Investigators with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office have already uncovered evidence of businesses taking advantage of the recent tornado’s devastation by price-gouging in the weather-ravaged region, including a grocery store accused of charging consumers $40 for a case of water.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told ABC News that 30 investigators from his office started aggressively combing the region for fraud just hours after the tornado tore through it – and immediately found businesses violating the law.
“This is something we were putting in place and starting in motion as soon as we knew the threat existed,” Pruitt said. “We’re going to places where we think potential harm could occur.”
Using a law known as the Emergency Price Stabilization Act, consumer protection investigators are teaming with local law enforcement to catch fraud as it happens. The law was passed after a tornado leveled the same region in 1999 and prohibits price increases of more than 10 percent on goods and services such as water and hotel rooms for 30 days after a disaster. It extends to 180 days for construction-related complaints.
In addition to the $40 cases of bottled water, Pruitt said his team uncovered a hotel in the area that was allegedly overcharging in violation of the law.
“We’re looking at everything from work gloves to water to storage units, hotels and car rentals. And long term, we’ll be dealing with home construction and repair,” he said.
Despite repeated warnings to be on the lookout for scam artists after a disaster, Pruitt said many Oklahomans are still unaware that they can be ripped off.
“They would never anticipate or expect or guess that someone would take advantage of them right now, but this situation is what criminals prey upon,” he said.
Duke University engineers have developed a novel method for producing clean hydrogen, which could prove essential to weaning society off of fossil fuels and their environmental implications.
While hydrogen is ubiquitous in the environment, producing and collecting molecular hydrogen for transportation and industrial uses is expensive and complicated. Just as importantly, a byproduct of most current methods of producing hydrogen is carbon monoxide, which is toxic to humans and animals.
The Duke engineers, using a new catalytic approach, have shown in the laboratory that they can reduce carbon monoxide levels to nearly zero in the presence of hydrogen and the harmless byproducts of carbon dioxide and water. They also demonstrated that they could produce hydrogen by reforming fuel at much lower temperatures than conventional methods, which makes it a more practical option.
Catalysts are agents added to promote chemical reactions. In this case, the catalysts were nanoparticle combinations of gold and iron oxide (rust), but not in the traditional sense. Current methods depend on gold nanoparticles ability to drive the process as the sole catalyst, while the Duke researchers made both the iron oxide and the gold the focus of the catalytic process.
The study appears online in the May issue of the Journal of Catalysis, viewable at sciencedirect.com
We the people
In order to form a more perfect union
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution
United States of America.
Wow, who knew the Founding Fathers were a bunch of socialists, talking about helping out other people and whatnot?
“The senior senator from Arizona urged this body to trust the Republicans. Let me be clear, I don’t trust the Republicans,” Cruz said. “
“It all points to a culture of political intimidation. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the culture of intimidation is simply confined to the Executive Branch. The Administration’s allies in the Senate are trying to intimidate their political opponents as well. What I’m talking about, is the persistent threat by the Majority to break the rules of the Senate in order to change the Rules of the Senate—in other words, to use the nuclear option—if they don’t get their way.
WASHINGTON — A Tennessee congressman who supports billion of dollars in cuts to the food stamp program is one of the largest recipients of federal farm subsides, according to new annual data released by a Washington environmental group.
Using Agriculture Department data, researchers at the Environmental Working Group found that Representative Stephen Fincher, a Republican and a farmer from Frog Jump, Tenn., collected nearly $3.5 million in subsidies from 1999 to 2012. The data is part of the research group’s online farm subsidy database from which the group issues a report each year.
In 2012 alone, the data shows, Mr. Fincher received about $70,000 in direct payments, money that is given to farmers and farmland owners, even if they do not grow crops. It is unclear how much Mr. Fincher received in crop insurance subsidies because the names of people receiving the subsidies are not public. The group said most of the agriculture subsidies go to the largest, most profitable farm operations in the country. These farmers have received $265 billion in direct payments and farm insurance subsidies since 1995, federal records show.
During debate on the farm bill in the House Agriculture Committee last week, Mr. Fincher was one of the biggest proponents of $20 billion in cuts to food stamps in the legislation. At times he quoted passages from the Bible in defending the cuts.
“We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over,” Mr. Fincher said during the debate. “This is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending.”
Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said that Mr. Fincher was being hypocritical. “Not only is he advocating deep cuts to other people’s money while he is getting subsidies, he also voted to increase the subsidies that he benefits from,” Mr. Faber said.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Fincher did not respond to a request for comment.
See also: Wonkette
BLESSED ARE THE HYPOCRITES -
TENN REP. STEPHEN FINCHER POCKETED $9 MILLION IN AG SUBSIDIES, SAYS JESUS HATES FOOD STAMPSBecause, what have they ever done for us
Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., then quoted a verse from the 26th chapter of Matthew, saying the “poor will always be with us” in his defense of cuts to the food stamps program.
Fincher said obligations to take care of the poor should be left to churches, not the government.
Michele Bachmann was the muse for a new romance novel called Fires of Siberia, to be published June 1, about a fiery presidential candidate who tries to bone up on her foreign policy credentials only to get stuck in the wilderness with a sexy stranger. “Inspired by the life of Tea Party leader and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Fires of Siberia is an old-fashioned bodice ripper romance that brings the heat for the 2013 summer beach reading season,” touts publisher Badlands Unlimited.
Badlands Unlimited is not your traditional romance novel publisher. It’s run by New York artist Paul Chan, and offers an eclectic mix of titles, from a collection of Saddam Hussein’s early speeches to a set of 1964 interviews with Marcel Duchamp, which includes audio files on iTunes. Badlands Unlimited’s website says it publishes ebooks “Because you can’t publish a .GIF on paper,” plus “reading an e-book on e-readers like the iPad or Kindle means you only have to use one hand to read, freeing your other hand to do whatever you please.” Or, in the fancier words of the Los Angeles Review of Books, “As a publishing outfit, they are blurring the distinctions between art press, curatorial experiment and publishing industry gambit, while putting out a series of works that are strange enough individually, but seem even stranger when grouped together under the same moniker.”
So Fires of Siberia might not be so much a sexy romance inspired by a plucky congresswoman as a political book in a funny format. The author, Tréy Sager, is a poet whose prior works include Dear Failures and O New York. That being said, the press release indicates the book follows romance novels’ classic formula (1. Bring a couple together, 2. Tear them apart, 3. Emotional justice). It says:
Presidential candidate Danielle Powers, full of firebrand pluck and red state sex appeal, has the country in a tizzy. But on an international tour to beef up her foreign policy experience, disaster ensues—her plane explodes over Siberia. Miraculously, Danielle survives, along with one other passenger—a mysterious stranger named Steadman Bass. Trapped in a wilderness of snow and ice, the two begin a journey that pushes Danielle to the brink. There she must confront her deepest self and choose between civilization and a wild, primitive ecstasy.
The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia has called the Constitution’s original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person an “anti-slavery amendment.”
In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an “anti-slavery” measure. The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.
“Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states,” Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement.