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Government pushes for free birth control for all

Or at least for everyone who has health insurance. Gov't advisers: No copays for contraceptives - Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON – Millions of women stand to gain free access to a broad menu of birth control methods, thanks to a recommendation issued Tuesday by health experts advising the government. An Institute of Medicine panel recommended that the government require health insurance companies to cover birth control for women as preventive care, without copayments. Contraception — along with such care as diabetes tests during pregnancy and screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer — was one of eight recommended preventive services for women. "Unintended pregnancies carry health consequences for the mother — psychological, emotional and physical — and also consequences for the newborn," said Dr. Linda Rosenstock, panel chairwoman and dean of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The overwhelming evidence was strongly supportive of the health benefit" of contraception.

The real secret behind Texas' economic boom: Drug trafficking

Grits for Breakfast: The real secret behind Texas' economic boom: Drug trafficking
Brilliant observation, and true: What's the secret ingredient to Texas' much-ballyhooed job creation boom that you'll never hear from Rick Perry on the presidential campaign stump? Drug Trafficking, says Joe Tone at the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park blog, offering this quote first reported by Tina Rosenberg in New York magazine: Jack Schumacher, a recently retired Texas-based DEA agent, says that at least half the drug shipments coming from Mexico stop and offload in Texas. The product is repackaged in small units and resold at a considerable markup, with a share of the gross staying in the state. Even some of the money that gets expatriated to Mexico winds up back in Texas, laundered through Mexican currency exchanges. The state's relative security is the draw. "If you have a few million," says Schumacher, "would you invest in a war zone or a bank in San Antonio?" The DEA warns that traffickers are cleaning up their proceeds by buying businesses in South Texas. They also spend on guns, warehouses, security guards--and on luxury cars and houses. "In San Antonio, a high-dollar trafficker can buy a $2 million or $3 million place and exist for a long time," he adds. Further, adds Rosenberg: Mexicans in Texas are hardly new, but in recent years it’s middle- and �upper-class families in Mexico’s north who have also made the exodus, bringing their savings and businesses with them. While most seem to be fleeing the kidnapping and extortion back home, one observer has a different take: “Some people, including me, suspect that some of these people come with funds from the drug trade,” says Michael Lauderdale, a professor of criminal justice at the �University of Texas. After all, picking up your money on the Texas side means avoiding the border checkpoints and customs officials altogether. The US-side infrastructure of drug cartels is a subject that seems almost willfully ignored by policymakers and the media. The Texas Department of Public Safety has maintained for years that "command and control" of much so-called Mexican cartel activity is actually on the US side of the border, and so is much of their money. Not just cartels but also mid-level distributors set up front companies that lose money as a practical matter but serve as vehicles through which they can launder drug cash, making it a lot easier to distribute either back to Mexico or to other stakeholders in the US. This is happening today on a fairly widespread basis and it means a lot more marginal businesses stay afloat - how many, no one can tell - to perform what amount to retail-level money laundering functions. . . .

July 19, 2011

Plum, it's like Netflix for baby clothes

Plum — Welcome *Thanks, Cory!*

Texas man buys mcmansion for $16, pisses off neighbors

Adverse Possession is the legal technique he used. It's an old law that lets a person occupy a vacant or vacated dwelling and to claim it as their own if they keep it for a period of time. In Texas, it's three years. Neighbors Are Mad At Guy Who Got $300K House For $16 - The Consumerist
That unappealing smell could be the stench of jealousy, after a man uses the law to his advantage and snags a $300,000 house in Texas for a mere $16. Now his high-falutin' neighbors are all cranky that he might get away with such a steal. KHOU.com out of Texas brings us the story of the man who moved into a foreclosed home and filed some paperwork, along with a $16 fee, in the town of Flower Mound, and could end up with his McMansion if he lives in it for three years. Kenneth Robinson's new neighbors say he's a squatter, but he says he is just using the law to his advantage. After the previous owners walked away from the house when it was in foreclosure, the mortgage company went out of business. So Robinson moved in after researching "adverse possession," a little-known Texas law. He printed out an online form and filed it at Denton County courthouse for $16 and was granted rights to the house. The home has no electricity or running water, but Robinson just set up camp anyway. The law says he gets exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner. If they want him out, they have to pay off the mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a lawsuit. . . .