Campaign contributions don’t guarantee victory, political analyst says

By Staff

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) – Early voting is underway in the Shelby County mayoral primary.

Money is important in a political race, but analysts say it’s not always a predictor of who will win a race.

“It’s almost like a poker game, it tells you who has enough money to sit down at the table,” said Rhodes College political science professor Mike Nelson.

Nelson said the finances of a campaign are crucial, and more contributions can signal more support. The key to actually winning the election, though, is driving turnout.

“If people donate to your campaign even if it’s $10, it means they feel a stake in your winning,” Nelson said. “In a low-turnout election, it all depends on who shows up.”

WMC5 pulled the most recent campaign finance reports for all five candidates seeking the office of Shelby County Mayor.

Republican David Lenoir has almost $244,000 on hand and received more than $100,000 in contributions in the last reporting period.

Republican Joy Touliatos has almost $158,000 on hand, with about $21,000 in contributions.

Republican Terry Roland has roughly $36,000 on hand and more than $45,000 in contributions.

On the Democratic side, Lee Harris has about $93,000 on hand with more than $25,000 in contributions.

Democrat Sidney Chaim’s campaign had not filed the disclosure due earlier this month according to the election commission. However, his year-end filing in 2017 indicated roughly $8,000 on hand with $7,600 in contributions.

“When it comes to money, you need enough to be able to run a campaign,” Nelson said. “But the fact that you have more money than someone else isn’t going to decide the election, it’s going to be how do you translate that money.”

The primary is May 1, and the general election for county mayor is on August 2

The Shelby County Election Commission said another round of financial disclosures is due to be filed Tuesday.


Editorial | TNReady testing, testing, testing and failing

The Commercial Appeal Editorial Board, David Waters  / April 20, 2018

For the third consecutive year, TNReady couldn’t pass the test.

The state’s buggy, beleaguered standardized testing system for grades 3-11 was bogged down by computer glitches and a “deliberate” cyberattack. School districts here and across the state halted or canceled testing for which they have been preparing all year. The breakdowns shouldn’t have been a surprise. Similar testing disruptions and delays were reported earlier this month in New York, which uses the same testing vendor, Questar Assessments.

Last year test results were delayed for weeks after more than 9,000 Tennessee students received incorrect scores because of a problem with Questar’s scanners.

Questar is the testing company Tennessee hired to replace Measurement Incorporated after TNReady’s catastrophic failure to launch in its first year, 2016.

State legislators are blaming Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. Democrats called for her resignation. Republicans summoned her and demanded an explanation.

“We’re tired of it. The state’s tired of it. Our teachers are tired of it, and most of all our students are suffering,” state Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, said. “The faith in the system is not there.”

As in 2016 and 2017, education officials again are wondering whether this year’s tests (assuming they are completed) should count. “This particular round can’t be used to evaluate teachers,” said Superintendent Ted Horrell of Lakeland.

Or schools or school districts.

Legislators can fault state education officials for online testing woes, but they share the blame.

In 2014, the legislature, in another tiff with the Obama administration, threw a political wrench into the state’s plan to replace annual TCAP assessments with Common Core-aligned PARCC assessments.

“No educational standards shall be imposed on the state by the federal
government,” the legislature declared, ordering the state to “contract with one or more entities to provide assessments … which shall be aligned to state standards.”

The state developed its own K-12 standards and assessments, which turned out to be a lot like Common Core and PARCC, only a lot more expensive. There are alternatives to government-mandated, commercially designed, machine-tallied achievement tests.

“Test results are good to see benchmarks where kids are, but we should have multiple measures to determine how a school is doing and what kids are learning,” Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told his board members last week.

High-stakes achievement tests have turned our public schools into testing mills. Year after year, grading period after grading period, week after week, valuable instruction time is lost to practice tests to prepare for state-mandated tests. Tests that in the end — if they don’t get delayed, disrupted or somehow compromised — more or less measure the socio-economic status of a child, school and district.

“This is a very high-stakes test that impacts student report cards, teacher evaluations and employment, and even determines soon-to-be letter grades for schools and districts,” Jennifer Proseus, a Bartlett parent, told ChalkBeat.

“Why do these faulty tests — that parents and teachers are forbidden from seeing — hold so much power?”

That is the question our next governor, legislature and education commissioner should ask and answer.


Editorial | Memphis won’t surrender to legislative confederates

The Commercial Appeal Editorial Board, David Waters  Published 12:00 p.m. CT April 18, 2018 |
Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his trusty bronzed steed, part of a Jim Crow monument removed late last year from a Memphis park, apparently are riding again through their old stomping grounds in rural West Tennessee. Our West Tennessee neighbors in Dresden and Parkers Crossroads, two of the locations of Forrest’s legendary Civil War raids, might want to be on the lookout.

Forrest, a longtime Dixiecrat, desperate to restore the Confederacy, seems to have enlisted the support of two area Republicans.

  • Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden, who drew national attention two years ago when he offered to give away gun permits and two military-style assault rifles.
  • Rep. Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads, who two years ago gave the Tennessee Historical Society authority to occupy any Memphis park with a Confederate statue.

Tuesday, Capt. McDaniel and Lt. Holt raided the state budget, removing $250,000 that had been added to help Memphis celebrate its bicentennial next year.

“Bad actions” have “bad consequences,” explained Holt, who has amply demonstrated that throughout his legislative career.

“If you recall, back in December, Memphis did something that removed historical markers in the city,” McDaniel reminded his fellow legislators. “It was the city of Memphis that did this, and it was full knowing it was not the will of the legislature.”

The will of this legislature is often confused — by legislators like Holt and McDaniel — with God’s will.

This is the legislature that mandated “In God We Trust” signs be placed in all public schools.

This is the legislature that tried to make the Christian Bible the state book of Tennessee the same year it made the Barrett .50 caliber the official state rifle.

Blessed are the gunmakers.

As for Holt and McDaniel, well, bless their hearts.

Memphians who couldn’t have cared less about the 2019 bicentennial already are rallying to restore the quarter-million Forrest’s defenders took in their temper tantrum.

Brittney Block organized a GoFundMe account to replenish the Memphis-bound funds that were cut by Holt, McDaniel and their confederates. “Our city should not be punished by the legislature for making decisions in the best interest of its community and citizens,” she wrote.

No lost causes here. Memphis won’t surrender.

Meanwhile, fellow West Tennesseans in Dresden and Parkers Crossroads, if you happen to see Gen. Forrest and his mount, please invite them to stay. They are not welcome here.



Neil Young Performs With Steven Stills; The Heartbreakers Reunite For First Performance Since Tom Petty’s Death: Watch

The Light Up The Blues benefit concert for Autism Speaks was more than eventful.

When Stephen Stills graced the Dolby Theater auditorium, it came as a surprise considering the two artists’ complicated relationship recently regarding the future of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Regardless, their musical chemistry shined as they performed “Long May You Run,” along with the The Buffalo Springfieldanthems “For What It’s Worth” and “Mr. Soul.” They were later joined by Patti Smith for an inspiring performance of “People Have The Power.”

Stills, who organized the benefit concert alongside his wife Kristen in support of their autistic son Henry, addressed the Los Angeles crowd at one point saying, “With the help of steadfast friends and concerned professionals that shared our determination, Kristin and I…were able to find a path that lead our boy to a far better way of life, and now he’s in college.”

An even grander surprise rocked the house during last night’s performance. The Heartbreakers, who haven’t performed since Tom Petty’s sudden death this past October, took the stage to perform the rocking “I Won’t Back Down” alongside Stills. Patti Smith also returned to the stage to perform “Because The Night,” while Beck unexpectedly joined the band to perform a powerfully haunting rendition of “Guess I’m Doing Fine.” Beck also performed his own track “Where It’s At.”

While no announcement has been made regarding The Heartbreakers status as a band, it was announced at the beginning of April that guitarist Mike Campbell will join Fleetwood Mac on tour alongside Crowded House vocalist Neil Finn in the wake of Lindsey Buckingham’s sudden firing. “We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the caliber of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family,” read a statement issued by Fleetwood Mac to Rolling Stone. “Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour.” Other performers throughout the night included Sheryl CrowJudy Collins and Burt Bacharach.

Check out a handful of the performances below:


Duchess Kate and Prince William leave hospital with new baby prince


LONDON — Duchess Kate of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a new little prince of Cambridge, a historic royal baby, her third, and the new fifth in line to the British throne.

The baby, as yet unnamed officially, was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in London at one minute after 11 a.m. local time and weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces, Kensington Palace said in the birth announcement.

Shortly before 6 p.m. local time, she and Prince William emerged from the hospital, baby in her arms, as cheers from a small crowd of onlookers erupted and the cameras of the usual huge media mob whirred and clicked.

Kate was wearing a knee-length red dress with a white bib collar, and showed only a slight remaining baby bump. Later, they went back inside briefly, then reemerged holding hands, with Will carrying the baby in a baby car seat. Then they returned to their Kensington Palace apartment as news helicopters followed them from above.

Prince William was there for the birth, as he was for their previous two children. The baby, whose name the palace has not yet announced, was born on St. George’s Day, marking the national day for England’s patron saint.

After the birth was announced, Will emerged about 4 p.m. local time and a half-hour later returned with his two older children, Prince George, 4, dressed in his school uniform, and Princess Charlotte, 2, who was wearing one of her trademark flowered dresses.

Charlotte waved and smiled at the crowd of cameras, but little George looked more serious and kept his eyes on the ground as they entered the hospital. Will drove himself and his children in a blue Land Rover Discovery. The children were later returned to Kensington Palace, before their parents emerged with the new little prince.

The baby prince, by the way, was wrapped in a lacy white shawl from GH Hurt and Son, the palace said in a statement, explaining other royals have been presented with similar shawls in the past, including Will, George and Charlotte when they were babies.

The former Kate Middleton, 36, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, 35, arrived at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, in London’s Paddington neighborhood, early Monday by car.

The baby is grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s sixth great-grandchild and becomes fifth in line to the throne.

He will join sister Princess Charlotte and Prince Georgein the growing Cambridge family, as the third grandchild of Charles, Prince of Wales, and his late first wife, Princess Diana.

As with her previous pregnancies, Will and Kate did not know the sex of the baby beforehand, palace officials confirmed in a briefing weeks before the birth.

Typically, the palace does not immediately announce the new baby’s name. Among the names favored by British bookmakers for a boy: Albert, Arthur, Frederick, James and Philip.

The little prince is a historic royal baby: Unlike previous princes born in the United Kingdom, he will not automatically displace his older sister, Princess Charlotte, 2, in the line of succession.

Shortly before older brother George was born, British law changed to make birth order the determining factor in succession, replacing gender — male primogeniture — as the default rule that developed over 10 centuries.

Aware that a 300-year-old set of laws then governing the succession looked increasingly egregious and inexplicable in the 21st century, British lawmakers decided the time for “royal equality” had finally arrived.

The newest little royal will displace Uncle Prince Harry, 33, in the succession; he will move down to sixth in line, and any children he has will follow him.

As per previous royal births, great-granny the queen was first to be notified. Members of both families have been notified and expressed delight, the palace said.

Then, in keeping with a 181-year-old tradition, a birth announcement was posted on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, just as it was after George and Charlotte’s births. Bells will toll and a gun-salute was set to start booming on Tuesday.

Now that the third Cambridge baby has arrived, attention will turn to Harry’s upcoming wedding to American actress Meghan Markle, 36, at Windsor Castle on May 19. The other four Cambridges — his brother Will, sister-in-law Kate, nephew George and niece Charlotte — are expected to be there and play roles (Will as Harry’s likely best man), but probably not the new baby.

Like his siblings, the baby arrived without any medical crisis. The medical team was led by obstetrician Guy Thorpe Beeston and Alan Farthing, surgeon gynecologist to the queen, who also helped deliver the other royal babies.

GeorgeCharlotte and Will and Harry, too, were born in the maternity Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s, just a short drive from the Cambridge home at Kensington Palace.

A blustery but sunny day in London, the site outside the hospital has been taken over by broadcasters from around the world who mixed with hospital staff, passersby and visitors to London. When the news spread that Duchess Kate gave birth to a healthy baby boy, cheers and brief clapping erupted.

“This is really crazy, I can’t believe it. Some of these people have been here for 15 days waiting for this to happen,” said Olivia Dragor, remarking on the chaotic scrum of media, tourists and royal well-wishers outside St. Mary’s in central London.

Dragor, 21, is spending a year abroad studying communications in London. Her home college is the University of Southern California. “We don’t really get this kind of thing back home,” she said, adding that she liked the royal family but is not a full-time devotee.

“It’s wonderful, it’s really nice to see people so happy and excited,” said Lynne Gant, 62, an Australian tourist who was waiting on the perimeter of barricades that had been set up for media here.

Gant said part of her interest in the royal family stemmed from her grandmother, who was British.

Some Londoners reacted to the news that a new prince had arrived with typical British understatement.

“It’s a good thing, pleased for them, but it’s time to get back to work,” said James Long, 29, an accountant who was passing by the hospital on his lunch break.

Prince Charles released a statement about his newest grandchild via Clarence House’s official Twitter account Tuesday morning.

“It is a great joy to have another grandchild,” he said, “the only trouble is I don’t know how I am going to keep up with them.”

Prime Minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other British politicians and public figures sent their well wishes and congratulations over social media but otherwise did not reflect on the impact for the nation.

Kate’s other babies had easy deliveries (she gave birth and left the hospital on the same day for Princess Charlotte), in contrast to crippling bouts of acute morning sickness that forced her to cancel engagements and stay in bed in the early stages of her pregnancies. She was so ill she had to miss George’s first day of his new school; Will did the solo dropoff instead.

The Cambridges are now full-time royals based in their sprawling 20-room Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace. George’s school is just across the Thames River; Charlotte started at a nursery school near the palace in January.

The family also has a country retreat, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk on the queen’s Sandringham estate, where they may spend some time post-baby. Will is no longer working part-time in Norfolk as a helicopter rescue pilot and Kate has expanded her royal patronages and engagements to take on more royal duties.


Robots could outnumber HUMANS in just 15 years and will feel ‘genuine emotions’ by 2028

Are we just a few years away from a droid doomsday? One expert on the future of humanity says it’s a real possibility…

Shock Study: Quarter Of Children 6 And Under Own A Smartphone

LONDON — How young is too young when it comes to owning a smartphone? Believe it or not, according to a new study, a quarter of children six and under actually own a mobile device.

Researchers with musicMagpie, a company that helps people declutter by selling their unwanted electronics online, conducted the study after they noted a 300% increase year-over-year in customers who were buying first-time phones for their children. A third of parents made the purchase simply because their kids asked, while one in five bought it to keep the little ones entertained.

Child playing with smartphone
How young is too young when it comes to owning a smartphone? Believe it or not, according to a new study, a quarter of children six and under actually own a mobile device.
Though the study didn’t indicate how many parents were surveyed, the results showed that most agreed 11 was the “ideal” age for children to receive their first smartphone. Nonetheless, the stunning findings showed 25% of parents purchased devices for children six and under. What’s worse, nearly half of those kids spent as much as 21 hours per week on the devices.

“The age at which children get their first phones, has got even younger, and while many agree that there’s no defined age to give a child a phone, there’s a lot parents can do to ensure their child’s day-to-day life isn’t consumed by one,” says musicMagpie spokesman Liam Howley in a press release.

Clearly, parents being more proactive with their children when it comes to screen time would be a good start for help. Eight in 10 parents surveyed said they don’t limit the amount of time their kids can use their smartphones.

“From restricting the time they spend on the device, to keeping a close eye on what they are downloading, there are many steps parents can go through to limit usage,” says Howley.

Another option would be to disable the data function, allowing kids to only used their phones to make calls or send texts. Just a quarter of parents take advantage of this feature, the study found.


Gronkowski, the horse, is out of the running of the Kentucky Derby with a slight infection

, Louisville Courier Journal

The prospective field for the Kentucky Derby was shaken up Monday with the announcements of both Gronkowski and Quip no longer being considered for the race.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds, owner of Gronkowski, announced Monday afternoon that the horse developed a slight infection over the weekend.

Gronkowski “was immediately treated with antibiotics,” the news release said. “While the sudden illness seems minor and the colt has been eating heartily and otherwise responding well to treatment, the condition will prevent his shipment to Louisville, Kentucky.”

Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots tight end for whom the colt is named, recently bought a share in the horse.

Tom Ludt, who directs Phoenix’s international operations, said the group was “beyond disappointed.”

“To have a Derby contender with our first group of 3-year-olds was a dream come true, and to have had New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski join us on that journey made it even more exciting,” Ludt said. “But we must put the welfare of the horse first, and we will look forward to the colt recovering quickly and to his future races.”

Background: Gronkowski’s status for Kentucky Derby reportedly in jeopardy

See also: Free Brisnet past performances for 2018 Kentucky Derby contenders

Gronkowski has a 4-1-0 record in six career starts and won the Burradon Stakes on March 30 at Newcastle to clinch an invite to the Run for the Roses via the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Meanwhile, Arkansas Derby runner-up Quip will skip the Kentucky Derby and prepare for the Preakness on May 19 at Pimlico, the Daily Racing Form reported Monday.

“We’re not going to run him,” said Elliott Walden, the chief executive of WinStar Farm, which is a co-owner of the colt. “We wanted a little more time with him.”

Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, Quip is 3-1-0 in five career starts. He won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10 before his runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby.

The departures of Gronkowski and Quip move Combatant and Instilled Regard into the Nos. 19 and 20 spots on the Kentucky Derby points list. The Derby is limited to 20 starters.

 Combatant, trained by Steve Asmussen, was fourth in the Arkansas Derby and holds a 1-3-1 record in seven career starts. Instilled Regard, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, was fourth in the Santa Anita Derby and is 2-2-1 in seven career starts.

Snapper Sinclair, also trained by Asmussen, is now on the bubble for the Derby at No. 21 in the points standings.

Here’s a look at the complete poll, which was released before the announcements that Gronkowski and Quip no longer are headed to the Derby (first-place votes in parentheses):

1. Justify (7), 2. Mendelssohn (3), 3. Bolt d’Oro (1), 4. Audible (2), 5. Magnum Moon (1), 6. Good Magic (3), 7. Vino Rosso (2), 8. My Boy Jack, 9. Noble Indy, 10. Hofburg, 11. Enticed, 12. Flameaway, 13. Quip, 14. Solomini, 15. Free Drop Billy, 16. Lone Sailor, 17. Gronkowski, 18. Bravazo, 19. Promises Fulfilled, 20. Firenze Fire.



Drinkers have more bad mouth bacteria, study finds

By Susan Scutti, CNN

(CNN)Your mouth naturally contains about 700 types of bacteria, some good but others not so much. The mouths of people who routinely drank one or more alcoholic beverages each day contained an overabundance of bad bacteria and a smaller amount of good bacteria than those of nondrinkers, new research has found.

Having too many harmful mouth bacteria is known to lead to gum disease, heart problems and even some cancers. By contrast, good microbes in our mouths check the growth of harmful germs, ultimately paving the way to better health.
The science journal Microbiome published the new study Monday.
“This is the first comprehensive study of alcohol intake on oral microbiome,” said Jiyoung Ahn, the study’s senior investigator and an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine. “Oral microbiome” is the medical term for the colony of bacteria in our mouths.
Having recently shown that the types of bacteria found in the mouth can influence the development of oral and upper digestive tract cancers, Ahn and her colleagues decided to investigate what diet and lifestyle factors might shape the oral microbiome.

Spit test

A group of 1,044 healthy people between the ages of 55 and 87, most of them white, took part in the study. Overall, the group included 270 nondrinkers, 614 moderate drinkers and 160 heavy drinkers. All of the participants provided spit samples along with detailed information about their eating, drinking and other lifestyle habits.
Ahn and her co-researchers ran laboratory tests to genetically sort and quantify the oral bacteria contained in each person’s sample. The team plotted the results on graphs to better see which bacteria stood out among the drinkers in comparison with nondrinkers.
What did they see? The drinkers had more Bacteroidales, Actinomyces and Neisseria species of bacteria, all potentially harmful, with some causing periodontal disease and others causing a decrease in beneficial bacteria. Compared with nondrinkers, participants who regularly enjoyed a cocktail or two also had fewer Lactobacillales, a family of bacteria known to promote reduction of gum inflammation.
“We did not find a specific threshold level,” Ahn said, though heavier drinking led to more extensive changes in the oral microbiome. She added in an email that “heavy alcohol intake is a known risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, including cancers (head and neck, esophagus, colon and breast), liver disease and cardiovascular diseases.”
More study participants would be needed to understand whether there were any differences between the drinkers who stuck to just one beverage (only beer, say), the researchers note.
And, while many mouthwash brands contain alcohol — they can range anywhere from 10% to 20% alcohol — the new research “studied the effect of alcohol drinking, but did not specifically test the effect of mouthwash,” said Ahn.
Possible explanations for drinking-related microbiome imbalances, Ahn said, could be that acids in alcoholic beverages make the oral environment hostile for certain bacteria to grow. Another reason could be the buildup of harmful byproducts from alcohol’s breakdown.

Drinking or poor hygiene?

What’s “new” here, said Olivier George, an associate professor in the department of neurology at the Scripps Research Institute, is that the researchers conducted a “very comprehensive analysis” of mouth bacteria and that this “could indicate (or not) if there is a level of drinking that doesn’t affect your mouth microbiome.”
That said, it’s “impossible to say if these effects are due to drinking per se or due to the poor hygiene associated with drinking,” said George, who studies addiction but was not involved in the new research.
There’s “tremendous interest” in the role played by bacteria in our body, he said. “They could affect aging, cancer, a variety of health conditions and even control brain function and play a role in behaviors.” However, the study results do not make it clear whether the mouth bacteria imbalance for drinkers influences the development of cancer, he said.
Going forward, Ahn and her colleagues plan to investigate the reasons why drinking alcoholic beverages is associated with a change in the oral microbiome.
In a separate study, researchers say that about one in 10 cases of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be linked to drinking. The new researchwas published Monday in the online medical journal BMJ Open.

‘Altering the level of hormones’

Premenstrual syndrome includes any or all of mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression.
Though some “minor” physiological changes are normal, said Dr. Bahi Takkouche, senior author of the study and a preventive medicine professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela, “PMS is characterized by intense, if not huge, changes. It is probably normal for a woman to be somewhat tired before menses. But it is beyond normal if she is so depressed that she can’t go to work or if her relationships are seriously impaired two days or more every month.”
Several studies have suggested that PMS tends to be more severe among women who drink alcohol. Yet it’s never been made clear whether this is due to alcohol itself or whether women reach for the bottle to cope with their symptoms.
For the new study, Takkouche and his colleagues found 19 relevant studies from eight countries. Combined, the studies included data from more than 47,000 participants.
Analyzing the studies, the research team found that drinking was associated with a 45% greater risk of PMS, and among heavy drinkers, this rose to a 79% greater risk.
“Heavy drinking is more strongly related to PMS than moderate drinking,” Takkouche said.
Around the globe, just under 29% of women drink alcohol, and one in 20 female drinkers (6%) would be considered heavy drinkers, the World Health Organization estimates. In Europe and America, almost 60% of women drink, and 12.5% do so heavily.
Based on these WHO estimates, the researchers speculate that 11% of PMS cases may be associated with drinking, while in Europe, it is 21%. Additionally, heavy drinking alone is associated with 4% of PMS cases around the world yet over 9% in Europe, the researchers say.
Why might alcohol boost PMS risk?
“Together with other researchers, we believe that alcohol increases PMS risk by altering the level of hormones, such as gonadotropin, during the menstrual cycle,” Takkouche said. Gonadotropin, released by the pituitary gland, helps women ovulate.
George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said that “earlier work showed mixed results relating alcohol and PMS.” Koob, who was not involved in the research, adds that Takkouche’s analysis has “sufficient power” to detect a relationship. The study is “well-designed,” he said, but the results show only an association. They do not indicate that alcohol causes PMS.
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“There are reasons to believe that alcohol misuse is more detrimental to women’s health than to men’s health,” Koob said. “Research suggests that women are at greater risk of a range of negative effects of alcohol misuse, including liver inflammation, memory blackouts, cognitive deficits, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.”
Worse still, alcohol use disorder and the negative health effects of drinking often progress more quickly for women than men, Koob said.
Takkouche believes that more research is needed to understand the relationship of alcohol and PMS.
“We believe that women should not accept intense premenstrual symptoms as normal and that they should consult a doctor if they suffer from them,” he said. “Avoiding drinking in excess is probably a good recommendation.”

Net neutrality is all but dead. Here’s what happens now.


Everyone take a moment of silence please — the free and open internet is all but dead.

In December 2017 the FCC, under chairman Ajit Pai, voted to repeal net neutrality, signaling the end of the open internet as we know it.

The decision was controversial at the time, with everyone from Alyssa Milano to Reddit calling out the FCC in the lead-up to the vote, but the the vote was just the first step toward repeal. To enact the change, the FCC would have to officially list the ruling and provide a timeline for it.

That listing came in February and, now we’re even closer to net neutrality’s funeral. The listing notes the repeal’s effective date as April 23, but there’s a big asterisk next to it. The effective date isn’t actually the effective date for the most impactful parts of the repeal. We have to wait for an administrative step — a review by the Office of Management and Budget — and then there will be another published notice.

As we prepare for net neutrality to take its last gasp of air, here’s a reminder about what its loss means for you. (There are plenty of lawyers ready to restart the fight in court, so despite the eulogies, the headlines won’t stop any time soon.)

Remind me: What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is a series of regulations, instituted by the Obama administration, designed to ensure that the internet is open and free. That sounds very conceptual but basically it means internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast or Verizon can’t slow down specific sites and charge companies for preferential treatment for internet access.

The dominant metaphor used to explain net neutrality is the image of a highway. Under net neutrality, the internet functions as a one-lane highway — everyone and everything flows at the same rate, on the same path (more or less). Every site, no matter how big or small, was given equal access.

“At the core, [net neuatrality] means all data and content on the internet must be given equal rights, whether you’re a college student in a dorm room or a mega-conglomerate that uses up a lot of the web’s speed for, say, streaming movies and TV shows,” Mashable’s Samantha Murphy wrote in 2015.

But without net neutrality, ISPs could institute fast and slow lanes, decide to block sites, and charge companies more money varying levels of access to their audience. In other words, hypothetically speaking, a company like Hulu could pay more money to load faster than Netflix, effectively purchasing a competitive edge.

The decision has largely been decried as a move that undermines innovation, making it harder for startups and younger companies to compete with existing corporations that can afford to cover the costs for preferential treatment from ISPs.

“The internet mostly evolved under net neutrality principles. This meant that the internet was something of a meritocracy. The best idea would conceivably win out,” Mashable’s Jason Abbruzzese wrote in 2017following the net neutrality vote. “Without net neutrality, this could change, opening up the door to corporate domination of the internet.”

For anybody looking for a more visual illustration, Burger King explained itusing Whoppers.

So why are we ending net neutrality?

On December 14, the FCC voted in a 3-2 decision to repeal the net neutrality legislation put in place by the Obama administration.

Opponents of net neutrality say net neutrality is an overextension of government regulation, that the internet doesn’t need federal governance to function fairly.

Instead, the FCC board says that if there is a violation, those violations can go to the FTC.

Explaining the vote, Mashable’s Jason Abbruzzese used a cops and courts metaphor. The FCC are the cops preventing crimes from happening. But the FTC is like a court, adjudicating after a crime has been committed.

“The FTC is more like the court system. If someone wrongs you, you have to take them to court. Then you have to wait. Then you have to hope you win. This is what the FTC is—a passive system,” Abbruzzese outlined.

But I don’t own a business. I just use the internet to browse. Does this affect me too?

Yep! The repercussions of net neutrality could also be felt but individual internet users. After all, if an ISP institutes slower load times for your favorite sites, that means more time waiting for them to appear in your browser or app. In other words, without net neutrality, you may see more of those infamous internet buffering icons on your favorite websites.

Another thing that could happen is, in order to pay for a higher tier of internet access, services may start charging higher premiums to offset the increased cost of broadband.

Overall, the industries that will be affected by the net neutrality repeal run the gamut of services — from porn to health care (“These days, electronic health records are often kept in the cloud, and fast and reliable access to this data is vital to patient care,” writes Mashable’s Jack Morse).

So that’s it? Net Neutrality is just over now?

Fortunately, not all hope is lost.

First, just because the lack of net neutrality means, technically, ISPs can charge for preferential internet access doesn’t mean they necessarily will. And some ISPs have already stated their commitment to keeping the internet open. For instance, Comcast senior executive VP David Cohen wrote a blog post stating, “Comcast customers will continue to enjoy all of the benefits of an open Internet today, tomorrow, and in the future. Period… We’ve said consistently we’ve not entered into paid prioritization agreements and have no plans to do so.”

Also, proponents of net neutrality aren’t going down without a fight.

States and towns are sticking up for an open internet, passing local legislation to protect and free an open internet. New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo, for instance, signed an executive order stating that “the internet is an essential service that should be available to all New Yorkers,” and accordingly banned New York State’s government from entering any contract with ISPs unless they agree to net neutrality principles. Montana governor Steve Bullock also signed an executive order stating that “the state of Montana will only do business with companies that adhere to net neutrality.”

“An open internet — and the free exchange of ideas it allows — is critical to our democratic process. The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online,” said Attorney General Schneiderman of New York said in a statement about the suit.

The question that remains is how much can ongoing lawsuits and state legislation counter the repeal of net neutrality.

“In some circumstances, a federal agency like the FCC can “pre-empt” state and local laws and rules when they are inconsistent with federal laws and rules. Comcast and Verizon asked for this preemption after Congress repealed the FCC’s strong broadband privacy rules and some 16 states introduced laws that would protect users’ privacy. As usual, Pai gave these powerful companies exactly what they asked for,” Gigi Sohn wrote for Mashable in November 2017.

Is there anything that I can do to advocate for Net Neutrality?

The fight against net neutrality can seem like it’s happening all above us: States and giant tech companies fighting the federal government. But there is a lot that we as consumers can do to stand up for net neutrality rules.

The first, obviously, is to stay informed of any changes that are happening. One way to stay informed about what changes companies are making following the net neutrality is to read the “terms of service,”  assistant professor of information at the University of Michigan told Mashable in December 2017, following the FCC vote.

“Next time Comcast, Verizon, AT&T update their terms of service (TOS) or privacy policy, what are they actually changing? It’s probably not going to be super obvious and might just be things where they kind of loosen the language a little bit to allow them to do stuff they weren’t allowed before, but that’s the stuff to watch out for.”

You can find a helpful explainer on how to be a responsible citizen of the internet in a post-net neutrality world here.