Common-sense money lessons from 2008

Saving trumps spending for financial healthIt is easy to think of 2008 as a terrible year for your finances, but there is a silver lining – lessons learned.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Brett Arends suggests that the past year has caused people to realize that they need to take control of their own wealth, rather than relying on so-called experts.

Investors should always understand the systems in which they are investing their funds, he argues, pointing out that even the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seemed to not completely comprehend their money-making strategies.

"Simple stocks, like Amazon or Anheuser-Busch, rarely embarrass you in this way," Arends writes.

He also points out that 2008 was another year in which some of the most popular investment sectors fell apart, which underscores the principle of taking charge of your own finances – and having the guts to stray from the pack.

Arends suggests that another lesson from the past year is that saving for the future is a better financial strategy than spending beyond your means in the present – something that may sound obvious but has largely been ignored by many Americans for the past several years.

We probably don’t have long to wait to see if 2008’s lessons have an impact on the coming year.

Concerns about Napolitano’s use of security technology

What will Homeland Security implement next?Governor Janet Napolitano will soon be stepping into a lead role with the Homeland Security Department, which has caused various civil liberties groups to examine her previous record on the balance between privacy and security.

For example, Alessandra Soler Meetze of Arizona’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter has raised concerns about Napolitano’s implementation of security technology, USA Today reports.

"She sees technology as the panacea of all our law enforcement problems and immigration issues. It’s like she’s embracing these technologies without taking the time to appreciate the privacy implications," she told the news provider.

In the six years that Napolitano has been governor of Arizona, she has encouraged the use of cameras to scan the license plates of moving cars, signed a bill to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for certain crimes and proposed an optional ID – with a radio-frequency chip – for citizens who reside in the state.

The governor said the ID cards, which could be easily scanned by law enforcement officials, would help speed up border crossings.

Arizona John Birch Society president Bryan Turner suggested that the optional cards could lead to situations in which anyone who didn’t have one could be suspected of being illegal.

Fiat Paper Money Regime—Something Most Cannot Understand

A fiat paper money regime always becomes autocratic or fascist toward the last days of its existence. This is the time when the State makes war on its own people. Most never know it because it is not announced, but hidden in propaganda within such terms as "for the common good."

An unlimited supply of paper money buys sophisticated arms that create fear and the propaganda to manipulate the people against their personal freedom and best interest.

Fiat paper money is tyranny or becomes tyranny. It guarantees criminal government.

Paper money, personal freedom and privacy are incompatible. Paper money builds centralized power in the State and diminishes the individual. This is the first cause of all you see happening.  All modern wars are paper money wars. Paper money pays the politicians their lavish profligacy and they keep their mouths shut about the fiat system. (All except Ron Paul). All the tyrants in modern history did their dirty work with paper money.

The tsunami comes and most poor uninformed people don’t have an umbrella. This is the year to store food and buy silver. And don’t ask where to store your silver!

I suggest you buy U.S. silver coins dated before 1964 as they are 90 percent silver. You can get dimes, quarters and halves. Please don’t ask the dealer for a few coins. He will have to charge you postage so try to get at least half a bag. Half a bag is $500 face amount or face value. Get the money somewhere!

Why am I writing about silver? Because most of you have let gold pass you by.

From Howard Ruff’s new book, How to Prosper During The Coming Bad Years In The 21st Century we quote: "Take immediate measures to safeguard your assets before it becomes too late, due to sudden (bank/government) restrictions on cash withdrawals, wire transfer limitations, the loss or recall of credit facilities, frozen fund redemptions, foreign exchange controls, etc."

For information on Swiss annuities, call 1-800-331-0996 and leave a message. Talk slowly and clearly giving your name, address and phone number.

Special interest groups compete for economic stimulus

Who will get a piece of Obama's stimulus money?Ahead of the finalization of President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus bill, a number of groups have been lobbying for a share of the money.

According to an article in USA Today, the high level of interest in bailout funds could create some difficulties for the incoming administration, which has promised there will be no waste included in any stimulus package.

Groups including Taxpayers for Common Sense have questioned how this aim could possibly be achieved with so many groups jockeying for funds.

"When Congress has got a pocketful of walking around money, there’s a lot of people who are trying to take them for a ride," Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense told the news provider.

"If you’re a lobbyist in town and you’re not trying to get a piece of the bailout, you should be fired."

Among those looking for a role in the stimulus plan are the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Natural Resource Defense Council and the National Air Transport Association.

Each group claims that their contribution could help create or protect jobs, boost consumer spending or otherwise benefit the economy as a whole.

Obama has forecast that the entire stimulus plan could cost as much as $775 billion.

Food additives linked to tumor growth

Phosphates added to food may promote cancerA diet high in inorganic phosphates – commonly found in processed food – can contribute to the risk of lung cancer among those already predisposed, as well as accelerating tumor growth, new research suggests.

Scientists at Seoul National University say that inorganic phosphates have a strong connection to the development of lung cancer among rodents and that limiting these additives can help treat the disease when it is already present.

In the past few decades, inorganic phosphates have been increasingly added to a number of processed foods, such as meats, cheeses, beverages and baked goods, explained lead researcher Myung-Haing Cho.

"As a result, depending on individual food choices, phosphorous intake could be increased by as much as 1,000 mg per day," he said, adding that in 1990s this level hovered around 470 mg per day.

Phosphates are usually added to food to boost water retention and improve texture.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, indicated that rats with lung cancer who consumed more phosphates had larger and further progressed tumors.

Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology linked high levels of phosphates in the blood with cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.

For the Love of Sugar

By now you know that sugar and sweeteners of all types, except natural honey and natural Peruvian stevia, are highly toxic chemicals.

The sugar deception is a great undisclosed health addiction that has wrecked the health of multimillions of people.

Sugar consumption of all types has gone from 7 pounds per person per year in 1900 to 220-plus pounds per person per year average today. This by itself is the foundation of sickness and disease that guarantees conventional medicine perpetual multitrillion dollar annual profits.

All disease directly relates to sugar consumption. This includes white and brown sugar and all the synthetic chemical sugars. Sugar, especially synthetic chemical sweetener, is the basic ingredient used by all commercial food processors.

Almost every label in the grocery stores shows some kind of sugar or sweetener contents. No warnings are ever given about the highly toxic nature of synthetic sweeteners. Some are more toxic than others but all can cause multiple diseases from convulsions to diabetes. All accumulate as acid poisons in the human body.

All artificial or synthetic sweeteners should display a skull and crossbones emblem on their packaging.

There is a mountain of research on the extreme danger of synthetic sugars and I believe that there is no way to have good health while consuming sugar at the same time. No amount of terrorism could come close to the danger of sugar consumption in the United States.

There is a natural solution, though. Stevia is a natural herb sweetener that is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. South Americans have used this totally non-caloric sweet herb for more than 1,500 years. It is widely used all over the world, but up to now, could not be sold as a sweetener in the United States because of lobbyists for the artificial sweetener cartel and the FDA. Until recently it could only be purchased as a dietary supplement. But thankfully that’s about to change now that the FDA recently gave approval to two new Stevia-based sweeteners.

“In addition to its natural, powerfully sweet taste, (you only use a very mild, light dusting) research shows that stevia actually regulates blood sugar and reduces high blood pressure. It’s an extremely effective aid in weight loss and weight management because it contains no calories. It also reduces your desire for alcohol and tobacco use.” (quoted from James Balch, M.D., in his excellent newsletter Prescriptions for Healthy Living.)

Stevia has no glycemic index, which means that it does not affect insulin in any negative way. This is good news to a nation of diabetics. It’s a miracle as a food supplement for everybody.

A very small amount goes a long way; in fact, far less than other so-called sugar substitutes and it has a neutral taste.

Research in Japan has found stevia to be perfectly safe to be used in any food recipe, chewing gum or mouthwash. It is used on cereals, herb teas, coffee and anything else that you desire.

Stevia is high in chromium (which helps to stabilize blood sugar), manganese, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium and vitamin A. It also contains iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C and zinc. So you see, stevia is a very excellent food dietary supplement.

The natural sugar substitute stevia can help prevent:

  • Diabetes
  • Food Craving
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco Cravings

It can also help with:

  • Addictions
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypertension
  • High Blood Pressure

Research has demonstrated that stevia liquid concentrate inhibits the growth and reproduction of harmful bacteria and other infectious organisms, including those that are a problem for the food and cosmetic industries. Stevia also inhibits the growth of gum disease bacteria and tooth decay and in many countries it is used in oral hygiene products.

Less known but no less remarkable is the ability of water-based stevia concentrates to help heal numerous skin problems, including acne, seborrhea (discharge of sebaceous matter on the head causing dry scales or dandruff), dermatitis and eczema.

It also has been observed that placing it on cuts and wounds brings more rapid healing without scarring. It may cause a severe stinging for several seconds, but is followed by a significant lowering of pain. Physicians have reported using stevia concentrate to heal psoriasis and burns, while others have reported that it is extremely helpful in healing various lip sores.

Daniel Mourrey, Ph.D., a scientist and director of The American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory said, “Few substances as stevia have ever yielded completely non-toxic tests whether used internally or externally. There has never been any known abnormalities in weight change, cell or membrane characteristics, enzyme or chromosome characteristics, no cancer, no birth defects, no acute and no chronic negative effects.”

As a sweetener, only a very light dust of stevia concentrate is needed, making stevia far less expensive than all other sweeteners. Switching to stevia concentrate for all your sweet needs can be an extremely important step in restoring your health and in reversing the aging process.

Gold edges upward

Renewed international concern eases gold upwardGold prices moved past $870 per ounce in Friday trading after a week of steady rises.

Tensions in the Middle East and on the Indian-Pakistani border helped to boost the price of the precious metal – widely viewed as a safe haven investment – during an otherwise quiet week of trading.

Spot prices for February rose quickly from $850 to $870 over the course of Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, concerns for the underlying strength of the U.S. economy – hit hard by growing unemployment and historically weak consumer demand – have led to renewed speculation over the future price of gold.

"Gold is solid as the dollar is under pressure because of a deepening U.S. recession and the Fed policy of keeping interest rates near zero," analyst Tatsuo Kageyama was reported as telling Bloomberg.

Some experts predict prices might rise as high as $2000 in the next year to 18 months in response to the global financial crisis and the possible worsening of relations in international trouble spots.

The resurgence of fighting between Hamas and Israel on Wednesday reinvigorated concern over Middle Eastern stability following the unraveling of a six-month ceasefire between the two sides earlier in the month. ADNFCR-1961-ID-18947604-ADNFCR

Authorities advise over identity theft

Your identity may be at riskFederal agencies released a revised guide this week designed to tackle the ongoing issue of identity fraud.

The brochure – entitled You Have the Power to Stop Identity Theft – contains a number of steps individuals can take to reduce the chances of an invasion of privacy and possible financial loss.

For example, people should never disclose their Social Security number or other potential password over the phone or internet unless they initiated the contact, the guidance states.

"If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, go to the company’s website by typing in the site address or using a page you have previously bookmarked, instead of using a link provided by the email," the authorities advise in a reference to so-called phishing attacks.

If you do fall victim to an identity fraudster, contact your financial institution so that a note can be placed on your file. The guidance also encourages you to inform the Federal Trade Commission of any attempted attack.

As many as nine million Americans are the subject of identity fraud each year, according to FTC estimates.

Stop the Noise Distraction—Take Control of Your Health and Wealth

Few people realize how much noise there is in our daily lives. They don’t know what noise is. Noise is a distraction, sight or sound that keeps us from thinking and focusing.

We used to put side blinders on our mule while plowing to keep the mule focused on staying in the furrow and listening to commands. We would tie a mesh sack around his nose to keep him from nipping the new corn.

Noise is extremely important in people control. People don’t know the difference between noise and focus. Noise keeps us from being focused.

The more noise in our lives—the less focused we are on reality. Most advertising is noise to promote sales based on false needs. The most noise in our society comes from politicians and bureaucrats. These people can only stay in power if we don’t think and don’t stay focused on fact over fiction.

We must decide what is important in our lives and establish priorities and avoid any distractions or noise. This is the direct route to wealth and happiness.

Now I will tell you what my focus is and what I think should be every American’s focus. Our daily focus is how to preserve health and preserve wealth. Most Americans are totally unaware of these two.

How to preserve health? The first rule is to be aware and willing to study and pursue alternatives. My thinking goes beyond this. I use orthodox or conventional medicine when I consider it necessary. But I believe that conventional medicine is absolutely controlled by the pharmaceutical cartel who also control all allopathic doctors. Doctors lose their license to practice if they don’t conform.

Moreover, allopathic medicine is sickness, not wellness. Since it is profit motivated, this system has to have sick people to make a profit. They have no interest in preventive medicine or well people. Immunizations are not a preventive or wellness system.

Preserve wealth: Most people do not know—and the system does not reveal—that unfunded (unbacked) paper money has the purpose of transferring wealth from the people to the state (those who create paper money).

This is hush-hush, and no politician or bureaucrat will discuss it. The only exception that I am aware of is Congressman Ron Paul of Texas—and he is not a politician. He is a statesman and I pray that he stays alive and healthy.

Why does the paper money system work? It works because people don’t understand it and because it is a system of gradualism. Power over the people can succeed if it is gradual. Absolute tyranny can totally replace human liberty if it is a process of gradualism. It is sometimes described as two steps forward and one step backward. Time, however, works for the power brokers.

The few who preserve their wealth and prosper understand paper money. They accumulate assets as silver, gold and other precious metals. They also buy rare paintings, jewelry and land. Paid for raw land in a safe country—I would consider a hedge against printing-press money.

And in today’s world, keep aware of ways to transfer wealth to other countries while it is still legal to do so. We have long recommended the Swiss franc and the Swiss annuity.

Let’s reduce the noise to focus on health and preservation of wealth!

FDA takes Coca-Cola to task for nutrition claims

Diet Coke Plus claims to be nutritionalDiet Coke may contain ingredients such as the artificial sweetener aspartame and phosphoric acid, but the Food and Drug Administration is more concerned about its nutritional claims.

The FDA has sent a letter warning the soft drinks manufacturer that its Diet Coke Plus product does not have the appropriate ingredients to warrant the word "plus."

According to the agency’s standards, foods and drinks that carry the "plus" label should contain at least 10 percent more nutrients than similar items on the market. The FDA also said that adding vitamins and minerals to "snack foods" is not appropriate.

Coca-Cola introduced Diet Coke Plus in March 2007. It describes the drink as having extra vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B, zinc and magnesium, according to the Associated Press.

The AP suggests that the move could be part of a larger plan by the FDA to crack down on food manufacturers that exaggerate health claims on their labels.

However, some natural foods advocates have questioned why the agency has been focusing on nutritional claims rather than the testing and regulation of artificial ingredients.

Questions remain about Obama stimulus plan

Will the U.S. create enough jobs in time?President-elect Barack Obama has promised a stimulus plan for the country that could create or save millions of jobs – but will it work?

Spending is a big part of the plan. Early in the new year, Congress could receive a request to spend between $675 billion and $775 billion in the next two years, Fox News reports. Around $350 billion could be directed at creating infrastructure projects.

Former director of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Holtz-Eakin told the news provider that although the plan "sounds great on paper" it may be more difficult to achieve.

Part of the problem may be the timing. As the U.S. is already about one year into a recession, by the time the money works its way through the system and new jobs are created, it may no longer be necessary.

"Even if we have a pretty prolonged downturn, it could be the case that the recession is over by the time a lot of this money gets spent," Holtz-Eakin said.

Instead, he suggested that the government could help stimulate spending by suspending Social Security taxes for a year.

Holtz-Eakin, who advised Senator John McCain during his campaign, also said he supports the senator’s idea of purchasing and refinancing bad mortgage debt.

The country is likely to receive more details of the stimulus package when Obama takes office on January 20th.

American Fascism and “Health Regulations”

The few of you who know a little Italian history under Mussolini have an idea about fascism. Fascism is simply a marriage of the state and big business and the people are the pawns.

My mother used to say that, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Boy, was she ever wrong! Believe me, what you don’t know is fatal to your health and your children’s health.

There is no better example of fascism than American pharmaceuticals and their silent partners, the giant food processors. These oligopolies have mounted the most aggressive attack on our health.

We’re talking red alert! While we are all in love with our materialism, the big rats have advanced on all fronts with murder incorporated. These people have no morals and government sanctions this fraud.

Why do you think that drug companies spend about 12 percent on research and 40 percent on advertising? Advertising can easily be defined as propaganda designed to get you to eat something or take something against your health. And what’s more, they have a new thrust at little children.

Well, it doesn’t take long to build a conditioned response in a child’s mind. And when parents are ignorant, there is a double crisis.

Big business with its vast resources is unbridled in its new attack on the whole family. We are sitting ducks. The whole population has already submitted to every conceivable vaccination from brand new infants to very old people.

Now there is a huge program to check all kids for “high cholesterol” and high blood pressure. Well, can you guess their angle? They want everybody on their drugs.

And the fast food industry has helped pave the way. Every kid on the block has his daily fast food box (trans-fatty acids) which triggers all diseases. And now the number one cause of death for kids ages 1 through 15 and adults ages 25 to 40 is CANCER.

Our juvenile diet of fast foods (trans-fatty acids) has caused an obesity epidemic to hit toddlers and kids as young as age 4, who have high insulin levels—a precursor to diabetes and high blood pressure causing abnormal liver function.

Even Forbes magazine (no friend of yours) related (“J & J’s dirty little secret”) how Johnson & Johnson decided it was cheaper to pay a few million dollars to the families of adults and children who had died from Tylenol® than it would be to warn of the potential lethal side effects and scare away customers.

Every home should have a Physician’s Desk Reference, and you should look up everything they intend to take or give their children.

Johnson & Johnson is also the company that brought us Olestra, so that you can eat “guilt free, fat-free” trans-fatty acid laden pretzels and potato chips. Olestra inhibits the absorption of not only fat, but all of your fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K, beta carotene, CoQ10 and lipoic acid) that protect from cancer, heart disease and everything else.

So you get the trans-fatty acid “foods” plus the Olestra to finish off your nutritional capacity. Is this deception and fraud? Try to do something about it!

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson is spending $40 million to push their new 8-hour Tylenol® on children. Deaths from Tylenol® are occur because it’s extremely toxic to the liver in low or “normal” doses. The toxicity compounds within children and seniors who both have less detoxification ability.

So, Johnson & Johnson is buying ads in magazines like Rolling Stone and Runner’s World to target young people and children.

Saddam Hussein never did this to us!

Pesticides discovered in fruit juice

Worries about pesticidesResearchers studying fruit juice beverages from 15 different countries have uncovered traces of pesticides in many products, it has emerged.

Scientists at the University of Jaen in Spain looked at more than 100 drinks purchased in the U.S., Russia, Italy, Germany France, the UK and other countries, the Sunday Times of London reports.

In particular, the UK was discovered to have fruit juices with the highest pesticide levels – approximately 34 times greater than what is considered acceptable in drinking water among EU nations.

Peter Melchett of the Soil Association told the news provider that "there needs to be more work on the cumulative effect of residues and this report provides further evidence of a laissez-faire approach."

In the U.S. the use of – and disposal of – pesticides has also been a hot-button issue for a number of years.

ABC News reports that Earthjustice has filed four federal lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency that focus on pesticide use.

The public interest law firm has raised concerns about pesticide contamination in groundwater being linked to cancer.

"There are several pesticides on the market that pose extreme risks to human health through the water, air and food," commented Joshua Osborne-Klein, an attorney for the Earthjustice. "Our lawsuits say that the EPA has not fully assessed these risks."

Tamiflu no match for this year’s flu

Questions about TamifluA new flu strain that is spreading across the U.S. does not respond to the medication Tamiflu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC warned that this year’s most commonly noted flu bug, found in 12 states so far, is the one that is resistant to Tamiflu.

There are three different strains of flu that can affect humans: the A H3N2 strain, a type B strain and the resistant A H1N1 strain.

Still, Tamiflu is one of the most popular anti-flu drugs on the market, possibly because it can be administered to children in pill form.

But some have raised concerns about the medication’s safety. In 2005 and 2006, a number of cases – mainly out of Japan – reported that children and young people were experiencing mental health side effects after taking the drug.

This caused manufacturer Roche to add a warning to its label stating that "people with the flu, particularly children, may be at increased risk of self-injury and confusion shortly after taking Tamiflu and should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior."

Where did I put that bailout money again?

Who is monitoring the use of bailout funds?After receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money, banks are unable to describe how they have used the funds, it has emerged.

An Associated Press investigation asked 21 financial institutions that have accepted at least $1 billion from the government how they have spent the money and what their plans are for any remaining cash.

According to the AP, not a single bank gave specific responses to the queries, raising questions about who is monitoring the banks’ use of bailout funds.

Some lawmakers have indicated that they intend to follow up on where the money has been used, but taxpayers may see it as a case of too little, too late.

The news comes after the Treasury Department announced that it has used up $350 billion out of the total amount included in the Troubled Asset Relief Program so far but will likely not touch the rest until January.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Associated Press reveals that many executives at financial institutions receiving bailout money received salaries, bonuses and benefits that – if taken as a whole – nearly equal the amount the banks have accepted from TARP.

Health Wisdom—Reach for Nutrition!

Want a real gem of health wisdom that few people have ever heard of? Our bodies have a far harder time processing food than we can imagine. Overeating causes impaired metabolism leading to insulin resistance, abdominal obesity and inflammation. How serious is this? The answer is that they are markers for heart disease and cancer.

When food intake is excessive (not necessarily a glutton), particularly foods with a lot of empty calories which we call nonfoods, there is tremendous metabolic stress.

Studies where rats are restricted in their calorie intake but not in their nutrient intake have repeatedly shown that these animals live up to 40 percent longer than rats allowed to eat as usual or all they wanted.

And not only do these calorie-restricted rats live longer, they also live better. That is, they are protected from developing the usual diseases of aging such as arthritis, diabetes, dementia and cancer.

They also look great with thick, shiny coats, full sets of whiskers and shiny eyes. On top of this, they run through mazes as well as much younger rats. The same result was achieved with a variety of test animals.

Less food and more nutrition! This means to leave off the empty nonfood calories because this is what we eat the most of and this is exactly what is destroying our health.

The problem is most people don’t know the difference in nonfood or empty food calories and nutrition. They think that they are the same. Food is food, right? No, this perception is far from being right!

It’s called full-belly starvation. We eat, we feel full and even satisfied, but we are slowly starving. Most all the illness today is a manifestation or the end result of slow starvation, meaning too many calories and little or not enough nutrition. Our hunger mechanism gets fooled just the same as our thirst mechanism breaks down and we unknowingly dehydrate. So most people are malnourished as well as dehydrated.

There was a food shortage in Germany after World War I so they added sawdust to their food. At first they added a very small percent. Then they gradually increased until the people became malnourished and sick. All the time they had full bellies. They did not feel hungry.

When a person eats a fast food hamburger, most of that hamburger is a nonfood or calories only. The bread is bleached flour and the meat is full of antibiotics and growth hormones. They have sold billions because they taste good to many people.

Let me give you an example: We eat about a thimble full of nutrition a day and at least a quart or two of just empty calories. It’s the calories that cause disease and aging.

Believe me—our bodies will adjust on much less food, especially if we drink the required amount of water.

Some of the best human evidence of the calorie-reduction concept sprang from the Biosphere II experiments. Here eight men and women lived in a self-sustaining enclosed environment in the Arizona desert for two years—growing or raising all their own food, producing their own oxygen, making their own water and processing their own waste. Because the amount of food they could produce was limited, they ended up on a calorie-restricted diet.

After the two years were up, the men had lost about 18 percent of their body weight; the women had lost 10 percent. And every measurable variable (body fat, blood pressure, exercise capacity, oxygen consumption, blood sugar levels, cholesterols, cortisol levels, white blood counts and so on) showed by every measurable parameter that these people had become healthier and substantially “younger” than when they entered the environment two years earlier.

The reason for this? By consuming fewer calories, they experienced a much lower level of oxidative stress.

This is all too convincing to ignore. I assume that our readers know the difference in nonfood calories and nutrition. Sounds like this would solve any diet or health problem.

EPA ‘should assess cumulative effect of hormone-disrupting chemicals’

Toys may contain harmful chemicalsWhen analyzing the effects of potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals, regulators should focus on the cumulative effects of exposure, a panel has claimed.

The National Research Council was specifically commenting on the Environmental Protection Agency’s attitude toward phthalates, which are added to plastic toys to make them flexible.

Animal studies involving these chemicals have indicated that exposure over time can disrupt the male reproductive system and affect testosterone levels, according to the council.

It suggested that the EPA should change its focus from analyzing these chemicals individually to looking at how people are affected when exposed to numerous toxins from food additives, cosmetics, toys, household cleaners and other products.

"If we don’t do this as a cumulative risk assessment focused on these adverse effects, we’re going to be underestimating risks," said panel chairwoman Deborah Cory-Slechta of the University of Rochester, according to Reuters.

The government has already taken steps to ban phthalates from children’s products, beginning February 10, 2009, although stores will be permitted to sell toys that contain the chemicals if they were manufactured before that date.

Phthalates are already prohibited in cosmetics and toys in the European Union.

New credit card rules: Blessing or curse?

New rules for the credit card industryThis week, the Federal Reserve approved new regulations for the credit card industry which are aimed at protecting consumers.

The rules, which are set to go into effect in mid-2010, prohibit credit card providers from engaging in practices such as applying all of a cardholder’s payment to the balance with the lowest interest rate.

They also insist that issuers give customers 45 days’ notice before changing the terms of their credit card agreement, among other limits on industry behavior.

However, although consumers may cheer the new regulations, some industry experts fear they will actually have a negative effect on the economy.

Banking analyst Meredith Whitney raised concerns that the move will inhibit consumer spending, reduce the ability of lenders to offer credit and cause them to tighten their lending criteria, according to Reuters.

"This [credit] line reduction will strain credit quality not just for credit card loans but for all consumer loans," she said.

Whitney added that many credit card companies have already been forced to lower credit limits and cancel customers’ accounts, in order to protect themselves from risk.