Vitamin D May Provide Health Benefits To The Obese

Vitamin D may provide health benefits to the obese Recent estimates have indicated that the costs associated with treating conditions related to the obesity epidemic are putting a significant strain on the healthcare system. Obesity causes a person's health to deteriorate in a range of ways, resulting in the need for significant treatment.

However, a recent study from researchers at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center found that increasing vitamin D intake may help overweight individuals reduce their risk of developing some of these conditions.

Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, who led the investigation, said that losing weight is the preferred method for improving health. However, if that is not possible, vitamin D supplementation may provide positive results.

"Since over 50 percent of women in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and losing weight is difficult, other means are needed. One way is to use progesterone, but it increases breast cancer risk. Vitamin D supplements are likely to be safer than [alternative treatments]."

She added that taking vitamin supplements and spending a few more minutes in the sun each week may be an effective way for individuals to increase their intake of the nutrient.
 

Farewell To Newman, Oil Spill Lies, On Hold And Government Payments

*Farewell to “a tart-tongued grammar guru.”  Until I read about his death a few days ago I didn’t realize how much I had missed the delightful repartee and word play of Edwin Newman, the longtime NBC contributor.  If you love language, go to your local library and pick up a copy of Strictly Speaking: Will America be the Death of English?  You’ll enjoy reading it almost as much as he surely did writing it.

*The oil spill is over, but the lies aren’t.  Congratulations to everyone involved in shutting down — forever, we hope — the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The engineering involved in working two miles beneath the surface is beyond my understanding.  Not so the propaganda surrounding this tragic accident, which I’m sure we’ll be hearing for the rest of our lives.  Like the time Katie Couric began CBS Evening News by announcing that “43 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s handling of the spill, [while] only 13 percent approve of BP’s efforts.”  What the liberal cutie didn’t mention was that the same poll revealed that 47 percent of respondents disapproved of Obama’s performance.  That’s how the news is slanted, folks.

*Next time you’re put on hold, try this.  I just heard about a new phone service that promises to end waiting on hold.  Here’s how I’m told it works: Go to lucyphone.com and type in the customer-service number you want to reach.  After LucyPhone connects you, hang up.  The service will call you back when a real live human being actually picks up the phone.  Sure sounds worth trying.

*Some bills will never be paid.  Remember the Meadowlands — the football stadium in New Jersey where the Giants played all their home games (and Jimmy Hoffa is allegedly buried under a goal post)?  It no longer exists, of course.  It was torn down last year to make way for a brand-new stadium.  But get this: The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (aka the State of New Jersey) borrowed $302 million to build it and never paid the debt.  The bill now comes to $800 million and costs New Jersey taxpayers $100 million a year in interest.  See?  It’s not only the Federales who can be criminally irresponsible with taxpayer funds.

— Chip Wood

Decision To Dismiss Black Panther Case Linked To Obama’s Appointed Officials, Watchdog Group Says

Decision to dismiss Black Panther case linked to Obama's appointed officials, watchdog group saysThe decision to drop a case against the New Black Panther Party involved Department of Justice (DOJ) officials appointed by President Barack Obama, according to documents released by a public interest group.

The new evidence, obtained by Judicial Watch and prepared by the DOJ, contradicts sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in May.

Perez claimed that political leadership was not involved in the decision to dismiss the lawsuit against the New Black Panther Group, which allegedly intimidated voters outside of a Philadelphia polling station on election day in 2008.

The evidence contains emails linked to political appointees inside the DOJ, including former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and the Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.

"This new evidence shows that the Obama team lied when it said politics did not influence the Black Panther dismissal," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. "We now know that top political leaders inside Obama Justice Department were involved in the call to drop the [lawsuit]."

According to the Washington Post, former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams said that the Civil Rights Division acted only in the interest of protecting minorities.

An Out-Of-Control FBI

An inspector general’s report released last week says the FBI overstepped its authority in investigating left-wing domestic groups after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and then misled Congress about its actions, Yahoo News reports.

The report said the FBI improperly used the cover of “terrorism” to investigate a number of domestic activist groups from 2001 to 2006. Those groups included Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the pacifist Thomas Merton Center.

The Justice Department Inspector General’s report was requested by Congress four years ago and it said the FBI classified the cases as domestic terrorism cases but had little evidence to back up the claims. The FBI then made “false and misleading statements” to Congress about the investigations, including surveillance of an anti-war rally.

Couple this with the recent revelations that the FBI essentially entrapped a man in Chicago and prodded him into planting a “bomb” near Wrigley Field and you can see that we have an FBI that is out of control.

In the age of the USA PATRIOT Act — where almost any activity from drawing a picture to making an impolitic statement to sending inappropriate emails to attending a rally can get you branded a terrorist and thrown into prison and subjected to “enhanced” interrogation (see Jose Padilla) — it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to oppose the regime in power.

Under the George W. Bush administration, left-wing “terrorists” were the enemy. The only thing that has changed under the Barack Obama administration is that now the terrorists are Tea Partiers, Ron Paul supporters and former members of the military.

Anyone who doubts we live in a totalitarian police state simply isn’t paying attention.

Religious Leaders Oppose Bill They Said Would Violate First Amendment Rights

Religious leaders oppose bill they said would violate First Amendment rightsSignificant public attention has been focused on the proposed Islamic Center in New York and its implications for the freedom of religion. However, another First Amendment conflict has been brewing all this time which may also shape the role of government in regulating religious organizations.

The issue has centered around pending legislation that would prohibit religious groups that receive Federal funding from religion-based discrimination in their hiring decisions. The bill in question is HR 5466, introduced by Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), which would reauthorize Federal substance abuse treatment funding administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Recently, leaders of more than 100 organizations — including the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — sent a letter to all members of Congress to protest the language in the bill that would ban them from preferring staff who share their religious faith. Among other laws, the signatories invoked the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the grounds for their complaint.

"Stripping away the religious hiring rights of religious service providers violates the principle of religious freedom, and represents bad practice in the delivery of social services," said Anthony R. Picarello Jr., General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Multiple IRAs May Be A Good Option For Those Seeking A Comfortable Retirement, Experts Say

Multiple IRAs may be a good option for those seeking a comfortable retirement, experts sayMany Americans are looking for ways to preserve their assets to ensure a comfortable living when they retire, and despite a bad economy there are still many options to achieve this. 

Experts have been advocating gold purchases, since the price of the precious metal has been steadily rising this year, but financial goals can also be achieved through smart retirement investment strategies.

To illustrate the point, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a non-profit organization, has unveiled data on individual retirement accounts (IRAs). It shows that people who own more than one IRA have a total balance that is about 25 percent higher than the average.

In fact, while the average account balance in 2008 was $54,864, those who held multiple accounts had average aggregated balances of $69,498.

Craig Copeland, senior research associate at EBRI and author of the study, said that "IRAs are an incredibly important piece of the retirement puzzle, since they hold the largest single share of the $13 trillion in U.S. retirement assets."

The organization also says that men are more likely to own IRAs — 56.6 percent to 43.4 percent for women. 

It’s the Spending, Stupid

Now there’s a message I hope you’ll see and hear a lot between now and election day — on bumper stickers on the backs of cars, in email messages and letters to the editor, on radio talk shows and a hundred other places; including in front of every polling place in the country, if that were allowed.

Please do your share to pass it around — including sending this column to a few dozen friends and family members who should read it. I wish I could take credit for the slogan — an obvious twist on the James Carville/Bill Clinton message two decades ago — but I can’t. It was the headline in a Daniel Henninger column last week in The Wall Street Journal.

Henninger began by quoting the president at a town-hall meeting in Fairfax, Va., where our Obfuscator in Chief attempted to explain the election victories of various Tea Party candidates.

“They saw the Recovery Act. They saw TARP. They saw the auto bailout. And they look at these and think, ‘God, all these huge numbers adding up.’  So they’re right to be concerned about that.”

Right. You feel our pain. I think we’ve heard that before.

Of course, the president could also have mentioned new deficits of more than a trillion dollars a year, two $3-trillion budgets since he took office, and a trillion-dollar healthcare entitlement shoved down our throats. Voters aren’t just “concerned,” Mr. President. Many of them have had it up to here with bloated, wasteful government spending. They are, to quote a wonderful old movie, mad as h**l and they’re not going to take it anymore.

If you consider yourself one of the “they” referred to above, you can take heart from the latest poll results. Last week the Rasmussen poll queried potential voters. Nearly seven out of 10 — an outstanding 68 percent of the total — said they want smaller government and lower taxes, even if that comes at the cost of fewer services.

The number was highest, of course, among people who identified themselves as Republicans, with 88 percent saying they wanted spending reduced. Democrats scored the lowest, but a still impressive 44 percent in favor of cuts. And where did the independents fall? Some 74 percent joined the anti-spending crowd.

My liberal friends, you’ve got trouble. Big trouble. And not just in River City. I’m not sure there’s a lie big enough, or a smear nasty enough, to keep you from getting your heads handed to you this fall.

If I were running against an incumbent, one of the first questions I would ask is, where were you when the tax cuts expired? And why did you do nothing to preserve them?

In case you’ve missed all the hullabaloo, here’s what’s happening… or, to be accurate, not happening.

Back in 2001, blessed by a healthy Republican majority in the House and Senate, George Bush persuaded Congress to approve some of the largest tax cuts in our country’s history. The Democrats couldn’t stop the legislation, but they very cleverly exacted a condition: The tax cuts would expire on Dec. 31, 2010, unless Congress extended them.

We’re getting awfully close to the witching hour and thus far, Congress hasn’t done a thing… except expend a lot of hot air. If Congress does nothing over the next three months — and usually, I’ve got to admit, that’s exactly what I wish the esteemed men and women who represent us would do — you and every other taxpayer in this country will see a lot more money taken from your pocket next year and given to Uncle Sam.

In fact, it will amount to the largest tax increase in U.S. history. And it will impact almost every taxpayer in the country. The front-page story in my local paper said it all: “Unless Congress acts, almost all earning levels will be paying more — from the wealthy to the working poor.”

And please don’t let anyone sucker you into believing that what’s at stake here are “tax breaks for the wealthy.”  That is a bunch of hokum. Listen to this: “A typical family of four with a household income of $50,000 a year would have to pay $2,900 more in taxes in 2011, according to a new analysis by Deloitte Tax LLP, a tax-consulting firm,” according to a story by The Associated Press.

But if you do make more than Obama’s $250,000 threshold, get ready to be really hammered. Starting on Jan. 1, 2011, the top marginal income-tax rate is set to increase to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. The phase-out of itemized deductions will raise that rate to 40.8 percent. Now that Obamacare has passed there will also be a 3.8 percent healthcare tax, starting in 2013. So the total Federal tax rate for our highest earners will be 44.6 percent.

But, in fact, it will be even higher. When the Bush tax cuts expire, taxes on stock dividends and capital gains will go from 15 percent to 20 percent. President Barack Obama has said he would like to see them raised as high as 28 percent.

And here’s an astounding fact that is known (or should be) to every member of Congress: Whenever Congress has increased taxes on capital gains in the past, actual tax collections have gone down.

That’s right: When government raises the tax rate, actual receipts drop. When you think about it, it’s not hard to understand why. Capital gains only occur when someone sells an investment and reports making a profit on it. But most of the time, they don’t have to sell. Given the mood of the country right now, how many investors will sit on their holdings rather than give more and more of them to a greedy, grasping, irresponsible government?

Oh, and there’s one more monstrosity racing down the road toward us. That is the re-imposition of the dreaded estate tax. Beginning next year the estate tax is slated to return to 55 percent on inheritances above $1 million. Right now, because Congress did nothing last year, the estate tax is zero. That explains the delirious joy on the part of the heirs of such billionaires as John Kluge and George Steinbrenner.

By dying this year, they saved their families over a billion dollars in taxes. Imagine — their heirs got all the money, not Uncle Sam. No wonder the distributionists among us are having apoplexy.

Where does all that money go? Part of it makes certain that Federal employees now make, on average, more than twice as much as workers in the private sector. That’s the startling conclusion of an analysis by USA Today, which found that anyone lucky enough to be gobbling at the Federal trough receives, on average, some $41,791 in benefits a year.

That’s in addition to a salary, on average, of $81,258 a year. Private workers, in comparison, earn only $61,051 in total compensation.

Let me repeat the first number, to make sure you grasp it. The average benefits of a Federal employee, above and beyond the salary he or she actually gets paid, comes to $41,791 a year.

If that isn’t enough to make you want to throw some tea into Boston Harbor — and a whole bunch of incumbents along with it, I don’t know what will.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

— Chip Wood

The Company You Keep

Georgia’s 12th Congressional District comprises 220 or so gerrymandered miles of economically and demographically heterogeneous land which includes everything from onion farms to America’s fifth largest port. The person who serves this diverse constituency, noted by the Cook Partisan Voting Index as being D+1 (listing slightly to port), is currently a wealthy trial lawyer named John Barrow.

Barrow himself is a fairly inconsequential fellow. Of his three successful campaigns for the House, two were decided by margins narrower than his shoulders. Pro-abortion group NARAL has given him a 100 percent rating; but he voted against major liberal initiatives like Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

In an effort to maintain his grasp on the good life afforded House members, Barrow horse-trades like the guy in the green eyeshade in a John Wayne movie; swapping votes for Nancy Pelosi for the power to pacify his more conservative constituents during Obama’s periodic assaults on their lives. To put a fine point on it: Barrow is everyone’s pal, but nobody’s friend.

The urbane Barrow is certainly not someone you’d expect to find skulking around the urban alleys of New York City. Indeed, it’s hard to picture the bespectacled Barrow, who’s whiter than Dennis Kucinich singing Conway Twitty tunes in a Branson karaoke bar, leaping out of his limo to hang with the homeboys who call Harlem home. So imagine my surprise when the ethics imbroglio surrounding comically corrupt Charles Rangel of New York’s 15th Congressional District (PVI: D+43 — more liberal than David Paterson’s “girlfriends”) managed to ensnare the pasty-faced Congressman from South Georgia.

For his part, Rangel has — ahem — allegedly committed a list of offenses which stretch from the Apollo Theatre to Augusta National. He has remained near the top of the D.C. heap despite even President Barack Obama reacting to his ethics scandals by suggesting he should “end his career with dignity.” During four decades in Washington, Rangel has salted away quite a pile, and has subsequently spread the wealth to far-flung congressional corners — including Southeast Georgia.

You read that correctly. The putrescence of liberalism extends from 125th Street all the way to the Savannah River. With a nod to The Bard via Charles D. Warner — politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. According to a Tuesday report in the Savannah Morning News, Barrow has been on the receiving end of Rangelian largesse since 2004 and has no intention of ridding himself of the repellent stink of Rangel’s rewards. To date, Barrow has cashed checks from the Regent of Riker’s Island totaling $24,000. And according to Barrow spokesmodel Jane Brodsky, he’s keeping the cash:

Congressman Barrow is not going to make a symbolic gesture based on contributions he received in past election cycles that were spent a long time ago.”

Truth be told, there’s not much point in Barrow dumping Rangel’s tainted treasure. With another nod to The Bard: that spot ain’t comin’ out in the wash. By refusing to divest himself of Rangel’s 24 grand, the supposedly Blue Dog Barrow has cast his lot with the far left of the liberal establishment.

Obama might call this sort of thing a “teachable moment.” Barrow, who is facing opposition from Ray McKinney (who sports an endorsement from the increasingly powerful Tea Party), may be in for a wild ride to November. While Real Clear Politics data suggest Barrow’s seat is safe, there are no polls which indicate an approval rating at or above 50 percent.

In an off-year election in which Democrats not only won’t have the benefit of Obama’s coattails, but would rather skip and go naked than huddle under the President’s hide, Barrow likely needs every nickel. Here’s the rub: when word of Barrow’s canoodling with Rangel gets back to Peach State voters, how much political vigorish will Barrow owe on the loan?

Barrow has played both sides of the fence for long enough to hold on to his seat on the back bench of the House, but has made little headway in terms of noteworthiness, much less notoriety. While he has a sizeable financial edge over McKinney, association with a wire-pulling reprobate like Rangel may cost him a great deal more than a lousy double-dozen large. And it raises fair questions about the Democrats’ direction.

Barrow’s financial fraternization with Rangel is apt allegory for the larger issues surrounding the Democrat Party in 2010. What happened to Pelosi “draining the swamp?” Where is the end of the liberal culture of corruption? And if I hold Barrow up to a 40-watt bulb, can I see where his spine is supposed to be?

According to Brodsky:

"(Barrow) has neither received nor accepted any contributions after allegations of (Rangel’s) ethical impropriety arose."

Barrow the Blue Dog and Rangel the snake — different ends of the same donkey.

U.S. Senate Blocks DREAM Act, Repeal Of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

U.S. Senate blocks DREAM Act, repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'The United States Senate voted to block discussion of the 2011 defense authorization bill on Tuesday, effectively halting the passing of the DREAM Act, which would have created a new route to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants, and the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The Senate voted 56-43 to begin debate on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed. Following the tally, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bill, expressed his displeasure with the GOP's lockstep, according to WBEZ.com.

"Where is the justice in this decision? At least have the courage to let us bring this matter to the floor, and stand up and vote 'no'," said Durbin, quoted by the news provider. "But to hide behind this procedural ruse — this unanimous consent request — is totally unfair."

The DREAM Act amendment, if passed, would have allowed immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to gain citizenship if they met specific requirements, such as graduating from high school or pursuing military service.

The "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy bans openly gay, lesbian or bisexual Americans from enlisting in the military. The Pentagon is working on a review to determine the impact a repeal of DADT would have on the military.