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Furthermore …

U.S. snapshot in food stamps

While Medicare and Social Security are frequently mentioned as targets of possible budget cuts, deficit hawks are looking at another government program: food stamps.

As a measure of how Americans are faring economically, the number of food stamp recipients is 46 million people, Reuters news agency reports, an astonishing 15 percent of the population. And the government estimates that 23 million more are eligible but don’t get them.

Perhaps the most telling statistic: About 40 percent of people who use food stamps, officially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are in families in which at least one member has a job.

Food stamps cost the nation about $69 billion a year – about one-eighth the cost of Medicare.

Shortage’s domino effect

The shortage of many established medicines is rightly drawing increased attention.

The consequences even go beyond people suffering from illness and disease being unable to get treatment.

Yes, the shortage is partially due to drug companies reducing production because the older drugs sell for lower prices.

But much of the shortage is also due to manufacturing problems, with inspectors finding contamination.

So some cancer patients are either waiting in desperation or using alternatives that can cause side effects.

Paradoxically, the shortage of these cheaper, older drugs is, in some cases, also making it more difficult to put newer, more expensive drugs on the market. Trials of new drugs often require comparisons with their effectiveness compared to older drugs – impossible if the older drugs aren’t supplied.

Police prudent to end pursuit

When police are in hot pursuit of suspected criminals, letting them drive away is counterintuitive. But that’s just what a city officer rightly did Monday while bearing down on a car whose occupants had allegedly just sold cocaine to undercover detectives.

The chase was winding through some of the narrow streets of the Lakeside neighborhood, including Oneida Street, and at one point the officer said he was driving 50 mph down an alley. But when the suspects drove over a lawn, the officer recognized the danger posed to innocent bystanders, backed off and drove away from the car being chased. In the heat of the pursuit, the officer made the right call.

Fortunately, with numerous other officers around the perimeter of the area, it wasn’t long before police arrested the two suspects. The men crashed their car shortly after police stopped chasing them. They ran, but not far.