Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jewish Ezra Levant Slams Anti-Christian Bigotry in Canadian Parliament

Monday May 31, 2010

Jewish Ezra Levant Slams Anti-Christian Bigotry in Canadian Parliament

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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
OTTAWA, May 31, 2010 ( - Conservative columnist Ezra Levant , who is Jewish, has slammed a growing trend of overt anti-Christian bigotry expressed by some elected members of Canada's parliament.
Following a lunch arranged last week by Conservative Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu'Appelle Andrew Scheer for some of his colleagues to meet Msgr. Frederick Dolan, vicar of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei in Canada,  some MPs publicly expressed objections to a representative of a Catholic group meeting with other MPs in the Parliamentary restaurant.
Levant focused on Pat Martin, the NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre, who told reporters last week that members of Opus Dei "give me the creeps." In his blog Levant said that "there is a new aggression" in the comments of politicians "who don't like Christians" and that Martin "didn't just call conservative Catholics creepy, he expressed his objection that any MP would invite such people to soil the sacred precincts of Parliament Hill."
Martin is known for his opposition to Christian-based initiatives. In his own riding in Winnipeg, he tried to thwart plans by the non-profit Christian group, Youth For Christ, to build a 50,000-square-foot 'Youth Centre of Excellence' in the city's squalid downtown area.
LifeSiteNews reported earlier this year that Martin slammed a proposed city contribution of $2.6 million toward the $11.7 million youth centre project as "taxpayer-funded proselytization." "These people are evangelical fundamentalists," he said. "Offering much-needed sports opportunities is just their way of luring in young prospects."
Levant's blog also mentions Gilles Duceppe of "the xenophobic Bloc Quebecois." In Question Period on May 27, Duceppe said "that an (sic) sizeable pro-life caucus is working behind the scenes within the government. The Prime Minister, who controls everything, must know about this caucus. He must also know that Kara Johnson, who was president of the National Council of the Conservative Party, is a member of Opus Dei, and that Nicole Charbonneau Barron, who will again be a candidate for his party in Saint-Bruno-Saint-Hubert, is also a member of Opus Dei, and that a conservative member invited his colleagues to dine with Opus Dei leaders. Will the Prime Minister admit that his policy is influenced by the fundamentalist religious right?"
"Look, we know that Martin and Duceppe don't like Christians," Levant writes. "No surprise there."
"But there is a new aggression to their comments," he continues. "They don't just disagree with Christians. They don't just shun Christians themselves. They believe that Christians should be kept out of the public square altogether. That is, they are aggrieved that anyone would truck with them. And to effect a Christian-free government, these new McCarthyists of the left believe that Christians in public life have to be named, outed and denounced."
Levant speculates about the result of Martin's and Duceppe's public expressions of disdain for Christianity and Catholicism if they were directed at other religions.
"How do you feel about people being blacklisted because they're Catholic? How do you feel about MPs calling different religions "creepy"? How about a leader of a party declaring certain private religious rituals "questionable"? How about the condemnation of even inviting such people to lunch?"
"If your answer is anything different than it would be if . . . Pat Martin and Gilles Duceppe were counting Jews or Sikhs or Muslims, then shame on you."
Levant summarizes "that anti-Christian bigotry remains an acceptable form of intolerance in Canadian politics," that "this bigotry has infected the parties of the left." and that "the mainstream media, and indeed the rest of the political establishment, ignores this bigotry (and in many cases approves of it)." He concludes that nothing will be done to curb this "McCarthyism of the Canadian left."
"Will Canada's self-appointed anti-hate squads pounce on Martin and Duceppe? The Canadian Human Rights Commission? Of course not: they're part of the anti-Christian persecution themselves, having prosecuted Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Rev. Stephen Boissoin, the Christian Heritage Party, etc. I'm surprised they haven't gone after Msgr. Dolan yet."
A YouTube video of Gilles Duceppe and Pat Martin's comments is available here.
See related LSN article:
Winnipeg MP Slams Proposed Downtown Christian Youth Center


by Ann Coulter
June 2, 2010

Oil is spewing from beneath a British Petroleum oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of about 1 million gallons a day. There's no end in sight -- although White House officials have made it clear their goal is to stop the leak before the midterm elections in November.

Obama now spends at least half of every day answering pointed, increasingly aggressive questions about the oil spill, most of them from his daughter Malia.

The president finally went down to take a look at the oil disaster last week –- which is weird because I didn't even know there were golf courses near the Gulf. To show his concern, Obama is thinking about returning some of the nearly $1 million the oil industry donated to his campaign.

Ha, ha -- just kidding. He's not returning any oil money. But the situation has gotten so urgent that Obama did take time off from his golf game to praise the Phoenix Suns for protesting Arizona’s new immigration law.

He really did endorse the Phoenix Suns, which -- like most of his endorsements -- has resulted in their being eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend. (Did I dream this, or was it just yesterday that President Obama was congratulating Al and Tipper Gore on their long and happy marriage?)

The media have been crowing that Republicans will lose the Hispanic vote forever if they support enforcing laws against illegal immigration, such as the Arizona law. To great fanfare, a poll was released last week showing that 67 percent of Hispanics oppose the Arizona law.

The headline on that poll should have been: "One-Third of Hispanics Support Arizona Immigration Law Despite Frantic Media Campaign to Convince Them It’s a Racist Plot Against Hispanics."

Incidentally, 67 percent of Hispanics also vote Democrat. The exact same percentage of Hispanics who oppose the Arizona law voted for Obama over John McCain -- who was championing amnesty for illegals.

Suck up to Hispanics with insane amnesty proposals; get one out of three Hispanic voters. Do the right thing and defend the country's borders; get one out of three Hispanic voters. ... Promise to make every Tuesday "Ladies' Night"; get one out of three Hispanic voters. Offer them a choice between "Extra Crispy" and "Original Recipe"; get one out of three Hispanic voters.

Indeed, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday, only 52 percent of Hispanics oppose the law, while 37 percent support it. In other words, more Hispanics support the Arizona law (37 percent) than voted for John McCain (31 percent) -– which is the strongest argument for amnesty I've heard in my entire life.

Overall, 66 percent of voters support enforcing the border before discussing amnesty. A plurality -- 48 percent to 35 percent -- would like their own states to pass a law just like Arizona's, despite the strong likelihood that the mainstream media will accuse them of being Nazi police states.

The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse recently compared the Arizona law to Hitler's policies toward the Jews. You remember how Jews were constantly sneaking across the border into Nazi Germany?

Finally, in keeping with the White House tradition of only releasing really good news on the Friday afternoon before the Memorial Day weekend, last Friday the White House announced that no one in the administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job to drop out of the Senate primary against Arlen Specter, despite Sestak's claims to the contrary.

After a 10-week investigation, the Obama White House concluded that Bill Clinton, acting on his own, offered Sestak a nonpaying, advisory job with the administration.

It sounds like something Bill would tell Hillary after sneaking back into the house in the wee hours of the morning. "Honest, honey, I wasn't out with a tawdry cocktail waitress. I was offering some guy I barely know a job at the Obama White House."

So yeah, I know it sounds fishy, but if Bill Clinton says this is how it happened, that's good enough for me. Why, Clinton hasn't lied under oath in front of a federal grand jury for more than a decade.

Incidentally, why do so many Bill Clinton stories end with the words "nothing improper happened"? As I recall, the definition of "proper" gets pretty elastic when you're talking about Bill Clinton.

It's too bad Sestak turned down the offer, because if he had said yes, Obama could claim to have created at least one job, albeit unpaid.

I have mixed feelings about Obama trying to get Sestak out of the way in order to help Arlen Specter. As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing Obama has done so far is to endorse Specter, thus ensuring his defeat.

Maybe Obama should endorse oil spills.


Headbangers Unite!: The International Cultural Power That is Heavy Metal

Headbangers Unite!: The International Cultural Power That is Heavy Metal

On the heels of the untimely passing of heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio, it’s worth analyzing the social and political force of Dio and his hard-rocking brethren.  Dio’s work wasn’t particularly political, but the iconic [some might say satanic] culture he helped establish gestated over time into one of the world’s least-likely social forces.

What began as an aggressive ode to gothic imagery has now become a vibrant force in the Middle East. The musical genre has already helped establish, Acrassicauda, one of the few Iraqi cultural ambassadors in America. Prior to that, heavy metal had become its own cause as musicians in Morocco were arrested for moral and religious crimes. Similar hard-rock movements have been documented in Palestine and other parts of the Middle East. The music has even been used in the American battle against the Taliban. The contrast of metal misfits with some of the world’s strictest regimes has created an unlikely movement being seen worldwide.

In 2007, the Taiwanese government funded the U.S. tour of heavy metal band Chthonic, naming them as pseudo Goodwill ambassadors. While Asia has embraced the music as a popular outlet, complete with local concerts and magazines, the genre has grown increasingly political in the United States, with bands like Six Feet Under playing a role in the current anti-war movement.  Members of 1980s metal supergroup Twisted Sister even stumped for the Obama campaign. It’s less surprising when you consider British research showing a positive link between metal and intellect.

With a surprising enthusiasm for the genre popping up in Iran of all places, a number of bands have found an outlet in rocking out. By finding hidden studio space to practice in, they’ve also discovered a fascinating form of protest.

Report: BPA Levels in Canned Beans, Soups Are Five Times Higher Than Previously Thought

Report: BPA Levels in Canned Beans, Soups Are Five Times Higher Than Previously Thought

BY Ariel SchwartzTue May 18, 2010

soda can
At this point, no company wants to be caught with a BPA-filled product. The chemical, which is found in food and drink can linings, water bottles, computers, and other products containing plastic, can cause numerous health problems--it mimics estrogen, for example, and that can lead to infertility and even cancer. Now the National Workgroup for Safe Markets has come out with a report (PDF) claiming that canned foods, many of which are labeled as "healthy" or organic, contain an average of 77 parts per billion (ppb) of BPA. When the FDA last tested canned food in 1996, it found found an average of 16 ppb, or almost five times less than the average level of BPA found in the NWSM report.
The NWSM conducted its research on 50 donated food and beverage containers from 20 people located in 19 U.S. states and Ontario, Canada. Cans containing fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milk were submitted from kitchen cupboards, pantries, and straight from local chain grocery stores. An FDA-certified lab in San Francisco evaluated the concentrations of BPA in the food within the cans, with some upsetting results: BPA was found in 92% of the canned food samples. NSWM found no correlation between the age of the product and the amount of BPA in the food, and BPA levels couldn't be predicted by price, quality, or nutrition value of the product.
NWSM reports:
The highest level of BPA—1,140 part per billion (ppb), to our knowledge the highest level ever found in the U.S.—was detected in DelMonte French Style Green Beans from a participant’s pantry in Wisconsin. Other high scorers included Walmart’s Great Value Green Peas from a store in Kentucky, and Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup from a pantry in Montana. On average, the products contained 77.36 ppb of bisphenol A.

This doesn't mean that we should shun cans altogether. Instead, manufacturers could implement alternatives like metal can linings, polyester coatings, and even simple glass jars. They might have to, anyway, if legislation is passed to limit the amount of BPA in cans--not an unlikely event considering that the EPA recently added BPA to its chemical concern list.
Check out the full NSWM report below for more detailed information on the findings as well as a list of companies that are phasing out BPA.
[No Silver Lining]

Are Anti-Bacterial Soaps Poisoning Our Water?

Are Anti-Bacterial Soaps Poisoning Our Water?

A common chemical found in antibacterial soaps is turning up in lakes and streams and could potentially harm wildlife and human health.

By Emily Sohn Wed May 19, 2010 08:32 AM ET 4 Comments | Leave a Comment
  • A common ingredient in liquid soaps is showing up in streams and rivers around the world.
  • The chemical threatens the health of people, wildlife and the environment.
  • Toxic byproducts of the chemical are also increasing in the environment.
liquid hand soap An ingredient called triclosan is commonly added to antibacterial products. Research shows the chemical is turning up in lakes and streams. Click to enlarge this image.

An ingredient that is common in antibacterial soaps frequently ends up in lakes and streams, where it breaks down into a suite of potentially toxic chemicals that could harm wildlife and human health, according to new research.
The ingredient, called triclosan, made headlines last month when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced plans to review its safety. Growing evidence suggests that triclosan can disrupt the hormones in animals that regulate growth and reproduction. There are also concerns that the chemical might contribute to the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
In one of the newest studies, published this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, scientists reported that triclosan is responsible for a huge surge in four types of dioxins in a Minnesota lake over the last few decades. Dioxins are a class of potent pollutants that have been linked to cancers, developmental issues, immune problems, and other health effects.
"Any time we are making something accumulate in the environment that we don't fully understand, that's potential for concern," said study author William Arnold, an environmental chemist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
"We need to know what's in the products we're using. And we need to know that once they go down the drain, they don't necessarily disappear."
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Triclosan earned its patent in 1964, when it was shown to be a powerful killer of bacteria. Originally, doctors used it to scrub up before surgery, but triclosan started to appear in commercial hand soaps in the late 80s. By 2001, 76 percent of liquid hand soaps contained the chemical.
Today, triclosan (and the related triclocarban) show up in deodorants, dishwashing liquids, clothes, shaving gels and toothpaste, among more than 100 other commercial products, including pesticides. Triclosan is also infused into plastics that are used to make antimicrobial products, such as toys, food storage containers, cutting boards and baby bibs.
Most of the triclosan people use ends up going down the drain, and wastewater treatment plants fail to remove it all. Studies have found triclosan in soil and in bodies of water around the world, including in 58 percent of 139 streams sampled in 30 states by the United States Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000.
The chemical has been detected in breast milk, and it was found in the urine of 75 percent of more than 2,500 Americans tested in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Arnold and colleagues have been looking not just at triclosan, but at what triclosan turns into after it escapes into the environment. In previous experiments, they've shown that exposure to sunlight causes triclosan to break down into four types of dioxins.
For their latest study, the researchers took a boat out into Lake Pepin, which is downstream of several wastewater treatment plants along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and St. Paul. From two parts of the lake, they collected layers of sediment that they could date in five to 10 year increments, stretching back to 1940.
Their analyses showed steadily increasing levels of triclosan since the 1960s. They also found that -- while overall levels of dioxins have dropped by as much as 95 percent with increasing regulations since the 1970s -- the amount of the four triclosan-derived dioxins have increased by between 200 and 300 percent in the same time period.
Overall, the levels of both triclosan and dioxins remain tiny, and scientists still don't know what their health or environmental consequences will be. Dioxins come in 95 different forms, and the four in question aren't well studied.
"The point is, they're out there, and they're increasing," said Tufts microbiologist Stuart Levy, president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics. "Are we going to wait for a crisis, or are we going to act on it and advise people not to buy it and stores not to carry it?"
Environmental groups along with Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, are urging the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency to ban triclosan from consumer products, especially products used by young children. The European Union has already taken a strong stand against it.
In the meantime, consumers can avoid products with triclosan on their labels, including liquid soaps described as antibacterial. Other than the chemical's documented ability to prevent gingivitis when used in toothpaste, studies show that germs are best battled the old fashioned way.
"Soap on its own should get your hands nice and clean," Arnold said. "There's no triclosan in my house."

Processed Meats May Pose Heart Health Risk

Processed Meats May Pose Heart Health Risk

Processed Meats May Increase Risk for Heart Disease, Diabetes, According to Study

Eating processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and deli meat could increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes compared to eating unprocessed red meats like beef and lamb, according to a new study.
Study finds that processed meats increase health risks more than other red meat.
But many experts were not convinced that the findings tipped the scale in favor of red meat.
The study published today in Circulation looked at 20 studies involving more than 1 million participants from 10 different countries. Researchers found that eating as little as 2 ounces of processed meat per day -- a few strips of bacon, a hot dog or smoked sausage -- increased the risk of heart disease by 42 percent and the risk of diabetes by 19 percent.
However, the culmination of studies examined found eating unprocessed red meat like steak, burgers and roasts did not seem to carry the same risks.
The study suggested that the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes with processed meat may be related to the higher salt and preservatives that are normally found in processed meats.
While research found that both red meat and processed meats contained similar amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol -- both a contributing factor for heart disease and stroke -- processed meats had on average four times higher levels of salt and other preservatives, according to lead author of the study Renata Micha, research fellow in the department of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.
On average a 50 gram serving of red meat contains about 127 mg of sodium, while the same serving amount of processed meat contains about 575 mg of sodium, according to data based on a 2005-2006 United States National Health and Nutrition Examination survey.

Don't Give Up on Meat, Experts Said

Although the research findings took harder aim at processed meat, many said the study is not enough to suggest that people should stop eating processed meat, or to exonerate red meat from health risks similar to those processed meat, including heart disease and diabetes.
According to Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, the study did not take into account a person's overall lifestyle as a contributing factor for heart disease.

Photo: Processed meats linked with heart disease, diabetes risks
A new study finds that eating processed meats raises the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes.
(Getty Images)
"Meat eaters also have many other unmeasured habits that may promote heart disease or diabetes," Nissen said. "Therefore, we don't know if the problem is meat consumption or associated health behaviors."
In fact, Janet Riley, senior vice president of the American Meat Institute stood up for processed meats and said the data was inconclusive.
"I'm a little concerned that consumers are getting another case of nutrition whiplash," Riley said. "Americans are starting to tune out because one week red wine's good for them, the next week, not so much. One week it's oat bran, the next it's maybe not. Very confusing to consumers."
Current USDA guidelines suggest eating meat in moderation, and according to Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietician and clinical associate professor at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Americans should limit their intake of lean meats, fish, or poultry to 6 to 7 ounces a day.
"This way you have more room on your plates for vegetables that we know are heart healthy," Blake said.
But, many experts said, people do not need to eliminate processed meat completely from their diet. Instead, some experts suggest being cautious about the amount of processed meat you may be eating. In fact, experts said, although the study is not definitive, it raised important questions that consumers need to know.
"The study doesn't suggest that people should panic if they had a piece of processed meat for lunch or cut it out of their diet completely, but as people are making choices [it] may be better to move away a little bit from the processed meats," said Harlan Krumholz, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine.
One serving per week or less of processed meat, equivalent to perhaps one hot dog or two slices of deli meat, would be relatively low risk, Micha said.
Although Krumholz agreed that both processed and unprocessed foods hold their fair share of health risks, he said moderation of both processed and unprocessed meats contributes to an overall healthy diet.

"It's about portion size and about eating sensibly," Krumholz said. "If people use prudence in looking at their meals, they're going to do fine."


So What Meats Are Best for Your Health?

Average Nutritional and Preservative Contents in Red Meats* (Examples: Steak, Hamburger, Pork Chops and Lamb) (per 50g)
SODIUM: 127.1 mg
TOTAL FAT: 7.7 g
PROTEIN: 13.5 g
NITRATES: 2.9 mg
Average Nutritional and Preservative Contents in Processed Meats* (Examples: Bacon, Sausage, Packaged Ham and Hot Dogs)
SODIUM: 575.8 mg
TOTAL FAT: 12.3 g
PROTEIN: 8.8 g
NITRATES: 3.0 mg
*Data based on a 2005-2006 United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Helping the Brain to Help Itself

Helping the Brain to Help Itself

Transforming support cells in the brain into neurons might one day help repair damage from stroke or injury.
By Courtney Humphries
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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Support cells in the brain called astroglia can be turned into functioning neurons, according to a study in this week's Public Library of Science Biology. Researchers found that they could transform the cells into two different classes of neurons, and that the neurons could form connections with one another in a dish. Although the research is at an early stage, the finding suggests that scientists could someday recruit existing cells in the brain to repair the brain and spinal cord after a stroke, injury, or neurodegenerative disease.
Neuron transform: An astroglial cell from a mouse's brain has been transformed into a type of neuron called an excitatory neuron. The green color marks a molecule specific to excitatory neurons, and the white indicates a molecule critical for synaptic plasticity, a key function in communication between neurons.
Credit: Christophe Heinrich
The research team, from the Helmholtz Center and Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, had previously shown that it was possible to turn astroglia--star-shaped cells that provide structural support in the brain--into neurons by introducing genes called transcription factors into the cells using a virus. In that study, however, the neurons did not form functioning connections, or synapses. Now the researchers have demonstrated that astroglial cells taken from young mice can be transformed into synapse-forming neurons, and can be directed into two different major classes of neurons.
The addition of one specific genegenerated excitatory neurons, which promote activity in other cells. By adding a different gene, they generated inhibitory neurons, which dampen cell activity. In principle, "you could generate other types of neurons if you choose the appropriate factors," says study coauthor Benedickt Berninger. For instance, he said, researchers could generate the dopamine-releasing neurons that are destroyed by Parkinson's disease.
The study adds to growing evidence that certain cell types can be transformed directly into other cell types without first being converted into stem cells. Researchers have previously transformed skin cells into neurons, and one type of pancreatic cell into another. Marius Wernig, a coauthor of the skin cell study and a stem cell biologist at Stanford University, says there's a growing awareness that it may not be necessary to erase a cell's existing identity before giving it a new one.

Wernig says that the PLOS Biology paper offers a new strategy for creating neurons that complements the approach of using skin cells. Skin cells, he says, would be more useful for generating a patient's own cells in a petri dish for transplantation, because a skin sample is easy to obtain. In contrast, this latest study "means that these astroglial cells could be converted in the brain" without the need for a transplant. Berninger says that one of the next challenges is to determine whether these reprogrammed neurons can survive and function in a living brain.
Fortunately, the brain seems to have a ready source of astroglia. When the brain is injured, these cells proliferate, similar to the way the skin repairs itself after a wound. The researchers found they could also derive neurons from injury-induced astroglia taken from the brains of adult mice.


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