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Gambling Addiction – Signs, Symptoms & Treatment for Problem …

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:44 am

Do you, or does someone you love enjoy playing lotto, buying lottery tickets or visiting the casino on a regular basis?Has your desire to gamble ever resulted in your spending money that you really didnt have to spend, getting in trouble or had negative effects on your relationships with friends or loved ones?Frequent gambling could be a sign of a gambling addiction.

It is estimated that gambling addiction affects somewhere between two to five percent of all American adults in some way.Many different risk factors can lead to a compulsive gambling addiction that is both difficult to cope with and equally difficult to overcome.

Gambling addiction can lead to job loss, family problems, loss of material possessions such as a house or car, health problems, problems with the law and much more.

Fortunately, there is help and treatment has been derived from many different methods of counseling and therapy to assist those who have a compulsive gambling problem with overcoming their desire to gamble and learning how to control their behaviors.

Gambling is not all fun and games. If it becomes compulsive, seek help to avoid serious consequences.

A simple desire to scratch a ticket, play a slot or visit a casino is not necessarily a sign of gambling addiction but when this desire is so compulsive that you just cant stop thinking about it until you take action, there may be a problem in your life. Gambling addiction is characterized by a compulsive desire to gamble that is marked with an inability to control behaviors when gambling.Those who suffer from gambling addiction will continue to gamble (either daily or possibly just on a binge) despite negative financial, legal and social consequences.

Many people who are addicted to gambling will do things that they never would have done if it werent for their addiction such as stealing money from friends or family members or taking part in illegal activities in an effort to get more money either to gamble or to pay debts. Despite a desire to quit, many compulsive gamblers are unable to control their actions without help.The impulsive behaviors often get them into trouble and can lead to serious consequences.

Often referred to as a hidden illness gambling addiction has no obvious physical signs or symptoms that can be quickly or easily spotted.Problem gamblers often go unnoticed for many years before the signs of the addiction finally become evident even to close friends and family members. In fact, because many gambling addicts are able to control their behaviors the majority of the time, it could be very difficult to spot a gambling addiction unless you physically go with the gambler into a situation in which they are actually gambling, then you may quickly realize that they are out of control.

Although the signs of gambling addiction are often difficult for others to spot, if you like to gamble, theres a good chance that you will be able to recognize the symptoms of gambling addiction in yourself early on, well before others will even notice.

MYTH: Because I only gamble online I cant be a gambling addict.

Fact:Compulsive gambling leads to emotional problems, relationship problems and could lead to legal problems in addition to the financial implications. Even if you have the money to spend, gambling too much can become problematic as your social life suffers from your spending too much time on gambling.

Fact:Gambling in excess, either daily or during a binge, can be problematic.Even if you dont gamble often, the gambling can still cause problems financially, legally or socially.

Fact:Gambling addicts often place blame on their loved ones in an effort to take the blame off of themselves but this doesnt necessarily mean that the partner has anything to do with their problem.

Not all gambling is problematic.Responsible gambling is possible and many gaming venues take part in responsible gaming policies that are intended to provide gamblers with an ethical means of having fun without the dangers and risks associated with gambling addiction.

The devastation that gambling addiction can wreak on the life of those who suffer from this illness as well as those around him make this a very dangerous disorder to be reckoned with.Compulsive gambling accounts for as much as five billion dollars spent annually in the United States alone.Many of the people who are addicted to gambling find themselves accruing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Counseling and therapy can help you learn to overcome your gambling problem.

Gambling addiction affects each individual in a different way and each gambler will have unique needs for recovery.The type of treatment that works for one individual will not necessarily work for another. Probably the greatest hurdle in treatment for gambling addiction is to realize and admit that you have a problem and need help.Because gambling is called the hidden addiction it can be very, very difficult to attest to your wrongdoing, and admit that you have a gambling problem.This is especially true when a gambling addiction has resulted in extreme financial hardship, broken relationships and certain legal problems along the way.

Treatment for gambling addiction takes many forms and most people who seek help for a gambling addiction participate in Gamblers Anonymous (GA).In addition to the social support that is found in the Gamblers Anonymous programs, psychotherapy, and especially cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven to be effective at helping those who are addicted to gambling to change their behaviors and take on more positive actions to cope with stress or other potential triggers that would typically lead them to gamble.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for gambling addiction focuses on changing the poor behaviors of a problem gambler into positive thoughts and behaviors.The idea here is to rewire the gamblers brain into a new way of thinking about their gambling addiction and their desire to gamble.

During treatment, you will learn many ways to cope with cravings or your desire to gamble.It is completely normal to feel the urge to gamble, especially if you are recovering from a gambling addiction, but it can be difficult to cope with such desires in a positive way.Throughout your struggles with gambling addiction and recovery there will likely be many times that you want to gamble and struggle to make the right choice not to follow through with your desires.The following methods can help you to cope with potential triggers without relapsing:

Support goes a long way in addiction recovery. Reach out to your loved ones.

If you or someone you love needs treatment for a gambling problem, its important that you seek a treatment approach that will be most appropriate for your individual needs.Finding the right type of treatment for your needs and the right help for a gambling addiction will ensure that you have the greatest chance of recovery.Most of the time, gambling addiction treatment takes place either through social support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous and outpatient therapy or in an inpatient facility.

If your gambling addiction has lead to severe financial, legal or social problems then you may require inpatient treatment for your condition.This type of help for gambling addiction includes around-the-clock supervision in a hospital like setting where the patient will stay while undergoing treatment. The intense therapy, counseling and supervision provided by inpatient treatment centers significantly reduce the risk of relapse while in treatment.

Compulsive gamblers often need the support of friends, family members and additional peers in order to help them stop gambling.Gamblers Anonymous groups can provide peer and social support for those in recovery or for those who wish they could stop gambling.For many, these groups provide a foundation for a successful and long term recovery from addiction to gambling.

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Online Casino USA Friendly Online Casinos for 2017

Posted: at 4:44 am

Play with confidence by exploring our 2017 list of the best online casinos before you place a bet. Our ratings take the work out of deciding where to play by providing current information about our recommended online casinos. Read our reviews and ratings about each casino to make an informed decision. We help you learn about each casinos software safety, available welcome bonuses, incentives, payout percent, banking options, game selection, customer service and other details.

* The Casinos listed here accept new customers from United States, USA & other countries.

Playing your favorite games online can be more cost-efficient, less hassle and provide a better atmosphere for winning than gambling in a traditional casino. Even if you have a casino nearby, you will put wear and tear on your car, pay for gas, and may need to spring for meals or a hotel room. Before you know it, you may spend several hundred dollars that you would have preferred to use playing games.

Additionally, your personal comfort can impact your concentration and gambling decisions. Imagine the noise at a traditional casino or interacting with a disgruntled player at your table. If you do not smoke, you may find the odor of smoke disturbing. When you have money on the line, you do not need distractions. You want to make decisions that maximize your winnings.

Your attire and disposition can also adversely affect your play. Uncomfortable shoes can take your mind away from a gaming decision, and hours in the same chair can make you grumpy. Stretch your legs at home without losing your seat at a hot table.

Most online casinos offer odds or incentives that surpass those of traditional casinos. Unlike brick and mortar casinos, online gaming establishments have minimal operating expenses. They do not need janitorial services to clean ashes and debris from the casinos. There are no heat, electric and water bills. In essence, there are few employees needed to maintain an online casino or monitor the games. Therefore, online casinos are in the unique position to entice players with more giveaways and incentives than standard casinos.

Have you ever gone to a traditional casino and decided not to play your favorite game because the minimum was too high? Since online casinos do not have operating costs of traditional casinos, you can usually choose the amount you wish to bet without meeting minimums. The advantages of online casinos are likely to heighten your enjoyment.

Online casinos allow you to partake in tournaments, set up games with friends, compete internationally and enjoy individual games. The variety of options can satisfy anyones preference.

Why Our Rating System is Beneficial

We carefully investigate online casinos to provide players with accessible information. Each casino offers its own benefits. Your style of play, game choice, your reason for playing, and other personal factors may make some online casinos a better fit for you. For example, if you are not a seasoned player, you may want an online casino that offers plenty of free or practice games that you can intersperse with betting games. You can become comfortable betting and playing without investing a large sum of money. Some players may place a priority on customer service or online casinos that have little or no software glitches. Enjoying hours of uninterrupted play or convenient customer service that may help minimize distractions and keep you focused. Only you can decide which perks make a particular online casino the right choice for your playing pleasure. Some players like to join new online casinos to take advantage of perks and bonuses for new registrants. Others like to frequent their favorite casinos and enjoy loyalty programs. Our organized ratings and information make it effortless to identify your favorite casino.

Choosing an online casino can be tricky because there are many casinos competing for your business. Our picks for 2015 are Silver Oak, Cool Cat, Palace of Chance, SlotoCash & a couple of others. All of our reviewed casinos welcome players from America and other countries. The minimum rating is 99.1, but most of our top choices have a rating of more than 99.5.

Our user-friendly material is a breeze to access. Our format allows you to compare bonus offerings and ratings without leaving our website. The basic information appears in a list without the need to read reviews or visit the online casinos.

Access our review to find information pertaining to play options, software, loyalty programs and advice about accessing bonuses. Our reviews let you know whether a particular online casino keeps their games fresh by adding new options and games. We also highlight details that make some online casinos more preferable than others depending on your concerns. Our reviews identify which casinos excel at offering exciting graphics, excellent safety, convenient banking choices, 24-hour customer support, VIP programs, practice games, no wager gaming and other benefits that may be appealing.

While our ratings share the advantages of each online gaming establishment, they also alert players to problems. Reading our reviews can help inform you about difficulties withdrawing money or customer service issues. Nevertheless, readers should be aware that online casinos try to improve, and any complaints may not be indicative of your experience.

Our list would be incomplete without providing our viewers with access to the casinos we rate. Investigate each casino to decide whether it meets your needs and has your favorite games. Read about their offerings and policies.

We offer information to enhance your playing pleasure and hope that you have a positive experience. In addition to online casino recommendations, read our information about specific games to learn helpful gaming strategies. Whether you choose to practice games to perfect your skills or play for cash immediately, online casinos can enable you to have instant fun without traveling. Try the games on this site to get started.

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Mardi Gras brings on the fun – Tullahoma News and Guardian

Posted: at 4:37 am

LIFESTYLES EDITOR

Kali Bradford

The final day of Carnival season, known as Mardi Gras, takes place on Tuesday. Carnival season began on Jan. 6, which is also known as Kings Day (Feast of the Epiphany).

Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday, which launches the 40 days of the season of Lent in the Christian tradition.

A Colorful History

Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. The final day of the Carnival season, it is celebrated in many countries around the world mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holidays most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year. -Photo Provided

According to the website, mardigrasneworleans.com, historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now Louisiana, just south of the holidays future epicenter, New Orleans.

They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners.

When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a state in 1812.

On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating the revelry theyd observed while visiting Paris.

Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day.

In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city.

Since then, krewes have remained a fixture of the Carnival scene throughout Louisiana. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake.

Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday. However, elaborate carnival festivities draw crowds in other parts of the United States during the Mardi Gras season as well, including Alabama and Mississippi. Each region has its own events and traditions.

Senior Center sets Mardi Gras, Black History Month celebration

The Coffee County Senior Citizens Center in Tullahoma will hold a celebration marking both Mardi Gras and Black History month at 6 p.m. on Friday in the activities room at the senior center.

We are celebrating black history and we thought with it being February, we would add a little flare by adding Mardi Gras with it, said center executive director Vickie Fulmer.

We are doing a lot of Mardi Gras-themed foods along with having the talented local band Utopia come and perform for us. We want everyone to know they are welcome to come and join in on the festivities.

Lead singer for Utopia J.T. Northcutt said the group is excited to come and perform for the celebrations.

Tullahoma is home for us and this is a great cause. We are just glad to give back to the community. There would be no us without the community, said Northcutt.

Northcutt also points out what both of the events have in common.

Its important to point out that Mardi Gras and that style of music is not that far removed from R&B, soul, jazz and other forms of the music. Both were influences of each other, he said.

Fulmer added that Fridays event is free to the public.

We want everyone to come and have a great time, she said. This is a family friendly event that all ages can enjoy. Also come out and see what we are doing here at the senior center. Lots of activities for everyone.

The Coffee Country Senior Center is located at 410 N. Collins St. in Tullahoma.

Last Hurrah Recipes

With Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting before Easter, Mardi Gras is the last hurrah of sorts, with participants indulging in their favorite fatty foods and drinks before giving them up.

Check out the following recipes to celebrate Mardi Gras appropriately.

King Cake

Ingredients

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1/2 cup butter, melted

5 egg yolks

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 cups confectioners sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon multicolored candy sprinkles

Directions

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and white sugar in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir the egg yolks and melted butter into the milk mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest.

Beat the flour mixture into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups confectioners sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix well and set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 630 inch rectangle. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough.

Bring the two long edges together and seal completely. Using your hands shape the dough into a long cylinder and place on a greased baking sheet, seam-side down.

Shape the dough into a ring press the baby into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Place a well-greased 2 pound metal coffee can the center of the ring to maintain the shape during baking. Cover the ring with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the coffee can and allow the bread to cool. Drizzle cooled cake with lemon/sugar glaze and decorate with candy sprinkles.

Andouille, Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya

Ingredients

3 cups chicken broth, divided

1 1/2 cups white rice

1 pound andouille sausage, diced

1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia(R)), chopped

3 green onions, or to taste, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon hot sauce

ground black pepper to taste

1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cooked whole chicken breast, shredded

1 cup chicken broth

Directions

Bring 3 cups chicken broth and rice to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook and stir andouille sausage in hot pot until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon, retaining any drippings in the pot.

Saut sweet onion, green onions, celery, and bell pepper in the sausage drippings until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season vegetable mixture with Creole seasoning, minced garlic, hot sauce, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute more.

Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes over the vegetable mixture; stir and add shrimp, shredded chicken, browned sausage, and 1 cup chicken broth into the tomato mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a simmer until he shrimp are no longer translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

Scoop rice into bowls and ladle jambalaya over the rice.

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Gone with the Wind: Assessing Hurricane Costs in the Caribbean – Caribbean360.com (subscription)

Posted: at 4:35 am

BySebastian Acevedo

WASHINGTON, United States, Tuesday February 21, 2017 Hurricanes are a fact of life in the Caribbean. Every year there are, on average, 12 storms that pass through the region, of which about half reach hurricane force winds (winds above 119 kilometers per hour). Hurricanes are the leading cause of natural disasters in the Caribbean, making the region one of the most vulnerable in the world. Yet, only 62 percent of disasters caused by hurricanes have recorded data on economic damages, as the information is difficult to collect.

Wind damage

In my newpaper, I look at the relationship between maximum wind speeds and the damages hurricanes cause to estimate the missing data for the Caribbean, and to calculate the potential costs that climate change would have in the region. I find that damages in percent of GDP increase by about 3 percent with an increase in wind speed of 1 percent.

Completing the missing data

The international disaster database (EM-DAT) shows that between 1950 and 2014 hurricanes caused 238 natural disasters in the Caribbean. Of those storms, the database only recorded damages for 148 hurricanes, which caused roughly $52 billion (in 2010 constant U.S. dollars) in damages. This is equivalent to an average of 1.6 percent of GDP in damages every year in each island.

My findings show that the remaining disasters could have caused damages of about 0.9 percent of GDP every year, bringing the average destruction of hurricanes to 2.5 percent of GDP a year.

Even then, this figure might still underestimate the costs of hurricanes in the Caribbean, given the number of under reported disasters in the 1950s and 1960s and the restrictive classification for defining a disaster. So, if we assume that all storms with hurricane strength winds that passed within 60 miles of the islands caused damages (a total of 335 storms including the 238 disasters), the average island in the sample would have sustained annual damages of 5.7 percent of GDP over the past 65 years.

Climate change costs

Climate change is expected to increase the intensity of hurricanes, as warmer sea surface temperatures will create the right environment for large storms to form and strengthen. If temperatures were to increase by 4.3C by 2100 (IPCCscenario RCP8.5), then average damages in the Caribbean would increase by about 34 percent as the frequency of the most intense storms would increase. Even if temperatures were to increase only by about 3C by the end of the century, which is close to what the November 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change would achieve without further target increases according to independentexperts, the increase in damages would still be close to 24 percent.

More needs to be done

Given the large costs that hurricanes already cause in the Caribbean and the potential for significant increases in damages with climate change, it is important for governments to take more actions to be better prepared. They will need to implement soft adaptation measures, such as improved early warning systems and better building codes, as well as hard adaption measures, such as investments in resilient infrastructure. Governments will also need to build fiscal buffers to cover the recurrent costs of disasters, and insurance (for example,CCRIF) will also be crucial to spread risks.

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Sebastian Acevedo is an economist in the IMFs Western Hemisphere Department, and works on the Ecuador desk. At the IMF, he worked for six years in the Caribbean covering topics related to natural disasters, economic growth, productivity, tourism, debt, and exchange rate regimes, with a particular focus on small islands.

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Best approach to panhandlers? Ignore them – Richmond Register

Posted: at 4:30 am

Editors note: The Registers parent company, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., has papers all over the United States. Each Wednesday, this space will be dedicated to what one of those papers thinks about the issues facing their communities.

In striking down Lexingtons anti-panhandling law, the Kentucky Supreme Court has further clarified what local governments can do to discourage individuals from begging: very little.

Despite the societal stigma associated with panhandling, this form of expression is widely considered to be constitutionally protected speech, Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said in the decision.

Its a decision that likely kills similar ordinances across the state, including the one in Louisville Metro that imposes a $250 fine, 90 days in jail, or both for those who aggressively beg for money in public.

The landmark ruling also said it is unconstitutional for city officials to treat individuals who carry signs begging for money differently from others, such as those with religious messages such as Jesus Loves You.

The only thing distinguishing these two people is the content of their messages, Minton wrote.

The ruling does provide guidance to local governments about what they can and cannot do to discourage panhandling. Nearly every city in Kentucky, including Ashland, has debated ways to limit individuals from begging.

The case before the state Supreme Court was brought by attorneys for Dennis Champion, 58, who has been cited or arrested more than 550 times for begging, illegal solicitations and disorderly conduct since 2004 in Lexington and Louisville, according to court records.

Defending the Lexington ordinance, which carried a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a $100 fine, or both, the Fayette County attorneys office said the city had a compelling interest in pedestrians not being struck by motorists and in the efficient flow of traffic. But the 14-page ruling said Lexington officials failed to show panhandlers were responsible for traffic delays or accidents.

A decade ago, Louisvilles Metro Council enacted an anti-begging law saying there was an increase in aggressive solicitation in downtown and throughout the city that had become extremely disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses. The ordinance says certain types of panhandling has contributed not only to the loss of access and enjoyment of public places, but also to an enhanced fear, intimidation and disorder.

It was primarily a response to people who (were) getting up in folks faces, not leaving them alone and demanding money, Democratic caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt said. Louisville has defined aggressive solicitation as repetitively approaching or following pedestrians despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It specifically forbids such behavior within 20 feet of an automated teller machine, an outdoor dining area or a bus stop.

The high courts ruling does provide a legal road map to how cities could regulate beggars and that appears to favor Louisvilles ordinance. Minton wrote that Lexington could prohibit all individuals from approaching stopped motorists, which he said targets the behavior a city seeks to prohibit rather than why a person steps into traffic.

The new Supreme Court ruling makes it clear panhandlers have the right to beg, but that does not mean anyone must give them anything. In fact, we think the best way for people to respond panhandlers is to not give them anything to make begging worth their time.

The Daily Independent, Ashland

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Space exploration programs must continue – The Eagle

Posted: at 4:25 am

By Olivia Richter | 18 hours ago

There have been few events in world history that have successfully connected people from all around the planet regardless of country or culture. In 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on the moon, the world watched in awe of the scientific and technological feat that so closely resembled a miracle.

The moon is a constant for every human being; no matter where you live, you look to the same moon as the seven billion other inhabitants of Earth. On July 20, 1969, everyone was united in the unprecedented, incredible space adventure of three American astronauts. At that time, the United States was far ahead in the international space race, and we intended to keep it that way.

Over many decades and eleven presidents, we have grown less and less involved in our efforts to understand and explore space. Today, many people argue that NASA is dying; some believe it is not worthy of any further government funding.

Our slowed exploration in comparison to other nations like China and Russia has taken away our old and proud status as the most committed space pioneers. American astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson explained, In America, contrary to our self-image, we are no longer leaders but simply players. Weve moved backward just by standing still. It is time we start moving again.

I dont believe that winning the so-called space race should be the real reason why the United States should increase its funding for NASA and get back its motivation to explore space. The true reason lies within the spirit of the United States.

This is not easily explained as a matter-of-fact concept, like saying that it would be good for our economy or that it would create jobs (although research points that way). The mystery of space is heavily ingrained in our popular culture through timeless films and television shows like Star Wars and Star Trek, and more recent blockbusters like Passengers, Gravity, The Martian and Interstellar.

Space is just inherently cool, reaching across cultural and personal lines and infatuating us all with its mystery. That may not be a good enough reason to pour more money into the U.S. space program, but the passion and the spirit of adventure that the U.S. prides itself on should be considered a great reason for space exploration.

Though you may not need reminding, the United States is in a huge amount of debt. Increasing the funding of NASA may seem like an extra or a want, not a need, that we just cant afford right now. In the fiscal year 2015, only .47 percent of the US budget went to NASA, the lowest it has ever been since 1960.

These cuts are counterproductive. Even though they save money in the budget, spending more on a program like NASA and enabling it to flourish stimulates the economy, improves upon our technological abilities and creates jobs for Americans.

When NASAs Discovery space shuttle was retired in 2011, an estimated 4,600 jobs were lost. The work that NASA does has even improved the success of other businesses. Many private companies have gained immense success by working with products developed by NASA including the very popular Tempurpedic mattress, which is made using the memory foam technology NASA originally created for its astronauts during space travel.

NASA and its groundbreaking work represents good old-fashioned American innovation. The folks that work there are the pioneers of the smartphones in our pockets and the GPS systems that get us where we want to go, along with countless other technological advancements that today seem so commonplace. Space travel, though many would argue to be the most exciting part, is only a piece of the work that NASA does in advancing science and technology.

The next frontier that astronauts look to explore is Mars. NASA is developing the technology and advanced spacecrafts to send human beings farther into our solar system than ever before. The goal now is to successfully get the first human being to Mars.

Perhaps in our lifetimes, we will huddle around the television like our relatives did in 1969 to watch the first human being set foot on the surface of the red planet. NASAs work is well worth our funding. Not only is it good for our economy and good for our technology, it is good for the American spirit of adventure and connectedness. Something, I daresay, we could use more of these days.

Olivia Richter is a junior in the School of Communication and a columnist for The Eagle.

orichter@theeagleonline.com

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Breakdown In Immigration Screening: The Devil Is In The Details – Daily Caller

Posted: at 4:15 am

5495192

As the activist and their judges in the 9thCircuit Court wrestle with President Donald J. Trump over immigration and executive orders, one of the most dangerous mistakesconsistently being repeated by politicians and academics is still being overlooked. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with real, recent operational experience are not consulted and detailed solutions are rarely considered.

Perhaps this is best exposedwhen considering the immigration screening issue. Call them immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers. it really doesnt matter because there is a breakdown of epic proportions when it comes to fingerprinting immigration applicants and collecting data of any type in their country of origin and uploading and running that data through the Department of Defense (DOD) secured data basis that contains information on an unknown number of dangerous people that have been caught and released in a war zone, or people that may be associated with them.

Currently in the United States there arehundreds ofongoing investigations of individuals that have come to the US (some as long as 10 years ago) that were originally caught by the DOD in the Middle East making bombs, planting IEDs etc. The DOD fingerprinted these individualsbut that information was neverput in databases that are shared with State Department or Border patrol. Because remote locationswhere immigrants are submitting their applications for admission into the US oftendo not offer the technologyto scan fingerprints or upload data, individuals are not fingerprinted in places like Djibouti whereindividuals from Somalia get screened when they seek to immigrate to the US.

Even in the places where immigrantsare fingerprinted, those prints are not uploaded to databases fora total and complete scanof their history. Even phone numbers are not beingrun properly through DODdatabases during this process they go unknown as well. Yet many immigrants are still put on a plane by our State Department and sent to the US.

When these immigrantsdoarrive in the USit is ensured that they are fingerprinted, but in most cases thoseprintsand other important dataare still not ranthrough the classified DOD databases.Yet the process continues and they are processed and cleared to enter into the US from whatever holding facility in which they arrive.

Interestingly, the one time when the DOD systems can be accessed isntuntil years laterwhen immigrants approach ICE to get benefits. That is apparently when information is finallyranthrough the DOD system.

Now, hundreds of cases are being investigated involving immigrants that have been residing inside the US for long periods of time (in some cases over 10 years) that areconnected to bombings and other crimes from war zones the Middle East. Their information had been collected by DOD operators in the field, and uploaded to DOD databases with no plan to share with other agencies.

There are more details to this story butit is problematic in that no one really knows exactly what is screened and at what point and it is a problem that has largely been overlooked, even by the current administration.If President Trumps administration concentrated on these types of details that subject matter experts working on the ground understand, these gaps could be closed and our immigration security could take a huge leap forward.

As a former FBI special agent, my investigative mind tells me these issues will continue to plague immigration screening because so much attention is being placed on executive orders and hiring more Customs Officers and not on these types of simple solutions.

The Devil is always in the details, thats why simple issues always cause such massive problems. Dont believe me? Just ask someone that is working at the ground level, like the policy makers should be doing!

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Breakdown In Immigration Screening: The Devil Is In The Details – Daily Caller

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Vice President Pence Appears to Support EU Freedom of Movement – Breitbart News

Posted: at 4:05 am

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In the joint press conference with Tusk, Vice President Pence stated in part:

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Saturday, as President Tusk said, I was pleased to address the Munich Security Council to speak about the importance of the strategic alliance [inaudible] entered the bond so many years ago in the North American Treaty Organization. But the president did ask me to come here, to Brussels, to the home of the European Union, and deliver an additional message, so today it is my privilege on behalf of President Trump to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union. Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same marriage, the same values, and above all, the same purpose to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. And to those objectives, we will remain committed. This has been European Unions goal since before its formal founding in 1993. What began as a modest Western European trade agreement in 1951, freedom of movement, has grown into a commitment to the four freedoms the freedom of movement, goods, capital, services and people, the common currency, and common approach to foreign and security policy.

Pence continued speaking of the history of the European Union (EU). He moved to speak of U.S. and EU economies and reaffirm our commitment to a free, fair and flourishing economies that undergird our success and a cooperation in achieving that. Maintaining and strengthening our economic vitality will require hard but necessary choices.

Pence also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism, mentioned the Islamic terror bombings on Brussels that killed more than 30 people, then called on the European community to intensify efforts to fight radical Islamic terrorism alongside the United States. This will require greater coordination and intelligence-sharing among EU member states and between the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he said.

Speaking of Russian aggression, Pence said, In addition to confronting terrorism together, clearly, we must stand strong in defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nations in Europe.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that in the week leading up to the vice presidents meetings in Brussels and affirmation of U.S. commitment to the EU, in a conversation with a German diplomat, White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon described the EU as a flawed construct. He cited three confidential sources that had been briefed on the meeting.

The sources stated that Bannon conveyed favor for bilateral relations with Europe. One White House official claimed to Reuters a more brief version of the interaction between Bannon and German ambassador to Washington Peter Wittig than the three other sources. The three sources reportedly described Bannons message to the diplomat as favoring strong nationalist movements. One of the three described the White House position on the EU as not seeing an unraveling of the EU as having grave consequences.

The vice president spoke at the Munich Security Conference in the days before his visit to Brussels as part of his first trip abroad since taking office. Last week, the conference chairman, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, called on Pence to affirm during his visit that the U.S. supports the EU and was not aiming to break up the organization, according to Reuters.

Pence made the trip to the security conference on behalf of President Trump. A senior White House policy adviser previewed the trip last week, promising an overarching message of reassurance. In his speech to conference participants, he brought this promise from President Trump: We will stand with Europe today and every day; we are bound together by the same noble ideals freedom, democracy, justice, and the rule of law.

At Mondays joint press conference, Pence stated, The United States commitment to the European Union is steadfast and enduring. President Tusk, President Trump, and I look forward to working together with you and the European Union to deepen our political and economic partnership.

During his presidential campaign, now-President Donald Trump made clear that he supported the United Kingdoms Brexit vote to leave the European Union. The day after the June 23 Brexit vote, then-candidate Trump compared the vote to the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. and attributed the U.K. vote to leave the EU, and prospectively the U.S. presidential vote, in large part to peoples desire to control borders and block illegal immigration.

USA Today quoted Trump as stating, All over the world [people are] angry. They are angry at the borders. They are angry over people coming into the country and taking over.

In late January, European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who vehemently opposes Brexit, said, We have a third front undermining the European Union, and it is Donald Trump, who has joined [the far-Right parties] from across the Atlantic. He has talked fairly favorably of other countries wanting to break away from the EU and that he hoped for disintegration from European Union, according to the Telegraph.

In the Monday press conference, President Tusk emphasized a particular portion of his meeting with Vice President Pence, saying, I asked the vice president directly if he shared my opinions on three key matters: the international order, security, and the attitude of the new American administration towards the European Union. Tusk continued, In reply to these three matters, I heard today from Vice President Pence three times yes. After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach.

Request for comment from the vice president on whether the State Department had a role in statements made at Mondays joint Pence-Tusk press conference returned no comment by the time of this report.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.

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Vice President Pence Appears to Support EU Freedom of Movement – Breitbart News

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Refugee resettlement study bill passes ND House, Democrat calls it … – Jamestown Sun

Posted: at 3:59 am

Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, said she didn’t want to see state resources spent on a “mean-spirited study.” Rep. Mary Schneider, D-Fargo, read an email asking her to vote against the legislation because it tries to hide racism and religious discrimination behind a “guise of rationalism and data.”

Rep. Christopher Olson, R-West Fargo, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the Democrats’ comments impugned his motives and he hoped for an apology.

“Bills like this always seem to get emotional,” said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo. “But I think it’s always important on the floor of this House that we remember to keep our comments to not be impugning someone else’s integrity.”

Schneider said after the floor session that she “would never attack the personal motivations of a member of the House,” but she argued the bill’s language is “inappropriate.”

“I didn’t say he was mean-spirited; I said the study was mean-spirited,” Anderson said after the floor vote.

As introduced, House Bill 1427 would have allowed for a suspension of refugee resettlement if a community lacked sufficient “absorptive capacity,” which included the ability of various community and government services to meet residents’ needs. Proponents, which included a Fargo city commissioner and the chairman of the Cass County Commission, said they were merely seeking more input on the program.

The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee heard lengthy opposition testimony earlier this month from new Americans who told stories of finding opportunity in United States.

The study was amended into a study of various aspects of refugee resettlement, which Schneider worries would only seek negative features of the program and scrutinize one group of people.

But Olson said the refugee resettlement program has largely become an unfunded mandate from the federal government on state and local services.

“If this was anything else, we’d ask what the cost was,” Carlson said. “It could show a very positive effect instead of a negative effect.”

The study bill passed the House 86-5.

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Refugee resettlement study bill passes ND House, Democrat calls it … – Jamestown Sun

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America should be grateful for its NATO partners – Washington Post

Posted: at 3:56 am

February 21 at 6:56 PM

The Feb. 19 editorial A time for Europe to step up noted that the United States is spending more on defense thanmostNATO members and implied that other countries need the United States more than the United States needs them.

Many of these countries came to our aid in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Moreover, Russia is building a pipeline and a nuclear power plant in Turkey.If Turkey dropped out of NATO,we couldface a situation in which Russia, whichhas a reliable client state in Syria and a working relationship with Iran, signed a defense pact with all three countries and with Iraq, where Iran has influence. That would allow Russia toextend its influence over the price of oil and could make anymilitary action in the MiddleEast by the United States or Israel extremelyproblematic.

Perhaps we should be more grateful for our NATO partners.

Susan Altman, Washington

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America should be grateful for its NATO partners – Washington Post

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