House Approves Record Debt Ceiling Increase, Reinstitutes Pay-go Regulations

House approves record debt ceiling increase, reinstitutes pay-go regulationsThe House voted last week to approve "pay-as-you-go" legislation, which requires Congress to offset tax cuts or the funding of new programs by first reducing spending elsewhere or increasing taxes in a different sector. The new regulations were attached to a bill that will raise the debt ceiling by a record $1.9 trillion.

The pay-go legislation was voted against by every Republican member of the House, who dismissed it as ineffective.

"This is just cover for Democrats to feed their spending addiction through new tax increases, and it does nothing to meaningfully increase fiscal accountability or reduce the deficit and debt," said Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO.), quoted by the Coloradoan.

House leaders utilized an unusual procedural maneuver that allowed moderates to vote for the pay-go legislation without directly supporting the debt increase. The entire bill passed without holding a vote on the issue of raising the debt limit.

"With Democrats sinking the country deep into the red, [the] vote to bring on more debt is simply reckless," said Ken Spain, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law in the coming days.

Tea Party Movement Begins Convention, Blasts Obama And Democrats

Tea Party movement begins convention, blasts Obama and Democrats Leaders of the Tea Party movement gathered for their first-ever convention in Nashville, Tenn. over the weekend, ostensibly to criticize the Obama administration and to unveil a national organizing strategy for the midterm elections.

The event kicked off Thursday night with former Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo’s speech in which he stated that illiterate voters determined the results of the 2008 presidential election, according to media reports.

"People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House," he said, adding that "his name is Barack Hussein Obama."

Tancredo also accused the president and the Democrats of trying to destroy the constitution and America and urged the attendees to "take it back."

However, the former Colorado representative also said that he was glad Republican Senator John McCain lost the election, saying it would have been a repeat of "Bush 1 and Bush 2," according to RTTNews.

The movement was launched last year in response to the stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. Its website specifies that Tea Party Nation wants to preserve God given freedoms introduced by the Founding Fathers and believes in limited government, free speech, the Second Amendment, the military and secure borders.


Cardiovascular Disease

When we have a heart attack or stroke the immediate cause is a blood clot. Therefore, keeping our blood thin is of paramount importance. Daily natural blood thinners can greatly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Write these words and paste them on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door:

  • Eat fresh or herbal garlic daily.
  • Eat fish often and take krill oil, fish oil or cod liver oil daily.
  • Take gingko biloba daily.
  • Take nattokinase daily.

There are many other natural blood thinners, but if you at least take garlic and krill oil, fish oil or cod liver oil daily and eat fish you will be much safer than those who don’t.

You may notice that you bruise slightly or have some capillary fragility—slight bleeding spots. This is only a symptom of thin blood. I have seen many people with dark blue hands from prescription coumadin (rat poison). I like krill oil from Health Resources™. It’s available at

In my experience, I have seen men weighing 350 to 400 pounds who you would think should be dead, but they were all big fish eaters and none of these goliath people had heart disease—including cardiac arrhythmias or ventricular fibrillation.

Consumer Watchdog Says Wall Street Spent Millions To Influence Financial Reform Outcome

Consumer Watchdog says Wall Street spent millions to influence financial reform outcome As the financial reform bill makes its way through Congress and the tug of war continues between the proponents and opponents of greater regulation, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization has released a report that details the Washington lobbying efforts of the financial industry.

According to the report, the Senate Banking committee members received $41 million in contributions since 2005, and representatives of Wall Street banks and investment firms spent $336 million lobbying Congress in the first three quarters of 2009.

Those who received the highest contributions during 2005-2009 included Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut ($9 million), while the top grossing Republican was Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who netted more than $2.5 million.

Among the biggest contributors were the American Bankers Association ($1.26 million), Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, both of which donated more than $400,000.

The report also found that contributors in particular opposed the creation of The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), preferring the authority to remain with the current regulators who failed to prevent abuses such as predatory mortgage lending that led to the near-economic collapse, according to Consumer Watchdog.

"To ordinary voters, this flood of dollars looks like Wall Street buying votes," said Carmen Balber, Washington director for organization.

"The fate of an independent consumer regulator is a test of whether politicians will rise above financial industry influence to enact meaningful regulatory reform that directly aids ordinary Americans," she concluded.

Newburgh Mayor Nick Valentine Wants To Host Terrorism Trial

Newburgh Mayor Nick Valentine wants to host terrorism trial The administration’s decision to hold the 9/11 terrorism trial in New York City has met with much criticism over the last few months, but when the mayor of an impoverished upstate town invited the trial to be relocated there, the proposal did not satisfy everyone.

Newburgh is located some 60 miles north of New York and used to serve as George Washington’s headquarters during the American Revolution. Today, however, it is plagued by high unemployment, crime and poverty, according to media reports.

This has prompted Mayor Nick Valentine to propose that the controversial trial—which critics claim will endanger the security of millions of people in the densely populated New York area—be moved to his town.

He explained that his motivations are primarily economic. "There has to be a net result of economic stimulus and safety to your city, and making it visible around the world as a community that is really trying to be better," he said, quoted by the Times Herald-Record.

"We’re doing it by seizing an opportunity, and this is an opportunity," he added.

However, security experts Peter Bergen and Karen Greenberg have criticized the idea, suggesting the trial of five men—including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks—"belongs in New York."

In a commentary written for CNN they stated that it will bring a sense of justice for the families, restore the power of the rule of law and the criminal justice system, and boost confidence in America’s security apparatus.

Global Warming Expert Cleared Of Some Allegations, New Investigation Launched

Global warming expert cleared of some allegations, new investigation launched Penn State University officials have cleared climate researcher Michael Mann of concealing information, falsifying data and misusing confidential information, following an investigation into the unauthorized release of more than 1,000 private emails that brought into question current global warming science.

However, the panel was not able to reach a conclusion on whether Mann’s research activities "seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community," according to the Los Angeles Times. Authorities at the university have put together a new committee of five science professors to review the allegations and report their findings within the next four months.

"Even though no evidence to substantiate the fourth allegation was found, the university administrators thought it best to convene a separate committee of distinguished scientists to resolve any remaining questions about academic procedures," said Mann.

"I fully support the additional inquiry, which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts," he added.

Meanwhile, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the top Republican on the House investigations committee, said that the university’s continued investigation calls into question Mann’s credibility as a global warming expert, The Washington Times reports. Issa has asked President Obama to freeze the professor’s $541,184 stimulus grant supplied by the National Science Foundation.

Obama: Senate Might Drop Cap-and-trade Aspect Of The Energy Bill

Obama: Senate might drop cap-and-trade aspect of the energy billWhile speaking at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week, President Obama acknowledged that it is conceivable that an energy bill may be approved in the Senate without the cap-and-trade component that he has been pushing since taking office last year.

"The only thing I would say about it is this: We may be able to separate these things out," said Obama. "And it’s conceivable that that’s where the Senate ends up."

Also known as emissions trading, cap-and-trade legislation would set a limit on the amount of pollutants that a company can emit, and would then force that company to purchase credits if they exceed their allotment.

Senate moderates from both sides of the aisle have recently pushed Obama to accept an energy-only bill that does not include the emissions trading component, which exists in the House bill that was passed last year, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, a White House spokesman quickly downplayed the president’s remarks, stating that they were only an "observation" and that "nothing has changed" since his State of the Union address last week.

The Dirty Dozen: How 25 percent of Americans are Dying from the Food They Eat

Given our fast-paced, stressed-to-the-max lifestyle, it is no wonder that 25 percent of Americans eat at fast-food restaurants every day! That’s one in four people opting for low nutrition, high calorie, bad tasting, done-in-a-jiffy food. And it’s killing us.

Diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, fatty liver and high cholesterol are more prevalent in today’s high-tech health-conscience society than in the past, when we were ignorant about such things. And there’s truly no excuse for it!

One look at Eric Schlosser’s documentary, Fast Food Nation, tells the tale in all its devastating morbidity. Forget about E.coli and sub-standard working conditions and the tumors cut off the sides of beef before processing it for burgers done “your way.” Forget about the cheap toys restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King use to attract the kids, and by extension the family, in for a potentially life-shortening meal.

Let’s talk good health and stick to the facts. In terms of food, that means keeping a tight leash on calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. And if we Americans are too tied to our fatty burgers and deep fried chicken, or we’re just too pressed for time and money to make the necessary change… then at least we can face the enemy armed with the truth about our fast-food indulgence.

I was in the process of researching the nutritional facts from 12 of the more popular chains when a copy of Aramark Corporation’s “Guide to Fast Food” came across my desk. In this little gem I found the “tale of the tape” on 20 of the country’s most popular fast food chains. Starbucks, too! And if you think eating at Subway is good for you because of that guy from the commercial… think again. And if you think chicken served in these restaurants is a better choice than beef… you’ve been misled.

Of the 20 fast food restaurants listed in the guide I’ve culled information from 12, and I call them “The Dirty Dozen.” Below are some tables based on the information published by Aramark, as provided by the franchises themselves, or found on their websites. I call these tables, “The Worst of the Worst” (i.e., things never to eat), and “The Best of the Worst” (i.e., things almost never to eat). I then list the worst and best from the selected Dirty Dozen, in terms of overall numbers of calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.

The Worst of the Worst

Carbs (g)
Fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Shake
Boston Market 1/4 Dark Meat w/ Skin
Burger King BK Big Fish Sandwich
Dairy Queen Grilled Chicken Filet Sandwich
Domino’s Pepperoni Hand Tossed (2 SL)
Dunkin’ Donuts Blueberry Muffin
KFC Hot & Spicy Chicken Breast
Krispy Kreme Glazed Devil’s Food Donut
McDonald’s  Biscuit w/ Bacon, Egg, Cheese
6" Subway Club, Cold
Taco Bell
Taco Salad w/ Salsa
Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic


The Best of the Worst

Carbs (g)
Fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Baskin-Robbins Ice Daiquiri Scoop
Boston Market Steamed Vegetables
Burger King Small Hash Browns
Dairy Queen Fudge Bar (No Sugar Added)
Domino’s Cheese hand Tossed (2 SL)
Dunkin’ Donuts Low-Fat Bran Muffin
KFC Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut
McDonald’s Hash Browns
Subway Veggie Delight
Taco Bell
Wendy’s Small French Fries


The Worst and Best of the Worst

Highest Calories 890Pizza Hut—Medium Stuffed Crust Cheese Pizza (2 slices)
Lowest Calories 35Boston Market—Steamed Veggies
Highest Carbohydrates (g) 0Pizza Hut—Medium Cheese Stuffed-Crust Pizza (2 slices)
Lowest Carbohydrates (g) 0Boston Market—1/4 White Meat, No skin, Without Wing
Highest Fat (g) 52Taco Bell—Taco Salad w/ Salsa
Lowest Fat (g) 0Baskin Robbins—Ice Daiquiri, Regular Scoup
Highest Cholesterol (mg) 250Burger King—Croissan’wich w/ Sausage, Egg, Cheese
Highest Cholesterol (mg) 250McDonald’s—Biscuit w/ Bacon, Egg, Cheese
Lowest Cholesterol (mg) 0Plenty of items with no Cholesterol, such as plain baked potato, steamed veggies, salads without dressing, water
Highest Sodium (mg) 2,180Pizza Hut—Medium Stuffed Crust Cheese Pizza (2 slices)
Lowest Sodium (mg) 10Baskin Robbins—Ice Daiquiri, Regular Scoop


And the big looser is… Pizza Hut. It ranked No. 1 on three of the Worst of the Worst lists. And that’s no great achievement!

Ok, so now you know that what seemed “good” (e.g., chicken, turkey, fish) is actually bad when prepared the fast food way, in terms of calories, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol and sodium content. And you also know that what these chains serve up as “good for you” food is as boring as a collection of ballpoint pen tops. But you’ve just got to eat fast food because time and money are rooting for the dark side. So where does that leave us…

Well, here are some tips, if you absolutely MUST eat fast food:

  1. Go for the salads, veggies, potatoes (no sour cream or bacon)
  2. Broiled is better than fried
  3. Never eat anything breaded
  4. Deep fried is out of the question
  5. Water is the only drink for you
  6. Hold the salt, there’s plenty already in there
  7. No desert, thank you.

But the real issue here is being responsible and taking control of your own health and wellness… and by extension, your longevity. How about working on time management and money allocation? How about preparing your lunch the night before and brown bagging it a couple days a week? Then, with the money you’ve saved on food, and the time you’ve saved going to the death chain, you can treat yourself to a better-for-you meal at a nicer restaurant with more choices.

In the end, the fast food restaurants and the doctors you’ll see for your cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and cancer don’t give a damn about you. It’s only you and the ones that love you who care. And if you don’t care enough about yourself, then how about taking care of No. 1 for the people who love you?

So it’s time again to eat and a decision is eminent. You can easily choose the fast food road to death. Or you can make the lifestyle change necessary to extend yourself a healthy and happy life. It’s your choice.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

Should we hold onto any US dollars?

Dear Bob,

(You say) to get some money out of the U.S. while it’s still legal to, plus to exchange paper money now for much more later. How does one go about this? I’m new to this website, so I may have missed something. I’m in the process of investing in stocks, which I’m also new to. Should I be doing something else with my investing money? (I’ve stored a couple of years food, beside farming my couple of acres so we can preserve what we grow. I’ve also bought silver and pre-’65 silver coins. How much silver needs to be held? I refuse to buy gold, because I think it’s going to be harder to barter with.) Should we hold onto any U.S. dollars?

Mark Supak

Dear Mark,

Glad to have you as a reader. If you have stockpiled food and are in a position to farm a plot of land, you are more prepared that most. I and my guest writers have written a host of articles about wealth and asset protection. Click on the Asset and Wealth Protection and the Preserving Wealth links under the News and Article Categories section to access these. In a nutshell, I bought Swiss Annuities and gold and silver.

For silver, I recommend pre-1964 junk silver coins. I believe these will be easily useable for currency because they look familiar to everyone plus they contain silver. I see us devolving to a barter economy when the collapse comes, so you need to accumulate as much as possible. Be careful with stocks, as most are due for a crash in the coming year. Stocks in precious mining companies and commodities are the exception.

Best wishes,

The Art of the Lie

When my children were growing up I could usually tell when they were lying to me. A subtle fidget, a flicker of the eyes or the pitch of their voice would give them away.

That’s because they were taught from the start that lying was wrong. My wife and I drummed it into them, and they believed it. Since they knew what they were doing was wrong it was difficult for them to pull it off.

I’ve always been pretty good at spotting liars. Not as good as Dr. Cal Lightman from the Fox show Lie to Me; but pretty good. It was a gift that served me well as a reporter.

Of course it’s a lot easier to spot a lying politician today than it used to be. How do you know they’re lying? It’s cliché, but, it’s when their lips are moving.

Did you watch any of the President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address? I tried counting his lies but within about 15 minutes I ran out of fingers and toes. No matter, his life is a lie—from his sham birth certificate to his autobiography to his campaign promises to his pledges as President. But the amazing thing is that he does it so effortlessly. And he’s so good at it he’d probably get away with it if those nasty facts didn’t keep getting in the way.

He promised transparency during his campaign, but does everything behind closed doors. He promised healthcare negotiations on C-Span. But negotiations are done in secret. He promised everyone they could keep their doctor, but the public option would end that. He says if someone has another idea he’ll listen, but he shuts dissenters out of the process. He says the Supreme Court overturned 100 years of law, but Justice Samuel Alito says, “Not true.”

Obama also bashed lobbyists. That was right before he invited them to sit in on White House briefings. In his SOTU speech he said: “We face a deficit of trust—deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years.  To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue—to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve.”

Hmm. I wonder why there’s a “deficit of trust.” Maybe it’s because of things like his failure to mention that more than 40 ex-lobbyists work in his administration, as the The Washington Examiner reports.

But that’s not all. According to

The Treasury Department on Thursday morning (the day after the SOTU) invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.”

The article goes on to say:

A handful of lobbyists told The Hill on Thursday morning that they received the invitations and were planning to call in.

Some lobbyists say they are extremely frustrated with the White House for criticizing them and then seeking their feedback. Others note that Democrats on Capitol Hill constantly urge them to make political donations.
One lobbyist said, “Bash lobbyists, then reach out to us. Bash lobbyists [while] I have received four Democratic invitations for fundraisers.”

And then there’s Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). In a press release issued Jan. 27, he said, “In the upcoming elections, voters will face a choice between Republicans who are standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies—or Democrats who are working hard to clean up the mess we inherited by putting the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”

That statement would lead you to believe he opposes standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies. But two days later, at the DSCC winter retreat in Miami, Menendez and 10 of his fellow senators were entertained by a long list of Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies who paid around $30,000 each to the campaign coffers of the DSCC, according to

Included in that list are insurance companies like Allstate and Aflac; pharmaceutical manufactures like AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Novartis; financial groups like American Bankers Association, Managed Funds Association and Sallie Mae; large corporations like FedEx, UPS, Ford Motor Co. and Home Depot; and lobbying firms like Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Podesta Group and Heather Podesta and Partners; and an assortment of other big corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups. In all, 129 of these organizations attended at $30,000 each for a total into the DSCC of about $3.87 million. Just for a one-day trip to the beach.

And who can forget that low-life former presidential candidate, John Edwards? According to Byron York in The Washington Examiner, with the National Enquirer set to break a story during the 2007-2008 Democrat presidential primary that Edwards had fathered a child with campaign staffer Reille Hunter, Edwards crafted his own lie.

He encouraged campaign worker Andrew Young to claim the child as his own. This would make it a “one-day story,” Edwards claimed, and would do minimal damage to the campaign. For two more years Edwards would cling to this lie while his marriage to his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth fell apart and his baby was denied a true father.

It’s certain that lying by politicians is a not a recent phenomenon. We could go back to the beginning of politics and find examples. But here are some recent examples that come to mind:

There was George H.W. Bush’s 1988 proclamation of, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” The following autumn saw Bush proposing a number of tax increases, prompting a headline in the New York Post that read: Read my lips. I lied.

Bill Clinton had his own “Read my lips” moment when he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” We learned then, for politicians, it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, when a lie is being investigated.

George W. Bush had his own credibility problem. He vowed after the 9/11 attacks: “My administration has a job to do and we’re going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.”

The world apparently ended in the mountains of Tora-Bora, where those calling the shots put a halt to hostilities allowing Osama bin Laden and his surviving thugs to retreat into Waziristan, a desolate lawless region of Pakistan where al-Qaida remains to this day.

Bush’s vow to follow the enemy wherever he was went unfulfilled.

Instead, he focused his energy on Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. While a strong case can be made that there was a need to depose Hussein, placing a greater importance on going there rather seeking out bin Laden and his ghouls in the aftermath of 9/11 demonstrated he lied when he said he wanted bin Laden dead or alive.

Of course, it’s more than likely that bin Laden actually died somewhere along the way and the Bush Administration knew this but wanted to have a bogeyman handy to justify continuing the war. And now the Obama Administration, which seems to enjoy war as much as Bush did, is continuing the charade.

Suffice to say that the only safe course of action is to assume a politician is lying every time he or she speaks. Never, never take one at his word, unless you’re content to believe a lie. They can be judged only on what they’ve done.

Unlike our children, whom we teach from a young age to tell the truth, politicians apparently never learned that lesson. After all, as Seinfeld’s George Costanza character once said: “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”

That’s the philosophy that has allowed politicians to elevate lying to an art form.

Obama Implores Democrats To Stay The Course, Blasts GOP For ‘Obstruction’

Obama implores Democrats to stay the course, blasts GOP for 'obstruction'While speaking at a Democratic policy committee conference last week, President Obama urged Senate Democrats to stay aggressive and press ahead with their legislative agenda. He also took several shots at Republican lawmakers, stating that they have been unwilling to compromise and have been impeding progress.

While taking questions from Democratic senators who are up for re-election in November, Obama promised to "call (Republicans) out when (Democrats) extend a hand and get a fist in return," according to CNN.

The president also chided Senate Republicans for demanding that Democrats produce a 60-vote majority on every issue, no matter how arbitrary.

"You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and ’60s combined," said Obama. "That’s 20 years of obstruction packed into just one." He added that a filibuster is justified only when there is a legitimate attempt to compromise.

The president also lashed out at members of the GOP for having an "if you lose, I win" mentality, citing examples of Republican maneuvering based solely on political considerations.

In recent months, the administration has come under fire from the GOP for what the party saw as the majority’s attempt to push through healthcare reform legislation behind closed doors, without consulting the Republicans. "I take some fault for this," Obama admitted, quoted by Fox News. "Some of [the] transparency got lost and I think we paid a price for it."

Obama Edges Closer To Ending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ Republicans Are Split

Obama edges closer to ending 'don't ask don't tell,' Republicans are split Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, the nation’s top military and civilian leaders argued for a repeal of the 1993 Act of Congress that banned openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen testified together with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and said that overturning the policy known as "don’t ask don’t tell" would be "the right thing to do."

"I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," said Mullen.

Several prominent Republicans, including former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, have expressed their support for the overhaul.

"In the 17 years since the legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell stated after the hearing, quoted by The New York Times.

However, a significant group of GOP lawmakers, led by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), have declared themselves to be against it. McCain has been quoted as saying he was "disappointed" with the administration’s push.

The Department of Defense is putting together a working group that will conduct a year-long study on troops’ feelings about lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

More than 10,000 service members have had to leave the armed forces due to the ban.

After Liberals, Sarah Palin Calls For Sanctioning Rahm Emanuel

After liberals, Sarah Palin calls for sanctioning Rahm Emanuel White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been in the news lately with some progressives calling for his dismissal and blaming him for trying to accommodate the conservatives. However, a new revelation has railed some GOP members.

The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that in a closed-door meeting last summer, Obama’s top aide called liberal special-interest groups that wanted to run ads against conservative Democrats who did not support healthcare reform "f—— retarded," according to media reports.

When informed about the comment, Sarah Palin, whose child has Down syndrome, posted a note on Facebook alleging Emanuel’s words amounted to a "racial slur."

"Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities is unacceptable," she wrote, adding that President Obama should "show decency" by removing the Chicago politician from his inner circle.

In the meantime, Emanuel reportedly called Tim Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, to apologize.

Last month, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee urged its members not to support the former Illinois congressman if he runs for public office again. It said Emanuel allowed the Democrats to give up the public option, helped to put together deals with drug companies in exchange for their support and argued against a bigger stimulus package.

Obama To Increase Taxes Over The Next Decade

Obama to increase taxes over the next decadeTo help subsidize the $3.8 trillion proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, President Obama will increase taxes on some businesses and upper-income households by nearly $2 trillion during the next decade, a plan that will still leave the nation with $8.5 trillion in added debt in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.

By allowing the cuts introduced by the previous administration to expire, Obama will increase taxes on families with a household annual income above $250,000 by as much as 3.6 percent. Oil companies will also lose $35.5 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years.

Some of Obama’s other initiatives include limiting the tax deductions that the wealthy can claim for charitable donations, mortgage payments and local taxes, according to Fox News.

The president’s new increases have drawn the ire of many fiscal conservatives, including several top Republicans in the House.

"This budget features too many new taxes, too much new spending and too much new debt," said Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, the lead Republican on tax-writing for the House Ways and Means Committee, quoted by the news source.

Through various programs and credits, the current administration will also cut taxes for some workers and other businesses by approximately $330 billion.

Obama’s Unjust Remarks

Is the State of the Union Address finally over?

Just kidding. I know it finally ended a few days ago. But golly, was that sucker l-o-n-g. If I were to dissect every bit of deceptive rhetoric in it, this column would be even longer. That’s not going to happen. But there was one section that I found particularly outrageous.

Before I get to it, however, I want to mention the folks who were sitting behind our Dissembler in Chief. Every time the camera showed Obama, there was Vice President Joe Biden behind his right shoulder and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi behind his left. Those two got to spend the entire evening staring at the President’s back. What fun.

I have to say Joe was the absolutely ideal audience. Every single expression that crossed his face—his smiles, his frowns, his chuckles, his glee—seemed perfectly timed to match to the script Obama was following. It was almost as though the Veep was an audioanimatronic creation of the Disney imagineers. Joe, you were perfect!

I can’t say the same thing about Madame Speaker, though. For much of the President’s speech, Nancy Pelosi looked as though her mind was elsewhere… and she wished her body was, too. I had to wonder what thoughts were troubling her stern visage. Maybe she knows that her dreams of presiding over the socialization of America are over. Maybe she realizes her record and her reputation are heading straight for the dumpster. Whatever the reason, she looked nervous to me. Good.

Now, on to the speech itself. Anyone expecting a milder, more conciliatory approach from the president had to have been disappointed. There were very few mea culpas in his 70-minute address. Instead, his basic message seemed to be that anyone who doesn’t support his programs just doesn’t understand them. So he’s going to ‘splain it all again. It reminded me of Desi talking to Lucy, but without the Cuban accent.

The weekend before SOTU (that’s an abbreviation of State of the Union, in case you saw the acronym and wondered what it meant), Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s top advisers, appeared on Meet the Press. Asked if losing a super-majority in the Senate would change the president’s strategy, she replied, “He is going to fight for what he’s always been fighting for… We’re not hitting a reset button at all.”

Even more telling was the president’s decision to bring David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager, into the White House. Plouffe immediately said that he’d be working to pass healthcare reform legislation “without delay.” His message for his fellow Democrats? “[Let’s] prove that we have the guts to govern. Let’s fight like hell.”

Doesn’t sound very conciliatory, does it?

It’s got to be tough to be a conservative back-bencher at one of these performances. All of the president’s allies fill the first half of the House chamber. And by tradition, they’re supposed to cheer like crazy for every rhetorical flourish that comes out of his mouth, no matter how wrong or ridiculous it is.

But the group I really felt sorry for this time were the six members of the U.S. Supreme Court who were in attendance. There they were, dressed in those flowing black robes and seated front and center, directly below the president.

By tradition, the members of this august body are supposed to sit there looking straight ahead. They are not supposed to show any expression, no matter what the president says and no matter what the sycophants in the audience do. Under the best of circumstance, it’s got to be tough to sit there for an hour-plus without moving a facial muscle.

But these weren’t the best of circumstances, because right in the middle of his speech the president lambasted them. The justices had to have been absolutely stunned to hear the president say: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

Even before he finished urging Congress to right this terrible wrong, hundreds of Democratic senators, congressmen and cabinet officers had jumped to their feet, cheering and applauding the president’s remarks.

Talk about being blind-sided. As law professor Randy Barnett observed in The Wall Street Journal, “the head of the executive branch ambushed six members of the judiciary, and called up the legislative branch to deride them publicly.”

But there was something worse than the president’s bad manners. It’s that his remarks weren’t true; the Supreme Court ruling had done no such thing. Yes, in a landmark case known as Citizens United, the Court had the previous week reversed a 1990 ban against political advertising by domestic corporations and labor unions. But it left standing a 100-year-old ban on foreign entities doing so.

Yes, Barack Obama—an honored graduate of Harvard Law and one-time professor of Constitutional Law—had his facts wrong. Apparently, among the several dozen people who vetted the State of the Union Address, not a single one bothered to check the facts of the matter. While that’s awfully hard to believe, it’s better than the alternative—that Obama knew what he would say was false, and he just didn’t care.

The television coverage of that part of his speech got played over and over again on national TV. In numerous broadcasts, the scene was darkened so only one face showed clearly—that of Justice Samuel Alito. As the camera slowly focused on him, he could be seen shaking his head from side to side and mouthing the phrase, “not true.”

But it could have been worse. He could have emulated Joe Wilson and shouted, “You lie!”

Oops, we’ve run out of room for this week. I’ll have to save the rest of my remarks about POTUS’ SOTU for next week. So be sure to be back here next Friday morning, when we discuss the president’s jobs-creating and deficit-fighting promises.

If you think we’ve seen some fairy-tale forecasting before, folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Until then, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Robert Gates Dodges Questions Regarding The Prosecution Of Terrorists

Robert Gates dodges questions regarding the prosecution of terroristsAt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declined to say whether he agrees with Attorney General Eric Holder’s prosecution strategy of trying self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York City.

When pressed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ.) for a "candid answer," Gates replied that Holder was better suited to make the decision and again reserved comment, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Later in the meeting, McCain continued to push for the defense secretary’s point of view, asking him whether he agreed with the Obama administration’s decision to question attempted Christmas Day airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab using civilian interrogators for only 50 minutes before reading him his Miranda rights.

Gates responded, "I think we did not have the high-level interrogators there that we now have protocols in place" to guarantee their presence, quoted by the news source. However he added: "I believe that a team of highly experienced FBI and other interrogators could be as effective in interrogating the prisoner as anyone operating under the (Army) field manual."

The defense secretary did admit that it is within the legal rights of an interrogator to delay "mirandizing" a suspect, if the person "is deemed to be a threat to national security."

Pomegranate Extract May Help Women In Labor

Pomegranate extract may help women in laborAccording to a recent study, a naturally occurring steroid found in pomegranate seed extract may be able to stimulate uterine contractions and could help women who experience difficulty during labor.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool and the Suranaree University of Technology in Thailand found that beta-sitosterol, the main constituent of pomegranate extract, was able to increase the muscle activity of tissue cells found in the uterus. The team believes that the increase is due to a rise in calcium, which is necessary for any muscle to contract.

"The next step is to investigate how beta-sitosterol in pomegranate extract could increase calcium, but it could prove to be a significant step forward in identifying new ways of treating dysfunctional labor," said lead researcher Sajeera Kupittayanant.

She added that there is only one drug that is currently being used to treat women who experience difficulty during labor, and that it only works approximately 50 percent of the time.

It should be noted that the researchers used the fruit’s seed extract, which has a significantly higher level of concentration than pomegranate juice. Further study is needed to understand whether drinking pomegranate juice will have an impact on uterine contractions.

NIA: Seniors Should Take Precautions To Avoid Hypothermia

Seniors should take precautions to avoid hypothermia, says NIA In addition to producing high heating bills, the cold weather that has gripped much of the country poses health dangers related to hypothermia, especially in the elderly. However, there are ways to protect oneself from excessive loss of body heat both at home and outdoors.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls to 96 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Its symptoms include slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness or confusion, shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs, poor control over body movements or slow reactions as well as a weak pulse.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), seniors are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia due to underlying medical conditions and because they tend to be less active than younger people and produce less body heat.

Consequently, NIA experts recommend keeping the temperature of the home at a minimum of 68 degrees. To stay warm inside it is a good idea to wear long underwear, socks and slippers. A blanket can be used to keep legs and shoulders comfortable, while a hat or cap can warm the head.

Venturing outdoors, it is important to wear a scarf and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through the hands and feet. A hat is particularly important because a significant portion of body heat loss occurs through the head.

In addition, wearing several layers of warm loose clothing can help keep warm air close to the body.

Finally, NIA advises seniors to check with their healthcare providers as some medicines may increase the risk of hypothermia.

Pro-gun Organizations Call On ACLU To Defend Second Amendment Rights

Pro-gun organizations call on ACLU to defend Second Amendment rights Citing law enforcement data that suggests murder rates have gone down while gun sales have increased, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has sought to dispute the claims that guns cause violent crime, while the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) has called on civil rights organizations to protect access to guns in the United States.

SAF says a newly released FBI report found that in the first six months of 2009, murders across the nation dropped by 10 percent. Moreover, its National Instant Criminal Background Check System shows that in January 2009 gun sales rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February’s sales were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008.

"This shows… that gun prohibitionists are wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime," said SAF executive vice president Alan Gottlieb.

"Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone," and increasing sales may even have discouraged violent criminals, he suggested.

Meanwhile, CCRKBA reacted to the announcement from The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which said it will monitor government response to recent police shootings in Washington State to make sure no proposals violate civil rights.

"We share the ACLU’s concern that the legislature’s reaction may be to clamp down on the rights of law-abiding citizens without accomplishing anything," stated CCRKBA chairman Alan Gottlieb, emphasizing that the right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally enshrined.

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin

Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, began farming as a teenager with the goal of milking 10 cows by hand. That would earn him $1,000 per cow per year, not a bad living for teenager in the late 70s.

But there was one problem. It was illegal. Virginia, like many states, had banned the sale of raw milk.

Salatin writes, “Even if we were to move forward with cheese or some milk product, we would still need a license and inspected facility. A friend who ran a Grade A dairy wanted to make cheese. But by the time he installed all the required machinery and hardware, it would have cost them (sic) $100,000 to make one pound of cheese. End of dream. He continues to struggle, barely making ends meet. I’d love to buy his cheese, even if he made it in the kitchen sink. And that’s important to understand.”

In the book Salatin laments the demise of the local farmer’s market due to government health regulations and the bureaucratic minefield that is designed to stifle innovation and benefit the large agricultural-industrial complex at the expense of the small farmer.

Continuing the story mentioned above, Salatin writes about how ideas start small and grow from there if they are good ideas. But government regulations—local, state and federal—are so onerous that the ideas are never given a chance.

“How do I know if I have a cheese that people will want unless I can experiment with a few pounds and try to sell some to folks? How do I know I have a decent ice cream until I make some and sell to taste testers? Innovation demands embryonic births. The problem is that complying with all these codes required that even the prototype must be too big to be birthed. In reality then, what we have are still-birth dreams because the mandated accoutrements are too big,” Salatin writes.

Salatin uses humor and common sense and tells his story of years of trying to figure out how to comply with the onerous regulations that have hampered his ability to farm in an ecologically sound, environmentally friendly, financially sound way. He covers all aspects of the effects of bureaucracy on his operation, including how the regulations change depending on the bureaucrat enforcing them. And oftentimes, Salatin writes, complying with the regulations not only makes no sense, it affects the quality of the food being produced.

Filled with personal accounts of Salatin’s experiences over the years, this book is an entertaining view of the life of an American farmer. It will give you a new perspective on your ideas about whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking out for the consumer, or looking out for somebody else.