Reducing Disability Rolls: The Rand Paul Way and the Federal Reserve Board Way

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-baker/reducing-disability-rolls_b_6551292.html

Furthermore, we know that the vast majority of people getting disability would not be working even if they weren’t getting a check from the government. A study published by the University of Michigan a few years ago examined the work patterns of people who were denied disability. It focused on a group of marginal applicants, people who had conditions that would be approved or denied depending in large part on the administrative judge to whom their case was assigned. These were the sort of people that Rand Paul was talking about…

Furthermore, even among this group the study found that average annual earnings were less than half their pre-disability level. This indicates that these people were suffering from a serious condition, even if didn’t make them completely unable to work…

Pfizer to pay $400 million to avert investor class action trial

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/latestnews/2015/01/27/Pfizer-pay-400-million-avert-investor-class-action-trial

Filed in 2010, the lawsuit accused Pfizer and various executives of making false statements to shareholders about its off-label marketing of products, including Bextra and other drugs. The lawsuit also contended Pfizer made misleading statements about various government investigations of those practices that led to a $2.3 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in 2009…

A Bug in the System

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/bug-system?intcid=mod-yml

Each year, contaminated food sickens forty-eight million Americans, of whom a hundred and twenty-eight thousand are hospitalized, and three thousand die…

Scientists estimate that for each reported case twenty-eight go unreported, which meant that the Foster Farms outbreak had likely sickened as many as eighteen thousand people…

Given the struggles of his clients—victims of organ failure, sepsis, and paralysis—Marler says it can be tempting to dismiss him as a “bloodsucking ambulance chaser who exploits other people’s personal tragedies.” But many people who work in food safety believe that Marler is one of the few functioning pieces in a broken system…

Some products, such as cut-up chicken parts, have no performance standard at all. A hundred per cent of the product in supermarkets may be contaminated without running afoul of federal limits. Rangan told me that she was stunned when she discovered this, just recently: “We’ve asked the U.S.D.A. point blank, ‘So does that mean there aren’t standards for lamb chops and pork ribs?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we don’t have standards for those.’ ”

In December of 2013, officials at the F.S.I.S. unveiled a new “Salmonella Action Plan.” At the heart of the plan was a “poultry-slaughter rule,” which would reduce the number of federal inspectors observing the production line at slaughterhouses…

Law enforcement tracks all Americans, but doesn’t want Americans tracking them

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/law-enforcement-tracks-all-americans-but-doesnt-want-americans-tracking-them-012715.html

The detective was easily able to get a fairly inclusive record of whatever she did – including a visit to a gym 100 miles away from home – without having to personally “track” her at all; he merely paid to access a database of license plate scans and used them to reconstruct her whereabouts…

The effort began in border states like Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, but the goal has always been expansion, according to current and former federal officials and documents…

The federal government won’t let citizens or even state-level elected officials know any specifics about how far-reaching this spy-camera program is, and of course justifies this secrecy by saying that if Americans are allowed to know just how much the DEA and other branches of government spy on us, this could “help criminals.”

Unsurprisingly, that’s pretty much the same argument the NSA [National Sheriffs Association] used last week, to explain why Google ought to disable the police-tracking feature of its popular “Waze” traffic app…

Today’s email scam

From Email Services marleet@earthlink.net

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