Beginning next year, the new federal health-care bill will require all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to post calorie counts on their menus. One high-calorie example: Wendy’s Baconator Triple containing 1,330 calories, 38 grams saturated fat, and 3,150 milligrams of sodium. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, said, “It’s been shown over and over again in places where [menu-labeling has] gone into effect, consumers have calorie sticker-shock,” often choosing a lower-calorie option.
Source: Daily Beast
According to a report by Amnesty International, China executed more people in 2009 than the rest of the world combined. In 2008, China executed two-thirds of the people put to death worldwide—1,718 people out of 2,390. Amnesty International claims “thousands” of Chinese executions occurred again in 2009. Currently, the report is incomplete, but Amnesty says at least 2,001 people were executed in 56 countries last year. Following China was Iran with 388 people executed, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United States with 52 people—24 executions took place in Texas. Amnesty International says, so far, 95 countries have banned capital punishment. And for the first time since Amnesty started keeping records, there were no executions in Europe.
Source: New York Times
Scientists found that high-calorie, high-fat food such as bacon and cheesecake affect the brain in the same way as cocaine and heroin. The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, reported that rats fed only junk food developed a pleasure tolerance to the food—needing to consume more to reach the original high obtained. Even given electric shocks when near the fatty foods, the rats persisted and continued eating. In previous studies, rats exhibited similar behavior when given cocaine and heroin. Overeating, like cocaine, caused the dopamine receptor levels in their brains to drop. Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, the chair of the medical department at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, said, “Processed food is made very similar to cocaine now” by purifying it until it’s delivered more efficiently to the brain. Although the same results may vary in humans, Dr. Wang says if medicines to treat drug addiction are developed they may be used for obesity as well.
Source: CNN Health
With the recent passage of the Health-Care Bill, threats against lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have increased threefold in recent months—42 threats in the first three months of the year, compared with 15 in the last three months of 2009. These are a few of the threats that have occurred since the bill was passed: A gas line was cut at the home of Virginia Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother after his address was posted online by Tea Party activists, along with a threatening letter. Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) received a fax with a drawing of a noose and an anonymous voice mail saying: “You’re dead. We know where you live. We’ll get you.” Stupak has since announced his retirement. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) claims someone shot a bullet through his Richmond campaign office. A man was arrested by the FBI after posting a death threat against Eric Cantor as well. The FBI also arrested a man in connection to Democratic Senator Patty Murray (WA). Murray received a death threat from the man, who was allowed to carry a concealed weapon. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) received a call using profane language, the caller saying he wished she’d broke her back when she was hit by a car last year and calling her racist because she voted against the bill. On Capitol Hill, a protester spit at Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA) was called “nigger” by angry Tea Partiers. In Ottawa, Canada, protests by hundreds of students led organizers to cancel a speech by conservative Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa. Sarah Palin tweeted “Don’t Retreat, Instead—RELOAD!” and national Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said he wished to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “the firing line.” Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-IL) had a newspaper ad placed against him featuring a picture of him with his children in the Cincinatti Inquirer because he voted for the bill. A brick was thrown through the window of the Niagara Falls district office of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), and someone left her a voice mail suggesting that the children of health-reform supporters would be targeted by snipers.
Sources: The Hill, MSNBC.com, FOXNews.com, Daily Beast, CBS News, Washington Post, Dailyprogress.com, and Los Angeles Times