Posts tagged with "CBS News"

Chick-fil-A denies that its charitable donations support an anti-LGBTQ agenda

March 25, 2019

Seven years after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy first publicly voiced support for “the biblical definition of the family unit”—and national gay rights groups vowed to boycott the fast food chain—the Georgia-based private company is again on the defensive against claims that it has a discriminatory agenda.

This time, according to a March 20 report by CBS News, critics are saying that Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay-rights position is being reflected in its charitable donations.

The company’s conservative Christian leanings are back in glaring view—with newly released tax filings first publicized by ThinkProgress. The left-leaning news site found that, in 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $1.8 million to three tax-exempt groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

The donations include payments of $1.6 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a ministry that spreads an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes; $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has opposed LGBTQ rights; and $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential facility for troubled youth that teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

Chick-fil-A also listed the donations on its website, which noted that the company’s foundation as of June 2017 “no longer supports” the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

Chick-fil-A, which has previously denied that it discriminates against any group, reiterated that stand. “To suggest our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading,” the company stated in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.  

The private company’s conservative Christian leanings also drew attention last year when then-EPA head Scott Pruitt explained why he had looked into having his wife own a Chick-fil-A franchise. “I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith,” Pruitt told a reporter.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Walmart caves to pressure on jobs for disabled ‘people greeters’

March 4, 2019

Following more than a week of backlash from consumers and disability rights advocates, Walmart has pledged to make “every effort” to find other roles for handicapped workers slated to lose their jobs when the retailer eliminates the “people greeter” position at 1,000 stores in April, CBS News reports.

In late February, the discount stores began replacing greeters at its locations nationwide with what the company calls “customer hosts,” a Walmart spokesperson told the network news outlet. The newly created position requires employees to check receipts, help with product returns, and generally help with upkeep at the front of stores.

The disabled and the elderly—who number among other current employees in greeter positions—would struggle with the physical demands of the such job requirements, critics say.

Indeed, outraged customers and others in Walmart communities started online petitions, formed Facebook support groups; and called and emailed Walmart corporate to register their displeasure.

“This is a shameful day for the country’s largest corporate employer, and a slap in the face to thousands of veteran employees and others with physical disabilities who have given years of service to the corporation,” Kristi Branstetter, leader for OUR Walmart, Walmart associate. and member of worker advocacy group United4Respect, said in a statement.

OUR Walmart already has activated a network of 150,000 Walmart associates, according to a spokesperson for the group.

Walmart’s actions—fueled by an uncompromising quest to slash costs, no matter the consequence — seem to be discriminatory, plain and simple. We see you, Walmart, and we’re not having it,” Branstetter continued.

After the greeter positions disappear at designated stores in April, Walmart originally said that employees would have 60 days to explore other jobs at the company. Now, Walmart has assured employees with disabilities that they can consider their options “indefinitely.”

“This allows these associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved,” Walmart said in a statement.

Among those who are scheduled lose their greeter jobs is Adam Catlin, whose plight caught national attention in February after his mother, Holly, posted on social media that he would be let go by the Silinsgrove, Pennsylvania, store come April. However,Catlin  was offered a new job March 1 by Walmart that he will be able to start once the change takes place, according to his mom’s latest Facebook posts.

When the greeter jobs are eliminated April 26, Catlin will be able to start a new job as a self-checkout customer host the following day. Catlin will be moving his seat 30 feet from his place at the door to the self-checkout line where he will encourage shoppers to use the service.

“We’re just very, very happy that they took another look at this and worked with us,” Holly Catlin said.

The 30-year-old Catlin has cerebral palsy and has worked at his Walmart store in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania for more than a decade, CBS News said. Catlin, who is legally blind and uses a walker, was previously offered jobs last week as a cashier or a photo lab assistant, neither of which he would have been able to do as he is legally blind, lacks the finger dexterity to count money, and can’t move around the photo lab in his walker.

Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores, said in a memo to store managers on February 28, “We are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities.” Walmart then released the memo publicly.

Acknowledging the change had “created some conversation,” Foran wrote: “Let me be clear: If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Both diet soda and sweetened fruit juice may increase stroke risk

February 19, 2019

Scientists are warning us that things don’t really go better with Diet Coke—or with your morning orange juice, for that matter.

New research finds that consuming diet sodas and artificially sweetened fruit juices may increase your risk for strokeespecially if you are a mature woman, CBS News reported on February 17.

In a study that tracked nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women, those who drank two or more diet drinks per day saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23%, compared with those who consumed diet drinks less than once a week.

Blocked arteries are often the main culprit, the network news outlet notes, with heavy diet drink consumption linked to a 31% greater risk for an ischemic stroke, which is triggered by a clot, the study findings showed.

Study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani—a nutrition scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City—acknowledged in an interview with CBS News that an “association does not imply causation.” But she stressed that the findings held up even after taking into account the nutritional value of each participant’s overall diet.

So, “we can’t assume these diet drinks are harmless, particularly when consumed at high levels,” Mossavar-Rahmani said.

“The take-home message is that these findings give us pause,” she added. “We need to do more research on why we are seeing these associations. What are the scientific mechanisms? Is there something about the artificial sweeteners, for example, that affects the bacteria in the gut and lead to health issues?”

Indeed, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently underscored the lack of sufficient research into the cardiovascular impact of diet sodas, CBS News points out. Until more work is done, the AHA says the jury remains out on whether artificially sweetened beverages do or do not hasten heart disease.

Women in the latest study were between 50 and 79 when they first enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative trial between 1993 and 1998.

Investigators tracked the general health of all the participants for an average of nearly 12 years. During that time—at the three-year mark—all the women were asked to indicate how frequently they consumed diet sodas and diet fruit drinks over a three-month period.

The researchers did not take note of which brands of artificially sweetened drinks the women drank, and so did not know which artificial sweeteners were being consumed, CBS News reports.

That said, nearly two-thirds of the women consumed diet sodas or drinks very infrequently, meaning less than once a week or never. Only about 5% were found to be “heavy” consumers of artificially sweetened drinks.

After taking into consideration a variety of stroke risk factors — including blood pressure status, smoking history and age — the study team concluded that heavy consumption of diet drinks did appear to be tied to cardiovascular risks in a number of ways.

For example, those women who drank two or more diet beverages a day saw their overall risk for developing heart disease increase by 29%. They also were 16% more likely to die prematurely from any cause.

Certain groups fared even worse: Among obese women and black women with no history of heart disease or diabetes, a diet drink habit pushed clot-driven stroke risk up by roughly twofold and fourfold, respectively, the researchers reported.

Whether or not the findings would apply to either men or younger women remains unclear, the study authors noted.

The findings were published online February 14 in the journal, Stroke.

A group representing the artificial sweetener industry offered the following response, CBS News noted:  “The contribution of reverse causality, meaning that individuals already at a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular events chose low-calorie sweetened beverages, is very likely the cause of the associations presented by these researchers.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Cash on delivery: The selling of our mailboxes

December 13, 2018

The government is looking to “sell” Americans’ last bastion of privacy—our mailboxes—posthaste.

Specifically, in seeking ways to boost revenue for the U.S. Postal Service‘s money-losing operations–the Trump Administration is suggesting selling access to mailboxes, according to a December 11 report by CBS News.

“The legal mailbox monopoly remains highly valuable,” said a government report issued last week. “As a means of generating more income, the mailbox monopoly could be monetized.

While the report didn’t detail how much the USPS could earn from franchising mailboxes, it suggests that the USPS could charge third-party delivery services such as UPS or FedEx to gain access to consumer mailboxes, the network news outlet said. It’s currently illegal for other delivery services to drop packages or letters in a mailbox–a restriction that even applies to neighbors stuffing flyers for a local event.

The recommendation—a product of a task force created by President Donald Trump and chaired by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin—is just one of the ideas that the group made to tweak the USPS business model. According to the report, as of the end of FY 2018, the USPS balance sheet “reflects $89 billion in liabilities against $27 billion in assets—a net deficiency of $69 billion between FY 2007 and FY 2018.”

Other proposals from the group included cutting costs and boosting prices for “nonessential services,” including delivery of commercial mail, such as advertising flyers, CBS News reported.

“As [mail service providers] and package delivery companies continue to expand offerings to multiple parts of the value chain, it is reasonable to expect a willingness to pay for access to USPS mailboxes,” the report noted. “By franchising the mailbox, the USPS could expand its revenue and income opportunities without necessitating any change to its current mail products.”

But the economics might not be as rosy as the Trump administration report suggests, Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank that focuses on productivity and innovation issues, told CBS News.

“Nobody knows what the economics of that are,” Atkinson said in an interview with the network news operation. “Right now, say what you want about the Postal Service, but the part that is perhaps the most efficient is the last-mile delivery,” or the delivery from postal offices to consumers’ homes.

Instead, it could actually backfire and end up costing the USPS more money, Atkinson warned: “One of the reasons the USPS is not even more financially troubled is because they have this monopoly for delivery” to your mailbox, he explained.

If the USPS sells access to consumers’ mailboxes, even more businesses may opt for rival services such as FedEx or UPS. It’s not clear whether the franchise fees would offset the loss of that mail revenue, he added.

“I’m dubious that they could charge a price that could be any better than they already make, because then they’d be delivering fewer of those letters or packages,” Atkinson said.

While the report didn’t single out Amazon, the online retailer , President Trump repeatedly has blamed the company for some of the USPS’ financial woes. The president has claimed the USPS loses $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon.

There’s little evidence to back up his claims, however, as the package delivery remains one of the few lines of business that’s growing for the USPS, CBS reports.

Research contact: @aimeepicchi

Memories of things trashed: Yellowstone geyser spews litter from the 1930s

October 23, 2018

When Yellowstone‘s Ear Spring started erupting on September 15 on the national park’s Geyser Hill, it was a natural wonder that hadn’t been seen in more than half a century—and what it ejected proved that point, according to a report by CBS News.

After the hot spring, dormant since 1957, belched steaming, hot water, rocks, and dirt up to 30 feet in the air, park officials found piles of man-made debris, including a cinder block, aluminum cans, plastic cups, a rubber heel insert, old metal signs, a plastic straw, dozens of coins; and even a vintage baby’s pacifier, dating back to the 1930s.

The trash now is being catalogued and could become part of Yellowstone’s archives, as a reminder to millions of visitors not to use the park as a dumping ground.

“You might think that if you toss something in a hot spring or in a geyser that it disappears, but it doesn’t disappear. It stays in that and what normally happens is you can actually plug up a feature and kill the feature. And that’s happened in many places in the park,” Rebecca Roland, a Yellowstone National Park supervisory park ranger, told the network news outlet.

It’s been quite a few months of activity in Yellowstone National Park where Steamboat Geyser–the world’s highest eruption, shooting up 300 feet–is approaching a record number of vents this year.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone, which spans almost 3,500 square miles, was the first national park in the world. The preserved wilderness area is known for its many forms of wildlife, dramatic canyons, rushing rivers, and lush forests; as well as the world’s largest number of hot springs and geysers.

Research contact:  https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.roland.566

Your ‘wildest’ dreams could offer an early clue to Parkinson’s disease

October 2, 2018

In July, 82-year-old actor Alan Alda revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease—a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement—and in an interview with CBS This Morning, he revealed that an unusual dream helped lead him to his diagnosis. 

Alda, best-known for his portrayal of Army Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H (1972-1983), said he asked his doctor to test him for the disease after reading an article about how physically acting out your dreams can be one of the earliest precursors of the neurological disorder.

“I asked for a scan because I thought I might have it,” Alda said. “I read an article by Jane Brody in The New York Times that indicated that if you have — if you act out your dreams, there’s a good chance that might be a very early symptom, where nothing else shows,” Alda told CBS News.He recognized that what the story described had happened to him.

“By acting out your dreams, I mean I was having a dream where someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, and what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” Alda explained.

At that point, he had no other sign of illness. “The doctor said, ‘Why do you want a scan? You don’t have any symptoms,'” Alda recalled. “And I said, I want to know if there’s anything I can do—I want to do it.”

About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. An estimated 7 million to 10 million people worldwide—and about 1 million in the United States—are living with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas..

Catching the disease in its early stages can be beneficial for a number of reasons, Dr. Claire Henchcliffe, director of the Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian told the network news outlet.

“There are modifiable lifestyle factors that could make a difference, for example exercising and diet. While these are not proven to delay onset of Parkinson’s there is considerable optimism about their role,” she told CBS News. “Making the diagnosis also means that if a person wants to get involved in clinical studies then they can make a real contribution to developing better understanding of and treatments for Parkinson’s.”

Henchcliffe notes that it’s been well documented that sleep disturbances, including having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, and restless legs syndrome, are common in people with Parkinson’s. Over the years there’s been some debate over whether sleep trouble is a complication of Parkinson’s or a precursor of the disease — an early warning sign that surfaces well  before other symptoms set it.

“What’s really turned out to be a critical link is the recognition that certain specific sleep disorders [such as REM sleep behavior disorder, or RBD], not only affect people with Parkinson’s but in fact show up in some cases many years earlier than the movement symptoms that lead to diagnosis,” Henchcliffe said. “So while for some types of sleep disturbances we might still debate whether they are precursors or complications, for RBD there is now extremely strong evidence that it can be a harbinger of Parkinson’s disease that will manifest some years down the line.”

Carlos L. Rodriguez, MD, a sleep medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, told CBS News that he saw a patient with RBD several years ago who was dreaming that he was playing high school football again in the defensive end position. “He had a clear avenue of attack straight to the quarterback and was rushing aggressively to tackle him when he awoke to find that his head had rammed through the drywall of his room,” Rodriguez told CBS News.

Rodriguez explains that RBD is usually caused by neurodegeneration within the brainstem, which disables the mechanisms responsible for immobilizing muscles during REM sleep—the cycle of of sleep in which we dream. This is what enables someone to literally act out what’s happening in their dreams.

The sleep disorder has been connected to other neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple system atrophy, and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disease. In one small study of 26 patients with RBD, fully 80% went on to develop Parkinson’s or another one of these diseases.

Henchcliffe emphasizes that not everyone with RBD is destined to develop Parkinson’s.

“But I do think that acting out dreams in RBD warrants a visit to a doctor to figure out what the cause may be,” she said. ”

Alda told CBS This Morning that one of the reasons he decided to speak out about his medical condition was to send a message of hope to others who might be facing the disease. The actor is still extremely active, taking boxing lessons three times a week, and he recently launched a podcast called Clear+Vivid that explores all the ways people communicate with each other.

“In the very beginning, to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you — it hasn’t happened to you. You still have things you can do,” he said.

Research contact: @Ashley_LizWelch

Democrats are feeling it for the ‘Big O,’ as he endorses 81 midterm candidates

August 3, 2018

He’s back—and Democrats couldn’t be any more blissful: Former President Barack Obama has returned to the political stage, endorsing 81 of his party’s candidates for the crucial midterm elections.

According to an August 1 report by CBS News, the list includes 20 individuals who served in the Obama administration and are heeding words of advice the former president shared in his 2016 farewell address to the nation, when he encouraged Americans to “grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”

The list of alums includes Richard Cordray, the former head of the now all-but-defunct Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who is running for governor of Ohio; Colin Allred, a former Justice Department official now running for Congress in a Dallas-area swing seat; Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official now running an upstart campaign to defeat Representative Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th District; and Buffy Wicks, a former 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign aide seeking a California Assembly seat.

Overall, Obama has endorsed candidates running for offices ranging from governor to secretary of state and state auditor, CBS says.. The list also includes Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate for California governor; Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, who is seeking to make history as the first black woman elected governor in any state; Colorado gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis; and J.B. Pritzker, a longtime donor and Obama family friend who is running for Illinois governor.

Obama called his choices “a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent.”

“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama added. “But first, they need our votes – and I’m eager to make the case for why Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall.”

The former president’s office did not immediately announce plans to campaign with the candidates he endorsed, but he vowed to do so in his statement. He has previously endorsed Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California); and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), one of the earliest supporters of his 2008 presidential bid who faces a difficult reelection fight.

Of the 81 candidates, 48 are women, 22 are minorities, and three are openly gay or transgender. For a full list, see the CBS News site.

Research contact: @edokeefe

Haspel confirmation appears likely

May 17, 2018

Gina Haspel’s nomination to the position of CIA director was approved (10-5) in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee early on May 16, CBS News has reported. It now goes to the Senate floor, where confirmation appears likely—although many Americans are still questioning her values and qualifications.

Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, (R-North Carolina), said after the vote that Haspel represents the “most qualified person the President could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the Agency.”

Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who originally  had expressed concern about Haspel’s history at the agency —during which she took the lead on harsh forms of interrogation, including waterboarding, used on al Qaeda detainees at one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons—stated that he believes Haspel will be a “strong advocate for the Agency’s workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation’s intelligence community.”

He added, “Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral – like a return to torture.”

However, Americans continue to be split on whether overseeing torture should disqualify Haspel from getting the joba HuffPost/YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. citizens over the age of 18 finds.

Told that Haspel reportedly supervised a “black site” where CIA personnel tortured suspected terrorists to gain information, 20% say they consider that to be a good thing and 39% view it as a bad thing.

Just under a third consider that record sufficient reason for her not to be confirmed to head the CIA, while 36% say it is not.

Those polled appear more troubled by reports that Haspel also helped to destroy videotapes documenting the torture of detainees. By a 2-to-1 margin, 44 percent to 22 percent, they say those actions should disqualify her from becoming the CIA’s director.

The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Arizona’s John McCain, who is battling brain cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.

Research contact: @HuffPost

90% of Americans support DACA; most oppose border wall

January 19, 2018

Nearly 90% of Americans favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain here—a federal policy established under President Barack Obama and known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is a view that spans partisan lines, based on results of a survey of 1,225 adults nationwide released on January 18 by CBS News. .

However, the sticking point—one that may lead to a government shutdown as soon as tonight—is the demand of President Donald Trump for financing for the wall he campaigned on, which he believes would stop illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico and other Latin American nations.

Americans remain divided over which issue is worth risking a shutdown of the federal government, the CBS poll has found: Democrats support DACA; Republicans support a wall on the southern border:

  • Most Americans continue to oppose building a border wall, however, 70% of Republicans support it—and 51% of GOP supporters think it worth risking a government shutdown to get it.
  • More than half of Democrats (57%) say it’s worth shutting down the government to have young illegal immigrants stay in-country.

If the wall is ultimately built, 85% of Americans (including majorities across party lines) think that the United States would foot the bill; not Mexico. Most Democrats and Independents are bothered by the possibility of the United States. paying for the wall, but Republicans, two-thirds of whom favor the wall, are not.

On a related issue, CBS News reports, 75% of Americans find the remarks President Trump reportedly made about immigration from Haiti and African countries unacceptable for a President to make, but fewer, 52%, say they are personally bothered by them. Seventy-two percent of Republicans say they are not personally bothered.

Asked which criteria the U.S. should use to admit immigrants, slightly more Americans (47%) prefer that priority be given to people based on their education, job skills, and work experience than people with family members already living here (39%).

Research contact: @Fred Backus

Republicans think Congressional leaders ‘don’t like’ Trump

November 22, 2017

Never one to keep his thoughts to himself, President Trump last week again blamed Congress for its lack of action on key campaign promises such as repealing Obamacare and building a wall on the southern border—saying they are just “not getting the job done.”

According to a new poll, U.S. Republicans may think that the gridlock within their own party is intentional.

Conducted on behalf of CBS News, the poll reveals that 39% of Republicans believe legislators in their own party “don’t like” Trump and are actively trying to undermine him; while an additional 37% think Congressional Republicans don’t like President Trump “but pretend to,” in order to try to get their agenda passed.

That’s a total 76% of Republicans who believe GOP Congressional leaders do not like the sitting president of their own party.

The poll also finds that a mere 20% of Americans think that Congressional Republicans should “do what the president wants,” because he is their leader.

Research contact: jdehaven@cbs.com