Missouri Department of Social Services eligibility specialist Pamela O’Dell faces criminal charges after she went on a shopping spree with $52,000 worth of food stamps she stole, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
O’Dell was responsible for processing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applications and files and used her position to replace participants’ home addresses with her own government office address in Dunklin County, Mo., when participants opted out of the program. That office then issued new Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT cards using O’Dell’s information.
O’Dell did this from 2009 to 2014. She spent the benefits at a local Walmart and a grocery store in Kansas, according to the DOJ.
A federal grand jury in Cape Girardeau, Mo., indicted her on one felony count of mail fraud. O’Dell, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
A group of 400 U.S. servicemen stationed in Ireland received an unexpected surprise while eating lunch at an airport.
Los Angeles-based philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz was on his way to Israel with his family when he spotted the servicemen eating standard bagged lunches, while other passengers ate at trendy restaurants. Rechnitz went straight to the commander, insisting he pay for all the servicemen to get lunch wherever they wanted.
The commander asked why.
In a video captured of the event, Rechnitz explained exactly what prompted his generosity.
“The reason is that… you guys risk your lives to protect me and my family,” Rechnitz tells the crowd of servicemembers. “If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines. That’s something that makes me proud. I’m on my way to Israel actually now. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’ll take it off my taxes, don’t worry,” he added.
The servicemen applauded.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the state has fewer than 200,000 recipients enrolled in its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for the first time since February 2009.
Enrollment in the state’s food stamp program has decreased to 199,157, a 22-percent decline from a high of 255,663 recipients in February, 2012.
“This is an important milestone for Maine’s economy and safety net,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a statement. “People on food stamps are living in poverty, and more food stamps does not equal less poverty. This administration is focused on incentivizing employment rather than trapping people in generational poverty and welfare dependency.”
“We need a workforce that is ready and willing to work if we are to attract and retain employers in this state,” Mayhew added. “Today, there are employers around the state who cannot find applicants for their jobs. Doling out assistance with no focus on employment is destructive to individual productivity and detrimental to our efforts to improve Maine’s economy and future. Today, Mainers who support commonsense welfare reform can rest assured that Governor LePage’s efforts are paying off.”
LePage’s administration re-implemented a work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents enrolled in the program.
According to Maine’s DHHS, “[t]he rule required simply that those adults work for 20 hours per week, volunteer for about one hour per day, or attend a class in order to maintain food stamps beyond three months.”
Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said, “Work requirements serve to ensure that assistance is going to those most in need.”
“They act as a gatekeeper,” Sheffield said. “Welfare is available to those who truly need it, but people are directed first towards work. Able-bodied adults should be required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in exchange for receiving assistance. Maine is a strong example of promoting work and reciprocal obligation.”
Some were critical of the news.
Chris Hastedt, a policy director with Maine Equal Justice Partners, told Maine’s WCSH, “I hear language that says this is a good thing because it is forcing people to work.”
“People don’t need to be forced to work. People need to be helped to find a job,” Hastedt said.
The federal Bureau of Prisons, a subdivision of President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, has banished all pork products from the menus in all federal prisons, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The government says it made the decision to do this because a survey showed that inmates do not like eating pork products.
The Council on American-Islamic relations said “we welcome” the move by the government to deny pork to prisoners, but warned that it might spark “Islamophobia.”
Here are excerpts from the report by the Post:
“The nation’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government abruptly removed bacon, pork chops, pork links, ham and all other pig products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.
“The ban started with the new fiscal year last week.
“The Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for running 122 federal penitentiaries and feeding their inmates three meals a day, said the decision was based on a survey of prisoners’ food preferences:
“They just don’t like the taste of pork…
“The National Pork Producers Council isn’t buying it. ‘I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon,’” said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade association, which represents the nation’s hog farmers.
CAIR told the Post that banning pork in federal prisons would accommodate Muslim prisoners:
“’In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,’ said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.’”
Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to eliminate 1,500 jobs to reduce costs and fight back against rivals that are undercutting its prices.
The positions, representing about 1.6 percent of the company’s workforce, will be eliminated over the next eight weeks, with many coming through attrition, the Austin, Texas-based grocery-store chain said Monday in a statement.
Whole Foods is working to keep expenses low so it can offer its organic and natural products at lower prices and beat back an onslaught from mainstream grocers that now carry similar offerings. The company in July reported third-quarter profit and sales that trailed analysts’ estimates as the new competition restrained growth.
Whole Foods fell 1.1 percent to $30.75 at the close in New York. The shares have slid 39 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has lost 8.6 percent.
Co-Chief Executive Officer Walter Robb called the job cuts a “very difficult decision,” and the company said it is paying the workers in full during the next eight weeks.
Whole Foods, which has about 420 locations, has seen its growth slow as traditional supermarkets carry more natural and organic fare. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sells Wild Oats organic foods, while Kroger Co.’s Simple Truth line has reached $1 billion in annual sales.
The company is responding by opening a less-expensive, tech-focused grocery chain called 365 by Whole Foods Market. The first location is set to open next year in Los Angeles.
If you like your food stamps, you can keep your food stamps.
While it seems liberals may think that raising the minimum wage will raise living standards for poor Americans, they should have seen this coming.
With Los Angeles joining Seattle in setting a $15 minimum wage (Los Angeles by 2020, and Seattle by 2021), it stands to reason that McDonald’s would find a way around simply paying workers more, as Vox pointed out the obvious fact that “the reality is that McDonald’s just wants to make money.”
Nothing makes me happier than to see liberals having to have their own policies shoved back in their soy-eating, clove-smoking, soul-patch-wearing smug faces. And that’s exactly what is happening in liberal San Francisco where a minimum wage hike first closed down a bunch of restaurants, and is now encouraging an innovation in self-automated restaurants!
Yes!! iPads!! I don’t see them out front carrying their “fight for $15″ signs! LOL!
More on the Daily Signal:
Want to know what the future of the restaurant industry looks like? It could come in the form of a San Francisco fast food restaurant named Eatsa.
Eatsa is a quinoa (a South American grain dish) eatery that is preparing to automate most of its workforce.
The Ferenstein Wire got a sneak peak at the restaurant, which will be debuting a new healthy fast food prototype in downtown San Francisco. The restaurant promises cheap, healthy food and has customizable menus with an automated experience.
(It’s difficult to describe all the futuristic design elements that go into the delivery process. Eatsa is science fiction in real life.)
Instead of a front counter, customers choose their bowls at a tablet kiosk. Then food pops up in one of a series of translucent cubbyholes a few minutes later.
For now, little of the restaurant is actually automated, but the owners plan to replace a good portion of their cooking and serving workforce with robots in the next year of two.
So Eatsa will function as a test for the feasibility of automated restaurants.
Currently, Eatsa uses a line of chefs working diligently behind the scenes, but their goal is for patrons to be unaware if humans or robots are serving them.
Suck on THAT, minimum wage liberals!! Can’t enjoy the $15 minimum wage when you’re in the unemployment line, right? LOL!!
An 80-year-old Venezuelan woman died, possibly from trampling, in a scrum outside a state supermarket selling subsidized goods, the opposition and media said on Friday.
The melee at the store in Sabaneta, the birthplace of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was the latest such incident in the South American nation where economic hardship and food shortages are creating long queues and scuffles.
The opposition Democratic Unity coalition said Maria Aguirre died and another 75 people were injured – including five security officials – in chaotic scenes when National Guard troops sought to control a 5,000-strong crowd with teargas.
“Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous,” local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, according to the coalition’s website. It published a photo of an elderly woman’s body lying inert on a concrete floor.
Camejo said thieves had also attacked the crowd, members of which were seeking to buy cheap food on offer at an outlet of the state’s Mercal supermarket chain in Barinas state.
There was no confirmation of the incident by authorities.
El Universal newspaper reported that Aguirre was knocked to the ground during jostling in the crowd, while the pro-opposition El Nacional said she was crushed in a stampede.
Another person was killed and dozens detained following looting of supermarkets in Venezuela’s southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana earlier this month.
President Nicolas Maduro accuses opponents of deliberately stirring up trouble, exaggerating incidents, and sabotaging the economy to try and bring down his socialist government.
Critics, though, say incidents of unrest are symptoms of the increasing hardships Venezuela’s 29 million people are facing due to a failed state-led economic model. Low oil prices are exacerbating economic tensions in the OPEC nation.
Environmentalist George Monbiot has sparked debate by skinning, butchering, cooking and eating a squirrel on live TV.
The Guardian columnist attracted criticism after revealing that he had eaten a roadkill squirrel, and later wrote a 2,360-word piece in the newspaper justifying his actions.
“There are millions of squirrels, rabbits, pigeons, deer that are killed every year, and a lot of them are landfilled,” Monbiot said on the BBC’s Newsnight as he butchered a squirrel bought from a farm shop.
“It doesn’t have to be. It’s not very nice! But meat production isn’t. But at least there’s no further ethical problem here.”
He continued: “I’m just cutting through the tail vertebrae – the tail bone in other words – but not the skin. It’s quite a delicate operation, that. A super-sharp knife, by the way.
“The cutting along a little bit each leg. This is a rather fat old squirrel – a lot of meat on it, but the older they are the tougher they get, so they do have to be marinated.”
It’s not the first time Monbiot has controversially grabbed the headlines, having had to make a £25,000 charity settlement with the late Lord McAlpine after wrongly implicating him in the North Wales child sex abuse scandal.
Monbiot issued a full and unreserved apology over a tweet sent to his 56,000 followers, which said: “I looked up Lord #McAlpine on t’internet. It says the strangest things. I can confirm that Lord #McAlpine was Conservative Party Treasurer when Mrs Thatcher was prime minister.”
According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs – the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.
“The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession,” AEI Scholar Mark J. Perry noted in the report.
The citywide minimum wage increase was passed in June of last year. The measure is designed to increase the city minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by 2017. The first increase under the plan was to $11 an hour in April. According to the report, Seattle restaurants have already faced severe consequences as a result. In contrast, in the six years since the 2009 financial crisis, the industry has been recovering in areas without the $15 minimum wage.
“Restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period,” the report also noted. “Restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs.”
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage often argue it will help the poor and stimulate economic activity. Opponents, however, argue such policies will actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. How little or how much of either outcome usually depends on the study. Nevertheless, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees at least some job loss is expected.
Studies also show that industries with low profit margins, like restaurants, are more likely to be hit the hardest. A June report from the investor rating service Moody’s claims the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur.
From rallies to media marketing campaigns, Fight for $15 has led much of the effort to raise the minimum wage in the past year. Though claiming to be a grassroots workers movement, the group is highly influenced and funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The SEIU has been criticized by some, like Worker Center Watch (WCW), for using the Fight for $15 protests as a way of bypassing labor laws to more easily unionize fast food workers. Additionally, according to a report from the Center for Union Facts, a minimum wage increase would benefit the SEIU directly while hurting non-unionized SEIU competitors.
Fight for $15 and the Seattle City Council did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The use of 3D printers has the potential to revolutionize the way food is manufactured within the next 10 to 20 years, experts from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) are claiming.
According to a July 12th symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, advances in 3D printed technology will radically change the way food is produced, impacting everything from how military personnel get food on the battlefield to how long it takes to get a meal from the computer to your table.
“The price of 3D printers has been steadily declining, from more than USD 500,000 in the 1980s to less than USD 1,000 today for a personal-sized device, making them increasingly available to consumers and manufacturers,” researchers said.
“No matter what field you are in, this technology will worm its way in,” said Hod Lipson, a professor of engineering at Columbia University and co-author of the book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing.
“The technology is getting faster, cheaper and better by the minute. Food printing could be the killer app for 3D printing,” said Lipson.
For example, Lipson said, users could choose from a large online database of recipes, put a cartridge with the ingredients into their 3D printer at home, and it would create the dish just for that person.
The user could customise it to include extra nutrients or replace one ingredient with another.
Anshul Dubey, research and development senior manager at PepsiCo, said 3D printing already is having an impact within the company, even though it is not yet being used to make food.
For example, consumer focus groups were shown 3D-printed plastic prototypes of different shaped and colored potato chips. He said using a prototype such as that, instead of just a picture, elicits a more accurate response from the focus group participants.
The US military is just beginning to research similar uses for 3D food printing, but it would be used on the battlefield instead of in the kitchen, said Mary Scerra, food technologist at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Centre (NSRDEC) in Massachusetts.
She said that by 2025 or 2030, the military envisions using 3D printing to customise meals for soldiers that taste good, are nutrient-dense, and could be tailored to a soldier’s particular needs.
“Imagine warfighters in remote areas – one has muscle fatigue, one has been awake for a long period without rest, one lacks calories, one needs electrolytes, and one just wants a pizza,” Scerra said.
“Wouldn’t it be interesting if they could just print and eat?” Scerra said.
She noted that there are still several hurdles to overcome, such as the cost of bringing the technology to remote areas, the logistics of making it work in those locations and, perhaps most importantly, making sure the food tastes good.
The world’s most perfect food may have just arrived!
Researchers from Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center say they’ve created and patented a new type of seaweed that has the potential to be sold commercially as the next big superfood.
The reason? It tastes just like bacon, they claim.
The bizarre but tasty creation is actually a new strain of red marine algae called dulse that is packed full of minerals and protein and looks like red lettuce.
Dulse normally grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines and is harvested, dried and sold as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement.
“Dulse is a superfood, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” said Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business and a member of the team working to develop the product into a foodstuff. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.”
The team began researching ways of farming the new strain of dulse to feed abalone, but they quickly realized its potential to do well in the human-food market.
“There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. But this stuff is pretty amazing,” said chief researcher Chris Langdon. “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”
They’ve received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to explore dulse as a “special crop” and are working with the university’s Food Innovation Center in Portland and several chefs to find out ways dulse could be used as a main ingredient.
Though there is currently no commercial operation that grows dulse for human consumption in the U.S., the team is confident the seaweed superfood could make it big. If it really does taste like bacon, that would be no surprise at all.
Hidden in a New York Times about welfare is a story of success in Maine having to do with a Republican policy, surprise surprise:
As the economy improves, should states continue waivers that were enacted during the recession to allow healthy adults who are not working to get food stamps longer than the law’s time limit? Maine is one of the states that say no.
Last year, the administration of Gov. Paul R. LePage, a Republican, decided to reimpose a three-month limit (out of every three-year period) on food stamps for a group often known as Abawds – able-bodied adults without minor dependents – unless they work 20 hours per week, take state job-training courses or volunteer for about six hours per week. Maine, like other states, makes some exceptions.
“You’ve got to incentivize employment, create goals and create time limits on these welfare programs,” said Mary Mayhew, the commissioner of health and human services in Maine. She said the measure was in line with Mr. LePage’s efforts to reform welfare.
The number of Abawds receiving food stamps in Maine has dropped nearly 80 percent since the rule kicked in, to 2,530 from about 12,000. This time limit is an old one, written into the 1996 federal welfare law. But, during the recession, most states took advantage of a provision that allows them to waive it when unemployment is persistently high, which meant poor adults could stay on the program regardless of their work status.
No doubt some of the “ABAWDs” are facing tougher times without those benefits, but I think most Americans would expect people under those conditions to seek employment if they can. The Democrats keep telling us that Obama has vastly improved the economy (he hasn’t), but if they think that, then shouldn’t we be paying fewer people to be on welfare?
Or maybe I should call them Carnophobes? Clearly they are just hatin’ on meat eaters
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons,” said Alice Walker, author. “They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white or women were created for men.”
See! Eating meat is just like being a racist or sexist!
Go read the rest, it is the same old tired arguments repackaged. As for me, I am going out later and get medieval on a burger!