Talk:Overnight battle for Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula

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Ward Off Infections With Goldenseal

Submitted by: Brenda Rusnak

Goldenseal is also known commonly as orange root and wild curcuma or by its scientific name Hydrastis Canadensis. This herb is found in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. The herb has its own medicinal benefits to offer and it is also used in conjunction with others to improve their efficacy. Native American tribes in North America have traditionally used goldenseal for medication as well as a coloring agent. The Cherokees are believed to have used this herb as an effective cure for cancer.

Goldenseal is a most effective medicine for treating a variety of skin problems. A skin ointment or lotion made from this herb is normally used for this purpose. Even skin rashes and eruptions that are caused by improper digestion are effectively cured by the ingestion of this herb.

Effective Treatment for Infections

Infection of the mucus membranes in the upper respiratory tract, such as those surrounding the mouth, throat and sinuses, can be cured by goldenseal tinctures. This herb is also very effective against a multitude of disease causing organisms such as different kinds of yeast, bacteria and fungi.

Urinary tract infections, intestinal and vaginal infections and stomach ailments are also cured by the use of goldenseal. For older people, goldenseal is an effective remedy for bladder infections. Elderly people are recommended goldenseal tablets to address stomach and liver ailments including functional stomach disorders, cirrhosis, ulcers, catarrhal gastritis, atonic dyspepsia and constipation.

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This herb is also very effective against sinus and respiratory ailments. As the herb is bitter in taste, it stimulates bile secretion in the human body. This, in turn, improves digestion while also helping to dislodge phlegm collected in the lungs by working as an expectorant. That is why older people often start taking goldenseal when they sense the onset of colds or flu.

Elderly people also often use goldenseal as a mouthwash to treat sore gums and throat. When applied to canker sores or wounds, goldenseal hastens healing and prevents infections.

Historical Use of Goldenseal

Goldenseal has been used as natural medicine by Native Americans since the earliest times. These people used this herb to treat digestive disorders, skin trouble and eye irritations. Early European settlers saw the beneficial effects that this herb had for the Native American tribes and started using it themselves during the colonial era.

Herbalist Samuel Thompson turned the world s attention to this medicinal herb in the 1800s as an effective cure for several ailments. At present, goldenseal is in great demand across the world for its many benefits.

Different Forms of Goldenseal

Goldenseal may be used in different forms. For treatment of wounds and sores, it is often applied as an ointment or lotion. A mouthwash or tincture of goldenseal may be used as a gargle for treating sore throat or mouth ulcers. The stem and roots of the plant are boiled to make a tea once they are dried. Other than this, goldenseal is also available in the form of tablets and capsules.

Caution for Older People

Berberine is a main constituent of goldenseal and it increases the levels of bilirubin. Older people with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure should not use this herb without clearing it with their physician first. For such people, external use, such as through mouthwashes and gargles may be approved by the doctor.

About the Author: Teisha Mahabir specializes in writing articles about health, diet, longevity and health specialists like Brenda Rusnak. Brenda Rusnak is a health care specialist who writes about

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),[1] formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people living in the U.S. It is a federal aid program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), though benefits are distributed by each U.S. state’s Division of Social Services or Children and Family Services.

SNAP benefits cost $74.1 billion in fiscal year 2014 and supplied roughly 46.5 million Americans with an average of $125.35 for each person per month in food assistance.[2] It is the largest nutrition program of the fifteen administered by FNS and is a critical component of the federal social safety net for low-income Americans.[3]

The amount of SNAP benefits received by a household depends on the household’s size, income, and expenses. For most of its history, the program used paper-denominated “stamps” or coupons – worth US$1 (brown), $5 (blue), and $10 (green) – bound into booklets of various denominations, to be torn out individually and used in single-use exchange. Because of their 1:1 value ration with actual currency, the coupons were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Their rectangular shape resembled a U.S. dollar bill (although about one-half the size), including intaglio printing on high-quality paper with watermarks. In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. EBT has been implemented in all states since June 2004. Each month, SNAP food stamp benefits are directly deposited into the household’s EBT card account. Households may use EBT to pay for food at supermarkets, convenience stores, and other food retailers, including certain farmers’ markets.[4]

The idea for the first FSP has been credited to various people, most notably U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program’s first administrator, Milo Perkins. Of the program, Perkins said, “We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.” The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every US$1 worth of orange stamps purchased, fifty cents’ worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could be used only to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly four years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the U.S. at a total cost of $262 million. At its peak, the program assisted 4 million people simultaneously. The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York; the first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo; and the first retailer caught violating program rules was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being (unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment) ceased to exist.

The eighteen years between the end of the first FSP and the inception of the next were filled with studies, reports, and legislative proposals. Prominent U.S. Senators actively associated with attempts to enact a food stamp program during this period included George Aiken, Robert M. La Follette, Jr., Hubert Humphrey, Estes Kefauver, and Stuart Symington. From 1954 on, U.S. Representative Leonor Sullivan strove to pass food-stamp-program legislation.

On September 21, 1959, P.L. 86-341 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to operate a food-stamp system through January 31, 1962. The Eisenhower Administration never used the authority. However, in fulfillment of a campaign promise made in West Virginia, President John F. Kennedy’s first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on February 2, 1961, he announced that food stamp pilot programs would be initiated. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods. A Department spokesman indicated the emphasis would be on increasing the consumption of perishables.

Mr. and Mrs. Alderson Muncy of Paynesville, West Virginia, were the first food stamp recipients on May 29, 1961. They purchased $95 worth of food using food stamps for their 15-person household. In the first food stamp transaction, the Muncys bought a can of pork and beans at Henderson’s Supermarket. By January 1964, the pilot programs had expanded from eight areas to 43 (40 counties, Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) in 22 States with 380,000 participants.

Of the program, U.S. Representative Leonor K. Sullivan of Missouri asserted, “…the Department of Agriculture seemed bent on outlining a possible food stamp plan of such scope and magnitude, involving some 25 million persons, as to make the whole idea seem ridiculous and tear food stamp plans to smithereens.”[5][6]

The Food Stamp Act of 1964 appropriated $75 million to 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The measure drew overwhelming support from House Democrats, 90 percent from urban areas, 96 percent from the suburbs, and 87 percent from rural areas. Republican lawmakers opposed the initial measure: only 12 percent of urban Republicans, 11 percent from the suburbs, and 5 percent from rural areas voted affirmatively. President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed food stamps as “a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance.”[7]

Rooted in congressional logrolling, the act was part of a larger appropriation that raised price supports for cotton and wheat. Rural lawmakers supported the program so that their urban colleagues would not dismantle farm subsidies. Food stamps, along with Medicaid, Head Start, and the Job Corps were foremost among the growing anti-poverty programs.

President Johnson called for a permanent food-stamp program on January 31, 1964. Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman submitted the legislation on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Sullivan. One of the members on the House Committee on Agriculture who voted against the FSP in Committee was then Representative Bob Dole.

As a Senator, Dole became a staunch supporter of the program, after he worked with George McGovern to produce a bipartisan solution to two of the main problems associated with food stamps: cumbersome purchase requirements and lax eligibility standards. Dole told Congress regarding the new provisions, “I am confident that this bill eliminates the greedy and feeds the needy.” The law was intended to strengthen the agricultural economy and provide improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under congressional control and to enact the regulations into law.

The major provisions were:

The Agriculture Department estimated that participation in a national FSP would eventually reach 4 million, at a cost of $360 million annually, far below the actual numbers.

In April 1965, participation topped half a million. (Actual participation was 561,261 people.) Participation topped 1 million in March 1966, 2 million in October 1967, 3 million in February 1969, 4 million in February 1970, 5 million one month later in March 1970, 6 million two months later in May 1970, 10 million in February 1971, and 15 million in October 1974. Rapid increases in participation during this period were primarily due to geographic expansion.

The early 1970s were a period of growth in participation, concern about the cost of providing food stamp benefits, and questions about administration, primarily timely certification. During this time, the issue was framed that would dominate food stamp legislation ever after: How to balance program access with program accountability. Three major pieces of legislation shaped this period, leading up to massive reform to follow:

P.L. 91-671 (January 11, 1971) established uniform national standards of eligibility and work requirements; required that allotments be equivalent to the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet; limited households’ purchase requirements to 30 percent of their income; instituted an outreach requirement; authorized the Agriculture Department to pay 62.5 percent of specific administrative costs incurred by States; expanded the FSP to Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands of the United States; and provided $1.75 billion appropriations for Fiscal Year 1971.

Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-86, August 10, 1973) required States to expand the program to every political jurisdiction before July 1, 1974; expanded the program to drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment and rehabilitation centers; established semi-annual allotment adjustments, SSI cash-out, and bi-monthly issuance; introduced statutory complexity in the income definition (by including in-kind payments and providing an accompanying exception); and required the Department to establish temporary eligibility standards for disasters.

P.L. 93-347 (July 12, 1974) authorized the Department to pay 50 percent of all states’ costs for administering the program and established the requirement for efficient and effective administration by the States.

In accordance with P.L. 93-86, the FSP began operating nationwide on July 1, 1974. (The program was not fully implemented in Puerto Rico until November 1, 1974.) Participation for July 1974 was almost 14 million.

Once a person is a beneficiary of the Supplemental Security Income Program he (or she) may be automatically eligible for Food Stamps depending on his (or her) state’s laws. How much money in food stamps they receive also varies by state. Supplemental Security Income was created in 1974.[8]

Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the FSP in 1977. The Republican bill stressed targeting benefits to the neediest, simplifying administration, and tightening controls on the program; the Democratic bill focused on increasing access to those most in need and simplifying and streamlining a complicated and cumbersome process that delayed benefit delivery as well as reducing errors, and curbing abuse. The chief force for the Democratic Administration was Robert Greenstein, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

In Congress, major players were Senators George McGovern, Jacob Javits, Humphrey, and Dole and Congressmen Foley and Richmond. Amid all the themes, the one that became the rallying cry for FSP reform was “EPR”—eliminate the purchase requirement—because of the barrier to participation the purchase requirement represented. The bill that became the law (S. 275) did eliminate the purchase requirement. It also:

In addition to EPR, the Food Stamp Act of 1977 included several access provisions:

The integrity provisions of the new program included fraud disqualifications, enhanced Federal funding for States’ anti-fraud activities, and financial incentives for low error rates.

The House Report for the 1977 legislation points out that the changes in the Food Stamp Program are needed without reference to upcoming welfare reform since “the path to welfare reform is, indeed, rocky….”

EPR was implemented January 1, 1979. Participation that month increased 1.5 million over the preceding month.

The large and expensive FSP proved to be a favorite subject of close scrutiny from both the Executive Branch and Congress in the early 1980s. Major legislation in 1981 and 1982 enacted cutbacks including:

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) began in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1984.

Recognition of the severe domestic hunger problem in the latter half of the 1980s led to incremental expansions of the FSP in 1985 and 1987, such as elimination of sales tax on food stamp purchases, reinstitution of categorical eligibility, increased resource limit for most households ($2,000), eligibility for the homeless, and expanded nutrition education. The Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 and the Mickey Leland Memorial Domestic Hunger Relief Act in 1990 foretold the improvements that would be coming. The 1988 and 1990 legislation accomplished the following:

Throughout this era, significant players were principally various committee chairmen: Congressmen Leland, Hall, Foley, Leon Panetta, and, de la Garza and Senator Patrick Leahy.

By 1993, major changes in food stamp benefits had arrived. The final legislation provided for $2.8 billion in benefit increases over Fiscal Years 1984-1988. Leon Panetta, in his new role as OMB Director, played a major role as did Senator Leahy. Substantive changes included:

In December 1979, participation finally surpassed 20 million. In March 1994, participation hit a new high of 28 million.

The mid-1990s was a period of welfare reform. Prior to 1996, the rules for the cash welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), were waived for many states. With the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform act, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), AFDC, an entitlement program, was replaced that with a new block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

Although the Food Stamp Program was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, the 1996 welfare reform made several changes to the program, including:

As a result of all these changes, “participation rates plummeted” in the late 1990s, according to Slate online magazine.[9][quantify]

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Act of 1998 (AREERA) made some changes to these provisions, most significantly:

The fiscal year 2001 agriculture appropriations bill included two significant changes. The legislation increased the excess shelter cap to $340 in fiscal year 2001 and then indexed the cap to changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Consumers each year beginning in fiscal year 2002. The legislation also allowed states to use the vehicle limit they use in a TANF assistance program, if it would be result in a lower attribution of resources for the household.

In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public welfare programs as well, such as cash assistance. The move was designed to save the government money by not printing the coupons, make benefits available immediately instead of requiring the recipient to wait for mailing or picking up the booklets in person, and reduce theft and diversion.[4]

The 2008 farm bill renamed the Food Stamp Program as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (beginning October 2008) and replaced all references to “stamp” or “coupon” in federal law to “card” or “EBT.”[10][11]

SNAP benefits temporarily increased with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a federal stimulus package to help Americans affected by the Great Recession.[12] Beginning in April 2009 and continuing through the expansion’s expiration on November 1, 2013, the ARRA appropriated $45.2 billion to increase monthly benefit levels to an average of $133.[12][13] This amounted to a 13.6 percent funding increase for SNAP recipients.[13]

This temporary expansion expired on November 1, 2013, resulting in a relative benefit decrease for SNAP households; on average, benefits decreased by 5 percent.[12] According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four dropped from $668 to $632, while the maximum monthly benefit for an individual dropped from $200 to $189.[12]

In June 2014, Mother Jones reported that “Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money is spent at Walmart,” and that Walmart had submitted a statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stating,

“Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors, and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. These factors include… changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, [and] changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.”[14]

Companies that have lobbied on behalf of SNAP include PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and the grocery chain Kroger. Kraft Foods, which receives “One-sixth [of its] revenues … from food stamp purchases” also opposes food stamp cuts.[14]

Because SNAP is a mandatory, or entitlement, program, the federal government is required to fund the benefits of all eligible participants. There are income and resource requirements for SNAP, as well as specific requirements for immigrants, elderly persons and persons with disabilities.[15]

For income, individuals and households may qualify for benefits if they earn a gross monthly income that is 130% (or less) of the federal poverty level for a specific household size. For example: the SNAP-eligible gross monthly income is $1,245 or less for an individual. For a household of 4, the SNAP eligible gross monthly income is $2,552 or less. Your gross monthly income is the amount you make each month before any deductions, i.e. taxes, insurance, pensions, etc.[15]

There is also a resource requirement for SNAP, although eligibility requirements vary slightly from state to state. Generally speaking, households may have up to $2,000 in a bank account or other countable sources. If at least one person is age 60 or older and/or has disabilities, households may have $3250 in countable resources.[15]

The lack of affordable housing in urban areas means that money that could have been spent on food is spent on housing expenses. Housing is generally considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of total household income; rising housing costs have made this ideal difficult to attain.

This is especially true in New York City, where 28% of rent stabilized tenants spend more than half their income on rent.[16] Among lower income families the percentage is much higher. According to an estimate by the Community Service Society, 65% of New York City families living below the federal poverty line are paying more than half of their income toward rent.[17]

The current eligibility criteria attempt to address this, by including a deduction for “excess shelter costs.” This applies only to households that spend more than half of their net income on rent. For the purpose of this calculation, a household’s net income is obtained by subtracting certain deductions from their gross (before deductions) income. If the household’s total expenditures on rent exceed 50% of that net income, then the net income is further reduced by the amount of rent that exceeds 50% of net income. For 2007, this deduction can be no more than $417, except in households that include an elderly or disabled person.[18] Deductions include:

The adjusted net income, including the deduction for excess shelter costs, is used to determine whether a household is eligible for food stamps.

The 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that:

Certain non-citizens, such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence, may also eligible for the SNAP program. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.[15]

To apply for SNAP benefits, an applicant must first fill out a program application and return it to the state or local SNAP office. Each state has a different application, which is usually available online. There is more information about various state applications processes, including locations of SNAP offices in various state, displayed on an interactive Outreach Map found on the FNS website.[20] Individuals who believe they may be eligible for SNAP benefits may use the Food and Nutrition Services’ SNAP Screening Tool, which can help gauge eligibility.

As per USDA rules, households can use SNAP benefits to purchase:

“Junk Food” and “Luxury Items” such as soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, ice cream, seafood, steak, are food items and are therefore eligible.

Additionally, restaurants operating in certain areas may be permitted to accept SNAP benefits from eligible candidates like elderly, homeless or disabled people in return for affordable meals.

However, the USDA clearly mentions that households cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase the following to eat or drink:

States are allowed under federal law to administer SNAP in different ways. As of April 2015, the USDA had published eleven period State Options Reports outlining variations in how states have administered the program.[22] The USDA’s most recent State Options Report, published in April 2015, summarizes:

Some areas of differences among states include: when and how frequently SNAP recipients must report household circumstances; on whether the state agency acts on all reported changes or only some changes; whether the state uses a simplified method for determining the cost of doing business in cases where an applicant is self?employed; and whether legally obligated child support payments made to non?household members are counted as an income exclusion rather than a deduction.[23]

State agencies also have an option on whether to call their program SNAP; whether to continue to refer to their program under its former name, the Food Stamp Program; or whether to choose an alternate name.[23] Among the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 32 call their program SNAP; five continue to call the program the Food Stamp Program; and 16 have adopted their own name.[23] For example, California calls its SNAP implementation “CalFresh,” while Arizona calls its program “Nutrition Assistance.”[23]

According to January 2015 figures reported by the Census Bureau and USDA and compiled by USA Today, the states with the most food stamp recipients per capita are:[24]

According to June 2009 figures reported by the state agencies, the USDA, and Census Bureau, and compiled by the New York Times, the individual counties with the highest levels of SNAP usage were:

During the recession of 2008, SNAP participation hit an all-time high. Arguing in support for SNAP, the Food Research and Action Center claims that “putting more resources quickly into the hands of the people most likely to turn around and spend it can both boost the economy and cushion the hardships on vulnerable people who face a constant struggle against hunger.”[25] Researchers have found that every $1 that is spent from SNAP results in $1.73 of economic activity. In California, the cost-benefit ratio is even higher: for every $1 spent from SNAP between $3.67 to $8.34 is saved in health care costs.[26][27][28] The Congressional Budget Office also rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.[28]

A summary statistical report indicated that an average of 47.6 million people used the program in FY 2013.[29] Nearly 72 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.[30]

As of 2013, more than 15% of the U.S. population receive food assistance, and more than 20% in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon and Tennessee. Washington D.C. was the highest share of the population to receive food assistance at over 23%.[31]

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (based on a study of data gathered in Fiscal Year 2010), statistics for the food stamp program are as follows:[32]

Amounts paid to program beneficiaries rose from $28.6 billion in 2005 to $76.6 billion in 2013. This increase was due to the high unemployment rate (leading to higher SNAP participation) and the increased benefit per person with the passing of ARRA. SNAP average monthly benefits increased from $96.18 per person to $133.08 per person. Other program costs, which include the Federal share of State administrative expenses, Nutrition Education, and Employment and Training, amounted to roughly $3.7 million in 2013.[4] There were cuts into the program’s budget introduced in 2014 that were estimated to save $8.6 billion over 10 years. Some of the states are looking for measures within the states to balance the cuts, so they would not affect the recipients of the federal aid program.[33]

While SNAP participants and other low-income nonparticipants spend similar amounts on food spending, SNAP participants tend to still experience greater food insecurity than nonparticipants. This is believed to be a reflection of welfare of individuals who take the time to apply for SNAP benefits than the shortcomings of the SNAP program. The theory behind this is that those households facing the greatest hardships are the most likely to bear of the burden of applying for program benefits. Therefore, SNAP participants tend to be, on average, less food secure than other low-income nonparticipants.[34]

Self-selection by more food-needy households into the SNAP program makes it difficult to observe positive effects on food security from survey data.[35] While SNAP participants and other low-income nonparticipants spend similar amounts on food spending, SNAP participants tend to still experience greater food insecurity than nonparticipants. This is believed to be a reflection of welfare of individuals who take the time to apply for SNAP benefits than the shortcomings of the SNAP program. In other words, households facing the greatest hardships are the most likely to bear of the burden of applying for program benefits.[34] Statistical models that control for this endogeneity suggest that SNAP receipt reduces the likelihood of being food insecure and very food insecure by roughly 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively.[36]

Because SNAP is a means tested, entitlement program, participation rates are closely related to the number of individuals living in poverty in a given time period. In periods of economic recession, SNAP enrollment tends to increase and in periods of prosperity, SNAP participation tends to be lower.[34] Unemployment is therefore also related to SNAP participation. However, ERS data shows that poverty and SNAP participation levels have continued to rise following the 2008 recession, even though unemployment rates have leveled off. Poverty levels are the strongest correlates for program participation.

The purpose of the Food Stamp Program as laid out in its implementation was to assist low-income households in obtaining adequate and nutritious diets. According to Peter H. Rossi, a sociologist whose work involved evaluation of social programs, “the program rests on the assumption that households with restricted incomes may skimp on food purchases and live on diets that are inadequate in quantity and quality, or, alternatively skimp on other necessities to maintain an adequate diet”.[37] Food stamps, as many like Rossi, MacDonald, and Eisinger contend, are used not only for increasing food but also as income maintenance. Income maintenance is money that households are able to spend on other things because they no longer have to spend it on food. According to various studies shown by Rossi, because of income maintenance only about $0.17–$0.47 more is being spent on food for every food stamp dollar than was spent prior to individuals receiving food stamps.[38]

Studies are inconclusive as to whether SNAP has a direct effect on the nutritional quality of food choices made by participants. Unlike other federal programs that provide food subsidies, i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), SNAP does not have nutritional standards for purchases. Critics of the program suggest that this lack of structure represents a missed opportunity for public health advancement and cost containment.[39][40] In April, 2013, the USDA research body, the Economic Research Service (ERS), published a study that examined diet quality in SNAP participants compared to low-income nonparticipants. The study revealed a difference in diet quality between SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants, finding that SNAP participants score slightly lower on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) than nonparticipants. The study also concluded that SNAP increases the likelihood that participants will consume whole fruit by 23 percentage points. However, the analysis also suggests that SNAP participation decreases participants intake of dark green/orange vegetables by a modest amount.[41]

The USDA’s Economic Research Service explains: “SNAP is a counter-cyclical government assistance program—it provides assistance to more low-income households during an economic downturn or recession and to fewer households during an economic expansion. The rise in SNAP participation during an economic downturn results in greater SNAP expenditures which, in turn, stimulate the economy.”[42]

In 2011, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a statement regarding SNAP benefits: “Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity.”[43] Vilsack’s estimate was based on a 2002 USDA study which found that “ultimately, the additional $5 billion of FSP (Food Stamp Program) expenditures triggered an increase in total economic activity (production, sales, and value of shipments) of $9.2 billion and an increase in jobs of 82,100,” or $1.84 stimulus for every dollar spent.[44]

A 2013 report by the USDA gave another estimate in the middle of Zandi’s and Vilsack’s estimates, finding that “an increase of $1 billion in SNAP expenditures is estimated to increase economic activity (GDP) by $1.79 billion.” The same report also estimated that the “preferred jobs impact … are the 8,900 full-time equivalent jobs plus self-employed or the 9,800 full-time and part-time jobs plus self-employed from $1 billion of SNAP benefits.[45]

In March 2013, the Washington Post reported that one-third of Woonsocket, Rhode Island’s population used food stamps, putting local merchants on a “boom or bust” cycle each month when EBT payments were deposited. The Post stated that “a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns.”[46] And this growth “has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust.”[47]

In addition to local town merchants, national retailers are starting to take in an increasing large percentage of SNAP benefits. For example, “Walmart estimates it takes in about 18% of total U.S. outlays on food stamps.”[48]

In March 2012, the USDA published its fifth report in a series of periodic analyses to estimate the extent of trafficking[clarification needed] in the SNAP program. Although trafficking does not increase costs to the Federal Government,[49][50][51] it diverts benefits from their intended purpose of helping low-income families access a nutritious diet. The FNS aggressively acts to control trafficking by using SNAP purchase data to identify suspicious transaction patterns, conducting undercover investigations, and collaborating with other investigative agencies.

Trafficking diverted an estimated one cent of each SNAP dollar ($330 million annually) from SNAP benefits between 2006 and 2008. Trafficking has declined over time from nearly 4 percent in the 1990s. About 8.2 percent of all stores trafficked from 2006 to 2008 compared to the 10.5 percent of SNAP authorized stores involved in trafficking in 2011.[52] A variety of store characteristics and settings were related to the level of trafficking. Although large stores accounted for 87.3 percent of all SNAP redemptions, they only accounted for about 5.4 percent of trafficking redemptions. Trafficking was much less likely to occur among publicly owned than privately owned stores and was much less likely among stores in areas with less poverty rather than more. The total annual value of trafficked benefits increased at about the same rate as overall program growth. The current estimate of total SNAP dollars trafficked is higher than observed in the previous 2002–2005 time period. This increase is consistent, however, with the almost 37 percent growths in average annual SNAP benefits from the 2002–2005 study periods to the most recent one. The methodology used to generate these estimates has known limitations. However, given variable data and resources, it is the most practical approach available to FNS. Further improvements to SNAP trafficking estimates would require new resources to assess the prevalence of trafficking among a random sample of stores.[53]

The USDA report released in August 2013 says the dollar value of trafficking increased to 1.3 percent, up from 1 percent in the USDA’s 2006-2008 survey,[52] and “About 18 percent of those stores classified as convenience stores or small groceries were estimated to have trafficked. For larger stores (supermarkets and large groceries), only 0.32 percent were estimated to have trafficked. In terms of redemptions, about 17 percent of small groceries redemptions and 14 percent of convenience store redemptions were estimated to have been trafficked. This compares with a rate of 0.2 percent for large stores.”[54]

The USDA, in December 2011, announced new policies to attempt to curb waste, fraud, and abuse. These changes will include stiffer penalties for retailers who are caught participating in illegal or fraudulent activities.[55] “The department is proposing increasing penalties for retailers and providing states with access to large federal databases they would be required to use to verify information from applicants. SNAP benefit fraud, generally in the form of store employees buying EBT cards from recipients is widespread in urban areas, with one in seven corner stores engaging in such behavior, according to a recent government estimate. There are in excess of 200,000 stores, and we have 100 agents spread across the country. Some do undercover work, but the principal way we track fraud is through analyzing electronic transactions” for suspicious patterns, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon told The Washington Times.[56] Also, states will be given additional guidance that will help develop a tighter policy for those seeking to effectively investigate fraud and clarifying the definition of trafficking.

According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, there was a payment error rate of 4.36% of SNAP benefits down from 9.86% in 1999.[57] A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant.[57] There are also instances of fraud involving exchange of SNAP benefits for cash and/or for items not eligible for purchase with EBT cards.[58] In 2011, the Michigan program raised eligibility requirements for full-time college students, to save taxpayer money and to end student use of monthly SNAP benefits.[59]

In Maine, incidents of recycling fraud have occurred in the past where individuals once committed fraud by using their EBT cards to buy canned or bottled beverages (requiring a deposit to be paid at the point of purchase for each beverage container), dump the contents out so the empty beverage container could be returned for deposit redemption, and thereby, allowed these individuals to eventually purchase non-EBT authorized products with cash from the beverage container deposits.[60]

The State of Utah developed a system called “eFind” to monitor, evaluate and cross-examine qualifying and reporting data of recipients assets. Utah’s eFind system is a “back end,” web-based system that gathers, filters, and organizes information from various federal, state, and local databases. The data in eFind is used to help state eligibility workers determine applicants’ eligibility for public assistance programs, including Medicaid, CHIP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and child care assistance.[61] When information is changed in one database, the reported changes become available to other departments utilizing the system. This system was developed with federal funds and it is available to other states free of charge.

The USDA only reports direct fraud and trafficking in benefits, which was officially estimated at $858 million in 2012. The Cato Institute reports that there was another $2.2 billion in erroneous payouts in 2009. Cato also reported that the erroneous payout rate dropped significantly from 5.6 percent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2011.

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized $20 million to be spent on pilot projects to determine whether incentives provided to SNAP recipients at the point-of-sale would increase the purchase of fruits, vegetables, or other healthful foods.[62] Fifteen states expressed interest in having the pilot program and, ultimately, five states submitted applications to be considered for HIP. Hampden County, Massachusetts was selected as the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) site. HIP is designed to take place from August 2010 to April 2013 with the actual operation phase of the pilot program scheduled to last 15 months, from November 2011 to January 2013.[63]

HIP offers select SNAP recipients a 30% subsidy on produce, which is credited to the participant’s EBT card, for 15 months. 7,500 households will participate HIP and an equal number will not; the differences between the two groups will be analyzed to see the effects of the program.[64] Produce, under the HIP, is defined as fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables that do not have any added sugar, salt, fat, or oil.

Fruits and vegetables are higher in both nutritional value and price,[citation needed] making it difficult for SNAP recipients to purchase regularly, limiting their access to healthy options and buying unhealthy foods.[citation needed] The subsidy would give participants more purchasing power while not restricting “bad” unhealthy foods. Such subsidies encourage sellers to offer more fresh produce at locations that previously did not carry them. This increases access for the SNAP recipients and is intended to encourage healthy eating habits if practiced properly by the public.

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is the state agency responsible for SNAP. DTA has recruited retailers to take part in HIP and sell more produce, planned for the EBT system change with the state EBT vendor, and hired six new staff members dedicated to HIP. DTA has agreed to provide FNS with monthly reports, data collection and evaluation.

General:

on July 30th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Parents prosecuted after homeopathic treatment leads to daughter’s death

Friday, May 8, 2009 

Thomas Sam, 42, and his wife Manju Sam, 36, from Sydney, Australia, are undergoing trial for manslaughter by gross negligence for the death of their nine-month-old child, Gloria. She died from infection caused by severe eczema after they shunned effective conventional medical treatments for homeopathy, a form of alternative medicine that has been described as pseudoscience. Articles in peer-reviewed academic journals including Social Science & Medicine have characterized homeopathy as a form of quackery.

Gloria developed severe eczema at the age of four months and the parents were advised to send the child to a skin specialist. Thomas Sam, a practising homeopath, instead decided to treat his daughter himself. His daughter’s condition deteriorated, to the point that the baby spent all her energy battling the infections caused by the constant breaking of the skin, leading to severe malnutrition and, eventually, her death. By the end, Gloria’s eczema was so severe that her skin broke every time her parents changed her clothes or nappy, and in the words of the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, “Gloria spent a lot of the last five months of her life crying, irritable, scratching and the only thing that gave her solace was to suck on her mother’s breast.” Gloria also became unable to move her legs.

Mr. Tedeschi also told the court that, over the last five months of her life, “Gloria’s eczema played a devastating role in her overall health and it is asserted by the Crown that both her parents knew this and discussed it with each other.” However, despite their child’s severe illness, and her lack of improvement, the Sams continued to shun conventional medical treatment, instead seeking help from other homeopaths and naturopaths. Gloria temporarily improved during the rare times they used conventional treatments, but they soon dropped them in favour of homeopathy, and she consistently worsened.

Allegedly, Thomas’ sister pleaded with him to send Gloria to a conventional medical doctor, but he replied “I am not able to do that”. The parents are also accused of putting their social life ahead of their child, taking her on a trip to India and leaving her to servants while embarking on a busy social schedule, and giving her homeopathic drops instead of using the prescription creams they had been given.

Gloria was finally taken to the emergency department shortly before her death. By this time, “her skin was weeping, her body malnourished and her corneas melting”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Speaking in the parents’ defense, Tom Molomby, SC, said that, as the parents came from India, where homeopathy is in common use, they should be declared not guilty due to cultural differences.

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine which treats patients with massively diluted forms of substances that, if given to a healthy person undiluted, would cause symptoms similar to the disease. Typical treatments take the dilutions, with ritualised shaking between each step of the dilution, past the level where any molecules of the original substance are likely to remain; for homeopathic treatments to work, basic well-understood concepts in chemistry and physics would have to be wrong. There is no evidence that homeopathy is more effective than placebo for any condition.

on July 29th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Sea lion walks from beach into Pantai Inn in California

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 

Last Tuesday early morning, a sea lion walked from the beach into Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California. The animal was rescued by local animal rescue authorities. Wikinews took an interview from Shane Pappas, a General Manager of the inn.

Wikinews At what time of day did the sea lion enter the Inn?

WN How long did he stay in the Inn before he was moved out of the building?

WN What do you think attracted the animal? Was it the radio sound? Was it heard as far as the beach?

WN Who and how transported the animal out of the building?

WN Where was the animal transported to?

on July 28th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Cheap, Used Cadillac Escalade Cars

Cheap, Used Cadillac Escalade Cars

by

Snowden Stan

The Cadillac Escalade is the top selling luxury sports utility vehicle produced under the Cadillac brand. The Escalade is popular among its customers for its appeal, flashy and youthful look. This is preferred by those customers who like the SUVs that are speedy, huge and American. The Escalade’s 6.2 Liter V8 engine produces an impressive exhaust sound. Of all the Cadillac Escalade versions, the third generation cars are the most advanced and luxurious. There are several improvements like better handling, smoother ride and better rack-and-pinion system compared to the earlier versions.

Cadillac which is owned by General Motors Company has specialized in using standardized auto parts and precise craftsmanship in manufacturing its vehicles. It enjoys the high status in the domestic luxury cars market in the United States. Moreover, Cadillac holds the distinction of producing comfortable cars for the older consumers. It has also produced vehicles for the younger market like trucks, SUVs and two-passenger convertibles.

While purchasing the used Cadillac Escalade Cars, check the following in the checklist so as to make a safe and successful purchase.

Read the descriptions carefully and contact the seller with questions before examining the vehicle.

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The Vehicle Purchase Protection program helps to protect the vehicle purchase against any fraud. As this program is available for all eligible vehicles, the purchaser should be doubly careful and ensure the vehicle is protected.

Check the vehicle’s free history report like title issues, accidents and damages to the vehicle, details of any theft event etc. Also the details regarding make, class, model, year of manufacture, engine type, and age of the vehicle, odometer reading and the country of assembly are to be checked from the history report to avoid any hidden problem at a later date.

Review the seller’s feedback rating to know about the positives and negatives about the vehicle. However, look for a seller with positive feedback and take the comments from other buyers to get a sense of seller’s reliability.

Please ensure that the questions regarding the vehicle are answered to the satisfaction by the seller before an offer is made on the vehicle.

Before making the offer, find out the price at which similar vehicles were sold in the market recently. This will enable the buyer to determine the price of the offer to be made to the seller.

The information regarding the title transfer, registration and taxes are to be obtained from the seller before purchase. The necessary agencies like Department of Motor Vehicles are to be contacted to get such details.

Cars that are serviced regularly last longer. Hence it would be better to get the information from the seller about the repairs and maintenance records of the vehicle.

The Largest Online Mall for Cars and Trucks:

A certified pre-owned used car is a recent model used vehicle that has passed the multi-point condition and safety inspection as specified by the manufacturers. As these vehicles are more likely to be a like-new condition, they may cost more than the non-certified used vehicles. You can check it out for the best deals on used and new

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Find 1000s of used and new cars for sale with car finance and part exchange. Visit the largest online mall for

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Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

on July 28th, 2015 | File Under Car Dealer | No Comments -

Sea lion walks from beach into Pantai Inn in California

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 

Last Tuesday early morning, a sea lion walked from the beach into Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California. The animal was rescued by local animal rescue authorities. Wikinews took an interview from Shane Pappas, a General Manager of the inn.

Wikinews At what time of day did the sea lion enter the Inn?

WN How long did he stay in the Inn before he was moved out of the building?

WN What do you think attracted the animal? Was it the radio sound? Was it heard as far as the beach?

WN Who and how transported the animal out of the building?

WN Where was the animal transported to?

on July 27th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

eBay Australia to only permit payment via PayPal

Saturday, April 12, 2008 

On the back of new restrictions being imposed on eBay users in the United Kingdom requiring that sellers offer PayPal payments for all sales, eBay Australia is mandating that only PayPal payments will be acceptable as of June 17. PayPal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay, and charges a 30¢ transaction fee, plus a commission between 1.1% for high volume traders, and 2.4% for low value or low volume traders. These higher costs will be passed onto buyers.

Cash payment on pick up will be the only other payment option, and it may only be offered in conjunction with PayPal.

eBay has brought in this restriction under the guise of improving customer protection, bolstering its “Paypal Buyer Protection” insurance programme to allow claims up to A$20,000 instead of the previous maximum of $3,000, however as of June 17 many of the items which would exceed $3,000 are no longer covered by the programme, such as services, vehicles, real estate and businesses.

eBay Trust and Safety director Alastair MacGibbon said this change was not in response to the once-off fund established in March to refund eBay buyers who lost their non-existent holiday accommodation packages from the Melbourne eBay seller Robert Kobis. Mr MacGibbon said “It is part of a much larger initiative”.

In addition to these measures, Paypal will be withholding funds from some sellers for 21 days

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has held discussion with eBay, but declined to comment. The Australian Consumers Association spokesman Christopher Zinn said the unique use of PayPal could give rise to competition issues, however if the costs charged stayed as they were, they had no further concerns.

on July 26th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Talk:Overnight battle for Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula

I read the Bloomberg story on a Bloomberg terminal. I have yet to find the same story on their website. –SVTCobra 17:14, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

on July 26th, 2015 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Tips On Using Direct Mail For Your Automotive Repair Shop

Tips on Using Direct Mail For Your Automotive Repair Shop

by

Greg Sands

Getting your message to a customer is the first step in getting them to come to yourshop. And an excellent method for delivering that message is with automotive repair direct mail. When it is done right, direct mail delivers a professional-looking product that will attract customers to your business.

If you choose direct mail as part of your overall marketing and advertising strategy, you must be sure you use it well. The auto repair marketing flyer you send out should reflect the quality of your company. It should also get results. In order to achieve both of these ends, there are some things you will need to do to get the most for your advertising dollar.

Find your focus.

Before launching a new marketing method, you will need to find your focus. Is getting people in the door this mailer s sole purpose? Is it being sent out to increase overall sales? Maybe you have something more specific in mind like moving a particular product or promoting a seasonal service. Think carefully about what this mailer s focus should be and why it is being distributed.

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Set a goal.

Decide on a specific, reasonable and measureable goal for your auto repair advertising. Automotive repair direct mailing can be used for many purposes and have many different results. Choose what results you want to see, like selling a certain number of tires or getting a specific percentage off a repair job.

Enlist an expert.

In most cases, shop owners will need the help of a specialized direct mail expert. Most owners and managers just don t have the time to design and implement a direct mail campaign in addition to their other duties. An expert in direct mail for automotive companies can assist with every detail from design to delivery.

Choose your customer.

Take a moment to choose your customer and analyze your market. Are your clients mostly from the neighborhood or do you do business city-wide? Does your customer own a luxury import or a domestic car? Know who you want to reach.

Create your mailer.

An expert will be able to help you with slick graphics and photos but you should decide what you want your direct mail to say. Have a few ideas before you meet with your designer so you can give him some direction but keep the look clean, simple and to the point. Make sure you include a call to action for your customer that will get him to your doorstep.

Track the results.

Once your auto repair direct mail has been delivered, start looking at the results over a period of about three to six months. Collect and count coupons, track the sales and analyze the success of your efforts. You ll be better able to fine-tune your next advertising piece when you analyze what did or did not work.

Article Source:

Mudlick Mail

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

on July 24th, 2015 | File Under Cars | No Comments -