---- — The following is a look at editorials published by other newspapers across New England:
To hear President Barack Obama tell it, we should soon begin feeling something like the apocalypse.
Most of us have already shrugged our shoulders. We have become so accustomed to near-misses, last-minute deals and cans being kicked down the road that we don’t get very excited anymore.
You say the restrooms won’t work at Acadia, some federal workers will work four days rather than five and an aircraft carrier is stuck in Norfolk?
The federal sequestration that went into effect last Friday cuts $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget, or about 2.3 percent.
Obama has been barnstorming the country predicting that the “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” government programs.
Republicans, meanwhile, point out that federal spending has increased 17 percent since the president first took office and even after the cuts the government will spend more than it did the year before.
Indeed, these cuts will only slow the growth of the federal debt, not reduce it.
Consider the U.S. Department of Transportation, which received $75 billion in 2011 and then $89 billion in 2012, an increase of $14 billion.
Yet, when confronted with a mere $600 million cut, Secretary Ray LaHood threw up his hands and said he will start by furloughing air traffic controllers and there will be flight delays.
You would think he might start with something like trimming janitorial services or landscaping.
That he doesn’t could lead a cynical person to wonder whether LaHood was selecting cuts to have the maximum rather than minimum impact on travelers.
The biggest problem with sequestration isn’t what it does, but what it fails to do: restructure entitlements and taxes.
Republicans seem to be saying there is no more revenue to be raised or expenses to be cut by examining the vast array of government tax breaks and subsidies. That’s absurd.
There is no way the national debt can be contained in the long run without making gradual, long-term changes in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, yet those programs are untouched by the sequestration cuts.
The rest of us, weary of lurching from one disaster to another, will watch with resignation and disdain as our broken Congress continues to flounder.
The Sun Journal of Lewiston (Maine)
A diet for longer life
A five-year study of the Mediterranean diet — one high in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in meat, and marked by consumption of olive oil and nuts — has shown a 30 percent lower risk of cardiovascular problems compared to a control group. This study, initiated and paid for by a health agency of the Spanish government, adds additional solid science to the pile of evidence and anecdotes that traditional diets of the Mediterranean basin are among the most healthful.
The Spanish study, published this week by the New England Journal of Medicine, beautifully complements what has been learned through the Framingham study and many other efforts. Some 7,500 people — disease-free but at high risk for heart disease — were followed for about five years. Those in the groups who consumed a diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had fewer heart-related incidents than those in a low-fat diet group.
The basic menu: Lots of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals; a little fish and chicken; not much dairy or red meat. Limit sweets. Drink wine in moderation, and with meals.
Neither this nor any other study is the last word on the relationship between diet and health. But this study does help confirm that if you’re looking for better health through dining, the Mediterranean way is a promising one.
The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester