Men Kings of Valentines Day

first_img Electricity Cost of Service Study among the big agenda items at September 11 Cabinet meeting ALERT # 2 ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE NINE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT 9 PM EDT Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews Toast to the men… who also deserve to have a Happy Valentine’s Day!#MagneticMediaNewscenter_img Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, February 14, 2017 – It is Valentine’s Day – the day of love expressed with the purchase of candies including chocolates, marked with elaborate dinners and spa treatments and adorned in bouquets of fragrant fantastical roses.  Here is an interesting tidbit from the society of American Florists; In 2010  an estimated 198 million roses were produced for the Valentine’s Day holiday and men purchase about 75 percent of the 110 million roses sold in the U.S. at this time every year. The Luxury of Grace Bay in Down Town Provolast_img read more

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2019-09-17

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Man arrested by Escondido police after crashing stolen car into car wash

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2019-09-17

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900 million affordable housing measure one step closer to ballot

first_img February 9, 2018 $900 million affordable housing measure one step closer to ballot Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Ed Lenderman Posted: February 9, 2018center_img Updated: 5:50 PM 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsA proposed $900 million bond measure to build low-income housing got one step closer to the November ballot this week when a San Diego City Council committee voted 4-1 to have city staff further evaluate it.The proposal would raise taxes on city of San Diego property owners an average of $72 per year to pay for roughly 7,500 subsidized apartments for the chronically homeless, veterans, senior citizens, the disabled and low-income families.Supporters say the measure, which needs support from two-thirds of voters to pass, would simultaneously help solve the city’s homelessness problem and affordable housing crisis.In addition to the local money it would raise, the measure would help San Diego secure a greater share of state money devoted to homelessness and affordable housing by providing local matching funds typically necessary for such assistance.Without such local funds, San Diego will be eligible for less state assistance than other California cities and counties that have approved similar tax hike measures addressing homelessness in recent years.“I think you’ve presented very compelling arguments — both compassionate ones and financial ones,” Councilwoman Barbara Bry of La Jolla said during Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s Rules Committee. “The state is likely to pass a bond measure and we won’t get our fair share of the money unless we have local matching funds.”Councilman Chris Cate of Mira Mesa said he was concerned about the impact on middle-income and low-income property owners.“I appreciate that this is definitely for those who are most in need, and I can respect that, but there are also people who own homes that are struggling every day too, and this is an additional tax on them,” Cate said.Cate voted in favor of having the proposal analyzed further, but said he plans to scrutinize the final version thoroughly before the full council decides this summer whether to place it on the November ballot.Councilman Mark Kersey of Black Mountain Ranch, who cast the lone “no” vote on Wednesday, said one of his key concerns was that affordable housing is a countywide problem, but only city property owners would face property tax increases under the proposal.“Our city voters are basically being asked to shoulder a fairly large burden,” Kersey said.Stephen Russell, head of the San Diego Housing Federation and the man spearheading the bond measure, said polling showed a bond measure covering the whole county would be unlikely to pass.But he said a November poll of 600 likely voters living within the city showed 71 support for the measure, even after people were told how much property taxes would increase.The bond measure would increase property taxes $19 a year per $100,000 of a property’s assessed valuation, which is often much lower than a property’s market value because of the protections of tax-limiting Proposition 13.While the average sale price of a home in San Diego has surpassed $500,000, supporters say their calculations indicate the average homeowner would pay $72 per year if the bond measure passes.Kersey also questioned whether the measure might conflict with a separate November measure that would raise hotel taxes to expand the waterfront convention center, repair roads and address homelessness.Russell said the $30 million to $50 million per year that measure would devote to homelessness could fund counseling and other support services at the 7,500 apartments that the bond measure would fund.“We see these as complementary and potentially synergistic measures that are up to the scale of the problem,” he said.Councilman Chris Ward of University Heights said he was pleased the measure would divide the money equally among three priorities.Based on the 7,500 estimate of housing units it would fund, the measure would build 2,500 units for the chronically homeless, 2,500 units for low-income families and 2,500 units for veterans, seniors and the disabled.No members of the public spoke against the measure, while a large coalition of housing developers, social service groups and community organizations praised it.Lori Holt Pfeiler, chief executive of Habitat for Humanity’s San Diego chapter, said the bond money is crucial. “The market can’t produce housing for low-income families — there has to be a subsidy,” she said.Homeless advocate Michael McConnell and several others said the bond measure would do more to end San Diego homelessness than any other proposals being considered. “Here’s the measure that will actually really do something about real solutions,” he said.Councilwoman Myrtle Cole of southeastern San Diego said she was upbeat about the proposal but needs more information before July about how quickly the units could be built and other concerns. “There are a few details that I would like clarified before really, fully committing to the proposal,” she said.City Attorney Mara Elliott’s staff is scheduled to bring back to the Rules Committee this spring potential ballot language and other information.The council is expected to vote in late July and early August on which proposed measures to place on the November ballot. Ed Lenderman, last_img read more

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2019-09-17

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Arrest Made In Connection With Alleged Duck Inn Kidnapping

first_imgBongolan was arrested for the active warrant and transported to the Wildwood Pretrial Facility where he was held on $2500.00 bail. Bongolan as well as Rachelle B. Brown, 27, Clinton D. Starnes, 28, Robert C. Dedrick, 30, and Joshua S. Tisdale, 25, are facing multiple felony charges, including kidnapping, robbery, assault, vehicle theft and burglary for an alleged incident in which several people were held hostage at a room in the Duck Inn., in Soldotna. On April 10th, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a residence on Hakala Road, Soldotna for an investigation. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享A fifth person has been arrested on an active felony warrant in connection with an incident that occured at the Duck Inn on January 30. Upon arrival Troopers made contact with Rudy Bongolan, age 44 of Kenai, who had an active felony arrest warrant.last_img read more

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2019-09-14

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Enthusiast Publisher Changes its Name

first_imgNo other changes were made in addition to the new name, a Miller spokesperson said.Miller Magazines was founded in 1962 by Jim and Jill Miller. The company publishes Digital Photographer, Rock & Gem and COINage magazines. Ventura, California-based magazine publisher Miller Magazines Inc. has changed its name to JMiller Media.According to general manager Thomas Trimbach, the new name reflects the publisher’s desire to shift its focus to emerging markets while “honoring its connection” to traditional publishing. “Our print titles are now complemented by online media and a strong Web presence,” Trimbach said in a statement. “And while print publishing remains at our core, it’s is only part of our offering.”last_img read more

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2019-09-14

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Scientists suggest staring down seagulls to protect your snacks

first_img 20 Photos Tags Share your voice This seagull tried to snatch my shrimp in Illinois. Amanda Kooser/CNET A pleasant meal beside a scenic body of water can quickly turn into an Alfred Hitchcock movie if you’re not careful. Seagulls are notorious for strolling right up to people and stealing their lunches. But the good news is you might be able to battle this avian crime wave with a simple tool: your eyes.Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK wanted to know if staring at seagulls might dissuade them from abducting your dinner, so they headed to coastal towns in Cornwall.The team put a bag of chips (that’s fries for us US folks) on the ground and monitored how long it took the gulls to approach the food. “On average, gulls took 21 seconds longer to approach the food with a human staring at them,” the university said in a release on Tuesday.The researchers initially tried to test 74 herring gulls, but most of them weren’t interested in sticking around or stealing food, so only 19 gulls were usable for the study. 1 Comment Watch a leviathan of a shark nibble on a sub’s speargun Oh snap! Weird ocean worms make a racket when they rumble Cool critters “Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn’t even come near during our tests,” said Madeleine Goumas, lead author of the study Herring gulls respond to human gaze direction, published in the journal Biology Letters.The researchers found that individual gulls behaved very differently from each other. Goumas suggested “a couple of very bold gulls might ruin the reputation of the rest.”The study had a small sample size, so your gull-staring mileage may vary. It’s worth a shot, though. If you want to protect your food and still enjoy your time at the seaside, then it may just be a matter of playing stare down with the local birds. A spider’s erection, and other cool things trapped in amber Sci-Techlast_img read more

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2019-09-10

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Why Pakistan wants UN to remove Priyanka Chopra as goodwill ambassador

first_imgUNICEF goodwill ambassador, actress Priyanka ChopraReutersPakistani official demanded the removal of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra as United Nation’s goodwill ambassador over her encouraging nuclear war between the armed neighbouring countries.Human Rights Minister of Pakistan, Shireen Mazari, in a letter address to UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore, accused the actress of supporting the Indian government’s decision of abrogating Section 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir special status as per the constitution.”Her jingoism and support for violations by the Modi government of international conventions and UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, as well as support for war, including a nuclear war, undermines the credibility of the UN position to which she been elevated,” the letter read.Sent letter to UNICEF chief regarding UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace Ms Chopra pic.twitter.com/PQ3vwYjTVz— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 21, 2019The 37-year old actress who was appointed as the goodwill ambassador in 2016 was criticised over her tweet hailing Indian Army amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. She made headlines after a US citizen of Pakistani origin, Ayesha Malik, condemned her views at a cosmetics event in Los Angeles last week.Priyanka Chopra tweeted during a time when we were this ?? close to sending nukes to one another. Instead of advocating for peace she tweeted in support of the Indian army pic.twitter.com/LhbMkOW59v— Ayesha Malik (@Spishaa) August 11, 2019The former Miss World’s tweet on February 26 following the Balakot airstrike where Indian Air Force crossed over the border and bombed the headquarter of Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, was cited by Malik as an example of Chopra’s “nationalism” that contrasts her representation as a peace advocate.Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces ?? ??— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 26, 2019Chopra responded to Malik’s remarks and reasoned that she was “patriotic.””I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me, but I think that all of us have a sort of middle ground that we all have to walk, just like you probably do as well,” Chopra said.The actress was recently supported by actor colleague Kangana Ranaut who sympathised with Chopra and said that the situation was that of being stuck between “duty and emotions.””It’s not an easy choice to make… when you are stuck between your duty and your emotions, being a UNICEF goodwill ambassador sure you can’t limit your identity to one nation, but how many of us choose heart over mind every day,” Kangana said in a statement.Lyricist Javed Akhtar also supported the actress and said that her view will “obviously be an Indian point of view.””If there is some kind of a controversy and difference in point of view between an average Indian citizen (like Priyanka Chopra) and the Pakistani establishment, obviously her point of view will be an Indian point of view,” he said at the sidelines of a literary event in Kolkata.The United Nations Security Council has echoed India’s claim of Kashmir issue being an internal matter according to the 1972 Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration of 1999.last_img read more

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2019-09-05

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Democratic Leaders Emphasize the Fight for Justice During Conference

first_imgBy Brianna McAdoo, AFRO Staff Writer, bmcadoo@afro.comReverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network brought the action to the Hill with the Legislative & Policy Conference held November 13 and 14. Over a hundred activists from around the country convened for the conference where politicians discussed the midterm elections, issues plaguing America and a way forward.The National Action Network is a nationwide civil rights organization founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton in 1991. NAN has committed themselves to, “the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression or sexuality,” according to the website.Sen. Cory Booker addresses the crowd at the National Action Network Legislative & Policy Conference on November 13 and 14.The conference was loaded with Democratic politicians that were vocal about their commitment to make urgent changes in policy in order to positively influence the direction of the country. They focused on issues such as immigration reform, affordable healthcare, election reform, environmental justice, prison reform and an array of issues involving social justice and achieving equality in America.When speaking on the urgency for health care reform, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) said, “If you need medicine to keep you alive, you should be able to get it, you should be able to take it, you should be able to afford it.”Throughout the program, many of the speakers echoed similar sentiments about the need for affordable healthcare. As Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders firmly stated, “It is a right not a privilege.”The fight for justice that the National Action Network has committed themselves to for the past 27 years permeated through the speakers words. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said, “We will fight for the causes that have always mattered most to us- .justice, fairness and equity.”Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) captured the audience with his championing of social justice issues in America.“We are dissatisfied because we live in a country right now where kids can find unleaded gasoline either than unleaded water. We are dissatisfied because we have a nation that treats you better, if you are rich and guilty than poor and innocent. We are dissatisfied because we live in a nation right now that pays teacher so little that they have to get extra jobs, just to make ends meet,” Booker told the crowd.Booker became the first African-American Senator of New Jersey in 2013. He previously served as the Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.The New Jersey senator continued to talk about the fight to make America a more equitable and safe place for all its citizens.“We are dissatisfied because we’re not even doing the common sense things to make our community safer…We are dissatisfied because we have a nation right now where young brothers like Jemel Roberson, a security officer that subdued an assailant, was shot and killed like how many other of our young men and women,” he said.“We’re dissatisfied because there are millions of Americans that are Black and White and Latino that work full time everyday but are still below the poverty line.”Instead of focusing on disagreements in politics, particularly with President Donald Trump, Booker emphasized to the audience the importance of focusing on addressing social justice issues.last_img read more

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2019-09-01

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Poster row Cops taking steps against errant youth

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Police is taking steps against the youth who put up a poster in the city that has allegedly fanned religious sentiment.The city police have taken immediate step soon after noticing the poster. The poster has been removed.In a Facebook post, the Kolkata Police has stated that necessary steps would be taken after identifying the people, who had put up the poster and “attempts to fan religious sentiments willnot be allowed”.It may be mentioned that police maintain vigil to avoid any sort of rumours so that the law and order situation in the state does not get disturbed. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsPolice also create awareness among people by circulating messages through social networking sites and urge people not to give ears to any rumour. Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee has also urged common people to not listen to rumours and inform police in case they find any rumour mongers in their area.It may be mentioned that police take immediate steps in this connection and necessary legal actions to ensure that there is no deterioration of the law and order situation.It may be recalled that a fake notification over Eid holidays had got circulated on social media a few days ago. Hence, police are preparing a video to create awareness and urge thatthey should only forward messages on social media only after verifying the truth.last_img read more

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2019-08-31

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Cancun is well on its way to another recordbreaking year

first_img Thursday, September 29, 2016 CANCUN – Mexico’s #1 destination shows no signs of slowing down, says the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, which recently announced a 2% increase in visitors between January and May 2016 when compared to the same period last year.Arrival data shows that U.S. visitors set a record with 1,057,999 visitors, up 5% when compared to the same time frame in 2015. Other countries included in the top visitors list were Great Britain (49,918 visitors), Argentina (29,575), Brazil (28,054) and Colombia (21,540).“The destination continues to evolve year-after-year, always offering visitors fresh reasons to come back again and again,” said Jesus Almaguer, CEO of the Cancun CVB. “Cancun’s constant commitment to the expansion and diversification of its tourism offerings will lead the city into yet another record-breaking year in arrivals.”Some of the most recent updates in terms of renovations, openings and new builds for Cancun include the adults-only Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, which opened in May in Puerto Morelos, and Turquoize at Hyatt Ziva Cancun, an adults-only haven situated in the heart of the resort that opened in July 2016. Also, Temptation Resort & Spa Cancun has closed for a multi-million-dollar renovation project and will reopen in fall 2017.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaAs Cancun continues to expand its offerings, the lift on flight restrictions established by the U.S. and Mexican government in August will ease travel for visitors by providing them with more travel options and possibly more affordable airfare. Following the announcement, several airlines have jumped at the opportunity to expand into previously unserved cities.Some of these new routes include flights from Kelowna, BC on Sundays with Sunwing Vacations (running from Nov. 6, 2016-April 9, 2017), and daily non-stop flights from JFK New York with Delta Airlines (beginning Dec. 17, 2016).For more information on travel to Cancun, go to www.cancun.travel. Cancun is well on its way to another record-breaking year Share Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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2019-08-20

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200 pilots conveniently call in sick forcing ailing Air Berlin to scrap

first_img Share BERLIN — Bankrupt German airline Air Berlin says its existence is threatened by an apparent wildcat strike after 200 pilots called in sick on short notice Tuesday.The ailing carrier was forced to cancel more than 100 flights including trans-Atlantic connections, causing chaos at several German airports.The airline’s chief executive, Thomas Winkelmann, accused pilots of “playing with fire” as the cancelled flights would cost the company several million euros (dollars), making it less attractive to potential buyers.“A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations,” Winkelmann said. “This is the only way we can protect as many jobs as possible.”German media reported that the airline is in a dispute with pilots about the transfer of staff to a new owner.Air Berlin declared bankruptcy last month following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease payments. Bids to take over Air Berlin must be submitted by Friday. Source: The Associated Press Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Tags: Air Berlin, Travel Alert 200 pilots conveniently call in sick, forcing ailing Air Berlin to scrap flights << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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2019-08-19

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By Doug Casey Casey Research Legendary contrari

first_imgBy Doug Casey, Casey Research Legendary contrarian investor and the original International Man Doug Casey takes aim at the US Constitution, from its sneaky beginnings to its encroachments on individual liberty and free markets. Louis: Doug, we’ve threatened to talk about the Constitution many times. Since there’s  increasing interest in the country’s economic and political future, maybe now is a good time to put that into a fuller historical context.. Doug: Good idea. I confess I suspected this was coming up, so I just now read the Constitution again. This is actually something I recommend to everyone. Unfortunately, the Constitution is now a dead letter, but reading it is instructive in a number of ways, and it only takes about ten minutes. One should know the law of the land, even if it no longer applies. That will probably be enough for one conversation, but we should probably also take up the amendments, especially the Bill of Rights, in a future conversation, and then maybe another on the Declaration of Independence – another short document everyone should read. L: Well, some might argue that since the Constitution was ratified with the Bill of Rights attached, they really ought to be considered together, but I’d certainly agree that the later amendments – like the ones establishing and repealing Prohibition – should be a separate conversation. Doug: Thank heaven for the Bill of Rights; it slowed the descent of the US considerably, while it was still taken seriously. So, where to begin… L: How about with the fact that there wasn’t supposed to be a constitution? The Continental Congress authorized delegates to gather to amend and improve on the Articles of Confederation, not to replace them with a new form of government. Doug: I’ve read that James Madison of Virginia showed up with a document called the “Virginia Plan,” bearing close resemblance to the current Constitution, except that it clearly described a single, national government. That didn’t sit too well with the more independent-minded delegates, so they struck the words “national government” and replaced them with “United States,” which went over a lot better. Now, I wasn’t there – and the convention was held behind closed doors – so I hope readers will give me a little wiggle room if they read a book that tells a different story, but my impression has long been that the adoption of the Constitution was actually something of a coup. It replaced a confederation of separate governments with a single super-government. Many people didn’t realize this at the time, or they would have objected. The War Between the States demonstrated the reality of the matter, when people did object. L: I think I’ve read the same books you have. Or maybe I’m just remembering our conversation on the Civil War. Doug: People often gush about what a wonderful thing the Constitution is, but I’ve always suspected that US and world history would be different – and better – if those delegates had done as they were told and just smoothed over the rough spots in the Articles rather than replaced them with the Constitution. Greater independence among the states could have led to more innovation, and I doubt there would have been the unpleasantness of 1861-’65. People with differing ethical values and economic interests would not have been forced to obey the same laws. L: Perhaps. But they did, and we’re stuck with the Constitution we have, for now. Doug: For now. Sometimes I think those who’ve called for a new constitutional convention are on to something, because the one we have now has fallen into almost complete disuse. People talk as though it were carved into the sacred bedrock of the universe, but few people have actually read it, and most of those who have seem to spend their time trying to figure out ways to get out of the clear and simple rules it set out, rather than abide by it. People talk about how it should be a “living document” that evolves with the times. But those people almost always want to abolish what few limitations there are on the government. They want to change the actual working parts of the Constitution, the ones that define and shape the government, not the tedious pages with “Robert’s Rules of Order” type stuff governing how motions are passed in Congress and the like. Curiously, this trivia – about how the president of the Senate is elected and so forth – is the only part of the Constitution that the government still adheres to. It follows the trivia fastidiously but disregards the important parts that designate what the government may and may not do. L: Ah, the irony. But a constitutional convention is a terrible idea, Doug; you know that if we had one now, we wouldn’t get anything like enumerated and restricted powers or the Bill of Rights. The average “educated” person in the US has been taught that the Great Depression proved that capitalism doesn’t work; and the average couch potato believes that work is a tedious imposition to be avoided, rather than a virtue. If a new constitution were drafted today, we’d get unlimited and expansive powers and a Bill of Entitlements. Doug: [Sighs] You’re absolutely right. All institutions – countries, companies, clubs, whatever – inevitably degrade and become corrupt over time. That’s one reason why revolutions occur in countries. But okay, let’s look at the one we’ve got. Some things stand out. Let’s start with the item you tripped over, the power given to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations, Indian tribes, and between the states. That was a problematical idea from the get-go. There should be separation of economy and state for the same reason that we have separation of church and state. And there should be a separation of state and education, and everything else that might be provided by society. Otherwise the state will insinuate itself and eventually try to usurp the whole area. Even though the founders’ idea of “regulate” was very different from the current one of total control, it left the door open to misinterpretation. In those days it meant simply to “make regular” or to normalize. The idea, as I understand it, was to ensure a level playing field between the states, since some of the states had sweetheart deals with some states and trade barriers with yet others, greatly complicating business concerning them all. Over the years, this concept has devolved into a blanket power to control every minute detail of any good or service that might cross state lines – or might not even do that, but could affect prices in other states simply by existing wherever it is. What was a very reasonable intent has opened Pandora’s box. And now corporatists, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and influence-peddlers completely control the coercive power of the state and use it to destroy their competition and enrich themselves. L: As opposed to beating the competition in a fair contest in the marketplace. Doug: Yes; we’re told competition is supposed to be “fair,” not “cutthroat” – although both terms are ridiculous misnomers. But Article I, Section 8 is full of things that have been perverted or really shouldn’t be there to start with. It says the Congress has the power to coin money and regulate its value, as well as establish weights and measures. Any sensible person could have told the guys who wrote this that that’s like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Money is a market phenomenon that’s quite capable of orderly evolution in a free-market environment. Governments are not necessary to establish money and should never be trusted with a monopoly power over money – when they have it, they always abuse it and debase the currency. It happened in ancient Rome and has happened again and again throughout history; it’s the easiest – but also the most destructive – way for the state to get revenue. L: Fine, but you’re an anarchist, and the writers of the Constitution were not. They were practical men of their day, trying to set up a system they thought would work. Keeping the state’s grubby hands off the money supply was not an idea they would have been familiar with… Doug: Not really. Bank notes back then were issued by private companies – banks, gold- and silversmiths, and such. They issued notes stating that so-and-so had X amount of gold or silver on deposit. Many people used all sorts of gold and silver not issued by nor regulated by their local governments for money. If memory serves, in the original colonies that formed the United States of America, Spanish pieces of eight were among the most common items used for money. The framers of the Constitution should have known better. And maybe they did; the Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money, but it doesn’t forbid anyone else from doing the same thing. So anyone could have gone into the business of minting coins for use as means of exchange and stores of value. The market would decide which were the most reliable. L: I wonder when and how competing with the government on that front became a crime. Doug: I’m not sure it is, even today. What the government has done to people who’ve issued private money in recent times, like the creators of the Liberty Dollar, is to prosecute them for counterfeiting, which is spelled out as a crime in the Constitution – but only if you counterfeit the currency of the United States. During the War Between the States, a printer in Philadelphia hit upon the idea of counterfeiting Confederate currency and made a huge amount of money for himself. He was never prosecuted. Washington overlooked it because it aided its war effort. But by late in 1863 it was no longer even worth the man’s effort, because the Confederate dollar had lost so much value – due mostly to the foolish policies of the Confederate government in Richmond. I suspect that was a major, but generally overlooked, contributing factor to the collapse of the South. L: I’ve long thought the North’s victory was largely economic, not military. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant’s bloody march into Virginia was an insanely expensive way to beat Lee. Anyway, you may be right about counterfeiting, but everyone has gotten the message: Money is the state’s turf, and woe unto ye if you trespass. Doug: Yes, we live on a prison planet. Trapped here by the aberrations of human psychology. L: So, what else would you list among Doug Casey’s top ten gripes with the US Constitution? Doug: The provision to establish post offices and post roads. The post office is a paragon of inefficiency and bad service, was never necessary as a government function, and absolutely should never have been a monopoly. And the first roads in America were private toll roads. L: I remember reading that Lysander Spooner competed with the US Post Office in the 1840s, and did a better job at lower cost until the government shut him down. Doug: Once again, the power to establish post offices and post roads is given, but the authority to crush private competition is not. The first power was later interpreted to include the second, and so it’s been with everything in the Constitution ever since it was written. Things like this and the power to coin money were the camel’s nose under the tent flap; now the state camel has filled the tent, and there’s hardly any room for individual freedom. L: Okay, what else? Doug: The item setting up copyrights and patents was, at least arguably, another mistake along these lines, and for the same reasons. As a writer who wants to benefit from the effort I put into using words to communicate valuable information, I’m a bit ambivalent about that, but I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to own an idea, and I’m sure getting the government involved is a bad move. L: We published a conversation with our friend Paul Rosenberg on the subject of “intellectual property.” His conclusion was that the state’s involvement has become useless anyway. All creators can do now is adapt to the marketplace. Doug: It’s interesting to me that in spite of all the hand-wringing on this subject, the ongoing demise of patents and copyrights has not stopped inventors from inventing, nor musicians or writers from creating. In fact, wikis and open-source projects have created many valuable things. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks really just turned into a bonanza for lawyers. I do want to benefit from my intellectual work, but I suspect Paul is right; all we can do is adapt. It’s also interesting to me that aside from counterfeiting, which we’ve already mentioned, there are only two other crimes mentioned in the Constitution. One is piracy, and the other is treason. Today, nobody knows for sure how many crimes there are on the books, but it’s thought that there are over 5,000 crimes defined in federal law. I’ve read that the average US citizen breaks three federal laws every day, intentionally or otherwise. And now many federal agencies have armed – sometimes heavily armed – branches that round up people and prosecute them for these so-called crimes. I suppose I could live with just three federal laws – piracy, counterfeiting, and treason would be easy to remember, at least. L: But counterfeiting wouldn’t be a federal crime if we got the government out of the money business, as you suggest. Doug: That’s right, and piracy could be handled by letters of marque and reprisal, as it was in the old days. L: What about treason? Doug: Well… you could look at that as the state’s right to self-defense – but let me just ask: when the state becomes unjust, what is a just man or woman to do? L: On an ethical plane, the answer is clear, but on a practical plane, that’s a tough one. Doug: Indeed. Another thing worth covering is the power to declare war. The authors of the Constitution were rightly worried about leaders with the power of kings to plunge nations into war for personal or imagined grievances, so they gave the power to declare war to Congress. But like everything remotely sensible about the Constitution, that too has been set aside. The US has had numerous wars, one after the other, for decades – but the last time Congress actually declared war was World War II. L: Really? I thought Korea was declared. Doug: No, that was a “police action.” Technically, it was a UN police action against North Korea, but in reality it was a war between the US and China. At any rate, it’s just another example of how thoroughly ignored the Constitution is in the US. The president can now unilaterally send US troops anywhere to do almost anything. In fact, he can do almost anything, period… at least, if media lapdogs are able to justify and rationalize it. L: Wasn’t it Henry Kissinger who said that doing something illegal was no problem and that doing something unconstitutional just took a little longer? Doug: “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” You’ve got to admit Henry is a clever guy. Come the day I write an obit for him, perhaps I’ll subtitle it: Comedian and War Criminal. L: Okay, okay, I get the picture. I don’t think we need to go through every clause to see how far the US has fallen from the America That Was. That prompts me to say to those who think this conversation shows that we hate America that just the opposite is true. Personally, I love the idea that was America, and I still love the land of America, from sea to shining sea. What I loathe and despise is the corruption being visited upon her by the maggots in Washington, D.C. who’ve been gutting all that is good and noble about her. At any rate, we’ve been saying for a long time that all is not well in Mudville. Are there any practical implications to this conversation? Investment implications? Doug: It’s yet another sign that the US has gone way beyond the point of no return. You can’t make a sensible investment in a country which doesn’t have the rule of law; you can only speculate – which is to say, try to capitalize on politically caused distortions in the market. There’s no way the US federal government can or will return to observing the Constitution; it’s just something it pays lip service to – and then only rarely. When you’re on a slippery slope that’s rapidly turning vertical, it’s no longer a question of if there will be a painful stop at the bottom, only when. L: Does your guru sense give you any feeling for how close we are to that crash? Doug: You know I don’t like to predict what and when at the same time, but I can’t make myself believe it can be put off too much longer – a couple of years at most. And it could still quite possibly happen this year. L: In which case we invest for crisis, as you’ve been saying all along. Doug: Yet another reason, yes. We’re headed for a genuinely historic time of troubles. L: Roger that. Until next week, then. Doug: Travel safe, and see you soon. Personally, I dread and despise the interrogation and searching one gets from ICE when entering the US. But I suppose it’s no more degrading than the grope from the TSA. No problem though – it must be somewhere in the Constitution. I better read it again. L: Sure, Doug, it’s right next to the clause granting everyone free health care, free education, and a free lunch. Doug: [Laughs] [The government’s trampling of the Constitution threatens to wipe out the wealth of countless savers, but you can protect yourself if you act in time.]last_img read more

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2019-08-04

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You can read all about our specific stock picks e

first_img You can read all about our specific stock picks, exactly how you can access them, and much more in the new special report, Crisis Investing in Cyprus. Click here for more details. Inside this new guidebook, Doug and I take a firsthand look at the economic turmoil and opportunity left in the wake of the crisis. This is a must-have resource for anyone interested in speculative opportunities. I think you will be as excited as we are once you learn about the crisis-driven bargains that we found and detail in Crisis Investing in Cyprus. Recently, legendary crisis investor Doug Casey and I put our boots to the ground in Cyprus to search the rubble of one of recent history’s most significant financial crises—the financial collapse and bank deposit raid in Cyprus—for incredible bargains. And we found them. In this newly released video interview below, Doug and I detail the tremendous speculative opportunities available on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.last_img read more

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2019-08-04

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Chances are you havent heard about nootropics ye

first_imgChances are, you haven’t heard about nootropics yet. They’re still pretty far out of the mainstream. But they’re beginning to gather some steam as they head for the public consciousness (pun intended), and it seems likely they’ll be getting increasing press in the near future. So what are they? Wikipedia says nootropics are also known as “smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers,” and “are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that improve one or more aspects of mental function, such as working memory, motivation, and attention.” The term was coined in 1972 by Romanian psychologist Corneliu Giurgea and is a synthesis of the Greek words for “mind” and “to bend or turn.” Giurgea synthesized piracetam, the first nootropic, in 1964, and he subsequently established a set of criteria these drugs should meet. For him, nootropics must enhance learning, increase the coupling of the brain’s hemispheres, and improve executive processing (which involves tasks such as planning, paying attention, and spatial awareness). It was also important to him that the drugs be nontoxic and nonaddictive. As he put it in his book Fundamentals to a Pharmacology of the Mind: “Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain.” That seems inarguable. History affirms that there’s a basic human drive to improve ourselves between the ears. But can nootropics actually accomplish this? Before answering that question, a distinction must be made. Wikipedia’s definition features synonyms such as “cognitive enhancers” and “smart drugs.” This is a source of some confusion, since much of what you may read on the subject of nootropics includes in that category such prescription drugs as Adderall, Ritalin, and the like. These are amphetamines or amphetamine-like substances that were originally intended to treat specific conditions, such as ADHD, sleep apnea, shift-work disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and narcolepsy. But they are increasingly taken these days for off-label purposes. Adderall, for example, is as freely available as pot on college campuses at the moment. It’s the drug of choice as a study aid, especially when deadlines are involved. Amphetamines have the brief but efficient effect of promoting mental clarity and enabling increased focus. In that sense, they are cognitive enhancers, but they are often erroneously classified as nootropics, which, as Giurgea posited, must be nontoxic and nonaddictive. These medications are neither, plus they carry the risk of serious side effects. A nootropic, on the other hand, is a nutritional supplement designed to improve brainpower in healthy adults over extended periods of time—safely. Even excluding the aforementioned prescription drugs, the range of potential nootropics is wide. A whole host of naturally occurring foods and herbs—everything from ginseng to krill oil, grapeseed extract, yerba mate, even licorice, and many, many more—are touted as having nootropic properties. But for our purposes, let’s concentrate on the newer, more exotic compounds that are attracting the most attention. A sampler (with acknowledgments to Nootriment, the most comprehensive website out there): The “racetams.” As noted above, piracetam was Giurgea’s original creation, but its group now includes many newer arrivals that purport to be stronger and/or better, such as aniracetam, oxiracetam, coluracetam, nefiracetam, and pramiracetam. Racetams work by increasing levels of neurotransmitters and other chemicals required for proper brain function. Tests have shown that they improve cognitive function and increase the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. Noopept. The newest kid on the block. Not technically a racetam, though it is derived from this class and has similar mechanisms of action. Said to be over 1,000 times more concentrated than piracetam. Seen as being effective for disorders such as depression and anxiety. It activates receptors for dopamine as well as selective serotonin receptors and increases levels of nerve growth factor, which is a hormone involved in the maintenance and repair of healthy brain cells. Choline. A compound that naturally occurs in many foods and has been added to the B-complex family of vitamins. It’s the precursor of acetylcholine, a crucial brain chemical necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy brain-cell membranes to ensure effective signaling, structural integrity, and neuronal fluidity. Those heavily involved with nootropics (so-called “noonauts”) usually take a combination of ingredients—a practice called “stacking”—and some form of choline is part of every stack. Pyritinol. A synthetic derivative of Vitamin B6, pyritinol is a precursor of dopamine, which it transforms into once it successfully crosses the blood/brain barrier. Pyritinol can improve attention span, facilitate recall, elevate mood, and eliminate hangovers. It also aids in glucose uptake, which can be beneficial during periods of mental strain that diminish the glucose stores on which the brain depends for its energy. Vinpocetine. A biosynthetic derived from an alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant. It’s a cerebral vasodilator that improves and increases blood flow specifically to the brain; blood pressure in other parts of the body is not affected. It’s been shown to increase the levels of many of the most important brain neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, as well as ATP, the primary source of intracellular energy. Adrafinil. The precursor to the prescription medication modafinil. Modafinil—possession of which is a felony without a prescription—belongs to a class of drugs known as “eugeroics,” which promote mental alertness without the side effects of amphetamines, for which they are used as a substitute. It stimulates hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The jury is out on modafinil’s long-term safety and susceptibility to abuse. But committed noonauts take it (or adrafinil) anyway. All of this leads to some big questions. First, of course, is: do nootropics work? The answer: probably. While the evidence with some is anecdotal, there has been a surprising amount of scientific research done on others. Citations are available on the Nootriment website (although you have to dig around a bit to find them). Second, are they safe? They seem to be. But since nootropics have only arrived relatively recently, long-term effects are generally unknown… so we can’t be sure. And of course, the consequences are unpredictable if someone mixes up a big stack combination of his or her own devising. Third, are they legal? Yes. Apart from prescription drugs like Adderall and modafinil, possession of nootropics in any amount is legal for US citizens. However, they cannot be marketed as supplements, but only for purposes of “education and research.” This restriction is the responsibility of the seller and doesn’t apply to the consumer. Note also that other countries may have different laws. Finally, is there any way to invest in nootropics? Since they’re already very popular in Silicon Valley, it’s likely just a matter of time before acceptance becomes much more widespread. They could develop into very big business indeed. But it’s not one that many public companies are jumping into. One problem is likely the constraints on vendors’ abilities to market these substances as supplements. But almost certainly, the primary reason is that nootropics are already in the public domain, and exclusivity cannot be had. Most manufacturing is done in China and India. Thus, for example, while a big drug company like Belgium’s UCB does make piracetam, it’s a very small part of UCB’s business. The only pure play we can find is Optigenex Inc. (OTC Pink: OPGX), makers of AC-11, a patented botanical extract that’s the main ingredient in a nootropic blend called AlphaBrain, from private company Onnit Labs. It trades for about a penny a share with close to zero volume. Not a very good bet. It’s possible that a way to profit from nootropics will crop up in the future, as (and if) the drugs catch on. But that remains to be seen.last_img read more

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2019-08-04

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In This Issue UK election results send pounds

first_imgIn This Issue. * UK election results send pounds soaring! * Chinese exports and imports disappoint. * Catching up with Don Brash. * Gold continues to find shaky ground….And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts.A Jobs Jamboree Friday.Good day.. And a Happy Friday to one and all! I’m a little shaky this morning, so right now, I could go either way, good or bad day, so let’s just hope for the good day, and move on. I was treated by friends Kevin and Lisa to the baseball game yesterday. A beautiful day, a wonderfully pitched game by my beloved Cardinals, and a win to finish up a 3 of 4 series with the Cubs, and a 9-2 home stand. I absolutely love baseball parks, when you first walk in you get the aroma of hot dogs, and other things being cooked, then you come out of the tunnel and see the lush green field, and the crack of a bat hitting a ball, people cheering. Well, there have been some developments and news overnight, so I better stop talking about baseball parks and get to work! Front and Center this morning. Well, it appears that all the talk about a toss-up vote in the U.K. was just that, talk. Because. The Conservatives of PM Cameron picked up enough seats to probably not only for a Government, but also have a majority Government. And the pound sterling (pound) has gone on a moon shot higher! The pound is up 2 full cents overnight and looks like it wants to go even higher when the election results are confirmed.  This election result is a HUGE surprise to everyone that was following the run-up to voting, so the knee-jerk reaction by pound traders is probably to be expected. As far as the rest of the currencies this morning, we’re seeing some dollar strength ahead of the all so important Jobs Jamboree here in the U.S. this morning. Remember Fed member, Lockhart told us that this April report will be a key in decided whether rates will be raised in June or not. For those of you who give a hoot (because I’m not one!) about what the BLS surveys and hedonic adjustments have to say today, the expectations are for 228,000 jobs to have been created, whether out of thin air or not…  You know, one thing that the media or markets fail to discuss every month when the jobs report prints, is the fact that Manufacturing Jobs here in the U.S. are dropping and simply not adding to the jobs total.  I find this to be very scary for the U.S. going forward. But since the markets and media don’t seem to think it’s a problem,  I’m probably just making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Chinese printed some very weak data last night that not only signals that the slowdown in China continues, but that the global economy / growth, is also going to continue to slowdown. China’s exports unexpectedly fell in April by 6.2% from a year earlier. Imports also fell 16.1% VS a year ago, which shows the domestic economy is as slow as molasses. And all the good performance of the renminbi / yuan this week was stopped and the currency was weakened on the data last night. Here in the U.S. Consumer Credit (read debt) spiked in March from $14.789 Billion to $20.523 Billion.  Now this spike could be viewed two ways. I’ll let you decide for yourself which way you think it should be viewed, and then take a guess at which way you think I view it.  Here we go. 1. This is evidence consumers are beginning to feel confident about taking on debt, to finance purchases, which could revitalize the economy.  OR 2. That Consumers are using their credit cards just to survive. The euro is down another ½-cent this morning. Greece, the Jobs Jamboree, China’s slowdown, it’s all piling up on the poor beleaguered euro, after having a nice recovery in April the euro is back to taking hits to the midsection..  But that could all change today, should the Jobs Jamboree disappoint.  But like I said the other day, I’m convinced that the BLS will see to it that the Jobs Jamboree is not disappointing!   The yield on German 10-year Bunds spiked from .50 to .78 in one day’s trading yesterday, and then settled down a bit. it was a crazy day all around the world with spikes in all asset classes good and bad. Here in the U.S. the 10-year Treasury saw a two-day spike that took the yield from 2.13% to 2.27%, only to see it settle down to 2.15% this morning.  And the price of Oil which had spiked earlier this week to $61.90, has fallen back to $58.88 this morning..  Apparently, the U.S. production has slowed, but the stockpiles of Oil continue to rise. In fact the stockpiles are more than 100 Million barrels above the 5-year average for this time of year. The Aussie dollar (A$) is basically flat to up a bit this morning, as the A$ attempts to gain back the lost ground this week after hitting 80-cents earlier in the week. The A$’s kissin cousin across the Tasman has seen its value whacked this week, after Traders felt the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ)  might be considering a rate cut soon. Longtime readers, and I mean longtime, will recall when Don Brash was the Gov. of the RBNZ, and how I always talked about him in high regards, as a Central Banker that believed in instilling the pride of a country with a strong currency.  Those types of Central Bankers (and there were few even then!) don’t really exist any longer, as all have gone to the same Central Banker College, where they teach them how to debase their currencies as a means of promoting economic growth, and exports. Isn’t there anyone out there that didn’t go to this college?  Maybe I’ll start my own college for Central Bankers! HAHAHAHAHAHA! As if! I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy! – Wayne and Garth! Well, I told you all that to tell you that I was in contact with Don Brash yesterday. He was kind enough to send me birthday wishes last month, and so I sent a note of thanks to him and asked him to “come on our show”.  That won’t work right now, but maybe sometime in the future it will be worked out.. I tell you when it does, it will be a HUGE treat for you dear readers, for this man not only has his finger on the pulse of the economy, the central bank, but also the country’s politics. So, I look forward to when he is ready to “come on our show”. Gold is flat to up a buck or two this morning. No big shakes, at least not right now ahead of the Jobs Jamboree. Like I said above, I suspect the BLS will make certain that the Jobs Jamboree doesn’t disappoint, and if that holds true, then I would suspect that Gold would get whacked today.  Of course the opposite could occur should we get disappointed.   The other day I talked about how I hadn’t seen any articles on bullionstar.com that Google+ posts by Gold researcher, Koos Jansen, and then voila! I find one! Apparently Koos Jansen got interviewed by the largest Newspaper in the Netherlands. And apparently, Koos Jansen, isn’t his real name! it’s Jan Nieuwenhuijs.  So, Koos, or Jan, titled his interview “China Conquers The World With Gold”.  So, I read through the interview. great stuff. as always I must say!  Here’s a snippet for the article that can be read in its entirety here or you can settle for my snippet!  https://www.bullionstar.com/blogs/koos-jansen/biggest-newspaper-netherlands-interviews-koos-jansen/ When asked about Gold’s relevancy in today’s world. “Oh it’s relevant, the base of each financial system remains confidence. Throughout history goldsmiths and banks could create a multiple of the gold in their vaults as paper and book money. But the people knew that there was always a partial backing held in reserve. The United States dollar was backed by gold until 1971. Money has been printed full speed since then. As the European Central Bank is now doing in the Eurozone. Through leverage massive debt structures are built that are not sustainable. For the moment, the Chinese support the United States dollar. But its leaders want absolutely no more dollars. They buy gold. On a massive scale. However, only half of Chinese gold demand turned out to be in the books.” – Koos Jansen I’ll skip the U.S. Data Cupboard talk today, since it’s all about the Jobs Jamboree today anyway. So, let’s hit the recap, and then the Big Finish! To recap. the U.K. election was everything but a toss-up as was talked about leading up to the vote. The Conservatives appear to have won a majority and will be able to form a government, which has allowed the pound to jump 2-cents overnight. Now that the election is over, the focus switches to the U.S. Jobs Jamboree, which is expected to show 228,000 jobs created in April. And Chuck believes the BLS will make certain they don’t disappoint us!  And Chinese exports and imports slump indicating that not only is the Chinese economy slow, but the global economy is also slow. For What It’s Worth. Dear reader, Bog G. sent me a link to an article on zerohedge.com  and it plays well with the Jobs Jamboree print today. So, here are some snippets, and of course you can read the whole article here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-07/texas-job-recession-now-literally-chart “But while there may be massive confusion when it comes to the data propaganda and the clear agenda behind the seasonally-adjusted, policy-specific government data, there is no confusion when it comes to one thing: the job recession in Texas has not been this bad since the last of the second Great Depression. Recall what we said last month when we “welcomed” Texas to the recession with some 47,043 layoffs through March: … when broken down by state, things get bad for Texas, very bad. As in recession bad, because with 47K total layoffs, or 10K more than all energy-related layoffs, in just this one state so far in 2015, it means that the energy sector weakness has moved beyond just the oil patch and has spread to the broader economy and related industries in the one state that until recently had the best jobs track record since Lehman. Fast forward to today when we find that what we thought was bad for Texas with 47K layoff announcements in the highest-paid energy sector, just got far, far worse when in its monthly update earlier today, Challenger announced that just in the month of April another 22,760 jobs were lost in Texas, bringing the total to a whopping 69,803 layoff announcements.” Chuck again. But I’m sure the BLS has an answer or solution to this report of all these layoffs. Currencies today 5/8/15. American Style: A$ .7910, kiwi .7440, C$ .8265, euro 1.1225, sterling 1.5430, Swiss $1.0820, . European Style: rand 12.0380, krone 7.4590, SEK 8.2740, forint 270.65, zloty 3.6245, koruna 24.4120, RUB 50.55, yen 120.15, sing 1.3295, HKD 7.7540, INR 63.93, China 6.1147, pesos 15.29, BRL 3.0250, Dollar Index 94.76, Oil $58.88, 10-year 2.15%, Silver $16.37, Platinum $1,136.66, Palladium $786.80, and Gold. $1,186.62 That’s it for today.  Well, this Sunday is Mother’s Day, so it’s Mother’s Day Weekend. It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend, so hopefully that’ll end by Sunday, for the moms deserve a beautiful day.  For all of you who still have your mom around. Give her a Big Hug and tell her you love her.  I lost my mom on New Year’s Eve 1997, but I never quit thinking about her, and how she was my biggest fan, and how she would sit in the basement while we would play our guitars, and tell us how good we sounded. In those days, our Little League (Khoury League) started their games on  Mother’s Day Weekend. We would almost always spend that Mother’s Day Weekend at the ballpark, while I played baseball. So. I miss my mom, even though it’s been so long now that she’s gone. I think she would enjoy this little poem and for all you moms out there, I hope you do too! Of all the Special joys in life, The big ones and the small A mother’s love and tenderness Is the greatest of them all. There is no blessing Quite so dear. As a mom like you To love year after year. Happy Mother’s Day to all you  beautiful moms out there! Chuck Butler Managing Director EverBank Global Marketslast_img read more

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2019-08-04

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Cancer drugs that speed onto the market based on e

first_imgCancer drugs that speed onto the market based on encouraging preliminary studies often don’t show clear benefits when more careful follow-up trials are done, according to research published Tuesday. These cancer drugs are granted accelerated approval to give patients faster access to the treatments and to allow drug companies to reap the economic rewards sooner. As a condition of this process, the Food and Drug Administration requires drug companies to conduct more research, to confirm whether the medications actually work and are safe.In 2018, the FDA looked back on 93 cancer drugs granted accelerated approval and touted that only five had been removed from the market over a 25-year span. A research team at Harvard Medical School’s Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law dug deeper to see what had happened with the rest.In the follow-up studies, only 19 of the 93 drugs clearly extended the lives of the patients taking them, according to the study, published in the latest JAMA Internal Medicine. For example, Genentech’s Avastin, or bevacizumab, won accelerated approval to treat the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma, but the drug did not extend the lives of patients in a follow-up study.Sometimes patients value drugs because they improve their quality of life. This drug didn’t do that either, yet the FDA left it on the market as an approved treatment for glioblastoma.”So that was the most baffling thing,” says Bishal Gyawali, an oncologist on the research team. “I find it very difficult to understand.”The researchers said follow-up studies for these cancer drugs often didn’t even use overall survival or improved quality of life as the benchmark.Instead, many used the same measure that formed the basis for their preliminary approval — for example, tumor shrinkage. Those targets, called “surrogate endpoints,” often don’t predict who will live longer or more comfortably. “How can we use the same surrogate endpoint and say they have clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial?” Gyawali asks, when that endpoint clearly wasn’t sufficient for full approval of the drug at the outset. (Gyawali is now at Queens University in Ontario.) “The reason for giving these approvals should be transparent,” he says, but the FDA doesn’t explain its reasoning.A second study in the same issue looked at cancer drugs approved based on a specific surrogate endpoint called “response rate.” Response to a drug can be anything from spectacular and complete remission to weak and transitory shrinkage of a tumor. And these responses don’t necessarily mean people will live longer or be more comfortable.The study looked at 59 cancer drugs approved initially on the basis of their response rate and found that just six eventually won regular approval based on their overall survival benefit.Studies based on response rate don’t include a comparison group, so the scientists at Oregon Health and Science University argue that it’s difficult to say whether these new drugs are better than other drugs already on the market.Sometimes there is no comparison group because these are rare cancers, or the drug targets a rare mutation in a common cancer, so it’s difficult to pull together a study that randomizes patients into different treatment groups, says Dr. Richard Schilsky, the senior vice president and chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.But for other circumstances, “if we put the investment in it we would be able to do randomized controlled trials,” says Emerson Chen, an oncology fellow at OHSU. Those studies often add another year or more to a follow-up study, he says, but he advocates for them because they provide “more definitive information about the survival and the inpatient-reported outcomes.””One of the reasons we don’t do those kinds of studies is that people say these drugs are so potent it would be wrong to do those kinds of studies … ethically or practically,” says oncologist Vinay Prasad, senior author of the paper. “But I think what we find is these drugs unfortunately are not that potent.”In a commentary, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania write that there “is no good reason for the FDA to rely so heavily on accelerated approval using response rates or other unreliable surrogate end points.” “Drugs with unproven effectiveness sell false hope to desperate patients, who are likely paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for them,” they write, adding, “Approval of ineffective drugs also crowds out innovation that might produce effective treatment.”The FDA gets pressure both from patients and from drug companies to accelerate approval of new cancer drugs and constantly needs to strike a balance between innovation and caution, ASCO’s Schilsky says.Randomized trials are the gold standard for cancer research, but he says they can be challenging if a drug is already on the market.”When the preliminary results with some of these new treatments are looking very promising, it’s particularly difficult to get patients to accept randomization to a standard therapy that may be far inferior — or at least appear to be far inferior — to the new treatment,” Schilsky says.He also pushes back against the “sweeping generalizations” in these two studies. “Regulatory decisions have to be made on a case by case basis and in a particular context,” he says. But he agrees that the FDA should be more transparent about its decisions, so scientists can better understand them.The FDA did not provide NPR with details about its decision to leave Avastin on the market for brain cancer. In a statement, an agency spokeswoman notes that the FDA weighs risk and benefits, saying, “It has been widely accepted that benefit can be demonstrated by a number of endpoints, not just overall survival.”You can contact NPR science correspondent Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

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2019-08-03

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A judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabl

first_imgA judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabled man who was imprisoned and tortured to death by his killer as a disability hate crime, raising fresh concerns about flawed legislation that is supposed to ensure higher sentences for such offences.Newcastle Crown Court heard during an eight-week trial how James Wheatley, 29, of Studdon Walk, Kenton Bar, Newcastle, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on Lee Irving in attacks that took place over nine days, leaving him with multiple broken bones and other injuries.Irving (pictured), 24, who had learning difficulties, thought Wheatley was his friend and was living in his house at the time of the attacks.But Wheatley and his co-defendants targeted Irving for his money and possessions, with Wheatley signing him up to online banking so he could empty his account.After the final attack that led to his death, Irving’s body was taken on a pushchair through a housing estate and dumped on a patch of grass near the A1.Gerry Wareham, chief crown prosecutor for the north-east, said after the trial that Wheatley had “exploited the friendship of Lee Irving in the worst way imaginable”.He said: “Lee only wanted friendship but, instead, became the target of Wheatley’s aggression.“After the attacks on Lee Irving, the defendants made every effort to hide what they had done: sedating and imprisoning him in their home, moving his body after death and removing key evidence.“Even those defendants not directly involved in the attacks would have recognised that the extent of his injuries required immediate medical attention. Not one of them tried to assist Lee or to prevent further injury to him.”Wheatley was found guilty on Friday (2 December) of murder, and sentenced to life in prison, where he will have to serve a minimum of 23 years.But the offences Wheatley committed were not treated as hate crimes by the judge, Mr Justice Soole, under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.If they had been, he would have had to serve at least 30 years in prison.Three other defendants – Wheatley’s mother Julie Mills, 52, girlfriend Nicole Lawrence, 22, and lodger Barry Imray, 35 – were convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, as was Wheatley, and of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, and all three were jailed.Both Northumbria police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had treated Irving’s death as a hate crime, but Mr Justice Soole, in sentencing Wheatley, decided there was not enough evidence to prove the killing was motivated by disability-related hostility.Lee Irving’s death now becomes the latest in a lengthy line of brutal crimes in which disabled people have been targeted because of their impairment, but which have not been acknowledged as disability hate crimes because of the flawed criminal justice system.One of them was the murder of Brent Martin, another man with learning difficulties, who was killed in nearby Sunderland by three young men who took turns to see which of them could knock him out for a £5 bet.But his killing in 2007 was never treated as a disability hate crime by Northumbria police, the same force that investigated Lee Irving’s death, or by the courts.In July this year, CPS was criticised for failing to treat as a disability hate crime a case in which a man with learning difficulties was forced to live in a shed for 35 years, and work for a pittance, and was beaten if he failed to work hard enough.And last year, the criminal justice system was again criticised after a court failed to treat the brutal murder of Peter Hedley as a disability hate crime, when again the judge merely took account of Hedley’s “vulnerability” in sentencing.The failure to sentence Lee Irving’s murderer under disability hate crime legislation will provide further fuel for disabled campaigners who have been pushing the government for years to ensure that it takes the issue seriously.Northumbria police had failed to comment by noon today (8 December).But a CPS spokesman confirmed that its lawyers had treated Lee Irving’s murder as a disability hate crime.He said in a statement: “We always apply to increase sentences where disability is an aggravating factor but ultimately it is the court’s decision.“The proportion of sentence uplifts applied in 2015-16 was the highest it has ever been and we are working with the judiciary and the courts in support of their consistent application.”CPS said that where there was not enough evidence of disability hostility for a section 146 uplift, but disability was a factor in another way – such as the victim’s perceived “vulnerability” – it can present evidence to the court of these other “aggravating” factors that can increase the seriousness of the offence and the sentence.A public consultation on CPS’s policy on prosecuting crimes against disabled people is due to end on 9 January 2017.last_img read more

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2019-07-31

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About 40000 Verizon Unionized Workers Strike Over Contract Talks

first_img April 13, 2016 Next Article Apply Now » –shares Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Verizon Workers Walk Off Jobs And Strike in Washington, DC. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Verizon About 40,000 Verizon Unionized Workers Strike Over Contract Talks Reuters Tens of thousands of Verizon Communications Inc. workers walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the largest U.S. strikes in recent years after contract talks hit an impasse.The strike could affect service in Verizon’s Fios Internet, telephone and TV services businesses across several U.S. East Coast states, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.The strike was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that jointly represent nearly 40,000 employees, such as customer services representatives and network technicians in Verizon’s traditional wireline phone operations.Workers protested at various Verizon locations along the East Coast. Verizon said it had trained thousands of non-union employees over the past year to ensure no disruption in services.While the wireline unit represents Verizon’s legacy business, it generated about 29 percent of the company’s revenue in 2015 and less than 7 percent of operating income.Verizon’s Fios TV and Internet service is no longer growing and the company has been scaling back its landline network as it has shifts to the bread-and-butter wireless business and new efforts in mobile video and advertising.Verizon and the unions have been talking since last June over the company’s plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period.The workers have been without a contract since its agreement expired in August. Issues include healthcare, offshoring call center jobs, work rules and pensions.“It’s regrettable that union leaders have called a strike, a move that hurts all of our employees,” Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Since last June, we’ve worked diligently to try and reach agreements that would be good for our employees, good for our customers and make the wireline business more successful now and in the future.”The last contract negotiations in 2011 also led to a strike. A new contract was reached after two weeks.On Tuesday, Verizon said it has been approached by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. In the last round, the FMCS mediated their contract dispute.“The question of federal mediation is a distraction to the real problem: Verizon’s corporate greed,” the unions said in a statement, adding it has not yet contacted the FMCS.Verizon’s shares dipped 0.1 percent at $51.88.(Reporting by Malathi Nayak and Rishika Sadam; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty; and Jeffrey Benkoe) Image credit: Mark Wilson | Getty Images 3 min read This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

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2019-07-26

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Family acceptance of LGBT individuals sexuality linked to lower stress

first_img Source:https://www.ohio.edu/ucm/media/news-story.cfm?newsItem=4E553C95-5056-A874-1D0B24EB38C8D251 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 24 2018Ohio University Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Peggy Zoccola has determined that those who identify as LGBT and have come out to their family carry less stress hormones than those who have not come out, which may ultimately benefit their health.The recent study by Zoccola and coauthor Andrew Manigault, M.S., published in the October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, journal of the Psychosomatic Society, discusses how feeling able to comfortably talk about your sexual identity with family members specifically, appears to be most linked to output of the stress hormone cortisol, a hormone that if too much is produced, it can damage an individual’s health.Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useStudy explores the effects of near-miss experiences associated with 9/11 terrorist attacksEarly life adversity and high levels of FKBP5 protein amplify anxiety-like behavior”The real stress punch seems to be with the family,” said Zoccola when referencing how greater disclosure of a LGBT individual’s sexuality to their family is strongly linked to lower cortisol.She points out that there has been sparse research on how the aspects of coming out by LGBT adults affect the release of stress hormones, however, some early studies have shown that if people who identify as sexual minorities feel acceptance from their families, they have higher self-esteem, lower depression and substance use rates and are less likely to think about suicide.For the study, Zoccola had 121 sexual minority adults ages 18 to 35 take a survey about their depression and anxiety levels, sociodemographic factors and how much support they felt. They were also asked how out they were to family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and clergy in religious organizations, as well as provided their age when they came out. Following the survey, 58 individuals from the group were randomly selected to provide a saliva sample to show their cortisol levels.The results of Zoccola’s research showed that the more open people were to disclosing their sexuality with their family, the lower cortisol levels they had.”For these emerging adults, the family provides a foundation of support,” said Zoccola. “If they’re comfortable disclosing to their family, they seem to have a protective stress profile.”last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Researchers uncover new lead for mechanism of action of frontline Type 2

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 24 2018Canadian and British researchers have discovered how the frontline Type 2 diabetes drug metformin may work to help cells better take up and use glucose. Their study, published today in the prestigious journal Cell, may also explain other potential beneficial effects of metformin for prevention of a variety of chronic diseases, including cancers.To show that metformin appeared to make the cells act as if they are starved for the essential mineral iron, biochemists at Université de Montréal used a new method to simultaneously probe how all of a cell’s biochemical processes respond to the presence of a drug. Collaborating with researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London, the UdeM team showed that metformin has a global effect on iron distribution in cells, resulting in alteration of essential biochemical processes.Related StoriesDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useThe novel technology that made this discovery possible was developed in the lab of lead author Stephen Michnick, a biochemistry professor at UdeM andholder of a Canada Research Chair in cell architecture. “If you want to know what a drug or any other molecule is doing in the body, you need to survey everything going on in it’s cells at once,” said Dr. Michnick. “Today there are several ways to do this, but our method, called hdPCA, has the merit of being extremely simple to perform and interpret, non-invasive and inexpensive; it can be done in almost any lab.” The method can be deployed to rapidly predict and confirm how a drug might affect cells and simultaneously identify any liabilities the drug might have if introduced into humans.”We’d chosen to use metformin, mostly because it was an interesting test case, having no clear mechanism of action,”added the study’s first author, UdeM biochemist Bram Stynen. “The lead to effects of metformin on iron homeostasis was a bonus of this study. A connection between iron metabolism and diabetes was already suspected but no-one had ever showed a specific antidiabetic effect of metformin in living cells connected to iron homeostasis.” Added collaborator Markus Ralser, a biochemist at Francis Crick, “this makes a lot of sense; glucose metabolism most likely emerged evolutionarily from iron-dependent chemical reactions; such chemical relationships don’t disappear in evolution.”Further cell and animal studies will have to be done to pin down how important iron-starvation mimicking effects of metformin are to glucose metabolism and how this mechanism might be better exploited to improve diabetes treatments. Source:https://www.umontreal.ca/en/last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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