Gaming Industry: California Censorship Law Is Unconstitutional

Gaming industry: California censorship law is unconstitutionalA major player in the video game industry believes a California statute violates the First Amendment and the group recently filed a lawsuit with the United States Supreme Court.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade organization which represents some of the gaming world's largest manufacturers, asked the Supreme Court to rule that a California law, which bans the sale and rental of violent computer and video games to minors, is unconstitutional.

The statute was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. It has yet to go into effect because, in the last five years, both a District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals have ruled that the law violates the First Amendment's freedom of expression right.

On Monday, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and International Game Developers Association (IGDA) provided their support for ESA, filing a brief with the Supreme Court that says video games should be a constitutionally protected form of expression.

"Censorship based on content should not be acceptable to a free society," said Jim Charne, an attorney representing the IGDA.

Arguments in Schwarzenegger v Entertainment Merchants Association and ESA are scheduled to commence on Nov. 2.

“I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight!”

There are many things wrong with public education in this country, as we all know. But one thing that’s almost never mentioned is how little young people today learn about many of the heroes we were taught to admire.

If you want to see evidence of this play a word-association game with any teenager you know. Ask them to tell you about John Paul Jones, the Bonhomme Richard, or the phrase, “I have not yet begun to fight!” You’ll be sorely disappointed with their answers. When I did, all I got were blanks stares.

It was on Sept. 23, 1779, during the war for American independence, that Jones, commanding the Bonhomme Richard, engaged the British man-of-war Serapis. During the hard-fought sea battle the American ship suffered considerable damage and British captain Richard Pearson asked Jones to surrender. It was then that the American captain issued his famous reply.

Three hours later Pearson surrendered his ship to the Americans. Shortly after boarding the Serapis Jones and his men watched their own ship sink to the bottom of the sea. His ship was lost but he won the battle, and his famous response served as an inspiration for others for two centuries.

 — Chip Wood

Experts: Urban Gardening Is Safe, Healthy And Eco-friendly

Experts: Urban gardening is safe, healthy and eco-friendlyIn these uncertain economic times, many Americans are contemplating urban agriculture as a way to boost their self-sufficiency and prepare for disasters such as hyperinflation. Raising animals is one way to do this, but some people have also chosen to grow food plants. 

Besides improving a family's preparedness, urban gardening also carries numerous immediate benefits, including providing fresh and organic produce free of toxic pesticides for everyday consumption.

There is a range of plants that can be easily grown in one's backyard or on a patio or balcony including tomatoes, legumes, green beans, peppers and mesclun greens such as celery, arugula, mizuna and kale. Flavor-enhancing herbs are also good candidates for urban homesteading.

There are many resources that can guide prospective urban gardeners through questions regarding the proper amount of water, light and type of soil that specific plants require.

According to UrbanGardeningHelp.com, finding a good place to grow plants — as a general rule, it should have at least 6 hours of sunlight a day — is the first step. It is also important to select plants based on the location where they will be grown so that shallow-rooting plants that require only around 6 inches of soil are planted in containers, while longer-rooted, such as tomatoes, are planted in the ground.

The source says that "if you create the correct conditions for healthy plants, you'll be well on your way to enjoying fresh fruits and veggies from your own garden and reducing our impact on the environment." 

Slow Pace From Congress On Federal Budget Raises Ire

Slow pace from Congress on federal budget raises ireFailure to pass the Federal budget on time is nothing new for Congress, but its dawdling pace this year, amidst economic uncertainty and election campaigning, is drawing harsh criticism from political analysts.

The new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, but the House and Senate are far from meeting their deadline, according to CNN.com. The news provider reports that the House has passed just two of the 12 annual appropriation bills, while the Senate has approved none.

Furthermore, FoxNews.com reports that House Democratic leaders are considering leaving the Capitol one week before the scheduled Oct. 8 adjournment to grant legislators more time on the campaign trail in preparation for November's midterm elections.

Tardy budgets have been commonplace for the last 35 years, but CNN commentator Jack Cafferty believes that Congress' pace this year is unacceptable. He called the members of Congress "cowards," claiming that the lawmakers are trying to dodge tough budget cuts before the elections.

"Without a budget it is impossible to have any idea what the hell the government is doing with our money," Cafferty wrote in his blog.

The House and Senate also missed the spring deadline for passing a budget resolution, which sets caps for spending, establishes revenue targets and serves as a blueprint for congressional priorities.

Don’t Drop The Eggs

Most people with high cholesterol levels shy away from eggs, but they aren’t as bad for you as you’ve been led to believe. According to the American Health Association, eggs contain around 200 mg of dietary cholesterol. However, experts say that only a minimal amount of food cholesterol enters your bloodstream. And when dietary cholesterol is introduced, your body naturally slows down its own production of cholesterol. That means you can enjoy eggs up to three times a week since they remain an excellent source of protein, amino acids, folic acid, calcium, potassium and vitamins A, B6 and B12.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini Blasts Government Spending As Federal Deficit Balloons

Intel CEO Paul Otellini blasts government spending as Federal deficit balloonsThe debate between Republicans and Democrats on the merits of last year’s $787 billion stimulus package has been going on for a long time, with the former arguing that it was wasteful spending that failed to restart the economy. Now it looks like some business leaders agree with this point of view.

In a recent interview with CNN Money, Intel CEO Paul Otellini stated that the stimulus effort did not improve the economic climate or create the jobs it was expected to.

In particular, Otellini focused on the government's apparent predilection for sponsoring short-term projects, saying that "swimming pools in Mississippi are not going to create lasting jobs," quoted by the news provider.

He also recommended that the government lower corporate business taxes and move away from subsidizing sectors such as transportation and agriculture, which he called "industries of the 19th century." Instead, it should devote funds and create policies, in particular education reform, to promote further development of biotechnology and IT sectors.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Federal budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2010, which ends on Sept. 30, amounted to nearly $1.3 trillion. 

Proper Nutrition Aids Digestive Health

Proper nutrition aids digestive health Millions of dollars are spent each year fighting kidney stones which can cause major problems throughout the digestive system. Individuals who suffer from this problem often experience significant discomfort and obstructions in their digestive tract.

However, a new study from researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts found that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy — commonly known as the DASH diet, which is used to lower blood pressure — can reduce the occurrence of kidney stones, improving digestive health.

The study also showed promising results for preventing the reoccurrence of kidney stones in individuals who have a history of the condition.

Eric Taylor, who led the investigation, said that previous efforts to reduce kidney stones had focused on foods that can be cut from the diet. However, few had been made to find foods that could aid in the prevention of kidney stones. He said that more research should be conducted in the area.

"We believe our results provide a strong rationale for a randomized trial examining the effect of a DASH-style diet on kidney stone recurrence," he said.
 

Majority Of Surveyed Economists Support Tax Cuts For All Americans

Majority of surveyed economists support tax cuts for all AmericansA grassroots organization is trying to rally support for President Barack Obama's mission to end tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but Republicans and economists believe it's a mistake to exclude some taxpayers based on their earnings.

USAction launched a day of action last Thursday, advocating for extended tax cuts for middle-income and working-class families and opposing continued breaks for those making more than $250,000 per year. The current tax rates, which were implemented by George W. Bush's administration and which encompass every income bracket, are set to expire on Dec. 31.

According to a survey conducted by CNN.com, the majority of economists believe the cuts should be renewed for everyone.

"Extend tax cuts for all income levels and do nothing else," said Sean Snaith, economics professor at the University of Central Florida, quoted by the news source. "More of the same piecemeal, patchwork policies put forth by this administration will undermine confidence and do little to change the path the economy is on."

Republicans in Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), argue that ending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans will have a negative effect on the job market. Many GOP leaders cite former President Ronald Reagan's brand of trickle-down economics, which claims that tax cuts for the wealthy strengthen the economy across the board.

Exercise Your Breathing for Better Health

Oxygen deprivation, which is often caused by improper or obstructed breathing, is among the main causes of our everyday pain and ill health.

For starters, along with the intestines, bladder and skin, the lungs play a major role in toxic elimination. Proper breathing expedites the lung’s ability to expel carbon dioxide and toxic gases from the body while also diffusing fresh oxygen into the blood. When breathing is restricted, cellular activity is distressed and toxicity is increased. Since life is sustained primarily by adequate intake of oxygen, water and food, breathing properly is essential to good health.

There are innumerable ways in which one can benefit from the practice of deep breathing exercises like those taught in yoga, qigong and bio-feedback. Engaging in breathing exercises improves blood circulation and enriches the blood with more red blood cells. This increases the supply of oxygen to the tissues and promotes healthier tissues and organs.

The greater supply of oxygen enables the heart to pump slower while still providing enough oxygen to the body. Imbalances such as high blood pressure and rapid heart rate can be brought back to normal with prolonged, proper practice of breathing exercises.

When beginning a formal or informal program of deep breathing exercises it is essential that you remain relaxed and focused throughout each breath. Breathe slowly and steadily, physically expanding and contracting the respective areas of the body, as dictated by the exercise. I will share a few simple ones here.

To begin, stand comfortably, shoulders relaxed, with legs a comfortable shoulders-width apart and knees pointing straight ahead. Your arms should hang at your sides and your arms, hands and neck should be relaxed. (You may also do these while seated).

Chest Breathing
The chest breathing exercise helps the respiratory system and may be performed for five minutes at a time. Do not take big or loud breaths. Exhalations should last just slightly longer than the inhalations.

To begin chest breathing, pull the breath and fresh air into your lungs by expanding them to full capacity as you inhale through your nose slowly, quietly and steadily. Make sure to inflate the chest only. You may feel your stomach suck in slightly.

As you exhale, push the breath and stale gases out through your mouth slowly, quietly and steadily. Slowly contract your chest and lungs to their least capacity. You may feel your chest getting concave. Repeat for five minutes, and then stop.

Upper Stomach Breathing
The upper stomach breathing exercise helps the digestive system. Begin by inhaling through your nose slowly, quietly and steadily to pull the breath into the area between the navel and diaphragm. Expand your upper stomach (only) between the ribcage and navel to full capacity, making sure to keep your chest and lower stomach in or flat.

Exhale through your mouth slowly, quietly and steadily. Pull or suck in your upper stomach as you push your breath and stale energy out. You may feel your lower stomach pull in ever so slightly as well.

This is generally a difficult area for people to isolate in movement but becomes easier over time. Stay loose, relaxed and focused throughout the breaths and isolate movement only in the upper stomach.

Lower Stomach Breathing
The lower stomach breathing exercise helps the reproductive and urinary systems. Begin by inhaling through your nose slowly, quietly and steadily. As you inhale, pull the breath into the lower stomach — only from the navel down. Expand the pelvic area, and drop the breath to the pelvic floor. As you inhale, inflate your lower stomach (only) between the ribcage and navel to full capacity, making sure to keep your chest and upper stomach flat and deflated.

Next, push the breath and stale air out and pull or suck in your lower stomach as you exhale through your mouth slowly, quietly and steadily. You may feel your upper stomach pull in ever so slightly.

This can also be a difficult area for people to isolate in movement. Again, stay relaxed and focused throughout the breaths and try to isolate movement in the lower stomach. With continued practice you will progress.

Comments
If these three breathing exercises seem too difficult, then do not despair. What is important is the concept of breathing slowly and deeply into the lungs with steady, relaxed breath cycles. Since most of us breathe only with the top third of our lungs thanks to stress, anxiety, fear and sheer busyness… even something as simple as lying down, focusing intention on the navel and breathing deeply for a few moments before drifting off to sleep can garner positive health results over the long run.

— Dr. Mark Wiley

The Hamburger Of Hypocrisy

Call it “televised serendipity”:  A moment in which two members of the Democrat Party leadership get together and reveal the political deformities which have turned the “big tent” into a circus sideshow. Under normal circumstances — a President Barack Obama press conference, for example — the groveling sycophants in the corporate media allow these boors to babble on without interruption.

While Americans with IQs above the intellectual Mendoza line simply tune out, most liberals remain enraptured, downloading the latest talking points, feverishly anticipating their next opportunity to regurgitate the drivel with the kind of self-importance otherwise reserved for sociopaths and trial lawyers. On occasion, however, more than one of the liberal ruling elite top-rung types end up sharing the same patch of real estate — and then we have to watch as they fog up our screens with unbridled expressions of love for each other — and scorn for the rest of us.

One of those serendipitous moments presented itself late last week, when fleshy filmmaker Michael Moore visited the set of liberal rat-terrier Bill Maher’s Real Time. While both are fairly high-ranking members of the DNC elite, neither is apparently aware that the zaftig Moore makes Rosie O’Donnell look like the “after” picture in a Weight Watchers commercial while Maher is only slightly funnier than an 8-car pileup on the expressway.

Such lack of awareness might explain how these two stooges could have a conversation in which Moore opined:

“…people like Gingrich and Palin? You know, because they’re essentially our mullahs, you know, our Taliban. Hey, how about that McDonald’s two blocks from Ground Zero, Bill?  That’s killed more people than the 19 hijackers…”

Evidently, I missed the nationwide APB for the Hamburglar on Sept. 12.

That’s right, kids — the mammoth movie maker says that Speaker Gingrich, Governor Palin and Egg McMuffins are more sinister than Islamofascism. Perhaps he simply prefers the Whopper to the Big Mac. But the idea that Moore would heave his Brobdingnagian bulk into frame and equate Mayor McCheese with militant Muslims has to be a new low-water mark for the liberal ruling class.

Maher and his carefully screened audience reacted with that smarmy snicker that the Democrats apparently teach in wingnut school. No one noted that the elephantine Moore, who helmed the camera for some of the most deservedly discredited “documentaries” since Leni Riefenstahl was making 8mm loops of Hitler doing the goose step shuffle, might be stretching his minimal credibility farther than the weakening waistband on his jockey shorts.

The good news for those of us with cerebral cortices larger than garlic knots: in addition to being shortchanged in the intellect and talent departments, the liberal ruling elite possess the subtlety of the cast of an MTV reality show. Moore and Maher’s get together was filmed in front of a live studio audience and broadcast to every household which subscribes to HBO.

For those of you who lament the lack of political acumen displayed by America’s peach fuzz generation, millions of viewers, er… thousands, um… hundreds, ah… dozens, ok… more kids saw the gargantuan gasbag Moore compare Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and their beloved Ronald McDonald unfavorably with the Taliban than have ever sat through more than a few moments of Chris Matthews nightly tingle-time. They also observed Maher, the junior varsity Jon Stewart, laugh along with the oleaginous auteur without noting that to date, no Fry Guy has ever taken so much as a single flying lesson, much less tried to carry a box cutter onto a commercial jet.

These are the people who have taken over the Democrat Party. These are the people who launch invective at Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity. These are the people who call us racists for opposing — or even daring to question — the Obama agenda. These are the people who opened verbal fire on Christine O’Donnell (who once graced Maher with her presence) mere hours after her ground-shaking victory in Delaware. These are the people who would demand you execrate Sarah Palin while exalting Nancy Pelosi.

At a time when the Democrat party has plunged the country into economic ennui, flatlined our foreign relations and rendered our immigration protections inert, they offer us clowns like Moore and Maher, the haphazard and humorless Laurel and Hardy.

Moore and Maher are members of the liberal leadership so we can divine that this is the direction in which the left is leaning these days. But fret not, my friends, more and more Americans are paying attention.

Forgive me for saying so, but come November:

Ba-da-ba-ba-baaa, I’m lovin’ it.