Lawmakers Not Models Of Healthy Living

From a seemingly surprised Politico:

Lawmakers are not good models of healthy living

By: Katherine Tallmadge
July 27, 2009

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone in Congress quote the Hippo­cratic oath during this year’s debate on health care reform — “First, do no harm” — I could retire early. What I have not heard quoted by anyone is an admonition almost as well-known and much more appropriate to the current debate: “Physician, heal thyself.”

As a nutrition and diet consultant in Washington who has worked with members of Congress and congressional staff over the past two decades, I have more than a passing knowledge of the people now making decisions that will affect the health of millions of Americans.



NYT Discovers Homeless Under Obama

From the ‘This Land’ section of the New York Times:

Timothy Webb, 49, left, and Bruce, 59, live in a tent city, dubbed Camp Runamuck, in Providence, R.I., under an overpass stretch of Route 195 that is scheduled for demolition.

Living in Tents, and by the Rules, Under a Bridge


July 31, 2009


The chief emerges from his tent to face the leaden morning light. It had been a rare, rough night in his homeless Brigadoon: a boozy brawl, the wielding of a knife taped to a stick. But the community handled it, he says with pride, his day’s first cigar already aglow.

By community he means 80 or so people living in tents on a spit of state land beside the dusky Providence River: Camp Runamuck, no certain address, downtown Providence.



WP Explains Away Obama’s Lower Polls

‘The Take’ from Dan Balz at the Washington Post:

Obama’s Poll Numbers Don’t Add Up to Whole Story

By Dan Balz
Friday, July 31, 2009

There are several new polls out over the past 24 hours that show more problems for President Obama. The trend lines are consistent: declining support for his health-care plan, rising worries about the deficit and slippage in his approval ratings. But what if the polls are wrong?

Not wrong in the sense that they have incorrectly charted a downward slope for the president after six months in office, but wrong in the sense that they don’t entirely capture the dynamic of this moment in the Obama presidency.

I raise that question after spending Wednesday night in Towson observing a focus group conducted by pollster Peter Hart for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.



Navy Raids Cancun Beach – Stolen Sand

A nice summertime story from the Associated Press:

A tourist watches as Mexican federal environmental authorities and navy sailors close a section of beach built by allegedly pumping sand from the ocean bottom to combat erosion at a hotel in Cancun, Mexico, Thursday, July 30, 2009. Five people were detained in the incident.

Mexico shuts Cancun beach, alleges sand was stolen


MEXICO CITY — Surprised tourists found their little piece of Cancun beach paradise ringed by crime-scene tape and gun-toting sailors on Thursday.

Environmental enforcement officers backed by Mexican navy personnel closed off hundreds of feet (dozens of meters) of powder-white coastline in front of a hotel accused of illegally accumulating sand on its beach.

Mexico spent $19 million to replace Cancun beaches washed away by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.



Stimulus Fixing Pot Holes, Not Bridges

Some actual investigative reporting from the Associated Press:

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

AP IMPACT: Bad bridges passed up for stimulus cash

By Brett J. Blackledge And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of unsafe or decaying bridges carrying 100 million drivers a day must wait for repairs because states are spending stimulus money on spans that are already in good shape or on easier projects like repaving roads, an Associated Press analysis shows.

President Barack Obama urged Congress last winter to pass his $787 billion stimulus package so some of the economic recovery money could be used to rebuild what he called America’s "crumbling bridges." Lawmakers said it was a historic chance to chip away at the $65 billion backlog of deficient structures, often neglected until a catastrophe like the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed two years ago this Saturday.



GDP Contracts For 4th Straight Quarter

From the ever hopeful Associated Press:

GDP report is likely to show recession eased in 2Q

By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – The economy sank at a pace of just 1 percent in the second quarter of the year, a new government report shows. It was a better-than-expected showing that provided the strongest signal yet that the longest recession since World War II is finally winding down

The economy has now contracted for a record four straight quarters for the first time on records dating to 1947. That underscores the grim toll of the recession on consumers and companies.

Many economists were predicting a slightly bigger 1.5 percent annualized contraction in second-quarter GDP…

Less drastic spending cuts by businesses, a resumption of spending by federal and local governments and an improved trade picture were key forces behind the better performance…

The Commerce Department also reported Friday that the recession inflicted even more damage on the economy last year than the government had previously thought.



Cuba Cuts Energy, Closes Up Factories

A couple of shocking developments from the ‘Workers Paradise.’

From a deeply disappointed Associated Press:

A worker weighs pumpkins before their sold in a government store in Havana, Thursday, July 30, 2009.

Cuba suspends plans for Communist Party congress

Cuba suspends Communist Party Congress; drops economic growth projections for year to 1.7 pct

Friday July 31, 2009

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba has suspended plans for a Communist Party congress and dropped economic growth projections in 2009 by nearly a full percentage point to 1.7 percent as the island’s economy struggles through a "very serious" crisis.

In a meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee, officials agreed to postpone indefinitely the first party congress since 1997, which had been announced for late this year, the Communist Party daily Granma reported Friday.



Birthday Presents For Our Dear Leader

From a bowing and scraping Politico:

The best birthday gifts for President Obama

By: Amie Parnes
July 31, 2009

No matter where you think he was born, President Barack Obama celebrates his birthday on the well-documented day of Aug. 4. But what do you give a man who runs the free world, lives in a mansion, enjoys a custom-built 747, a motorcade, personal chefs — and already has a dog? …

For a few suggestions on gifts for the commander in chief, POLITICO asked Washingtonians far and wide: Without regard for price, rules or practical reality, what would you give President Obama for his upcoming birthday?

Joe Biden – vice president of the United States

“It’s a surprise!”

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)

“I would give the president a Wyoming lamb pelt to use as a cushion for those lengthy rides on Air Force One.



Obama To Suspend ‘Cash For Clunkers’

From an unfazed Associated Press:

AP sources: Govt to suspend ‘cash for clunkers’

By Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The government plans to suspend its popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases, congressional officials said Thursday.

The Transportation Department called lawmakers’ offices to alert them to the decision to suspend the program at midnight Thursday. The program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle…

Through late Wednesday, 22,782 vehicles had been purchased through the program and nearly $96 million had been spent. But dealers raised concerns about large backlogs in the processing of the deals in the government system, prompting the suspension

Even before the suspension, some in Congress were seeking more money for the auto sales stimulus.



Stimulus Bill Is Funding Art House Porn

From Fox News:

Stimulus Bill Funds Go to Art Houses Showing ‘Pervert’ Revues, Underground Pornography

Thursday , July 30, 2009

By Joseph Abrams

Talk about a stimulus package.

The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night "pervert" revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco.

The NEA was given $80 million of the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession.

But some of the NEA’s grants are spicing up more than the economy.



Doc: Obama Favors Single-Payer System

A story from a few days ago, via the UK’s Telegraph:

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during a town hall meeting about healthcare at the Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina July 29, 2009.

Barack Obama’s health reform plans are a bitter pill for his personal doctor

President Barack Obama’s personal doctor for more than two decades is bitterly disappointed by the health care reforms being pushed through Congress at the urging of his former patient.

By Leonard Doyle in Washington
25 Jul 2009

Dr David Scheiner remains a big fan of the man he treated for 22 years in Chicago. But does not believe the planned overhaul goes far enough to help the poor and uninsured, and will cost too much because of pressure from the health care industry.



AP: Jobless Up More Than Expected

From the perpetually caught off-guard Associated Press:

New jobless claims rise more than expected

By Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – The number of newly laid-off workers filing first-time claims for jobless benefits rose last week, the government said, though the increase was mostly due to seasonal distortions.

Many economists say new claims, which track layoffs and firings, are trending downward in a modest sign of improvement in the labor market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the initial claims for unemployment aid rose by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 584,000, above analysts’ estimates. But the figure is below the 617,000 new claims filed in late June, before the numbers began to be distorted by a shift in the timing of temporary auto shutdowns.



Reuters Cites Soros Fronts On Green Jobs

From an oblivious Reuters:

Healthcare, green tech brighten dim U.S. jobs picture

Thu Jul 30, 2009

By Steve Gorman – Analysis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Healthcare and clean energy rank as bright spots in a bleak U.S. jobs market and both stand to generate even more employment under plans put forward by President Barack Obama.

The health industry, bolstered by the demands of an aging population and supplied by new technologies, has added jobs despite the recession and is destined for further expansion should Obama make good on his promise of affordable medical care for millions of uninsured Americans.

The mix of jobs is likely to shift as preventive medicine gets more emphasis, record-keeping functions are modernized and fewer diagnostic tests are ordered, economists say.



NYT Poll: 69% Worry About Obama-Care

From an unsettled New York Times:

President Obama took his appeal for support of a health care overhaul on the road Wednesday, speaking (and snacking) at a Kroger grocery store in Bristol, Va.

New Poll Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan


July 30, 2009

President Obama’s ability to shape the debate on health care appears to be eroding as opponents aggressively portray his overhaul plan as a government takeover that could limit Americans’ ability to choose their doctors and course of treatment, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Americans are concerned that revamping the health care system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills, and limit their options in choosing doctors, treatments and tests, the poll found.



Obama To Release Confessed Terrorist

From an elated BBC News:

Guantanamo inmate to be released

July 29, 2009

The Obama administration says it will release Mohammed Jawad, who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp since 2002.

Earlier this month officials admitted that there was no military case for Mr Jawad’s continued detention.

But government lawyers had said they wished to keep him in detention pending a possible criminal prosecution.

The decision could set a precedent leading to the release of other Guantanamo inmates.

His lawyers say they are confident that Mr Jawad will be released and allowed to return to Afghanistan, but the US government still has three weeks to complete a separate criminal investigation before deciding his future.

Mr Jawad was arrested in Afghanistan in December 2002, after being accused of throwing a grenade at a jeep and injuring two US soldiers and their interpreter.



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