Independent Democracy

Thought provoking commentary

Americans just don’t care…about each other

If you come upon a a driver who has been injured in a car accident, most people would stop and help. Whereas if you have a fellow American citizen without health care who is dying because they can’t afford health care or were denied coverage, most people do nothing. Why is that?

What happened to our United States that we don’t provide a basic human right for each other, such as affordable health care for our citizens? England, France, and Canada do, why don’t we? Are you not willing to collectively pay a little more in taxes so all of us are covered? We all pay a little in taxes so we all have clean drinkable water from our faucet. We all pay a little in taxes so we have paved roads, police/fire service, and a sewage system. But when it comes to health care, which everyone needs sometime in their life, we do nothing. That is why Americans just don’t care…about each other.

Greedy, profit driven companies and corrupt politicians have ruined this country. Complacent citizens have contributed to the problem.


December 22, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Money, News, Random | 1 Comment

Senator Mitch McConnell, where were you in 2003?

Today Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was blabbing on about how bad the health care bill was and how nobody wants health care reform. Specifically he said

“The notion that we would even consider spending trillions of dollars we don’t have in a way that a majority of Americans don’t even want, is proof that this health care bill is completely and totally out of touch with the American people.”

Source NPR News (All Things Considered) 11/30/09:

What came to mind when I heard that was:

  1. A majority of Americans DO want health care reform, look at all the polls (with the exception of anything coming from Fox News).
  2. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the White House and Congress spent trillions of dollars we didn’t have to start an unnecessary war with Iraq?
  3. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the White House started a war with Iraq even though a majority of Americans (and a majority of people around the world) didn’t even want it?
  4. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the Iraq war started and the White House and Congress was completely and totally out of touch with the American people?

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Military & War, News, Newspaper, Politics, Random | Leave a comment

Bayer One A Day men’s multivitamin threatened with lawsuit over misleading health claims

If you are a man over 50, you’ve likely seen ads for Bayer One A Day men’s multivitamins that claimed the mineral selenium helps reduce risk of prostate cancer or otherwise promotes “prostate health.”

There’s a big problem however:  It’s not true.

In fact, for most men, taking too much selenium may actually promote more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.  And, previous studies warned against supplementing with selenium since men taking selenium developed more cases of diabetes than men in control groups who did not.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened Bayer with a lawsuit over those claims, and just last month, we asked the Food and Drug Administration to seize existing stockpiles of One A Day Men’s Health Formula and One A Day Men’s 50+ Advantage.

As CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt said at the time, “Bayer is exploiting men’s fear of prostate cancer just to sell more pills.”  And, a group of some of the most prominent prostate cancer researchers in the country wrote that “Bayer Healthcare is doing a disservice to men by misleading them about a protective role for selenium in prostate cancer.”

If you purchased either of these One A Day Men’s Multis on the belief the product would help reduce your risk of prostate cancer or promote better prostate health, we would like to hear from you.  Please email us at so we can learn about your experience with One A Day men’s multis.  Together, we may be able to help other men from being ripped off by Bayer’s misleading and illegal claims.

Steve Gardner
Director of Litigation
Center for Science in the Public Interest

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Helpful Resources, News, Newspaper, Politics | Leave a comment

Crutchfield $20 coupon code

If you’re looking for a coupon code for Crutchfield, one of leading retailers for electronic products, use the coupon code below.  You’ll save $20 on your first order.  Just copy/paste the code into the applicable section of your shopping cart or give the code to the salesperson for an easy $20 savings.


November 15, 2008 Posted by | Animals, Barack Obama, Books, Cult, Current Events, Election 2008, Entertainment, Environment, Florida, Fun Stuff, Health, Helpful Resources, Humor, Iraq, John McCain, Letters to the Editor, Magazines, Military & War, Money, Movies, Music, News, News of the Wierd, Newspaper, Politics, Radio, Random, Religion, Rhode Island, Sarah Palin, Shopping, Sirius, Sirius Radio, Sports, Tampa Tribune, Television, Uncategorized, Utah, Utne, XM, XM Radio | Leave a comment

There’s no such thing as “clean coal”

Don’t be deceived, there’s no such thing as ‘clean coal’
Cherise Udell
Salt Lake Tribune 5/4/08

Let’s be real: “Clean coal” is a marketing slogan not a technological reality. Coal does currently provide us with a reliable source of electricity but at an astronomical price that is hidden from us consumers.
Maybe you pay for it with your child’s asthma. Maybe you paid for it with your father’s heart attack or your grandmother’s stroke that took her speech away. Maybe you lost a baby to SIDS on a particularly bad air day.
Emissions from coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, air toxins – and premature deaths. The EPA estimates that over 30,000 Americans are dying prematurely each year due to emissions from power plants, the majority of which are coal-powered.
This doesn’t even address the high mortality rates associated with the mining process. Thus, coal kills more people annually than homicides (16,000 in 2000) or AIDS (14,000) and nearly as many as traffic accidents (42,000).

So when coal industry advocates like Joe Lucas, vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal, and Bountiful resident Bruce Taylor, co-owner of the proposed coal plant in Sevier County, say “cleaner coal,” what exactly do they mean?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a typical coal plant annually generates:

  • 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming
  • 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • 500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death
  • 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), equal to what would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs
  • 720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), which causes headaches and places additional stress on people with heart disease
  • 220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone
  • 170 pounds of mercury, an extremely potent neurotoxin; just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe for human consumption. The Great Salt Lake is already heavily contaminated with mercury
  • 225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who regularly drink water containing 50 parts per billion
  • 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium

None of these numbers sounds “clean” to me. So, does coal advocate Lucas consider a “clean” coal plant to produce only 7,000 pounds of annual sulfur dioxide emissions instead of 10,000 pounds? Does he consider 2 million tons of carbon dioxide instead of 3.7 million tons to be “clean” or how about 120 pounds of mercury instead of 170 pounds? Does “clean” coal only cause 20,000 premature deaths annually as compared to 30,000?

The reality is coal is dirty and will likely remain so.
If the American Coalition for Clean Coal is determined to funnel much-needed tax monies away from the development of real energy solutions that are sustainable and life-giving rather than life-taking, then I want to know exactly what is meant by clean.
Please do not try to manipulate me with deceptive advertising, green-washing or in this case, clean-washing.
Lucas and others in the energy sector must choose between investing in antiquated pulverized coal technology, desperately trying to make it “cleaner” or investing in innovative, renewable and truly clean energy technologies that will position the United States as a leader in the new global economy of the 21st century.
You can guess which choice will be better in the long run for our pocketbook, our economy and our health.
For more information about the high costs of coal check out:

May 4, 2008 Posted by | Environment, Health, Newspaper, Utah | Leave a comment

Pictures of baby with two faces

Now those are faces only a mother could love

An Indian girl, born with four eyes, two noses and two mouths rests in her father’s lap at the Saini Village of Noida, some 55 kms from New Delhi, on April 5. The parents of the girl say that the toddler is doing well and that they have no plans for a surgery.

Mother Sushma holds her daughter Lali at their residence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Mother Sushma holds her daughter Lali as her husband Vinod Singh stands next to them at their residence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Mother Sushma holds her daughter Lali at their residence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

A girl born with two faces rests in her relative’s lap at Saini village in Noida, some 55 km (34 miles) from New Delhi March 15, 2008. Picture taken March 15, 2008.

A girl born with two faces rests in her house at Saini village in Noida, some 55 km (34 miles) from New Delhi March 15, 2008. Picture taken March 15, 2008.

A girl born with two faces rests in the village of Saini near New Delhi in this March 15, 2008 file photo. The family of the baby has refused special medical treatment for the infant, saying she is the incarnation of a Hindu goddess. The month-old girl suffers from what appears to be craniofacial duplication, an extremely rare congenital disorder in which part of the face is duplicated on the head. Media reports said she ate with both mouths and blinked all four eyes. The anomaly gave the newborn god-like status in the village, with hundreds of people flocking to the family’s dilapidated brick house to worship her and seek blessings.

Father Vinod Singh sits next to his daughter Lali at his residence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Father Vinod Singh holds his daughter Lali at his residence as visitors touch the child’s feet in reverence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Father Vinod Singh holds his daughter Lali at his residence as visitors touch the child’s feet in reverence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Parents Sushma, left, and Vinod Singh pose with their daughter Lali at their residence in Saini Sunpura, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The baby with two faces, two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

April 22, 2008 Posted by | Current Events, Health, News, News of the Wierd, Random | 4 Comments

Inspectors say meat safety is threatened

Associated Press Writer

Sometimes, government inspectors responsible for examining slaughterhouse cattle for mad cow disease and other ills are so short-staffed that they find themselves peering down from catwalks at hundreds of animals at once, looking for such telltale signs as droopy ears, stumbling gait and facial paralysis.

The ranks of inspectors are so thin that slaughterhouse workers often figure out when “surprise” visits are about to take place, and make sure they are on their best behavior.

These allegations were raised by former and current U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors in the wake of the biggest beef recall in history — 143 million pounds from a California meatpacker accused of sending lame “downer” cows to slaughter.

The inspectors told The Associated Press that they fear chronic staff shortages in their ranks are allowing sick cows to get into the nation’s food supply, endangering the public. According to USDA’s own figures, the inspector ranks nationwide had vacancy rates of 10 percent or more in 2006-07.

“They’re not covering all their bases. There’s a possibility that something could go through because you don’t have the manpower to check everything,” said Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinary inspector at a plant in Wyalusing, Pa.

Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, acknowledged that the department has been struggling to fill vacancies but denied the food supply is at risk.

“Every single animal must past antemortem inspection before it’s presented for slaughter, so only healthy animals are going to pass,” she said. “We do have continuous inspection at slaughter facilities.”

Similarly, Janet Riley, a spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute, defended the meatpacking industry’s safety record. “It is interesting to keep in mind how heavily regulated we are,” she said. “Nobody has this level of inspection.”

The current and former inspectors and other industry critics charged that the staff shortages are also resulting in the mistreatment of animals on the way to slaughter, and may have contributed to the recall announced earlier this week.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, said Thursday that his Senate Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a Feb. 28 hearing on the recall.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer and the presidents of the Humane Society and the American Meat Institute, among others, will testify, he said in a printed statement.

The USDA recalled the beef after the Humane Society of the United States released undercover video that showed slaughterhouse workers at the Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. kicking and shoving sick and crippled cows and forcing them to stand with electric prods, forklifts and water hoses.

Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s president and chief executive, said the video was filmed over a six-week period last fall and all the abuse happened when USDA inspectors were not present.

“The inspection system obviously has enormous gaps if these routine abuses could happen,” he said. “The inspector would show up and if there were downed animals, the workers would try to get them up before the inspectors got there.”

Generally, downer cows — those too sickly to stand, even with coaxing — are banned from the food supply under federal regulations. Downer cows carry a higher risk of mad cow disease. And because sickly animals typically wallow in feces and have weakened immune systems, downer cows are more likely to carry E. coli and salmonella, too.

Veterinary inspector looks for such symptoms as an unsteady gait, swollen lymph nodes, sores and poor muscle tone.

Industry critics say the staff shortages are compounded by a change in USDA regulations in the late 1990s that gave slaughterhouses more responsibility for devising their own safety checklists and for reporting downer cows to the USDA when inspectors are not present.

That policy places slaughterhouses on an honor system that can lead to abuse in an industry that thrives on close attention to costs, said Stan Painter, chairman for the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, which represents 6,000 inspectors nationwide.

“The fox is guarding its own henhouse,” said Painter, who also works as a part-time inspector at hog and poultry packing plants in the South. “If you throw a three-pound chicken away, so what? But if you throw a cow away that’s 300 pounds of meat, and you can’t get any money out of it, that’s a big issue.”

Inspectors whose job is to make sure that the cattle are treated humanely said staff shortages mean they are forced to adopt routine hours for their checks, removing the element of surprise.

USDA numbers show anywhere between 10 and 12 percent of inspector and veterinarian positions at poultry, beef and pork slaughterhouses nationwide were vacant between October 2006 and September 2007. In some regions, including Colorado and Texas, a major beef-producing state, the rate hovered around 15 percent. In New York, vacancy rates hit nearly 22 percent last July.

To bolster its ranks, the department is offering big signing bonuses of at least $2,500 to inspectors willing to relocate to 15 states. The agency has 7,800 inspectors covering 6,200 federally inspected establishments, 900 of which slaughter livestock.

USDA’s Eamich blamed the vacancies on competition with private-sector wages, high costs of living and the often-undesirable rural locations of many slaughterhouses.

The agency hired 200 new inspectors in the past year, bringing staffing levels to their highest point since 2003, and cut veterinarian vacancies by half through hiring incentives, the spokeswoman said.

Felicia Nestor, a policy analyst with Washington-based Food and Water Watch, said the food supply may be at risk.

“I have talked to so many inspectors who used to work for the industry, and part of the training is how to get around the inspection. They’ve got walkies-talkies to alert each other to where the inspector is, they double-team the inspector,” she said.

At two packing houses in Nebraska, veterinarians monitor up to 700 head of cattle at a time for signs of illness — just enough to make sure all the cows are standing, said one veteran inspector who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job.

The inspector has worked for 15 years as an inspector at two plants in Lexington and Grand Island, Neb. One-quarter of the inspection positions at one of his plants have been vacant now for two years, he said.

“There are so many vet shortages out in the field right now, they can’t keep it properly staffed,” the inspector said. “When they come into these big slaughter facilities, they’ll put 200 head in a pen. All you can tell is they’re moving.”

Friedlander, who left the USDA in 1995, said he recalled checking up to 220 cows an hour by standing on a catwalk above a pen of hundreds of animals. He would also check to see if cows could walk by having workers drive them from one pen to another, six or seven cows abreast.

“If you’re a vet, you see the first cow, you might see the second cow, but the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh cow you might not see,” he said. “How can we tell if there’s any facial paralysis or droopy ears? You can’t tell.”

USDA’s Eamich said that there is no limit to the number of animals an inspector is allowed to look at at one time, “but they have to look at every single one.”

February 21, 2008 Posted by | Animals, Current Events, Health, News | 3 Comments

Humane Society Undercover Video Prompts Nation’s Largest Beef Recall

Click here to watch the video

Government Recalls Record 143 Million Pounds of Beef From a Southern California Slaughterhouse

Feb. 18, 2008

A disturbing undercover video showing cows too sick to stand being shoved with forklifts or dragged with chains across a cement floor at a Southern California slaughterhouse has sparked the largest beef recall in the nation’s history.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef Sunday evening from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., which is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation. The recall affects beef products dating back to Feb. 1, 2006 that came from the company.

“Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection,” the Food Safety and Inspection Service said, “[it] has determined them to be unfit for human food.”

The USDA insists the threat is small.

Westland/Hallmark provides meat to the National School Lunch Program and about 150 school districts have stopped using its products. Now officials are scrambling to prevent the questionable beef from reaching school lunch counters. They estimate about 37 million pounds of the beef has gone to schools.

Westland/Hallmark also provided products to two fast food companies. Both Jack-in-the-Box and In-N-Out said they would not use beef from Westland/Hallmark.

The USDA said it had evidence Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became nonambulatory after passing inspection, which violates health regulations.

Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher contamination risk from E. coli, mad cow disease or salmonella.

So far, no illnesses have been linked to the recalled beef and officials said they believe the majority of it already has been consumed.

Most of the beef was sent to distribution centers in bulk packages. The USDA said it will work with distributors to determine how much meat remains.

Agriculture officials said the massive recall surpasses a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats.

Critical Response

Critics scolded the USDA upon learning of the recall, saying the federal agency should conduct more thorough inspections to ensure tainted beef doesn’t get into the public’s food supply.

“It’s clear that USDA’s system failed and it allowed this company to engage in long-term inhumane practices,” said Carolyn Smith DeWaal, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Animal activists said if it hadn’t been for the Humane Society’s undercover footage, the Westland/Hallmark may have continued produce meat.

The video showed downed cows struggling to get on their feet as operators shoved them into position with forklifts.

Criminal Charges

The recall’s fallout included criminal charges against two former workers Friday.

Five felony counts of animal cruelty and three misdemeanors were filed against a pen manager.

Also, three misdemeanor counts of illegal movement of a nonambulatory animal were filed against another employee who worked under that manager. Both were fired.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Animals, Current Events, Health, News | , | 2 Comments

5 Medical Tests That May Keep You Well

They Aren’t Routine, So Ask Your Doctor About These…

Like a scene out of Star Trek, someday our doctors may simply wave a handheld device over our bodies and instantly diagnose any malady. In the meantime, however, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest tests that can help us stay healthy—especially those that uncover risks before symptoms actually occur. The following five tests are not yet considered as routine as cholesterol or blood-sugar tests, but chances are your doctor already is familiar with them. Not every test is necessary at every visit, and your insurance company may not pay unless it considers a particular test “medically necessary.” Still, ask about them. Here’s why they may be important to you.

CRP, or C-reactive protein
This is a simple blood test that measures the amount of inflammation in your body. In many ways, CRP is the best “crystal ball” of health ever devised in a single blood test. Elevated CRP levels have been shown to precede and predict heart attack, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, aneurysms, sudden cardiac death, abnormal heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation and even macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

CRP is a protein made by our immune system that fuels the fire of inflammation in our bodies.  The higher your CRP level, the more at risk you are to develop problems. Optimal levels—less than 0.7 milligrams per liter—predict good health.

It’s important to understand that CRP doesn’t diagnose any particular conditions—it’s not specific. It just identifies whether you’re at risk for illness. It’s best to check your CRP during your routine annual physical, when you feel fine. If you’re sick with something, your CRP probably will be elevated.

The good news is that CRP levels can be lowered by exercise, modest weight loss, taking a multivitamin, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and certain medications such as aspirin and statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs).

Vitamin D level
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones because it’s needed for calcium absorption. But new research also is identifying an important role for vitamin D in the immune system and in the prevention of cancer, including breast and prostate.

Studies show that more than half of American women don’t get enough vitamin D. It’s known as the “sunshine vitamin,” because your skin makes it when you’re out in the sun. That’s why people who lack daily sun exposure or who use sunblock when outdoors may be deficient in the vitamin. It’s almost impossible to get adequate amounts from foods, despite fortification of dairy and some soy foods. All multivitamins contain vitamin D, but for most people even that is not sufficient. You may need to take a vitamin D supplement. Most people should get between 1000 and 1500 IU of vitamin D3 daily. (D3 is the natural form of vitamin D. It’s more easily absorbed and stays in the body longer.) The best way to know if you’re getting enough vitamin D is to get a blood test.

H. pylori test
About 20% of Americans may unknowingly be infected with the bacteria responsible for stomach cancer, heartburn, ulcers and even eye disorders. The discovery of H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) infection as the primary cause of stomach ulcers worldwide earned Australian researchers Robin Warren and Barry Marshall the Nobel Prize in medicine for 2005. The bacteria also have been found to cause stomach cancer.

H. pylori
is a chronic, potentially lifelong infection of the stomach. It can cause stomach pain, heartburn or indigestion, but it’s often silent, causing no symptoms. Infection typically occurs when a person eats contaminated food and ingests the bacteria. The infection can be cured with a combination of antibiotics and antacids.

A blood-antibody test can show if you’ve ever been infected, and a stool test or breath test can identify if you currently have an active infection. Fortunately, successful treatment of H. pylori eliminates the increased risk of stomach cancer, ulcers and related disorders.

Aspirin check
Aspirin has been shown to be a powerful preventive measure for people at risk for heart attack and stroke as well as for colon cancer, and it’s estimated that as many as 50 million Americans take aspirin daily to prevent a heart attack. What’s not clear is the optimal dose of aspirin for prevention. Most people are taking a baby aspirin (81 milligrams), but research has shown that 10% to 20% of people are resistant to aspirin and require higher dosages in order to benefit from its protective effects.

An aspirin check is a test that determines the effectiveness of the daily aspirin for an individual. This is important for people who are taking aspirin therapeutically for cardiovascular disease as well as those at increased risk for heart disease who are taking aspirin for prevention. The test can be ordered by your doctor but also is available directly from an online lab.

Insulin level
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by an excess of insulin production in response to eating. The glucose tolerance test has long been the standard way to identify someone with diabetes. Until recently, glucose tolerance tests measured only blood sugar, or glucose levels, which are raised when a person has diabetes. But measuring your body’s insulin-production levels improves the test by being able to identify your risk of diabetes long before symptoms emerge.

Typically, to do the test, your blood is drawn twice—first after fasting, then again two hours later after a glucose drink. Your insulin levels are recorded. If the results indicate that you’re at a higher risk for diabetes, the good news is that you also have time to take action. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a lifestyle that includes daily exercise, weight control and a low-glycemic diet that reduces the intake of sugar, refined grains and starches.

Dr. Mark Liponis, a best-selling author and wellness advocate, is the corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch spas.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Health | 2 Comments

The cost of the Iraq war – What can $611 billion buy?

Do you have any other ideas on how to spend $611 billion – or comparisons for what that money could have bought? Please leave your comments.


If the Bush administration succeeds in its latest request for funding for the war in Iraq, the total cost would rise to $611.5 billion, according to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research group.

The amount got me wondering: What would $611 billion buy?

Nearly 4,000 Newton North High Schools
Tagged as the most expensive high school in Massachusetts, at $154.6 million, the construction design for the new Newton North High School could be replicated almost 4,000 times using the money spent on the war.


40 Big Digs

At almost $15 billion, Boston’s Central Artery project has been held up as the nation’s most expensive public works project. Now multiply that by 40 and you’re getting close to US taxpayers’ commitment to democracy in Iraq – so far.


Almost 18 months’ worth of free gas for everyone
US drivers consume approximately 384.7 million gallons of gasoline a day. Retail prices averaged $3.00 a gallon in early November. Breaking it down, $611 billion could buy gasoline for everybody in the United States, for about 530 days.


Many, many environment-friendly cars on the road

With $611 billion, you could convert all cars in America to run on ethanol nine times over. estimates that converting the 136,568,083 registered cars in the United States to ethanol (conversion kits at $500) would cost $68.2 billion.


Nearly 14 million years’ worth of tuition, room, and board at Harvard
At published rates for this year, $611 billion translates into almost 14 million free rides for a year at Harvard University.

Tuition and fees at the University of Massachusetts-Boston could be paid for over 53 million years.


More than a year’s worth of Medicare benefits for everyone

In fiscal 2008, Medicare benefits will total $454 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation summary. The $611 billion in war costs is 17 times the amount vetoed by the president for a $35 billion health benefit program for poor children.


A looong contract for Dice-K

The Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka agreed on a six-year, $52 million contract. The war cost could be enough to have Dice-K mania for more than 70,000-some years at this year’s rate.


A real war on poverty
According to World Bank estimates, $54 billion a year would eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally by 2015, while $30 billion would provide a year of primary education for every child on earth.

At the upper range of those estimates, the $611 billion cost of the war could have fed and educated the world’s poor for seven years.



November 12, 2007 Posted by | Current Events, Environment, Fun Stuff, Health, Humor, Iraq, Military & War, Money, News, Politics, Random, Sports | , | 3 Comments