America the ‘No-Vacation Nation’ – Do Americans Work Like Robots?

Let’s be blunt: If you like to take lots of vacation, the United States is not the place to work. Besides a handful of national holidays, the typical American worker bee gets two or three precious weeks off out of a whole year to relax and see the world — much less than what people in many other countries receive. And even that amount of vacation often comes with strings attached. Some U.S. companies don’t like employees taking off more than one week at a time.

DDT Pesticides Sold to Uganda by US Leading to Health Consequences

Bosco Acope was a self-made man. Growing up as a child here along the muggy, isolated plains of northern Uganda, life was not easy. His parents were poor. He did not attend secondary school. Many of his friends died from bouts of malaria, a scourge that has plagued this agrarian society. Mr. Acope, 49, survived. At 19, he became a small-time farmer, with one acre of land. He married. He sowed.

McDonald’s: Ronald Isn’t Going Anywhere

The national debate on corporate responsibility played out at McDonald’s annual meeting Thursday, when votes on shareholder proposals became a referendum on the pursuit of profits versus the question of what constitutes public good. Critics hammered McDonald’s executives not only for offering unhealthful menu items but also for marketing fast food to kids with its Ronald McDonald character and Happy Meal toys, all while the company boasts of eight straight years of sales growth despite a deep economic recession.

CDC Report: Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse

The Center for Disease Control, May 18, released a report warning the public to begin preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse. And they are dead serious. The CDC blog post titled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” is not to be dismissed as an internet hoax. It is instead a sober, if slightly twisted, approach to individual emergency preparedness. Ali Khan, the assistant Surgeon General, wrote the post and asked readers to think about how they would gear up for a widespread Zombie attack. He stresses that people should use the same contingencies to prepare themselves to survive a sudden and horrific natural, or man-made, disaster.

Medical Marijuana Legalized in Delaware, Sixteenth State to Pass Legislation

Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation today authorizing marijuana growing, distribution and use for limited medical purposes. The General Assembly sent Markell the legislation on Wednesday. The governor signed the bill this morning without the usual signing ceremony in order to initiate a one-year regulatory and licensing process for three not-for-profit dispensaries that will be authorized to sell marijuana to qualified patients.

Texas House Bans Offensive TSA Security Pat-Downs

The Texas House passed a bill that would make it a criminal offense for public servants to inappropriately touch travelers during airport security pat-downs. Approved late Thursday night, the measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting searches to touch “the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person” including through clothing. It also prohibits searches “that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

Texas Schools Photograph Lunches Calories

A recently-begun program in Texas where photographs are taken of cafeteria trays is certainly interesting, though it isn’t clear how effective it will be – or how “correct” this move actually is. Some say it’s a waste of money. I say the money would be better spent on giving the same children access to local, fresh produce.

Health Crisis Rocks the Gulf in Aftermath of the Spill, But Feds and BP Turn a Blind Eye

Contrary to many national stories covering the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a health crisis in the region has developed among exposed workers and residents. And it’s not so “mysterious.” In recent meetings with public health, medical and chemical experts in Louisiana — the Gulf state hardest hit by the worst offshore oil spill in history — AlterNet found a striking symmetry between debilitating chronic symptoms being reported among those sickened and the known effects of

Medical Marijuana Becoming Blockbuster ‘Anti-Cancer’ Drug

Medical marijuana is now a $1.7-billion market in the U.S. This means that sales of medical marijuana rival the annual revenue generated by Viagra, a $1.9-billion business. What’s more, the medical marijuana market is expected to nearly double in the next five years, and that’s just in the 15 U.S. states where the drug is legal. If another 20 states pass medical marijuana laws, which projections show is possible, the market could grow to $8.9 billion by 2016.

Court Rules Smokers May Sue Tobacco Industry Over Disease Such as Lung Cancer

Smokers may sue the tobacco industry once they develop a disease like lung cancer, even if they suffered different smoking-related ailments years earlier, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday. The decision is likely to keep lawsuits alive that might otherwise have been thrown out because of expired legal deadlines and allow new suits to be filed, lawyers who filed the suit said.

Medical Marijuana Plan Fails in Illinois House

The Illinois House today voted down a proposal that would have legalized marijuana for medical use. The measure got 53 votes, but needed 60 to pass. House Republican leader Tom Cross came on board, but supporters still could not muster enough votes. Sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the proposal was aimed at people in pain who “need a little help from us.” He called on longtime opponents to “take their heels out of the sand” and “vote your own conscience.”

Special Report: Big Pharma’s Global Guinea Pigs

The Polish port city of Gdansk is famous for its shipyards. Hungary’s fifth largest city, Pecs, is known for its ancient architecture and brewery. Neither is particularly renowned for medicine. Yet when AstraZeneca Plc tested its big new drug hope Brilinta on heart attack patients in a major clinical study, it was hospitals in these places that enrolled some of the highest number of patients anywhere in the world.

FDA Claims Power to Seize Food Without Evidence of Contamination

A few hours ago, the Food and Drug Administration declared it no longer needs credible evidence to seize food that may be contaminated. Ignoring the Fourth Amendment entirely, the FDA claims that based on mere suspicion that a food product has been contaminated or mislabeled, and that serious illness or death will result, it can hold the food for 30 days while it then looks for evidence. It claims this power under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Monsanto, I mean, Obama, signed in January.

GMO Giant Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself

Monsanto, enemy of organic farmers and anti-GMO advocates alike, will likely be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies as part of a two-year USDA experiment. But there is no good that can possibly come of an experiment where the company behind nearly every genetically modified crop in our daily diets is allowed to decide whether its products are causing any environmental harm. And Monsanto isn’t the only biotech company that will be permitted to police itself.

Vaccine Law May Prevent California Students From Attending School

In the midst of one of the worst whooping cough epidemics our country has seen in half a century, the majority of California’s schoolchildren may not be vaccinated against the disease — and that may bar them from attending school. AP recently reported that there were over 21,000 cases of whooping cough in the U.S. last year, and experts are unsure as to the cause. NBC Newsreported that at least 7,800 of those cases happened in California — the highest since 1947.

6 Year Old Girl Groped and Drug Tested by TSA

Young girl is groped by the TSA, then drug tested.

The Looming ‘Fat Tax’

If an individual’s body mass index isn’t a purely personal matter, what is? We have the right to choose between healthy food or junk food, even if the latter is more likely to result in obesity and related health problems.