Commentary NFL playoffs divisional round has potential for great games and lopsided

The NFL’s divisional round playoff games this weekend are likely to range from close fought slugging matches between evenly matched teams, to complete and utter blowouts as some of the best and most overrated teams take to the field. Ravens at Broncos Saturday 4:30 p.m. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will square off Saturday as the Ravens travel to Mile High Stadium in Denver. There’s a long list of statistics that point to the Ravens having no shot whatsoever in this game. The Broncos have won 11 straight games. Manning has won nine in a row against the Ravens, including playoff games. Last week Baltimore gave up almost 300 passing yards Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck who was without his offensive coordinator, and the Ravens gave up those numbers at home. The Ravens are operating on a short week of rest against a Broncos team that has been off since late December, and when these two teams met less than a month ago the Broncos won 34-17. All these factors combined with an aging team could spell disaster for Baltimore, but there is some hope. Manning has never won a playoff game when the temperature at kickoff time was below 40 degrees. His numbers in those games are very un-Manning like, a combined 64 for 120 for 612 yards with one touchdown, seven interceptions and a record of 0-3. That being said, he’s still Peyton Manning and he’s had all season to get used to playing in Denver. The Broncos will probably roll over the Ravens and make it look fairly easy. Broncos win by 12. Packers at 49ers Saturday 8 p.m. This game contains some of the more interesting storylines of the weekend: two starting quarterbacks with roots in the opposing team’s area, and the classic matchup between explosive offense and hard-nosed defense. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is from the northern California city of Chico and grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers. Conversely, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is from Milwaukee, Wis., and grew up rooting for the Packers. Now the two will go to war against their childhood teams for a shot at the NFC Championship.  Green Bay’s offense, which finished the regular season ranked fifth in the league in points scored, will face a San Francisco defense that was second in points allowed. The Packers’ offensive output is even more impressive considering the injury problems they have faced throughout the season. They lost their top wide receiver, Greg Jennings, for half the season due to an abdominal tear, and starting running back Cedric Benson went down earlier in the year with a sprained left foot that required surgery. With Jennings back in the offense, Green Bay is even better than their top five rank would indicate. If the Packers can grab an early lead they will win this game easily. They have the fourth-most sacks in the league, and the 49ers allow the ninth-most sacks. If Kaepernick has to drop back a lot, the 49ers are in trouble. It’s also worth noting this is his first-ever NFL playoff game. However, if the 49ers can jump out in front early and let their elite running game and defense take over, then the Packers could struggle since their rushing defense is ranked in the bottom half of the league and allows an average of 118.5 yards a game. It’s either going to be a close 49ers win, or a solid Green Bay victory. I’m picking the upset and going with Rodgers’ experience and the Packers’ offense for this one. Green Bay wins by nine. Seahawks at Falcons Sunday 1:00 p.m.  This will almost certainly be the most competitive and exciting game to watch as the high-scoring Atlanta Falcons take a shot at the stingy Seattle Seahawks defense. Atlanta’s sixth-ranked passing offense will be hard-pressed to duplicate their regular season success against the Seahawks sixth-ranked passing defense. The two big questions in this game are, will the Falcons be able to get their passing game going and can Atlanta contain the Seattle running game? Seattle has two of the league’s biggest and most physical cornerbacks in Richard Sherman (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) and Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221 pounds). They will be a handful for the Falcons’ top receivers Julio Jones (6-foot-3, 220 lbs) and Roddy White (6 feet, 211 lbs). Add in Seattle’s Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas, and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan could have his hands full trying to find open receivers. Atlanta will need to find a way to get the ball downfield and get a lead early or the Seahawks third ranked running attack will chew up the weak Falcons’ rushing defense. If Atlanta can get out to a big early lead it’ll likely handle Seattle with no problem and win comfortably. However, in a close game look for the Falcons’ defense to get worn down against the run and give up big yardage in a Seahawk win. I don’t think the big plays will be there for Atlanta this week so getting an early advantage will be difficult. Seahawks win by six. Texans at Patriots Sunday 4:30 p.m.  This game can be summed up in one word. Yawn. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has had weeks to prepare for this game, and will throw wrinkles at Houston that they’ve likely never seen before. New England has the league’s best tight end in Rob Gronkowski back after he missed the Patriots blowout win against the Texans in Week 14. That game, which was in Houston, saw the Patriots embarrass the Texans and win by 28. While Houston will probably respond with some pride and lose by less than four touchdowns this time around, they simply don’t have much of a chance to win. The only way the Texans can even make it competitive is to control the ball and eat up clock by handing the ball off to running back Arian Foster a lot. If Foster has a huge game then there is a glimmer of hope for the Texans. However, it’s far more likely that Houston will be so far behind that Foster will not get a chance to have much of an impact on the game. Patriots win a snoozer by 14 or more. read more

Baseball Ohio State makes NCAA Tournament to play South Carolina in regional

Ohio State baseball players mob Noah McGowan following his walk-off double Sunday to give Ohio State the 6-5 win against Indiana. Credit: Mac Connor | Ohio State AthleticsGreg Beals was not worried about Ohio State’s chances of making the NCAA baseball tournament.Ending the season with a No. 37 RPI ranking, navigating through the loser’s bracket to get to a semifinal game against No. 1 Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, the Buckeyes were in a prime position to earn its first national tournament bid since 2016.However, without any control over whether a tournament bid was in his team’s future, there was a level of anticipation as the names on the bracket were being read.“I felt really good about our chances coming into today, but your destiny is in the hands of a committee. So you are not 100 percent, you don’t feel great,” Beals said. “So, when you see your name up on the board, a pretty good fist pump went out and then I went into immediate competitive mode.”Ohio State will travel to Greenville, North Carolina, as a No. 3 seed to take on No. 2 South Carolina in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes will join No. 1 East Carolina and No. 4 University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Greenville regional.Right-handed pitcher Seth Kinker said there was a collective excitement between him and his teammates when Ohio State’s name popped up on the bracket.“There were a lot of different projections and you look at those projections and you don’t really know where you are going to go,” Kinker said. “Then you finally see it and you are like yeah, that is satisfying and now you can take the weight off your shoulders.”After losing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to Purdue, the Buckeyes, much like their 2016 conference tournament run, eliminated both Iowa and Michigan in the loser’s bracket before eventually falling to the Golden Gophers in the semifinals.Even though the team came out of Omaha without a conference championship, the mentality stays the same for Ohio State heading into its regional.“After we lost our last game in the Big Ten Tournament, [Beals] said, ‘Look, this season is over now. This is a start of a new season,’” senior infielder Noah McGowan said. “Everyone is starting out 0-0 basically and the goal is to end your season with a win, so that is our mindset going into the regional.”McGowan said the two wins against the Hawkeyes and the Wolverines created a belief in the Ohio State locker room that they can play with anyone in the nation, a confidence that whichever team the Buckeyes face in the NCAA tournament will be one they can keep up with.That is where Beals’ mind went as soon as he saw his team’s name on the screen. Amidst the cheers and celebration by his players and coaches, Ohio State’s head coach delegated game plans to each of his assistant coaches for the potential opponents in the regional.For Beals, he is excited to be in the NCAA tournament. Now, he knows he and his team have a job to do.“We are certainly very, very happy to be in the tournament, but, make no mistake about it, we are going to East Carolina to win a regional,” Beals said. “That’s our mission.”No. 3 Ohio State will open up tournament play at 2 p.m. Friday against No. 2 South Carolina. read more

The Regional Response to Childhood Obesity Intensifies

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBridgetown, Barbados, 9th February 2017 –  Childhood obesity continues to be a serious public health concern in the Region. Statistics show that more than 30% of our Caribbean adolescents are overweight or obese, and risk developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases later in life. The economic burden of diabetes and hypertension alone is estimated at between 1.4% and 8% of GDP in the Caribbean, thus creating a significant drain on Caribbean economies, and threatening development prospects.Recognizing the critical need for leadership and cross sectoral action to address this health issue, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and with funding from CDB hosted a meeting to develop a road map to prevent childhood obesity through improved food and nutrition security.The opening ceremony took place earlier this week at the Barbados Yacht Club, and was marked by the presence of the Barbados Minister of Health, The Honourable John D. E. Boyce and other high level officials from regional institutions.In his welcome remarks, Dr C. James Hospedales, CARPHA Executive Director said “The meeting will look at how we can together accelerate action on the ground, in countries, in the food environment and nutrition area, especially for the most vulnerable – our children.  The meeting is historic as it gathers at least half of CARICOM Institutions to focus attention on a key development challenge through implementing a 6-point policy package for healthier less obesogenic food environments.”  He went on to say fiscal and trade measures, mandatory nutritional labeling to empower consumers and elimination of trans fats from food supplies are among the areas that must be addressed, buttressed by region wide and sustained information and communication.President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Professor Trevor Hassell, congratulated CARPHA in hosting the meeting and stated that “HCC strongly supports this initiative since the issue at hand, namely childhood obesity and overweight and consequential epidemic of NCDs, present a significant health and development challenge for the people of the Region requiring as it does a multi-sectoral, whole of society response.  This requires active participation and engagement of the public sector, both health and non-health, civil society and the private sector working hand in hand and contributing in their respective areas of expertise and influence.”Ms Jessie Schutte Aine, PAHO Programme Coordinator for the Caribbean told the gathering there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children who are overweight or obese in the Region. She added that childhood obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic, putting children at risk of developing serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and leading to premature death and disability later in life.  She stated available data indicates that in one generation, the Caribbean has moved from problems of 2 malnutrition and underweight children to the other extreme. According to Ms Schutt Aine over the last 35 years, there has been a major shift in diet moving away from staple foods that are indigenous to the Region, towards foods that are highly processed.“NCDs has long been identified as one of the three super priorities for Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH)”, stated Dr Rudolph Cummings in his opening remarks. The Programme Manager for Health Sector Reform at CARICOM stressed the need for a more genuine effort at harnessing the intersectoral energies that are required to make a difference in our NCDs problem and congratulated CARPHA on hosting the meeting.Through a virtual presentation, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox, also underscored the need for the Region to take decisive action, and stated that the “timing of this action cannot be overstated and the opportunity to develop a road map is welcomed in order to deal with the issue.” Mr Cox explained that a “strategic alliance between the private sector, public sector and civil society is necessary to affect change and move in concert.”“As a Caribbean Region, we have faltered in our response to the epidemic in childhood obesity with many countries in the Region reporting prevalence rates in excess of 30% in the pre-teen and teenage population. Collectively, we are well positioned to drive this important element of the health agenda within CARICOM,” stated Honourable John D. E. Boyce, Minister of Health, Barbados in his feature address.  Minister Boyce went on to say there is a need for greater enforcement of the policy of physical education in schools. He believes that more time should also be allotted for physical education sessions, even during the ‘exam’ term.In closing the Minister thanked CARPHA for its work in developing appropriate regimes to the childhood obesity epidemic, and its technical support to developing surveillance systems, health promotions strategies, and policies options for addressing childhood obesity.The Regional High Level Meeting to Develop a Road map on Multi-sectoral Action to Prevent Childhood Obesity through Improved Food and Nutrition Security takes place from 9th – 10th February 2017 at the CXC Headquarters. The focus of the meeting is to foster collaboration between regional economic and social sector institutions to support the implementation of a 6-point policy package developed by CARPHA as part of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health initiative (CCH-IV). #MagneticMediaNews #ChildhoodObesitycenter_img Related Items:#ChildhoodObesity, #magneticmedianewslast_img read more

Governor Newsom signs bill to limit use of force by police

first_img August 19, 2019 Governor Newsom signs bill to limit use of force by police Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed legislation co- authored by a San Diego lawmaker that redefines when law enforcement officers can use deadly force.AB 392, co-written by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, will hold law enforcement officers liable for homicide if an investigation finds the use of deadly force on a civilian was necessitated by the officer’s ownactions. Law enforcement will still be able to use deadly force as self- defense, but only when “necessary.”Weber co-authored the legislation, dubbed the California Act to Save Lives, with Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, introduced the bill in the state Senate.“We were told by so many that it could not happen and we had felt that we were at the brink of failure at one point in this whole process,” Weber said. “I felt the weight of the families. It’s been a difficult journey because they entrusted me with trying to make change. My greatest fear is that if we had failed, those who want to make change will never work to do it again.”Weber and McCarty introduced a similar bill last year after two Sacramento police officers shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, but it made little progress in the legislature. Weber said she battled with former Gov. Jerry Brown and opposition from law enforcement over the bill, even threatening a hunger strike last year.The two officers were not charged in Clark’s death. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert ruled in March that they were legally justified in killing Clark because they said they felt they were in imminentdanger. The decision prompted public outcry and further inflamed the national conversation about police violence and its ties to race.“It’s one thing to sign a piece of paper, pass legislation,” Newsom said. “It’s another to change hearts and minds, to change culture. To change the way people conduct themselves, to hold themselves to a higher standard …That’s the work that we, collectively as a community, need to manifest at peril of missing this moment and missing the point of this moment.”At one time, AB 392 appeared stalled again amid unresolved tensions between state legislators and law enforcement officials. That tension dissolved when the two sides struck a deal in May to amend the bill by changing “reasonable” to “necessary” and removing language mandating officers to use lethal force only after using non-lethal alternatives.As a result of the deal, state law enforcement groups like the California Highway Patrol, Peace Officers Research Association of California and California State Sheriffs’ Association shifted their official stance on the bill from opposition to neutrality.A second piece of legislation, currently mired in the Assembly’s committee process, would require law enforcement agencies to train officers in accordance with AB 392. SB 230 would also standardize de-escalation trainingrequirements statewide in an effort to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page.SB 230 is supported, in part, by a coalition of PORAC, the California Police Chiefs and the California Association of Highway Patrols.“Together, AB 392 and SB 230 will modernize our state’s policies on the use of force, implementing the very best practices gathered from across our nation,” CPCA President Ron Lawrence said. “Once both bills are signed and take effect, the real work can begin using the training made available to officers by SB 230 to implement the AB 392 standard.”Whether SB 230 will become law in addition to AB 392 remains to be seen.In May, the San Diego City Council voted 6-2 in favor of a resolution supporting the bill. The previous month, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose the bill.Both votes came after contentious public hearings and opposition from local law enforcement organizations like the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County and the San Diego Police Officers Association, which argued that law enforcement agencies already have policies designed to keep law enforcement officers in check.AB 392 passed in the Senate 34-4, with four senators declining to record a vote, while the Assembly approved it 68-0 with 12 assembly members declining to vote.It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Posted: August 19, 2019last_img read more

The Wilmington Insider For July 17 2018

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below is a round-up of what’s going on in Wilmington on Tuesday, July 17, 2018:Happening Today:Weather: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87. Southwest wind 8 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.At Town Hall: The Wilmington Board of Health meets at 5:30pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE.In The Community: Wilmington’s Academy of Traditional Karate (155 West Street, Suite 5) is holding a free Self Defense Class for community members from 6:45pm to 7:45pm. The seminar will offer practical self-defense solutions, taught by instructors with years of martial arts and law enforcement experience. No martial arts experience required. Call 978-658-2077 or email TeamElite@Traditional-Karate.com for additional information.In The Community: Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and The Burlington Mall will host a summer safety event from 11am to 2pm in the Mall’s parking lot, behind Primark, next to Mall Road. Attendees will be able to visit with first responders, get summer safety resources and enter a free raffle to win a toy helicopter. Car seat inspections and installations will be provided by the Burlington Police Department. Visitors can bring a new car seat to be installed or have a previously installed car seat inspected for safety. Children will have the opportunity to explore emergency vehicles from the Burlington Police Department, Burlington Fire Department, and Armstrong Ambulance. Families can stop by the Summer Safety Resource Booth with information on how to stay safe during the summer months, plus summer safety-themed games and activities.In The Community: Wilmington Friendship (Masonic) Lodge (32 Church Street) is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive from 1pm to 7pm. Drop-ins welcome.In The Community: The Tewksbury/Wilmington Elks holds bingo — open to the public — every Tuesday. Doors open at 5pm. Pizza, hot dog and pastries are sold. Free coffee.In The Community: Angels In Motion meets every Tuesday, from 9:30am to 2:30pm, at the Wilmington Knights of Columbus Hall (112 Middlesex Avenue).  The club provides a great opportunity for seniors to meet new friends or reacquaint with old ones. A luncheon is served as noon.  Free. Handicapped accessible.In The Community: The Town Beach is open today.  Lifeguards are on duty from 10am to 8pm. Admission is FREE for residents. Proof of residency is required. Learn more HERE.At The Library: Preschool Storytime: Sounds of Nature at 10am. LEGO Building at 3pm. Teen Trivia: Musicals at 6:30pm. [Learn more and register HERE.]At The Senior Center: Walking Group at Yentile at 8am. Computer Class at 9am. Aerobics at 10:30am. Mah Jong at 1pm. Summer Brain Camp at 1pm. [Learn more HERE.](NOTE: What did I miss? Let me know by commenting below, commenting on the Facebook page, or emailing wilmingtonapple@gmail.com. I may be able to update this post.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedThe Wilmington Insider For June 25, 2018In “5 Things To Do Today”The Wilmington Insider For September 11, 2018In “5 Things To Do Today”The Wilmington Insider For October 17, 2018In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

Mamata releases Braille edition of autobiography Jiban Sangram

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee released the Braille version of her autobiography titled Jiban Sangram.On Friday, Banerjee released the book at Nabanna. The Braille version will help millions of visually challenged people to go through the book, which is a narrative of her journey into the life of Chief Minister.Amway India undertook the initiative jointly with its NGO partner Turnstone Global and converted the book into its Braille version. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsDr Kanchan Gaba, secretary of Turnstone Global, and Chandra Chakraborty, Regional Manager (East) of Amway India, handed over the Braille version of the book to the Chief Minister. It may be mentioned that five books penned by the Chief Minister including Amar Nabajanma, Sishubela and Rudraksha, were favourite ones in the International Kolkata Book Fair held in January. Amar Nabajanma is a collection of essays based on the current socio-political scenario, while Sishubela is a collection of rhymes for children.Upalabdhi is the first book of Banerjee, who was conferred with honorary DLitt for her contribution to Bengali literature, and it was sold more than 50,000 copies. Manusher Joy, Anashan Kano and Kanyar Chokhe Kanyashree are very popular among readers.last_img read more

A few years back I read an interesting article ab

first_imgA few years back, I read an interesting article about rich versus poor on the website Difference Between. The author cited the following as one major difference: “While rich believe they are in control of their lives, poor feel they are subject to vagaries of life and life controls events taking place in their lives. Rich are not concerned with depression or recession, and they are not tied with any special knowledge or professional degree either. On the other hand, poor believes it is his lack of degree or knowledge that keeps him poor. It is when you start to feel that life is happening to you instead of you creating your future, you will lose the right track and condemn remaining poor.” To me, much of the difference boils down to personal confidence and understanding how to deal with the financial situation you are in. At the same time, major events can take place which can either bolster or erode our confidence. Many of my peers went from the “rich” mindset described above to that described as “poor.” Yet for many, their net worth did not change. When one looks at the terms “golden years” or “retiring comfortably,” it is not hard to conjure up an image of retirees comfortable with their financial situation, not being too concerned about the economic events taking place around them. Instead, they are enjoying checking a lot of items off their bucket list. Many retirees in the generation before us fit that mold, yet they were not multimillionaires. How can that be? A recent Gallup article titled Pensions Are Top Income Source for Wealthier US Retirees presents poll results on sources of income, and presents the findings by annual household income. According to the poll, 55% of retirees earning annual incomes over $50,000 were doing so primarily with a pension. Gallup shared some interesting implications: “Pension plans seem to be a major factor relating to how financially well off U.S. retirees are. With Social Security by far the major source of retirement funding among U.S. retirees, those who can supplement that money with income from a pension plan or other source appear to be doing much better.” Things Are Changing Quickly So what does this mean? If you have a “guaranteed pension,” you know you have enough money coming in to live on, so you don’t sweat the markets anymore and can enjoy life. Not a bad thing. I can personally attest to this – that’s how we lived during the first six years of my retirement. We had the bulk of our nest egg in FDIC-insured CDs paying 6% interest. No worries there, as I knew how much interest income we had coming in, and the principal was backed by the federal government. We had enough to supplement our Social Security to cover our expenses and then some. That all changed in the fall of 2008, when the first Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) started, and the government flooded the banks with money. Our CDs were called in, and we lost the major source of “guaranteed” (as in not to having to worry about it) income. At the time, our CD interest was five times the size of our current Social Security check. Today the best five-year rate on a CD I can find is 1.2%, and even a ten-year Treasury pays only about 2%. With the current interest rates not even keeping up with inflation, I wouldn’t touch them. If I wanted to invest in those low yields anyway, the interest would be half of my current Social Security check. Now that is a major economic catastrophe. In effect, we may still have our capital intact; however, we now have to put our money at much higher risk in order to survive. While others may look at many of us seniors as rich, it is pure baloney. We are damn concerned about recession, depression, and our nest egg. We no longer meet the definition of “rich”; a lot of our confidence has eroded. Who Is Living Large? Who Is Taking a Step Backward? It looks to me like those working in the private sector – particularly those baby boomers who are trying to plan for retirement – have quite a challenge. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Kelly Greene and Vipal Monga reported that pensions represent an increasingly smaller portion of Americans’ retirement savings. The authors wrote: “The portion of private-sector US workers covered only by so-called defined-benefit plans fell to 3% in 2011 from 28% in 1979, according to US Department of Labor data compiled by EBRI.” We are seeing a huge disparity between those in the public sector working for the government and those in the private sector. Most government agencies still have generous, guaranteed pension plans, and many include health care for their retirees. Concurrently, the vast majority of those in the private sector do not have guaranteed pensions, but rather have to save their own money through various IRAs and 401(k)s in order to be able to retire comfortably. We have many friends who have retired from various branches of the government with pensions which are 80% or more of what they earned while they were working. For example, consider this story from Illinois of teachers earning pensions over $100,000 per year. While those are the most extravagant pensions mentioned in the article, the rest aren’t too bad either. Whether it’s Illinois, California, or New Jersey, you’ll find the same story around the country. In fact, defined benefit state plans cover 20 million employees and 7 million retirees, about 90% of all state employees. So nearly everyone from the person at the Department of Motor Vehicles to the teachers are cashing in. Here’s an excerpt from the report: “Of those [Palatine-Schaumburg High School] District 211 retirees, 268 – or 42.5 percent – received pensions of $100,000 or more in 2012. Other suburban school districts aren’t far behind. At Stevenson High School District 125 in Lincolnshire, 39.1 percent of the 133 retired educators receiving pensions make more than $100,000 a year in retirement. District 125 retired educators drew pensions averaging $79,489 last year, according to TRS figures.” Honestly, I don’t begrudge any retired government workers a dime. They earned their money and played by the rules which were in place. But ironically, many of those same friends who have these nice government pensions look upon those of us in the private sector as the ones who are rich. Just how much capital would a person in the private sector have to accumulate in order to earn an income of $100,000 “guaranteed” by the government? Using the 2% ten-year Treasury rate, a person would have to invest $5,000,000 for “guaranteed” income of $100,000. Of course, there’s also a difference in how that money is saved. It’s what’s left over after living expenses, kids’ college tuition, and everything else that comes up in life. If you had a government pension, you never had to worry about saving for retirement – so it’s less worry before and during retirement. From this perspective, sure looks to me like those with guaranteed pensions – mostly retired government workers – are the ones who are living large and not worried about the ups and downs in the economy. Doug Casey and other pundits have predicted a collapse, and I agree that it is going to happen. It will not be too long before more folks in the private sector realize that those government employees with their “guarantees” are the ones who are living rich as the earlier definition outlined, while we constantly have to fret and monitor our money. With things like the Tea Party groups forming, there are already signs that people have had enough. Is it any surprise that some of those groups received greater scrutiny from the IRS? After all, they are a threat to stream of endless pensions to all government employees. When a full-blown tax revolt finally happens, I am sure their “guaranteed” pensions will be a big factor. This is one place where there’s a clear line between the haves and have nots. The retirees from the private sector have to constantly worry about their retirement, while government employees have not a care with their guaranteed incomes. I’m quite confident that the taxpayers won’t want to pay their pensions plus the trillions in shortfalls in those pension plans – especially in underfunded state plans around the country. Those of us in the private sector saw our “guaranteed” pensions disappear. We now have the option of saving our own money and putting it at risk, and we are certainly worried about the ups and downs in the economy and the market. How much longer are taxpayers going to stand for having to save money for our retirement with no “guarantees,” while we see our taxes continue to escalate to pay for cushy, guaranteed pension plans for others? In the meantime, do you want to retire comfortably and enjoy your golden years not having to worry about your finances? Work for the government for 40 years or so and get a cushy pension and free medical care. We have a lot of friends who did just that, and they are very happy enjoying their golden years. I wonder if IRS workers ever have their tax returns audited? Probably not, but if these sorts of retirement inequalities last much longer, antitax groups will likely come to audit their pensions soon. If you’re a retired Illinois District 211 teacher, we’ll answer your hate mail (surely coming our way) as soon possible. However, remember that mail to and from Hawaii takes a while, so please be patient. If you weren’t so lucky as to retire with a $100K annual government pension, let us help you figure out how to navigate retirement in a low-interest-rate world, whether it’s finding yield, learning about annuities, understanding reverse mortgages, or discovering cheap investment funds, and more. Try a risk-free, three-month trial of Miller’s Money Forever.last_img read more

Dear Reader Before I get into what I think was

first_imgDear Reader, Before I get into what I think was the most valuable takeaway I got from our just-concluded summit in Texas, I thought I’d mention a couple upcoming events of interest: Doug Casey, Jeff Clark, Nick Giambruno, and Terry Coxon will be speaking at the Grand Cayman Liberty Forum, on Grand Cayman Island, November 16-20, 2014. For more information, please call Opportunity Travel at 800-926-6575 or +561-243-6276, or see the event web page. Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 34.79 41.13 41.53 Rock & Stock Stats Last Copper 3.07 3.19 3.31 TSX Venture 919.42 1,015.36 948.13 Gold Producers (GDX) 21.98 26.19 25.11 Silver 17.64 19.39 21.77 One Month Ago One Year Ago TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 15,026.77 15,619.21 12,841.62 Silver Stocks (SIL) 10.93 13.51 13.37 Gold 1,218.30 1,284.30 1,324.10 Doug Casey will also be speaking at the New Orleans Investment Conference, October 22-25, 2014. Alan Greenspan will be there, too, among other famous and infamous luminaries. For more information, please see the event web page. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out for those who could not make our summit that the full audio recordings of every session will be available for you to download, and/or to order a set of CDs to keep for future reference, in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned. I hope you’ll enjoy—and learn from—the sessions as much as I did. Sincerely, Oil 93.01 93.86 103.03 Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Researchlast_img read more

Researchers aim to demystify bladder immunity

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 6 2018We know that the bladder is a poorly understood organ, critical for storing metabolic waste. What we don’t know is how this unique environment impacts bladder immunity to common diseases such as urinary tract infections (UTI) and bladder cancer.With UTI being second only to respiratory infection in prevalence, and bladder cancer being the fifth most common cancer in men, a deeper understanding of immunity in the bladder was needed “The EU-funding gave me the stability to build a team and focus on two of the main research priorities of the Institut Pasteur – antibiotic-resistant bacteria and cancer,” says Dr Molly Ingersoll, the Institut Pasteur-based researcher who led the EU-funded UPECBCG project. “I’m grateful to the EU for supporting my work.”Immune cells negatively impact immunity to bladder infectionThe UPECBCG project set out to study the bladder’s immune system, with the aim of advancing our understanding of UTI and bladder cancer to improve treatment of these diseases. What they discovered was unexpected. Typically, an organ’s immune cells respond to limit an infection. However, in the bladder, the opposite holds true, as a large proportion of the immune cells present seem to negatively impact immunity following an infection. “This was quite surprising to us as we think of these cells as being critical for killing bacteria and resolving infection,” explains Ingersoll. “Yet they do not appear to play this role in the bladder.”This discovery laid the foundation for additional studies – and findings – into immunity in the bladder. For example, by studying the level of inflammation that follows the placement of an indwelling catheter, researchers found that the use of such devices increases the risk for potentially multi-drug resistant UTI in the first 24-hours. “We also discovered that there are differences in how bladder immune cells respond to infections in females and males,” adds Ingersoll. “Whereas females resolve their infection, males tend to develop chronic UTI, and this could impact how treatment decisions will be made in the clinic.”Related StoriesResearch on cannabis use in women limited, finds new studyOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchThese studies have led Dr Ingersoll and her team to look more closely at the role of these specific immune cells and potential sex differences in the response to immunotherapy for bladder cancer. Using two new models, these studies are ongoing.New approaches are needed to fight infection in the bladderBased on the work done during the course of the project, Dr Ingersoll’s team is now working on immunotherapies for UTI as a way of treating multi-drug resistant uropathogenic bacteria without using antibiotics. “Uropathogens make up a large part of the WHO’s critical list of bacterial infections desperately needing new antibiotics due to multi-drug resistance,” says Ingersoll. “We believe that we can manipulate the bladder’s immune response to better fight these infections, thus avoiding the overuse of antibiotics. Indeed, the efficacy of antibiotics is threatened by the global dissemination of multi-drug resistant uropathogens.”Thanks to the UPECBCG project’s research, the medical field is benefiting from a better understanding of the immune response in the bladder. Ingersoll and her team of researchers believe that this understanding will soon lead to the development of new drugs capable of improving the bladder’s response to infection and cancer therapy.Source: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/printversion_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_18_12_05_en.html?infocentre&item=Infocentre&artid=49817last_img read more

New identified biomarker predicts patients who might benefit from HER2targeted agents

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 22 2019In an effort to further individualize therapy and avoid over-treating patients, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report a new study using PET scans has identified a biomarker that may accurately predict which patients with one type of HER2-positive breast cancer might best benefit from standalone HER2-targeted agents, without the need for standard chemotherapy.An estimated 1 in 5 women with breast cancer have a mutation in their tumor cells that produces excess amounts of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), a protein that promotes cancer growth.”Although further studies are needed before the PET scan biomarker can be reliably used on a wide scale, the results of this study have the potential to advance the options for precision medicine in women with breast cancer,” says Vered Stearns, M.D., professor of oncology, co-director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins and senior author of the manuscript published in the February 2019 issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology. “This study, coupled with other complete and ongoing investigations at the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins, is at the forefront of providing true precision medicine to patients with breast cancer.”For the study, investigators fully evaluated 83 of 88 women with stage II or stage III estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer recruited from nine Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC) medical facilities across the United States, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital.PET scans that use radioactive tracers to detect sugar uptake in cancer cells were conducted prior to and 15 days after patients were given the first of four cycles of pertuzumab and trastuzumab (without chemotherapy) over a 12-week period. Those two drugs are monoclonal antibodies that precisely target particular proteins on HER2-positive cancer cells and are widely used to treat HER2-positive breast cancers, usually in combination with chemotherapy drugs that poison such cells and carry more toxic side effects.The researchers sought to evaluate whether early changes on a PET scan — images taken during the first stages of targeted therapy — can help determine whose tumor will disappear completely following HER2-targeted treatment.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerAfter two weeks of treatment, researchers found they could predict whether a patient would respond to HER2-targeted treatment without chemotherapy. In approximately 56 percent of cases (44 patients), a predictive biomarker was identified that could have the potential to be a useful early response assessment tool.Lead author Roisin Connolly, M.B.B.Ch., M.D., associate professor of oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center, said the change in sugar uptake on PET scans from baseline to two weeks after starting treatment, and the value at the two-week time point itself, had the best ability to predict response to HER2-directed therapy with high sensitivity and very high negative predictive value. High sugar levels two weeks after treatment, says Connolly, indicate the tumor likely will not fully respond to antibodies alone and will need chemotherapy.She said there is great interest at this time in “de-escalation” of treatment strategies in breast cancer, which aim to minimize toxicity while maintaining the efficacy.”Based on our findings, if the sugar uptake shown on the scans is below a certain level at two weeks, antibody therapy may be enough to induce a complete response, and those patients may be spared the toxic e?ects of chemotherapy.”ER-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for about 8 percent of all breast cancers. Standard treatment calls for a combination approach of surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor, and a combination of antibody therapy to cut o? the ability of the HER2 gene to support the growth of breast cancer cells and chemotherapy to directly kill the cancer cells.”So in the future, we may be able to offer this as a chemo-free approach. Further research is still required to investigate this before it can become standard practice in the clinic to make treatment decisions, but it is extremely promising,” Connolly says.The 88 women enrolled in the study were treated between January 2014 and August 2017, and 83 were evaluated for the primary study. All four cycles of targeted therapy drugs were completed in 85 percent of cases (75/88), and all 83 patients who completed follow-up had surgery after the therapy.Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/pet-scans-show-biomarkers-could-spare-some-breast-cancer-patients-from-chemotherapylast_img read more