U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) takes important step toward new voting system guidelines

Washington, DC – A set of 17 core voting system functions that will guide the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) next generation of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) was adopted this week by the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC). The unanimous vote came during a meeting called by the EAC and chaired by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It comes as the Department of Homeland Security has affirmed its intent to maintain designation of election systems as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

“The need to protect America’s voting systems has never been more apparent,” said EAC Commissioner Matthew Masterson, who is the designated federal officer for the committee. “We are pleased the TGDC was unanimous in its vote to approve the proposed scope for the next set of guidelines, putting us another step closer to finalizing the next generation of standards used to test voting systems. These will be the most advanced standards against which a voting system can be tested in the United States, ensuring improved security, accessibility and auditability of the next generation of voting systems. Even better, these new guidelines are designed to spur innovations that allow local election officials to give voters the best experience possible.”

What are VVSG?

VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if the systems meet required standards. Some factors examined under these tests include functionality, accessibility, accuracy, auditability and security capabilities. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that EAC develop and maintain these requirements as well as testing and certifying voting systems. On December 13, 2005, the EAC unanimously adopted the 2005 VVSG, which significantly increased security requirements for voting systems and expanded access, including opportunities for individuals with disabilities to vote privately and independently. The 2005 guidelines updated and augmented the 2002 Voting System Standards, as required by HAVA, to address advancements in election practices and computer technologies. These guidelines were again updated by the EAC’s Commissioners on March 31, 2015.

About the new VVSG

The new VVSG are slated to be complete by 2018. These guidelines are voluntary. States may decide to adopt them entirely or in part prior to the effective date. The structure of the new VVSG reflects modifications proposed by the election community, EAC, NIST and the TGDC, which is comprised of election officials, voting system manufacturers, disability experts, cyber security experts, technology experts, and other key election stakeholders. The new guidelines are a nimble high level set of principles that will be supplemented by accompanying documents that detail specific requirements for how systems can meet the new guidelines and obtain certification. The supplemental documents will also detail  assertions for how the accredited test laboratories will validate that the system complies with those requirements. The new VVSG structure is anticipated to be:

  • Principles:    High level system design goals;
  • Guidelines:   Broad description of the functions that make up a voting system;
  • Requirements:   Technical details necessary for manufacturers to design devices that meet the principles and guidelines of a voting system;
  • Test Assertions:    Technical specifications required for laboratories to test a voting system against the requirements.

During this week’s meeting, the TGDC also had the opportunity to hear from the Department of Homeland Security about how the department’s new critical infrastructure designation may impact local election officials. The discussion marked the first time DHS and local election officials and other stakeholders had the opportunity to talk about the designation and revealed next steps in the process, including the creation of working groups that DHS plans to convene to inform its recommendations and services. Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the EAC’s Testing and Certification program, which is the most successful and most implemented voting machine testing and certification program in the nation.

The Testing and Certification program was a requirement of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, legislation that created the EAC and mandated that the commission provide certification, decertification, and recertification of voting systems, as well as the accreditation of voting system testing laboratories.  This marked the first time the federal government assumed responsibility for these activities, a step that allowed states to procure new certified voting systems without the added expense of independent testing and certification. At least 47 states now use the EAC’s Testing and Certification program in some way when deciding which voting system to procure, and over the past decade, it has handled 58 certification campaigns in coordination with 15 voting system vendors. The TGDC is expected to convene again in late summer 2017.

About the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.

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LGBTQ students benefit from point foundation scholarship

Los Angeles, February 14, 2017 –  Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduate students are enrolled at community colleges, which are an increasingly important springboard for advancing to a bachelor’s degree. To help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) students transfer to a four-year degree program, Point Foundation (Point) welcomes applications for its Community College Scholarship starting March 1.  Scholarships like this help community college students advance / transition easier to four-year degree programs.

Students selected for the program will receive up to a $3,700 financial award, opportunities to network with the Point community, and the opportunity to attend the Point Community College Transfer Symposium in Los Angeles. Fill out the application online beginning March 1.

“Affordability is only one of the roadblocks to a college degree,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “LGBTQ students, particularly those from low-income families, immigrants, and people of color, often feel alone as they try to navigate a path to higher education. Point’s goal is to provide LGBTQ students practical guidance and the emotional support that comes from knowing people want them to succeed and are here to help.”  

Point launched its Community College Scholarship in 2016 with pioneering support from its longtime partner Wells Fargo. By continuing to invest in education via Point Foundation scholarships and programs, Wells Fargo is helping to empower and enrich disenfranchised individuals and communities. Profiles of Point’s 2016 Community College Scholarship recipients and current application information are online at pointfoundation.org/communitycollege.

The 2017 class of Point Foundation Community College Scholarship recipients will be announced in  June for LGBTQ Pride Month. Point will also announce in June its 2017 class of  Point Foundation Scholars; a program of multifaced support for LGBTQ students completing four-year and/or advanced degree programs.

About Point Foundation

Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society. Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit and has awarded scholarships to over 300 recipients since 2002. The Foundation promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development and community service training. You can connect with the foundation in the following ways:

Pointfoundation.org | Facebook/pointfoundation | Twitter/pointfoundation | Instagram/pointfoundation   #pointfoundation

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TimerCaps: How do you curb opioid abuse? | Overdose epidemic

There has been plenty of chatter by the media these days but preventative solutions for the opioid crisis is one to pay close attention to. People need to be aware of the simple tools such as the TimerCap that help prevent, under/over dosing, household diversion and create positive long-term medication habits with medication in bottles they are dispensed in.

How can TimerCaps help under and over dosing of medication?

✔    Monitor of last dosage – Disoriented and cognitively impaired patients need a tool to know last dose and when it is safe to take another or resume.

✔    Managing medication in the bottles they are dispensed. Medication and labeling should be together for the highest level of patient safety.

    Lift Adherence (Taking medication as prescribed) – Proven to lift adherence by up to 33%

✔    Detection of household diversion –  Child Safety packaging does not address the at risk children from 6 – 16.

✔    Deterrent of unwanted openings  –   A greater likelihood of being caught reduces the attempts of diversion.

✔    Habituation for long-term adherence  – Per the CVS Study the first 60 days determines long-term adherence patterns. 

As doctors and pharmacies are being scrutinized, restrictions and unifying databases are being mandated, the main culprit is not being addressed. The patients that are mentally impaired by the opioids need tools for monitoring their last drug intake. What gets measured gets done, making the patient’s part of the solution from the beginning by giving them the right tools to be responsible with their drug intake. What we know is that patients disoriented on opioids in traditional packaging and forced to find external means of tracking are not working.

Cognitively impaired patients need automatic timers that count up since last opened to let patients and caregivers truly monitor usage to prevent unintended abuse, household diversion detection, and to know when it is safe again to use a motor vehicle.  Opioid needs to stay in containers they are dispensed in for most safety with all vital information such as: patient, medication name, pill descriptions, dosage, and side effects in case of an emergency.

Traditional dispensing in bottles with generic cap is analogues of giving a person an automobile without a speedometer. Sure they can read the posted speed signs but without a speedometer they have no way of knowing how fast or slow they are going so they can appropriately self-correct.  They can only guess or find out when pulled over by enforcement, this is what is happening to opioid patients they are already impaired and have no way to track their last usage.

The TimerCap is a cap with a built-in stopwatch, it resets every time you close the container and begins to count up to display time passed since last closed.  This means the cap is not competing with labeling instructions, foolproof as it starts and resets every time it opens. Bottomline: This is simple enough for anyone to use without instructions and inexpensive.

TimerCaps are inexpensive and have been proven to help patients take their medication as prescribed and is the perfect tool for opioid tracking and diversion detection.  This keep medication and labeling in the container  its dispensed in for most safety, keeping all vital information such as: patient, medication name, pill descriptions, dosage, side effects, warnings, prescribing doctor, pharmacy, and refill information.  This makes it simple for easy identification of medications and time of last dosage in case of emergency.

Watch Larry Twersky, the CEO of TimerCap LLC speak on this matter and explain why the TimerCap helps curb opioid abuse:

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‘Doomsday Clock’ is 2 1/2 minutes to midnight

Is the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight? Global Zero says yes. If you are unfamiliar with the Doomsday Clock, it marks how close humanity is to the start of nuclear war. This week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the infamous Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, marking the increased likelihood of global catastrophe. The Doomsday Clock now stands at 2-and-a-half minutes to midnight. This is the closest the world has been to the brink, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, since the United States and the Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs in 1953.

In reaction to the Bulletin’s decision, Derek Johnson, the executive director of the international Global Zero movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued this statement:

The decision to move the Doomsday Clock is alarming, but not surprising. This is due in part to rising geopolitical tensions and the enormous nuclear modernization programs that are pending in many nuclear-armed countries, including the United States.”Johnson continues A single modern nuclear weapon has more destructive force than all of the bombs detonated in World War II combined. There are 15,000 of these weapons in the world today, and 95% of them are now under the absolute control of two authoritarian nationalists. Today’s decision to move the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight makes it crystal clear this is no time to ‘wait and see.’ We must act urgently to roll back the Clock and reduce the risk of nuclear catastrophe. And the only way to completely eliminate that risk is to eliminate the weapons globally.

As an immediate next step, Global Zero recently endorsed the Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (H.R. 669), which requires a Congressional declaration of war prior to launching nuclear weapons except in response to an incoming nuclear attack. The legislation would limit the ability to start a nuclear war on a leader of the free world’s own initiative, which the current system allows.

A petition to #RollBackTheClock and support the bill was launched todayEarlier this year, Global Zero co-founder and former nuclear launch officer Dr. Bruce Blair published a startling piece in POLITICO outlining various nuclear scenarios facing now-President Trump and highlighting the inherent danger of U.S. reliance on a “red button” nuclear system primed for first-strike and rapid-launch.

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Benefits of TimerCaps: Fighting Opioid Addiction | Opioid Epidemic

New Horizon TimerCap Assembly3

At the beginning of 2016, President Obama made a commitment to invest $1.1 billion to help address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic but what is the status of the fight against opioid at the start of 2017?  Opioid and heroin addiction is destructive to the core of community wellness. The addiction destroys lives and tears apart families and communities alike. In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses— nearly 900 died in Maryland. It is clear communities can no longer ignore this public health emergency. With additional government funding states could fund more prevention and treatment programs to stop this epidemic in its tracks.

In 2016 House Republicans joined with Democrats to pass several bills to address the opioid crisis, but none of these bills provided the essential funding that partners on the frontlines of this crisis need. More can be done and must be done. That is why the  Opioid and Heroin Abuse Crisis Investment Act was introduced to provide more than $1 billion in new federal resources to combat the causes and effects of the opioid epidemic, including $930 million to expand access to medication-assisted treatment in every state and $50 million to expand substance use treatment capacity. This epidemic has become a runaway train barreling through every family and every community in its path and the stakes are high.

July 2016, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) with sweeping bipartisan support.  This was an important and meaningful step in the nation’s efforts to address its prescription opioid and heroin public health crisis. The House of Representatives passed CARA with an overwhelming 407-5 vote.  The Senate followed suit with a near unanimous vote of 92-2.  The bill will fund grants for treatment expansion for opioid use disorder through recovery networks, strengthen state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, and increase the availability of opioid overdose reversal drugs.

Also there are provisions to provide services for pregnant and postpartum women and monitor access to treatment for veterans. The legislation also requires a task force to identify best practices for pain management and encourages new research on this topic. But the association and social workers must continue to ensure that funding is sustained for the activities outlined in CARA.  As The White House noted in its response to CARA’s passage, 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdose and states are in need of dedicated funding sources to provide adequate access to treatment and support services like the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

What will it take to overcome the Opioid Epidemic?

The opioid epidemic is a major problem due to inadequate packaging because Medicare and payers are being short-sighted. Today, all CVS, Rite Aid and other major pharmacies have a preventive solution they are not getting paid to carry out because Medicare and payers refuse to pay for compliance packaging on opioids.  In other words the unwillingness to reimburse is causing, contributing and exacerbating the opioid epidemic unnecessarily.

Larry Twesky TimerCaps to fight opioid addiction

CEO of TimerCap LLC, Larry Twesky, leads a compliance packaging company that makes it possible for people to track their medications on the bottle that opioids are dispensed in while keeping vital labeling information. Their product is being sold in about 13,000 pharmacies around the country and doctors and the Surgeon General are not talking about it because Medicare doesn’t cover compliance packaging.

According to Persistence Market Research, the opioids market is estimated to account for $42 billion dollars by 2021 and the organization Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, states nearly 21 million Americans struggle with substance addictions.


Timer_Cap_Fight_Opioid_addiction.jpgEvery 19 minutes an American dies from an opioid or heroin overdose. The consequences of this abuse have been drastic as the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has quadrupled in the United States since 1999. One of the biggest causes of opioid addiction is that less than 50% of patients take their medications as directed, with the biggest cause of that being forgetfulness.


On-going solutions for fighting opioid

TimerCap, a California-based company is offering a solution to prevent opioid addiction. They offer a vial cap, sized to fit most pharmacy vials, with a built-in LCD timer, that automatically keeps track of the time passed. The vial cap is useful to help people remember when they last took their medication or also indicate that someone else wrongly opened the vial. The TimerCap is the compliance packaging that is needed to prevent opioid abuse and available at all CVS and Rite Aid locations. It is important that more people be reminded there are simple and inexpensive solutions to remember when they last took their medication, which would reduce opioid abuse. Learn more about TimerCap.

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Live Twitter Chat #BeatTheCold: Jan 18th – Winter safety steps for cold weather

Knowing the right steps to take to keep safe during cold weather alert days could help you or someone you love. Join the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch for the #BeatTheCold cold weather and winter safety chat on Wednesday January 18th, 12-1:30pm. You can get an alert for the chat start time right on Facebook by RSVPing to the #BeatTheCold event page now. Looking forward to tweeting you then on all things winter safety and cold injury prevention.

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How women can overcome the gender wage gap

Do you know women who work full-time earn .79 cents for every dollar a man makes? The gender wage gap debate is something economist long to resolve. In other words, a woman makes $39,621 dollars for a man that makes $50,383.To close a wage gap, we need more data on how the wage gap impacts women with different educational levels, different ages and work in different fields.

If you are a woman who doesn’t want to play the gender wage gap game, Fromgirltogirl encourages you to pursue occupations in science and technology versus business professions. More than less, women almost experience no pay gap in science and technology professions because those are self-directed occupations and offer more flexibility than a 9 to 5. In the business world, a woman has to either work a 9 to 5 or longer work shift. So for young women in college, pursue occupations in STEM ( Science, Technology, Education and Medicine). It will be worth the investment to get as much education in these fields in the long haul when you have to make hard choices on starting a family, managing family affairs and more later in life. Watch this video for more information:

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MADE bY DWC helps women overcoming homelessness in Skid Row LA

Friday, December 9, one of our favorite charities MADE by DWC ( Downtown Women’s Center) hosted a holiday party “Winter Illuminations,” to help women overcoming homelessness in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The event took place at MADE by DWC’s resale boutique, a Downtown LA retailer offering vintage and contemporary women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. The boutique also carries MADE by DWC’s signature handMADE product line of all-natural soaps, soy candles, journals, and gift sets. All proceeds support the programs and services of the Downtown Women’s Center. The Winter Illuminations: MADE by DWC is an annual holiday shopping party. I hope those in the Los Angeles area can attend year after year. If don’t leave in the LA area, you can always shop online.

Fromgirltogirl loves shopping to end homelessness and connecting with others to support community empowerment during an evening of amazing deals on clothing, accessories, gifts and complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cider while you shop.

You can find MADE by DWC Resale Boutique at 325 S. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information on how you can help the homeless, reach out to Rachel Kassenbrock, RachelK@DowntownWomensCenter.org, 213-213-2809.


About MADE by DWC

MADE by DWC is a social enterprise created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to break the cycles of chronic unemployment and homelessness by empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities, and to generate economic and social capital to support programs at DWC. MADEbyDWC.org

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How to overcome Back To School Stress | Anxiety Prevention Guide for Families

Dr. Bradley Nelson back-to-school tips for overcoming stress and anxiety
Author and international lecturer in bio-energetic medicine and energy psychology, Dr. Bradley Nelson offers advice on how to overcome back-to-school stress.

For families across America, the back to school season can be very stressful. Some stress is associated  with the renewed pressure of academics while other forms of stress are tied with extracurricular activities and social situations. In particular children with learning disabilities have trouble overcoming back to school stress, but veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson has great advice to help parents and children alike clear away emotional baggage to help them learn better, feel happier and reach their goals of having a successful school year experience.

Dr. Nelson specializes in helping people of all ages release “trapped emotions” – unresolved emotions from negative life experiences that can affect a person’s health, happiness and ability to learn. He and the thousands of healing practitioners he has trained worldwide frequently work with children diagnosed with Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other conditions which can hinder learning and development. Parents searching for holistic ways to help their kids overcome such problems are finding success with The Body Code, a system Dr. Nelson developed to help kids without having to resort to medication.

“Learning disabilities can affect listening and speaking, reading, writing and spelling, reasoning, concentration and mathematics,” Dr. Nelson says. “Some common imbalances children have that contribute to learning disabilities include social and emotional problems, nutritional deficiencies and toxins from processed foods and environmental sources. All of these can be discovered and addressed with The Body Code.”

Dr. Nelson teaches parents how to use these methods to help not only kids diagnosed with learning disabilities and delays, but all children struggling with any kind of anxiety over school. For instance, releasing trapped emotions can help children shift out of a fear of starting kindergarten, let go of negative feelings around upsetting past events and become relaxed, confident and better able to learn.  As a holistic physician, Dr. Nelson also provides nutritional guidance for parents on how to eliminate processed and chemical-laden foods that may contribute to children’s learning and emotional problems. To learn more visit his website DrBradleyNelson.com.

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Garlic Pepper Seasoned Chicken Wings Recipe | Fitness Diet

 If you need a quick dinner idea, these garlic pepper season chicken wings will do the trick. I roll the seasoning to each marinated wing ( do this overnight for best results). From there you have two ways to cook them – by oven or grilling. I chose the oven ( takes a total of 45 minutes) because I didn’t have to be as attentive, but grilling takes slightly less time (approx. 20-30 minutes).

If you are going the oven route, apply a non-stick spray to a sheet pan and place the chicken wings on it. Pre-Heat the oven to 450F degrees. When you are ready to bake, you will cook the wings for 20 minutes on one side and rotate the wings to the other side, cooking more for 15 minutes. Basically you will want to cook your chicken wings until they are 165F degrees is reached by a thermometer.

If you are grilling, pre-heat your grill on med-high heat for 10 minutes then reduce to med-heat to grill the wings. Keep in mind flats will cook faster than drum and you will have to turn often, cooking approx. 20-30 minutes.

Here is a list of seasoning I used ( use according to your health and taste preferences):

  • Sugar ( or honey… 2 teaspoons of honey is all you really need) – I use honey as I try to stay away from artificial sugar. Or you can simplly buy a honey marinade to save you time.
  • Sea Salt ( don’t over do it)
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Black Pepper (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper)
  • Garlic
  • Chopped Onion ( pick your favorite…a traditional choice are green onions when you want a garnish)
  • Paprika
  • Your choice of oil ( I love using extra virgin olive oil or safflower oil for chicken)
  • 2 pounds of chicken wings is enough to feed a family of four ( can get great deals on quality chicken at Costco )

For best results, marinate chicken overnight. Feel free to drizzle fresh lemon over chicken once you finish baking or grilling. Hope you enjoy this finger-licking treat. Simple to make , full of flavor and a healthy eat for the entire family. Use the below hashtags to share with us your chicken wing results as well as your own wing recipes! Enjoy!

#fitness #HealthyEats #HealthyLiving#fg2g #recipes

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