Today, Kevin reveals how the government is ‘helping’ the economy by letting you get sick and why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
EPA Still Evades Zonolite Warnings
Toxin From Receipts May Lurk in Cash
HIV-Positive Porn Actor Wants Mandatory Condoms
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers On The Rise
Gut Bacteria & Obesity May Be Linked
People Consume Up to 46 Teaspoons of Sugar a Day!
Swimming Pool Disinfectants Linked To Cancer
Americans Bombarded With Cancer Causing Chemicals
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April 18, 2012
By Bill Chappell
“KT has talked this many times. Take an hour walk each day. But not a leisurely little stroll, walk like you mean business.” –KTRN
“Americans now walk the least of any industrialized nation in the world,” says writer Tom Vanderbilt. To find out why that is, Vanderbilt has been exploring how towns are built, how Americans view walking — and what might be done to get them moving around on their own two feet.
Talking with Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep about what is wrong with Americans’ relationship with walking, Vanderbilt says, “The main thing is, we’re just not doing enough of it.”
“We’ve engineered walking out of our existence and everyday life,” Vanderbilt says. “I even tried to examine the word ‘pedestrian,’ and it’s always had sort of this negative connotation — that it was always better to be on a horse or something, if you could manage it.”
In a series of stories for Slate about “The Crisis in American Walking,” Vanderbilt writes about pedestrian life in America, from “sidewalk science” to possible ways to make the U.S. less car-centric. And he finds that what started as a push for convenience has become a difficult problem, as many parts of the country are now designed specifically for cars, not pedestrians.
And while Americans have cut down on walking, they’ve been putting on some pounds. A recent study found that about 35 percent of adult Americans are obese, as NPR’s Shots blog reported in January. That equals “more than 78 million adults and more than 12 million children.”
April 13, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
You already know that the McLarge burger you’re stuffing in your face isn’t healthy for you. What you may not know, however, is that all that fast food is doing more than just expanding your waistline – it could be giving you a serious case of depression as well.
A study of some 8,964 people found that eating junk and fast food has a negative effect on mental health.
Some of our American favorites – burgers, pizza, hot dogs – are on the list of fast or non-nutritional foods that contribute to a darker mood. In fact, the study found that people who eat those foods often were 51 percent more likely to become depressed, as evidenced by http://www.webmd.com, among other signs and symptoms.
Even small quantities are bad for you
The study also found that those most likely to over-indulge in such unhealthy fare were single, less physically active, smokers and those who worked more than 45 hours per week.
March 5th, 2012
By: Tami Luhby
After two years of declines, Americans’ income finally rose in 2010. The Internal Revenue Service provided a first peek at taxpayers’ returns and it showed that adjusted gross income totaled $8 trillion, up 5.2% from 2009. But a closer look at the data reveals that only the wealthiest Americans will be popping the Cristal.
Taxpayers earning more than $250,000 saw their total adjusted gross incomes rise by 13.8%, while those bringing home between $200K and $250K enjoyed at 6.7% increase, according to a CNNMoney analysis.
Middle-class Americans? Not so fortunate. Those making between $50K and $100K saw their incomes creep up only 1.5%.
Part of the imbalance comes from differences in the growth of wages, the largest component of adjusted gross income.
Overall, salaries and wages grew 2.1%. But the super-rich saw an 11.2% hike, and those just below them enjoyed a 4.6% increase.
But the middle class saw a drop of 0.7% in wages.
And while capital gains rose healthily for most income brackets, the wealthiest taxpayers benefited from a 37.6% hike, and those in the bracket below pocketed 32% more. Middle-income folks saw only a 19.8% increase.
Looking at it another way, the Top 1% of taxpayers captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of the economy recovery, according to Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at University of California, Berkeley. The Top 1% had incomes above $352,000 in 2010.
And their dominance is expected to continue since corporate profits and dividends — sources of income for the rich — grew strongly last year, while wages increased only modestly.
“It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued into 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover,” Saez said.
Well, at least incomes are going up again. Americans are faring better than they did in 2009, when adjusted gross income fell 6.9% from the previous year.
In 2009, the rich saw their incomes plummet 20.7% and the tier below them dropped 5.9%. Middle-income Americans, meanwhile, didn’t get hit nearly as hard. Their incomes slipped 2.5%.
For The Full Report Go To CNN
February 17th, 2012
New York Times
By: John H. Cushman Jr. and Robert Pear
With members of both parties expressing distaste at some of the particulars, Congress on Friday voted to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits and sent the legislation to President Obama, ending a contentious political and policy fight.
The vote in the House was 293 to 132 with Democrats, who are in the minority, carrying the proposal over the top with the acquiescence of almost as many Republicans. The Senate followed within minutes and approved the measure on a vote of 60 to 36.
“One hundred sixty million Americans,” said Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who, as chairman of the Finance Committee, led negotiations over the measure with the House. “That’s the number of Americans who are helped by this bill.”
President Obama has said he will sign the bill as soon as Congress passed it, with lawmakers seeking to wrap up the legislation before leaving on the Washington’s Birthday break.
A compromise allowing the extension of the tax holiday for the rest of the year came together quickly this week, as Republicans decided it was not politically viable to resist in an election year. It avoided an abrupt increase in payroll taxes that would have taken effect March 1, returning them to the level of 2010. The taxes are withheld from the paychecks of most wage earners and finance the Social Security system.
The legislation also temporarily avoids cuts in payments to doctors under federal health insurance programs.
In the negotiations, which took place during a two-month temporary extension of a popular tax break that had been in place throughout 2011, Republicans gave up on their demands that the tax cuts be paid for. But they won provisions that would pay for the other spending increases in the bill by making cuts in other federal programs involving health care and government pensions.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the package will increase the budget deficit by $119.5 billion over the next five years, but by a bit less over the longer haul as some of the spending reductions and new revenues are fully realized.
Republicans who said they supported the deal said they had won several important concessions during the talks, like imposing new conditions and limits on unemployment compensation and making a significant cut in the preventive-health spending called for in the health care overhaul that Democrats pushed through Congress in 2010.
Representative Renee Ellmers, Republican of North Carolina, called that cut “the most dramatic blow to Obamacare yet.”
But she said the overall deal was “a very important breakthrough and shows that we can come together and compromise.”
Democrats, some of whom sharply condemned the deal, saw things differently. Even those who voted for the bill, which the White House supported and Democrats considered a major act of economic stimulus to propel the recovery forward, said many of its provisions were misguided.
Two Democratic leaders, Representatives Steny H. Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen, both of whose Maryland districts contain thousands of federal employees, denounced cuts in future pension benefits for government employees, which were used to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits. They would have preferred tax increases on the wealthy, or on corporations, or closing loopholes like the one that lets fund managers treat their income as lightly-taxed “carried interest.”
“Nobody else in this bill, not a millionaire, not a billionaire, not a carried-interest beneficiary, not an oil company, nobody in this bill other than federal employees is asked to pay,” fumed Mr. Hoyer, the Democratic whip, confident that his denunciation of the bill would not endanger its passage.
“It’s time to stop scapegoating federal employees,” Mr. Van Hollen said.
Under the bill, the government would save $15 billion over 10 years by reducing its contribution to federal employee pensions and requiring new workers to contribute more.
But ultimately, the Democrats pronounced themselves satisfied.
“On balance, I come down in favor of supporting what the president asked us to do,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader.
In the Senate, there is considerable support for the bill in both parties, but just enough opposition to stop its passage from being a sure thing until the last moment.
The Congressional Budget Office said the provisions of the bill, taken together, would increase the federal budget deficit by $101 billion this year and by a total of $89 billion from 2012 to 2022. One provision, continuing the payroll tax cut for the next 10 months, will cost $93 billion, the budget office said.
Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the bill “prevents a tax increase for working Americans and makes the most significant reforms to federal unemployment programs since they were created in the 1930s.”
In addition, Mr. Camp said, the bill “ensures that seniors continue to have access to their doctors.”
Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the committee, said the bill “will provide a boost to the economy” and create jobs.
“Unemployment insurance — people spend it,” Mr. Levin said. “That’s good for their subsistence. It’s good for the economy.”
For The Full Report Go To New York Times
February 14, 2012
By John Schoen
As the rebound in the U.S. economy helps boost income and spending among working-aged households, older Americans relying on retirement income are having a hard time paying the bills.
Despite steady belt-tightening as they age, retirees’ incomes just aren’t keeping up, according to a review of the latest data by the Employee Benefits Research Institute. On average, retired households spend about 80 percent of what working households spend, but their earnings are only 57 percent of what working households take home.
Not surprisingly, retired Americans spend a rising portion of their income on medical expenses as they get older. Health care cost consume roughly 13 percent of spending by those 65 and older — more than double the 5.3 percent of spending for those 45 to 54 and just 4.0 percent for those under 25, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rises to about 20 percent of total spending for those ages 85 and over, according to the EBRI.
With government health care spending soaring, Congress is wrestling with various proposals to contain costs. That doesn’t bode well for retirees who already face higher health care bills than younger households.
February 13, 2012
By J.D. Heyes
“What ever happened to the land of the free?” –KTRN
It’s the most benign thing in the world. In fact, it’s a concept whose time has come and it will only help protect us and keep us safe. Naturally, there’s nothing to worry about because there won’t be any abuse of the technology. After all, spy drones are already being used around the U.S.; what’s the problem with adding tens of thousands more?
In case you didn’t know it – and you probably didn’t – Congress, with little fanfare, passed an FAA reauthorization bill last week President Obama is expected to sign into law that will make it much easier for the government to put scores of unmanned spy drones into American skies.
Not only that the legislation authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. If the law takes full effect, it is believed as many as 30,000 drones could be hovering over the U.S. by 2020.
The drones, which are widely used in Afghanistan to spot and target suspected insurgents and Taliban operatives in that country as well as neighboring Pakistan, have been used by American government agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, for a few years, in an observation/surveillance capacity. DoH has also used drones in disaster relief operations, and advocates say they can be successfully employed to fight fires and locate missing hikers.
Say Good-bye to Privacy
Privacy advocates, however, are sounding the alarm good and loud.
“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” Steven Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Washington Times.
Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a watchdog group, added that her organization is particularly “concerned about the implications for surveillance by government agencies.”
February 8, 2012
By: CBS News Staff
Americans get too much sodium, according to a new government report. That fact may not come as a shock to a fast food nation, but what’s surprising is where the sodium comes from.
Sodium overkill: Top 10 culprits in U.S. diet
For the report – released Feb. 7 – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled a list of the top 10 sources of sodium in the U.S. diet. These 10 foods were found responsible for 44 percent of all sodium consumed, HealthPop reported.
But salty snacks, such as potato chips, were last on the list.
“Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn – which we think of as the saltiest foods in our diet – are only No. 10,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
If not salty snacks, then what was the biggest contributor of sodium? Bread and rolls – accounting for twice as much sodium as salty junk food.
Breads and rolls aren’t really saltier than many of the other foods, but people tend to eat a lot of them, said Mary Cogswell, a CDC senior scientist who co-authored the report.
Registered dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, director of wellness coaching at Cleveland Clinic and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told HealthPop that she recommends opting for breads with “low sodium” on the label, and avoiding salty meats in sandwiches.
Salt is the main source of sodium for most people, and sodium increases the risk for high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Health officials say most Americans get too much salt, mostly from processed and restaurant foods – not added from the salt shaker.
Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, equal to about a teaspoon of salt. Certain people, such as those with high blood pressure, should eat even less. But average sodium consumption in the U.S. is around 3,300 milligrams, the CDC study found. Only 1 in 10 Americans meet the teaspoon guideline.
“It’s possible to eat a whole bunch of sodium without it seeming salty,” John Hayes, an assistant professor of food science at Penn State, said.
Other items on the list include soups, pizza, cold cuts and cured meats, and pasta dishes.
The amount of sodium in food types can vary. For example, a slice of white bread can have between 80 and 230 milligrams of sodium. A cup of canned chicken noodle soup has between 100 and 940 milligram. A small 1 ounce bag of potato chips ranges from 50 to 200 milligrams.
The new CDC report is based on surveys of more than 7,200 people in 2007 and 2008, including nearly 3,000 children. Participants were surveyed twice, each time answering detailed questions about what they had eaten over the previous day.
What should people do to cut their sodium intake?
“Cooking fresh food at home is the best way to lower sodium,” Samantha Heller, a dietitian and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., told HealthDay.
February 8th, 2012
The Raw Story
By: Agence France-Presse
Ninety percent of Americans eat too much salt every day, and the top food offenders include cheeseburgers, pizza, bread, deli meat and potato chips, US health officials said on Tuesday.
The average American eats about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and that does not include salt added from the shaker on the table, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs report.
US guidelines recommend that people limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
High risk populations — including African-Americans, people 51 and older and those with with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease – should stick to 1,500 milligrams daily.
“Too much sodium raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” said CDC director Thomas Frieden.
“These diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated $273 billion in health care costs.”
The report pointed to 10 types of food that add up to more than 40 percent of the nation’s sodium intake.
Poultry, soups, cheese, pasta dishes, meatloaf rounded out the top 10.
Some 65 percent of Americans’ sodium comes from food sold in stores, and 25 percent comes from meals in restaurants.
The CDC urged people to check labels for salt content, eat more fresh vegetables without sauce, and limit consumption of processed foods.
February 8, 2012
The American Dream
Do you love America? Are you against a one world economy and a one world government? Do you deeply love individual liberty? Do you believe in conspiracy theories? If you answered any of those questions affirmatively, then you are a potential terrorist according to a brand new Department of Homeland Security report that was just released in January 2012. The report is entitled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008″, and it was produced by the “National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism” for the Department of Homeland Security. As you will see detailed later on in this article, the most shocking part of this report is when it discusses the “ideological motivations” of potential terrorists. The report shamelessly attempts to portray red-blooded Americans that love liberty and that love their country as the enemy. Once upon a time, deeply patriotic Americans were considered to be the backbone of America, but today they are considered to be potential terrorists.
And this report is yet another example of how the definition of “terrorism” has changed. A decade ago, the entire focus of the “war on terror” was on radical Muslims and we were told that we had to send our boys and girls to the other side of the world to defeat them.
Well, in this new report there is barely any mention of Islam at all. Instead, the report identifies patriots, conspiracy theorists, evangelical Christians, anti-abortion activists, survivalists and those that are against globalism as the real threats.
The focus of the “war on terror” has fundamentally shifted. The “enemy” is now those that love freedom and those that love America.