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February 2017

Oil prices dip, rising U.S. output offsets OPEC cuts

Global oil prices dipped on Tuesday but continued to trade in a tight range with the OPEC-led output cuts offset by increasing crude production from the United States.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has so far surprised the market by showing record compliance with oil-output curbs, and could improve in coming months as the biggest laggards - the United Arab Emirates and Iraq - pledge to catch up quickly with their targets.

But while the Nov. 30 agreement to reduce production prompted oil prices to rise $10 a barrel, they have been trading in a narrow $3 range in recent weeks.

via www.reuters.com


Trump to sign order reviewing EPA water rule - CNNPolitics.com

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump will sign Tuesday an executive order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to review Obama-era water regulations to make sure they are not harming the economy, according to an internal EPA email obtained by CNN.

The order -- which is currently in draft form and subject to change before Tuesday afternoon, when Trump is expected to sign it -- addresses the "Waters of the United States" rule, which applies to 60% of the bodies of water in the US.

via www.cnn.com


Trump previews joint address to Congress, takes blame for communication issues | Fox News

President Trump on Tuesday morning said his joint address to Congress this evening would focus on the central planks of his campaign – the military, the border, jobs and health care – and he took responsibility for any communications miscues that have blunted the effectiveness of his message in the early days of the administration.

Trump, in an exclusive interview with “Fox & Friends,” specifically cited his immigration policy, and said that perhaps the rollout of his plan to keep out and remove criminal illegals hadn’t been “communicated effectively.”

“And maybe that’s my fault,” Trump said.

He later awarded himself a grade of a “C” or “C-plus” on communicating, straightforwardly saying, “My messaging isn’t good.”

via www.foxnews.com


Cook beginning to figure things out for Hawkeyes

Tyler Cook continued to score points for the Iowa basketball team last week.

He scored 14 points in a victory over Indiana and added a Big Ten career-high 21 in a Saturday night upset of Maryland.

That’s nothing new. The 6-foot-9 freshman has been the team’s second-leading scorer most of the season. What has been different for the past few weeks is that Cook is beginning to do many of the less noticeable things that Iowa coach Fran McCaffery hoped he could give the Hawkeyes.

via qctimes.com


Carb Check Diet - Government recommendation is B.S.

By Mike Thayer

According to our "Oh-so-wise" government, in order to maintain a healthy weight, the U.S. daily recommendation is to consume 225 - 325 grams of carbohydrates per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

If you're the typical American, that's horse manure.  If you're the typical American, consuming that many carbs will cause weight gain!

"So Mike," you ask......   "Define Typical American."

OK.

The typical American these days wakes up, gets ready for work, travels to work be it by car or mass transit.  Sitting at a desk makes up much of the day for many.  Standing on your feet performing light physical duties is what takes place for many others.  For most folks, regular exercise is not part of the routine, which is wake up, work, do something not really physically demanding after work, get some sleep, repeat.

That typical way of life does NOT require 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day to function.

Here's a simple, general rule of thumb.  If you work out regularly, you need all those carbs.   If you don't work out regularly, you flat out don't.  The government's recommended daily intake is pretty much garbage in the real world.

A sedentary lifestyle - desk jockey, no work out - your body only needs about 135 grams in carbs to maintain body weight....  Note I said 'maintain', not lose weight.   If you want to lose weight, that carb gram intake needs to be under 60 a day.

A moderate lifestyle - standing on the job, light physical activity - your body only needs about 180 grams in carbs to maintain weight.

So what does that mean in terms of food?  Cut back on the potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  And it's not that hard.

Consider the following:

A typical slice of bread/toast has 13 grams in carbs.  It takes two slices of bread to make a sandwich and most folks eat two pieces of toast with breakfast.  That's 26 carbs total.

A 1/2 cup of white rice comes with a carb price tag of 23 grams.

A cup of pasta as 35 grams of carbs.

A medium potato has 38 carbs.

Those are all typical serving sizes.  So follow me on this.....  You have two slices of toast/biscuit, croissant/bagle with breakfast, around 26 carbs.... Having a side of hash browns with that?  Add another 19 carbs.  Chinese stir fry and rice for lunch, 23 carbs and that doesn't count the carbs in the veggies that are part of the stir fry....  Some potato chips for an afternoon snack, let's say another 19 carbs.....  Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and you had two helpings along with some garlic bread....  Add another 96 carbs....    Total carb intake for the day?  A whopping 183 grams in carbs!  

For that sedentary lifestyle, you've gone over what your body ACTUALLY needs by about 50 carb grams.  Do that everyday and yes, you'll gain weight.

"But Mike," you say, "that 183 grams in carbs you laid out in a typical day is perfect for somebody with a moderate lifestyle right?"

Nope.

Let's dig a little deeper into those carb counts shall we?  Did you have cream and sugar with your morning coffee?  Add at least another 5 grams in carbs....  And how many cups did you have?  Most folks don't drink just one cup.  Did you put some ketchup on those hash rounds you had with breakfast?  Add another 5 carb grams.  That cheese on that sausage, egg, cheese croissant?  Add another gram.  How about those veggies in the stir fry for lunch?  Depending on the mix, that's another 10-20 carbs.  Did you drink a regular soda or two at some point during the day?  Add another 24 grams in carbs.  Did you have a salad with that spaghetti at dinner?  Add another 10 grams in carbs.  So how many MORE carb grams do we add to the total?  Another 55 - 65 grams in carbs.

Even for the moderate lifestyle, that's at least 238 carbs, 58 grams above what a moderate lifestyle kind of person 'needs' to maintain a healthy weight.  It's a recipe for weight gain, not 'maintain.'

So how do you cut back, without finding yourself hungry between meals?  It's easier than you think.  Eat one slice of toast, not two.  Knock off 13 grams in carbs.  Switch to heavy cream for your coffee (0 grams in carbs) instead of the coffee creamer, knock off 5 more carbs.  Ditch the soda, knock off 24 more grams in carbs.  Don't have that second helping of spaghetti, having a bigger salad instead, knock off 25 more grams in carbs.  Knock off total:  67 fewer carbs.  Doing little things like that, means a better looking you!  We can talk about why the heck you're eating bread, rice, chips and pasta all in one day - you shouldn't be - at a later time.....

via www.carbcheckdiet.com


Grilling Good Eats - Burgers, Sausages and Hot Dogs

The Juicy Lucy
This burger was made famous in Minnesota, instead of a burger with a slice of cheese on top, it's a burger with ooey-gooey cheese melted in the middle core of the burger. 

Ingredients:

  • One pound ground beef
  • One pound pork sausage (where my burger is different, another layer of flavor)
  • One Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer or if you want to keep it simple, salt and pepper
  • American cheese slices
  • ½ stick of butter
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Hamburger buns

Directions:

Juicy Lucy BurgersIn a large bowl, season the ground beef with the Cookies Flavor Enhancer or the salt & pepper and hand mix until the seasoning is incorporated. Add the pork sausage, hand mix again until incorporated into the beef. Form into thin patties, larger than the cheese slices.  Lay a formed patty on some plastic wrap, top with two slices of cheese, then top with another patty and pinch the sides to seal.  When your grill is ready to receive, place the patties over the hot spot to get those great grill marks and a good sear. Keep the lid off and watch for any flare ups.  Because that cheese is in the core of the burger, it's going to be tougher to know when to flip the burger.  Carefully check the underside of a burger and if you've got some great grill marks, go ahead and flip the burgers over to the lower heat side of the grill and get ready to put the lid on.  These burgers take a longer period of indirect cooking time to ensure they are done on the inside.  Before ‘lidding‘, place the butter and garlic in a grill safe dish to melt down on the low heat side of the grill next to those great smelling burgers. Check after about ten minutes. Pull the burgers and let them rest. Apply the melted garlic butter to the hamburger buns and toast. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.  The great thing about these burgers is playing with a variety of cheeses.  Melted cheddar, swiss and or provolone are great too!  Do combinations or specialty cheeses like pepperjack.  Your choices are almost unlimited!

Download Mike's Juicy Lucy Burger Recipe

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Safe Fracking: Good for America

Many veterans of war, including myself, have concerns with foreign products being purchased from countries at war, namely those in the Middle East. We have come a long way in recent years to obtain our own oil and natural gas within the U.S., however we can’t lift our feet off of the pedal.

Our country must use all forms of energy to become energy independent for the good of all. There is a direct correlation between energy reliability on the Middle East affecting matters of national security. Many American veterans agree in order to improve our quality of life at home, it’s imperative we continue safely improving all energy infrastructure on our home land.
 
One safe and viable option for domestic oil and natural gas production is through hydraulic fracturing. Contrary to popular belief, this process has been used in the United States for nearly 70 years. It’s not a new technology; the practice has been tested and refined for decades. Another important point to remember is fracking falls under at least eight different federal regulations, not to mention state and local laws.

via www.sunshinestatenews.com


Kurt Busch makes last-lap pass to win Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Decked in Monster gear, chugging a tall boy of the energy drink as he was flanked by scantily clad models, Kurt Busch celebrated the biggest race win of his career.

Busch used a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500 on Sunday in the opening race of Monster Energy's new role as the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series. Busch, it just so happens, is also sponsored by Monster, and the company has strongly stood by him throughout his rocky career.

So this was a victory of redemption for Busch, who was suspended by NASCAR two days before the 2015 Daytona 500 for his off-track behavior, and for Monster, which has promised to pump new life into NASCAR's sagging sport.

via www.espn.com


EPA set to ax Obama policies

U.S. environmental chief Scott Pruitt has unveiled plans to roll back at least three Obama-era rules at the EPA while vowing to give businesses “regulatory certainty.”

Those policy reversals, set to start this week, will empower the Environmental Protection Agency to focus on its core mission of protecting the air and water, Pruitt said Saturday in a speech and question-and-answer session on the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

 

“The previous administration was so focused on climate change and so focused on CO2, some of those other priorities were left behind,” Pruitt said in his first detailed remarks since being sworn in to lead the EPA on Feb. 17. “I really believe that at the end of eight years, we’re going to have better air quality, we’re going to have better water quality because it’s going to be vested in a partnership” with states.

via www.startribune.com


Wal-Mart launches new front in U.S. price war, targets Aldi in grocery aisle

Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi <ALDIEI.UL> and other U.S. rivals like Kroger Co <KR.N>, according to four sources familiar with the moves. Wal-Mart launched the price test across 11 Midwest and Southeastern states such as Iowa, Illinois and Florida, focusing on price competition in the grocery business that accounts for 56 percent of the company's revenue, said vendor sources with direct knowledge of the matter who did not wish to be identified for fear of disrupting business relations with Wal-Mart.

via www.nasdaq.com