Category Archives: Regulation

Virtual cash exchange becomes bank

via BBC: 


A currency exchange that specialises in virtual cash has won the right to operate as a bank.

Bitcoin-Central got the go-ahead thanks to a deal with French financial firms Aqoba and Credit Mutuel.

The exchange is one of many that swaps bitcoins, computer generated cash, for real world currencies.

The change in status makes it easier to use bitcoins and bestows national protections on balances held at the exchange.

Federal protection

Bitcoins, and the global network of computers that supports them, first appeared in 2009 and since then it has become a very widely used alternative payments system. Many people “mine” the coins by participating in that network and a growing number of web stores and online firms accept bitcoins as payment. One bitcoin is currently worth about £8 ($13).

Under European laws, the deal means Bitcoin-Central becomes a Payment Services Provider (PSP) that has an International Bank ID number. This puts it on an equal footing with other payment networks such as PayPal and WorldPay. As a PSP it will be able to issue debit cards, carry out real-time transfers to other banks and accept transfers into its own coffers.

The deal was a “significant” step towards legitimacy for Bitcoin, said Vitalik Buterin, technical editor of Bitcoin magazine.

Before now, he told the BBC, it had been hard for novices to get started with bitcoins. The links that Bitcoin-Central, and other exchanges who have also applied to be PSPs, will have to the global banking system will make that much easier as it will become possible to transact with a bitcoin account just like any other bank account.

It also means, he said, that deposits held at Bitcoin-Central would be backed by the same compensation laws and schemes that apply to cash held in other bank accounts. However, he said, this protection only applied to balances held in euros rather than bitcoins.

The move could convince many organisations and businesses to start accepting bitcoins as payment, he said.

“The more we see governments and banks being willing to deal with Bitcoin, the more comfortable a lot of organisations are going to be making the step forward themselves,” he said.

Safe combination lock

Bitcoin’s Greatness Not Realized By Succumbing To Regulation

via Forbes:

Last Thursday’s news that French company Paymium and their exchange division, Bitcoin-Central, partnered with a licensed and regulated Payment Services Provider (PSP) ignited a heated debate within the bitcoin community. Eventually, Bitcoin-Centraltempered their overly-enthusiastic initialannouncement.

“It feels like these French dudes are bringing saltpeter to a rave,” declared Daniel Stuckey, a writer at Motherboard ridiculing the company for dismissing the founding concepts of bitcoin.

Not singling out the Paymium effort, there is a powerful undercurrent rejecting the notion that bitcoin exchange companies should seek approval to operate within the existing regulatory framework at all. That undercurrent has some validity. That is if larger forces at work don’tsettle the issue before then. However, it is the jurisdictions that they elect to operate within plus the specific exchange types that determine the level of required compliance. Legal counsel willing to challenge the status quo is sorely needed for the days ahead.

Floating-rate, rather than fixed-rate, exchanges are going to require the holding of customer funds in national currencies. Exchanges for actual delivery, rather than cash-settled futures exchanges quoted only in bitcoin, will also require holding customer funds in national currencies. Customers with large balances simply aren’t going to use exchanges that don’t identify their legal jurisdiction, delineate funds, and adhere to some type of recourse for insolvency and stolen funds. So, certain jurisdictions and their financial regulators tend to get involved. This is also the case with Mt.Gox being based in Japan.


Here’s the real issue — regulation in this context is only a bad thing if it leads to crony capitalism or if it suggests that “still-in-beta cryptographic play money” bitcoin requires regulation similar to a national political currency.

While an individual’s bitcoin transactions may still be semi-private, the auditable address links on the block chain and identity requirements for entering or exiting the exchange will remove any doubt as to how much bitcoin was spent or earned. Also, the case can be made that, despite bitcoin’s basis in mathematics and being devoid of ideology, graph theory analysis of the block chain can be significantly improved by having more ‘regulated’ data points thus cumulatively degrading the privacy of all bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin address logs for a bitcoin exchange are like IP logs for a VPN.

Yes, debit cards with a bitcoin logo are cool and they can facilitate easy movement of funds associated with bitcoin balances. But legacy debit cards are institutionalized vehicles of identity and they promote half-way measures. Any role for current financial institutions in the societal wealth transfer to cryptocurrency will come from embracing bitcoin on its terms. If banks want to participate in a meaningful way, they will have to adapt to Tor exit nodes, coin mixing services, escrow provisioning without identity, and underwriting private insurance on balances.

Bitcoin’s great promise lies in its potential ability for both income and consumption anonymity. It is this feature alone that allows users to maintain the same financial privacy as physical cash today and it is this feature that will also lead to liberating advancements such as a thriving and interconnected System D, unhampered and undiluted freedom of speech, and superior asset management that can truly be said to be off-the-grid.

Those who support the antithetical overlay of  bitcoin on the current financial system ensure us that it will only be temporary and that we must build bridges. That would be nice but it’s a fairy tale. It reminds me of the Marxist theory of historical materialism and the Marx-Engels ideology that if we only tolerate the bourgeois state during the transitional advancement to a higher phase, we will see the complete “withering away of the state.”

True revolutionary transformations just don’t evolve that way. Linux didn’t first co-exist within the Microsoft DOS and Windows environment and then decide to spin-off into a competing operating system. File sharing under the BitTorrent protocol didn’t conduct a Hollywood outreach program and explain what the technology would mean for the film and recording studios.

One doesn’t request freedom, one claims freedom. As Bitcoin Forum memberbtcbug stated about bitcoin’s acquiescence to legality, “It’s kind of like a bunch of slaves breaking out and then running straight back because they were so brainwashed they didn’t even recognize freedom.” However, the sad reality is that most of the slaves don’t really want to be free which is exemplified by voting for ever-increasing State services that have to be funded through confiscatory levels of taxation and inevitably that means diminishing financial privacy.

Get real people! This is about more than just “agreeing to disagree” when it comes to stricter regulation being a good thing. Bitcoin without user-defined anonymous transactions is a neutered bitcoin. Paper cash comes with more financial privacy. In circular logic fashion, the pro-regulation adherents must then answer to their success, “what have we really accomplished?”

Iowa City Moves Forward With Backyard Chickens

via KCRG:


IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa City moved closer Tuesday night to allowing people to keep chickens in their backyards, but supporters should be careful not to count their chickens before they hatch.

The City Council voted 5-2 on each of the first considerations of two ordinances related to what are often called backyard or urban chickens. Two more readings of each are necessary for the ordinances to pass. One would change the city’s zoning code to allow chickens in city limits and the other would establish a permit process.

Even if those are approved, the council still must vote on a policy laying out the regulations chicken owners would have to follow. And council members were divided on an aspect of that.

Mayor Matt Hayek said he was not sure he would support a policy unless it required people who want chickens to get permission from their neighbors. Connie Champion agreed.

Michelle Payne and Terry Dickens cast the dissenting votes, saying the vast majority of people they had spoken with were opposed to backyard chickens. Four votes would provide the majority needed to defeat a backyard chicken policy.

Council members Susan Mims and Rick Dobyns said they would not support neighbor veto power. Mims said no other zoning issue in the city gives people such authority.

The backyard chicken issue has been discussed in the community for years and was the subject of two petitions asking the city to allow chickens in town.

If chickens were allowed, Iowa City would join Cedar Rapids, Mount Vernon, and other towns across Iowa and the nation that let people keep chickens in city limits.

More than a dozen supporters – many of them wearing small, red paper cutouts of chickens on their shirts – were at City Hall Tuesday night. They said chickens would provide a local source for food, be environmentally friendly, educational for kids and promote healthy food.

“We need to make sure that our food is the most healthful that it could be,” said Shannon Gassman of Iowa City.

Opponents, however, worried about the possible noise, smell and general nuisance of having chickens near them and said organic eggs are easy to get in the Iowa City area.

Jay Honohan of Iowa City doubted the alleged superiority of eggs from backyard chickens.

“You’re looking at a guy who’s 82 and I’ve been eating those eggs at Hy-Vee all my life,” he told the council.

The preliminary policy would require a permit and says no more than four hens would be allowed, and no roosters. There also would be regulations against slaughtering chickens and selling eggs and governing the use and location of coops.

San Diego Residents Face 6 Years In Prison For Washing Their Car

via Govt. Slaves:

San Diego Residents Face 6 Years In Prison For Washing Their Car

San Diegans could face 6 years in prison and fines of $100,000 dollars a day for washing their car in the driveway or failing to pick up dog poop under new EPA-mandated environmental regulations related to water quality.

Although residents of the city are forced to drink toxic waste in their water supply in the form of sodium fluoride, measures imposed as a consequence of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act would turn the most mundane of activities into a criminal offense.

“California’s latest experiment in faith-based policymaking is being unleashed today on the San Diego public, as regional water-quality officials begin hearings on new regulations that seem crafted to turn most owners of a car, house or dog into criminals within a decade or so. We wish we were exaggerating,” reports the North County Times.

“Under the draft rules, ordinary homeowners may face six years in prison and fines of $100,000 a day if they are deemed serial offenders of such new crimes as allowing sprinklers to hit the pavement, washing a car in the driveway, or, conceivably, failing to pick up dog poop promptly from their own backyards, let alone the sidewalk.”

The regulations will be enforced with the aid of a 24-hour telephone snitch line which residents of San Diego, south Orange and southwest Riverside counties can use to report on their neighbors for violating the new code.

The new rules could even force firefighters to collect the water they use to douse burning buildings.

The regulations are being passed under the justification of minimizing the bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that runs into rivers and streams.

The editorial board of the North County Times warns that the rules are “preposterous” and will “sap billions of dollars from the local economy.”

“In hundreds of pages, the new regulations set targets that measure bacteria from animal waste during dry periods at local beaches, even as they note that wide variations in bacteria occur naturally in the environment. And we could find no evidence from these officials that severe cuts in stormwater runoff will cause improvements in human or wildlife health. Indeed, nowhere do they bother to say why today’s levels are considered bad for us,” writes the newspaper.

Ironically, while San Diegans could be turned into criminals for failing to uphold dubious water quality standards, they are simultaneously being forced to consume drinking water contaminated with a known toxic waste – sodium fluoride.

Almost 60 years after it was barred from public pumps and pipes, the city utilities department started fluoridating the water supply in San Diego again last year.

As numerous studies and expert testimony affirm, sodium fluoride is a toxic waste from the phosphate industry and has been linked with innumerable debilitating and in some cases terminal health problems such as disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland, as well as lowering IQ.

Environmentalists and EPA regulators don’t appear to be too concerned about a product which has on its packaging a skull and crossbones being artificially added to the water supply, but the runoff from a car wash or a piece of dog poop apparently poses a big enough threat to turn residents into criminals for engaging in activity as mundane as cleaning their vehicle.

Stephanie Gaines, land use and environmental planner for the county’s Department of Public Works, pointed out that ”The regulations stem from the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act and are passed down to the state, regional, and local levels.”

Planning group member Chad Anderson said that the regulations appeared to “Overlap with statements from Agenda 21, the comprehensive global plan for sustainable development that was created at a United Nation’s Earth Summit in 1992. It was signed by more than 178 countries, including the United States, and opponents say it targets private property.”

As we have previously highlighted, the UN’s Agenda 21, which is being implemented across the United States in a number of different guises, demands that member nations adopt “sustainable development” policies that are little more than a disguise for the reintroduction of neo-feudalism and only serve to reduce living standards and quality of life.

The regulations about to be foisted upon San Diegans are merely a taste of the kind of big government tyranny and control freak micromanagement we can expect to see unleashed against Americans under the guise of environmentalism when real environmental issues like toxic waste being added to the water supply are completely ignored.

The Supreme Court Is Set To Rule On What You Can Sell On eBay

via Business Insider:

ebay iphone

Domestic resale of products made elsewhere at issue

* Court deadlocked in similar case two years earlier

Several justices on the U.S. Supreme Court voiced concern on Monday about letting U.S. copyright holders block the resale inside the country of products they make elsewhere, in one of the court’s biggest copyright cases in years.

The case, likely to result in a close decision, could profoundly affect the roughly $63 billion gray market, in which third parties import brand-name goods protected by trademark or copyright into the United States.

It also gives the court a chance to delineate copyright protections at the very time that products and information from international sources become much more freely available, whether in physical form or downloaded or otherwise available online. A ruling is expected by June.

At the center of the case is Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai national who arrived in the United States to study math at Cornell University and the University of Southern California.

He subsidized his education by reselling textbooks through eBay Inc’s website that family and friends had bought in Thailand and shipped to him.

Eight of the textbooks came from an Asian unit of John Wiley & Sons Inc, prompting the publisher to sue Kirtsaeng for copyright infringement.

A jury ordered Kirtsaeng to pay $600,000 in damages. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld that award in August 2011, saying foreign-made copies can never be resold in the United States without permission of copyright owners.

But Kirtsaeng contended that his actions were protected under the “first-sale” doctrine, a provision of federal copyright law that lets owners of “lawfully made” copies sell or dispose of them without copyright owners’ permission.

Some justices were receptive to an argument by Kirtsaeng’s lawyer E. Joshua Rosenkranz said that could have a profound negative impact on the U.S. economy, and cost many jobs.

“The moment that a manufacturer learns that this court says you get what we’ve called the Holy Grail of manufacturing, endless eternal downstream control over sales and rentals, you can ruin secondary markets,” he said. “That will be yet another reason for manufacturers silently to decide that they’re sending their manufacturing overseas.”


Wiley’s lawyer Theodore Olson came under sharper questioning as he argued that the ban on resales should extend to products made outside the United States.

Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that used Toyotas could be covered by a ban, given that they may include copyrighted components made abroad, such as sound systems and GPS devices.

“When people buy them in America, they think they’re going to be able to resell them,” he told Olson. “Under (Wiley’s) reading, the millions of Americans who buy Toyotas could not resell them without getting the permission of the copyright holder of every item in that car which is copyrighted.”

But Olson said the 2nd Circuit got it right. “For 30 years, the statute has been interpreted the way that we are suggesting that it should be,” he said.

The court tried to address the same issue two years ago but deadlocked 4-4, in a case involving Costco Wholesale Corp’s resale of imported watches made by a unit of Swiss-based Swatch Group SA.

Justice Elena Kagan sat out that case but took part in Monday’s arguments, and also questioned Olson’s position.

“As far as I can see, there’s really nothing to support your argument that that language (in the law) was intended to address this gray market problem,” she said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote on a closely divided court, also expressed concern. “If we write an opinion with the rule that you propose, we should, as a matter of common sense, ask about the consequences, he told Olson.

The United States supported Wiley’s position, rejecting Kirtsaeng’s contention that a decision in the publisher’s favor would encourage copyright owners to exercise “eternal” control over how its copies are resold.

Costco and eBay sided with Kirtsaeng, as did a group of major bookstores including Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon; Strand Book Store in New York; and Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“There are enough copyright owners out there – and enough crazy copyright lawsuits – that it is not always reasonable to rely on forbearance by copyright plaintiffs,” the bookstores’ lawyers said in a brief. “No one should be put to the choice of violating the law and hoping they don’t get caught.”

The case is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-697.

Cheerleaders See Victory as Judge Delays Decision on Religious Banners

via ABC: 

VIDEO: God Squad cheerleaders square off against the public school on religious expression.

A Texas judge has given cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas, two more weeks to display Bible verses on banners while he decides if they are violating the First Amendment.

The 32-girl cheerleading squad at Kountze High School have been both showing support for the team and displaying their religious beliefs by painting Bible verses on the banners that players run through before each game. Recently an unidentified spectator complained to an atheist group, which argued that the banners amount to a public school’s advocating a particular religion, which is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, State District Judge Steve Thomas extended the temporary order he granted last month to allow the banners. The decision is a temporary win for the squad, who have rallied the support of their community and now have nearly 50,000 fans on a Facebook page devoted to their cause.

Banners displayed by the squad, which is made up of both middle school and high school girls, have included phrases like, “If God is for us, who can be against us Romans 8:31,” and “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens! Phil 4:13.”

“This is not a Christian school and they cannot misuse their authority,” said Annie-Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

School superintendent Kevin Weldon ultimately forced the cheerleaders to stop using scripture on the banners. That was when the squad members put down their pompoms and picked up the phone, calling attorney David Starnes, who argues that the banners are not school sponsored.

Coach Beth Richardson says that the squad has nothing out of the ordinary planned for tonight’s game against Woodville High, but that banners displaying scripture will be displayed. Richardson told ABC News that there are no cheerleaders on the squad who are against the banners.

“Everyone is town is supportive of it,” she said.

The banner at tonight’s game, according to Starnes, will read, “Run with endurance the race God has put before you Hebrews 12:1.”

Starnes told ABC News that today’s decision was a victory for the squad.

“The number one goal was to provide a means that the banner could be displayed. It will go up today, it will go up at next Friday’s game, but the TRO will expire on Oct. 18,” he said, referring to the temporary restraining order.

Starnes says that the case is a matter of private speech versus government speech. He argues that students have a limited public forum at school.

“They could have announced over the public address system that banner does not reflect the policy of the school district. To take the banner away from the students and say you can’t do it at all is censorship.”

Judge Thomas is scheduled to make a ruling on the 18th.

Lake County considers ‘trash-cams’ at school cafeterias

via Click Orlando: 



Officials say federal law requires veggies on menu, but students toss them

Published On: Oct 02 2012 05:37:54 PM EDT  Updated On: Oct 02 2012 08:47:09 PM EDT


Lake Co. considers school ‘trash-cams’


Lake County School Board officials are considering attaching cameras to school cafeteria trash cans to study what students are tossing after officials found that most of the vegetables on the school menu end up in the trash can.

New federal laws require students to take a healthy produce at lunchtime, but last year in Lake County, students tossed $75,000 worth of produce in the garbage.

“It’s a big issue, and it’s very hard to get our hands around it,” said School Board member Todd Howard, who suggested “trash-cams.” “They have to take (the vegetable), and then it ends up in the trash can, and that’s a waste of taxpayer money.  It’s also not giving students the nutrition that they need.”

Laurel Walsh, whose daughter attends Tavares Elementary School, says getting kids to eat their fruits and vegetables is not the job of the respective schools.
“I think it starts at home with the parents.  If the kids just don’t like it because they’ve never been given it at home, they’re not going to try something new here,” she said.

No decisions have been made on the cameras, but school leaders say they wouldn’t capture students faces, just what they’re throwing away.

Upstate New York Food Truck Shut Down For Not Having a Permit that Doesn’t Exist Yet

via Institute for Justice: 


For the past two years, Peter Cimino has been selling gourmet tacos in business parks in Amherst, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo. In his bright lime green truck, creative entrées like chimichurri chicken and tomatillo pork sizzle. His Lloyd Taco Truck was personally invited by the owner of the Amherst Commerce Park to enliven the area and Pete was operating entirely on private property. But on Monday, Amherst shut his business down. A police officer even threatened to tow away Pete’s taco truck, for not having a permit.

Upstate New York Food Truck Shut Down For Not Having a Permit that Doesn’t Exist Yet

There’s just one problem: Amherst doesn’t have a food truck permit yet.


The town is currently in the process of creating a new food truck ordinance, but it won’t even be considered until November. Instead, Amherst wants Pete to comply with a 20-year ordinance that was written for peddlers, door-to-door salesmen, and junk dealers, not street food. For $100, these street vendors get apermission slip from the government to sell in one location for 90 days. But as Pete points out, his truck usually visits five or six towns, so he could be forced to pay at least $500 in fees, every three months: “if we can’t be mobile, then we might as well just shut down.” What a great way to encourage entrepreneurs.


In an interview with the Buffalo News, Pete was outraged: “The way we’ve been treated, I can’t say it’s anything other than being bullied.” In addition, he actively tried to comply with all the relevant paperwork before he started selling. He called town officials to see if any permits were needed and was informed he didn’t need any. Sadly, this is the third time in less than a month that a food truck has been forced to stop vending in Amherst without a permit.


Unsurprisingly, there’s also protectionism at work here. According to the Buffalo News:

“[Police Chief John] Askey also said he was embarrassed to learn that the “anonymous complaint” lodged with the Building Department against the Lloyd Taco Truck on Monday came from one of his own officers, who has relatives in the restaurant business and called in the complaint as a private citizen.”


However, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce was quick to distance itself from the food truck crackdown,tweeting:

“ACC supports all biz, whether big, small, brick & mortar or mobile. We operate as a separate entity from the Town of Amherst.”


Pete and his Lloyd Taco truck were previously featured in an Institute for Justice video about street food vending in Buffalo. Thanks in part to IJ’s efforts there at the grassroots, the city council rejected a proposal supported by brick-and-mortars to limit food trucks to certain zones, and instead passed an ordinance favored by the food trucks that opened up more of the city to their innovative business model.

M.T.A. Expands an Effort to Decrease Subway Trash

via NYTimes: 

The evidence has piled beside turnstiles and beneath benches, along subway platforms where riders found nowhere else to place their coffee cups or apple cores and on the tracks where tattered newspapers and crushed bottles seem to have taken up permanent residence.

Yet despite some riders’ resourceful disposal methods since trash cans were removed from two subway stations last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the counterintuitive plan has worked: trash hauls have decreased, it said, and the stations are cleaner.

As a result, the authority said, the pilot program has been expanded to eight more stations, including stops at 57th Street in Manhattan, Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and East 143rd Street in the Bronx.

“I’m actually very intrigued by this,” said Joseph J. Lhota, the transportation authority’s chairman, before urging riders to treat the subway “as you would treat your home.”

Asked if the measure could eventually be extended into a systemwide policy, Mr. Lhota said, “It could be.”

At the two stations that have been without trash bins since last fall — the Eighth Street and Broadway station in Greenwich Village and the Flushing-Main Street station in Queens — the number of trash bags hauled out by workers has decreased by 50 percent and 67 percent, the authority said.

Officials have described the logic of the program simply: If there is nowhere to discard trash, riders will take it with them — often outside of a station.

Mr. Lhota said that prohibitions on garbage bins had been effective on the Underground in London and on the PATH system, which has been without bins since 2001 because of security concerns.

The transportation authority removes 14,000 tons of trash from the subway annually, it said. A spokeswoman for the city’s Sanitation Department said the reduction in trash at the two pilot locations had not burdened its collection operations at street level. “Sanitation has monitored these two locations and there has been no negative impact,” the spokeswoman said.

Some riders, though, have expressed reservations about the plan. Less trash, they argue, does not imply a more hygienic subway experience.

“I don’t know what to do with this,” Christopher DiScipio, 22, said on Thursday clutching a nearly-finished apple at the Eighth Street station.

Nearby, in a narrow alcove between a pay phone kiosk and a vertical beam, riders appeared to have fashioned a rogue receptacle. Detritus piled about three feet high — a mélange of crushed energy drink cans; bottles of water and, in at least one case, vodka; mounds of wrappers and paper cups; and what appeared to have once been a white T-shirt.

Dilu Chowdhury, 51, who operates a newsstand inside the station, said the surrounding area had become far dirtier in recent months. Customers often ask to use his trash bin. “I take it,” he said of customers’ waste, “but it is not enough.”

Still, it has not been all bad. Mr. Chowdhury has noticed fewer rats, he said, and riders’ quest for a trash bin at his stand has occasionally led them to unexpected purchases.

Gene Russianoff, the spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, a rider advocacy group, said the convenience of travelers had not been properly considered in the plan. “If you have a big, drippy ice cream cone, what are you going to do?” he asked. “Stuff it in your purse?”

Mr. Lhota, who was known as the city’s “rat czar” as a deputy mayor under Rudolph W. Giuliani, dismissed this logic. “I think it’s better for the overall ridership to have the cleanest possible subway system,” he said.

On signs posted at bin-less stations describing the program, riders had already begun discussing its merits in writing, scrawling messages on posters reading, in part, “Trash is a problem.”

At Eighth Street, a rider wrote, in blue ink, “stupidest idea ever,” before apparently being bested by a traveler with black ink, who crossed out the first word.

On another sign, opinion was unanimous.

“Won’t work!” one message said.

“Put the trash cans back in!” read another.

“Agreed!” a third rider wrote.

A fourth, unprintable entry also expressed skepticism about the program.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 31, 2012


Because of an editing error, an earlier version of a picture caption with the photograph of a cup on top of a pay phone misstated that the location was 57th Street. It was Eighth Street.

NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Locking Up Baby Formula At Hospitals To Encourage Breastfeeding


NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Locking Up Baby Formula At Hospitals To Encourage Breastfeeding


New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg really going gangbusters with his health initiatives in Big Apple, but this time instead of banning big soda, he’s touting a new voluntary breastfeeding program called Latch On NYC. To encourage new moms to start down the path to breast-feeding, the mayor’s initiative will have baby formula at hospitals locked up.

Just because the formula is being squirreled away at hospitals doesn’t mean moms can’t insist on giving their babies a bottle, but nurses will have to sign out the formula as of Sept. 3, reports the Associated Press. The stuff is always kept on hand in case fussy babies don’t want to latch on or new mothers decide not to breastfeed.

Usually moms are sent home with gift bags filled with giveaways of infant formula and other free stuff branded with company logos, but already 27 of NYC’s 40 hospitals have reportedly said they’ll ditch the goodie bags. As we previously reported, it’s not just Bloomberg who’s against the bags — in April, Public Citizen sent off 2,600 letters to hospitals nationwide to protest the practice.

The program is also underway  in various iterations in other states, including a similar initiative in Massachusetts. Health officials there say they’ll get rid of the infant goodie bags at the state’s 49 hospitals as well at the end of this month (so, now!) to promote breast-feeding.

While some might call this latest move just another one of Bloomberg’s attempts to move the city toward a “nanny state,”  the National Alliance for Breast-feeding Advocacy says the program is just fantastic. The Alliance’s stance is that restricting access to baby formula in the same way medications are locked up will stop staffers from heading straight to the bottle instead of trying to help new mothers get into the swing of nursing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long pushed the health benefits of breastfeeding, saying that moms who stick to that method for the six months of a baby’s life will help their child’s ability to fight many illnesses and allergies.

 Mayor Bloomberg’s infant formula plan aimed at promoting breast-feeding in NYC hospitals [CBS/Associated Press]

Mayor Ed Lee committed to stop and frisk

via S F Gate:

Mayor Ed Lee remains resolute in implementing some form of a stop-and-frisk program – even if it’s not called that – in the wake of Friday’s horrific movie theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., and a trip to Philadelphia, which has its own controversial stop-and-frisk program.

“I am as, if not more, committed, and especially in light of the massacre that occurred in Aurora, but also the review of what’s happening in New York and Philadelphia and Chicago and the crime that’s committed,” Lee said Monday on the sidelines of an announcement about federal transportation funding.

Stop-and-frisk policing, where officers stop and search people they deem suspicious in an attempt to get illegal guns off the streets, has routinely been likened to racial profiling.

Lee’s consideration of such a practice has triggered an outcry.

Last week, the City Hall steps were filled with politicians and people carrying signs reading “Am I suspicious?” and calling stop and frisk the new Jim Crow. The protesters delivered 2,000 signatures decrying stop and frisk to the mayor’s office. Later, the Board of Supervisorsunanimously passed a resolution opposing bringing the controversial policy to San Francisco.

Lee insists that he’s not considering any proposal that would violate someone’s constitutional rights, but he also wouldn’t say what specific policy changes he is weighing after a U.S. Conference of Mayor’s session in Philadelphia where he also met with the city’s top cop, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Last year, Philadelphia officials agreed to court monitoring of their stop-and-frisk program to settle a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, who alleged that police officers used racial profiling and stopped people with little or no justification.

“I’m not into any program that will violate people’s rights, but we’ve got to get to the guns,” Lee said Monday.

“There are individuals out there who are not listening, who are not only creating disputes, but they’re ending those disputes with the use of these guns. We’ve got to get to them,” Lee said.  “That’s why I’ve been contemplating some kind of authority to put some fear into these kids that they can’t be carrying these guns thinking they can resolve all their problems with them.”

Lee did acknowledge that the term “stop-and-frisk” is freighted with negative connotations.

“We’ll be utilizing different phrases,” Lee said, “but clearly getting to the guns in the number one theme.”