Comcast’s cable television, telephone, and internet arm, Xfinity, has entered the mobile phone leasing industry. You can now lease a smartphone from Xfinity Mobile.

The move likely comes as no surprise to Xfinity customers, who provide 16 million public wifi hotspots available to every other Xfinity customer in the United States. And it makes sense for Xfinity to take advantage of its network of public wifi hotspots made available by its customers for their customers.

While there were plenty of complaints from customers whose rented wireless routers were used by the company to broadcast public signals to other Xfinity customers, Xfinity allows customers to disable the public signal, despite how difficult the process might have been in the past. Customers who don’t disable the public signals are basically sharing internet bandwidth for which they pay with their fellow Xfinity customers -- a socialized hotspot network, if you will.  

When you connect to a public Xfinity wifi hotspot for the first time, you’ll be asked to enter your Xfinity email and password to verify that you are a member of the Xfinity party. Your mobile device will then connect to every Xfinity wifi hotspot within range automatically (unless you deactivate auto-connect). This helps Xfinity customers use less data and save money, which was exactly what the Xfinity customer service representative echoed.

“Our plans are designed specifically to save you money,” he said. And I believe him because Xfinity Mobile offers a single gigabyte of data for just $12. It’s website states you could save anywhere from $40 per month when you switch from T-Mobile and $90 per month when switching from AT&T with their $12 per gigabyte of data plan.

According to 20SomethingFinance.com’s Jan. 2017 report, only Freedom Pop offers a cheaper mobile data plan (it’s free up to 500 texts, 200 minutes and 500 MB). Republic Wireless plans start at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text but no mobile data. Republic offers 1 GB of mobile data for $20 per month.

Xfinity Mobile is going to reap the benefits of people pinching pennies due to rising costs for rent, energy and transportation, prescription drugs and health insurance, and cable and internet services. Hell, the newly appointed Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, doesn’t think people need high-speed internet service anymore because mobile data is good enough, making it more expensive for rural America to get online.

Xfinity is attempting to take advantage of a market that’s been underserved -- the poor. Even poor people need to get online, and while many have access to public wifi hotspots made available through their municipality, library or McDonald’s, not all of them have high-speed access to the internet at all times in their own homes. Xfinity Mobile can give them that without a $50-per-month internet bill or $100-per-month cable bill.

Editor’s Note:

I didn’t have much of a choice when it came to internet service providers in my area. Xfinity was the only provider in my area that offered upload and download speeds that would allow me to do what I need to do everyday.

I had a terrible experience having Xfinity internet installed. While I bought my own modem and router, and had the self-installation kit sent to my house, no one bothered to check and see if my cable line was internet ready or capable of receiving a signal. It took weeks to get setup, but Xfinity made it right.

It’s going to be difficult for me to pass up on this deal now that I’m an Xfinity customer. While you can’t bring your own phone to Xfinity Mobile yet, I’m probably due for an upgrade, and since I don’t pay a mobile carrier currently, I’m in the perfect situation to be an early adopter.

I don’t even need to make calls or send texts. There are apps for that. But what I’d really like is to be able to use Google Maps with or without an Xfinity wifi hotspot. Hotspots are hard to come by when you’re driving in traffic at 70 miles per hour, and the last thing I want is for anyone to be fumbling with their phone while driving.

One gigabyte of data per month would be just enough to use my smartphone as a GPS and occasionally check email without wifi. That’s all I need, and I’m willing to pay $144 per year for something that cost me $540 per year with StraightTalk Wireless before I dumped them. I was paying $600 per year with Verizon Wireless before that, so mobile data is becoming more available to low-income Americans thanks to Xfinity Mobile.

--

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The CDC reports 3.4 million Americans suffer from epilepsy based on their 2015 data.  This number rose from 2.3 million in 2010.  470,000 of these cases are children.

 

According to their website, the CDC reports 1.2% of the population suffers from “active epilepsy.”  Active epilepsy is defined in adults as those having one or more seizures in the past year and requiring medication daily to control them. In children it means they currently have a seizure disorder.

 

The exact explanation for the rise in cases is unclear, however population growth and improved testing has been cited.

 

What is a seizure?

 

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain. If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

 

HGT0066_neurons-seizure-brain_FS.jpg

 

 

Epilepsy and seizures can be caused by a multitude of factors including genetics, brain trauma, tumors, infection, damage during birth, and stroke.

Can cell phones cause seizures?

 

Data has been limited linking seizure activity to cell phone use. However, some studies have found a modest link.

 

In 2016, Kouchaki et al tested mobile phone radiation in mice and concluded “continued and prolonged contact with the mobile phone radiation might increase the risk of seizure attacks and should be limited.”

 

Also in 2016, a study published in Epilepsy and Behavior by Tatum et al found texting to induce a “new type of brain rhythm.”

 

In 2013, Cinar et al examined the effects of electromagnetic waves (EMWs) on humans and suggested the following, “acute exposure to EMW may facilitate epileptic seizures, which may be independent of EMW exposure time. This information might be important for patients with epilepsy. Further studies are needed.”

 

In 2006, Ferreri et al found mobile phone “emissions” to increase human brain excitability, implying this could affect those with epilepsy.

 

More research therefore needs to be done investigating why epilepsy cases are on the rise and if cell phone radiation plays any role.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is 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’ll know when you’re seriously taking your nutrition seriously. Instead of simply logging what you eat and drink and monitoring your calories burned on the MyPlate app, you’ll be playing it like a game -- plugging in different snacks and meal combinations ahead of time -- chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption.

 

I’ve been using the MyPlate app by Livestrong for over three months now, and since I’m finally meeting my daily protein goal of 142 grams pretty regularly, I’m turning my focus to managing what percentage of my calories come from protein, fats and carbohydrates -- the macronutrients, or macros if you want to sound cool.

 

The MyPlate app uses recommendations for macronutrient consumption taken from The Zone Diet, which is 40 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats. Achieving the perfect day of macronutrient consumption takes careful planning and is even harder than eating a gram of protein for each pound of your body weight.

 

The closest thing to a perfect day of macronutrient consumption I’ve managed was 39 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 33 percent from fats and 29 percent from protein. Those meals consisted of the following:

Breakfast (600-700 calories)

Shredded Beef and Bean Chili Cheese Sandwich

Slow cook some boneless beef cuts on low-to-medium heat with a can of kidney beans, a can of chili beans and a can of whole tomatoes. Add tomato paste. I add a bit of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and a squeeze of mustard as well. Spice it up with chili powder, cayenne and black pepper. Cook for eight hours or until the beef is falling apart.

 

Pour a cup of chili over a sliced hamburger bun like an open-faced sandwich. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the chili. You can add a fried egg to make the shredded beef and bean chili and egg breakfast sandwich and boost your protein consumption further.

Chocolate Whey Protein Milkshake

Blend four ounces of 2% milk with one scoop of Super Advanced Whey Protein (either chocolate or vanilla), a third cup of strawberries, half a banana, and half a peach, or apple, or orange -- whatever you want. You can even blend vegetables.

 

Whey is the best way to reach your daily protein goals without breaking the bank or eating too much tuna or eggs. Plus, mixing whey with milk adds slower-acting casein protein and healthy fats. Adding juice adds more carbs, but a splash of orange juice with your milkshake is actually fantastic. If I’m already using an orange I hold the orange juice, though.

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 35 percent carbs, 39 percent protein and 26 percent fats. This is an ideal breakfast given the caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown. There’s even room for more carbohydrates and fats, which you could get from adding a fried egg and a few more fruits to the smoothie.

Snack (60 calories)

Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels

While 18 pretzels result in 22 grams of carbohydrates consumed, Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels also carry 5 grams of protein per serving. Plus, all profits go to charity, and the pretzels are delicious despite their lack of salt and overall healthiness. I generally only eat half a serving after my big breakfast.

Lunch (500-600 calories)

Tuna Cottage Cheese Half Sandwich

The easiest way to cut carbs is to make sandwiches with one slice of bread instead of two. Open a can of white tuna in water and drain it. Stir in a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise, salad dressing or Miracle Whip. You’ll cut down on the fat, and it’s a nice little protein boost to an already high-protein lunch. Mix in some chopped onion and celery if you like, and add salt and pepper to taste. I sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the tuna, and use a teaspoon or so of Durkee’s Famous Sauce (because a tablespoon is 80 calories) and a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard on my bread.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Bring four cans of reduced sodium chicken broth to a boil and add chopped carrots, onion and celery. After the vegetables are cooked thoroughly, add two cans of chicken breast and two cups of rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or add a few teaspoons of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce if you like it spicy.

 

I don’t usually have a glass of 2% milk with lunch, but I did on this day.

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 59 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, 16 percent fats. While this lunch isn’t close to macronutrient consumption perfection, it keeps your protein consumption consistent and made up for the carbohydrates I didn’t eat for breakfast. Ideally, you would attempt to keep your macronutrient goals consistent for each meal, but that’s an even more difficult game to win and requires even more planning.

Snack (160 calories)

Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts

A serving of 39 Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts is 13 grams of fat, but fats are better than carbs when you’re turning your body into a fat-burning machine. Those 39 peanuts also carry seven grams of protein and seven grams of carbs with them, making them the ideal snack to make you feel full without packing on carbs.

Dinner (120-250 calories)

Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare chicken thighs by washing and removing the skin. Lightly grease a deep pan with extra virgin olive oil and finely chop some garlic. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and then flip them, just to get oil on both sides. Then sprinkle garlic over each side, along with any other spices you’d like to use. Bake to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.   

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 0 percent carbs, 33 percent protein and 67 percent fats. Again, this meal hardly meets the macronutrient goals of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fats. But it does make up for my carb-heavy, fat-light lunch. I’ll usually eat this with a side of green beans or other vegetable to get some carbs into the mix. You can even slice up the chicken and add it to an alfredo sauce to eat over whole grain pasta if you want to work in more carbs.

Snack (200-250 calories)

Chocolate Casein Protein Milkshake

Whey protein is digested and absorbed by muscles quickly, whereas casein protein will continue to feed your muscles all night while you sleep, leaving you more refreshed in the morning. That’s why cottage cheese or a glass of milk are recommended before bed. The casein proteins in dairy products make for the best way to help your muscles recover and continue burning fat while you sleep.

 

Don’t use acidic fruits in your evening protein shake or you’ll subject yourself to potential heartburn that could keep you up all night. Stick to strawberries and bananas -- no oranges.

 

As you can see, The Zone Diet requires careful planning, and chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption starts with figuring out the right foods to consume. Once you narrow those down, you can mix and match in order to consume 40 percent of your calories from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats at every meal.

--

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According to recent reports, IMAX will reduce the amount of 3-D films shown in their theaters. With second quarter earnings down a significant percentage from a prior-year period IMAX executives will restructure the way they present tent pole flagship Hollywood films.  

 

In a conference call with The Wrap, CEO of IMAX, Greg Foster said:

 

“We’re looking forward to playing fewer 3-D versions of films and more 2-D versions … which customers have shown a strong preference for (2-D),” Foster added, mentioning that Warner Bros. “Blade Runner 2049” will be shown in 2-D exclusively at IMAX theaters when it opens in October weekend.”

 

That’s all well and good. But does it really mean that 3-D is dying, or dead?

 

Probably. More directors are shooting on the 70mm IMAX cameras and if the company itself is dropping 3-D in favor of 2-D then, yes, I would say there is a strong possibility that 3-D is going the way of the dodo.

 

I for one, am happy to hear this. I know you will be able to find plenty of love for 3-D, usually in today’s youth. And I will admit to watching a 3-D movie, from time to time -- but only once by choice. A couple of times someone bought me a ticket for a 3-D movie. I thanked them and watched said film in 3-D.

 

A couple of times I read movietickets.com wrong and didn’t realize I was showing up for a 3-D version and decided to see it so as not to wait for the next 2-D showing at a much later time.

 

I felt, much as the way you probably do -- for the added cost of the ticket price the 3-D experience is not worth it. The movies are too dark. Frenetic, hyper-edited action sequences become even more of a negative ADD experience.

 

The only movie I actively bought a 3-D ticket for was James Cameron’s, Avatar.  I’ll get to that later.

 

But first ...

 

Just where did this obnoxious 3-D crap come from?

 

From wikipedia:

 

“The stereoscopic era of motion pictures began in the late 1890s when British film pioneer William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a 3D film process. In his patent, two films were projected side by side on screen (one meant for the left eye to view, one meant for the right eye to view). The viewer looked through a stereoscope to converge the two images. Because of the obtrusive mechanics behind this method, theatrical use was not practical.”

 

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting 3-D to have been around in 1890.  Though, it really wasn’t until the 1920’s when a few directors and cinematographers tried to make the process marketable for a then modern audience. Three 3-D films from the twenties - The Men from M.A.R.S., The Power of Love and The Ship of Souls had limited runs. Nothing really peaked audience interest.

 

The thirties and forties showed little additional interest in 3-D films with each era producing only a handful of 3-D films. Even the arrival of Technicolor didn’t help. A few 3-D films were shot and printed in Technicolor but none of them screened in color and the use of color printing was only to help achieve the red / cyan (blue) 3-D coding effect.

 

In the early thirties polarized filters (which reduce glare) hit the market as a commercial product. This really helped with the 3-D process but again, wasn’t enough to peak audience interest.

 

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that 3-D exploded and the time between 1952-1954 was known as the “golden era” of the process. It all began late 1952 with the hit, Bwana Devil -- a drama based on the real life Tsavo Man-Eaters -- a pair of man eating lions responsible for the deaths of a number of construction workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway from March through December 1898.

 

From wikipedia:

 

“As with practically all of the features made during this boom, Bwana Devil was projected dual-strip, with Polaroid filters. During the 1950s, the familiar disposable anaglyph glasses made of cardboard were mainly used for comic books ...

 

Because the features utilized two projectors, a capacity limit of film being loaded onto each projector (about 6,000 feet, or an hour's worth of film) meant that an intermission was necessary for every feature-length film. Quite often, intermission points were written into the script at a major plot point.”

 

To make a long story short -- 3-D suddenly boomed. In 1953, House of Wax, landed in the year’s top ten at the box office, the first time ever for a 3-D film. House of Wax also catapulted and forever typecast legendary actor, Vincent Price into the role of creepy horror film guy.

 

Alas, the “golden era” was short lived. Endless problems occurred with 3-D technology, the prints, and the time management to run the films. A few of the issues:

 

  • The silver projection screen was directional and caused sideline seating to be unusable.

  • The prints had to project simultaneously and remain exactly alike after repair or sync would be lost. If sync was off by even a single frame -- the picture was unwatchable.

  • Oftentimes theaters had to have two projectionist keep sync.

  • Mandatory intermission meant less features could be shown daily which resulted in lowered profit for all involved.

 

By 1955, 3-D films were gone from theaters.

 

Thankfully 3-D went away forever, never to return!

 

Ugh. I wish. There was an explosion of 3-D in the eighties and suddenly, horror films thought all “third” films should be 3-D -- Jaws 3-D, Amityville Horror 3-D, Friday the 13th 3 in 3-D -- you get the picture.

 

Disney caught on and released Magic Journey and Captain EO (starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola) in special venues at their theme parks. In the mid eighties IMAX began producing non-fiction films in their 70mm format and pushed as a key point for their 3-D films vs. traditional 3-D -- the IMAX process, then and now, emphasized mathematical correctness of the 3-D rendition and thus largely eliminated the eye fatigue that resulted from the approximate geometries of previous 3-D incarnations.

 

3-D was back and it was here to stay!

 

Except, no -- it wasn’t.

 

3-D, like the tide, waxed and waned all throughout the decade but for the most part had faded from mainstream use by the nineties. It’s true that 3-D stayed alive through special attractions throughout the entire nineties but just as the fifties, it mostly faded from mainstream cinema.

 

The next resurgence of 3-D began in 2003, with the release of James Cameron’s, Ghosts of the Abyss released as the first full-length 3-D Disney / IMAX feature and filmed with the Reality Camera System. This camera system, built by Cameron and Vince Pace used the latest HD video cameras, not film to produce the 3-D effect.

 

The film joined James Cameron, actor Bill Paxton and a team of the world’s foremost historical and marine experts as they journey underwater to the site of wrecked ship, the Titanic. The film was a colossal critical and commercial success.

 

And suddenly studios were interested in 3-D. Again. Studios began experimenting in releasing both a 2-D print and a 3-D print for their high profile products. The Polar Express (2005) was the first feature length animated film released in both prints with the 3-D version pulling in about 25% of the films total box office. Which was enough to raise 3-D interest from other studios.

 

Over the course of the next decade studios went 3-D crazy. Selected large budget films were released in both 2-D and 3-D, old films were re-released with a post production 3-D process and handful of films were specifically shot in 3-D cameras.

 

Which brings me to …

 

James Cameron’s, “Avatar.”

 

Much has been written about the herculean effort Cameron put into Avatar. Entire books, movies, documentaries and short films can be found. I offer only a few tidbits for context:

 

James Cameron spent twelve years developing technology improving 3-D cameras in order to shoot Avatar. He is the only director who seems to fully understand that the 3-D process makes your film darker. And so what did he do?

 

Well, he spent six months working with botanists, creating an ecologically accurate planet to set his story in. A planet that has glowing flora. So even when the 3-D process darkened his film for all those nights scenes the entire film is still brightly lit do to the glowing plants all over the planet!

 

I want to make that last point clear. He didn’t just want glowing plants all over the planet -- because that would be easy to accomplish. He wanted his planet to work. And so he spent months working with scientists to make sure the plants he showed would be one hundred percent ecologically accurate. He wanted the planet to be able to survive -- if it had been a real planet.

 

Which is amazing and it’s only a few of the reasons that Cameron’s Avatar remains one of the monumental directing achievements in all of world cinema.

 

Not that it’s without flaws. I’ll be the first person to admit that I think the script to Avatar is awful and the acting, for the most part, is adequate to incompetent. That being said, the film was a must see movie event in 2009. But you had to see it in 3-D. Cameron spent so long working in 3-D that he just seems to be the only working American filmmaker to just -- get it.  

 

In fact, of all the movies that have gone on to gross a billion dollars only one of them is an original story idea -- James Cameron’s Avatar. All the other movies in the billion plus club are sequels and franchise films.

 

Which says something (probably that Cameron was the first and only person to knock the novelty 3-D process out of the park).

 

Which brings us to today …

 

The “Avatar” resurgence has faded. 3-D is dying. Again.

 

It had a good run. But IMAX is right. Consumers, by and large, greatly prefer 2-D movie events. 3-D comes and goes and comes and goes and it never amounts to anything more than a novelty. 3-D was huge in the early fifties but, because it was a novelty, was gone in two years. 3-D had a resurgence in the eighties but, because it was a novelty, was gone in several years. 3-D had a second resurgence with Cameron’s technology achievement in the early 2000’s but, because it’s a novelty, has faded and will probably be gone in another three or five years.

 

Novelties, it seems, make a lot of money in short bursts but audiences quickly get tired of them. 3-D may be fading but if history repeats itself (again), I can almost guarantee you we’ll see another resurgence of 3-D -- oh-- somewhere around 2040.

 

For better or worse.

 

 

Tuberculosis (TB), once called “Consumption”, has been one of the deadliest lung infections in history.  With recent advances death rates have drastically dropped, but currently 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with TB and worldwide it ranks in the top 3 causes of death.

What is Tuberculosis?

 

TB was first discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch. It  is caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  It’s an acid-fast staining bacteria (significant for diagnosis purposes) and it needs oxygen to survive, hence the lungs offer the perfect environment for this pathogen to grow.

How is Tuberculosis passed?

 

TB is passed by aerosol/droplet transmission so when someone coughs, sneezes, or passes respiratory fluid they could transmit TB.  It may also grow on contaminated surfaces.

What are symptoms of Tuberculosis infection?

 

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Coughing > 3 weeks

  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)

  • Pain with coughing and/or breathing

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Chills

  • Loss of appetite

How is Tuberculosis diagnosed?

 

If a patient has any of the above symptoms the first test needed is a Chest X Ray.  The chest x ray may show an effusion (fluid), consolidation (area of the lung obscured with fluid/infection infiltrate), and lymphadenopathy (lymph node swelling). Ghon’s lesions (a necrotic, calcified focus of infection) and a Ghon’s complex (a Ghon’s lesion with lymph node involvement) may be seen as well.

Cultures of the sputum/mucous can be done but they take 4-6 weeks.  Acid-fast staining can be done on the sputum which will give a quicker diagnosis.

Can Tuberculosis spread?

 

Yes. 15-20% of the cases can be extrapulmonary. Meaning “beyond the lung”, one could have extrapulmonary TB, with infections affecting the gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary tract, lymph nodes and lining of the brain.

 

Sometimes TB may disseminate throughout the lungs and body, this is called Miliary TB.  Miliary TB can spread to the above areas as well as heart, brain, and bone.

TB may also become “latent” and reactivate at a later date.

How is Tuberculosis treated?

 

Active TB needs to be treated for 6-9 months. The following medications include:

 

  • Isoniazid (INH)

  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane) (RIF)

  • Ethambutol (Myambutol) (EMB)

  • Pyrazinamide (PZA)

  • Initially we prescribe a 2 month “intensive phase” treatment of the above four drugs.  Then its followed by a “continuation phase” of only INH and RIF.

  • For latent TB cases we prescribe a 9 month regimen of INH.

  • Health care providers watch for liver toxicity and, especially with INH, vitamin B6 deficiency.

 

Is there a vaccine for Tuberculosis?

 

Yes. The BCG Vaccine was created in the 1920’s and it is the most common vaccine given outside of the US. Due to cost and its lack of efficacy (only 50% effective) it's not given during routine vaccination here in the US. Moreover, it may interfere with PPD skin tests used for screening, as one vaccinated will show a positive result.

How do we screen for Tuberculosis?

 

The Mantoux, purified protein derivative (PPD) skin tests are given subcutaneously in the arm and read 48-72 hours later, looking for a red marking.

 

ppd

mar97table1.gif

 

Two steps are done a week apart to ensure against false negatives.

IGRA – Interferon Gamma Release Assay blood tests, such as QuantiFERON®, can be done and provides results within 24 hours.  It is beginning to replace the PPD test for screening in many healthcare settings.

Who is at risk for acquiring TB?

 

High risk populations include the following:

  • Healthcare workers

  • Prisoners

  • Homeless shelters

  • Nursing homes

  • Alcoholics

  • Chronically debilitated

  • Those with HIV

Where is TB the most common?

 

Countries with the highest TB rates include:

  • India

  • Indonesia

  • China

  • Nigeria

  • South Africa

  • Philippines

  • Pakistan

  • Bangladesh

 

50% of all cases in the US are immigrants coming from any of the above countries.

How does one prevent TB?

 

In addition to vaccination, and treating household/close contacts of those infected with TB, prevention includes the following:

  • Education

  • Homes with good ventilation

  • Avoidance of sick household contacts

  • Avoid close quarters with large amounts of people



LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is 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.

 

 

Minnesota Twins General Manager Thad Levine joined Baseball Prospectus prior to Saturday’s game at Target Field against the Texas Rangers for a special press conference exclusively for fans. While Levine said he discovered he’d be the keynote speaker rather unexpectedly, he had a good answer for every question asked -- except mine.


 

This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community for foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters and writers.


 

Levine won over the crowd in a heartbeat at the Sid Hartman Press Room, opening with a joke about deadline deals being negotiated via Tinder and how too much emphasis is placed on a profile pic. He even alerted the hundred or so fans that he would answer a different question than Baseball Prospectus editor-in-chief Aaron Gleeman asked, so it didn’t seem like he was dodging a question even when he was.

 

Gleeman also seemed enamored with Levine, calling the GM “a tad too good looking” after he left the conference room. But decades of Terry Ryan and the Bill Smith years from which the Twins are still recovering are reason enough to understand love at first sight.

 

I too was susceptible to Levine’s charm. While this was hardly a high-leverage situation, Levine’s charisma and confidence didn’t take long to fill the room. He’s comfortable in front of a crowd and could sell mudflaps to someone with no car. He would make a fine politician someday. At present, he’s a fine general manager.

 

Levine didn’t have to search for answers or words. Everything he needed was ingrained in his brain. Even as Gleeman grilled Levine about the lack of relief pitching pursued in the offseason, Levine reminded everyone of the arms the Twins lost to injury whom he and new president of baseball operations Derek Falvey expected to contribute this season. He wasn’t just talking about Glen Perkins, Trevor May and Ryan O’Rourke. Nick Burdi,  J.T. Chargois and Tyler Jay were also mentioned. That’s a very good reason why Matt Belisle’s was the only Major League contract offered to a reliever in the offseason. You don’t want to clog up roster spots when up-and-comers are banging down the door to the big leagues.

 

But I wanted to know why action wasn’t taken in response to those injuries earlier in the season. I opened by saying there are fans who might think trades could have been made earlier to improve the team and asked how the market forces differ from June to July and how that affected the moves they ended up making.

 

I imagined Levine would go on at length about how they tried to make moves while the team was still in first place, but the cost in prospects to fill the team’s needs was prohibitively expensive. Instead I got the only answer I didn’t want to hear about how the second Wild Card keeps teams in the hunt longer and makes them unwilling to sell in June. It was the longest answer he gave to a question asked by a fan. Even Gleeman chimed in to defend him by saying just eight to 10 teams would have been selling at the time.

 

I would have loved to follow-up with, “Well, you acquired Jaime Garcia and the $4 million or so he was owed on July 24th, and you were able to flip that rental to the Yankees within a week because you were willing to pay most of his contract. What stopped you from doing the same with Pat Neshek while the Twins were still in first place on June 25th? Or any other rental reliever on one of the eight to 10 teams clearly selling at the time?”

 

I urged the Twins to acquire bullpen arms back on June 7, with Neshek right at the top of the list. At the time, Neshek was owed $4 million or so, and while Levine and Falvey were understandably focused on acquiring young, controllable pitching, they were also hoping to “vanquish the foes,” as Levine put it. He even acknowledged the Twins’ negative run differential and how it didn’t affect their decision to buy because, well, they were in first place for 50 days.

 

“As much as you want to dismiss the fact that there were some underlying metrics which would suggest that maybe we were overachieving, the facts were we overachieved for three months, and we weren’t going to take that lightly,” he said.

 

So where were the reinforcements for baseball’s worst bullpen at the time? If money’s not an issue, was Philadelphia asking too much in return for Neshek? Well, we know Colorado gave up 20-year old, A-ball shortstop Jose Gomez (think Jermaine Palacios), 22-year-old, high-A, right-handed reliever and strikeout machine J.D. Hammer (think Lewis Thorpe but right-handed and better at missing bats; the newly acquired Gabriel Moya is probably more comparable but wasn’t a Twin on June 25th) and 20-year-old, A-ball, right-handed starter Alejandro Requena (newly acquired lefty Tyler Watson is the only 20-year-old pitcher on the Twins’ A-ball roster, but if you go up a level, lefty Lachian Wells would be comparable, and he’s also the only 20-year-old pitcher on the Twins’ high-A roster).

 

You can see how Falvey and Levine have already improved the pitching depth throughout the Twins’ minor league affiliates. But what about the big league club that was contending despite a glaring weakness? Even if the price for Neshek is higher on June 25th than July 25th, there are still no top prospects in the conversation. Besides Palacios there’s no one you’d likely miss dearly, and the Twins have enough shortstop depth to help get over the sting if trading Palacios burns them. And if the Twins still fell out of contention, they could have flipped Neshek as they did Garcia before the deadline.

 

Instead, from June 26 through the July 31st trade deadline, the Twins went 11-19, with relievers taking the loss in six of those games. The glaring weakness of the Twins bullpen was exploited by the league’s best, and it didn’t have to be. Here are four more trades the Twins could have made in June that might have saved July.

Anthony Swarzak

Levine said his job is to work with all 29 teams in order to improve his team, so dealing within the division wouldn’t have stopped this one from happening. The White Sox were sellers before the season started, and they managed to turn a surprising season from Swarzak on a one-year deal into Ryan Cordell, a 25-year-old utility bat tearing up AAA (.855 OPS). The Twins’ AAA utility man Niko Goodrum would be the closest comparison, but the Sox would likely demand another piece or a different piece altogether given his .720 OPS in AAA this year. None of those pieces would be Zack Granite or Mitch Garver, however.

 

While it’s probably more than Falvey and Levine would like to offer to get a guy they could have signed in the offseason, Swarzak’s .525 win-loss percentage with an average team this season would be best in the Twins’ bullpen, even if Brandon Kintzler was still with the team.

Drew Storen

The Cincinnati Reds were 31-43 on June 25th. They didn’t trade Storen despite his cheap, expiring contract ($3 million), and it might have to do with his FIP being almost one and a half runs worse than his ERA. Still, Storen’s win-loss percentage with an average team of .508 is better than the Twins’ Taylor Rogers (.503) and Tyler Duffey (.494). He would have at least pushed each of them into lower-leverage situations. Of the six losses by the bullpen over the 30 games entering the deadline, Rogers and Duffey were responsible for two each.

 

Since the Reds couldn’t find a taker on Storen, he likely could have been acquired for a low-level prospect with a relatively low ceiling.

Addison Reed

The Mets were seven games under .500 and 11 games back in the National League East on June 25th. They were even further out of the NL Wild Card standings. Boston scored Reed by sending the Mets three, 22-year-old relievers.

 

High-A, right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista might not have the ceiling of Twins’ A-ball lefty Andrew Vasquez. High-A righty Stephen Nogosek could be comparable to the Twins’ 24-year-old, high-A lefty Michael Theofanopoulos. And righty Jamie Callahan was promoted to AAA this season, much like the Twins’ Ryan Eades.

 

As far as rental relievers go, Reed probably would have demanded the best return of those available at the end of June, but he would have had the most trade value amongst rental relievers come the end of July, too. The 15 runs above a replacement player he amassed with the Mets is just two runs less than Twins’ starter Jose Berrios and four runs better than Kintzler.

Brad Hand

I still would have liked the new Twins front office to make a splash and land Hand. I wrote en masse about Hand and was willing to part with one of the Twins’ shortstop prospects -- but not Nick Gordon. I can understand why this deal didn’t happen, but it would have been most helpful. Again, Hand could demand a ton at the end of July, but probably not as much as he would in June. He’s a keeper anyways given his arbitration eligibility until 2020.

 

It might be more difficult and more expensive to trade in June rather than July, but Falvey and Levine could have done something crazy like trade a top prospect and two others for Brad Hand on June 25th because: 1) they’re rookies and have more leeway than they ever will with ownership and fans, 2) Twins fans are fed up with the status quo, and 3) those newly acquired assets could still be traded a month later. But Levine didn’t know taking on Garcia’s salary would be valuable to other teams.

 

“The deal we did there was a testament to Jim Pohlad and his support of our decision-making because he allowed for us to take Jaime Garcia’s salary, which, come to find out, we didn’t know this in the onset of the negotiation, the other teams who were competing for his services weren’t prepared to do that,” Levine explained. “So this is an area we weren’t aware of, once again, but we learned as we went through the trade negotiation that this was going to be a competitive advantage for us.”

 

That was the most disturbing thing I heard from Levine. It makes the collective genius thought necessary to turn A-ball pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa into AAA pitching prospect Dietrich Enns and AA pitching prospect Zack Littell sound like dumb luck. Both the Dodgers and Yankees made it a priority to cut into their luxury tax bill this season, so you can assume at least they have an interest in cutting salary. I think you have to assume the Nationals (seventh highest MLB payroll) and Cubs (ninth highest MLB payroll) would have an interest in saving money.

 

So if Pohlad was willing to pay Garcia $4 million to play elsewhere, why wouldn’t he be willing to pay Neshek $4 million to play for the Twins, assuming they can’t move him at the Trade Deadline? What about the roughly $4 million it would have cost to pay both Swarzak and Storen? Was there a $5 million cap on the amount he was willing to spend?

 

As you can see, Levine left us with more questions than answers thanks to his ability to woo a crowd of Twins fans, most of whom have never experienced anything but the curmudgeons Ryan and Smith. As a journalist, it was refreshing to witness an interviewee who was not only honest but entertaining. Not much was left to be desired except a trade in June that might have saved July.

 

I suspect Falvey and Levine entered this season hoping to be sellers at the deadline, and I would have asked that if I thought I’d get an honest answer. That’s not something a rookie GM will admit willingly.

 

Levine is a dealmaker who understands what it takes to build a contender. I have no doubts that he’s the right man for the job, but had Gleeman himself been hired as the Twins’ GM, I still would have left that conference room optimistic and a little weak in the knees.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch

 

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the GCN Live newsroom. A guest editorial follows.

 

We recognize no sovereign but God, and no king but Jesus!” -John Hancock, April 18, 1775

First, think of this, the greatest man in History is Jesus!

He had no servants.  Yet, they called Him master. He had no degree.  Yet, they called Him Teacher. He had no medicines.  Yet, they called Him Healer. He had no army.  Yet, earthly Kings feared Him. He won no military battles.  Yet, He conquered the world. He committed no crime.  Yet, they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb.  Yet, He lives today.

When you look to Scripture to identify what the King of kings looks and acts like (Matthew 7:16), it is of note that He was not surrounded by armed secret service, nor did He have 20-30 others on donkeys protecting the people to which he came to serve (John 1:11).

His trip didn’t cost taxpayers approximately $156,820, or $2,614 per minute to move from place to place. He simply trusted God to show the world who He was and what He came into the world to accomplish (John 10:38; Luke 19:10; Matthew 1:21).

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  –Matthew 21:5-9

And this is what “We the people” in this country are to emulate. Christ the King! (John 14:6; Matthew 21:5-9)

Second, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was hailed as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen." He led by example as he followed the Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

If you know your history you know that during the Revolutionary War, George Washington didn't send someone else to go in his stead; he took responsibility and went himself to lead the call for independence on the behalf of the country and the people he loved.

During this time, he had little to no money to fight the war, but he fought on with what he had and beat back the tyrant King George.

George Washington was also known as the man who could not die in battle.  He was shot at several times with bullet holes in his jacket, yet he survived unscathed. He told his family, "By the all-powerful dispensations of providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation."

Like King David, God protected Washington from his enemies (Psalm 71:3).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnw7AVKqu7c

Third, in the past half-century, we have seen the corrupt in government slowly usurp their authority and declare war on the American people.  The proof is found in the over the top methods of  "protecting" the president and how they have risen to ridiculous measures. One has to ask the obvious question, who does the President work for?

Anyone who travels to Washington, DC will know what I am talking about. When the president's motorcade goes through town, armed militant officers block off every road and any building the president enters is searched over with a fine-toothed comb.

Why would they need to do this if they have the support of American people?

The Secret Service

The Secret Service was originally created in 1865 to suppress counterfeit currency. It had nothing to do with the president's safety until 1907, when Congress passed the Sundry Civil Expenses Act, which now meant that two men would be in full-time charge of the president's safety.

The Secret Service now has 3,200 employees, and whenever the president leaves the White House, the Secret Service calls on other federal, state, and local agencies to heighten security measures.

Until Harry Truman's presidency, former presidents were dropped off at their homes and were provided no special pension, security, or other benefits.  They were simply told “Thank you for your service and have a good day.” They would become an average American citizen, just like those they served.

As a matter of fact, President Truman would take daily walks around Washington, DC with a bodyguard or two in tow shaking the hands of his constituents.

What has happened since then? When presidents work for the people, they feel safe enough to walk up converse with them; if at this point you are saying that things have gotten much worse in this country, you simply prove my point. Corruption in America is an exhibition and an expose of what the government is and is not doing.  

However, when they work for special interests and are being treated as crowned kings (which they are not), they suddenly feel that they need to be protected from their constituents. Is the writing on the wall? Yes, indeed it is.

Look at the parallel between Washington and the current administrations:

  • In 1789, the federal government under President Washington had 350 federal civilian employees; today they number in the millions!

  • In 1832, the total federal budget was $11 million; in 2011 it was over $4 trillion!

  • Since 1900, the total number of government laws and regulations the average citizen is required to obey has increased an estimated 3,000 percent.

James Madison stated, "… every word of (the Constitution) decides a question between power and liberty. As the government increases control, this leads to a corresponding decrease of individual liberty and responsibility.”

“The real problem is when all this power becomes centralized and is left unchecked by the public, then comes the rationale that "they have the badge, they must be right."

Thomas Jefferson, who lived through the era of the Revolutionary War, warned:

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."

It has also been said that laws are most numerous when the commonwealth is most corrupt. Thousands of unconstitutional policies are being laid on the backs of American people on a yearly basis.

Clearly, America is corrupt! The politicians are corrupt because the people are corrupt.  To say or act otherwise is most disingenuous, and ignorant to say the least (Hosea 4:6).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQPfNs3_RO4

It further solidifies the point that our representative government does not serve the people they swore to serve.  They are obviously serving special interest groups which need to protect their man/woman from the American people they purport to serve.

Somehow, the people in this country act as if the presidents were somehow above the law that they swore to uphold.  Because of this, they then carry some unspoken title of nobility, a nobility that usurps the law, which our Constitution clearly forbids!

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Here’s something to think about before going to the next point.

  • The President is defended with guns.

  • Congress is defended with guns.

  • Governors are defended with guns.

  • Courts are defended with guns.

  • Celebrities are defended with guns.

  • Yet, our children are defended with a sign that reads “This is a gun free zone” as they continuously strip Americans from their God-given right to protect themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln56Zp22res

Do your best to forget about American boys and girls that are sent to fight unconstitutional wars abroad, as well as the police that are subjected to all sorts of danger on the behalf of those that sent them to war both here and abroad.  

Let’s get to the final points…

How is the President protected today?

Did you know that back in 2001 the Secret Service awarded a contract to General Motors to custom make the presidential car?

Although the car still has the look of a Cadillac DeVille, it is actually built on a chassis for a sports utility vehicle.

With all of the extras that are built into the car, there is substantial need for a heavier-duty chassis. The windows have five layers and can stop armor-piercing bullets. The doors are 8 inches thick and cannot only block projectiles but also keep out chemical attacks through a special extra-tight seal.

The chassis is reinforced to protect the passengers from bombs underneath the car. All of the car's bodywork is armored with a combination of steel, aluminum, titanium, and ceramic. The gas tank has special armor and is surrounded by foam to prevent it from exploding if it is shot.

In addition to defensive capabilities, the car also has some offensive weapons. The car is fitted with tear gas cannons to disperse crowds. Of course, "The Beast" generally travels in a large motorcade surrounded by other Secret Service vehicles, so the situation would have to be dire for any weapons to be used.

There are two pints of blood of the president's blood type in Cadillac One at all times.

The back compartment, where the president rides, can be sealed against not only chemical attacks but also against nuclear contamination. Even when the tires are punctured, the car can continue driving on them.

Between the motorcades, airplanes, helicopters and security entourage, travel for a U.S. president is an insanely complex and highly-orchestrated endeavor, as well as the costing the American taxpayers.

That quick travel and those high costs are a result of a very well-organized system of transportation. The motorcade, for example, includes a route car—along with about 20 to 30 motorcycles—that comes through before the rest of the motorcade to close off all the exits, intersecting streets, and to push cars to the outside of the street.

Then comes the local police, followed by the “secure package,” a group of cars that includes two identical (they even have the same plates) armored presidential limos.

The helicopters (which can cost around $2,000 per flight hour), Air Force One (which costs close to $206,337 per flight hour), the motorcade, and the C5 Galaxy planes used to transport the motorcade cost the American taxpayer $350 million per year, or one quarter of the yearly White House budget.

The question that I have for you is, who does the President work for? Read Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1qCd70df_o

 

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Everyone knows who won the Major League Baseball Non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Dodgers, Yankees and Cubs are obviously better. But what about the teams dealing those big pieces to the playoff puzzle. Who are the winners amongst the sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline?


 

This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community for foul-mouthed, sports bloggers. 


 

Super Mega Jackpot Winners

Chicago White Sox

It seems like forever ago that the Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Quintana from their crosstown rivals. The White Sox got two dynamite prospects back in high-A outfielder Eloy Jimenez (.903 OPS this season, Baseball Prospectus’s 9th overall prospect) and A-ball, right-handed starter Dylan Cease (12.5 K/9 this season, top-100 prospect). Both have the potential to be regular contributors to a MLB club, if not headliners.

The Cubs also parted with two more prospects from their high-A roster: first baseman Matt Rose and utility man Bryant Flete. That’s a nice haul for the White Sox. Even though Quintana is potentially controllable through 2020, getting one everyday player and a potential replacement in the starting rotation of the future is well worth sacrificing an ace when you’re years from contending.

After Quintana was shipped to the Cubs, Chicago GM Rick Hahn moved expiring contracts Todd Frazier and David Robertson (2) along with arbitration-eligible Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees for Tyler Clippard and three prospects. Clippard’s contract expires at the end of the season, but he’s earning roughly $5.5 million less than Robertson, so the White Sox saved a few million dollars. They also got a nice return for the rentals they shed.

A-ball outfielder Blake Rutherford, 20, might be the headliner of this deal given he’s the highest rated prospect (36th overall two weeks prior to the trade according to Baseball America), but fellow outfielder Tito Polo is closer to the bigs (AA) and could debut before he’s 24 (he’s 22 now). Then there’s middle-of-the-rotation talent Ian Clarkin, 22, who should see AA next year if he can lower his walk rate (3 BB/9 this season). All three could be in the bigs before turning 25.

The White Sox were hardly done there. They turned a surprising season from Anthony Swarzak on an expiring contract (3) into Ryan Cordell, a 25-year-old utility bat who seems to have AAA pitching figured out (.855 OPS). If Cordell is nothing more than a career utility man in the bigs, that’s a big win for the White Sox.

That’s not all. The White Sox flipped arbitration eligible, lefty reliever Dan Jennings to Tampa Bay for 24-year-old first base prospect Casey Gillaspie, who’s having a tough time finding his way to the show after breezing through just about everything but Fall League (.653 OPS this season, .554 in Fall League).

Finally, the Royals worked with the White Sox to make a trade within the division for Melky Cabrera -- another expiring contract (4). In return, the White Sox scored 22-year-old, high-A righty A.J. Puckett (8.1 K/9 and 49 percent groundball rate) and A-ball lefty Andre Davis (9.1 K/9 and 44 percent groundball rate).

The White Sox lost Quintana, but also shed four expiring contracts and gained a top-10, top-50 and top-100 prospect, along with five others, making them the biggest winners amongst the sellers at the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline.

Mega Jackpot Winners

Oakland Athletics

While the A’s couldn’t pry away any of the Yankees’ top three prospects despite Sonny Gray being under control until 2020, Oakland made out pretty well.The long-awaited Gray trade culminated in a return of MLB-ready right fielder Dustin Fowler, utility man Jorge Mateo (43rd overall prospect according to Baseball Prospectus) and righty James Kaprielian (58th overall prospect according to MLB and Baseball Prospectus).

Fowler forced his way onto the big league club at the age of 22. He had an .871 OPS at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 313 plate appearances before blowing out his knee in his MLB debut with the Yankees. He’s a five-tool player if he comes back healthy and is a legitimate MLB hitter regardless of his knee. Again, an everyday player who’s a year away for a controllable starter is a good return. And Oakland got two everyday players.

Mateo was the key to the deal for Oakland, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’s 22 and would have speed maxed out on MLB 2K17. He was also tearing up AA pitching with a .906 OPS in 140 plate appearances. He’s playing mostly shortstop but is seeing time in center field, too, giving Oakland some options. He has the potential to be the difference-maker Gray already is, but again, would have an impact every day rather than once every five days.

Kaprielian, 23, is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but before the injury he was touted by Baseball America as having “front-of-the-rotation makeup and stuff,” so the A’s might have their new Sonny Gray if all goes well for Kaprielian. He starts a throwing program soon.

The A’s also traded the expiring contract of Adam Rosales to Arizona for righty Jeferson Mejia, who can miss bats (9 K/9 over five minor league seasons) but also loses the strike zone (5.9 BB/9).

In all, it wasn’t a bad Trade Deadline for the A’s. While Beane didn’t move Yonder Alonso’s expiring contract in his All-Star season, the A’s hit a modest jackpot with the Gray trade to break even.

Five Card Stud Winners

Minnesota Twins

The Twins’ poker hand entering the All-Star Break looked a lot worse after a bad start to a West Coast road trip, but the Twins discarded and drew new cards until their hand was a winner. Rookie president Derek Falvey and new general manager Thad Levine turned 20-year-old rookie ball pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa into Jaime Garcia, and flipped Jaime Garcia for two prospects two years closer to the big leagues than Ynoa, both of whom could end up better than Ynoa. Lefty Dietrich Enns will likely get a cup of coffee this season, and righty Zack Littell has a big-league curveball that’s making AA hitters look silly.

How did Falvey and Levine manage to do this? They were willing to pay Garcia’s roughly $4 million in remaining contract, making for a better return from both the Braves and the Yankees.

The Twins also moved their second best trade chip in All-star closer Brandon Kintzler -- an expiring contract -- for Washington Nationals’ 20-year-old, A-ball pitching prospect Tyler Watson. While Watson doesn’t throw very hard (around 90 mph), he locates very well and has potential to add velocity. The lefty has 98 strikeouts in 93 innings and has only walked 24 this season.

The Twins also received $500,000 for international bonus spending from the Nationals, which could be used to sign an international pitcher like, say, Shohei Ohtani, who is also Japan’s best hitter. It would certainly make Paul Molitor’s days against the National League easier. Instead of worrying about double switches, he can just use Ohtani as a pinch hitter for his pitcher. Molitor might not be back to make those decisions, though.

Regardless of how things turn out, the Twins hit the jackpot at the MLB Trade Deadline in 2017 because not only did they win, but they hardly risked anything. They still have their ace and innings eater Ervin Santana and second baseman Brian Dozier through next season, and they retained all their shortstops throughout the minors (Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis and Engelb Vielma). They can resign Kintzler in the offseason, and they won’t have to worry about Ynoa starting an MLB career for three years or so. The Twins improved their hand for next season.

Nickel Slots Winners

Detroit Tigers

Another deal that seems forever ago was the Tigers’ trade of free-agent-to-be J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. Lugo was Arizona’s fourth-best prospect and is putting together a nice year at AA playing mostly third base (.741 OPS). The 22-year-old can play shortstop, too, and will likely get a taste within the next two years.

Alcantara is a 20-year-old shortstop in high-A who will stick at short regardless of his bat, which has been good enough (.696 OPS). King is another shortstop in rookie ball who is just 18 years old and impressed in his first professional season (.815 OPS in 2016).

The Tigers also traded their coveted closer Justin Wilson, and they packaged him with the expiring contract (albeit less than $1 million remaining) of catcher Alex Avila to the Cubs. While Wilson could be controlled through next season, the Tigers netted corner infielder Jeimer Candelario, who has already seen time in the bigs, 18-year-old shortstop prospect Isaac Paredes, cash and a player to be named later.

While Candelario is big-league ready with the bat and serviceable at third base, Paredes has the range to stick at shortstop and displays great plate discipline (54 Ks in 395 A-ball PAs). The trades give the Tigers a pretty good chance of fielding a competent shortstop for years to come if they trade Jose Iglesias before he becomes a free agent after next season. Lugo could also make Nicholas Castellanos expendable in either of the next two seasons. He’s a free agent in 2020. If the Tigers are going to rebuild, Iglesias, 27, and Castellanos, 25, would demand outstanding returns, and by the looks of it, the Tigers are preparing for that potential payday.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies turned 36-year-old reliever Pat Neshek into 20-year-old, A-ball righty Alejandro Requena (K:BB ratio of 4.0), 22-year-old, high-A righty J.D. Hammer (13.5 K/9) and 20-year-old, A-ball shortstop Jose Gomez (.811 OPS). They also flipped a 33-year-old Howie Kendrick for 21-year-old, A-ball lefty McKenzie Mills (5.36 K:BB ratio). Oh, and there was that Jeremy Hellickson trade that netted 23-year-old strikeout machine Garrett Cleavinger (10 K/9 at AA this season) and MLB outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, who has experienced a sophomore slump in his second season at 29 (OPS+ down to 64 from 117). Those are some pretty nice pieces given the chips Philly had.

Penny Slots Winners

Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays were able to shed two expiring contracts. The struggling Francisco Liriano netted everyday outfielder Nori Aoki, who’s arbitration eligible this offseason despite being 35, and budding outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez from Houston. Hernandez, 24, already has 112 MLB plate appearances from 2016 and boasts a .724 MLB OPS. He’ll likely roam the Rogers Centre outfield when roster expand.

The Blue Jays also moved veteran reliever Joe Smith to Cleveland for AA lefty Thomas Pannone and 18-year-old second baseman Samad Taylor. Pannone, 23, earned a promotion this season after striking out 12.7 high-A batters per nine innings. That strikeout rate has hung around one per inning in AA, so Pannone could see the bigs as early as next season.

Taylor has good range at second base and has proven he can hit low-A pitching (.300 BA, .795 OPS) despite being three years younger than most of his competition. A promotion to high-A this season is unlikely given how little of the year is left, but Taylor has looked like a quick study thus far.

San Diego Padres

The Padres decided against putting their best chip on the table in Brad Hand. Instead, they dumped an expiring contract in Trevor Cahill and two arbitration eligible relievers in Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter on the Royals. The Royals sent struggling, lefty relievers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, and rookie-ball second baseman Esteury Ruiz, who has an OPS of 1.063 in 122 plate appearances despite being almost two years younger than his competition. So San Diego replaced the MLB relievers sent to Kansas City and gained an 18-year-old middle infielder who can apparently hit. Not too shabby.

Room Comp Winners

Texas Rangers

The Rangers got their room comped because they were willing to lose a lot. The Rangers did what they should have and moved their biggest expiring contract in a season they weren’t contenders.Yu Darvish had to go, and the Rangers got a pretty nice return despite Darvish being a rental.

Willie Calhoun (MLB’s 82nd ranked prospect) will likely see time in the Rangers’ outfield this year and projects to be a regular contributor thanks to his bat (.922 OPS in AAA this season). A.J. Alexy is a 19-year-old, A-ball righty missing bats like crazy (10.5 K/9), and Brendon Davis, also 19, projects as a potential utility infielder or regular second baseman in the bigs.

While two of the pieces are probably further from the show than the Rangers would like, turning an expiring contract in a non-contending year into a potential everyday player who’s cheap and controllable is a deal you do every time.

Texas also moved expiring contract and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to Colorado for a player to be named later. Again, a return is better than nothing at all, especially given the season Lucroy’s had. His OPS+ (67) is almost half of what it was last season (129), and he’s been uncharacteristically bad behind the plate, too (-4 runs fielding).

Finally, arbitration eligible, righty reliever Jeremy Jeffress was moved to Milwaukee for 25-year-old righty Tayler Scott, who went from AA to AAA as a result of the swap. Scott was averaging a strikeout per inning in AA Biloxi, but his 5.1 walks per nine innings will have to decrease if he’s going to earn a call.

So the Rangers scored one potential everyday player who will play this year, a reliever who’s proven he can miss bats in the minors but also misses the strike zone a lot, a couple of guys with high ceilings at least three years away, and a player to be named. All they had to give up was their season, their best pitcher, their catcher and a reliever, for whom they paid dearly. Milwaukee’s Lewis Brinson is the 12th-ranked prospect according to Baseball Prospectus, and Luis Ortiz is 68th, so it looks like the Brewers won that trade. But Texas got something instead of nothing. That’s like getting your room comped, right? It’s still disappointing, but at least you’re disappointed in a comfortable place.

Bad Luck Losers

Cincinnati Reds

Almost all the Reds’ expiring contracts and potential trade chips were hurt with the exception of Drew Storen, and the Reds didn’t move him despite his team-friendly, $3 million contract. Zack Cozart -- 10-day disabled list. Scott Feldman -- 10-day disabled list. Bronson Arroyo -- 60-day disabled list. Just bad luck.

The only trade the Reds could muster was Tony Cingrani for the 31-year-old Scott Van Slyke and catching prospect Hendrik Clementina, who seems to have figured out how to hit (.994 OPS this season, never higher than .694 in three prior years).

Just Plain Losers

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have trade assets, but Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija haven’t been any good, Denard Span didn’t draw any interest, and the Giants wouldn’t trade their biggest asset, Buster Posey. They did move Eduardo Nunez’s expiring contract, but it will be a long time before the Giants know if the return is worth the Adalberto Mejia they gave up to get Nunez in the first place. Mejia has become one of Minnesota’s most consistent starters.

A-ball righty Shaun Anderson and rookie-ball righty Gregory Santos were all the Giants could pry from the Red Sox. Anderson was well on his way to a promotion and got it via the trade. But his first start with San Jose didn’t go well (3.1 IP, 5 RA, 3 ER). While he was the same age (22)  as his competition with Greenville’s A-ball squad, he’s a year younger than most his California League competition with high-A San Jose.

Santos is just 17 years old, but has a 1.06 ERA over 34 innings in the Dominican Summer League thanks to an 82-percent groundball rate. That’s 22 percent higher than his groundball rate in his first season.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves might not have had much leverage in the Jaime Garcia deal, but had they waited a few more days, the Yankees might have offered more than what they got from the Twins. Regardless, the Braves are losers for failing to move other expiring contracts.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki has arguably been the best he’s ever been with a bat and behind the plate, but the Braves couldn’t find a taker despite his cheap $1.5 million salary. Brandon Phillips is also a free agent at the end of the year and wasn’t moved. That might be the market’s fault rather than Atlanta’s, but Suzuki taking at-bats from Tyler Flowers while the Braves sit 11 games back of the Wild Card is just idiotic. I wouldn’t be surprised if Suzuki is moved in August, though.  

Biggest Loser Amongst the Sellers

Baltimore Orioles

For some reason the Orioles think they’re contenders. Baltimore might be just 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, but the Orioles don’t have a pitcher who can win that Wild Card game let alone a regular playoff game. Dylan Bundy’s ERA+ of 102 is highest on the team, which is lower than four of the Yankees’ starters and three of the Rays’ starters. To truly put that in perspective, the Twins have three starters better Bundy. Baltimore has the second-worst, starting pitching ERA in baseball. But they’re contenders because they have Jeremy Hellickson now.

Orioles executive Dan Duquette said the team traded for Hellickson and his expiring contract because they sought reliable starting pitching. His definition of reliable must simply be someone who shows up for work on time, because there’s nothing reliable about Hellickson’s performance on the job.

After experiencing a bit of a revival last season (113 ERA+), Hellickson has regressed back to his old self (96 ERA+). He’s averaging two fewer strikeouts per nine innings than last season. So Baltimore still doesn’t have a pitcher who can win a playoff game.

Baltimore also acquired infielder Tim Beckham from the Rays, but at least he has a positive OPS+, barely (101), and is controllable until 2021. He’ll replace the injured J.J. Hardy at shortstop, and it only cost the O’s 19-year-old righty Tobias Myers, who was holding his own at low-A despite being three and a half years younger than his competition. I don’t think the O’s knew what game they were playing. As of this writing they have a run differential of -66, are two games under .500 and have a 6.4-percent chance to make the playoffs, which is a little better than your chances of winning at keno. 

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch

A study published this week in Lancet Global Health reveals, without increasing access to treatment, the number of cases of blindness will rise from 36 million cases reported in 2015 to 115 million by 2050.

The cause is the growing aging population, even though the actual percentage of the population with visual impairment is declining.

 

Factors leading to blindness may include diabetes, stroke, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and trauma.

 

In addition to these startling numbers of vision loss, moderate to severe visual impairment cases are set to surpass 550 million by 2050.

 

Study author, Rupert Bourne of Anglia Ruskin University, reviewed population based data from over 188 countries and found currently 200 million people suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment.

Bourne states, “Interventions provide some of the largest returns on investment. They are some of the most easily implemented interventions in developing regions.”

 

He continues, “They are cheap, require little infrastructure and countries recover their costs as people enter back into the workforce.”

 

Even minimal visual impairment can prevent those affected from obtaining a driver’s license or performing many activities, resulting in economic hardship.

 

The study authors hope this news could help shape future public health policies as well as encourage more investment into cataract surgeries and access to eyewear.

 

One is deemed “legally blind” when their central visual acuity falls under 20/200 (in the better eye under the best corrected circumstances) or their visual field is 20 degrees or less.

Childhood Vision Impairment

 

According to Prevent Blindness Northern California, 3% of children under 18 in the US are blind or visually impaired, despite maximum correction efforts.

 

In 2015, the American Community Survey (ACS) reported 455,000 children in the US with vision impairment.  Of these, 62,000 are legally blind, according to the 2015 Annual Report from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

 

Sadly, not all states have schools for the blind.

 

Leslie Jones, marketing and special events director of Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF), tells us, “Nevada is one of a handful of states without a school for the blind, and what resources are available through the Clark County School District are severely limited (there are just 11 Teachers for the Visually Impaired {TVIs} for more than 500 visually-impaired students needing resources from the Vision Services department).”

 

Foundations such as the NBCF try to fill the gap with services these children need.

 

Jones states, “Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) works alongside CCSD to provide additional after-school educational and adapted recreational programs and services to ensure that these underserved children are given what they need to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

 

A child’s development and windows for learning necessitate early intervention.  Programs slow to enroll or lacking funding burdens blind children more as they fall behind in learning and development.  Building schools for the blind, such as in Nevada, will help thousands of children lessen their disability.

 

To help the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, please visit: here.

 

nv blind children

Dr. Daliah Wachs with Children from NBCF – Lady Bug Ball 2017

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Fast food has become the staple of many American and European diets and we’ve seen obesity rise.  True more people take public or private transportation to work over walking, and many have given up smoking every time they had a hunger itch, but the most popular reason for our waistline increase is fast food. But is it the caloric content of the fast food that’s fueling the obesity epidemic, or the speed at which its ingested?

 

What is Fast Food?

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Fast Food is “food that can be prepared and served quickly”.  A burger, shake and fries is considered fast food but so is a take away salad or sandwich.  It’s implied that fast food is a meal that is not made fresh but made previously and preserved such that it can taste fresh when needed to be served.

How Caloric is Fast Food?

 

According to CalorieKing, a McDonald’s Big Mac is 540 calories.  A large order of fries is 510 calories.  So a meal over 1000 calories is obviously not the healthiest choice.

 

But let’s return back to the sandwich alone. While a Big Mac is 540 calories, CalorieKing finds Chick-Fil-A’s Cobb Salad (without dressing) 500 calories.  Bob Evans Restaurant’s Cobb Salad is 516 calories.




fast food.jpg

 

Now on the same site a Tuna Salad Sandwich (5 oz) w. mayo, 3 oz Bread is 679 calories.

So are we becoming obese eating cobb salads and tuna salad for lunch just as one would eat a Big Mac?  We don’t know since people don’t study cobb and tuna salad eating consumers. My guess is no.

 

Are we eating too fast?

 

Yes, and so fast that I believe it could be messing with our metabolism.

 

Think back to caveman days.  We had to chew.  And not on a soft sesame seed bun, but chew our meat.  Nuts and vegetables took a chewing as well.  Food was more scarce so it was savored and meals weren’t on the run while on a subway or at a stop light in one’s car.

 

Previous studies have shown that eating slowly and chewing it multiple times allow the body’s signals to trigger the satiety sensation sooner, hence one would eat less.

So gulping down a burger in 5 bites could be accomplished prior to the brain receiving the signal that it should be satisfied.

 

Now the metabolism issue.  Fast food could contain sugars, fats and preservatives that alter metabolism.  But eating on the run could cause metabolism issues in and of itself.

 

When a body senses that the food source is short-lived, unpredictable, and coming at a speed preventing proper absorption of nutrients, it may slow down metabolism to allow the body to make the most of what it has.  Eating a meal slow and methodical may be the most successful way to not only feel full but to eat less and lose weight.

 

I suggest a study be done looking at two groups of people eating the same food with the same caloric content but differing on the speed at which they eat it.

 

I suggest to you all to take an extra 15 minutes to complete your meal than what you’re accustomed to and determine if you see results after a few weeks.

 

Of course avoiding fast food would be the most beneficial for our weight but if you must eat fast food, eat it slowly.

 

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LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is 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.

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