Boston's mayor wants to ban soda and other drinks
Mayor Thomas Menino says banning the drinks, as well as the advertisement of them on city property, will save money and improve health.
Sun, Apr 10 2011 at 8:05 AM EST
Mayor Tom Menino bans soda JUST SAY NO: Mayor Menino wants Boston to get healthier and more economical. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
Mayor Thomas Menino is taking aim at sugary drinks in Boston as a way of promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing healthcare costs. The Boston Globe is reporting that Menino has issued an executive order to require all of Boston’s city departments to phase out soda and other drinks with high sugar contents over the next six months.
By the sound of it, Menino means business. The mayor wants a complete ban on the sale, advertising and promotion of these drinks on all city property.
The Globe quoted executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, Barbara Ferrer, saying that beyond the obvious health implications of this new policy, there is an economic motivation. "Economists estimate that medical costs for an obese patient are about 42 percent higher a year than for a patient with healthy weight," said Ferrer.
So what will be banned and what won’t be banned? The mayor is specific on this question. Banned: Non-diet sodas, pre-sweetened ice teas, refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar and sports drinks. As for what is still acceptable, the list allows the sale of diet sodas, diet iced teas, 100 percent juices, low-calorie sports drinks, low-sugar sweetened beverages, sweetened soy milk and flavored sweetened milk. Bottled water and unflavored seltzer water are also OK.
So what do you think? Is Menino’s action an example of government over-reach, or is it OK to enact policies like these since they may save taxpayer money and improve public health? Let me know in the comments section below.
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Four child-porn images allegedly found on ICE chief's home computer
By Jay Weaver
The Miami Herald
Updated: 11:37 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 6:14 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for South Florida has been placed on paid administrative leave, as federal agents investigate four images of child pornography he allegedly received on his home computer via an AOL e-mail account, according to sources familiar with the probe.
Broward Sheriff's Office and FBI investigators seized Anthony V. Mangione's computer from his Parkland residence Saturday after obtaining a search warrant based on an alert from AOL, Mangione's Internet service provider. Sources said Mangione, 50, who has headed the ICE regional office since 2007, was not believed to have received the pictures in connection with any ICE investigation.
The Justice Department probe could take a while to complete as investigators determine whether Mangione sent, received or distributed illegal digital images of children. "It's going to take some time forensically to examine the computer," a federal law enforcement official said.
AOL, which monitors the distribution of child pornography by its users, alerted a national nonprofit resource center about the images allegedly sent to Mangione's computer in recent weeks, sources said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children then forwarded the information to a multi-agency task force that investigates child-porn distribution over the Internet.
Investigators issued a subpoena to AOL to find out the identity and computer address of the account user who allegedly received the four images, sources said. The information provided the legal basis for the FBI to obtain the search warrant to enter Mangione's home and seize his computer. Authorities also have seized his computer from ICE's office in west Miami-Dade.
"Internet service providers, including AOL, are required by federal law to report apparent violations of the child pornography laws to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with the Department of Justice," said former Miami federal prosecutor Ryan Stumphauzer. In 2007, he won the conviction of a Biscayne Park man for producing and distributing child-porn over the Internet.
"To comply with this obligation, AOL and other Internet service providers use sophisticated software to detect suspected child pornography images based upon their unique digital fingerprints," Stumphauzer said.
During the past decade, ICE has aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against "predators'' who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Mangione could not be reached for comment. There are no court records indicating that he has been charged with any crime.
The ICE office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment and referred questions to the Department of Justice. Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment, as did Miami FBI spokesman Mike Leverock.
As special agent in charge of ICE's South Florida office, Mangione often lauded the agency's efforts to fight child pornography in both the cyber and real worlds.
Mangione was planning to retire this summer. He has served his entire 27-year federal career with ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service.
Longtime judge accused of fixing traffic tickets for friends, minister, co-workers
April 13, 2011 | 6:41 am
A longtime Orange County judge accused of waiving traffic fines for friends, co-workers and even his minister has been ordered to appear before a statewide judicial panel that could recommend his removal from office.
The hearing will examine a series of traffic cases that Judge Richard Stanford, a jurist in Orange County Superior Court since 1998, ended up handling for acquaintances, relatives and others.
At issue is whether Stanford violated ethics rules by first having the traffic citations transferred to his courtroom and then granting special favors such as waiving fines without following proper courtroom rules.
The complaint from the Commission on Judicial Performance formally documents nine allegations of misconduct from 2003 to 2010.
Typical is a case involving Edwin Jay Williams, who the commission says is the pastor of the Fullerton church Stanford’s family attends, and the judge’s friend.
In 2003, Williams was given a traffic ticket for running a red light. The complaint notes that Stanford and Williams discussed the matter. Then, although “the case would not have come before you in the ordinary course of judicial business, you transferred the matter to your department,” the commission wrote.
Judges are barred by ethics rules from hearing cases involving family and friends. Nonetheless, Stanford ordered traffic school and waived all fines except $52 for the school and another small fee, according to the commission. Stanford allegedly handled a speeding ticket given to Williams in 2006 in a similar way.
The commission alleged that Stanford intervened in cases and dismissed traffic fines for a juror serving in his courtroom, several family friends, his son-in-law and his own court clerk.
Stanford declined comment, but his attorney released a statement saying the judge “apologizes for his actions.”
Although “no tickets were dismissed, and only discretionary fines and fees were waived, Judge Stanford now clearly realizes that in these nine traffic infractions in the last 10 years he gave preferential treatment which violated the standards of conduct," according to the statement released by attorney Paul Meyer.
The statement said the judge “wrongly rationalized” that his actions “were saving time for the court and resulted in the same [Department of Motor Vehicle] records as if the people had come to court.”
Despite the admission, a formal hearing will take place this summer, likely by June, said Victoria Henley, director and counsel for the commission, which oversees the conduct of judges statewide.
Henley would not comment on the case other than to note that the commission typically receives around 1,100 judicial complaints each year and of those only two or three typically end up with a formal hearing.
If the commission determines that the allegations are true, Stanford could be censured, publicly admonished, privately disciplined or removed from the bench, Henley said. She added that the commission cannot file criminal charges, but the Orange County district attorney or the California attorney general could.
Stanford, once a municipal court judge in Orange County, has overseen a number of high-profile cases during his Superior Court tenure. Among them are several child abuse trials and a murder case involving the death of racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife.
In 2005, an appeals court voided a murder conviction handed down in Stanford’s court when it was concluded the veteran judge denied the defendant’s due process during jury instructions.
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