Acupuncture May Help Treat Depression In Expectant Mothers

Acupuncture may help treat depression in expectant mothersAccording to a new study, acupuncture may be an effective way to treat depression in pregnant women.

Currently, nearly 20 percent of women report symptoms of despair during pregnancy, while approximately 10 percent meet the criteria for major depression. Coping with the disorder can be extremely difficult for many women who do not want to take anti-depressants during pregnancy out of concern for the developing fetus.

"Depression during pregnancy is an issue of concern because it has negative effects on both the mother and the baby as well as the rest of the family," said study author Rosa Schnyer.

In the study, a total of 150 pregnant women meeting the standards for major depressive disorder were separated into three groups. One-third of the respondents were given acupuncture specific for depression, another one-third was given control or "sham" acupuncture and the others were treated only with massage.

The researchers found that the women who received depression-specific acupuncture experienced a significantly greater decrease in symptoms related to the disorder.

Acupuncture may also be used to help alleviate symptoms associated with headaches, lower back pain and menstrual cramps.

Pediatric Patients With Chronic Pain Look To Acupuncture

Pediatric patients with chronic pain look to acupuncture As part of a new study to analyze the effects of acupuncture on reducing pain and increasing the quality of life in children, doctors from the Rush University Medical Center are now offering pediatric patients access to the ancient Chinese therapy to alleviate the negative side effects associated with many chronic illnesses.

The Children’s Hospital at Rush has begun offering acupuncture therapy to children between the ages of 5 and 20 who are experiencing pain, nausea and fatigue caused by intensive therapy for health problems.

Researchers have reported a lack of treatment options for youngsters experiencing consistent pain. Separate studies have indicated that nearly 70 percent of pediatric patients dealing with severe pain do not experience adequate relief using conventional therapies.

"Many children with chronic or acute health issues turn to complementary or integrative approaches after all other conventional treatment options are exhausted," said Angela Johnson, Chinese medicine practitioner at Rush.

"Parents should be aware that integrative therapies like acupuncture can be helpful from the onset of disease and can have a tremendously positive influence on a child’s quality of life," she added.

Obama’s Kenyan Aunt Battles Deportation

Obama's Kenyan aunt battles deportation President Obama’s paternal aunt Zeituni Onyango, who is a citizen of Kenya and living in the U.S. illegally, appeared in a Boston court recently to fight a deportation order issued in 2004.

Onyango, who is wheelchair bound, testified before Judge Leonard Shapiro about her asylum request, according to media reports. Her previous request filed in 2002 was denied both in first instance and on appeal, but the 57-year-old remained in the U.S. nonetheless.

The latest round began in December 2008, when the deportation order was suspended pending a new asylum bid. Judge Shapiro did not issue a ruling last week, and attorneys have 30 days to file written closing briefs. The hearing may be continued on May 25 if there is no decision before then.

The case has come under fire from immigration reform proponents, such as Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, who said it is symptomatic of what is wrong with the U.S. asylum adjudication process.

"Her case is all too typical, where you have people who have had countless bites at the apple, continuing to press appeal after appeal…and never actually being removed from the country," he said, quoted by

Mehlman added that this only encourages immigrants to abuse America’s asylum policies.

A spokesperson for Obama said the president is not involved in any aspect of the case.

"This is a legal issue, and the president strongly believes that the law should be followed by everyone," press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters last week, quoted by CNN.

Victory Looms In Arizona For Gun-rights Advocates

Victory looms in Arizona for gun-rights advocatesArizona lawmakers are preparing to consider a new bill that would allow school faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus, media reports suggest.

Currently, only certified police officers are permitted to carry a weapon on school grounds in Arizona, but the bill introduced by State Senator Jack Harper of Phoenix would extend that right to select groups of ordinary citizens, according to ABC News.

"Any step toward allowing the people the right to self defense is a good thing," said Daniel Crocker, Southwest Regional Director for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, quoted by the news provider.

He added, however, that his organization believes the right should also be extended to students.

As expected, not everyone is happy with the possibility. For example, Andy Pelosi the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus told ABC that introducing guns will make campuses less safe. "More guns are going to create more problems," he stated.

In the past year gun-rights proponents, such as Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as well as the Second Amendment Foundation, have registered some significant victories. One such victory came when the Texas legislature voted last May to allow college students and employees to carry concealed handguns on campus.

Study: Butter Leads To Lower Blood Fats Than Natural Oils

Study: Butter leads to lower blood fats than natural oilsA new study from Lund University in Sweden has found that the consumption of butter may lead to a lower elevation of blood fats after a meal compared to olive, canola and flaxseed oil. High blood fat levels are commonly linked to elevated cholesterol readings.

The researchers found that approximately 20 percent of the fat in butter is made up of short and medium length fatty acids, which are "good" fatty acids that are used as energy and rarely affect blood fat levels. However, the study’s authors admit that butter can also lead to a higher content of free fatty acids in the blood, "which can be a burden on the body."

"The fact that butter raises blood cholesterol in the long term is well known, whereas its short-term effects are not as well investigated," said Julia Svensson, a doctoral candidate at Lund University.

"Olive oil is good, to be sure, but our findings indicate that different food fats can have different advantages," she added.

The study found that the difference in short-term elevated blood fat levels was more pronounced in men due to hormones, the size of fat stores and the differences in metabolism compared to women.

Brown, Two Democrats Vote To Block Obama’s Latest Nominee

Brown, two Democrats vote to block Obama's latest nominee For the first time since being sworn into office, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) got a chance to flex his conservative muscles by voting to block President Obama’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board. As it turned out, however, the GOP did not need Brown’s 41st vote to sustain the filibuster.

Senate Democratic leaders failed to muster the 60 votes necessary to approve the nomination of Craig Becker to the board that resolves disputes between unions and management. The final tally was 52-33 in favor of appointing Becker. Fifteen senators were not able to cast their vote due to violent snowstorms in the Washington area.

Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), crossed the aisle and voted to block the president’s nomination.

"Craig Becker’s theories about how the workplace should function, if ever put into practice, would impose new burdens on employers, hurt job creation and slow down the recovery," said Brown.

Becker has also been blasted by business leaders who fear that, if appointed, he would further empower unions by embracing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow labor groups to have a stronger hand in organizing employees, according to The Washington Times. Republicans have heavily criticized the bill, which is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate later this year.

What Drives the Elected Class? Money!

The elected class no longer cares about you.

If there was ever any doubt about that reality it should have ended after the massacre in Massachusetts, where Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley for the United States Senate seat long held by the man known for both his driving and drinking prowess, Ted Kennedy.

One would think that election was the end of Obamacare. But on the heels of Brown’s win—in a campaign in which he ran specifically against the Obamacare healthcare bill—some Democrats continued to promise passage of a healthcare reform bill. And President Barack Obama signaled he wasn’t ready to drop it.

Democrats have threatened to use reconciliation to pass a healthcare bill—a process that would subvert the traditions of Congress but allow them to pass it without a Senate supermajority—despite the fact that 53.8 percent of the population opposes it.

So the message that Brown’s win in Massachusetts sent to Democrats wasn’t received. There has to be a reason, and there is. Just follow the money; because that’s the only thing the elected class cares about. Well, money and power; but with money comes the power.

In 2009, 13,741 registered lobbyists spent $3.47 billion lobbying members of Congress and federal agencies. That’s an increase of $1.7 million over the year before. In fact, lobbying dollars have more than doubled since 2000 when $1.55 billion was spent by 12,449 registered lobbyists.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been a major beneficiary of that largess, as have other Democrats and Republicans in leadership positions. But even back-benchers do well.

Still one wonders why Pelosi has been so strident in her efforts to push through a bill that is so unpopular, and is probably unconstitutional as well. A look at her major contributors sheds a little light on what drives her.

Health professionals have contributed $141,200 to her campaign coffers over the last year. Lawyers contributed $61,650, securities and investment firms $54,900, building trade unions $54,500 and miscellaneous financial institutions another $50,800 during the same period.

A legal firm representing healthcare and real estate interests was the largest single contributor over that time, buying her services for $20,250. The American Dental Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Nurses Association and the American Postal Workers each gave $10,000.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) received more money from electric utilities ($124,000) than from health professionals ($117,460). But he also took in large sums from lawyers and law firms ($121,457), lobbyists ($95,993) and hospitals and nursing homes ($89,000). Top individual contributors were Verizon Communications at $26,800; Kindred Healthcare at $22,500; Norfolk Southern at $18,000; Comcast Corp. at $14,000; and the lobbying firm of Patton Boggs LLP at $13,400.

Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) was bought and paid for by health professionals with a $84,952 contribution. Pharmaceuticals and health products was his third-largest contributor at $70,819, right behind electric utilities at $74,000. Lawyers gave him $67,450 and securities and investment firms gave him $53,342 for his services.

Top individual contributors were RLJ Companies, a holding company representing a number of businesses ($17,000) and videography company Crawford Group ($14,800). Verizon, General Electric and Emergent Bio Solutions gave Clyburn in excess of $10,000 each.

It’s more lucrative to be a Senator. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) raked in more than $1.7 million from lawyers and law firms. In fact, health professionals gave him a piddling $479,825, making one wonder why he is willing to sacrifice his seat at the alter of healthcare reform (he trails in his re-election bid 47-39 according to the latest polls).

Of course, securities and investment firms and gambling interests are keeping him flush with cash. Combined they’ve given him more than $1.27 million as an industry. Top individual contributors are MGM Mirage at $153,400, the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg $88,800, Harrah’s Entertainment $81,600, the law firm Girardi & Keese $76,400 and Stations Casinos $71,200.

Majority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is really well-liked by the lawyers. They gave him more than $2 million last year. Securities and investment firms, real estate interests, the pro-Israel lobby and other lobbyists combined to give him more than $1.8 million. Four of his top five individual contributors were law firms which gave him more than $249,000, with United Airlines pitching in $46,175.

For Conference Secretary Patty Murray (D-Wash.), health professionals were her fourth largest contributor, giving her $214,150. Lawyers and law firms provided her with $440,146 and lobbyists another $383,619, followed by retiree groups at $283,530 and various political action committees (PAC) $202,800.

ActBlue, a Democrat internet PAC, was her largest single contributor, giving her $128,224. Boeing Co., Amgen Inc., Weyerhaeuser Co. and Microsoft combined to give her another $170,000.

Republicans are no better. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) raked in $92,270 from insurance companies, $80,550 from electric utilities, $67,200 from securities and investment companies, $63,450 from big pharma and $59,507 from retiree organizations. His top individual contributors were American Financial Group $38,400, American Electric Power $19,450 and Walt Disney Co. $12,000, New York Life Insurance and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons gave him $10,000 each.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took in $150,250 from securities and investment firms, $145,497 from real estate interests, $131,950 from insurance companies, $89,425 from retiree organizations and $88,700 from law firms. Top individual contributors are the holding company McAndrews & Forbes $18,700; financial services company Interface Group $14,400; tobacco products company Altria $13,400; the lobbying firm McGuire, Woods, et al $13,000; and Dominion Resources $12,600.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is well-liked by securities and investment firms to the tune of $1.14 million. Lawyers and law firms contributed $915,683; retiree organizations $899,055; health professionals $722,500; and real estate interests $718,380.

His top five individual contributors were Kindred Healthcare $108,200; the financial services firm UBS AG $98,450; Elliott Management $88,500; Peabody Energy $73,600; and FMR Corp. (the parent of Fidelity) $66,400.

For Minority Whip Jon Kyle (R-Ariz.), retiree groups were the major contributor at $1.065 million. They were followed by real estate interests at $794,393; lawyers and law firms at $676,874; health professionals at $649,383; and republican/conservative causes $430,667. Top individual contributors were the PAC Club for Growth $155,753; law firms Snell & Wilmer $52,650 and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey $52,250; event marketer VIAD $48,300; and Tuttle-Click Automotive Group $41,600.

Conference Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) got his biggest contributions from lawyers, taking in $396,900. Real estate interests, retiree organizations, leadership PACs and securities and investment firms combined to give him another $1.23 million. Top individual contributors were the law firm Baker, Donelson et al $34,150; Hercules Holding $29,250, Regions Financial $26,800; Pilot Corp. $26,500; and the law firm Waller, Lansden et al $26,100.

In other words, Washington is controlled by corporatocracy. That’s why the legislative deals are done in secret, behind closed doors. They don’t want you to know that.

With such vast sums of money exchanging hands in Washington D.C., is it any wonder the elected class have grown arrogant and unresponsive to the needs of their constituents? They’re convinced they can spend any amount of money, steal any freedom, impose any onerous regulation or create yet another bloated bureaucracy and you will like it. If not, they have enough dough in their pockets to pay for enough glitzy television advertisements to convince you that whatever they are up to is for your own good.

But their constituents today aren’t the constituents of yesterday. The electorate is becoming more informed, and many who sat silently on the sidelines grumbling about what was going on in Washington are becoming more vocal. They are even marching on Washington to express themselves.

Still, the elected class tries to ignore the increasingly vocal constituency. But while corporatists, lobbyists, lawyers and PACs feed the campaign coffers, it’s the voters who pull the levers in the voting booths.

So here’s a warning to the elected class: Ignore us at your peril.

(Campaign finance information from More campaign finance information on these and other members of Congress are also available there.)

White House Mocks Palin’s ‘Hand Notes’

White House mocks Palin's 'hand notes'On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs threw a sarcastic jab at Sarah Palin, mocking the former Alaska governor for looking down at talking points written on her left hand during her keynote speech at the National Tea Party Convention last week.

During her address in Nashville Feb. 6, photographers caught Palin looking down at her hand, where she had written the words "energy", "budget," "tax" and "lift American spirits." Later in her talk to fellow conservatives, the former vice presidential candidate ridiculed President Obama for his consistent use of teleprompters throughout his first year in office.

A few days later, while answering questions from reporters regarding healthcare reform, the White House press secretary turned his ink-stained hand toward the cameras while he derided Palin.

"Oh, I wrote a few things down," said Gibbs, looking at palm. "I wrote eggs, milk and bread… then I wrote down hope and change just in case I forgot them."

When asked about the content of Palin’s speech, Gibbs noted that the convention appeared to be "a pretty successful private enterprise," a possible reference to fees charged to attendees who came to hear her speak, according to The New York Times.

Barack Obama, Deficit Peacock

I’m a deficit hawk. I hope you’re one as well.

If you are it means you want to see our gargantuan government put on a strict diet. You want to force it to live within its means, rather than borrow trillions of dollars to spend on programs we don’t want or need.

(As one crazy example, we just agreed to borrow a billion dollars from China so we can send it to Brazil to bribe them stop cutting down trees. That’s just one of the Administration’s new “ecology” programs.)

Deficit hawks are sick and tired of the way deals are done in our nation’s capitol (and far too many state capitols). We get angry knowing that our representatives use our money to bribe other voters so they can play “Big Spender” in Washington. We’re seriously afraid that our leaders will destroy our currency and bankrupt our country.

That’s what the phrase “deficit hawk” means. What does that make our president? I know President Barack Obama, and I can assure you he’s no deficit hawk. Despite all of his talk about cutting spending, trimming needless programs and being as frugal as possible with our money, he’s more like a deficit peacock.

By that I mean he’s much more concerned about how he looks and sounds than believing what he says. I’m sorry to have to say this, but our president is living proof of the old cliché about how you know a politician is lying (answer: his lips move).

I’m beginning to believe that the narcissistic egomaniac who occupies the Oval Office actually believes his own rhetoric. How else could our Teleprompter in Chief sound so sincere and convincing when he gets in front of a microphone to ‘splain things to us?

Here’s the Straight Talk rule for deciphering a politician’s rhetoric: Forget about what he says. Instead, watch what he does. What Barrack Obama has done is promote a spending spree that would make a drunken sailor jealous.

Obama has taken federal spending to a whole new level. If you thought George Bush, with his “guns and butter” social conservatism was irresponsible, W was a miserly skinflint compared to the smooth-talking sugar daddy who replaced him.

Immediately after taking office Obama increased discretionary domestic spending by 8 percent. That was for the second half of fiscal 2009. In fiscal 2010, he and his staff increased it by another 12 percent. Taken together, that’s a 24 percent increase in federal spending since George Bush’s last full year in office. And that total doesn’t even include Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” package—or the new one he wants.

Now our Dissembler in Chief has promised to cut discretionary spending by 1 percent. As my grandkids would say, “Big whoop.” Let me tell you what’s not included in this so-called spending freeze:

  • Various government entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The half-trillion in “stimulus” money that hasn’t been spent.
  • Foreign aid.
  • Pet federal education programs.
  • All of the various “greening” programs.

Bottom line? The anticipated savings from Obama’s so-called “freeze” amount to less than 1 percent of this year’s deficit—and that’s if Congress doesn’t add any pork or earmarks to the plan. Want to bet on that?

In his speech, Obama said, “I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans.” I can only admire the restraint of everyone in the audience; not a single person blurted out, “You lie!”

Last Sunday President Obama released the Federal Budget for fiscal 2011. It projects that federal spending will rise to $3.72 trillion in fiscal 2010, then climb to $3.83 trillion in fiscal 2011.

The projections include a deficit of $1.56 trillion this fiscal year and an additional $1.27 trillion next year. Then the numbers are supposed to start coming down.

Don’t believe for a second that they will. One of the key assumptions in the Obama budget is that inflation will be half the average rate it has been for the past 100 years. Does anyone anywhere really believe that?

Since they took over Congress the Democrats have increased non-defense spending by an astronomical $1.4 trillion. Under the new budget the national debt will triple by 2020.

During the past 15 months, our profligate government has amassed $1.8 trillion of new indebtedness. Believe it or not, Obama’s boys ran a deficit each and every month, including the tax-collection month of April. (While no one likes to mention it, the government normally enjoys a surplus in April. In fact, it has done so each and every April for the past 26 years. Then Mr. Obama took over.)

To help put that $1.8 trillion in new debt in perspective, consider this: That is more than double the total debt that this country accumulated during the first 200 years of its existence. Our debt load did not crack the $1 trillion mark until 1980.

To put it another way, today our dangerously profligate government racks up as much debt in six months as we did in our first 200 years.

And that’s why I say Barrack Obama and his cohorts in Congress are deficit peacocks.

They strut around Washington pretending to care about deficits… pretending they want to balance the budget… pretending they’ll help freeze spending.

Their strategy is simple and their audacity is amazing: Promise spending cuts in the future while going on a spending spree today. And this with money stolen from us in taxes or, even worse, stolen from our unborn heirs in the form of inflation.

That’s what deficit peacocks do. Nearly 50 years ago one of Lyndon Johnson’s cronies bragged about the strategy: “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect—the public is too damn dumb to understand.” The big-spending liberals haven’t changed a thing since then. Frankly, they haven’t needed to.

I wish I could claim credit for that marvelous descriptor, “deficit peacocks.” But I first heard it from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy group in Washington. I may not like your recommendations, fellows. But I love your phrase.
There is an epic battle going on in this country between the people who earn the money and the people who want to spend it—or even worse, want it spent on themselves. The pendulum is currently at the half-way point. Fifty percent of the population pays more than 97 percent of the taxes. We’re the ones who fill the trough. The other 50 percent get to eat there.

Is there any way to beat them? Yes. All we have to do is work harder to get decent people elected to office.

Hey, we already work a lot harder than they do in our jobs, our lives, our charities, our churches. Why can’t we work harder to defeat them at the polls?

As the voters in Massachusetts just proved, we can. So let’s do it.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

CAIR Blasts Mayor R. Rex Parris And Senator James Inhofe Over Racial Comments

CAIR blasts Mayor R. Rex Parris and Senator James Inhofe over racial commentsThe Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called on Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to meet with representatives of the state’s Muslim community in the wake of the comments he made in support of government profiling of Muslims.

During last month’s meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee that reviewed the Fort Hood shootings, Inhofe reportedly stated that he believed in racial and ethnic profiling, claiming that "all terrorists are Muslims or Middle Easterners between the ages 20 and 35."

In response, the organization cited FBI statistics that suggest the vast majority of terrorist attacks on American soil have been committed by non-Muslims.

"It is disturbing to hear a member of the U.S. Senate suggest that entire religious and ethnic groups should automatically be considered terror suspects," said CAIR-OK executive director Razi Hashmi.

He added that by portraying all Middle Easterners as suspects, the politician "does a disservice to our nation and to its tradition of racial and religious diversity."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles branch of the CAIR said it will complain to the Justice Department over comments made by Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, Calif., who reportedly said he was "growing a Christian community."