The Gold Report: Gold consultancy GFMS, which is now owned by Thomson Reuters, recently published its 2012 Gold Survey. GFMS predicts that before the end of 2012, the yellow metal will likely reach above its all-time nominal high of $1,920/ounce (oz) in September 2011. The catalysts include inflation concerns and sovereign debt problems in Europe, especially Spain. What are your thoughts on these predictions and conclusions?
Nana Sangmuah: I agree with those predictions and the drivers. One thing that has been missing from the gold rally is inflation hedge demand. With the significant monetary … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: Invest in Africa Now: Nana Sangmuah
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While visiting a notorious sex tourist hotspot in the Philippines, it's probably best you not ask someone to take your picture. Especially if you're a politician with a history of controversy, and they're a photojournalist. [...]
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Some evidence emerging that the tide is turning against the anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment in North Carolina [...]
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House Republicans are preparing a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder for what they claim is his obstruction of their investigation into the ATF's botched Fast and Furious operation. Reports are conflicting on whether[...]
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If you missed our seminal slideshow on old cell phones, now's your chance. [...]
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Current front runner for president in France Franšois Hollande may be on the boring side but he's right about scrapping the failing policy of austerity. Germany is not going to be happy about this but the German efforts to strip spending is failing miserably across Europe. The UK is going back into recession and the debt crisis is hitting the austerity countries as well, despite assurances that that would not happen. The Germany model has to change unless they want the entire EU to collapse.
Mr. Hollande also praised the position taken in Brussels on Wednesday by the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who said he favored ?a growth compact? of structural reforms in parallel with the fiscal treaty limiting budget deficits and national debt. But there was little indication that Germany, the driving force behind the austerity-driven fiscal treaty agreed to last month, was warming to his ideas. In the first news conference of his campaign, Mr. Hollande said that he would propose four modifications to the European Union treaty, favored by Germany and approved in March but not yet ratified. Most significant, perhaps, he called for the creation of collective euro bonds, but to be used to finance industrial infrastructure projects, not to consolidate debt, which the Germans oppose.
In maybe the worst ad of this political cycle to date, North Dakota activist Kent French calls Barack Obama a socialist and U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp "Heidi-ho." The ad isn't associated with any campaign, but Heitkamp is running for an open seat against Republican Rick Berg. The ad's fun doesn't stop with the big insults, though, as the ad is terribly written and makes little sense.
Attention North Dakotans! Let's get behind Obama and support Obamacare and throw the senior citizens off the cliff?
That?s what a vote for Heidi Heitkamp would do. She wants to support Obama. Cutting the military; bankruptcy; Obamacare; and cut funding for needed for senior citizens.
A vote for her would be a vote for Obama socialism.
Barack-o, Heidi-ho, I don?t think so.
Save the North Dakota senior citizens.
Paid for by Kent French
In addition to having no idea what socialism, or grammar, is, French also has no idea what sexism is and gave a typical non-apology apology on a North Dakota radio station:
On Tuesday, KFGO, a talk radio station in North Dakota, asked French about his decision to attach the word "Ho" to Heitkamp's name, asking if he meant to use it "in the popular 2012 vernacular" (i.e., as slang for "prostitute").
"It is something that rhymes, so that when people in North Dakota hear the ad, it will catch on. It?s nothing more than that," French replied. "But I'm sorry and would apologize [to anyone] that would think different than that. Anybody that knows me knows that I wouldn't think any different than that."
The KFGO host pushed back, saying it's not just about what French intended but how the term is perceived. "It's about how it?s presented and the fact is that ho is slang for prostitute," said the host.
French then blamed the media for distorting his ad.
"No, it's about how the media and you are going to talk about it because you have a different kind of slant on it," he said. "If you knew me -- that's the farthest from the truth. I want people in North Dakota to know that, and I'm glad that you brought that up. If in fact that's what people think -- but I really don?t think that people think that, and I would never do that in a million years."
The issue of school bullying has garnered a lot of attention over the past few weeks, with a ratings controversy over the film “Bully” sparking renewed focus and support for victims. Bullying’s effects on mental health are well-known to anyone who faced it as a child, or still does. Now, however, researchers are claiming that its effects go far beyond that.
A new study released this week by Duke University researchers examined more than 200 children growing up in England and Wales. When looking at a type of DNA sequence called telomeres, the study found that exposure to violence during childhood, including bullying, correlated to a faster breakdown of that DNA in those children. That, in turn, can lead to faster aging, and more health problems later in life:
Telomeres are special DNA sequences found at the tips of our chromosomes; much like the plastic tips of shoelaces, they prevent our DNA from unraveling. Telomeres get shorter each time cells divide. That erosion places a limit on the length of time that a given cell can go on dividing. Emerging evidence suggests that telomeres are “master integrators,” connecting stress to biological age and associated diseases.
We showed, for the first time, that cumulative violence exposure is associated with accelerated telomere erosion, from age 5 to age 10 years, among children who experienced violence at a young age (e.g., domestic violence, frequent bullying or physical maltreatment by an adult). Children who were exposed to multiple forms of violence had the fastest telomere erosion rate.
As the researchers note, previous studies have linked increased stress to several health problems later in life. The reason for the link has been less clear, but the study authors hope that this will offer some insight into the mechanism behind it. At the very least, they write, this study “suggests new urgency for preventing harm to children.”
As he released six years’ worth of tax returns today, Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) campaign predictably launched an attack on his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, for not being as forthright, saying in a press release that she is “clearly hiding something”:
?By refusing to release her tax returns for 2006 and 2007, she is clearly hiding something. What is in her tax returns during these years that Warren is so afraid voters might learn? In the interest of openness and transparency, Professor Warren has an obligation to release the same information that Scott Brown is making available.?
But Brown’s “very, very dear friend” Mitt Romney has refused to release more than two year’s worth of his own tax returns. Brown endorsed Romney in 2010, before the former Massachusetts governor even got into the race. And Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who also dismissed calls for more tax return transparency by saying “we think that?s sufficient,” is also an adviser to Brown.
If the Brown campaign is to be consistent, it must believe that Romney is “clearly hiding something” in his earlier tax returns that he is “afraid voters might learn.” And “in the interest of openness and transparency,” they would almost certainly say Romney “has an obligation to release the same information” that President Obama has made available — releasing 12 years worth of his tax returns.
The Brown campaign did not immediately respond to a request from ThinkProgress for his tax returns for 1998 through 2005 — years he served in the Massachusetts state legislature. One wonders if, by his own standard, his decision to release his returns only dating back to 2006 indicates he is “hiding something” he is “afraid voters might learn.”
President Obama announced today that he will sign an executive order aimed at preventing and abuse in a federal program that helps military members, veterans, and their families attend college. Under the new rule, schools will be required to provide information regarding financial aid, loan repayment plans, and credit transfers, practices that will help end abuse primarily at for-profit colleges.
The executive order will target several main areas, particularly by making colleges provide the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know Before You Owe financial aid information to all students and cracking down on aggressive recruiting practices. Schools with histories of bad practices will be kept from recruiting on military bases, and through the CFPB, existing rules will be more stringently enforced and a complaint system for military students will be created.
Obama told the story of how one college recruiter visited North Caronlina’s Camp LeJeune and signed Marines who had brain injuries up “just for the money.”
“One of the worst examples of this is a college recruiter who had the nerve to visit a barracks at Camp Lejeune and enroll marines with brain injuries, just for the money,” Obama said. “These Marines had injuries so severe, some of them couldn’t recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for. That’s appalling. That’s disgraceful. It should never happen in America.”
He continued: “They’ll say you don’t have to pay a dime for your degree but once you register they make you sign up for a high interest student loan. They say if you transfer schools, you transfer credits. When you try to do that, you suddenly find out you can’t. They’ll say they’ve got a job placement program when, in fact, they don’t. It’s not right. They’re trying to swindle and hoodwink you. Today here at Ft. Stewart we’re going to put an end to it.
The executive order’s primary target is for-profit schools. These schools often charge exorbitant tuition prices while leaving students buried in debt and with few job prospects. Military members are among the industry’s biggest targets: in 2010, 20 for-profit companies took more than $500 million in military education benefits, primarily because taking assistance money from the G.I. allows the colleges to exploit a loophole that lets them take more loan money from the federal government. Because of these practices and others, state attorneys generals across the country are now investigating these schools.