1. If you cannot be the king, be the power behind the throne.
Who stands to benefit by destroying unions in the U.S.? It is large corporations, and corporate executives like the billionaire brothers who own the chemical and paper giant Koch (pronounced "coke") Industries, David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch. The Koch brothers partly created and financed a front organization called Americans for Prosperity. It has a budget of 40 million dollars a substantial amount of which was "donated" by the Koch brothers. And, state records showed that that Koch Industries of Wichita, Kansas, was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of (you guessed it) Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Tim Philips, President of Americans for Prosperity, said that even before Walker as sworn in, there were talk between Walker and the Koch subsidized organization concerning how to bust the unions.
The first thing that Walker did was cut taxes for corporations and the very rich thereby creating an enormous deficit when previously there had not been one. Then, came the pay-back to the union-hating Koch brothers. Walker blamed the deficit on the collective bargaining agreements by state workers unions. Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin said, "The Koch brothers are the poster children of the effort by multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens.
Both Walker and Americans for Prosperity are urging other Republican governors to join the Walker-Koch crusade to destroy the unions. Specific targets are Ohio, Indiana and New Jersey. Koch Industries directly contributed over $2,000,000 to political campaigns during the last election cycle, 92% of which went to Republicans.
2. Breast milk ice cream, anyone? A restaurant in The Covent Garden section of London is serving Baby Gag, a breast-milk ice cream. The dessert is churned from breast milk from Victoria Hiley, a 35 year-old London mother. The makers of the ice-cream claim that it is pure, organic, and all-natural. Before churning, the breast milk is pasteurized and both vanilla pods and lemon zest are added. Mrs. Hiley gets 15 pounds for every 10 ounces of breast milk. She calls the money an "inflation-beater". Each serving of Baby Gaga is sold for 14 pounds (about $24).
3. A magazine survey on American women and dieting detailed their nutritional and dieting habits and attitudes. The magazine surveyed women 18 and older. The results are:
· 25 percent did not post their faces on Facebook or had a friend to remove it because they thought they looked fat.
· 65 percent of women say the size they wear is a bigger deal than the number on the scale.
· To stay skinny, 71 percent of women would rather exercise every day and eat anything they want.
· About 47 percent of women admit dieting to their family and close friends, 32 percent don't tell anyone, 25 percent of women say someone has tried to sabotage their weight loss efforts.
· 86 percent prefer to get slim without anyone's help or interference.
· 7 percent of women say they never allow themselves to eat junk food.
· 22 percent said the hardest part about being on a diet is regularly following a workout plan.
· To drop stubborn pounds, 43 percent of women have skipped meals regularly, 39 percent have popped diet pills, 23 percent have gone on a crash diet, and 20 percent have exercised daily for two or more hours at a time.
· And, nearly 40 percent of women went on their first diet when they were in middle school or high school.
4. Three-quarters of the planet's coral reefs are threatened with destruction because of over-fishing, pollution and climate change, hundreds of scientists have reported. Their report, "Reefs at Risk", took three years to compile. The report also indicated that there are some attempts underway to try to protect at least some of the living organisms. Dr. Mark Spalding of The Nature Conservancy said, "If we don't learn from these successes then I think that in 50 years' time, most reefs will be gone." The head of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. Jane Lubchenco, said "This report serves a wake-up call for policy-makers, business leaders, ocean managers, and others about the urgent need for greater protection for coral reefs."
The main reason for that change has been a massive increase in damage from exploitative fishing, particularly in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Altogether, more than half of the world's reefs are threatened by the ways in which fishermen use them.
Tackling issues such as fishing and pollution can keep reefs healthy in the short term. These range from simply catching more than nature can replace to the use of extremely damaging fishing methods such as dynamiting fish to stun or kill them - which also blasts coral formations and destroys them. Other major threats are pollution carried in rivers, coastal development, and climate change.
Regionally, southeast Asia is the worst affected region, with 95% of reefs on the threatened list.
5. An alcoholic drink a day can help prevent heart disease according to a 30 year Canadian study reported in the British Medical Journal. The study showed a 14% to 25% drop in heart disease in moderate drinkers of alcohol as opposed to those who never drank. Another report by the same Canadian research group showed that alcohol increased good cholesterol levels. Scientists at the University of Calgary reviewed 84 pieces of research done between 1980 and 2009 before coming to their conclusions. Professor William Ghali of The Institute for Population and Public Health at the University of Calgary said, "Our extensive review shows that drinking one or one to two drinks would be favorable." But, experts cautioned this was not a good reason to start drinking. "If you don't drink, this is not a reason to start. Similar results can be achieved by being physically active and eating a balanced and healthy diet…. There is this potentially slippery slope, most notably with social problems and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, but the overall mortality including cancer and accidents shows you would be better with alcohol ”, said Cathy Ross of the British Heart Foundation.
6. The New York City Council has passed of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the U.S. It covers New York City's parks, beaches and even Times Square. The smoking ban covers 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas like the one in the heart of Times Square. The ban goes into effect 90 days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the bill. "This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts", Bloomberg said. There has been a smoking ban in restaurants and bars in New York since 2003."The statistics don't lie. Secondhand smoke kills," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "With this bill, all New Yorkers can now breathe easier and breathe cleaner air. The expanded smoking ban will be enforced by the city's Parks Department. It has the power to slap violators with a "quality-of-life summons", a ticket for minor offenses like panhandling or public urination that carry a fine of under $100.
7. In 2004, The Republican Party ran on an anti-same-sex marriage platform ostensible because it could not run claiming to have captured Bin Laden, had success in Afghanistan, or found Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. The hot-button issue generated support with Fundamentalist Christians and Bush managed to eke out a victory by 4 percent of the popular vote over John Kerry. And the Republicans passed legislation with Bush signed known as The Defense of Marriage Act. The law states that marriage is defined solely as a union between a man and a woman. But, what a difference 7 years makes. Hawaii became the 7th state to permit gay marriage. The Obama Administration announced that the Federal Justice Department would no longer defend the Marriage Act in Federal Court. Some leading Republicans said that the issue is dead. And, a poll indicated that for those 30 and below, about 60% have no problem with gay marriage. Besides Hawaii, the other states that permit same-sex marriage are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and (from June 16 to November 8, 2008) California. The District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) also grants licenses for same-sex marriages.
8. Researcher estimate that the world's largest mud volcano located in East Java, Indonesia, is likely to continue erupting for another 26 years. It first erupted in May, 2006, and at its peak was spewing 180,000 cubic meters of mud a day, or enough to fill 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The mud volcano has buried homes, schools and farmlands over an area of approximately five square miles. It has also left 13,000 families homeless. The volcano's name is Lusi, derived from the Indonesian word for mud, "lumpur", in combination with the place where the volcano is located, Sidoario.