Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - August 2 Edition

Pregnancy, Work

““This law provides essential protections and guarantees safety measures. Pregnant women will now no longer be subject to discrimination when it comes to common sense accommodations,” DeLeo said.

Because of the bill, it will be illegal to fire a woman because she’s pregnant or refuse to hire female job applicants because they’re pregnant.

Reasonable accommodations will include anything from assigning pregnant workers to less strenuous positions, providing a worker with a stool to sit on, or more frequent bathroom breaks.”

Economy, Taxes, Regulations

"The deficit is now about 3 percent of gross domestic product, which is less than the rateof nominal GDP growth. That means the deficit is now sustainable, and further austerity won’t have much effect.

Additionally, basic economic theory says that low deficits boost growth by lowering long-term interest rates -- but with rates already near record lows, there isn't much scope for improvement in this regard. Finally, Cogan et al.’s goal of deficit reduction is strongly at odds with their recommendation of big tax cuts, as Brownback’s experiment in Kansas shows.

So policy makers shouldn’t listen to the supply-side orthodoxy. Deregulation could have some positive effects if done right, but tax cuts and austerity -- even if they could both be accomplished at the same time -- are policies with very little promise. To boost growth, the U.S. should look to other policies, like better infrastructure, stronger antitrust enforcement and more investment in research and technology."

Health Care, Opioid Epidemic

“As the opioid epidemic rages on, two million Americans are abusing prescription pain relievers, and an additional 591,000 are addicted to heroin. The result: families pushed to the edge of desperation, an overwhelmed criminal justice system, emergency rooms that struggle to respond, and a bright future dimmed for far too many young Americans.

But here is the good news: at a time of so much rancor in the national discourse, this is an issue that transcends dogma. The opioid epidemic hits red and blue states, urban and rural settings, and people of every race and ethnicity without regard to political leaning.

The Aspen Health Strategy Group, which we co-chair, is bringing a sense of urgency to this issue. We are a nonpartisan group of 26 senior leaders in healthcare, business, technology, academia, and the media who believe that solutions to some of our most critical societal issues emerge from civil discourse, bold thinking, and the willingness to reach across the boundaries of discipline and ideology. This year, we are taking on the opioid crisis.”

Climate Change, Diet

To understand why the climate impact of beef alone is so large, note that the image at the top of this story is a sea of soybeans in a silo in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The beans belong to a feed lot that holds 38,000 cattle, the growth and fattening of which means dispensing 900 metric tons of feed every day. Which is to say that these beans will be eaten by cows, and the cows will convert the beans to meat, and the humans will eat the meat. In the process, the cows will emit much greenhouse gas, and they will consume far more calories in beans than they will yield in meat, meaning far more clearcutting of forests to farm cattle feed than would be necessary if the beans above were simply eaten by people.

This inefficient process happens on a massive scale. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of red meat, holds around 212 million cattle. (In June, the U.S. temporarily suspended imports of beef from Brazil due to abscesses, collections of pus, in the meat.) According to the United Nations, 33 percent of arable land on Earth is used to grow feed for livestock. Even more, 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of Earth is used for grazing livestock. In all, almost a third of the land on Earth is used to produce meat and animal products.”

Personal Development, Positive Thinking

"As the sole architect of your destiny, you need to make sure you’re utilizing one of your greatest tools: your own voice. That inner voice will help you formulate a plan and drown out the external voices of critics and naysayers. Your voice holds the power to boost your confidence and help you both navigate and learn from setbacks when they occur.

Be very honest with yourself. Is your own voice joining the negative chorus of doubters? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to reprogram your thought process by telling yourself these three things today—and every day—for the rest of your life."

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