Linkdump: Healthy Beef, etc

Tara Parker-Pope reports on a Harvard nutrition study:

A new Harvard study that found no increased risk of heart disease among meat eaters is generating a lot of buzz for red meat. “A Guilt-Free Hamburger,” reads one headline. “Order the Steak,” begins another.

But the research, published this week in the journal Circulation, is not so much a celebration of red meat as it is an indictment of processed meats like bacon, sausage and deli meats. Eating one serving of those foods a day was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and 19 percent increased risk of diabetes. But there was no increase in risk associated with eating unprocessed red meat.

The findings come from a broad analysis of several studies tracking meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Processed meats include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats.

Some reactions: It’s unclear whether the “exoneration of beef” relates to serving size. If you had a steak twice a week, that’s different from having a hamburger once a week. Also, it didn’t say anything about frozen dinners – although presumably, they are high sodium as well. Third, this is just one meta-analysis (and one of the commenters made the point

Hugh McGuire offers some ideas about how wordpress could be incorporated into a book publishing system.  I made 2 long comments at the bottom here and here .

Suzanne Smalley asks whether bloggers are more likely to investigate, less likely to do pack journalism. Interesting tidbit: do you know police have a likely suspect for the Chandra Levy case?

Robert Pear reports  some of the devilish details of health care reform:

If a company offers coverage but requires any full-time employees to pay premiums that amount to more than 9.5 percent of their household income, the coverage is deemed unaffordable, and the employer may have to pay a penalty.

A goal of the law, pushed through Congress by President Obama and Democratic leaders with no Republican support, is to give all Americans access to affordable insurance.

The Mercer survey found that one-third of employers had some workers for whom coverage might be “unaffordable,” meaning that the workers’ share of premiums — in the absence of federal assistance — would consume more than 9.5 percent of their household income.

If an employer’s health plan is deemed unaffordable, the worker may qualify for a federal tax credit, or subsidy, to buy coverage in a new state-based marketplace known as an insurance exchange. A person claiming a credit must disclose income information to the exchange. The exchange will then notify employers if any of their workers qualify for subsidies.

Democrats say the subsidies will be a boon to low-wage workers. But the subsidies can also lead to monetary penalties for employers.

An employer offering unaffordable coverage is subject to a penalty of $3,000 a year for each full-time employee who gets government assistance to buy insurance in an exchange. The maximum penalty is $2,000 times the total number of full-time employees in excess of 30.

Eric Normand gives a personal account of the Tennessee floods.  (I have to admit, I totally missed this story).

And where was our national media in all of this? During the flood, and in the days that followed, mainstream news media like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, provided minimal coverage of this disaster, a disaster that is likely to be the costliest non-hurricane water related disaster in American history. Our plight was dwarfed by the Gulf oil spill and the New York City car bomber which, while being important stories, were not the only stories. In spite of the American press corps residing under a blanket of ineptitude, all levels of government, combined with an army of volunteers, quickly began to mobilize.

While all this was going on, the minimal media depiction was that of a flood that primarily affected Nashville. And while a small percentage of America was hearing about a flood in Music City; 20,000 people in Hickman County, some 50 miles south of the capital, were completely cut off and isolated and without power or communication for almost a week. Much of their community was devastated and many roads and bridges were washed out, with months of repairs still ahead. On Highway 7 in Maury County, an area the size of three football fields collapsed. The city of Clarksville, some 80 miles to the northwest of the capital, was also particularly hard hit, with dozens of small businesses on Riverside Drive under 4 to 5 feet of water. An AT&T call center was flooded, rendering 1400 people out of work indefinitely, and 2 weeks after the disaster, one neighborhood of homes was still under water. In fact this storm system also killed four in Arkansas, and flooded many parts of Mississippi and Kentucky, where it caused statewide damage estimated at more than $30 million. All of this was accompanied by, essentially, no national media coverage to speak of.

This is the worst disaster to hit the state of Tennessee since the Civil War, and all these statistics and facts don’t even begin to paint the picture of the loss and suffering had by many. For some, the disaster will remain a part of their lives for a long time to come. Thousands of damaged or destroyed homes and businesses were not in flood zones, leaving many with mortgages on structures that no longer exist, and without insurance money to rebuild. Thousands have also lost their jobs and livelihoods. Communities and infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed over an area that spans thousands of square miles, with the totality of destruction still yet unknown.






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