Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Toxic Chemical Leaches from Popular Baby Bottles

Please get this out to every parent you know. 
The Evenflo® Sensitive Response™ Clear Glass Bottle is an alternative to plastic baby bottles.   To learn more about them visit:
And no, I do not have stock in Evenflo.
Toxic Chemical Leaches from Popular Baby Bottles
Parents Need Information to Protect Their Kids
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Read the entire news release at:

MINNEAPOLIS - February 27 - A chemical known to be toxic to the nervous and reproductive system, and a developmental toxin, leaches from popular clear, plastic baby bottles, according to Toxic Baby Bottles: Scientific Study Finds Leaching Chemicals in Clear Plastic Baby Bottles, a new report released today.

The chemical, called bisphenol A, is a disruptor of hormone function and has been found by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the urine of 95 percent of Americans tested.

The report is based on independent laboratory testing of the most popular baby bottles on the market commissioned by the Environment California Research and Policy Center.

"We all want to raise our children in ways that are safe, healthy and that maximize their potential," said David Wallinga, MD, Director of the Food and Health Program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

"Sadly, that's made harder by the fact that manufacturers aren't required to give parents even the most basic safety information on toxic chemicals in baby bottles and other household products."

IATP works in coalition with the Environment California Research and Policy Center for safer plastic and other consumer products.

Five of the most popular brands of baby bottles on the market were tested to determine whether bisphenol A leached from the bottles into liquids contained inside them.

All five leached bisphenol A at levels that have been found to cause harm in numerous laboratory animal studies.

Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles.

Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems.

Alarmingly, the median level of bisphenol A found by the CDC in humans is higher than the level found in animals to cause adverse health effects.

"Parents can't make informed health choices about baby products when they're left in the dark by manufacturers."

CONTACT: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Ben Lilliston, Communications Director


Poverty Gap in US Has Widened under Bush

.. and First Lady Laura Bush states on "Larry King Live"  that our economy is doing wonderfully.    The facts pointed out in the following article are not news to anyone who is in touch with reality.   Lou Dobbs has been telling this story for two years.  So has John Edwards which is why I support his candidacy for the US Presidency. 
Poverty Gap in US Has Widened under Bush
by Andrew Gumbel
Published on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 by the Independent / UK
The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data.

The analysis, by the McClatchy group of newspapers, showed that the number of people living in extreme poverty had grown by 26 per cent since 2000.

Poverty as a whole has worsened, too, but the number of severe poor is growing 56 per cent faster than the overall segment of the population characterised as poor - about 37 million people in all according to the census data.  That represents more than 10 per cent of the US population, which recently surpassed the 300 million mark.

The widening of the income gap between haves and have-nots is nothing new in America - it has been going on steadily since the late 1970s.  What is new, though, is the rapid increase in numbers at the bottom of the socio-economic pile.  The numbers of severely poor have increased faster than any other segment of the population.

"That was the exact opposite of what we anticipated when we began," one of the McClatchy study's co-authors, Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said.  "We're not seeing as much moderate poverty as a proportion of the population.  What we're seeing is a dramatic growth of severe poverty."

The causes of the problem are no mystery to sociologists and political scientists.

Manufacturing jobs with benefits and union protection have vanished and been supplanted by low-wage, low-security service-sector work.

The richest fifth of US households enjoys more than 50 per cent of the national income, while the poorest fifth gets by on an estimated 3.5 per cent.

The average after-tax income of the top 1 per cent is 63 times larger than the average for the bottom 20 per cent - both because the rich have grown richer and also because the poor have grown poorer; about 19 per cent poorer since the late 1970s.

The middle class, too, has been squeezed ever tighter.

Every income group except for the top 20 per cent has lost ground in the past 30 years, regardless of whether the economy has boomed or tanked.

These figures are rarely discussed in political forums in America in part because the economy has, in large part, ceased to be regarded as a political issue - John Edwards' "two Americas" theme in his presidential campaign being a rare exception - and because the right-wing think-tanks that have sprouted and thrived since the Reagan administration have done a good job of minimising the importance of the trends.

A small number of left-wing think-tanks, such as the Economic Policy Institute, meanwhile, argue that the census figures are almost certainly lower than the real picture because many people living in extreme poverty do not answer census questionnaires.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Caring For the Family & Paying the Bills

If you've ever had to take a personal day to take a family member to the doctor or had to take a leave of absence to care for a sick family member, you're probably a woman.

Two years ago I had to rush my elderly mother to the hospital in the middle of my workday. While waiting for my mother to be transferred from the emergency room to a hospital bed I called the office to update my manager. After advising my manager that my mother would be admitted, she asked me would I be returning to the office for the rest of the day. That was the day that I realized that the corporate glass ceiling was in place not specifically for women but for caregivers.


Excerpt from the article:
The Care Crisis
By Ruth RosenFebruary 26, 2007

Ruth Rosen is a historian and journalist who teaches public policy at UC Berkeley. She is a senior fellow at the
Longview Institute.

A baby is born. A child develops a high fever. A spouse breaks a leg. A parent suffers a stroke. These are the events that throw a working woman's delicate balance between work and family into chaos.

Although we read endless stories and reports about the problems faced by working women, we possess inadequate language for what most people view as a private rather than a political problem. "That's life," we tell each other, instead of trying to forge common solutions to these dilemmas.

That's exactly what housewives used to say when they felt unhappy and unfulfilled in the 1950s: "That's life." Although magazines often referred to housewives' unexplained depressions, it took Betty Friedan's 1963 bestseller to turn "the problem that has no name" into a household phrase, "the feminine mystique"—the belief that a woman should find identity and fulfillment exclusively through her family and home.

The great accomplishment of the modern women's movement was to name such private experiences—domestic violence, sexual harassment, economic discrimination, date rape—and turn them into public problems that could be debated, changed by new laws and policies or altered by social customs. That is how the personal became political.

Although we have shelves full of books that address work/family problems, we still have not named the burdens that affect most of America's working families.

Call it the care crisis.

For four decades, American women have entered the paid workforce—on men's terms, not their own—yet we have done precious little as a society to restructure the workplace or family life. The consequence of this "stalled revolution," a term coined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, is a profound "care deficit." A broken healthcare system, which has left 47 million Americans without health coverage, means this care crisis is often a matter of life and death. Today the care crisis has replaced the feminine mystique as women's "problem that has no name." It is the elephant in the room—at home, at work and in national politics—gigantic but ignored.

Three decades after Congress passed comprehensive childcare legislation in 1971—Nixon vetoed it—childcare has simply dropped off the national agenda. And in the intervening years, the political atmosphere has only grown more hostile to the idea of using federal funds to subsidize the lives of working families.

The result? People suffer their private crises alone, without realizing that the care crisis is a problem of national significance. Many young women agonize about how to combine work and family but view the question of how to raise children as a personal dilemma, to which they need to find an individual solution. Most cannot imagine turning it into a political debate. More than a few young women have told me that the lack of affordable childcare has made them reconsider plans to become parents. Annie Tummino, a young feminist active in New York, put it this way: "I feel terrified of the patchwork situation women are forced to rely upon. Many young women are deciding not to have children or waiting until they are well established in their careers."

Now that the Democrats are running both houses of Congress, we finally have an opportunity to expose the right's cynical appropriation of "family values" by creating real solutions to the care crisis and making them central to the Democratic agenda. The obstacles, of course, are formidable, given that government and businesses—as well as many men—have found it profitable and convenient for women to shoulder the burden of housework and caregiving.

It is as though Americans are trapped in a time warp, still convinced that women should and will care for children, the elderly, homes and communities. But of course they can't, now that most women have entered the workforce. In 1950 less than a fifth of mothers with children under age 6 worked in the labor force. By 2000 two-thirds of these mothers worked in the paid labor market.

Men in dual-income couples have increased their participation in household chores and childcare. But women still manage and organize much of family life, returning home after work to a "second shift" of housework and childcare—often compounded by a "third shift," caring for aging parents.

Conservatives typically blame the care crisis on the women's movement for creating the impossible ideal of "having it all." But it was women's magazines and popular writers, not feminists, who created the myth of the Superwoman. Feminists of the 1960s and '70s knew they couldn't do it alone. In fact, they insisted that men share the housework and child-rearing and that government and business subsidize childcare.

A few decades later, America's working women feel burdened and exhausted, desperate for sleep and leisure, but they have made few collective protests for government-funded childcare or family-friendly workplace policies. As American corporations compete for profits through layoffs and outsourcing, most workers hesitate to make waves for fear of losing their jobs.

Single mothers naturally suffer the most from the care crisis. But even families with two working parents face what Hochschild has called a "time bind." Americans' yearly work hours increased by more than three weeks between 1989 and 1996, leaving no time for a balanced life. Parents become overwhelmed and cranky, gulping antacids and sleeping pills, while children feel neglected and volunteerism in community life declines.

Meanwhile, the right wins the rhetorical battle by stressing "values" and "faith." In the name of the family they campaign to ban gay marriage and save unborn children. Yet they refuse to embrace public policies that could actually help working families regain stability and balance.

For the very wealthy, the care crisis is not so dire. They solve their care deficit by hiring full-time nannies or home-care attendants, often from developing countries, to care for their children or parents. The irony is that even as these immigrant women make it easier for well-off Americans to ease their own care burdens, their long hours of paid caregiving often force them to leave their own children with relatives in other countries. They also suffer from extremely low wages, job insecurity and employer exploitation.

Middle- and working-class families, with fewer resources, try to patch together care for their children and aging parents with relatives and baby sitters. The very poor sometimes gain access to federal or state programs for childcare or eldercare; but women who work in the low-wage service sector, without adequate sick leave, generally lose their jobs when children or parents require urgent attention. As of 2005, 21 million women lived below the poverty line—many of them mothers working in these vulnerable situations.

The care crisis starkly exposes how much of the feminist agenda of gender equality remains woefully unfinished. True, some businesses have taken steps to ease the care burden. Every year, Working Mother publishes a list of the 100 most "family friendly" companies. In 2000 the magazine reported that companies that had made "significant improvements in 'quality of life' benefits such as telecommuting, onsite childcare, career training and flextime" were "saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruitment in the long run."

Some universities, law firms and hospitals have also made career adjustments for working mothers, but women's career demands still tend to collide with their most intensive child-rearing years. Many women end up feeling they have failed rather than struggled against a setup designed for a male worker with few family responsibilities.

The fact is, market fundamentalism—the irrational belief that markets solve all problems—has succeeded in dismantling federal regulations and services but has failed to answer the question, Who will care for America's children and elderly?

Read the rest of the article at:

Whay You Can Do With $10

Pam's Coffee Conversation is participating in Nothing But Nets, a campaign to help fight malaria.

Millions of people die each year from malaria - but there's a simple, life-saving solution, and all it takes is $10 to buy a bed net, distribute it to a family, and explain its use.

Your donation will be matched in full by a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Please join me in raising funds for nets:

From our Team Page, click on the 'Join My Team' button to register and help us fundraise.

If you can't join us, you can also sponsor our team by making a donation online.

Thank you!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

New fight, old foe: Slavery

Some 27 million men, women, and children are in unpaid servitude, the UN says – 200,000 of them in the US.
Jane Lampman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Zach Hunter was only 12 years old when he became an abolitionist. During Black History Month three years ago, as he read about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, he thought he, too, would have fought against slavery if he'd lived back then. But to his astonishment, Zach found soon afterward that people are still held as slaves today.

"When I learned there were about 27 million slaves in the world, it blew me away," says the high school freshman from Atlanta. "I wondered what I could do."

He noticed loose change lying around the house, and a project was born. He formed Loose Change to Loosen Chains, and with the help of friends, collected some $10,000 to fight modern-day slavery.

This year, Zach is part of a much broader antislavery initiative, serving as student spokesman for "The Amazing Change." Next month marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the British slave trade, which was spurred by a young parliamentarian and reformer, William Wilberforce. A feature film on Wilberforce, "Amazing Grace," opens in US theaters nationwide on Feb. 23. The filmmakers are partnering with modern antislavery organizations to enlist students and others in a contemporary abolitionist movement. (See:

For his part, Zach has penned a book, "Be the Change," and travels across the country to speak to young people at music festivals, schools, and churches.

"I tell them they can channel their passion into something that makes a difference," he says. "Small groups of people have changed things all through history."

Slavery is illegal everywhere in the world, yet it persists. Zach finds inspiration in the courage of Wilberforce, who kept fighting under difficult circumstances. The reformer spent 20 years collecting evidence of the crimes of Britain's slave trade. He introduced bills that were repeatedly rejected by parliament before the trade was finally ended in 1807.

The Amazing Change campaign encourages people to sign a petition to end modern-day slavery, donate to the cause, and learn how they can take an active part in the movement. A percentage of funds donated will help four nonprofit groups (Free the Slaves, International Justice Mission, Rugmark, and Child Voice International) collect evidence, go to court to free people from current forms of slavery, and help former slaves establish a new life.

Last Sunday, churches in all 50 states and several countries participated in "Amazing Grace Sunday." Praying together for freedom, the congregations also joined in singing the well-known hymn written by John Newton, a former slave trader.

Newton wrote the beloved "Amazing Grace" around 1770 after a Christian conversion led him into the ministry; he was once Wilberforce's pastor.

While slavery takes different forms today, the impact remains devastating to lives around the globe, according to UN and US government statistics. An estimated 300,000 children have been forced to serve as child soldiers in more than 30 conflicts. Each year, human trafficking for sexual servitude or forced labor moves 800,000 people across international borders, including some 17,500 foreigners trafficked into the United States. Some 200,000 people are considered to live enslaved in the US.

The number of bonded slaves – men, women, and children who toil in agriculture or industries – has reached an estimated 20 million worldwide, says Free the Slaves.

While total figures for slaves vary (the International Labor Organization has used 12.3 million for forced labor and sexual servitude), the 27 million estimate Zach Hunter cites is widely supported.

Remarkably, many slaves are in the public eye, yet invisible. For example, Kim, a young teen from a family of Tibetan exiles, was surreptitiously sold by a relative to an American minister traveling in India. He brought her back to a rural town in Massachusetts in 1985, where she became his sex slave and household servant. The pastor told Kim her family would be thrown in jail if she told anyone, so while she attended school, she kept the secret for five years. Only when Kim learned her cousins were to share the same fate did she go to the police.

Kim's poignant story is told in "Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It," by David Batstone, one of three new books associated with the Amazing Change campaign.

A professor of ethics at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Batstone traveled to five continents last year to investigate the workings of modern slavery, including going undercover to gather evidence. He defines slavery as "forcing someone else's labor without compensation, and using violence to keep them in their position."

Batstone's interest in the subject was first ignited, he says in an interview, when his favorite Indian restaurant, where he and his wife ate regularly, figured in an exposé by the San Francisco Chronicle. The story revealed that the young waitresses at the restaurant had been brought from India against their will and were also forced to perform sexual favors. The restaurant owner had trafficked in hundreds of young girls and boys.

"In the US, 47 percent of trafficking is in the commercial sex business," Batstone adds. The women are brought mostly from China, Mexico, and southeast Asia.

On his journeys, Batstone found that the most prevalent form of slavery globally is in agriculture, involving labor in rice mills or on plantations, as well as rock quarries and brick kilns. In some cases, people borrow small amounts of money from a local landowner to buy food or pay for a wedding, and the lender begins adding egregious levels of interest, requiring work until it's paid off.

"In India, I met a family of four generations of women," Batstone says, "great-grandmother to daughter, who had spent their entire lives under obligation to a landowner for a loan the great-grandfather had taken out for the equivalent of $10. This is illegal, but hardly enforced."

While exploring this dark side of the global economy, Batstone found a silver lining: "a rising tide of modern-day abolitionists who are building an underground railroad for the 21st century." So inspired was he by the efforts of many small, understaffed, and underfunded groups working to free people, that the focus of his book shifted to profiling these new abolitionists.

He decided to mount his own international advocacy and fundraising project, too: the "Not for Sale Campaign" ( The campaign enlists athletes, musicians, and others in "making whatever you love best an abolitionist activity."

Figure-skating star Brian Boitano, for instance, "has pledged to give $10 every time he does a triple loop," Batstone says. A "Concert to End Slavery" with top-notch artists has just been filmed in a Los Angeles recording studio, and a documentary related to the book will be ready for TV in March.

But more is needed than raising awareness and funds, Batstone says. "People who should be acting to stop slavery say they don't know where it is." So his students at the University of San Francisco have taken on the job: mapping slavery in the area – where it occurs in agriculture, the restaurant business, domestic servitude, etc. They are also creating a model for how to map slavery so that students and others could do the same in other cities.

"We'll take that report each year to the mayor's office, the chief of police, and the media, saying 'Here's where slavery can be found in our city,' " he says. "My students are unbelievably charged up."

Zach Hunter, too, is enthused about what young people can accomplish. "My vision is that my generation would be written about in the history books as a generation that really cared about others and brought about change," he says.

Copyright © 2007, The Christian Science Monitor
Re-published in entirety under a license agreement withThe Christian Science Monitor ("The Christian Science Monitor").

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Watching People in Crisis -- A Spectator Sport

In case you haven't seen it, here are the only twelve minutes of television discussing the Brittany Spears and Anna Nicole Smith situations that are worth repeating

Late night televison comedian Craig Ferguson speaks seriously about his past problems as an alcoholic and why he will not ridicule Britney Spears and her shaved head crisis.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What A Message To Send

cartoon courtesy of

Another One of Those Emails!

As I mentioned in a previous post,  that going forward I can no longer ignore emails that perpetuate falsehoods just to win a political argument.   I recently received an email entitled

"What is a billion .. TAXES TAXES"  and sadly it's another one of those emails that uses mythology and faulty logic to make a point.  


The email's fundamental argument that our government is wasteful is without question.  And an argument that Louisiana state government has long been corrupt and wasteful can be substantiated.  However, the implication that the vast majority of Hurricane Katrina victims will profit from tragedy is tantamount to Ann Coulter's comments about 9/11 widows.  This email, as it is currently circulating is misleading, biased and quite frankly tinged with prejudice.   So let's take a close look at this message.  Comments from the original email are in black.   My comments are in blue.


--- beginning of email message ---


Subject: What is a BILLION???


According to the first section of this email began circulating in 2003 and the references  to New Orleans added later


The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" in a casual manner, think about whether you want the "politicians" spending your tax money.

 A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases:

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no one walked on the earth on two feet.

E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

If the email stopped here it would make a powerful point and give anyone pause to reflect but it continues. Here's what was added post Hurricane Katrina

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans. It's amazing what you can learn with some simple


Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number - what does it mean?

U.S. Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and David Vitter, R-La., introduced the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act, as a comprehensive piece of legislation to provide long-term relief and much-needed assistance to the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. The funds were not just requested for New Orleans but all

of the Louisiana Gulf Coast affected by Katrina.


Note:  The email does not mention the Republican David Ritter and falsely implies that all of the funds would be spent in the pedominantly African American city of New Orleans.


A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.

 B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1, 329,787.

 C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012. 

 Ok let's think about this.  No one is going to give a check for $516,528 to an indvidual.  That's is ludicrous. 

If your entire neighborhood is destroyed a lot more needs to be repaired than just your residence.  The depris needs to be removed.  Power lines, gas lines and water mains need to be restored.  Streets need to be rebuilt not just repaved.  Schools, hospitals, police stations and fire houses need to be rebuilt.  The levees need to be rebuilt, not just restored to their previous levels which were woefully inadequate. Small businesses need to be restored. And yes, individuals that lost everthing need food, shelter and clothing.

Quite honestly, I don't know if $250 billion is too much or too little.  Do you?


Washington, D.C. HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??

This is too true to be very funny

This is not all true and that is not funny


--- end of email message ---



Excerpt from


Aired January 11, 2007 - 23:00   ET



CNN's Susan Roesgen discovered that a lot of people, though, are still in limbo.




ALAN RUBIN, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: I came back two weeks after the flood and then I -- I evacuated and I was still gone for three months.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you're about to see inside this home is just what Alan Rubin saw a year-and-a-half ago -- the unbelievable damage from water that rose all the way to the rafters. Nothing has been done to this house because the family is still waiting for help promised by what's called The Road Home program.


The program has $7.5 billion in federal money to fix up houses like this, or help homeowners start over. But how much did the programs say it would take the Rubins to fix up their home? Just $550.


RUBIN: First, I was astounded by the absurdity of the number. And then, the more I thought about it the angrier I got.


ROESGEN: And in Louisiana, a lot of people are angry. Nearly 100,000 homeowners have applied to The Road Home program, and fewer than 200 have actually received any money. That's less than 1 percent.


One reason is The Road Home program didn't really get started until six months ago because it took the federal government nearly a year to agree to fork over the money. And Road Home managers say fixing housing is a huge job.


FRED TOMBAR, ROAD HOME PROGRAM: This is a program of unprecedented scope and scale. Those billions of dollars that came, they came with strings attached. There are federal and state requirements that govern that money, and therefore, we need to make sure that we meet each of those federal and state requirements.


ROESGEN: And the program is fixing some early mistakes. After the first damage assessment of just $550, the program is now offering $150,000 to repair the Rubin home.


Program managers say it was just a goof. But other families have also complained about what they have been offered. And others are still waiting for any response at all.


ANTOINETTE PAGE, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: You walk further up, that was my living room.


ROESGEN: Antoinette Page's home was so damaged, the city tore it down. But she still has to pay mortgage on it, plus rent to live some place else.


PAGE: This hurts.


ROESGEN: After waiting five months for help from The Road Home program, she's just about given up hope.


PAGE: I'm not saying The Road Home won't help me, but so far they haven't. My husband and I -- we've just been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to each other, working hard, long hours and helping ourselves.


ROESGEN: The question for Antoinette and thousands of others is, will Louisiana's Road Home program get people back into a home, or will it remain a road to nowhere?




COOPER: You know, looking at those pictures, you got to remind yourself, we are 500 days out from the storm. How is it possible that it takes so long for the federal government to dole out the money?


ROESGEN (on camera): Well, you know, when the federal government finally approved it, this plan was supposed to get money to people fairly quickly. But as the company says, that got the contract to dole out the money, hey, it's a complex process. It takes a long time.


And yet I've got to tell you, Anderson, that not only are homeowners angry in this state, the state legislature and the governor are both demanding that this company pick up the pace.


COOPER: Well, increasingly too, you got the state pointing fingers at local governments, local governments pointing fingers at the state. How long, though, can people wait? I mean, that woman, Antoinette, you know...


ROESGEN: Yes. Paying both mortgage on a house that no longer exists and rent. Anderson, a lot of people are in that situation. And I think with only about half of New Orleans population back, you have to wonder 17 months after the hurricane, how many people can afford to come back? How many people will simply give up? And that Road Home Program won't get anybody home.


COOPER: And of course, now the surging crime rate is not helping matters. A lot of people are having second thoughts about -- those who have come home, having second thoughts about being here.


Susan, thanks very much. We're going to talk about that.


We're tracking other costs here in New Orleans, as well. It seems everything is more expensive after Katrina -- $300 a month for electricity, accusations of price gouging. We'll run the numbers.


Plus, the city's new flood troubles -- 35,000 water leaks, 50 million gallons of water wasted a day.


Also, busted by Katrina -- natural gas lines, leaving residents in the cold.






RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To really understand what Mrs. Noriea's problem is, you have to get way down here and look underneath her house. It's a small crawl space.




COOPER: New Orleans underground and under fire. Why is it taking so long to fix all of this? We're keeping them honest, when 360 continues.




COOPER: Welcome back. Coming to you from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.


You know, one of the biggest challenges facing this city is the breakdown of infrastructure. Residents are still coping with not being able to get the basic services much of us take for granted. We're talking about heat, hot water, things like that.


CNN's Rick Sanchez joins me now for more -- Rick.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, think about the water pressure. We take for granted that when we're going to turn on the faucet, the water's going to be coming out really fast. There's a problem with that here. And the reason for it is that they're losing every single day about 50 million gallons of water a day.


COOPER: A day?


SANCHEZ: A day. Fifty million gallons of water. This is water that they're paying for to either drink or bathe in. Instead, it's going out in different places.


And then there's another problem. The problem they are having has to do with natural gas. The natural gas that people, again, take for granted that they get to heat their home in the middle of the night.


What happens is in the city -- and I made this tool. I went to a hardware store just to be able to illustrate it. This is just a pipe, essentially, but it's got this bend in it. And what happens, Anderson, is the water after the flooding here because of Katrina, was forced into all these pipes. Well, they drained most of it, but there's still little remnants of it stuck in low places like this bend. It blocks the natural gas from getting through. When it blocks it, then people can't heat their homes, can't work their stoves. You know, it's a major problem.


Take a look.




SANCHEZ (voice-over): Here's one of 35,000 water leaks in and around New Orleans -- 35,000. This is a big one, a main break.


Still, listen to a frustrated resident explain why it's taken six weeks to get it fixed.


SANDRA MANN, HOMEOWNER: As it's explained to me, is another call comes up that's more of an urgent manner than this and they just take off.


SANCHEZ: Trying to find and plug up the leaks that are wasting $50 million gallons of water a day is a relentless undertaking.


(On camera): You must be like really busy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're really busy.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Here's how it happened. The toppled trees and homes lifted from foundations by Katrina shattered pipes. Then there's the saltwater that poured into the city. Salt is corrosive. Now consider the shortage of both workers and equipment to fix them.


MARCIA ST. MARTIN, EXEC. DIR., SEWAGE & WATER BOARD: Prior to the hurricane, we had a team of about 1,200 employees. Today, our team is about 825. Prior to the hurricane, we had a fleet in excess of 700 vehicles. Our entire fleet was lost.


SANCHEZ: Ham strung as they are, water and sewer officials have managed to plug 35,000 leaks. The problem is they still have another 35,000 to go.


You're putting in long days.


ST. MARTIN: We're putting in long days.


SANCHEZ: How long?


ST. MARTIN: In my case, I'm probably working six days a week, between 12 and 14 hours a day.


SANCHEZ: The other problem, natural gas used to fuel 65,000 homes. When gas pipes broke and were exposed to flooding, four million gallons of water poured into them. Most was pumped out, but some remains trapped in lines all over the city. And all it takes is a teaspoon to block the gas.


Just ask 90-year-old Thais Noriea. She's one of about 1,300 returning residents who are repeatedly running out of both fuel and patience. She's lived here 68 years, gets around in a walker. But when her gas goes out, she's left with no hot water, no way to cook, and worst of all...




SANCHEZ (on camera): And no heat?


NORIEA: It wouldn't be so bad this summer because you don't need the heat.




NORIEA: But worth of all no heat. It wouldn't be bad in the summer because you don't need the heat but in the winter you really need it.


SANCHEZ: To really understand what Ms. Noriea's problem is, you have to get way down here and look underneath her house. It's a small crawl space. But you can see right there where her gas line is. And it's a pipe, essentially, but it's got quite a sag in it, like a bend. At the bottom where it bends, that's where the water accumulates. And that water prevents the gas from being able to go into her house. It's a major problem.


CHRIS BALDWIN, BIG EASY SERVICES, LLC: We'll blow the line clear, and then hook it back together until it happens again.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): And plumbers we talked to say, because there's still plenty of water in the gas lines, it will happen again.




SANCHEZ (on camera): Happen again.


COOPER: And it will happen again and again. I mean, 35,000 leaks that are still taking place. How long is this going to take?


SANCHEZ: Yes, think about it. They've gotten to 35,000 and they got another 35,000 more to go. They wouldn't give us a specific date when we talked to folks over at the water board. Although, they say, in their defense, that they really are short workers at this point. They are trying to do what they can with money that they are getting from the feds. And they just don't have the equipment.


Remember, every piece of equipment that they had here is either rusted out or destroyed. So they've had to lease equipment to bring it in.


That project that you saw during that report that we did, it was a backhoe that they had on lease.


COOPER: And it certainly seems like they are working hard enough. It's not a question of that, it's just a lot of work to do.


SANCHEZ: They can't go from one call to the next and get it all done.


COOPER: Rick, thanks very much. Appreciate it.


Still ahead on 360, we'll talk to a man who spent his life right here in the Lower Ninth Ward. And now at 83 years old, is determined to rebuild, and in fact is here rebuilding, on his own.


Plus, skyrocketing rents, out-of-control utility bills. Not in New York City, we're talking about here in New Orleans. Why does it cost so much to live somewhere that right now seems to have so little.


Some answers and the demonstration. People angry here about violent crime. The reaction from city officials, when this special edition of 360 continues.




COOPER: And welcome back. Images here from the Lower Ninth Ward. It looks an awful like -- like it did, well, 500 days ago when Katrina first struck.


We are in New Orleans tonight. Before Katrina, some 400,000 people lived in this great city. That number has basically been cut in half.


As we told you earlier, a lot of the residents are still waiting for financial assistance from the government at pretty much every level, local, state, federal. And as they wait, they're being squeezed out of really every nickel and dime they have. It is the cost of living in New Orleans. And for many, it is staggering.


CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.




GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Real Estate Agent Eunice Ben is taking house shopping in the New Orleans East neighborhood.


EUNICE BEN, REALTOR: This is the den/living room.


TUCHMAN: Before Hurricane Katrina, this home, which is now owned by her agency, rented for about $450 a month. Now though...


BEN: The absolute least that I will rent this for is $650.


TUCHMAN: A lack of livable housing and higher repair costs have driven up rental prices since Katrina by about 40 percent. Eunice says she could get at least an additional $250 for this unit, but wants to give returning New Orleanians a break.


TUCHMAN (on camera): What are you hearing from people, though, when they hear about the prices of the rentals to come back?


BEN: They are ready to rethink their desire to come home.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): A dramatically increased cost of living is not helping the recovery here.


Rinada Boyd's (ph) rent was $400 before Katrina. After her flooded apartment was cleaned up, she was told the rent would be $650. But Rinada (ph) pleaded that she couldn't pay that much. So her landlord's letting her pay $500.


RINADA BOYD (ph), NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: All I got to do is live day by day to try, you know, my best to try to make it through for me and my kids.


TUCHMAN: But not all landlords are doing favors. And the price hikes go beyond housing.


Jacki Adams (ph) lives with her dog in a very dark block because only three families on the street have come back since Katrina. She's wary about leaving her lights on too long because of energy price increases that have been passed on by the local utility company, which says it's just covering its costs, including repairs after Katrina.


JACKI ADAMS (ph), NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: Just to live here just costs so much more.


TUCHMAN: Her average $300 bill for electricity and gas has increased by a few percentage points. But she's contesting her most recent monthly bill which shows she used so much power that she owes $925.


(On camera): Do you have a nuclear device in here?


ADAMS: No. No. Someone asked me if I was actually supplying energy to the rest of the block.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there's food.




TUCHMAN: At King's Meat Market and Grocery, the effort is being made not to raise prices. The gumbo special is $19.99, the same price before Katrina. But many other items are considerably pricier because of higher costs.


Those pickled pork tips were 99 cents a pound before Katrina.


And how much is it now?




TUCHMAN: The city is imploring business people not to price gouge, which is happening in some cases. And it's hoping public private partnerships will lead to an increase in the number of available homes.


OLIVER THOMAS, PRESIDENT, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL: As difficult as the hurricane was, recovery seems to be definitely category six or category seven.


TUCHMAN: New Orleans is getting increasingly unaffordable for many. So 500 days after Katrina, the feeling here...


ADAMS: This is not the way I imagined my life being.


TUCHMAN: ... is frustration.




COOPER: And Gary joins us now.


How extensive is this price gouging?


TUCHMAN (on camera): It's a big problem. I mean, it amazes me, after all the disasters we cover, that we still see people with no consciences.


Went into a convenient store today and I saw a half gallon of milk for $4.90. But the fact is...


COOPER: $4.90?


TUCHMAN: $4.90. I mean, that's more than double what most people pay for milk. But that isn't the main reason people are paying more money. The main reason is business people are passing on their costs.


COOPER: Right. And the costs are high all around.


Gary, appreciate the report. Thanks very much.


As we were telling you, there was a big demonstration here in the city of New Orleans. Thousands of people, residents, taking to the streets, African American residents, white residents, demanding enough is enough.


The crime here, nine people have been killed in the last 10 days. One of the men at the rally today, Council President Oliver Thomas, you saw him in Gary's piece. He joins us now.


Good to see you again, the council president.


THOMAS: Good to see you, Anderson.


COOPER: The message today -- there was a lot of anger out on the streets today. A lot of it was directed against officials, like the mayor, the chief of police, people saying enough is enough. Do you think that message got heard?


THOMAS: Well, I can say yes. As of yesterday, this is the greatest priority we have is to make our citizens safe. You know, right now we can't rebuild this community if people don't feel safe enough to bring their families back, their businesses back, you know, rebuild their homes. It has to be our number one priority. If we can't be safe, we can't be anything.


COOPER: Critics will say, you know, why hasn't it been a number one priority six months ago? Back in June, I guess it was the mayor who said, literally, enough is enough. He called in the National Guard. Then on Tuesday, he held another press conference. He said again, enough is enough.


A lot of people here feel like they are hearing those words, but they're not seeing action. What can be done?


THOMAS: Well, it's really the same old story in New Orleans. We went through this in the middle '80s and the middle '90s. e need to talk about how we sustain it, how we...


COOPER: So it's not just Katrina related?


THOMAS: No, it's really not Katrina related. New Orleans has been too violent for too long. Too many criminals going in and out of jail for too long. We need to figure out how we sustain this. It's about time that we make our schools better, our criminal justice system work, and our streets safe.


And you know, we talked about Katrina being a cleansing. Let it cleanse all of those social ills that were wrong about this city. It's time to make it right.


COOPER: And why do you think it -- why has there been this uptick? Is it the wrong people coming back? Is it people coming back and not having their folks around, or not having their -- I mean, their communities around?


THOMAS: One of the problems are the resources. And I've said this and you've said this. We really don't have any problem in this region that money can't fix. But of all the billions of dollars that have been appropriated, very few have gotten into the hands of men and women and families who really want to rebuild this community, who really want to make it better.


At some point, at some point, the money will get into the hands of the people who are trying to rebuild this city and make it a better place. And that's not happening right now.


Criminals, people who want to do the wrong thing, they find their ways back into your community. And, unfortunately, a lot of people can maintain a lifestyle here because of the criminal justice system, because of the easy way of life that they couldn't do other places.


COOPER: Well, you know, I don't think a lot of people get that if you get arrested in New Orleans, there's only a 7 percent conviction rate.


THOMAS: On violent crime.




COOPER: I found 7 percent of the people arrested actually end up in prison. That's staggering. I think nationwide, it's at least over 50 percent.


THOMAS: It has been a history that has been wrong about Louisiana...




COOPER: Is it judges who are too lenient? Is it prosecutors who aren't aggressive enough?


THOMAS: Well, we need to take a look at the state laws. We need to take a look at the speedy trials of violent offenders. If you use a weapon, the laws ought to be stricter, stronger enforcement. We need to take a look at all of it because it seems like the guns and the drugs right now are having a greater effect on this community than Katrina did.


When groups like the neighborhoods (UNINTELLIGIBLE) apartment association, which is open in this area, now are fighting to say, look, you can come back to areas like the Lower Ninth Ward. When their residents hear about crimes, they say, well, why should I? That shouldn't be the case right now. There's too much money in this state not to be able to deal with crime, rebuilding, price gouging, affordable housing. Those shouldn't be our issues right now.


COOPER: Six months from now, do you think we'll be able to stand in front of a house like this here in the Lower Ninth Ward -- or do you feel progress is around the corner?


THOMAS: Well, I'm going to say this. Given what we've been through, if six months from now we don't see some progress in this community, everyone who has anything to do with it ought not be around. They really shouldn't.


COOPER: Does that include yourself?


THOMAS: That includes myself, because we owe the people in this community much more than they are getting. You know, and I'm a citizen. I just moved three of my family members back, my sister-in- law, my late brother's wife moved back into her house, my mother and father. My father is so happy. He's in a king-sized bed in his house. My brother and sister -- I'm almost back in my house.


We owe it to them and other families to make sure they are safe, that their streets are clean and that their tax dollars mean something.


Right now they don't feel like their blood, sweat or their tax dollars mean anything.


COOPER: Council President Thomas, appreciate your voice as well. Thank you very much, as always.


THOMAS: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Good to talk to you.


So many homes still left in ruins. Tonight, you're going to hear a remarkable man, 83 years old, he's lived here since the 1950s. He is what made the Lower Ninth Ward, the Lower Ninth Ward for so many here. A craftsman by trade. He is rebuilding his own house at his age.


Plus, community outrage hits the boiling point. Take a look.


Enough is enough. New Orleans residents fed up and demanding answers. Why are parts of the city still in ruins? Why have there been so many murders?


Read the rest of the transcript at:



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Thoughts on Love from Mother Theresa

" The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done"

" It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving."

" There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them. "

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. "

"If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."

"Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given."

for more quotes by Mother Theresa