New LED traffic lights: are they accidents waiting to happen?

Fueled by the goal of drastically cutting their expensive electricity bills, cash-strapped municipal governments around the United States have been changing over from traditional light bulbs to new energy-saving light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in traffic lights at thousands of intersections.  But unlike "impact studies" that often have to be done for zoning, planning and road construction projects, no one seemed to think twice about the impacts of such a move. Yes, it saves plenty of energy...

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Airline passengers finally getting some real rights

You've heard those horrific stories in recent years about airline passengers whose flights sit on airport taxiways or gates aprons for hours because the planes are waiting for the weather to improve or for an arrival gate to open up. You've heard about the problems as the planes just sit there for hours on end in the cold or the heat, as the planes become foul-smelling as toilets fill up and can't be used anymore. ...

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Free at last after 35 years in prison, any of us could have been James Bain

After spending 35 years in prison for a crime he always insisted he hadn't committed, James Bain walked out of the courthouse in Polk County, Fla., yesterday, a free man once again,  according to an Associated Press story in today's New York Times. It took many legal attempts to finally get the courts to analyze his DNA and compare it to DNA left at the scene of the kidnapping and rape of a nine-year-old boy...

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T’is the season NOT to be driving drunk

With the December holidays in full swing, from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Christmas to New Year's Eve,  it's a perfect time for us all to remember and carefully consider the dangers of  drinking and driving as we celebrate family, friends and festive events. According to the activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), last year there were 11,773 fatalities nationally involving a driver with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.  That's...

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Warning: Yaz Has Side Effects

If you or a loved one was prescribed Yaz birth control pills, you probably believed it would prevent pregnancy, while curing acne, treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and controlling cramps. Why wouldn't you? That is what the advertisements claimed. What they didn't say is that Yaz can also cause blood clots in the legs, heart attacks, gall bladder disease and other serious side effects. For many months, Yaz was advertised as a "golden birth control...

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How the Current Health Care Bill Blocks Women from Health Coverage

The version of the health care bill that passed the House in early November includes stipulations that may seriously infringe on a woman's right to choose. It does this by refusing to put federal money towards any health care program that provides abortion coverage. Even if a woman pays 100 percent of the healthcare premium with her own money, she would not be able to obtain an abortion under the current health plan. Instead, she...

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Life sentences and juvenile offenders — what is fair and right?

A 13-year-old boy is not an adult. Yet when a 13-year-old boy commits a heinous crime, our court system in the U.S. can treat him like an adult and lock him up for life. That was the case for Joe Harris Sullivan, who was convicted 20 years ago in a Florida court of beating and raping an elderly woman after an in-home robbery -- all when he was 13 years old.  He'd been in trouble...

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Disabled Adult Abuse: It’s Time to Take Action

In a recent article, William Bender of the Philadelphia Daily News reports on the atrocity of disabled adult abuse. He rightly points out that Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no abuse investigation law protecting these vulnerable citizens. As a result, abusers at group homes and other disabled care facilities can simply walk away with little or no repercussions if the victim does not or cannot testify against them. This needs to...

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Pennsylvania Taking Baby Steps On The Cell Phone Front…

Driving while texting: proposed Pa. law would levy $100 fine Tired of seeing drivers texting from cellphones and PDAs while they’re behind the wheel of their cars, minivans and trucks? So are we, as is every other rational person who doesn’t want to get hurt in a vehicle accident due to someone else’s carelessness. Well, some good news came out of the Pennsylvania State Senate yesterday – a bill passed the Senate by a 44...

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