Florida School District Hopes To Celebrate LGBT History Month

A school district in south Florida is expected to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender History Month. During LGBT History Month, a different “icon” is recognized every day.

Tomorrow, Broward County School Board members are expected to approve a decision to support LGBT History Month. Kindergarteners and seniors alike will be introduced to new role models.

Started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri, LGBT History Month takes place every October and has been well received in California and Philadelphia.

“Administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students are encouraged to take part in LGBT History Month in any way that is most positive and uplifting to their schools and communities,” states the Broward County school board’s proposed resolution. “And to coordinate efforts to highlight exemplary role models from the LGBT community.”

Michael Rajner, a former member of the Broward school system’s Diversity Committee, said: “It gives youth a role model to look up to. And to realize that they themselves are a wonderful human being, and can be a productive, important member of our society.”

Some believe that if schools would support LGBT History Month, it would help put an end to bullying.

Eliana Mor, a 17-year-old female who says she has been picked on for wearing boy’s clothing, supports the decision.

“Coming from middle school and being bullied for so long, for so many years and seeing how everything has come full circle, it’s just great to see,” she said. “I knew by age 10, yeah, I liked boys, but I liked girls, too.”

NYC Schools Give Out Morning-After Pill

The New York City Department of Education is supplying morning-after pills to students. It has become a practice in at least 13 schools.

Making the practice even more controversial is that parents are not notified when the school nurse gives girls emergency contraceptives. Girls as young as 14 are given pills when they ask for them.

The birth control is supplied by CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health). Health Department doctors write prescriptions that enable school nurses to give out the drug. This fall, students can receive birth-control injections every three months.

A student must simply inform a school nurse that she has had unprotected sex. If the girl passes a pregnancy test, she can be given the pill.

Last year in five schools, 567 students received Plan B tablets and 580 students were given Reclipsen, according to the New York Post.

Parents are able to sign a form stating that their daughter cannot be given contraceptives. But according to the Department of Education, only 1-2 percent of parents have opted out.

New Study Shows GM Corn And Monsanto’s Roundup Cause Cancer

A two-year study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology showed that rats eating genetically modified corn (NK603 maize, which is approved in the United States for human consumption) and drinking water contaminated with Roundup in levels permitted in drinking water in the United States developed large tumors at an alarming rate.

Previously, only 90-day studies and those produced by companies at the behest of and on the payroll of Monsanto have been published. This is the first independent study of rats given with Roundup-tolerant genetically modified corn.

The study found that female rats were two to three times more likely to die than rats fed non-GM corn, and they developed mammary tumors more often. Males eating the GM corn were four times as likely to develop tumors, and those tumors developed up to 600 days earlier than the control group. Males also developed liver congestions and necrosis at a rate 2.5 to 5.5 times greater than the control group. Both sexes showed kidney-related problems.

Monsanto is spending untold millions of dollars attempting quash efforts to require mandatory GM labeling on all foods. Monsanto is a stealth terrorist organization far more dangerous than al-Qaida. It is creating a future generation of cancer patients, and it’s all FDA-approved.

It’s Not Me; It’s You

Dear Democratic Party,

I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but you just haven’t left me with any other choice. We’ve been together for decades now — since the days of President Roosevelt (the “New Deal” one, not the “Man in the Arena” one), if not earlier. I’ve put up with your madness because I wanted to make it work. After all, we do share a home. But this just isn’t working out anymore. And I just wanted to let you know why.

The money is a real problem. I work hard to keep us afloat; yet I can’t seem to make enough to satisfy you. And the things on which you spend my hard-earned dough really don’t work for me. It’s bad enough that you spend my cash like a high-school girl who got ahold of Daddy’s American Express Gold Card, but your spending habits don’t even make sense. Obamacare? So now, not only do I have to cover your doctor’s bills, but the IRS is going to break down the front door if I refuse? And after all that, some stuffed suit from the Department of Health and Human Services is going to means-test my viability? I’m sorry, honey; that doesn’t work for me.

And your pal Bernanke and his “quantitative easing” are making the cash I do earn worth less than the commemorative copies of those Michael Moore DVDs you keep buying. Also: Have you ever considered staying at a regular hotel? You know the Holiday Inn Express may not offer the same high-thread-count sheets as the Four Seasons, but it does have a nice breakfast buffet — and there’s a rumor that staying there can boost your brainpower a bit. You should consider that. And there are perfectly fashionable clothes out there that don’t cost as much as the rest of us make in a month. Some of them even fit — a tip you should share with your BFF, Michelle Obama.

I’m also not comfortable with some of the people with whom you hang out. That Barry Obama guy is a perfect example. He’s never held down a real job in his life, and you think he’s the guy to lead private enterprise back to prosperity? Have you even listened to this guy read a teleprompter? I’ve heard more sense on “The View.” He actually believes in something he calls “redistribution” and the rest of us call “theft.” I can dig your affinity for the whole “retro” thing, but why can’t you just hearken back to the 1980s instead of the 1880s? For someone who pretends to call herself “progressive,” you’re about as forward-looking as the AFL-CIO.

And we need to talk about those clowns, too. Union thugs are not simply bad news, doll. They’re bad guys. I know they seem like fun, but people who cross them have a tendency to meet severe fates. Look at what happened to those old folks who protested Obamacare. For that matter, look at what happened to General Motors. For that matter, look at what happened to Jimmy Hoffa — and he was one of their guys.

The union thugs aren’t even the heaviest hitters around. I know none of your little pals like to talk about it, but that Eric Holder is some piece of work. He’s the top law enforcement official in the United States, and he perjured himself in front of Congress as easily as Obama skips national security briefings to play 18 at Congressional. You really ought to think about the effect an association with a man who thinks engineering and then covering up the murder a Federal agent can have on your reputation.

Then, there are those gals from Planned Parenthood. As I told you before, if you want to vacuum babies out of your uterus, you’re welcome to it. But I can’t be a part of that. I don’t glean any joy from upsetting you; but I’d rather risk your wrath than His, if you get my drift.

And, baby, the fact that you’ll let someone like Joe Biden anywhere near you freaks me out. This is the guy you’re comfortable allowing within one heartbeat of “The Button,” and I’m not convinced he can spell either “heartbeat” or “button.” I’m actually not even convinced he can spell “the.” I’m willing to admit he can be somewhat entertaining, but so can the better Vegas floor shows. And no one thinks the girls with the small clothing and the fans should be one office down from nuclear Armageddon.

I won’t even get into those sock puppets at the Democrat Channel (MSNBC) and the rest of the corporate media flunkies you listen to. The right has some borderline personalities of their own, but your “news” sources are about as informative as those late-night infomercials. Honey, Chris Matthews is absolutely certifiable. Between Chrissie and the rest of the Obama Protection League claiming everything anyone says is racist, we’re all going to end up with a smaller vocabulary than one of those so-called “Occupy” fleabags after a turn in the “hemp tent.”

You also really don’t do well with our neighbors. If someone tries to burn down the house, you don’t give him my money and hope that encourages him to find a new hobby. And you certainly don’t blame me for his lack of compunction. Likewise, blaming our friendlier neighbors because the hoodlums down the street can’t behave themselves is poor form.

We’ve had some good times, baby. But we’ve clearly grown apart. I believe in freedom, justice and American exceptionalism; and you’re a Democrat. It’s time we see other people. I’m going to stay here, since I paid for the place. You should check out some places where the folks share your interests. I’m thinking North Korea. I wish I could say “it’s not you; it’s me;” but I really can’t. It isn’t me; it’s really you.

Good luck,

Ben

Mideast: A New America

In an illustration of American foreign policy so elegantly simplified that even the most un-informed among American citizens can see that it is flawed, former President Bill Clinton explained on Sunday what destabilized Mideast countries like Libya need the most: Wal-Mart.

Amid the upheaval throughout the Arab world that has been — questionably — attributed to the discovery of an offensive anti-Muslim film produced by an American smut peddler, Muslim protesters have spoken out against the influence of Western culture. Anti-Western protests are phenomenon not uncommon throughout Arab nation-states for more than half a century.

Clinton, speaking to a gathering at the annual Clinton Global Initiative Summit, challenged Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, who was a panelist at the event. “If the new president of Libya asked you to open a store in Tripoli, would you consider it?”

Clinton’s reasoning is that people simply want jobs, and giving those jobs would stabilize radicalism.

At the same conference, the former President’s wife and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also had a message for countries in the process of restructuring.

“One of the issues I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country,” Clinton said. “It is a fact that around the world the elites of every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to their growth of their own countries.”

In essence, despite the idealistic lie that Americans are simply in the business of disseminating democracy throughout the world, it is not the sort of people-first democracy that is romanticized in American high-school textbooks. It is the “democracy” currently enjoyed by citizens of the United States, wherein government is run by elite banksters and corporate money movers via political affiliations. Those who do not have the connections to benefit from government manipulation are then taxed into oblivion, creating a corporate-political feudal system whereby all the players are on the same team.

This will be nothing new to Arab nation states, only the dictators will have a different, less blatant appearance. But, don’t expect to see the Mideast States of America become a fluid reality any time before the war that will eliminate any dissent in the region.

Will Your Child Be Safe At School If A Pandemic Strikes?

These days, everyone from your neighbor to your employer and, hopefully, you may be developing preparedness plans in the event of bioterrorist attacks or flu pandemics. Unfortunately, your child’s school is likely to be very unprepared.

Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the dire consequences that faced the Nation in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza pandemic-that-wasn’t resulted in 18,000 deaths worldwide, many U.S. schools are not prepared for bioterrorism attacks, outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases or pandemics, according to a study by researchers at Saint Louis University’s Institute for Biosecurity.

The study, led by Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., surveyed about 2,000 nurses working in elementary, middle and high schools across 26 States. Findings revealed that only 48 percent of schools address pandemic preparedness and only 40 percent of schools have updated their plans since the 2009 H1N1 scare that affected 214 countries.

“There is a lot of research that shows influenza spreads quickly in schools because it’s a communicable disease and kids interact closely,” Professor Rebmann said. “Schools need to have a written pandemic plan in order to be prepared to put interventions into place quickly when an event occurs.”

Published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the study also found that 44 percent of schools do not participate in community surveillance that tracks the presence of a disease based upon symptoms reported by area residents. These efforts are coordinated through local public health departments that assess indicators of biological threats.

“Health care professionals can best inform school administrators about unique aspects of pandemic planning that need to be included in school disaster plans,” Rebmann said. “Results from this study indicate that better prepared schools were ones that involved their nurses in the disaster planning committee. The school nurse is the best person in a school district to know about infection control and be able to make recommendations about the best interventions to implement during a biological event.”

The Cookie Of Communism

While President Barack Obama and his corporate media minions have tried desperately to dodge the heat they deserve for the Pandora’s box of ills currently dominating the headlines, one of Obama’s lowlights has surfaced; and it literally defines Obama then and Obama now.

Speaking to an audience at Loyola University Chicago in 1998, then-State Senator Obama stated:

I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some [wealth] redistribution — because I actually believe in some redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.

Although the video doesn’t show it, methinks the erstwhile community organizer must have had a copy of Das Kapital open in his lap, because nothing else could even approach explaining a philosophy so diametrically opposed to everything that makes the American system so much better than the late and unlamented efforts to impose Karl Marx’s ideology on the planet. And though 15 years have passed since young Legislator Obama showed his cards to everyone at the table, older President Obama is still playing the same hand.

Think of it this way: Let’s say someone bakes cookies. I then eat the lion’s share of the cookies, though others hoped for a bite. According to Obama circa-1998 through 2012, the only way to give everyone a cookie is to take some from me — by force, if necessary (and if the cookies are chocolate chip, then force will absolutely be required). It never occurs to liberals like Obama that they could simply bake more cookies. In an ever-diversifying global economy, there are always more cookies. Just because I gorge myself doesn’t mean everyone else has to go hungry. They do have to get in the kitchen, however.

Of course, that would require actual work, which would in turn take time away from standing around in Zuccotti Park demanding I hand over the snickerdoodles. People who work and buy their own dessert quickly learn that once they’ve earned a cookie, they’ll be damned if they’ll hand it over to the deadbeats who join Obama in accusing them of hoarding Mrs. Fields® treats.

The Democrats attempted to dismiss Obama’s remarks as somehow out of date or unimportant by deploying the corporate media’s self-proclaimed “fact checkers,” which is the political equivalent of assigning Marion Barry to lead an anti-drug task force. The same guys who thought vaguely sourced tales of Mitt Romney’s five-decades-old amateur hairstyling were worth a mention have decided that Obama’s statement in support of what amounts to Marxism isn’t relevant because he said it way back in the 1990s.

Herr Marx said essentially the same things way back in the 1890s. His ideas led to the deaths of uncountable millions, oppression on a global scale, two world wars and nearly a century of proxy conflicts. Should Obama succeed in his clearly stated plan to impose the same “redistribution” on the rest of us, no one outside his select group of hypocrites will get any cookies at all.

Ben Crystal

Village Voice And Backpage.com Are Split

DENVER, (UPI) —  One of the new owners of the Village Voice said his firm had no interest in purchasing the New York newspaper’s online classified ad company Backpage.com.

“Backpage.com has been a distraction, there is no question. It’s just not about what we do,” said Scott Tobias, who is slated to take the chief executive officer position at Voice Media Group, which is taking control of the Village Voice and 12 other alternative newspapers.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Village Voice Media Holdings LLC, is keeping Backpage.com, a controversial classified ad service that includes advertisements for adult entertainment that have provoked accusations that the company promotes child sex trafficking.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Village Voice has lost 40 percent of its circulation since 2006, when it was bought by Village Voice Media Holdings, which is controlled by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.

The company’s attorney says it is in a good position to help law enforcement deal with child sex crimes.

“The commercial sexual exploitation of children is an abhorrence in our society. It is an appalling street crime and it is appalling as an Internet crime. It is also an extremely complex problem and it must be fought intelligently,” said the company’s general attorney, Elizabeth McDougall.

“Backpage is at the forefront of fighting it intelligently online with approximately 80 percent of its staff dedicated to operating a 24/7 triple-tier prevention system … and an unparalleled law enforcement support system,” she said.

Backpage has 79 percent of the market share of online adult service classified ads and takes in $2.3 million in revenue each month, Advanced Interactive Media Group says.

GM Initiates Huge Recall

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  General Motors is recalling 426,240 vehicles with a quirk in a cable that could falsely give the impression the cars are in park, regulators said.

The recall involves Chevrolet Malibus from model years 2008-2010, Pontiac G6 vehicles from the same years and Saturn Auras from model years 2007-2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday.

The models recalled have four-speed automatic transmissions.

The faulty component is the gear position indicator, which relies on tabs at the end of a transmission shift cable to properly align the indicator with the shifter. When the tabs fracture, “the driver would be able to move the shifter to ‘PARK’ and remove the ignition key, but the transmission gear may not be in ‘PARK.’ The vehicle may not be able to be restarted and the vehicle could roll away after the driver has exited the vehicle, resulting in a possible crash without prior warning,” the commission said in a statement.

GM will replace the shift cable or install a retainer over the cable end free of charge, the NHTSA said.

Consumers can call 800-521-7300 for information.

Crude Oil Ducks Under $92

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  Crude oil prices slipped over the weekend, sliding under $92 per barrel as equities were weak in Asia and Europe.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for November delivery gave up 99 cents to $91.90 per barrel.

Natural gas lost 1.6 0.8 cents to $2.869 per million British thermal units. Home heating oil shed 1.7 cents to $3.1007 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline lost 2.11 cents to $2.7984 per gallon.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.833 per gallon, down from Thursday’s $3.846, AAA reported.

Striving-For-7 Lowers Heart Attack Risk

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, (UPI) —  A diet high in total antioxidants — from fruit and vegetables — is associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction in women, researchers in Sweden say.

Lead investigator Alicja Wolk of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, tracked 32,561 Swedish women ages 49-83 from September 1997 through December 2007.

The women completed a food-frequency questionnaire in which they were asked how often, on average, they consumed each type of food or beverage during the last year.

The investigators calculated estimates of total antioxidant capacity from a database that measures the oxygen radical absorption capacity of the most common foods in the United States because no equivalent database of Swedish foods exists, Wolk said.

The women were categorized into five groups of total antioxidant capacity of diet.

“Our study was the first to look at the effect of all dietary antioxidants in relation to myocardial infarction,” Wolk said in a statement. “Total antioxidant capacity measures in a single value all antioxidants present in diet and the synergistic effects between them.”

The study, published in The American Journal of Medicine, found with the highest total antioxidant capacity had a 20 percent lower risk, and they consumed almost seven servings per day of fruit and vegetables, which was nearly three times more than the women with the least antioxidant capacity, who on average consumed 2.4 servings.

Dog Treat Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk

DENVER, (UPI) —  A Denver company says it is voluntarily recalling its dog treat Boots & Barkley 5-inch American Beef Bully Sticks, due to Salmonella risk.

“Salmonella can sicken animals that eat these products and humans are at risk for salmonella poisoning from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the pet products or any surfaces exposed to these products,” officials of Kasel Associated Industries in Denver said in a statement.

“Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. In rare cases, Salmonella could result in arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms.”

Pets with Salmonella might be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting, but some pets would have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain, company officials said.

“Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans,” Kasel officials said. “If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.”

The product sold nationwide in Target retail stores from April through September came in a clear plastic bag containing six bully sticks marked with bar code number 647263899189. Kasel Industries with the lot numbers: BESTBY20APR2014DEN, BESTBY01JUN2014DEN, BESTBY23JUN2014DEN and BESTBY23SEP2014DEN.

No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this problem and no other products made by Kasel Associated Industries were included in the recall, Kasel said.

For more information contact Kasel Associated Industries at 1-800-218-4417 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT.

Sesame, Rice Bran Oil Cuts Blood Pressure

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  Cooking with a blend of sesame and rice bran oils may reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, researchers in Japan say.

Dr. Devarajan Sankar, a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseaseat Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan, said rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient’s cholesterol profile.

The study involved 300 equal men and women in New Delhi average age 57 with mild to moderately high blood pressure who were divided into three groups.

One group was treated with the blood pressure lowering medication calcium-channel blocker, or nifedipine. The second group was given 1 ounce of oil blend and told to use it each day in their meals. The third group received the calcium channel blocker and the oil blend.

Systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 14 points for those using only the oil blend and 16 points for those taking medication, but those using both oil blend and medication saw a 36-point drop.

Diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number — also dropped significantly: 11 points for those eating the oil, 12 for those on medication and 24 for those using both.

Those using the oils saw a 26 percent drop in their low-density lipoprotein, the “bad,” cholesterol and a 9.5 percent increase in the high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol. There were no changes in cholesterol for those taking the medication and those taking both had a 27 percent drop in LDL levels and a 10.9 percent increase in the HDL.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in Washington.

Burger Grease Weighs Heavy On SoCal Air

RIVERSIDE, Calif., (UPI) —  Commercial charbroilers emit more particulate matter into the air than diesel truck engines, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, said.

Commercial cooking equipment is the second-largest source of particulate matter in Southern California’s South Coast Air Basin. Researchers co-funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District are evaluating potential controls.

“Emissions from commercial charbroilers are a very significant uncontrolled source of particulate matter … more than twice the contribution by all of the heavy-duty diesel trucks,” Bill Welch, principal development engineer for the study at UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology said Wednesday in a university release. “For comparison, an 18-wheeler diesel-engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particles as a single charbroiled hamburger patty.”

Genes Give Clues To Cheetah’s Spots

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., (UPI) —  The gene that helps give tigers their stripes has been identified by researchers with ties to Stanford and Alabama’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

The researchers say new genetic findings help explain why cheetahs have spots and tabby cats have stripes.

“Until now, there’s been no obvious biological explanation for cheetah spots or the stripes on tigers, zebras or even the ordinary house cat,” Dr. Gregory Barsh, faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha and emeritus professor of genetics at Stanford University, said in a statement Friday.

Sequence differences between striped and blotched domestic cats pointed to a gene researchers named Taqpep.

Researchers said their examination of genes expressed in dark versus light hair cells revealed patterned markings are due to variations in another gene, Edn3, being expressed at high levels in the darkly colored hair cells.

“The researchers thus suggest that the Taqpep gene helps to establish either a periodic pattern for stripes or a spotted or blotched pattern, by determining the level of Edn3 expressed in each skin area at an early stage of the cat’s development,” HudsonAlpha’s release said.

Barsh said discovery of new genetic pathways and mechanisms is the foundation for understanding the blueprint encoded in any genome, including humans.

“Uncovering new biologic principles in animals that are more closely related to humans, like cats, dogs and laboratory mice, may reveal unexpected insights with far-reaching implications for human biology and disease,” he said.

The findings are published in the Sept. 21 issue of Science.

NASA: Dragon Prepared For Space Flight

HOUSTON, (UPI) —  NASA says the first contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station is targeted for early next month in Florida.

NASA and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft are ready for the SpaceX CRS-1 mission Oct. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A backup launch opportunity is available Oct. 8.

“The launch of the Dragon spacecraft will be the first of 12 contracted flights by SpaceX to resupply the space station and marks the second trip by a Dragon to the station, following a successful demonstration mission in May,” NASA said Thursday in a release. “SpaceX services under the [Commercial Resupply Services] contract will restore an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including science experiments, to the orbiting laboratory — a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle.”

NASA said the Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies and will return with about 734 pounds of scientific materials, as well as about 504 pounds of space station hardware.

Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

Election Predicted In Unusual Ways

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  U.S. Halloween mask sales thus far predict President Barack Obama will win a second term, while a pair of Colorado professors picked challenger Mitt Romney.

Halloween mask sales, which have correctly predicted the outcomes of the last four presidential elections, indicate the Democratic president will have another four years in office after sales of his Halloween mask outpaced sales of masks in the likeness of the Republican challenger by 30 percent on BuyCostumes.com, ABC News reported Monday.

Meanwhile, University of Colorado Professor Michael Berry and a colleague said their complex political science model, which takes state and national unemployment rates and changes in per capita income into account, said their model has correctly predicted the outcomes of the past 8 elections and they now believe Romney will take the White House in November’s election.

“Certainly, most of the polling data projects Obama is likely to win, but we don’t account for any polling or public opinion,” Berry said. “I would still bet that Romney wins.”

However, online gambling numbers, which have predicted the correct outcomes of the past two elections, overwhelmingly predict an Obama victory, with website Intrade giving a 70 percent likelihood of a second term for Obama.

NYC Schools Offer Birth Control Options

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  A program at New York City high schools offering students different forms of birth control has met little resistance from parents, officials said.

The pilot program — called the Catch program, or Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare — has been started in 14 New York City high schools since January 2011, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Through the program, students have access to condoms, birth control pills and the emergency contraceptive Plan B, without the knowledge of their parents.

Parents at the 14 schools were sent letters informing them about CATCH and had the option of signing and returning an opt-out statement, The New York Times reported.

Only one or two percent of parents returned the opt-out form, health department officials said.

In the 2011-12 school year, some 567 students received emergency contraception and 580 received the birth-control pill Reclipsen through the city program, officials said.

“In New York City, over 7,000 young women become pregnant by age 17 — 90 percent of which are unplanned,” Alexandra Waldhorn, a health department spokeswoman, said. “We are committed to trying new approaches, like this pilot program in place since January 2011, to improve a situation that can have lifelong consequences.”

U.S. Approval At 20 Percent In Arab World

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  Just one-in-five adults in the Middle East and North Africa approves of U.S. leaders’ job performance, a new Gallup poll reports.

By far, the United States is most popular in Libya, where 54 percent of people approve of U.S. leadership. It is the only one of 12 nations surveyed where a majority of the population rates America positively. Conversely, America is least popular in Iran, where just 8 percent approves of the U.S. and more than two-in-three adults there disapprove of American leaders, the survey found.

Other countries included in the survey were: Algeria (36 percent approve/61 percent disapprove); Turkey (26 percent approve/55 percent disapprove); Syria (24 percent approve/45 percent disapprove); Yemen (24 percent approve/48 percent disapprove); Morocco (23 percent approve/33 percent disapprove); Iraq (22 percent approve/60 percent disapprove); Lebanon (21 percent approve/62 percent disapprove); Palestinian Territories (18 percent approve/73 percent disapprove); Egypt (16 percent approve/66 percent disapprove); and Tunisia (13 percent approve/60 percent disapprove).

The poll, which puts U.S. approval at 20 percent, notes a 5 percent decrease in that rate over the four years Barack Obama has been president, but a 5 percent increase from the 15 percent approval rating during President George W. Bush’s final year in office.

The survey is based on between 1,000 and 5,000 face-to-face interviews done in each nation over the first six months of 2012. The sampling error is within 3.3 percent and 3.8 percent.

Shelter Looking For Housing For 42 Pound Cat

RICHARDSON, Texas, (UPI) —  Employees at an animal shelter in Texas say they are trying to find a good home for a 42-pound stray cat.

The cat, a female tabby named Skinny, was found in the backyard of a Richardson resident last week and was later picked up by animal services and brought to the Richardson Animal Shelter, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

Because of Skinny’s size, veterinarians said she needs to spend some time at another shelter so she can safely lose weight.

“With cats you have to be more careful with dieting, as too-rapid weight loss can have adverse affects,” said Yvette Pedroza, a veterinarian at the East Dallas Veterinary Clinic. “The cat can suffer from diseases such as hepatic lipidosis [fatty liver syndrome]. … Usually we recommend a weight loss of 1 percent per week.”

Skinny “can’t even get into a normal litter box,” said Dennis Wooten, manager at the shelter.

Wooten said his shelter has received hundreds of phone calls from people eager to adopt Skinny, but fears many of the callers wished to adopt her merely for the novelty of her size.

“The cat will be placed with an animal shelter so [she] gets proper care,” Wooten said. “There are going to be some long-term expenses involved in taking care of this cat.”

Until then, Skinny has been placed on a low-calorie diet and is getting some exercise, KDFW-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth reported.

“Be cognizant that you don’t overfeed your pets,” Wooten said.

Subway Employee Throws Food At Robbers

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  A teenager working at a New York City Subway fast food restaurant said she fended off three would-be robbers by throwing food at them.

The robbery attempt began around 8 p.m. Wednesday when one thief asked 17-year-old Tiffany Hobbins for a free cup, the New York Post reported.

“I told him, ‘No, it’s against corporate rules,'” Hobbins said. “Then another guy was wandering around, he asked me for a turkey and cheese sandwich. I asked him if he knew the other guy and he said no.”

“When I was making the sandwich another guy with a red jacket and a black ski mask said, ‘This is a robbery. Give me the cash from the register,'” she recounted.

Hobbins said at first she thought the three men were joking, but then one of the thieves tried to cut her with what she later learned was a USB port.

Then, “I started fighting back,” she said.

“I started throwing stuff at them, food and the lids we have behind the counter,” Hobbins said.

Hobbins said she has been working at the store since February and has no intentions of quitting after the incident.

“I’m not quitting. Why would I quit?” she said.