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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

FDA Alert – Drug Safety Communication: CardioGen-82 PET Scan – Increased Radiation Exposure

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

July 15, 2011

ISSUE:
 FDA notified the public and the medical imaging community about the potential for inadvertent, increased radiation exposure in patients who underwent or will be undergoing cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) scans with rubidium (Rb)-82 chloride injection from CardioGen-82 manufactured by Bracco Diagnostics, Inc.

BACKGROUND: A CardioGen-82 PET scan is one of a variety of nuclear medicine scans and uses the radioactive drug Rb-82 chloride injection to evaluate the heart. FDA has received reports of two patients who received more radiation than expected from CardioGen-82. The excess radiation was due to strontium isotopes which may have been inadvertently injected into the patients due to a “strontium breakthrough” problem with CardioGen-82.

RECOMMENDATION: At this time, FDA believes that the risk of harm from this exposure is minimal, although any unnecessary exposure to radiation is undesirable. The estimated amount of excess radiation the two patients received is similar to that other patients may receive with cumulative exposure to certain other types of heart scans. It would take much more radiation to cause any severe adverse health effects in patients.

Healthcare professionals should closely follow the required testing and quality control procedures essential to help detect strontium breakthrough from CardioGen-82. Other types of heart scans provide information very similar to CardioGen-82 and professionals are encouraged to consider these alternatives while FDA completes its investigation of the reported cases of excess radiation exposure.

Patients who have recently had heart scans should talk to their healthcare professional if they have any questions. Patients who are planning to undergo a heart scan should talk to the healthcare professional if they are unsure of the type of planned heart scan and the radiation risks associated with the scan.

FDA is actively investigating the root cause of this failure with CardioGen-82 and will promptly notify the public with updates.

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FDA Approves Lazanda – First Fentanyl Nasal Spray – for the Management of Breakthrough Pain in Cancer Patients

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

FDA Approves Lazanda – First Fentanyl Nasal Spray – for the Management of Breakthrough Pain in Cancer Patients

“Lazanda is an important new option for patients with cancer who experience excruciating breakthrough pain,” says Jeffrey H. Buchalter, chief executive officer of Archimedes Pharma. “Lazanda, which uses our patented PecSys® drug delivery system, is designed to deliver medicine in a rapid, but controlled manner, and provides patients with an effective alternative to manage their breakthrough pain.”

Breakthrough pain in cancer (BTPc) is an intense, sudden pain that is often unpredictable and debilitating and occurs despite otherwise appropriate opioid therapy for background pain. BTPc has a different profile from background pain. BTPc often has high intensity, a rapid onset, usually reaching maximum intensity within five minutes, and a short duration, lasting between 30 and 60 minutes per episode. On average, BTPc affects more than half of patients with cancer and often interferes with patients’ health and ability to engage in daily living activities.

“As the first fentanyl nasal spray in the U.S., Lazanda provides a new approach to managing the often debilitating and inadequately-treated episodes of breakthrough pain that many patients with cancer experience,” said Donald Taylor, M.D., director at Taylor Research LLC., and clinical investigator for Lazanda. “Current treatment options typically utilize short-acting oral opioid medications that cannot provide pain relief with an onset of action or duration of effect that matches the time course of a BTPc episode. Lazanda’s rapid and controlled availability is a much better match for the nature of an episode of breakthrough pain, giving physicians a new and powerful tool for treating cancer breakthrough pain.”

Lazanda will be available in the second half of this year through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program, which is intended to minimize the risk of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose, and serious complications due to medication errors. Under the Lazanda REMS program, pharmacies, distributors, and health care professionals who prescribe to outpatients are required to enroll in the program to dispense, distribute, and prescribe Lazanda.

“We fully support the FDA mandate to implement a REMS program for Lazanda as an important way to provide patients, healthcare providers, and pharmacists with the information they need about the appropriate and safe use of Lazanda,” said Buchalter. “Archimedes Pharma looks forward to working closely with health care professionals to ensure safe and consistent access to Lazanda for the patients who are seeking relief from unbearable episodes of breakthrough pain in cancer.”

About Lazanda (fentanyl) nasal spray

Lazanda contains fentanyl, which is a Schedule II controlled substance, and uses Archimedes Pharma’s patented drug delivery system, PecSys®.

Lazanda, incorporating PecSys technology, delivers fentanyl in a rapid, but controlled manner and is designed to deliver a fine mist spray to a mucus membrane, in this case the nasal membrane. Each spray of Lazanda forms a gel when it contacts the nasal mucosa; the active ingredient is then rapidly absorbed across the mucus membrane and directly into the blood stream.

The efficacy of Lazanda for the management of breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients was established in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in which Lazanda showed a statistically significant improvement compared with placebo on the primary endpoint, the sum of the pain intensity difference at 30 minutes (SPID30). More than 500 patients evaluated in the clinical trial program (which included three phase III clinical trials) contributed to the understanding of the tolerability and safety profile of Lazanda. The most common adverse events associated with Lazanda were consistent with opioid treatment and included vomiting, nausea, pyrexia (fever), and constipation.

Important Safety Information

Warnings: Potential for Abuse and Importance of Proper Patient Selection

Lazanda contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance, with an abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics. Lazanda can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. Consider the potential for abuse when prescribing or dispensing Lazanda in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion. Schedule II opioid substances, which include morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and methadone, have the highest potential for abuse and risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression. Serious adverse events, including deaths, in patients treated with other oral transmucosal fentanyl products have been reported. Deaths occurred as a result of improper patient selection (e.g., use in opioid non-tolerant patients) and/or improper dosing. The substitution of Lazanda for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

Lazanda is indicated only for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients 18 years of age and older who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain. Patients considered opioid tolerant are those who are taking at least 60 mg of oral morphine/day, 25 mcg of transdermal fentanyl/hour, 30 mg of oxycodone/day, 8 mg oral hydromorphone/day, 25 mg oral oxymorphone/day, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid for one week or longer.

Lazanda is contraindicated in opioid non-tolerant patients and is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain, including headache/migraine, dental pain, or use in the emergency room. Life-threatening respiratory depression could occur at any dose in opioid non-tolerant patients. Deaths have occurred in opioid non-tolerant patients treated with other fentanyl products. When prescribing, do not convert patients on a mcg per mcg basis from another fentanyl product to Lazanda. Patients beginning treatment with Lazanda must begin with titration from the 100 mcg dose. (see Dosage and Administration)

When dispensing, do not substitute a Lazanda prescription for any other fentanyl product. Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetics of Lazanda compared to other fentanyl products that could result in clinically important differences in the rate and extent of absorption of fentanyl and could result in fatal overdose.

Special care must be used when dosing with Lazanda. If the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved, patients must wait at least 2 hours before taking another dose of Lazanda. (see Dosage and Administration)

Lazanda is intended to be used only in the care of opioid tolerant patients with cancer and only by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable of, and skilled in, the use of Schedule II opioids to treat cancer pain.

Patients and their caregivers must be instructed that Lazanda contains a medicine in an amount that can be fatal in children, in individuals for whom it is not prescribed, and in those who are not opioid tolerant. Lazanda must be kept out of the reach of children at all times. (see Patient/Caregiver Instructions)

The concomitant use of Lazanda with cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression.

Because of the risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose, Lazanda is available only through a restricted program, required by the Food and Drug Administration, called the Lazanda REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program. Under the Lazanda REMS program,healthcare professionals who prescribe to outpatients, pharmacies, and distributors must enroll in the program to prescribe, receive, dispense, and distribute Lazanda, respectively. [see Warnings and Precautions]. Further information is available at http://www.LazandaREMS.com or by calling 1-855-841-4234.

Contraindications

  • Lazanda is contraindicated in the management of pain in opioid non-tolerant patients, because life-threatening hypoventilation could occur at any dose in patients not already taking around-the-clock opioid therapy.
  • Lazanda is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain, including headache/migraine, dental pain, or use in the emergency room.
  • Lazanda is contraindicated in patients with known intolerance or hypersensitivity to any of its components or the drug fentanyl. Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity have been reported in association with the use of other oral transmucosal fentanyl products.

Warnings And Precautions

  • Patients must not be converted to Lazanda from other fentanyl products because it is not equivalent to other fentanyl products on a mcg per mcg basis, and such substitution could result in a fatal overdose; do not substitute Lazanda for another fentanyl product when being dispensed.
  • Serious or fatal respiratory depression can occur even at recommended doses in patients using Lazanda. Respiratory depression is more likely to occur in patients with underlying respiratory disorders and elderly or debilitated patients, in opioid non-tolerant patients, or when opioids are given in conjunction with other drugs that depress respiration.
  • Lazanda could be fatal to individuals for whom it is not prescribed and for those who are not opioid tolerant.
  • Patients and their caregivers must be instructed that Lazanda contains medicine in an amount that could be fatal to a child and thus must keep both used and unused bottles in their child-resistant container and out of the reach of children at all times and all residual fentanyl must be emptied before disposal.
  • Patients on concomitant CNS depressants must be monitored for a change in opioid effects and adjust the dose of Lazanda.
  • Concomitant use with potent cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may increase depressant effects including hypoventilation, hypotension, and profound sedation. Monitor and consider dosage adjustment if warranted.
  • Cautiously adjust the dose of Lazanda in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or preexisting medical conditions predisposing them to respiratory depression.
  • Administer Lazanda with extreme caution in patients particularly susceptible to intracranial effects of CO2 retention, such as those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or impaired consciousness.
  • Patients taking Lazanda must be warned that opioid analgesics impair the mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially dangerous tasks (e.g., driving a car or operating machinery).
  • Use Lazanda with caution in patients with bradyarrhythmias.
  • Lazanda is not recommended for use in patients who have received MAO inhibitors within 14 days, because severe and unpredictable potentiation by MAO inhibitors has been reported with opioid analgesics.

Drug Interactions

  • Potential interactions may occur when Lazanda is given concurrently with agents that affect CYP3A4 activity. Monitor patients for signs of opioid toxicity who begin therapy with, or increase the dose of, inhibitors of CYP3A4 or stop therapy with, or decrease the dose of, inducers of CYP3A4.Monitor patients who are taking vasoconstrictive nasal agents to treat allergic rhinitis for potentially impaired pain management.

Use In Specific Populations

  • Safety and efficacy below 18 years of age have not been established.
  • There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Lazanda in pregnant women. Do not use Lazanda during labor and delivery or in women who are nursing.
  • Lazanda should be administered with caution in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function and titrated to clinical effect in patients with severe renal or hepatic disease.

Adverse Reactions

  • Most common adverse events during titration (frequency greater than or equal to 5%): nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Most common adverse events during maintenance (frequency greater than or equal to 5%): vomiting, nausea, pyrexia, and constipation.

Please see the accompanying full Prescribing Information including boxed warning. For more information please see http://www.lazanda.com.

About Archimedes Pharma

Archimedes Pharma is an international specialty pharmaceutical company providing novel and advanced treatments to address unmet needs for people living with serious or life-threatening chronic and debilitating illnesses. Archimedes Pharma markets a diverse portfolio of speciality products and has operations in the U.S. and throughout Europe. Archimedes Pharma U.S. Inc. is a subsidiary of Archimedes Pharma Ltd. For more information, please visit: http://www.ArchimedesPharma.com.

Lazanda®, PecFent®, and PecSys® are registered trademarks of Archimedes Development Ltd.

SOURCE Archimedes Pharma Ltd.

Posted: June 2011

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FDA MedWatch Alert – Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) In Chronic Kidney Disease: Drug Safety Communication – Modified Dosing Recommendations

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

June 24, 2011
Epoetin alfa (marketed as Epogen and Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (marketed as Aranesp)

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionalsthat new, modified recommendations for more conservative dosing of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have been approved to improve the safe use of these drugs. FDA has made these recommendations because of data showing increased risks of cardiovascular events with ESAs in this patient population. The new dosing recommendations are based on clinical trials showing that using ESAs to target a hemoglobin level of greater than 11 g/dL in patients with CKD provides no additional benefit than lower target levels, and increases the risk of experiencing serious adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke.

BACKGROUND: ESAs treat certain types of anemia by stimulating the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and by decreasing the need for blood transfusions. The manufacturer has revised the Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions, and Dosage and Administration sections of the labels for the ESAs to include this new information.

RECOMMENDATIONHealthcare professionals should weigh the possible benefits of using ESAs to decrease the need for red blood cell transfusions in CKD patients against the increased risks for serious cardiovascular events, and should inform their patients of the current understanding of potential risks and benefits. Therapy should be individualized to the patient and the lowest possible ESA dose given to reduce the need for transfusions. See the Drug Safety Communication for additional information including a table of key trials and other supporting references. Treatment with ESAs in CKD was discussed at the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee, held October 18, 2010. For summary minutes of that Advisory Committee, see link below.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

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WebMD – Home Births on the Rise in the U.S.

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

Increase in Home Births Comes as Debate Over Safety Intensifies
By Brenda Goodman
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 20, 2011 — The number of women in the U.S. who gave birth at home rose 20% between 2004 and 2008, a new study shows.

Although home births represent only a fraction of the millions of babies delivered in the U.S. each year, researchers say the bump is significant because it follows a steady, 15-year decline in the practice and comes at a time of intense debate over the safety of home births.

A review paper published in 2010, for example, found the risk of newborn death was two to three times higher for babies born during planned home births compared to planned hospital births.

The review generated so much criticism that the journal that published it, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, took the unusual step of having independent experts revisit its methods and conclusions.

In the end, the journal published a fuller explanation of the findings, but the paper was not retracted.

In January, citing the evidence from the much scrutinized review, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists issued an opinion discouraging home births.

The World Health Organization, the American College of Nurse Midwives, the American Public Health Association, and the National Perinatal Association all support home and out-of-hospital births for low-risk women.

The current study will likely further fuel the discussion, since it found that home births appear to be getting safer.

From 2004 to 2008, rates of preterm births and low birth weights had dropped slightly among infants born at home, by 16% and 17% respectively.

Women Who Opt for Home Birth

The study found that college-educated white women in their 30s and 40s who have already had at least one child are the most likely to opt for home birth.

The rate of home births rose 28% among non-Hispanic white women from 2004 to 2008, a greater increase than was seen in any other racial or ethnic group. There was also a slight rise, 0.03%, among Asian mothers.

Rates of home births declined slightly among African-American women over that time period and held steady for American Indians and Hispanics.

Overall, there were 28,357 home births in the U.S. in 2008, representing 0.67% of all the babies born that year. In 2004, home births accounted for 0.56% of the total.

Why More Women Are Giving Birth at Home

Researchers who have watched the trend believe it may signal a growing desire among expectant mothers to have more control over the kinds of procedures that are used to deliver the baby, particularly cesarean sections.

“Our study is based on birth certificates, so I don’t have direct data on why, but certainly we’ve seen a lot of discussion and interest recently in the birthing process,” says study researcher Marian F. MacDorman, PhD, a statistician in reproductive health at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md.

“For example, a lot of concern about the rising C-section rate, rising medical interventions, induction of labor, episiotomy, and so forth,” MacDorman tells WebMD.

“I think there’s a certain group of women who maybe feel nervous about going to the hospital and maybe having a C-section they didn’t want or something like that,” she says.

Other experts say that rings true.

“They are people who have had control over their lives, so they want control over this,” says Annette E. Fineberg, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in the department of women’s health at the Sutter West Medical Group, in Davis, Calif.

Feinberg recently wrote a commentary forObstetrics & Gynecology on the rise in home births, but she was not involved in the study.

She says many of her patients have voiced concerns about a hospital birth experience, hoping they’ll have a better chance of delivering a baby vaginally if they give birth at home.

Sometimes, they’re right, she says.

Home Births and C-Sections

“There is currently a cesarean epidemic in the United States,” says Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the center for women’s health at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland.

Caughey is researching home births but was not involved in the current study.

He points to the numbers: In 1996, 21% of births were C-sections, but by 2009, that number was 32%, a 50% increase, “making cesarean delivery the most common surgery that a woman under the age of 50 will have.”

Fear of lawsuits has driven some doctors to order C-sections instead of waiting for labor to progress.

“The saying in the profession is that ‘nobody is ever sued for the cesarean delivery they did too soon,'” Caughey says.

And many hospitals refuse to let women who’ve had one C-section deliver their next baby vaginally, even though most can do so safely, a policy that sends some women looking for other options.

At the same time, he says, it’s clear that doing more cesareans hasn’t improved the health of mothers or infants.

“There wasn’t then a dramatic decline in birth injury. It’s not like we somehow improved outcomes with that cesarean delivery,” he says.

Most mothers and infants recover well after C-sections, but the procedures require a longer healing time than vaginal deliveries, up to four to six weeks, and there are additional risks of bleeding, infection, or reactions to anesthesia.

In addition, the March of Dimes says babies born by C-section are more likely to have breathing problems than babies that are delivered vaginally. And though it’s not clear why, moms who have C-sections are less likely to breastfeed.

C-sections may also cost more than vaginal births.

Midwives See Increased Interest

The majority of babies that are born at home, about 60%, are delivered by midwives, the study found.

And midwives say they’ve noticed an increase in demand.

“We started out our practice doing eight to 12 births per month and now we’re doing twice that number,” says Alice Bailes, a certified nurse midwife who has a practice in Alexandria, Va., with Marsha Jackson, who is also a certified nurse midwife.

The women who come to them, they say, are well informed, and are looking to avoid invasive births and procedures they may not want. They also may have been born at home themselves and want to continue the tradition.

“Women are having fewer babies and they do a lot of research. The Internet is available,” Jackson says. “They do a lot of research to look at all the different options to be sure that the practitioner that they work with is going to help them have the type of birth that they desire.”

Weighing the Risks of Home Birth

Even in normal pregnancies that have progressed without a hitch, Caughey says things that happen during labor and delivery can make the birth risky to mother or baby.

“I think that the evidence would suggest that if you have a birth far away from the ability to do an emergency cesarean delivery, complications could occur that could lead to morbidity and mortality in the babies,” Caughey says.

“What is that number? It’s maybe one per thousand or two per thousand,” babies that will run into trouble, he says. “It’s not a big number. It’s not a dramatic number.”

“That needs to be played off a person’s preferences, what a person wants, and what risks they want to take.”

For healthy, normal pregnancies, Fineberg thinks home births are a reasonable option.

But she worries that some women who are opting for birth at home, particularly mothers who are over age 40, may not realize the increased risks they face.

“Statistically, they have a much higher chance of having interventions in labor, that’s been shown in quite a few studies,” she says.

From a midwife’s perspective, women with pre-existing medical conditions should probably avoid home birth.

“If you have heart conditions, high blood pressuregestational diabetesmultiple births, or breech births, those aren’t the people we feel are appropriate candidates for home birth,” Jackson says.

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Everyday Fitness

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

with Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

Living life to the fullest is all about striving for a mind-body balance every day. Achieve a mental, nutritional, and physical transformation for life with tips from wellness expert Pamela Peeke, MD.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Glorious Glutes for a Sunsational Summer

Your Best Beach Body, Part Three

Welcome to Week Three of our “Back to the Beach” six week campaign. If you’ve missed the first two weeks, or need a refresher, click here. We’ve begun our Beach Mind Beach Body journey, but this time with a mental and physical twist.

Instead of obsessing about body parts, I’m asking you to engage your mind to see how your lifestyle behaviors are reflected in how you look and feel. If you do, you’ll experience a royal win win — by being more mindful of your body all day, your body will benefit by all of that attention. You’ll look great and feel so much better. This week we’ll use your beautiful behind as a case in point.

Hey, call it what you want — behind, booty, derriere — those soft pillows of feminine flesh serve you well all day. They power you out of chairs, up the stairs and straighten you up after tying your sneakers. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. Keep in mind, that, like all other muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Simple routines that anyone can do will keep your rear end from sagging into those less than attractive rolls of bountiful butt straining your pant seams.

Many of you have a love-hate relationship with your butt. Well, that ends now. It’s time for you to express your own Glute Gratitude. Yep, let’s take what you’ve got and appreciate and optimize it.

Staying consistent with my MIND MOUTH MUSCLE template, you’re going to enter this third week with Power MIND. As I’ve noted in the previous blogs, you’ll fight any urge to default back to self-denigrating comments about your body. We’ll have none of that! Instead, this week you’ll say, “I’m smart, beautiful and fun and this week I’m going to practice body gratitude.” Every day, wake up and appreciate all of the body parts that work. Stop concentrating on what you can’t do, and pay attention to what you can do. This is especially true for as you age. Joints are creaking and there’s that recurring pain. Adapt and adjust and be happy you’re here today to rock and roll through another 24 hour life adventure.

Moving to the MOUTH, how about a few simple tricks to help you with the cravings that can destroy your best beach body intentions? Get over the urge to splurge by:

1) Medicating with Movement: Stop using food to anesthetize your stresses. Instead, get up and move. Research has shown that when that creepy craving starts to hit, you should hit the road. All it takes is 15 minutes of walking to increase levels of both the pleasure chemical dopamine as well as the mood modulator serotonin. In combination, they help you win the food fight.

2) Pound down the Protein: Got a craving? Grab lean protein all day long — for meals and snacks. Protein helps to curb the “I’m starving and I need to eat everything that’s not tacked down” hunger hormone, ghrelin. Avoid only eating protein at main meals. If you include protein in your snacks (low fat dairy, peanut butter on apple slices), you’ll keep this hunger hormone in check all through the day.

3) Substitute: Hey, it’s OK to have a treat every now and again. When you do, how about creating a tasty, healthy “cheat” by doing simple substitutions. Instead of grabbing something with boatloads of addictive refined sugar, make a fruit parfait with fresh berries and yogurt. Forget the potato chips and instead have hummus and carrots.

Now it’s time to honor that gluteal MUSCLE. I love these exercises because most are simple and easy to do throughout the day. Remember to always check with your medical team before you engage in any physical activities, especially if you have a medical and/or physical condition.

1) Stop Sitting So Much: Get up more often throughout the day. Walk while you talk on the phone. I always recommend standing and moving every 30 minutes. You’ll increase your fat burning metabolism as well as engage your muscles to keep them firm and fit.

2)  Stay Mindful of Your Rearful: As many times as you can, become mentally aware of your behind and as you do, contract your glutes. You can be standing in line, walking up stairs or running to the bus. Pay attention to how they feel as you move. As I noted in a previous blog, engaging your core throughout the day keeps your posture upright and makes you appear taller and slimmer. The same is true for the glutes. Become glute aware!

3) Burn Your Butt Fat: As you proceed to do some of the glute exercises, just remember that in addition to strength training and good nutrition, you absolutely need to be doing regular cardio (goal is to burn 400 calories each session) with intensity intervals. That means when you hit the hills by increasing your treadmill’s incline, you’ll cook a ton of calories compared to simply walking on the flat. Crank up your treadmill’s incline to 5%, walking at a pace of around 3.5-4MPH and you’ll burn at least 350 calories per hour, which is a 64% increase over walking on a flat surface. Or ramp up the speed with which you walk. Intensity intervals simply mean adding hills and/or speed every now and again to your workout. Check out the WebMD resources on how to do interval training.

4) Butt Blasters:

  • Backward Leg Toe Touch and Lift: Stand behind a chair, toes facing forward, with both hands placed on top of the chair for stability. Keeping both knees straight, extend your left leg back pointing your toes with your big toe is touching the ground behind you. Gently lift your left leg about 30 degrees off the ground without bending your knee. Tighten your glutes and hold for a count of 10. Bring down and touch the ground with your pointed big toe and lift right back up for another count of 10. Repeat this 5 times and switch sides.
  • Donkey Kick Crossover: Grab a mat and get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders. Keep your left knee and ankle flexed as you lift your knee to hip level behind you. Hold for a count of 5 and bring down, touching the mat briefly and lift again. Repeat 5 times and switch sides.
  • Butt Bridge: Lie face up on a mat with knees bent and feet flat, arms by your side. Left hips slowly off the floor, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Tighten your glutes and maintain this bridge position for a count of 10. Bring your butt down for 10 seconds and lift back up again into bridge position for a count of 10. See if you can do it for a count of 20. Repeat 5 times.
  • Sizzling Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core abdominal muscles. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Squat down, never going beyond a 90 degree angle to your lower legs. For novices or anyone with knee issues, just squat down enough to feel your glutes engage well and hold for a count of 3. As you stand up, for an added twist, rotate your trunk to the left and lift your bent left knee in front of you. Return to squat again. Switch sides and repeat. Do this whole set 5 times.
  • Invisible Chair Wall Squat: You can do this anytime and anywhere there’s a wall. Standing straight, place your back on a wall. Squat down as previously described, and imagine you’re sitting on an invisible chair. Squeeze your glutes. Hold for a count of 5-10 (or 20 for the advanced), and stand up. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Everything I’ve described is simple and doable. So, do it already! Summer’s around the corner. That’s your “bottom” line! Next week, we’ll move upstairs anatomically to help you with your right to bare strong and fit arms for a sensational season. Keep it going everyone!

Read the Series:

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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TruTV – Death In The Family

Posted by 4love2love on July 10, 2011

TruTV has started a story of the play by play of the Anthony case. Little Caylee Anthony, only 2 years old, vanished one day in Florida and no one called to report her missing for over a month. This is page one & two, you can read it for yourself on the TruTV.com’s website, and follow it as the story continues to be documented and translated into the story type re-writing they do, triple checking their facts before publishing them. It helps us see a more explanatory angle from the whole case.

Caylee Anthony

Missing

Caylee (right) with her mother Casey Anthony

Caylee (right) with her mother Casey
Anthony

ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony waited at least a month before reporting that her daughter Caylee, 2, was missing. And even then, it wasn’t Casey who called the Sheriff’s Office to report that the toddler had been abducted. It was Casey’s mother, Cynthia Anthony.

At 8:44 p.m. on July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony called Orange County 911. After initially reporting that she wanted her 22-year-old daughter arrested for stealing her car, Cindy told the dispatcher, “I have a 3-year-old that’s missing for a month.” Caylee was then three weeks shy of her third birthday.

The dispatcher sounded shocked when she asked if Cindy had reported the missing baby.

“I’m trying to do that now, ma’am,” Cindy said. She explained to the dispatcher that her daughter had stolen her car and some money and had disappeared four weeks ago. “She’s been missing for a month,” Cindy said. “I found her, but I can’t find my granddaughter.”

Caylee (center) with her grandparents George and Cynthia Anthony.

Caylee (center) with her grandparents
George and Cynthia Anthony.

The dispatcher said she was sending a sheriff’s unit to the Anthony’s house on Hopespring Drive, just outside the city limits of Orlando.

An hour later, Cindy called 911 again. This time she sounded panicked. “There’s something wrong,” she told the dispatcher. “I found my daughter’s car today. It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” Cindy said she had not seen her granddaughter since the middle of June.

The dispatcher asked to speak to Caylee’s mother. Casey got on the line. “My daughter’s been missing for 31 days,” she said. “I know who has her. I’ve tried to contact her.” Casey told the dispatcher she got a call from Caylee earlier that day, but the call only lasted a minute before someone hung up the phone. When she tried to call the number back, Casey said, it was out of service.

Casey claimed her nanny, a woman she identified as Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, whom she said had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, had kidnapped the little girl.

“Why are you calling now?” the incredulous dispatcher asked. “Why didn’t you call 31 days ago?”

“I’ve been looking for her and going through other resources to try to find her, which was stupid,” Casey said.

From the beginning, something about the story didn’t sound right. A young mother waiting an entire month to report that her daughter, not quite 3 years old, had been kidnapped? Soon, though, the story would take an even more sinister turn and would capture the attention of the nation.

 

 

 

 

A Bizarre Story

After Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Anthony house, Casey spun them a truly strange tale. She claimed to have last seen Caylee on June 9, sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., when she dropped her off at the home of her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who lived in Apartment 210 of the Sawgrass Apartments on South Conway Road.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony

Zenaida had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, according to Casey, and for the last few months she had been dropping Caylee off at the Sawgrass apartment. Before that, Casey had taken her daughter to Zenaida’s mother’s condominium near Michigan Avenue and South Conway Road; and prior to that, to another apartment Zenaida had lived in on North Hillside Drive.

Casey told the detectives she had met Zenaida through a friend named Jeff Hopkins, who used to work with her at Universal Studios. Zenaida used to watch Hopkins’ son, Zachary. In fact, when Zenaida had first started babysitting Caylee, Casey used to drop her off at Jeff Hopkins’ apartment, where Zenaida was also caring for Jeff’s son.

On June 9, after dropping Caylee off with her nanny, Casey went to her office at Universal Studios, where she worked as an event planner. When she returned to Zenaida’s apartment around 5:00 p.m. no one was home. She said she called Zenaida’s cell phone, but the number was out of service.

After waiting around for two hours, Casey went to her new boyfriend’s apartment, which she described as “one of the few places I felt at home.” She lived there for the next month, she said, and spent that time looking for her daughter and avoiding her parents. She said she did not tell her boyfriend that her daughter was missing.

The rest of the story, of course, is here, at least what they’ve done so far. Depending on what happens next, more information could cause them to add an update later on.

TM & © 2011 Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.

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The Washington Post – Betty Ford dies at 93: Former first lady founded iconic clinic

Posted by 4love2love on July 9, 2011

By Donnie Radcliffe, Published: July 8

Betty Ford, a self-proclaimed “ordinary” woman who never cared for political life but made a liberating adventure out of her 30 months as first lady, died Friday at age 93.

“I decided that if the White House was our fate,” she once said of Gerald R. Ford’s brief presidency, “I might as well have a good time doing it.”

To the surprise of some and the consternation of others, Mrs. Ford evolved as an activist first lady whose non-threatening manner coupled with her newfound celebrity provided the women’s movement with an impressive ally. Undaunted by critics, she campaigned for ratification of the ill-starred Equal Rights Amendment, championed liberalized abortion laws and lobbied her husband to name more women to policymaking government jobs.

“Perhaps it was unusual for a first lady to be as outspoken about issues as I was, but that was my temperament, and I believed in it,” she said in an interview for this paper at her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home in 1994. “I don’t like to be dishonest, so when people asked me, I said what I thought.”

Her husband, who died in 2006, was a longtime Michigan congressman who became House minority leader. He served as Richard M. Nixon’s vice president before the Watergate scandal led him to succeed Nixon, who resigned Aug. 9, 1974, and become the nation’s 38th president. Mrs. Ford had not wanted her husband to be president, but once he took office, she was determined that Americans know him as one with integrity.

“I was against a pardon,” she said of Ford’s decision to release Nixon from his Watergate offenses, which critics viewed as a secret deal between the two men in exchange for Nixon’s resignation.

Fearing the pardon would undermine Ford’s still-fragile presidency, she said she argued that “it would be very detrimental. I saw the anger as far as Watergate was concerned and the anger at President Nixon. I said, ‘It’s not going to be popular, it’s not going to look good.’ And I wanted him to look good.”

In the end, she acquiesced to Ford’s rationale that he needed to “get the country going.” Impeachment proceedings “would have taken months in court, and he didn’t think the country could stand that kind of thing,” she said. “When you’re trying to turn things around because of the distrust and all that was out there, you’ve got to do something. And sometimes you have to do something extreme.”

Within weeks after Watergate claimed Nixon’s political life and the Fords were settled at the White House, she soared from nonentity to national heroine because of her candid disclosure that she had a nodule in her right breast and was entering Bethesda Naval Medical Command. When a biopsy showed the lump to be malignant, she underwent a radical mastectomy.

Although intended in part to suggest a new period of openness in the White House, the announcement had another — and unexpected — effect that she said had not occurred to her: Women across the country began seeking checkups for breast cancer.

“Circumstances made it appropriate for us to speak up about what was happening to me because we were in such a spotlight. I became the conduit and I was very glad to be one,” Mrs. Ford said. “The public needed to know that this didn’t have to be swept under the rug anymore, that this needed to be open and discussed.”

Although she once characterized political wives as dutiful “appendages” and early in her husband’s career had reconciled herself to being simply “Congressman Ford’s wife,” the Betty Ford whom Americans eventually came to know was no shrinking violet.

When interviewers asked brash questions about the family’s private lives, Mrs. Ford ingenuously responded in kind. She quipped that she slept with her husband “as often as I can,” would try marijuana if she were young again and she “wouldn’t be surprised” if her teenage daughter Susan were to have a premarital affair.

“I always had a more liberal view,” she said. Just because she was first lady didn’t mean she felt any different, Mrs. Ford said at one point. It could happen to anyone. “After all,” she said, “it has happened to anyone.”

Her unconventional opinions outraged some Americans who considered it a first lady’s obligation to be morally accountable in word as well as deed. Many of her detractors were fellow Republicans; many of her fans Democrats.

“I felt the public had a right to know where I stood,” she wrote in her 1978 autobiography, “The Times of My Life.” When Ford proclaimed indebtedness “to no man and only one woman” in his inaugural remarks, his wife said she, too, felt she had a moral obligation to uphold his pledge of candor and openness in his administration.

Thus, for Mrs. Ford, a frank, plain-spoken Midwesterner, going public became a pattern of action that would also punctuate her post-White House years. In 1978, she disclosed that her use of alcohol and mood-altering prescription drugs had become a serious dependency.

In what she has described as a painful “intervention” when her family confronted her with her problem, she agreed to enter the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at Long Beach Naval Hospital. Of that experience came the momentum to establish the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, a live-in treatment program for alcoholics and drug abusers.

As “very much a believer” in fate, she often thought about how her life and those of others suffering from cancer or alcohol and drug addictions might have played out had her husband never become president.

Alcoholism had been a ghostly companion throughout Mrs. Ford’s life, starting with her father, a traveling salesman, and continuing with a brother after he returned from World War II. It also contributed to the dissolution of her first marriage when, as she later wrote, “I probably encouraged my husband to drink.”

Although she eventually thought she was “born alcoholic” and the pressures in her life had not suddenly transformed her into one, in “Betty: A Glad Awakening” (1987), she wrote that she always saw herself as a “controlled drinker, no binges.”

“I never thought it would touch me anymore than you expect cancer or diabetes,” she said.

Survivors include three sons, Mike, Steve and Jack Ford; a daughter, Susan Ford Bales; and her grandchildren.

Born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer on April 9, 1918, in Chicago, she was the only daughter and youngest of three children of William Stephenson and Hortense Neahr Bloomer. When she was 2, they moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. When she was 12, she went to her first dance, with a boy she married 12 years later.

Her father’s death by carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage accident when she was 16 came at the height of the Great Depression. By then she had an after-school job modeling in a local department store and on Saturdays gave dancing lessons in her aunt’s basement.

“Dancing was my happiness,” she wrote of her short-lived career, which included two summers at the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont, a winter in New York City under the tutelage of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham and, back in Grand Rapids, teaching dance for a bit before marrying insurance salesman William Warren in 1942.

“I could have as easily skipped it,” she said later of the marriage, which ended in divorce in 1947 with her vow never to remarry, particularly someone who traveled for a living. Within months Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., a Grand Rapids lawyer five years her senior, changed her mind.

“If I had known he was going to run for Congress, I don’t think I would have married him,” she said in a 1973 interview with this reporter. “I really thought I was marrying a lawyer, and we’d be living in Grand Rapids.”

She first learned of his plans to run for Congress when he announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District seat in the 1948 elections. Only later did she learn why Ford didn’t want the marriage to take place until late that fall. By then the primary election would be over and what he feared might be unpopular with Republican voters, marrying a divorced woman, would no longer pose a problem for him.

She later admitted that she had not understood what running for Congress meant or how unprepared she was to be a political wife. Told by a future sister-in-law that there would never be another woman in Ford’s life because he was married to his work, she never expected to have an even more demanding rival: politics.

Politics, in fact, had been an alien and contentious world to the attractive former John Robert Powers model. “I ignored it,” she said.

Still, she was apolitical enough to realize that she could live with her husband’s moderate Republican positions. When she married him on Oct. 15, 1948, at Grand Rapids’ Grace Episcopal Church, “that made up my mind” about a political affiliation.

They honeymooned by making the rounds of campaign rallies. She voted Republican for the first time by casting her ballot for her new husband. (Later, she made no secret of occasionally splitting her vote, to the chagrin of party loyalists.) Years afterward, when Ford’s White House advisers warned that her liberal feminist views could damage his 1976 presidential bid (“If Jerry Ford can’t control his own wife, how can he run the country?” went a popular refrain of the day), Mrs. Ford countered that she was “merely raising another voice within the party.”

The close-knit society of congressional wives that Mrs. Ford joined in January 1949 offered bipartisan friendships but imposed strict protocols, some glamorous but most of them duty-driven. In the shadow world where she lived with their four children, born from 1950 to 1957, wives were caretakers of family, hearth and husband.

Her dependency on prescription drugs began around 1964, when she was hospitalized for a pinched nerve in her neck, the result of an earlier injury while shoving up a kitchen window. As her pain increased, so did the dosages of pain-killing and mood-altering prescription drugs, among them Valium, which she took daily. Her physical discomfort, Ford’s frequent absences and her growing resentment over his preoccupation with work reached a point where she sought the help of a psychiatrist.

Then in 1972, with Democrats retaining control of the House, Ford realized he no longer had any realistic hope of becoming speaker. He promised his wife he would seek one more term and then retire from political life in January 1977. But Vice President Spiro Agnew’s fall from grace with his response of “nolo contendere” to charges of taking bribes forced the Fords to alter their timetable.

Although Nixon’s list of vice presidential nominees included longtime friend and political ally Ford, Mrs. Ford never took seriously speculation that he would choose her husband. Unknown to her, however, Ford had met on several occasions with Nixon chief of staff Alexander Haig and eventually Nixon himself.

On Oct. 12, 1973, the same day the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Nixon must make available eight subpoenaed Oval Office tapes critical to the Watergate case, Nixon announced his nominee. In private, Nixon had assured Ford that he need not worry about becoming the party nominee in 1976 because he would be backing Treasury Secretary John Connally for president. According to Mrs. Ford, Nixon’s promise made her husband’s nomination palatable.

She received reporters in the Fords’ unpretentious split-level Alexandria home, to talk readily about her children, openly about her physical problems and optimistically about seeing more of her husband as vice president.

But an early clue that behind the stereotypical political wife there was a little-known feminist came in an interview with Barbara Walters. On the condition that they not discuss political issues, she faced up to Walters, whose first question was what she thought of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion.

As Mrs. Ford later recalled the encounter, “I just said, ‘Well, I’m delighted because I’m glad they have taken abortion out of the backwoods and put it into the hospitals.’ And, of course, that was the beginning. Nobody realized that I had ever had an opinion. I mean, ‘All those children? She couldn’t!’ ”

That September, at her debut news conference as first lady, she moved publicly closer to the liberal roots of her youth, confirming her earlier statement on abortion by aligning herself with the abortion rights position of vice-president-designate Nelson Rockefeller. She expressed her support of the Equal Rights Amendment, five states short of ratification, and urged women to take a more active role in politics. Mrs. Ford’s August 1975 taped interview with CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer earned her the lasting animus of scandalized Republican conservatives and provided them another excuse to champion Ronald Reagan as the party challenger in 1976.

If Ford thought his wife “a little mouthy” about ERA, she said in 1994 that their children were indignant that they had become the subject of speculation about whether they had smoked marijuana (“Probably,” Mrs. Ford told Safer), premarital sex (it might reduce the divorce rate, she mused) and how she might respond if daughter Susan told her she was having an affair (“She’s a perfectly normal human being. . . . I would certainly counsel and advise her on the subject.”)

Privately, Ford pitched a pillow at her when he watched the program later. Publicly, he joked that his wife cost him “10 million votes,” then in a further attempt to minimize the political consequences with facetious exaggeration, upped the figure to 20 million. Anti-Ford forces were incensed that the president and his wife appeared to condone immorality and told her so in a barrage of critical mail.

A look back at the life and legacy of former first lady Betty Ford who died at the age of 93.

Attempting to defuse her remarks, Mrs. Ford subsequently wrote in a letter to her critics that “the emotion of my words spoke to the need of this communication, rather than the specific issues discussed.”

By year’s end, however, her approval rating jumped from 50 percent to 75 percent, making her the nation’s most admired woman.

When the 1976 presidential campaign got underway, it was Mrs. Ford who drew the crowds and inspired the campaign buttons that read: “Elect Betty’s Husband for President.”

Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter’s defeat of Ford by 2 percentage points raised the question of whether some of Mrs. Ford’s intemperate remarks had contributed to her husband’s loss. In California, where the Fords moved to establish a life away from Washington, she spoke of feeling unwanted, unnecessary and alone. She grappled with empty-nest syndrome by taking as many as 25 pills a day. By evening, she added before- and after-dinner vodka and tonics.

In April 1978, confronted with her addictions by her worried family, she agreed to seek help at the Navy’s rehabilitation facility in Long Beach. This time when Mrs. Ford returned home, fate handed her another assignment: point person in a fundraising campaign to build a $7.6 million chemical dependency recovery facility.

Four years later, the Betty Ford Center opened on the grounds of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, with its namesake as chairman of the board. She later was instrumental in expanding its services to include a family therapy program and a women’s treatment center.

She was an early proponent of help for AIDS victims and continued her support for women’s rights. As namesake of the Betty Ford Comprehensive Center for Breast Cancer at the old Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, she remained a symbol of the importance of early detection.

In 1993, feeling they would have more impact together than as individuals, Mrs. Ford and her former campaign rival Rosalynn Carter joined forces to urge the White House and Congress to include in any health-care reform legislation being written coverage for mental health and substance abuse.

Although it would be another 17 years before a health-care package was enacted, Mrs. Ford, who had helped advance the role of future first ladies from dutiful “appendages” to activist partners, remained convinced that making the effort had always been worth it.

“When you have so much,” she said, “it is just human nature that you see the needs of others and you want to help.”

Radcliffe, a longtime Washington Post journalist, died in February 2010.

 

 

© 2011 The Washington Post

 

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Backseat Lawyer – Casey Anthony Trial Defense Costs – How Much the State of Florida Has to Pay

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Judge Perry, in a public hearing last year, approved the court clerk’s determination that Casey Anthony was legally indigent.  By being declared “indigent” under the law, Casey would become eligible for her legal expenses to be paid by the State of Florida.  However, the defense did not request that her attorneys’ fees be paid out of the state’s pocket according to the media sources I reviewed today.  (Good summary provided by CBS News.)

One year later, according to Orlando’s WESH-TV, the defense had spent $80,000 and was asking for more.  (Story here.) 

That was back in March.  Who knows what the total is today.

Two thoughts here:  first, death penalty cases are expensive to try.  You’ve got a guilt phase and if the defense loses there, then you’ve got a penalty phase – where death is debated.  Sentencing is a new ball game and there are different witnesses, etc. and with that a new set of expenses.

Second, another good thing coming from the Casey Anthony coverage is the education of the American public on what it means, budget-wise, when an indigent is facing the death penalty.  The taxpayers are paying for BOTH SIDES of the case — attorneys’ fees and legal costs.  The fact that Baez isn’t being paid by the State of Florida here, nor his death-qualified co-counsel, shouldn’t be considered as what usually happens.

Some states try and cut these costs with Public Defender Offices, some have appointment lists of outside, private attorneys who are eligible to defend death penalty cases.  Either way, it’s tax money.

Note from 4love2love : The two lawyers besides Jose Baez working on the case are working pro bono for the defense, meaning, they aren’t being paid. It is possible that monies gained from selling her story, family photos and videos to various news agencies may help pay for Baez’s fees, but that is not verified at this time.

 

Copyright 2011 Backseat Lawyer

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Pop Eater – Taylor Swift Forced to Cancel Shows Due To Illness

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

By AOL Music Editors  Posted Jul 6th 2011 07:30PM

Taylor SwiftIt’s a disappointing day for Taylor Swift fans. The teen queen was forced to cancel the next three shows on her Speak Now World Tour, slotted for this weekend. The Friday evening show in Charlotte, North Carolina and both Saturday and Sunday stints in Atlanta, Georgia are postponed until the Fall.

The singer-songwriter is battling bronchitis, and her physician has advised her to cancel her upcoming performances in order to rest.

“It breaks my heart to miss out on this weekend’s shows with my friends in Charlotte and Atlanta,” Swift says. “I would never cancel if I thought I was physically able to perform these shows. I am so sorry to the fans, but I look forward to seeing you when we come back through your towns, which we will do.”

The Charlotte stop has been rescheduled for November 16, while the Atlanta shows will be moved to October 1 & 2. Taylor will resume her performance schedule July 14 in Montreal, Canada.

Last week, the 21-year-old had to postpone her her July 2 stop in Louisville, Ky. for the same reason. The show, which has been moved to October 11, marked the first time ever in her career that the ‘Mean’ singer has had to cancel.

“Louisville, I so sorry to have to postpone this show to Oct. 11,” Swift posted on her Twitter page. “This is my first time having to do this. I’m so, so sorry.”

 

 

© Copyright 2011 AOL Inc.

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Huffington Post – On Second Thought, Don’t Get Married

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Dr. Neil Clark Warren

Founder and Chairman of eHarmony, Clinical Psychologist, Author

More than 2 million couples will get married in the United States this year alone. Several hundred thousand of these couples should reconsider, postpone their weddings or not get married.

Shocking new statistics released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that Americans may no longer need marriage. For the first time ever, fewer than half of the households in the United States are married couples. In the past decade, the number of unmarried couples increased 25 percent as more people chose to cohabitate. A Pew Research Center study last year put it more succinctly, finding an increasing number of Americans now believes marriage is “becoming obsolete.”

This is a dangerous conclusion. It’s true that far too many marriages, as currently constructed, end up disastrously. But with some common sense societal changes at the front end, marriage can still serve a vital purpose for a vast majority of adults.

Interestingly, around the same time the Pew study came out, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, in their annual report on the health of marriage and family life, affirmed that more than three-quarters of Americans still believe marriage is “important” and that more than 70 percent of adults under age 30 desire to marry someday.

So it’s clear that a majority of us still crave to be married. It’s like we are hard wired to search after that person with whom we can spend the rest of our lives — even in the face of these dire marital statistics.

I’m not trying to say that marriage is not in trouble. I am trying to say that there are some clear answers to the question of how marriage can get uniformly more satisfying for the people involved. And this I firmly believe: When done right, marriage can be the greatest institution on earth.

In his best-selling book, The Social AnimalNew York Times columnist David Brooks says that “by far the most important decisions that persons will ever make are about whom to marry, and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses.” He cites multiple studies that have found a strong correlation between the stability of good relationships and increased life happiness.

But the skill of choosing a marriage partner has often been treated as relatively unimportant in our society and a whole lot less complex than it actually is. And herein lies the secret of why marriage has often turned out so disappointingly for so many.

It’s frighteningly easy to choose the wrong person. Attraction and chemistry are easily mistaken for love, but they are far from the same thing. Being attracted to someone is immediate and largely subconscious. Staying deeply in love with someone happens gradually and requires conscious decisions, made over and over again, for a lifetime. Too many people choose to get married based on attraction and don’t consider, or have enough perspective to recognize, whether their love can endure.

When people choose a partner unwisely, it’s a source of enormous eventual pain. During my 35-year clinical career, I “presided over” the divorces of several hundred couples. I never experienced a single easy one. If one or both partners didn’t get clobbered by the experience, any children involved often felt deep emotional sadness and loss. Sometimes this sadness kept impacting these people for years — even decades.

A significant amount of research data, including an in-depth report by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, buttresses my clinical impressions that parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children’s risk of dropping out of high school. Moreover, children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological problems and other mental illnesses. And ultimately, divorce begets divorce; i.e., when you grow up outside an intact marriage, you have a greater likelihood of having children outside a marriage or getting a divorce yourself.

I have often suggested that more pain in our society comes from broken primary relationships than from any other source. If we could ever reduce the incidence of marital breakup from 40 to 50 percent of all marriages to single digits, I suspect it would be one of the greatest accomplishments of our time.

Of course, no one intends to be in an unhappy marriage. Bad marriages don’t just happen to bad people. They mostly happen to good people who are not good for each other.

And inspiring marriages don’t happen by accident. They require highly informed and carefully reasoned choices. Commitment and hard work are factors too. But after decades of working with a few thousand well-intended and hardworking married people, I’ve become convinced that 75 percent of what culminates in a disappointing marriage — or a great marriage — has far less to do with hard work and far more to do with partner selection based on “broad-based compatibility.” It became clear to me that signs which were predictive of the huge differences between eventually disappointing and ultimately great marriages were obvious during the premarital phase of relationships.

When two people have a relationship which is predicated upon broad-based compatibility, there is every reason to be optimistic about their long term prospects. A marriage of this type has virtually no chance of becoming “obsolete.”

If all of us together can focus on the challenge of getting the right persons married to each other, it just might change our society more than anything else we could do. Goodness knows, when marriage is right, little else matters nearly so much.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren is founder of eHarmony and chairman of its Board of Directors. eHarmony is an online dating website grounded in relationship science that matches single men and women for long-term relationships.

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Mom and kids beat kittens with baseball bat

Posted by 4love2love on July 4, 2011


sponsored by: People Against Animal Cruelty
At 8 weeks old, a small black and white kitten named Dexter is lucky to be alive after his owner and her two young sons took him to a neighborhood park and beat him and another kitten with an aluminum bat. Dexter is clinging to life, but his brother died as a result of his injuries.

Four children at a park in Brooksville, Florida watched in horror last Friday evening when they saw 24-year-old Wilana Joenel Frazier and her two sons — one 8 years old and the other 5 — torture the two small kittens.Demand justice for the tortured kittens.

Frazier hit the kittens with a baseball bat and encouraged her children to kick the animals and throw them against a tree. Then they placed the kittens on a swing. When one of the animals died, the boys put him in a trash can and covered him with water.

By the time Linda Christian, a Hernando County Animal Services officer, arrived on the scene little Dexter had been rescued and wrapped in a white T-shirt by one of the boys who witnessed the event. Blood was running from the kitten’s nose and mouth. Soon he began to have seizures from the trauma to his brain.

When Christian touched the kitten, he began to convulse. Christian told the St. Petersburg Times, “I thought I was going to lose him at that point. It was very upsetting.”

Christian rushed Dexter to the Pet Luv Nonprofit Spay and Neuter Clinic and miraculously the small ball of fur has survived the first few critical days. Employees at the clinic care for him during the day and a veterinary technician has been taking him home each night.

Dexter is able to keep his medication down, is eating from a feeding tube and has started to walk a little on his own. But veterinarians are still very concerned about potential damage to Dexter’s brain and are not sure if he will ultimately succumb to his injuries.
Rick Silvani, president of Pet Luv said, “All animals have a right to life, but a helpless, defenseless kitten… You don’t know what to say. It’s just incomprehensible.” The group has agreed to cover the costs of Dexter’s medical care.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office questioned Frazier, but she denied being involved and said her children were not part of the beating either. However authorities charged Frazier on two counts of cruelty to animals and two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She is out of jail on $3,500 bail.

From Update: Kittens Beaten By Woman And Her Kids by Sharon Seltzer
*Pet Luv  has a donation site and FB page updates.. several times a day on Dexter’s conditionhttp://www.petluv.org/Contactus.html
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Florida’s Felony Animal Abuse Law is new and needs a precedent set that will deter anyone from this type of behavior! Let’s make sure that Dexter the kitten gets the justice that he deserves!

Care2.com petitions automatically close upon reaching  goal.,. but can increase or be lowered at any time,  before that occurs.!    We would like to increase in increments to 250,000!    Will you help in that goal and post it all over the civilized world,: join social networks and blogs,  animal activist sites.   A united stand: one voice, one World  that no people throughout the World will stand by without uttering a cry at this behavior!   98%of Florida cases are plead out to lesser charges  …Please, we beg you help prevent this from happening!

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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”
— Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Teach your children well… Stephen Stills

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Mel McDaniel, Grand Ole Opry Country musician, dies 68

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Mel McDaniel (September 6, 1942 – March 31, 2011) was an American country music artist. His chartmaking years were the 1980s and his hits from that era include “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up,” “Anger and Tears,” the Number One “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”, “I Call It Love”, “Stand On It” and a remake of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Roll (Let It Rock).”

His career finally took off with “Louisiana Saturday Night” in 1981, a number one hit “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” in 1984 and Top 10 hits, like “Right in the Palm of Your Hand” (later covered by Alan Jackson in 1999), “Take Me to the Country,” “Big Ole Brew,” and “I Call It Love.”

McDaniel was a member of the Grand Ole Opry (since 1986) and made frequent appearances on the show.

McDaniel was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2006, along with induction classmate Leon Russell.

Mel McDaniel’s Health and Cause of Death
Since 1996, he had been recovering from a near-fatal fall into an orchestra pit, suffered while he was performing at a show in Lafayette, Louisiana. On June 16, 2009, McDaniel suffered a heart attack, putting him in a medically induced coma in a Nashville area hospital according to The Tennessean. Mel’s wife, Peggy, requested the prayers of the singer’s fans, saying his situation was “not good.” McDaniel died March 31, 2011 as a result of cancer.

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Joseph Brooks, “You Light Up My Life” Songwriter, Dies Before Trial 73

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Important Background Story:
Joseph Brooks was waiting for a trial on charges of sexually assaulting of more than a dozen women.  He allegedly lured the women to his apartment to audition for movie roles.  He was indicted on June 23, 2009. He was being tried by Manhattan’s state Supreme Court for 91 counts and charged with rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, assault, and other charges.

A month ago, Joseph Brooks’ son was accused of murdering a swimsuit designer.

  

Joseph Brooks (March 11, 1938 – May 22, 2011) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, and composer. He composed the hit song “You Light Up My Life” for the film of the same name that he also wrote, directed, and produced.

In the 1960s Brooks was a composer of advertising jingles, including highly successful ones for Pepsi, “You’ve Got a Lot to Live”, and Maxwell House, “Good to the Last Drop Feeling”.

In October 1977 “You Light Up My Life” reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 popularity charts where it held the top position for 10 consecutive weeks, which was then the longest run at #1 in the chart’s history. With sales of over four million copies in the United States alone, the song ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s. It also hit #1 Adult Contemporary and was even a Top 10 “Country” single. The passionate ballad also earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award. The song was Debby Boone’s first solo hit record and only Top 40 Pop hit.

Joseph Brooks Cuase of Death
Police reported on May 22, 2011, that Brooks was found dead by a friend of an apparent suicide. He was 73 years old. His body was found in his Upper East Side apartment with a plastic dry cleaning bag around his head and a towel around his neck. His body was near a helium tank with a hose on it and a suicide note.

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Help Change Cellphone and Texting Laws for Drivers

Posted by 4love2love on June 26, 2011

Cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year, according to the journal’s publisher, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Drivers talking on cell phones were 18 percent slower to react to brake lights, the new study found. In a minor bright note, they also kept a 12 percent greater following distance. But they also took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked. Think the risks aren’t serious?

From Live Science

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Study

On July 27, 2009, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released preliminary findings of their study of driver distraction in commercial vehicles. Several naturalistic driving studies, of long-haul trucks as well as lighter vehicles driving six million combined miles, used video cameras to observe the drivers and road. Researchers observed 4,452 “safety-critical” events, which includes crashes, near crashes, safety-critical events, and lane deviations. 81% of the “safety-critical” events involved some type of driver distraction. Text messaging had the greatest relative risk, with drivers of heavy vehicles or trucks being more than 23 times more likely to experience a safety-critical event when texting. The study also found that drivers typically take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of four out of six seconds when texting, and an average of 4.6 out of the six seconds surrounding safety-critical events. The study revealed that when traveling at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h), a driver texting for 6 seconds is looking at the phone for 4.6 seconds of that time and travels the distance of a football field without their eyes on the road. Some of VTTI’s conclusions from this study included that “texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers”, and that “all cell phone use should be banned for newly licensed teen drivers”. The results of the study are listed in the table below.

Risk Increases of Cell Phone Tasks by Vehicle Type
Cell phone task Risk of crash or near event crash
Light Vehicle Dialing 2.8 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Light Vehicle Talking/Listening 1.3 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Light Vehicle Reaching for object (i.e. electronic device…) 1.4 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Heavy Vehicles/Trucks Dialing 5.9 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Heavy Vehicles/Trucks Talking/Listening 1.0 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Heavy Vehicles/Trucks Use/Reach for electronic device 6.7 times as high as non‐distracted driving
Heavy Vehicles/Trucks Text messaging 23.2 times as high as non‐distracted driving

What’s worse is that some states don’t even have laws protecting people from others using their cell phones while driving. Most often, the offense is treated with a fine, though in some states, it’s possible to receive jail time. Take a look at some of the more notable crashes caused by cell phone use while driving (from Wikipedia):

Notable crashes

  • On August 29, 2007, Danny Oates was killed by a young driver of a car, allegedly texting while driving. The defense had argued that driver Jeffrey Woods had possibly suffered a seizure during the time of the accident.
  • On January 3, 2008, Heather Leigh Hurd was killed by a truck driver who allegedly was texting while driving. Her father Russell Hurd has been actively supporting a law in various U.S. states called Heather’s Law that would prohibit texting while driving.
  • The 2008 Chatsworth train collision, which killed 25 people, and which occurred on September 12, 2008, was blamed on the operator sending text messages while operating the train.

Not to mention the heartache and risk to children who are also injured or die during accidents caused by cell phone use while driving. People need to understand the laws of their state and try to encourage states without strong laws to pass them for everyone’s safety.

I’ve been tempted to use a cell phone while driving, however, I made it a habit only if I was completely stopped in traffic or if I had a place to pull over. Otherwise, the cell phone goes to voice mail which can be checked at any time and phone calls returned. There is no huge emergency that can’t wait when you are driving and have a cell phone with you. That call is not as important as yours or others lives.

Life is precious, we should protect it. Please do not use your cell phone while driving unless you are using a hands free set and keep your hands on the wheel regardless of the conversation. If the conversation is particularly heated or involved, ask the person to call back later to discuss it in a time when you are not driving several hundred or thousand pounds of a lethal weapon.

Think of it this way – would you want the bus driver that drives your children to and from school to be in the middle of a discussion while driving? Would you want to be on public transportation where the driver/controller was arguing with his/her spouse about dinner plans for their anniversary? Would you want to be stuck behind or in front of a driver who’s telling mom that she had to make a stop at a friend’s house and you have to stop suddenly to prevent hitting a dog or a car or person? What if they don’t notice your brake lights and slam right into the back of your car? Do you really want to see any of those things happen to anyone else? What if it was your mother, your father, your sister or brother, their children, grandchildren or your own child? Could you really live with yourself if you did nothing to help change the laws that could save theirs?

I know I couldn’t. I followed a story about a little boy that was strapped into his car seat, a whole 4 years old when a teenage girl who was texting while driving slammed full speed into the back of their SUV. They had stopped at an intersection. Both parents were injured, not severely, but the little boy had serious injuries that required multiple surgeries, including brain surgery to relieve the fluid building up in his brain from massive head trauma. He survived, barely, but what if he hadn’t? I saw the wreckage and I have to say that it’s amazing that anyone survived that wreck. All because of a little cell phone. Remember, the people using their phones don’t always survive the accidents, either.

Do what’s right. Fight for your state to make and enforce strongly laws about using cell phones while driving. It’s a horrible tragedy to see so many lives taken because an invention allowed people to be accessed in places they shouldn’t be – while driving. Most of my friends leave their cell phones alone while driving and won’t answer them at all until they have parked somewhere or have pulled off to the side of the road. Seeing that story about that little boy and seeing the pictures of the damage and his healing process had a huge impact on the way I think about cell phone use. I hope some of the information provided to you does.

The following is taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. It shows the laws in your state and note the states without such laws. Please, please try to encourage lawmakers to make laws where none exist, disallowing the use of cell phones while driving under any circumstances.

June 2011


Talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is banned in 10 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Utah has named the offense careless driving. Under the Utah law, no one commits an offense when speaking on a cellphone unless they are also committing some other moving violation other than speeding.

The use of all cellphones by novice drivers is restricted in 30 states and the District of Columbia and the use of all cellphones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 19 states and the District of Columbia. (Doesn’t that scare you? Only 19 states prohibit a School Bus Driver from using cell phones. Who’s watching the road or the kids in the rest of the states?)

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 34 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 7 states (Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in 3 states (Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas). (Even worse news considering that texting takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road!)

Many localities have enacted their own bans on cellphones or text messaging. In some but not all states, local jurisdictions need specific statutory authority to do so.

The table and maps below show the states that have cellphone laws, whether they specifically ban text messaging, and whether they are enforced as primary or secondary laws. Under secondary laws, an officer must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing a driver for using a cellphone. Laws without this restriction are called primary.

Laws restricting cellphone use and texting
State Hand-held ban Young drivers all cellphone ban Bus drivers all cellphone ban Texting ban
Alabama no drivers age 16 and 17-year-old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than 6 months no drivers age 16 and 17-year-old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than 6 months
Alaska no no no all drivers
Arizona no no school bus drivers no
Arkansas drivers 18 or older but younger than 21 (effective since 10/01/09) school and highway work zones(effective 10/01/11) drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
California all drivers drivers younger than 18 school and transit bus drivers all drivers
Colorado no drivers younger than 18 no all drivers
Connecticut all drivers drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
Delaware all drivers learner’s permit and intermediate license holders school bus drivers all drivers
District of Columbia all drivers learner’s permit holders school bus drivers all drivers
Florida no no no no
Georgia no drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
Hawaii no no no no
Idaho no no no no
Illinois drivers in construction and school speed zones drivers younger than 19 and learner’s permit holders younger than 19 school bus drivers all drivers
Indiana no drivers younger than 18 no all drivers (effective 07/01/11)
Iowa no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders no all drivers
Kansas no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders no all drivers
Kentucky no drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
Louisiana with respect to novice drivers, see footnote2 school bus drivers all drivers all drivers (effective 09/13/11)
Maryland all drivers learner’s permit and provisional license holders younger than 18 school bus drivers (hand-held ban) all drivers
Massachusetts no drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers and passenger bus drivers all drivers
Michigan no no no all drivers
Minnesota no learner’s permit holders and provisional license holders during the first 12 months after licensing school bus drivers all drivers
Mississippi no no school bus drivers(effective 07/01/11) learner’s permit and intermediate license holders (effective since 07/01/09) and school bus drivers(effective 07/01/11)
Missouri no no no drivers 21 and younger
Montana no no no no
Nebraska no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders younger than 18 no all drivers
Nevada all drivers (effective 01/01/12) no no all drivers (effective 01/01/12)
New Hampshire no no no all drivers
New Jersey all drivers learner’s permit and intermediate license holders school bus drivers all drivers
New Mexico no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders
New York all drivers no no all drivers
North Carolina no drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
North Dakota no drivers younger than 18 (effective 01/01/12) no all drivers (effective 08/01/11)
Ohio no no no no
Oklahoma learner’s permit and intermediate license holders no
Oregon all drivers drivers younger than 18 no all drivers
Pennsylvania no no no no
Rhode Island no drivers younger than 18 school bus drivers all drivers
South Carolina no no no no
South Dakota no no no no
Tennessee no learner’s permit and intermediate license holders school bus drivers all drivers
Texas drivers in school crossing zones drivers younger than 18 (effective 09/01/11) bus drivers when a passenger 17 and younger is present bus drivers when a passenger 17 and younger is present; drivers in school crossing zones; drivers younger than 18 (effective 09/01/11)
Utah all drivers no no all drivers
West Virginia no drivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner’s permit or an intermediate license no drivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner’s permit or an intermediate license
Wisconsin no no no all drivers
Wyoming no no no all drivers

1The laws in Arkansas and California prohibit police from stopping a vehicle to determine if a driver is in compliance with the law. Clearly, that language prohibits the use of checkpoints to enforce the law, but it has been interpreted as the functional equivalent of secondary provisions that typically state the officer may not stop someone suspected of a violation unless there is other, independent, cause for a stop.

2In Louisiana, all learner’s permit holders, irrespective of age, and all intermediate license holders are prohibited from driving while using a hand-held cellphone and all drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using any cellphone. Effective April 1, 2010 all drivers, irrespective of age, issued a first driver’s license will be prohibited from using a cellphone for one year. The cellphone ban is secondary for novice drivers age 18 and older.

3In Oklahoma, learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are banned from using a hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle for non-life-threatening emergency purposes.

4Utah’s law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a hand-held cellphone or other activities not related to driving.

Sources :

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Live Science

Wikipedia : Texting While Driving

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