April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Case in the US

According to the USA Today, news of the spread of a novel, possibly life-threatening, swine flu strain escalated over the weekend, not only in Mexico but the United States as well.

There were 20 confirmed cases in five states, school closings in some areas, and the drain of the government's stockpile of antivirals drugs to combat the virus.

"We have an outbreak of new infectious disease that we are approaching very aggressively," said Richard Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a White House news conference.

The New York Times reported that American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City.

Other nations had imposed travel bans or made plans to quarantine air travelers as confirmed cases had also shown up in Mexico and Canada and suspect cases emerged elsewhere.

Top global flu experts struggled to predict how dangerous the new A (H1 N1) swine flue strain would be as it became evident that not enough information is known about Mexico's outbreak.

"We're in a period in which the picture is evolving," said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization.

Swine flu causes flulike symptoms including respiratory congestion, fever and achy joints, but it mimics many other respiratory infections, said Anne Shuchat, interim deputy director for the CDC's Science and Public Hhealth Program.

Schuchat said the public can take precautions to slow disease spread by reducing travel, washing hands, and staying home when sick.

April 19, 2009


April 12, 2009


April 5, 2009


March 29, 2009

Texas Considers Permitting Guns on Campuses

According to the New York Times, John Woods is among the leaders in the fight against the bills in the Texas Legislature that would permit licensed concealed gun carriers to take weapons to campus.

Mr. Wood's girlfriend was one of the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history at Virginia Tech University.

Sponsored by Representative Joe Driver, a Republican, a public hearing is scheduled for Monday in the House Public Safety Committee on one bill.

Supporters said the bills would defend the irghts of those licensed to carry concealed weapons.

According to keyetv news, soon some Texas college students and professors may be permitted to carry guns on campus.


State Capitol lawmakers are prepared to consider bills aiming to make that a reality. The Bills in the House and Senate would administer rights to people who are licensed by the state to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

Critics of the legislation have argued that more guns could just mean more violence.

March 15, 2009

Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off for Space Station

The New York Times reported that the space shuttle Discovery was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida en route to the International Space Station.

The Discovery carried a last set of solar arrays for the space station and a replacement part for a water recycling system, needed to transform urine into drinkable water.

Except for a few minor issues such as technicians having to go to the launching pap to manually adjust helium pressure into a system that prevents ice formation, and a fruit bat resting on the external tank for several hours, the countdown proceed smoothly to launching at 7:43 p.m.

"I've seen a lot of launches," said Michael D. Leinbach, the shuttle launching director. "This was the most visibly beautiful launch I've ever seen."

According to MSNBC News, the space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven launched into orbit Sunday evening, setting off on a space station construction mission cut short by launch delays that dragged on for more than a month.

The launch turned out to be flawless and the prettiest NASA managers had ever seen.

As the shuttle sped away like a brilliant star, the upper part of the launch plume showed peach, pink, and golden colors.

March 8, 2009

Illegal Immigrants might fill stimulus jobs, experts say

The USA Today newspaper reported that illegal immigrants could end up taking tens of thousands of jobs created by the economic stimulus law, particularly in big states such as California, where undocumented workers are heavily represented in construction, experts on both sides of the issues said.


Studies conducted by two conservative think tanks said illegal immigrants in the United States could take 300,000 construction jobs, or 15% of the 2 million jobs that new taxpayer-financed projects are predicted to generate.

They fault Congress for failing to implement a Department of Homeland Security program called E-verify, which allows employers to verify the legal immigration status of workers before hiring.

A director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, Steven Camarota, said, "They could have deterred this, but they chose not to."

The Obama administration has postponed a Bush administrative executive order requiring federal contractors to use the E-Verify system in hiring until at least May 21.

Camarota said illegal immigrants working in construction are heavily populated in California, Arizona and Texas along the border with Mexico, as well as Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia.

According to the East Valley Tribune newspaper, the nation's construction industry is increasingly becoming staffed by undocumented workers such as Hispanics, according to a new report.

New figures Wednesday from the Pew Hispanic Center said that overall construction employment nationwide grew 5 percent between 2005 and 2006. More importantly, the report stated that Hispanics who entered the United States no earlier than 2000 make up 43.1 percent.

The study was released at a time when the Arizona legislature was trying to craft a law to force employers to certify that their workers are in the country legally.

Daniel Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, said, "Low-skilled immigrants benefit the U.S. economy by filling jobs for which the large majority of American workers are overqualified and unwilling to fill."

February 27, 2009

Obama Picks Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as second choice for Healthcare Reform

The New York Times reported that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius from Kansas, is a known Democrat who can deal with the Republicans , a useful tactic in a state where the opposition party dominates both houses of the Legislature.

If she is confirmed as President Barack Obama's secretary of health and human services, it is more than likely that Sebelius's efforts to foster bipartisan consensus will succeed more often.

When President Obama announces her nomination on Monday, he will effectively make her leader for what is supposed to become the largest expansion of taxpayer subsidized health insurance in more than four decades.

Sebelius, age 60, would begin the job in midstream.

Obama proposed to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to help pay for a $634 billion investment in expanded government health coverage over 10 years.

Sebelius is skilled at exploiting the decisions between moderate and conservative Republicans successfully forging coalitions with one caucus or the other on redistricting, school financing, and the state budget.

According to NBC Action News, President Barack Obama chose Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be his second choice for secretary of health and human services, a source from the White House said Saturday.


The source spoke on the condition of anonymity and said Obama would formally announce the nomination on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Obama's first pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, withdrew his nomination after disclosing he had failed to pay $140,000 in taxes and interest.

Sebelius gained praise for playing the consumer watchdog role as Kansas insurance commissioner for eight years before she became governor.

A Democrat from Kansas has not been elected to the Senate since 1932. Sebelius was seen as the best chance for breaking that pattern. She is from a strong political family. Her father, John Gilligan, was the governor of Ohio in the early 1970s.

Sebelius will be confirmed as the secretary of Health and Human Services by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

February 22, 2009

Obama plans to reduce deficit in half by 2013

U.S.A. Today reported that President Obama is spending this week promoting a budget plan designed to reduce government expenses in half by the end of his first term.

The president will hold a "fiscal responsibility summit" at the White House on Monday. Then he will give a prime-time speech to Congress on Tuesday before disclosing a budget overview Thursday.

Plans for defense cuts including - a rollback of the Iraq War- and ending the Bush administration's high-income tax cuts are all incorporated in Obama's 2010 budget.

According to the New York Times, President Obama will set a goal to slash the annual deficit at least in half by the end of his term. The reduction would come in large part through Iraq troop withdrawals and higher taxes on the wealthy.

The president inherited a deficit for 2009 of about $1.2 trillion , which will rise to more than $1.5 trillion, based on his initial spending from his recently enacted stimulus package. His budget blueprint for the 2010 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, will show the annual deficit declining to $533 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, the last year of his term.

President Obama will propose to tax the investment income of hedge fund and private equity partners at ordinary income tax rates. He will also propose cutting a variety of programs, including the Medicare Advantage subsidies for insurance companies that cover seniors.

In April the full details of Mr. Obama's budget for the 2010 fiscal year will be disclosed.

February 15, 2009

74-Year-Old Man Going To War Zone In Afghanistan

Fox 9 News reported Lt. Col. John Burson said he wished to be on the front lines at the age of 74.
Burson will be joining an infantry batallin in Afghanistan for 3 months where he said he may spend some time at a mountainous outpost in rugged conditions.

Burson's thid tour of duty, he expects to be closer to the combat than ever before.

"You're never too old to express your love for your country and make a small sacrifice," he said.

Burson spent some time treating Saddam Hussein after his capture in his first tour in Iraq. Burson is preparing for his departure at Fort Benning in Georgia and should leave Friday for the war zone.

According to MyFOX Atlanta News, an ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Burson, at the age of 74, will march off to war again because he said he has enjoyed the American Dream.

Having spent 30 years in the Army Reserves and never seeing action, this will be Burson's third tour of duty in the past few years and this time he hopes to be closer to the fighting than ever before.

A Pentagon spokesman said Dr. Burson is one of the oldest volunteers ever.

February 8, 2009

Unemployed Dedicate Extra Time To Health, Hobbies, And Family

Unpaid bills, dashed retirement plans, and the loss of workers are just a few difficulties the unemployed face according to a WCCO News report.

However, many say life minus work has its advantages.

They have included more time with family and friends, learning new skills, focusing on their health and pursuing hobbies.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons about just how sweet, or bitter the experience has been.

Alex Swain, 36, of Leesburg, Va., lost his job last April at a wireless communications company. After applying for more than 200 jobs, Swain has gone on 10 interviews and has not had a single offer.

"You can't stay in the house all day or you'll lose your mind," he said.

Laid off from his job at a signmaking company in 2006, Andre Lavato, 55, of Waukesha, Wis.has applied for 35 jobs since then without any luck.

He uses his free time for woodcarving, computer illustrations and sketching.

Some of the unemployed are eager to get back to work, some are enjoying their leisure activities, while for others,
the appreciation of free time is fleeting.

Fox 9 News reported that the unemployment rate hit 7.6 in January, a month with more layoffs than at any other time since 1974.

In a Manhattan bar, hopelessness and discouragement set the tone for the atmosphere of well-dressed professionals enjoying drinks and conversation -- many of them which had no job.

After being laid off from her job as an AIG training manager, Susan Lange said, "Wall Street, directly or indirectly, has ruined the best 10 years of life."

In the hopes of landing jobs, jobseekers are trying to network in bars, wait in lines in city help centers and join the business networking Website LinkedIn.

Recent graduate David Gunther gave up his dream for a Wall Street job making $80,000 per year right out college.

Now Gunther has become creative as he has begun networking with professionals and traveling to the places where executives live.

February 1, 2009

Steelers Are The Winners of the Super Bowl, 27-23

WCCO News reports Sunday that the Pittsburgh Steelers are the winnners of Super Bowl XL111.

Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes made the 6-yard touchdown that gave the Pitsburgh Steelers a sixth
Super Bowl victory over the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23.

Playing in their first Super Bowl and championship game of any sort, the Arizona Cardinals lost their composure as they gained three penalties which kept Pittsburgh's momentum going. They also had a 16-play march that finished with Jeff Reed's 21-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead.

According to KSTP-TV News, the Pittsburgh Steelers seized an amazing sixth Super Bowl title.

Santonio Holmes led the Steelers to victory as he made a 6-yard catch deep in the right corner of the end zone with 35 seconds left in the game.

"Great players step up in big-time games to make plays", Holmes said.