(It mentions an increase in food stamps and Obama)
Record Number of Americans Rely on Food Stamps
Congress is under pressure to cut the rapidly rising costs of the federal government's food stamps program at a time when a record number of Americans are relying on it, says ABC News.
On May 31, the House Appropriations Committee reviewed the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that includes $71 billion for the agency's "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" (SNAP).
That's $2 billion less than what President Obama requested but a 9 percent increase from 2011, which, critics say, is too large given the sizeable budget deficit.
A record number of Americans -- about 14 percent -- now rely on the federal government's food stamps program.
More than 44.5 million Americans received SNAP benefits in March, an 11 percent increase from one year ago and nearly 61 percent higher than the same time four years ago.
Nearly 21 million households are reliant on food stamps.
Opponents of the program argue that money from the food stamps budget -- with what they call its increasingly lax requirements -- needs to be shifted to other programs such as education and child nutrition. The program's supporters argue that at a time of economic decline, such welfare programs are even more important to try to keep Americans from spiraling into poverty.
The cost of the food stamps program has increased rapidly since it was established by Congress in 1964.
It cost taxpayers more than $68 billion last year, double the amount in 2007.
Nutrition assistance now accounts for more than half -- or about 67 percent -- of the USDA's budget, compared with 26 percent in 1980.
That shift in focus, critics say, is ineffective because it hasn't put a dent in poverty or hunger in the United States while taking away money from other programs, specifically agricultural programs that should be the main focus of the agency.
Source: "Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program amid Record Number of Recipients," ABC News, May 31, 2011.
NEWSER) – The specter of imprisonment usually doesn't include poolside parties, dance clubs, weapons galore, and easy access to BlackBerries. But San Antonio penitentiary, located on Venezuela's Margarita Island, isn't usual. Though its 2,000 inmates risk being shot by guards if caught venturing outside the walls, the New York Times reports that those content with staying within their enforced bounds are afforded an unprecedented degree of luxury. And these are anything but white-collar criminals.
Though none of Venezuela's prisons are immune to overcrowding, corruption, and a shortage of professional guards, the prison on Margarita Island—a popular point of origination for drug shipments to the Caribbean and the US—is one of a kind. Prisoners essentially run the place, and members of the public regularly visit to gamble, buy drugs, and relax by one of the four prisoner-built pools. (The warden wouldn't discuss, but the Times has video.) Says one Russian woman serving a drug trafficking sentence: “This is the strangest place I’ve ever been.” It even makesthis prison in Mexico look tame.
Promotes a chart saying that Barack Obama has "increased the debt" by 16 percent, compared to George W. Bush, who increased it by 115 percent.
Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 in a chart posted on her Flickr account
Nancy Pelosi posts questionable chart on debt accumulation by Barack Obama, predecessors
Share this story:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi posted this chart on her Flickr site, where it was later re-posted by a user on MoveOn.org. But we found major problems with its math and methodology.
A reader recently pointed us to a post on the website of MoveOn.org, a liberal group. The post features a bar graph titled, "Who Increased the Debt?" that offers figures for the past five presidents:
Ronald Reagan: Up 189 percent George H.W. Bush: Up 55 percent Bill Clinton: Up 37 percent George W. Bush: Up 115 percent Barack Obama: Up 16 percent
We can see why a liberal group would tout such numbers, since -- if accurate -- they offer powerful counterevidence to the claims by conservatives that President Barack Obama has been a spendthrift who’s set the nation on an unsustainable fiscal path.
But the reader who sent it to us was surprised to see the debt increase under Obama was so small. So we decided to check the numbers.
Posted Jun 3, 2011 3:46 AM CDT |Updated Jun 3, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
(NEWSER) – Phillip Garrido used a stun gun to kidnap 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard and to keep her in line while he raped her, according to Jaycee's just released gut-wrenching grand jury testimony. Garrido had a temper, and he would fire up the stun gun so Dugard could hear the "zappy noise" as he approached the backyard shed of his California home where he kept her locked up. She finally convinced herself she was doing someone some good by at least keeping the brute from other young girls, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. "He said he needed help with his sexual problem, that he had a real problem, and that I was helping him," Dugard, now 31, said in her testimony. "The impression I got was that I was helping prevent something."
Dugard was repeatedly raped by Garrido, a methamphetamine addict who called the extended attacks "runs," according to the 157-page transcript. He called Dugard "Snoopy," and she never once said aloud her real name from the day she was kidnapped until she was found by police, she testified. Sometimes Garrido's wife, Nancy, tried to help Dugard, saying: "I'll take this run for you." Garrido also used a stun gun to snatch Dugard at a bus stop. "All of a sudden, his hand shoots out of the car window, and I feel this shock," Dugard said. "All of a sudden, I'm in the car," under a blanket, and he's saying, 'I can't believe we got away with it,' and starts laughing." To find out what Garrido's punishment is, click here.
"He who warned, uh, the ... the British that they weren't gonna be taking away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells and, um, by making sure that as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free ... and we were gonna be armed." - Sara Palin