October 2011

High Cancer Risk? Try These Super Foods

Though research isn't clear on why certain foods seem to have cancer fighting properties, it does show that these foods do indeed help in the prevention of cancer.  If you are concerned about your risk for cancer, or have a family history of cancer, eating more of these super foods will, at the very least, add healthy foods to your diet.

Broccoli
Hated by some and loved by others, broccoli seems to be an "all or nothing" kind of vegetable.  Steamed with salt and butter, dipped in ranch dressing, or slathered in rich, creamy cheddar cheese, broccoli is a tasty treat and is shown to be most beneficial in protecting against mouth, stomach and esophagus cancers, according to reviews of clinical studies.

Meet Dioxin, the Carcinogen

Health Issues, Exposure, and Prevention.

This week, I would like to talk about one of the most deadly groups of carcinogens known to our world.  Industrial processes involving bleach form dioxins, including incinerating and bleaching processes.  The chemical bleaching process for disposable diapers, for example, produces dioxin that persists in the environment.

Health Issues and Dioxin
The toxic effects from dioxin have been compared to the health dangers of DDT in the 1960's.  Studies have proven its ability to cause cancer and that there is no safe exposure amount for dioxin.  In addition to causing cancers such as breast cancer, dioxin is also proven to cause immune system damage and hormonal system interference.

Neurologists Study Link Between Brain and Political Philosophy

You may think your politics is guided by reason and logic, but neuroscience shows otherwise. How this may improve communication across parties.

There are a few things that one is never supposed to talk about in polite company; religion, politics, and one’s health. The three are seemingly not connected, with religion being a belief, one’s politics determined by rational thought, and health being a potentially gross conversation. However, researchers at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln have found that psychologically, all three are fairly closely related. Even more, they have found that a person’s politics are heavily determined by the physiological responses to more primal feelings like revulsion, fear, and confusion. According to the authors, the study “suggests that people’s physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.”

School Vouchers Debate

Not Just About Money

As the 2012 election season swings into high gear, more and more states legislatures are debating school voucher issues, and more candidates running for office are deciding which side of the debate to fall on.
    

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett recently introduced an expanded school voucher program for Pennsylvania’s worst performing schools. That legislation is currently under debate in the  state Senate. If passed,  it will move into the state House of Representatives.
    

In Ohio, a proposal to provide scholarships to private schools is drawing debate. The proposal allows families with higher income levels to use taxpayer funds to send their kids to the school of their choice. Ohio currently has a program to allow parents of children in schools with low academic achievement records to enroll them in the school of their choice. Under the new proposal parents would have the choice regardless of their current schools academic record.
  

But as more and more private and charter schools open up across America the issue of parental rights in determining the schools of choice for their children is beginning to be impacted by issues beyond money. Many opponents of school vouchers base their argument around the issue of money. Taking money out of public school budgets doesn’t help to support the remaining students or the public schools the argument goes.
 

Renewable Energy Should Be a Hot Button Issue In the Next Presidential Election

"Obama has directed federal agencies to speed up the process of turning research into commercially viable products."

Under Obama, the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program for renewable energy has been under major scrutiny since the Solyndra, a California based solar company, declared bankruptcy after receiving $528 million in federal loan money through this program.

What Does Wall Street Have In Common With Hackers? Everything, It Turns Out.

A recent Tech Crunch article expands on the idea that traders are hackers, but rewarded rather than prosecuted.

Th

ere’s no denying that we are living in one of those pivotal moments in America, even global, social change. Whenever we have seen a fundamental shift in the spirit of an age, when one era closes its doors and a new one opens, there is always unrest, instability, and and a shake-up of the social order. In that respect, many people are attempting to process it the only way they know how, which is to equate the unrest to something with which they’re familiar. It’s in that spirit that Tech Crunch contributor characterizes Wall Street, Occupy Wall Street, and the nature of that conflict. To Evans, it’s not the haves and the have-nots so much as it’s the “hackers” and the “hacker-nots”.

Obama Turns Up The Rhetoric, And The Action, On Jobs

Obama has pushed several executive orders on job creation, while deriding the GOP

President Obama turned up his aggressive stance on job creation last week, culminating in an address yesterday where he targeted Republicans for “not getting the message on jobs.” Though this is just the latest barb in the ongoing blame-game between Democrats, the White House, and Congressional republicans, given Obama’s unilateral moves over the past seven days, it seems that he’s putting his executive power where his mouth is. It should be noted that even as Obama criticized Republicans for not moving on his American Jobs Act, the House passed a vote to repeal a 3 percent tax on contractors, a small provision of his AJA.

Obama said on Saturday, of House Republicans, “Over and over, they have refused to even debate the same kind of jobs proposals that Republicans have supported in the past — proposals that today are supported, not just by Democrats, but by independents and Republicans all across America.” The President was referring to recent polls that show a large majority of Americans in support of a surtax on the wealthy (over 80% by some estimates, including the AP/GfK). His new partisan tact was showing when he went on to say that the House GOP was instead focused on “whether or not we should mint coins” and “to celebrate the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Obama said. “Meanwhile, they’re only scheduled to work three more weeks between now and the end of the year.” This according to POLITICO.

"Foreclosure Mill" Law Firm Mocks Foreclosure Victims With Homeless-Themed Party

Steven J. Baum law firm of New York hosts a homeless-themed office party.

The law firm Steven J. Baum is one of the primary “foreclosure mills” in the country, a processor of foreclosure filings for our largest mortgage lenders; Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup. They are also under investigation by the state attorney general, and the defendant in two class-action lawsuits, for alleged fraud, and negligence in their foreclosure processing activities. Despite these facts, the firm decided to throw a “homeless-themed” Halloween office party last year, the photos of which have ended up in The New York Times.

Political Ideology Tug O' War

"Will we ever return to common sense politics? (Has there ever really been such a thing?)"

When I came across this cartoon, it sparked a cord in me…

It seems that the words “Liberal” and “Progressive” have nearly become curse words in today’s political climate and the divide between the left and the right is quickly becoming a gaping hole.  Congressman who tries to bridge that gap are negatively referred to as “blue dogs” (moderate democrats) or “blue republicans” (moderate republicans).   I’ve often referred to my own political leanings as “liberal republican,” “conservative democrat,” or “progressively moderate.”  When I do, I usually get skewed looks and lost stares.

"Toilet To Tap" programs Catching On In Southwest

New water reclamation and recycling programs are now a necessity in the drought stricken southwest.

It has been said by many ecologists and social analysts that a clean water supply will be one of the most pressing and divisive of crises in the next century. In the American Southwest, where a decade long drought and inefficient agricultural practices have created an immense strain on municipal water supplies, some areas are turning to method that is increasing in popularity. Once unthinkable among American cities, but common practices in some of the arid places in the world, municipalities will begin reclaiming and recycling urine and other liquid waste from toilets into the water supply.

Experts have looked at this method for years, hailing it for one of the most efficient and easily adapted water conservation methods for municipal water supplies; the so called “toilet to tap” method. The water after recycling is just as contaminant free and potable as any other water within the city’s reservoirs, but the “psychological” factor of the city’s populace understanding where their water has come from has made it a hard sell for city’s leaders. Now, however, that seems to have changed.

History and ideology of the free market

" At the end of the 19th century, the market undoubtedly had organized political proponents, in the shape of laissez-faire liberalism."

The interpretation of free market has changed as time has passed. Economists have also altered their views of the free market. For example, Adam Smith is considered a classical economist and they thought that an economy should not have monopoly rents. On the other hand, laissez faire advocates reasoned that society should be free to create monopolies. Personally, I tend to see the free market in more of a laissez faire sense.

The laissez faire perspective of the free market was notably used in the 1962 Capitalism and Freedom, by economist Milton Friedman. This book which talks the function of economic capitalism in liberal society is credited with popularizing this usage.

Science Is the Key to Self Sufficiency

"Energy self sufficiency has never been more important and our scientists know it."

I spent several years working at one of the Department of Energy's national laboratories and I learned a lot about 

energy. Research is happening at laboratories and universities all over the world. Scientists have to come up with new and unique ways in order to compete for funding.

The government likes providing to unique projects, especially if they have some connection to energy production. Why? Because everyone is tired of paying more than $3 for a tank of gas and going to the poor house every winter. The federal government has made energy self sufficiency and energy production a priority and even after this administration is over, I don't see that changing.

California Governor Proposes Slashing Government Pension Plans

"Not surprisingly, the governor is running into a lot of resistance, from both fellow Democrats and state labor unions."

California Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to slash government pension plans in an attempt to ease the state’s 

ailing budget. Brown says his plan, which calls for a higher retirement age for new hires and having employees contribute more to their own pension plans, says the changes are needed because government pensions and the abuses associated with them pose a huge risk to California’s financial stability. He also wants pensions to be based only on an employee’s regular salary with overtime and bonus payments not counting.

Let Gays and Lesbians Adopt

It’s funny that so many politicians and religious folk are willing to force women to give birth and produce as many mini citizens as possible, but they aren’t willing to allow people to care for said babies. Actually, it’s not funny; it’s just incredibly, sadly ironic.

Eleven states do not allow gay couples or same-sex couples to adopt children. So more than 20% of our states feel like it’s okay to have orphans, kids being pushed around in the foster system, and even—gasp!—children living off the state rather than have kids taken into loving households where both parents identify as the same gender.

America - One of the Scariest Places on Earth

"We, as a people, never intended to have our leaders gamble with our lives, let alone secretly dictate the rules."

Today’s world just keeps getting more and more frightening. The American people are forced to stand by and watch as those in power continue to destroy the remains of a once great country. When you look around and see the massive unemployment, the rising numbers of people facing poverty, excessive and multiple wars, as well as the total disregard of fellow human beings you wonder how things could possibly get any worse.

Since President Obama has been in office, the following Executive Orders have been enacted:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 – allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 – allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 – allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 – allows the government to seize all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10999 – allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 – allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 – allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 – designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 – allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 – allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 – allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 – specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA's Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA's role as a “new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis.” FEMA's powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate the…

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 – grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 – assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 12148 – created the Federal Emergency Management Agency to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An “emergency czar” was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies. The bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 12656 – appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 12919 – Collects EOs 10995, 10997, 10998, 10999, 11000, 11001, 11002, 11003, 11004, 11005 and 11051 together into one new Executive Order.

 

These quite choices were made by a man who has proven inept, at best, when it comes to running our country. There was no media fanfare or announcements regarding these orders that possess and overwhelming magnitude for adversely affecting the lives of every individual within the borders of the United States. When you combine the aforementioned Executive Orders with the following ones made by prior presidents, the implications are terrifying.

National Security Act of 1947 – allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities.

1950 Defense Production Act – gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy.

Act of August 29, 1916 – authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency.

International Emergency Economic Powers Act – enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.

The Republican Presidential Candidates are a Threat to the Judicial System

We need to protect our checks and balances.

 

I don’t know that I am a strict constitutionalist like many in our nation, but I definitely value the checks and balances between the three branches of government in our nation. The checks and balances between the executive branch, the congressional branch, and the judicial branch have largely served our nation well in stopping one branch from abusing too much power, which is why I am so terrified by statements made by the current group of candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president. 

 

Many of the Republicans who would like to be president of the United States want to use illegal executive influence to abolish portions of the judicial branch or to prevent the judicial branch from ruling on controversial topics such as same sex marriage. Two candidates want to abolish the Ninth District Court of Appeals because they don’t agree with the court’s decisions. 

National Park Service Denies Responsibility For Hiker's Death

 

The U.S. Department of the Interior has denied over $10 million in wrongful death claims filed by a Washington State 

woman who claims the National Park Service is to blame for the death of her husband in Olympic National Park. On October 16th, 2010, Bob Boardman was hiking in the park with his wife and a friend when a mountain goat gored him to death. Boardman’s wife, Susan Chadd, says the Department of the Interior and National Park Service are to blame because they had previously complained about an aggressive goat and nothing was done. The NPS says they have no way of knowing if the goat that killed Boardman is the same one that they complained about. Chadd also admitted she doesn’t know either. The goat that killed her husband was shot to death by a park Ranger later that day and another aggressive goat was killed on September 6th.

Alabama Reform Law First Step In Evicting Kids From Public Schools

Alabama hopes its new comprehensive immigration reform law wil topple the decision to provide illegal immigrant children with an education.

Alabama has received increased attention as the most recent state to pass sweeping immigration reform, the most comprehensive state legislation yet. Proponents of the reform legislation say that it will fight illegal immigration by making it very difficult for immigrants in every aspect of their lives, to live and work in the state of Alabama. However, as The New York Times points out, they’ve “taken a very different tone when it comes to the part of the law concerning schools.” Alabama state attorney general Luther Strange noted in a court filing, “No child will be denied an education based on unlawful status.” Upon closer inspection, however, this is political subterfuge for the fact that, if the law works the way it’s supposed to, there won’t be any children of illegal immigrants left in the state to educate.

Obama Vows To Ease Student Debt Burden

Obama offers to lower student loan debt burden for new graduates, but issues remain.

Alabama has received increased attention as the most recent state to pass sweeping immigration reform, the most comprehensive state legislation yet. Proponents of the reform legislation say that it will fight illegal immigration by making it very difficult for immigrants in every aspect of their lives, to live and work in the state of Alabama. However, as The New York Times points out, they’ve “taken a very different tone when it comes to the part of the law concerning schools.” Alabama state attorney general Luther Strange noted in a court filing, “No child will be denied an education based on unlawful status.” Upon closer inspection, however, this is political subterfuge for the fact that, if the law works the way it’s supposed to, there won’t be any children of illegal immigrants left in the state to educate.

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