High profile companies that contribute to the 114th congress


In the News

Company Contributions Bill Positions
Google $1,775,424 61
American Hospital Association $3,622,626 98
American Medical Association $4,006,237 87
Comcast $4,933,780 27
General Electric $1,950,245 52
National Association of Broadcaster… $2,862,193 64
National Association of Realtors $11,555,411 125
Lockheed Martin $4,595,958 42
AT&T $7,353,976 58
Time Warner Cable $2,453,950 24

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Company Contributions Bill Positions
Sentry Insurance $5,500 0
Comcast $4,933,780 27
Liberty Mutual Group $1,369,536 22
Majestic Realty $58,300 2
Century Fence $12,300 0
National Association of Broadcaster… $2,862,193 64
American Resort Development Associa… $1,903,650 13
Paper Machinery $14,300 0
Wipfli $14,050 0
Alston & Bird $1,036,419 0
Company Contributions Bill Positions
Akin Gump $2,801,980 0
United Technologies $2,097,188 50
College of American Pathologists $1,284,262 8
Marshfield Clinic $109,751 4
Personal Insurance Federation of Ca… $1,250 0
ExxonMobil $3,229,038 37
Time Warner Cable $2,453,950 24
Sempra Energy $607,400 5
International Union of Operating En… $5,208,790 23
Citigroup $2,234,610 28
MapLight company pages include the top 200 companies (including companies, trade associations, unions, and their employees) contributing to candidate campaign committees of legislators serving in the U.S. Congress since January 1, 2007. Bill positions based on research conducted by MapLight on bills introduced since the beginning of the 110th Congress.

Financial contributions from business to the 114th congress




Industries Contributions 10/01/12 – 09/30/14 Bill Positions during 114th
Agricultural Services/Products
Agricultural services & related industries $2,309,006 15
Farm organizations & cooperatives $1,190,372 41
Agricultural chemicals (fertilizers & pesticides) $1,159,874 34
Farm machinery & equipment $1,021,408 13
Veterinarians $738,769 7
Animal feed & health products $478,400 25
Florists & Nursery Services $464,117 13
Grain traders & terminals $375,600 9
Farm bureaus $0 39
Crop Production & Basic Processing
Crop production & basic processing $5,623,285 19
Sugar cane & sugar beets $5,027,559 11
Vegetables, fruits and tree nut $1,450,944 20
Wheat, corn, soybeans and cash grain $1,146,150 33
Other commodities (incl rice, peanuts, honey) $957,133 21
Cotton $756,652 11
Farmers, crop unspecified $0 3
Milk & dairy producers $2,610,170 27
Food Processing & Sales
Food and kindred products manufacturing $2,459,252 31
Food stores $2,033,269 36
Food wholesalers $1,046,878 9
Meat processing & products $1,043,484 15
Food & Beverage Products and Services $521,222 9
Forestry & Forest Products
Forestry & Forest Products $3,086,029 28
Paper & pulp mills and paper manufacturing $1,255,056 5
Livestock $3,117,853 22
Horse breeders $234,886 4
Feedlots & related livestock services $131,500 1
Sheep and Wool Producers $21,925 4
Misc Agriculture
Agriculture $316,435 31
Poultry & Eggs
Poultry & eggs $1,360,210 22
Tobacco & Tobacco products $2,401,242 7
Computer software $4,916,024 43
Online computer services $4,435,669 31
Computers, components & accessories $2,590,892 26
Data processing & computer services $2,105,380 17
Computer manufacture & services $1,235,982 46
Electronics Mfg & Services
Electronics manufacturing & services $1,476,140 34
Misc Communications/Electronics
Communications & Electronics $456,848 25
Printing & Publishing
Book, newspaper & periodical publishing $4,847,998 26
Commercial printing & typesetting $508,739 11
Greeting card publishing $148,750
Printing and publishing (printed & online) $31,850 3
Telecom Services & Equipment
Cellular systems and equipment $2,026,484 28
Telephone & communications equipment $585,534 4
Telecommunications $518,115 22
Satellite communications $236,581
Other Communications Services $198,333
Telephone Utilities
Telephone utilities $7,313,092 18
Long-distance telephone & telegraph service $125,540
Cable & satellite TV production & distribution $8,978,584 18
Commercial TV & radio stations $2,624,755 13
Motion Picture production & distribution $2,544,358 5
Entertainment Industry/Broadcast & Motion Pictures $2,420,374 9
Recorded Music & music production $1,113,496 12
TV production & distribution $909,633
Live theater & other entertainment productions $488,119 1
Movie Theaters $126,730 7
Bands, orchestras & other live music production $116,750 2
Building Materials & Equipment
Stone, clay, glass & concrete products $3,728,550 26
Construction equipment $1,378,027 28
Lumber and wood products $701,534 14
Other construction-related products $394,780 11
Building materials $338,975 26
Plumbing & pipe products $325,475 26
Electrical Supply $75,730 9
Construction Services
Engineering, architecture & construction mgmt svcs $5,610,485 24
Engineers – type unknown $1,659,772 6
Architectural services $1,580,209 8
Surveying $118,010
General Contractors
Construction, unclassified $5,872,862 5
Public works, industrial & commercial construction $4,961,624 39
Builders associations $1,099,307 34
Dredging Contractors $59,000 2
Construction & Public Works $31,700 9
Home Builders
Residential construction $3,557,939 36
Mobile home construction $143,740 3
Special Trade Contractors
Special trade contractors $1,724,593 19
Electrical contractors $1,719,910 22
Plumbing, heating & air conditioning $915,015 22
Landscaping & Excavation Svcs $558,405 5
Defense Aerospace
Defense aerospace contractors $9,798,336 12
Defense Electronics
Defense electronic contractors $6,073,793 1
Misc Defense
Defense shipbuilders $3,213,806 2
Defense-related services $1,553,001
Ground-based & other weapons systems $595,698
Defense Research & Development $294,711
Homeland Security contractors $213,800 2
Defense $114,186 4
Schools & colleges $11,314,775 35
For-profit Education $1,709,469 2
Education $833,864 44
Medical schools $657,260 17
Law schools $353,854 1
Technical, business and vocational schools & svcs $304,045 3
Energy/Nat Resource
Electric Utilities
Gas & Electric Utilities $6,723,559 12
Electric Power utilities $6,403,480 32
Rural electric cooperatives $2,141,131 23
Nuclear energy $745,935 3
Independent power generation & cogeneration $741,985 2
Nuclear plant construction, equipment & svcs $632,200
Environmental Svcs/Equipment
Environmental services, equipment & consulting $579,448 5
Fisheries & Wildlife
Fishing $425,470 21
Hunting & wildlife $17,000 8
Fisheries & wildlife $12,800 3
Coal mining $3,806,902 11
Mining $1,216,759 25
Mining services & equipment $1,044,456
Metal mining & processing $764,400 13
Non-metallic mining $57,662 8
Misc Energy
Energy production & distribution $2,300,022 8
Alternate energy production & services $1,474,431 19
Power plant construction & equipment $1,294,086 2
Water Utilities $671,306 11
Energy, Natural Resources and Environment $107,950 19
Oil & Gas
Independent oil & gas producers $6,338,421 15
Petroleum refining & marketing $4,815,062 19
Major (multinational) oil & gas producers $4,572,506 11
Oil & Gas $3,898,670 27
Oilfield service, equipment & exploration $3,885,804 23
Natural Gas transmission & distribution $3,388,076 24
Gasoline service stations $1,521,525 17
LPG/Liquid Propane dealers & producers $193,500 6
Fuel oil dealers $82,350 1
Waste Management
Waste management $734,959 7
Accountants $11,654,502 11
Banks and Credit
Commercial banks & bank holding companies $16,707,098 63
Credit agencies & finance companies $4,669,296 13
Credit unions $3,432,714 52
Banks & lending institutions $2,987,456 13
Savings banks & Savings and Loans $319,885 1
Finance/Credit Companies
Payday lenders $1,163,930
Student loan companies $271,300 1
Insurance companies, brokers & agents $13,336,642 35
Life insurance $11,292,374 13
Accident & health insurance $5,581,556 14
Property & casualty insurance $4,344,053 21
Insurance $984,850 11
Misc Finance
Investors $7,593,754 4
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $3,668,614 30
Financial services & consulting $1,958,943 12
Other financial services $1,316,379 6
Credit reporting services & collection agencies $1,040,740 2
Tax return services $403,925 1
Real Estate
Real Estate developers & subdividers $14,068,704 21
Real estate $13,889,071 11
Real estate agents $9,491,912 20
Building operators and managers $3,355,188 13
Mortgage bankers and brokers $1,988,040 11
Title insurance & title abstract offices $1,271,806 5
Other real estate services $281,742 2
Mobile home dealers & parks $20,280
Securities & Investment
Security brokers & investment companies $22,972,959 19
Private Equity & Investment Firms $10,698,744 1
Hedge Funds $5,626,562
Investment banking $5,041,244 5
Venture capital $4,134,409 17
Securities, commodities & investment $2,327,958 5
Commodity brokers/dealers $2,070,846 2
Stock exchanges $644,213 1
Health Professionals
Other physician specialists $18,274,793 42
Physicians $13,624,903 26
Dentists $4,383,851 13
Optometrists & Ophthalmologists $2,560,746 5
Other non-physician health practitioners $2,360,766 21
Nurses $1,705,103 29
Psychiatrists & psychologists $1,651,524 19
Pharmacists $1,092,110 12
Chiropractors $352,586
Health professionals $243,161 24
Health Services/HMOs
HMOs $3,693,564 2
Health care services $2,521,457 18
Outpatient health services (incl drug & alcohol) $2,120,812 4
Home care services $1,130,438 11
Medical laboratories $560,235 4
Mental Health Services $418,747 9
Optical services (glasses & contact lenses) $32,650 2
AIDS treatment & testing $15,150 5
Hospitals/Nursing Homes
Hospitals $9,150,471 44
Nursing homes $3,561,766 9
Health care institutions $1,218,953 14
Drug & alcohol treatment hospitals $29,450
Misc Health
Health, Education & Human Resources $1,565,465 92
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products
Pharmaceutical manufacturing $10,954,618 25
Medical supplies manufacturing & sales $4,310,713 27
Pharmaceutical wholesale $2,601,992 6
Biotech products & research $1,870,444 47
Health care products $561,660 8
Nutritional & dietary supplements $454,299 8
Personal health care products $272,416
Abortion Policy/Pro-Choice
Abortion policy/Pro-Choice $1,986,835 28
Abortion Policy/Pro-Life
Abortion policy/Pro-Life $449,783 6
Anti-Castro policy
Anti-Castro $315,700
Border Control
Border Control Policy $0 15
Consumer groups
Consumer groups $1,750 202
Defense doves
Defense policy, doves $512,765 13
Defense hawks
Defense policy, hawks $5,850 10
Democratic/Liberal $11,645,375 98
Elderly issues/Social Security
Elderly issues/Social Security $317,071 32
Environmental policy $5,139,761 116
Fiscal & tax policy
Fiscal & tax policy $68,500 113
Foreign & Defense Policy
Foreign policy $202,758 11
Gun Control
Anti-Guns $11,000 3
Gun Rights
Pro-Guns $2,812,663 30
Human Rights
Minority/Ethnic Groups $1,506,421 86
Gay & lesbian rights & issues $985,489 35
Children’s rights $549,070 42
Health & welfare policy $405,644 148
Human Rights $42,120 136
Immigration Rights
Immigration Rights Policy $0 21
Labor, anti-union
Labor, anti-union $83,072 4
Legalization of Doctor-Assisted Suicide
Legalization of Doctor-Assisted Suicide $0
Militias & Anti-Government Groups
Militias & Anti-Government Groups $0
Misc Issues
Animal Rights $419,705 29
Pro-Arab $33,250
Pro-Israel $10,811,887 6
Pro-resource development groups
Pro-resource development groups $10,325 5
Puerto Rico statehood policy
Puerto Rico statehood policy $0
Republican/Conservative $12,319,054 129
Christian Conservative $215,763 21
Term limits
Term limits $0
Third-party committees
Third-party committees $0
Women’s Issues
Women’s issues $5,584,548 79
Building Trade Unions
Building trades unions $11,876,969 20
General Labor Unions
Commercial service unions $1,551,875 32
Food service & related unions $1,520,750 28
General commercial unions $536,150 5
Entertainment unions $363,900 11
Other unions $247,530 10
Health worker unions $63,811 7
Labor Unions $61,122 75
Retail trade unions $47,822
Agricultural labor unions $25,000 3
Defense-related unions $1,600
Other commercial unions $0
Industrial Unions
Manufacturing unions $2,850,150 31
IBEW (Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) $2,032,086 6
Communications & hi-tech unions $1,188,860 21
Automotive Unions $1,018,306 23
Mining unions $242,455 1
Energy-related unions (non-mining) $84,550 1
Public Sector Unions
US Postal Service unions & associations $3,712,860 7
Teachers unions $3,420,736 53
Federal employees unions $1,989,125 36
State & local govt employee unions $1,802,605 48
Police & firefighters unions & associations $1,495,346 50
Civil service & government unions $2,240 1
Transportation Unions
Air transport unions $4,184,350 4
Merchant marine & longshoremen unions $2,353,090 3
Transportation unions $1,863,600 9
Teamsters union $1,499,715 30
Other transportation unions $761,350 1
Railroad unions $457,875 3
Automotive unions $0 3
Lawyers & Lobbyists
Lawyers/Law Firms
Attorneys & law firms $58,241,710 20
Trial lawyers & law firms $5,668,427 23
Corporate lawyers & law firms $5,558,833
Legal Services $65,040
Lobbyists & Public Relations $21,667,446 1
Registered Foreign Agents $0
Misc Business
Beer, Wine & Liquor
Liquor wholesalers $6,513,683 9
Wine & distilled spirits manufacturing $1,661,104 9
Beer $1,131,028 5
Alcohol $182,699 4
Liquor stores $57,523
Business Associations
General business associations $1,190,983 66
Small business associations $795,317 124
Chambers of commerce $399,144 151
Pro-business associations $71,745 20
International trade associations $27,800 15
Business tax coalitions $0 3
Business Services
Business services $7,632,432 25
Management consultants & services $3,450,631 4
Advertising & public relations services $1,881,673 8
Security services $1,020,856 13
Employment agencies $858,915 4
Political consultants/advisers $624,821 8
Commercial photography, art & graphic design $541,958 3
Outdoor advertising services $508,787 6
Marketing research services $384,032 11
Direct mail advertising services $253,325 3
Indian Gaming $4,688,004
Casinos, racetracks & gambling $1,566,101 13
Chemical & Related Manufacturing
Chemicals $4,476,398 51
Plastics & Rubber processing & products $836,378 19
Household cleansers & chemicals $806,933 13
Paints, Solvents & Coatings $369,100 12
Adhesives & Sealants $86,200 10
Explosives $80,900 7
Food & Beverage
Restaurants & drinking establishments $7,376,581 34
Beverages (non-alcoholic) $1,479,740 20
Fish Processing $574,105 4
Food catering & food services $434,886 12
Confectionery processors & manufacturers $333,796 15
Beverage bottling & distribution $332,774 1
Artificial sweeteners and food additives $52,600 4
Hotels & motels $2,647,042 18
Lodging & tourism $511,994 11
Travel agents $378,621 4
Resorts $234,525 3
Misc Business
General commerce $6,548,363 3
Correctional facilities constr & mgmt/for-profit $313,750
Warehousing $308,692 8
Misc Manufacturing & Distributing
Industrial/commercial equipment & materials $6,932,725 39
Fabricated metal products $1,347,513 19
Toiletries & cosmetics $1,137,723 13
Heavy industrial manufacturing $931,791 12
Clothing & accessories $903,001 18
Paper packaging materials $688,564 2
Recycling of metal, paper, plastics, etc. $516,102 8
Furniture & wood products $502,378 15
Precision instruments $458,015 6
Manufacturing $364,067 78
Shoes & leather products $358,181 8
Smelting & non-petroleum refining $333,325 6
Paper, glass & packaging materials $325,323 9
Office machines $290,157 10
Hardware & tools $270,650 4
Sporting goods sales & manufacturing $236,132 13
Glass products $200,350 1
Household & office products $181,410 16
Small arms & ammunition $180,000
Metal cans & containers $174,950 6
Jewelry $170,434 4
Toys $141,480 10
Household appliances $136,800 12
Personal products manufacturing $124,772 19
Manmade fibers $84,000 7
Electrical lighting products $77,836 4
Optical instruments & lenses $77,120 1
Aluminum mining/processing $47,950 11
Electroplating, polishing & related services $30,551
Photographic equipment & supplies $21,500
Clocks & watches $5,500
Misc Services
Services $1,632,763 4
Equipment rental & leasing $675,257 17
Funeral services $399,836 5
Pest control $208,963 6
Beauty & barber shops $195,727 8
Physical fitness centers $190,966
Laundries & dry cleaners $181,375 10
Miscellaneous repair services $180,268
Video tape rental $30,650
Recreation/Live Entertainment
Professional sports, arenas & related equip & svcs $2,006,469 9
Amusement/recreation centers $527,020 13
Recreation/Entertainment $170,620 18
Amusement parks $125,100 2
Retail Sales
Department, variety & convenience stores $3,291,015 25
Hardware & building materials stores $2,519,115 7
Drug stores $2,023,907 10
Retail trade $1,324,391 46
Miscellaneous retail stores $1,160,901 9
Apparel & accessory stores $816,061 13
Direct sales $549,262 7
Consumer electronics & computer stores $403,040 4
Furniture & appliance stores $313,501 3
Catalog & mail order houses $223,025 1
Vending Machine Sales & Services $14,684 2
Steel Production
Steel $1,756,467 23
Textiles & fabrics $868,747 13
Trade and trade services
Wholesale trade $357,286 21
Import/Export services $81,083 8
Civil Servants/Public Officials
Civil servant/public employee $5,675,298 13
Courts & Justice System $378,236 2
Public official (elected or appointed) $129,012 41
US Postal Service $68,613
Municipal & county government organizations $6,850 23
Clergy & Religious Organizations
Churches, clergy & religious organizations $623,714 79
Public school teachers, administrators & officials $1,247,565 10
Intl Orgs
International Organizations $67,866
Non-Profit Institutions
Non-profit foundations $2,300,839
Philanthropists $925,465
Museums, art galleries, libraries, etc. $476,172 24
Military $572,061 25
Foreign Governments $1,000
Welfare & Social Work
Welfare & Social Work $501,094 19
Air Transport
Express delivery services $3,034,058 8
Airlines $2,657,141 6
Aircraft parts & equipment $1,258,706 10
Aircraft manufacturers $1,063,500 13
General aviation (private pilots) $786,870 1
Space vehicles & components $709,310 4
Aviation services & airports $514,101 1
Air freight $256,430 1
Air transport $108,969 9
Auto dealers, new & used $5,841,829 8
Auto dealers, foreign imports $2,220,101 11
Auto manufacturers $1,851,078 27
Truck/Automotive parts & accessories $1,032,032 20
Car rental agencies $826,000 1
Auto repair $251,970 17
Automotive, Misc $251,417 9
Misc Transport
Transportation $463,090 15
Pleasure boats $336,169 15
Bus services $271,442 5
Freight & delivery services $254,355 19
Motorcycles, snowmobiles & other motorized vehicle $228,940 10
Taxicabs $117,575 2
Buses & Taxis $54,150
Recreational transport $46,990 7
Motor homes & camper trailers $22,388 3
Bicycles & other non-motorized recreational transp $1,000 4
Railroads $6,887,926 17
Railroad services $278,350 1
Manufacturers of railroad equipment $230,982
Railroad transportation $38,600 2
Sea Transport
Sea freight & passenger services $2,273,768 11
Ship building & repair $842,229 2
Cruise ships & lines $465,696 2
Sea transport $366,536 15
Trucking companies & services $3,275,891 33
Truck & trailer manufacturers $493,773 1
Trucking $221,650 17

Is Your Business Agile?



I dedicated a recent blog post on the definition of the word “agility,” and for good reason. Finding ways for your business, and the analytics it runs on, to become and remain agile, even at global scale, is no small task; but the payoff is huge in terms of gaining competitive advantage in existing markets and leveraging new ones. I’ve written a lot on the Sentient Enterprise journey to become more agile over time, but some of you have asked to learn more on how to assess a company’s current level of agility. It’s an important question, since an accurate picture of where you are today is also your starting point for making things better tomorrow. So here are a few tips I’d like to share for working up a good baseline assessment on agility.


Conduct an Independent Agility Audit

I’ve written before on the importance of asking the right questions so you can pinpoint where the hurdles and opportunities lie. A “warts and all” checklist that looks at how you handle data, product development, funding, project management and other operations is a crucial first step in getting your organization primed for an agility makeover.

As you might guess, however, the navel gazing usually doesn’t go well when it’s done solely from within the company. That’s why I recommend you invest in an agility audit by an outside party – with no biases or political ties to your company – to help establish an independent, baseline assessment of how agile your analytics operations and processes currently are. The audit should be thorough and company-wide, with resulting collateral like presentations, trainings and a road map for change that includes future steps toward agility.

Build a Realistic “Hit List” of Existing Needs and Short Term Wins

Regardless of whether you do it yourself or get outside help, make sure to work up an itemized and prioritized backlog of current issues and tasks that need addressing. Your list should include some early wins – changes that can be made quickly and fairly easily – along with areas in need of more far reaching transitions that may require months or even years to implement. This process can help you uncover and socialize the practices and areas where your company is agile, and highlight those areas where agility lags.

Stay realistic as you build this list. As much as I advocate looking to startups and entrepreneurial practices for lessons and insights around agility, we can’t ignore some basic organizational realities that come with being a large company. Especially for publicly traded firms, for example, strict budgeting and reporting processes are a fact of life. No amount of cheerleading for agility can change that. But compromises are possible: Look to see if current policies allow you to designate annual or quarterly-funded “programs” that, in turn, support flexible allocation to a portfolio of short-term pilot projects. This lets you act like a startup internally, while still honoring big business norms around budgets and finance.

Assess Prospects for Ready-Made Internal Partnerships

You may be more agile than you think! That’s because — depending on your business — your assessment may uncover certain departments or operations that lend themselves to agile partnerships. Certain operations, like marketing, tend to work quickly and incrementally, with feedback loops built in. Marketing campaigns typically run on short cycles and measure progress frequently through surveys, social media and other channels. These kinds of operations match the agile cadence of your analytics approach, so they’re ripe for immediate collaboration.

Sometimes the same kind of operation will vary in suitability depending on the business context. The pace of supply chain operations, for example, may be ripe for agile analytics in the case of just-in-time parts provision manufacturing, or in e-commerce. Other contexts, like longer-term supply chain operations at a government agency, could take additional effort to partner up. Every business is unique, so the picture will be different for each company. But, at least you’ll have a snapshot of where you are today on the roadmap to agility.

Sugary drinks linked to diabetes


A new study projects some hard numbers for what many have suspected in the past – that sugary drinks are linked to diabetes. The researchers at University of Cambridge culled a number of past studies and found some disturbing connections between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes. Perhaps most startling was that the connection was evident regardless of whether a person was overweight or normal weight. Though the study didn’t show causation, the correlation should be enough, say the authors, to prompt us to give our sugar habits a good hard look.

After weeding out studies that appeared to be low quality, the team looked at 17 high quality studies on beverage consumption and the development of type 2 diabetes.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Water droplets cling to a bottle of Pepsi (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Running the statistics, they found that people who consumed one sugary drink per day had an 18% increased risk of developing diabetes over a 10 year period, compared to those who didn’t consume the drinks. After the team adjusted for weight, the risk of developing diabetes for a normal weight person was still increased by 13%.

“Even if people have the same body weight, or body size,” said lead author Fumiaki Imamura, “the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages of one serving per day was associated with 13% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.”

For artificially sweetened drinks, there was a trend toward a connection to diabetes, but it wasn’t significant after the researchers accounted for possible bias in the studies. Still, they say, the evidence is enough to make us rethink our belief that artificially sweetened beverages as a safe alternative to sugar. Other studies in recent months have suggested that artificially sweetened beverages may be linked to a number of other health problems, along with increased belly fat and disrupted gut bacteria, though these findings, too, are somewhat up for discussion.

And again, causation can’t be demonstrated here in the new study – just correlation. Other variables could theoretically be at play.

Assuming causation is behind the connection, however, the team extrapolated how many type 2 diabetes cases might be prevented if people just stopped drinking sugar-sweetened drinks. In the U.S., the team estimated that of the 21 million diabetes cases predicted to develop by 2020, two million of these would be prevented if people stopping consuming the drinks. In the U.K., where 2.6 million cases are predicted by 2020, they estimate that 80,000 of these would be prevented if people stopped drinking sugary drinks.

Earlier this month, a study estimated that globally 184,000 people die each year from health problems related to sugary drink consumption. More research is needed, of course, but the evidence is looking pretty rough for sugary drinks. They offer no nutritional value, and lead to a quick spike and drop in blood sugar. The American Beverage Association, in a response statement, simply points out that the study didn’t show causation. But while more research is being done, it probably doesn’t hurt to step away from the soda… Your pancreas, and other organs, will surely thank you.
America’s Fattest Cities
The Most Obese Metro Areas in America
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The Most Obese Metro Areas in America

Obesity rates nationwide are rapidly increasing. According to Gallup, the national rate in 2013 was 27.1% — the highest it’s been since the organization started tracking the numbers. But some communities’ obesity rates exceed even that. These metro areas have the highest rates in the country.

Photo: Forbes, Seicer via en.wikipedia

Dylann Roof indicted on federal hate crime charges





COLUMBIA, S.C. — The man accused of slaying nine black church members in Charleston was indicted on federal hate crime charges on Wednesday.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the 33 charges at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Lynch said Dylann Roof sought out African-Americans, in particular the African-American church Emanuel AME because of its historical significance.

The survivors and the families of those killed were informed earlier Wednesday about the indictment.

“To carry out these twin goals of fanning racial flames and exacting revenge, Roof further decided to seek out and murder African Americans because of their race,” Lynch said. “An essential element of his plan, however, was to find his victims inside of a church, specifically an African-American church, to ensure the greatest notoriety and attention to his actions.”

Lynch said no decision to seek the death penalty has yet been made.

The move has been expected since Roof’s arrest after the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

Federal officials have previously said that the shootings generally meet the legal requirements for a hate crime and that federal charges were likely. Roof, who is white, appeared in photos waving Confederate flags, and survivors told police that he hurled racial insults during the attack.

After the attack, an apparent manifesto of Roof’s popped up online. In it, he appears to write about his alleged plot, including why he picked Charleston as the site for the attack: “I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”

A law enforcement source told CBS News’ Pat Milton that eye witness told authorities that Roof stood up in the church and said words to the effect that he was there to shoot black people, and then uttered other derogatory remarks.

A law enforcement source told CBS News that at the time of the shooting, Roof was essentially homeless. He had no fixed address, and moved from place to place. The FBI is interviewing his parents.

A friend says Roof had told him recently that black people were taking over the world and that something needed to be done for the white race.


Businessman Donald Trump surged into the lead for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, just as he ignited a new controversy after making disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War service, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Support for Trump fell sharply on the one night that voters were surveyed following those comments. Telephone interviewing for the poll began Thursday, and most calls were completed before the news about the remarks was widely reported.

Although the sample size for the final day was small, the decline was statistically significant. Still, it is difficult to predict what could happen to Trump’s support in the coming days and weeks as the controversy plays out.

Even with the drop in support on the final night of the survey, Trump was the favorite of 24 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That is the highest percentage and biggest lead recorded by any GOP candidate this year in Post-ABC News polls and marks a sixfold increase in his support since late May, shortly before he formally joined the race.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his candidacy a week ago, is in second place, at 13 percent, followed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, at 12 percent. Walker’s support is strongest among those who describe themselves as “very conservative.”
Nine people and groups Donald Trump has denounced
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Not one to back down easily from controversial statements, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s disapproval list continues to grow.

The next seven, ranging in support from 8 percent to 3 percent, are: former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), former Texas governor Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The rankings are more important than early national surveys in previous campaigns because only the top 10 candidates, based on an average of the most recent national polls, will qualify for the first Republican debates. The first debate will be held Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Fox News Channel is the sponsor of that event and established the rules for eligibility.

The bottom six candidates in the Post-ABC News survey are Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who plans to announce his candidacy Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York governor George Pataki, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). Their support ranges from 2 percent to less than 1 percent.

The Republican race remains highly fluid and continues to change with each survey. Four months ago, Bush was at 21 percent, and that support has dropped significantly. Others who have faced erosion include Cruz, who was at 12 percent shortly after he announced his candidacy this spring and is at 4 percent now. Paul was at 11 percent two months ago and is at 6 percent in the new survey. Christie also has dropped steadily, from 14 percent in January to 3 percent.

[Trump says John McCain is not a hero]

In the contest for the Democratic nomination, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains a wide lead, with 68 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they would vote for her today in a caucus or primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is drawing big and enthusiastic crowds in many states, is in second, at 16 percent. Support for Sanders has grown with each Post-ABC News poll this year.

Trailing the top two candidates are former senator Jim Webb (Va.), at 5 percent, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, at 2 percent, and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln D. Chafee, at 1 percent.
View Graphic
Donald Trump dominates the Republican conversation

When Vice President Biden is included as a choice, Clinton is at 63 percent, Sanders at 14 percent and Biden is at 12 percent. Biden is not a declared candidate but has not said definitively that he will not run.

Clinton, who has highlighted the possibility of becoming the first female president in U.S. history, is far more popular among Democratic women than men, by almost 20 points. About 9 in 10 of her supporters say they are enthusiastic about her candidacy.

Part of Clinton’s strength is that she is considered ideologically acceptable to a broad swath of the Democratic Party. Nearly 7 in 10 say she is “about right” ideologically. Only 40 percent say the same about Sanders, in part because nearly as many say they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

Sanders is more popular among liberal Democrats than those who are moderate or conservative. He is significantly more popular among college graduates than those without a college degree. Although his message attacks what he calls the “billionaire class” and focuses on wealth and income inequality, he has more support among Democrats earning more than $50,000 than among those who make less than that.

The poll also tested attitudes about President Obama, who has recorded a series of victories over the past six weeks. They include Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage and upholding the Affordable Care Act, a hard-fought win in Congress on trade policy (with significant GOP support) and last week’s agreement with Iran designed to check that country’s path to developing a nuclear weapon.

Those successes have not changed Obama’s overall approval rating, however. The new survey shows that 45 percent approve of the way he is handling his job and 50 percent disapprove, almost identical to the poll in late May.

Just 35 percent say they approve of how he is handling the situation with Iran, while 52 percent disapprove. He receives better marks on the economy, with 47 percent saying they approve and 48 percent saying they disapprove. His ratings on the economy are unchanged from the last poll.

[McCain says Trump owes apology to military families]

Trump has dominated campaign news since he announced his candidacy. His comments about illegal immigrants have drawn strong responses, pro and con. He said that the Mexican government is sending across the U.S.-Mexican border criminals, drug dealers and rapists, but that some of the immigrants are “nice” people.

Through nonstop media interviews and some high-profile appearances, including a big rally in Phoenix on July 11, he has drowned out his opponents. His rivals were tentative in taking issue with his immigration comments but pounced over the weekend when he went after McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war, who drew the ire of Trump when he said the Phoenix rally had drawn out the “crazies” in the GOP.

Trump has struck a chord with at least a part of the Republican electorate. He does far better among those who are not college graduates than among those who are.

His support among men and women is about the same, and he performs somewhat better among GOP moderates than among those who say they are “very conservative.”

His views on immigration are not widely shared. Just 16 percent of Americans say that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are mainly “undesirable people like criminals,” while 74 percent say they are mainly “honest people trying to get ahead.”

Even in the Republican Party, Trump’s characterizations reflect a minority view. Among Republicans, 66 percent say undocumented immigrants from Mexico are mainly honest, while 19 percent say they are mainly undesirable.

There is clear resistance to his candidacy within the party. A majority (54 percent) say his views do not reflect the core values of the Republican Party.

If Trump were to receive the GOP nomination, 62 percent of Americans say they definitely would not consider voting for him. In contrast, just over 4 in 10 say they would definitely not consider voting for Clinton, Bush or Sanders.

Trump, however, could become a factor if he were to leave the GOP race and run for president as an independent. The survey shows that in a hypothetical three-way race, Clinton is at 46 percent, Bush is at 30 percent and Trump is at 20 percent among registered voters.

Trump takes more support away from Bush than Clinton in such a contest. In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton tops Bush by 50 percent to 44 percent among registered voters.

At this point, big majorities in each party say they are satisfied with their choices in the presidential race, with Democrats slightly more so. But compared with this time four years ago, Republicans are noticeably more satisfied with their field of candidates today.

The Post-ABC News poll was conducted July 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults, including landline and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Full results of the poll and detailed methodology are available here .

Southern Israel (CNN)Israeli soldiers were stunned when they found the Hamas tunnel leading from Gaza toward an Israeli kibbutz.

They knew that Palestinian militants had been digging tunnels for years, but they didn’t expect anything so elaborate.

The tunnel’s walls, floors, and ceiling were made of concrete, and the tunnel was wired for electricity and communication.

It was wide enough and tall enough to move quickly; a person could run with weapons, or even ride a motorcycle.

“This tunnel is perfectly safe to be inside, which means that it is a very good building procedure,” Israel Defense Forces Capt. Daniel Elbo says. And he would know — Israeli military engineers briefed him after they checked it out.

During the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas militants launched surprise attacks from tunnels that crossed under Israel’s security fence and into Israel.

Dozens destroyed

Identifying and destroying the tunnels became a major goal of the war for the IDF, which found many tunnels that were more than a mile long and 60 feet deep. By war’s end, the IDF had destroyed 32 tunnels.

Now, along the Gaza border, the Israeli military is testing a new tunnel detection system a year after the end of the Gaza war.

Israel’s intelligence officials say Hamas is building new tunnels, and finding them has become a top priority for the IDF.

“Just like a game of hide-and-seek,” says Maj. Nir Peled. “We manage to find one tunnel, so we know that Hamas are digging the next tunnel in a different way, in a different depth.”

Israeli intelligence knew of the existence of tunnels years before the Gaza war, says Peled, but still had trouble pinpointing them.

The tunnel stretching from Khan Yunis toward Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha — a distance of more than 2 miles — was found in the months before the war. Israel estimates that it had been under construction for at least three years.

And construction is only getting better.

“The next tunnels will be at least as good as this one,” Elbo says.

Battleground of the future

Israel won’t reveal many details about its new tunnel detection system for security reasons.

Tunnel expert Atai Shelach says to give out information about the system would allow Hamas and other militant groups to devise ways to avoid detection.

Tunnels will play a major part in future wars in the region, he says, and developing an effective detection system is critical.

“It’s going to be our problem for at least five decades,” Shelach predicts. “One of the main tools to struggle and to be a kind of a fair fight is to go underground,” he says, where a tunnel’s narrow confines can turn a bigger battle into a one-on-one fight.

In its effort to find new tunnels, Israel is cooperating with the United States.

An amendment to the House Defense Appropriations Bill allocates $40 million to work with Israel on the design and development of tunnel defense systems. And an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act from Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York, requires a report on the use of tunnels by militaries and militant groups.

“They are used for terrorist attacks, but they are also used to smuggle arms and contraband,” Israel said. “We have learned that these tunnels are being used well beyond Israel. Korea is another example — tunnels have been found in North Korea. Here at home, more than 150 tunnels have been found since 2009.”

Gaza's dangerous game of hide and seek

Gaza’s dangerous game of hide and seek 02:26

Before the Gaza war, Israel developed Iron Dome, a defense system that shot rockets out of the skies as they flew toward Israeli towns and cities near Gaza.

Now, Israel is working on the underground equivalent of the Iron Dome, a system that can identify a tunnel before it becomes a threat.

Why is Sandra Bland dead the investigation deepens




The family of Sandra Bland, whose death in a Texas jail has drawn national attention, expressed anger Wednesday over a newly released video they say offers further proof that her arrest was unnecessary.

“I’m infuriated and everybody else should be infuriated,” Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, told reporters.

Bland, who authorities say hanged herself in her jail cell, was not clinically diagnosed with depression or on any medication and was “ecstatic” at the prospect of starting a new job at her alma mater in Texas, family attorney Cannon Lambert said at a press conference.

“Why is it that a 28-year-old woman who had received two job offers take her own life? Why would she call her mom in excitement about those jobs and take her own life?” Lambert asked.

But Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said Bland told the county jailer during her intake that she had previously tried to kill herself. Smith provided no further details but said the county plans on releasing the jail intake forms later tonight. Lambert was not immediately available for comment.

Cooper said the dashcam video clearly showed the trooper was not threatened and took her younger sister into custody merely because his “ego” was wounded.

“But when you tell me that you’re going to ‘light me up’ I feel extremely threatened and concerned and I’m not going to get out of my car,” she said of the trooper’s words and actions.

Lambert said the possibility of a lawsuit has not been ruled out.

“If you look at the dashcam, I think that you see right out of the gate that this could have easily been avoided,” he said.

The family said the video has raised even more questions over whether Bland should have been arrested at all.

The dashcam video shows Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia pulling Bland over on July 10 for allegedly failing to use her turn signal. What started as normal conversation gets testy after Encinia asks her to put out her cigarette.

“I am in my car. I don’t have to put out my cigarette,” Bland says.

“You can step on out now,” Encinia replies.

Bland refuses to get out of her car, and the trooper opens her door and starts trying to pull her out of the vehicle.

What happens after that has ignited a debate about what the officer could have done versus what he should have done.

‘For a failure to signal?’

In the video, Encinia tells Bland she is under arrest. She repeatedly asks why, but the trooper does not answer, other than to say, “I am giving you a lawful order.”

Sandra Bland, 28, was about to begin a new job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater.

They argue, then Encinia pulls what appears to be his Taser and points it at Bland.

He screams: “Get out of the car! I will light you up! Get out! Now!”

Bland then exits the car of her own accord, saying: “Wow, really, for a failure to signal? You’re doing all of this for a failure to signal?”

Much of what happens next is not seen on camera, but the officer can be heard saying Bland is not compliant.

“When you pull away from me, you’re resisting arrest,” Encinia says.

A clearly upset Bland can be heard saying: “You’re a real man now. You just slammed me, knocked my head in the ground. I got epilepsy you mother******.”

“Good,” he replies.

A female officer tells Bland she should have thought about that before she started resisting.

What’s the legality here?

Technically, a driver can get arrested in Texas for failing to use a turn signal.

In the video, Encinia tells Bland he intended to give her a warning, until she failed to comply with orders and repeatedly cursed at the trooper.

Video of Sandra Bland's traffic stop

Video of Sandra Bland’s traffic stop 02:14

“You were getting a warning … until now,” Encinia says. “You’re going to jail.”

CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck said the trooper did have the right to ask Bland to get out of the car and then try to pull her out of the vehicle.

“The fact is an officer can make an arrest anytime … you run a red light, parking ticket, anything like that,” Houck said. “What he did was he notices she was agitated.”

But Houck, a retired New York Police Department detective, said the video concerned him.

“The one problem I have was just that he told her to get out of the car because she wouldn’t stop smoking.”

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said she advises people that “when you have a police encounter, you want to make it as short and sweet as possible.”

“But I don’t think that he had the right to ask her to get out of the car because not putting out your cigarette is not cause for an arrest.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said Encinia has been taken off the street and has been assigned administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation.

“We have certain procedures in place, and he did not comply with those procedures,” McCraw said. “One of the many procedures is letting the individual know in terms of what actions are going to be taken.”

The director also said, “A DPS state trooper has an obligation to exhibit professionalism and be courteous throughout the entire contact, and that wasn’t the case in this situation.”

What’s the response?

Cooper thanked the public for rallying around her family since Bland’s death.

“She has been in the minds and thoughts of everybody,” Cooper said. “Please keep tweeting, keep Facebooking and Instagraming.”

Emotions ran high as people across the country watched the video.

“Just watched about 20 minutes of Sandra Bland’s traffic stop,” one person tweeted. “(I don’t know) if I’ve ever been so heated. I can feel my blood boiling.”

“Half of my family (including my mother) works in law enforcement,” Ashley C. Ford tweeted. “I am well aware of my rights. Sandra Bland should’ve never been arrested.”

Encinia has not spoken publicly about the incident. But he gave his account in his arrest warrant affidavit, as reported by CNN affiliate KPRC-TV in Houston.

The trooper wrote that Bland became “combative and uncooperative” and that she was placed in handcuffs “for officer safety.”

“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” Encinia said. “I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand. Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back.”

Encinia also wrote that Bland “was placed under arrest for Assault on a Public Servant.”

Why problems with video?

The Texas Department of Public Safety released almost an hour of dashcam video. But in parts of the footage, the video is looped while the officer’s audio continues uninterrupted.

For example, there are moments when a car or wrecker driver appears in the frame, suddenly disappears and then appears once again.

But the video of the traffic stop was not edited, according to Texas Department of Public Safety public information officer Tom Vinger. “There was a technical issue during posting later in the video, and we are working to correct,” Vinger said Wednesday.

Murder or suicide?

While the video of Bland’s arrest may be startling, it still doesn’t explain how she died in jail three days later.

Sandra Bland jail video released

Sandra Bland jail video released 04:54

According to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, Bland was found “in her cell not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.” She received CPR, and an ambulance came, but she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Authorities said Bland apparently hanged herself with a trash bag from a metal barrier that separated the bathroom from the rest of the cell.

There were no cameras inside her cell, but cameras in the hallway showed no one entering or leaving before the discovery of her body.

Bland’s relatives said they don’t believe the 28-year-old would have killed herself. They said she had just moved to Texas and looked forward to her new job as a student ambassador to the alumni association at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis promised a thorough and exhaustive review of the case, which will be presented to a grand jury.

“It has not been determined at this point that this was a murder. This investigation is being conducted as a murder investigation would,” Mathis said. “Whatever the ultimate determination may be, whether that’s a suicide or a homicide, that will ultimately be decided by a grand jury.”

Sandra Bland's sister: We have far more questions now

Sandra Bland’s sister: We have far more questions now 04:00

Mathis said Bland’s family had made “valid points that she did have a lot of things going on in her life that were good.”

But investigators were examining online videos posted by Bland in March in which she talked about battling depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Mathis.

Sharon Cooper said her sister hadn’t been diagnosed with either depression or PTSD and that her video message was intended to be inspirational to people feeling the same way.

The Texas Rangers and the FBI are also investigating Bland’s death.

What we know about the controversy in Sandra Bland’s death