Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017

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The Kevin Jackson Show started as The Black Sphere Radio Show. TBS Radio began as a humble program on Blogtalkradio in 2009. The show garnered the notice of veteran radio man "Big Dave,” who encouraged Kevin, saying he was " made" for radio. Shortly thereafter the program director at WGUL agreed and offered Kevin the weekend slot. He eventually took the spot of radio Hall of Famer, Neil Boortz, and now is syndicated around the country.

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Published in News & Information

The Minnesota Wild’s luck has obviously changed for the worse, but they’re in the playoffs anyways, hosting the hottest team in the league coached by former Wild head coach Mike Yeo.

The Wild and St. Louis Blues series will be the best in the west given the storylines. New Wild coach Bruce Boudreau is infamous for being wildly mediocre in the playoffs, and with a trade deadline deal that hasn’t worked, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher might be looking for a new job if the Wild exit the playoffs in round one once again this season.

Knowing all of that, I was surprised that my friend jumped at an opportunity to score two seats for game two in the lower level in row two next to the aisle for $280 each. He thought he could use them as leverage, but I told him that would be unlikely, as the price would drop. As of this writing, Craigslist has listings for lower-level, row two seats for as low as $180 for game one. The same row has already dropped $30 in price for game two. The fans have spoken, and they aren’t wildly confident in the Wild.

ESPN has picked the Blues to win the opening series in five games, and it seems Wild fans sense a letdown as well. Game one seats are going for below face value on Craigslist, which is unheard of, and if the Wild drop the first game, prices will continue to fall. That’s why your best bet when considering playoff tickets for just about any sport is to just wait. I jumped on Minnesota Twins playoff tickets in the last season of the Metrodome against the Yankees just before Joe Nathan blew the save in game two of the series in New York. It was a big mistake, as I ate two of the four tickets.

There’s rarely a time tickets can’t be found before the game starts. If you’re not too picky and just want to get in the door, waiting almost always pays off. Greed dissipates as the risk of taking a loss increases. The closer you get to puck drop the lower ticket prices get. The Wild box office even has select tickets available in the lower ($150) and upper ($110) levels for game one.

Even if the Wild win game one of the playoff series, tickets for game two will hold steady. Ticket resellers want every playoff series to go seven games. If it was a race to five wins that’d be even better for them. Don’t give them the satisfaction of fleecing you because you aren’t familiar with the local fan sentiment. Local Wild fans are fed up, and many won’t even consider attending the first series let alone the first game. This franchise is in all-or-nothing mode, so don’t go all-in on Minnesota Wild playoff tickets two days before the game. Wait.

Editor’s Note: An update follows.

Don’t get scammed by Craigslist ticket sellers! There are easy things you can do to avoid being scammed. Generally, if tickets are listed below face value it’s a scam. No one in their right mind, regardless of family emergencies, would list playoff tickets under face value. If there are no photos of either the tickets or the view from the seats, it’s likely a scam. If the Craigslist seller says they are a season ticket holder, ask for their account number located at the top of the tickets or call the ticket office and ask them to search their records by the seller’s name. The whole call takes about a minute and could help you avoid being scammed.

Editor's Note: An update follows.

By taking my own advice I managed to score tickets in row 10 to Game 2 between the Wild and Blues for $170. That's $110 less than my friends paid to sit in the second row. It was also $50 less than the going rate on Ticketmaster, not including fees.


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

Published in News & Information
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 17:18

The many reasons not to buy E15 gasoline

The other day I found myself very confused by two signs advertising gasoline prices at two gas stations directly across the street from each other. I was confused because one sign advertised unleaded gasoline at $2.17 and the other at $2.27. Why one gas station would be cheaper than the other I didn’t know, but I obviously went with the gas station advertising the cheapest price for gasoline.

I was even more confused to find five different options for unleaded gasoline. While I was familiar with E85 gasoline, I had no idea E15 gasoline existed. I did a quick Google search to determine whether E15 gasoline would be good for my car, and multiple sources revealed that as long as my car was newer than 2001 I’d be alright. I should have done more digging.

I’m not even through half my fuel tank and my fuel economy is two miles per gallon less than what I get with 87-octane gasoline. Doing the math, while I save $1.80 filling an entire tank with E15 gasoline, I lose 36 miles in range and roughly $3.25 due to that drop in fuel economy, resulting in a $2.45 net loss. So that warm feeling I got purchasing cheap gas is now cold as ice. I actually got robbed at the pump by subsidized corn growers.

If you’re like me and don’t own a flex fuel vehicle, don’t buy E15 gasoline. It’s that simple. The price of E15 gasoline would have to drop at least 18 cents below the price per gallon for 87-octane gasoline in order for E15 to be cheaper for me. This price point will, of course, depend on the difference in fuel economy you receive when switching to E15 gasoline.

It’s no surprise that Exxon Mobil is doing what it can to make sure E15 gasoline doesn’t take off. It pulled this graph from a blog page that no longer exists, but now that I’ve crunched the numbers, it’s a pretty good recommendation. Unless you drive a flex fuel vehicle or something made in the last couple of years, don’t buy E15 gasoline.

There’s plenty of other reasons not to buy E15 gasoline according to this report published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Not only is it bad for the environment (“cellulosic and corn-based ethanol (E85) were ranked last of nine technologies with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste”) and less efficient, it makes your engine run hotter, so if you have a high-mileage engine and are worried about extending the life of your engine, don’t use E15 gasoline.

States are even banning E15 altogether, and multiple bills have been introduced to limit the spread of E15 gasoline. One bill would eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standards entirely, which would probably please the Republican-led Congress and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who has blasted ethanol in the past and whose ties to the oil industry are well-publicized. Another bipartisan effort, obviously sponsored by legislators from corn-growing states Nebraska and Iowa, would expand E15 gasoline availability by allowing it to be sold year-round. E15 gasoline is currently not available during summer months because of that overheating issue I mentioned.

Four of the five bills introduced and listed below would be bad for E15, ethanol producers and corn growers. If that's any indication of the short-term future for ethanol during the Trump administration, it doesn't look good.

There’s still money to be made on ethanol exports, though, as Mexico has approved ethanol in small doses. The ethanol industry outlook for 2017 is mostly optimistic, but that’s because it’s written by ethanol producers. Dipping ethanol stocks are indicative of ethanol’s uncertain future, but gas station owners seem to think E15 will take off in 2017.

The fact remains: E15 gasoline just isn’t any good if you don’t drive a flex fuel vehicle. If it's not too hot out, though, and you can find E15 for 20 cents less than 87-octane, go for it. But never put it in a boat engine or lawn mower. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Date Introduced Bill Name and/or Reference Purpose
Jan. 3, 2017 Leave Ethanol Levels at Existing Levels Act (H.R. 119) "The bill would freeze renewable fuel blending requirements under the RFS at 7.5 billion gallons per year, prohibit the sale of gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol, and revoke the EPA's approval of E15 blends."
Jan. 31, 2017 N/A (H.R. 777) "The bill would require the EPA and National Academies of Sciences to conduct a study on 'the implications of the use' of ethanol gasoline blends containing 10-20% ethanol by volume."
Jan. 31, 2017 N/A (H.R. 776) The bill would limit the use of cellulosic biofuel required under the current RFS.
March 2, 2017 N/A (H.R. 1315) The bill would cap the ethanol blend rate at 10%.
March 2, 2017 RFS Elimination Act (H.R. 1314) The bill would fully repeal the RFS.



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Published in News & Information

This year, nine confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease have surfaced in Hawaii (Maui and the Big Island), and a couple in California who recently traveled to the Aloha State  came down with symptoms after they returned home from their honeymoon. Four additional cases have been suspected since the start of the year and fortunately no deaths have been reported. The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed 11 cases in 2016, and between 2007 and 2015, 42 cases were reported.  Here are your questions answered.

What is Rat Lungworm?


Rat lungworm is in the family of roundworms (nematodes), named Angiostrongylus.   Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasite that can cause neurological infections such as meningitis, and its sister species, Angiostrongylus costaricensis, can cause severe gastrointestinal illness.  The specific meningitis, or inflammation of the brain, caused by A. cantonensis is an eosinophilic meningitis, where the main blood cell involved is an eosinophil, prevalent in parasitic infections as opposed to a bacterial or viral meningitis.


It's found primarily in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin but up until recently it's been extremely rare in the United States.  In 2015 a study published in the Journal of Parasitology cited cases had been reported in Florida, Alabama, California, Louisiana, and Hawaii.


It primarily lives in rodents but the larvae can be passed to other species through rat feces.  Adult nematodes live in the pulmonary arteries of rats.  The females lay eggs and these, once they hatch and become first stage larvae, may migrate to the rat’s throat and then enter the GI system, eventually exiting through feces.

What are the symptoms of Rat Lungworm?


Symptoms include severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, visual disturbances, difficulty looking at light (photophobia), nausea, vomiting, numbness, temporary paralysis of the face and possibly coma and death.

The incubation period, on average, can be anywhere from a week to three weeks and symptoms could start within that time and possibly last for months.  Neurological sequelae of the survivors can last for extended periods of time.

How does one contract Rat Lungworm?


An individual could become exposed to A. cantonensis when one eats undercooked slugs, snails, frogs, shrimp, mollusks and contaminated fruits and vegetables.  Slime from slugs may also be a source of contamination of the deadly parasite.



How do we know Rat Lungworm is the cause of one’s symptoms?


If a person presents with symptoms of meningitis, the cerebrospinal fluid, or fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is able to be sampled during a lumbar puncture. The needle entering through the back could aspirate enough of a sample for laboratory technicians to determine if the meningitis is caused by bacteria, virus or parasites, the latter of which causing a higher concentration of eosinophils to be demonstrated in the CSF fluid as well as the blood.


What is the treatment for Rat Lungworm?


Currently there is no official treatment of the parasite.  The parasite will die on its own but can do so in a relatively short amount of time such as days, or become latent for months.  Dead worms could also cause severe neurological symptoms. Symptomatic measures of the patient are instituted to help with pain, although some have been treated with steroids and antiparasitic medications.


How do we avoid Rat Lungworm?


Make sure all raw vegetables are washed thoroughly,  Handle slugs and snails with gloves and wash hands diligently.  The University of Hawaii recommends boiling snails for at least 3-5 minutes prior to preparing for consumption.  And keep rodents, snails and slugs away from your food and kitchen counters.


For more on prevention of Rat Lungworm infections, read: Avoid Contracting Angiostrongyliasis (Rat Lungworm Infection): Wash Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Before Eating! / Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.



Published in News & Information

There are plenty of reasons why Amazon Instant Video is the fastest growing streaming video app, and many of them have nothing to do with streaming video. We’ll get to those. First, though, let’s focus on what makes Amazon better than Netflix and Hulu when it comes to streaming video apps.

1.    Best Library

If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried all three of the big three streaming video apps. And if you’re like me, you grew tired of the Netflix and Hulu libraries pretty quickly. Netflix might have a vast library, but it’s all crap. And while Hulu boasts about providing all the best television at a discount and with limited commercials, it doesn’t have the movie selection of either Netflix or Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime has the most quality titles from the silver screen and your flatscreen. I always seem to find something to watch with Amazon Prime, and I used to tune into Netflix and Hulu just to turn it off having found nothing to watch. The quality of titles is important to people, and Netflix and Hulu just aren’t providing the content people want.

2.    Best Value

Remember when Netflix and Hulu were in a price war? Well, that war is over and both sides lost. Price is no longer the driving force when it comes to choosing a streaming video app. If there’s one thing the internet has done well it’s helped consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. Both Netflix and Hulu can be had for as little as $7.99 per month, but my Amazon Prime membership at $8.25 per month ($4.083 per month if you’re a student) is much more valuable than the 26 extra cents I pay. Here's why:

3.    The Prime Perks

I don’t even get my $8.25-worth of monthly value out of the streaming video. I could go most the year without streaming anything and probably still find value in paying for Amazon Prime. I get free, two-day shipping on any Amazon-fulfilled product I purchase. That’s worth $8.25 almost every time I make a purchase. I also get access to Prime Pantry – a service that not only saves me money on home essentials but trips to the store and time standing in line. I get all my non-refrigerated food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and garbage bags delivered to my door. I just have to remember to order them when stock is getting low.

4.    Best 4K UHD Selection

I watched Spectre on my Hisense 4K UHD TV using Amazon Prime last night and was shocked by how far televisions have come. I didn’t think picture quality could get much better because the human eye can only see so much. I was wrong (because I sit/lay pretty close to my TV), and Amazon Prime seems to be the most committed to providing new, 4K UHD content, despite it only being available in the US, UK and Canada.

5.    Music

I haven’t listened to any of Amazon Prime’s 2,000,000 or so songs or any Amazon playlists, but it’s just another reason why Amazon Prime is more valuable than both Netflix and Hulu. I have purchased vinyl records from Amazon and taken advantage of their digital music downloads, which neither Netflix nor Hulu offer.  

Amazon Prime is just better than Netflix and Hulu, so pony up and pay the $99-annual fee or just give it a try for $10 per month. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.


If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Tech Night Owl, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information