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NIPPIES Magazine Issue #28: Winter 2005 - 2006

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NIPPIES®, an online magazine, is written from a working class viewpoint, and especially delights in reporting on the darker sides of Big Business or, to coin a phrase, Cut-and-Paste America

While we at NIPPIES® love to report on celebrity gossip and entertainment news, we also wants to keep you informed on any and every subject that may touch your life: pharmaceutical companies, advertising, rising health insurance, minimum wage and low-paying jobs, lawsuits, fashion, trends, music, and more!

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How could Dr. Rey NOT notice his wife's near skeletal frame?

We at NIPPIES are not regular Dr. 90210 viewers. But our children were watching a few days ago, so we sat down and took a look. And were shocked.

How could a medical doctor NOT notice that his wife's weight had plummeted to 88 pounds? He has to find her "food journal" (sitting on the table) to figure this out? Yet this is apparently what happened when famous television plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Rey's wife, Hayley Rey, got so busy that she forgot to eat!

Seems that the new mansion they bought is so expensive that he has stepped up his already busy cosmetic surgery practice. Add the fact that there are now even more bills to be paid, and that bill-paying appears to be Hayley's duty, well, there is just no time to eat.

Hayley's food journal features many days with only one entry, such as "pizza pocket and Pepsi®".

Interview with Mrs. Dr. Rey

We wish Mrs. Rey the best, and hope she begins to eat and gain weight. It doesn't seem possible to maintain health at that weight.

Bragging may be hazardous to your health

J.I. Rodale dies after bragging about his health..
On June 8, 1971, there occured the first on-stage death from natural causes. It happened on The Dick Cavett Show.

J.I. Rodale, 73, had just finished bragging about his health when his death occured. "I'm so healthy tht I expect to live on and on." Shortly after, Pete Hamill, the famous former New York Daily News reporter (and former beau of Shirley MacLaine) was the next guest, and shortly after Mr. Hamill was welcomed to the stage by Mr. Cavett, a snoring sound was heard coming from the direction of Mr. Rodale. The sound was the last every made by the natural food advocate and publishing magnate: he'd just suffered a fatal heart attack.

Herbalife founder Mark Hughes: autopsy shows four-day binge prior to death...
Most of us are familiar with Herbalife International. Founded by Mark Hughes, the health supplement manufacturing firm was a runaway success. So why did Mark Hughes die?

According to a Reuters story dated August 12, 2000:
"Mark Hughes, founder of the weight loss and nutritional firm Herbalife International, had been on a four-day drinking binge just before his death in May, final autopsy results showed on Saturday."

Mark Hughes was only 44, and had everything to live for. His wife at the time was beauty Darcy LaPier.

Reuters news quoted sources as stating that Mr. Hughes ''had been on a four-day drinking binge.''

``They did not know what alcohol (he) had been drinking,'' the report said, adding that Hughes' psychiatrist was aware of the drinking problem and had been treating him for it, prescribing Doxepin and an alcohol abuse drug.

It should be noted that Mark Hughes had been treated for pneumonia only three months prior to his death, and also suffered from asthma and unspecified stomach problems.

Other well-known "health experts" who have died prematurely include: Adele Davis (author of Let's Eat Right...; Dr. Pritkin of THEE Pritkin Diet and Dr. Atkins, who officially "fell" and "hit his head on the ice". There are more.

Bush is full of S#IT - Google results

After watching President George W. Bush deliver his "State of the Union" address on television tonight, we at NIPPIES were inspired to go to and look up how many results there were for the phrase -Bush is full of shit-. No respect intended, of course.

Here is what we found: Bush is full of shit...

Oh dear. Well over four MILLION results for that search.

We at NIPPIES listened to a great deal of the speech. About all the new jobs created. (But how much do they pay, President Bush?) We'd like to give the President the benefit of the doubt about these jobs. However, as we survey the poverty around us, we strongly suspect they are Wal-Mart-like jobs: low pay and minimum, if any, healthcare coverage. You know, jobs that President Bush's buddies create as they expand their empires.

President Bush also talked about how Americans can compete in the world market if the "playing field is level". When is the last time that Americans had a level playing field with a country like China, for instance? Are we all supposed to learn how to live on about *$100 per month? (Some of us already do.)

By the way, the average income has climbed rapidly over the past decade or so (see, thanks largely to the United States of Wal-Mart, no doubt. In the meantime, the gap between the rich and poor in the United States has continued to grow and grow and grow as our "real income" declines.

ABOUT THE CHINESE: *FROM CHINA.ORG: "China's reforms and opening up over the past two decades have rapidly increased average incomes, Hu said: "Residents with monthly incomes of less than 600 yuan (US$72) are considered low, an income of at least 900 yuan (US$108.4) per month is needed to maintain a basic standard of living."

ABOUT THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR (excerpt from story 1/27/06 by Mark Johnson of Associated Press):
"The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both liberal-leaning think tanks, found the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of families nationally grew by an average of $2,660, or 19 percent, over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the incomes of the richest fifth of families grew by $45,100, or nearly 59 percent, the study by the Washington-based groups said.

Families in the middle fifth saw their incomes rise 28 percent, or $10,218.

The figures, based on U.S. Census data, compare the average growth from 1980-82 to 2001-03, after adjusting for inflation.

The poorest one-fifth of families, the report said, had an average income of $16,780 from 2000-03, while the top fifth of families had an average income of $122,150 � more than seven times as much. Middle-income families' average income was $46,875."

President Bush talked about making health insurance coverage for the self-employed more comparable to that of workers for large corporations. Now that is a stretch. (We pay nearly $1000 per month for Blue Cross for our basically healthy family of four. The coverage has co-pays, covers only 20% of most procedures, has limited hospital days compared to group coverage, etc.) But he failed to tell us how he is going to twist the arms of the healthcare providers. We at NIPPIES would love to hear. Perhaps he'll create a new commission to "kick the can down the road", as the pundits are fond of saying, for the next few years until he's safely out of office.

And, of course, Bush is always kissing up to his buddies, the doctors, the AMA. That largely self-governing and powerful lobbying organization which limits the numbers of future-physicians being admitted to our medical schools each year so that the club can remain exclusive. Bush got their endorsement and votes, so he is going to encourage Congress to pass laws to protect his pals from malpractice lawsuits. Which is nice, of course, for the good doctors who deserve it. And horrible for the rest of us. Forget about the poor guy working at those near-minimum wage jobs, Mr. President, with lousy or no healthcare coverage. The poor guy who gets hurt at his job at some large company and goes to the only doctor he can afford, and who is the victim of medical malpractice. If President Bush has his way, there will be a $250,000.00 cap on pain and suffering payments for medical malpractice. After the court fees and other expenses, and the lawyers' 40% cut, the poor, injured working stiff might be left with, lets say, $60,000.00 if he's lucky. Explain how that unfortunate fellow or gal is going to provide for his family for the rest of his life on that meager amount of money.

There is so much more we can say. President Bush is just another rich guy who only sees things thru the eyes of the very privileged. He just doesn't have a clue to how the rest of us scrimp and scrape to make ends meet.

Lastly...did you catch what clearly looked like a smirk which flickered across President Bush's face after delivered the last words of his State of the Union? He glanced at someone to his right. It sorta looked like a "look, I snowed them again" sorta look. But did he, really?

We don't think so, and many others apparently agree. One television reporter remarked that this latest offering by our leader felt rather like a "cut-and-paste" of past talks.

The Gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. grows ever wider...

From the front page of Yahoo! in a story by MARK JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer (Friday, January 27 at 2:29 AM ET):
Study Finds Rich-Poor Income Gap Growing

Why are we at NIPPIES hardly surprised?

" ALBANY, N.Y. - The disparity between rich and poor is growing in America as the federal minimum wage has remained flat for years, union membership has declined and industries have faced global competition, according to a study released Thursday. The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both liberal-leaning think tanks, found the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of families nationally grew by an average of $2,660, or 19 percent, over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the incomes of the richest fifth of families grew by $45,100, or nearly 59 percent, the study by the Washington-based groups said...."

This is pathetic. This is sad. But this is so predictable.

So many of the middle-class have now become the poor. We are being price-gouged on the necessities of life: gasoline, heat, electricty, telephone, and saddest of all - health care. And nothing is being done about this by our leaders. Indeed, at least in the state where I come from, the politicians are largely responsible for the growing gap. Our state legislatures regularly vote for fat raises for themselves in Pennsylvania (during secret midnight meetings), while leaving minimum wage at a flat $5.15 or whatever the hell it is and has been since...1997.

At the same time, our Public Utility Commission allows the utility companies to continue to raise rates. They allow Blue Cross to raise rates. And so on and so forth.

The gap between the rich and poor is very obvious in the old coal-mining region where we at NIPPIES live. The old, respectable neighborhoods are quickly becoming unrespectable. As the oldtimers die off, their children, many who are better of financially than their parents were, are selling off the houses to other professionals, who in turn rent them out to Section 8 or others. You don't need to be a genius to know that those who do not own a house do often not take care of it. Or care about the neighborhood. There are exceptions, of course, and we are grateful for those. But more often than not, the renters are not the good neighbors that the home-owners are.

In our area, the old neighborhoods are becoming more and more ghetto-like. For instance, only a month ago we had robbery at our local mini-market. While this has happened before, this time it came with violence (attempted rape). A few days later, the same thing at another mini-market up the road. The perps were NOT from around here originally. The first was an import from the Bronx, and the second was, we believe, originally from Philly. Drugs were involved

How does this tie into the growing gap between the rich and poor? Well, try this on for size: over the past decade, several developments of McMansions have cropped up on the outlying areas of our fair little town. The owners of most of these developments have set it up so that you must buy a large parcel of land (land so expensive that the average worker around here could not even afford the land). Then, you must promise to build a home worth well into six figures. You get the picture, don't you? Only doctors, lawyers, and other professionals need apply.

Many of these people are the ones who own the houses in the neighborhoods where the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves. And many of these wealthy people are also the ones who are making money off our over-priced health insurance or who own stock in the utility companies.

Someday the bubble is going to have to burst. The gap just cannot continue to grow.

Cancer warnings for skin medications...

The Constant Gardener was a terrific film. However, its message was not entirely new to us. We at NIPPIES have long been very frightened by the power which the pharmaceutical companies have garnered over the past several decades.

Therefore, we at NIPPIES were not shocked the recent Big Pharma news: the FDA has ordered that two eczema prescription creams (Elidel cream - maker Novartis - and Protopic ointment) must now carry "black box" warnings of possible cancer risks. The action by the Food and Drug Administration was issued on Thursday, January 19, 2006. (Protopic ointment is manufactured by Astellas Pharma Inc., formed through the merger of Protopic maker Fujisawa Healthcare Inc. and Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co.)

According to the FDA, animal tests have shown an increase in cancer associated with the drugs. Both products are applied to the skin, and both work by suppressing the immune system. According to company estimates, about 10 million people have already used the drug.

Both companies have issued statements which appear to contest the need for the warnings.

Cancer Warnings

According to the wire story on Yahoo!, "a black box warning is the most serious type of warning in prescription drug labeling. The warning will be located lower on the labels of the two drugs than is typical, although a statement higher on the labels will refer to the risk."

Up until October 2005, the FDA had received reports of 78 cases of different cancers, including skin cancer and lymphoma, in patients using the two meications.


Fed to trim budget: programs for the poor to suffer

House approves $39.7 bln spending cuts

Why are we at NIPPIES not surprised?? President Bush and the majority of his fellow Republicans have consistently displayed their favoritism toward the rich with little regard for the working poor in this country. The class divide grows and grows and the little guy struggles to pay for even the most necessary items in life: food, medicine, shelter.

Please read the following story to see what we mean..

In a story by Richard Cowan (Washington - Reuters) on Dec. 19, 2005, it is reported:

"The House of Representatives on Monday narrowly voted to cut $39.7 billion from federal spending over five years, including health care and other social welfare, as part of a conservative push to contain these growing programs."

The vote was 212-206, and occured during a rare overnight session. Democrats opposed the cuts.

"We have a plan to reform the government and achieve savings," said House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, an Iowa Republican.

The five year plan , criticized by Dems, will hurt those receiving aid via student loans, child care and other programs which help the poor.

Republican John Spratt complained about his own party's strategy of "negotiating last-minute deals to help medical equipment manufacturers and suppliers, while maintaining reductions in some programs for the poor."

Separate legislation was approved for a one percent cut in ALL federal programs except for the Veterans Administration. This will make for an additional $8 million in savings.

Rep. Chet Edwards (news, bio, voting record), a Texas Democrat, said, "This bill under the Republican leadership makes Scrooge look like a philanthropist."

The article goes on to say:
"A large chunk of the spending cuts, about $11.2 billion over five years, would come from Medicare and Medicaid, the health-care programs for the elderly and poor."

AND... "The $39.7 billion in savings would be dwarfed, however, by an estimated $14 trillion the government is expected to spend over the next five years under a Republican budget plan approved last April.

Democrats argued that the spending cuts were falling disproportionately on the poor as Republicans also were pushing through Congress tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."

Republicans in the House gave up on earlier attemptst to cut FOOD STAMP (which helps the poor to buy groceries) aid by $700 million.

Merry Christmas

Yes, it is currently politically incorrect to wish the general public a "Merry Christmas". But that is just what we want to wish you. It is that time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May you and your family have a happy, holy Christmas and holiday matter what holiday you celebrate.

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NIPPIES - August 22, 2002 - September 5, 2002: NIPPIES - Issue #1
NIPPIES - October 1, 2002 to September 6th, 2002: NIPPIES - Issue #2
NIPPIES - November 1 to October 3rd, 2002: NIPPIES - Issue #3
NIPPIES - December 11 to October 31st, 2002: NIPPIES - Issue #4
NIPPIES - January 2, 2003 to Dec. 12, 2002 : NIPPIES - Issue #5
NIPPIES - January 25th to January 3rd, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #6
NIPPIES - February 2nd to January 23rd, 2003: MIPPIES - Issue #7
NIPPIES - March 10th to February 3rd, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #8
NIPPIES - June 7th to March 11th, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #9
NIPPIES - June 16th - July 15th, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #10
NIPPIES - October 16th - August 13th, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #11
NIPPIES - November 15th - October 18th, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #12
NIPPIES - December 31st - November 21st, 2003: NIPPIES - Issue #13

NIPPIES - February 6th, - January 1st, 2004: NIPPIES - Issue #14

NIPPIES - March 3rd, - February 9th, 2004: NIPPIES - Issue #15
NIPPIES - May 13th, - March 5th, 2004: NIPPIES - Issue #16
NIPPIES - August 31st - May 13, 2004: NIPPIES - Issue #17
NIPPIES - September 9th - October 29th, 2004:NIPPIES - Issue #18
NIPPIES - October 31 - November 24, 2004:NIPPIES - Issue #19
NIPPIES - November 26 - December 30, 2004:NIPPIES - Issue #20
NIPPIES - January 1 - January 31, 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #21
NIPPIES - Feb. 28 - February 4, 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #22

NIPPIES - March 30 - March 1, 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #23
NIPPIES - April 30 - April 1, 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #24
NIPPIES - May 31 - May 1, 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #25
NIPPIES - Summer 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #26
NIPPIES - Fall 2005:NIPPIES - Issue #27

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