According to the CDP Carbon Majors Report released in July of 2017, “investors in fossil fuel companies carry influence over one fifth of industrial greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.” There’s a very good chance your investment portfolio includes the ticker symbols of some of the biggest contributors to climate change, and with the largest greenhouse gas emitter, Saudi Aramco, opening up its initial public offering to foreign investors, it’s time you knew the ramifications of giving these companies your money.

Of the 30.6 gigatons of equivalent carbon dioxide of operational and product greenhouse gas emissions from 224 fossil fuel extraction companies, 41 percent are either public- or private-investor owned. While another 59 percent are state-owned, there’s not much you can do about those emitters unless you live in those countries. But you can withhold funding from publicly-traded companies looking to use that money to further sully the Earth, and 20 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions comes from companies owned by public investors, which will grow significantly with the addition of Saudi Aramco as a publicly-traded entity. Saudi Aramco was responsible for 4.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

The best way you can curb climate change is to not give or loan your money to these carbon-emitting companies. If you can’t afford an electric vehicle, you still have to fill the tank, but perhaps instead of filling your tank at the nearest or cheapest gas station, you fill it at the gas station owned by the company that emits the least carbon, which is likely Conoco in the United States.

According to the CDP report, ConocoPhillips was responsible for 61 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, half the emissions of BP, and emitted 40 percent less carbon dioxide than Chevron in 2015. So buy your fuel at ConocoPhillips’ stations if you can and Chevron if you can’t. If neither are available near you, Shell seems to be working the hardest toward a low-carbon, energy policy globally. Phillips 66 is doing the least.

With enough people boycotting the purchase of shares in corporate carbon emitters, these companies will be forced to change their approaches. So here are the publicly-traded companies to avoid supporting financially.

1) Saudi Aramco (Ticker Symbol To Be Determined)

1,951 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 4.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Saudi Aramco is responsible for almost twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as the next biggest emitter in the CDP report. When it comes to polluting the Earth and warming the planet, no one does it like Saudi Aramco.

But even Saudi Aramco is planning for life after oil, investing $20 billion to construct the largest chemicals facility in the world. The move is in tune with the wishes of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who would like to see the country wean off its “dangerous addiction to oil.” Still, investing your money in what is likely to be the biggest initial public offering in history is an investment in the destruction of Earth.

2) Gazprom OAO (OGZPY)

1,138 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 2.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Gazprom is the largest natural gas company in the world and is tasked with providing most of Russia and some countries of the former Soviet Union with natural gas. It controls one quarter of the world's known natural gas reserves and accounts for eight percent of Russia's gross domestic product. But international sanctions have cut into the success of Russian energy companies since the country’s annexation of Crimea, so Gazprom isn’t exactly a safe investment. It certainly isn’t a safe investment for Earth.

3) Coal India (COAL)

1,025 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 2.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Coal combustion is generally more carbon intensive than burning natural gas or petroleum for electricity, which is why Coal India easily makes this list. Although coal accounted for about 70 percent of CO2 emissions from the electricity sector, it represented only about 34 percent of the electricity generated in the United States in 2015. In India, more than 75 percent of electricity came from coal in 2014 -- up from 67 percent in 2011 and at an all-time high.

India is working its way off coal just as Saudi Arabia is looking to lessen its dependence on oil. Research from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) suggests that India can cut its CO2 emissions by up to 10 percent or 600 million tons after 2030 if renewable energy and batteries become less costly than coal within 10 years. An investment in Coal India is a sucker bet.

4) Shenhua Group Corp. Ltd. (CSUAY)

1,001 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 2.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Shenhua Group is a Chinese coal company, where 72.63 percent of electricity came from coal in 2014 -- down from an all-time high of 80.95 percent in 2007. It’s another sucker bet, as China is ahead of schedule when it comes to curbing carbon emissions.

5) Rosneft OAO (OJSCY)

777 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 1.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Rosneft is a Russian oil and gas company. Again, sanctions have limited the success of Russian energy companies, so you wouldn’t want your money behind them regardless of their damage done to Earth.

6) ExxonMobil (XOM)

577 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 1.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

ExxonMobil is selling itself as an innovator in energy solutions and biofuels, but it also spent almost $31 million supporting organizations that spread climate change denial propaganda between 1998 and 2014. ExxonMobil reportedly spends $27 million annually to oppose climate policy as of 2016. It’s the largest carbon emitter amongst the gasoline companies and that should be all you need to know.

7) Shell (SHLX)

508 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 1.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Shell was second to ExxonMobil in dollars spent to oppose climate policy with a $22-million annual budget. It even made a film warning of climate change in 1991 but did not heed its own warning so it could reap the benefits of increased profits. Of the energy giants, though, Shell and Total are the only companies to receive a “D” rating from InfluenceMap when it comes to transitioning to a low-carbon, energy policy globally. ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron all received “E-” ratings.

8) British Petroleum (BP or BPMP)

448 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 1.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

We all know BP for spilling 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killing 11 people at Deepwater Horizon -- the largest oil spill in history and eight to 31 percent larger than the next largest. In September 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that BP was primarily responsible for the oil spill because of its gross negligence and reckless conduct, and in July 2015, BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines -- the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.

9) Peabody (BTU)

397 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Peabody is a coal company based in St. Louis, and as less and less American energy is produced by coal, Peabody’s stock price will fall more and more. Just 34.34 percent of America’s energy production came from coal in 2015 -- down more than five percent over the course of a year.

10) Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras (PETR4.SA)

382 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Petrobras is Brazil’s largest oil and natural gas company and is dirty in more than one way. It paid $2.95 billion to settle a U.S. class action corruption lawsuit at the beginning of 2018 -- the largest settlement paid to the United States by a foreign entity. The settlement was six times more than it has received so far under a Brazilian probe into bribery schemes that involved company executives and government officials.

11) Chevron (CVX)

377 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Shares of Chevron have increased nearly 30 percent in the last six months, so there will be no bargain for buyers of CVX now. Worse yet, its $34-billion project in Western Australia could face tougher emissions curbs, which would increase costs and sink shares.

12) Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas (PNAGF)

340 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Gross profits of the state-run, Malaysian oil and gas company have decreased over the last three years in all divisions -- gas processing, gas transportation, utilities and regasification. And its Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline transporting liquid natural gas sprung a leak on Jan. 10. A 2015 report found that there’s enough natural gas leakage to outweigh the climate benefits of using natural gas instead of coal.

13) Lukoil OAO (LKOH)

328 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Russia’s second-largest oil company expects sanctions to continue for a decade.

14) Glencore PLC (GLEN)

322 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

The Democratic Republic of Congo forced Glencore’s billionaire head of copper into a smaller role after a review raised questions about accounting and management, but Congo’s doubling of taxes on cobalt will hurt Glencore even more.

15) Koch Industries

300 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

How much Koch Industries actually pollutes Earth is difficult to determine, as Koch is privately owned and exempt from risk disclosures required of publicly-traded companies. Multiple estimates have Koch Industries at 300 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, but the Kochs do more to obstruct policy addressing climate change than anyone.

InfluenceMap ranked Koch Industries dead last in its readiness for a transition to a low-carbon policy globally. The Koch Brothers also contribute more to climate-change-denying candidates than anyone else. They budgeted for $889 million in campaign contributions to Conservative candidates in 2016 and are planning to spend up to $400 million during the 2018 midterm elections.

You can avoid giving Koch Industries your money by avoiding the companies it owns, like Vistra Energy Corp. (VST), of which it holds nearly five million shares. Vistra is a Texas energy company.

Dishonorable Mentions:

BHP Billiton Ltd. and PLC (BBL)

317 megatons on CO2 emissions, or 0.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

The Australian-English company is the world’s largest mining company.

Total SA (TOT)

311 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

The French, multinational, “Supermajor” oil and gas company was fined $313,910 for air emissions violations at its Port Arthur refinery in Texas just under a week ago, and this after the Clean Power Plan was mostly repealed.

Arch Coal Inc. (ARCH)

232 megatons of CO2 emissions, or 0.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Arch Coal is an American coal mining and processing company. They burn coal.


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A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reports the flu increases one’s risk for a heart attack by six within the first week.

Study author Dr. Jeff Kwong, a family physician and epidemiologist from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario, and his colleagues looked at 20,000 adults who were diagnosed (and lab confirmed) with the flu in Ontario from 2009 – 2014.  Of these adults, 332 had a heart attack, either the year before, after or during the flu.   Heart attack risk was 6 times higher the week of the flu and was elevated in those older than 65.

Many of the individuals had cardiac risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) illustrating if one is at risk for a heart attack, a cardiac event may be more likely to occur if they get the flu.

This isn’t the first time a link between heart attack and flu has been suggested. In 2007, Meade et al found a bout with the flu to double the risk of a heart attack and stroke.

Their theory was the flu dislodged fatty deposits sitting along the arteries, allowing them to travel to the coronary arteries or those in the brain resulting in a heart attack and stroke respectively.

Another theory is the cardiac risk factors may worsen during the flu. Blood sugars are difficult to control, hence fats in the blood will follow, and blood pressure may be affected when one is battling an infection.

Inflammation has been linked to heart attack, thus inflammation resulting from the flu may also be a culprit.

The study authors wrote, “Cardiovascular events triggered by influenza are potentially preventable by vaccination.”  The flu shot this year has been projected to only be 30% effective against this season’s active strains but is still being recommended this season as hospitalizations and deaths from the flu are reaching record numbers.

What causes a heart attack?

 

A heart attack occurs when part of the heart muscle fails to receive the blood and oxygen it needs. This can occur by arteries supplying the heart muscle to become blocked.  Coronary artery disease can be caused by plaque build up from fats, sugars, calcium, fibrin that settle on the blood vessel wall. These plaques can build up and occlude the lumen, obstructing blood flow.

Additionally a heart attack can occur when an unstable plaque rips off, tearing the blood vessel lining causing the body to form an immediate clot. This clot can also be deadly as it obstructs the lumen as well.

Heart disease, however, can be prevented ...

 

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

Family history of heart disease

Personal history of heart disease

High Blood Pressure

High Cholesterol

Diabetes

Smoking

Obesity

Inactivity

Males over 40

Females who are postmenopausal

High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

Maintain a normal blood pressure

Maintain normal blood sugar

Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels

Reduce stress

Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables

Quit smoking

Stay active

Maintain a healthy weight.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Burger King hit viral gold with its recent ad riffing off the repeal of net neutrality rules. Let’s face it - a lot of people don’t know, or don’t care, what net neutrality is. But they should. And Burger King, apparently, is just the sort of giant company to tell you all about it.

 

Very basically, net neutrality forces all internet providers to treat all web traffic equally. Which is precisely how the internet has worked since Al Gore created it (That was a joke! But if you just felt your blood pressure rise upon hearing the oft repeated Fox Fake News Story that Al Gore “claimed” to create the internet - I will go on a limb and say you probably don’t know a thing about net neutrality, either).

 

Burger King claims the ad is filled with real people, not actors but my Spider Sense tingles at the idea. These people might not be trained, professional actors but I suspect some (if not all) of them were in on it from the get go.

 

But that doesn’t really change the point of the video. In it - when customers order a Whopper they are told there are different price depending on how fast you want the Whopper cooked - the MBPS (making burgers per second) speed. If you want to wait for twenty or thirty minutes - your Whopper will be $5.  If you want your Whopper in 90 seconds - your Whopper will be $26.

 

Same Whopper. Different price. Net Neutrality at it’s finest. But Burger King employees make it clear - these are not our rules - we just have to enforce them. Watch the above linked video as customers get more exasperated and furious.

 

And why do we have this ridiculous ad? Because the FCC repealed Obama-era neutrality rules and now internet provider giants can throttle and / or block websites that don’t pay the fee for faster speeds.

 

Internet providers can even block or throttle websites that do pay the faster fee. I mean, I don’t know about you but I swear to God that my Netflix streaming has sucked since Jan 1. It was like over night too. And Netflix has paid the faster streaming fees to the internet provider giants.

 

I used to be able to watch HD streaming with - well, you know … perfect HD quality! Now, half the time, the picture is so pixelated, HD looks like a bad, out of focus print from the 1920’s.  I kid you not.

 

But maybe that’s just me. I’m sure with net neutrality rules gone Netflix will clear right up ASAP.

 

Just because President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission has been disbanded doesn’t mean the state of voter suppression in America has improved. Many states fought to defend the privacy of its voters from the voter fraud commission and won, but the fight has just begun to curb voter suppression in states throughout America.

Suppressing the Student Vote in America

Young voters can sway elections, and the Republican-led New Hampshire Senate has passed a “poll tax” that will suppress student voting. The bill will likely pass the Republican-led House, but Republican Governor Chris Sununu doesn’t support the bill and could veto it. Regardless, the constitutionality of the bill has been called into question.

The 24th Amendment to the Constitution states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

Now the New Hampshire law isn’t a “tax” in the exact sense of the word. Instead of forcing out-of-state students to pay a tax to access the polls, which would be unconstitutional, House Bill 372 allows the State of New Hampshire to impose fines on voters who do not have a New Hampshire driver’s license, even though it is legal to vote in the state with an out-of-state license.

The bill would impose two obligations on new voters. Within 60 days of registering to vote, a New Hampshire voter would need to register her car with the state and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license, the cost of which could amount to over $200.

Suppressing the Minority Vote in America

Minorities have already been deciding elections in America, with black voters making the difference in Alabama. This is a major threat to Conservative incumbents, and Conservative-led, state legislatures have taken measures to suppress the minority vote in America.

Ohio’s law purging voters who have not participated in consecutive elections or failed to respond to a notice from state officials will likely be upheld by the Conservative majority of the Supreme Court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the essence of the case is whether Ohio’s law is “disenfranchising disproportionately certain cities where large groups of minorities live, where large groups of homeless people live, and across the country they’re the group that votes the least.”

While federal law doesn’t allow states to use failure to vote as a reason for purging voters from rolls, federal law also calls on states to keep accurate voter rolls and allows for removal when a person fails to respond to a state’s request to confirm registration and then fails to vote in two federal elections. Ohio sends a notice after a voter misses a single election, and removes said voter if they don’t reply. It’s the most aggressive law of its kind in America.

Redistricting All the Rage in America

With the 2020 census upcoming, the redrawing of states’ voting districts is getting a lot of attention, especially in the courts. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that its voter district map was partisan gerrymandered to benefit Republicans and must be redrawn.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed a lower-court order that would have forced North Carolina Republicans to redraw its state’s congressional district map while similar cases involving Wisconsin legislative districts and one Maryland congressional district are considered by the Supreme Court.

Bills governing redistricting were introduced in 27 states in 2017. Here’s a complete list of those bills. What’s the reason for so much redistricting legislation? Well, 37 state legislatures have primary control of their own district lines, and 42 legislatures have primary control over the congressional lines in their state (including five of the states with just one congressional district). And why wouldn’t an incumbent legislator draw district lines to his or her advantage? That’s why organizations like Common Cause are having success campaigning for independent commissions to handle district drawing. All of the 27 states with pending legislation governing redistricting have bills calling for a commission separate from the legislature to handle the map-making.

For instance, in Minnesota, there are companion bills calling for independent commissions to handle redistricting. HF 246 and SB 2052 call for a commission of former judges to draw district lines, but objectors to the bills say former judges aren’t representative of Minnesota’s minority populations. In nearby Michigan, bills have been introduced mirroring California’s citizens’ commission for redistricting -- the favorite model of organizations working toward democratic, competitive elections.

So while the state of voter suppression in America is improving and bound to continue improving for voters, there will still be states where partisan gerrymandered districts result in undemocratic, noncompetitive elections in 2018 and 2020. And until every state gets redistricting out of the hands of incumbent legislators, free elections are an impossibility.


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POST-ATHLETIC ACTIVITY DEPRESSION (PAAD) MAY AFFECT MULTIPLE ATHLETES WHEN THEIR SEASON ENDS DUE TO THE HIGH HORMONE LEVELS INDUCED BY THEIR PRIOR RIGOROUS EXERCISE REGIMEN SUDDENLY DROPPING.

 

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps admitted at the The Kennedy Forum in Chicago last week that he had battled depression for years and contemplated suicide.  With his multiple decade athletic career, the most decorated in history, how could an Olympian find life so unlivable?

Other decorated athletes have suffered from depression as well:   Terry Bradshaw, Darryl Strawberry, Larry Sanders, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Oscar de la Hoya to name a few.

Post-athletic activity depression (PADD) may ensue when the high levels of exercise aren’t maintained and the mind isn’t prepared for losing or being surpassed by another athlete.  As you will see biology as well as psychology play huge factors in the mental health of an athlete.

Exercise wards off depression

 

Michael Phelps admitted to going into a depression after each Olympics.  His workouts leading up to each of the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics were illustrated by Arizona State coach Bob Bowman at the American Swimming Coaches Association, and demonstrated thousands of hours and yards swum each week.

Multiple studies have proven that exercise wards off depression. This is in part due to multiple mood enhancing hormones being released during athletic activity such as:

  • endorphins
  • norepinephrine
  • dopamine
  • serotonin

So if after a meet, marathon, playoff or Olympic race ends, does the average athlete keep their rigorous training schedule? Probably not.  Hence these hormones that the body has become accustomed to seeing aren’t there at their previous levels, inducing a depression.  If someone is at risk for depression, the drop in these hormone levels could, in theory, depress one to the point that they contemplate suicide.

Being the best puts you psychologically at risk

 

They say winning is addictive and from a psychological standpoint, that’s correct.  Once you win you reform a new identity.  Those psychologically mature and stable will not find their win their only identifying factor and additionally will understand that you “win some, lose some”.  However those who struggled for years to win, especially if the prize is an Olympic medal, may not deal with “lose some” so easily.

Once you own that Superbowl ring, first place blue ribbon or gold medal others look at you as “one of the best”.  How much higher can you go?  Usually an athlete only has two choices. Maintain their “top” status, difficult to do with aging and younger up and comers vying for their spot, or start losing. Most athletes aren’t preparing for how to lose.  They can’t. They use all their waking hours preparing on how to win.  So when the loss does come, they’re unprepared.

 

loss

 

Could some CTE symptoms be related to post-athletic activity depression?

 

I believe so. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degeneration of brain tissue and function from multiple hits to the head.  Many who suffer from CTE have mood changes, anxiety, anger and impulsivity.  CTE tau protein build up in the brain contributes to this but hormones can play a role as well.

What needs to be studied are the mood changes incurred by athletes after each season or race to see if a “funk” sets in because their exercise regimen is not being maintained.

Moreover all athletes should have access to counseling to thwart depression and suicidality because losing is inevitable for everyone.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

You could say the Minnesota Vikings had no business playing in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia after needing a Minneapolis Miracle to get there. But they entered play as the NFL’s best defense in points and yardage allowed and were three-point favorites on the road. They left Philly 31-point losers.

Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich picked apart the best third-down defense in football -- getting first downs on 10 of 14 third-down tries. Shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes summed it up succinctly, saying the Vikings’ defense played like “trash.”

The defense wasn’t the only problem on Sunday, though. Quarterback Case Keenum finally turned into the pumpkin everyone expected this Cinderella season, and Vikings’ general manager Rick Spielman should not ignore the result when addressing the Vikings’ roster at quarterback -- or lack thereof.

Who Should be the Vikings’ Quarterback in 2018?

With 23-year-old Kyle Sloter out of Northern Colorado the only quarterback on the roster going into next season, the Vikings will once again have to answer the quarterback question this offseason. Some would say Keenum has earned the starting job, but given his latest performance, the Vikings should let him test the free agent market.

Upon throwing a pick-six after his arm was hit by Cameron Graham, who beat right tackle Rashod Hill on just about every play, Keenum fell apart. Before the pick-six, Keenum completed four of six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Afterward, he completed just 57.1 percent of his 42 passes, gaining just five yards per attempt on average, with no more touchdowns and another interception. That is not the performance of a quarterback worth $21.3 million per year. That was the franchise tag salary for quarterbacks in 2017, and the least the Vikings could pay Keenum to return next season.

With Sam Bradford’s $18 million coming off the books along with 13 other players entering free agency, the Vikings have a little over $60 million in cap space next season. That’s enough to do more than just retain two of their three quarterbacks, and with Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees potentially available in free agency, the answer to the quarterback question is even more difficult.

The Vikings should be pretty confident in allowing Keenum, Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater to test free agency. Bradford and Bridgewater haven’t proven they can stay healthy as starters, and while there are plenty of NFL teams who would love to have either, Bradford and Bridgwater couldn’t be entering free agency at a worse time for them.

Keenum, on the other hand, will be considerably over-valued on the free agent market, and will likely be overpaid by a desperate team. The Vikings would be smart to let him go elsewhere and pay the undervalued Bradford and Bridgewater to return. But if Spielman does intend to bring back Bradford to start and Bridgewater to back him up, he best protect his injury-prone investments.

Vikings’ Offensive Line Needs Improving, Again

The additions of tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers vastly improved the offensive line play of the Vikings. As of Week 5, Pro Football Focus ranked the healthy Vikings’ O-line 20th overall and 15th in pass-blocking, after finishing last season ranked 23rd in pass-blocking. But the Vikings’ offensive line wasn’t healthy going into the NFC Championship Game, and the Eagles showed the value of having the league’s top offensive line, keeping Nick Foles upright and, at times, allowing him seven seconds to throw the football against the Vikings’ four-man, pass rush.

While the Vikings offensive line improved in pass protection, run blocking was still an issue, which isn’t something Spielman must address with running back Dalvin Cook coming back from injury. But if Bradford and Bridgewater are his quarterbacks, he’ll want to add some depth to the offensive line if he hopes to keep either of them healthy. Playing Remmers out of position at left guard in the NFC Championship Game and forcing backup Sharod Hill to take on the Eagles’ sacks leader probably wasn’t how Spielman drew it up prior to the season.

Spielman will likely have another hole to fill on the offensive line, too. Right guard Joe Berger has hinted that he intends to retire. With a lack of interior, offensive lineman available through free agency, it’s likely Spielman and the Vikings will address the offensive line through the draft. R.J. White and Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports think Spielman will target the former college teammate of Pat Elflein, Billy Price. But if Spielman can save some money by retaining the undervalued Bradford and Bridgewater, he could potentially sign the best guard in football.

Carolina’s Andrew Norwell, 26, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and lining him up next to the second-year center Elflein and the veteran Reiff (or Remmers) would certainly increase the chances of Bradford and Bridgewater staying healthy and effective. Spielman could then address the issue of depth through the draft, even selecting Price and easing him into a starting role so he’s ready when Nick Easton becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.

The Rest of the Vikings’ Roster

It’s time to let the soon-to-be-40 Terrance Newman ride off into the sunset, while 33-year-old run-stuffer Tom Johnson should probably be retained given the lack of availability at his position in free agency. There’s no one on the depth chart behind him at left defensive tackle, and he could be retained at a reasonable price.

Marcus Sherels made $2 million to catch kicks this season, and at 30, averaged just 9.5 yards per punt return -- down from a career high of 13.9 yards per return last season. That position is better filled by a young draftee and likely will be.

Jerick McKinnon wants a bigger role running the ball and has likely played his last game in purple and gold, while kicker Kai Forbath probably earned a raise with his play in the Divisional Playoff Game against New Orleans.

The Vikings are so close to contending for a championship, and adding a guy like Norwell should put their offensive line in the top third of the league and protect the brittle Bradford and Bridgewater. Depth is the biggest concern, and given Spielman's success using the draft to add talent, the Vikings should enter next season even better than this season.


 

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A California couple has been busted for torture, abuse, child neglect and false imprisonment against their 12 children. On Sunday, one of the teenage daughter captives scrambled to freedom by crawling out of a home window and dialing 911.

It was an escape plan, two years in the making.

After receiving the distress call, two deputies and a supervisor arrived on the scene and found a filthy house in unlivable conditions, a bewildered mother who just couldn’t understand why the police where at her house, and twelve neglected and abused children - some of which were still chained to their beds.

Police wasted no time arresting the two soulless ghouls responsible - the parents - David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49. Now both are facing charges of torture, abuse and false imprisonment. Two parents who were, by admission, homeschooling Christians.

On January 18th the married couple pled not guilty to:

  • Frequently beating and strangling their children.
  • Allowing the children only a single shower per year.
  • Not providing medical care, including dental.
  • Nightly - tying the children to their beds; however, upon noticing that the children were able to slip rope knots, began chaining and padlocking them to their beds.
  • Rationing the children’s food and allowing them only one meal per day - which led to severe malnourishment up to and including the 12 year old child who weighed as much as an average seven year old and the eldest 29 year old who was 82 pounds. Not to mention that several of the children have cognitive impairment and "neuropathy, which is nerve damage, as a result of this extreme and prolonged physical abuse." - quoted lead prosecutor.

And those are just the crimes they committed. And it doesn’t even mention that their “homeschooling” was ludicrously lacking as the children, when rescued and questioned, didn’t have a basic understanding of things. They didn’t know what a police officer was. They didn’t understand what medication was.

It just goes on and on.

Now, I didn’t bother added the word, “allegedly” even though the law presumes the Turpin’s are innocent until the state proves them to be guilty.

Fair enough.

But I’m not part of their legal trial so I will go out on a limb and say these two fuckers are guilty, guilty, guilty as sin. And I want them to pay.

Lock them up. Throw away the key.

Or as Rust Cohle says to a child molester in season one of True Detective, “The newspapers are going to be tough on you. And prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity -- you should kill yourself.”

That being said, I hope those kids are now surrounded with care, love and support. They have their entire free lives ahead of them now and I hope they can recover from their trauma and go on to accomplish great things.

 

White House Physician, Navy Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson, performed President Donald Trump’s annual physical last week are released the following results:

From Politico:

President Donald J. Trump has completed his first periodic physical examination as President of the United States. I performed and supervised the examination with appropriate specialty consultations and diagnostic testing. The exam was conducted January 12, 2018 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The purpose of this exam was to provide the public with an update of the President’s current health status and to ensure the President continues to enjoy all the benefits of good health. This examination focused on evidence-based health screening and disease prevention.

With President Trump's consent, I release the following health information:

Vital Statistics

Age: 71 years, 7 months

Height: 75 inches

Weight: 239 pounds

Resting heart rate: 68 bpm

Blood pressure: 122/74 mm

Hg Pulse-oximetry: 99% room air

Temperature: 98.4 degrees F

Physical Examination by System (to include studies)

Eyes: Uncorrected visual acuity was 20/30 bilaterally, with corrected visual acuity of 20/20 bilaterally. Visual fields were normal. Fundoscopic exam was normal bilaterally. Intraocular pressures were normal bilaterally. No ocular pathology was discovered.

Head/Ears/Nose/Throat: Normal exam of the head, ears, nose, mouth, and throat.

Dental: Healthy teeth and gums.

Neck: Normal thyroid exam. No noted lymphadenopathy. Auscultation of the carotid arteries normal.

Pulmonary: Lungs clear to auscultation. A screening Low Dose CT of the chest demonstrated no pulmonary pathology.

Cardiac: Heart exam normal. Regular rhythm. No murmurs or other abnormal heart sounds noted. ECG with normal sinus rhythm, rate of 71, normal axis, and no other significant findings. Transthoracic Echocardiogram demonstrated normal LV systolic function, EF 60-65%, normal LV chamber size and wall thickness, no wall motion abnormalities. RV normal, atria grossly normal, all valves normal. Exercise Stress Echocardiogram demonstrated above average exercise capacity based on age and sex, and normal heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output response to exercise. No evidence of ischemia noted and wall motion was normal in all images.

Gastrointestinal: Normal exam. No masses, hepatomegaly or splenomegaly noted. Normal optical colonoscopy with no polyps or abnormal findings completed June 2013. Repeat colonoscopy not indicated and was deferred until next periodic physical exam.

Genitourinary: Normal exam.

Extremities/Musculoskeletal: Normal throughout. Full range of motion in all joints. Strong distal pulses and good capillary refill in all extremities. No swelling or edema noted.

Neurological: Examination of cranial nerves, cerebellar function, deep tendon reflexes, motor function, and sensory system all normal. Cognitive Screening Exam using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment was normal with a score of 30/30.

Dermatologic: Normal exam. No evidence of melanoma , basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or any other significant dermatologic disease.

Laboratory Results

Lipid Panel:

Total cholesterol: 223 (mg/dL)

Triglycerides: 129 (mg/dL)

HDL cholesterol: 67 (mg/dL)

LDL cholesterol: 143 (mg/dL)

Cholesterol to HDL ratio: 3.3\

Complete Blood Count:

WBC: 5.5 (K/UL)

HGB: 16.1 (g/dL)

HCT: 48.7 (%)

PLT: 241 (K/UL)

Extended Metabolic Panel:

Fasting Blood Glucose: 89 (mg/dL)

BUN: 19.0 (mg/dL)

CREAT: 0.98 (mg/dL)

ALT: 27 (U/L)

AST: 19 (U/L)

Hemoglobin AlC: 5.0 (%)

Vitamin D: 20.0 (ng/ml)

PSA: 0.12 (ng/ml)

TSH: 1.76 (ulU/ml)

Urinalysis:

Appearance: Clear

Protein: Negative

Ketones: Negative

Glucose: Negative

Blood: Negative

Past Medical History

• Hypercholesterolemia

• Rosacea

Past Surgical History

Appendectomy (age 11)

Social History

• No past or present use of alcohol.

• No past or present use of tobacco.

Medications

Rosuvastatin (Crestor), 10 mg daily to lower cholesterol.

Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin), 81mg daily for cardiac health.

Finasteride (Propecia), 1 mg daily for prevention of male pattern hair loss.

Ivermectin Cream (Soolantra), As needed for treatment of Rosacea

Multivitamin (Centrum Silver), Daily for overall health maintenance.

Immunizations

  • • Prevnar 13 (to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia) and Twinrix (to prevent hepatitis A/B) given.
  • • Routine vaccinations, to include seasonal influenza, all up to date.
  • • All indicated travel vaccinations up to date.

Summary

The President’s overall health is excellent. His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good. He continues to enjoy the significant long term cardiac and overall health benefits that come from a lifetime of abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. We discussed diet, exercise and weight loss. He would benefit from a diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates and from a routine exercise regimen. He has a history of elevated cholesterol and is currently on a low dose of Rosuvastatin. In order to further reduce his cholesterol level and further decrease his cardiac risk, we will increase the dose of this particular medication. The President is currently up to date on all recommended preventive medicine screening tests and exams.

All clinical data indicates that the President is currently very healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency.

President Trump is in “excellent health.”

 

At the above height and weight, Donald Trump’s BMI is 29.9 placing him in the overweight category just shy of the 30 BMI cut off for obesity.

His blood pressure and heart rate are excellent for his age, especially in the absence of a blood pressure medication.

His pulse oximetry demonstrating the oxygenation of his blood is excellent as well.

An uncorrected vision test of 20/30 means that without glasses, the president has near perfect vision.

A low dose CT of the chest is not routine during annual physicals in non-smokers, but is reassuring that he most likely doesn’t suffer from lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in America.

His EKG, which evaluates electrical abnormalities of the heart secondary to disease or heart attack, confirmed the ideal heart rate.

His echocardiogram, and ultrasound evaluating heart structures and pump activity, demonstrated no heart failure or issues with the filling or pumping of blood, as well as confirming normal anatomy (valves, wall thickness, etc).

A stress test evaluates for cardiac ischemia, or loss of blood flow to heart muscle during rest and exercise, and was normal as well.

A normal colonoscopy in 2013 suggests his next screening colonoscopy wouldn’t be performed until 2023 unless he had pain, rectal bleed, changes in his stool, or any risk factors for colon cancer.

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was given to evaluate cognitive function and is not routinely done during annual physicals.  This was performed and passed with a 30/30 score.  The test evaluates memory, orientation, visuospatial and executive brain function, recall, concentration and language fluency.  An example is shown here.

His cholesterol is elevated but his good cholesterol is strong and his ratio of cholesterol to HDL is well within goal.

cholesterol-levels-chart

 

The remaining blood tests looked very good, especially his HBA1C and blood glucose evaluating for diabetes.

Of note is his Vitamin D level which appears low-normal and could put him at risk for osteoporosis.  It does not appear a bone density test, Dexa scan, was performed.

A PSA of 0.12 is reassuring as well although is not recommended as a screening test for prostate cancer.

It's been suggested that President Trump loses 10-15 lbs and increases his exercise activity.

My opinion, for a 71-year-old man with high cholesterol, President Trump is way ahead of the curve.  I’m a fan of Crestor, his cholesterol lowering medication, and credit his lipid profile numbers to his use of the statin.  His weight is an issue but I think the White House has a bowling alley, chefs who could make asparagus taste like meat, and secret service who wear fitbits.  I think he’ll be just fine.

This is a developing story.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Using a baseball analogy, counting your pounds of body weight is like counting runs batted in (RBI). The old-school baseball statistic is dependent on a multitude of factors, like whether your teammates get on base in front of you. It's outdated, just like body weight. So if body weight is RBI, body fat percentage is wins above replacement (WAR), which is how many wins a player contributes to his team above the replacement-level player at his position.  

RBI isn’t indicative of a player’s performance like WAR, and your weight isn’t truly indicative of your health. But your body fat percentage is. If you’re a man, a body fat percentage between six and 13 percent is on par with athletes. For women, that range is 14 to 20 percent. A fit body fat percentage for men would be between 14 and 17 percent, and for women, between 21 and 24 percent. Average body fat percentages for men range from 18 to 24 percent and 25 to 31 percent for women.

Your body weight can fluctuate between one and five pounds everyday. I have personally seen my weight fluctuate by eight pounds in one day over the holidays. And now I have a new scale that estimates my body fat percentage, body mass index, water weight and even the percentages of my weight that is muscle and bone. (The company that produces it also donates a part of profits to end child trafficking and provide support services for victims.)

Using a scale isn’t as simple as stepping onto it, and determining our health isn’t as easy as reading the number on the scale. Knowing when to weigh yourself is the first step to ensuring the data you’re collecting is accurate.

When to Weigh Yourself

First of all, you don’t need to weigh yourself everyday. Since your weight fluctuates so much in a single day, collecting that data daily can actually be detrimental to your health. If you weigh yourself daily and find you’re not losing weight, it could affect you psychologically. You could lose interest in managing your diet before it even goes to work on your body. Dr. Daliah Wachs explains:

“Your body likes everything really rhythmic and predictable, and when it gets out of rhythm your metabolism slows as a protective defense...It will relearn what your new norm is, but that could take weeks.”

Wachs suggests you weigh yourself weekly, and my research supports that suggestion. But there is research out there supporting daily weigh-ins. If you struggle to remain dedicated to your weight loss goals, weigh yourself everyday to hold yourself accountable. It resulted in more weight loss amongst women in the study cited above.  

I weigh myself daily out of curiosity, but I only log my weight in the MyPlate app by Livestrong every five days. But how often you weigh yourself isn’t the only factor to consider when collecting your weight data. When you weigh yourself during the day will also skew your data.

My research indicates you should weigh yourself upon waking and after using the bathroom for the first time. You don’t necessarily have to poop, but if you do, your weight data will be a pound on the light side on average. After my movement this morning, I weighed 161.6 pounds, but I’m probably closer to 162.6 pounds.

Don’t Get Down If Your Weight Doesn’t Go Down

As stated earlier, weighing yourself daily can get you down, especially when you’re starting a new diet that doesn’t seem to be working. But you need not worry if your weight doesn’t go down for a few weeks.

“Most diets include a lot of water, which also keeps your appetite down,” Wachs said, adding later that “you will notice an increase in water weight gain...by the couple-week mark you’ll start to notice it go down.”

Water makes up between 57 and 60 percent of your body weight on average, and if you make a point of drinking more water as a part of your diet, your weight will increase due to water retained. You can find out exactly how much of your weight is water by using a scale that measures body fat by sending a harmless electric current through your body. So don’t get down if your weight goes unchanged or even increases in the first few weeks of your new diet. And if you’re using a scale that measures body fat, don’t try to lower your weight by drinking less water. That’s just dangerous.

So how to weigh yourself properly starts with weighing yourself at the proper time of day and at the right interval for you, but ends with you not reading your weight at all and reading your body fat percentage instead.


 

If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

When Hawaii residents Saturday morning received this alert (later retracted):

 

false-alert-message.jpg

the rest of the country asked themselves, “What would I have done if I received this alert?”

So I think we can all agree we’re unprepared. Some scoff by saying, “Well we wouldn’t survive anyway!”  Actually, you can survive a nuclear attack.  Here’s how…

It’s never too early to prepare

Firstly, know your shelters. There are two types:

Blast shelters offer some protection against the blast, heat, fire and initial radiation.

Fallout shelters offer some protection against the radiation from the fallout products.

Many public buildings in your city can act as fallout shelters.  These may be schools, hotels, subway tunnels, or below ground pubs.  However if your city doesn’t post or have either, you are more likely to be urged to “Shelter in Place”, which we’ll discuss later.

Secondly, make an “Emergency Kit” that has all your important papers, passports, medications, first aid, pet supplies, food and water.

Ready.gov suggests the following:

 

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Radio (battery operated) so you can be up to date with what is occurring and be told when it's safe to exit your shelter

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Where do I find shelter?

It’s best to get to a building that has a basement. Below ground is obviously safer than above ground. Moreover being surrounded by concrete or even brick is better than stucco.

Mic.com also suggests that the center of a building offers more protection than other rooms as illustrated below:

NTVhNGZjZTExMiMvVGdsSTY0MFlLZ0dxczdRTHI4bE9oYXlyaTFnPS83OHgwOjg4N3g3NjYvZml0LWluLzc2MHgwL2ZpbHRlcnM6Zm9ybWF0KGpwZWcpOnF1YWxpdHkoODApOm5vX3Vwc2NhbGUoKTpmb3JtYXQoanBlZykvaHR0cDovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vcG9saWN5bWljLW.jpg

The farther away you are from the blast the safer, however, you do not want to be in your car in bumper to bumper traffic during an attack either.

Shelter in Place

If you don’t know where to go, than bunker down. If you have a basement go there. If not find an interior room with no windows and start praying.

What if I’m outside?

There is always the possibility that someone may be in the middle of a picnic when a nuclear attack hits.  If that’s the case, and you can’t get indoors, Ready.gov suggests the following:Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.

 

  • Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.
  • Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.
  • Take shelter as soon as you can, even if you are many miles from ground zero where the attack occurred – radioactive fallout can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles.
  • If you were outside during or after the blast, get clean as soon as possible, to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body.
  • Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
  • If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.
  • When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
  • Wash your hair with shampoo or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair, keeping it from rinsing out easily.
  • Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears.
  • If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.

What about potassium iodide tablets?

These tablets help protect your thyroid from taking up radioactive iodine, as they saturate the organ. It’s an inexpensive pill that will protect one against thyroid cancer but not the other medical sequelae of nuclear exposure such as bone marrow injury and skin irritation.

The false nuclear attack alert Hawaii residents received enlightened the rest of the country on how unprepared the average American is. It’s about time we have a game plan and cities educate their citizens on where and how to protect themselves.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.