In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.
Those levels, 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, or a little more than half a teaspoon of salt, were supposed to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people at risk, including anyone older than 50, blacks and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease — groups that make up more than half of the American population.
Some influential organizations, including the American Heart Association, have said that everyone, not just those at risk, should aim for that very low sodium level. The heart association reaffirmed that position in an interview with its spokesman on Monday, even in light of the new report.
But the new expert committee, commissioned by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was no rationale for anyone to aim for sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams a day. The group examined new evidence that had emerged since the last such report was issued, in 2005.
This isn’t to say that salt should be consumed in more than moderation. It’s good to avoid consuming extremely high-sodium fast food and/or prepackaged food on a regular basis. But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that for most people adding a little salt to food you make from scratch poses any kind of health risk.
This never really happened before 2009, but it is an increasingly common occurrence on industrial-scale hog farms.
The problem is menacing: As manure breaks down, it emits toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide and flammable ones like methane, and trapping these noxious fumes under a layer of foam can lead to sudden, disastrous releases and even explosions. According to a 2012 report from the University of Minnesota, by September 2011, the foam had “caused about a half-dozen explosions in the upper Midwest…one explosion destroyed a barn on a farm in northern Iowa, killing 1,500 pigs and severely burning the worker involved.”
This is highly understudied and of course nothing will stop the growth of ever larger and more dangerous agricultural concerns. However, it does seem that dumping a bunch of antibiotics into the manure pits may solve the problem. And I’m sure there will be no unintended consequences from that action.
Hoda Kotb is 48. Forty-eight. Now, I’m 4o. And, sure, I can attest to the fact that every woman over the age of 39 is a withered old crone. I’m hideous.
But, sheesh, Ben, do you really have to tell us what your boner thinks? Because I doubt anyone cares…and anyone who does is a straight-up freak.
Also, thanks, Maxim for the valuable service you do humanity. Sometimes I get all confused and wonder if some bikini-clad actress or model is 56 or 57 hot…but you–you’re there! You’re there with a number, with a ranking! And then I know that one chick on that one show is 56… and suddenly the world makes sense. Also, thanks for the no fatties.
On Monday, a West Virginia gas facility exploded, injuring two workers. Luckily, neither have life-threatening injuries. So this story will fade into oblivion even faster than a fatal coal mine or fertilizer plant explosion. However, it should rivet our attention because it seems that OSHA has never inspected this plant. There are 8 OSHA inspectors in the state of West Virginia. It would take them over 100 years to inspect every worksite in the state. Amazingly, that’s actually better than average.
Krugman has a very good NYRB essay on the question of why austerity has been politically successful although it’s a bad idea in theory that has worked out horribly in practice. The first reason is that it provides a superficially appealing morality tale: bad economic consequences must be the result of indulgent choices. The second:
So is the austerian impulse all a matter of psychology? No, there’s also a fair bit of self-interest involved. As many observers have noted, the turn away from fiscal and monetary stimulus can be interpreted, if you like, as giving creditors priority over workers. Inflation and low interest rates are bad for creditors even if they promote job creation; slashing government deficits in the face of mass unemployment may deepen a depression, but it increases the certainty of bondholders that they’ll be repaid in full. I don’t think someone like Trichet was consciously, cynically serving class interests at the expense of overall welfare; but it certainly didn’t hurt that his sense of economic morality dovetailed so perfectly with the priorities of creditors.
It’s also worth noting that while economic policy since the financial crisis looks like a dismal failure by most measures, it hasn’t been so bad for the wealthy. Profits have recovered strongly even as unprecedented long-term unemployment persists; stock indices on both sides of the Atlantic have rebounded to pre-crisis highs even as median income languishes. It might be too much to say that those in the top 1 percent actually benefit from a continuing depression, but they certainly aren’t feeling much pain, and that probably has something to do with policymakers’ willingness to stay the austerity course.
Hockey-wise, it won’t be easy to improve on a round that included a once-in-a-multiple-lifetimes collapse. But I’ll try to keep the atypical prescience of my 6-2 first round record going, and I’ll be joined once again by the great Brad Plumer.
CHICAGO (1) vs. DETROIT (7): As Charles Pierce put it, the Red Wings are the Spurs of the NHL, only in some way more impressive because they continue to win without their equivalent to Duncan. Still, the Red Wings winning this series would be the only outcome in this round that would surprise me. Their only edge on Chicago is in goal, and Crawford has been solid enough. I said before the playoffs that I thought only the LA/St. Louis winner could beat Chicago in the conference, and I’ll stick with that. BLACKHAWKS IN 5. PLUMER: Hawks in 6.
LOS ANGELES (5) vs. SAN JOSE (6) A very interesting series, obviously; San Jose looked very impressive against Vancouver. The Kings are much better positioned to handle San Jose’s depth up the middle, though, and since LA is both tighter defensively and outscored the Sharks, assuming that Niemi outperforming Quick this year was a small sample size fluke I think they’re the better team here. KINGS IN 7. PLUMER: Kings in 5.
PITTSBURGH (1) vs. OTTAWA (7) Brad (SPOILER ALERT!) will be picking the Senators, and he may well be right. The Sens are an excellent team and I was stupid to pick against them in the last round (since they were of similar quality in the underlying stats to Montreal despite playing most of the year without their best player.) If the comically overrated Fleury was still starting for Pittsburgh I’d probably pick Ottawa too, but I suspect his second consecutive complete metldown in the first round will prove a blessing to the Penguins, who with a Generic NHL goaltender in Vokun to replace Fleury will probably get enough saves to get by Ottawa. PENGUINS IN 6. PLUMER: Sens in 6
BOSTON (4) vs. N.Y. Rangers (6) A particularly hard series to pick, between two somewhat inconsistent teams with similar overall numbers. I’ll pick the Rangers only because they seem a little healthier going in, but I would expect multiple overtimes in this one. RANGERS IN 7. PLUMER: Rangers in 7 (provided Lucic hasn’t broken all their knees by Game 2.)
I happened to catch most of the 2002 film, “Cherish” a few days while enjoying a rare moment to myself. While it was pretty remarkably flawed, it stayed with me; and I’m fairly certain the only reason it did is because it scratched an itch that I had given up on getting scratched–the itch I get for romance, real romance.
I loath romantic comedies. As I will tell anyone who will listen, most romantic comedies are usually neither funny nor romantic. “Cherish” is a film that tries to be quirkily funny, romantic and suspenseful and fails–ultimately–on all fronts. (Serious pacing problems, forced quirkiness, and a “made for TV” sheen really prevent this movie from being anything other than awkwardly mediocre.) Oddly, the only element of the film that resonates at all is the one that the director originally had no intention of developing: the chemistry between the two leads, Robin Tunney and Tim Blake Nelson.
Still, I found “Cherish” has stayed with me much longer than a movie this flawed–and, frankly, at times, boring–should have. And the only thing I can chalk this up to is that I just really loved the hints of romance I got whenever Zoe and Bill were in a room together.
That got me thinking: the truth is there are very few films I find particularly romantic. In fact, when I wrack my brain, I can scarcely come up with a handful.
So, in celebration of having my itch scratched here are a few movies/scenes that I find sublimely romantic.
“The Princess Bride” (The first two minutes of the film are so lovely; almost no dialogue…because no dialogue is needed. Just an “As you wish.”)
“Some Kind of Wonderful” (The kiss alone is worth the price of admission. Notice how incredibly impactful the music is in the scene.)
Finally, there’s pretty much any scene with Drac and Mina in the incredibly flawed and campy but ridiculously romantic “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
One of my favorite scenes in the “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is one where Dracula is squiring Mina down a busy street. He almost puts his hand on the small of her back, but in the end hesitates. His hand just hovers there. So, obviously it’s what I don’t get, what I don’t see that often sticks with me. Perhaps that’s why these few dumb, little, fleeting moments from this very flawed movie got to me…
Plus, you know…
The film “Cherish” is a complete waste of time outside of Tim Blake Nelson who is so intensely nerd-cute in it I could scream. #InstantCrush
I invite you to tell me how I’m wrong wrong wrong, how the world the is teeming with romantic movies I’ve just never seen. No, seriously, what would be in your pantheon?
YOUR GREAT COMMENTS UPDATE: Hey, just wanted to commend you on your comments. Not only have you mentioned some movies that’d I’d forgotten I like (How could I forget “Four Weddings?!!!!!!”), you recommended a few I’ll definitely queue…and…this is the embarrassing part: I got to thinking about a couple of movies I definitely find romantic, but they’re not exactly choices I’d shout from the rooftops. So instead I’ll swallow my pride and shout it from the blogtop. I like “Pretty Woman” and “Beauty and the Beast” (yes, the Disney version). Heh. This reminds me that I need to write an entry about being feminist while enjoying things that are…problematic for feminism.
AND I FORGOT THE 1992 REMAKE OF “WUTHERING HEIGHTS”
Consumer and labor groups have focused more on persuading Gap rather than Walmart to join the Bangladesh factory safety plan. Gap has been the most vocal company in criticizing the plan, expressing concerns that overly litigious American lawyers could seize on the agreement to sue American companies on behalf of aggrieved factory workers in Bangladesh. Gap’s proposed changes would greatly limit any legal liability for any company that violated the plans.
In a statement, Gap said: “We’re pleased that an accord is within reach, and Gap Inc. is ready to sign on today with a modification to a single area — how disputes are resolved in the courts. This proposal is on the table right now with the parties involved. With this single change, this global, historic agreement can move forward with a group of all retailers, not just those based in Europe.”
Under Gap’s proposal, if a retailer is found to have violated the agreement, the only remedy would be public expulsion from the factory safety plan.
“The U.S. is quite litigious,” said Bill Chandler, a Gap spokesman. “We put forward specific proposals that we thought would bring other American retailers into the fold. We thought it would be a step forward and would turn it into a much more global agreement.”
The labor unions and advocacy groups that have negotiated with H&M; Inditex, the Spanish company that owns the Zara chain; and other companies that have signed the plan criticized Gap’s proposal to change the agreement. These groups say Gap’s vigorous push against the version of the plan has helped sway some other American companies not to sign.
“Gap Inc. is ready to sign on today with a modification to a single area — how disputes are resolved,” said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a group sponsored by 175 colleges and universities. “Gap’s demand is that the agreement be made unenforceable — and therefore meaningless. What Gap wants is the right to renege on its commitments when it wishes.”
I think it is high time for an international boycott of Gap until it agrees to enforceable labor standards at its contractors, or at least signs on to the safety plan created by European companies in the wake of the Bangladesh factory collapse.
Of course not. We remain the same species, just as a poodle and a beagle are of the same species. But poodles, in general, are smarter than beagles, and beagles have a much better sense of smell. We bred those traits into them, of course, fast-forwarding evolution. But the idea that natural selection and environmental adaptation stopped among human beings the minute we emerged in the planet 200,000 years ago – and that there are no genetic markers for geographical origin or destination – is bizarre. It would be deeply strange if Homo sapiens were the only species on earth that did not adapt to different climates, diseases, landscapes, and experiences over hundreds of millennia. We see such adaptation happening very quickly in the animal kingdom. Our skin color alone – clearly a genetic adaptation to climate – is, well, right in front of one’s nose.
That’s an argument well at home within the circles of late 19th century Social Darwinism, Lamarckism, and scientific racism. I mean, Mongoloid skulls are this big and Nordic skulls are this big. It’s right in front of one’s nose!
That Sullivan cites Freddie DeBoer favorably in his argument also makes me laugh.