Showing posts from April 5, 2014

Leaders of Teaching Hospitals Have Close Ties to Drug Companies, Study Shows

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[40% of pharmaceutical companies studied had a board member who was in leadership at an academic centre; they earned more than $300,000 on average for this service. *RON*]
By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, Saturday, 05 April 2014

Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors extend far beyond rank-and-file clinicians — and deep into the leadership of America's teaching hospitals, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Bigger the Checkbook, the Bigger the Bull

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[Billionaires buy their own pet presidential candidates -- who, in turn, will ride their personal hobby horses for them -- thus transforming the US into the greatest democracy that money can buy - helped along immensely by this week's McCutcheon decision in the SCOTUS. *RON*]

By Jim Newell, The Baffler, March 31, 2014

One of the more pathetic manifestations of our pretty-much-unregulated campaign finance system occurred this weekend in Las Vegas. New Jersey governor Chris Christie was speaking to a modest gathering of prospective donors from the Republican Jewish Coalition, whose views on Israel can be characterized as far to the right of any other group on earth. During one portion of his speech, Christie was describing a trip he took to Israel in 2012.

“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day,” said Christ…

Muzzled by Monsanto: Is Big Ag squelching research showing its new RNAi GMOs may be dangerous?

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[Good article on corporate interference in science. *RON*]

By Caitlin Rockett, Boulder Weekly, Thursday, April 3,2014

After nearly 30 years studying how plants use their genes to defend against viruses, Vicki Vance, a professor at the University of South Carolina, doesn’t see genetically modifying plants as a malevolent or arrogantly God-like endeavor.

“There’s DNA in the world and it gets passed from one organism to another and it’s the natural thing. If that’s the problem you have with transgenic plants, that’s not a good reason to be against them,” Vance says.

She does, however, have a problem with mega corporations allegedly using their money and power to hide the risks of new forms of genetic technology.

“I didn’t use to be an anti-GMO person and I didn’t use to have strong feelings about Monsanto, but …,” she says, her voice trailing off.

But that was before the Chinese research, before the calls from Monsanto, before she couldn’t get funding f…

How The Global Wealthy Are Doing Better Than Everyone Else In One Chart

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[An index based on providers of luxury goods and services has provided a 31% ROI over the last 5 years. *RON*]
Sam Ro, Business Insider, April 5, 2014

Inequality continues to be a major issue in the world. And it has manifested very clearly within the the stock market.

Check out S&P's Global Luxury Index, which consists of 80 large publicly traded companies "engaged in the production or distribution of luxury goods or the provision of luxury services." Names include Daimler, Diageo, Nike, LVMH-Moet, Richemont, BMW, Las Vegas Sands, and Pernod-Ricard.

In the last five years, the luxury index has delivered 31% in average annual returns. That compares to more modest, albeit impressive, 21% returns in the S&P 500.

So, what's going on here? Jeff Gundlach would blame the Fed's easy monetary policy, which he argues have benefited the rich more than the poor. "Obviously, QE has something to do with wealth effects spilling …

10 Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage (with Charts)

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[Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would create economic prosperity and put more money into the pockets of hard-working Americans. *RON*]
By Cap Action War Room, AlterNet, April 4, 2014
There have been rumors lately that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is trying to broker a smaller minimum wage increase. The offer is a non-starter for Democratic leaders, and would in fact lock low-income workers into poverty wages for the indefinite future. Here at CAP Action, we agree. The Senate’s plan to vote on a minimum wage increase has been pushed back several times, but what matters most is that it stays at $10.10. Here are ten reasons why raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is the right thing for America’s workers and for our economy:

XL Pipeline: Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Waxman Question Koch Bros

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[The Koch brothers operate by stealth; the antiseptic effects of sunshine are greatly feared by their likes. They realize very well how much public backlash there will be if it is understood how plainly their political donations really are investments made with an expected (and personal) return in mind. *RON*]

 By Marcia G. Yerman,, April 5, 2014

As a writer on environmental issues, as well as a person concerned about the future of the planet, I am anxiously awaiting the decision on the XL Pipeline. I keep questioning if the United States is ready to set an example by eliminating fossil fuel extraction as integral to American life. Will we get down to the hard work of moving forward on a different path?

With all the recent news about oils spills and the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster--you have to wonder about the advisability of 1660 miles of pipeline transversing the nation. It will be transporting 830,000 barrels of …

Fair Elections Act: Sheila Fraser's Assessment Not Shared By All On Advisory Board

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[Notice that the divisions of opinion are not substantive. Rather, they are purely along party lines, and largely consist of ad hominem attacks on Sheila Fraser. Notice that, in referring to her as a "paid shill of Elections Canada" they tip their hand and show that this legislation really is an attack on the independent investigative powers of the Elections Canada office. *RON*]

By Joan Bryden, CP / Huffington Post, 04/04/2014

OTTAWA - Sheila Fraser's damning assessment of the Harper government's proposed overhaul of election rules is not shared by all members of the Elections Canada advisory board she co-chairs.

Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal, one of 13 members of the board, said Friday that the highly respected former auditor general was not speaking for him when she called the sweeping reforms an attack on democracy.

"She's entitled to her views and I have a high regard for her and I'm sure her concern is both si…