Tags: Tab-for | Trans | Fat | Ban | Anti-Lobbying Rep. Waxman Now a Lobbyist | 32percentof Mississippi Children Live With 2 Parents | Down Payment Is Renters Main Impediment to Ownership

Tab for Obama's Trans Fat Ban: $11 Billion; Anti-Lobbying Rep. Waxman Now a Lobbyist

By    |   Sunday, 21 June 2015 02:19 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama's Trans Fat Ban Could Cost $11 Billion
2. Just 32% of Mississippi Children Live With 2 Parents
3. Down Payment Is Renters' Main Impediment to Ownership
4. 'Lobbyists' Nightmare' Waxman Now a Lobbyist
5. Muslim Cleric Who Decries Racial Hatred Called Jews 'Monkeys, Pigs'
6. Strictest and Most Lenient States for DUIs

1. Obama's Trans Fats Ban Could Cost $11 Billion

President Barack Obama's Food and Drug Administration has issued a ban on trans fats that could cost as much as $11 billion.

A release from the FDA states that the agency "has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially produced trans fatty acids, are generally recognized as safe for any use in human food."

The FDA said it examined "the costs of all significant effects of the removal, including packaged food reformulation and relabeling, increased costs for substitute ingredients, and consumer, restaurant, and bakery recipe changes."

Based on those factors, the agency estimated the cost of implementing the ban over the next three years at $6 billion, but acknowledged that the figure could go as high as $11 billion.

The FDA also estimated that banning trans fats could prevent up to 23,350 coronary heart disease deaths annually, saving as much as $440 billion. But that estimate is questionable given that manufacturers already have largely decreased the amount of trans fats in foods due to labeling requirements, and trans fat consumption declined about 78 percent between 2003 and 2012, CNN reported. The FDA's lowest estimate is 1,620 deaths.

Until now, companies could still list products as "trans fat free" even if they had 0.5 grams of fat, but the new ban should end that.

Trans fats were introduced into the American diet around 1911 in the form of shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oil used for cooking and making pies.

Products likely to contain trans fats today include frozen pizza, doughnuts, canned frosting, margarine, and some buttered popcorn.

Companies can petition the FDA for a special permit to use PHOs, but they can't be used without FDA approval.

The FDA ban is an example of "flawed regulatory policymaking," according to Dan Goldbeck, a research analyst for regulatory policy at the American Action Forum.

He wrote: "A regulatory order that within hours of its release grabs dozens of headlines and admits to affecting the economy by billions of dollars annually ought to undergo a more rigorous, standardized, and transparent process than this action."

The FDA's move, he adds, "calls into question how much the agency truly considered the economics of regulating."

Editor's Note:


2. Just 32% of Mississippi Children Live With 2 Parents

The percentage of American children living in households with both married biological parents ranges widely across the country, from a high of 57 percent in Utah to a low of 32 percent in Mississippi, a new report discloses.

Households in which children are being raised by both of their married biological parents are most common in the Mountain West, parts of the Midwest, and the Northeast.

They are least common in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the Deep South, according to a new analysis of census data by W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist, and Nicholas Zill, a psychologist.

"These patterns are important because evidence suggests that children usually benefit from growing up with two parents," noted David Leonhardt in an article on the analysis for The New York Times.

"It's probably not a coincidence, for instance, that the states with more two-parent families also have higher rates of upward mobility."

That Utah has the highest percentage of children living with two married biological parents agrees with Pew Research Center findings disclosed by the Insider Report last month, showing that Mormons are far more likely to marry than members of other major religious groups in the United States. Of Utah's 2.9 million population, 2 million are Mormons.

The second highest percentage is in Minnesota, 56 percent, followed by Nebraska (55 percent), New Jersey (54 percent), New Hampshire and North Dakota (both 53 percent), Massachusetts (52 percent), and Connecticut, Iowa, and Idaho (all 51 percent).

The percentages include only households with two married biological parents and exclude households with one parent and a partner who is not the child's biological parent, households with two unwed biological parents, households with adopted children, and households with same-sex couples.

After Mississippi's 32 percent, the states with the lowest percentages are Louisiana (36 percent), Arkansas (37 percent), Alabama (38 percent), New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma (all 39 percent), and Tennessee (40 percent).

Wilcox and Zill maintain that there are two models for having a large percentage of stable families with two biological parents.

In the blue-state model, Americans get more education and earn higher income, and better-educated, higher-earning people are more likely to marry and stay married.

In the red-state model, educational levels are closer to average but "residents are more likely to have deep normative and religious commitments to marriage and to raising children within marriage," Wilcox and Zill write in a paper for the Institute for Family Studies.

The lowest percentages of two-parent families tend to be in red states with the lowest levels of education, and in blue states with only average levels.

Editor's Note:


3. Down Payment Is Renters' Main Impediment to Ownership

A new report from the Federal Reserve reveals that the overwhelming majority of American renters — but not all — would prefer to own their home if they could afford to do so.

According to the Fed's "Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014," 61 percent of Americans surveyed own their home, and six in 10 of them have a mortgage, with an average monthly payment pf $1,344.

Another 28 percent rent, with an average monthly payment of $808, and 10 percent neither own a home nor pay rent.

Among the 81 percent of renters who say they would prefer to own their home, 50 percent say they cannot afford a down payment to purchase a home, and 31 percent cannot qualify for a mortgage.

Renters with an income over $100,000 are likely to report that they rent due to personal preferences, including because it is more convenient to rent (39 percent), because they plan on moving in the near future (29 percent), or because they simply prefer to rent (17 percent).

When asked why they choose to own rather than rent, 44 percent of owners say that it allows them to build equity with their payments, 41 percent say they feel it is cheaper to own than to rent, and 20 percent like the certainty it provides for their monthly payments.

But 14 percent of owners with a mortgage report that they owe more than what their home is worth.

Other findings of the Federal Reserve report include:

  • 49 percent of part-time workers would prefer to work more hours at their current wage if they were able to do so.
  • Almost one-third of respondents who applied for credit in the 12 months prior to the survey were turned down or given less credit than they applied for.
  • 31 percent of non-retirees have no retirement savings or pension, and 45 percent expect to continue working in some capacity during retirement to generate extra income.
  • 24 percent of respondents say either they or their family living with them experienced some form of financial hardship in the previous year. Of those, 37 percent had a health emergency, 23 percent lost a job, 19 percent had their work hours and/or pay reduced, and 14 percent had their spouse or partner lose a job.
  • 47 percent of respondents said they could not cover an emergency expense of $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.

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4. 'Lobbyists' Nightmare' Waxman Now a Lobbyist

During his 40 years in the House of Representatives, Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman was a thorn in the side of many corporate interests and their lobbyists.

Representing a Los Angeles-area district and serving at various times as a committee chairman, Rep. Waxman was instrumental in regulating the tobacco industry, strengthening the Clean Air Act, investigating steroid use, and passing legislation affecting drug prices, infant formula, healthcare, food quality, and more.

"Waxman was as effective as they came," the Daily Forward observed. "His famous hearing where he grilled tobacco executives broke the back of the industry's political power."

Waxman was such a staunch opponent of corporate lobbyists that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in 1995: "Lobbyists' Nightmare: If the Democrats retake the House next year, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, a foe of corporate lobbyists, is in line to head the Government Reform and Oversight Committee."

So what has Waxman been doing since he left Congress in January? He has formally registered as a lobbyist.

Waxman will lobby for telecommunications giant T-Mobile and four groups that focus on healthcare and service employees, including the California State Council of Service Employees and the National Association of Community Health Centers, according to The Hill.

He is barred from lobbying his former colleagues in the House for one year after retirement, The Hill notes, but he is able to lobby the executive branch and the Senate.

"Waxman's rather pathetic sell-out is made even sadder by the fact that he's actually been trying to sell out for a few months now but had trouble finding takers,” Anthony Weiss writes in the Forward.

"In February, the National Law Journal reported that Waxman had shopped himself around to major D.C. law and lobbying firms without success, and had instead decided to join his son Michael's firm, Waxman Strategies."

Editor's Note:


5. Muslim Cleric Who Decries Racial Hatred Called Jews 'Monkeys, Pigs'

A senior Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia who spoke out against extremist violence and racial hatred has himself railed against Jews and Christians in his sermons, calling Jews "the worst of mankind."

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais addressed students at a Saudi-affiliated Islamic school in London in early June and urged them "to be cautious about deviant and extremist ideologies that promote violence, racial hatred, and conflicts between various schools of religious thought," according to an Arab News report cited by CNS News.

He also warned them against "being dragged behind the suspicious calls contrary to the correct and tolerant religion, or being preoccupied with any trend fueling sectarian hatreds, conflicts and disputes."

He specifically denounced "the horrendous crimes" being committed by al-Qaida and ISIS.

But in a 2002 sermon, Al-Sudais, now 55, declared that "yesterday's Jews are evil predecessors and today's Jews are worse successors. They are exiled people and the worst of mankind. Allah cursed them and cast his wrath upon them. He turned some of them to monkeys and pigs."

He has also called Jews "rats of the world" and vilified Christians as "cross worshippers" and "those influenced by the rottenness of their ideas," according to CNS News.

Three years later, Al-Sudais was named by the Dubai International Holy Quran Award Organizing Committee as its 2005 "Islamic Personality of the Year."

In 2006, he preached that a severe drought in Saudi Arabia was due in part to Saudi women who were "mingling with men" and were guilty of other un-Islamic behavior.

More recently, he was quoted in March as attacking Shiite Muslims, Christians and Jews in an audio clip.

During the same weekend when Al-Sudais spoke to the students, a top Sunni body in Pakistan, the Pakistan Ulema Council, reportedly issued a ruling backing the view of Saudi clerics who have outlawed the phrase "jihad fi-sabilillah" (holy war for the sake of Allah).

The Pakistani scholars said "killing people and destroying their properties based on personal opinions can't be considered a righteous act."

The group also criticized ISIS, Hezbollah, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

But in 2013, the council's chairman, Alama Tahir Ashrafi, said suicide bombings were a legitimate response to foreign "occupation."

"Palestine is occupied by Israel, Kashmir by India, and Afghanistan by the U.S.," he said. "So if the Muslims don't have the atomic bomb, they should sacrifice their lives for God."

Editor's Note:


6. Strictest and Most Lenient States for DUIs

Drivers foolish enough to get behind the wheel under the influence are especially foolish if they commit that crime in Arizona.

The Grand Canyon State has America's harshest laws regarding drunk driving, according to WalletHub's "2015 Strictest and Most Lenient States on DUI," based on an analysis of 15 key factors.

Those factors include minimum jail time for a first DUI offense, minimum for a second offense, when a DUI is automatically considered a felony, how long a previous DUI factors into penalties for a new DUI, whether a vehicle is impounded after a DUI arrest, and the average insurance rate increase after a DUI.

WalletHub, a personal finance site, discloses that Arizona has a minimum jail time of 10 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense, and considers a third offense to be a felony. A DUI remains a factor regarding penalties for a new offense for seven years, and driver's licenses are suspended for three months after an arrest.

The 10-day minimum for a first offense is the longest in the nation. Nebraska is second with seven days. But 27 states have no minimum sentence for a first DUI.

The longest minimum jail times for a second offense are 180 days in West Virginia and 120 days in Connecticut. Seven states have no minimum for a second offense.

A DUI is most often considered a felony if it is the second, third, or fourth offense, depending on the state, although it must be a fifth offense in Washington. Five states do not have laws making a DUI a felony at a predetermined point: Colorado, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

A DUI will factor into penalties for a new DUI for 12 years in Iowa and Nebraska, the longest period for any state.

After a first arrest with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, "an ignition interlock device" is mandatory in 24 states. These devices analyze a driver's breath and won't allow the car to start if alcohol is detected.

In seven states, the device is mandatory only after a second offense, and it is never required in six states.

After Arizona, Alaska is the second strictest state, followed by Connecticut, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Virginia, Georgia, Washington, and Delaware.

The most lenient state is South Dakota, where there are no minimum sentences for a first or second offense, no license suspension for a DUI arrest, and a DUI factors into a new offense for only five years.

Other lenient states, in ascending order of strictness, are Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Maryland, Montana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Vermont, Ohio, and New Jersey.

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Tab-for, Trans, Fat, Ban, Anti-Lobbying Rep. Waxman Now a Lobbyist, 32percentof Mississippi Children Live With 2 Parents, Down Payment Is Renters Main Impediment to Ownership, Muslim Cleric Who Decries Racial Hatred Called Jews Monkeys, Pigs, Strictest and Most Lenient States for DUIs
Sunday, 21 June 2015 02:19 PM
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