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Should junk food be taxed?

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Increasingly vocal calls for taxes on sugary drinks and junk food are fueling a behind- the-scenes battle that public health officials say is reminiscent of America’s war on cigarettes.

Fueling the debate are revenue-hungry federal, state and local governments officials who are eying a potential $50 billion windfall from taxes on over 10 years.

Take a look at the New York City Department of Health’s ad discouraging people from drinking sugary sodas, and let us know whether you think a junk food tax would be good public policy, or an intrusive step too far by the nanny state.

Marvel vs Disney: What’s your favorite match-up?

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Listen up, true believers. Disney’s deal to buy Marvel for $4 billion opens up the possibility of Uncle Walt’s gang going head-to-head with the creations of Stan Lee.

Click here for four of our favorite smackdowns, and leave your own nominations in the comments section.

from FaithWorld:

Poll – Should Ted Kennedy have a Catholic funeral?

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kennedyOur post "Catholic comments on Ted Kennedy, pro and con" showed readers were deeply split on whether the late senator should have a Roman Catholic funeral. The naysayers argued that his support for choice on abortion and other disagreements with Church doctrine disqualify him from a religious ceremony. Those for a church funeral argued that he helped advance many causes championed by Catholic social teaching.

Those opposing a Mass of Christian Burial for Kennedy predominated, but not all readers take the time to write a comment. One-click poll questions sometimes give a different picture from comment pages. So here's a simple question:

Bailout bonuses: Does the public have a right to know?

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Is it anybody’s business how much money you make?

When it comes to Wall Street and the meltdown that whacked financial markets and emptied investors’ pockets, the normal rules of etiquette don’t seem to apply.

Wall Street salaries seem to be everybody’s business lately. Nevertheless, the Obama administration’s pay czar may try to keep a large portion of the compensation plans he is reviewing under wraps.

from Global Investing:

Why are analysts so wrong?

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Is there something faulty about the way Wall Street analysts look at the companies they cover?  Once again, with the latest quarterly earnings season about to end, the analysts have been wrong. This time, they have been way off the board wrong.

With 480 of the Standard & Poor's index of 500 leading companies having reported, Thomson Reuters research has found that some 73 percent came in better than expected. Only 9 percent of consensus projections were right and 19 percent came in worse than expected.

Venting your airline frustrations…

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Airlines are discovering that fuming passengers who have been stranded, delayed or just plain piqued are increasingly letting their undiluted rage fly around the Internet, often from the confines of their cramped airplane seat.

Twitter, which lets people broadcast 140-character instant text messages to countless readers, allows the venting to be loud, fast and public, and the technology has put carriers — used to bad publicity as part of daily operations — even more on the defensive as they race to tame Twitter furies every day.

from Global Investing:

Are investors building for a fall?

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Reuters has taken its monthly snapshot of the investment choices of leading fund management houses across the world. At the end of July, the picture painted was one of investors embracing risk and shutting down their safest holdings.

Equity holdings as a percentage of a typical balanced portfolio were at their highest since the end of August last year, just a couple of weeks before Lehman Brothers collapsed. Here is what has been happening to equity holdings this year: 

from Global Investing:

Is it time for a Scottish wealth fund?

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Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues.  It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:

“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”

Is the recession harder on women?

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In 2009, more men are putting an emphasis on stability and security in their job and are looking for a girlfriend as a potential wife, according to the annual Great Male Survey by askmen.com

But how are women fairing in comparison?

Yahoo! Shine asked 19,000 women in the Great Female Survey and found that more women see their career on hold. Fifty-six percent stated that any upward movement in their career is cut off because of the economic crisis while only 24 percent of men saw the same problem.

from FaithWorld:

Could gagged Mumbai confession do more good than harm?

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hindux1A crucial part of gunman Mohammad Ajmal Kasab's hindu-articleconfession at the Mumbai attack trial has been censored by the judge on the grounds that it could inflame religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India. After stunning the court on Monday by admitting guilt in the the three-day rampage that killed 166 people, Kasab gave further testimony on Tuesday that included details about his training by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant group on U.S. and Indian terrorist lists.

The front-page report in today's The Hindu, which noted the judge's gag order in its sub-header, put it this way:

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