How To Prepare Food For Power Outages

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  As Gulf Coast residents prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service urges food safety preparation.

“Storing perishable food at proper temperatures is crucial to food safety but can become difficult if you lose electricity for your refrigerator and freezer,” Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA under secretary for food safety, said in a statement. “For those living in Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected path, we recommend stocking up on canned food, bottled water, batteries, and dry ice.”

A publication can be printed and kept for reference during a power outage.

To prepare for a possible weather emergency:

— Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to ensure the refrigerator is at 40 degrees F or lower and the freezer should be 0 degrees F or lower.

— Store food on shelves high enough to avoid contaminated water in case of flooding.

— Group food together in the freezer to help food stay cold longer.

— Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature longer.

— Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

— Purchase or make ice and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.

— Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.

Why Some Fats May Cause Heart Disease

ALBUQUERQUE, Aug. 28 (UPI) —  Some fats may boost harmful bacteria in the digestive system creating an immune response resulting in low-level inflammation, U.S. researchers say.

Study leader Joe Alcock of the University of New Mexico and VA Medical Center and colleagues at Northwestern University said the body evolved to recognize these fats to create an immune response to preempt the impeding changes in harmful bacteria. The resulting low-level inflammation over the long-term causes chronic disease such as heart disease, Alcock said.

Some fats — mostly unsaturated fats found in plants and fish — have strong anti-microbial properties and react chemically with bacterial cell membranes, weakening them, Alcock said.

“If you expose unsaturated fats on bacteria, the bacteria have a tendency to dissolve. The combination of long chain unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and innate host defenses like gastric acid and antimicrobial peptides, is particularly lethal to pathogenic bacteria,” Alcock said in a statement. “Saturated fats on the other hand generally lack those anti-microbial properties, and in fact can provide a carbon source that bacteria need to grow and flourish.”

It may be these differing microbial effects that are at the root of why some fats are inflammatory and some aren’t, Alcock said.

However, while this hypothesis is well supported by current data, there’s much more research to be done, Alcock warned.

The findings are scheduled to be published in The Quarterly Review of Biology in March.

Short-Term U.S. Gas Price Spike Expected

DETROIT, (UPI) —  Pipeline closures in the Midwest and production shortfalls because of Tropical Storm Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico are affecting gasoline prices, analysts said.

Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to reach hurricane status Tuesday as it approaches the southern coast of Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center expects Isaac to eventually become a Category 1 storm.

U.S. supermajor Chevron said it evacuated personnel from offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico as a precaution.

“Some production has been affected due to third-party pipeline closures,” a statement read.

Other operators in the gulf closed facilities ahead of the storm, curbing overall production in the United States.

Motor club AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Tuesday in the United States was $3.75, unchanged from Monday but 4 cents higher than the average for last week.

Drivers in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, however, saw their averages top $3.80. Detroit drivers paid on average $3.93 for gasoline Tuesday, 2 cents higher than Monday.

A 650-mile pipeline from Chicago was closed following a release of undisclosed amount, said West Shore Pipe Line Co. in a statement.

Nancy Cain, a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan, told The Detroit News that gasoline prices should increase because of the gulf storm.

Tom Kloza, an analyst at the Oil Price Information System added that while a price increase was expected, it “should not be a long-term trend.”

Tennessee Coal Plant To Get $1B Upgrade

NASHVILLE, (UPI) —  A coal-burning power plant 30 miles from Nashville will get $1 billion in pollution controls meant to reduce emissions by as much as 95 percent, officials said.

Tennessee Valley Authority officials said without the upgrades to the workhorse Gallatin Fossil Plant that runs 24 hours a day and burns 13,000 tons of coal daily, it probably wouldn’t meet future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules and would have to shut down.

The upgrades will see the installation of four large scrubbers to cut down on sulfur dioxide emissions and a catalytic system to reduce nitrogen oxide levels, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Monday.

“SO2 is sulfur dioxide, and by removing 90 to 95 percent, it is cleaning up the atmosphere of the Tennessee Valley,” Larry Nathan, who works with TVA’s generation construction group, said.

However, some environmental groups argue the TVA could find better uses for the $1 billion.

“For what you will pay for the pollution controls on a doomed coal plant,” Louise Gorenflo, a volunteer with the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, said, “you can replace Gallatin and be well on the way to joining other modern utilities in generating energy savings.

“Seriously, invest the money in energy efficiency that you intend to waste on unhealthy and dangerous technologies,” she told a meeting of the TVA board last week.

Bird Feeder Lands Woman In Court

HULL, Mass.,  (UPI) —  A Massachusetts woman’s love of birds — coupled with a tendency to overfeed them — has run her afoul of the law, officials said.

Hull, Mass. town officials sought an injunction Monday against Gail Kansky, 71, arguing in court she has been constantly overfeeding swarms of birds, creating a public nuisance. The officials argued that Kansky’s habit of frequently refilling a bird feeder has led to more than 100 birds taking up residence in the area, The Boston Globe reported.

Neighbors have complained the leftover bird feed has created a rat problem and the bird droppings regularly soil cars and homes in the area, a town lawyer charged.

A judge has given both sides two weeks to submit written arguments before making a ruling.

Kansky, though, isn’t leaving her perch.

“I won’t take down the bird feeder because I’m not wrong,” she told the Globe.

Facebook's Oldest User Meets Zuckerberg

MENLO PARK, Calif.,  (UPI) —  A 101-year-old California woman, believed to be Facebook’s oldest user, was treated to a tour of the company’s headquarters and met co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Florence Detlor of Menlo Park paid a visit to the company’s corporate office Monday and had her photo taken with chief executive officer Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday.

“Honored to meet Florence Detlor, who at 101 years old is the oldest registered Facebook user. Thank you for visiting us Florence,” Sandberg said on her Facebook page.

Schools Still Picking Freshmen's Roommates

AMHERST, Mass., (UPI) —  Officials at schools, including Amherst College in Massachusetts, say they are resistant to allowing freshmen to choose their own roommates.

Amherst officials said they use questionnaires to choose dormitory roommates for incoming freshmen as part of an effort to encourage new students to step outside their comfort zones and to get to know people from different backgrounds, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

Tufts University, Harvard College and Smith College also assign roommates to first-year students. Michael McCorvey, director of residence life at Babson College, said roommate requests are allowed by the school, but students rarely take the option.

“We like to think students recognize that there is a value in getting to know somebody else,” McCorvey said.

Police Bust Fake Fed In Florida

VERO BEACH, Fla., (UPI) —  Police in Florida said they arrested a man who claimed to be a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration/CIA agent and demanded free items from a Dunkin’ Donuts.

A pair of patrons of the Vero Beach store told police Aug. 18 that Clayton Joseph Schwey, 36, repeatedly entered the eatery during the preceding week and tried to convince workers he was entitled to free doughnuts, coffee and ice cream for being a DEA/CIA agent, reported Tuesday.

One of the patrons asked to see Schwey’s identification and the man said he did not have to show a badge because he was working undercover at the doughnut shop to investigate “crooked cops.”

Police said Schwey, who assured officers he was a federal agent who had done work for Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar, was arrested on a felony charge of falsely impersonating an officer.

Lawsuit: Braces Left On For 11 Years

PORTLAND, Ore.,  (UPI) —  An Oregon 18-year-old is suing an orthodontist over permanent injuries he says were a result of wearing braces for 11 years.

Devin Bost’s Multnomah County circuit court complaint against Brad Chvatal alleges the orthodontist caused injuries to his teeth, mouth and gums by having him wear braces for 11 years, ABC News reported Tuesday.

David Hollander, Bost’s attorney, said the suit is seeking $35,100, the amount Bost had to pay for corrective oral surgery and other procedures, and $150,000 for pain and suffering.

Chvatal said he could not discuss the specifics of the case due to confidentiality rules, but the situation was “very complicated.”

John Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Orthodontists, said braces are typically worn for 1 to 3 years. He said he “could not think of an instance” where someone would need to wear the braces for 11 years.

Mom: Stapling Of Son's Mouth A Hate Crime

FRANKLIN, Mich.,  (UPI) —  A Michigan State University student was recovering at his home Tuesday after having surgery for a broken jaw his family said was a hate crime.

The mother said two men at a party asked if her son, Zachary Tennen, was Jewish, gave a Nazi salute, knocked her son out then stapled his mouth as about 20 people watched, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“It’s an awful hate crime, and what he’s gone through emotionally and physically, it’s scary to put it into words,” mother Tina Tennen said from the family home in Franklin, Mich. “Hopefully the worst is behind us. It’s going to be hopefully not too rough.”

Her son said none of the party-goers came to his aid as he was attacked.

The family filed a police report with East Lansing Police, the Free Press said.

Although the attackers’ identities are not known, Tina Tennen said, “I hope that they get prosecuted, go to jail. You hear about it in the news, but I guess it’s something that you think never will happen to you.”

She said her son hopes to return to MSU in about a week.

“The school’s been involved; we’ve been in touch with them,” she told the Free Press. “They’ve outreached to us. But we’re still trying to find [the attackers]. The job isn’t done.”

South Carolina: No Racial Aim In ID Law

WASHINGTON,  (UPI) —  The chief authors of South Carolina’s voter identification law dispute accusations the statute is intended to suppress black voter turnout.

Republican lawmakers Alan Clemmons and Chip Campsen said their legislation would combat election fraud and is not racially motivated, McClatchy Newspapers reported Tuesday.

The two were questioned in federal court by lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department and civil rights groups who charge the purpose of the law is to suppress the votes of African-Americans who overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates.

Staff attorney Nancy Abudu of the American Civil Liberties Union said requiring voters to show a photo ID “disproportionately impacts minorities, the elderly and other groups.”

“We’re here to protect people’s constitutional right to vote,” she said in an ACLU release.

Implementation of the measure, signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley in May 2011, was blocked by the Justice Department for violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act that requires South Carolina to submit all election changes to federal review.

South Carolina filed suit against the Justice Department for blocking the ID law.

The case is expected to eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Customer Shoots, Kills Store Robber

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.,  (UPI) —  A customer at a store in North Jacksonville, Fla., shot and killed one of two gunmen trying to rob the store, police said.

Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the 57-year-old man was at the Dollar General store picking up groceries Monday when the two robbers entered the store and the store manager alerted customers of the situation, the Florida Times-Union reported Tuesday.

“One of them [the robbers] had the clerk and one of them was at the front cash register,” Schoonover said.

“The customer, who had a concealed firearms permit and a firearm, fired at [one of] the suspect, striking him apparently two times, killing him,” Schoonover said.

The other suspect fled, the sheriff’s department said.

After the incident, police allowed the customer, who was not identified, to call his family, the Times-Union said.

“We just get a phone call saying, ‘I’m OK, but something happened,'” the man’s son told the newspaper. “It just sucks that we have to work late and have to carry a gun.”

Law enforcement officials said the customer was questioned, but no charges were pending, Schoonover said.

“The citizen did not get shot, none of the employees were hurt, this worked out good tonight,” Schoonover said.

Obama Warns Residents Not To 'Tempt Fate'

WASHINGTON,  (UPI) —  A somber President Obama warned residents of the Gulf Coast not to “tempt fate” if asked by officials to evacuate as Tropical Storm Isaac took aim at the area.

The president declared Louisiana a disaster area Monday in advance of Isaac’s landfall. Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane strength and strike New Orleans for the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1,800 and caused billions in damage.

Obama Tuesday told reporters at the White House he wanted “to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate. We’re dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings.”

The president said he is getting updates from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Hurricane Center in Miami “on preparations that are under way in the Gulf (of Mexico region).”

“This storm isn’t scheduled to make landfall until later today, but at my direction FEMA has been on the ground for over a week working with state and local officials in areas that could be affected — from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Florida, and more recently, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi,” he said.

“Yesterday I approved a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana so they can get the help that they need right away, particularly around some of the evacuations that are taking place. And right now, we already have response teams and supplies ready to help communities in the expected path of the storm.”

Isaac was on the verge of becoming a hurricane early Tuesday, forecasters said, and was on a course that revived horrible memories for residents of Louisiana.

Isaac was predicted to reach shore Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning in Louisiana with a storm surge of 6- to 12 feet, the National Hurricane Center said.

Should the storm make landfall Wednesday in Louisiana, it will do so on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Officials in Gulf Coast states have suggested residents along the coast head for higher ground.

Arizona, Oklahoma Conduct Primaries

Redistricting brought on member-on-member primaries Tuesday in Arizona and party tilts to nominate candidates to replace a retiring Oklahoma congressman.

The race to watch was in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, pitting two freshman Republicans against each other, Roll Call reported.

The campaign between GOP Reps. Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, and David Schweikert took a personal turn because both have solid conservative voting records, observers said. Most unaligned operatives say they think Schweikert will win, but one national Republican handicapper warned that Quayle has an organization adroit at getting out the vote.

In the Republican contest to nominate a candidate to try to hold on to retiring Sen. Jon Kyl’s seat, early front-runner Rep. Jeff Flake found himself in a competitive primary due to a self-funded bid from real estate investor Wil Cardon.

The winner of the Flake-Cardon contest will face presumptive Democratic nominee, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, in the fall.

Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, moved from the competitive 1st Congressional District to the newly drawn 4th Congressional District, which Roll Call classified as a Safe Republican seat.

A three-way race turned into a two-way race between Gosar and state Sen. Ron Gould when scandal swamped Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Both Gosar and Gould predicted victory and both have allies that can help them, Roll Call said.

Former Rep. Matt Salmon, making a congressional bid after a 12-year hiatus, is expected to win the GOP primary in Arizona’s 5th Congressional District. His rival, former state Speaker Kirk Adams, has a number of endorsements, including 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who traveled to Arizona to campaign for Adams Monday, Roll Call said.

The Arizona 9th Congressional District has been handicapped as a tossup by analysts.

The Democratic field is crowded — former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, former state party Chairman Andrei Cherny and state Sen. David Schapira are seeking the party’s nomination.

In the Republican contest, former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, ex-Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda, businessman Travis Grantham and retired Air Force officer Wendy Rogers are candidates.

In Oklahoma’s 2nd district, seed company owner Wayne Herriman and former District Attorney Rob Wallace seek the Democratic nomination, while plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin and state Rep. George Faught square off in the Republican race.

The primary contest winners will face each other to replace retiring Rep. Dan Boren. Roll Call rated this race as leaning Republican.
By United Press International

'Sasquatch' Stunt Leads To Man's Death

KALISPEL, Mont.,  (UPI) —  A 44-year-old Montana man dressed in camouflage while apparently trying to perpetrate a Bigfoot hoax died when struck by two vehicles, a state trooper says.

Randy Lee Tenley of Kalispell was standing in the middle of the southbound lane of Highway 93 dressed in the kind of three-dimensional camouflage uniform sometimes worn by military snipers when he was hit by two vehicles, KCFW-TV in Kalispell reported.

Trooper Jim Schneider of the state highway patrol said the outfit would have made Tenley difficult to see.

“We can only speculate as to his exact intentions, but according to another member of his party his intention was to get people to believe they saw a sasquatch,” Schneider told The Missoulian. “It is a bizarre set of circumstances and it is certainly tragic.”

He said he believed alcohol was involved but did not know whether Tenley was intoxicated while in the roadway pretending to be one of the mythical ape-like creatures.

A teenage occupant of one of the vehicles that struck Tenley was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Surviving The Storm

With the prospect of Hurricane Isaac following a similar trajectory as Hurricane Katrina did seven years ago nearly to the day and as thousands have been urged to evacuate affected areas, it is a good time for preppers to take an opportunity to re-evaluate their plans for the unexpected.

When weather-created emergencies happen, some of the most obvious and easily obtained survival items quickly become commodities in short supply as the thousands of people who have neglected any sort of preparation rush to acquire them to ride out the storm in their homes.

These things include:

  • Extra fuel for vehicles and generators.
  • Food that can be prepared without the need for electricity.
  • A camping stove and extra fuel.
  • A store of clean water. (Remember to store enough for one gallon per person daily.)
  • Flashlights and candles for light.
  • A battery-operated radio.
  • Batteries.

In the time directly following a weather-related emergency, these are often the first things that will fly off of store shelves, assuming travel to stores is possible, as survivors prepare to live as comfortably as possible without basic infrastructure. Not knowing how long it could take for power and other utilities to be restored makes it important for those prepping to consider stocking up to at least a month’s worth of these supplies.

In the event that travel is impossible, not having these things on hand can greatly lessen your chances of surviving a catastrophe. With no available methods of travel, even the most minor injuries or medical conditions can become serious, making the preparation of a comprehensive home first-aid kit paramount.

Your first-aid kit should include:

  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin tablets.
  • Ipecac syrup and activated charcoal.
  • Antibacterial soap.
  • Elastic wrap.
  • Triangular bandages.
  • Scissors with rounded tips.
  • Adhesive tape and 2-inch gauze.
  • Disposable, instant ice bags.
  • Bandages of assorted sizes.
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Extras of prescription medications required regularly.

As with any catastrophic situation, the desperate or simply criminally inclined will seek opportunities to victimize anyone left in a compromised state. It is important to have on hand firearms, ammunition and other weapons in order to protect your loved ones and property from looters.

In the unfortunate event that you are forced to evacuate your home, a bug-out bag for each member of your family containing essential survival items as well as a collection of important personal documents and cash will aid in comfort and survival.

For more information related to surviving catastrophic situations check out Bob Livingston’s How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization and In Case of Emergency! Lifesaving Tips for your Family’s Survival.

Gold Still A Sound Investment

Ahead of the annual monetary policy gabfest at Jackson Hole retreat in Wyoming, members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve have been quietly hinting that another round of stimulus or “quantitative easing” (inflationary money printing) may be on the horizon.

Speculation that the Fed will again act and questions about its continued near-zero interest rate policy and what long-term effects a new round of quantitative easing will have on the U.S. economy have created some volatility in markets. But one area where volatility has been remarkably low (not surprisingly given historical evidence) is precious metals.

Over the next 18 months, most analysts expect gold prices to fluctuate little between $1,750 and $1,800 with a high side of $2,000. As the European Union continues to falter and talk of the U.S. economic cliff becomes louder and more constant, precious metal prices can only improve. Silver should stick it out in the mid $30s per ounce range over the 18-month period, but economic uncertainty has the potential to push the lesser precious metal to unchartered highs, according to some market watchers.

While investing in physical gold and silver is a good idea in the eyes of most well-prepared investors, it is also a good time to reap benefits from investments in precious metal-mining operations.

Over the past four weeks, gold and silver shares have outperformed Standard & Poor’s 500 index with gold up by about 3.3 percent and silver 9.1 percent. Analysts expect further upward mobility.


Magnesium can be used in the form of a topical salve or in an inhaler when necessary to relieve acute bronchial spasm. Magnesium liquids rubbed on penetrate the skin, making it possible to get much more magnesium into children — especially small children — without the risk of diarrhea.

Vitamin B6 helps magnesium work and helps on its own to reduce asthma. Vitamin B12 is far and away the most useful nutrient to eliminate asthmatic wheezing, for children as well as adults up to about age 50.

Solgar (at health food stores) has an excellent liquid that tastes good: B12 with B Complex. However, for seniors it is best to take B12 shots, because their intrinsic factor is usually gone and there can be little or no absorption of B12.

Shooting Utopia

In the 16th century, Sir Thomas More first theorized Utopia as an island blessed by the perfect union of civilized legal, political and social interaction. By modern definition, Utopia is paradise. The problem with Utopia lies in More’s own description. Utopia is imaginary. It can’t exist for one simple reason: Everyone’s vision is different.

For example, my version includes palm trees, one of those infinity pools and Rebecca De Mornay serving me my famous “Scotch coffee” (the recipe is noted in an earlier column) while she’s dressed in the stuff Victoria thought was a little too secret. Meanwhile, a Marine Force Recon sniper sits on the roof with a Dillon Minigun to keep unwanted visitors clear. Your version might be different. Perhaps you might prefer a different locale. Maybe your Utopia includes the Marine serving the drinks while De Mornay mans the Minigun (have fun telling the Marine about his new orders).

But that’s the nature of Utopia. It can’t exist, because it changes from person to person. The best we can do is to carve out a slice of something close amid the less-than-Utopian travails of daily life. And that’s why we have a Constitution. That magnificent document enumerates the tools we have at our disposal to make our own world as perfect as possible. It also enumerates the limits to which others can go to restrict our efforts. As any observer of left-wing political activism knows, the liberal idea of Utopia specifically obviates mine — and not just because De Mornay will complain about her “work uniform.”

Consider the self-described “Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.” Its version of Utopia pretty much crumples up mine and throws it in the compost heap with the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t exist in the Brady Utopia. Barring government service, you and I have no right to keep arms and certainly have none to bear. And, because guns are banned in Bradyland, crimes involving firearms are unheard of. Of course, in keeping with the logical impossibility of Utopia, no such place exists.

Except that it does. Welcome to Chicago, the Brady Campaign’s idea of Utopia. The Windy City has served as an ersatz laboratory for statists to test the limits of the Bill of Rights; it features some of the most stringent gun-ownership laws in the country. Indeed, the heart of Democratic-machine political hegemony, Chicago has run afoul of the Constitution on multiple occasions in the past few years. First, a Supreme Court decision (McDonald v. Chicago, 2010) winged Chicago’s decades-old handgun ban. Then, a second Federal court ruling staggered the city’s revamped-but-still-draconian gun laws. With the Federal courts whacking them across the nose with a rolled-up copy of the Bill of Rights, Chicago’s city authorities have resisted the lesson, trying desperately to restrict gun ownership by every means at their disposal.

And what an idyllic paradise Chicago has become as a result — provided you ignore all the violent crime. Although not as much a modern-day expression of the Wild West as neighbors like St. Louis and fellow Illinois burg Springfield, Chicago is a virtual shooting gallery. Despite a citizenry disarmed by statute, the third-largest city in the Nation is nearly three times as violent as the largest, New York, and twice as dangerous as No. 2, Los Angeles. While Chicago’s crime rate doesn’t rise to the shocking levels of Democrat-controlled enclaves such as New Orleans or Detroit (which actually surprised me; I presumed Detroit would have run out of victims by now), it’s a dangerous place despite its disarmed denizens.

This past weekend, Chi-Town proffered more proof of the Brady Campaign’s folly. Twenty-eight people ended up on the wrong end of the barrel; 9 of them failed to survive the encounter. Despite gun ownership restrictions only slightly less onerous than the inside of a prison, nearly a dozen presumably disarmed citizens met their maker. There exists nary a shred of proof that the possession of a firearm would have saved any of these unfortunate Chicagoans. But for the hundreds of victims of Chicago violence each year (including the weekends’ sufferers), the proof that gun bans don’t work is right there on their toe tags.

If Chicago is the Brady Campaign’s idea of paradise, I’ll stick with mine.

–Ben Crystal

More Than Half Of Obama’s Twitter Followers Don’t Exist

President Barack Obama has about 19 million people following him on Twitter. But reports suggest that as many as 70 percent of them may not even exist.

In a time when legitimacy is established by the number of one’s Twitter followers, it has become commonplace to purchase followers, reports The New York Times.

“And it’s not just ego-driven blogger types,” wrote Austin Considine. “Celebrities, politicians, start-ups, aspiring rock stars, reality show hopefuls — anyone who might benefit from having a larger social media footprint — are known to have bought large blocks of Twitter followers.”

At, you can purchase Twitter followers by the thousands. In many cases, the accounts are inactive or created by spammers.

The practice has become so common that it is now easy to determine how many fake followers a person has.

Mitt Romney has also been accused of having fake followers. In July, 100,000 new people began following Romney over the course of one weekend.

Both campaigns have denied buying fake followers.

Another Anti-Obama Movie Set To Be Released

Following the success of “2016: Obama’s America,” another anti-Barack Obama film will soon be released. Produced by Citizens United, “The Hope And the Change” documents the worsening situation of 40 Americans who voted for Obama in 2008.

The film will premiere at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

David Bossie, the group’s president, said Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911” served as an inspiration.

Michael Moore made a film attacking George Bush, and he didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good storyline,” said Bossie. “What we did was want to be able to do the same thing. That’s what the Citizens United case emanated from. .. And that’s why in 2008 I went to the United States Supreme Court to fight for my right, and it took me many years.  And in 2010 we finally won our victory.”

In September, “The Hope And the Change,” will be in select theaters across the United States, and it might air on a cable channel regularly until Election Day.

“This is the first election cycle that we are now legally able to make a political documentary and show it and its ads on television,” Bossie said. “And we’re really excited about that.”


The Ryan Delusion

With the Olympic Games behind them, Americans have returned their attention to the stage of political theater. One of the opening acts of the 2012 election season will take place this week in Tampa, Fla., where serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney is expected to be anointed the executive standard bearer for the alleged “Party of Great Moral Ideas.”

Despite the plethora of evidence proving that he is cut from the same statist mold as Barack Obama, Romney continues to be hailed as a “great conservative” and the vaunted “lesser of two evils.” Republicans — as well as some libertarians and constitutionalists — point to Romney’s selection of Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for Vice President as a sign of his commitment to limited government principles. Upon closer inspection, Ryan — who has been touted as the “intellectual leader” of the Republican Party and a budget hawk — has all the trappings of a textbook neocon.

Ryan faithfully toes the chicken hawk foreign policy line of nation building and bloody foreign interventions. He voted to invade Iraq in 2002, voted against any attempt to establish a withdrawal date from Iraq in 2007 and voted for “emergency” appropriation of $78 billion dollars to fund the illegal and immoral wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In keeping with the foremost neocon prerequisite, Ryan is more than happy to send young American soldiers off to fight and die while he, as a healthy and able-bodied American patriot, could not be bothered to carry a rifle and fight for the principles he claims to hold near and dear to his heart.

For someone who is being embraced in some circles as a libertarian, Ryan’s voting record shows that he harbors no love for the Bill of Rights — or any facet of individual liberty, for that matter. This is the man who voted for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and its infamous indefinite detention provision, voted to make the Patriot Act permanent and voted in favor of using electronic surveillance on Americans without a duly approved search warrant. Under this criteria Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Generalissimo Franco, Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein were all staunch civil libertarians.

“Now hold your horses there, MacCormack,” some “libertarians” will say. “Paul Ryan may not be perfect, but at least he’s a staunch defender of free enterprise. The CATO Institute said so!”

Ladies and gentlemen, if CATO told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? It should be noted that the CATO Institute is widely panned by genuine libertarians and freedom lovers as a peddler of the faux “libertarianism” advocated from within the Capital Beltway. In order to curry favor with the Washington establishment, CATO has stumped for the following: torture, expansion of the surveillance state, a war with Pakistan, and the fiat currency factory known as the Federal Reserve.

But I’ve digressed… back to our buddy Ryan. Contrary to CATO’s claim, his voting record proves that he is more a Keynesian than a disciple of Ayn Rand. In 2008, he voted for the Bush stimulus bill, TARP and the auto bailout. Ryan even took to the House floor to pathetically beg his colleagues in Congress to support TARP. He echoed George W. Bush’s convoluted logic, stating:

Madam Speaker, this bill offends my principles. But I’m going to vote for this bill — in order to preserve my principles, in order to preserve this free enterprise system…. I believe with all my heart — as bad as this is — it could get a whole lot worse, and that’s why we have to pass this bill.

If only it ended there. Ryan also backed the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially bribed the public schools into passing their most deficient students in exchange for government goodies. The proof is in the pudding for that one: Just ask any American student who George Washington is. And for the grand finale: Paul voted in favor of Bush’s massive expansion of Medicare which, coupled with Romneycare, set the precedent for Obamacare.

No genuine libertarian, constitutionalist or freedom lover of any kind believes in any of the nonsense supported by collectivists like Ryan and his keeper, Romney. All of the passionate “anybody but Obama” rhetoric notwithstanding, a Romney/Ryan Administration would serve only to slow America’s drive off the cliff into moral and financial bankruptcy down from 100 mph to 90 mph. Ryan’s much-ballyhooed budget would continue massive deficit spending for another 25 years at the least. But, of course, he and Romney “aren’t quite as bad” as Obama.

The bottom line is: There was only one man named Paul who was worth supporting this year. I think you know who I’m talking about.

“Oh here we go again, MacCormack,” I hear many of you whining. “That crazy kook had no chance! We’ve got to vote for the lesser of two evils! Romney’s not so bad!”

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. To think otherwise is downright foolish. After all, the Bible says in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”

“Well then, what’s your solution, big shot?” you’ll retort. It’s simple: Don’t vote. When you pull that lever for Collectivist A or Collectivist B, you are giving your consent to their respective liberty-destroying agendas. As Lew Rockwell so astutely observed in a recent column:

How does voting change the situation? Neither of the candidates for president wants to do anything about the problem. On the contrary, they want to make it worse. This is for a reason. The State owns the “democratic process” as surely as it owns the Departments of Labor and Defense and uses it in ways that benefit the State and no one else.

On the other hand, we do have the freedom not to vote. No one has yet drafted us into the voting booth. I suggest that we exercise this right not to participate. It is one of the few rights we have left. Nonparticipation sends a message that we no longer believe in the racket they have cooked up for us, and we want no part of it.

You might say that this is ineffective. But what effect does voting have? It gives them what they need most: a mandate. Nonparticipation helps deny that to them. It makes them, just on the margin, a bit more fearful that they are ruling us without our consent. This is all to the good. The government should fear the people. Not voting is a good beginning toward instilling that fear.

This year especially there is no lesser of two evils. There is socialism or fascism. The true American spirit should guide every voter to have no part of either.

Consider those words long and hard before hightailing it to the polls this fall.

–Conor MacCormack

Coconut Water Good After Light Exercise

PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Coconut water — the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts — has a lot of potassium and antioxidants, U.S. researchers say.

“Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more,” Chhandashri Bhattacharya of Indiana University Southeast in New Albany said in a statement. “It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you to get rid of the cramps.”

Bhattacharya said the potassium in coconut water may benefit other people who do not exercise.

The typical American diet is low in potassium and high in sodium. Previous research showed people who ate foods low in potassium and high in sodium had twice the risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent higher risk of death from all causes.

Bhattacharya’s team analyzed coconut water, Gatorade and Powerade and found coconut water contained as much as 1,500 milligrams/liter of potassium — more than a banana — compared to as much as 300 mg/liter for Powerade and Gatorade. However, coconut water had 400 mg/liter of sodium compared to 600 for the other two sports drinks.

Coconut water’s lower sodium content is where it fails as a good sports drink for people who engage in strenuous exercise that produces a lot of sweating, Bhattacharya said.

“Sweating makes people lose more sodium than potassium, and coconut water alone can’t replace that lost sodium,” she said.

The findings were presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.