This blog is to help you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find spiritually up-lifting. This is not an official website of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". This site is maintained by Barry McCann (barry@mail.com)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sysco sees U.S. bird flu hurting egg supply up to 18 months

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Food distributor Sysco Corp said on Friday that a record U.S. outbreak of avian flu would limit its supply of eggs and chickens that lay them for nine to 18 months, based on information provided to the company by its suppliers.
Sysco is the biggest U.S. food distributor, whose clients include restaurants, hotels and hospitals. The company is discussing options with its customers, including creating alternative menu items during the period, a Sysco spokesman said in an email. 
It is too soon to tell whether the supply squeeze will have a material impact on financial results, spokesman Charley Wilson said. Eggs represent a small portion of the company's dairy products segment, which accounted for 11 percent of revenue in 2014.
The U.S. poultry and egg industry is grappling with the country's biggest outbreak on record of avian influenza, which has proven highly infectious and deadly for poultry. Governors in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa have declared a state of emergency, and the outbreak has shown few signs of waning. 
Earlier this week, Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] said it has implemented increased biosecurity measures at its facilities receiving liquid egg tankers and shell eggs from impacted states and that it is working with egg suppliers to ensure they are employing measures to prevent spread of the flu. 
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Post Holdings Inc, calling the flu a "force majeure event," said it now estimates that 25 percent of its egg supply has been affected. Sysco is a major customer for Post's Michael Foods business, which sells egg products, according to filings. 
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher Growe expects Post's previous estimate of a $20 million financial impact in 2015 to at least double, according to a research note. 
Growe said that Post's contracts require the company to go to the open market and to third parties to replace the lost supply at high prices. "We believe that by declaring force majeure, the company will be able to either pass higher prices onto customers or be relieved from the mandatory supply requirements," he wrote.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CPR Training For Everyone: Why It Is Important

cprAnyone who watches TV probably understands the basic concept of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR — but what do you really know about it beyond the hype? Is there more to it than just kneeling beside someone on the ground and beating on their chest? Proper application of this life-saving technique could literally be the difference between life and death for someone you love.
Each year, approximately 360,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest. The majority of them die, in part because the people around them did not know how to do effective CPR or how to use an AED machine. For every minute that goes by without resuscitation, a person’s risk of death increases by 10 percent. CPR education is the key to better outcomes for those with sudden cardiac arrest.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
A layperson might associate CPR with a heart attack, but sudden cardiac arrest is more complex than what you’ll see on TV. It is actually an electrical problem like a short in the wiring. The heart relies on electrical impulses to know when to beat. The short changes the heart’s rhythm leading to ventricular fibrillation and stopping blood flow to the brain.
Sudden cardiac arrest could result from a mechanical problem with the heart such as cardiomyopathy, but that is just one possible cause. Allergic reaction, trauma and drowning are all potential sudden cardiac arrests. Many people who experience this appear otherwise healthy.
What is CPR?
CPR has been around for over a century. It started when Dr. H.R. Silvester created a means for artificial respiration called the Silvester Method. Advancements in resuscitation science have improved Dr. Silvester’s original plan. To understand CPR and its purpose, simply break down the label:
  • Cardio = heart
  • Pulmonary = lungs
  • Resuscitation = to restore
When performing CPR, you are restoring blood flow and oxygenation to a person with sudden cardiac arrest. By pressing on the chest, the heart is forced to pump; essentially filling the void left by the electrical problem that stopped it from beating.
Technique is an important part of efficient CPR. Doing CPR wrong means ineffective blood flow and can even cause injury. CPR is not difficult, and with proper training, it can feel like second nature. That is why education is a necessity.
What is an AED?
AED is something you often hear about in conjunction with CPR. An automated external defibrillator is a portable device that can shock the heart back into rhythm. You will see signs for them in public buildings and businesses. Most sudden cardiac arrests involve an unsynchronized heart rhythm. The AED provides an electrical shock that can restore that rhythm and force the heart to beat.
AED is not the same thing as CPR, but something you may learn to use as part of the training.
What You Should Know about CPR
Today’s CPR focuses more on chest compression, or the hands-only approach, explains the American Heart Association. Studies show that blood flow is the most critical aspect of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. Compressing a person’s chest keeps oxygen flowing to sustain the brain and prevent death. There is some evidence that taking the time to do rescue breathing interrupts the blood flow unnecessarily.

The application of CPR and an AED is straightforward. A 2011 study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows just watching an instructional video increases the odds that you will attempt CPR in an emergency.
Effective CPR can triple a victim’s chances of survival, but it doesn’t always work. People who receive this help can still die. Providing it improves the odds, however. Today, only 32 percent of people who go into sudden cardiac arrest get bystander CPR. Less than 8 percent of victims survive the trip to the hospital. CPR offers the best chance of survival for those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Without it, this person will most certainly die.
Four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home, so statistically speaking, the person you save by knowing CPR will probably be a family member. Isn’t it worth the time it takes to learn the basic techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

5 Unique Gardening Tips

I thought it would be nice to share a few gardening tips and even better if I can make it a habit and post some on a weekly basis. You might be familiar with some of these Gardening Tips, but hopefully one or two will be new to you. Let’s see!
  • Tip #1 Soil Bag Gardening:
Soil Bag Gardening
Now this method is only good for shallow-rooted plants, like lettuce and Castle Rock Tomato (check out Tip #4 as this method is perfect for it). Root vegetables, like beets or carrots, need a deeper growing medium, but don’t worry I have a solution for growing carrots and potatoes using limited or confined spaces as well. You can however, just prop up a soil bag (make sure it won’t tip over) and plant potatoes directly inside in layers.
Soil Bag Gardening is perfect for those climates that have rocky soil, high mineral contents like lime stones, etc., or other soil imperfections.
One of the excellent and hands free things with soil bag gardening is, there aren’t any weeds or other pest in the bags. For a new Gardner this is perfect and that’s why this method just might be perfect to get involved with gardening on small scale, even though you can apply Soil Bag Garden on a much bigger level.
You will want to make sure that your topsoil has natural or organic fertilizer for plant growth. Peat moss is a great way to help retain moisture.
Setting up a soil bag garden couldn’t be easier:
1. Buy a dozen bags of topsoil. You can get these for a couple dollars a bag at any Home Depot or Lowes etc.
2. Place them in your garden, even on top of weeds or you can even use them in confined spaces such as on a patio or balcony as well. (Just food for      thought).
3. Cut a few drainage slits in the bottom.
4. Cut out a rectangle hole in the top.
5. Plant seeds and/or seedlings in soil.
No hoeing, no weeding, no leavening the soil with peat moss. Just plant, water, grow.
  • Tip #2 How to Encourage Plant Growth from Herbs (and other veggies):
Pinch off (remove) the upper portions of your herb plant stems off to encourage new leaf growth. Herbs have a natural instinct to stay alive and multiply, so when they are pinched, they send a signal to the dormant leaf buds to grow. It’s strange how this works, but it’s true for most plants. This works wonders with mint, oregano and you can even pinch off Rosemary and add a little rooting compound (see tip # 3 and regrow a new plant from the cutting). This tip also works on onions. However, with onions you only need to bend the greens stems and not actually pinch them off.
  • Tip #3 Chemical Free Rooting Compound:
If you’re into grafting or making cuttings from other plants like tomatoes, it might be handy to use a natural rooting compound. Here is what I use that is chemical free and you make it from willow trees:
  • 15 to 20 thin twigs (any variety of willow tree)
  • 1 gallon of water
Directions: Place the twigs in a bucket then top with water, cover with lid. Let this sit for at least 24 hours then strain out the twigs.
To Use: Place cuttings in the water solution a day before potting.
Storage: Can be refrigerated for up to one month.
  • Tip #4 Trench Planting:
Do you want to get strong tomatoes and peppers stems so that your plants will produce an abundance of fruit? Then try this method. Plant Tomatoes (and yes Green Peppers too) on their side when transplanting. Doing so will make them develop stronger root systems. This is called “Trench Planting” and as I mentioned, it also works great on peppers as well.
1. Depending on the length of your plants dig a trench. Make sure you dig it about 2 inches deeper than the size of the root ball of the plant.
2. Lay the plants on their sides in the trench. I add some crushed (preferably) powder egg shells and some organic fertilizer in the trench. Cover the entire plant dirt leaving only about 2 inches above ground.
3. Bury the plant up to where its last leaves are. Turn the neck of the tomato upwards or prop up with a stick.
  • Tip # 5 Ollas:
Here is a tip for those living in hot and dry climates. Bury plastic milk jugs, plastic water bottles, etc that have holes in the bottom and fill with water for an easy irrigation method. Of course I recommend that your plastic containers are Bisphenol A (BPA) free.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your garden’s water usage this summer (and low maintenance watering) you might even considered trying the Ollas which are buried clay pot irrigation. Make sure to keep the mouth level with (or just above) the soil. By burying the clay pots (or the plastic bottles) you are ensuring that watered is delivered more efficiently at root level rather than above the soil surface, no need for water to travel down to reach the roots of your plants. This method can be used in container gardening as well, you’ll just need to use smaller clay pots or plastic bottles that will fit inside the containers or planter boxes leaving enough room for the plants to thrive. For Ollas use pots that are unglazed.
Tip: To test whether a pot will work or not, fill it with water and watch if the surface becomes damp. If it does, it’s porous enough.
These are my quick 5 tips of the week. If you do try them or have tried them I would sure love to hear from you in the comments sections. Email me directly at myheirloomseeds@gmail.com and I would love to share your tip(s) with the readers and of course give you credit for them as well. If I use your tip I will also send you some Heirloom Seeds.
Until then, Keep it Growing!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

One Billion Stars, 30,000 Light Years, And Petabytes Of Data

A mission by the European Space Agency to measure and map the Milky Way promises to give astronomers a precise, detailed, and three-dimensional view of our galaxy. The five-year project will generate more than a petabyte of data on the makeup, position, motion, and other characteristics of a billion stars.

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched its data-collecting satellite—equipped with two telescopes, photon detectors, video processing unit, Sun shield, and other instruments—on December 19. In early January, the satellite, called Gaia, arrived at a point in space 1.5 million kilometers from Earth known as “L2,” from which it will carry out its surveillance of the Galaxy.

Gaia will measure the spectra and light intensity of stars and determine their velocity using distances and motions. It will look for planets (by detecting “tiny wobbles” in a host star’s position), exploding stars, failed stars known as brown dwarfs, asteroids, comets, and “Planet X,” a hypothetical tenth planet in our solar system.

In doing so, ESA’s satellite will generate huge volumes of data. “It will single handedly increase the data we possess about where stars are located in space by thousands of times compared to all previous such measurements in history,” writes the Boston Globe.

The Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, a group of more than 400 scientists at institutions across Europe, will use the data to study the solar system, galactic astronomy, cosmology, and more. “The data processing ground segment is a fundamental element of the mission,” according to ESA.

The astrometry data collected by Gaia will augment scientific observations made by powerful ground-based telescopes. The University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy recently reported that new evidence shows that older stars are in the inner regions of the Milky Way and younger stars in the outer regions, lending support to theories that “our galaxy grew from the inside-out.”

The Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, INAF), with the support of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is using Oracle ORCL +0.5% Database and Oracle EnterpriseManager to support this research. INAF is responsible for managing the astronomical data generated by the satellite, which will be stored at the Italian Data Processing Center.

How much data are we talking about? The mission is expected to perform 100 billion elementary observations, resulting in a petabyte (a thousand terabytes) of data.

INAF and ALTEC—which supplies engineering and logistic services to the International Space Station and operates the Italian Data Processing Center—have developed a technology infrastructure based on three instances of Oracle Database (for development, production and archiving) for the mission. INAF is using Oracle Advanced Compression to squeeze all that data to manageable sizes and to lower costs and shorten backup times.

“Our activity within the Gaia mission will provide a huge volume of information, a very precious heritage of astronomical data that will have to be stored for the whole 21st century and beyond,” said Roberto Morbidelli (INAF), Scientific Operation Manager at the Italian Data Processing Center.

Xavier Verhaeghe, Vice President of Technology and Big Data with Oracle EMEA, said the INAF’s choice of Oracle’s platform will demonstrate the feasibility of managing petabytes of data. That’s an important proof point as more organizations move in the direction of such massive data stores.

Even with the vast scope of this mission—mapping a billion stars over five years—Gaia is only scratching the surface of what’s out there. The Milky Way contains more than 100 billion stars.

Gaia stands for Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics, reflecting a design decision early in the project to use a single wave-measuring interferometer. As it turns out, ESA didn’t actually use that technique, but the name stuck.

The satellite will record the position, brightness, and color of every “celestial object” within view. In fact, it will measure them repeatedly. That way, astronomers will be able to calculate the distance, speed, and direction of motion of the objects and chart variations in their brightness.

You may need to get out a physics textbook to fully grasp other aspects of the mission. Gaia will allow for the testing of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the space-time continuum, and gravitational waves, according to ESA.

The mission will result in a 3D map of the Milky Way that plots stars to a distance of 30,000 light years. An earlier star-mapping ESA mission called Hipparcos—launched in 1989 and concluded a few years later—recorded about 118,000 stars at distances of 300 light years.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The EMP Threat: All It Would Take Is A Couple Of Explosions To Send America Back To The 1800s

EMP ThreatOur entire way of life can be ended in a single day. And it wouldn’t even take a nuclear war to do it. All it would take for a rogue nation or terror organization to bring us to our knees is the explosion of a couple well-placed nuclear devices high up in our atmosphere. The resulting electromagnetic pulses would fry electronics from coast to coast. Of course this could also be accomplished without any attack. Scientists tell us that massive solar storms have hit our planet before, and that it is inevitable that there will be more in the future. As you will read about below, the most recent example of this was “the Carrington Event” in 1859. If a similar burst from the sun hit us today, experts tell us that life in America could suddenly resemble life in the 1800s, and the economic damage caused could potentially be in the trillions of dollars. This is one of the greatest potential threats that we are facing as a nation, and yet Barack Obama has essentially done nothing to get us prepared.

The technology necessary to conduct such an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States has become much more accessible in recent years. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, even rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran either already have or will soon have the capability to hurt us in this way…

Rogue nations such as North Korea (and possibly Iran) will soon match Russia and China and have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as Scuds that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space-launch vehicles able to loft low-earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs.

If a successful, large scale EMP attack ever did take place, it would be a catastrophe beyond anything that the United States has ever seen before. The EMP Commission, which was established by Congress, says that it is likely that most of us would end up dead

What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.

In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.

If you are a terrorist, a dictator or a fanatic that is looking for a “killshot” for the United States, those kinds of numbers would certainly get your attention.

And it was recently reported by WND that the Iranian military has already been playing around with such a scenario…

Peter Vincent Pry, who is executive director of a congressional advisory group called the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, raised the alarm as the agreement is about to be finalized.

He said U.S. military officials have confirmed such an Iranian plan.

“Iranian military documents describe such a scenario – including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States,” Pry wrote in a recent column in Israel’s main online media network, Aruz Sheva.

“Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell of Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom,” he said.

Very chilling stuff.

And of course there are many, many others out there that would love to see the U.S. taken down other than just the Iranians.

Meanwhile, our power grid is far more vulnerable than most Americans would dare to imagine.

In previous articles, I discussed a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report which stated the following…

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

Are you starting to get the picture?

Our entire way of life depends upon electricity. If you take away that electricity, our society is transformed literally overnight.

A successful EMP would be an utter nightmare for this nation. Just consider what U.S. Representative Scott Perry had to say about a potential attack last year

“The consequences of such an attack could be catastrophic; all electronics, power systems, and information systems could be shut down,” Rep. Scott Perry said in prepared remarks during an EMP hearing in May held by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. “This could then cascade into interdependent infrastructures such as water, gas, and telecommunications. While we understand this is an extreme case, we must always be prepared in case a rogue state decides to utilize this technology.”

In essence, suddenly nothing would work and just about everything that we take for granted would suddenly be gone.

In a previous article, I spelled out some of the implications of such an event…

-There would be no heat for your home.
-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.
-Your computer would not work.
-There would be no Internet.
-Your phones would not work.
-There would be no television.
-There would be no radio.
-ATM machines would be shut down.
-There would be no banking.
-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.
-Without electricity, most gas stations would not be functioning.
-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.
-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.
-Hospitals would not be able to function normally.
-You would quickly start running out of medicine.
-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.

And as I mentioned above, all of this can happen even without an attack.

A direct hit from a major solar storm can cause the exact same thing.

In fact, NASA says that there is a 12 percent chance that such a storm will hit us during the next ten years…

NASA is warning that there’s a 12 percent chance an extreme solar storm will hit Earth in the next decade, sending out massive shock waves that would knock out grids across the world.

The economic impact of this doomsday scenario could exceed $2 trillion — or 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

In recent years, we have been really lucky.

There was a close call in 2012 and another one in 2013.

The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book that I have co-authored with Barbara Fix that will soon be published entitled “Get Prepared Now”…

Most people have absolutely no idea that the Earth barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in 2012 and in 2013. And earlier in 2014 there was another huge solar storm which would have caused tremendous damage if it had been directed at our planet. If any of those storms would have directly hit us, the result would have been catastrophic. Electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. In essence, life as we know it would have ceased to exist – at least for a time. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it is inevitable that it will happen again. The most famous one happened in 1859, and was known as the Carrington Event. But other than the telegraph, humanity had very little dependence on technology at the time. If another Carrington Event happened today, it would be a complete and utter nightmare. A study by Lloyd’s of London has concluded that it would have taken a $2,600,000,000,000 chunk out of the global economy, and it would take up to a decade to repair the damage. Unfortunately, scientists insist that it is going to happen at some point. The only question is when.

So keep an eye on the sun.

The giant ball of fire that we revolve around has started to behave very erratically, and it has the power to end our way of life at any time.

In fact, scientists tell us that we are about to get hit with a “glancing blow” on April 7th…

A filament of magnetism stretching halfway across the sun erupted during the late hours of April 4th (22:00-23:00 UT). The eruption split the sun’s atmosphere, hurling a CME into space and creating a “canyon of fire,” shown in a movie recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory: The glowing walls of the canyon trace the original channel where the filament was suspended by magnetic forces above the sun’s surface. From end to end, the structure stretches more than 300,000 km–a real Grand Canyon.

Fragments of the exploding filament formed the core of a CME that raced away from the sun at approximately 900 km/s (2 million mph): image. Most of the CME will miss Earth, but not all. The cloud is expected to deliver a a glancing blow to our planet’s magnetic field could on April 7th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

The event of April 7th is not going to cause us major problems. But someday there will be a solar storm that will.

Personally, I cannot even imagine what life would be like without electricity.

Because we have become so deeply dependent on technology, most of us would have absolutely no idea how to live without it.

An electromagnetic pulse attack would be one of the fastest ways to cripple America and end the dominance of the United States in world affairs. And in this day and age, there are hundreds of millions of people around the planet that would love to see that happen.

So to not take steps to protect our power grid from such an attack is very foolish. But that is precisely what Barack Obama (and presidents before him) have chosen to do. We have technology which would mitigate the damage from an electromagnetic pulse, but rather than spend the money Obama has decided to just hope that it will never happen.

Up to this point, we have been fortunate.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

HSBC WARNS: The world economy faces a 'titanic problem'

HSBC chief economist Stephen King is already thinking about the next recession.
In a note to clients Wednesday, he warns: "The world economy is like an ocean liner without lifeboats. If another recession hits, it could be a truly titanic struggle for policymakers."
Here's King:
Whereas previous recoveries have enabled monetary and fiscal policymakers to replenish their ammunition, this recovery — both in the US and elsewhere — has been distinguished by a persistent munitions shortage. This is a major problem. In all recessions since the 1970s, the US Fed funds rate has fallen by a minimum of 5 percentage points. That kind of traditional stimulus is now completely ruled out."
King notes that this far into the recovery, there's a lack of "traditional policy ammunition." For instance, Treasury yields have not risen, the budget deficit is not falling, and welfare payments are still on the rise.
As for what might trigger the next recession, King highlighted these four things:
  • Wage growth will hurt corporate earnings and reduce the share of corporate profit contributing to US gross domestic product (it also doesn't help that worker productivity is low). In turn, households and businesses will lose confidence in the economy, and the "equity bubble" will burst with collapsing stock prices.

  • Non-bank financial systems such as insurance companies and pension funds will increasingly not be able to meet future obligations. This will cause a huge demand for liquid assets, forcing people to rush to sell despite no matching demand, triggering a recession.

  • Forces beyond the Federal Reserve's control, including the possibility that China's economy and its currency could collapse. Weak commodity prices could also cause collapses in several emerging markets, as could continued strength in the US dollar.

  • The Fed could cause the next recession by raising interest rates too soon, repeating the mistakes of the European Central Bank in 2011 and the Bank of Japan in 2000.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes...another great job by our feds!

Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down.  Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28.
While the exchange has struggled since its creation, it is not for lack of funding. Since 2011 Hawaii has received a total of $205,342,270 in federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, HHS provided nearly $4.5 billion to Hawaii and other state exchanges, with little federal oversight and virtually no strings attached.
Despite this generous funding, the exchange has underperformed from day one. In its first year, Hawaii enrolled only 8,592 individuals – meaning it spent almost $23,899 on its website for each individual enrolled. Currently over 37,000 individuals are enrolled in Hawaii’s exchange - well below the estimated 70,000 enrollees that is required to make the website financially viable. Unfortunately, taxpayers will have to hand out an additional $30 million so that Hawaii can migrate to the federal system.
This is not the first time that a state exchange has failed, and taken millions of dollars in federal funds down with it. Earlier this year, Oregon’s state exchange was officially abolished at an estimated cost of $41 million. Cover Oregon, as it used to be known received $305 million in funds from HHS but failed to produce a workable website months after the 2013 November deadline. The debacle has promoted numerous federal agencies and organizations to investigate allegations of inappropriate political interference from then Governor Kitzhaber’s 2014 reelection campaign.
Hawaii now joins Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico, and Nevada as cautionary tales in government central planning. With so many failed state exchanges, questions need to be asked about the haphazard allocation of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds and the complete lack of oversight. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

10 Weeds That Heal: And They’re Right In Your Backyard

This might come as a surprise, but many of you just might have a medicine cabinet right in your own backyard and you aren’t even aware of it. Yes, that is correct. As a Certified Master Herbalist I wanted to share with you some basic “weeds” that are known to have a profound impact on you or someone that you love health. Okay here we go!

Purslane– Is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Purslane is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans, vegetarians, and other people who do not or cannot eat fish. In fact, purslane is said to be the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids among cultivated green leafy vegetables. However, some wild-growing greens, such as molokhia and stamnagathi, have been reported to contain omega-3 fatty acids in amounts comparable to those found in purslane.
 How to reap the health benefits of summer purslane
Purslane starts to lose its nutritional qualities immediately after harvest. Therefore, the best way to maximize the health benefits of purslane is to grow your purslane and harvest it as needed. If you don’t have a big garden or if you fear that planting purslane will take over your entire vegetable garden (after all, purslane is a weed), consider growing purslane indoors as a microgreen. All you need is an empty container, some potting soil, organic purslane seed, and a sunny window sill. Simply sow the seeds, keep the soil moist (but avoid over-watering), and watch your micro-purslane grow!
DandelionsDandelions– Are rich in potassium which is often lost through excess urination. Dandelions are exceptionally high in vitamin A, vitamin, C and iron with more iron and calcium than spinach.
Almost all the parts of dandelion herb are  in various traditional as well in modern medicine. The principle compounds in the herb have laxative and diuretic functions. The plant parts have been used as herbal remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints. The herb is also a good tonic, appetite stimulant and is a good remedy for dyspeptic complaints. The inside surface of the flower stems used as a smoothing agent for burns and stings (for example in stinging nettle allergy).
Here are some serving tips:
* Young tender shoots, raw or blanched, used in salads and sandwiches either alone or in combination with other greens like lettuce, kale, cabbage, chives, etc.
* Fresh greens may also used in soups, stews, juices, and as cooked vegetable.
* Dried leaves as well as flower parts used to make tonic drinks and herbal dandelion teas.
* Dandelion flowers used in the preparation of wines, schnapps, pancakes; and are favored in Arab baking.
* Lightly roasted and grounded roots used to make wonderfully flavorful dandelion coffee.
ChickweedChickweed-Is rich in nutrients that nourish the lymph and glandular systems. Chickweed is best known for it’s ability to cool inflammation and speed healing for internal or external flare-ups. Chickweed tea is an old remedy for obesity. Herbalists like myself drink teas of fresh chickweed as one of the classic spring tonics to cleanse the blood. Chickweed poultices are useful for cooling and soothing minor burns, skin irritations, and rashes particularly when associated with dryness and itching. Chickweed is taken by mouth to treat stomach problems, intestinal complaints such as constipation, disorders of the blood, arthritis, lung diseases including asthma, kidney disorders, inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, rabies, and scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is also used to relieve extreme exhaustion. Chickweed is applied on the skin relieve various skin conditions such as skin wounds, ulcers, burns, arthritis pain and symptoms of eczema.
How to Enjoy Chickweed
Chickweed leaves can be steamed or added raw to salads. You can also make a tea from the leaves by steeping them in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes.
RosemaryRosemary-Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to it carnosic acid.
Health Benefits of Rosemary:
The wonderful smell of rosemary is often associated with good food and great times, but it could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks.
Rosemary is used for digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and reducing age-related memory loss. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. So, the next time you enhance the flavor of some special dish with rosemary, congratulate yourself for a wise as well as delicious choice. Some women use rosemary for increasing menstrual flow. If you’re pregnant please take care with consuming or eating Rosemary because it is also know to cause miscarriages.
Rosemary is used topically (applied to the skin) for preventing and treating baldness; and treating circulation problems, toothache, a skin condition called eczema, and joint or muscle pain such as myalgia, sciatica, and intercostal neuralgia. It is also used for wound healing, in bath therapy (balneotherapy), and as an insect repellent.
Milk Weed-Milkweed is useful for kidney problems, dropsy, scrofula, conditions of the bladder, water retention, asthma, stomach ailments, and gallstones, female disorders, arthritis, and bronchitis. It causes increase in perspiration, thus reducing fever. Some Native Americans rubbed the (latex) juice on warts, moles, ringworms; others drank an infusion of the rootstock to produce temporary sterility or as a laxative. A folk cancer remedy. Some milkweed species are highly poisonous.
White Clover
White Clover– has useful compounds to treat bronchitis & respiratorydisorders. Herbalists revere red clover for several purported health benefits, including detoxification, decongestion and reducing inflammation. Red clover is also considered a rich source of isoflavones, an antioxidant associated in some studies with combating certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. The isoflavones in red clover have also been found beneficial in reducing bone loss and menopausal symptoms in healthy women. White clover has not been found to possess the same constituents or health benefits. Remember that no herbs have been FDA-approved for medical use and you should always consult with your doctor before taking red clover tea for any health-related purpose. All clovers, including white, possess some amount of vitamins A, E, C, B-2, and B-3, calcium, chromium, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and silicium. Among other things, clover is a blood purifier, is antispasmodic, and an expectorant. The tea is good for asthma and bronchitis.
For medicinal wash or internal use of Clover:
Steep tea (This can be any part of the clover plant.) in water for 30 minutes, then take 1-2 oz. frequently or 4-6 cups daily.
Nettles– Are useful in arthritis, gout, asthma, hay fever, and Alzheimer’s disease and soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Patients with Lupus and other auto-immune disorders suffering from joint pain experience relief from drinking a cup of nettle tea or eating stewed nettle leaves daily. Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver. Urinary tract support. A great herb for treating bladder and urinary tract function. Nettle aids in digestive issues as well. Nettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, excess gas, nausea, colitis and Celiac disease.
LavenderLavender-Has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Both the flowers and the leaves of the lavender plant are used in herbal medicine, usually in the form of an oil or as a tea. The compound linalool, found in lavender oil, is known to have an anti-anxiety, calming effect. Lavender oil is often used as a relaxant during massages, added to lotions for babies, children and adults, and used in soap. Lavender has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) attributes.
Lavender health benefits are many: Lavender Reduces anxiety and emotional stress, heals burns and wounds, improves sleep, restores skin complexion and reduces acne, slows aging with powerful antioxidants, improves eczema and psoriasis, and alleviates headaches.
Preparation Methods & Dosage: Lavender tea can be made from the fresh or dried flowers. Lavender essential oil should only be used externally, and can be used in massage oils, baths and aroma lamps.
Lavender Side Effects: The volatile oils in lavender can be very hard on the liver and kidneys of cats and dogs so no internal use of the herb is suggested for our animal friends.
BurdockBurdock-May reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Besides its culinary uses, burdock root has long been praised for its healing properties. The rest of this article is dedicated to shedding light on the numerous nutritional and health benefits of burdock root (or gobo, as the Japanese call it). Burdock root contains insulin, a type of beneficial fiber with numerous positive health effects. Most of these health benefits are linked to the ability of insulin fiber to promote the growth of bifidobacteria in the large intestine. Bifidobacteria are health promoting microbes that are naturally present in the gut. These bacteria have been found to destroy harmful bacteria in the intestines, promote easy bowel movement, and improve the immune system. Some studies also suggest that bifidobacteria may be able to reduce the levels of certain colonic enzymes that convert pro-carcinogenic molecules into carcinogens (cancer-causing molecules).
Preparation Methods:
You can add it to soups and saute it in a stir fry with carrots and sesame seeds, yum! You can also throw it in some coleslaw, or even just add it to your normal everyday salads. Burdock can also be juiced for a delicious and refreshing healing beverage. I have also discovered that traditional Chinese medicine also has used burdock synergistic-ally with other herbs to treat cold symptoms and sore throats.

Sow Thistle-is useful for treating inflammation and digestive upsets. Nutritional info about sow thistles. Sow thistle leaves are said to be a good source of vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Young sow thistle leaves are wonderful in salad, adding substance and depth to the flavor of other greens. They have a slight bitter edge (just like some lettuces do), but they’re less bitter than dandelion leaves. The flowers are also delicious in salads.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bountiful City Emergency Preparedness Council Presents a New Opportunity: Protecting Our Homes from Urban Wildfire - a Preparedness Seminar Tuesday May 19th, 2015, 7-8 pm at South Davis Junior High School

Bountiful City Emergency Preparedness Council Presents a New Opportunity:

Protecting Our Homes from Urban Wildfire - a Preparedness Seminar
Tuesday May 19th, 2015, 7-8 pm at South Davis Junior High School

The wildfire danger in our community is expected to be very high this year and a wildfire could result in hundreds of homes lost and billions of dollars of property damage.  The South Davis Metro Fire Agency and Utah Division of Natural Resources are holding a community meeting for landowners whose property borders wooded areas.  The focus of this meeting is to present the fire danger that we are facing this summer, and what we can do to prepare defensible areas around our homes while maintaining a natural atmosphere in our landscaping.  We will also discussing what the community can do to support homeowners who desire to reduce the amount of combustibles bordering their properties.

Although the homes at highest risk are the ones that are near the interface with the hillsides or gullies any home near a wooded area is at risk of wildfire.  By looking at the satellite views available from sources like Google Earth you can see that every district in Bountiful has some homes with wooded areas nearby that could benefit from the wildfire mitigation efforts.

If you would like to help reduce the risk of wildfire in your neighborhood and district we could use your help in encouraging attendance at this important meeting.  We have attached flyers that can be used to let people know about this event.  Some districts will be hanging up the flyers in church buildings and announcing the meeting in church newsletters and flyers.  Others districts will be emailing it to the residents of their district.  

Thank you for your help in publicizing this important preparedness meeting.

The Bountiful City Emergency Preparedness Council

Friday, May 8, 2015

Greece introduces cashpoint tax in desperate bid to raise revenue and stop run on banks as country teeters on brink of bankruptcy

  • Greek ministers expect to raise up to €180 million from the new surcharge 
  • They hope it will also deter savers pulling billions out of struggling banks 
  • Charge of €1 will apply to all ATM withdrawals and transfers over €1,000
  • But those paying money in to their bank accounts will not be affected 
Greece has revealed it is to introduce a surcharge for all cashpoint withdrawals and financial transactions in a desperate attempt to prevent citizens withdrawing their money from the country's beleaguered banks.

Ministers hope the controversial move could raise as much as €180 million, which the Athens government hopes will help the country avoid defaulting on debts owed to international creditors.

As the Greek economy teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, millions of panicking citizens have completely cleared their accounts - pulling more than €28 billion out of banks and pushing the total cash revenue held in the country's financial institutions to a 10-year low.

New charges at the ATM: As the Greek economy teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, millions of panicking citizens have completely cleared their accounts - pulling more than €28 billion out of banks

The controversial introduction of mandatory cashpoint charges still requires approval by the European Central Bank but is expected to amount to €1 for every €1,000 transaction.

While the measure is unlikely to impact on day-to-day withdrawals, Greece hopes it will deter citizens clearing out their bank accounts.

Clarifying that the charge will not apply to money paid in to a bank account, a senior finance ministry official told The Times: 'The surcharge is just one of a grab-bag of measures we are considering if things get tough.'

The official added that Greece is also considering a ceiling on bank transfers over €1 million in what could fire the starting pistol for capital controls if Greece does go bust over the coming months.

The news comes as the EU upgraded its growth outlook for the eurozone on the back of cheaper oil and a weak currency - but a sudden worsening of Greece cast a pall over the brightening situation.

Greek worries: The Athens stock market dropped over 4 per cent today with almost €1billion of debt payments due to be paid to the International Monetary Fund in two tranches over the next week

The improved Spring Forecast report said the eurozone would avoid much feared deflation as the 19-country area claws its way back to levels last seen before the global financial crisis.

Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, is expected to grow by 1.9 per cent in 2015, above the EU average, helped by domestic demand and an improving labour market.

France's sluggish economy should expand by a much slower 1.1 percent but its budget deficit outlook has improved, making Paris less likely to face embarrassing penalties for breaking EU rules on public spending.

Even Italy and Portugal saw modest growth, while Ireland - which recently left an international bailout programme - had the fastest growing economy in the region.

Cyprus however is stuck in recession three years after its bailout and will not return to growth until next year, the Commission said.

But the gloomiest prognosis is for Greece, due to the drawn-out battle between the new leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the debt-hit nation's EU and IMF creditors.

With fears growing of a Greek exit form the euro, Greece's economy slumped severely in the first three months of the year.

Hard times: Greece is said to be considering a ceiling on bank transfers over €1 million in what could fire the starting pistol for capital controls if Greece does go bust over the coming months

The Commission accordingly slashed its overall 2015 growth outlook to 0.5 per cent, a huge tumble from its earlier estimate of 2.5 percent.

It predicted Greece would rebound strongly with 2.5 per cent growth in 2016.

'In light of the persistent uncertainty, a downward revision has been unavoidable' Moscovici told a news conference ahead of a meeting with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

The 'meagre' 2015 growth estimate is also on condition that Greece reaches a deal with its creditors by June on its bailout, added the EU's Commissioner for the euro, Valdis Dombrovskis.

Greece's debt, already the highest in the eurozone, would meanwhile soar to 180.2 percent of annual economic output this year, before falling slightly to 173.5 percent in 2016.

The Commission predicted that consumer prices will edge up by a minimal 0.1 percent in 2015, but then gain momentum to 1.5 percent in 2016, after the eurozone came out of deflation last month.

Deflation can be dangerous, risking a spiral of ever weaker demand, slowing the economy and pushing up unemployment.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Military eyeing former Cold War mountain bunker as ‘shield’ against EMP attack?

Experts warn 'EMP' attack could cripple infrastructure
New concerns are being raised that the nation's electrical grid and critical infrastructure are increasingly vulnerable to a catastrophic foreign attack -- amid speculation over whether officials are eyeing a former Cold War bunker, inside a Colorado mountain, as a "shield" against such a strike. 
North American Aerospace Defense Command is looking for ways to protect itself in the event of a massive electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack -- a deliberate burst of energy that could disrupt the electrical grid and cripple NORAD's ability to defend the nation. 
"What it could do, these various threats, is black out the U.S. electric grid for a protracted period of months or years," warned Peter Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force, a bipartisan congressional commission. "Nine out of ten Americans could die from starvation, disease and societal collapse, if the blackout lasted a year." 
Pry said a $700 million contract to upgrade electronics inside Colorado's Cheyenne Mountain facility may provide a clue about just how worried the military is about the threat. 
The Air Force moved out of Cheyenne Mountain, which was built to survive a nuclear attack, in 2006, establishing its NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. But that facility, inside the mountain, could offer protection against a so-called EMP attack. 
The head of NORAD recently suggested, at an April 7 Pentagon press conference, that Cheyenne may still be needed. 
"My primary concern was, are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there?" Adm. William Gortney told reporters. "I'm not at liberty to discuss who's moving in there, but we do have that capability to be there." 
NORAD spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis pushed back on the idea that NORAD is relocating its headquarters, but acknowledged its advantages in the case of an EMP attack. And he did say Cheyenne has served as an alternate command center since 2006.   
"We are not moving back to the mountain," Davis told Fox News. "The mountain's ability to provide shield against EMP is certainly a valuable feature, and that is one reason we maintain the ability to return there quickly if needed -- but we aren't 'moving back' per se." 
An electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon being detonated in space would in essence fry the nation's electrical grid. 
Pry warned that the U.S. is vulnerable to a missile fired into space from a southerly route. Another threat: a naturally occurring geomagnetic storm like the solar superstorm that narrowly missed the Earth in 2012, according to NASA. 
"The grid is utterly unprotected from an EMP attack. It's not adequately protected from cyber or physical sabotage," Pry said in an interview with Fox News. "It's why North Korea and Iran want the bomb, have the bomb. North Korea has actually practiced this against the United States." 
Pry, whose congressional EMP commission issued its last unclassified report in 2008, says that the Obama administration has not followed basic recommendations from the bipartisan task force which outlined how the nation's electrical grid could be hardened and protected from this kind of attack -- for $2 billion. 
"Two billion dollars is what we give in foreign aid to Pakistan," Pry said. "If we suspended that for one year and put it toward hardening the electrical grid, we could protect the American people from this threat." 
The House of Representatives unanimously passed several pieces of legislation to protect the nation's power grid -- the GRID Act, the Shield Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act -- but they died in the Senate. Some states are beginning to act on their own despite the protest of private power companies. 
The warning comes as other senior national security experts have said they are worried about a potential cyberattack targeting the nation's key infrastructure. 
Former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander outlined the threat at the Aspen Institute's National Security Forum Preview, "Cyber Nightmare: Is the Worst Yet to Come?" 
"I am not confident that we have the wherewithal, with today's cyber capabilities and our sharing relationships, to actually defend the power and the other sectors like we should," Alexander said on April 29, when discussing a possible 'nuclear Pearl Harbor.' 
"Those are things that most concern me right now."