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Donut, Anyone?
Peter Wells Scott

A report by Rand Institute of Santa Monica, California, found that obese people have an average of nearly two times the chronic health problems than people of normal weight. More problems than smokers, heavy drinkers, and the poor. While failing to define "obese," the study estimates that clearly 59 percent of the population falls into that category.

Not so many years ago Ross Perot predicted that there would be a "great sucking sound" were the NAFTA treaty to be passed. Pitting the poor people of adopted homeland USA against the poor people left behind in Mexico was not contemplated when the treaty took effect in 1994. Detroit automakers and Bethlehem steelworkers feared that foreign competition would cost them their jobs. But the more likely victims have been Latinos working in textiles, food processing and electronics. Many of these had risked their lives in crossing La Frontera, only to see their new jobs go south as companies sought cheaper labor.

A recent report by the liberal Washington based Economic Policy Institute placed the net job loses in the US between 1993 and 2000 at 766,000, with California suffering the most casualties at 82,350. Hispanics suffer because they are in low-skilled industries. A typical young Mexican immigrant didn't learn until much later that paying a coyote and battling the fierce Arizona sun was but the initiation. The downside of being an unwelcome trespasser to American society potentially included working long hours at dangerous, low paying jobs with no benefits or security and living in fear of the fateful traffic stop that could lead to deportation. And yet the calls still come in to Puerto Vallarta radio stations from Chino and Tucson, "Tell my family in Coloso that I made it safely."

No Representation.

Hispanics represent 35.3 million, or 12.5 percent of the 281.4 million Americans counted in Census 2000, a 58 percent increase from 1990. Yet only 19 Hispanics, 16 Democrats and 3 Republicans, are among the 435 members of the House of Representatives. That's 4.4 percent. Redistricting seems to mirror "red-lining," whereby blacks were made aware that certain housing area were "off-limits." Hispanics want at least 10 more seats through the map drawing process. Arizona, which has 6 House seats including one Hispanic, is gaining two seats.

None of the 5 members of the state's new redistricting commission is Hispanic. The state's 25 percent Hispanic population is likely to be spread over 4 or more districts. Same scenario in California where Hispanics represent 32 percent of the population, but are represented by only 6 of the 52 House seats. One seat to be gained is unlikely to be carved friendly to Hispanics.

Feeling Nauseas?

The number of people who say that they have more debt than they can afford to owe has grown from a fifth of Americans in 1992 to 3 in ten in 2001. The economic boom of the 90's raised the standard of living of the middle and upper classes, but left the masses behind. The stock market over the past year has adulterated the pockets of most. Fridays have turned Ho-Hum, as Wall Streeters run to the Hamptons for solace in the sun.

From June 8 to June 22 Intel, Juniper, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and Oracle have consistently been on the most actively traded list. All are down almost 10 percent in just three successive Fridays. 975 billion dollars are waiting restlessly on the sidelines, eagerly awaiting the discovery of a new "darling." Wisdom suggests that one may have to explore beyond the above. One must have a pretty nifty minesweeping gadget to venture forth. Meanwhile, Nasdaq is set to send 10 percent of its workforce home with pink slips.

Buried in the ashes a ray of hope was seen. On June 15 Krispy Kream relished Wall Street with 40,000 of its creamiest. The company announced a 2 for 1 stock split amidst record earnings. America let its guard down while waistlines expanded, all in the name of 'Instant Gratification.'

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