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Archive for the ‘economy’ tag

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Deficit Complicates Push on Jobs,” - The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders pressed President Barack Obama on Wednesday to extend more elements of the existing economic-stimulus package, and to possibly add tax cuts that were rejected the first time around, despite a record budget deficit that is giving some lawmakers pause.

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal deficit for fiscal 2009 will be $1.4 trillion. That is somewhat better than the nearly $1.6 trillion the CBO projected in August, but much of the change stems from different accounting treatments for losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies the government took over last year.

Putting America’s Diet on a Diet,” - The New York Times

On his first day in Huntington, W. Va., Jamie Oliver spent the afternoon at Hillbilly Hot Dogs, pitching in to cook its signature 15-pound burger. That’s 10 pounds of meat, 5 pounds of custom-made bun, American cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. Then he learned how to perfect the Home Wrecker, the eatery’s famous 15-inch, one-pound hot dog (boil first, then grill in butter). For the Home Wrecker Challenge, the dog gets 11 toppings, including chili sauce, jalapeños, liquid nacho cheese and coleslaw. Finish it in 12 minutes or less and you get a T-shirt.

So much for local color. Earlier that day, Oliver met with a pediatrician, James Bailes, and a pastor, Steve Willis. Bailes told him about an 8-year-old patient who was 80 pounds overweight and had developed Type 2 diabetes. If the child’s diet didn’t change, the doctor said, he wouldn’t live to see 30. Willis told Oliver that he visits patients in local hospitals several days a week and sees the effects of long-term obesity firsthand. Since he can’t write a prescription for their resulting illnesses, he said, all he can do is pray with them.

Universal healthcare coverage appears elusive,” - Los Angeles Times

As a key Senate committee prepares today to pass its plan to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, senior Democrats are acknowledging that it may be impossible to provide coverage to all Americans — a central goal of President Obama and his congressional allies.

That is fueling growing alarm among hospitals and insurance companies, which have made universal coverage a condition of their support.

Written by Keith Forest

October 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

‘A cruel recovery’

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Reports of an impending economic upturn merit some skepticism, particularly in light of recent changes in "our evolving, job-devouring economy," Steve Franklin writes....

Written by Curtis

September 18th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

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Van Jones, Patriot,” - Washington Post

It makes me sad and a little sick that Van Jones, the White House Green Jobs Czar, was forced to resign after being targeted by a vicious smear campaign. The Obama administration lost a brilliant mind who worked day and night to, as Van would say, “get the greenest solutions to the poorest people”. Indeed, Van did as much as anyone to put the concept of the Green Collar Economy on the map, including publishing a best-selling book with that title. More than that, he was one of the nation’s most pragmatic environmental visionaries, someone who was always thinking up practical, pattern-changing solutions to massive climate problems.

Van grew up in a small town in Tennessee, went to a provincial college, and wound up graduating from Yale Law School, launching a number of important nonprofit organizations, and winning way too many awards to count, including being named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list. He’s a remarkable American success story, eloquently captured in Elizabeth Kolbert’s New Yorker profile.

The Social Side of Obesity: You Are Who You Eat With,” - NEWSWEEK

Sending your kids back to lunch-lady land this fall? Careful, your child’s dining mates may be upping his chances of packing on the pounds. A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that how much tweens and teens eat can be influenced by how much their friends weigh.

In the study, 130 kids ages 9 to 15 were allowed to snack as much as they wanted while hanging out with a friend or with a peer they did not know. All the kids ate more when they were with a friend than with a stranger. But the overweight children ate the most when paired with an overweight friend - an average of 300 more calories than when they spent time with leaner friends. The research also found that friendship itself makes the appetite grow stronger: when overweight kids ate with similar-weight kids who were already their pals, they threw back an extra 250 calories than when they ate with chubby kids they had just met.

‘24 hours in the ER’ shows challenges of health system,” - USA TODAY

Dr. Robert O’Connor had taken charge of the emergency room only minutes earlier when the cellphone in his pocket rang: The Western Albemarle Rescue Squad was on its way with a 14-month-old girl who had suffered a possible seizure.

Ten minutes later, Tyler McNeely climbed out of the ambulance, her face frantic and her pale, subdued baby in her arms. Shana Crabtree, a third-year resident in green scrubs, waited for them at the University of Virginia Medical Center. EMT Andrew Todhunter delivered a staccato summary of Clara’s vital signs.

Written by Keith Forest

September 8th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

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U.S. Economy Gets Lift From Stimulus,” -  The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — Government efforts to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy appear to be helping the U.S. climb out of the worst recession in decades.

But there’s little agreement about which programs are having the biggest impact. Some economists argue that efforts such as the Federal Reserve’s aggressive buying of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities, as well as government efforts to shore up banks, are providing a bigger boost than the administration’s $787 billion stimulus package.

The Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate,” - NEWSWEEK 

To the credit of opponents of health-care reform, the lies and exaggerations they’re spreading are not made up out of whole cloth—which makes the misinformation that much more credible. Instead, because opponents demand that everyone within earshot (or e-mail range) look, say, “at page 425 of the House bill!,” the lies take on a patina of credibility. Take the claim in one chain e-mail that the government will have electronic access to everyone’s bank account, implying that the Feds will rob you blind. The 1,017-page bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee does call for electronic fund transfers—but from insurers to doctors and other providers. There is zero provision to include patients in any such system.

Weight-Loss Surgery Breaks Families’ ‘Obesity Cycle’,” – Atlanta Journal Constitution

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) — Obese mothers have children who are likely to be obese, but a new study concludes that weight-loss surgery can break the cycle.

Researchers found that women who had weight-loss surgery before becoming pregnant had children who were less likely to be heavy when compared with siblings who were born before the weight-loss surgery.

Written by Keith Forest

September 3rd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

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Transportation Bill Inches Forward,” - National League of Cities

The future of funding for federal surface transportation programs, due to expire on September 30, was muddled further last week when House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar announced that the House would act to adopt a short-term fix for the federal Highway Trust Fund but would not extend the programs due to expire.

Oberstar has said he would not extend the current program but instead gained support for a sweeping $500 billion six-year authorization bill adopted by a House subcommittee last month. However, the House panel charged with finding the funds to pay for the ambitious new surface transportation program has indicated that health care reform will be the next issue it tackles as the September 30 deadline draws closer. Both the Obama Administration and members of the House Ways and Means Committee have indicated they oppose any increased taxes to fund transportation at this time. 

At Wal-Mart, Labeling to Reflect Green Intent,” - The New York Times

Shoppers expect the tags on Wal-Mart items to have rock-bottom prices. In the future they may also have information about the product’s carbon footprint, the gallons of water used to create it, and the air pollution left in its wake.

As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores is on a mission to determine the social and environmental impact of every item it puts on its shelves. And it has recruited scholars, suppliers, and environmental groups to help it create an electronic indexing system to do that.

Foreclosures up: 1 in 84 homes affected in first half of year,”  - USA TODAY

Foreclosures are continuing to set records despite the Obama administration’s $75 billion plan to help borrowers at risk of losing their homes.

There were 1.9 million foreclosure filings in the first six months of this year, a 15% increase from the first six months of 2008, according to a report today from RealtyTrac. One in 84 homes

Written by Keith Forest

July 16th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

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City Neighborhoods Dig In to Protect Fragile Gains,” -  The Wall Street Journal

PHILADELPHIA — This year, Margaret Shepherd is knocking on the front door of nearly every house in West Oak Lane. Her daily rounds are part of a large-scale effort to stem foreclosures in this blue-collar, largely African-American neighborhood.

“I’m getting so much exercise, it’s ridiculous,” Ms. Shepherd said on a recent afternoon.

Stimulus spending finally starts to trickle down,” - USA TODAY

In Indianapolis last month, a state government official named Jacob Sipe finally got the news he’d been anticipating. The U.S. Treasury had approved $164 million to finance affordable housing projects left paralyzed by the credit crisis, using funds from the Obama administration’s increasingly controversial fiscal stimulus.

Before the financial crisis erupted, the housing program was funded via state tax credits that developers in turn sold to large banks. With the banks crippled, demand for the tax credits — and thus the funds that subsidized the state’s low-cost housing — evaporated.

Written by Keith Forest

July 14th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

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White House to Push Forward on National Urban Policy Agenda,” - Washington Post
Administration to Host Daylong Talks Tomorrow; Tour of U.S. Cities Planned

After remaining out of the public eye since its creation in February, the White House Office of Urban Affairs plans on Monday to launch a public conversation to create a national urban policy agenda, said Adolfo Carrión Jr., its director.

The White House will host a daylong urban policy discussion including mayors, county executives, governors, urban policy experts, and heads of various agencies, Carrión said in a telephone interview yesterday.

DOCTOR IS IN: Childhood obesity bigger than a weight issue,” - Atlanta Journal Constitution

Medical Director, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Child Wellness and Medical Director, Georgia Children’s Health Alliance.

Childhood obesity is a problem throughout America, but it’s an epidemic in Georgia, where approximately 37 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.

 ”Groups seek stimulus funds for homeowners and job training,” - Los Angeles Times
An assembly at Wilshire Boulevard Temple presses city officials to allocate money where it’s most needed.

Hundreds of delegates from Los Angeles-area religious, labor and community organizations gathered Sunday at Wilshire Boulevard Temple to propose that federal stimulus funds go toward helping homeowners avoid foreclosure and improving job training programs.

The two-hour assembly organized by One LA-IAF, a network of congregations, schools, unions and other groups, was designed to press local political leaders to spend the federal money on issues that the organization considers the most pressing. Several City Council members attended the event.

Written by Keith Forest

July 13th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Report on the Economy, via the Hair Salon

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Written by Patrick Barry

July 9th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Today in Equity

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SCLC renews poverty campaign before small crowd,” - Associated Press

Can’t Stop Eating?” - The Washington Post
For Some People, Obesity Is Not a Simple Failure of Self-Control

Foundations Trim Staffs After Assets Slide Lower,” -  The New York Times

Written by Keith Forest

June 23rd, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Today in Equity

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Foreclosures grind on as lenders fail to modify loans,” -  USA TODAY

  “Obama’s Health Care Claims,” - Newsweek
He says the uninsured cost the rest of U.S. families $1,000 a year.

New York City consumers keep it simple,” - AM NewYork

Written by Keith Forest

June 19th, 2009 at 5:53 pm