Too Much, Too Little Fish Increases Irregular Heartbeat Risk

ATHENS, Greece (UPI) — Eating too little or too much fish may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, Danish researchers say.

Dr. Thomas Rix and colleagues from Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark found a U-shaped association between consumption of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids — n-3 PUFA — and the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, with people who have both low and high intakes found to suffer more from atrial fibrillation than those with median intakes.

However, the study, presented at the European Heart Rhythm Association EUROPACE Congress in Athens, found the lowest risk of atrial fibrillation was found in those who consumed about two servings of fatty fish per week.

“Since atrial fibrillation is present in more than 6 million people in Europe and associated with considerable morbidity, mortality and economic costs, preventing atrial fibrillation by achievable dietary changes would be of major public interest,” Rix said in a statement.Robotic pet increased pleasure of dementia patientsMonday, June 24, 2013 11:52 PMBRISBANE, Australia, June 25 (UPI) —  A robotic harp seal increased quality of life, increased levels of pleasure and reduced anxiety of dementia patients, Australian researchers say.

Professor Wendy Moyle from Griffith University in Australia, Professor Glenda Cook of Northumbria University and researchers from institutions in Germany investigated the effect of interacting with PARO, a robotic harp seal, compared with participation in a reading group.

PARO is fitted with artificial intelligence software and tactile sensors that allow it to respond to touch and sound. It can show emotions such as surprise, happiness and anger, can learn its own name and learns to respond to words its owner uses frequently, Moyle said.

Eighteen participants living in a residential aged care facility in Queensland, Australia, took part in activities with PARO for five weeks and also participated in a control reading group activity for the same period.

Following both trial periods the impact was assessed, using recognized clinical dementia measurements, for how the activities had influenced the participants’ quality of life, tendency to wander, level of apathy, levels of depression and anxiety ratings.

Research has already shown interaction with animals can have a beneficial effect on older adults, but they can place residents at risk of infection or injury and create additional duties for nursing staff.

This latest study suggests PARO companions elicit a similar response and could potentially be used in residential settings to help reduce some of the symptoms of dementia such as agitation, aggression, isolation and loneliness.

Type 2 Diabetes: Losing Weight Helpful, But Not For Heart Risk

CHICAGO (UPI) — Overweight people with type 2 diabetes who lose weight get health benefits, but lower risk of heart attack is not one of them, U.S. researchers say.

Rena R. Wing of Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues said half of the 5,145 participants in a trial were assigned to an intensive diet and exercise program involving individual and group meetings on strategies for weight loss. The other half received a general program of diabetes education and support several times a year.

Participants were tracked for about 10 years.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found those in the lifestyle group lost about 8.6 percent of their starting weight the first year and maintained an average 6 percent of weight loss after 10 years. Those in the diabetes education group lost about 1 percent of their starting weight after one year, and 3.5 percent after 10 years.

Those in the lifestyle group were 30 percent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease, had better average blood sugar levels, had better high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol, and required less medication.

The study found no difference between the two groups in the number of heart attacks and strokes — but the heart risk was low in both groups.

The findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific meeting in Chicago.

Half Of U.S. Youths Exercise Enough, Most Don’t Eat Produce

BETHESDA, Md. (UPI) — Half of U.S. adolescents are physically active five or more days of the week, and fewer than 1-in-3 eat fruit and vegetables daily, researchers say.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health surveyed 10,000 students ages 11-16 in 39 states about their  physical activity levels, eating habits, emotional health, body image and general life satisfaction.

“The students showed a surprising variability in eating patterns,” lead author Ronald J. Iannotti of the Prevention Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a statement. “But most — about 74 percent — did not have a healthy pattern.”

The researchers found that the adolescents’ diet and activity habits could be classified into three general categories: 26 percent were categorized as unhealthful; 27 percent were described as healthful and 47 percent were classified as typical.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found the typical youth were least likely to exercise five or more days each week or to eat fruits and vegetables at least once a day. They were more likely to spend time watching television, playing video games or on a computer than the healthful group and the unhealthful group. They infrequently ate fruits and vegetables but also infrequently ate sweets, chips or fries, or had soft drinks. This group was most likely to be overweight or obese and dissatisfied with the appearance of their bodies.

Most in the healthful group reported exercising five or more days per week — the highest rate of the three groups. They were least likely to spend time in front of a TV or computer screen and were most likely to report eating fruits and vegetables at least once a day, while the least likely to consume sweets, soft drinks, chips and French fries. They reported the lowest rates of depressive symptoms and the highest life satisfaction ratings, the study said.

The unhealthful group consumed the most sweets, chips, french fries and soft drinks; were most likely to spend 2 hours or more time in front of a screen. Despite the caloric foods they consumed, these youth were more likely to be underweight and to report needing to put on weight. They were also more likely to report symptoms of depression and of poor physical health, such as backaches, stomachaches, headaches or feeling dizzy, the study said.

U.S. Gasoline Prices Lower Ahead Of Holiday

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Retail gasoline prices in the United States moved closer to the expected summer average as commuters settled into the last work week before the July 4 holiday.

AAA reports U.S. consumers paid an average $3.55 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Tuesday, down 5 cents compared to the same time last week. California drivers paid the most with an average price of $4.06 per gallon. Commuters in Illinois paid $3.89, down 19 cents from last week.

The U.S. Midwest region was in the grips of a temporary price spike because of refinery issues in the Chicago area. South Carolina reported the lowest average price of $3.23 per gallon.

The Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department’s statistical arm, reports an average price of $3.57 for Monday, down 5 cents from the previous week. The EIA predicted regular gasoline will average $3.53 a gallon for the summer driving season, which lasts from April through September.

AAA reported last week it expects 40.8 million travelers will drive more than 50 miles from their homes during the upcoming July 4 holiday, a 0.8 percent decrease from last year.

Panda In China Has Twins In Successful Birth

BEIJING (UPI) — A giant panda has successfully given birth to twins in southwest China’s Sichuan province, the first such birth in the world this year, wildlife officials said.

‘The panda dubbed Haizi gave birth to the two cubs 10 minutes apart Saturday, workers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Reserve said.

The firstborn cub appears to be healthy, they said, based on its size and the volume of sound it is making. The second cub is slightly smaller but also appears healthy, they said.

Haizi got pregnant after mating with two male pandas in March, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Most giant pandas are not good breeders when in captivity and remain sexually inactive much of the time, officials said.

Afghan Bomb Makers Shift To New Explosives Materials

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Afghan insurgents have switched from fertilizer to potassium chlorate, the material that makes matches fire, to make homemade bombs, Pentagon research shows.

U.S. officials have attempted to stop the flow of fertilizer from Pakistan to Afghanistan. To an extent they succeeded, only to see a new source of explosives emerge. For the first time in the 12-year war, potassium chlorate is the most common ingredient of homemade explosives, fueling 60 percent of improvised explosives devices, or IEDs, USA Today reported Tuesday.

“What we have seen over the year is its use spreading across the country at an increasing rate,” said Al Sweetser, researcher at the Joint IED Defeat Organization, the Pentagon’s primary agency for combating homemade bombs.

Potassium chlorate is legal in Pakistan, and used in manufacturing matches and textiles. It is also cheaper and easier to use in manufacturing bombs than ammonium nitrate, the chief ingredient in fertilizer, Pentagon documents indicate.

Insurgents typically pack explosives into plastic jugs used for cooking oil. The bombs are detonated when stepped on or driven over, USA Today said.

Sweetser referred to it as a “victim-operated IED. It’s kind of the signature device of the conflict in Afghanistan. Very simple to construct with readily available materials, and very hard to counteract.”

Gang Of Eight Conversion Has Rubio’s Star Falling Among Conservatives

A new poll from the Rasmussen Report shows Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has lost much of the good will he’d cultivated among conservatives since his election during the Tea Party’s 2010 midterm surge.

The poll finds Rubio slipping among his base, with his approval rating among conservatives standing at 58 percent — a drop of 10 percentage points since May, and 15 points since February.

Blame the Gang of Eight. Rubio’s involvement in the push for a bipartisan agreement to effect immigration reform, and especially the inclusion of President Barack Obama’s sine qua non condition to allow amnesty and a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal aliens, has incensed the majority of Rubio’s conservative base.

He also hasn’t helped himself by flip-flopping on his election-year stance, when he famously slammed the immigration plan put forward by his present-day colleague in the Gang of Eight, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). “‘Earned path to citizenship’ is basically code for amnesty,” Rubio had said back then. “It is unfair to the people that have legally entered this country to create an alternative pathway for individuals who entered illegally and knowingly did so.”

Enjoy a walk down memory lane with this helpful graphic produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform:

Marco Rubio_amnesty_timeline_2-15-2013

Colorado’s West Fork Complex Wildfire Expected To Grow

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. (UPI) — The Colorado wildfire known as the West Fork Complex has burned more than 79,000 acres with zero containment and potential for growth, fire officials said.

Conditions for fighting the fire, near Pagosa Springs, Colo., north of Denver, improved Tuesday with winds up to 20 mph through most of the fire zones, the National Weather Service reported.

The fire is a combination of three wildfires — West Fork, Windy Pass and Papoose – in the area, The Denver Post said.

It is regarded as “very active” and “extreme fire behavior,” Inciweb, the U.S. Forest Service information management system, said.

Police Officers Wounded In Los Angeles Ambush

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — Officers were assigned to guard Los Angeles police stations Tuesday after two detectives were wounded in an early morning ambush.

The detectives, who were in an unmarked car, were shot outside the Wilshire station about 4:30 a.m. as the driver used a card to open the gate to the parking area, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both suffered minor injuries.

Commander Andrew Smith said the shooter knew the officers, who were in plain clothes, were with the Police Department.

A 25-block area around the Wilshire station was closed to both foot and vehicle traffic while officers searched for the gunman. Security was tightened at stations around the city.

“While this seems like an isolated incident, out of an abundance of caution, all of our stations are on heightened alert,” Smith said.

Three people had been detained, but Smith said none was believed to be the gunman.

Val Jones, 48, who lives near the Wilshire station, said she made a quick trip to an ATM at 6 a.m. to provide a friend with bus fare and was unable to return home.

“I’m tired, I’m ready to go home and I want some breakfast,” Jones told the Times. “Other than that they have to do what they have to do. I’m fine. I’m glad I used the bathroom before I came out.”

Sandy Death Toll Increases With April Discovery In Queens

NEW YORK (UPI) — New York City’s death toll following Hurricane Sandy has risen by one after the medical examiner’s office revealed a man was found dead long after the storm.

Keith Lancaster, 62, was found dead inside his trailer home in the Rockaway section of Queens on April 5, 150 days after the storm hit. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said Lancaster drowned inside the home.

Rockaway was devastated by the storm surge. Lancaster’s trailer had a high water mark of 5 feet, The New York Daily News said Tuesday.

Neighbors made the discovery five months after the storm.

The city’s death toll now stands at 44.

$1.2 Million Cash Stolen From Plane’s Cargo Container

NEW YORK (UPI) — Port Authority detectives are investigating the theft of $1.2 million in cash from a Swissair flight that landed at JFK Airport in New York City.

Authorities didn’t disclose where the jet had come from but said upon landing at JFK Monday, they found a bag that should have contained the money empty inside the external cargo container.

The New York Post said detectives are trying to determine when the thief gained access to the cargo container — at JFK after the flight landed or prior to the flight’s departure. The cargo container showed no signs of forced entry suggesting the theft may have taken place before the plane took off, the Post said.

Detectives are also investigating whether a mechanic, member of the flight crew or another airport worker might have had access to the area to steal the money.

No More Sunshine And Butterflies: NSA Fallout Broadsides Lib Lawmakers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had a pretty fail-safe formula for “preaching to the choir” speaking engagements over the past few years: Praise President Barack Obama, demonize conservatives and talk about rainbows, butterflies, abortion and homosexuality.

But revelations that the National Security Agency is spying on Americans is “gumming up the works” for liberals like Pelosi. She is increasingly being met by crowds of liberals angry that Obama’s tactics pretty much destroy the idea of leftist utopia.

“He did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents,” Pelosi said of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, addressing attendees of the annual Netroots National conference of liberal Internet activists. “We have to have a balance between security and privacy.”

She then moved to make the case to liberal supporters that Obama’s spying is somehow more noble than George W. Bush’s.

“People on the far right are saying oh, this is the fourth term of President Bush,” Pelosi said. “Absolutely, positively not so.”

The Democrat veteran lawmaker was promptly met with a barrage of shouts from the crowd in support of Snowden and the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s not a balance. It’s not Constitutional!” one attendee shouted before being removed. “No secret laws!”

And a chant could be heard emerging from the audience, “Leave him alone! Secrets and lies! No secret courts! Protect the 1st Amendment.”

As the event organizers attempted to quiet the crowd, the verbal jibes continued.

One man in attendance shouted at Pelosi what conservatives have been shouting at her for years, “You suck!”

IRS Handed Out Tax Dollars To Friends

Each year, American taxpayers file paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service declaring earnings, expenditures and write-offs; they then send the filings off to the tax agency and hope they aren’t subject to an audit. But when no one is watching the watcher, power is abused.

House investigators reveal in a recent report that one businessman’s friendship with an IRS official allowed him to accrue $500 million in taxpayer-funded Federal contracts.

“Today, the IRS cannot look taxpayers in the eye and truthfully say they are protecting their contributions to government,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa said in a statement. “By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts. Taxpayers deserve accountability and the Committee is troubled by this unacceptable behavior.”

Braulio Castillo, owner of Signet Computers, is accused of using his friendship with an IRS contracting official to secure the contracts. He denies any wrongdoing.

However, in a letter to Treasury officials, Issa said of the relationship between Castillo and the IRS employee: “At best, this is a conflict of interest that runs afoul of Part 3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. At worst, the IRS may have a situation in which a contracting official is awarding sole source contracts based on false justifications, or receiving kickbacks in exchange for government contracts.”

Benghazi Subpoenas; Obama’s Climate War; Kerry’s Replacement; The Elusive Snowden; Pork Bullets Send Martyrs To Hell — Monday Morning News Roundup 6-24-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who’s investigating last year’s terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, has subpoenaed four State Department officials, saying the department was stalling on efforts to interview them. Source: Washington Times…
  • President Barack Obama is launching fresh battles over climate change with plans to curb emissions using executive powers that sidestep Congress — including controversial rules to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. Source: The Hill…
  • Democratic U.S. Representative Edward Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez face off today in a special election to determine a successor to John Kerry, who left the Senate to lead the Obama Administration’s cabinet as Secretary of State. The race appears to be Markey’s to lose. Source: Reuters…
  • Russia’s foreign minister has said the surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden never crossed the border into the country, deepening the mystery over his suspected flight from Hong Kong. Source: The Guardian…
  • An Idaho ammunition manufacturer has developed “Jihawg,” a new line of pork-laced bullets they hope will fight against Islamic terrorists — and keep them from going to heaven. “With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack.” Source: CBS Seattle…

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

What Recovery? 7 Of 10 Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck

Savings rates among American families have remained stagnant over the duration of America’s supposed recovery from the 2008 recession, and most people live paycheck to paycheck, with virtually no cash on hand to see them through an emergency.

That’s the not-so-surprising news arising from Monday’s analysis of a recent survey by Bankrate.

The survey found that 71 percent of Americans don’t have enough money in savings to weather a six-month emergency’s worth of living expenses, 50 percent have no more than three months’ worth of savings, and 27 percent have no savings at all.

Senior Financial Analyst Greg McBride said there’s a strange dichotomy separating Americans’ relative optimism concerning their net worth, job security and progress toward retirement from the reality of chronic paycheck-to-paycheck living:

Just one in five Americans feels their overall financial situation is worse now than one year ago… [But]Americans continue to express discomfort with their level of savings.

And it’s no wonder, looking at the lack of progress Americans have made in establishing an adequate savings cushion. Just 24 percent of Americans have enough savings to cover six months’ worth of expenses — comparatively unchanged since 2011 and 2012. At the other end of the spectrum are the 27 percent of Americans that have no emergency savings whatsoever, further highlighting how little progress Americans have made in moving the needle on emergency savings.

Aside from exaggerated proclamations from President Barack Obama that the U.S. is on a strong track toward a full economic “recovery,” part of the reason for sluggish savings can be attributed to some families’ focus, during the post-recession years, of getting out of the red before even thinking about getting into the black. Many are still whittling away at debts, according to financial planner Richard T. Fight, and others are simply still in paycheck-to-paycheck mode after blowing through their savings when the recession claimed their jobs or forced them into an unexpected retirement.

“Three months’ worth of expenses is hard to think about when you’ve been trying to find work for so long,” he told Bankrate. “People who [are] unemployed or underemployed are just trying to get by.”

It’s worth noting, also, that the survey doesn’t clarify whether it considers government-backed income replacement funds like SNAP cards, subsidized student loans and Pell grants, unemployment and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) as income in its survey methodology.

‘Flu’ Has Little To Do With Influenza

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are nothing more than taxpayer-funded marketing arms for the medical industrial complex. They are used to provide government-sanctioned legitimacy to a host of fake “diseases” created in labs along with their cures: expensive pharmaceuticals and tests for diagnosis.

The CDC foists upon the public disinformation like this: “CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.” As the CDC believes that 3,000 to 49,000 annual deaths in a country with more than 313 million people is a travesty, it recommends everyone above age 6 should get the flu vaccine each year. It claims that the vaccine prevents flu 50 percent to 70 percent of the time.

Notice the use of the words “flu-associated deaths.” That’s because the CDC adds pneumonia deaths as if the flu is the sole cause of pneumonia. But as Peter Doshi, Ph.D., revealed in a 2005 report published in the British Medical Journal, actual annual flu deaths are measured in the dozens, not the thousands. From his report:

“[I]nfluenza and pneumonia” took 62,034 lives in 2001–61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.

In other words, the influenza virus was actually present in only 18 of 62,034 deaths attributed to both influenza and pneumonia.

Now Doshi has new published research in the BMJ in which he has found that in the hundreds of thousands of respiratory samples taken each year from flu patients in the United States and tested in labs, only 16 percent test positive for the influenza virus. It turns out that most flu cases are actually caused by bacteria or fungus or any of a number of other things except the influenza virus being blamed.

Doshi writes:

But perhaps the cleverest aspect of the influenza marketing strategy surrounds the claim that “flu” and “influenza” are the same. The distinction seems subtle, and purely semantic. But general lack of awareness of the difference might be the primary reason few people realize that even the ideal influenza vaccine, matched perfectly to circulating strains of wild influenza and capable of stopping all influenza viruses, can only deal with a small part of the “flu” problem because most “flu” appears to have nothing to do with influenza. Every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory specimens are tested across the US. Of those tested, on average 16% are found to be influenza positive.

The best preventative for the flu is adequate levels of vitamin D3.

International Community Rejects American Hegemony In Efforts To Capture Snowden

With regard to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, it looks like the United States’ international hegemonic policies have encouraged a number of foreign leaders to question the Nation’s dedication to justice and resist calls to turn the whistle-blower over to U.S. authorities.

There is a noticeable disconnect between what U.S. officials say on the international stage about the need to protect whistle-blowers and dissidents, and how officials go about dealing with people who engage in those activities at home.

As of Monday, Russian and Ecuadorian officials were in close contact discussing options for providing asylum from U.S. prosecution to Snowden, who traveled to Russia at the invitation of government officials over the weekend.

The Administration of President Barack Obama, a bipartisan troop of American establishment lawmakers and U.S. prosecutors have already declared Snowden a traitor and charged him with spying under the outdated Espionage Act of 1917. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino asked a question Monday that is likely on the minds of most average Americans: Has Snowden really betrayed average Americans and their safety, or did he simply ruffle the feathers of the Nation’s powerful elite?

Ecuador is considering offering Snowden permanent asylum, questioning whether the whistle-blower has any real chance of receiving a fair trial in his home country. The nation’s leaders say they feel compelled to offer Snowden asylum because they operate under a policy of placing human rights before the interests of any party. Furthermore, Ecuadorian officials say it doesn’t make sense that a man who revealed rights abuses would face prosecution from the alleged abusers.

“It should be asked, who betrayed whom,” Patino stressed, as he questioned calling Snowden’s leak “treason.”

“Is this betraying the citizens of the world, or betraying some elites that are in power in a certain country?” the Minister pondered.

In making his case for asylum to the international community, Snowden has plenty of examples to strengthen his argument. He has frequently referenced the Federal government’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning leading up to his court martial for leaking Army documents to Wikileaks. That leak turned international opinion strongly against the United States, as it highlighted possible war crimes at the hands of American soldiers.

“It is unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment before trial, and also I have the risk of life imprisonment or death,” Snowden said in his asylum bid.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has doubled down on portraying Snowden as a traitor. Secretary of State John Kerry chided nations that have helped Snowden evade U.S. officials.

“There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship” with the United States if foreign actions were helping the whistle-blower skirt American prosecution.

“There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong and, if there was adequate notice, I don’t know yet what the communication status was, but if there was, it would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result,” Kerry said. “With respect to Russia, likewise.”

As for Ecuador, officials in the nation appear poised to reject U.S. efforts to prosecute Snowden as well.

“The relationship between the U.S. and Ecuador should be based on respect for the sovereignty of both countries and our actions are founded on our principles. We consider the consequences of our decisions, but we act in the name of our principles,” said Patino.

Teachers’ Union Boss: Gun Lovers Are Going To Hell

If you are a 2nd Amendment supporter, you better hope your child’s teacher isn’t taking notes from the heads of America’s educators’ unions.

The vice president of the National Education Association (NEA) made an outrageous statement Friday about 2nd Amendment supporters: She outright condemned them to hell.

Speaking before a gathering of liberal activists who convened for the Netroots Nation convention, NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said of politicians and lobbyists working to promote gun rights: “I’m not an ordained minister; I’m not a theologian, but these guys are going to hell.”

Garcia was speaking on a panel called “Not Another Newtown: Building a Movement to Prevent Gun Violence,” a discussion aimed at teaching liberal activists the best tactics for pressuring lawmakers into passing stricter gun laws.

“We have to make those Senators as frightened of us as they are of the gun lobby,” she said. “Shame on us if we give one inch to the gun lobby. They got where they are because they never give up. … Now the movement is us; we are the ones we were waiting for.”

The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are two education-affiliated groups who have made a continual effort to reignite legislative efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws, despite the death of a Senate gun-control effort in April.

AFT President Randi Weingarten told the gathering of 3,000 liberal activists that the anti-gun crowd should take note of the success the homosexual lobby and immigration advocates have by making the issue personal.

“When people see faces and when they are impacted individually, it changes minds,” she said, according to Mercury News.

On her NEA blog, Garcia gives an example of the mindset of the educator unions, writing:

They have built over the years an army of politicians – local, state and national – who either inexplicably agree with Any Gun to Anyone or who conveniently agree to be quiet and not ask inconvenient questions. This army of politicians trumped 90% of Americans. For my friend, the handwriting was on the wall. Defeat. How sad. Give up.

Here is why we will not: Babies died. Our sons and daughters and grandchildren died. Our neighbors and relatives died. We won’t give up because silence means it will happen again. It means it could get worse. There are serious and idiotic debates on whether to arm teachers and train them for shoot-outs in the hall because the gun lobby’s answers to gun violence always involve selling more guns to Anybody to prepare for the next inevitable tragedy.

Their answers never involve preventing the next inevitable tragedy, but the next tragedy is inevitable only if those 90% of Americans fail to act.

The increasing vigor with which the Nation’s teachers’ unions are calling for stricter gun-control laws could explain the uptick in reports involving teachers going to great lengths to make guns seem evil in the classroom — even those of the orange-tipped plastic, gestural or chewed-out-of-a-pastry varieties.

The Bill Of Rights: An Updating

Congress of Liberals

Begun and held on board Warren Buffett’s private jet, on a day that is none of your business, peon.

The Conventions of a number of the Democrats, having at the time of their abrogating the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent protection by or use of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public obedience to the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

Resolved by the President and his accomplices against the United States of America, in smoky back rooms assembled, two thirds of both Houses ignored, that the following Articles be imposed on the People of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three or four Democrats, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

Articles in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by liberal hate groups, and ratified by the New York Times editorial board, pursuant to the Communist Manifesto and Rules for Radicals.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion other than the worship of its authority, or allowing the free exercise thereof; or promoting the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being a threat to the security of the Democrats, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be permitted.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, unless the house belongs to someone who didn’t vote for the President.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, unless Harry Reid heard from some guy that they didn’t pay their “fair share.”

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury or the Attorney General, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger, or in the event that person has demonstrated resistance to the President and the Democrats; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, unless that offence involves aforementioned resistance; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless the National Security Agency catches them reading Personal Liberty Digest™, or watching FOX News, or buying a copy of Atlas Shrugged, or attending a Tea Party rally; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation, unless a real estate developer determines it would be a good location for a shopping center or homeless shelter or ACORN office.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed guilty by a partisan jury of the corporate media; unless the accused is a cop-killer, or islamofascist terrorist, or a union thug, or might otherwise be considered really cool by the Democrats, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation via notice broadcast on MSNBC or uploaded to the Huffington Post; to be berated by Code Pink; to be mocked by Bill Maher when he’s not enumerating his “mommy issues,” and to be burned in effigy by the Occupy fleabags.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, as long as the American Trial Lawyers’ Association can make an easy buck off it.

Amendment VIII

The People will pay what the government tells them; and will thank the Government for the privilege.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the President.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the President by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the President, are reserved to the President, or to Hillary Clinton.

–Ben Crystal

SCOTUS Punts On Affirmative Action; Clarence Thomas Calls Practice ‘A Nonstarter’

The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to hand down a landmark decision Monday, one that would determine the fate of affirmative action in America.

Instead, it took no action and remanded the case back to a lower court, opining that a university’s admissions practices weren’t properly vetted by the lower court and that, in reconsidering the case, the lower court should examine the process correctly — instead of “deferring to the University’s good faith,” as Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The decision doesn’t have the effect of endorsing or repealing affirmative action, but it does suggest the Supreme Court is stocked with justices who, if a merits case appeared before them, would favor ending the 48-year-old practice.

In his opinion Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas went beyond that hypothetical, letting it be known that he clearly believes there’s no place in America for institutionalized racial favoritism. He revisited his minority opinion of the 2003 case of Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the court upheld another university’s affirmative action admissions practices:

I write separately to explain that I would overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306 (2003), and hold that a State’s use of race in higher education admissions decisions is categorically prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause…Attaining diversity for its own sake is a nonstarter. As even Grutter recognized, the pursuit of diversity as an end is nothing more than impermissible “racial balancing.” … Rather, diversity can only be the means by which the University obtains educational benefits; it cannot be an end pursued for its own sake. Therefore, the educational benefits allegedly produced by diversity must rise to the level of a compelling state interest in order for the program to survive strict scrutiny.

…It is also noteworthy that, in our desegregation cases, we rejected arguments that are virtually identical to those advanced by the University today. The University asserts, for instance, that the diversity obtained through its discriminatory admissions program prepares its students to become leaders in a diverse society… The segregationists likewise defended segregation on the ground that it provided more leadership opportunities for blacks.

Monday’s case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, involved a white woman who was denied admission to the university and sued on the grounds of racial discrimination, arguing that other less-qualified minority students had been admitted ahead of her, thanks to affirmative action.

Instead of delivering a seismic ruling that favored either the plaintiff or the university, the Supreme Court essentially interjected the court system into future affirmative action policies at universities by asserting that schools must apply “strict scrutiny” in justifying the role racial background is to play in the admissions process. As Amy Howe explained the ruling Monday on SCOTUS blog:

The Court in Fisher took pains to make clear exactly what this means:  courts can no longer simply rubber-stamp a university’s determination that it needs to use affirmative action to have a diverse student body.  Instead, courts themselves will need to confirm that the use of race is “necessary” — that is, that there is no other realistic alternative that does not use race that would also create a diverse student body.  Because the lower court had not done so, the Court sent the case back for it to determine whether the university could make this showing.

America Goes South

By the time you read this, our redoubtable defenders of freedom in the U.S. Senate will have voted on whether to turn the illegal immigration spigot from “steady stream” to “build an ark.” Though my deadline arrived before the vote on the nearly 1200-page behemoth of bureaucracy, I doubt I’m treading on thin ice by guessing the Senate voted “si.”

Of course in doing so, the vaunted 100 is essentially telling those of us who’ve been paying them those fabulous six-figure salaries: “Vaya con Dios.” Putting aside the ludicrous attempts by amnesty fans to smear amnesty opponents as racist and the rather obvious desire of the Democrats to fill the voter rolls with 30 million or so of the best ballots Obamaphones can buy, take a moment to consider the total impact of granting unearned citizenship to millions of illegal aliens.

In the sort of coincidence that would make a bad sitcom writer sweaty, our new neighbors will be swarming out from under the refrigerator of illegal alien status at nearly the same moment the abominable Obamacare begins dismantling our healthcare system from the inside out. With Obamacare — about which virtually every statement President Barack Obama and his accomplices made was an outright lie — already thinning the ranks of physicians and jacking up premiums nationwide, the influx of newly legal consumers by the burro-load will kick the legs out of an already wobbly operating table. More people + fewer providers = a personal injury lawyer’s fantasyland. And as pretty much everyone with a soul knows, a personal injury lawyer’s fantasyland is a nightmare for the rest of us.

One of the talking points the Democrats and their weak-kneed Republican enablers have deployed in a an effort to distract from the ill-conceived idea of granting amnesty to illegal aliens entails demanding a renewal of investment in a supposedly crumbling national infrastructure. I’m certainly a fan of bridges not crumbling while I’m driving across them, but I hardly see how adding every Tomas, Diego and Hernando in the Western Hemisphere to the traffic load on the 405 will help.

One would presume that the newest members of the potential workforce might want food, clothing and shelter. Either they’ll get it by pursuing jobs that don’t involve trimming the hedges at Stephen Spielberg’s Malibu estate, or they’ll follow their fellow low-information Democratic voters onto the welfare rolls. As a result, either competition for jobs will progress from the usual permanent recession Obama has imposed on the Nation, or the average taxpayer will be forced to carry an even heavier burden of layabouts and loafers. On top of that, the appetite of a government expanded to meet the requirements of a 10 percent jump in the legal population will grow exponentially larger, demanding an ever-expanding portion of the legitimate workforce’s paycheck.

Beyond taking a wrecking ball to America’s healthcare, infrastructure and economy, the flood of illegal aliens will exact a massive toll across the board. Imagine millions upon millions more schoolchildren, teenage drivers, customers at the grocery store and senior citizens vying for the early-bird special at the Kountry Kookin’ Kitchen buffet.

One way or another, by granting illegal aliens and illegal aliens-to-be a free pass to the front of the line, our Senators guarantee we all end up begging for scraps from the government that chained us up in the first place.

On the plus side, there’s likely to be real estate going cheap in Mexico.

–Ben Crystal