Friday, May 2, 2008

BREVITAS

In a sign that the economic downturn is hitting hard among Latino immigrants, more than three million of them stopped sending money to families in their home countries during the last two years, the Inter-American Development Bank said on Wednesday. Growing numbers of Latino immigrants are also considering giving up their foothold in the United States and returning home in response to a slump in low-wage jobs and the crackdown on illegal immigration, the bank reported in a survey of 5,000 immigrants from Latin America. The survey found that only half of the 18.9 million Latino immigrants in this country now send money regularly to relatives in their home countries, compared with 73 percent two years ago. NY Times

Thousands of dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, took the day off work in what their union called a protest of the war in Iraq, effectively shutting down operations at the busy complexes. The show of force by the union came two months before the contract expires between the dockworkers, represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents port operators and large shippers, many of them foreign-owned. "We are supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it's time to end the war in Iraq," said union President Bob McEllrath. - LA Times

It is hard to determine just how much people are cutting back on tipping. But the stakes are huge. The restaurant industry in the U.S. employs 13.1 million people, making it the nation's third-largest employer, behind the federal government and the healthcare industry, according to the National Restaurant Assn., a trade organization. About 1.1 million Californians work at food service and drinking establishments, many in jobs where tips make up a significant portion of their pay. Thousands more work for car washes, nail salons, taxi companies and in other jobs in which tips play a role in their wages. . . Michael Lynn, professor of consumer behavior at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, estimated that Americans tip $30 billion annually, although he said there have been no good studies on the issue. "But the testimony is that tips go down in bad times.". . . On a typical Saturday night, Brian Best once earned as much as $200 in tips as a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Universal CityWalk. Since the fall, Best's tip take has slid to about $120 on a weekend night. "People just don't have the money. They will go out to eat, but won't tip as much," Best said. LA Times

The Home Depot is closing 15 of its namesake stores, affecting 1,300 employees. It is the first time the home improvement retailer has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. The Atlanta-based company said that the underperforming U.S. stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months. AP

Fewer caribou calves are being born and more of them are dying in West Greenland as a result of a warming climate, according to Eric Post, a Penn State associate professor of biology. Post, who believes that caribou may serve as an indicator species for climate changes including global warming, based his conclusions on data showing that the timing of peak food availability no longer corresponds to the timing of caribou births. Caribou -- which are closely related to wild reindeer -- are dependent on plants for all their energy and nutrients. Throughout the long Arctic winter, when there is no plant growth, they dig through snow to find lichens; however, in spring they rapidly switch to grazing on the new growth of willows, sedges, and flowering tundra herbs. As the birth season approaches, they are cued by increasing day length to migrate into areas where this newly-emergent food is plentiful. But this routine, which has worked for millennia, is faltering because caribou are unable to keep pace with certain changes that have occurred as a result of global warming. When the animals arrive at their calving grounds now, pregnant females find that the plants on which they depend already have reached peak productivity and have begun to decline in nutritional value. - Scientific Blogging

THE PETRAEUS MYTH

False identifications based on a terrorist no-fly list have for years prevented some federal air marshals from boarding flights they are assigned to protect, according to officials with the agency, which is finally taking steps to address the problem. Federal Air Marshals familiar with the situation say the mix-ups, in which marshals are mistaken for terrorism suspects who share the same names, have gone on for years - just as they have for thousands of members of the traveling public. One air marshal said it has been "a major problem, where guys are denied boarding by the airline.". . . "In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not fly," said the air marshal, who asked not to be named because the job requires anonymity. "I've seen guys actually being denied boarding." Washington Times

New York State Governor David Paterson signed a bill into law that will make it harder for "libel tourists" to threaten authors and publishers with foreign libel suits. The Libel Terrorism Protection Act prohibits the enforcement of a foreign libel judgment unless a New York court determines that it satisfies the free speech and free press protections guaranteed by the First Amendment and the New York State Constitution. It also allows New York courts, under certain circumstances, to exercise jurisdiction over non-residents who obtain foreign libel judgments against New Yorkers. Publishers Weekly

The Greens are celebrating a historic result after leapfrogging the Liberal Democrats to become the second largest party in Norwich, UK. With just a handful of councils still to declare, the Greens were set for a net election gain of five extra council seats, bringing their total to 116. They won nine additional seats across the country, including in Cambridge, Liverpool and Camden. But they lost four, including their toehold seat in Manchester and one of eight councilors in Oxford. Their biggest win was in Norwich, where the Greens are now the main challenger to Labor on the city council, with 13 councillors to Labor's 15. The Lib Dems lost five seats, reducing their total to six, while the Conservatives were up two, bringing their tally to five.

The chads on those ballots in Florida hung for a reason. As seven former employees of Sequoia Voting Systems, the company which produced FL's paper ballots in 2000 attest, they were forced by company superiors to use inferior paper for those ballots, only the ones going to Florida, and were further ordered to misalign the chads on those paper ballots, but only for those going to Dem stronghold, Palm Beach County.

More than 80 percent of high blood pressure disease occurs in the developing world, and mostly among younger adults, researchers said in a report that belies the image of hypertension as a disease of harried, overfed rich people. They estimated that 7.6 million people died prematurely because of high blood pressure in 2001, with just over half of all strokes caused by the condition - Reuters

According to the FBI, in 2006 there were 17,000 murders and non-negligent manslaughters in the United States. According to the Institute of Medicine, "Lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year." - Same Facts

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. The new findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years. "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect." Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin's previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought. - Washington Post

Newly released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the nation's Latino population grew by 1.4 million in 2007 to reach 45.5 million people, or 15.1% of the total U.S. population of 301.6 million. Blacks ranked as the second-largest minority group, at 40.7 million. . . Four states and the District of Columbia were regarded as "majority minority," meaning that more than 50% of their population consists of nonwhites. Hawaii led the nation, with a population that was 75% minority in 2007, followed by the District of Columbia (68%), New Mexico (58%), California (57%) and Texas (52%). . . * California had the largest Latino population of any state last year, with 13.2 million accounting for 36% of the total population. Texas was next, with 8.6 million (also 36% of the population), followed by Florida, with 3.8 million (21%). . . Nationally, Latinos were the fastest-growing minority group, with a 3.3% population increase. Asians were the second-fastest-growing group, with a 2.9% increase. The black population grew by 1.3%, and the white population grew by 0.3%. Native Americans grew by 1%, and native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders grew by 1.6%. LA Times

Of the myriad losers in a [Florida] budget that cuts a record $4 billion in spending, public education will lose the most -- with Miami-Dade and Broward schools getting hit hardest of all. The two biggest counties together will shoulder more than a third of the $332 million in cuts to K-12 classroom spending in the proposed budget lawmakers will approve when the legislative session ends. . . The biggest budget winner: prison builders. They'll get $305 million to build one private and two public lockups. By the end of the budget year on June 30, 2009, the prison population is anticipated to swell to 107,000. Miami Herald

ROB RIGGLE EXPLAINS THE WAR ON TERROR

THE SORRY RECORD OF ANTI-DEPRESSANTS

SSRI STORIES is a collection of 2200 news stories with full media articles, mainly criminal in nature, that have appeared or that were part of FDA testimony in either 1991, 2004 or 2006, in which antidepressants are mentioned. Antidepressants have been recognized as potential inducers of mania and psychosis since their introduction in the 1950s. Since the introduction of Prozac in December, 1987, there has been a massive increase in the number of people taking antidepressants. Preda and Bowers reported that over 200,000 people a year enter a hospital with antidepressant-associated mania and/or psychosis.

1 Comments:

At May 2, 2008 5:35 PM, Anonymous robbie said...

Thank you SO MUCH Washington Post for letting us know about the marijuana study nearly TWO YEARS after it was published. Johnny on the spot, aren't ya!

 

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