Archive for September, 2010

Cosmos – Did Australian Aborigines reach America first?

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Cosmos:

Did Australian Aborigines reach America first?
Thursday, 30 September 2010

by Jacqui Hayes

Cosmos Online

Skull of Luzia

The skull of Luzia, possibly the oldest skeleton in the Americas, who has facial features distinctive of Australian Aborigines.

Photo Credit: Marco Fernandes/COSMOS

SYDNEY: Cranial features distinctive to Australian Aborigines are present in hundreds of skulls that have been uncovered in Central and South America, some dating back to over 11,000 years ago.

Evolutionary biologist Walter Neves of the University of São Paulo, whose findings are reported in a cover story in the latest issue of Cosmos magazine, has examined these skeletons and recovered others, and argues that there is now a mass of evidence indicating that at least two different populations colonised the Americas.

He and colleagues in the United States, Germany and Chile argue that first population was closely related to the Australian Aborigines and arrived more than 11,000 years ago.

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The Commonwealth Fund – Health Insurance Exchanges: Overcoming Implementation Barriers

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Commonwealth Fund:

Health Insurance Exchanges: Overcoming Implementation Barriers ›

The new health insurance exchanges will serve as major insurance marketplaces when they become fully operational in 2014. In this post, Timothy Jost offers policy options for handling some of the thorny issues federal and state governments will need to address during the implementation process. Read ›


Browse Publications and Create Custom Charts

Visit the new International Health Policy Center to browse content by country or topic and create custom tables and charts using data from our international health policy surveys from 2006 to 2009. Go ›

The Progress Report – September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Think Progress – The Progress Report:

California’s Climate Fight Heats Up

As temperatures reached a record-breaking 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday — it was so hot, a National Weather Service thermometer stopped working — the fight for California’s climate future is also heating up. Come election day, California voters are in danger of undoing “one of the most progressive pieces of environmental legislation ever enacted,” thanks to a ballot measure pushed by handful of big out-of-state oil companies to kill California’s landmark global warming law. Passed by bipartisan majorities and with strong support from businesses and environmentalists alike, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, commonly known as AB 32, will guide the state’s emissions back down to 1990 levels by 2020, resulting in hundreds of fewer premature deaths each year. Since it passed, the law has catalyzed billions of dollars in private sector investment in clean energy in the state, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, as the Los Angeles Times noted, California has already “begun to feel the effects [of global warming], with rising sea levels, the disruption of habitats for plants and animals, and diminishing mountain snowpacks that are critical to the state’s water supply.” However, Proposition 23 — placed on the ballot and promoted almost exclusively by three big out-of-state oil companies — would essentially kill this hugely successful piece of legislation. In an attempt to confuse voters, the referendum says it will merely “suspend” the law until California’s unemployment rate drops to the unrealistically low level of 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. The state’s current unemployment rate is 12.2 percent, and has dropped below 5.5 percent only three times since 1970, so the initiative’s passage would effectively kill the law. Moreover, suspending the law would actually hamper economic growth, according to economists, further jeopardizing the law’s eventual implementation. Recent polling offers mixed forecasts of Prop. 23’s prospects, but the data suggests that voters are unclear about what the measure will actually do, thanks to its deceptive wording. Once respondents were read a short explanation of the measure, the numbers shifted with a majority disproving of Prop. 23, suggesting that voters need to be better educated.

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McDonald’s Corp. is threatening to drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new health care law requirement. Sending “one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans,” McDonald’s claims the requirement to spend 80 to 85 percent of premiums on benefits would be “economically prohibitive” to continue offering coverage.

The House yesterday approved a bill “to give up to $7.4 billion to workers sickened during the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” New York lawmakers said they would push the Senate to pass a similar bill once Congress returns for its lame-duck session.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Pakistan’s intelligence community yesterday that the U.S. government is working to counter a terror plot to attack several public targets in European capitals. According to Panetta, the CIA learned of the attack — which was set to occur in November — after “capturing one of the prospective attackers en route from Pakistan’s FATA region.”

Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for U.S. and NATO troops yesterday, following a cross-border helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani soldiers. The blockade appears to be a major escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) “will not lift her hold on Office of Management and Budget director nominee Jack Lew,” continuing to demand that the Obama administration first lift its moratorium on offshore drilling. The senator met with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday, but there was no resolution of her issues with the moratorium.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, traded charges that the other was too extreme for California during a debate last night. Boxer accused Fiorina of shipping jobs overseas as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and attacked her opposition to health care reform.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats “agreed to a Republican demand” to block President Obama from making recess appointments while Congress is out for midterm elections. In scheduling pro-forma sessions, Democrats prevent Republicans from forcing any of the 115 executive- and judicial-branch pending nominations from having to be resubmitted and reconfirmed in the Senate.

And finally: Obama said he’s “amused” by Jon Stewart’s rally. “I was amused — Jon Stewart, the host of The Daily Show, apparently he’s going to host a rally called something like ‘Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity‘ or something like that,” the president said. “And his point was, you know, 70 percent of the people…are just like you.”

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August TARP report to Congress

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment
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OMB Watch – Concerns over Industry Influence Mount in Cell Phone Right-to-Know Fight

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From OMB Watch:

Concerns over Industry Influence Mount in Cell Phone Right-to-Know Fight

In an effort to ensure mobile phone buyers can make informed choices, the city of San Francisco recently passed an ordinance requiring retailers to label cell phones with the amount of radiation the devices emit. In retaliation, a wireless industry trade group announced it will no longer hold its trade shows in San Francisco and filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of the ordinance. The fight has caused right-to-know advocates to raise concerns over the extent of the wireless industry’s influence over regulators.



OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Problems Continue, GAO Says

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has again strongly criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a range of problems and inconsistencies in the agency’s handling of whistleblower protections.


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Dan Froomkin – 40 Fold Increase In Carcinogenic Compounds In Gulf

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Huffington Post:

Researchers Found 40-Fold Increase In Carcinogenic Compounds In Gulf

Dan Froomkin

Researchers testing the waters off Louisiana in June found hugely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, some of which are known carcinogens.

The researchers from Oregon State University say that a device taking samples just off the shore of Louisiana’s Grande Isle registered a 40-fold increase in PAHs between May and June.

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Ecuador – Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Ecuador, Irina Cabezas

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From VideosCubaHoy | September 30, 2010

Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Ecuador, Irina Cabezas, demanded to end the conspiracy to destabilize the country’s democracy. Called on people to unite and fight against any coup.


UNASUR emergency meeting place for the attempted coup in Ecuador

Chile and Paraguay reject attempted coup in Ecuador

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