Bill O’Reilly to be honored by FRC

Bill O'Reilly to be honored by FRCRight-wing pundit and Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly is to be a guest of honor during an upcoming event sponsored by FRC Action, the legislative lobbying outfit of Family Research Council.

O’Reilly will address FRC’s fourth annual Values Voter Summit which is scheduled to be held from September 18-20 in Washington DC.

According to the organization, he will receive the first-ever Media Courage Award, "for being a voice of virtue in a culture of death." FRC says O’Reilly has consistently defended truth in the pro-life debate, including his opposition to late-term abortions and efforts to promote the dignity of life.

In addition to being a political commentator and a television personality, O’Reilly is also a syndicated columnist and author of eight books, including Culture Warrior, Those Who Trespass and A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity: A Memoir.

However, he is no stranger to controversy, and was involved in an alleged sexual harassment scandal in 2004 which he settled out of court.

The September summit’s line-up consists of who-is-who in the world of conservative politics, including Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, former Governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio as well as actor Stephen Baldwin, author Joel Rosenberg, Star Parker and Lila Rose.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has also been invited to speak at the event.

New research supports dietary guidelines for heart health

New research supports dietary guidelines for heart health The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which are designed to promote heart health and reduce risk of chronic diseases, have been validated by a new study.

Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Wake Forest University have devised a statistical model to assess adherence to the DGA as well as its role in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis in women.

They found that the subjects whose diet was based on whole-grain, total fat and cholesterol intake that met the guidelines experienced the greatest reduction in atherosclerotic progression.

Spokesman for the American Society for Nutrition Dr. Roger Clemens explains the findings are important as nutrition researchers continue to seek to identify foods that improve health.

"[We also work to] encourage compliance through education among the general public, health care professionals and public health policy decision-makers," he adds.

The study outcome will be used to prepare the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and has been detailed in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Study: Fatty fish consumption lowers heart disease risk

Fatty fish consumption lowers heart disease risk, study findsNew research published in the European Heart Journal has found that eating oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout at least once per week can contribute to a reduction in the risk of heart failure in men.

The study conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) analyzed 39,367 Swedish men between the ages of 45 and 79 from 1998 to 2004. Its results indicated those who ate fatty fish once a week had a 12 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.

In addition to that, the men who consumed at least 0.36 grams a day of marine omega-3 fatty acids were 33 percent less likely to develop the condition.

Omega-3 fatty acids, whose health benefits extend beyond heart health to possibly include prostate health, are found in abundance in cod liver and other fish oils.

Dr. Emily Levitan, a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Center at BIDMC says previous research shows ingredients in fatty fish appear to lower risk factors for a range of heart-related conditions by lowering triglycerides and reducing blood pressure.

"Collectively, this may explain the association with the reduced risk of heart failure found in our study," she stresses.

She says the study further supports the guidelines from the American Heart Association which recommend eating fatty fish twice a week.

As Democrats appear to bridge differences over healthcare, top Republican predicts failure

As Democrats appear to bridge differences over healthcare, top Republican predicts failureAccording to media reports, House Democrats have reached a preliminary agreement that would enable work to proceed on the proposed healthcare reform. However, there is little optimism about the legislation on the Republican side.

In their quest to reform a dysfunctional healthcare system, Democrats and President Obama have faced criticism from both within their own party as well as from the GOP.

While the Republican opposition was expected, a number of fiscally conservative Democrats have also expressed fears over a reform that would not include explicit provisions for cost control and lead to an even greater budget deficit.

Yesterday’s compromise would reduce the federal health insurance subsidies for lower-income families, exempt additional businesses from a requirement to provide insurance and change the terms of a government insurance option, according to the Associated Press.

It would also cut costs by some 100 billion over the next 10 years, the source said, quoting Arkansas Rep Mike Ross, a leader of the conservative faction in the Democratic Party.

President Obama has expressed satisfaction with the House agreement, despite the fact that the earliest vote will now be able to take place in September.

"We did give them a deadline, and sort of we missed that deadline. But that’s OK," Obama said. "We don’t want to just do it quickly, we want to do it right."

However, House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio has been quoted as saying the bill will "get shredded" come the September vote.

At an lunch event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor he said, "What was promised and what was delivered don’t add up and people are upset about it," quoted by

Seniors may boost bone health with exercise, report says

Seniors may boost bone health with exercise, report says According to researchers, moderate exercise can be a great health resource in that it may help boost and maintain bone strength and prevent falls and fractures in older people.

To arrive at this conclusion, Cochrane researchers conducted a systematic review of available data from 111 trials that included 55,303 older people. They found that in that group the individuals who were more physically active had on average greater strength, flexibility, balance and endurance than their peers who were not.

According to lead researcher Lesley Gillespie from Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, exercise regimes such as supervised group workout, tai chi or individually prescribed exercise programs at home have shown the highest benefits.

The analysis suggested furthermore that falls, with the accompanying risk of serious fractures, were reduced in those who gradually ceased to use certain types of sleep medications, worked to reduce anxiety and depression and had cataract surgery on the first affected eye earlier than originally planned.

Of course, nutritional supplements containing calcium and vitamin D may also be an option for those who would like to boost their bone health.


Does the stock market upswing mean we are out of the woods?

Does the stock market upswing mean we are out of the woods? A recent stock market rally fueled by better than expected earnings has had commentators predict the end of the current financial troubles, but some analysts caution against excessive optimism.

Surprisingly strong quarterly earnings and growing opposition to a massive government spending bill caused a more than 11 percent increase in the major indices in the course of just two weeks from July 13 to July 24, one of the largest in history.

However, some economist suggests that the rally may not last or herald a more sustained recovery as the vast majority of positive earnings results stem from cost cutting and workforce trimming.

"[Y]ou can’t keep on shrinking your way to profitability," says Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuo Securities USA, quoted by a CNN business blog.

"Eventually, you do damage to your end users," he adds. "You have to get revenues up to have a sustainable upturn."

In fact, for many companies even while earnings have risen, actual revenues have gone down, indicating a persisting weakness in demand.

Ultimately as long as unemployment remains high, squeezing wallets and consumer confidence, any stock market rally will be temporary, analysts believe.

Committee vote on Sotomayor prompts criticism

Committee vote on Sotomayor prompts criticismThe Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to recommend the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice yesterday, prompting criticism from some conservative quarters.

On the Republican side only one of seven committee members, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, voted for the nomination.

Sotomayor has spent much time defending herself from allegations that she is an activist judge and that she will bring a racial and gender bias to the highest court.

Her critics have queried her on an opinion she issued in 2008 – which was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court – that supported the city of New Haven’s decision to annul the results of a firefighter promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified.

According to media reports, only five Republicans are planning to support the nomination when the full Senate gets to vote on the nomination next week.

Among those who expressed outrage over the vote was gun rights expert and a former National Rifle Association editor John M. Snyder who currently serves as public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, treasurer of the Second Amendment Foundation and serves on the Advisory Board of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Among other things, he noted Sotomayor responded "I don’t know" to the question as to whether an individual citizen of the United States has a right to self-defense.

"The right to self-preservation is basic to our nation, to our culture, indeed to civilization itself," says Snyder. "To not know if this right exists is an absolute disqualifier."

Researchers describe how diet may protect prostate

Researchers describe how diet may protect prostate Reasonable dieting has a range of health benefits, including weight loss, but scientists believe men who limit their carbohydrate intake may also experience a slower growth of prostate tumors.

A team from the Duke Prostate Center conducted animal studies which found that insulin and an insulin-like growth factor contribute to the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer, and that a low-carb diet decreases insulin levels, producing an opposite effect.

Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist at the center and lead investigator on the study, says the results are "very exciting," offering doctors a potential new tool to fight prostate cancer growth and extend patient’s life expectancy.

There are plans currently underway to recruit humans for a clinical trial.

The work of the Duke team is only the latest contribution to the growing body of evidence which links dietary factors to prostate cancer outcomes.

For example, doctors have also recommended a vegetable-rich diet and pomegranate juice which studies have shown may lower the risk of prostate cancer due to their antioxidant power.

Meanwhile, other research has uncovered the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids, while the association between lower cholesterol levels and prostate cancer inhibition suggests some may also benefit from cholesterol-fighting natural remedies such as niacin supplements, fish oil and red yeast rice extract.


Healthcare battle continues

Healthcare battle continues The fight over healthcare reform has intensified as one organization is planning a webcast warning of government takeover of the health system, while a newly published report has found lawmakers who oppose the reform have received the highest industry donations.

The FRC Action, the legislative lobbying arm of Family Research Council, is hosting a special webcast on Tuesday morning to mobilize opposition to what it sees as the government’s effort to take over the healthcare system.

The panel, which will include congressional leaders as well as FRC Action President Tony Perkins, will analyze the moral, ethical and financial aspects of the proposed reform.

"The takeover will suffocate small business owners with incalculable new taxes [and] it would mandate taxpayer-funded abortion, abortifacient drugs and limit end-of-life care," Perkins complained.

"From the inevitability of rationed care to diminishing human dignity, the president’s plan amounts to a prescription for a health care disaster," he added.

Meanwhile, Public Campaign Action Fund (PCAF), a nonprofit organization which advocates campaign finance reform and holding elected officials accountable, has published results of its analysis of campaign contributions to members of key congressional committees handling health reform legislation.

It found that members of three committees who voted against reform have received significantly more in campaign contributions from the health and insurance industries than those who voted for reform.

"The blocs of lawmakers on both the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Finance Committees who are slowing the pace and scope of reform are also huge recipients of health and insurance money," says David Donnelly, national campaigns director of PCAF.

June home sales report suggest sector may be rebounding

June home sales report suggest sector may be rebounding During the last several months investors with cash on hand could find great deals on houses as inventories reached historical highs, but a new government report suggests this window of opportunity may soon be closing.

The report released on Monday by the Commerce Department showed an 11 percent spike in new single-family home sales last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000.

That was higher than what most forecasters anticipated, predicting the figure to be around 350,000.

"The improvement in sales is another heartening sign that housing is stabilizing," said Celia Chen from Moody’s, quoted by Agence France Presse.

And although some other analysts have warned against premature celebration, many are in agreement that the times when buyers were able to obtain extra perks such as high-end appliances or swimming pools may soon be over.

"People are going to find builders are not going to be quick to make concessions," said Bernard Markstein, a senior vice president and economist with the National Association of Home Builders, quoted by

"The time for getting deals is going away," he added.

Analysts’ focus is now shifting towards next month’s new construction figures which will confirm whether or not the housing market is in fact rebounding and contributing to bring the economy out of the recession.