First Lady’s War On Junk Food Has Gone Too Far

First Lady Michelle Obama during a speaking engagement in 2010.
First Lady Michelle Obama during a speaking engagement in 2010

Dear Mrs. Obama: Buzz off – I like being fat

There are many in our country who think Michelle Obama is going too far telling us how and what to eat.  The First Lady’s meddling in how you – and millions of other Americans – live is starting to feel more than a little meddlesome.

Look, I didn’t say anything when you persuaded Walmart to make thousands of its packaged food items healthier and lower how much sugar and sodium.

I didn’t say anything when you had the President slip a provision requiring restaurants to print nutritional information on menus into his health care bill.

But if you want to mess with our portion size, I have to draw the proverbial line in the sand.

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Pregnant Colo. Woman Mistakenly Gets Abortion Drug


Mareena Silva

A Colorado woman who is six weeks pregnant says a pharmacist at a grocery store mistakenly gave her an abortion drug instead of an antibiotic and now she fears the error will cause her to miscarry.

Imagine the joy of knowing you are pregnant and having that joy turned into a nightmare knowing you might lose this baby due to a pharmacy error.  That’s the basic scenario facing a young woman in Colorado. 

Mareena Silva told Denver‘s KMGH-TV that the pharmacist at the Safewayin Fort Lupton gave her methotrexate last week. The drug, intended for another woman, is used in chemotherapy and to terminate early-stage pregnancies.

Silva says she took a pill and checked the bottle after becoming sick. She was rushed to the hospital.

Doctors say Silva could miscarry or have a baby with birth defects.

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Two Charged In Rape Of East Aurora Girl


We’ve posted about this issue before but obviously not every “gets it.”  You have to know what your child is doing on-line.  What web sites is he/she visiting and what information is being shared. 

A 12-year-old East Aurora girl was reportedly raped by two men who befriended her on a website known as “myYearbook.com,” police stated.

Detectives charged Stephen J. Ziomek, 25, of Depew, and Robert J. Bogush Jr., 19, of Amherst, with first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault against a child, both felonies, according to police reports.

Casual conversations between the men and the girl led to an exchange of phone numbers and further conversations, before each of the men made arrangements to go to her East Aurora home when no one was home, police said.

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Screen Play, A.R.Gurney’s Salute To A Hollywood Classic, Debuts In WNY

Political Satire Set in Buffalo Marks Year Two of RLTP’s Gurney Cycle

February 7, 2011, BUFFALO, NY – Bogie & Bergman do Buffalo in the Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP) presentation of A.R. Gurney’s Screen Play, making its Western New York (WNY) premiere at the Road Less Traveled Theater on March 4th, 2011. The play, which opened in NYC in 2005, updates the popular 1943 film Casablanca to a WNY of the near future, in which Buffalo becomes the last stop for political refugees fleeing to Canada.

Screen Play is the second selection of RLTP’s A.R. Gurney cycle, dedicated to presenting Gurney’s newer, lesser-known, and more political comedies; the first selection, 2010’s A Light Lunch, was a smash hit for the company. RLTP’s production of Screen Play will star RLTP Resident Actor Bob Grabowski with Jay Pichardo, Natalie Mack, Carlton Franklin, Jermain Cooper, Jonathan Shuey, and (returning after his popular performance in A Light Lunch), David Hayes, under the direction of RLTP Artistic Director Scott Behrend. Screen Play will run March 4, 2011 through March 27, 2011, at the Road Less Traveled Theater.

“It’s 2025, and everybody comes to Nick’s Cafe Americana, Western New York’s hottest nightclub,” said Behrend. “It’s where persecuted liberals make the last mad dash to freedom across the Northern border.” “As with last season’s A Light Lunch, Screen Play showcases a very different kind of Gurney,” explains Behrend. “It’s a political satire, a movie parody, and – naturally – a romance.”

Behrend promised that Screen Play – which Gurney has staged as a rehearsal reading of a sci-fi/action motion picture – would appeal to fans of both Gurney and Casablanca. “All of the familiar, beloved figures are represented in a novel and clever way,” guaranteed Behrend, enumerating Pichardo as a Humphrey Bogart-like figure, Mack as Ingrid Bergman, Franklin as Claude Rains, and Grabowski as Paul Henreid, among others.

Gurney is a Buffalo native who has enjoyed both local and national success for such plays as Love Letters, The Dining Room, Buffalo Gal, Sylvia, andA Light Lunch. His most recent plays include Black Tie, The Grand Manner, and Office Hours. Behrend praised Gurney as a key figure in Buffalo’s theatre history, and reaffirmed RLTP’s plans to continue to celebrate Gurney’s newer and lesser-known plays in coming seasons

Screen Play runs Friday, March 4th through Sunday, March 27th – Thursday through Saturday at 7:30PM and Sunday at 2:00PM. Tickets are $30 for Adults, $25 for Seniors, and $15 for Students with valid IDs. Students with valid IDs pay only $5 at RLTP’s Mighty Taco Talkback performances on Thursdays. Tickets are available at The Road Less Traveled Theater Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The Road Less Traveled Theater is located at 639 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14205 (inside the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre).

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In-app pPurchases in iPad, iPhone, iPod kids’ Games Touch Off Parental Firestorm

Do you know that there are apps out there designed for children?  I mean children as young as 3 or 4 years old.  They are usually games that are free to download.  Nice . . . BUT. . . there are options to “buy” things to enhance the game.  Often those enhancements are free.  Lots of children’s games require virtual payments of pretend coins, treasure chests and gold to advance to levels.  Here’s a reality check.  Some new games involve REAL purchases.

Over the winter break from school, 8-year-old Madison worked to dress up her simple mushroom home on the iPhone game Smurfs’ Village. In doing so, she also amassed a $1,400 bill from Apple.

Madison’s mom, Stephanie Kay, was shocked to find very real charges from iTunes show up in her e-mail box days later.”I thought the app preyed on children,” she said. “Note that the Smurf app states it is for ages 4-plus.”

The practice is troubling parents and public interest groups, who say $99 for a wagon of Smurfberries or $19 for a bucket of snowflakes doesn’t have any business in a children’s game. Though a password is needed to make a purchase, critics say that the safeguards aren’t strong enough and that there are loopholes.

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Congressman Higgins Convenes Service Academy Panel

Committee Interviews Local Students Seeking Recommendations

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) named local residents to serve as members of his Service Academy Advisory Committee.  The panel recently met to interview students applying to a military academy and make recommendations to the Congressman.  Service academy appointments are made by the President of the United States based on congressional and/or military recommendations.  Each service academy ultimately decides which nominees will be accepted into each program. 

“I am grateful to our panelists who volunteer their time and expertise to review and recommend outstanding, local candidates, eager to further their education and committed to serving our nation,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. 

Serving on the Congressman’s committee are: 

  • Patrick Cunningham: A U.S. Navy Colonel and Executive Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park who received the “Legion of Merit” and four other awards for his service;
  • Tom Higgins: A Korean War Veteran who served in the Marines and retired Erie County Sheriff;
  • Geoff Szymanski: A machinist in the Navy who served during the first Gulf War and a City of Lackawanna Councilmember;
  • Darin Schulz:  A Lieutenant with 6 years in the Navy deployed to South America, the Mediterranean and Western Africa and the Director of Finance for Chautauqua County;
  • Jim Otwell:  A member of the Army for 26 years who served in Iraq and a Buffalo firefighter;
  • Heidi Reisman:  A Lieutenant Colonel who graduated from the Air Force Academy with 6 years of active duty, 10 years in the National Guard and 6 years in the Reserves;
  • Jerry Irving:  A Commander with 24 years of experience in the Navy, “Blue and Gold Officer” for the Naval Academy and the Director of Naval Systems Business Unit at Moog; 
  • Jordan Then: A Captain currently serving in the Marine Corps and Iraq war veteran;
  • Jeremiah Parker: A West Point graduate and Infantryman who served 16 months in Iraq.

Eligible military academy applicants must be unmarried, United States citizens who will be at least 17 years old as of July 1st, but not have passed their 23rd birthday.  Applications can be accessed online at the following websites:  Air Force Academy www.usafa.edu; Military Academy at West Point www.usma.edu;  Naval Academy www.usna.edu;  and Merchant Marine Academy www.usmma.edu.  For more information call Congressman Higgins Erie County office at 716-852-3501 or the Chautauqua Office at 716-484-0729 or visit the website at: http://www.higgins.house.gov/.

Photo: (Top: L-R) Darin Schulz, Col. Patrick Cunningham, Jeremiah Parker, Geoff Szymanski, Sheriff Tom Higgins

(Bottom: L-R) Catharine Miles- Kania, Heidi Reisman, Congressman Higgins, Jim Otwell, Jordan Then

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Local Farm Bureau Lauds Town Of Alden For Farm Protection

On February 7th the Alden Town Board passed a local Right to Farm Law.

Alden is the 20th Town in Erie County to pass this law leaving only, Cheektowaga, Grand Island, Lancaster and Tonawanda without a local law.

Erie County Farm Bureau has issued a statement in praise of the Town of Alden actions to protect farming.   The Town has passed a “right to farm” law, a sort of Bill of Rights for farmers.

“The Alden Town Board and supervisor Ron Smith, in particular, have taken a far-sighted and courageous action” says Erie County Farm Bureau Director and chairman of the Erie County Farm Bureau Right to Farm Committee, owner of Maple Row Farm, Hans Mobius of Clarence. ” In the face of incessant pressure for suburban housing development and commercial development to produce more tax base, it takes a vision to take a stand in favor of open space and the farmers who help keep it that way.

Mobius who’s county Farm Bureau has more than 1,000 members and is part of the 30,000 member New York Farm Bureau and 5 million member American Farm Bureau Federation, says farms are an endangered species in New York.

“There were 167,000 family farms in New York in 1946, says Mobius. By 1970 that number was down to 58,000 and now it is below 36,000.”

A “right to farm law” typically stands as a pledge by the local government to protect day to day farming practices, but also commonly establishes protections against nuisance complaints by people unfamiliar with farming realities, such as slow-moving tractors or the smell of manure, except in cases where public health or safety might be at risk.

Erie County agriculture is exceptionally diverse. Farms in the county range from dairy farms producing milk for cheese and beverage usage to grapes for juice and wine, to highly modern greenhouse and vegetable production that supplies both supermarket chains and small roadside stands to a rapidly growing number of horse farms.

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Higgins Requests Meeting with Customs and Border Protection Commissioner

WNY Congressman Bringing Peace Bridge Discussion to the Top

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a newly appointed member of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Bersin requesting a meeting to discuss how the two can work collaboratively to see the Peace Bridge expansion project proceed expeditiously.

“With jobs and security topping the list of national priorities, our federal government can and should lead on what promises to be a bridge to economic growth and greater national security,” said Congressman Higgins, whose Western New York District includes the Peace Bridge.  

Congressman Higgins pointed out the recent Government Accounting Office report citing the need for additional security attention at the Northern Border along with the President’s State of the Union Address call calling for a focus on infrastructure investment, jobs and exports add to the urgency which should be propelling the Peace Bridge project.

Higgins added, “We appreciate CBP’s ongoing efforts and support for the planning process of the Peace Bridge Expansion Project plan.  In order to get this ongoing process to the finish line, though, CBP and the other agencies involved will need place all hands on deck.”

On Wednesday, February 9 Congressman Higgins will participate in a Homeland Security Committee hearing featuring Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as an invited witness.

Here is a link to view a copy of Congressman Higgins’ letter to the CBP Commissioner.

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How We Handle Cold Weather

Yes.  We are in for yet another cold week.  Temps in the teens.  Here is a message that should bring a smile to your face: 

COLD IS A RELATIVE THING In Upstate NY

65 above  zero:Floridians turn on the heat.People in Upstate New York plant gardens.
60 above zero:Californians shiver  uncontrollably.People in Upstate New York sunbathe.
50  above zero:Italian & English cars won’t start.People in Upstate  New York drive with the windows down.
40 above  zero:Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and wool hats.People in Upstate New York throw on a flannel  shirt.
35 above zero:New York city landlords finally turn  up the heat.People in Upstate New York have the last cookout before it  gets cold.
20 above Zero:People in Miami all  die.Upstate New Yorkers close the windows.
Zero:Californians fly away to Mexico .People  in Upstate New York get out their winter coats.
10 below  zero:Hollywood disintegrates.The Girl Scouts in Upstate New York are  selling cookies door to door.
20 below zero:Washington DC  runs out of hot air.People in Upstate New York let the dogs sleep  indoors.
30 below zero:Santa Claus abandons the North  Pole.Upstate New Yorkers get upset because they can’t start the  snow-mobile.
40 below zero:ALL atomic motion  stops.People in Upstate New York start saying…’cold enough fer  ya?’
50 below zero:Hell freezes over.Upstate New York  public schools will open 2 hours  late.

I just got off the phone with a friend in Upstate New York . He said that since early this morning the snow has been nearly waist high and is still falling.
The temperature is dropping below zero and the north wind is increasing. His wife has done nothing but look through the kitchen window all day.
He says that if it gets much worse, he may have to let her in.

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Help Senator Gillibrand Protect Reproductive Rights

Dear Friend,

Our Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is leading the fight to protect a woman’s right to choose against an outrageous and dangerous bill, introduced by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Gillibrand needs our help. Please take a look at her note below and join her in demanding that Congress protect the rights of women.

Thank you for your continued support of our Democratic values.

Charlie King
Executive Director
NYS Democratic Committee

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Dear Friend,

This new Congress has gone too far. An outrageous bill that limits funding for women’s health care has been introduced in the Republican-led House, and it’s one of the egregious attacks on reproductive rights I’ve ever seen.

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” disregards women’s rights, restricts the ability of women to access health care, and even goes so far as to redefine rape solely to deny services to victims.

We know what we have to do. When a bill like this comes along—something that threatens the rights and freedoms of women—we have to act fast and we have to be strong. That’s why I need you to stand with me right now before this dangerous bill gains traction and prevents women from getting the care they urgently need.

Click here to stand with me and demand that Congress protect the rights of women so they can receive the reproductive health care they need and deserve.

This bill is being sponsored by Republican Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey, an outspoken opponent of a woman’s right to choose, and has the support of the new GOP leadership. Clearly, the House is making the degradation of women’s health care a top priority.

Even as Republicans lament that the government is being too intrusive in people’s lives, it seems that the very personal, private and often painful issue of ending a pregnancy is the one area they are determined to regulate. Tragically, the consequences of this intrusiveness could prove disastrous to the health and well-being of women across America.

This is not the first time we’ve faced this kind of threat to women’s rights. Not so long ago, we prevented the discriminatory Stupak amendment from being included in the health care reform bill. And the way we did it was by putting our voices together and speaking out loud and clear.

Click here to add your voice to the thousands of people calling on Congress to defeat this bill and protect the freedoms of women throughout America.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to protecting women’s reproductive rights it’s that we must remain vigilant at all times. Please, don’t waste a minute. Speak up now before it’s too late.

Sincerely,
Kirsten Gillibrand

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