Walnuts May Be The Best Choice Among Nuts

Walnuts may be the best choice among nutsWhen compared to the nutritional and antioxidant content of pistachios, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans, walnuts came out on top as the most nutrient-dense of them all, according to researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Walnuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E and other essential vitamins and minerals. Despite this, Americans consume very little of the nut.

"A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet," said study author Joe Vinson, Ph.D.

In addition to dominating other nuts in the nutrient department, walnuts are also commonly eaten raw. This is an advantage since roasting nuts — and other foods — has the ability to destroy vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Study authors noted that while walnuts are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats and high in calories, they are not likely to cause weight gain since they have a tendency to quickly satiate hunger, which prevents overeating.  

Government Sues School District On Behalf Of Muslim Teacher

Government sues school district on behalf of Muslim teacherA Federal court will likely determine how far employers must go to accommodate the religious practices of their staff members.

According to media reports, the Justice Department (DOJ) has sued a school district in Illinois for refusing to grant a Muslim employee three weeks off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The government's lawsuit was filed in December 2010, two years after Safoorah Khan resigned from her teaching position at MacArthur Middle School in Berkeley, Ill.

In her first full year of employment, Khan requested three weeks of unpaid leave in December of 2008 to attend Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The school denied her request because it fell just prior to students' final exams.

Khan quit her job and took her case to the Chicago Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled in her favor and referred the case to the DOJ. The government agency claims that the school district violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying an employee the opportunity to practice her religion.

Critics of the lawsuit argue that the school had the right to deny Khan's request because her time off would have significantly interfered with her job.

"The Justice Department is using its power and law to push frankly extreme cultural and other views that the ordinary American person does not agree with," said former DOJ Civil Rights Division lawyer Hans von Spakovski, quoted by FOX News

Trumping The Competition? Billionaire Leads Presidential Poll

Trumping the competition? Billionaire leads Presidential pollAlthough it's far too early to name a front-runner in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, business tycoon and TV reality star Donald Trump is holding his own.

According to The Harris Poll released on March 28, Trump and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney were tied atop the list of the most popular candidates for the GOP bid — each received 10 percent of the total votes. Among Independents, Trump topped the field with 13 percent, followed by Romney's 11 percent.

According to registered Republicans who were surveyed, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee garnered 15 percent, followed by Mitt Romney's 13 percent and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's 12 percent.

The Iowa caucus is 10 months away, and a lot can change until then. Two serious contenders, Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, have announced their intentions to explore Presidential bids. They were tied for seventh place in The Harris Poll.

On March 28, Trump engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. After Weiner remarked that Trump will inevitably drop out of the Presidential race, the billionaire shot back.

"I just saw polls today that show me doing very well and when Anthony makes a statement like that, it's too bad for him," Trump said.

The UnConstitutional War

The silence of supposed Constitutional conservatives on President Barack Obama’s attacks on Libya is deafening.

While partying in South America, Obama ordered America’s military into battle. Scarcely a word was spoken to Congress beforehand. And he certainly didn’t follow Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which puts the authority for declaring war on the Congress.

Calling it a kinetic military action doesn’t negate the fact that United States military forces are shooting at people in another country. And it’s a country that had not attacked the U.S., nor did it pose a threat.

The Founding Fathers intended for the United States to stay out of foreign entanglements. The President was given the authority to call the military into action if the U.S. was being attacked. He was not given the authority to employ the military for humanitarian means, nor any other instance without a Congressional declaration of war. And no amount of doublespeak by Obama, Congress or any of the bought-and-paid-for corporate media or other talking heads can change that.

As Founder James Wilson told the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, “This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large: this declaration must be made with the concurrence of the House of Representatives…”

Conservatives have often claimed the high ground when it comes to adhering to the Constitution. On this issue they’ve lost any moral high ground and have failed the test miserably.

Citizens Affected By Tucson Shooting Endorse Fix Gun Checks Act

Citizens affected by Tucson shooting endorse Fix Gun Checks ActVictims and surviving family members of the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., have endorsed legislation that would require instant background checks for all gun sales in the United States.

On March 28, a group of Arizonans affected by the tragedy pledged their support for the Fix Gun Checks Act during a press conference. The bill, which also calls for an expansion of the national do-not-sell database, was crafted following the shooting in Tucson. The perpetrator, Jared Loughner, was an admitted habitual drug user, a fact that led the U.S. Army to reject him.

However, his records were not sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Loughner passed a background check when purchasing a semiautomatic handgun on Nov. 30. It was the same weapon used in the Jan. 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

"I strongly support the 2nd Amendment but I also know that respecting the 2nd Amendment means stopping dangerous people from being able to purchase guns," said former Arizona Attorney general Terry Goddard. "I call on Congress to reform our background check system immediately so that we can prevent future tragedies like the one we faced here in Tucson."

The shooting in Tucson has prompted a national effort to tighten gun laws. However, some groups have set out to remind Americans that firearms have their place in society. On March 30, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) held an event in Washington, D.C., to address the benefits of gun ownership. 

Operation Odyssey Wrong

 

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and—more profoundly—our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are… Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” –President Barack Obama, March, 28, 2011.

In last week’s column “The Desert Rat,” I explained my issues with the idea of President Barack Obama leading us into a third global conflict with the “religion of peace.” The truth is that I generally like the idea of introducing homicidal autocrats to the business end of the most advanced fighting force in the history of the species. But I must also admit that sticking a cruise missile into the blowhole of every Islamofascist, tin pot and dictatorial screwball would turn the Middle East into a sheet of glass so reflective that John Edwards would move to Damascus just to fix his hair. (The ruined landscape of a sizeable portion of the Earth is the downside in that allegory, not the prolonged absence of the Ayatollah of Ambulance-Chasers.)

So, while many of my conservative colleagues are lambasting Obama for his mission to the Maghreb in general, my concerns are more detail-oriented. The obvious interrogative: “How can a President who has yet to keep his promise to extricate the U.S. from a pair of wars now involve us in a third?”

Less obvious, but no less important:

  • If America has a “responsibility as a leader,” then why is Obama so determined to put our assets under NATO control, a la Clinton in the Balkans?
  • If turning “…a blind eye to atrocities in other countries” is so abhorrent to Obama, how did LIBYA jump to the top of his list? I don’t mean to insinuate that Gadhafi isn’t a bad guy, but he’s hardly leading the league in D.R.A. (Dissidents Rendered Absent.)
  • Were it not for Libya’s sizeable oil reserves, would the decidedly anti-war Obama be so gung-ho to spend at least $100 million dollars a day to… well… to do to Gadhafi what George H.W. Bush did to Saddam Hussein?

I have noticed the port-side pabulum projectors have been pointedly silent on Obama’s justification for the NATO-led, U.N.-(mostly)-approved, big-budget, mysteriously open-ended Kinetic Military Action. The same folks who couldn’t seem to pass up a chance to bloviate about President George W. Bush’s “illegal war for oil” can’t seem to find their keyboards—much less their consciences—for Obama’s extra-legal battle for petroleum.

All I’m asking for is a little clarity. If we stipulate—for the purpose of discussion—that wars which begin during Republican administrations are about oil, while Democrat wars are entirely humanitarian, then explain the selection process. Is there some sort of vetting? How does a population targeted for extermination qualify for the Democrat Party’s rescue program?

On second thought, forget about clarity—I’ll accept a little honesty. A glance at the energy deposits across the Libyan landscape, when overlaid with foreign concession interests, reveals the reason why Libya got airstrikes and arms shipments to rebel factions while Iran got empty rhetoric, China got the Olympics, Darfur got George Clooney and Rwanda got forgotten.

I grew up in an era when Ronald Reagan was President, patriotism wasn’t a punch line, and “kinetic military action” was a complicated way of describing Arnold, Bruce or Sly wiping out some third-world dictator’s militia. I don’t reflexively oppose military intervention, provided it has a noble purpose. But the same President who doesn’t think the people of Iraq, Iran and Sudan (not to mention China and North Korea) are worth an airstrike has gone gung-ho for Gadhafi.

My apologies, Mr. President; but “Obama 2012″ is NOT sufficient justification.

Flunking Liberty

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently.

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite.

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie.

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at Dailykos.com telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them.

To wit:

Question 1:
Sarah Palin is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 2:
Michelle Bachman is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 3:
Hillary Clinton is:

  1. The Secretary of State (for now).
  2. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
  3. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
  4. Less hot.

Question 4:
Libya is:

  1. A nation in North Africa.
  2. A nation in the throes of civil war.
  3. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
  4. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5:
Moammar Ghadhafi:

  1. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
  2. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
  3. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80’s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
  4. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6:
Scott Walker is:

  1. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
  2. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
  3. A union-busting hero.
  4. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7:
The Service Employees International Union:

  1. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
  2. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
  3. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
  4. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8:
Sendai is:

  1. That new sushi joint down the street.
  2. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
  3. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
  4. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9:
Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

  1. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
  2. Lower than it is in Kenya.
  3. Lower than it is in Detroit.
  4. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10:
Common Cause, Moveon.org and ACORN are:

  1. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  2. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  3. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  4. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11:
Kinetic Military Action is:

  1. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
  2. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
  3. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
  4. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12:
The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

  1. Breitbart is a bigot.
  2. Breitbart is a liar.
  3. Breitbart is mean.
  4. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13:
Joe Biden is:

  1. The Vice President of the United States.
  2. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
  3. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
  4. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14:
Nancy Pelosi is:

  1. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
  2. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
  3. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
  4. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15:
Harry Reid is:

  1. The Senate Majority Leader.
  2. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
  3. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
  4. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16:
Obamacare is:

  1. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
  3. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
  4. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17:
President Obama’s energy policy entails:

  1. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
  2. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
  3. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
  4. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18:
The national debt of the United States is now:

  1. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
  2. Increasing at a geometric rate.
  3. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
  4. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19:
President Obama hails from:

  1. Hawaii.
  2. Kenya.
  3. Chicago.
  4. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20:
The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

  1. John Boehner.
  2. Harry Reid.
  3. Barack Obama.
  4. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Budget Battle Springs Into Deadline Mode — Again

Budget battle springs into deadline mode -- againIt may sound like a broken record to many Americans, but Congress is approaching yet another deadline to prevent a government shutdown. Lawmakers have until April 8 to approve a spending budget.

According to The Hill, Democrats and Republicans appear to be nowhere close to a deal. On March 28, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the onus will be on Senate Democrats if the government shuts down. The media outlet reported that Democrats are willing to slash up to $20 billion to fund the remainder of fiscal year 2011, however Cantor's comments indicate that GOP leaders believe that it is not enough.

"Our Federal government borrows nearly forty cents of each dollar it spends, yet Senate Democrats want to keep spending money that we don't have," said Cantor, quoted by the news source.

Tea Party members have criticized House Republican leaders for not holding true to the party's pledge last year, which called for $100 billion in cuts to reduce the national deficit. Democrats claim that if a GOP-backed budget is approved without compromise, the economy will suffer and jobs will be lost.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that many Americans are fed up with politicians on both sides of the aisle. A total of 62 percent of respondents said that they disapprove of Democratic congressional leadership, while 64 percent feel the same way about Republican leaders. 

Netflix Accused Of Violating Rental Privacy Law

Netflix accused of violating rental privacy lawPopular DVD rental service Netflix has been accused of violating a Federal law that prohibits retailers from disclosing rental and sales records.

According to media reports, former Netflix subscriber Michael Sevy filed a lawsuit on March 18, alleging that the company is retaining sales records of customers who have canceled their memberships. He claims that Netflix is in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act, which was approved in 1988 after former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental history was leaked to the press.

CNET.com recently reported that four similar lawsuits have been filed against Netflix in the last two months.

In response to the legal allegations, the company has canceled a contest that aimed to improve its movie recommendation services, according to The Associated Press. It was a follow-up to a previous challenge that encouraged users to come up with their own recommendation system by using real customer data.

Although no names were provided, critics of Netflix claim that enough information was disclosed to identify subscribers, the media outlet reported.

According to The Hill, the video rental company has built a lobbying presence on Capitol Hill in recent months. Along with other consumer groups, including Free Press, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union, Netflix is fighting legislation that supports overage fees on Internet users who access high volumes of data.

The company, which also offers online video streaming, is concerned that these regulations could hinder business growth. 

Why Are We Helping al-Qaida?

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s military is killing—and being killed by—al-Qaida forces. In Libya, America’s Navy and Air Force provide cover for al-Qaida forces seeking to overthrow the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

In a Monday night address to defend U.S. attacks on Libya, President Barack Obama said that America could not turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. Yet Obama and the corporate media ignore the slaughter of civilians in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, China and North Korea.

Obama says it would be a mistake to expand the allied military mission to overthrow the Gadhafi regime, but that Gadhafi must relinquish power.

Obama insists there will be no U.S. ground troops in Libya, yet the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in the initial assault and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is set to head to the region to relieve the 26th.

Obama says America will not continue to lead the operation and it will be turned over to NATO. Yet, America is NATO, providing a fourth of its budget—more than the combined amount of the next two largest contributing countries—and the majority of its assets and command.

Such is the duplicity of American foreign policy.

There has been much “mystery” surrounding the identity of the so-called rebels America is protecting in the Libyan civil war. Author Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., points out that, while all the lead players aren’t known, enough is known about them to understand they are some of the same people American is fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to Tarpley, the insurgency in Libya is a reprisal of a British attempt to foment an uprising in 1995 in which Gadhafi would be assassinated and Libya would descend into chaos, prompting Great Britain to swoop in to “protect” the oil fields. Already, rebel leaders are making oil deals with the French. And if there was any doubt the global elites were behind the chaos percolating in the Middle East, the fact that Libyan “rebels” have already established a central bank should put any doubts to bed.

al-Qiada was formed by the U.S. and Great Britain to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, and many of its leaders are double agents of the Central Intelligence Agency or MI-6—like Anwar al-Awlaki, America’s terrorist du jour. As such, al-Qaida is used for many purposes.

As Tarpley points out, for President George W. Bush, the presence of al-Qaida was used as pretext for starting a war on another country. The Obama method is to use al-Qaida to overthrow independent governments and either Balkanize or partition those countries or use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China and Iran.

Hat tip: Prisonplanet.com