What Is Wrong With Our Justice System?

Despite enormous interest in the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial, more questions have emerged than answers. The truth is that the criminal justice system remains a vast enigma to the majority of the population.

Popular television programs have led juries and the public to expect hard evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and other forensic evidence clearly pointing to perpetrators, but the facts are seldom so clear-cut.

According to Greg Little, an experienced psychologist who specializes in criminal treatment, the main problem is that there are so many crimes occurring and the system is clogged with huge numbers of offenders. There is no way that the system can do what the public now expects on each case,

Clogged Justice System Leads to Recidivism

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Despite enormous interest in the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial, more questions have emerged than answers. The truth is that the criminal justice system remains a vast enigma to the majority of the population.
Popular television programs have led juries and the public to expect hard evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and other forensic evidence clearly pointing to perpetrators, but the facts are seldom so clear-cut.
“One problem is that there are so many crimes in the U.S. today that the system is clogged with huge numbers of offenders,” explains Greg Little, an experienced psychologist who specializes in criminal treatment.
“There is no way that the system can do what the public now expects on each case,” Little says. Along with his colleagues, Little has issued a new textbook on the way the justice system treats offenders. Most offenders are diagnosable with a criminal personality, known as antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
“ASPD is the professional term for psychopath or sociopath,” Little explains. “About 4 percent of the adult population has the disorder, with adult men showing a rate of nearly 6 percent.”
The disorder has a severity scale with a wide range of behavior. The less severe ones lie, cheat and take advantage; the most severe are violent and resort to murder. If you look out your front door and see five other houses, chances are that there is a psychopath living in at least one house.
In Little’s book “Antisocial Personality Disorder and Criminal Justice,” the extent of the problem in America is made clear. Nearly 15 million arrests are made in America each year, but jails house only 800,000 individuals awaiting trial.
Prisons hold another 1.5 million people, but 5 million other convicted criminals are living in the community under parole or probation. Within three years, about 40 percent of probationers will be arrested again. After release from prison, an astonishing 67 percent will be rearrested.
According to Little and colleagues, society should not give up on offenders, nor should it be discouraged by the way the justice system handles crime.
For more information, check out www.ccimrt.com.

Integrated Pest Management: Pest Control Made Easy

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Small household pests are no small problem. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns families that cockroaches are a leading trigger of allergies and asthma attacks. The pests’ saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children. Small rodents can chew through electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of fire. And ants, which are not only unsightly, can contaminate food.
One of the best ways homeowners and pest professionals can work together to prevent and control pest infestations is to employ a method called Integrated Pest Management, also referred to as IPM.
IPM is a process involving common sense and sound solutions for controlling pests. The focus is upon finding the best strategy for a pest problem, and not merely the simplest. Pest professionals never employ a “one-size-fits-all” method in IPM but rather utilize a three-part practice: inspection, identification and treatment by a pest professional. Treatment options in IPM can vary from proactive measures like sealing cracks and removing food and water sources to reactive measures, such as utilizing pest products, when necessary.
The “integrated” in Integrated Pest Management does not merely describe the three-part practice of inspection, identification and treatment. It reflects the joint commitment between homeowners and pest professionals to stop pests before they invade. The two parties work together to identify the causes and risks of invasions and to devise treatments for when they do.
When it comes to IPM, prevention can be as important to pest control as treatment. It’s important to find a qualified professional that can identify and point out a home’s vulnerabilities and offer prevention tips for homeowners. Here are a few pest prevention techniques in an IPM program:
* Repair any leaky pipes, especially in areas under sinks where pests can often go unnoticed.
* Seal up cracks and holes around pipes and wiring.
* Keep all foods in sealed containers, including pet food.
* Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
* Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
* Wipe counters, floors and other surfaces frequently.
* Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
* Vacuum often.
To find a pest professional, or to learn more about IPM, visit www.pestworld.com.

The Risk of Roaches: How to Keep Your Home Allergen Free

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For 23 million Americans — including 7 million children — spring showers bring more than rejuvenation. They bring sniffles, sneezes and wheezing that could only mean allergy season is around the corner. But before you run for cover indoors this spring, take heed: One of the most dangerous allergens may be crawling inside your home.
Cockroaches spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria, six types of parasitic worms and seven kinds of human pathogens. And although this gross factor alone is huge, the biggest health threat comes from the skin and fecal droppings the critters leave behind.
“Cockroach allergens accumulate as a result of droppings and shed skins, which can trigger asthma attacks in adults and children,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
The increased risk of an asthma attack is most pronounced in children. Recent medical studies have targeted cockroach allergens as the trigger for numerous allergic reactions and as the main cause of missed school days.
If you do see a cockroach scuttling across your floor, Henriksen advises to watch for a larger problem. “Unfortunately, if you see one cockroach, there are sure to be many more. Proper control and removal is needed to prevent the build-up of cockroach allergens and the spread of bacteria.”
Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees or above and thrive in warm, dark and moist places.
NPMA offers these helpful tips for keeping cockroaches out of your home this spring:
Vacuum. Early and often is best for reducing harmful cockroach allergens.
Keep a spotless kitchen. To prevent infestations, keep all your food and garbage in sealed containers and dispose of regularly. Clean behind and under appliances regularly, as these are favorite hiding spots for cockroaches.
Ventilate. Air out basements and crawl spaces to prevent moisture.
Seal the entrances. Close off cracks and holes around utility pipes that provide easy access to your home.
Act quickly. If you find evidence of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem. To find one in your area, visit www.pestworld.org.

Back-to-School List Should Include an Eye Exam

As parents cross backpacks and notebooks off of back-to-school lists, many neglect to consider the most important learning tool children have – their eyes.

Many classroom activities, including reading, writing and computer work, require vision, so children with vision problems may fall behind their peers. Worse, they can have trouble concentrating and develop behavioral problems, which are often mistaken for attention deficit or learning disorders. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 60 percent of the children described as “problem learners” have vision problems.

Three Tips to Avoid Heartburn

Most people who have eaten a spicy meal have experienced heartburn – but for many, the problem may be much more frequent than the occasional bout of indigestion. Frequent heartburn can also be a symptom of a more serious problem called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Acid reflux is caused by the regurgitation or reflux of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus, which connects the mouth and stomach. The symptoms of GERD include burning chest pain, regurgitation of bitter or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing and excessive clearing of the throat.
When GERD is not treated, serious complications can occur. If you are constantly reaching for the antacids at the end of the day, the following tips may help:
1.    Don’t lie down after eating. When you lie down, it’s easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, particularly when you go to bed with a full stomach. Make sure to wait at least three to four hours after eating before going to bed, and try raising the head of your bed.
2.    Cut out problem foods. Chocolate, peppermint, tomato sauce, and fatty and spicy foods have all been proven to exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn. Making a point to eat smaller meals will also help curb potential heartburn problems.
3.    Avoid smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol. Using tobacco and ingesting alcohol reduce the pressure on the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, permitting acid reflux to occur.
GERD has a physical cause and may not be improved by lifestyle factors alone. If you are using over-the-counter medications two or more times a week or are still having symptoms on prescription or other medicines, you need to see your doctor. Persistent symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux should not be ignored.
For more information about GERD, visit www.acg.gi.org.

Do Carpets Really Make Allergies Worse?

Many Americans worry that carpets can contribute to allergies and asthma, but studies suggest that it’s time to sweep those worries under the rug.

Allergens exist in every home. When inhaled, these allergens can cause an immune system response, which manifests as watery eyes, a runny nose, sinus congestion, conjunctivitis or hives. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common problem in children and adults. But the problem does not lie with carpeting. In 2002, Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina investigators studied two North Carolina schools — one with tile floors, and one with tcarpetst. The study found that airborne allergens existed in higher concentration in the school with tiles.

The Truth About Allergies and Carpet

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many Americans worry that carpets can contribute to allergies and asthma, but studies suggest that it’s time to sweep those worries under the rug.

Allergens exist in every home. When inhaled, these allergens can cause an immune system response, which manifests as watery eyes, a runny nose, sinus congestion, conjunctivitis or hives. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common problem in children and adults. But the problem does not lie with carpeting. In 2002, Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina investigators studied two North Carolina schools — one with tile floors, and one with carpets. The study found that airborne allergens existed in higher concentration in the school with tiles.

Why? Carpet can hold a large amount of soil before it looks dirty. While it traps dust and dirt, it also holds potential allergens like mold spores and dander. Allergens cannot cause symptoms unless they become airborne and are able to be inhaled. Serving as a filter, carpet doesn’t allow allergens to enter back into the air. Once trapped, allergens can be easily removed with vacuuming and steam cleaning.

In a recent paper, Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT, wrote that “with respect to asthma and allergies, multiple studies have reported fewer allergy and asthma symptoms associated with carpet.”

In addition to allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may still cause some people concern about their carpets, but scientific evidence suggests that carpets emit very few chemical irritants. According to a study by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), carpet VOCs reduce so quickly that they do not pose a health threat. If concerned, consumers should look for low-VOC carpets like those made by Shaw Floors, which meet the CRI’s Green Label Plus standard, the most stringent standard in the industry for low levels of VOCs.

For more information, visit www.shawfloors.com/allergens.

Deciphering Your Car’s “Check Engine” Light

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many drivers don’t know what the “check engine” or “service engine soon” warning light on the instrument panel really means. Understanding the purpose of this light, and knowing what actions to take when it comes on, can help you nip problems in the bud — and possibly prevent major damage.

An illuminated “check engine” light is telling you the engine control computer has detected a problem that is causing the vehicle to produce excessive exhaust emissions. Sometimes the light will be accompanied by noticeable performance problems, such as an engine miss or hesitation, but other times the vehicle will appear to operate normally. Common failures that can trigger a “check engine” light include:

* Failed engine-control components such as an oxygen, coolant temperature, MAP (manifold absolute pressure) or airflow sensor.

* Engine misfires from faulty sparkplugs, sparkplug wires, ignition components, fuel injectors or other fuel system parts.

* Emission-control failures such as loose or cracked vacuum hoses, a loose or missing gas cap or a defective EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve.

How you should react to a “check engine” light depends on how the light behaves. If the light comes on for a little while and then goes out, you may have had a momentary problem in the system. The light goes out when the problem stops, but the computer could have stored a diagnostic trouble code in its memory. If the light does not recur, it can be ignored. However, if the light comes and goes intermittently, take the vehicle in for a checkup.

If the light comes on and stays on, the car has an ongoing problem. While that problem may not be severe, it will negatively impact your car’s performance, gas mileage and exhaust emissions. Take your vehicle to a repair shop as soon as possible for further diagnosis.

If the “check engine” light begins to flash on and off, a severe problem is causing the catalytic converter to overheat. This can destroy the converter and possibly even start a fire. If your repair shop is nearby, drive there immediately. If the shop is some distance away, shut off the car and call for assistance. Always have the cause of a flashing “check engine” light investigated right away to prevent damage to important components that can greatly increase the cost of repairs.

AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities can diagnose “check engine” light problems and provide a full range of vehicle maintenance and repair services. Approved Auto Repair shops meet AAA’s high standards for customer care and technical proficiency. To locate a shop near you, look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair logo or visit www.AAA.com/repair.

Vision Screenings Protect The Apple of Your Eye

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – School-age children receive regular vision screenings, but childhood blindness can start long before elementary school. Early detection makes treatments more effective, so parents should have their children’s vision checked in preschool.

Ambylopia, or lazy eye, is one of the most common disorders detected in young children. Lazy eye, which occurs when one eye is significantly stronger than the other, affects two to three of every 100 children. If left untreated, the weaker eye tends to wander inward or outward, leading to permanent vision impairment.

Any factor that causes eyes to blur, cross or turn out can lead to lazy eye. The most common cause is strabismus, a muscle imbalance that prevents eyes from coordinating their movements. Congenital problems, like cataracts or oddly shaped eyes, can also lead to lazy eye.

Most of the time, conservative treatments like corrective eyewear, eye patches or eye drops can fix lazy eye. Droopy eyes, crossed eyes or eyes that are fixed outward might require surgical correction. Treatments typically start improving vision after a few weeks or months — if the problem is caught early in life.

Some programs aim to screen young children for vision problems. For example, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) established a preschool vision screening program in 1999. Trained volunteers screen children ages one through five. If they see a problem, the volunteers refer the child to an eye doctor.

So far, Lions volunteers have screened 1 million children in the United States and Taiwan. Volunteers refer about 6 percent of the children they see. Of those, approximately 65 percent have a vision disorder that can cause lazy eye.

Parents need to schedule eye screenings. Newborns should have their eyes examined at every wellness visit. Children with a family history of vision impairment, either childhood or adult, should see an eye specialist by 18 months. By age 3, all children should see an eye specialist on a regular basis.

For more information, visit www.lionsclubs.org.