Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘depression

"Sold Out": The lobbying money trail that led to deregulation and the depression

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Another good discussion, again available as  video or audio stream, downloadable MP3 file, or transcript. In addition, you can download a copy of the article "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America" (PDF). The transcript of the discussion begins:

AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration is making a concerted effort to boost confidence in the US economy amidst waves of continued layoff announcements, negative economic data, downward-spiraling markets. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped below 7,000 for the first time in eleven years. The market has now lost almost a quarter of its value this year and more than half since its high in October 2007.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after meeting with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, President Obama said he was sure the US economy would rally back.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I’m absolutely confident that credit is going to be flowing again, that businesses are going to start seeing opportunities for investment. They’re going to start hiring again. People are going to be put back to work. What I’m looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing.

AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration officials appeared before Congress Tuesday seeking to reassure lawmakers about the economy. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, testified before separate House committees that the President’s massive spending bill would benefit working Americans. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke testified before the Senate Budget Committee about the potential impacts of stimulus.

While the Obama administration is looking to turn around the economy with its stimulus plan and budget proposal, what about the issue of financial regulation, what some people point to as the fundamental cause of the crisis? A new report points to twelve deregulatory steps that led to the financial meltdown. It also does an analysis of the amount of money Wall Street poured into Washington in campaign contributions and lobbying over the last decade. Their answer? A staggering $5.1 billion over the past decade.

Rob Weissman is the author of the report. It’s called “Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America" (PDF). He is director of Essential Action, editor of the Multinational Monitor, joining us from Washington, D.C.

Good morning, Rob Weissman. Talk about what you think were the steps that brought us here.

ROBERT WEISSMAN: Well, we saw over the last decade and really the last three decades, with both parties in power in Congress and the executive branch, this long series of deregulatory moves. And as you go step-by-step through them, you see that those are the things that really paved the way for the current financial collapse.

Perhaps the signature move was the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had prevented co-ownership of commercial banks and securities firms, investment banks. That was precipitated by and directly authorized the creation of Citigroup, which is now sucking so much public taxpayer money and has really been at the cutting edge of driving the financial crisis we’re now in.

You can go forward another year and see that Congress, with the Clinton administration authorization, prohibited the executive branch agencies from regulating financial derivatives, the instruments that no one can really understand or get a handle on but which have multiplied the problem from the housing crash many-fold over. So we now have $600 trillion in financial derivatives being traded around the world, with no one having a handle on what they are, who owes whom, and all of this requiring us to pour tens of billions of more dollars more every day, it seems, into AIG.

You can step forward and look at the failure to enforce rules against predatory lending, beginning with the Clinton administration, but really accelerating in a really terrifying way with the Bush administration, so that there were about three actions taken by federal regulators in the peak period of predatory lending—three—against some of the commercial lenders and mortgage brokers who were undertaking some of the most abusive predatory lending activities. And on and on it goes.

And there was, of course, over the last three decades a real surge in deregulatory ideology. And perhaps the people who were putting this stuff forward believed in it. But it also makes sense to think that, maybe a little bit, they were influenced by the staggering amounts of money that the financial sector was pouring into Washington, as you said, more than $5 billion in campaign contributions and lobbying money. And, you know, they got a good return on investment, and it was good for them while it lasted. It’s turned out to be quite a disaster for them but, more importantly, for the rest of the country and the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Rob Weissman, I want to keep going through these steps and then talk about the money that Wall Street’s poured into Washington. The SEC’s voluntary regulation regime for investment banks? …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 March 2009 at 10:56 am

On-line therapy for depression

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Very interesting note in post on Mind Hacks:

One of the things I plug on the programme is an online cognitive behaviour therapy for depression website called MoodGYM.

It’s one of the great success stories of online therapy. It’s been extensively researched, found to be effective and is free and advert free. Highly recommended.

Link to All in the Mind with audio and transcript.

Full disclosure: I suffered from clinical depression, now totally in remission thanks to Effexor. But the first step is try therapy alone. It won’t work for everyone, but if it does, it will save money compared to medicine.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2007 at 9:49 am

Omega-3 and mental health

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The finding below is representative of many studies involving fish oil (and thus omega-3 fatty acids) and mental health. I take 4 grams of fish oil daily (wild salmon oil, to be precise): 2 grams with breakfast and 2 grams with dinner.  See also this post; at the end is a link to a PDF of a very interesting article on omega-3. You can also search the blog for “omega-3” and find lots of articles.

 In a prospective cohort study involving 7,903 participants, results indicate that moderate intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and fish consumption may lower the risk of mental disorder (depression, anxiety, or stress). Omega-3 PUFA and fish consumption were assessed using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. After 2 years of follow-up, 173 cases of depression, 335 cases of anxiety and 4 cases of stress were identified. Using logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quintiles of omega-3 PUFA intake were associated with 28%, 21%, and 35% reduced risks for mental disorder. Similarly, moderate consumption of fish (3rd (median = 83.3 g/day) and 4th quintiles (median = 112 g/day)) was associated with more than a 30% reduced risk for mental disorder. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “A potential benefit of omega-3 PUFA intake on total mental disorders is suggested, although no linear trend was apparent.”

“Long chain omega-3 fatty acids intake, fish consumption and mental disorders in the SUN cohort study,” Sanchez-Villegas A, Henriquez P, et al, Eur J Nutr, 2007; 46(6): 337-46. (Address: Dept. of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, P.O. Box 550, 35080, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. E-mail: asanchez@dcc.ulpgc.es ).

Written by Leisureguy

24 September 2007 at 7:52 am

New herb produces results

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From Science News:

Zakir Ramazanov first encountered Rhodiola rosea in 1979 as a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan. A comrade often received boxes full of the yellow-flowered mountain herb from his home in Siberia and would prepare and share a sweet-smelling tea from the root. Ramazanov found that the drink seemed to quicken his hiking and speed his recovery after a taxing mission.

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HILLSIDE HABITAT. Rhodiola rosea (yellow flowers at left) grows in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The plant thrives in cold climates at high altitudes.
Brown

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2007 at 8:49 am

Omega-3, a true superfood

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I’ve blogged about superfoods before (here, here, and here). The latest issue of New Scientist, has an excellent article on diet, “The Good, the Fad, and the Unhealthy,” with several informative sidebars. This one, on omega-3, is worth pondering:

All kinds of foods, from Brussels sprouts to peanut butter and potatoes, have been touted as brain food. Sadly, these are little more than old wives’ tales, but there is one well-known brain food that has solid evidence on its side: fish.

No nutrient has garnered as much supporting evidence for promoting mental health as long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, in particular eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are plentiful in oily fish such as tuna and salmon. And the potential benefits are huge: globally, more working days are lost to depression than any other illness. In the UK, 1 in 10 people are depressed at any given time, and for 1 in 20 it is a lifelong problem (New Scientist, 24 August 2002, p 34).

Back in 1998, Joseph Hibbeln, a psychiatrist and lipid biochemist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in Bethesda, Maryland, noticed that depression was up to 60 times rarer in countries such as Taiwan and Japan, where people eat a lot of oily fish, compared with the US and Germany where they don’t. In particular, he noticed that in countries that consume a lot of fish, rates of bipolar disorder, post-natal depression and seasonal affective disorder were lower. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

24 September 2006 at 12:27 pm

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