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General Mills brings back old Trix cereal in all its artificial glory

trix cereal in a bowl

So much for making the recipe more natural. People would rather eat artificial ingredients than give up vibrant colors.

The people have spoken. They’ve had enough of General Mills’ attempts to make its breakfast cereal more natural and want the old version back. In a surprising announcement made last Thursday, the company said it would do precisely that — reintroduce its classic Trix cereal, in all its artificial glory, because that’s what people want.

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Ever since General Mills announced in 2015 that it would start phasing out artificial colors and flavors from all its cereals (an announcement that boosted sales by 6 percent in early 2016 and pleased many shoppers and scientists who have concerns about the health effects of these petroleum-sourced food dyes), there has been a parallel outpouring of protest from committed cereal lovers. People weren’t happy with the way the cereal looked or tasted.

“Part of the problem for Trix was that General Mills’ food scientists said they couldn’t replicate the vibrant red and neon blue-green corn puffs with fruit and vegetable juices. Besides producing a bland color, the juices and extracts gave the cereal a different taste.” (via Wall Street Journal)

The company received a barrage of comments and criticisms, such as “My childhood faded away with the colors of Trix cereal”; “It’s basically a salad now”; and “I genuinely feel bad for the kids that never got to experience the old Trix cereal.” The Wall Street Journal cited Ashley Carara, a mother from Denver, who wrote “Change it back!!!” on Facebook, shortly after the new Trix hit store shelves.

“[Carara] said in an interview Thursday she likes the way the artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup look and taste. The new recipe, not so much. ‘My kids find the color of the new Trix cereal quite depressing,’ she said.”

The decision to go back to making Trix with Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 6 — and giving up on purple carrots, turmeric, and radishes — is a baffling move for those of us who care deeply about ingredient lists and are willing to trade colors and flavors for the peace of mind that comes with eating safer substances; but apparently that’s not the case for many Americans, who are deeply attached to their processed foods and would prefer to eat artificial ingredients than give up familiar vibrant colors.

I don’t understand it, but then — let’s be honest — I’d never buy a box of Trix cereal, whether free from artificial additives or not. I view it as equivalent to a box of sawdust when it comes to nourishing my kids and would not start their day with that. A bowl of porridge is more up my alley.

So maybe the problem is not so much about specific additives as it is about taste preferences, and the fact that many Americans think crispy, sugary cereal constitutes breakfast. As this amusing video from Vox points out, breakfast should really be called dessert because, when it comes to sugar content, it’s all the same.

General Mills has not announced any other reversals in its cereal recipes, such as Fruity Cheerios, which went all-natural recently, as well. WSJ says this is because it hasn’t received as many negative complaints. The company continues to struggle with its Lucky Charms recipe, as the marshmallows are “challenging” to make without artificial dyes. (You don’t say…)

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Let’s unlock the untapped potential among millions of disabled people

 

By Representative Gregg Harper

Capital Hill  September, 2017

It seems that the more time passes, the faster time flies. It feels like just yesterday that my wife, Sidney, and I were bringing home our daughter, Maggie, from the hospital, and then a few years later, our son, Livingston.

 

Through our time as parents, Sidney and I have made it a priority to teach our children the value of hard work, and we feel strongly that time spent on hard work should be valued and appreciated. It has been our privilege to watch Livingston, now 28, learn that appreciation for hard work and persevere despite being diagnosed with an intellectual disability known as Fragile X Syndrome.

 

Through his hard work, Livingston became one of the first graduates of Mississippi State University’s Access Program for students with intellectual disabilities, and now is a dedicated part-time employee at Primoâs Café near our home in Mississippi. Livingston is loved at work for his positive attitude and appreciated for his commitment and enthusiasm.

There are many Americans across the country who are dedicated contributors to the workforce despite having a disabilities. Unfortunately, under current law, these hard-working men and women can be paid less than the lowest legal wage because of their disabilities. This policy is based on a Depression-era mentality embodying low expectations for people with disabilities; however, I know from personal experience that if given the chance to contribute, many Americans with disabilities want to and will help to provide for themselves.

That is why I am proud to have introduced the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act earlier this year. This bill would eliminate an antiquated provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows the Department of Labor to issue special certificates to employers so they can pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. When this program was created in 1938, it was an exercise in charity. Today it is paternalistic and costly while failing in its goal of improving economic freedom and employment for Americans with disabilities.

The TIME Act will responsibly phase out and repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act without raising the minimum wage. The original intent of this provision was to incentivize businesses to hire veterans with disabilities after World War I, but it has failed to achieve this outcome. Rather than increasing the number of workers with disabilities in integrated, community-based jobs at competitive wages, the exemption has stimulated an explosion of nonprofit entities that receive government money, preferential government contracts and even charitable contributions. While they may have good intentions, in reality their business models hold Americans with disabilities back.

Nonprofit entities with special wage certificates usually isolate people with disabilities in what are known as “sheltered workshops,” where they are hidden from the rest of society and usually perform menial jobs that are not available in the competitive economy. Proponents of the sheltered workshop model often argue that these programs offer workers with disabilities the opportunity to learn valuable skills and move on to more competitive and better-paying work. However, research reveals that 95 percent of all workers who start out in sheltered workshops never leave. Additionally, people with disabilities still experience extremely low levels of employment and excessive dependency on government assistance, meaning the program is failing in its purported goals.

Research shows that the sheltered workshop model costs more, despite paying disabled workers less than the minimum wage, but produces less than investments in customized or supported employment in integrated settings. Worse, people with disabilities have to break bad habits they learned in sheltered workshops. This means subminimum wage employment is more than just a step in the wrong direction — it’s two steps back for people with disabilities. It’s time to abandon this broken system.

As a committed conservative, I believe firmly in the rule of law and in the notion that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. Section 14(c) enshrines the idea that those with disabilities are unequal under the law and dooms them to a fate of menial and unfulfilling work for the rest of their lives. The current policy also guarantees that Americans with disabilities will remain dependent on government assistance from programs such as Supplemental Security Income and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These programs are designed to provide for those in extreme poverty; work is supposed to relieve such poverty. Furthermore, taxpayers also have to pay the costs incurred by the Department of Labor to make sure that subminimum-wage employers are complying with the complex rules that govern the special certificate program.

It has been my pleasure to represent the people of the 3rd District of Mississippi since 2009 and to advance conservative policies and values while doing so. There is no more conservative value than to insist that all people have the opportunity to work hard, compete and succeed in the marketplace on the same terms as everyone else. The TIME Act would not only achieve this objective; it would unlock currently untapped human potential among the millions of disabled people who want to work and compete for good jobs, reduce their reliance on government assistance, and shrink the size of the federal government.

This issue goes to the heart of what it means to pursue personal and economic freedom and to achieve the American dream. Section 14(c) stands in the way of allowing many, just like Livingston, to do that and therefore should be responsibly phased out by passing the TIME Act. With a national employment rate of just 35.2 percent for the disabled, it’s clear that the current model is broken. Our disabled Americans should have the opportunity to earn the same wages as their colleagues. Now is the time to act.

Harper represents Mississippi’s 3rd District.

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/labor/350125-lets-unlock-the-untapped-potential-among-millions-of-disabled

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Avoid Cyber Attacks: 5 Best Practices From SEC And FINRA

Regulators agree that cybersecurity threats pose significant risks to financial firms, investors and the markets. As a result, cybersecurity practices are a key focus for regulatory examinations this year for both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At the recent 2017 FINRA Annual Conference, David Kelley, Surveillance Director, Kansas City District Office, FINRA, moderated a panel of Richard Hannibal, Assistant Director, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Stephanie Mumford, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Legal Counsel, T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., and Andy Zolper, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Raymond James Financial, Inc. to provide guidance on cybersecurity practices for the financial services industry.

What Cybersecurity Lapses Are Regulators Finding During Exams?

“Cybersecurity is a huge priority for the SEC” said Hannibal. About one third of examined firms had client losses that were cyber-related, but fortunately, they were not large amounts. The SEC is also seeing problems with third-party wires where employees fail to properly authenticate customers’ requests. The majority of the firms examined by the SEC had unauthorized external distributions of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as deliveries of information to the wrong customer, or to the wrong persons within the firm. As of exams conducted through May, the SEC had not identified ransomware as a problem, but that could change at any time. The SEC has also has seen issues with phish emails and spear phishing. They also have heard that firms’ employees are clicking on problematic attachments in more than 20 percent of time. “There is work to be done to better protect firms” concluded Hannibal.

Best Practices

Mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks at your firm through these five best practices:

1. Governance

“Our first job was educating the Board and different committees about cyber on what can happen and identifying all the risks associated with it” said Mumford. Zolper agreed, “We have tightly integrated our cybersecurity risk with our overall risk management. We don’t want to add a different language and a different process and different reporting channel for cyber-related risks.” He said that depending on your cybersecurity maturity, your firm may need to place extra focus to level-set the risk. However, your goal is the Board embraces cyber as another risk that needs to be managed.

FINRA has found that Boards are actively engaged around cybersecurity . In fact, some are trying to increase their expertise in this area by attracting new Board members, particularly for Boards that don’t have anybody with background in the IT space. They recognize the need, said Kelley. However, FINRA saw that two-thirds of firms had deficiencies or weakness in their policies and procedures during their exams. Some policies weren’t specific. Other failed to articulate the procedures for implementing some of the policies. “There’s still more work to be done” said Kelley.

2. Risk Assessment

Risk assessment should be an ongoing process as opposed to a single point in time. Firms should gather and evaluate indicators of potential risks on a monthly, quarterly and annually basis. Firms should also look to what’s happening at other firms and other industries said Zolper. “I’m a huge advocate of collaborating with other firms” he continued. In fact, he said that FINRA has been helpful bringing CISOs together to talk about cybersecurity and other issues. Zolper also suggested tapping Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) for daily strategic threat intelligence on what’s going around in cyber. Real-time communication between firms “turns the tide on attackers” because they can tune their defenses accordingly, concluded Zolper. In addition to belonging to FS-ISAC, FINRA has also seen firms get together with other firms, not just broker dealers, to talk about the issues that they’re seeing. “ The more you can learn about what’s going on, the better ” Kelley added.

3. Cybersecurity Training

“Employees are the biggest risk for firms” Hannibal said. Based on what the SEC is seeing during exams, he provided some tips. Training needs to be conducted regularly, not just once a year. It also needs to be varied, both in method (such as in-person, email, blogs) and with different topics (such as passwords or visitor access) to engage your employees. Tailor the training by staff role, and include both registered and non-registered persons. Make training practical and relevant. Use prior mistakes as examples. Show employees what good cyber hygiene looks like so they may bring those practices home with them to protect their families and home systems. Training also needs to be engaging and interactive. Some firms have interactive approaches to help employees really understand. Don’t just say “don’t click on a suspicious email”. Everybody nods their head, but that doesn’t mean they get it. You need to provide a whole lot more detail to educate employees. Some firms test their employees by sending phishing emails to see if they will click on links. The employees who click are then required to take additional training. If they don’t change their behavior, their supervisor may need to sit down with them at some point to explain the importance of cybersecurity said Hannibal.

4. Access Management

Regulators are interested in how people gain access to data, systems and facilities . The SEC is seeing that firms are conducting reviews of access rights periodically, said Hannibal. But probably half the firms did not follow policies and procedures for terminating access rights or they inadvertently provided unauthorized system access to users contrary to firm policy. He also said that a surprising number of firms were working on multifactor authentication (“something you know and something that you have”) but had not addressed that fully. FINRA also sees firms, large and small, struggle with access management, said Kelley. When FINRA conducts exams, firms are asked how people get granted access to systems and data. How is that being monitored on an ongoing basis?  When employees change jobs, how quickly is their access changed? What are the processes? Firms are asked about whether they are using multifactor authentication from outside, or even internally. “The absolute best practice is any remote access to your core network should be protected by two-factor authentication” said Zolper. Also, educate people about personal protections. Train them to turn on two-factor authentication everywhere they can, including personal email, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Although it works on those platforms, very few people use it, in spite of anxiety around cyber security, said Zolper.

5. Vendor Management

FINRA sees that firms have policies regarding vendor selection and oversight, but probably half do not have policies that address security training for vendors that are authorized to access their network. Although most vendors provide risk management and performance reports, small firms report that they lack the necessary power to negotiate with bigger players, said Kelley. Risk from vendors needs to be addressed and constantly vetted and assessed said Mumford. She said that pre-set standards can be applied at different stages that vendors go through: planning, due diligence, selection, contract negotiations, ongoing relationships, and termination. Zolper added that one idea is to require the business to obtain permission before bringing on any new vendor that handles, touches, or stores data. To make it easier, create a list of pre-approved vendors. As a firm, you’re constantly looking for ways to make those vendor management polices more mature and effective concluded Zolper.

To better understand cyber trends across the financial services industry and how you can better protect your firm, here are some resources for your review: Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations, SEC Cybersecurity, FINRACybersecurity and FS-IAISC

Follow Joanna on Twitter @Belbey

 

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Did Jennifer Lawrence Say Hurricanes Are ‘Nature’s Wrath’ Against Trump?

Right-wing web sites misrepresented Lawrence’s assertion that climate change is caused by human activity.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence blamed recent hurricanes in the U.S. on President Trump.

In September 2017, right-wing websites accused actress Jennifer Lawrence of blaming President Trump for the deadly hurricanes that recently ravaged several Caribbean nations along with Texas and Florida.

Newsbusters, for example, reported that Lawrence said “‘Mother Nature’s Rage’ Directed at U.S. Because of Trump.” Two days later, Fox News host Tucker Carlson dedicated a segment to Lawrence’s purported comments with an accompanying online article headline that reads, “Tucker Slams ‘Out of Touch’ Jennifer Lawrence for Linking Hurricanes to Trump.” In the segment, Carlson and his guest poke fun at Lawrence for suffering from what they call “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

The false rumor is a twisted version of comments that Lawrence made during an interview on British television to promote her new movie Mother!, a psychological thriller that uses climate change as a central metaphor.

During the interview, Lawrence said science has demonstrated that climate change is the result of human activity. When prompted by the interviewer, she added that she was troubled by the 2016 presidential election results. She never mentioned President Trump by name in that interview, but within hours various publications were sensationalizing it with commentary claiming the actress blamed him for hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which struck southeast Texas and Florida in late August and early September.

It didn’t take long for the rumor to spread to more traditionally mainstreampublications like the New York Daily News and celebrity site Us Weekly, which put the false claim in their headlines. The British publication The Independent further took liberties with the actress’s comments by reporting, inaccurately:

Jennifer Lawrence has suggested that it is difficult not to feel as though the devastating hurricanes in Texas and approaching Florida are signs of “Mother Nature’s rage and wrath” at America for electing Donald Trump.

The Independent story has an even more misleading headline if one sees it in a Google search result:

Here is a transcript of the actual exchange:

Long: When the director was asked about the film, why it was so dark, he said, “It’s a mad time to be alive.” And there’s certainly a sort of end-of-days feeling about it. For many people in America who would say perhaps it’s true there at the moment than anywhere else. I mean what are your thoughts about the changes that have happened in your own country over the last year or so?

Lawrence: It’s scary, you know, it’s this new language that’s forming. I don’t even recognize it. It’s also scary to know — it’s been proven through science that human activity — that climate change is due to human activity and we continue to ignore it and the only voice that we really have is through voting. Um, so —

Long: And you have voted —

Lawrence: And we voted, and it was really startling. You know, you’re watching these hurricanes now, and it’s really — it’s hard, especially while promoting this movie not to feel Mother Nature’s rage, or wrath.

On 10 September 2017, Lawrence herself responded to the controversy on her official Facebook page, writing:

My remarks were taken grossly out of context. Obviously I never claimed that President Trump was responsible for these tragic hurricanes. That is a silly and preposterous headline that is unfortunate, because it detracts from the millions of lives that are being impacted by these devastating storms and the recent earthquake. What is really important is focusing on the ways we can help. My heart is with everyone affected and the brave first responders who are working to keep us all safe. Please join me in donating to:
United Way of Houston https://www.unitedwayhouston.org
Save The Children www.savethechildren.org
Americares https://www.americares.org

During the interview, Lawrence did express sadness in the failure to adequately address climate change and environmental degradation and said that the power to do so comes from Americans’ ability to vote for their elected leaders.

President Trump has been on the record denying climate change and has selected fellow climate change deniers to head key agencies like the EPA and NASA. However, although Lawrence has made it no secret she is not a supporter of the president, she didn’t blame him for the recent hurricanes.

 

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Illegal Forever? I’m tired of the bull. I need to research this myself.

OK, I have heard enough hearsay and fake news. I want to know.

I AM SERIOUSLY ASKING ALL OF MY HIGHLY INTELLIGENT OPINIONATED FRIENDS TO HELP ME DO ACTUAL HARD RESEARCH. PLEASE GIVE ME SOURCES TO BACK YOUR STATEMENTS.

What is the actual process for someone who entered the country illegally, 25 years ago.  If they worked their asses of and did everything right, by the book, could they now be legal citizens?

If  you have been watching FOX news or CNN you have been getting a spin.  Half of what I hear tells me that if you entered the country you are illegal forever and must get the hell out of here no matter what you have done right your entire life.  Another half, tells me that if you are still illegal you (or your parents) have been lazy and have not taken advantage of the plethora of opportunities that have come  and gone over those 25 years.

So what is the story?  Is it different in different states?  Different in Texas than California?

Were there naturalization opportunities that no longer exist?

Were the people who didn’t take advantage of these opportunities lazy, or scared to death?

Was that fear real or imagined, or a bit of both?

Are there different opportunities for engineers than gardeners?

If DACA goes away are we going to be deporting your dental assistant?

For Goodness sake, are our vegetables in danger of rotting in the fields?

Will Trump have to start mowing his own lawn?

 

Who knows the laws and the history?  What is real and what is spin?

Digame!

 

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Desperate dog needed shelter from the storm — and ended up finding a real home

Abandoned dog standing on Florida doorstep

The dog may have been wandering for a month before showing up in a Florida suburb. (Photo: amiawifeorasword/Imgur)

Some dogs wander by mistake. Other dogs are dumped in an unknown neighborhood ahead of one of the biggest natural disasters America has ever seen.

Such was the case with this dog, who found herself in central Florida just days before Hurricane Irma rampaged through the state.

If ever a stranger needed shelter from a storm, it was this crumpled castaway. Fortunately, a user on Imgur who goes by “Amiawifeorasword” left a light on to lead the way.

“While I was out prepping our yard for big Irma badness here in central Florida I saw this sweetie across the street,” she writes in a post. “I called to her like I would any dog and she cautiously walked over. Even looked both ways before crossing the street. She’s a smart cookie.”

Smart enough, it seems, to find just the right person at just the right time.

The dog, guessed to be under a year old, turned out to be ferociously hungry. “She went through three bowls of food and two cups of water before taking a breath.”

Dog eating food on front porchThe dog ate three full bowls of food right away. (Photo: amiawifeorasword/Imgur)

And she wore her suffering on her sleeve — literally. Her skin was scuffed, her paws bleeding, her fur painfully matted. There was tar stuck to her backside.

Whatever the dog had gone through had left her with a healthy distrust of strangers. Still, she trotted through the open front door — and showed every sign of wanting to open her heart.

“She got pretty snuggly after being fed,” the woman recalls. “As far as even putting her paw on my arm and dragging it back to her chest whenever I paused for a moment.”

Then came the very necessary bath. (Noooo, bawled the strange dog!)

And the clippers. (Noooo!)

But, little by little, the woman put the newcomer at ease.

“Once she realized we were helping not hurting she stopped fighting us,” she notes. “It must have felt so good to have those matts released from her pulling her skin.”

Dog laying on couch with another smaller dogIt took a couple of tries to coax the dog into the bath tub. (Photo: amiawifeorasword/Imgur)

But aside from that cavernous belly, there was another big emptiness in this dog. Where did she come from? Did she have a home? A family?

According to her post, the woman took to social media and, after spreading word far and wide, she thought she had found the dog’s original owners.

Apparently, they didn’t want the dog any more. In fact, the dog appeared to have gone through several families before unceremoniously getting spit out along the side of the road. To fend for herself. In an entirely different city. A month ago.

Sure, some dogs do wander by mistake. But it seemed that there was a grand, if painful, design for this dog. The woman who finally found her knew that there would be no more wandering, scavenging, day-to-day scrounging for this dog.

She decided to keep her.

Named Amaterasu, or Amy for short, the dog with the “one floppy ear” has a permanent spot on the couch — as well as a paw, that seems just as permanently attached to her rescuer.

Dog snuggling woman on couchNamed Amaterasu — Amy for short — the dog seems to want to be in physical contact with her rescuer at all times. (Photo: amiawifeorasword/Imgur)

“She has to be touching me even in her sleep,” the woman notes.

And no hurricane shall come between them.

“So here we sit,” the woman adds. “Waiting out the storm and thanking the doggo gods for bringing us yet another source of happiness.”

Dog on couch.All cleaned up, Amy found a forever refuge with her new family. (Photo: amiawifeorasword/Imgur)

 

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