Comedians Mix Humor With A Message Of Unity At DC Rally

Comedians mix humor with a message of unity at DC rallyTelevision personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on Oct. 30 in Washington, DC, drawing more than 215,000 people to the National Mall.

According to media reports, the event featured music, comedy and a mock debate between Stewart and Colbert. Most of the rally was sprinkled with humor, but Stewart closed the event on a serious note with a message about the media's influence in the 21st century, calling it the "country's 24-hour politico pundit perpetual panic conflictinator."

"If we amplify everything, we hear nothing," Stewart said, quoted by CNN.

Stewart and Colbert's TV shows on Comedy Central are popular among mostly left-leaning viewers, but the rally did not promote one political party over another. The message revolved around peace and unity, as Stewart dismissed the notion that the United States is a divided nation.

He said that Americans don't live their lives solely as Republicans or Democrats, but they instead work together to solve tasks every day. He directed the audience to a video clip of a traffic jam where a flow of cars crowded around the entrance of a congested tunnel. He used the traffic metaphor to show how most citizens, no matter what their political affiliation or religious belief, make concessions in order to allow society to function.

"It just seems like liberals or conservatives can't even start to talk politics without screaming their heads off anymore, even though most Americans can agree on a lot of basic things." said Cindy Long of West Virginia, who attended the rally.

A USAction Straw Poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of people at the rally support the Democratic party, but only one-fourth of those surveyed said they were enthusiastic about voting in this year's elections.

Approximately 41 percent of those surveyed at the event believe that President Barack Obama's number one priority should be improving the nation's employment situation, while 18 percent said it should be education.

Lung Transplant Patients Could Add Vitamin D To Their Diet To Improve Their Health

Lung transplant patients could add vitamin D to their diet to improve their healthNew research suggests that maintaining a nutritional diet could be even more important for patients who need a lung transplant. The study, conducted by scientists at Loyola University Health System, shows that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increasing number of lung transplant rejections.

The researchers suggested that when patients are set to undergo lung transplant surgery, they are putting themselves at risk for their body to reject the organ. For the study, 122 patients who had received this surgery were examined over a three-year period. Each of the subject's vitamin D levels were checked once the transplant was complete.

In their findings, the investigators discovered that half of the participants were vitamin D deficient, while it was unknown for another 32 percent. The deficiency was also prevalent among the patients whose bodies rejected the new organ.

The researchers concluded that vitamin D may help the immune system tolerate the organ. As a result, lung transplant patients could improve their health by adding this nutrient to their diet.

According to the scientists, vitamin D could also help to reduce the risk for developing other problems such as cancer, heart disease, depression, diabetes or osteoporosis. 

If Republicans Win, What Then?

If actual election-day results confirm conventional wisdom and House — and maybe Senate — Democrat majorities are swept away like yesterday’s trash, Republicans will have every reason to be giddy. Constitutionalists, conservatives and Libertarians, however, should temper their enthusiasm.

That’s because Republicans have not yet shown they understand what the original Tea Parties — that is those not co-opted by selfish, big money or globalist interests — stood for, nor have they shown they appreciate the mood of the country. This misunderstanding was made manifest in the Contract with American 2010 that House Republicans released in September and are now touting as their action plan if they gain the majority.

This attractive position paper with a fancy cover, lots of photographs of the Statue of Liberty, politicians, Mt. Rushmore, horses, town hall crowds and elegant buildings and monuments, and filled with highfalutin language is simply a propaganda piece designed to appease the simpletons. Republicans understand that Senate Democrats will filibuster sound legislation and Obama will veto whatever they manage to get passed. In other words, the Contract is classic political doublespeak.

While some of the ideas it contains are good first steps — repeal Obamacare, get the government out of the mortgage business by cutting off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extending the current tax rate and requiring the Constitutional authority for each new bill to be cited — others demonstrate the progressive mentality that has infected the GOP — and all of Washington D.C. One of these is the pledge to cut spending back to 2008 levels.

Two thousand eight, you’ll recall, was the last year of “compassionate conservative” President George W. Bush’s term. With the help of six years of a Republican-controlled Congress and two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress, Bush increased government spending more than any of the six presidents that preceded him, including Lyndon Johnson, according to Veronique de Rugy of the George Mason University Mercatus Center.

“During his eight years in office, President Bush spent almost twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton. Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent,” de Rugy writes.

So what the Republicans pledge to do involves rolling a massively over bloated, overregulated, profligate government back to a hugely over bloated, overregulated profligate government. And while the Contract talks in nebulous terms about cutting back on regulations and eliminating fraud and waste, it says nothing about eliminating unConstitutional government agencies, repealing unConstitutional laws, eliminating (or at least auditing) the Federal Reserve, requiring the President to prove his Constitutionally-required eligibility to hold office or defunding the offices of Obama’s dozens of unconstitutional czars.

Nor does it mention ending the permanent, ineffective and fabricated war on terror, except to say that it promises to pass “clean” bills to fund the troops. In essence, Republicans are promising more of the same never-ending, undeclared wars foisted on us by the last four Presidents and funded by fiat, and apparently a Republican Congress intends to continue abdicating its responsibility by allowing the military invasion of the Middle East to continue — and even plans to expand it by strengthening sanctions against Iran.

Those who predict such things anticipate a Republican gain of at least the 39 House seats they need to take the majority… and perhaps a gain of as many as 60. Some are even throwing out numbers like 70 to 100. In the Senate, the Real Clear Politics average gives Republicans 45 seats and Democrats 49, with six races too close to call. In other words, a Republican-controlled House is as safe a bet as there is in politics. But a Republican-controlled Senate is a long shot that would either require all six of toss up races to break for Republicans, or a major surprise to occur in one or more of the leans- or likely-Democrat seats.

With all the Tea Party-backed candidates invading the “hallowed” halls of Congress come January, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) — the man establishment Republicans love to hate — is going to have a lot of company and prospective new House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is going to have a lot of headaches. But at least Boehner has been on board endorsing Tea Party candidates.

Not so Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He’s as firmly entrenched an establishment Republican as there is, having been in the Senate since 1984. He endorsed Rand Paul’s Kentucky primary opponent Trey Grayson. He’s not been very receptive to the Tea Party message and, like most of the rest of the Republican establishment, sees Tea Party candidates as a threat to the status quo. It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s able to lead should the Democrat collapse become complete and Republicans win control of the Senate.

For McConnell, keeping the likes of new Republican Senators such as Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Colorado’s Ken Buck, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Utah’s Mike Lee, Alaska’s Joe Miller, Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, West Virginia’s John Raese, Washington’s Dino Rossi, Florida’s Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomy in Republican lockstep will be akin to herding cats — and probably as successful.

 In other words, Tea Partiers and Constitutionalists, tomorrow is just a first step. While the election will probably derail — or at least slow — Obama’s Marxist agenda, there will still be a lot of work to be done. First, establishment Republicans must be held to their promises in the Contract. Second, establishment Republicans have to be willing to work with their newly-elected brethren by putting them into leadership positions and listening to their ideas — particularly those ideas that got them elected. Establishment Republicans must realize that if they don’t embrace the new batch of Representatives and Senators then there will be more establishment seats on the chopping block in two years.

And finally, the new batch has to stay true to the principles they espoused on the campaign trail. If they betray their voters their terms will be short indeed.

It will behoove the establishment to understand once and for all that the Tea Party is not interested in Republican Party insider politics as usual and has no interest in playing their silly political parlor games. Karl Rove and his establishment ilk can denigrate king-and queen-maker Sarah Palin and Tea Party favorites like O’Donnell and prove their own irrelevance and allow the Republican Party to die, or they can embrace Tea Party candidates and change the GOP’s paradigm.

Tea Partiers are fed up with politics as usual and are clamoring for a return to the Founding principles of small government, free markets, sound money and secure borders. The elected class ignores these issues at its peril.

Poll: Republicans Ahead In Early Voting, But Election Outcome Still Uncertain

Poll: Republicans ahead in early voting, but election outcome still uncertainThe general election is on Nov. 2, but early voting has already begun across the nation. A new survey has shown that Republican voters have, so far, turned up in slightly higher numbers than those who identify themselves as Democrats. 

According to the Harris Poll, some 2 percent of registered voters had cast their ballot by Oct. 18, and more than half of them (53 percent) said they voted for the Republican candidate, while 41 percent chose the Democratic candidate.

In terms of electoral enthusiasm, more Republicans say they are certain to vote than Democrats — 61 to 54 percent. A total of 57 percent of Independents have said they will absolutely head to the polls this year.

However, the outcome of the election is hard to predict due to a high number of individuals who are still undecided. Harris Poll suggests that 6 percent of those who are likely to vote have yet to make up their mind, while an Associated Press-GfK survey found that as many as one in three Americans are still on the fence.

"These are voters who are thinking about virtually anything but the races in front of them," said Democratic pollster Alan Secrest, quoted by The Associated Press. However, his GOP counterpart Glen Bolger told the news source that these are going to be the people who ultimately decide who controls the House of Representatives for the next two years. 

Coping With Fear

It doesn’t take a major catastrophe or terrorist attack to put you in a survival situation. It could be as simple an incident as stepping off a hiking trail, losing you way on a hunting trip or taking a wrong turn in your car. Before you know it, you’re lost or stuck and on your own.

If that happens, there is one danger that presents more of an immediate threat to your well-being than thirst, cold or hunger. That danger is fear.

Many studies have been conducted that document the body’s response to fear. And while the response can be helpful in some situations, it can be equally as harmful in others.

Writing in his book, 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!, Cody Lundin says that when the brain perceives a threat to survival, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) kicks into overdrive and releases stress hormones — called adrenaline or epinephrine — that affect the body in several ways.

The SNS response is automatic and uncontrollable. Your heart rate increases (from 70 beats per minute to as many as 200 in less than a second), cardiac output increases, blood pressure rises and your blood sugar increases. Blood is diverted from organs to the larger muscle groups (to reinforce in case flight or fight is necessary) and strength is increased. Your breathing rate accelerates to transport more oxygen to the muscles, sweating increases to cool the working muscles and minor blood vessels in the arms and legs constrict to reduce bleeding should an injury occur.

Pupils dilate, reducing depth perception, and the function of axillary muscles decreases, which creates blurred vision. The field of sight narrows and produces tunnel vision. These things combine to create the sensation that time is standing still, which allows for increased reaction time to the emergency.

Unfortunately, all of this also leads to an inability to think clearly and a reduction in fine motor skill and makes simple tasks extremely difficult. It is because of this that you can’t allow fear to take over in times of crisis.

Lundin writes that physiological responses to stress can be broken down into four crucial factors for the survivor:

  1. Fear inhibits your metabolic process. You body produces heat by digesting the calories in the foods you eat. If this is impaired, your body has a harder time of regulating core temperature in cold weather. Thus, the onset of hypothermia can manifest much more rapidly. By metabolizing food, your body creates energy that can be used to create shelter, signal for rescue or make a fire.
  2. Fear impairs your circulation. Basic first-aid training stresses the importance of the ABCs (airway, breathing and circulation). Your circulatory system is how your body feeds itself, delivers oxygen to cells, eliminates waste products and keeps itself warm and cool. In cold weather, blood flow is the primary means by which your body maintains its peripheral temperature, which is automatically restricted by the SNS’s response to stress! Compromising circulation puts your odds for living into a serious tailspin in both hot and cold climates. In addition, the chances are good that your circulatory system will already be impaired due to dehydration.
  3. Fear impairs your good judgment. Good judgment is your number-one tool for preventing or dealing with a survival predicament in the first place. Poor judgment calls, without a doubt, are the hallmark of every single outdoor fatality. Occurrences such as auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, irrational behavior, freezing in place, and the inability to think clearly have been observed as by-products of survival stress. Do what you can to chill out and calm yourself, redirecting your energies away from the fear factors.
  4. Fear impairs your fine and complex motor skills. Although these phenomena have been observed and documented for hundreds of years, and formally studied since the 1800s, there is very little understanding by researchers as to why stress deteriorates performance.

So, if the response is automatic and involuntary, what can you do to overcome it? Lundin’s book has 13 steps to help you control your fear, and six more to help you to control fear in others. To control your own fear:

  1. Be prepared. Accept the fact that a survival situation could, in fact, happen to you, and plan accordingly. Aside from physical practice, being prepared involves advanced planning, mental and physical conditioning, discipline, and an intimate understanding of the emergency gear you propose to carry.
  2. Train! Accepting that a deadly scenario could happen is not enough. Learn all that you can about survival and what your body can endure, and recognize and understand what your reactions to fear will be. Practicing skills builds confidence and strengthens a “can-do” attitude regarding your ability to survive.
  3. Don’t run from fear? When you’re afraid, take a step back from the fear and just notice it. Ignore the urge to analyze, judge, criticize, evaluate, or try to figure it out. Stepping back provides emotional space and reduces much of the charge around the fear energy.
  4. Stay aware of your surroundings. Learn to recognize the early warning signs of dangerous situations. Gain knowledge to reduce the perceived threat of the unknown.
  5. Stay constructively busy. Conserving energy as a survivor is key, yet do all that you can to make your situation more comfortable, reducing difficulties that encourage fear. Staying busy keeps the mind off fearful circumstances and gives you a sense that you’re in control of your destiny.
  6. Keep your imagination in check. Stick to known facts by separating the real from the imagined.
  7. Adapt to your surroundings. Prepare yourself to think and act like an animal without judgment over your actions. In a sense, if you can’t beat fear, join it. Formulate plans B, C, and D before they’re needed.
  8. Discipline yourself to think positively. Even when talking to yourself, strive to use positive, “I AM” statements such as, “I AM going to make it out of here” and “I AM going to be rescued.”
  9. Adopt a positive survival attitude. Keep things in perspective and focus your attention firmly upon the goal of getting rescued.
  10. Use proper breathing exercises to lower the heart rate and reduce stress.
  11. Ask for help. Whether you’re currently walking upon a spiritual path or not, it’s never too late to start.
  12. Use humor. Kind humor transforms crummy attitudes.
  13. In summary, Party On!

To control fear in others:

  1. Be a positive example. Maintain a calm presence and keep control, even if you feel out of control; inspire courage, hope, and the willingness to keep trying.
  2. Maintain discipline. Work toward finding and maintaining order and harmony within the group in a gentle, yet firm manner. Search out people’s strengths and assign them focused tasks to assist the group. Giving people things to do lessens the feelings of helplessness, and takes their mind away from the current situation, while giving them a sense of control regarding their destiny.
  3. Exercise positive leadership. Be firm, determined, confident, compassionate, decisive, honest, and humorous.
  4. Stay alert for early signs of fear in others, and, when recognized, deal with them immediately. Knowing how the people in your group react to and deal with stress is priceless. Be intuitive to the needs of others and offer whatever support you can. Remember that one rotten apple can spoil the bunch.
  5. Cultivate teamwork and mutual support early on. Perhaps no other experience on Earth will require such a tightly knit and supportive group for success than the survival situation. The group that initiates and maintains a positive mental and emotional outlook, putting all of its efforts and concerns into the welfare of the entire tribe, is an extremely powerful force for staying alive.
  6. In summary, Party On!

Despite Campaign-Related Violence, Rand Paul Increases Lead Over Democratic Opponent

Despite campaign-related violence, Rand Paul increases lead over Democratic opponentThe libertarian GOP candidate for the Senate in Kentucky, Rand Paul, appears to be leading his opponent Jack Conway into tomorrow's election. That's despite the fact that the recent debate between the two candidates was marred by activist violence.

Last week, national media reported that one of Paul's supporters tackled and then stomped on the head of a woman who was demonstrating against his candidate. This prompted Paul's campaign to issue a statement calling the incident "incredibly unfortunate" and urging civilized discourse.

However, far from hurting his candidacy, the controversy seems to have boosted Paul's numbers. Before the altercation, he led Conway by an average of 7 points, but the latest poll from Public Policy Polling found that the lead is now twice as big and stands at 53 to 40 percent, according to Politico.com.

In fact, the news provider suggested that in the final week of the campaign, undecided Independent voters seemed to be swaying in the GOP's direction. This is helping the Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, Mark Kirk, and Roy Blunt in Missouri. 

Obama Says His Policies Are Unpopular Because He Didn’t Advertise Them Enough, But Some Disagree

Obama says his policies are unpopular because he didn't advertise them enough, but some disagreePresident Barack Obama said that the widespread criticism surrounding his policies stems from the fact that he didn't spend enough time selling the legislation to the public. However, Republicans, and many others, say it's because the policies themselves are ineffective.

During a campaign stop in Seattle on Oct. 21, the President said that negative advertisements from his Republican opponents, while lacking specifics, are influencing public opinion of his job performance, according to CNN.com. He said that his administration should do a better job reaching out to Americans and clarifying the upsides of each bill.

As part of their campaign to oust Democrats from Congress in November's midterm elections, Republicans have spoken out against Obama's stimulus bills and healthcare legislation, which they say have expanded the Federal deficit without bringing down the unemployment rate.

According to The Huffington Post, a top economist with the Federal Reserve has criticized Obama for "three years of failed policies" in regards to the country's housing crisis. Paul Willen of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said that Obama's $75 billion program intended to help homeowners avoid foreclosure has been ineffective.

Willen said that the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), which forced mortgage companies to lower their borrowers' monthly payments, has done more harm than good because many homeowners now owe more than ever because of new fees and surcharges.

"The idea we can go forward and all we need to do is tweak things a little or change a rule here or there or even change a lot of rules and give some incentive payments — that is not enough," Willen said, quoted by the news provider.