Friday, June 25, 2010

More American women go childless

WASHINGTON, June 25  -- Nearly one in five American women end their childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one in 10 in the 1970s, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Friday.

Based on the Census Bureau's statistics, the report uses the standard measure of childlessness at the end of childbearing years, which is the share of women ages 40 to 44 who have not borne any children.

Overall, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who have not borne a child grew from 10 percent in 1976 to 18 percent in 2008, with the total number rose from nearly 580,000 to 1.9 million.

"Social pressure to bear children appears to have diminished for women and that today the decision to have a child is seen as an individual choice," the report said when explaining the rise in childless rate. "Improved job opportunities and contraceptive methods help create alternatives for women who choose not to have children."

"At the same time, there has been a general trend toward delayed marriage and childbearing, especially among highly educated women. Given that the chance of a successful pregnancy declines with age, some women who hope to have children never will, despite the rise in fertility treatments that facilitate pregnancy, " the report added.

The research found that among women ages 40 to 44, there are equal numbers of women who are childless by choice and those who would like children but cannot have them.

Pew also emphasized that the most educated women still are among the most likely never to have had a child, but the rates have come down sharply.

In 2008, 24 percent of women ages 40 to 44 with a master's, doctoral or professional degree had not had children, a decline from 31 percent in 1994. In the meantime, childlessness has risen sharply for women with less than a high school diploma -- from 9 percent in 1994 to 15 percent in 2008.

Video: Israelis mark fourth year of soldier Shalit's captivity

Obama claims victory in financial overhaul deal

The Associated Press - Jim Kuhnhenn - ‎25 minutes ago‎

WASHINGTON - House and Senate negotiators reached a dawn agreement Friday on legislation that redefines federal oversight of the financial industry and, following the signing of the health care act in March, adds another milestone to mark the Obama ...

The Obama administration stops at nothing to accomplish their goals

By Adam Bitely

Nearly 150,000 jobs connected to the offshore oil drilling industry are in jeopardy over hypocrisy from the Obama administration. In the Gulf Coast alone, where the economies of the Gulf States are still recovering from devastating hurricanes, the Obama administration has made it clear that they will play politics with the livelihoods of the citizens rather than do what is right. When so many people are depending on government to do the right thing, the Obama administration says one thing and does another.

Consider the unfolding episode with Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. Salazar has come under scrutiny for falsifying a 30-day review of the offshore drilling program conducted by seven engineers from the National Academy of Engineering. Specifically, the administration changed the findings of the report to back-up the Obama administration’s policy of placing a ban on offshore drilling permits. The report from the engineers makes no such finding, and they have spoken out.

While Salazar has come forth and admitted that the changes were made, unbeknownst to the people that actually wrote the report, Salazar has continued to push his doctored report as fact. The engineers that participated in the review came forth and brought the issue to light. However, their exposure of the Obama administration’s blatant doctoring of the report to reinforce the Administration’s endorsed position has received little coverage.

Couple Salazar’s actions with those of Steven Chu. Not 3 years ago, Chu participated in an interview where he lavished high praise on BP. According to Chu, BP will help “save the world.” Fast forward to today, and Chu now supports a complete ban on offshore drilling, backing up the Administration’s position.

It seems that the Obama administration has forgotten that many jobs are on the line and that the Gulf Coast economy will be heavily impacted — for the worst.

Get full story here.

Democrats Need to Put a Stop to the Government’s Spending Spree

By Rebekah Rast

While the Republican Study Committee (RSC) is working to balance our nation’s budget, Obama and the Democrats in Congress are ensuring our nation plunges further into debt.

As Democrats are worried about elections in the months ahead, they don’t want to see a budget that would officially note big deficits. So, their answer? Don’t create a budget.

As America faces unprecedented debt and an economy as rocky as the one in the 1930s, it is a bad idea to not create a budget that would begin to dig the nation out of the deep hole it is in.

“Families across the country have been forced to put restrictions on their spending and Congress needs to make the federal government do the same,” says Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson. “We cannot continue down the same road we are on. It is the responsibility of the Democrats in Congress to create a sound budget and get it passed.”

As Republicans are asking Democrats where their budget is, old comments made to Republicans are beginning to surface. In 2006, when Republicans held the majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate, a final budget passed in the House, but the Senate could not agree. Seeing this as an opportunity to blast the Republicans, some Democrats comments are now coming back to haunt them — especially since the House has always at least passed its version of a budget — unlike what we are seeing in the House now.

Get full story here.

At Least He’s Consistent

Ted Kennedy's KGB Correspondence

By Kevin Mooney

Originally Published at the American Spectator.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's self-serving, secret correspondence with Soviet agents during the height of the Cold War included proposals for collaborative efforts designed to undermine official U.S. policy set by Democratic and Republican administrations, KGB documents show.

With the media now reporting on the late senator's just released Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file, now is an opportune time for a more expansive investigation into Kennedy's KGB contacts. The agency took a keen interest in a 1961 "fact-finding" trip the Massachusetts Democrat took to Mexico and other parts of Latin America where he may have had contact with communist agents, according to the file.

However, the 2,352 pages of FBI files that cover a period ranging from 1961 to 1985 only tell a small part of the story and do not mention Kennedy's overtures to Soviet officials. These did not become known outside of Moscow until several years after Cold War tensions receded.

Kennedy's long history with the KGB is well documented, but underreported. It remains available through the writings of the now deceased Vasiliy Mitrokhin, who defected to Britain from the Soviet Union in 1992, and a separate 1983 memo addressed to then General Secretary Yuri Andropov. Kennedy's actions occurred at the expense of presidential authority and in violation of federal law, according to academics and scholars who are familiar with the documents.

Get full story here.

ALG Condemns House for Passing First Amendment Restrictions, Urges Senate to Block Bill

June 25th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today condemned the House of Representatives for passing the DISCLOSE Act that Wilson described as “an egregious violation of First Amendment rights, requiring most corporations and non-profits to comply with labyrinthine regulations while improperly exempting media organizations, the NRA, AARP, the Sierra Club, most unions and others.”

“Despite all of the flak about special carve-outs for certain organizations, House Democrats embraced some of the most onerous restrictions on political speech in the history of the Republic while handing out special licenses to the highest bidders,” Wilson said.

“The legislation also leaves in place the outdated blanket exemption for media organizations, which can say whatever it is they want about candidates, for or against, without any regulation or disclosure at all,” Wilson added.

According to 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i), the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act: “The term ‘expenditure’ does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication”. This media exemption to campaign regulation is reinforced in the DISCLOSE Act’s language on page 22.

“No bribery crisis of elected officials has ever emerged over editorial endorsements by newspapers or any other media outlet, and yet they have long been exempted from disclosure. Meanwhile, we assume that such a crisis exists with all other speech,” Wilson has previously stated.

After criticism from both sides of the aisle, the NRA carve-out was broadened to exempt organizations meeting the following criteria: at least 500,000 dues paying members (down from 1 million), members in all 50 states, receives no more than 15 percent of total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and doesn’t use corporate or union money to pay for campaign-related expenses.

Unions also received an exemption since only aggregate contributions of over $600 would be disclosed — most union dues are less than that.

The House vote was 219 in favor, and 206 opposed.

Get full story here.

90 percent of Americans eat too much salt: study...

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Only one in 10 Americans keep their salt intake within recommended levels, the rest overstepping the limits and risking high blood pressure and heart ailments, a CDC report says.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the average daily sodium intake of Americans was 3,466 milligrams, twice as much as recommended in health authorities' guidelines.

Americans in good health are advised to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, while people with high blood pressure, all middle-age and older adults, and all African-Americans should limit their intake to 1,500 milligrams.

The CDC study found only 9.6 percent of the US population fall within the sodium intake guidelines, including 5.5 percent of the group limited to 1,500 milligrams and 18.8 percent of the 2,300 milligrams per day group.

It also determined 77 percent of the salt eaten by Americans comes from processed and restaurant foods, especially pizza, breads and cookies that "may not even taste salty".

"Sodium has become so pervasive in our food supply, it's difficult for the vast majority of Americans to stay within recommended limits," said the study's lead author, Janelle Peralez Gunn.

The study coincides with a Food and Drug Administration review of daily sodium guidelines, which experts recommend should be lower than they are.

Only 1 in 10 Americans keep their salt intake within recommended levels, with the rest overstepping the limits and risking high blood pressure and heart ailments, a CDC report said Thursday.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the average daily sodium intake of Americans was 3,466 milligrams, twice as much as recommended in health authorities' guidelines. Photo:Mario Tama/AFP

California couple try to sell baby at Walmart, cops say

I must admit that a couple times when my darling daughter was throwing full-blown tantrums — I’ve threatened to sell her.

On eBay.

For $1.99.
Because I’m sure no one would pay more.

I’d never do it, of course.

However, if you believe the news reports, a couple in Califonia tried to hawk their baby for $25 outside a Walmart store.
Police said that Patrick Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20, were arrested Wednesday after Fousek allegedly approached two women outside a local Walmart and repeatedly asked them to buy his 6-month-old child.

Officers noted that the couple were high on methamphetamine.

Un-Happy Meal

by John Stossel

This week, the food-nanny lawyers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest threatened to sue McDonald’s if the chain doesn’t remove toys from Happy Meals. Never shy about scare-mongering, CSPI compares the burger chain to…a child molester:

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” said CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner. “McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity .... It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

CSPI gives McDonald’s 30 days to drop the toys or face lawsuits.

... [T]he practice of tempting kids with toys is inherently deceptive,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “I’m sure that industry’s defenders will blame parents for not saying ‘no’ to their children…”

He’s right. If kids are overweight, in most cases I’ll blame the parents. McDonald’s doesn’t make kids fat. Parents have the power to say NO. They can order apples instead of fries, milk instead of soda. They can teach their kids to put down the Xbox controller and exercise.

“... [B]ut multi-billion-dollar corporations make parents’ job nearly impossible by giving away toys and bombarding kids with slick advertising.”

Please. Parents have much more power than the advertisers do.

Ridiculous lawsuits like these from “consumer protectors” hurt consumers by driving up costs and letting lawyers limit our choices.

In fact, next week, I plan to do my FBN show on lawyers and lawsuit abuse. Suggestions invited.

Wizards Take John Wall First Overall, 76ers Grab Evan Turner

by Brian Ethridge

As most anticipated, the Washington Wizards grabbed Kentucky star John Wall with their first overall pick in the NBA draft which led the way for the Philadelphia 76ers to take Evan Turner with the Second pick.

“I feel like I had pressure since I became No. 1 in high school and was one of the top players,” Wall said. “I always got there hungry wanting to fight hard and compete in every game, so when I step on the court I’m going to take on any challenge there.”

Unlike the NFL draft

, there were no huge surprises in Thursday night’s NBA draft. Everyone expected Wall and Turner to go 1-2 and that’s exactly what happened. Derrick Favors was selected third overall by the Nets, the Wolves landed Wesley Johnson and the Kings rounded out the top 5 by grabbing DeMarcus Cousins.

I pretty much knew John was going to 1 and Evan was going 2, but I had no idea I was going to the Nets, and when they called me I was just excited,” Favors said.

This draft was loaded and I’m very anxious to see how these future stars all pan out.

World Cup: Portugal ties Brazil, both advance

Mike McDermott

Portugal has just wrapped up its opening-round play at the World Cup with a 0-0 draw against Brazil in Durban, South Africa.

Both teams have qualified for the knockout round out of Group G. Brazil won the group and will face the second-place finisher in Group H; Portugal came in second and will face the top team in Group H.

Right now Chile stands atop Group H with two wins in two games. Spain and Switzerland are tied for second, each with one win and one defeat, while Honduras is last with two losses. Chile plays Spain while Switzerland takes on Honduras at 2:30 today. If both Spain and Switzerland tie their matches today, the Spanish would advance based on their overall goal differential.

Federal panel considers Wesley Snipes' appeal

ATLANTA — A federal appeals panel is considering whether the arrest of actor Wesley Snipes' former financial adviser could pave the way for a new trial on tax evasion charges.

Snipes was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 2008, but his attorneys asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to allow a new request to dismiss the movie star's conviction or grant him a new trial.

The motion centers on the arrest of Kenneth Starr, the one-time financial adviser to Snipes and other celebrities.

He was a key witness in Snipes' 2008 trial but was charged in May with securities fraud worth $59 million.

Tell Rush Limbaugh He's Wrong About Governor Christie's Budget

Call Rush’s Show at 1-800-282-2882 – Tell Him The Truth About the Governor’s Budget

I have a lot of respect for Rush Limbaugh and what he has done for the conservative movement.

But when Rush is wrong it is up you and me to let him know the facts and set him straight.

Rush thinks Governor Christie is cutting spending and cutting spending but you and I know better.

The governor’s budget is a bad budget for New Jersey and it needs to be stopped.

Governor Christie was elected to rein in Trenton and cut taxes to ignite New Jersey’s ailing economy. Instead, he has proposed a budget with a massive $2.56B property tax increase on New Jersey homeowners.

The governor is taking this $2.56B directly out of the Property Tax Relief Fund to pay for growing Trenton’s bloated bureaucracy and expanding welfare and other entitlement programs. These are not spending cuts! This is money that by law belongs in the pockets of you, the taxpayer.

Here are the indisputable facts about the outrageous spending in the Christie budget:

$613M for nursery schools mostly in inner city the Abbott Districts

An increase of $107M for the state’s public option health insurance program called NJ FamilyCare

An increase in food stamp eligibility from 135% of the federal poverty level to 185%

An increase in funding for the “Healthcare Subsidy Fund” charity care by $79 million, for those ineligible for government and non-government sponsored healthcare (read: illegal aliens)

The budget promulgates Cap & Trade by using approximately $70M in funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program to help balance the budget

The governor punts on a $3B pension obligation while the state’s pension system is near collapse (Mercatus reports this week that New Jersey’s pension liability is a staggering $173B!)

The governor’s budget does not lay off one government bureaucrat -- not one – after the state’s workforce has exploded over the past decade under McGreevey and Corzine. There are no union givebacks or attempts to renegotiate contracts.

More Taxes and Fees in The Christie Budget

Further, the governor’s compromise with Democrats puts back almost $100M in funds for scores of liberal pet programs back into the budget is to be paid for with several new tax and fee hikes rather than cutting elsewhere.

There’s a new tax on insurance premiums (Bill S2096);

A new tax on health care – the hospital bed tax (Bill S2143);

A new tax on new business filing fees (Bill S2088);

And a tax on consumers that will confiscate more than 28 million dollars of gift cards purchased in New Jersey. (Bill S2112)

That’s right. If you do not use a gift card to your favorite restaurant after one year, the State will confiscate the money!

It is time for Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the national media to know the facts about the Christie budget.


On to Victory,

Steve Lonegan

State Director

Reputed Drug Lord Christopher Coke Arrested In Jamaica

A month after a mini-war broke out in Kingston when the government bowed to U.S. pressure to arrest him, alleged drug lord and political power broker Christopher "Dudus" Coke has finally been taken into custody in Jamaica. Coke will likely be extradited to New York (that sort of happens all the time, doesn't it?) where he has been charged with illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons.

Here are a few other good ones from Wikipedia's list of famous aptronyms:

German author and professor of psychiatry Jules Angst

BBC meteorologist Sara Blizzard

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman

Toilet inventor Thomas Crapper

Milwaukee Brewers first-baseman Prince Fielder

Model and actress Megan Fox

Convicted embezzler Bernie Madoff

Founding chairman of the New York Port Authority Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge

Botanist Michael Pollan

Metallica producer Bob Rock

British poet William Wordsworth

Trading scandal erupts on Wall Street Michigan Avenue

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, traded favors with disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich like two kids trade baseball cards. “I’ll give you two A-Rods and a Derek Jeter for a $2,000,000 school grant.”

NBC Chicago has the decidedly dirty details:

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, then a congressman in Illinois, apparently attempted to trade favors with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while he was in office, according to newly disclosed e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.

Emanuel agreed to sign a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Blagojevich in the face of a scathing editorial by the newspaper that ridiculed the governor for self-promotion. Within hours, Emanuel’s own staff asked for a favor of its own: The release of a delayed $2 million grant to a school in his district.

The 2006 discussion occured with Blagojevich’s top aide, Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk, and doesn’t appear to cross legal lines; Emanuel couldn’t speed up the distribution of the funds. But it offers a peek at ties between two high-profile Illinois politicians — one now the president’s right-hand man, the other facing years in prison if convicted of political corruption.

Anybody wanna bet that Emanuel’s name comes up more than once in Blogojevich’s corruption trial?

Lawmakers Agree on Wall Street Reform Package at Dawn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers finalized a historic overhaul of financial regulations as dawn broke over Capitol Hill on Friday, handing President Barack Obama a major domestic victory on the eve of a global summit devoted to financial reform.

In a marathon session of more than 21 hours, legislators hammered out a rewrite of Wall Street rules that will crimp the industry’s profits and saddle it with tougher oversight and tighter restrictions.

The reform must still win final approval from both chambers of Congress before Obama can sign it into law, giving Wall Street one final chance to deploy its army of lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Quick action is expected and it could go to Obama for his signature by July 4.

But the bill has actually gotten tougher in its yearlong journey through the halls of Congress. Democrats rode a wave of public disgust at an industry that awarded itself rich paydays while much of the country struggled through a deep recession caused by its actions.

“We worry about big money. I worry about big money having a corrupting influence, but it is reassuring to know that when public opinion gets engaged, it will win,” said Democratic Representative Barney Frank, who headed the panel.

The most sweeping rewrite of financial rules since the 1930s aims to avoid a repeat of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which touched off the recession and led to taxpayer bailouts of floundering financial giants. Financial institutions would have to pay $19 billion to cover its costs.

Democrats raced to complete their work before Obama traveled on Friday to Canada for the Group of 20 meeting of economic powers. Obama will be able to tout the reform as a blueprint for other countries as they try to coordinate their reform efforts.

Passage of the bill, now widely expected. will also give Democrats an important legislative victory, alongside healthcare reform, ahead of congressional elections in November.


Lawmakers munched chocolates to stay awake as regulators and administration officials hovered in the wood-paneled room, and as the night wore on they yielded the microphones to staff to debate the bill’s finer points.

The panel completed its work as dawn broke just after 5:30 a.m., more than 21 hours after it sat down to work.

Along the way, they resolved several controversial sticking points that had threatened to scuttle the bill.

They agreed to water down a proposal by Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln that would have required banks to spin off their lucrative swaps-dealing desks to a separately capitalized affiliate.

Dozens of House of Representatives Democrats said Lincoln’s proposal would force trading overseas, and threatened to vote against the bill if it included the provision.

The compromise allows banks to stay involved in foreign-exchange and interest-rate swaps dealing, which account for the bulk of the $615 over-the-counter derivatives market.

They also could participate in gold and silver swaps and derivatives designed to hedge banks’ own risk.

They would need to spin off dealing operations that handle agricultural, energy and metal swaps, equity swaps, and uncleared credit default swaps.

Lawmakers resolved another controversial element of the bill around midnight when they agreed that banks should face restrictions on their risky trading activities.

As with Lincoln’s swaps provision, the financial industry won significant last-minute concessions in that rule, named for White House economic adviser Paul Volcker.

The final version of the Volcker rule would give regulators little wiggle room to waive the trading ban but would also allow banks to invest up to 3 percent of their tangible equity in hedge funds and private equity funds.

The panel also resolved other issues which will have far-reaching implications for the financial industry.

They agreed to tighten bank capital rules to help them ride out future crises.

Banks would have five years to meet the rules, which force them to exclude some riskier securities from core capital. Banks with less than $15 billion in assets would be exempt.

The panel also agreed to let regulators set higher standards of duty for broker-dealers who give financial advice and agreed to give investors an easier way to nominate corporate board directors.

They also watered down a provision to give shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive pay. That vote would take place once every two or three years, not annually.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, Rachelle Younglai and Kevin Drawbaugh; writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Alistair Bell, Jackie Frank and Anthony Boadle)

Congress Approves Financial Reform, Scott Brown Gets His Volcker Rule Loophole

Early this morning, at about 5:40 a.m., the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate’s respective versions of financial regulatory reform finished its work, with the House conferees approving the reconciled legislation on a 20-11 vote and the Senate approving it 7-5. Both votes were party line, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The bill was officially renamed the Dodd-Frank bill, after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA).

Before I start complaining about what went on last night, I should take a moment to note that this bill has many strong provisions that will help create a safer, more stable, and fairer financial system that does far more than the current one to protect consumers and rein in Wall Street excess. It creates a new consumer protection regulator, a resolution authority for dismantling failed banks without taxpayer money, and crafts a regulatory regime for derivatives where currently none exists. These are all significant achievements.

However, there were also some unsavory compromises worked out by the conferees overnight that will render the bill less transformative than it could have been. For instance, while a stronger version of the Volcker rule — a ban on banks trading for their own benefit with federally insured dollars — proposed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was included, conferees added an exemption to the rule sought by Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) that allows banks to continue to invest money in risky hedge funds and private equity firms.

Not only was Brown’s exemption included, but negotiators decided to allow banks to invest three percent of what’s known as Tier 1 capital, as opposed to three percent of what’s known as tangible common equity (TCE). This is a huge distinction, as banks have far more Tier 1 capital than TCE. As Shahien Nasiripour explained, this small change means that banks can place bets with billions of dollars more than was envisioned by the original Volcker rule proposal:

Using JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s second-largest bank by assets with more than $2.1 trillion, as an example, the bank would be able to invest an additional 40 percent of its cash, or more than $1.1 billion, in the activities that Volcker wanted to prohibit banks from engaging in, according to the firm’s latest annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Permitting banks to invest in risky entities strikes at the very heart of the Volcker rule, as former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker himself has said. “Allowing a bank to invest in a speculative fund goes against the very intent of the bill as we seek to define those activities that are worthy of government protection,” he said.

The bill now moves to one more vote in each chamber of Congress before going to the President for his signature. Conference reports can’t be amended.

By Pat Garofalo

Double Stevemails on iPhone 4 reception: "Just don't hold it that way"

With so much to do -- counting profits, making FaceTime prank calls to Woz, rubbing hands together and laughing manically -- it's hard to believe that El Steve is taking time out of his very busy day to answer his mail. Yet answer it he does, if our two most recent tipsters are on the level. Both are telling a very similar story about Steve's answers regarding the iPhone 4's gripping signal issues.

digg[In the latest news on the signal/contact problems, Boy Genius Report cites similar issues with some 3GS phones as evidence that the problem is a software hiccup in iOS 4, while MacRumors notes that bumper cases or other coverings for the 4 seem to resolve the problem. ArsTechnica wasn't able to reproduce the issue right-handed, but only holding the phone left-handed and with some effort. WhenWillApple has some electrical analysis that's worth a read.]

It seems Steve is happy to suggest the Mel Brooks approach to resolving the signal issue -- if we hold the phone that way, we won't need any signal boost. Tipster Rory Sinclair recounts today's email thread with the Apple CEO on his blog:

So, um, just got my iPhone 4. It's lovely and all, but this 'bridge the two antennae to kill your reception' thing seems to be a bit serious. If I bridge them with my hand or with a piece of metal the bars slowly drop to 'Searching...' and then 'No Service'.

It's kind of a worry. Is it possible this is a design flaw?

Regards - Rory Sinclair
Steve's reply:

Nope. Just don't hold it that way.

Rory pressed the issue once more, got the same response, and pressed it again, saying "Normally there aren't limits to how you hold a phone" -- finally getting this response from Steve:

Sure there are -- every phone has these areas of sensitivity, depending on the location of the antenna. Some phones even ship with labels warning customers to not cover certain areas with their hands.

Oooookay. You might think this was a non-answer answer, but it's the same one (or nearly) that reader Craig Brockman got from his email to Steve:

Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.

Craig's correspondence was even confirmed by MacRumors, which was granted access to his email account and validated the message headers.

That phrasing starts to sound like Steve has turned to the marketing department for some boilerplate copy, since he may end up answering a lot of these emails over the next few weeks. In fact, Engadget and The Loop say that this particular verbiage is the company's official statement on the problem, and both sites hypothesize that the Bumper cases may alleviate the issue.

If you've got signal issues on your iPhone with your normal grip, be sure to let Apple know -- then come back here and let us know, too.