Monday, September 14, 2009

U.S. Ranks 2nd Worst in Infant Mortality Rate Among Industrial Nations

This wouldn't have anything to do with our failed health care system?:

All moms should take notice -- because the World Health Organization ranks the United States 29th in the world in infant mortality. And among industrialized nations, the U.S. has the second worst infant mortality rate. Babies born here in the great U.S.A. are three times more likely to die in their first month than children born in Japan, according to a recent report by Save the Children. The newborn mortality rate is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland, or Norway, states the report. Only Latvia, with six deaths per 1,000 live births, has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States -- and is near the bottom of industrialized nations with Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia, with five deaths per 1,000 births. You get the idea.

U.S. Special Forces Kill al-Qaeda Leader in Somalia

This should continue to be our strategy: kill Qaeda wherever we find them. That should be our focus as it relates to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even Iraq.

The deadly drama of piracy, terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe that is Somalia took another twist Monday when a squad of U.S. Special Operations helicopter gunships, launched off a Navy vessel in the Indian Ocean, attacked and killed an alleged al-Qaeda leader inside Somalia, U.S. officials told TIME. The dead man was believed to be Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a 28-year-old Kenyan wanted for attacks on a seaside hotel and an Israeli airliner in 2002 in Kenya. It was at least the sixth attack by U.S. forces inside Somalia in less than three years and the latest in a series of U.S. assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives in that country. According to news reports, Nabhan was killed when up to four U.S. helicopters fired on a convoy carrying suspected Al-Qaeda targets in a village in southern Somalia on Monday. The reports said the helicopters attacked a vehicle, killing some people inside, then circled back and landed to pick up the bodies and any survivors for identification. (See pictures of the pirates of Somalia.)

As much as it seemed to be a successful strike against terrorism, the attack was also a testament to Somalia's longevity as a refuge for Islamist militants. Conditions haven't changed in years. Somalia last had a government worthy of the name nearly two decades ago, in 1991. For most of the 1990s, like Afghanistan at the time, the country was torn apart by rival warlords. Like Afghanistan too, out of that chaos arose an army of radical Islamist warriors determined to bring strict religious law and order to the country, but also open to funding from and cooperation with al-Qaeda. The first shots in what later became known as the war on terror were fired by these Somalia-based militants when they blew up the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998, killing 213 and 11 people respectively. But Afghanistan, and later Pakistan, became the focus of the militant Islamic threat after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden moved himself and his main base of operations there in 1996, after he was expelled from Sudan, eventually to perpetrate the attacks of 9/11.

CBS Deceptive Headline: "NYC Terror Plot Uncovered"

This CBS report contradicts itself. The headline screams "NYC Terror Plot Uncovered." The video (seen below) report then says no "plot uncovered." The text report has a different headline, "NYC Residences Raided in Terror Probe." Another case in where the mainstream media exaggerates a story.

Watch CBS Videos Online

New York Eyes ‘No Smoking’ Outdoors, Too

This is political correctness gone amok:

New York City’s workplace smoking ban six years ago drove cigarette and cigar puffers outdoors. But soon some of the outdoors may be off limits, too: The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said Monday that he would seek to ban smoking at city parks and beaches.

Dr. Farley said the ban — which officials said may require the approval of the City Council, but could possibly be done through administrative rule-making by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation — was part of a broader strategy to further curb smoking rates, which have fallen in recent years. The proposal, however, seemed to catch Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg off guard.

On Monday night, the mayor, who has championed antismoking programs but also is running for re-election, issued a statement that did not disavow the proposal but appeared to qualify it, saying he wanted “to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people’s health.”

He added, “It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health.”

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, whose support could be crucial, said she would want the Council to hold hearings on the matter. She said that fines should be modest and not intended primarily to punish, and that any ban should make clear whether areas like boardwalks are affected.

Mafia sank boat with Radioactive Waste: Official

Another argument against nuclear power:

Italian authorities have discovered a ship that was sunk by the mafia off the coast of southern Italy with 120 barrels of radioactive waste on board, a local prosecutor said Monday.

The 110-metre (360-feet) long ship was found on Saturday 500 metres (1,640 feet) under water and around 28 kilometres (17 miles) from the coast of Calabria, Paola city prosecutor Bruno Giordano told AFP.

"For the moment, we do not know the origin of the waste, but it is probably from abroad. It is a first lead," he said.

Robert Reich: Obama Financial Industry Reforms "Inadequate"

Robert Reich, was Clinton's labor Secretary. He is also a well known critic of the excesses of big business. He was also an Obama supporter until now:

The mega-bailout of Wall Street accomplished little. The only big winners have been top bank executives and traders, whose pay packages are once again in the stratosphere. Banks have been so eager to lure and keep top deal makers and traders they've even revived the practice of offering ironclad, multimillion-dollar payments -- guaranteed no matter how the employee performs. Goldman Sachs is on course to hand out bonuses that could rival its record pre-meltdown paydays. In the second quarter this year it posted its fattest quarterly profit in its 140-year history, and earmarked $11.4 billion to compensate its happy campers. Which translates into about $770,000 per Goldman employee on average, just about what they earned at height of boom. Of course, top executives and traders will pocket much more.

[...]So will the President succeed on financial reform? I wish I could be optimistic. His milktoast list of proposed reforms is inadequate to the task, even if adopted. The Street's behavior since its bailout should be proof enough that halfway measures won't do. The basic function of commercial banking in our economic system -- linking savers to borrowers -- should never have been confused with the casino-like function of investment banking. Securitization, whereby loans are turned into securities traded around the world, has made lenders unaccountable for the risks they take on. The Glass-Steagall Act should be resurrected. Pension and 401 (k) plans, meanwhile, should never have been allowed to subject their beneficiaries to the risks that Wall Street gamblers routinely run. Put simply, the Street has been given too many opportunities to play too many games with other peoples' money.

But, like the health care industry, Wall Street has platoons of lobbyists and an almost unlimited war chest to protect its interests and prevent change. And with the Dow Jones Industrial Average trending upward again -- and the public's and the media's attention focused elsewhere, especially on health care -- it will be difficult to summon the same sense of urgency financial reform commanded six months ago.

The public agrees with Reich:
AP poll: 7 in 10 have no confidence in Washington fixing Wall Street

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Executive Pay Jumps Despite Recession: Report

This study is for British companies. But the same is happening in the States. We've been had. The Wall St. bailout was nothing other than government serving it's master. I wonder how many of the those Tea Partyers are aware that they are being used to further corporate socialism. How many of the American people are aware yet they have been conned by the government.

Basic salaries for executives at top companies jumped 10 percent last year despite the worst financial crisis in decades, a report said on Monday.

Although bonuses were lower, the wages of executives rose at more than double the rate of inflation in 2008, an analysis of boardroom pay by the Guardian newspaper said.

The highest paid boss was Bart Becht, the chief executive of household goods group Reckitt Benckiser, who earned 36.8 million pounds in pay, bonuses, perks and share incentive schemes.

The second highest was Aidan Heavey, head of Tullow Oil, who took 28.8 million pounds, followed by Chip Goodyear, then CEO of mining giant BHP Billiton, who earned 23.8 million pounds.

The 10 most highly paid executives earned a combined 170 million pounds last year, up from 140 million pounds in 2007.

The rises came as markets including London's FTSE tumbled last year, prompting many companies to impose pay freezes on staff and implement redundancies to slash costs.

And if you are naive enough to believe that things will ultimately change under this President, think again:
Just a month after taking office, President Obama asked Congress to move fast to reform the "outdated" system of financial oversight and install "tough, new common-sense rules of the road" for Wall Street.

Now, with Obama set to give a major address on Monday marking the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, things haven't advanced very far.

Congress has moved only sluggishly on a set of changes that are more modest than the overhaul originally envisioned. It is likely that the patchwork system of regulatory agencies will remain mostly intact.

Two-thirds of Public Believe Press is Biased and Inaccurate

Skepticism of the Press is justified. And it doesn't bode well for our democracy. It would also partially explain why America has descendant into a deep abyss. The mainstream press isn't about accuracy or truth - but profit.

More bad news for journalists: The percentage of people who believe their work is inaccurate and biased continues to grow.

Nearly two-thirds — 63% — of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press believe that news stories are often inaccurate. That’s a flip from when Pew first asked that question in 1985, when 34% of respondents believed stories were frequently inaccurate.

Pew also found that 74% of respondents believe stories tend to favor one side of an issue over another, up from 66% two years ago.

Those trends tend to go hand in hand, said Andrew Kohut, the Pew center’s director.

“If people believe that news reports are often biased, they will say they’re inaccurate,” he said.