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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester

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 Health News: Cargill’s Integrity-Free Soybean Oil

Business News

By huge margins, consumers don't want Frankenfoods on their tables.

By Jim Hightower

Can you have your hypocrisy and eat it, too?

I don’t think so. But Cargill Inc. is doing its damndest to invalidate the old admonition that eating your cake today means not having it tomorrow.

As a leading producer and user of ingredients that contain genetically manipulated organisms, the food conglomerate with $136.7 billion in yearly sales faces a marketing problem: By huge margins, consumers here and around the world don’t want Frankenfoods on their families’ tables.

So Cargill, the largest privately held company in our country, ferociously opposes every state law and ballot initiative that would mandate the labeling of any product containing these genetically modified foods....

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, July 19 @ 19:43:01 EDT (1670 reads)
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 Health News: Don’t Put a Fork in It

Business News
Despite consumer opposition, the FDA is one step away from approving genetically engineered salmon.

By Wenonah Hauter

While most Americans were enjoying the holiday season or stressing out over the nation’s imminent leap off the so-called fiscal cliff, the Food and Drug Administration delivered some big news as quietly as possible.

On December 21, the agency announced that AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon had cleared the final hurdle before clinching FDA approval.

Despite insufficient testing and widespread consumer opposition, AquaBounty’s food experiment is dangerously close to becoming the first genetically engineered animal produced for human consumption. Yes, a newfangled fish may soon land on a dinner plate near you.

For those who have been following this news for the past several years, the timing of the FDA’s release of its draft environmental assessment — the Friday before Christmas — was no surprise. But the news was still frightening: The FDA may give this transgenic animal the green light under a new approval process that treats the fish as an “animal drug.”

Prefer your salmon without those eel genes spliced into its DNA? Pay close attention because this frankenfish may hit the market without any sort of label. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, February 11 @ 19:41:14 EST (3161 reads)
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 Health News: Organic Consumers Association Calls for Boycott

Action Alert
of Organic Brand Parent Companies That Helped Defeat Prop 37

From: Organic Consumers Association, organicconsumers.org

FINLAND, Minn. - Nov. 15, 2012 - The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today called for a national boycott of the popular natural and organic brands owned by 10 parent companies that donated to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative.

The OCA is also calling on other consumer protection groups, and public health, agriculture, natural health, environmental and political groups to urge their members and supporters to participate in the boycott.

"Among the largest bankrollers of the NO on 37 campaign were huge multinational food and beverage companies whose subsidiaries make billions selling popular organic and 'natural' brands," said Ronnie Cummins, Director of the OCA and the Organic Consumers Fund, which donated more than $1 million to the YES on 37 campaign. "It's time to send these companies a message: Either start supporting GMO labeling initiatives, including the upcoming one in Washington State, or consumers will stop buying your products," Cummins said. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, November 15 @ 21:01:06 EST (543 reads)
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 Health News: Why the Chicken Crossed the Road

Business News
Factory farms are animal concentration camps.

By Jim Hightower

Thanks to the industrializers of American agriculture, we finally know why the chicken crossed the road: to run away from the factory farm.

These livestock and poultry factories are encased in thousands of sprawling, low-slung, metal buildings that now litter much of our nation's rural landscapes.

Rarely seen by consumers, much less entered by them, the prison-like facilities are officially called "confined animal feeding operations." They're as far from pastoral as that name suggests.

Typically, a factory farm has many thousands of chickens, cows, hogs, turkeys, or other animals jammed together in tiny cages and crates that permit little movement beyond eating and defecating. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, November 09 @ 18:36:00 EST (1105 reads)
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 Health News: Not Only the Cows Are Mad

Business News
Our government must stop relying on an inadequate testing system and outlaw the feeding of cow blood, fat, and protein to cattle.

By John Stauber

The Department of Agriculture determined in April that a cow from California died from an always-fatal disease that triggers dementia and can be transmitted to people. The chilling news about the latest mad cow case was no surprise for me. I've been trying for two decades to stop the cattle feeding practices that transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called mad cow disease.

After the nation's first proven case in 2003, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore all stopped buying U.S. beef. That prompted pledges from the U.S. government to ban the types of cattle feed linked to mad cow, and the trading resumed. The latest case has many countries re-examining U.S. safety standards, as well they should. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, June 04 @ 17:32:03 EDT (782 reads)
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 Health News: ACLU Tells Federal Appeals Court to Reinstate Lawsuit against Wal-Mart

Business News
for Wrongfully Firing Medical Marijuana Patient

From: American Civil LibertiesUnion, aclu.org

Employees Who Use Marijuana to Treat Debilitating Diseases Are Protected Under Michigan Law

CINCINNATI – The American Civil LibertiesUnion today told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that its lawsuit charging Wal-Mart and the manager of its Battle Creek, Mich. store with wrongfully firing an employee for using medical marijuana should be reinstated. The patient, Joseph Casias, used marijuana outside of work to treat the painful symptoms of an inoperable brain tumor and cancer.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, passed by the state’s voters in 2008, protects medical marijuana patients from “disciplinary action by a business.” But in a 20-page ruling issued in February 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit after deciding the law does not prevent businesses from firing employees who use medical marijuana in accordance with a doctor’s recommendation and state law.

“The voters of Michigan who enacted the medical marijuana act wanted to help very sick people like Joseph Casias,” said Scott Michelman, ACLU cooperating attorney who argued the case today. “No one should ever have to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, but Wal-Mart forced Joseph to pay a stiff and unfair price for his medicine.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, April 18 @ 21:11:17 EDT (582 reads)
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 Health News: Our Health Care Racket

Business News
The purpose of America's health care industry is to provide cozy income to the few at the top while abusing the poorly paid health aides at the bottom and consigning vast swaths of the population to inadequate care.

By William A. Collins

Patients pay me
Well indeed;
Getting tests
That they don't need.

In most countries, health care is aimed at curing the sick. Here, not so much. In the United States, health care is a profit center, one of our nation's few growth industries. Young people are wisely counseled to pursue health-related careers. As a service, it's harder to ship overseas.

But unlike other countries, where the patient is the focus, here the corporate owners are. If you don't believe me, please ask United Health CEO Stephen Hemsley. He pocketed $102 million in total compensation in 2010, so he should know.

Even local health care can be a racket. No, probably not your own general practitioner who deals with your broken toe and that persistent gout. The profiteers are the clever MDs and hospitals who set up testing clinics to X-ray and CT-scan us to death, and to perform marginal surgical procedures. That's where the money is. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, March 22 @ 07:25:16 EDT (534 reads)
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 Health News: The Freedom to Die with Dignity

Catholic hospitals follow an edict that requires them to override do-not-resuscitate orders.

By William A. Collins

Now that death
Is at your door;
Hope you planned it
Long before.

You may have missed it amid all this fuss about Catholics and contraception. The Church's pushback over routine birth control methods stemmed in large part from an important edict the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued in 2009, which remains poorly understood and could have a major impact on you and your loved ones.

"Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," as it's officially called, dictates how the roughly 15 percent of American patients who are treated in Catholic hospitals get to die.

Here's the gist: If you are soon to cash in your chips, your choice to die with dignity will be ignored. You may have signed a "do-not-resuscitate" order and a living will. You may have notarized "end-of-life" directives. You or your loved ones may have posted a big sign on your bed that says "No Tubes." None of that matters. The hospital's mission will be to make sure that you live every possible last agonizing moment. And your job will be to suffer against your will. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, March 18 @ 19:00:37 EDT (791 reads)
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 Health News: US: Number of Aging Prisoners Soaring

The News
Corrections Officials Ill-Prepared to Run Geriatric Facilities

From: Human Rights Watch, hrw.org

(New York) – Aging men and women are the most rapidly growing group in US prisons, and prison officials are hard-pressed to provide them appropriate housing and medical care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Because of their higher rates of illness and impairments, older prisoners incur medical costs that are three to nine times as high as those for younger prisoners.

The 104-page report, “Old Behind Bars: The Aging Prison Population in the United States,” includes new data Human Rights Watch developed from a variety of federal and state sources that document dramatic increases in the number of older US prisoners.

Human Rights Watch found that the number of sentenced state and federal prisoners age 65 or older grew at 94 times the rate of the overall prison population between 2007 and 2010. The number of sentenced prisoners age 55 or older grew at six times the rate of the overall prison population between 1995 and 2010. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, February 03 @ 19:35:25 EST (1373 reads)
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 Health News: Humanize or Euthanize

Opinionby Rosemarie Jackowski

A conversation that is under the radar might surprise some... the 'exit strategy' conversation.

The health care topic seems to be getting a lot of attention these days. In Vermont the Death with Dignity Bill was to be considered by the Legislature during the current session. It is now reported that the Bill will be put on hold. Physician assisted suicide is a controversial topic. Moral, philosophical, and scientific considerations are included in the debate.

In complete disclosure - I believe that all life is sacred. That puts me on one side of the argument - sort of. I also believe that if pain is so intense that it does not respond to any drug, compassion might be the preferred stance. Moral conundrums always make life complicated. To gain some clarity on this question, I recently had a conversation with a doctor. I chose a doctor who is highly respected for her humanitarianism. My question was whether or not pain could be so horrific that nothing would relieve it. I suggested putting the patient in a coma. The doctor told me intractable pain is something that can happen, and then she quickly expanded her answer. She said it is extremely rare. That is reassuring. It seems to me, a patient in pain should be given anything that works - morphine drips, pot, absinthe - anything if it can relieve intense pain. When nothing works, we have to rethink the moral dilemma. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, February 02 @ 16:38:43 EST (727 reads)
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 Health News: Parts Of Brain Can Switch Functions

In people born blind, brain regions that usually process vision can tackle language.

Written by: Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When your brain encounters sensory stimuli, such as the scent of your morning coffee or the sound of a honking car, that input gets shuttled to the appropriate brain region for analysis. The coffee aroma goes to the olfactory cortex, while sounds are processed in the auditory cortex.

That division of labor suggests that the brain’s structure follows a predetermined, genetic blueprint. However, evidence is mounting that brain regions can take over functions they were not genetically destined to perform. In a landmark 1996 study of people blinded early in life, neuroscientists showed that the visual cortex could participate in a nonvisual function — reading Braille.

Now, a study from MIT neuroscientists shows that in individuals born blind, parts of the visual cortex are recruited for language processing. The finding suggests that the visual cortex can dramatically change its function — from visual processing to language — and it also appears to overturn the idea that language processing can only occur in highly specialized brain regions that are genetically programmed for language tasks. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, March 04 @ 17:03:48 EST (1348 reads)
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 Health News: USDA Approved Monsanto Alfalfa Despite Warnings of New Pathogen

Business News
Discovered in Genetically Engineered Crops

by: Mike Ludwig, t r u t h o u t | Report

Just two weeks before the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) fully deregulated Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa, a senior soil scientist alerted the department about a newly discovered, microscopic pathogen found in high concentrations of Roundup Ready corn and soy that researchers believe could be causing infertility in livestock and diseases in crops that could threaten the entire domestic food supply.

Dr. Don Huber, a plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor, wrote in a letter to the USDA that the pathogen is new to science and appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals and probably humans.

"For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks," Huber wrote in his January 16 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman's terms, it should be treated as an emergency." ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, February 25 @ 19:42:46 EST (717 reads)
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 Health News: End the Factory Farm Nightmare

Business NewsSmithfield's animal abuse is shocking, but hardly surprising.

By Andrew Gunther

Of course you want your meat to be cheap, but the costs of producing so-called cheap meat come at a hidden price you might not want to pay. Corporate giant Smithfield Foods and other major producers use what is known as confinement or factory farming--keeping billions of animals in cramped cages and pens where they are susceptible to stress and disease.

A recent undercover investigation conducted on Smithfield by the Humane Society of the United States illustrated how factory farming is systematically wrong for animals and humans alike.

Videotape footage shot at the Smithfield facility in Waverly, Virginia showed disturbing images of pregnant pigs cramped into gestation crates where they could barely move, becoming so frustrated they would bite the metal bars of their cages until their mouths bled. The investigator recorded live young piglets being tossed significant distances into plastic buckets. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, February 01 @ 23:12:48 EST (712 reads)
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 Health News: Wrongful Firing of Medical Marijuana Patient Lawsuit

Business News
ACLU Says Lawsuit Charging Wal-Mart With Wrongfully Firing Medical Marijuana Patient Should Proceed

Michigan State Law Passed In 2008 Protects Employees Who Use Marijuana To Treat Debilitating Diseases

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The American Civil LibertiesUnion today told a federal judge that its case against Wal-Mart for wrongfully firing an employee for lawfully using medical marijuana in accordance with state law to treat the painful symptoms of an inoperable brain tumor and cancer should proceed.

The ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan, in partnership with the law firm Daniel W. Grow PLLC, filed a lawsuit in June charging that Joseph Casias, 30, the Battle Creek, MI Wal-Mart's employee of the year in 2008, was wrongfully fired last year for testing positive for marijuana despite being legally registered to use the drug under Michigan's medical marijuana law. In accordance with the law, Casias never ingested marijuana while at work and never worked while under the influence of marijuana.

"No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, and no employer should be allowed to intrude upon private medical choices made by employees in consultation with their doctors," said Scott Michelman, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. "Wal-Mart forced Joseph to pay a stiff and unfair price for using a medicine that is allowed under state law and that has had a life-changing positive effect for him." ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, November 12 @ 18:57:57 EST (666 reads)
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 Health News: Big Food's Blame Game

Business NewsTo distract us from the facts, the fast food industry and its defenders blame parents for the rising child obesity rate.

By Leslie Samuelrich

Corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year marketing a dangerous product to America's children.

No one disputes the danger of the product. No one disputes that the marketing successfully convinces millions of kids to use the product.

Yet these same corporations deny that they're endangering our children. Instead, they're blaming parents. It's mom's fault. Or dad's.

How could this be? If the product were a gun, or drugs, or even a poorly designed toy that could injure a child, the corporation responsible for making it and then marketing it to the most vulnerable among us would be on the hook.

Yet since the product I'm talking about is unhealthy food, corporations expect us to apply a different standard. They want us to blame the victim, or at least the people who love the victim the most. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 21 @ 20:03:47 EDT (640 reads)
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