Chemicals Found In Cannabis May Aid The Treatment Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chemicals found in cannabis may aid the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseaseCompounds found in cannabis may be useful as part of an effective treatment for certain inflammatory bowel diseases, a new study has found.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two of the more prevalent bowel diseases, are caused by genetic and environmental factors such as diet, stress and bacterial imbalance.

Researchers found that two cannabis compounds—THC and cannabidol—can play an important role in normal bowel function as well as the immune system’s inflammatory response.

"The body produces its own cannabinoid molecules, called endocannabinoids, which we have shown increase the permeability of the epithelium during inflammation, implying that overproduction may be detrimental," said Karen Wright, author of the study.

"However, we were able to reverse this process using plant-derived cannabinoids, which appeared to allow the epithelial cells to form tighter bonds with each other and restore the membrane barrier," she added.

While THC is responsible for the "high" associated with using cannabis, cannabidol, which is also effective in restoring membrane integrity, does not have any psychoactive properties.

Meanwhile, independent research has indicated that cannabis may also be helpful in controlling symptoms associated with glaucoma and certain forms of cancer.
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Common Pain Reliever May Increase Risk Of Asthma, Researchers Say

Common pain reliever may increase risk of asthma, researchers sayAs we enter the peak of cold and flu season in the United States, many people have begun to look for alternative remedies to help cope with winter sickness.

New research conducted at the University of British Columbia has shown that the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen may lead to an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in both children and adults.

After reviewing 19 studies with more than 425,000 participants, researchers found that children who took acetaminophen had a 60 percent greater chance of developing asthma when compared to children who did not take the drug, the Vancouver Sun reports. For adults, the risk of developing asthma rose to 70 percent.

Meanwhile, new evidence has surfaced indicating that Brazilian mint contains pain relieving compounds similar to those found in traditional western medicines.

A research team at Newcastle University administered Brazilian mint in the form of a tea to a group of lab mice and found that the South American herb was as effective at relieving pain as a synthetic aspirin-style drug.

"What we have done is to take a plant that is widely used to safely treat pain and scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs. Now the next step is to find out how and why the plant works," said lead researcher Graciela Rocha.

The research team will now put together a series of clinical trials to see how effective the mint is as a pain reliever in human beings.
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Study By AP Finds U.S. Gun Laws Getting More Lax

Study by AP finds U.S. gun laws getting more lax In a blow to gun-regulation proponents, a review by the Associated Press (AP) has found that during the last two years, 24 states, mostly in the Southwest, have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions.

Among them are Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah that have made it illegal for businesses to prevent their employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots, while Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia have made some or all handgun permit information confidential, according to the news agency.

The AP also notes that Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions.

While this may be welcome news to proponents of the Second Amendment rights, not everyone is happy with these developments.

Kristin Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington, says they are the result of the "stranglehold" the National Rifle Association (NRA) holds on many state legislatures.

"They basically have convinced lawmakers they can cost them their seats, even though there’s no real evidence to back that up," she said, quoted by the news provider.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that the number of new guns in the U.S. increases by about 4.5 million each year.
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Government Reports Progress On Virtual Border Fence, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Government reports progress on virtual border fence, but not everyone is happy Government officials have announced a plan to turn over the first section of the "virtual fence" along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico frontier to the Border Patrol in January, but it remains unclear whether the system will ever cover the entire border.

Once the turnover takes place, a total of 23 miles of the border in Southern Arizona will be covered by the system which includes cameras, ground sensors and radars mounted on towers, but officials are saying that they have not yet decided if and where to build more sections, according to the Associated Press (AP).

"We do want some time to look at whether or not that really does make the most sense," said Mark Borkowski, the director of the virtual fence project, quoted by the news source.

He specified that some of the issues the officials will have to consider include whether it makes sense to spend limited resources to cover the entire border and whether there may be cheaper but equally effective approaches.

This sentiment was echoed in the editorial which appeared in the Aurora Sentinel that pointed out that it cost taxpayers about $1 million a mile to erect the system.

Moreover, "expecting these barriers to do much good until comprehensive immigration reform takes place is a waste of time," it adds.

The project was developed during the Bush administration as part of a border security plan designed to add another layer of protection, along with thousands of Border Patrol agents and 650 miles of real fences.
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When the People Are Well Informed

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point—150 years ago or more—the American public went to sleep.

While we (I use this as a collective, all-encompassing ‘we’) slept robbers, thieves and liars invaded our House—that is the White House and Congress. They’ve been there ever since.

They stole our money. They stole many of our freedoms. They lied about their motives. They lied about their goals. And still we slept.

If we happened to awaken for a short time and notice the robbers, thieves and liars, we’d squeak and squawk. We’d throw a hissy fit. Occasionally we’d even vote a few of them out of office.

Then we’d roll over, and sleep would return.

This emboldened the robbers, thieves and liars.

Last yearl we slept through yet another election. A few got out and voted, almost 57 percent of those of voting age. Some of them voted, reluctantly, for the man it was thought would steal the least from us. A few voted for the lady on the bottom half of the ticket, seeing her as a sheriff who might sweep out the criminals.

But most who bothered to wake up enough to vote dreamed of “Hope and Change.” Dumbed down by government schools, pop culture and a sycophantic media, fed up with the flailings of W., driven by emotion and enticed by a silver tongue, they bought the lie. Then they smiled, turned over and went back to sleep.

By summer we woke up, and most didn’t like what we saw. We realized we’d been had. Hope and Change became Little Hope and No Change and a leftward lurch that most didn’t like.

We found the robbers, thieves and liars getting too comfortable in our digs, helping themselves to our comfy chair, warm bed and our snacks and looking for even more ways to steal from us.

Many got angry, got informed and confronted the robbers, thieves and liars. When confronted they showed their arrogance.

Emboldened by huge infusions of cash from corporatocracy and union thugs and by a ready pool of illegal and non-existent voters rounded up by community organizing groups, they dismissed us as irrelevant.

We realized they had begun to think they lorded over us rather than worked for us. The Tea Parties formed, took root and coalesced. And more and more of us became informed.

The thieves, robbers and liars got desperate. They saw their easy life being challenged and they sought to ram their Socialist agenda through very quickly, seeking to turn America into a European-style Socialist Democracy. The harder they worked the more informed we became. And that is good.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Richard Price in 1789, “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Now things have gone so far wrong they’ve finally attracted our notice. It’s time “to set them to rights.”

Rare Coins and Precious Metals 101

In the past few years precious metals and rare coins have been very much in focus
due to the incredible spending spree in Washington and the publicity of the central banks becoming net buyers of gold.

As happens with all bull markets, new companies spring up to take advantage of the trend and employ phone salesman with little or no experience with precious metals or rare coins who do nothing but follow scripted sales material.

Gold Rarities Gallery is actively involved in protecting consumers. In 2005 we joined with a number of other dealers to become a founding member of the not-for-profit organization, Numismatic Consumer Alliance (NCA). NCA dedicates its resources and activities to the education and protection of the coin consumer. The Alliance has now recovered a total of more than $4 million for such consumers since becoming operational in 2005. NCA intervenes on behalf of these buyers, engaging legal and other professional assistance, if necessary, in an effort to ensure that coin consumers are getting their money’s worth. The Alliance is reviewing other disputes involving coins for which consumers paid more than $10 million.

Today, to help Personal Liberty Digest readers, we are going to give you a checklist on how to separate those who can actually help you and those who just want to separate you from your money. Ask these questions and follow these guidelines and you will have a far more pleasant buying experience:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How long has the person you are dealing with been in the business? Many telemarketers hire salesman who know nothing about the products they are selling. The problem with this is that without the experience, they have no idea whether what their employer is selling is a good deal or not.

Never ask this:

  • What is your commission or markup? The reason this is the wrong question for the average person to ask is because a dealer can say he is working at 5 percent, which to the average person sounds reasonable. The problem is, if the company is not very good at buying coins and they are overpaying by 15 percent, then it’s not such a great deal. This is where actual experience can make a huge difference. The best thing to do is always simply compare actual prices.

Bait and Switch
The fact that the practice of bait and switch is illegal doesn’t seem to deter some companies from offering something at a low price to entice you and then have the “expert” who answers the phone try to convince you something else is a better deal. If this happens hang up and find a new company.

What coins should you buy?
The answer to this question could literally be different for everyone who reads this. Your choices:

  • Certified Modern CoinsThe United States Mint strikes numerous issues which it then distributes to the public via authorized dealers or its own web site. Some of the more popular products find their way to the major grading services and are usually seen as MS-69 and MS-70 or Proof 69 and Proof 70. At Gold Rarities we do sell certified modern coins on occasion when the prices are not too much of a premium above their spot value. The lone exception we make to that in-house rule is the 1-ounce American Silver Eagle in MS-70, which is currently $99 and is one of the most popular and widely collected coins ever produced. Twenty coin rolls, of course, can be bought for far less. Many certified modern coins are simply bad deals with very high markups and should be evaluated carefully before purchase. The more popular certified bullion coins are the Gold and Silver Eagles and the Gold Buffalo pieces. When buying certified coins we suggest sticking with the two most established grading services, which are Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), the only two we use.
  • Rare CoinsThere are simply too many areas of the rare coin market to cover here but among the most popular issues are the Morgan and Peace Dollars as well as the St Gaudens and $20 Liberty gold. Again, we suggest sticking with the major grading services NGC and PCGS. In the case of the pre-1933 gold and silver coins, we also recommend the additional protection of the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) verification.

What is (CAC)?
Gold Rarities Gallery has always been known for selling quality material. We have been known to sift through hundreds of coins just to find the few nuggets that meet our strict criteria. However, an ever-increasing number of certified coins on the market are considered low end for their grade and some we have rejected over and over again.

CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours.

CAC verifies previously graded coins and awards their sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s sophisticated buyer.

Gold Rarities Gallery sells only coins certified by NGC and PCGS, almost all of which will have the additional CAC verification.

What the CAC sticker means:

  • Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.
  • Guaranteed. CAC stands behind our verification by making markets in the most actively traded coins.

The CAC Sticker is Backed by Experience

CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community including John Albanese, a respected authority on coin grading and the rare coin market.

At Gold Rarities Gallery we handle everything from a couple of hundred dollars to major seven-figure rarities. Whether you are building a set of major rarities, or you just pick up a single piece every now and then, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-224-3160 and put our 24 years of experience to work for you.

Gold Rarities Gallery maintains one of the lowest overheads in the business and that allows us to work closer with our customers than our competitors ever could, and our 24 years of industry contacts are second to none. More importantly, we are very picky as far as quality is concerned and we only sell coins that meet very strict eye appeal standards.

To view our entire inventory visit us on the web at http://www.goldrarities.com/, and while there, feel free to fill out our WANT LIST form to get first shot at all new purchases.

—Al Pinkall

First Salvos Fired In High-profile Massachusetts Senate Run

First salvos fired in high-profile Massachusetts Senate run In the first phase of the special election that is bound to have a significant impact on American politics for at least another year, Martha Coakley and Scott Brown won the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, to replace Senator Edward Kennedy who died last August.

Coakley, who is the state’s attorney general, won 47 percent of the vote, and expressed her hope that Massachusetts voters will "help send a different kind of leader to Washington," in the January 19, 2010 vote.

If she wins, the 56-year-old politician will become the first female senator from the Bay State, which prompted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine to say that he could not "think of a more fitting tribute to [Kennedy], who dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and expanding opportunity for women and minorities."

Her opponent in the January poll will be Brown, who is a state senator, and who beat his only opponent Jack E. Robinson by winning more than 90 percent of the vote.

"I don’t pretend to have all the answers," he stated after his victory was announced, adding that "I will do all that I can to help make our country strong and prosperous once again."

The special election will be watched closely by the rest of the nation as it will determine whether or not the Senate Democrats will maintain their supermajority of 60 votes that allows them to block a Republican filibuster.
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Drafting Mickey Mouse

We celebrate both the ridiculous and sublime this week—as well as the start of a brand-new year.

First, the ridiculous. Twenty-six years ago this week the Selective Service sent a notice to Mr. Mickey Mouse, care of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., ordering him to register for the draft. I kid you not. It really happened.

Someone at Disney with a sense of humor (gee, that’s almost everyone, isn’t it?) sent the Federales proof that Mickey, then 52 years old, was a proud veteran of World War II. Case dismissed.

And now the sublime. On Dec. 30, 1974, the ownership of gold once again became legal for Americans after a 41-year prohibition. Here’s a tip of the Straight Talk hat to all those who campaigned tirelessly to restore a right that is precious indeed. It is wonderfully ironic that one of the few activities of the Federal Government that’s actually profitable is the U.S. Mint, which every year sells hundreds of thousands of gold coins to an eager public.

By the way, Happy New Year!

—Chip Wood

Treasury Admits Obama's Foreclosure Prevention Program Falls Short

Treasury admits Obama's foreclosure prevention program falls short In a rare display of self-criticism, officials from the Treasury Department admitted that the government’s mortgage modification program has helped only a small percentage of borrowers facing foreclosures.

According to CNN, the department has revealed that only about 4 percent of delinquent borrowers who began trial mortgage modifications under the housing plan have had those more affordable loan terms made permanent.

The officials have also criticized the nation’s top banks for not doing their part to improve the situation. For example, at Bank of America, where some 1 million homeowners participated in the trial process, only 98 were able to permanently modify their mortgage, The Chicago Tribune reports.

"We’re not satisfied yet with how this program is unfolding," said Herbert Allison, Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability, quoted by the news source.

He added, "The servicers have a lot of work to do, and we’re holding them accountable for their performance."

In the meantime, senior advisor for mortgage finance for the Housing and Urban Development Department has vowed to keep the pressure on both borrowers and servicers to ensure as many mortgage modifications are converted as possible, according to the news provider.

The government’s stated goal is to help up to 4 million troubled homeowners.
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Acupuncture May Reduce The Itch Related To Eczema

Acupuncture may reduce the itch related to eczemaAccording to a new study, a session of acupuncture may help relieve the itch associated with the allergic skin condition known as atopic eczema, Reuters reports.

Eczema is a persistent condition that is associated with skin inflammation and dry rashes. The most common form, atopic eczema, is usually seen in people with allergies such as hay fever or asthma.

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich found that acupuncture therapy, when done within minutes of the initial exposure to an allergen, appeared to soothe subjective feelings of itchiness, according to the news source.

Additionally, scientists found that when patients were exposed to an allergen directly after a session of acupuncture, they tended to have a less severe skin reaction.

The Mayo Clinic reports that acupuncture may also be used to help alleviate symptoms associated with headaches, lower back pain, menstrual cramps as well as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Although there are very few side effects associated with acupuncture, it is not for everyone. People who are pregnant, have bleeding disorders and people with pacemakers should consult a doctor before submitting to the procedure.
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California Man Looks To Ban Divorce, Ruffle Conservative Feathers

California man looks to ban divorce, ruffle conservative feathersIn an effort to satirize Californians who voted to repeal gay marriage laws to "protect the sanctity of marriage," a Sacramento man has started a petition to outlaw divorce amongst heterosexual couples, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

John Marcotte, a 38-year-old married father of two, believes that if voters feel strongly enough about the conventional institution of marriage, then they should have no issue banning divorce.

"Since California has decided to protect traditional marriage, I think it would be hypocritical of us not to sacrifice some of our own rights to protect traditional marriage even more," Marcotte said.

Jeffrey Taylor, a spokesman for Restore Equality 2010, a same-sex marriage advocacy group, said that his coalition supports Marcotte’s actions but will not join forces will him.

"We find it quite hilarious," Taylor said of the petition, quoted the news source.

Marcotte, a comedic website creator who has referred to himself as an "accidental activist," has seen numerous people sign the petition with a genuine interest in preserving marriage.

"It’s a worthwhile conversation to have," said Dan Couvrette, publisher of a divorce-themed magazine. "I don’t think it’s just a frivolous thought."

NBC.com reports that the petition will need approximately 700,000 more signatures by March 22 in order for it to be placed on the ballot.
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The False Hope of Hi-Tech

“I don’t know if HAL is homicidal, suicidal, neurotic, psychotic, or just plain broken.”
Arthur C. Clark, 2010: Odyssey Two

Ten years ago today the clock was ticking down on Y2K. Many feared a social and economic meltdown; that a programming glitch would throw us into a new Dark Age.

Fast forward one decade. Washington and Wall Street are now betting the bank that technology is America’s savior. Everything seems within reach—more jobs, clean energy, a budget surplus, even a super-bull market.

Technology was not the Antichrist a decade ago, nor is it our savior now. It will not destroy us. Nor will it revolutionize our world. That was the power of innovation a century ago, not today.

Revolution Comes to the Farm

The kid tightened the reins on the right line and then hollered, “Get-up!”
                       
Eight thousand pounds of horseflesh simultaneously hit their heavy collars and the grain wagon started to amble its 10-mile journey to the tiny town of Lomond in Alberta, Canada.

The year was 1927 and that kid was my dad, Vern Myers.

Fifteen years before he had barely survived his birth. He was the family’s first child. His mother lay in agonizing labor for nearly three days. Aided by a local midwife for the first few hours, it became apparent that this was a crisis and required a skilled doctor. The baby’s father, Amil, saddled the fastest horse and headed to Stavely, 40 miles to the west.

These were not the days when one picked up the phone and called 911. There were no paved roads or autos that sped from place to place. The closest hospital was Lethbridge some 70 miles away where the staff consisted of a couple of doctors and half a dozen nurses.

But this time luck was with him. Amil borrowed a friend’s fresh horse. He and the doctor arrived at the lonely homestead shack.

Fifteen years later Vern was holding the lines of four horses on a wagon loaded with 7,680 pounds of the finest milling wheat in the world. He was just starting the first leg of his destination to the rails at Lomond, Calgary, and on to Ontario. There it would be loaded onto ships for Europe.

The grain tank pulled onto the prairie dirt trail and headed east. The kid restrained the eager horses. He knew that soon they would struggle to climb the 300-foot elevation before the trail leveled out. When they reached the top, the horses, with their heaving lungs, required a five-minute rest.

As the Clydesdales recovered Vern heard the strange sound. It was a motor, but it was not from a car. He looked into the lower valley that was hidden from view by the grade that had just been climbed. A cloud of dust rose in the sky. Now he could hear the straining motor and then the monster broke over the top. It was a truck loaded with golden wheat. The vehicle was gaining speed and Vern could hear the driver shifting gears. The truck pulled alongside. It was the neighbor Freddie Noyes. In a flash he was past.

An hour later and four miles further down the road, he noticed a cloud of dust approaching. It was Freddie on his way back home to load more grain.

Vern was just unloading the wagon box in town when again the noise broke the still air. It was Freddie with another load.

Watering his spent horses back at home Vern was amazed. He and Freddie had both started work at the same time. Vern had delivered 125 bushels of grain to the elevator and returned home in just over five hours. Vern had traveled 20 miles.

Freddie had driven 120 miles and delivered 600 bushels in six hours! And Freddie wasn’t one bit tired. In one day the Industrial Revolution had come to the homestead.

Enter the Microchip

In 1990 the boy that saw the truck come to the West died. He had experienced more change during his 78 years than the world had undergone during the previous millennium.

He was born nine years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. As an old man he would cross the Atlantic in the Concorde at 1.5 times the speed of sound. He had seen the application of indoor plumbing, electricity, the telephone, the television, space flight and even the inception of the Internet.

I took his place as publisher at age 30. I was still in school studying at a university just as computer science was being embraced and I was enthralled by the wonders of the micro chip.

That first year I bought an IBM 386. It was a marvel for the time, with more than twice the memory of its predecessor, the 286. In fact the salesman bragged it could do 11.4 million instructions per second (MIPS)! I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded impressive.

Today the top-of-the-line computer is a diesel processor Intel Core i7 Extreme. If you ask me it sounds more like a tractor than a computer. I suspected it was a lot faster than my 3-year-old computer and far better than that old 386. But I was shocked at just how much faster it is.

The i7 Extreme lives up to its name; it does 76,000 MIPS which makes it roughly 70,000 times faster than the 386. The Extreme also has 8,000 times more memory! (Author’s note: To you computer aficionados, I did my research and understand that MIPS is a very raw indicator.)

Yet the truth is that all this speed is wasted on me. You see, I use my computer like I once used a typewriter. And unless you are doing something like scientific research or wasting your time playing video games, that computing power is senseless.

This is what MetaFilter (www.metafilter.com) has to say about the revolution of the personal computer when they compared a 1986 Mac Plus to a 2008 AMD Dual Core.

“When we compare strictly common, everyday, basic user tasks between the Mac Plus and the AMD we find remarkable similarities… thus it can be stated that for the majority of simple office uses, the massive advances in technology in the past two decades have brought zero advance in productivity,” said MetaFilter.

Certainly the Net and these super-computers provide a plethora of information. But are we really any better informed? No says Wired Magazine.

According to the June 2007 issue, “More than a decade after the Internet went mainstream, the world’s richest information source hasn’t necessarily made its users any more informed.”

Wired backs up its claim with a 2007 study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that showed that Americans, on average, are less able to correctly answer questions about current events than they were in 1989.

That’s right, Americans who call the Internet their primary news source know less than fans of TV and radio news. It seems that people are more interested in Jessica Simpson than in Jim Lehrer.

A Bankrupt Revolution

The advent of the automobile, the assembly line, the airplane and the telephone revolutionized the American way of life. At the beginning of the 20th Century the United States was seen as a renegade colony. In less than 50 years we became the richest most powerful nation in the world.

By the late 1960s the American dream was within almost everyone’s grasp. Little wonder—the U.S. was the world’s largest manufacturer, creditor and exporter.

But by the 1980s the rest of the world was starting to catch up. Most of us, heck all of us, kept wanting to get more “things.” But now we weren’t earning them.

To get them we started doing something America had never done before—we started borrowing hand-over-fist. The result is we have created a debt crisis the likes of which has never been seen. And most importantly, it’s a calamity that won’t be resolved with even faster and smarter machines.

Yours for real wealth and good health in 2010,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

P.S. Next week I will look at the debt crisis and what it means for your investments in 2010.

Pomegranate Rinds Can Help Fight Infection, New Study Suggest

Pomegranate rinds can help fight infection, new study suggestAccording to new research, pomegranate rinds can be turned into an ointment that is useful in treating methicillin-resistant staphylococuss aureus (MRSA) and other common hospital infections.

MRSA is a pathogen, or agent of disease, that causes infections and is difficult to combat because it has developed a resistance to many common antibiotics.

Scientists at Kingston University in London have found that pomegranate rinds, when combined with vitamin C and metal salts, contain significant infection-fighting properties.

"We have developed a topical ointment that can successfully attack a range of drug resistant microbes," said lead researcher Declan Naughton. "It’s a significant breakthrough and a striking example of the effectiveness of adding more components to create a more active product."

Researchers have found that the topical cream is effective against infection and is associated with fewer side-effects than traditional remedies. "It shows that nature still has a few tricks up its sleeve," said Naughton.

Pomegranates have also been proven to contain significant levels of antioxidants. Moreover, research has suggested that pomegranate juice can help lower blood pressure and slow the increase in bad cholesterol.
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Republicans Decry Uncertainty Over Louisiana Redistricting Plans

Republicans decry uncertainty over Louisiana redistricting plansA potential redistricting in Louisiana following the 2010 census has some Republicans worried that their candidates will be put at a political disadvantage. As a result, many local commentators predict the process will cause a significant partisan fight next year.

In 2012, the House seat representing the state’s 3rd Congressional district and currently occupied by Democrat Charlie Melancon will be vacated, but according to TheHill.com, the seat may be eliminated after the upcoming census.

Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere noted that because of the uncertainty, many strong and viable GOP candidates, such as Representative Nickie Monica and Louisiana Army National Guard Brigadier General Hunt Downer, have not yet started to raise campaign money, even though they expressed their interest in running.

On the Democratic side, there is some uncertainty as well, but John Bernhardt, a senior strategist for the Louisiana Democratic Party, has said that redistricting is not likely to radically alter the 3rd district, which has historically been won by conservative Democrats.

"Redistricting could favor a moderate Republican, but in no way do I think the district could be redrawn in a way to make a conservative Republican appealing. Or for that matter a liberal Democrat," he stated, quoted by the news provider.

According to the Rose Institute, Republicans currently hold six of the seven Congressional seats in the state.
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General Comes Under Criticism For Ban On Pregnancy Among Soldiers In Iraq

General comes under criticism for ban on pregnancy among soldiers in Iraq A new order from Major General Anthony Cucolo, who is in charge of 22,000 U.S. troops in northern Iraq, regarding pregnancy among soldiers has ignited a firestorm of criticism and may have caused him to backtrack.

In order to avoid losing soldiers at a time when troops are stretched thin, Cucolo instituted a rule last month that prohibits "becoming nondeployable for reasons within the control of the soldier," which include "becoming pregnant, or impregnating a soldier," quoted by CNN.

The rule further specified that soldiers involved in this type of activity would be subject to court martial, although women who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault would be exempt.

Experts said the order was legal as issues regarding personal autonomy are treated differently in the military, but a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women (NOW) called it "ridiculous."

NOW president Terry O’Neill was quoted by ABC News as saying, "how dare any government say we’re going to impose any kind of punishment on women for getting pregnant?"

She added that NOW would seek to have Cucolo’s order rescinded, and would turn to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Obama for help, if necessary.

This may have prompted the general to backtrack his earlier statements as he told the press last week that he saw "absolutely no circumstance where I would punish a female soldier by court martial for a violation…none."

"I fully intend to handle these cases through lesser disciplinary action," he added.
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Is My Vision Loss Normal?

You may be one of thousands of Americans experiencing vision problems as you age. Blurred vision… difficulty seeing at night… double vision… and problems distinguishing colors are some common symptoms.

But other symptoms may indicate a more serious condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to Michael Cutler, M.D., there are two forms of AMD—dry and wet. Wet AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the United States for people 55 and older.

Dry macular degeneration usually develops slowly over time with slow-progressing symptoms. But wet AMD usually develops quickly, leaving people with sudden central vision loss. If left untreated both forms of AMD can damage your eye and cause you to develop a blind spot.

You should see your eye doctor for a referral to a retina specialist if you experience:

  • A need for brighter light when working close to an item
  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels
  • Blurry print when reading (e.g. newspapers, books)
  • Difficulty driving
  • Problems with colors appearing less bright
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Overall vision haziness
  • A blind spot in the center of your vision

With early diagnosis and proper treatment you may be able to delay the progression of AMD. And the earlier it is detected the better your chances of saving your sight!

Trust… Hard to Acquire, Easy to Lose

We are living in challenging times, with change being the constant. Many of us are experiencing information overload with simply too much “stuff” to digest and act on. Many institutions, companies and individuals we thought were safe are in trouble. With our investments we have to be concerned not with return on investment but return of investment.

Yes, we live in interesting times. The 1990s was a time when greed ruled. But the last 10 years have been driven by fear and uncertainty. Today, safety is an investor’s primary concern. But there are no guarantees.

Who can you trust?

We used to be able to trust governments, our own and others. But today, the United States has gone from being the largest creditor country in the world to the largest debtor nation. Our leaders in the legislature view themselves as members of an exclusive club driven more by getting reelected than by doing the people’s business. Today, we have politicians, not statesman.

In most cases foreign governments are even worse. Corruption is widespread. We used to expect poor South American countries to renege on their debts. Today oil-rich countries like Dubai need trillion-dollar loans from their Arab neighbors to save them from default on their obligations.

Further, the United States Federal Reserve thinks it can manipulate the money supply, believing like gods they are more powerful than the market forces of supply and demand. And the media believes it. Time magazine named Fed chairman Ben Bernanke their 2009 Man of the Year. At the same time more than 130 commercial banks have failed this year and the FDIC has increased insurance on deposits from $100,000 to $250,000.

Furthermore, due to greed, mismanagement and incompetence, many respected American companies like General Motors, AIG and even pseudo-government agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have failed and are being bailed out by the government. Government regulators providing oversight of our banks have failed in their responsibility to protect the American public.

The real answer to whom you can trust comes down to yourself. You have to take responsibility for your investment decisions. No longer can you depend on others to protect you… not governments, not companies, not advisers.

What can you trust?

The investment outlook for the next three to five years does not look very good in the U.S. or Western Europe. We are still in a deflationary environment and appear headed into a period of stagflation. In other words, a period of slow to no growth in the economy, combined with a period of rising inflation.

You need to take steps now to protect yourself during these dangerous times. Fear, not greed, will be the driving force into the New Year and for the next several years.

The one investment you can trust, that has reliably stood the test of time, is gold. For 5,000 years gold has protected the purchasing power of its possessor. Fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar have come and gone, but gold has endured. Its value and its purchasing power have been preserved.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to own gold. And, you don’t have to put all your money into it. Start smaller. Consider placing 5 percent of your assets into gold, to buy and hold as your “wealth insurance.” This gold will be there for you and your family to serve as protection during times of crisis. As for an investment, some financial advisors suggest having between 10 percent and 15 percent more of your assets in gold, silver and platinum.

Gold has appreciated during the past 10 years by about 400 percent, going from about $250 per ounce to reach an all-time high this month of $1,226.10 per ounce. After a recent $100 correction, gold is still up about 30 percent for the year.

Some have said that gold is in a bubble and will drop in value below $1,000 per ounce. I don’t believe this, because gold is the only “real money” there is. That means gold is not backed by debt, like the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies. As we’ve seen, gold can increase in value during times of deflation. It will increase in value even more dramatically during times of inflation, which looks inevitable over the next five years.

What can you do to protect you and your family?

An investment advisor would suggest the first step is to list your assets and liabilities to determine your net worth. The next step is to determine how much you have in investable assets. Take 5 percent of that number and consider purchasing your “wealth insurance.” Afterwards, as an investment, consider putting another 10 percent to 15 percent into a mix of gold, silver and platinum.

Most Americans buy gold in the form of 1-ounce gold coins and take possession of them. The most popular gold coins are the 22-karat American Eagle and the 24-karat American Buffalo, both produced by the U.S. Mint. The Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Kangaroo Nugget and the Austrian Philharmonic are also popular. The 24-karat coins are becoming more popular because of their availability and their international appeal.

The procedure for ordering coins is simple. There are many precious-metals dealers in the U.S. who have toll-free telephone lines so that you can order by telephone. Simply call a few dealers who’ve been around for years and who have a good reputation. You can place your order over the telephone. Typically, orders up to $10,000 can be paid for with a personal check. For larger orders, a wire from your bank to the dealer is in order.

Once you have accomplished these first steps of gold ownership you may wish to go to the next level. Namely, place some gold in you self-directed retirement account (IRA) and consider placing some of your gold outside the U.S. There is a history of gold confiscation here in the U.S., so some holdings outside the country is prudent. History has taught us not to keep all our assets in one country, one currency or one investment.

Trust is a very fragile thing. But who better can you trust than yourself to do what is best for you and your family? Take on this responsibility in the New Year for the well-being of yourself and your family.

Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

LiveStrong,

Michael Checkan

Eating Seafood Can Help Protect Your Eyes, Heart And Kidneys, New Study Finds

Eating seafood can help protect your eyes, heart and kidneys, new study findsNew research indicates the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils found in seafood may help protect the heart, eyes and kidneys.

The December issue of the quarterly PUFA Newsletter incorporates several different studies to show that higher intakes of fatty fish, or the omega-3s that they contain, can help lower the risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and chronic kidney disorders.

A 12-year study identified in the newsletter has shown that people with intermediate AMD who reported a high intake of omega 3s were 30 percent less likely to progress to advanced AMD, the leading cause of vision loss in adults over the age of 60.

In other research, people with chronic kidney disorders who consumed high doses of the fatty acids had considerably lower blood pressure and heart rate compared to those who reported a low intake of the compound.

An independent study also suggests that older people with diabetes can lower the risk of heart failure with a greater consumption of fish oils.

"All of these findings suggest that people with chronic kidney disease, heart disease or diabetes can lower their chances of heart problems by increasing their intake of fish omega-3s," said Joyce Nettleton, editor of the PUFA Newsletter. "And they may see more clearly later in life."

Fish oils and related compounds are also available in the form of nutritional supplements.
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Government's Guantanamo Decision Blasted On All Sides

Government's Guantanamo decision blasted on all sides The Obama administration’s recent announcement of the intention to purchase a nearly empty state prison in Thomson, Illinois, and transfer up to 100 prisoners currently held at the Guantanamo Bay prison has caused severe criticism.

Many lawmakers in Washington, mainly from the GOP, have expressed their concerns about the implications of the transfer for national security. Some have also cast doubt on the legality of the proposal.

"Current law prohibits moving these detainees to the U.S. for long-term detention," said Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, adding the government will have to change the law to allow for the arrival of the terrorism suspects from the Cuban base to the U.S. soil.

Meanwhile, human rights organization Amnesty International has criticized the decision for failing to resolve the underlying problems such as the detention of individuals without charging them with a specific crime.

"A fundamental principle of the rule of law is that people cannot be held without charge or trial," stated Tom Parker, the organization’s U.S. director of policy for (counter) terrorism and human rights.

He added that "the founding fathers knew it, the greatest generation fought for it, candidate Obama campaigned for it and the president needs to remember it."

All that the transfer will do will be to "[change] the zip code of Guantanamo," warned Parker.
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Palin And Schwarzenegger Quarrel Over Global Warming

Palin and Schwarzenegger quarrel over global warmingWhile the debate about global warming rages on, two Republicans—California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin—have been trading jabs and publicly ridiculing each other’s climate policies.

The clash started after Schwarzenegger criticized Palin’s op-ed article in The Washington Post where she questioned existing climate change science, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"What was she trying to accomplish?" asked the California governor, quoted by The Financial Times. "Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the nomination [for president]?"

Schwarzenegger continued his attack on Good Morning America on Tuesday. "I think there are people that just don’t believe in fixing and working on the environment," he said. "They don’t believe there is such a thing as global warming, they’re still living in the Stone Age."

Palin, who earlier called on President Obama to boycott the climate change summit in Copenhagen, soon fired back through her Facebook account, asking "why is Governor Schwarzenegger pushing for the same sorts of policies in Copenhagen that have helped drive his state into record deficits and unemployment?"
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American Diet Moving Steadily Away From Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats has been moving in favor of omega-6s for years in the American diet. My reading tells me that this imbalance of the omega-3s and omega-6s is dominant in the American diet, leading to general and specific deterioration in American health. Domination of omega-6s appears to be specific to inflammation, and inflammation seems to be associated with serious health problems including heart disease and cancer.

To help rebalance the omegas, eat more fish, especially salmon.

Recently I’ve done considerable research on krill oil. This product is truly amazing and far superior to fish oil supplements in both safety and efficacy.

I firmly believe that as more and more studies are done on krill oil you’ll see it revolutionize the supplement market for boosting cardiovascular health and lowering inflammation.

In krill we may have the most basic nutrition possible. When we consume krill and krill oil we are at the very beginning of the marine food chain. This is our guarantee of purity and peak nutrition.

Krill oil’s bioavailability means peak absorption. The key is the phytoplankton diet of the tiny krill. The smaller the marine life, the shorter its life span and the lesser the chance of contamination. The smaller the sea life the less mercury and other toxins. In fact, phytoplankton is grown abundantly in oceans around the world and is the foundation of the marine life food chain. Krill’s food source is phytoplankton.

Since phytoplankton contains the pigment chlorophyll, which gives them their greenish color, its food source comes from photosynthesis in which sunlight is the energy source. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton are also responsible for much of the oxygen present in the earth’s atmosphere. What better energy food source than sunlight?

Besides photosynthesis, phytoplankton are crucially dependent on ocean minerals. These are primarily macronutrients such as nitrate, phosphate or silicic acid. This means that through krill we are getting the macronutrients and microorganisms in aquatic food webs of the ocean, as well as in sea salt, which we have come to accept as a miracle for human health.

Krill Oil is an Excellent Source of Omega-3
A major health issue in the United States today is obesity, caused in large part by our diet heavy in omega-6. In early human history the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was one to one. In America today our dietary ratio is as high as 50 to one in favor of omega-6 fats. The lower our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 the better—with the ideal ratio being one to one.

Many scientists believe that a major reason for our high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging and some forms of cancer is the profound imbalance of our consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

The large food processors, in their drive for mass marketing and shelf life, have loaded us with omega-6 fatty acids. They have given us easy living and early death.

There are more oils on the market to avoid than there are we should eat. Commercial oils to avoid are sunflower oil, corn oil, soy, safflower and canola oil. Also avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, margarine, vegetable oils and shortening. All these are chock full of omega-6 fats and have worsened our ratio of good/bad fats.

Grain-fed beef is very high in bad fats.

Oils that are good are high-quality virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Avocados and organic butter from grass-fed cows are also healthy.

Can We Just Eat Fish?
We can just eat fish and over time we can begin to reverse our omega ratio, especially if we greatly diminish our intake of omega-6 and increase our intake of omega-3.

Krill oil is the perfect way to restore proper omega-3/omega-6 balance, as it contains 10 times more of the healthier omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6. This is more than enough to help offset the dangers of the high omega-6 American diet and will greatly help you reduce inflammation.

Krill oil is purely formulated from tiny Antarctic krill which feed on the powerful phytoplankton sea diet.

In the past we have discussed the huge problem of sludging blood in seniors. Our blood thickens with age, evidently leading to a stroke or heart attack. Omega-3 deficiency is known to compromise the blood-brain barrier that normally protects the brain from unwanted matter gaining access to the brain. Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow in the brain.

Just for the record, clinical studies are conclusive that omega-3s improve heart health, improve memory, slow aging and support the brain and nervous system.

Krill oil contains phospholipids that closely resemble the ones in the human brain and this makes krill oil very easy for the body to assimilate and use. Contrary to this, regular fish oil contains triglycerides, which the body has to break down and convert before assimilation.

I’ve been a long-time advocate of supplementing diets with fish oil. However, I firmly believe that krill oil is a remarkable discovery and will totally revolutionize the fish oil and omega-3 market as we know it. In every head-to-head scientific study between fish oil and krill oil, krill has been proven far superior in its healthy benefits. It’s definitely made a believer out of me.

I take the Health Resources™ brand of krill oil (Super Krill-Omega3, 1-800-471-4007) and like it far better than the fish oil I’ve been taking and recommending for decades.

I need more research on the balance of the omegas. Do you readers know of any, including a book(s)? Also I need more material on the cause of inflammation.

I have found that readers, particularly those who are hard core involved in alternative health, have serious information that is hard to uncover. Please share with me.