Stephen Colbert: Is Donald Trump Violating Laws Or Just Norms?

Is President-elect Donald Trump actually violating laws with his unconventional transition? Or is he only breaking with norms set by previous presidents?

Stephen Colbert took a detailed look at the issue on Friday with the launch of his new segment, “Norm or Law?”

The “Late Show” host examined whether Trump’s refusal to release his tax return while he was running for president was actually illegal. He later revealed if presidents were bound by law to put their business interests into a blind trust while in office, or if president-elects are legitimately allowed to opt out of intelligence briefings as Trump himself has reportedly been doing since winning the election.

Check it out in the clip above.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
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Zika-Linked Birth Defects Surge in Colombia: CDC

Study suggests the scourge of microcephaly tied to the mosquito-borne virus is no longer limited to Brazil
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Heart Gift 8: Our Humble Little Bricks: A letter from 1953

My Heart Gift today is one of my favorite letters from my father. It is a letter that he wrote to his step-father, from Turkey in 1953-63 years ago. Aged just 23 at the time of writing, his words are poetic, profound and as relevant today as they were in 1953. The letter was published in his book, The Unbeaten Track in 1970. I include his description before the letter as I think it is a beautiful example of my father’s word alchemy. I hope you enjoy it!

“A fortnight later, rucksack on my back, I had hitch-hiked right across Europe and into central Turkey. A letter from home awaited me in the little town of Kayseri, the Caesarea of antiquity. I stopped there for a couple of days, putting up, by invitation of the headmaster, at the local college, empty for the summer vacation. There I started a friendship with Orhan, a student who still remained in the college waiting for his parents to come from Istanbul before joining them in their native village close by. ‘Why don’t you come along with me?’ Orhan said, ‘and see life in a Turkish village?’

It was from that village that I re-read Tadeusz’s letter. ‘What in hell draws you to these countries?’ he wrote. ‘Are you still as keen about it, or have the poverty and primitive conditions cooled you off a bit by now?’ The evening light was failing, as I sat in the porch of my host’s modest cottage, and smiled to myself. The village square was deep in fine dust. Chickens scratched around in the animal droppings for food; a flock of ducks came wobbling across the square hustled home by a ten-year-old in baggy trousers with missing fly-buttons, his round chubby face in striking contrast to his oversized cap. He whistled sharply, raising his stick towards the laggards who were trying to dispute the droppings with the chicken, and shouted gaily ‘burda, burda!’ (‘this way!).

Now a herd of cattle ambled to their sheds, trailing dust, lowing softly, the resonance of their bells mingling with long- drawn shepherd calls which the hushed clear air seemed to hold for ever, so that they lingered lazily like the dancing dust that tarried over the square. Last of all the bullock-carts lumbered in, ponderous on their spokeless wheels of solid wood, their axles whining and complaining with a note of ever-changing pitch.

Lost in thought, I didn’t notice Orhan, who had brought a hurricane lamp and a dish of sour milk. ‘There!’ he smiled, ‘you can’t write home in the dark. The night falls fast here. Eat this soon, or it’ll be swimming with gnats.’ ‘Tashakur’ (‘thank you!’), I grinned back at him, ‘I wish my Turkish were half as good as your English!’

‘You ask me if I like it here,’ I wrote. ‘Oh yes, intensely, but how can I explain? It’s a bit like meeting a girl, when everything clicks, and you fall in love. I feel gloriously alive and very much at home, almost as if I were regaining a homeland. But probing more deeply what can I say? You have to feel it and to live it. These lands suckled the earliest civilizations, nurtured the first roots of man’s timid gropings towards the tree that we are now. Beneath the outward poverty, under the grime and the tatters there is a culture as time itself, infinitely complex and wise. These weathered lands hold out the corrective to our brave new world, of the sobriety of age and experience, of diversity in life’s options: especially to those seeking to apprehend the ultimates and the quiddity within the ebb and flow of appearance. To me this last is particularly appealing: the directness and immediacy between man and his natural environment.

At the same time there is so much need here, so much wretchedness that could be remedied. The challenge is enormous. The poverty is crushing, perhaps less so here in Turkey than in other parts of Asia, a poverty often aggravated by the former exploitation by European colonial powers. I believe everybody in the West should be aware of this and its profound consequences for all of us. Help and alleviation of this wretchedness can come essentially from a better understanding of its causes, nature and extent, and in this every one of us can help, can contribute his humble little brick.

I daresay this may not answer your questions very satisfactorily, for it is written in the heat of the moment, real no less than for it is figurative – 96°F in the shade!”

* Heart Gift is a community of people who give from their hearts. You are invited to join to be inspired and, when ready, to share your favorite quote, letter, joke, prayer, advice, music, art piece, story, song, ritual, Grandma’s recipe – anything. We can all help create a more beautiful world when we are Permissionaries – giving each other permission to be authentic, vulnerable and heart led.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Students Create Brilliant Extension That Identifies Fake News

As the influence of fake news on the recent presidential election continues to be a hot topic, one group of students may have found a solution to getting duped by inaccurate sources. 

A team of four graduate and undergrad students recently created “FiB,” a Google Chrome extension that verifies the authenticity of posts on Facebook to combat the circulation of fake news. What’s more, the group created the prototype in under 36 hours at a hackathon last month at Princeton University in New Jersey. 

The tool is currently unavailable for public use, but Anant Goel, a freshman at Purdue University who’s involved in the project, told The Huffington Post in an email that the team plans to officially release it during the first week of January. 

“We wanted to create a proof of concept that the issue of fake news in social media can be tackled at a large scale,” Goel told NBC News of the project. 

The FiB extension helps users separate the real from the fake through its two verification models, Goel explained to HuffPost. It first gives the source of the news, link or image a confidence score based on the source’s past credibility, he said. The extension also takes a step further by looking at the content, extracting keywords, and getting a summary of the article. 

“We perform multiple searches on keywords and summaries. Depending on the results of these searches we give it another confidence score,” Goel explained, adding that depending on if the scores pass a certain threshold, they’re marked either “verified” or “unverified.” 

Following the election, companies like Facebook and Google came under fire when the propagation of fake news, which was hosted on the platforms, was said to have had a hand in swinging the decision in Donald Trump’s favor. Some fake news stories, like one claiming that Denzel Washington had supported Trump, even went viral and began to trend on the social media site. 

While both companies said they’d take steps to mitigate the spread of false news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has insisted that his site did not have a role in influencing the election’s outcome. However, a Buzzfeed News analysis discovered that the top fake news stories from hoax websites and hyperpartisan blogs outperformed the top news stories from major news outlets on Facebook.  

The extension, which is now an open source project so that other developers can help perfect it, has been released before. It drew in almost 50,000 user requests per second at one point, though it was designed to service 1,000 users. The team took it down to make the tool more efficient for a higher volume of users, according to NBC News. 

The group’s admirable work hasn’t gone unnoticed and at the hackathon. They received the Best Moonshot award from Google ― a distinction that honors the most ambitious project, NBC News reported. 

Bravo, team! 

 

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Stephen Colbert Gets All Queasy Over Donald Trump’s Cabinet Picks

Watching Donald Trump pick his cabinet is making Stephen Colbert feel nauseous.

On Thursday’s broadcast of the “Late Show,” the comedian likened the experience to “watching your nana get a sponge bath.” “You know it has to be done, but it’s upsetting,” he quipped.

Colbert analyzed the president-elect’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After describing the fossil fuel-friendly Pruitt as being the “sworn enemy of the EPA,” Colbert advised him to change his phone number “or else he’s going to get some pretty angry calls from himself.”

He also poked fun at Pruitt’s assertion that the states are in the best position to regular local industries. “Makes sense,” said Colbert. “If Missouri dumps chemicals into the Mississippi River, they just tell those chemicals, ‘Remember, you stop at the Arkansas state line! You’re on your honor, OK? No further!”

Check it out in the clip above.

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New Drug Combo Shows Promise Curbing Tough-to-Treat Breast Cancer

New regimen helped women with metastatic, hormone-receptor positive disease in study
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What I Wish I Had Known In My Twenties

What one thing do you wish you had known about life when you were in your 20s? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by James Altucher, blogger, author, social media, investor, wall street investor, on Quora:

One time when I was twenty-five, I went shopping for an engagement ring for my girlfriend. We had been together for three years, and my dad kept asking when I would marry her. My friends kept asking. Her friends kept asking. Her dad kept asking her and she would tell me.

We were living together. And I liked her. Maybe I loved her.

But I started to shiver when I was looking at rings in the store. My friend who I was with took one look at me and quoted a lyric from an MC 900 Ft Jesus song: “Something’s gonna happen, and it’s probably not good.”

So I didn’t buy the ring. We didn’t get married. She moved out. We moved to different cities. I called her once a few years later, but now she’s not even on Facebook, and we haven’t talked since.

That sums up the twenties - everything you think is important and meaningful has absolutely no bearing on your future life.

I loved her. I had a job. I was writing novels. I had friends. I was a computer programmer.

Now, none of the above is true. (Oh, I have friends. Just different friends – 100% different).

And everything in my thirties – nothing is true anymore (except I have two kids still. Although now they are not babies. Now they are smarter than me).

I’m forty-eight now.

My most recent career change occurred when I was forty-seven. Before that, I started writing seriously (I wrote five very unserious books in my thirties) when I was forty-two.

In my twenties and thirties, my average weight was about 155 – 170. Now it’s 140. I write every day. I don’t obsess about money all day long. And I make bad decisions all day long – just like I did in my twenties.

The main skill I got between my twenties and now is that I bounce back from bad things faster.

I was very successful in my late twenties. And then a total failure after. Then very successful. And so on.

So that didn’t change. Only my ability to bounce back from really bad things. Horrible things. Things you wouldn’t want to wish on anyone, and yet they happen, in some form or other, to everyone.

So the only thing I can with full integrity say I wish I had known: nothing at all matters. Oh, and since nothing matters, once you realize that, you’ll start to bounce back faster.

And since nothing matters, you might as well be kind to people as much as possible. We can all laugh at the same joke at the end of this very long day.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

More questions:

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End The Ban On Marijuana In Sports

In the last week we’ve heard from NBA legend Phil Jackson and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talking about their own marijuana use and how they think professional sports leagues like the NBA and NFL should change their marijuana policies.

Marijuana should not be a banned substance in professional sports.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in 28 states and recreational use in 8 states plus Washington D.C., yet it is a banned substance in most professional sports and athletes are not allowed to use it. It is time for the sports world to catch up with the times and adopt more rational marijuana policies.

The National Football League (NFL) is the clearest example of a backwards marijuana policy. The NFL ignores the medicinal benefits of marijuana, most notably its ability to treat chronic pain, and that comes with the territory of being a professional football player.

Instead, prescription opioid painkillers are the preferred treatment method. Former Pro-Bowler Calvin Johnson spent nine years on the Detroit Lions and said painkillers were handed out “like candy.” Retired players like Jim McMahon and others have talked about developing an addiction to those medications. NBA All-Star Blake Griffin supports medical marijuana specifically because “many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects.”

If people are suffering from chronic pain, using marijuana with painkillers can help reduce the amount of painkillers needed, and in some cases people have been able to completely replace their use of painkillers with marijuana. Overdose is an issue being discussed across the country right now and a 2014 study showed that opiate overdoses decreased by a nearly 25 percent average in states that have implemented medical marijuana laws compared to states that have not.

The NFL is also dealing with a concussion crisis — many players are retiring early and some people are choosing not to play football at all because of the consequences that can come later in life after having too many head injuries. The non-psychoactive part of marijuana known as CBD has the potential to treatand even prevent concussions. The NFL should set an example by investing in marijuana research to see how it can help improve the health of its players.

Former Super Bowl champions Marvin Washington, Scott Fujita and Brendon Ayanbadejo helped start a conversation two years ago calling on the NFL to incorporate medical marijuana in their strategy for treating and preventing concussions. Eugene Monroe continued the debate earlier this year when he became the first current player to call on the NFL to look at the benefits of medical marijuana. He has since been joined by Derrick Morgan.

Last month Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was suspended for 10 games because he uses marijuana to treat Crohn’s disease, which is a qualifying condition under New York’s medical marijuana program. Athletes should not be treated differently when it comes to marijuana — they should be able to use it in places where it is legal.

Earlier this year, NBA veteran Al Harrington came out in strong support of California’s Prop. 64 to legalize marijuana — not only because he thinks it should be legal, but because he sees marijuana legalization and drug policy reform as a racial equity issue. He said, “I’ve been in the marijuana-industry space for the last five years, and I’ve seen that it’s a predominately white space. And minorities, we’re the ones that are locked up behind it.”

Attitudes about marijuana are changing rapidly; 60 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing it. Athletes and sports leagues in general have a large influence on our culture, and if these leagues change their marijuana policies they can make a big impact to help change the way people think about marijuana (and the people who use it).

It’s time for all professional sports leagues to do the socially responsible thing: stop using the playbook and rhetoric from the failed drug war and create more fair marijuana policies.

Derek Rosenfeld is the manager of social media and media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance.

This piece originally appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance blog.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Thomas Jefferson Explains Electoral College To Trevor Noah

The United States is the only democracy that doesn’t elect a President by popular vote, a fact that confuses Trevor Noah.

Luckily, Thomas Jefferson stopped by on Wednesday’s “Daily Show” to shed light on why the Founding Fathers chose to use electors instead of the popular vote.

“In my day … we believed the common people were ill-informed and couldn’t be relied on to reject a populist demagogue,” Jefferson said. “So we devised electors to ensure America would never elect a dangerous, charismatic lunatic.”

Noah then explained that the Electoral College is responsible for “a racist white guy” beating out “a more popular, more qualified woman.”

Jefferson’s reply: “Sounds like it’s working perfectly. What’s the problem?” 

 

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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FDA Eases Up on Hearing Aid Rules

Devices should be easier to obtain, less expensive under new guidelines
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Chase Your Dream, Not Your Dragon

I’d like to say I had an ordinary week of meetings with clients, a hot date, and regular news purge. But as things go, I had the unusual task of working with a new client whose dream is to run for Congress.

Jenn is a humble patriot looking to make a difference. She’s a grassroots supporter with little experience. Her passion for contributing was spent as a volunteer, knocking on doors, and handing out campaign jargon in this year’s election.

And because she is a dedicated and loving being, Jenn wants to heal the toxic political climate.

But after last month, she was left disheartened, with post-election blues.

“We’ll never give up,” we say to ourselves. And the years go by, and we sit idly watching our dreams as they fade.

We are all unique. There is nobody like you on the planet, and with the right development, we can attract the support of others who will welcome our dream, too.

With growth, there will always be an opportunity to attain the thing you want, no matter how it shows itself. To imagine a life without a dream, even the tiniest one, is submitting to a world of mediocrity.

Jenn is principled, articulate and passionate – but running for Congress is a steep climb.

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and the ten-thousand-hour rule of “deliberate practice,” which asserts that to become a world-class expert in any field, a person must practice their skill or trade for ten thousand hours. The Beatles did it in Hamburg and Steve Jobs in a high school computer lab. Gladwell believed that by reaching 10,000 hours (that’s about 90 minutes per day for 20 years) of practice you can become an outlier – the “Tipping-Point” of greatness.

Today, we have new rules. We believe that if we think about one thing long enough it will hardwire into us. Our new cracked system of facts makes it possible for anyone to claim anything as reality in a post-truth era. But Gladwell’s ten-thousand-hour rule offers a greater prospect of deciphering the faux from the real deal.

Let’s be honest, for most folk winning a congressional race is near on impossible. The odds are stacked high. To succeed, Jenn would need media coverage, infrastructure and money. It takes years to build all three components, and Jenn has none. Although principled, articulate and passionate, her feelings of self-worth are now at ground zero.

Running for Congress is Jenn’s go-to story, how she defines her world. But, in truth, she has no resources or support. She has moderate experience and no plans. “If you can’t link the dots,” I told her, “Your approach will always let you down.”

She felt like she had failed. But in hindsight, she hadn’t failed at all; she was just beginning.

I had spent a good 30 minutes listening to Jenn. She must have mentioned grassroots at least seven times. There is always a clue if you listen to a person long enough. I let her know that.

My thought was to open more of a dialogue about her interest in grassroots work.

Her eyes lit up as she rambled excitingly about working as an activist. A grassroots activist. Her inspiration was back. She felt energized.

Did she want to work for an organization to help women, or apply for a grassroots internship? “Oh,” she said, “So many thoughts, so many decisions – I can’t wait to make them all.”

She smiled, and with that I knew she was well on her way towards her heart dream. And who knows, she may become a congressional winner after all.

Just really, believe in what you’re trying to do. Don’t let people alter that. Let people advise you and lead you down paths to make smart business decisions. But trust your instinct and trust that overwhelming drive that made you put all your dreams and everything on the line. –Luke Bryan

* * * * *
Suzannah’s work is about giving individuals (like you!) dynamic insight into what agonizes them most and offering breakthrough solutions. She offers instant, real-time solutions to what troubles her clients — all delivered with a large shot of compassion. Schedule an Appointment Today.

Suzannah Galland is an internationally acclaimed life advisor and influencer for mindful living. Suzannah contributes invaluable Quick Insights to the Huffington Post blog, and writes regularly for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.com and Spread the Light for KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr. She has been featured on Harper’s Bazaar, USA Today, Vogue, Los Angeles Magazine, Glamour, and Marie Claire U.K. Visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for more Insights to Keep You in The Know.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Donald Trump Vows To Reduce Drug Prices, Doesn’t Say How

NEW YORK – President-elect Donald Trump took aim at drugmakers on Wednesday by promising in a magazine interview that “I’m going to bring down drug prices,” sending shares of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies lower.

In a cover story for Time magazine, which named him its Person of the Year, Trump said: “I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”

The Republican U.S. president-elect, a wealthy real estate developer who ran a campaign with a populist appeal, did not state in the interview how he would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Trump previously has suggested he was open to allowing importation of cheaper medicines from overseas.

Trump previously had taken aim at other industries, suggesting an interventionist stance toward business during his presidency.

Allergan Inc Chief Executive Brent Saunders last week cautioned drug companies against a false sense of security under Trump. [L1N1DW1Z9]

“If our industry can self-regulate on pricing, we can all focus on investing in innovative medicines and cures and move the pricing discussion to the back burner,” Saunders said via e-mail on Wednesday.

Trump’s Nov. 8 election victory was initially a boon for drug and biotech stocks, as investors relaxed knowing Democrat Hillary Clinton, who had been critical of rising drug prices, had not won the White House.

The Nasdaq Biotech Index rose as much as 12 percent in the two days after the election.

During the past few weeks, however, pharmaceutical stocks had given up the majority of those gains. The biotech index on Wednesday fell more than 3 percent to its lowest level since before the election. The NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical index of U.S. and European drugmakers was down 1 percent on Wednesday.

Chris Raymond, biotech analyst for Raymond James, said investors were unsure of how seriously to take Trump’s latest comments. “Nobody that I have talked to who is an institutional investor has said that they are selling based on this,” he said.

Continually rising drug prices have placed a heavy burden on consumers, many of whom cannot afford their medicines or face increasing co-pays on prescription drugs. Trump has vowed to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare reform law, but that pledge does not address drug prices.

PhRMA, the largest pharmaceutical industry trade group, in an e-mailed statement said government mandates and interventions are not the solution for patients when it comes to medicine costs.

“If the drug companies think that they’re going to continue to have free rein to set and raise drug prices because of Trump, I think they’re deluding themselves,” said Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “Nobody who voted for him is in favor of high drug prices.”

CARS, PLANES, THEN PHARMA

The pharmaceutical industry is the latest targeted by Trump. On Tuesday he took aim at a leading aerospace company, urging the government to cancel an order with Boeing Co for a revamped version of the presidential plane due to its extremely high cost.

He previously targeted the auto industry, vowing to block Ford Motor Co from opening a new plant in Mexico and threatening to impose tariffs on cars shipped back across the border.

The heads of those companies have sought direct discussions with Trump.

Jeff Jonas, a portfolio manager with Gabelli Funds, said Trump has brought the idea of drug pricing reform back to life, but added, “I’m still skeptical that anything actually passes through Congress, but the overhang is clearly going to continue.”

Len Yaffe, who manages StocDoc Partners healthcare fund, said that “companies that succeed in bringing transformative medicines to the market will continue to command a premium price.”

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Bill Berkrot; Additional reporting by Ransdell Pierson, Rodrigo Campos and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Caroline Humer and Will Dunham)

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GOP Obamacare Strategy Could Unravel Markets Quickly, Report Warns

Republicans who think their “repeal and delay” strategy for Obamacare won’t cause serious and immediate insurance disruptions should read a new report that came out early Wednesday morning.

The report, from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, predicts that state insurance markets will start to unravel almost immediately and that, as early as next year, the ranks of the uninsured will begin swelling. And if Republicans can’t come up with a replacement, the report says, the number of people without insurance could eventually rise by 20 million to 30 million people.

Both predictions represent worst-case scenarios. But the findings echo warnings that experts and industry groups have been making with increasing urgency ― that taking the health care law off the books quickly is likely to destabilize insurance markets and that even a conservative “replacement” for Obamacare is likely to result in a combination of many more uninsured and weaker insurance coverage on the whole.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of outcome that President-elect Donald Trump promised when he said he’d replace Obamacare with “great health care at lower costs” ― or what House Speaker Paul Ryan implied just this week, when he vowed that Republicans would ensure that “no one is worse off” during the transition to a new system.

How did the Urban Institute researchers come by their conclusions? They started by assuming that Republicans pass a bill similar to the measure Republicans passed last year, one that President Barack Obama vetoed. That bill would have stripped out the Affordable Care Act’s funding but allowed the Medicaid expansion and private subsidies for private insurance to remain in place through January 2018.

Republicans have vowed that the new effort at repeal would contain a similar continuation of coverage assistance, although now the extension would go through 2019 or even 2020. That extension is supposed to guarantee coverage for the more than 20 million people who now depend on Obamacare for insurance while giving Republicans time to craft a replacement. And this replacement, Republican leaders frequently say, will provide comparable or even better coverage for lower costs.

The report from the Urban Institute basically calls those promises worthless.

A big problem for the short term, the researchers warn, is that insurers aren’t likely to keep offering coverage for a market that’s going to vanish in two or three years. Many insurers have been losing money, sometimes big money, on their Obamacare plans. But some were making money and most had decided it was worth sticking around for the possibility of future profits. If the markets won’t exist past 2018 or 2019, then those profits will never materialize.

Another, potentially bigger problem is that the repeal-and-delay bill is likely to eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate right away. The mandate is a penalty for people who don’t get health insurance. And without that mandate in place, the Urban Institute researchers warn, healthy people will be less likely to buy coverage, causing more insurers to lose money and inducing still more of them to leave the markets altogether.

Within a year, the institute’s researchers predict, deterioration in the markets will add more than 4 million people to the ranks of the uninsured. And it will only be a matter of time, the researchers warn, before most if not all carriers exit the markets altogether ― rather than stick around and try to insure a population so weighted toward people in poor health that it’s impossible to cover costs.

And that’s just the short-term prognosis. Once the two- or three-year transition period is over, the Urban Institute’s researchers project, the loss of subsidized private coverage and expanded Medicaid will cause the number of uninsured Americans to increase by 22.5 million ― essentially wiping out the coverage progress of the last few years. Even more could lose coverage, the report says, depending on what other changes Republicans make to the rules for insurance.

This is basically the same conclusion that the Congressional Budget Office reached when it analyzed last year’s repeal effort ― although the Urban Institute researchers provided some details on who these people are. Among other things, the researchers found, the vast majority would be from families with at least one household member who is working. A similar percentage would be people without a college degree.

The assumption running through these calculations is that Republicans never come together on a “replacement.” This is a plausible assumption. After six years of promising to coalesce around an alternative to Obamacare, House Republicans have managed only to agree on a set of principles, as opposed to actual legislation. And Senate Republicans haven’t even gotten that far.

The political reality is that crafting any alternative is bound to be difficult after a repeal bill passes, because a large contingent of Republicans opposes any significant role for the federal government in health care ― and, once a repeal bill eliminates Obamacare’s funding, this contingent (and to some extent all Republicans) will be reluctant to approve the new taxes necessary to finance serious coverage expansions.

Not coincidentally, the plans now circulating among conservative intellectuals and likely to form the basis of eventual legislation would all result in higher numbers of uninsured Americans, much weaker guarantees of insurance availability and benefits, or some combination of those factors.

These plans would also produce results that many conservatives would cheer. They would mean less government spending and lower taxes. Insurers could go back to offering bare-bones plans at bargain-basement prices. Prices for young and healthy consumers would come down, and the highly unpopular individual mandate would go away.

But the price of these gains would be many more people struggling with medical bills. The final numbers might not be as extreme as the ones in the Urban Institute report, but the change would be dramatic, far more than Republicans are willing to admit.

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Patient Safety May Drop During Doc Rotations

Study suggests patient care info might not be relayed to new team, boosting risk of in-hospital death
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Do You Need a Coach or Therapist?

Coaches and therapists often overlap in what they offer clients. Understanding how they differ and articulating what you need can help you decide if coaching or therapy is better for you.

2016-11-30-1480540718-4221862-omega_institute_life_coaching_therapy.jpg

There are times in life when you need something more than the support of friends and family. Perhaps you want help to break a habit or meet a goal. Or maybe you want to examine and resolve deeply personal issues with someone who will listen to you without judgment.

Whatever your motivation, it can help to talk to a professional. A UCLA study showed that when you verbalize your feelings, it makes them less intense. But who should you talk to? Would a life coach or a therapist be more appropriate?

Coaches are useful for people looking to reach a specific goal or break a habit, often in a particular area, like health or career. Therapists generally address long-term emotional issues or problems, like trauma, addiction, anxiety, and depression. But these are generalities, and often a therapist may act as a coach and a coach may offer therapeutic support. The best thing you can do is get clear on your needs and goals and then do the research to find the right coach or therapist for you.

Do You Need to Climb Out of a Hole or Climb a Mountain?
The Differences Between Therapy & Coaching

In the book Coaching for Transformation, coaching is defined as “a partnership that maximizes human potential.” Coaches focus on “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential,” according to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the oldest and largest professional coaching organization. This description also fits for most therapists, too.

The American Psychological Association defines a therapist as someone who “provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral, and nonjudgmental.” Which is also true of most coaches.

Richard Michaels, a Gestalt therapist and a life and executive coach, says that while both modalities “work to increase awareness: self-awareness, self-understanding, and emotional awareness…. The role of the client is more active [in coaching]. In therapy, you have more interpretation of what’s going on and more focus on your family of origin.” He describes many of his clients as high-functioning individuals who are ready to go deeper in some part of their life.

Madhu Maron, a human resources professional who now works as a life coach, says, “The [coaching] client is really longing for a change–[they have] a persistent deep, important longing,” she says. “It’s something like, I want to be healthier, get a new job, or have a better relationship. They can be very effective in certain parts of their lives, but not effective in this one area.”

Therapist and life coach Lisa Marie Bobby explains the difference this way: if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, emotional issues, or other problems that leave you feeling trapped in a hole, a therapist is probably the best person to help you climb out of it. Once you’re out of the hole and on level ground, a coach can help you climb whatever mountain you wish to climb, usually in an effort to improve your circumstances or have greater success in areas like career, relationships, or health.

Vetting a Coach or Therapist
Do Your Homework & Get Surprisingly Fast Results

Once you’ve identified if you need help getting out of the hole or are ready to climb a mountain, you’ll probably want to do some research and interview potential therapists and coaches to find someone who offers what you need. There are a wide range of therapies and coaching practices–being an informed client and asking questions up front to find the best match will save you a lot of time and money.

There are hundreds of styles of therapy, so if you don’t have the time or inclination to explore the options, you might begin with an online directory to find therapists near you or ask friends for recommendations.

Therapists refer to themselves in many different ways. To be a psychologist, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, or social worker requires an advanced degree, and these titles are regulated. If someone is calling themselves by one of these titles, you know they have received at least a master’s degree and passed licensing requirements.

The titles “therapist,” “counselor,” and “psychotherapist” are not regulated and don’t require a license. This doesn’t mean all therapists are unlicensed; many of them are. It just means anyone can call themselves a therapist, so you may need to investigate someone’s credentials if they’re billing themselves as one.

Life coaches are not required to have any training. Many coaches complete training programs, and groups like the International Coaching Federation are working to standardize credentials in the field, but currently anyone can call themselves a coach.

To find a coach, begin with an online search for coaches who focus on the area you want to address. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Most coaches (and many therapists) work remotely with clients via phone or Skype, so location is not necessarily an issue.

Whether you decide on therapy or coaching, results often come relatively quickly. One study found that most people feel better with about 10 therapy sessions, while another said that 88 percent of therapy participants reported improvements after one visit. So while it may take you some time to find the right coach or therapist, once you do you’re likely to notice changes fast.

Gain the skills, knowledge, and inspiration you need to become a professional coach with this 10-month certification program.

Explore more in the category of Body, Mind & Spirit.

© 2016 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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3 Ways To Hack Your Environment To Help You Create

This article first appeared on QuietRev.com

This is the first article in Quiet Revolution’s two-part series on seeking creativity. Check out this space next week to learn about different techniques that make your mind more likely to generate creative thoughts.

Much of our creativity is tied up in our intrinsic natures as introverts or extroverts, and the ways we interact with our environment is uniquely dependent upon our temperaments.

According to The Atlantic, the great film director Ingmar Bergman spent the last 25 years of his life living on a small island in Sweden to eliminate chaos from his life. There, “…he would plan his films, write the scripts, [and] make the screenboards… He limited his activities: Besides working and thinking, he might go for a stroll. … In the late afternoon or evening, he would have visitors over to go and look at a movie in his cinema. And that was his routine, every day. He didn’t try to do more.”

Bergman wrote in a journal every day, and one day he wrote, “Here, in my solitude, I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity.”

Dorthe Nors reflected that “it is the job of the artist to sit with our feelings, to be receptive to them, to examine them, turn them into narrative or paint or film.” The act of creation is often synonymous with making opportunities for solitude, generating this overwhelming sense of humanity, and pouring it out on the page or the canvas.

The act of creation can be difficult. It requires good routines, inspiration, and surroundings. It’s especially important for introverts to pay attention to their environments and carefully cultivate creative spaces.

We’ve rounded up three of the best strategies for blocking out external demands and distractions to create time for inner stimulation.

1. Twyla Tharp’s bubble

In her book The Creative Habit, the world-renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp writes that the ideal creative state—she calls “The Bubble”—is constructed and controlled. It’s “one where creativity becomes a self-perpetuating habit.” 

Tharp details the ways many other creatives construct bubbles, including novelist Philip Roth, who “lives alone in the country and works seven days a week, waking early and walking to a two-room studio fifty yards from his house… Near his desk he keeps two small signs, one reading ‘Stay Put,’ the other ‘No Optional Striving.’ [These are] reminders to avoid the temptation of anything other than the five essentials: food, writing, exercise, sleep, and solitude.”

Creating a bubble for yourself doesn’t have to be as extreme as Tharp’s or Roth’s—a bubble can also be a state of mind. Take stock of what you could subtract from your life. How can you adopt a more monastic mental state? Even when you’re amid chaos or traveling, you can still create a bubble for yourself and your creative work.

Try this theory in your life: How can you pare your life down to the minimum number of moving parts? What isn’t adding to your creativity? What can you say no to?

2. IDEO and Intel’s restorative time

IDEO designers frequently work on 10-12-week projects requiring intense teamwork. After a project wraps, the team is often wiped. But introverts can be especially burned out since they’ve most likely been working in a small project space with several other team members for weeks on end—not an optimal introvert environment.

But IDEO realizes that its success as a creative firm comes from its employees remaining inspired, so if the project calendar allows for it, designers are encouraged to take a few hours or a day off between projects. IDEOers use this time as a chance to rest. Once they’ve restored their energy, they use the time to get re-inspired.

Some IDEO teams actually build time for inspiration into their weekly work. One project team in New York used every Friday morning to get inspired together by taking trips to a museum or working outdoors.

Other offices structure this downtime into every working week. According to the New York Times, Intel “experimented in 2007 with conferring four uninterrupted hours of quiet time every Tuesday morning on 300 engineers and managers.” This pilot group loved it so much that the practice was extended to the rest of the company.

Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of Basecamp (formerly known as 37Signals) is an introvert, and he’s structured his entire company around quiet time. In his bookRework, he urges creatives to remember that “every minute you avoid spending in a meeting is a minute you can get real work done instead.”

Try this theory in your life: Make a case at your office for days off after projects, quiet time, or no-meeting zones. Even if you can’t work remotely, you can build an argument for solitude at work.

3. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s theory on creativity and flow

It’s easy to forget that we have an innate capacity to know what being creative feels like. When we’re in an optimal state for creativity, we’re in a state of flow—we’re completely absorbed in an activity.

Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes flow as a state when “we feel totally involved, lost in a seemingly effortless performance. Paradoxically, we feel 100% perfectly alive when we are so committed to the task at hand that we lose track of time, of our interests—even our own existence.”

So, why is it so hard to remember that doing excellent, creative work should feel good? Perhaps because it is increasingly hard to find moments of flow within our modern work environments. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi writes, “Few things in life are as enjoyable as when we concentrate on a difficult task, using all our skills, knowing what has to be done.”

Studies show that for most of us, flow occurs more often when we are engaging in work activities, not in leisure activities. But how can we ensure that we actually have the capacity to enter flow at work?

First, Csíkszentmihályi says we need jobs that provide “clear goals, immediate feedback, and a level of challenges matching our skill.” We also need an environment that will allow us to become wholly engaged in activities. This means having a sense of control with few distractions. For us introverts, this means longer stretches of interrupted work time, a quiet environment, and a community around us we know and trust. The thirdkey to finding flow is to work on something that you have intrinsic motivation for.

As Harvard Business Review reports, one CEO started using Csíkszentmihályi’s theories to help his employees find flow. His techniques included “allowing people to switch off email, fewer meetings, and focusing on smaller chunks of work.” This was particularly effective because the whole organization made the change.

Try this theory in your life: As you go through your day, notice the moments when you enter periods of flow. Identify what types of work and environments let this flow flourish. Try to maximize your time spent on these types of activities and in these environments.

As Kurt Vonnegut wrote,

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

The product of solitude—namely the humanity that’s put on paper—can inspire, delight, and provide great comfort. And anyone who has created or been moved by art would agree that the challenge and pain of seeking solitude and translating to the page is well worth it.

2015-02-04-Joni_Blecher_150x150.jpg
This article originally appeared on QuietRev.com.

You can find more insights from Quiet Revolution on work, life, and parenting as an introvert at QuietRev.com.

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Stephen Colbert Skewers Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary Pick

Stephen Colbert gave Donald Trump some alternative suggestions Monday as to who should be his secretary of defense.

The president-elect has nominated retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis to head up the Defense Department, but the “Late Show” host said Trump should opt for someone with a cuddlier sounding nickname.

 “A secretary of defense with the name ‘Mad Dog’ does not automatically make me feel safer,” Colbert said. 

“You’ve got a president with no experience of foreign policy with his finger on the button, and the other person in the room is a guy named ‘Mad Dog.’ That’s not a secretary of defense, that’s the sidekick on a morning zoo crew.”

Colbert’s alternative suggestions include Cool Cat Cuffington and General Willing To Project American Power But Surprisingly Rational About It Robinson. They sound like very huggable options to us.

Check it out in the clip above.

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Scientists Discover More Clues to Stuttering

MRI shows involvement of brain areas controlling speech, attention and emotion
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Whom To Listen To and When

In April of (2008), I spent two weeks in India following a meditation guru from town to town.

This was my fourth visit to India, but I consider it my first real one. The other three were too touristy. Two were lecture tours, and I stayed in the best hotels, with warm water and the most excellent services money can buy. The third was for a Maha Kumba Mella, which is a gathering of Hindus on the Ganges River every 144 years. Sidhus descend from their caves in the Himalayas, and while it was an interesting experience to see them, it was not day-to-day India.

This time it was different. I slept in an ashram, was driven from town to town in terrible traffic, ate with Indians on the floor, and meditated with them. At my age (71), it was not an easy experience, but the guru was older (80-something) and he held on well, so who am I to complain?

What did I learn?

The meditation I was practicing is called sahaj marg, which means “the natural way.” The practice is to focus on the heart. No mantra, no focusing on the breath or on a candle or whatever, just listen to the heart by slowing down the mind.

I joined this type of practice because I believed I needed it. First, being Jewish, I spend most of my time in my head, and it needed some rest. Second, because I saw my dearest relatives and friends sent to their deaths during World War II, my heart has been closed all these years and it needed opening.
What does it mean to “listen to the heart?” How do you know, when you meditate, which thoughts are of the mind and which of the heart? Thoughts are thoughts, right?

No. There is a difference. You can argue with thoughts of the mind. You might toss and turn, and debate with yourself. But when your heart speaks, there is no argument. There is no discussion. There is no “Why?” or “Why not?” You are complete. You are at peace with yourself. The answer to the question “Why?” is “Because,” and that’s it.

That brought me to the next insight: If you really listen to your heart when you make a decision and your heart does not give you the answer, it means that you are not ready to finalize your decision. This is a case where it is better not to make a decision at that point in time.

That brought me to an interesting conclusion: When you decide with your heart, you cannot make a mistake.

Why?

Well, what is a mistake? It is always a conclusion you come to after the fact, right? It is a feeling of remorse and a judgment that you should have decided differently. It leads to self-accusations: that perhaps you did not deliberate enough, that you did not listen to advice, that you ignored facts, etc. All this is in your head.

When you make a decision with your heart, you are at peace with yourself. If, after the fact, you discover that your decision did not work out as you expected, you can not feel remorse because at the time you made the decision you had no doubts as to what to do, therefore you could not have done better. The fact that it did not work out is now only of academic interest. You can analyze what can be learned from what happened, but there is no place for remorse. You were at peace when you decided, and that was it.

Coming to this peace of mind when you decide with your heart is not a logical conclusion that you have reached after endless debates, internally or with others. It is beyond logic. It gives you a sense of completion, of integration, that almost defies logic. That is how you should feel when you decide to get married. That decision should be made with all your heart, not as a result of analyzing the cost-value relationship or an optimization model. When you make a decision with all your heart, as is the usual expression, you have the feeling of being integrated with your decision totally, wholly–maybe even holy. Mind, body, emotions, and spirit all feel at peace, united.

How does one come to such peace–usually we say “peace of mind,” though it would be more accurate to say “peace of the total body ” which is really peace of the heart–especially if there is a difficult decision to be made? You can do it by meditating. When you meditate you do not get attached to thoughts. Thus, you do not get into endless arguments with yourself. Instead, the decision eventually and automatically emerges as an insight.

If that description leaves you wondering how this insight can happen, let me share with you a story told to me by my one of my colleagues at UCLA, Professor Will McWhinney, that demonstrates this point. When McWhinney was a student at Yale, the fraternities held a contest for best choir. McWhinney’s fraternity had the worst voices at the university, except for one person whose voice was a pure, evangelical tenor. So they devised the following performance: The whole choir got on stage and began to sing where each person sang a different melody, which produced total cacophony. Then, slowly, one by one, each member of the choir stopped singing, except for the tenor, whose voice became stronger and stronger until it was alone, pure and crystal clear and totally enchanting. They won first prize.

This story is analogous to what happens in meditation. You have many voices in your head competing with each other. The more difficult the decision is, the more voices you hear, which can overwhelm you. When you meditate, the voices calm down one by one, while your heart’s voice grows stronger and stronger, until you simply “hear” the answer to your question and feel at peace with your decision.
But not only the head and heart think. We often say, “I have a gut feeling,” as if the gut is doing some decision processing.

That fact brought me to think in (PAEI) terms. The (A) processing is in the head. The (I) is processed by the heart. Where is (P) then? Sunil my associate suggested that if we follow the chakras, it is below the belly button, where our sexual organs are. Their role is survival of the species. That is where we feel instinctively. That is where the fight-or-flight reaction is processed: When we get scared we tighten the rectum, and the pelvic floor muscles.

Some people think with only one part of their body. Those who only react to their instincts are the (P)s: Act first, think later (if at all). Some do not listen to their instincts and use only their brain: These are the (A)s. Some people are only (E)s: all ideas and exciting priorities without considering what the repercussions of these ideas could be. And some people are all heart: They let their feelings for fellow humans or animals or whatever be the exclusive factor that determines their decision. These are the (I)s.

When a person processes information with all his faculties, the first one to respond to a new situation is the (P): His instincts of self preservation urge him to do something. Then the left mind, (A), gets activated: “Let’s think about it.” Next the right side of the brain gets involved, the (E), bringing new ideas to the table, while all along the heart, (I) is crying out, “Hey, listen to me too.”

To put it another way, instinctively you have the urge to do one thing, (P), but you think, (A), that it might not be prudent to do it, so new ideas, (E), come to mind, while you constantly check with yourself to see whether you feel at peace with the decision, (I). All these voices run through you at the same time. It is like a committee meeting where all the different styles compete with one another for attention. It’s a pure mess. Thus it’s not strange that when you have a really big problem to solve you get physically and emotionally exhausted. Your whole body hurts.

There is a difference between processing the (P), (A), (E), and (I) roles–between processing information with your instincts, mind, gut, or heart.

In processing (P), (A), and (E) roles you try to manage the process as best you can: You debate with your gut feelings, you challenge your instincts, and argue with your thoughts. When processing (P), (A), and (E) , you “talk” to the various parts of your body. You disagree with them. You may even get mad at them. It is as if you are the center and they are on the outskirts.

With the heart, (I), it is different. You do not argue with the heart, you listen to the heart. It is as if you subject yourself to something bigger, more powerful, than you. You are not the center any more. You say, “My heart tells me…” Compare that to what you say when you activate your mind: “I have to think it over.” Thinking it over, and over again, means that you are having a debate.

Now the weird stuff: Assume that “out there” is a cosmic, total, ultimate data warehouse. But it is not just data or knowledge, it is the ultimate wisdom based on values, the ultimate truth. It is endless, fixed energy with consciousness. (For me, that is God.) To connect to this cosmic energy you need to open your heart, to listen to your heart. It is as if the heart is the way to connect to God.

How do you hear the heart? How do you listen to it? Through meditation. Not through prayer. Prayer is like trying to manipulate God, pleading and begging him to act. If he does not listen to your prayer you might feel cheated, angry, and deceived.

When you pray, you talk to God. In meditation you listen to God. When you pray you make requests. Perhaps meekly, but no matter how nicely it is packaged and how much you are offering to “pay,” that is, what sacrifices you are willing to make, it is like a purchase order. When you meditate you listen to what God wants from you, not what you want from God. That is the difference.

Listen to your heart. That is where the truth is. Listen to the heart and you will not feel you made a mistake when you decide. If your heart is not ready to decide, you are not ready.

How should you make a decision then?

How should you decide? Here is the optimal path, the road less traveled. This is the lifecycle I suggested for organizations in my Managing Corporate Lifecycles book: Start with (I). Start with your heart first. Ask your heart first what is the right thing to do. Then go get some ideas about what to do, (E), but in doing so do not violate what your heart dictates. Then check those ideas to see if they make sense, (A), and finally be ready to act, (P) but first go back to the heart and check if you are at peace.
If more people would start with their heart and not with their penis, (P), maybe there would be less war, less divorce, less crime. Maybe we ought to teach meditation in prisons. Scientific tests of transcendental meditation have shown that when a certain percentage of people in a community meditate, there is less crime.

In yoga, they say that the mind is a terrorist. It often terrorizes our bodies, making us do things that are not good for us. I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Do not always believe what you think.” For me this is profound because we Jews not only honor the mind, we worship the mind. With our Talmudic minds, we often complicate problems even when they are simple. We overdo and over-complicate our decision making, sometimes to the point that we cannot solve the problem. We do not listen to our instincts very well. In order to survive two thousand years of persecution, I wonder if we have not closed our hearts except to each other.

Just thinking
Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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A Few Words About Flu

This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, so I’m planning to get my flu shot on Wednesday morning.

I hope many of you will join me, and get your flu shot this week if you have not already done so.

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There’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be getting my flu shot during the hashtag event that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is co-hosting at 11A ET this Wednesday… brought to you by @CDCFlu, @HashtagRoundup, and @TheHashtagGame.

I may even live tweet when the nurse tells me to quit whining like a baby, but I promise not to post any grimacing selfies on Twitter.

Recently, I had the honor of assisting the US Surgeon General with amplifying his important message about the many health and community benefits of walking.

It is an honor to be of service to the US Department of Health and Human Services again, with this year’s seasonal flu awareness campaign this week.

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Families Have a Lot to Lose – and Protect – Long Before Inauguration Day

The right-wing assault on the advances our country has made in the more than 70 years since the presidency of FDR isn’t waiting for Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The battle to take away our health care, retirement benefits, and even food aid has already begun, with the Republican right-wing in Congress conspiring to hand the federal budget over to big corporations and slip in devastating deregulatory measures before they adjourn this year, while few are paying attention.

The Republican Congress has to pass legislation by December 9 to fund the government or cause a shutdown, and it wants to exploit the moment to get a head start on unraveling the programs that are a lifeline for ordinary people.

Their plan is to pass a “continuing resolution” which “continues” the current budget for a few months until the next Congress passes a new one. That way, in the spring, they can gut our budget and sell us out to the big corporations and billionaires.

The right-wing may also sneak in “riders” – provisions completely unrelated to the budget that wouldn’t survive the light of day in a transparent debate in front of the public. In the past, they’ve tried to block overtime pay and rules against predatory lending using this tactic.

Now they’ve sneaked in a rider that would halt the Securities and Exchange Commission from creating rules on corporate political disclosures. We need to stop this dirty trick and others the right-wing has up its sleeve.

The right-wingers in the majority haven’t hidden their ultimate goals: gut Medicaid, turn Medicare over to private insurance corporations, and slash SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps people get food. And we know they will use every trick in the book to mine the federal budget for corporate giveaways and drive families into deeper despair.

But we still have a choice about the kind of country we want to be. We don’t have to let an unpopular president-elect and an emboldened right-wing Congress sell us out to big corporations and billionaires.

We need to take a stand now, and show the right-wing they can’t get away with it. We need principled lawmakers in Congress to show resolve and stand up to these attacks on all our families.

And, even more than that, they need to articulate an alternative vision that shows voters how much we could accomplish with the right priorities. Imagine if we made big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share – and made sure that every person in the United States had access to good education, to health care, to food and shelter, to thriving communities, and jobs that pay a family wage.

We can accomplish that if we hold the ultra-rich accountable to the public good. We don’t have to play the politics of hatred and division. Our job is to shine a bright light on what they are doing, and the let the people know we are fighting on their behalf every step of the way.

If we can’t count on the White House to protect families, we can call on members of Congress to do that job and pass a full budget that protects all families now, without corporate riders and without kicking the can down the road with continuing resolutions.

Now’s the time to raise our voices and demand that Democratic leaders are a champion for families against right-wingers who care only about the few. And we need principled Republicans to stand up, too.

We can be the kind of country that believes in the dignity of each person. We can be the kind of country that puts people – all the people – above corporate profit and billionaires. But only if we speak out when they wage war against the working class and the poor.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
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Study Sheds Light on Safety of Driving With Epilepsy

Those who had longer seizures during driving tests were more likely to have accidents
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The Power of Eloquence

Beautiful Words Have Power
by Lt. Gen. Clarence E. McKnight, Jr.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol,” St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians two thousand years ago. “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that I can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Paul bequeathed us faith, hope and love -these three — “but the greatest of these,” he said, “is love.”
Paul passed away, as we all must in our time, but he continues to enrich the human experience with his beautiful words that are timeless. It should be noted that when Paul spoke of love, he was not talking about romance between a man and a woman, but rather love for our fellow human beings. Interestingly, the scholars working for King James translated that key phrase as “faith, hope and charity” which I believe came closer to Paul’s meaning.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence two centuries ago, “that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Jefferson and his editors among the Founding Fathers toyed with that last one. Some wanted to say “life, liberty and property.” But they hesitated to assert that everyone was entitled by God to property. I am glad they chose “pursuit of happiness” instead of “pursuit of property,” for the words are beautiful in their vague simplicity. Like the words of St. Paul, they have stood the test of time and still inspire people.
Some are troubled by Jefferson’s eloquence about liberty because of his hypocrisy as a slave owner, and he was certainly aware of that even within the context of his own time. Jefferson knew slavery was evil and acknowledged as much, saying it alarmed him “like a fire bell in the night” as if he had foreseen the consequences that would ensue for that failure to deal with the worst blot on our nation’s history. That was left for another great wordsmith to deal with.
“Fourscore and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” opined Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. “We are now engaged in a great Civil War testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” He concluded his short address with the hope that “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
St. Paul, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln shared a gift for beautiful words – constructing sentences that soar beyond mere communication to touch the heart and inspire humanity to rise above its mean estate. It is difficult to imagine President-elect Trump joining this company – tweets do not often sustain eloquence – but you never know. If he can summon President Reagan’s speechwriter Peggy Noonan back to Washington, anything is possible.
Lt. Gen. Clarence E. “Mac” McKnight, Jr., (USA-Ret) is the author of “From Pigeons to Tweets: A General Who Led Dramatic Change in Military Communications,” published by The History Publishing Company.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Breathing into a New Home

Moving anywhere is hard. Moving halfway across the world, well that’s harder if only because everything familiar is missing. I’ve done both kinds of moving, several times, and it never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to uproot ourselves–no matter the excitement and commitment we have to the process. Each time, I mourn the loss of ‘what was’ even as I discover new beauty in ‘what is.’ And each time, I learn more about what it means to be at home.

I made the most recent house move several months ago, and since then I’ve been observing the evolving process of coming into the new normal. This change was pretty much total: different county, language, culture, food, water and totally opposite time of day compared to the old home. In addition, there’s a new job, daily routine, and social community. Talk about dislocation and relocation. Or, from a different perspective: what a perfect yet stressful, growth-filled yet time-stopping life experience.

Here’s what I’ve learned and hopefully what might resonate for any of you who have ever left your familiar home and begun the process of making a new one somewhere else.

The process of taking leave (from where you’ve been) and re-establishing your home is painfully slow. I’m reminded again and again to stay present mentally and spiritually, because there’s nothing to do other than to keep going. ‘Settling in’ takes time, and thinking we can rush it is a delusion that only prolongs the discomfort. So I’ve been taking a little time each day to sit quietly and breath. I breathe in, and I breathe out. I try to remain mindful even when it hurts. Then another minute passes and I’m still here and I’m ok. In some deeply primal way I know that mindful breathing marks the passage of time and time permits growth. With time, I’ve begun breathing easier.

Prior to the modern era, the process of getting someplace far away took a long time and allowed travellers to adapt physically, emotionally and spiritually through the journey. Now, you can get on a plane today and get off tomorrow on the other side of the world, and although putting two feet on new ground attests to the fact that your body has arrived, the mind and heart tend to take longer to catch up.

There are phases to adaptation beginning with when the newness is exciting and invigorating (and the jet lag makes you too tired to know what’s really happening). After some days or maybe weeks, the protective sense of newness transforms into an irritating feeling of pervasive unfamiliarity. What was charming is now challenging. In this raw and painful space, you long for what’s known and comfortable: friends and family, fresh air and familiar foods. There’s drudgery and despair. A grown adult, you’re totally homesick. You wonder, ‘what the f— am I doing here?” and wonder, “will I manage?” Like grief (actually, it is grief), these waves of emotion come and go.

You hit bottom weeks or months later, and only know how bad it was when you start to feel better on the rebound. The shift happens when the unfamiliar becomes familiar: the new normal. You still miss everything and everyone, but somehow more confident, mindful of the challenges but also aware of the opportunities. There’s beauty and meaning again.

Different routines form familiar daily patterns and staying in touch with loved ones proves workable and nourishing. It’s still hard to live so far away, but it becomes tolerable once we realize that home isn’t a place. It’s a space within us, in each breath… in being where ever we are: physically, mentally and spiritually.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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‘SNL’ Goes On ‘The Hunt For Hil’ To Track Down The Elusive Hillary Clinton

Public sightings of Hillary Clinton have been few and far between since her loss in the U.S. presidential election.

And with many of the recent sightings taking place in the forests of upstate New York, “Saturday Night Live” decided to launch its new segment “The Hunt For Hil” this weekend.

In the skit, two wildlife hunters set out to track down the elusive Democratic presidential candidate so that they can thank her for everything she has done for America. 

They speak to previous spotters, analyze what appear to be her footprints on the ground, mimic her laugh as a mating call and set up bait in the form of a newspaper article about the election recount in Wisconsin.

But are they successful?

Find out in the clip above.

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Worldwide Cancer Rates Up More Than One-Third in Past Decade: Report

Researchers cite population aging and growth
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5 Things That Will Make You Much Happier

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There’s enough advice on happiness floating around out there to make your head spin. Yet, this is understandable, as everyone is different. What makes one person happy might make another miserable.

In the face of so much contradictory, and often subjective, advice, what are you supposed to do if you want to live a happier life? Just forget about all that subjective advice and focus your energy and attention on science-proven facts.


“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has spent a great deal of time studying the effects of different happiness strategies on the brain. His findings have a lot to teach us about what actually works when it comes to boosting happiness.

Korb’s research demonstrated that your thoughts–and the emotions you feel in response to those thoughts–have a profound impact on surprising areas of your brain.

Guilt and shame, for example, activate the brain’s reward center, which explains why we have such a strong tendency to heap guilt and shame upon ourselves. Likewise, worrying increases activity in the prefrontal cortex (the rational brain), which is why worrying can make you feel more in control than doing nothing at all.

1. Gratitude creates happiness. I’m not advocating worry, guilt, and shame as the path to happiness. The illustration shows why we tend to succumb to thoughts that fuel these emotions. The real neural antidepressant is gratitude. Gratitude boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine–the brain’s happy chemicals and the same chemicals targeted by antidepressant medications. The striking thing about gratitude is that it can work even when things aren’t going well for you. That’s because you don’t actually have to feel spontaneous gratitude in order to produce chemical changes in your brain; you just have to force yourself to think about something in your life that you appreciate. This train of thought activates your brain to make you feel happier.

2. Labeling negative feelings dilutes their power. There is an amazing amount of power in simply labeling your negative emotions. In one study, participants underwent fMRI scans of their brains while they labeled negative emotions. When they named these emotions, the brain’s prefrontal cortex took over and the amygdala (where emotions are generated) calmed down. This effect doesn’t just work with your own emotions; labeling the emotions of other people calms them down too, which is why FBI hostage negotiators frequently rely on this technique.

3. Making decisions feels good. Similar to naming emotions, making decisions engages the prefrontal cortex, which calms the amygdala and the rest of the limbic system. The key is to make a “good enough” decision. Trying to make the perfect decision causes stress. We’ve always known that, but now there’s scientific research that explains why. Making a “good enough” decision activates the dorsolateral prefrontal areas of the brain, calming emotions down and helping you feel more in control. Trying to make a perfect decision, on the other hand, ramps up ventromedial frontal activity–which basically means your emotions get overly involved in the decision-making process.

4. It helps you to lend a hand.Taking the time to help your colleagues not only makes them happy but also makes you happy. Helping other people gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which create good feelings. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support to others were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your happiness.

5. Our brains are wired for touch. Humans are social animals, to the point that our brains react to social exclusion in the same way that they react to physical pain, with activity in the anterior cingulate and insula. Similarly, our brains are hardwired to interpret touch as social acceptance. Touch is one of the primary stimuli for releasing oxytocin, which calms the amygdala and, in turn, calms emotions. There are even studies that show that holding hands with a loved one actually reduces the brain’s response to pain. You might think that’s bad news for people who are socially isolated, but studies show that a massage increases serotonin by as much as 30%. Touch reduces stress hormones, decreases the perception of pain, improves sleep, and reduces fatigue.

Bringing It All Together

Kolb’s research highlights just how amazing the brain is, and he summarized his findings succinctly when he said, “Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision-making. Decision-making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, makes you happier.”

Do you think these tricks might work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Pectoralis Muscle, Tendon Tear


The pectoralis major is a large muscle that lies in front of the chest wall (Figure 1). It is a powerful adductor, internal rotator, and flexor of the shoulder.

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The pectoralis major has two heads; the clavicular head (upper part) and the sternal head (lower part) (Figure 2).

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The pectoralis major muscle works to push the arm in front of the body. Ruptures of the pectoralis major muscle are due to weight training, particularly during a bench press maneuver (Figure 3). Ruptures or tears of the muscle are uncommon.

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The patient will experience pain while extending the arm. Ecchymosis is present down the arm. The pain is worsened with resisted adduction and extension. There will also be a loss of normal contour of the axillary fold (Figure 4).

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The rupture usually occurs in males 20-50 years old, weight lifters (especially those practicing bench press), football players and wrestlers. The rupture can occur in the absence of taking steroids. It usually occurs as a complete tear from the bony insertion of the humerus.

How do you prevent a rupture?
To prevent a rupture one must practice the proper bench press technique, limit the distance the bar is lowered, and narrow the grip of the hands on the bar.

Treatment
For a complete tear of the pectoralis major muscle, it must be repaired early. A delayed or chronic rupture, which usually occurs longer than a few months, will probably require a tendon graft. The muscle is retracted and the operation is difficult. The result is not as good as in an acute repair.

Acute Repair
The tendon is sutured and attached to the humerus with anchors (Figure 5). The sutures are tightened to approximate the tendon to the bone.


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For more information, visit my YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/nabilebraheim/

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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People Are Imagining What It Would Take For 2016 To Redeem Itself

For many, 2016 has undoubtedly been a tough year.

The deaths of music and acting legends such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Alan Rickman and Gene Wilderhas been further compounded for some by Donald Trump’s surprise U.S. presidential election victory.

With those events in mind, Twitter users have been suggesting #howcan2016redeemitself in its four remaining weeks.

Some take a wildly optimist approach, while others appear happy for it all to end with a gigantic meteor strike. Here are some of the best posts below:

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Low-Carb Diet May Aid Your Metabolism

Cutting back on sweets helps, while exercising before meals may not, small study finds
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WATCH: Embracing the Mystery (Not Having All the Answers)

It can be very frustrating when we don’t know what to do… how to handle certain situations… what the future might bring. But, that’s how life is sometimes – we’re never going to know everything (unless you are Dr. Bernofsky…). So, we can let that be a source of energy-draining upset, or we can accept it. Maybe even embrace it. I hope this will help you do so.

If you are new to tapping, it will be beneficial to also watch the first episode in the “Tap Out Your Fears” series — which explains the basics of EFT — click here.

As with any of my tapping videos, this is an abbreviated process for releasing uncomfortable feelings and enhancing good ones. Some folks may find their fear dissolve after just one tapping session, but for others, it will take some repetition, bringing the discomfort down little by little each time. (Still others may uncover specific issues that are best addressed directly with a wellness practitioner.) In any event, this brief video should help at least take the edge off the discomfort, freeing you up to enjoy life much more. Let us know how it helped you!

For a picture of the tapping points — and more info on EFT — click here.

Tapping can sometimes bring up long-buried emotions, which is why I state that, before tapping along, folks must take full responsibility for their own well-being. For more information about that, please read this disclaimer.

Until next time, feel free to tap along with any of the many videos I have on YouTube or the many recordings I have at www.TapWithBrad.com.

For EFT with kids, please visit: www.TheWizardsWish.com.

For more by Brad Yates, click here.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

We’ll Remember Cuba’s Ebola Compassion Long After Castro’s Death

While the Cuban government’s accomplishments and failures are still being tallied in the days following Fidel Castro’s death on Nov. 25, the island nation’s health care system is one achievement expected to stand the test of history. 

One striking example of the country’s unique health footprint: For a nation with only 11 million people, Cuba sent an unparalleled number of medical personnel to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014.

When Ebola spread through West Africa in 2014, Cuba announced that it would send more than 460 doctors and nurses to West Africa. The epidemic ultimately killed 11,310 people, more than any previous outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Ultimately Cuba deployed approximately 265 medical personnel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.

For comparison’s sake, in November 2014, President Obama promised just 65 health professionals, supported by 4,000 U.S. troops. (WHO said it’s difficult to track actual personnel deployed from the U.S. because they weren’t a unified group like the Cubans were. Americans may have volunteered with nongovernmental organizations, for example.)

“[Cuba] has become something like the world’s first responder to international crises in recent years,” Jon Lee Anderson wrote in The New Yorker in 2014. Indeed, Cuba’s 50,000 roving medical professionals stationed in more than 60 countries are often the first foreign health workers at catastrophes around the world. Cuban doctors, for example cared for almost 40 percent of victims during Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, according to The Guardian. The deployments are the result of a longtime Cuban program to send health care workers abroad as a way to boost its image and to trade services for goods for the embargoed island.

The Cuban medical response is built on a larger culture of population health. Cuban doctors practice prevention-oriented primary care and are responsible for improving the overall health of their patient populations. Cuba also has one of the best doctor-to-population ratios in the world, meaning the country spends far less money per person on health care costs than does the United States, but it boasts a better child mortality rate and similar life expectancy

According to the World Bank, in 2010 Cuba had 6.7 doctors per 1,000 people, compared with the United States’ 2.5 doctors per 1,000 people.

“Unlike students trained in the U.S. or Western Europe, Cuban students are trained to improve population health status,” Dr. C. William Keck, professor emeritus at Northeast Ohio Medical University, previously told The Huffington Post. 

“We certainly aren’t here. When I went to medical school, I was taught to do battle with disease one patient at a time. You dealt with what came in the door. You didn’t focus much on the community. It’s a much different approach,” said Keck, who is a member of the Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba, a nonprofit that promotes U.S.-Cuba health collaborations.

That dedication to community health extends beyond Cuba’s borders. 

“We know what can happen. We know we’re going to a hostile environment,” Cuban doctor Leonardo Fernandez told Reuters before he left to fight Ebola in West Africa in 2014.

“But it is our duty. That’s how we’ve been educated. This little bit that we have, when people need it, we are capable of sharing. It’s a basic concept.”

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Woman Sees Screaming Face Of ‘Donald Trump’ Inside Red Pepper

Will this pepper make vegetable chili dishes great again?

A woman in southern England was slicing up a red bell pepper when she spotted what she said was the image of President-elect Donald Trump screaming straight back at her.

A discussion about Trump and the state of the world was going on while the veg was being sliced up,” Janet Ayers told The Register. “It was as if the pepper was mirroring the conversation.”

Ayers posted a photograph of her curious find to Facebook on Nov. 26, and it’s now setting the British media abuzz.

Here’s how one of Ayers’ Facebook friends reacted to the picture:

After getting over the initial shock, Ayers said she continued chopping up the pepper and added it to the vegetable chili she was cooking at her home in Portsmouth.

“We ate it for dinner and suffered no ill effects from the Trump supper,” she told The Register. “We are trying to carry on our lives as normal, after the incident, but may approach the next pepper with caution.”

The Huffington Post has reached out to Ayers for comment.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Dialysis Patients May Walk Their Way to Better Health

Even people with advanced kidney trouble can feel better with ‘low-intensity’ exercise regimen, study finds
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Stop Expecting Your Life to Be Like a Television Show

What is a hard thing to do in life? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Matthew Manning, on Quora:

What is a hard thing to do in life? Understanding that your life is not a television show.

One of the hardest things to understand about my life has been the fact that it is not episodic. That is to say, most of the time life is not full of “important stuff.” My life isn’t a television show. It is mostly the stuff that happens between each episode.

Most of the time, important stuff happens when you least expect it, and when you’re barely ready for it. The majority of your time will be spent between the important stuff. This includes:

  • Doing laundry.
  • Folding laundry.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Paying bills.
  • Picking small crumbs up from your floor so as to delay vacuuming.

This is difficult to swallow as you get older and cease to be ushered from event to event and hand-delivered meaningful experiences. Most of the time, we’re doing what has to be done in order to better position ourselves for what we wish to do.

If this sounds like drudgery, that’s because it is. There are some pretty salient myths about the joy of daily life, and I think we are lead to believe that a happy life is one filled each day with intrigue and adventure. We are not the Great Gatsby. Most of my day is a grind – and I actually enjoy my job.

If you can’t be happy with the things in front of you, no great plot line is going to save you from that.

And if you figure out how to do that, tell me how.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

More questions:

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

How D.C.’s Mayor Plans To End The HIV Epidemic In The Capitol’s Backyard

More than 13,000 people are living with HIV in Washington, D.C. That’s 2 percent of the city’s population, or double the rate that constitutes an “epidemic” in the eyes of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nancy Mahon, global executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund, the philanthropic arm of the cosmetic company MAC, says it’s “shameful” that the infection rate is so high “in the backyard of our nation’s Capitol” ― especially given the United States’ leading role in funding international AIDS work.

While D.C.’s infection rate has fallen from its height of 3 percent in 2009 ― a rate that was higher than that of West Africa ― the level of infection is still unacceptable, said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at an event Thursday kicking off the city’s newest plan to combat the epidemic.

Last year, Bowser and the city’s department of health announced that they would work with the Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice on an initiative to end the HIV epidemic in the District by 2020. The effort, they said, would be known as the 90/90/90/50 Plan.

They outlined the details of that plan on Thursday, during an event scheduled to coincide with World AIDS Day. The plan stresses four goals: to ensure that 90 percent of D.C. residents living with HIV will know their status; that 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV will be in treatment; that 90 percent of people in treatment will achieve viral load suppression; and that there will be a 50 percent decrease in new HIV infections, all by 2020.

This plan builds on the 90-90-90 goals that UNAIDS, the United Nations organization committed to dealing with the disease, set out two years ago. D.C. joins New York state and San Francisco, which have set similar goals.

Those places are leading the charge nationally, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. This plan is the kind of thing that leads to a tidal wave of cities trying to copy cities,” Fauci told The Huffington Post. “The goal is that we should be striving for this worldwide, but if we can do this in the U.S. in high-level cities, this is a good step in the right direction.”

To achieve those goals, D.C. plans to build on the success of the city’s needle exchange program, which has reduced the number of new HIV cases among injection drug users by 95 percent since it was introduced in 2007. The city’s plans also include educational programs for health care providers, a push to reduce the stigma around the disease, and an effort to increase public awareness and accessibility of treatments like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP ― a drug regimen used to prevent infections among people who are at high risk for contracting HIV. It also calls for renewed efforts to make sure D.C. residents have access to stable housing, which the plan’s authors say is essential to overall wellness goals.

I don’t think it’s any mistake that both the mayor and the director [of the D.C. Department of Health] are African-American women, and they are the first people in the country to do this.
Nancy Mahon, global executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund

The MAC AIDS Fund has also provided a $ 1 million grant for a marketing campaign to encourage D.C.’s black women to use PrEP. Black women are the second highest at-risk group in the district, accounting for 1 in 6 new HIV diagnoses.

“I don’t think it’s any mistake that both the mayor and the director [of the D.C. Department of Health] are African-American women, and they are the first people in the country to do this,” Mahon said ― a reference to Bowser and to DOH’s Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt.

The MAC AIDS Fund has donated a total of $ 8.7 million to D.C. over the past decade. The latest grant is part of its $ 6.6 million initiative aimed at curbing HIV rates in cities around the globe, with campaigns in Paris, Berlin, Mexico City and London.

Walter Smith, the executive director of DC Appleseed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving public policy problems in the nation’s capital, said Thursday that the innovation in D.C.’s 90/90/90/50 Plan lies in its public and private partnerships, which he hopes can serve as an example for other cities.

“Given where we started, we came from a situation where the District of Columbia was setting a bad example for the nation ― we all knew where we were with HIV/AIDS was absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “We have come so far [from] that with this plan. We are on the verge of setting a good example for the nation.”

Fauci went even further in his praise.

“The dynamics of plans like this,” he said, “can turn around outbreaks.”

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trevor Noah Expertly Skewers Conservative Tomi Lahren

When conservative firebrand Tomi Lahren walked on to the “Daily Show” Wednesday night, one of the first things she said was “Sometimes people just need to be called on their shit.”

Host Trevor Noah proceeded to do just that to Lahren, whose blistering commentaries against Colin Kaepernick, Beyonce and the Black Lives Matter movement get millions of likes from likeminded people on Facebook.

Lahren attempted to deny that the incendiary things she’s said such as “the Black Lives Matter movement is the new KKK” are based in any racial bias.

“Because I criticized a black person or the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t mean I’m anti-black. It doesn’t mean I don’t like black people or that I’m racist,” she said. “I don’t see color. I go after Hillary Clinton and she’s as white as they come.”

Noah paused for a second.

“You don’t see color? So what do you do at a traffic light?” he asked, before explaining “There’s nothing wrong with seeing color, it’s how you treat color that’s important.”

Noah then asked Lahren about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is protesting the way black people are treated in America by kneeling during the National Anthem at games.

He summed up her opinion thusly: “You have the right to say what you want so shut up!”

Lahren agreed that Kaepernick has the right to protest, but thinks it’s unfair that she should be criticized for criticizing his protest.

“So because I don’t agree with what he did, I should shut up because I’m white? I should shut up? I shouldn’t be able to talk about black issues because I’m white?”

Noah’s response was cool, calm, collected and cutting.

“No one brought up white at all,” he said. “I never said that. I don’t see color.”

Lahren is already tweeting about how her segment was edited.

The extended 26 minute version of the interview is up above and definitely worth watching in its entirety.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Testosterone Therapy May Be Linked to Serious Blood Clots

Risk peaks in the first 6 months of hormone treatment, but overall odds are low, study finds
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Quiet Black Girls—And How We Fail Them

This article first appeared on QuietRev.com

I’m not a scientist—I am a practitioner of public education as an administrator. Yet, in my teaching days before I entered admin, I noticed certain trends in a segment of my classroom and school that I dubbed “Quiet Black Girl Syndrome.” I assembled data from daily interactions and from observing my students at recess or in academic settings, and I didn’t initially have a descriptor for it. I simply noted what happened to the Black girls in class who didn’t speak up often.

It’s to my detriment that I didn’t see it as an introverted issue. In fact, had I realized this was tied to the temperament spectrum, I could have collected resources and sought out social and emotional assistance for them. But early on, I didn’t even realize these girls were suffering; that discovery came during a tense parent/teacher conference.

My student, Starre, was incredibly bright and always turned in her work. She had straight As; she occasionally struggled with a concept, but she worked so hard that I didn’t bother worrying about her. It embarrasses me now to think about this, but let me say again: I didn’t bother worrying about her. She became wallpaper in my classroom. I often forgot to call on her during discussions and critical conversations about learning. Some days when I took attendance and she wasn’t there, I failed to notice it and just marked her “present.” I’d think back later to the class period: “Did I see Starre in class today? Hmm. I can’t remember.”

Starre, and girls like her, oftentimes begin the process of becoming invisible in the classroom. This invisibility fully manifests in adulthood, in the ways that Black women must move through the world. It’s kind of a phenomenon that we educators conflate “quiet” with “good.” We call them “good Black girls” because we don’t have to deal with them, while we allow other—louder—students to take our attention in the classroom. Because they’re so “good,” we expect them to behave all the time, which doesn’t give them the space to be individuals or growing adolescents. Making these assumptions about them fails to include them or support them in their growth—and their exclusion impacts all of us.

It’s an ugly truth that the outcomes of students’ learning are dependent on their self-presentation. Young students who are female and Black are already dealing with the intersections that marginalize them. When they’re quiet too—truly introverted—I have to admit, I’ve failed them on multiple levels in the past. When those girls find their voices and begin to assert themselves, they are often shut down and asked to return to the quiet girls we once knew and ignored. The shutting down stems from racially problematic and historic issues within the larger culture.

Educators like to call it an “achievement” gap, but I much prefer to say it’s an “access” gap—this label better reflects the context of the lesser quality education that students of color have historically been offered.

“Access gap” also speaks to housing discrimination. Each district’s educational dollars are based on local state housing tax income, thus directly attaching the educational quality of our schools to the wealth in the area: the wealthier a community is, the better their schools can be.

Education reformers like to label these schools as “failing” when the reality is they are being made to fail. The lesser access to quality education leads to beliefs of lesser ability. Research shows that white male teachers are 10 to 20 percent more likely to have low expectations for Black female students. The data doesn’t lie; we continue to learn that Black girls are victims of a kind of double jeopardy “wherein they are disadvantaged because of negative race stereotypes and negative gender stereotypes.”

Starre’s mother helped me see this bias, which, even though I myself am a Black female educator, I am still prey to, in our conference. She wasn’t angry with me, but the full weight of her frustration—of constantly fighting for her daughter’s involvement and recognition in the classroom—came to rest at my feet that day. Why, she wondered, was her daughter never asked to be one of the student ambassadors who took people on tours of the school? Why was she never nominated for Student of the Month? Her mother had seen photos on our website of those celebrations, overrun with mostly white, middle-class students whose parents attended the PTO meetings. Why didn’t I challenge her daughter, when I knew she was capable of more than the mediocre work I was accepting?

Nothing about her questions was easy for me. I thanked her for homing my attention on her quiet, introverted girl, who was developing along with her peers but to whom we paid no attention because she wasn’t a problem in the classroom. Without the focus we denied her, Starre could move through school lithely, but what a missed opportunity for us to push her towards reaching her potential!

Starre was a good Black girl, and she fell on the temperament spectrum as introverted. She did her work, completed assignments, and faithfully met classwork requirements. I was failing her by assuming that was all she could achieve. And by ignoring her, I was missing out on the potential impact of a great student who could offer much more than the surface revealed.

It doesn’t take a scientist or clinician to see how schools can fail students who are people of color, but a huge piece of future impact would be to consider that they can be introverts too and that educators need to respond to their needs.

Love Quiet Revolution’s parenting articles? Listen to Quiet—our new podcast for parents and educators of quiet kids hosted by bestselling author Susan Cain. We’ve also developed a Parenting Quiet Kids online course, including expert advice, tools, and strategies. Take our free quiz to learn more!

2015-02-04-Joni_Blecher_150x150.jpg
This article originally appeared on QuietRev.com.

You can find more insights from Quiet Revolution on work, life, and parenting as an introvert at QuietRev.com.

Follow Quiet Revolution on Facebook and Twitter.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Poll: Only One-Fourth Of Americans Actually Want Full Obamacare Repeal

The first major post-election survey on Obamacare suggests that repeal is a lot less popular than President-elect Donald Trump and other Republicans may imagine.

The poll also finds that even many Americans who support repeal think Republicans should decide how they’d replace Obamacare before passing a law that would end the program.

The survey comes from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking public attitudes toward the the Affordable Care Act since 2010, when President Barack Obama signed it into law. 

Like earlier surveys, this one finds the public sharply divided on the law, with sentiments tracking partisan alignments closely. Democrats tend to support it, Republicans do not.

But in the Kaiser poll, support for full repeal is a distinctly minority position. Only 26 percent of Americans favor it, according to the survey, with another 17 percent preferring that Trump and Republicans merely “scale back what the law does.” 

Support for full repeal actually declines further when people learn that it could mean allowing insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions ― or that 20 million people could lose their insurance altogether. And even among those who want repeal, 42 percent think Republicans should hold off on passing it until they’ve agreed upon a replacement. 

Meanwhile, a plurality of all respondents don’t want Republicans to dial back Obamacare at all, the poll says. Instead, 19 percent of Americans want Trump and the Republicans to “move forward with implementing” the law as it is. Another 30 percent want lawmakers to “expand what the law does.”

In other words, roughly half the country wants lawmakers to leave Obamacare alone, unless changes would make it bigger and stronger.

It’s just one poll, of course. Particularly with a complex issue like health care policy, surveys cannot always capture the nuances of public opinion ― or how voters would actually react, in real life, to the kinds of changes Republicans are proposing. A lot could depend on whether Republicans ever come together on a replacement scheme and, if they do, what that scheme entails.

But these findings certainly don’t represent a hiccup in public opinion. On the contrary, the new results from Kaiser are broadly consistent with what previous polls have shown for most of the last six years.

In the Kaiser poll, the portion of the public with favorable opinions of the law briefly peaked at 50 percent in 2010 after its passage. Since that time, percentage of approval has bounced between the high 30s and mid 40s. In the new survey, it’s at 43 percent.

That’s hardly a strong vote of confidence for Obamacare. But notwithstanding this ambivalence, pluralities have generally opposed total repeal, preferring to amend or strengthen the program.

And large majorities have always supported most of the law’s individual features, including financial assistance for low- and middle-income people buying insurance on their own, as well as guarantees of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

The one provision majorities have consistently opposed is the individual mandate ― that is, the requirement that people who decline affordable coverage pay a penalty.

Of course, this latest survey did detect one shift of potential political significance.

Among Republican voters specifically, the proportion who favor full repeal of Obamacare declined in the last month ― from 69 percent in October to 52 percent in November.

At the same time, the proportion of Republican voters who would prefer lawmakers merely scale back the law more than doubled, from 11 percent in October to 25 percent in November.

That change could be temporary, or include some statistical noise.

It could also represent a growing reluctance to junk the law, now that repeal might finally happen.

The Kaiser Foundation conducted its poll from Nov. 15 through Nov. 21, using a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 1,202 adults. Pollsters reached respondents by both landline and mobile phone, conducting interviews in English and Spanish. The margin of error for the full sample, Kaiser said, was plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Kellyanne Conway To Visit Canada’s Tar Sands, And That Can’t Mean Anything Good

President-elect Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway will visit Canada’s tar sands early next year ahead of his inauguration. It’s a bad omen for the fight against climate change ― and may portend renewed hope for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline ― considering the president-elect has promised to ramp up fossil fuel production and spurned efforts to halt climate change.

But Alberta Prosperity Fund chair Heather Forsyth hailed the move as “a strong signal to Canadians on the importance of this province to the United States” when the super PAC announced the visit on Tuesday.

“This visit by such an influential member of a U.S. administration should stand as a call to action for all Alberta industry,” said Barry McNamar, founder and president of Alberta Prosperity Fund, in a statement. “I hope that Ms. Conway receives an enthusiastic welcome here in Alberta and can return to the U.S. with an informed attitude towards Canadian export products.”

The tar sands have been a contentious place in American politics ever since the Keystone pipeline was proposed. It would have carried up to 730,000 barrels of Canadian oil into the country a day, but President Barack Obama rejected the project last year after environmental groups raised concerns about how expensive and dirty the fuel is to produce.

Refining oil from tar sands is water-intensive and usually involves the clearing of large swaths of land. The finished product also results in substantially higher greenhouse gas emissions than other means of crude production.

While Obama said Keystone wouldn’t “serve the national interest of the United States,” many are now looking to the incoming Trump administration to see if the president-elect plans to reconsider the pipeline. 

TransCanada, the company behind Keystone, said it planned to “engage” with Trump shortly after his election and a spokesman said they remained “fully committed to building” the pipeline. That sentiment was echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has asked Trump to approve the pipeline should a proposal cross his desk.

The Washington Post notes that Conway’s visit would “make a powerful symbolic statement about where a Trump presidency might come down on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that President Obama rejected but which would, if revived, link the oil sands region in Alberta to advanced refineries on the Texas gulf coast.”

However, even if Trump is amenable to tar sands, the price of crude oil has plummeted in recent years and the construction of Keystone may no longer be economically viable. Oil cost about $ 100 a barrel when the project was first proposed, but the price now hovers around $ 50.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved two other tar sands pipelines on Tuesday, the Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain and Enbridge Line 3, drawing sharp criticism from groups who said the decision contradicted pledges to mitigate climate change.

“We’ve heard clearly from Canadians that they don’t want to see someone trying to make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy,” Trudeau said at a press conference.

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Gratitude: The Path to a Meaningful – and Magical – Life

Long after Thanksgiving is over, two things endure – the feeling that I couldn’t possibly eat another piece of turkey…and, more importantly, a deep sense of gratitude.

It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that I recently picked up a book called GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks. It’s a quartet of essays that he wrote in the last two years of his life. Despite his struggles battling cancer, he chose to highlight his immense gratitude – something he felt not only through that ordeal, but through his entire life.

Here’s what he says about the gifts of old age:

One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’ too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities… One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty.

And he concludes:

I do not think of old age as an ever-grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time…freed from the urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.

As you gather with loved ones this holiday season, I invite you to allow gratitude to fill your spirit and lead you into the New Year. How? Let Merlin guide you.

While Merlin is beloved around the world as a legendary wizard, the Merlin I’ve written many books about is also a real human being. He has struggles, sorrows, joys, and aspirations – and, hidden deep within him, a remarkable gift. In that way, Merlin is no different from all of us: he is burdened by the human experience, while at the very same time exalted by it.

All of us have hidden struggles – and hidden potential. And all of us, like the great wizard Merlin, have something special within us. No matter how many obstacles we face, we still have the ability to reach for the stars. We can strive, create, love, hope, sing, be kind, and work to build a better world.

Recently, I wrote a book about Merlin’s seven most magical words, THE WISDOM OF MERLIN: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life. I purposely chose Gratitude to be the first of those words. Here’s a passage that explains why:

Gratitude is a good place to begin to make a meaningful life. To be wholly alive is to be grateful–for every breath we take, every song we sing, every person we love, every day we discover.

All we have–truly all we have–is our time and our souls. Even if you live as long as a wizard, that time is really very brief. It’s never long enough to do all you can do and be all you can be.

Each day, take a moment to love a person, a place, or an idea that touched your heart. Cherish those blessings through all the seasons of a year–and all the seasons of your life.

My favorite place to feel grateful is in nature–under a starry sky in Colorado wilderness, by the vast ocean at the Great Barrier Reef, or in a grove of towering redwoods in California.

Here’s the miracle of such places: With nature’s wonders all around, I feel both very small and very large at once–diminished and humbled by my own insignificance, while also enlarged and inspired by the vast sweep of creation. And both you and I belong to that creation! For we are all made from miracles, no less than the stars themselves.

One of humanity’s great challenges is to embrace nature without suffocating it–to treat our natural home with appreciation, not exploitation. We have been given the garden planet of the universe–and we can either nurture or devour it, protect or destroy it.

Fortunately, we have one great advantage in facing any challenges: ourselves. We can accomplish anything if we truly devote ourselves to the task.

And that, my friend, is worthy of our gratitude.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

The Stakes Are High As DEA Reconsiders Waging War On The Herb Kratom

Seven weeks after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officially withdrew its plan to ban kratom, the federal government is once again set to decide the fate of the herb and the people who rely on it for pain relief and other treatment.

The DEA had initially planned to use its emergency scheduling power to push through the ban without input from the public, despite concerns from lawmakers and scientists ― as well as kratom users ― that the move would do more harm than good. In October, however, the DEA opened a public comment period allowing individuals to weigh in on the agency’s decision to place mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two active compounds in kratom, in Schedule I. Substances in this category include heroin and LSD and are considered to have no known medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.

With the comment period set to close on Thursday, the DEA will now have to take into account the nearly 9,000 submissions from people who wanted to voice their opinions about this proposed expansion of the war on drugs.

But kratom isn’t in the clear yet. The DEA is currently awaiting the results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis on the potential harms and health benefits of the herb, which will determine if kratom truly poses an “imminent hazard to the public safety,” as the agency initially claimed in August.

The DEA doesn’t know when it will get the results of the FDA’s review, Russell Baer, a spokesperson for the agency, told The Huffington Post.

“We’ve asked the FDA to expedite their analysis, but they’ve not given us any indication as to when that may be done, other than as soon as practical,” said Baer. “They’re involved in an exhaustive scientific review and evaluation, so these things do take time.”

Although Baer said he expects the DEA to wait for the FDA’s analysis before deciding on an appropriate schedule for kratom ― or whether it should be scheduled at all ― he noted that the agency could still proceed with emergency scheduling even in the absence of more concrete scientific evidence.

The DEA’s next steps will have huge implications for people like Joshua Levy. In the video above, Levy explains that he turned to kratom after struggling with dependence on the opioid painkillers he’d been prescribed following a hit-and-run accident. Like many kratom users, he says the herb gave him back the life that had been taken from him by addiction and other side-effects of narcotic painkillers.

“Since I started taking kratom, since I had gotten off of the pain pills, my life has basically opened up dramatically,” Levy told HuffPost. “I got a new job. I’m building a friendship up with my sister that I haven’t had in a long time. I’m not lazy anymore. I don’t want to isolate myself. I want to go out, I want to be out of the house.”

The kratom community is full of success stories like Levy’s. But together, they form only anecdotal evidence of the herb’s benefits, which is not enough to support a more official confirmation of its medicinal value.

Experts like Andrew Kruegel, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, hope the DEA will allow kratom to remain legal so they can keep working to unlock the herb’s potential.

Kruegel’s studies have shown that kratom can be used to alleviate mild pain, and that the plant’s negative side effects are relatively minor.

“As a scientist, I try to be as objective as possible and not overstate the promise of kratom,” said Kruegel. “We just don’t know that much about the plant yet.”

But Kruegel also has bigger hopes for kratom, which he believes can be used to aid in the development of safer alternatives to the prescription opioids that claimed more than 18,000 lives in the U.S. in 2014 due to overdose.

“Of course, if it’s in Schedule I, historically that greatly limits the ability to do research on it,” he said.

Video shot, produced and edited by Savannah O’Leary. Audio mixing by Nick Offenberg.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trump – ripples effects in Europe

2016-11-29-1480403352-6151323-TrumpEuropecopy.jpg

Bogdan Marcu, Los Angeles. This article is written together with Cristian Rosu, a Romanian media expert who works for Kirchhoff Consult Romania, a corporation for Public Relations and Communications. Cristian has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Bucharest. More articles and social media analyses by Cristian can be found on his blog.

The unexpected Mr. Trump

While there are significant difference between the political systems of Europe and the US, some similarities and political symptoms do cross the Atlantic westward, where US voters may react in some form of contamination. Trump’s victory in the November 8th elections seems to have taken the European chancelleries by surprise, but perhaps it shouldn’t have.

The political trends in several European countries were already pointing towards the disruption of the establishment. In 2015, the Greeks elected Alexis Tsipras as their prime minister: a charismatic but off-main-stream leader, with strong leftist views who took little time to begin a disruptive set of actions. In Hungary, the prime minister Viktor Orban is one of the Eastern Europe’s leaders with the most vocal Eurosceptic views, also expressing pro-Russian views in spite of Hungary’s NATO membership. In Central Europe, Poland’s political leaders express the same level of Euroscepticism as Hungary, and perhaps stronger. Under the presidency of Andrzej Duda, Poland is pushing back against the idea that EU decisions made in Brussels should be automatically accepted in Warsaw. In particular, Poland, just as Hungary, unilaterally refuses to accept the refugee quotas imposed by the EU.

Two major events in 2016 should have provided a stronger warning that the disruptive current against established order and against existing political structures has widened and gained strength. On June 23 2016, the voters in the UK decided 52% to 48% in favor of leaving the European Union, an outcome known as the Brexit. The voter turnout was 71.8% with more than 30 million people voting. This decision leaves the US without an important ally within the EU structure. The second event is murkier, both in terms of the known details as well as the implications: on 15th of July 2016, a coup d’état was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including, but not limited to the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The coup failed and it was followed by vigorous purging of the military by Erdogan, as well as other significant outcomes: the coup has shaken the structure of the NATO alliance of which Turkey is a crucial member, and it has distanced Ankara from Washington with an apparent realignment towards Moscow, at least to some extent, as Erdogan and Putin are currently displaying a warm relationship.

In the meantime, anti-establishment currents have been growing in strength in Germany, France and Austria. In Germany, the large influx of Middle Eastern immigrants allowed into the country by the Merkel’s government has led to a significant decrease of support for Merkel among the German voters. The Alternative for Germany, a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic political party in Germany had gained representation in 10 of the 16 German state parliaments as of September 2016. In Austria, the presidential candidate of the right wing Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, won the first round of the presidential election of 2016, receiving 35.1%, and was only narrowly defeated by Green Party’s candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, in the run-off. The election was contested however, and a re-run will be held on December 4th, with poll results too close to call a prediction. In France, the National Front party, a right wing nationalist party led by Marine Le Pen is growing in popularity. Marine Le Pen would lead the first round of the 2017 presidential elections, according to various polls. As of 2015, the National Front has established itself as one of the largest political forces in France.

The trends and events described indicate that in Europe, the politically correct legacy of the establishment is being vigorously contested due to the harsh realities of economic austerity, refugee crisis and attempts at diminishing the national identity. There is a common theme across Europe where the citizens find more alignment of their personal interests and worries with extremist parties than with the established parties. The Brexit is viewed a movement of protectionism and anti-immigration in the UK, despite the discrediting descriptions given in the media about the true awareness of the UK voters, or lack thereof, towards the real effects of their decision.

In the same measure, these trends should have been examined from the point of view of their diffusion across the Atlantic. After 8 years of the Obama administration which enjoyed popularity in Europe but was perceived as weak in foreign affairs, after Russia’s moves in Ukraine and the Middle East and the creation and fast growth of ISIS, these changed trends should have pointed the analysts towards the possibility that the US voters would elect a president anti-establishment, a person with a direct manner, more aware of the harsh economic reality of unemployment rather than an embracer of ethnic diversity, a candidate with a stronger hand in foreign affairs and immigration. Donald Trump presented himself as such a candidate and won.

The administrations in Paris and Berlin have received the news of Trumps election victory with great concern. The European Establishment’s concerns are many: what will be the new US administration’s approach to the European’s defense and NATO, given Trump’s campaign rhetoric on the issue, and how will the new administration deal with immigration, given the aggressive Trump’s statements during the campaign, and his departure from the accepted political correctness. What would be the implications of the unknown yet US policy on immigration, given the EU refugee crisis, and the rise of nationalism and extremism?

The President Elect Trump is viewed in some European circles as a counter-revolutionary leader against the EU policy of “unity in diversity”. From this point of view, after several years during which an African American US president has been by far the most representative symbol of accepted diversity all over the world, after the acceptance and legalization of the same sex marriage in many European countries, and after the decision by Germany and to a lesser extent by France to accept a large number of Middle Eastern refugees, suddenly the new White House resident speaks forcefully of deportations, of renegotiation of economic agreements, of warmer relations with Russia, and selects for his future cabinets personalities with known extremist views.

The EU’s own daemons + Russia

The economic crisis has strongly impacted the EU, although at different level of severity for different countries. While Germany has remained the uncontested locomotive of economics for the old continent, the so called PIIGS group of countries, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, were strongly affected. Among them, Greece has been in a continuous and extended dire condition with no clear solution in sight, while Italy’s banks are seen as a strong liability for the Europe’s financial system. Following the Brexit, several other countries contemplated the exit idea, among them Italy. This situation has led some political analysts to the conclusion that the EU could dissolve, either partially or completely.

The agreement reached by 28 European countries with Turkey on March 18th, to slow down the flow of refugees into Europe is now uncertain in terms of its execution due to various legal issues, but mostly due to complications related to the Turkey coup.

To all this, Trump’s victory and his statements regarding NATO have fallen like a hammer on the heads of states in the EU.

Currently, France and Germany are the uncontested leaders of the European Union. While the EU Parliament in Brussels is officially the EU legislative body, the management of the economic crisis in EU is executed by decisions made mostly in Berlin and Paris, with the participation of the European Central Bank. In the meantime, however, both Germany and France are confronted with important domestic issues.

Parliamentary elections are due in Germany no later than October 22 2017. The popularity of Angela Merkel is currently at a historical minimum, with contesting actions even from her own party, the Christian Democratic Union. The refugee crisis and the various terrorist attacks, executed or attempted in Germany are problems hanging heavily on the ratings of Merkel’s government. In particular, after large scale incidents of rape and attacks against women by refugees reported to the police around Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Germany, the weak official reaction was perceived as a cover up meant to suppress the expected popular rejection of more inflow of refugees, and maintain Merkel’s decision to bring in more. German foreign affairs have become more complex due to the complications in the relations with the US related to the Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank scandals. These two latest developments are adding to the strain generated by the revelations in 2015 that the NSA had been tapping the German Chancellery. Adding to the complexities, Trump’s victory, and his statements related to the requirement that all NATO member states should increase their defense spending to a minimum of 2% of their GDP place Germany in a difficult position politically. This conjecture opens and increases the chances of the extremist and anti-establishment parties for the upcoming German parliamentary elections in 2017. In this context, it has become very difficult for Germany to manage both its internal and the overall EU crises.

France is in even more complex and difficult state. Although powerful from the military standpoint, with a very advanced industry and technology, the country is affected by 10% unemployment rate overall and between 24% to 26% youth unemployment rate. The youth unemployment is closely correlated with the presence in France of minorities from early waves of immigrants coming from the former French colonies. To that social layer is added the new wave of recent immigrant refugees, a situation that strains, cumulatively, the French social system. Shaken by the chain of terrorist attacks in the last two years, the country is heading towards the presidential elections of 2017. After the US election results were announced, both the French prime minister Manuel Valls and the president Fancois Hollande expressed their deep concerns regarding the ripple effects in France. Current president, Francois Hollande is fairing very low in polls, and another 4 years at the Elysee Palace is just a nice dream. The primaries of the French conservative parties were won by Fancois Fillon, considered a “has been” political figure but with a recent strong showing in polls. Trump’s victory in the US may diminish the chances for such an establishment gentleman. On the rightmost end of the French political spectrum, Marine Le Pen was one of the first European leaders to congratulate Trump. Given Trump’s statements regarding Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the good relationship between Marine Le Pen and the Russian leader, the potential trend generated by Trump’s victory will cause many sleepless nights in Paris.

This conjecture generates great expectations at the Kremlin. For Russia, the objective of a rapprochement with the US is the lifting of economic sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea which have severely affected the Russian economy. In addition, the significant drop in the price of commodities and especially the drop in the price of oil due to the production gluts and excessive pumping by the OPEC members generate a significant squeeze of the Russian budgets. Besides the lifting of sanctions, Putin will want Trump to recognize Russia’s ownership of Crimea – something no major state has done thus far. Putin also feels that Russia is entitled to a sphere of influence over the former republics of the Soviet Union, and Eastern and Central Europe. Moscow is pushing an ideology of “civilisational spheres” and “pluri-centricism” – code for Russia being a dominant world force on equal terms with the US. Just as with Crimea, Putin would like to revisit history: a new version of the 1945 Yalta treaty, when the US and Britain left the countries of Eastern Europe at Stalin’s mercy. Perhaps Putin would settle for a deal where Trump implicitly acknowledges that Russia has “legitimate interests” in its former backyard. Trump has already questioned the role of NATO and said that the US will not defend countries that fail to contribute to NATO coffers. The vague potential that the new Trump administration may negotiate with Putin on these issues is generating fever chills in many European capital cities.

And in fact, the current situation in Eastern Europe appears favorable to the Russian objectives.

Ukraine’s political movement that generated the break-away from its close relationship with Moscow now appears to lose momentum, with issues such as government corruption stalling progress, while the civil war in the East continues.

In Serbia, the government led by Tomislav_Nikolić maintains close ties with Russia. Serbia is one of Kremlin’s most reliable political links, not because of any Slavic-Orthodox fraternity, but as a consequence of political calculation and propaganda disseminated through the local media, Internet, and social networks pounding on historical solidarity, the pernicious West and defense of traditional values.

In Hungary, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban has clear pro-Russian views as mentioned already here. Moscow is doubly influential in the country by informally partnering with Orban and, at the same time, bankrolling the extremist Jobbik party, a xenophobic group to the right of Orban’s Fidesz party. Through these maneuvers, Moscow has two allies in the country: one in the opposition, and one in power. “Fidesz and Jobbik are crucial in channeling and implementing Russian interests,” argues Daniel Hegedus, a Hungarian analyst at the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank. As a member of the EU and NATO, Hungary “is able to influence the political agenda and decision-making processes of these bodies.” In particular, Hungary is notably vocal in warning the EU against renewing the sanctions in place against Russia.

The recent election in the Republic of Moldova, former Soviet Republic and a former territory of Romania occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, designated Igor Dodon as winner. While the result is contested and thousands of citizens in the Moldavian diaspora claim they had been unable to vote, the result of the election is not likely to change. Dodon is a strong pro-Russian leader and is expected to propel Moldova on close Russian orbits.

A similar election result came in Bulgaria, population 7 million, and a member of both NATO and the European Union. It elected Rumen Radev as president, leading to the resignation of its prime minister, Boyko Borisov, and prompting parliamentary elections for the spring. During communist times, Bulgaria was the closest Eastern European member of both the Soviet Union’s military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, and COMECON, its economic union, prior to the breakup of the USSR. Radev is another new Eastern European leader with strong pro-Russian views.

In opposition to these trends, Romania and the Baltic States are the countries in Eastern Europe which, together with Poland in Central Europe, still maintain a strong desire to distance themselves from Russia.

The Baltics: Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania are all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. They are the countries where NATO membership and US protection is most critical. However, campaign statements by Donald Trump that NATO states must pay more for defense, his ambivalence about Crimea, and allusions to how America may not defend members against Russian military action generate strong concern for the local governments. As Bloomberg reported recently: “over the past month, Russian TV channels widely watched in the Baltics filled airtime with apocalyptic rhetoric about world war. Russia recently made a show of moving short-range, nuclear-capable Iskander missiles into its militarized Baltic exclave, Kaliningrad, wedged between Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. And a recent military exercise near the Latvian border involved Russian servicemen using loudspeakers to call on NATO soldiers to surrender. The Baltics, with a combined population of 6.1 million (Russia has 142.4 million), have responded by raising defense expenditures and training their military–and general population–in guerrilla warfare. During the last days of October, Latvia staged a major military exercise involving 3,000 troops from the U.S. and other NATO countries, as well as a nationwide civil defense drill”.

Romania, also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union finds itself in a geopolitical conjecture where it is surrounded by pro-Russian interests. At the present, the local political landscape is stable, and the country will hold parliamentary elections on December 11th. But underneath the calm, there are daemons as well. The elections and the related campaigns are held against a background where the fight against government corruption is the main theme, besides the concern and suspicion regarding potential Russian overt or clandestine manouvers. The political parties which are considered in the lead by various polls, the Social Democrat (PSD) and the Liberal (PNL) parties are also considered to carry controversial legacies. Recently, under pressure from the EU, the country’s Military Justice Court (Parchetul Militar) has re-opened for the 4th time the investigation of the events of December 1989. However, for the first time in 27 years, the official statements of the Court referred to the events as an organized action against the state, essentially a coup, and not a revolution. Unofficially, it is generally accepted in Romania that the coup was organized by the then Soviet secret services, the KGB and the GRU, with some degree of approval from the West and the US, following the Malta secret talks between the US president G.H. Bush and general secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. The implications, relative to the current elections, are related to the legacy of the Social Democrat Party, which has its roots in the December 1989 National Salvation Front, considered today to have been founded by the coup leaders. Ion Iliescu, who is considered the leader of the coup of 1989 and who served twice as president of Romania from 1989 to 1996 and 2000 to 2004 is an honor member of the PSD, but no longer influential in the decisions of the party, after the new party leadership has formally condemned communism, and specifically condemned the decisions made by Iliescu in the early ’90′s when coal miners were brought to Bucharest to violently squash street demonstrations against him. A good fraction of the current PSD is looking westward and attempts at reforming from within: the formal entrance of Romania into the NATO membership was officially signed under the PSD watch, 85% of the current candidates are newcomers to the party while party rhetoric is very much in line with Western values of multi-culture, political and economic liberalism and reform. The National Liberal party also includes members considered as having been part of the 1989 coup legacy. During the recent mayoral race for Bucharest, the Liberal party was noted for a series of political gaffes, among which promoting and then quickly withdrawing several candidates in a short period of time. A third party is also challenging the two established organizations mentioned above: the Save Romania Union (USR) is a political party founded in 2016, extending an initial organization – the Save Bucharest Union – which unsuccessfully ran candidates for the mayoral race in the country’s capital, Bucharest – to national level. The party leader, Nicusor Dan is considered an outsider and perhaps inexperienced, but the party’s candidates run campaigns on a radical anti-corruption platform that is attractive to the young voters and to the large diaspora which considers USR as the only viable option for the country. Militarily, Romania has a special status within NATO and in direct relations with the US: both Poland and Romania are hosting on their territories the military installations of the US/NATO anti-missile shield. The United States sees the $ 800 million missile shield as vital to defend itself and Europe from so-called rogue states but the Kremlin says is aimed at blunting its own nuclear arsenal, and expresses strong irritation about the installations. Consequently, Russia’s moving Iskander missiles into the Kaliningrad region is viewed as a response, in part, to the missile shield installations in Romania and Poland. In Romania, the missile shield installations are seen as a special guarantee extended by the US and NATO to Romania, an interpretation which generates special confidence in the US direction of its foreign relations with respect to the region, regardless of the electoral rhetoric in the US.

Quo vadis?

This short review clearly shows that Trump’s victory finds the EU in a complex and difficult situation. Until now, the US military guarantees extended through NATO, doubled by NATO’s Turkey control of the maritime access by Russian Navy to the Mediterranean through the Turkish straights have been the main defense directions for the EU against Russia. The “European Army” is still only a concept, while the military forces of Germany and France, considered individually, are no match against the Russian military. The EU states have not been allocating significant budgets to their military, after decades of American protection. In addition, Russia has demonstrated in Ukraine a special ability to carry a new type of hybrid war for which the EU has neither efficient counter measures nor adequate tactics.

Donald Trump’s statements regarding a reduced US role within NATO and towards normalizing the relations with Moscow will generates uncertainty in the EU. It is also expected that the future Trump administration will have priorities other than the EU: China, the Middle East, and internal US economy. DEBKA website already reports that Trump’s team is planning, in close contact with Russian and Turkish governments, significant military operations in the Middle East, to be initiated immediately after Trump’s inauguration.

The EU leaders are therefore expected to operate in catch-up mode in reaction to the expected and unexpected decisions of the future Trump administration. This complicates the EU political dynamics in a way that may lead to significant changes in the EU political spectrum and parliamentary representation, with a potential disruption of the establishment.

Sources
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34324772+
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/29/deutsche-banks-10-billion-scandal
http://www.euronews.com/2016/05/17/francois-hollande-scores-lowest-poll-for-a-french-president
https://www.yahoo.com/news/french-pm-says-france-supports-clinton-over-trump-141011139.html
http://www.thelocal.fr/20161109/france-will-work-with-donald-trump-but-we-have-questions-united-states
http://www.politico.eu/article/le-pen-russia-crimea-putin-money-bank-national-front-seeks-russian-cash-for-election-fight/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3715877/Thousands-German-protesters-prepare-streets-Merkel-demonstration-against-Premier-s-immigration-policies-say-caused-terror-attacks.html
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/20/new-special-relationship-what-does-putin-want-from-trump-kgb
http://dailysignal.com/2016/11/16/ex-georgian-president-saakashvili-says-ukraine-is-running-against-the-clock-to-prevent-another-revolution/
http://cepa.org/Europes-Edge/Russia-stifles-Serbia

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Alzheimer’s Protein Plaques May Also Harm the Heart

Deposits can cause patients’ heart muscle to stiffen, keeping it from pumping properly, study suggests
healthfinder.gov Daily News
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Love Actually: Don’t Fast Forward To The Happy Ending

One of the many characters in Love Actually is a widower named Daniel (Liam Neeson.) While delivering his wife Joanne’s eulogy, he gives us a hint at her sense of humor:

“Jo and I had uh, a lot of time to prepare for this moment. Some of her, uh, requests – for instance, that I should bring Claudia Schiffer as my date to the funeral – I was confident she expected me to ignore.”

In a scene shortly following the funeral, Daniel cries in front of his married friend Karen (Emma Thompson.) Karen responds be telling him:

“Get a grip, people hate sissies. No-one’s ever gonna shag you if you cry all the time.”

In the movie, that bit of dialogue is not meant to paint Karen as being a bad friend. Rather, this is how the movie actually sees the world: Only wimps have emotions, real men don’t cry, and it’s a widower’s JOB to get laid.

And sure enough, by the end of the movie, the widower is successfully flirting with (and beginning a relationship with) Carol, a women who happens to look a lot like Claudia Schiffer (perhaps because she’s being played by Claudia Schiffer.) The timeline between the widower burying his wife and hitting it off with a supermodel? Five weeks.

Five weeks. That’s the timeline movies like Love Actually have for grief. After that, it’s time to give the audience what they really want, namely the excitement of seeing a “boy meets girl” moment. Joanne, who is never even seen alive during the movie, was only written into existence to set up a surprise romance. It’s suggested that Joanne suffered through a long illness, but her real cause of death was narrative efficiency.

There is a shocking amount of pressure placed on real-life widows and widowers to “get back out there.” People will actually start talking to the bereaved about dating as early as the funeral. Love Actually, The Holiday, and other movies that use an off-screen dead spouse to help set up an eventual “meet cute” romantic-comedy moment are only contributing to the problem.

People’s lives do not follow narrative arcs. When you or somebody you know faces a personal loss, respect that loss for what it is. Let it be a self-contained terrible moment in time, not a mere set up for something wonderful that you want to believe is just around the corner. Don’t try to fast forward to the happy ending.

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In A Stunning Development, Congress Drops A Billion Dollars On The Heroin Crisis

WASHINGTON ― Congress is close to passing a bill, after several thwarted attempts, that would include a provision allocating $ 1 billion to address the opioid epidemic.

But that effort could still be upended by last-minute concerns that the broader legislation is too much of a giveaway to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

House and Senate Republicans agreed over the weekend on a final version of the 21st Century Cures Act, one of the last bills on the table before the new Congress is sworn in this January.

Three years in the making, 21st Century Cures is designed as a broad investment in medical research and development at the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, coupled with the loosening of bureaucratic red tape and regulatory restrictions. Its authors have tinkered with the sources of funding and the language of the legislation. And, in the process, they’ve encouraged lawmakers to offer their support by adding specific, popular provisions to the final product. 

One of those provisions was funding to tackle the opioid epidemic, a development that seemed unlikely to transpire as recently as several months ago.

Deaths from opioid overdoses have continued to rise in many communities across the country, and existing treatment systems are outdated and ill-equipped to address the influx, making the need to address the crisis a political imperative. Over the summer, President Barack Obama had signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law, a bipartisan bill that contained several hopeful developments, such as expanding access to medication-assisted treatments — but included essentially no funding to implement the proposals.

So earlier this month, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) began a push to include opioid-related funding in the 21st Century Cures legislation, reminding lawmakers that Congress has yet to help states contain the growing crisis. Last week, they were joined by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in writing a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to take action.

“As the end of the year fast approaches, it is past time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to provide emergency funding and increase investments in prevention and treatment services for opioid use, misuse, and use disorders,” the letter read. “Until we do, our job is not done and our communities will continue to hurt.”

But while the opioid funding has helped draw Democrats to support 21st Century Cures, other provisions, including the removal of a mandatory funding stream for medical research investments, have driven some lawmakers away. 

Among the bill’s major opponents is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who on Monday announced that she will not vote for the bill, despite supporting much of its content, because it has been one of the most heavily lobbied health care bills.

Warren said Senate Republicans “let Big Pharma hijack the Cures bill” and accused them of “trying to buy off Democratic votes one by one by tacking on good bipartisan proposals that senators in both parties have worked on in good faith for years.”

“This final deal has only a tiny fig leaf of funding for NIH and for the opioid crisis,” she said on the Senate floor. “And most of that fig leaf isn’t even real. Most of the money won’t be there, unless future Congresses pass future bills in future years to fund those dollars. So why bother with a fig leaf in the Cures bill? Why pretend to give money to NIH or opioids? Because this funding is political cover for huge giveaways to giant drug companies.”

The House is expected to vote on the 21st Century Cures Act on Wednesday, and the Senate will consider it next week.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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