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Welcome to the new (and improved!) Pitch Room!

Welcome to the new (and improved!) Pitch Room! This is a space where readers can submit tips and story ideas for the Need to Know staff to cover on the website or on our weekly broadcast.

Right now, it may look suspiciously similar to the previous incarnation of our Pitch Room, but this promises to be a much more dynamic space where readers and Need to Know staff can respond to each other’s ideas on a regular basis. Every week, we’ll facilitate an ongoing discussion of some of your topics, and also highlight some of the more intriguing conversations going on in the rest of the site.

So tell us: What issues do you think should be explored, dissected, exposed and reported right here? What are the conversations that we ought to be having? Drop your idea in the comments below or email us at


  • Nell Reece

    Explore the connection between the tragedies caused by weather of 2010, and Climate Change.

  • GenineProietto-Chesky

    XMRV the New Human Retrovirus

  • Tricia Sung

    History of Asian Pacific Americans in Georgia

  • Aaftab Jain

    New strain of drug resistant bacteria found in India (New Delhi) by Indian and UK scientists. A major threat, or as the Indian Government claims, an underhanded attempt by the West to slow/prevent medical tourism for both necessary and elective surgery.

  • Jessica Currall

    I am deeply troubled by what is called “News” by most standards. I do not appreciate the blurred lines between keeping the public informed about actual events, entertainment, and opinion.

    I am curious, what do the “News” organizations hold as their mission statements, and how true do they hold to them? It would be interesting to see what percentage (hard numbers with reliability between data collectors) of content reflects facts that are verified and shared among various sources, versus speculation, versus interpretation along a narrative.

    If an organization maintains an open stance or bias, how consistently is that represented? For example, if a network purports to designate content toward a predominantly Christian audience, how much of their message is consistent with Christian teachings: are they promoting love for one another and care for the poor, or are they propaganda machines for fear and hate? Alternatively, if a network is oriented toward a predominantly Islamic audience, does that change their presentation of news?

    How much do we honestly learn about the world and one another from our “news”? Which networks or programs have the best records with defining “truth” and representing it honestly?

    Finally, how much of this matters to an electorate? Watching most news programs makes me feel hostile, isolated, outraged, disappointed, and discouraged — so I don’t often subject myself to it. I find the reporting to be factually inaccurate, and unhelpful either in living my day-to-day life or in making the big decisions that cross time. I don’t know how consistently these feelings have been expressed about medias historically or across cultures. I don’t know if it matters in the long run.

    Good luck.

  • Jessica Currall

    With the recent introduction of “Mama Grizzlies,” I am curious about the rhetoric used in other cultures. Around the world, when people want to be taken seriously as leaders of their countries, what allusions, references, or metaphors do they apply? Do other countries pay attention to these kinds of descriptions — do they impact the perception of that leader across cultures? How personal do campaigns become in other countries? For example, when a woman wants to be a political leader in Australia would she want to be considered separate from her role within her family, would she make that demand at the same time she makes direct allusions to her role within her family, and what are the expectations of the people?

  • Aaftab Jain

    @Tricia Sung: Is there something unique about Asia Pacific Americans in GA that would make the story appeal to a wider audience? Was their migration to GA different from their migration to other parts of the US?

  • Aaftab Jain

    @ Jessica Curall: I like your topic. Would make for an interesting story. Providing the reporters clearly note or stay away from examples of dynastic rule, such as in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, where the woman often takes on a leadership role after her husband/father (Indira Gandhi, Bhutto, Bandaranaike, Khaleda Zia etc).

  • Mike Allard

    I think an extensive look at the Fourteenth Amendment is in order. It is the basis of several controversial court decisions including Brown versus Board of Education and the recent Proposition 8 ruling. It is now under attack for granting of citizenship to all children born in America. This, however, appears to be a convenient way of attacking an amendment that has been a thorn in the sides of conservatives for decades.

  • Kris Williams

    How about doing a story on parents not getting their child support and if they did, 9 times out of ten they wouldn’t be on assistance. How about making those that do not pay their child support get criminal charges instead of just civil cha…rges whereas the police don’t take it so seriously. How about telling America about the changes in child support, whereas states like NC have put the child support enforcement back to the local counties to search, whereas there isn’t any money to search. How about telling how difficult recipriocity agreements are almost impossible to receive payments when the spouse that owes child support moves home to their country and doesn’t pay. How about contacting the states and seeing the most wanted in child support owing of parents. Mine owes over $97,000 and is AWOL. How about with child support that if the parent does start working that child support enforcement is NOT on top of things and can take 11-12 months to put it into place for the actual child to get the child support payment owed to them. How about telling how child support works when there is more than one state involved. How about putting the spouses that refuse to pay child support in jain and make them work to help pay their child support if their child or children is on welfare/assistance/HUD/WIC, etc. How about revealing that the State of FL child support enforcement is so messed up that they illegally revealed my address and contact information to my ex spouse who refuses to pay any child support for about 5-6 years, even though I had an open ended permanent restraining order, and that is ILLEGAL of them. Boy do I have stories to tell about child support.

  • TheNaturalist

    Would like to see more indepth information on our Native Flora & Fauna. Many people do not understand what the term ‘Native’ is-Including people selling such labeled articles-from Animals to Plants. It’s important to reach out to the Public, as they ‘maintain’ the largest greenspace we have, their property. Mother Nature is experiencing Eco Terrorisim on a large scale now, with entire species of Trees and other animals affected by this plague.

  • Kris Williams

    How about the real story about being on assistance, the hoops one has to jump through, recertification or full certification every 3 months, the rules, how how much money you make is taken doublly out of what assistance you get, how hard it is to survive on assistance, how utterly impossible it is to get off of assitance, how if parents received their child support they wouldn’t have to be on it, how one payment of child support will take you off assistance but that you can not go directly back on to child support if he/she stops paying child support – t takes several weeks to get back on, the myths, the realities, do not focus on the cheaters of the system but on those who are struggling to survive on it because they have to, how that many of those on assistance have contributed to the system because they have worked, how there are waiting lists to get on certain programs like HUD, how in FL you have to watch a nutrition video in order to get your foodstamps, how in FL if you are going back to school and get PELL GRANT you get less or NONE of assistance, how in NC if you have a child going back to school that if he gets the PELL grant they gave less in food stamps of $150.00, how there are many NOT abusing the system and have to rely on assistance to live and why, how in rural areas the same assistance is not granted, how assistance varies from place to place/state to state, how the states are being TOLD to embrace the illegals, how if you own anything of value it will be used against you when filing for assistance – such as a car or in some states a house or even life insurance, how does one that is disabled affected by asssitance rules, how those who get assistance have to sign papers that they will have to pay back all the assistance they get, etc. Get your hands on the paperwork and go through an interview – learn how it works and you might just be surprised to learn it isn’t a simple process to be on.

  • Kris Williams

    How about discussing again how bullying in schools is rampant, how the disabled in schools get harassed and bullied. How it is usually school policy that the teacher has to SEE the action themselves before action can be taken, so the kids bully behind the scenes and behind teachers backs. How in some school systems (namely Tampa FL – Plantation of Carrollwood) policies that if the kids parents have money and the one they bullied by fracturing the pinky finger of is on assistance that they said they would not do anything since the parents had money, donated a lot of money, and the bully had a great school record.

  • Elizabeth Mazzone

    How about looking at the Coffee Party?

  • Douglas Townsend

    As a follow up to your article “Ocean of Plastic” people need to see more of the consequences of their/our continued practices of using products of convenience. As well you should provide ~another~ in dept look at our waste. Point out hard hard it is to get away from such products. Walk into a grocery store; everything is in plastic now!
    Show the people this, what happens to it, and just how much is actually being recycled. Further more, what can be done about it.
    Just one simple instance of proactive response is Panera Breads co. (where I’m sitting now using the WI-FI) going back to the paper-fiber coffee cups (which I happened to be enjoying at this minute) instead of foam cups (which another such world wide competitor down the street still uses).
    Then we will have the problems of a world using paper instead plastics and deforestation. Consider this, fiber type products can be made from lots of things besides trees. The first paper was made from papyrus. The algae and moss growing along the banks of a pond can be dried to the consistency of pulp. New methods, means new jobs, better use of resources. I’m an idealist? Maybe so, but we are going to have to change, and we will eventually, lest we not survive. The question is how bad must things get before we do!
    We have to first address the issue on a personal level, then look to the private sector and upwards to bigger corporations to take the initiative and carry the flag, Or are we going sit on our duffs and wait for the government to step in? It’ll be a long wait, don’t hold your breath!

  • BongoBern

    I’m detecting a disturbing tendency among those of the extreme right that recalls an era of intolerance and tunnel vision where book burnings were popular, and art and education was looked down upon or worse. Recently I became aware that, in addition to evolution, the ER was now going after the theory of relativity! My question is, how serious are these people, how many of them are there, and is there another planet we can hide them on? I am ashamed of this as an intelligent human being. What exactly do these people want?

  • Catherine Vade Bon Coeur

    My idea is to interview Professor Carolyn de La Pena, UCDavis, PhD, regarding her new book about how the chemical industry took over the food industry; Americans’ love affair with artificial sweetners. I read the galleys, and it is a fascinating read and important information.

  • Kelly Lawrence

    Alternative forms of elementary education. I’m especially interested in the growing trend of Montessori elementary, jr. high, and high schools.

  • Royce Jones

    I think this would be a good segment. Call it “Lie Of The Week.” Gather all of the facts present those facts in detail and then present the LIE. Maybe a drumroll. Lies are in abundance this election season. It would be difficult to pick out the best one.

  • Royce Jones

    Another idea for you…. Put a small counter in the corner of the TV screen that will approximate the world wide population increase by the minute. Population increase is the greatest environmental problem that exists although population increase receives very little attention.

  • Karen Laukkonen

    I would like to see a story on long-term self-employed who are now struggling in the new economy, but are not reflected in any of the unemployment numbers. When they don’t work, they don’t get unemployment. But they are not counted anywhere.

    What are the actual unemployment numbers when this group are counted? Is there any process for tracking them? How do they affect the economy?

    I am always suspicious of unemployment numbers, I don’t feel they are an accurate representation of reality.

  • Douglas L. Saunders

    I think all of the above ideas are good, but one underreported story, that is in dire need of immediate coverage, is the already recently approved plan to build a highway across the Northern portion of the Serengetti migration plains, in Tanzania, destroying one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. More information here.

  • Macley

    The struggle in many small towns in America to seat minority/Latinos to office, especially in towns where the majority of the population is minority/Latino, i.e. Tulare County, CA.

  • Macley

    the reality of unemployment, if reports base their unemployment numbers only on the # of people receiving UE benefits they are missing a large number of families who are still unemployed because they have exhausted their claims, especially in areas where UE is high or the # of jobs available is very low.

  • Laima

    I just wrote a ton of stuff and clicked “submit”, but I don’t see that it worked…

  • Alicia Huizinga

    I would like you to look into possible ideas for getting control of spending on Social Security programs. I ask this because a lot of solutions have been thrown out there by candidates running for congressional seats this November. One that keeps rearing it’s ugly head is raising the retirement age. Although it seems simple, in the real world it has major consequences. If you have a job in an office or one that requires little physical work, fine. However, with the push toward and hopes for more manufacturing jobs in the U.S., 70 is pretty old. Factory work can be brutal at 50 let alone 70. I would assume that it could lead to more disability claims from those older workers. How would that save government funds? Maybe you could investigate this. Thank you!

  • Lynn Riggio

    On Saturday, August 21, 2010 the University of Nevada’s Center for Molecular Medicine will officially open its doors. It will house portions of the microbiology, pharmacology, pathology and physiology and cell biology departments and serve as the headquarters for the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease. The public is invited to be a part of this momentous occasion between 10:00am to 12:00pm.

    The WPI, amongst other things, is trying to find the cause and cure of ME/CFS, which effects millions of Americans. Their research has helped with the discovery of a new retrovirus, which they are also associating with a form of aggressive prostate cancer. If you were to cover this story, and talk to the researchers, you would also be able to get information about how it is believed that the current blood supply in the US is quite possibly contaminated, 3-7% of all stored blood, with this new retrovirus called XMRV. And how the CDC is taking a wait and see attitude about the whole matter. I would not wish this illness on my worst enemy. I am a nurse and did not realize that there was an illness out there like this. An illness that would make you wish that maybe they would find cancer, or something, because you can be so ill that you feel like your life is slipping away. Please consider this coverage, help be the voice of so many sick/invisible patients. This illness is not just limited to a certain population, it strikes healthy active people, in every age group. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it helps you find a place in your heart to help.


    The President of Tanzania is determined to move forward with a plan to build a Serengeti Highway that will cut right through the migration corridor used now used by millions of wildebeest and zebra to search for water and green pasture land. This Great Migration is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural wonder of the world. Conservation groups and scientists have argued strongly against this proposed highway which will likely destroy the migration, the tourist livelihood on which the villages depend as well as the entire ecosystem of the Serengeti. We can only imagine the butterfly impact on the rest of the world, resulting from the loss of this vital ecosystem. See and

  • Kassy Fatooh

    There’s a new human retrovirus, XMRV. It’s only the third one discovered and it’s strongly associated with prostate cancer and myalgic encephalomyelitis, diseases which can kill or disable for life.

    Studies by the NIH and FDA will soon not only confirm, but strengthen, the findings of the Whittemore Peterson Institute, which first discovered the virus. The good news: the discovery of the retrovirus is leading rapidly to new studies for treatment for millions of sufferers. The bad news: the American Association of Blood Banks and the FDA Blood Products Safety Committee have yet to move to protect the nation’s blood supply from this retrovirus, though some other countries have already banned donations from XMRV-positive people or people suffering from XMRV-related disease.

    Remember the horror of people contracting AIDS when they received blood products tainted with HIV? A repeat with XMRV must be prevented. If this situation isn’t “Need To Know,” I don’t know what is.

    But more good news to end with: diagnostic tests will soon be available so that the many people undiagnosed or misdiagnosed can at last put a name to their debilitating symptoms and look forward to effective treatment.

  • Shirley

    The public deserves a story on the illness that the CDC has been covering up for decades – CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the name given in the US by the CDC to myalgic encephalomyelitis to diminish the existence of this serious incurable disease. In Oct ’09 the Whittemore-Peterson Institute found a retrovirus, XMRV to be highly associated with CFS. Out of only 3 HIV is the well known retrovirus and like HIV XMRV is most likely in the blood supply and still the government fails to act. Now a NIH/FDA paper is due out next month validating this finding. The lead author is the esteemed Harvey Alter whose earlier work led to the discovery of Hepatitis C and saved millions of lives. For a brilliant history of CFS and the CDC’s coverup see Oser’s Web (book and website) by Hillary Johnson.

  • susan nowell

    XMRV the New Human Retrovirus and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia.

  • Beam me up Scotty
  • Jacqueline

    How about a series on :
    1-Google mapquest..Viewing of America..but Not allowed to view any other countries..The selling out on America’s Security.. You can see my car in my driveway..but I can’t see the buildings in China, Afganastan, Africa..Title “Compromised Security”..America At Risk…

    2-The running of a country..How a middle class changes the economy..Why third world counries DO NOT want a middle class and would rather kill their people, in the name of religion and nationalism..when it is actually killing them and keeping them from becoming a middle class.. If the “nationalists”, did not kill the poor people that are living off the land, there would be civil wars (ones that America did not invent or help with)..because the progression would be for trade, economics, a change in living styles, changes in cultures and the movement of a class of peoples towards the middle..People are not static..They are kept oppressed, because those that have power and money keep the poor, so they don’t question why, in this day and age, they have such economic splits between their wealthy and their poor.

    3-What has really happened to Bin Laden.. The Clintons, Bush, Regan, Carter and Obama Presidencies. The Russian and Afganastan War.The buildup to 9/11/2001 and what is really going on now.. The uses and Misuses of the meida to sensationalize or leave out the details..
    4-Who is making money in the stock market? Forgein investors and -outsourcing.. Whose game of Monopoly is it any way? who are the players?

    Just a few thoughts..

  • Glenda Bolyn

    Some of my FB friends and I were discussing how we loved the old cooking show with Justin Wilson, that loveable Cajun. Is it possible to rerun it? It truly was a gem!

  • Tom Isbell

    When that guy on TV say “thousands of tax-payers can settle for less than they owe” is he telling the truth? If so, how can we stop him?

  • Claironess

    I would like to see a program on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. A significant number of people who have CFS have all three of these disorders. Having multiple conditions is not surprising when people are chronically ill. Most people who have an immune or an “autoimmune” illness have multiple illnesses. But what is unique about these illnesses is that the sick person has been blamed to such a degree that the average person out there may very well believe that the illnesses are not physiological. Indeed, I’ve read that over half of all doctors still don’t believe in CFS and the WHO and CDC both recognize it as a real physical illness.

    There are plenty of studies that now show that these illnesses are real. Indeed, just recently a French research team has proved Dr. Martin Pall’s NO/ONOO theory (pronounced No Oh No) as to the physiological changes that go on with folk who have CFS, FMS, MCS, and PTSD among people who are diagnosed to have MCS. As far as I know, this is the first time that folk with MCS have been shown to be physiologically different from “normals.”

    At any rate, people with these illnesses have been shunned and left to cope with lives that have essentially crashed and burned, ignored by many in the medical community, ignored by family, ignored by friends. If having support is essential to good health, than our larger community has certainly done all it can to keep us ill. Thank goodness for online support groups and the cyber world in general.

  • Corneilus Green

    With the recent ruling in California striking down Proposition 8, why wasn’t the will of the people honored in the case and why do Christians and Politicians who are against gay marriage are demonized by liberals, Democrats, and the mainstream media because they believe homosexualiy is wrong and they feel marriage is only between a man and a woman when the Bible condemns homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22

  • C. M. Harkins

    Having read a disturbing article by Melissa Harris-Lacewell in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on 8/15/2010, I think further discussion of the subject ‘Social Conservatives are Trying to Change History’ is needed. From Southerners memorializing Confederate leaders on Memorial Day to changes in Texas Social Studies curriculum, there seems to be a push toward retelling this country’s history. It may be impossible to control some of these practices but everyone needs to be made more aware of what is happening.

  • Lynn Riggio

    The FDA and the NIH have found XMRV in 87% of patients with CFS and 7% of healthy blood donors. “This study supports a previous investigation [Lombardi et al. Science October 23, 2009″.

  • Joyce Gralak

    A story about the global grassroots movement Next worldwide event is scheduled for 10-10-10. Started by Bill McKibben author, activist, environmentalist two years ago. 350 is the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that is considered safe by many scientists. We are currently at 392.
    See website, And photos of last year’s event at

  • Joshua Greve

    I would like the issue of the proposed rebuilding of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church at Ground Zero to be explored for two reasons.
    1) It is an historical monument and apparently the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11 and seems to have obastacles put in the way by the Port Authority. What is the connection there between that Land and the Port Authority? Who is the Port Authority. I have read that they are controlled by private middle eastern corporations but I don’t know that to be a fact. Why don’t they wish to cooperate?
    2) It is a story largely ignored by the media and is one that, for the questions above, needs more than a simple emotional sound by to “get people riled up”. It needs investigative reporting.

    In the end, I would really like to see the whole “mosque” controversy kept out of the story as much as possible. I fear that this will just become one more pawn in the left vs right battle, especially if unnecessary links are created between this story and the mosque story.

    Thank you!

    Josh Greve

  • Joshua Greve

    I apologize. I meant to send this link for some background to the issue brought up in the last post.

    Thank you

  • Ivan Pozo-Illas

    Hello “Need To Know”,

    My suggestion for the “Pitch Room” is to cover the state of our Native Americans or Indigenous People’s across our American Nation. From shore to shore to cover the struggles be they: humanitarian, economic, political, and especially moral. To throw out some statistics the suicide rate amongst Native American male youth is climbing. If we believed the climate is stacked against Afro-Americans is horrible, than for Native Americans its double or triple those numbers across the board.

    Reservations or tribal lands are like 3rd world nations within our borders. Be it housing stock, lack of heating during the harsh winters (IE the Lakota), or unemployment rates soaring beyond depression era rates of over 50%.

    Tiokasin Ghosthorse, would be an excellent point man to discuss this at great lengths. He hosts a radio show called “First Voices Indigenous Radio” for Indigenous people for nearly across the globe, although mostly for the America’s.

    It seems in discussion of race in America from Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians. That Native Americans are always left out of the discussion.

    This is my pitch for “Need To Know” for America’s Forgotten People.

  • Ela

    Well I wanted to pitch a story about info on the food safety bill s.510 but really i guess I’m just so frustrated trying to figure how to stand on all these different topics because the news and the net have become so fuzzy with news and opinions AND it hard to tell them apart sometimes! Everybody On the web has an opinion and it seems like those opinions are purchased by somekind of special intrest groups. Blah blah blah so here is the pich : a story about the book 1984 and present time similarities LOL

  • Stacey Mangni

    The third week of September marks Mitochondrial Disease International Awareness Week. Every 30 minutes, a child is born who will develop a mitochondrial disease by age ten. Research shows that more than 1 in 200 people have mitochondrial DNA mutations that could lead to mitochondrial disease. Because these diseases are often under-recognized or misdiagnosed, it is difficult to estimate how many adults are affected.

    Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail, and the life of the person in whom this is happening is severely compromised.

    Mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of a surprising range of very common illnesses and conditions, and a promising new avenue for their treatment. As the mitochondria are responsible for producing energy, any illness that has an energy problem could be related to the mitochondria. Diseases in which mitochondrial dysfunction have been implicated include:
    Alzheimer’s Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), mental retardation, deafness and blindness, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Over 50 million people in the US suffer from these chronic degenerative disorders. While it cannot yet be said that mitochondrial defects cause these problems, it is clear that mitochondria are involved because their function is measurably disturbed. Even autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Sjogrens syndrome, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis appear to have a mitochondrial basis to illness. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with a wide range of solid tumors, proposed to be central to the aging process, and found to be a common factor in the toxicity of a variety of physical and chemical agents.

    Please help bring more needed attention to this devastating disease. For more information, please visit and

  • Douglas King

    From an ethical viewpoint, we really need to know about the animals we eat. How bad are the conditions under which they are raised? How much do they suffer? Do free range animals have lives with little suffering? Or are they also bred to produce the most meat in the least time, and they suffer their entire lives from the consequences of this engineering?
    Also, If, for example, the companies which supply chicken meat refuse to let NTK see how their chickens are raised and killed, that’s a story in itself. Why so secretive? Chicken is cheap animal protein found everywhere in the US diet.
    This whole topic is so large, focusing on a single animal like the chicken may make it manageable. The life of a broiler, from birth to death. What can scientists tell us about the suffering such an animal experiences?
    Why is it illegal to treat a cat or dog in the way that food animals are treated? With a pet, such treatment would be considered abuse.
    200 years ago, a lot of white Americans considered morally acceptable the conditions under which the black slaves lived. Their suffering — when even acknowledged — just didn’t count for much. There is a stong analogy to the situation today with nonhuman animals.
    Thank you for your consideration of ths topic.

  • Janice Nolen

    We’re about to mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, a landmark law that has helped us cut emissions of some of the most dangerous air pollutants, such as lead and ozone, across the nation. On September 14th, EPA is hosting an all-day anniversary conference at the Mellon Center in DC featuring some of the key players, authors of the Act and former EPA administrators. This is more than just an anniversary–EPA’s authority to enforce this has been under continuous pressure since it was written, and faces renewed attack from utilities, industry & others in the returning Congress. For more information, contact me or Mary Havell a the American Lung Association, 202-785-3355. Janice Nolen, Asst VP, National Policy and Advocacy, American Lung Association

  • Eric

    I would like to see a story about the future of Daytime TV. The story examing the soap operas being labled as “Daytime TV’s Dying Breed”… with majority of women working during the day… other growing, and less-expensive TV genres emerging… recent economic meltdown forcing automotive industry to halt advertisement. We said “goodbye” to the long-running ‘As the World Turns’ on September 17th… World Turns joining the likes of other cancelled soaps (Guiding Light, Another World, Capitol, etc.). CBS moving to debut a new talk-show ‘The Talk’ on October 18th. The question that remains is whether or not the soaps can be saved.

  • Douglas

    Wi-Fi – Is it potentially harmful? Many schools, buildings, businesses and even entire cities offer wireless Internet Hot Spots – but do those radio waves have the potential to harm us? What about all the wireless devices we use? Cell phones? Laptops? Are they actually safe or are using these things dangerous? How do we know it is safe for us to use – and for our children?

  • Douglas

    Wi-Fi – Is it potentially harmful? Many schools, buildings, businesses and even entire cities offer wireless Internet Hot Spots – but do those radio waves have the potential to harm us? What about all the wireless devices we use? Cell phones? Laptops? Are they actually safe or are using these things dangerous? How do we know it is safe for us to use – and for our children?

  • Douglas

    What about the fish that is being caught in the Gulf? How do we really know if it is safe to eat after the effects of the oil spill and the chemicals that were used for months? Is there a government agency that regulates fish the way that meat is regulated? Are the fish, shrimp and other seafood from the Gulf of Mexico being tested on a regular basis? What are the potential health effects from ingesting seafood contaminated by the oil and corexit chemicals?

  • Douglas

    What about the fish that is being caught in the Gulf? How do we really know if it is safe to eat after the effects of the oil spill and the chemicals that were used for months? Is there a government agency that regulates fish the way that meat is regulated? Are the fish, shrimp and other seafood from the Gulf of Mexico being tested on a regular basis? What are the potential health effects from ingesting seafood contaminated by the oil and corexit chemicals?

  • Eric

    To make this story idea even more interesting… a new tell-all book ‘Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter’ (4th Street Media) is due to be released in 2011… and is written by veteran journalist Carolyn Hinsey (Soap Opera Digest, New York Daily News).

    From TV Guide –

  • jacquelyn

    I have a mortgage with wachiova now called wellsfargo – my husband was recently layoff and we asked for help with our mortgage – they reduce the amount by $129.00. i have never been missed a payment or never been late – The program we are in is called “unemployment forbearance plan”. No were on the letter receive, does it state that would be charge a late fee every month while we are in the program and payments would be put in to a hold funds account. The statements received showing that we are deliquent. i have call their phone centers so many timess with no real answers. Why would i want to sign up for a program with a discount of $129.00 when late charges are $72.50. None of this info was disclosed before we signed up. can we get help with this?

  • disgruntled

    Enough talk! Where’s the federal government!?? FACT: Social security age is raised; FACT: People are living longer; FACT: There’s blatant discrimination in the 50-65 year old group and the Feds don’t want to take grievances unless someone spray paints OLD HAG on the car! FACT: College education and several vocational skills do not enhance the odds of the 50-65 yr old group. FACT: I have submitted over 200 resumes and have only been interviewed 2 times! I will soon be on the federal assistance list! FACT: Old folks don’t get hired as baggers in supermarkets! FACT: I can’t even land a minimum wage job!!!

  • Diana22

    Perhaps someone has already mentioned this, but I did not see anything related to this bit of news on the site. There was an article published yesterday on the Center for American Progress website about the foreign funding of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This Chmaber of Commerce, in turn, supports GOP candidates. The real interesting thing is that these countries/cities which the Chamber is getting some of its money from include Bahrain, Abu Dhabi in the UAE, India and China. The GOP claims to be so patriotic but how can they allow themselves to be conduit through which U.S. elections are influenced by foreign investors and perhaps even governments? And I really marvel at some people who pride themselves on being down-home small town, true blood Americans who are all for the GOP, since they think they have their best interests at heart. They are being played for fools.

  • Christopher

    Growing cattails on just 6,367 acres in each county in the U.S. (accounting for 1.46 percent of agricultural land) we could produce 200 million gallons annually, and treat all of our country’s sewage. Why aren’t we doing this across America? Is it just because we get squeamish when we talk about poop?

    Full story found at the following URL:

    Also, Mr. Blume suggests growing and harvesting kelp in the Gulf of Mexico as an energy crop for the production of Fuel, Feed and Natural Fertilizer.

  • HayOrBrains

    Regarding the crusade to hamstring the ability of the government to respond to economic threats:

    Why don’t you analyze the alleged evidence and data behind the claim that government expenditures drive out private business expenditures? It seems to me that this article of faith among the zealots of the tea party has never been established by any sort of rigorous proof.

    If you carefully study the following c-span video of the Jul 23, 2010, speech by Robert Barro, the Harvard Professor who is the darling of the American Enterprise Institute, you will see that his attempt to prove the above proposition is only at a tentative stage — which is strange, considering Hayek fans have believed this proposition like gospel for the last 50 years.

    Is it possible that allegedly patriotic Americans could have been cramming something fallacious down our throats for the last 50 years when there was nothing but a secular religious faith (or superstition) to justify it?

    Must we sacrifice America’s social safety net on the altar of a cult of Mammon?


  • Sdlindber

    Will you take the economic debate to a new level by creating a story about environmental economists and/or Richard Heinberg’s The End of Growth? Keynesian and neoliberal economists dominate economic analysis as covered by the media. Both of these economist camps assume that a growing economy is the only option. Both ignore how finite planetary resources are not factored into current economic models. There are other theories–other important ideas–out there. Will you cover them?

    Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand why Social Security is part of the debate to reduce the national debt. I consider myself of average intelligence (I’m an engineering college graduate now retired) and I’ve read a lot about this issue and I don’t understand why Social Security is part of the equation. I have asked my U.S. Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, my U.S. Representative Richard Neal, AARP online and other sources, and in my opinion, I have not received an adequate explanation. I’ve participated in online discussions and come away dissatisfied. Somehow there has to be a way that the truth of the situation can be communicated to ordinary people in a way that we can understand the issue. Please help me/us to understand.

    What I know:

    The Social Security Trust Fund receives Social Security taxes (FICA) from income earners and employers, 6.2% of income from employees and a matching 6.2% from employers. So far, the amount paid in taxes exceeds the amount paid out in benefits. I believe this will be true until about 2015. The surplus in the amount received in taxes over the amount paid out in benefits is required by law to be invested in US Treasury securities. The Treasury securities represent a debt that this country is obligated to repay. There is also interest due on this debt, which
    increases the overall debt owed to the Social Security Trust Fund. The debt
    owed to Social Security Trust Fund becomes part of the overall national debt.

    What I don’t know:

    How does Social Security become part of the debate on how to reduce the national debt? The only way that I can see how you reduce the national debt using Social Security is to not repay all the money that is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund. But this would represent a default on the part of the federal government.

    I know that there are people that say there is no money in the Social Security Trust Fund – that the money in the fund has been stolen or appropriated to balance the federal budget; people like Allen W Smith and Michelle Bachman. However, I don’t believe these explanations. I regard most of what I hear and read to be merely political rhetoric at best, or an attempt to obfuscate the issue at worst. I can accept that when money in the Fund is gone (estimates vary but generally seem to give the Fund solvency until about 2035) that money will then have to be taken from General Revenues to cover the shortfall. However, by slightly increasing the FICA tax rate, adjusting benefits or extending the age to receive full benefits, the solvency of the Fund can be extended indefinitely and prevent having to take money from General Revenues. This, in my opinion, removes Social Security from the discussion of how we reduce the national debt.

    So, my question remains: Why is Social Security part of the debate to reduce the national debt? What is really going on here? I know it’s complicated, but there has to be some way that we the people can understand what is going on.


  • Womynspace

    I am amazed at the lack of interest the suffering middle class in this country has in living a life of gratitude and authentic experiences: to wit: (1) unrealistic expectations that the bubble we were all exposed to – and living in (for so many millions of hard-working folks) – was ever honest and that returning to living like that is a good option; (2) Reality TV IS NOT REAL nor REALITY but just really a means to make money (not for you, the middle class, unless you expect to get on one of those shows and make a lot of money) and keep us living in denial that many of our decisions and expectations in the past thirty years were based on a consumer-oriented only and entitlement mentality – whether funded by The Great Society or by the greed manifested by Bernie Madoff.  The incredible decline of learning in our schools, having handed over the social, spiritual and monetary responsibilities to others as middlemen for a virtuous life as if by paying someone to take care of our kids by spoiling them with “stuff” instead of real education, real work, growing something in our personal space to eat (which would help local water pollution by eliminating domestic uses of herbi- and pesticides.  It’s hardly a wonder we’re all paying an exorbitant price that  demanding cheap goods (while we saw manufacturing jobs go elsewhere and our farming for actual FOOD to a mysterious, industrial government-subsidized farming empire has extracted from us.  Thanks for the opportunity to vent.  I am an educated womyn, living modestly and gratefully abundantly, DEBT FREE, out of work for two years and nine months before I found work again.  When my attitudes and thinking changed everything changed. I am so glad the world is getting back to having to actually plan and think about things, to consider some repercussions of foolish choices and bad behavior … we need to talk with one another ….we need to trust that what happens does not happen to us personally, but as part of the world we live in and that we are responsible for making better choices and less noise about how much we are owed by whatever-goes-in-this-blank! Here are a few suggestions: laugh everyday; smile a lot; connect with nature (you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual!); eat real food; support your local shopkeepers and companies and let the Walmarts of the world go to China or India or Pakistan for customers.  Happy New Year. May 2012 bring you what you need, not what you want.  And may you be lucky/wise enough to learn the difference.

  • Womynspace

    I agree with you and keep making suggestions how we can enervate the discussion.  Giving the land back to Native Peoples is a good start, but unlikely to happen.  They would be so much better as guardians of the planet!  Education by their elders and of their histories, languages, cultures and the application of those very ideas to today’s world (once we scrape away the baloney) would go a long way to help open paths which we (I include myself as a white womyn) have so long kept you from!

  • Anonymous

    While there is concern for our economic security given our dependence on imported crude petroleum, attention to solutions to this problem have seemed to be focused on technologies that are very expensive and will take a couple of decades to realize even a partial independance upon imported petroleum (e.g. electric cars). 

     Given the cost of electric cars (conventional hybrids and even more, PHEVs) it will take about 20 years to achieve roughly speaking 12% to 17% reduction in gasoline demand for transportation.  The problem is, in far fewer years the cost of petroleum will rise enough to impact our economy to such an extent (reduced growth, increased unemployment – due to reduced demand for goods and services other than petroleum based products) that this will severely impact the rate at which the relatively expensive electrics will be adopted – putting the 20 year, 12% to 17% gasoline consumption reduction estimate in jeopardy.  A practical assessment of our situation demands a much shorter term approach to reducing demand for gasoline – to protect our economy from the rising price of petroleum.

    There is a readily available and relatively cheap fuel substitute for gasoline available to us now, which doesn’t require the development of any new technology to be realized as a practical substitute for gasoline.  That fuel is methanol.

      We currently consume about 2 Billion gallons of methanol per year.  Most of that was imported from Carribbean and South American sources but significant investment in production facilities in the United States could boost domestic production relatively quickly (much less than 20 years).  Methanol could be combined with ethanol and burned in Flexible Fuel engines. Methanol currently costs about $1.60 per gallon to produce.

     Methanol can be made from Natural Gas, Coal or anything that is or was plant material.   Between Natural gas, coal andor forestry and agriculturall waste we could produce enough methanol to supply our entire transportaion fuel needs.  With an aggressive investment in methanol production capacity we should be able to produce enough methanol in ten years to combine with ethanol production to meet 20% of our transportation fuel needs (ethanol currently meets about 10% of our fuel needs).

     To enhance the effectiveness of the ethanol – methanol blend with gasoline we could promote the manufacture of the Ethanol enabled direct injection engine designed by three MIT scientists which achieves 30% better fuel economy than conventional ICEs (burning gasoline) using 5% ethanol (or ethanol-methanol mixture) and 95% gasoline.  The marginal cost of this engine is about $1,000 to $1,500.  Thus we would attain comparable gasoline savings as a conventional hybrid at about one fourth the cost.

     Given the increasing demand for petroleum from China, India and South America the cost of petroleum is going to continue to rise at a rate which will significantly impact our economy.  This will jeopardize economic growth, job creation and the rate at which we will be able to adopt the more expensive ‘green’ transportation technologies.  Methanol plus ethanol and the MIT Ethanol Direct Injection Engine is the quickest and cheapest approaches we have to cut our petroleum fuel consumption.  This deserves an open-minded examination. 

  • Anonymous

    A very good suggestion – for a much needed examination of a theory without any empirical basis.  for what it’s worth all Government expenditures which are considered transfer payments (Social Security payments, Unemployment insurance, Medicaid etc) go right back into the economy as demand for products and services.  This certainly could not be considered a drag on the economy.

    Until such a report as you suggest appears on television (don’t hold your breath) you will enjoy reading the Big Con, by Jonathan Chait.  Wonderful book on  Supply Side Econocomical mythology.