting. To be held harmless of the marriage obligations to a party they are no longer married too. The current laws "statutes" are limiting and harmful at best. THE SOLUTION- - There should be a short-term limit on which a one ex-spouse is obligated to pay the other ex-spouse. Three-year max payable term, is enough time for any persons to receive skills and training necessary to support one’s self. This should be based on case by case, not a "one size fits all statute" Taking into consideration documented facts, joint debt, physical health, child support, ability to work, division of marital assets, skills needed to obtain more or current training to aid in full earning potential. One former spouse should not be a financial slave to the other. Three year term stops the abuse. - The "lifestyle of the marriage" should be removed and not considered, when ruling. It is divorce, each party should be held responsible and accountable to adjust as necessary to becoming a single person. Working towards self-sufficiency in meeting their own needs, holding the other party harmless for their needs. No one should be forced to support a former spouse for long term. Dissolution by definition is the act of officially ending a marriage, organization, or agreement. The process of making something end or disappear. - The "until death or remarriage" clause be removed. The traditional institution of marriage has changed drastically over the last 5 years. We need to protect ALL parties through divorce and separation. If the parties in the case are deemed in need of support they should not lose support for cohabitation or remarriage. This will also aid in the ability of all parties to move forward freely in their own lives. This will solve the problem within the civil courts being "bogged down" by filings trying to prove cohabitation in order to terminate maintenance. Allowing the court spend its time being more effective in its use of time. *** The receiver should not be punished for getting remarried because the ruling was based on true need, not a standard formula of "one size fits all". Likewise, the payer should not be punished for long term payments when the receiver is co-habituating, and the courts continue to fail to recognize this as the “new way around", termination of maintenance. This statue is simply outdated, bias and harmful to all parties. With a max term of 3 years the court can rule in favor of what support was deigned to do, enable all parties to recover from divorce and become self-sufficient. Thank you for taking the time to read this, share this and sign this... It takes all of us to make a change. It's time to stop the injustice, stop allowing people to take advantage of the system. Let's help create laws that support Equal rights for all!
Support the DREAMers
In the United States right now there are 800,000 young undocumented workers who are not citizens of America or any other country. They were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age with no documentation. They have grown up in American society for the past number of years and “are American in every way, except on paper.” They are known as DREAMrs (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). In 2010, 70% of the American population was in favor of passing the DREAM act; legislation which officially created a pathway to citizenship for these individuals, however the act did not pass in Congress. President Obama responded by signing an Executive Order creating a temporary program called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The purpose of DACA was “to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.” This gives undocumented immigrants 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. In September 2017 President Trump announced that he was ending DACA effective 6 months from the date it was announced. If President Trump's decision is not changed these individuals will be deported to a country that they have never known. Many will be separated from their parents. This seems to be especially cruel and in many ways does not reflect American values. These children did nothing wrong and we have a long tradition in America of not holding children accountable for the sins of their parents. An additional reason to sign this petition and support DACA is the positive impact these people have on our country. These are people who serve in the military and are great for the economy. Potentially, giving these eligible workers pathway to citizenship would add a total of $22.7 billion annually to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Please consider signing this petition, not only for the good of these people but also for the good of our country.
The single largest program aimed at curbing hunger in America is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Congress is now looking for ways to cut programs. In the past, proposed program cuts have come from SNAP and that could happen again. If SNAP is cut again, there's one guaranteed outcome: more hungry Americans.
Save Our Schools — Stop The “Students First” Initiative
The president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Mark Ojakian, proposed all 12 state community colleges merge into one college. Each community college would be considered a separate campus. This initiative is called the Students First project, and plans to save an estimated $28 million, which is money the schools sorely need in light of the state government slashing the school budgets. However, there are many issues with this so-called “Students First” initiative. Students First is a misnomer, as it does not put students first. In fact, the majority of students have never heard of this plan. A survey of 55 students at Norwalk Community College was conducted this week. They were asked two questions: 1. Have you ever heard of the Students First project?2. Are you aware of any meetings being held (open to students) concerning the Students First project? Out of the 55 students asked on October 30, 100% of students said they had not heard of the Students First project. Out of the 55 students asked, 100% had no idea there was a meeting being held that very day on the issue. On the school website (norwalk.edu), there was no meeting listed under events, and a search on the school website showed no information whatsoever on this plan. At the actual meeting itself, there were a handful of students in the room, while the majority were faculty who seemed just as confused about the plan as the rest of the students. So how does the Students First plan actually put students first without even consulting them first? The simple answer is it doesn’t. In one of several of President Ojakian’s proposals, the emphasis on putting students first is through this idea that being one college will make it easier for students to take classes on multiple campuses at the same time. He says that “students often take classes on multiple campuses,” without providing any statistic to back his statement up.The facts show his statement is incorrect. Only 1-2% of students currently take classes on multiple community college campuses. He says that making it easier to go between campuses will make students more likely to take classes on different campuses. That makes no sense. Campuses are far too spread apart for it to be logical for students to commute to multiple schools in one week. Already, many students choose their community college because it is easy to get to, or it’s close by. So, for Ojakian to say that students are more likely to go between schools like Gateway and Norwalk, which are about 36 miles apart, is just illogical. Factor in the number of students who use public transportation to get to school while working part or even full time, and it’s even more blasphemous. Ojakian has proposed elimination of programs at individual campuses, which will result in many students no longer being able to pursue the degree they need to succeed. For example, Housatonic Community College has a criminal justice program, as does Norwalk Community. Under the Students First consolidation, one of those schools could lose their criminal justice program. Going back to transportation, and ease of access for students, a student from Stamford taking classes at Norwalk is probably not going to commute to Bridgeport, especially if they rely on public transportation. There is no clear indication of how the individual campus programs will be impacted, whether that’s IDS courses, Honors programs, Vet Tech, or others. Not to mention, schools currently designated as Hispanic-serving Institutions would lose this status under one college, costing them multiple grants in the process. The proposal Ojakian has put forth has little to no information on exactly how this plan saves the $28 million. We have no idea precisely where this money is coming, nor where it will go. Some vague statements about more FAFSA officers and advisors are made, but there is nothing concrete in any of the plans we (the students) have seen. So in addition to making up non-existent issues for students that this claims to solve, there seems to be very little financial benefit that we can clearly see outlined. The Students First plan puts an emphasis on transfer pathways to feed students from the state community college into the four year Connecticut universities. However, this would make it incredibly difficult for students to transfer out of state to better schools. Housatonic has an amazing transfer pathway to NYU. Under this new initiative, there’s a high probability that Housatonic could lose its individuality as a school, its reputation, and therefor its prestige, negatively impacting any student who wishes to go on to bigger, brighter things than the four CT state universities. We are the students. We are who stand to be affected by this monumental decision and we deserve to have our voices heard, the majority of us, not just a few hand selected student governments. Our schools and students stand to lose a great deal in this consolidation, and we are adamantly opposed to it.... and yet no one has seemed to hear our opinions. We are calling on the CSCU Board of Regents to vote no to this deal. We are calling on the state legislators to get involved, to have a chance to vote no on this proposal. We are calling on the NEASC to deny accreditation to the consolidated school. We are calling on Mark Ojakian to listen to the concerns of the 52,000 students this proposal impacts. We are the students. We deserve to be heard, and we say NO to the “Students First” project.
Save the Chickens: Healthier Farm Animals = Healthier People!
Tyson Foods Inc. is one of the world's top chicken producers, with products in our grocery stores and being served at many restaurants. However, the chicken they serve is not always as healthy and clean as we are led to believe. Today, most chickens in America spend their entire lives in windowless poultry houses. They live for six to seven weeks before being violently slaughtered, without ever seeing the sun. By the time chickens are considered "processing" weight, they are collapsing due to their unnatural size. At this point, they can die slowly from the inability to reach a water nozzle, or from a common disease called acites, which occurs when the cardiovascular and respiratory system in a chicken cannot keep up with the bird's growth. "Poultry houses" are long, barn-like sheds. They are filled with ammonia, which is incredibly detrimental to both chicken and worker health. The inhalation of ammonia can cause tracheal burns and even respiratory failure. This is incredibly harmful to poultry, farmers, and consumers! People everywhere are affected by the uncleanliness of poultry houses. Because they are living in their own feces, the chickens are exceedingly dirty. In the past, agricultural studies have revealed that 87% or chicken carcasses contain E. Coli, a potentially hazardous bacteria. The E. Coli strains found in chickens can wind up on consumer's plates! Many companies, including Tyson, keep their chicken in cramped, disgusting conditions out of convenience. If the poultry houses were modified, and the number of chickens reduced, it would be easy to produce healthier chicken for people to eat. Sign this petition to let Tyson's CEO, Tom Hayes, know that the inhumane treatment of chickens cannot be tolerated for any longer! Customers deserve better food, and chickens deserve better lives.