Thursday, October 11, 2007

Study: 41 million in U.S. can't afford basics

One in five working families has a tough time affording basics like shelter and health care while earning too much to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid, according to a new report
By MarketWatch
MSN Money

About one in five working American families can't afford basic needs, and many scrape to get by on insufficient income and government aid, policy researchers conclude in a report (.pdf file) released today.

Many of these workers earn too much to qualify for "work supports" such as Medicaid and food stamps, while their employer-provided health insurance doesn't cover enough of their basic medical costs, according to the report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts.

"We no longer live in a world where having a job means you're automatically able to make ends meet," said Heather Boushey, co-author of the report.

It's a must read - See: 41 million in U.S. can't afford basics

Rampage shakes Cleveland school

Suspended student, 14, opens fire in building, wounding four before killing himself
Chris Maag and Ian Urbina
New York Times

CLEVELAND -- Disgruntled about having been suspended on Monday after a fight, a 14-year-old student shot and injured two students and two teachers at a downtown Cleveland high school on Wednesday before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.

None of the victims' injuries were considered life-threatening. The gunman was identified as Asa H. Coon, a freshman at the school, SuccessTech Academy. The police and school officials said that around 1:15 p.m., Coon arrived at the school armed with two handguns, a .38 and a .22 caliber, and that he began working his way up two flights of stairs before opening fire in a crowded hallway on the third floor.

Within minutes, the principal announced a "code blue" over the intercom, leading some students to flee into the halls, while others hid in closets and under desks. The police said they believed Coon had singled out the two teachers, who may have played a role in his suspension.

See: Rampage shakes Cleveland school

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Study Ties Heart Disease to Marital Strife

A lousy marriage might literally make you sick
By Lindsey Tanner
Associated Press

A lousy marriage might literally make you sick. Marital strife and other bad personal relationships can raise your risk for heart disease, researchers reported Monday.

What it likely boils down to is stress - a well-known contributor to health problems, as well as a potential byproduct of troubled relationships, the scientists said.

In a study of 9,011 British civil servants, most of them married, those with the worst close relationships were 34 percent more likely to have heart attacks or other heart trouble during 12 years of follow-up than those with good relationships. That included partners, close relatives and friends.

See: Study Links Strife in Marriage to Heart Disease

Monday, October 08, 2007

Western Drought Provoking More Than Water Wars

Worst western drought in 500 years
by Franklin Bell
Executive Intelligence Review
What the U.S. Geological Survey has identified as the worst western drought in 500 years, is propelling the whole western region of the North American continent toward conditions for which financial oligarchs' anti-infrastructure advocates pine: drastic de-population of the North American West, within this decade.

The current drought doesn't stop at the United States' northern border negotiated with the British Empire, nor at the southern border of the Gadsden Purchase. The North American Drought Monitor, compiled by the American, Mexican, and Canadian national governments, shows "Abnormally Dry" to "Exceptionally Dry" conditions stretching from an area well above the panhandle in Alaska, to central western Mexico. Parts of Western Texas have been afflicted with drought for the past dozen years.

The 200,000-square-mile Ogallala Aquifer that stretches from South Dakota to Texas, and provides water for one-fifth of the irrigated land in the country, is being depleted 14 times faster than its normal process of restoration.
In early 2000, Lake Powell was 95% full. Since then, it has drained so rapidly that water experts say it may drop to "dead pool" levels, below which it cannot deliver stored water downstream.