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.

Some Foods Change Mood, Similar To A Drug

PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers, U.S. researchers suggest.

“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood,” said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, now with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, but previously at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies. “In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid.”

The study found the possibility of mood-enhancing effects associated with some flavors, stemming at least in part from natural ingredients bearing a striking chemical similarity to valproic acid — a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.

Valproic acid — sold under brand names including Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor — is used to smooth out the mood swings of people with manic-depressive disorder and related conditions.

The study involved use of techniques of chemoinformatics — the application of informatic methods to solve chemical problems — to screen the chemical structures of more than 1,700 food flavor ingredients for similarities to approved anti-depressants, marketed drugs and agents with reported antidepressant activity.

“It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs,” Martinez-Mayorga said.

But for those not requiring medication, eating specific foods and living a healthful lifestyle can generally boost mood, she said.

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

Summer Weather Hurts Athletes With Asthma

DALLAS (UPI) — Heat, poor air quality and demanding exercises for summer athletes create the threat of increased attacks for asthma sufferers, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, who leads the division of allergy and immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said before fall-sports schedules begin, athletes need to ensure their condition is well-controlled.

Gruchalla recommended:

— Individuals with moderate to severe cases see a pediatrician, internist or asthma specialist to be sure asthma is properly controlled.

— At the appointment, be prepared to answer questions about the frequency of symptoms, use of an albuterol, or short-acting inhaled bronchodilator, and sleep interruptions caused by asthma.

— Have school nurses, trainers and coaches know about and pay close attention to athletes who suffer from asthma.

Gruchalla recommended athletes be allowed to ease into practice to see how well they tolerate exercising in the heat or in demanding conditions.

“Coaches should be alert for the signs and symptoms of asthma, which include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest tightness, coughs and wheezing,” Gruchalla said in a statement. “Everyone should exercise extra caution on extremely hot days and high-pollution days.”

Obese Kids Have Increased Gallstones Risk

PASADENA, N.Y. (UPI) — Children as young as age 10 who are overweight or obese face an increased risk for gallstones, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Corinna Koebnick of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and colleagues used data based on information in the electronic health records of more than 510,000 children ages 10-19, from 2007 through 2009, who were members of Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

“Although gallstones are relatively common in obese adults, gallstones in children and adolescents have been historically rare,” Koebnick said in a statement. “These findings add to an alarming trend — youth who are obese or extremely obese are more likely to have diseases we normally think of as adult conditions.”

Gallstone symptoms of gallstones include recurrent abdominal pain and nausea, although many people with gallstones have no symptoms. Gallstones can block the passage of bile into the intestine, which in turn can cause severe damage or infection in the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas and, if left untreated, the condition can be fatal, Koebnick said.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, found children and adolescents who were overweight were twice as likely to have gallstone disease, compared to children and adolescents who had a normal body mass index.

Those who were moderately obese were four times as likely to have gallstones and those who were extremely obese were six times as likely to have gallstones, the study said.


Psychological Interventions Help Skin

SHEFFIELD, England (UPI) — Psychological interventions can provide benefits to patients with skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, researchers in Britain said.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, England, conducted a meta-analysis of 22 studies involving more than 900 participants.

The meta-analysis, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found psychological interventions had a medium-sized effect on skin conditions but that a number of different factors influenced the effectiveness of the interventions, including: The type of intervention, the time interval between the end of the intervention and follow-up and the type of outcome.

“The number of skin conditions represented by the study was small but a medium-sized effect was seen for interventions treating psoriasis and atopic dermatitis,” the researchers said in the review. “The analysis showed that psychological interventions generally had less effect on skin conditions accompanied by pain.”

Four types of intervention were well enough represented for analysis: Habit reversal, cognitive behavioral therapy, arousal reduction and combined techniques.

Habit reversal had the largest effect size, followed by cognitive behavioral therapy and arousal reduction and combined techniques, the study said.

Italians Cut Back On Espresso

ROME (UPI) — A trade association said the economic downturn has forced Italians to cut back on something near and dear to them — a cup of espresso.

ANSA said Saturday that the Federazione dei Pubblici Esercizi trade association is reporting a sharp reduction in consumer consumption of espresso.

The price has also bumped up against a psychological barrier, Ansa reported.

The average price for a cup is one euro. The price hikes for espresso have not kept up with the 3.3 percent inflation rate recently, but prices have risen modestly and sellers are reluctant to cross the one euro barrier, the trade association said.

Theaters Going Digital Or Die

MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) — U.S. movie theaters with antiquated projection equipment must convert to costly digital technology or face extinction, an industry official says.

Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Saturday that by the end of the coming year the six major movie studios will only release new titles in digital format. The old 35-millimeter film format won’t be an option.

That means theaters with mechanical projectors face spending $70,000 to $85,000 apiece to upgrade to digital versions.

The National Association of Theatre Owners estimates 20 percent of the nation’s cinemas, about 10,000 screens, will go dark. Simply put, association President John Fithian, says, movie theaters must “convert or die.”

For Steven Mann, who owns 10 theaters in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the cost of staying alive was $4 million.

For Joe Minjares, who owns Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, says getting financing can be a problem.

“Maybe we can get vault prints from the studios and show old movies, but I’m not sure what the market is for that,” he said.

Tom Letness, owner of the 86-year-old Heights Theatre in Columbia Heights, said while studios are offering financing to help defray the cost of makeovers, “they really don’t care if single-screen theaters go away.”

The economic benefits of digital production are clear for the studios, which, by one estimate, spent $850 million a year making film prints and $450 million shipping the the bulky canisters to theaters, the Star Tribune said.

“It’s always been about the studio. For the typical film, digital is neither necessary nor desirable,” said Ted Mundorff, president of Landmark Theatres, the nation’s largest independent chain.

Navistar CEO Steps Down

LISLE, Ill. (UPI) — U.S. truck and bus maker Navistar International Corp. said Monday  Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ustian is retiring, effective immediately.

The company’s board appointed Lewis Campbell, former chairman, president and CEO of Textron Inc. to serve as Navistar’s executive chairman of the board and interim CEO.

Campbell is currently on the board of directors at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sensata Technologies Holding N.V. And Noblis Inc., a not-for-profit science, technology and strategy organization.

After 37 years with the company, Ustian is also quitting the company’s board of directors, the company said.

The changes include a promotion for Troy Clarke, currently president of truck and engine operations. He will serve as president and chief operating officer for the company.

Hertz To Buy Dollar Thrifty For $2.3 Billion

PARK RIDGE, N.J. (UPI) — Hertz Global Holdings has reached an agreement to purchase  Dollar Thrifty Automotive for $2.3 billion, officials of the car-rental companies said.

Hertz, formerly owned by Ford Motor Co., said it would pay $87.50 per share for Dollar Thrifty, which was formerly owned by Chrysler.

The deal took more than three years of negotiations and outlasted a rival bid from Avis Budget Group, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In a statement released late Sunday, Hertz and Dollar Thrifty said the deal included an agreement for Hertz to unload its discount rental business, Advantage, at the behest of regulators.

Hertz said Advantage would be sold to Franchise Services of North America and Macquarie Capital.

That deal depends on a successful completion of the agreement with Dollar Thrifty, officials said.

Best Buy Opens Door To Founder's Bids

MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) — The board of U.S. retail giant Best Buy said it had agreed to give founder Richard Schulze permission to pursue a bid to take control of the company.

The board and Schulze had agreed on an orderly process for the former chairman to have access to company information and bid on the company along with “private equity sponsors,” Best Buy said in a statement.

Schulze was forced to resign in May after it was learned he did not inform the board of an inappropriate relationship between former Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn and a female employee.

The company, however, is struggling to stay afloat due to changes in the market that put the store in a position to be an expensive pseudo showroom for Internet firms.

While Best Buy pays high rents, electric bills and labor costs, customers with more and more frequency are walking into its stores to view merchandise up close. Then they use the Internet, accessible through smart phones, to find better prices at and other Internet firms that have much lower overhead costs.

Schulze’s deal is a step-by-step agreement on a possible takeover. He is to be granted immediate due diligence access to private company information with an opportunity to present a bid within 60 days.

If the board turns down the offer, Schulze has agreed not to present another offer until January 2013.

The board has agreed to respond to a second offer within 30 days before Schulze has an opportunity to take an offer directly to shareholders in either a special meeting or the company’s annual shareholder gathering.

If the second bid fails, Schulze has agreed wait a year before presenting a third offer to the board.

Canada To Search For Historic Lost Ships

OTTAWA (UPI) — The Canadian government says it has begun its largest search ever for the lost ships of a doomed 1845 quest for the Northwest Passage.

The ships of Sir John Franklin’s expedition, Erebus and Terror, disappeared almost 170 years ago in the Arctic waters off what is now Nunavut. Both ships became trapped in ice off King William Island, and Franklin and his entire crew of 129 men took to the ice where they all eventually perished.

The search for Franklin’s ships has another significance beyond the history, as Canadian officials have often cited the importance of this search in terms of asserting Canada’s northern sovereignty, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Thursday.

John Geiger, co-author of a 2004 book that probed the fate of the Franklin’s failed 19th-century polar mission, agrees the Franklin search suggest more than simply an interest in finding two old ships.

“There’s absolutely an agenda,” Geiger, now the editorial board editor of the Globe and Mail newspaper, said. “I can’t imagine a government investing the kind of resources, scarce resources, in pursuit of historical knowledge.

The government wants “to assert Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic islands and also the waterways,” Geiger says.

“A Franklin ship located in the Northwest Passage is a relatively minor piece of legal ammunition,” says Adriana Craicun, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has studied and written about the Canadian Arctic, but it is also “probably the most valuable cultural, historical, international-scale material” that a Canadian government can point to in asserting a claim for greater control over the Northwest Passage.


China Wrestles With Acid Rain Threat

SHAOGUAN, China (UPI) — An increase in automobile emissions exposed China’s Guangdong province to damage from acid rain in the first half of this year, a report found.

The report by the provincial environmental protection department found more than half of the province’s 21 cities were polluted by acid rain during that period, China Daily reported Monday.

Most acid rain in the province results from high concentrations of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in the air, experts said.

Nitrogen oxide in particular has become a problem, a result partly of the greater number of automobiles on the province’s roads, the report said.

Industry is also to blame, experts said.

Some cities in Guangdong are burning more coal to produce power because of a decline in power transmission from western China.

All of these factors combine to create a higher level of acid rain, said Zhou Yongzhang, director of the Center for Earth Environment and Resources at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

The most effort should be put into reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides, Zhou said, since regulations are already in place to control the sulfur dioxide released by coal-burning power plants in the province, the manufacturing center of China.