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The Palins’ un-American activities

Imagine if the Obamas had hooked up with a violently anti-American group in league with the government of Iran.

By David Talbot

Oct. 7, 2008 |

“My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.”


Sarah and Todd Palin.

Sarah and Todd Palin.

This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right? Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama this week.

Only one problem. The quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti-American who founded the Alaska Independence Party. Inconveniently for Palin, that’s the very same secessionist party that her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and that she sent a shout-out to as Alaska governor earlier this year. (“Keep up the good work,” Palin told AIP members. “And God bless you.”)


AIP chairwoman Lynette Clark told me recently that Sarah Palin is her kind of gal. “She’s Alaskan to the bone … she sounds just like Joe Vogler.”

So who are these America-haters that the Palins are pallin’ around with?

Before his strange murder in 1993, party founder Vogler preached armed insurrection against the United States of America. 


Read the whole story here.


October 31, 2008 Posted by | **MAIN**, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

McCain and The Keating Five

Faithful reader, how many of you under 30 (it’s not fair if we let the older people play, sorry..lol) have ever heard about The Keating Five? Hint..they was linked to the collapse of one major savings and loan- Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. 

Ok..nobody, nobody at all? Well, that’s not surprising..when the US savings and loan crisis was taking place I was still playing with barbie dolls and listening to  Milli Vanilli  ( you were too so don’t laugh didn’t you just love the braids..lol). 

Ok, so you don’t know about it learn more here and below 

The Keating Five scandal probably left the biggest blemish on McCain’s career. And McCain obviously shies away from speaking about his role in the entire affair. Wouldn’t you? If you caused or were accused sorry, of causing thousands of people to lose their life savings would you want to shout it from the rooftops or would you want to crawl under a rock and die? I hope you would chose the latter but anway over the years McCain has rebuilt his reputation and standing in the Senate and the community, character attacks on him have seldom succeeded since he’s now seen as a straight shooter.

But in the next few days you will start to see some character assassination attempts on Barack Obama, by members of McCain’s camp. Some of the attacks might even come directly from John McCain, betcha he goes for the jugular on Tuesday at the presidental debate? But believe me you’re going to hear and read about Obama’s link to ‘terrorists‘. His connection to corrupt Chicago business man Tony Rezko and of course, of course Rev.Wright.

Don’t expect a gentleman’s campaign over the next few days. There will be no October surprises but there will be lots and lots of mud and stone throwing.

Instead, if I were them I would throw away the Republican play book and try to follow the old proverb people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones because the stuff that might be thrown back, by the Obama team and a press core trying to appear fair, just might demolish my entire house.

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Keating Firm Raises $50K for McCain

Here’s something that slipped under the radar yesterday.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks money in elections, employees of a law firm founded by Charles Keating Jr. have bundled more than $50,000 in contributions to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign.

Charles Keating

Charles Keating

In amounts ranging from $200 to $2,300, about 30 partners and employees of the legal firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp, as well as their family members, have contributed $50,200 to McCain’s 2008 campaign. All but two of the contributions came in July, and all but three of those July donations were logged on July 31, suggesting they were delivered at the same time. As with any bundle of campaign contributions, it’s difficult to determine which donor was the “bundler,” the person who solicited the contributions on the campaign’s behalf. McCain’s online roster of bundlers, which purports to name any individual bundling $50,000 or more for the campaign, does not associate any of McCain’s major fund-raisers with the Keating firm.

McCain and Keating were forever linked by the “Keating Five” corruption scandal during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. McCain and four other lawmakers were accused of improperly interfering with federal banking regulators investigating Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Assn., which ultimately failed — costing the federal government and investors billions of dollars. Keating spent more than four years in prison as a result.

Read the whole story here.

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Al Franken: Where Rush Limbaugh’s Facts Come From


October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Wrong From the Beginning

Sen. Obama’s latest campaign video, “Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis,” features William Black, the former deputy director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, who attended a meeting, in April 1987, of McCain, four other senators and Black’s boss at the time, Edwin Gray.

The “Keating Five” scandal became the symbol of the collapse of the nation’s savings and loan industry and the ensuing $124 billion government bailout.

Black and Gray testified before the Senate Ethics Committee in 1990 that McCain, along with Sens. Dennis DeConcin (D-Ariz.), Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), John Glenn (D-Ohio) and Don Riegle (D-Mich.), pressured Gray to relax an investment regulation opposed by Charles Keating. The committee ruled that McCain exercised “poor judgment” for his role in the affair.

Black, now an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, told me that McCain has long opposed regulation of the financial markets.

“McCain has gotten this stuff wrong from the beginning,” Black said. “One his first acts as a member of the House was trying to stop the re-regulation of the thrift industry” by opposing efforts by regulators to increase capital reserves and reduce the amount of money thrifts could invest, as well as other revisions sought by regulators.

With the economy heading into recession, Obama is bringing up McCain’s unsavory ties to Keating in an attempt to focus the blame for the current financial crisis on the man who was in the eye of the last financial storm to plague the nation the nation–the S&L crisis.

It’s a strategy that could work.


October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palin Supporter To Black Sound Man: “Sit Down, Boy”

Sarah Palin’s frequent attacks on the media are now stoking so much outrage among her supporters that they’ve now taken to abusing reporters:

Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

Palin’s ugly attacks, her non-stop lying, and her glaring buffoonery and incompetence are all the media’s fault! It is pretty outrageous, this liberal media conspiracy to report accurately on what Palin says and does as she asks us to put her a heartbeat away from being steward of our troubled economy and controlling the most powerful military in human history.

Read the Whole Story here. 

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

CNN Truth Squad on Keating Economics

The verdict is in. CNN Truth Squad gives the stamp of approval on 

October 30, 2008 Posted by | **MAIN**, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palin Overstates Energy Experience

Palin’s Policies as Governor Reveal No Energy Expertise

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Vice President Dick Cheney is the chief caretaker of national security in the Bush administration. If Gov. Sarah Palin follows in his footsteps, she’ll be angling for energy.

In an early exchange with Sen. Joseph Biden during the vice presidential debate in St. Louis on Thursday, Palin called energy her “area of expertise.” She talked about her deep energy experience throughout the evening.

As governor, Palin said, she faced off with big oil, ultimately raising industry taxes in Alaska. She stated that a $40 billion natural gas pipeline was well underway, thanks to her leadership — referring to a plan to subsidize a Canadian company with a half-billion dollars to explore such a project. These decisions, Palin argued, would allow her to lead the United States to “energy independence” — important not only for the economy, but for national security.

A close examination of Palin’s energy background, however, reveals that the GOP vice presidential candidate has only a relatively short history of studying and working on this issue. Palin served as chairwoman of a state energy board, a position reserved for a private citizen, for 11 months. A year before running for governor, Palin joined a group of other Republicans in TV ads advocating an all-Alaska gas pipeline route, though she eventually didn’t support this in office. As governor, Palin made a series of distinctly populist energy decisions that yielded short-term political gains, rather than policies designed for the long-term benefit of Alaska.

Read the whole story here

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Abortion Catholics for Obama?

Coming on the heels of Doug Kmiec’s new book “Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Questions about Barack Obama,” Duquesne University School of Law dean Nick Cafardi has written an essay titled, “I’m Catholic, Staunchly Anti-Abortion, and Support Obama.”

“I believe that abortion is an unspeakable evil, yet I support Sen. Barack Obama, who is pro-choice,” he writes. “I do not support him because he is pro-choice, but in spite of it. Is that a proper moral choice for a committed Catholic? As one of the inaugural members of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on clergy sexual abuse, and as a canon lawyer, I answer with a resounding yes.”

Cafardi writes that anti-abortion activists “have lost the abortion battle — permanently. A vote for Sen. John McCain does not guarantee the end of abortion in America. Not even close.”

So why Obama? McCain and Obama agree on embryonic stem-cell research, he says, so that’s a wash.

“But what about an unjust war? In 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) said flatly that ‘reasons sufficient for unleashing a war against Iraq did not exist.’ McCain voted for it; Obama opposed it.

“What about torture? There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” according to Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated abuses in Iraq. Obama opposes the use of torture in all cases; McCain, himself a victim of torture, voted to allow the CIA to use so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” — a euphemism for torture.”



October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

McCain Aide’s Husband Headed Trade Group Lobbying on Bailout

It looks there’s another John McCain adviser with a personal background that doesn’t exactly jibe with the candidate’s recent effort to portray himself as a populist crusader for ordinary folks.

Last week in Green Bay, McCaindeclared: “At the center of the problem were the lobbyists, politicians, and bureaucrats who succeeded in persuading Congress and the administration to ignore the festering problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Of course, as Barack Obama has pointed out, McCain’s campaign is a virtual who’s who of former lobbyists for Fannie and Freddie.

But another McCain adviser has close personal ties to one of the industries that, like Fannie and Freddie, spent too long assuring the public that the housing market was in good health, and thereby forestalling efforts that might have protected homeowners and staved off a crisis.

Nancy Pfotenhauer, a senior economic adviser to McCain, has been all over the airwaves in recent days touting McCain’s decision to “suspend” his campaign over the bailout. But her husband, Kurt Pfotenhauer, worked until late last year as the top lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group that in recent years downplayed fears of a housing bubble, only to be proved spectacularly wrong.

Read more of the story here

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

I went to the McCain rally today


For happier reading, here is my Diary from when I saw Obama in June. Here

So yesterday, I found out that there was going to be a McCain/Palin rally about 20 minutes from my house. Seeing another opportunity to see politics in action, I decided to take the day off and go see the rally, and take a bunch of photos.  7.5 Hours, 1901 pictures, and an estimated 20,000 people later, I am back home reflecting on my day.

To  be brutally honest,  I was not going to vote for McCain anyway. I knew I was not going to be swayed by anyone, or anything today. However, I simply wanted to listen and learn why people support John McCain. Similar to when I saw John Edwards and Mitt Romney in New Hampshire last year, I kept my mouth closed and my ears open. In June, I saw Barack Obama, and there I asked more questions, and was more open. But today, I was going to be careful. I wanted my pictures, and I wanted to get a feel of the movement behind the McCain/Palin ticket.

Read whole story here.


October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greenspan Says McCain Tax Plan Needs Corresponding Budget Cuts

By Scott Lanman

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspansaid the country can’t afford $3.3 trillion of tax cuts proposed by Republican presidential nominee John McCain without corresponding spending reductions.

Greenspan, a lifelong Republican and longtime friend of McCain, said today on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” that “I’m not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money.”

McCain has said he would balance the cost of most of his tax cuts with budget reductions, while providing few details beyond eliminating earmarks and other pork-barrel spending, which have totaled about $171 billion since 2001. Democratic nominee Barack Obama is proposing fewer tax cuts and more ambitious spending programs.

Greenspan said he has “mixed feelings” about a second government economic-stimulus bill after the U.S. provided a $168 billion package in February. While such an action may increase the budget deficit at a time when spending on retirees’ medical benefits is about to cause “big” financial problems, it may also boost economic growth, he said.

Greenspan has said there’s at least a 50 percent chance the U.S. economy will slide into a recession.

“There is no infinite piggy bank here,” Greenspan said today. It’s “far more important” to use federal resources, if necessary, to shore up the financial system and end the credit crisis, as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did in taking over mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, averting a possible run on the system, Greenspan said.

Read the whole story here.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

McCain on FCS: Flip-flop or fib?

Has Sen. John McCain renounced his longtime antagonism toward the Army’s Future Combat Systems?

On Sept. 8, the Republican presidential candidate told a rally crowd in Lee’s Summit, Mo., about an Obama video message to a liberal advocacy group.

“He promised them he would, quote, ‘slow our development of Future Combat Systems,’” McCain said, according to wire reports. “This is not a time to slow our development of Future Combat Systems.”

Flashback to July, however, when his campaign furnished McCain’s economic plan to The Washington Post, declaring that “there are lots of procurements — Airborne Laser, [C-17] Globemaster, Future Combat System [sic] — that should be ended and the entire Pentagon budget should be scrubbed.”

In fact, McCain has long criticized the over-budget, behind-schedule FCS program. In 2005, he blasted the Army for allowing the program to balloon to $161 billion, and forced the service to rewrite the main FCS contract.

So where does McCain really stand? Some bloggers and analysts have suggested that he used the term “future combat systems” generically. Obama’s campaign maintains their candidate was speaking specifically about FCS, in which case McCain may be twisting his rival’s words.

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute called it deceitful.

Read the whole story here

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

McCain-Palin Crowd-Size Estimates Not Backed by Officials



By Lorraine Woellert and Jeff Bliss

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) — Senator John McCain has drawn some of the biggest crowds of his presidential campaign since adding Alaska Governor Sarah Palinto his ticket on Aug. 29. Now officials say they can’t substantiate the figures McCain’s aides are claiming.

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

In recent days, journalists attending the rallies have been raising questions about the crowd estimates with the campaign. In a story on Sept. 11 about Palin’s attraction for some Virginia women voters, Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign.

“The 23,000 figure was substantiated on the ground,” McCain spokesmanTucker Bounds said. “The campaign is willing to stand by the fact that it was our biggest crowd to date.”

“Since day one, this campaign has been consistent that we’re not going to win or lose based on crowd size but the substance of John McCain’s record,” Bounds said.

Read the whole story here. 

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Conservative Political Forum Sells Racist “Obama Waffles”


WASHINGTON — Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.

Values Voter Summit organizers cut off sales of Obama Waffles boxes on Saturday, saying they had not realized the boxes displayed “offensive material.” The summit and the exhibit hall where the boxes were sold had been open since Thursday afternoon.

The box was meant as political satire, said Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, two writers from Franklin, Tenn., who created the mix. They sold it for $10 a box from a rented booth at the summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council.

David Nammo, executive director of the lobbying group FRC Action, said summit organizers were told the boxes were a parody of Obama’s policy positions but had not examined them closely.

Republican Party stalwarts Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were among speakers at the forum, which officials said drew 2,100 activists from 44 states.

While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama’s politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.

Placing Obama in Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is a follower of Islam, though he is actually a Christian.

Follow link to see full article and video

October 30, 2008 Posted by | **MAIN**, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact Check: Did Obama vote 94 times for higher taxes?

“He said he won’t raise taxes for most people, but he’s voted 94 times in his short Senate career for tax increases and against tax cuts.”
-Sen. John McCain, at a campaign stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Friday Sept. 19, 2008


The facts:
The effort to convince voters that Sen. Barack Obama would support higher taxes is a central part of Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. McCain and the Republican National Committee have repeatedly cited 94 alleged votes by Obama to bolster their argument.

Factcheck.org, a non-partisan project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, pieced through records to determine just what these 94 votes were. Key findings:

-23 were against proposed tax cuts
-7 were “for measures that would have lowered taxes for many, while raising them on a relative few, either corporations or affluent individuals”
-11 were to increase taxes on people making more than $1 million a year, to help fund programs such as Head Start, school nutrition, or veterans’ health care
-53 were votes on budget resolutions or amendments that “could not have resulted by themselves in raising taxes,” though many “were clear statements of approval for increased taxes”
- The total includes multiple votes on the same measures

Annenberg says a close look at the record reveals that Obama has “voted consistently to restore higher tax rates on upper-income taxpayers but not on middle- or low-income workers.”

Verdict:MISLEADING! McCain’s summary ignores the fact that some of the votes were for measures to lower taxes for many Americans, while increasing them for a much smaller number of taxpayers. A nonpartisan examination also finds that the 94 total includes multiple votes on the same measures and budget votes that would not directly lead to higher taxes.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

All the Candidates’ Cars


When you have seven homes, that’s a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates’ cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here’s the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.

The Obama's family car

One vehicle in the McCain fleet has caused a small flap. United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger, an Obama backer, accused McCain this month of “flip-flopping” on who bought daughter Meghan’s foreign-made Toyota Prius. McCain said last year that he bought it, but then told a Detroit TV station on Sept. 7 that Meghan “bought it, I believe, herself.” (The McCain campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Obama’s lone vehicle also is a green machine, a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid. He bought it last year to replace the family’s Chrysler 300C, a Hemi-powered sedan. Obama ditched the 300C, once 50 Cent’s preferred ride, after taking heat for driving a guzzler while haranguing Detroit about building more fuel-efficient cars.


McCain’s personal ride, a 2004 Cadillac CTS, is no gas sipper, but it should make Detroit happy because it’s made by General Motors. “I’ve bought American literally all my life and I’m proud,” McCain said in the interview with Detroit’s WXYZ-TV. But the rest of his fleet is not all-American. There’s a 2005 Volkswagen convertible in the garage along with a 2001 Honda sedan. Otherwise, there’s a 2007 half-ton Ford pickup truck, which might come in handy on the Sedona ranch; a vintage 1960 Willys Jeep; a 2008 Jeep Wrangler; a 2000 Lincoln; and a 2001 GMC SUV. The McCains also own three 2000 NEV Gem electric vehicles, which are bubble-shaped cars popular in retirement communities.

Only the Cadillac is registered in the candidate’s name. Cindy McCain’s name is on 11 vehicles, though not the one she actually drives. That car, a Lexus, is registered to her family’s beer-distributor business and is outfitted with personalized plates that read MS BUD.


October 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Poll Madness: McCain Takes Lead Even As Democrats Out-Register Republicans?

This week’s mainstream coverage of the presidential horse-race has been dominated by a series of polls showing the McCain-Palin ticket with its first stable lead over Obama and Biden. Gallup’s tracking poll, USA Today and CBS News all show the Republicans with some kind of lead over the Democratic ticket. But, interestingly, all three polls were also conducted using a higher sampling of Republican voters than in July, raising a question of methodology.

In a year in which Democrats have a lead of 11 million registered voters over Republicans, and have been adding to that advantage through a robust field operation, are pollsters over-sampling Republicans?

Despite a raft of advantages in the electorate for Democrats, in September’s first Gallup tracking poll, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats were surveyed (including “leaners”) from Sept. 3-5, compared to a 10-point Democratic identification advantage two weeks ago. That partisan makeup of the polling pool resulted in a 5-point lead for McCain in Sept. 5 tracking poll. Meanwhile, the new CBS poll features a 6-point swing in partisan composition toward Republicans, which plays some role in the poll’s two-point lead for McCain. Finally, the latest USA Today poll, which claims a four-point edge for McCain, was arrived at after a 10-point swing in partisan makeup toward GOP respondents.

Some polling experts say the changing state of party affiliation in the field is slow to be reflected in polls themselves. Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg told the Huffington Post that “when it comes to registration and turnout, the polls often do a very bad job of taking those [factors] into account,” because newly registered voters aren’t in the voter files used by firms that survey public opinion. “You could make the argument they are under-representing new registrants,” she said, which would mean that the Democrats new edge would not be taken into account.

Read whole story here.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Ways to Learn More Without More Study

7 Ways to Learn More Without More Study

By Nancy Shute


The abundance of new research on how teenage brains work, aside from being cool for its own sake–teen brains are developing madly, pruning synapses and insulating neurons to build a lean computing machine–is fueling a new movement to help kids make the most of the brain they’ve got. Think of it as a user’s manual for a machine that’s still being wired.

One of the leaders in that movement is Wilkie “Bill” Wilson, a neuroscientist and director of DukeLEARN, a Duke University project to teach teenagers the practical applications of neuroscience. DukeLEARN’s curriculum for 9th-graders won’t be in the schools until 2009, but with the first homework of the fall already being stuffed into backpacks, I asked Bill for a sneak preview. He asked: “How would you like to learn more without having to study more?” Sign me up! Here’s how:


1. Get to bed and go to sleep. Sleep enables memory consolidation, which is psych-speak for saying that you remember stuff after you sleep on it. What’s more, overall performance, attention, and the ability to concentrate are damaged by lack of sleep. “So you’re hurt in two ways,” Wilson says. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep a night for optimum performance.


2. Start studying a few days in advance of a test. Memories are embedded better if the brain is exposed to information repeatedly. Cramming doesn’t work, because your brain doesn’t have enough time to embed and consolidate.


3. Feed your head. The brain is an energy hog, and it runs badly if it doesn’t get high-octane fuel. That means protein and complex carbs–eggs and wheat toast for breakfast, say, rather than sugary cereal and orange juice. The biggest mistake teens make, Wilson says, is to skip breakfast or to go for sugar, which raises blood sugar, followed by a quick crash.


4. Body exercise is brain exercise. Aerobic exercise really improves brain function, perhaps because it increases blood flow, or perhaps because it reduces stress and anxiety. Exercise also prompts growth of new brain neurons, at least in rats. Twenty minutes or so a day of activity that raises your heart rate will do it.


5. Learn now what you want to remember for the rest of your life. Teenage brains are much better at remembering things on a conscious level than the brains of young children or adults. Scientists aren’t sure why, but they know that human brains are primed to notice and remember what’s new, and teenagers are exposed to lots of new stuff. “You’re going to remember the first time you had sex more than the 33rd time,” Wilson says. Whatever the reason, the teenage years are the time to learn new languages and acquire other lifelong skills.


6. Harness the power of risk-taking. Adults are always harping on the downside of teenage risk-taking, and it’s true that teenagers are more apt than adults to get themselves in trouble with drinking, driving, and unsafe sex, to name the biggies. But the fact that the parts of the brain that drive people to try new, risky, and exciting things appear to be more developed in teenagers can be a huge plus. Pick appropriate challenges–difficult sports, a tough job, mastering a performance art, traveling overseas–and the teenage brain is uniquely primed to tackle them. (Click here to read what the 19-year-old Harris twins told me last week about their “do hard things” campaign.) Wilson says: “You have this power you’re given to go out and do it without fear.”


7. Learn what you love. Because emotional systems develop faster in teenager brains than do inhibitory systems, teenagers learn things they’re passionate about quickly and well. “Your brain gives you tools like attention on the project, focus,” Wilson says.


Wilson’s project is a work in progress; DukeLEARN will be testing whether teaching teenagers how their brains work will improve academic performance and lead them to take better care of their brains. But nobody says you can’t do your own experiment, starting right now.

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Lifestyle | , , , | Leave a comment

Luxury with zip in modern Bentley

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: The Bentley Continental GTC convertible that I tested did not have the standard-issue gas cap lurking under its filler flap.

No, my example of this British icon was a bit more upscale. It was fitted with the “Mulliner Alloy Fuel Filler Cap,” a $290 option.

According to David Reuter, Bentley’s spokesman in the North American colonies, the difference is the Mulliner model is graced with the Bentley logo (a winged B).

You may wonder why someone would spend an extra $290 for a B you can see only when you open the filler flap to put gas in the car. But, if you have to wonder, you cannot afford this particular $211,475 ragtop.

So, who can?

“Our median buyer has a net worth of a little over $3 million,” Reuter said. “And that doesn’t include real estate holdings, just liquid assets.”

That buyer is also predominantly male, typically in early middle age, Reuter adds. And he “has three or four other automobiles, like a Ferrari or another British car.”

That buyer is also pretty recession-proof, observes Joe Innaurato, general manager of ultra-luxury car sales at F.C. Kerbeck & Sons, in Palmyra, N.J.

Innaurato says Kerbeck’s new Bentley sales have been going “very, very well, in contrast to the regular auto industry, because people with money aren’t affected by this economy.” He adds that Kerbeck is selling Bentleys at a 150-a-year clip, and came in second in U.S. sales in July, behind the Beverly Hills franchise.

And what are these folks getting for these big Bentley bucks?

The answer is a lot more than they were before Volkswagen bought the brand a decade ago. The old, British-designed car had nothing to sell but high-quality materials and a mind-boggling amount of hand work. From a technological standpoint, the cars were antediluvian. Their pushrod V-8 was designed before the Earth’s tectonic plates assumed their present positions.

The folks who design Volkswagens and Audis changed that. The test car was powered by a techy, twin-turbocharged, 6-liter V-12 that developed 552 horsepower. This power was dispatched to all four wheels by a six-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system featuring a Torsen center differential. Three rear-drive models use an extensively modified, turbocharged version of the old V-8.

“It’s a real car now,” Innaurato said. “It’s very well-engineered and styled, and performs well.”

And it does perform. Despite the fact, it weighs a morbidly obese 5,478 pounds, the big droptop gets from 0 to 60 in a factory-claimed 4.8 seconds, then finishes up at 195 miles an hour. The big guy is also surprisingly light on its feet in the corners.

Read whole story here. 

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Lifestyle, Money | , , , | Leave a comment