Tourism Committee chair opposes financial burdens for Michigan outdoor enthusiastsState Rep. Holly Hughes today expressed her frustration with a recent proposal by the Michigan State Waterways Commission to require all kayaks, canoes and paddle boards to be registered with the state.Hughes, who chairs the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee said people should not be penalized for supporting Michigan’s tourism industry and enjoying the state’s natural resources.“The commission itself stated participation in paddle sports is increasing 7 percent each year in Michigan,” said Hughes, of Montague. “We should be encouraging people to continue that trend, not discouraging the momentum with unnecessary costs.”Though the commission claims the cost would be about $10 annually per watercraft, Hughes and others still have great concerns, especially for those who own many watercraft.“Even at a nominal cost, the fees could add up to hundreds of dollars annually for moms and dads who have kayaks or paddle boards for each member of their family,” she said. “Not to mention the burden on small businesses such as summer camps, rental companies and campgrounds.”Thus far, the commission’s proposal hasn’t gained any momentum, as no legislators have pursued the matter with legislation.### Categories: Hughes News 12Apr Hughes says proposed registration fees for kayaks, canoes will sink
In This Issue… * Risk assets healing is wiped out… * Euro and A$ lead currencies lower… * Gold can’t find a bid… * Chinese renminbi takes baby steps lower… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! A Full-On Risk Aversion Day… Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well… ding dong me, I forgot that I said I was going to write from home on Mondays, that is until I was ½ -way to work… UGH! Oh well, I’m here in the sauna, so let’s get to what’s on my mind today, no wait, you probably don’t want to know what’s on MY mind, but rather what’s going on in the world… So, here we go! On Friday, I left you with the thought that the risk assets, were attempting to heal from Thursday’s bloodletting… There was no U.S. data to swing the traders one way or the other, so, it appeared that the week would end with some healing in the risk assets… But, that appearance didn’t last long, and soon the small gains that had been booked were wiped out… But still, no major sell off like on Thursday, so at least the risk assets had that going for them! This morning, we have more selling going on… The currencies led by the euro and Aussie dollar (A$), are both down significantly, and Gold just can’t seem to find a bid these days. The S&P futures are down early this morning too… So, at this point of the day, it appears that we’ll see a down day, a day of risk aversion, and weaker values. We went into Friday, with the thought that 4 of the largest economies in the Eurozone, were going to send their leaders to a meeting in Rome to work on a plan that would be presented at the European Summit this coming weekend… Well, I don’t know if the Eurozone leaders took my suggestion of coming up with a blueprint on how they will address this debt debacle as a whole, and stop the putting out fires one at a time… I guess we won’t find that out until this next weekend… I sure hope they did, otherwise, I feel that the Eurozone and euro will be in for a world of hurt… In Germany, they did announce that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had agreed to underwrite the debt of Germany’s 16 states, which is a form of burden-sharing, and will be called “Deutschland Bonds”, which will give Germany two tiers of bonds… straight Gov’t. bonds, and these new “Deutschland Bonds”… So, what does that have to do with the Eurozone as a whole? Well… what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, right? So, if Merkel will agree to sharing debt burden within Germany, then why not for the Eurozone? Well… If I were Angela Merkel, I would be very concerned about joint debt sales in the 17-nation currency union, as long as budgets are set by the national governments… In fact, German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said it all, when he told reporters that, “as long as the national states make the decisions, they have to be liable. If you can spend money on my tab, you won’t be thrifty.” And doesn’t that make sense? Now switch gears, and come across the pond to the U.S. The U.S. Gov’t makes the budgets, and they spend our money… not theirs… which means they don’t have to be thrifty, right? But, apparently this just doesn’t occur or appear in the thought box above a trader’s head that what’s going on in the U.S. is more absurd than what’s going on in the Eurozone. Well… there are two reasons we get away with it folks… the first and biggest reason is the fact that the U.S. dollar is still the reserve currency of the world, and the second reason is that most people in the U.S. don’t give a rat’s tail about how much debt the U.S. has, or worry about how that it will get paid down, or worry about the tax burdens their kids and grandkids are going to have to deal with… Of course, that’s not you, dear readers, but think of yourself as the “minority” when it comes to awareness of this situation here in the U.S. They know all about Greece… Because the media makes a big deal out of a country which has the economy about the size of the economy of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and that New York City’s economy is larger than Greece’s… When I go out on the road to talk to people, you would be amazed at the number of people that 1. Don’t know the consequences of these debt burdens here in the U.S., 2. Don’t know that the dollar, even though it’s in rally mode now, has lost a major chunk of its purchasing power, and 3. Don’t know that they can do something to protect themselves from the potential further declines of the dollar… But, as I’ve said… take the Pfennig Readers, and the people I talk to while out on the road, and it’s still a small group, when compared to the U.S. population as a whole… Speaking of a country with debt… Over in Japan, they are set to pass a consumption tax hike bill… This would be a brand spanking new tax on the Japanese people… So, this illustrates what I was just talking about regarding the tax burdens on our grandkids… So, here, in the land of Debt, they will pass a new tax to help pay for Gov’t debt… But… here’s something to think about regarding Japan’s economy… The new tax, if passed this week, will go into effect in 2014… So… don’t you think that the Japanese economy could get boost from consumers rushing out to buy before this tax gets implemented? So, short-term, it could be a good thing… long-term, it’s not such a good thing… I saw a story headline on the Bloomberg this morning that caught my eye… The title: Central Banks Commit to Ease as Threat of Lost Decades Rises… So, if you’re like me, that title intrigued you, and you’ll read on… according to the Bloomberg, “Central Bankers are finding it easier to support their economies than to spur expansion as the prospect of Japanese – like lost decades looms across the developed world.” OK.. Chuck again here… Now, I’ve said that the U.S. was turning Japanese for almost a decade now… and every time the U.S. implements another form of stimulus, and keeps their interest rates near zero, they play right into the Japanese lost decades scenario… Peter Dixon, the global equities economist at Commerzbank, said, “Japan’s experience shows central banks can mitigate the worst effects of the current environment, but it’s going to be very hard for them to stimulate demand.” I think the Fed Heads are finding that to be very true… So… why meddle in the first place? If a country’s economy needs to clean out the excesses then let it! Part of our financial meltdown problem is the fact that the Fed had to meddle in recessions that we the U.S. economy was supposed to experience going back to 2001… Eventually, these problems build up and then spill out… that’s exactly what has happened… the more you meddle, the bigger the problem down the road. Just ask Japan! So… the U.S. data cupboard gets restocked this week, but, for the most part, I believe that the focus will be on the European Summit that will begin on Thursday. But, for those of you keeping score at home… Today we’ll see New Home Sales for May, which should remain about the size of April’s 343,000. Another regional manufacturing report, this time from Dallas. Tomorrow, the S&P/ CaseShiller Home Price Index, and Consumer Confidence. As we go along this week, there will be more, but no sense in talking about them now… But, keep in mind the mantra that has been taken on by the traders once again, and that is… the dollar gets rewarded for awful / weak data in the U.S. strange as it might seem, that’s what’s happening! Well.. I said above that Gold just can’t seem to find a bid lately… and that about says it all! The past few months have really been a test of convictions for Gold owners… I don’t know this to be true, it’s just my opinion, but I would have to think that given the currency debasement going on all over the world, that investors will be seeking out Gold as a store of wealth… It’s just going to take some time, as it will take some time for the sheeple to realize what their Government has been doing to the purchasing power of their currency… And China continues to allow the renminbi to weaken VS the dollar… by small amounts, yes, but still.. this has to be the longest they’ve gone in this direction since 2008… In fact the BRICS are all performing very badly these days… Something I did not foresee a few years ago… These countries had everything going for them… Then There Was This… are you ready to scream at the walls? I just returned from a trip to the wall… Here’s a story that was in the Washington Post this past weekend… enjoy… “One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found. The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010. Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation.” Chuck again… Did you walk away for a moment to visit a wall nearby? To recap… The healing of the risk assets faded on Friday, and an all-out risk aversion is going on this morning, led by the euro and A$… The Eurozone leaders of the 4 largest economies met to hopefully lay out a blueprint to present to the Eurozone Summit attendees this coming weekend… I say hopefully, because if they don’t, The Eurozone and euro are in for a world of hurt… Currencies today 6/25/12… American Style: A$ $1.00, kiwi .7860, C$ .9715, euro 1.2480, sterling 1.5548, Swiss $1.0390, … European Style: rand 8.4565, krone 6.00, SEK 7.0610, forint 230.25, zloty 3.4150, koruna 20.6415, RUB 33.19, yen 79.85, sing 1.2835, HKD 7.7590, INR 57.07, China 6.3630, pesos 13.92, BRL 2.0650, Dollar Index 82.57, Oil $79.18, 10-year 1.63%, Silver $26.73, and Gold… $1,568.10 That’s it for today… A great weekend for my beloved Cardinals… I watched the game on Saturday and couldn’t believe all the red in the stands at the K.C. stadium! WOW! Of course, about 5 years ago, we took Alex to K.C. for a Cardinals’ game, but to see it on TV, that was impressive, Cardinals fans! Penalty kicks? You decide the winner of a game that will decide the European Champion by Penalty Kicks? I like soccer, I played a lot of soccer as a young man, as I grew up in South St. Louis, the soccer capital of the U.S. But, the sport will always lack fans in the U.S. as long as an important game is decided by Penalty Kicks… And with that… I had better stop, and get this out the door… Thank you for reading the Pfennig, and I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
In This Issue.* Eurozone GDP contracts in 4th QTR. * BOJ candidate says yen is at equilibrium. * NZ manufacturing soars! * Remember the chocolates!And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Happy Valentine’s Day!Good day. And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I’m back, again! Yes, things keep pushing me down, but I keep coming back! I don’t really feel like crowing though, so, I’ll move along. Another trip to MD Anderson in Houston is put to bed. And Happy Valentine’s Day to all you love birds out there! My Valentine is off on a trip with Alex to visit a college, so, I’ll spend the next 4 nights in a very quiet house, alone!Well, the Big news going through the markets this morning is the GDP reports from the Eurozone. Most importantly, the GDP report from Germany. German 4th QTR GDP contracted -.6% and then the rest of the Eurozone members’ reports were just as weak. Now, we all have been tracking the recent data for Germany, and it appears now that the 4th QTR was a trough. But that didn’t stop some mental giant from making a really dumb statement. European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President, Constancio, said that, “negative interest rates are a possibility. no decision has been made.” Well, I don’t have to tell you that those kind of statements will send a currency to the woodshed in a NY Minute, and that’s exactly what his words did to the euro. But, isn’t this just a bunch of baloney? First. the data is old and already water under the bridge, and second, where did this ECB VP get this idea? For this “negative interest rates” thought was like a grenade from left field. Totally unsuspected, and for my two cents, unlikely!I want to thank Chris for taking the conn on the Pfennig for me, once again! Chris admits that he loves writing the Pfennig for short intervals. And I think he does a fantastic job of writing the Pfennig, as does Mike when he’s asked on short notice to take the conn. Well, yesterday, Chris talked about the G-20 meeting, and how the members of G-20 are very squeamish about member countries manipulating their currencies lower. And yes, the G-20 members are all for avoiding policies that lead to competitive currency devaluations, but policing this will be one mousetrap that I doubt gets built.Russia’s Finance Minister doesn’t want this idea to fade. Anton Siluanov , Russia’s FM, wants G-20 members to put it in writing, and have more specific language regarding the policing of this matter. I applaud Mr. Siluanov. for I have always held to the thought that currency policy should be based on market conditions, and fundamentals. So, Let’s quit all this beggar thy neighbor currency manipulation, and get back to allowing the markets to direct where a currency should trade, based on fundamentals. I expect to hear lots of statements coming from the G-20 meeting that begins today.I see that the currencies, for the most part, haven’t really changed much this week while I was away, being stuck, and scanned. The euro has the biggest move, and it’s downward. But still in a pretty good place, I think. And. I think that we’ll continue to see the Eurozone, namely Germany’s, economic data improve this year. But then that’s just me. I’m sure “real economists” can point out to me all the reasons I’m wrong. But then these would be the same “real economists” that called for the collapse of the euro, and a break-up of the Eurozone and said it would happen in 2012. I’m just pointing that out, because I’m a smart-alec.Well. the Japanese yen, which is the focus of the G-7 and now G-20 meetings, continues to be the currency everyone wants to short. Last night though, yen gained some ground, when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) upgraded their assessment of the economy. Then possible BOJ Gov. candidate (the current BOJ Gov. only has one more meeting under his control), said that yen in the 90-100 range had reached its equilibrium. That’s better than the previous ranges that were far above/ weaker than that! So, yen gets some love on Valentine’s Day.Chris included some thoughts I had sent him on the cover story in last week’s Economist, regarding the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even Finland. These countries certainly should be looked to as examples of how you can go from a horrible banking crisis in the 90’s to sound fiscal positions today. A couple of years ago, when I was writing for the Sovereign Society’s “Currency Capitalist”, I highlighted the way the Nordic countries handled their banking crisis, which was completely different from the way we did it here. Therefore, I don’t expect us to come out of our banking crisis so secure, and fiscally sound.In China. it’s the same-o, same-o. The Economist had a great article in it regarding China’s willingness to widen the distribution of their currency. Banks in Hong Kong and now Taiwan now offer deposit accounts in renminbi/ yuan. I’ve told you about how the surge in Dim-Sum bonds being issued, just adds to the methods that China’s using to promote the use of its currency beyond its borders. So, none of this is new to you dear reader. but, for those that are new to class, these moves by the Chinese to gain a wider distribution of their currency, may be new to them.In New Zealand last night, their manufacturing Index (PMI) increased to 55.2 in January, VS 50.4 in December. That’s a HUGE increase folks, add to that impressive data print, an increase in Consumer Confidence this month, and you have the ingredients for a strong move in the New Zealand dollar / kiwi! At one point overnight kiwi was trading over 85-cents! It has seen some profit taking since then, but still has had a very impressive night! Kiwi is also gaining VS the Aussie dollar (A$), as the A$ feels the pinch of rate cut talks..Well. I’m glad that our President is thinking that bridge repairs are needed in this country. our infrastructure is getting old. And I also liked that he vowed to not add one dime to the deficit. I’m going to leave that right there. I’m afraid I might get on my soapbox and begin to preach. but then, I would probably be just preaching to the choir, eh?Then There Was This. from King World. and it’s a little long, but it plays well with the currency wars theme that we have going right now. This is a snippet of an article I found, written by Robert Fitzwilson, founder of The Portola Group. talking about how we need to follow the bouncing ball again, that is oil, precious metals and tangible assets.“Talk of currency wars continues to dominate the financial news. Ghosts of the ’30s and the “beggar thy neighbor” policies have been resurrected. This is not about beggaring a neighbor this time around. This is not about nationalistic policies to provide markets for goods and employment for citizens. In the Western bloc countries, this time around it is about allowing citizens to remain unemployed. It is about maintaining banking systems at all costs. It is really a policy of “beggaring thy citizens”, not thy neighbor. It is about power. It is about China wanting to regain what they consider their historic role as the economic powerhouse. Russia and China both know that gold is sovereignty and power.Gold, oil and the success or failure of the yuan as a reserve currency are the only bouncing balls that matter in this game of Titans. As investors, we can only step out of the fiat currency arena and acquire what the powerful desire, primarily oil and precious metals. Tangible assets should also be accumulated, not for their role in global supremacy, but their intrinsic value for whatever comes next.The devaluation of fiat currency is on a non-linear trajectory. The dollar deteriorated relatively slowly for 90 years. It deteriorated rapidly in the next 10 years. The final destruction will take only a few years. It could virtually happen overnight as we saw with Venezuela and North Korea.”Chuck again. remember. what I keep telling you, folks..The dollar leads the pack for the currencies in their downward moves. And will remain the leader.To recap. Eurozone 4th QTR GDP contracted, but from the looks of the latest German economic data, this might have been the trough. But it was enough to push the euro down overnight. Japanese yen saw some love on V.D. as a BOJ hopeful called yen’s current range its equilibrium. And Kiwi was the best performer overnight, after a very impressive PMI report.Currencies today 2/14/13. American Style: A$ $1.0340, kiwi .8480, C$ .9985, euro 1.3340, sterling 1.5515, Swiss $1.0840, . European Style: rand 8.9015, krone 5.5170, SEK 6.3345, forint 219, zloty 3.1325, koruna 19.0280, RUB 30.12, yen 93.35, sing 1.2375, HKD 7.7550, INR 53.92, China 6.2316, pesos 12.72, BRL 1.9665, Dollar Index 80.52, Oil $96.93, 10-year 2.03%, Silver $31.01, and Gold. $1,647.57That’s it for today. Well. What did you get your sweetheart? I read a very funny article the other day written by a woman regarding what women want for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a hint. They may tell you they are on a diet, but it doesn’t mean they’re on one today! And here I always thought it was flowers! This will be the first VD that I’ve been away from my sweetheart, since we first met in 1972. Whoa! That’s a long time ago! I wasn’t here to wish you all a Shrove Tuesday earlier this week. My Irish heritage, comes out big time this time of year! The Mardi Gras celebration here in St. Louis, looked like fun was had by all. But now it’s time to reflect. and with that, I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
This Pays You 3X More Retirement Income Self-made millionaire reveals how investors could collect up to 3 times more income than traditional income investments. It’s from a storm proof investment that could keep you cash-rich for the rest of your life. Click here for all the details. — — Confessions of a Billionaire Broker (And why he left Wall Street…) Teeka Tiwari’s confidential connection – known only as the “Billionaire Broker” – discovered a controversial stock selection system when he worked in an investment bank on Wall Street. In a nearly 3-decade historical trial, his system produced an average gain of 2,418% over the top 150 plays held since 1990. That’s enough to turn $100 in each play into over $360,000. The Billionaire Broker will reveal his identity – and how you can take advantage of his stock selection system – on June 14th. Make sure you don’t miss it… Recommended Link Recommended Link • Silver is money… The word literally means “money” in dozens of languages. And that’s no accident.It has preserved wealth for centuries. And it’s survived every financial crisis imaginable.This makes silver an excellent store of value. It’s why we recommend owning it for the long haul.That said, we’re also speculators here at Casey Research. We love opportunities to make massive gains in short periods of time. We especially like to speculate on resources that other investors hate.And that’s the case with silver right now…• Sentiment towards silver is awful… We know this by looking at the Commitment of Traders (COT) report. This is a report issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It shows the positions major traders have taken in certain securities and commodities.In April, the COT report showed a net short position of 40,000 contracts by speculative traders. That’s an all-time high. This means that silver has never been more hated.Now, I know that might seem like a reason to avoid silver. But you must understand something.Trades often get crowded like this just before the trend changes. We saw that happen with the VIX earlier this year. In other words, extremely negative sentiment like this can be a contrarian buy signal.Not only that, all this negative sentiment could turn into buying power if silver starts rising. And that’s because traders don’t own a security when they short it. They borrow it. That said, they must buy that security they’ve shorted when they go to close their position.In other words, all these people who are shorting silver could soon be forced to buy silver if it rises enough. And that would act like rocket fuel for the price of silver.• In closing, silver may be on the verge of a massive “short squeeze”… So consider speculating on silver if you haven’t yet.You can do this by buying the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), which tracks the price of silver. That makes it an easy way to bet on higher silver prices.You could also bet on silver miners. These companies are leveraged to the price of silver, which means their shares would soar if silver makes a big move higher.Just remember that mining stocks are highly volatile, so treat them accordingly. Don’t bet more money than you can afford to lose. Use stop losses. And take profits along the way.Regards, Justin Spittler Cusco, Peru June 13, 2018P.S. Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker just uncovered another reason why silver’s set to rally. This is something you probably haven’t considered, so be sure to check out his brand-new video presentation on it right here.You’ll also discover how you can access E.B.’s top silver miner to take advantage of this opportunity. Click here to learn more.Reader MailbagToday, high praise for Doug Casey and his new book Totally Incorrect Volume 2:Justin, thanks so much for holding my copy of Totally Incorrect! Can’t wait to read it! Mr. Casey sounds like a REAL American man—too few of those around now! I am honored to have a “place on his list!” I already feel as if I spent an afternoon with my late father, and now I have more time! Again, thank you for your time and trouble. —Jean Doug’s new book is a must-read around our office. It’s Doug’s most controversial book yet… and you can get it for free. This book is not available anywhere else right now. Learn how to get your copy right here.If you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.In Case You Missed It…Why is it that some connected Wall Street insiders always seem to be in the right place at the right time just before a stock shoots up?They’re not lucky… or smart…Instead, they know something that the rest of us don’t… The man they’re calling the “Billionaire Broker” reveals the truth tomorrow night. Details here. By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily DispatchImagine losing $4 million in the blink of an eye.It’s painful to even think about. But that’s how much money one trader lost earlier this year by making an all-or-nothing bet against volatility.He wasn’t alone. Countless traders made similar bets on low volatility, only to get smoked.If you’re a regular reader, you know what I’m talking about. If not, here’s a rundown…• Last year was the least volatile year ever for U.S. stocks… The markets were so calm that many investors were lulled to sleep. They threw caution to the wind. Some people even shorted (bet against) volatility.You can see why that was such a bad idea in the chart below. It shows the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), or what most people call the “fear index.” This index measures how volatile investors expect the market to be over the next 30 days.This chart shows what the VIX has done over the past three years. When this index is high, it means traders expect a lot volatility. When it’s low, it means they’re less fearful. An extremely low reading can even mean that traders are complacent.You can see that the VIX was in a clear downtrend for years…That’s a long time… but nothing lasts forever.And as you can see, the VIX skyrocketed in January. This crushed traders who shorted volatility. At the same time, it rewarded traders who took the other side of this bet. And that’s why I wrote this essay…• A similar opportunity is staring us in the face right now… Only this time, it’s in the silver market.In a minute, I’ll show you how to set yourself up for major gains. But first, let me tell you why this is such a great speculative opportunity.The chart below shows the CBOE Silver ETF Volatility Index, which you can think of as the VIX for silver. It measures how volatile traders expect the silver market to be going forward.As you can see, the CBOE Silver ETF Volatility Index has been in steady decline since 2011. Last year was an especially calm year for the silver market.This is important because, as I showed you earlier, markets are often calmest just before explosive moves.In other words, silver could be on the cusp of something very big. Now, there’s no way to know if it will “break out” to the upside… or head lower.But my money is on the former.There are a couple reasons for this, which I’ll get to in a second. But let me address something important.
The Sackler family’s $1.3 million donation to the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery will not go ahead as planned, as both sides say they’re concerned that allegations of opioid profiteering against the family could overshadow the gift and become a distraction. “It has become evident that recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work,” a spokesperson for the Sackler Trust said. “The allegations against family members are vigorously denied,” the spokesperson’s statement said.The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, the company that has made billions of dollars off of OxyContin and is accused of pressuring doctors to prescribe the opioid while also misleading the public about its dangerous addictive qualities.”The Sacklers are major donors to museums, galleries and theaters in the U.S. and Europe,” NPR’s Elizabeth Blair reports. “Artists and activists are putting pressure on those institutions to stop taking their money.”Purdue Pharma has previously admitted to committing a felony and paid millions of dollars in fines, and it’s currently facing numerous lawsuits. But one suit in particular, from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, seeks to implicate eight members of the Sackler family, accusing them of trying to maximize their profits even as they knew the painkiller was causing deadly overdoses.Since December, the Massachusetts lawsuit has added new details about the allegations, portraying former Purdue Pharma Chairman and President Richard Sackler as being “obsessed with profits in Massachusetts and the rest of the country,” as member station WBUR reported in January. More revelations emerged after heavy redactions were lifted from Healey’s 274-page complaint last month, showing Purdue Pharma had hired a consulting firm to help its sale reps target “high-prescribing” doctors, as WBUR reported. The lawsuit says that between 2008 and 2016, the painkiller company paid Sackler family members more than $4 billion. In response to the suit, Purdue Pharma said Healey’s conclusions are wrong, and that the company is being used as a scapegoat for America’s opioid crisis.Oxycodone — the semi-synthetic opiate whose forms include OxyContin and other brand names — was the No. 1 cause of overdose deaths in 2011, in cases where at least one specific drug was mentioned. Since then, heroin and fentanyl have become the top overdose threats in the ongoing opioid crisis. But through at least 2016, oxycodone’s overdose rate also rose slightly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The Sackler family’s donation to the National Portrait Gallery in London has been in limbo since 2016, when the Sackler Trust presented it as a way to help pay for a construction project. Since then, the BBC reports, “The gallery had been mulling over whether to accept it.”The Sackler Trust and the National Portrait Gallery announced the gift’s withdrawal in a joint statement, with museum officials repeatedly saying the decision had come from the family. “We understand and support their decision not to proceed at this time with the donation,” National Portrait Gallery Chair David Ross said. A gallery spokesperson added: “We fully respect and support the Sackler family’s decision.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
BizTimes Media publisher Dan Meyer moderated a Q&A session with Louie Gentine, Sargento CEO and Tom Faley, longtime Sargento employee and author of “Treated Like Family.”Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pmBizTimes Media’s annual Family & Closely Held Business Summit, held today, featured Louie Gentine, chief executive officer of Plymouth-based Sargento Foods Inc., who discussed company’s culture, history and best practices for leading a multi-generational family-owned company. Sargento Foods CEO Louie Gentine BizTimes Media publisher Dan Meyer moderated a Q&A session with Louie Gentine, Sargento CEO and Tom Faley, longtime Sargento employee and author of “Treated Like Family.” The Family Business Consulting Group senior consultant Deb HoudenSargento was founded in 1953 by Louie’s grandfather Leonard Gentine, and was passed down in 1981 to Louie’s father Lou, who served as CEO until Louie took over in 2013. Gentine now leads a $1.4 billion, 2,100-employee company that ships its natural cheese products to grocery stores and restaurant chains throughout all 50 states.The company’s 65-year history and the Gentine family story was recently published as a book, “Treated Like Family.” Author and 30-year Sargento employee Tom Faley also spoke at today’s event. He touted the company’s values-based corporate culture, one that is built on Leonard’s philosophy of: “Hire great people and treat them like family.” Gentine is one of two third generation family members who currently work at Sargento. He said he and his third generation relatives were never pressured into working for Sargento and were encouraged to pursue their desired career paths. He touted this hands-off approach for building a healthy corporate culture.“If you have a family member who comes back to the company that is just there because they feel like they’re obligated to come back to the company, then I think you’re doomed,” Gentine said. “Your workforce sees right through that, they can see their heart is not in it.”If a family member is interested in working at Sargento as a salaried employee, the company adheres to its family participation plan– a set of expectations for family involvement. Family members must be qualified and competent, having earned a degree and have worked outside the company for at least three years. Performance expectations are no different fornon-family member employees.“You’re not doing that for family harmony, you’re doing it for the health of your family business,” Gentine said. “I think our employees appreciate the fact that we do have a plan, we do have guardrails of how the family gets engaged and how they progress through the organization.”He also stressed the importance of communication in all aspects of a family-owned business, but especially when operations are being passed down from one generation to the next. Louie’s transition into leadership was an eight-year process, he said.“My dad and I sat down and said, ‘What’s your goal going to be?’ It seems so basic, but having an understanding of roles and responsibilities and having that conversation made the transition very good between my dad and me.”Deb Houden, a senior consultant at The Family Business Consulting Group Inc. in Chicago and another speaker at today’s event also stressed the importance of communication to achieve trust throughout a company and its leadership.Her presentation outlined the importance of building trust and transparency in family businesses, which she said are the backbone of the world’s economy. She said families who own businesses are faced with the challenge of knowing, yet accepting the shortcomings of their family members.“Trust is a willingness to be vulnerable, a willingness to accept we are human and we make mistakes, and a willingness to accept that someone might grow and become something better,” she said.She said developing the competitive advantages of trust and transparency will generate time, freedom and strength. But, she said, trust can be destroyed by resentment amongst family members. She encouraged attendees to assess their own ability to trust, to be vulnerable around family members, and to communicate effectively.The Family & Closely Held Business Summit, which was held at the Italian Community Center in downtown Milwaukee concluded with three 25-minute roundtable discussions on a wide variety of family business topics. Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribe
dispensaries.com A new study involving millions of medical records and analysis of patient outcomes has found that those who use marijuana have a better chance of surviving after being hospitalized with a heart attack.While researchers from the University of Colorado said further study is needed, they also wrote that they “would strongly suggest that marijuana use is associated with a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality” for those admitted with a heart attack.It’s yet another in a growing list of potential medical uses for cannabis that is being stymied, at least in the United States, by the continued illegal status of marijuana at the federal level and the lack of quality cannabis for research purposes.Related: Researchers Find People Who Use Cannabis Are More Motivated to ExerciseThe Impact of Heart DiseaseHow cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers. That’s because heart disease accounts for about one in every three deaths in the United States, according to findings in research funded by the American Heart Association. Other eye-opening numbers from the research include:Every day, about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease. That’s one death every 40 seconds.To put it in perspective, more Americans die of heart diseases every year than those who die of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease – combined.About 92.1 million American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease or are living with the after-effects of strokeThe costs associated with cardiovascular diseases and stroke are estimated at more than $316 billion, a number that considers health expenditures and lost productivity.With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise people take notice when a study finds that there is possibility a new treatment that can prevent death from heart attack.Related: Harvard, MIT Receive $9 Million Donation to Conduct Marijuana ResearchThe Study’s FindingsAcute Myocardial Infarctions (AMI) is the medical term used to describe a patient who has had a heart-related emergency. To understand how marijuana might impact those who experience an AMI, the University of Colorado researchers analyzed hospital records for 1,273,897 AMI patients. They then focused on the 3,854 among that group who admitted to marijuana use.They found that those who used marijuana had a decreased risk of:DeathShockHaving to have a balloon inserted into a blocked arteryOf the three, the first one obviously caught the researcher’s attention the most. “Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI,” they wrote.They added that this finding actually keeps with what has been discovered in previous studies, citing a 2017 study led by researchers from the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Texas State University and Nassau University Medical Center in New York.The 2017 study found marijuana use did not increase the chance of mortality among those hospitalized with a heart attack. Those earlier researchers also had analyzed millions of patient hospital records.Follow dispensaries.com on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Next Article May 21, 2019 Add to Queue Guest Writer Health How cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers. –shares Image credit: katleho Seisa | Getty Images Free Green Entrepreneur App Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Study Finds Marijuana Users Have Better Chance of Surviving Heart Attack 3 min read Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Download Our iOS App
Fitbit Sued by Investors Over Alleged Tracking Inaccuracies January 13, 2016 –shares Next Article Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Legal Apply Now » 2 min read Image credit: Fitbit | Facebook The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Jeff John Roberts It’s going from bad to worse for Fitbit. Consumers last week sued the maker of fitness trackers over claimed inaccuracies in its heart rate monitor, prompting a sell-off of its shares. Now the company has a new headache.On Monday, an investor filed a class action suit against Fitbit in California over alleged “fraud on the market” and U.S. securities law violations.The lawsuit seeks compensation for anyone who purchased Fitbit shares during the company’s IPO last summer up until last week when stories about the allegedly inaccurate heart monitor hit the press. The complaint points to the stock’s fall of $1.20, or 5.8%, on January 6 to show the impact of the news.“As a result of Defendants’ false and/or misleading statements, Fitbit securities traded at inflated prices. However, after disclosure of Defendants’ false and/or misleading statements, Fitbit’s stock suffered a precipitous decline in market value, thereby causing significant losses and damages to Plaintiff and other Class members.”According to the complaint, Fitbit executives made “false and misleading” statements about the company’s heart monitor technology to the media and in regulatory filings. The technology has come under scrutiny in light of last week’s consumer complaint, which included allegations by a cardiologist that Fitbit’s heart monitor consistently posts inaccurate results.In response to questions last work from Fortune about the claimed inaccuracies, the company insisted its technology works as claimed, and vowed to fight the consumer lawsuit. As for the new investor case, a Fitbit spokesperson said:“We have reviewed the complaint and believe it is meritless. We intend to defend this case vigorously.”Such shareholder lawsuits alleging “fraud on the market” are not uncommon after companies take a public relations hit, and are typically settled quietly. You can read the complaint for yourself below.On Monday, Fitbit’s shared price dropped below its $20 IPO price for the first time since the company went public in July, hitting an all-time low of $18.50. It has since been nudging back towards $20.Fitbit Investor Class Action This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine
1 min read Microsoft to Cut 2,850 More Jobs Add to Queue Microsoft Corp. said it would cut about 2,850 more jobs over the next 12 months, taking its total planned job cuts to up to 4,700, or about 4 percent of its workforce.The company said in May it would cut 1,850 jobs in its smartphone business, most of them in Finland.Microsoft bought Finland-based handset maker Nokia in 2014 in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who took the helm just two months before the deal closed, has since focused on restructuring the struggling phone business.Microsoft had about 114,000 full-time employees as of June 30.(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty) Reuters –shares This story originally appeared on Reuters Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Microsoft Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand July 29, 2016 Next Article Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: photogearch / Shutterstock
Source:https://www.europeanlung.org/en/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 11 2019A new study that directly compares new heated tobacco devices with vaping and traditional cigarettes shows that all three are toxic to human lung cells.The study published in ERJ Open Research suggests that the new device, which heats solid tobacco instead of an e-liquid, is no less toxic to the cells than ordinary cigarette smoke.Researchers say the study adds to evidence that these newer electronic nicotine delivery devices may not be a safer substitute for cigarette smoking.The study was led by Dr Pawan Sharma, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.He said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and with the introduction of e-cigarettes in the last decade, the trend of nicotine uptake is not going to slow down in the near future. If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world.”The latest addition in this emerging trend is the planned and vigorous introduction of heated tobacco devices. They are commonly called next generation or heat-not-burn products. We know very little about the health effects of these new devices, so we designed this research to compare them with cigarette smoking and vaping.”Researchers tested the effects of all three nicotine sources on two types of cells taken from the human airways: epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. In healthy lungs, epithelial cells act as the first line of defence to any foreign particles entering the airway while smooth muscle cells maintain the structure of the airway. However, smoking can lead to difficulty in breathing primarily by hampering the normal functions of these cells.Dr Sharma and his team exposed the cells to different concentrations of cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapour and vapour from a heated tobacco device, and measured whether this was damaging to cells and whether it affected the cells’ normal functions.The researchers found that cigarette smoke and heated tobacco vapour were highly toxic to the cells both at lower and higher concentrations while e-cigarette vapour demonstrated toxicity mainly at higher concentrations. Researchers say that these concentrations represent the levels of nicotine found in chronic smokers.Dr Sukhwinder Sohal, a researcher at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, and leading author on the study, said: “We observed different levels of cellular toxicity with all forms of exposures in human lung cells. What came out clearly was that the newer products were in no way less toxic to cells than conventional cigarettes or e-cigarette vaping.”Related StoriesStudy: Less than 50% of U.S. adults exposed to court-ordered anti-smoking advertisementsLow rates of recommended treatment for tobacco dependence in patients hospitalized with SUDsStudy reveals how habitual smoking may contribute to development of hypertensionDr Sharma added: “Our results suggest that all three are toxic to the cells of our lungs and that these new heated tobacco devices are as harmful as smoking traditional cigarettes.”It took us nearly five decades to understand the damaging effects of cigarette smoke and we don’t yet know the long-term impact of using e-cigarettes. These devices that heat solid tobacco are relatively new and it will be decades before we will fully understand their effects on human health.”What we do know is that damage to these two types of lung cells can destroy lung tissue leading to fatal diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and pneumonia, and can increase the risk of developing asthma, so we should not assume that these devices are a safer option.”Dr Sharma hopes his results will stimulate more research on heated tobacco devices and he plans to continue this work by studying the effects of nicotine devices on more sophisticated models of lung tissue and in mice.Professor Charlotta Pisinger is Chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee and was not involved in the research. She said: “These new heated tobacco devices are marketed as producing 95% lower levels of toxic compounds because the tobacco is heated, not burned. However, the first independent studies have shown that combustion is taking place and toxic and carcinogenic compounds are released, some in lower levels than in conventional cigarette smoke, others in higher levels. A review of the tobacco industry’s own data on these devices has shown that, in rats, there is evidence of lung inflammation, and there is no evidence of improvement in lung inflammation and function in smokers who switch to heated tobacco.”The introduction and vigorous marketing of new devices is very tempting to smokers who want to stop smoking and mistakenly believe they can switch to another harmless tobacco product. It is also opening another avenue for attracting young people to use and become addicted to nicotine. This study adds to evidence that these new devices are not the safe substitute to cigarette smoking they are promoted to be.”
The American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of assessing levels of physical activity, both in the clinic and within the workplace. They also highlight the need for physicians to objectively assess cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), as current methods (patient questionnaires) are open to patient bias.Accurate and objective CRF assessments that are based on exercise tolerance are often expensive and require professional facilities and specialist staff to carry out.The new study led by Harvard University researchers suggests that a simple, free test based on push-up capacity could be a useful way to assess CRF.The study, which is the first of its kind, was carried out under the hypothesis that “higher fitness levels would be associated with lower rates of incident CVD.”The researchers used data from fitness tests from over 1,000 firemen in the US state of Indiana. Over a period of ten years, medical records were observed to measure the amount of cardiovascular disease diagnoses.Each participant undertook baseline and periodic physical exams that included push-up capacity and maximal or submaximal exercise tolerance tests between the years 2000 and 2007, with surveillance lasting until 2010.With an average age of 39.6 (the actual ages ranging from 21 to 66), the cohort also had an average body-mass index (BMI) of 28.7. Despite being occupationally active, the cohort’s BMI score of 28.7 put them in the overweight range.Out of 1,104 men, 37 experienced health problems related to CVD, including heart failure, sudden cardiac death, or receiving coronary artery disease diagnoses. The study claims “significant negative associations were found between increasing push-up capacity and CVD events.”Professor Jeremy Pearson stated “this study shows that fitter firefighters have less chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next decade.”Whilst the results may not be revolutionary, the study highlights that ‘push-up tests’ could be a simple, universal, cost-effective way of predicting CVD, potentially with more accuracy than a treadmill based test.Senior author of the study and a specialist in cardiovascular disease Stefanos Kales said that “push-up capacity is positively correlated with aerobic capacity and physical fitness,” and that “these types of objective functional markers are generally good predictors of mortality”.It is important to note that this study dealt with only one group of people, and the study’s results may not be reflected in different groups of people. Other cohorts, such as women or people who are less active, would need to be tested to definitively prove this test’s findings. Source:Yang J., et al. Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men. JAMA Network Open. 15 February 2019. The narrowing of our arteries with fatty substances, which can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes, starts early, often in our 20s and 30s. Keeping fit, no matter your age, is an important way to reduce your risk.”Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director, BHF By Lois Zoppi, BAFeb 18 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A new study has found a link between the number of push-ups a person is able to do and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings show that middle-aged men who are able to complete 10 push-ups could reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 97 percent.g-stockstudio | ShutterstockCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. It is well documented that smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and lack of physical activity are some of the main risk factors for developing CVD.
Source:https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/health-news/artificial-intelligence-identifies-key-patterns-from-video-footage-of-infant-movements Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 27 2019Subtle characteristics in the spontaneous movement of very young babies may reveal clinically important aspects of their neurodevelopment. Visual assessment of typical movement patterns (General movements, GM) by a clinical expert is known to be effective in early identification of e.g. cerebral palsy (CP).”A three month old infant shows frequently occurring stereotypical, dancing-like movements throughout the body and limbs. A noted absence of them is highly predictive of later emergence of CP,” says Sampsa Vanhatalo, professor of clinical neurophysiology, University of Helsinki.A very early identification and subsequent therapeutic intervention would be highly beneficial for alleviating the neurodevelopmental impact of CP. Currently, a child is diagnosed with CP at much later age, typically between 6 months and 2 years of age. GM analysis holds promise in early detection of CP, however, it needs special expertise that is currently obtained through international teaching courses, which effectively limits the number of doctors or therapists with the relevant skills. In addition, GM analysis in its present form is based on visual assessment, which is always subjective.”There is an urgent need for objective and automated methods. They would allow employing movement analyses at much wider scale, and make it accessible to basically most, if not all, children in the world,” says Vanhatalo.THE STICK MAN REVEALS THE ESSENTIALSResearchers at University of Helsinki and University of Pisa set out to explore the possibility that a conventional video recording of an infant lying in bed could be transformed to a quantified analysis of infant movements. They collaborated with people from an AI company based in Tampere, Neuro Event Labs, who were able to create a method for an accurate extraction of children’s movements (using a technique known as pose estimation), allowing for the construction of a simplified “stick man” (or skeleton) video.Next, the researchers gave the stick figure videos to doctors with GM expertise to see whether diagnostically crucial information was preserved in those videos.Using the stick figure videos alone, the doctors were able to assign diagnostic groups in 95% of cases, proving that the clinically essential information had been preserved.The study shows that an automated algorithm may extract clinically important movement patterns from normal video recordings. These stick figure extractions can be directly used for quantitative analyses.Related StoriesArtificial intelligence set to revolutionize the field of proteomicsAI coach feasible and useful for behavioral counseling of teens in weight-loss programMachine learning identifies bugs that spread Chagas diseaseTo demonstrate such potential, the researchers provided a proof of concept analysis where simple measures of stick figure movements showed clear differences between groups of infants with either normal or abnormal movements.Use of stick figure videos also enables world-wide sharing among research communities without privacy concerns. This has been a significant bottleneck in setting up multinational research activities within this domain.”This will finally enable a genuinely Big Data kind of development for better quantitative movement analyses in infants,” Vanhatalo states.”Since this study, we have collected larger datasets, including 3D video recordings, and we are currently developing an AI-based method for infantile motor maturity assessment. The rationale is straightforward: there is a developmental issue with the child, if the computational assessment of the motor maturity does not match with the child’s true age.”MOVEMENT ANALYSIS TELLS ABOUT NEURODEVELOPMENT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONSIn addition to early CP detection, automated movement analyses have many potential applications in the assessment of infant neurological development.”We could create one kind of functional growth chart,” says Vanhatalo.Movement analyses could also be used in diverse ways to improve therapeutic decisions. Such methods could provide quantitative means to objectively measure efficacy of different therapeutic strategies; one of the global hot topics in restorative medicine.Automated movement analyses could also allow out-of-hospital screening of children to identify those that need further care, or to provide assurance of normality in cases with concern about child’s development.”Use of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows for the extraction of substantial amounts of clinically useful information from a simple home-grade video recording. The ultimate aim is to find methods that will make it possible to provide high and even quality infant healthcare everywhere in the world,” Vanhatalo summarizes.