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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ga. Lottery: Woman Gets $25M After Store Mistake


Georgia Lottery officials say a store clerk's mistake led to a woman who has been searching for a job to win $25 million.

The lottery says 44-year-old Kathy Scruggs matched all of the winning numbers in the Sept. 14 multistate Powerball drawing. She said she had requested a Mega Millions ticket but wound up with that and the Powerball ticket and accepted both of them.


Alzheimer's May Be Transmissible, Study Suggests

In some cases, Alzheimer's disease may in fact be the result of an infection, and may even be transmissible, a new study in mice suggests.In the study, mice injected with human brain tissue from Alzheimer's patients developed Alzheimer's disease. The mice developed brain damage characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, and over time, the damage spread throughout their brains, the researchers said.
Mice injected with brain tissue from healthy humans showed no signs of the disease.

Apple’s Cook Lets Deputies Pitch Gadgets in Post-Jobs Era

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, at the introduction of the newest iPhone yesterday, left off the “one more thing” cliffhanger that came at the end of product unveilings under his predecessor, Steve Jobs.

Jobs’s absence was palpable throughout the 90-minute introduction of the iPhone 4S yesterday at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.


Auto Owners Beware -- D.C. Cops Throw Drivers in Jail for Expired Tags, AAA Cries Foul

In a city that hosts its fair share of murders and terror plots, Washington, D.C., police are cracking down on another threat to the nation's capital -- expired vehicle registrations.

To the frustration of forgetful drivers, Metropolitan Police Department officers are throwing people in jail for letting their tag renewals lapse. The practice provoked somewhat of a backlash last year after a local mother from Maryland was jailed for what in many places would be a routine traffic offense punishable by fine. But the department continues to reserve and exercise the right to throw drivers in the clink for missing the DMV deadline, no matter where they're from.


Senators Introduce Bill To Ban Mandatory Binding Arbitration Clauses In Cellphone Contracts

When you buy a new cellphone you have to sign a contract where you give up your right to sue. You agree to what's called, "mandatory binding arbitration." This is a bad thing to give to an industry that has high levels of complaints about hidden fees and abusive anti-consumer practices. Because if their crummy customer service fails to remedy an issue, your last resort option is to participate in a kangaroo court system that is paid for out of fees paid by the cellphone companies themselves. So Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) have today introduced The Consumer Mobile Fairness Act that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in cellphone contracts.

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Near-Normal Snowfall This Winter, Forecasters Say

If you liked last winter in Central Maryland — pretty cold, but with below-average snow — you may get a chance to live it over again this winter.

Forecasters at say the country is in for a second La Nina winter in a row, with brutal cold and snow across the northern tier of states.
For Central Maryland, the annual pre-season forecast calls for no worse than near- to "slightly below-average" snowfall, but with some risk of a few "significant" snow or ice events.

"If we're going to get a disruptive storm, it's going to be in December or January," said senior forecaster Jack Boston. "I don't think much of the chances in February.

Circumcision Funding Cuts Hurt, Doctors Say

State governments looking to save a little money should not reduce funding for circumcisions, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Currently, 18 states do not provide Medicaid funding for infant circumcision, and San Francisco has attempted to ban the procedure.

In an editorial to appear Wednesday (Oct. 5) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Hopkins doctors Ronald Gray and Aaron Tobian said the increasing efforts to defund or outright ban infant male circumcision are unfounded, harmful and "ethically questionable."


Obama's Debt Reduction Plan Includes Letting Debt Collectors Robo-Call Cellphones To Collect On Federal Student Loans

One part of the debt-reduction bill Obama sent to Congress is a provision that would let debt collectors robo-call cellphones to collect on what's owed to the government, like federal student loans.

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NBA Cancels Preseason, Regular Season Could Be Next

Because NBA owners and players haven't been able to agree on a way to split league revenue, it's looking more and more likely that the labor dispute will either shorten the season or do away with it entirely. The league announced that the entire preseason has been canceled and unless an agreement is reached within the next few days, regular season games will be in jeopardy.

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New iPhone Causes Price Drop In Older Models

Apple's revelation that the iPhone 4S is nigh has started a domino effect that sapped much of the value away from its predecessors. Those who have spent the past several months longing for the iPhone 4 will now be able to grab an 8GB model for $99 on a two-year contract. And the older iPhone 3GS now is free on contract.

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Democrat Wins West Virginia Governor's Race

(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin overcame weeks of Republican attack ads to win the West Virginia governor's race Tuesday, successfully distancing himself from the Obama administration and the president's health care plan.

Tomblin, who has been acting governor for the past year, will finish the final year of a term left vacant by Joe Manchin, a well-liked governor who stepped down after he won a U.S. Senate seat.

The race was fraught with negative ads from both sides and narrowed in the final weeks. The national parties spent millions of dollars on each campaign.

Could Bad Economy Be Responsible For Drop In Drunk Driving?

To be able to terrorize the roads as a drunk driver, you need to be able to afford both a vehicle and booze, and those things aren't so easy to come by when jobs are so scarce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a survey finds that impaired driving is down 30 percent since the boom times of 2006.

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How Buying Grocery Items At A Drug Store Can Be A Bad Deal

Drug stores have been adding more and more food items to their shelves lately, but is it a good deal to get your mac and cheese from the same place you get your Advil? ConsumerWorld did a mystery shopping investigation to find out, and the results will give you a headache.

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Friendly's Files For Bankruptcy Protection, Closes 63 Restaurants

As we reported last week, the financial outlook at ice cream and burger chain Friendly's is bleak. Earlier today, the company confirmed rumors it would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it has closed 63 shops around the country.

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While Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld write books, give speeches and get rich, the people who had to fight their wars, die, get maimed, see their family lives ruined, and live with the horror of war for the rest of their lives don’t see the War on Terror in quite the same way as the neo-con ideologues. It seems 60% of war veterans think we should worry about issues in our own country rather than Muslim countries half way around the world.


Occupy Wall Street – Oh No!

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known. – Declaration of the Occupation of New York/ Official General Assembly website of OWS


Sarah Palin Says She Will Not Run For President

WASHINGTON – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she will not run for president, leaving little doubt that the eventual Republican nominee will come from the current field of contenders.

After months of leaving her fans guessing, Palin said in a statement that she and her husband Todd "devote ourselves to God, family and country." She said her decision maintains that order.


BREAKING NEWS: Steve Jobs Dies

Former Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs has died, the company said late Wednesday.

Zero Hedge Kindly Requests The Immediate Resignation Of Mary Schapiro For Gross Breach Of Professional Responsibilities

Ever wonder why the final SEC report [6]on the flash crash doesn't match up to the forensic evidence found by Nanex [7]?

It seems the SEC/CFTC failed to disclose they didn't get around to interviewing the traders that actually executed the algorithm blamed for dumping 75,000 emini contracts on the market "without regard to price or time" until 2 weeks after publishing their final report on the flash crash! Apparently, they were making a lot of things up to fit a foregone conclusion.

According to the media, it was Waddell & Reed who executed those trades right? Well, no. Barclays executed the contracts using their time tested algorithm called Participation. You simply can't crash a market with the Participation algorithm. This is an algorithm that in fact has sophisticated price and time components.
This is an algorithm that would only sell at the offer -- and never at the bid. This was discovered and pointed out by Nanex [7]after just one day reviewing the actual 6,438 eMini contract trades (75,000 contracts) which ZeroHedge helped obtain. But the media was happy to hang the guilt on an out of town mid-west Mutual Fund company, and besides all this stuff was getting way too complicated. After all, when it comes to such complexities, it is only economy PhDs who are fit to opine at will.

Only the SEC/CFTC wasn't counting on anyone double checking their work...


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Gets Three Millionth Call

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline passed a milestone this week: It received its three millionth call. The Lifeline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It started up in 2005 and now receives more than 2,000 calls every day. The Lifeline has become a big operation, with 150 crisis centers and special technology linking callers to the nearest center. One in five callers asks to be connected to the Veterans Crisis Line, operated by the VA


SALISBURY - At this Monday's regular legislative session of the Salisbury City Council, the council will consider an amendment to sections of the city charter to grant the council appointment and oversight authority over the city attorney and other legal counsel. The October 10 meeting at 6 p.m. is an open session with time available for public comment on the issue and will take place in Room 301, Council Chambers, of the Government Office Building at 125 N. Division St.

"The two offices key to the council successfully fulfilling its state- and city charter-mandated duties are the city clerk and the city attorney. Therefore, having timely and full access to both is critical for the council to not have its legislative work hindered," she added.

The city clerk also is appointed by and the pleasure of the city council only. If the proposed charter amendment passes, all departments heads except the city clerk and the city attorney would continue under the mayor's supervision, and the mayor would still access the city attorney for the administrative needs of the city government as allowed by various sections of the charter.

The city council is the legislative body ofthe city government vested with policy- and lawmaking powers, while the mayor serves as head of the administrative, or executive, branch.

The State of Maryland mandates that only the legislative body (by simple majority) or the voters (by petition and referendum) may change the charter of a municipality.

When asked ifthis would be seen as some sort of power play on the council's part, Cohen replied, "Although it is likely a lot of political hay will be made and the council is not unanimous on moving this initiative forward, a majority of the council recognizes the problems the city has experienced, where supposed checks and balances have failed. This is not a drastic change, as has been done in other cities, but it is an important and necessary one."

The proposed charter amendment will be available to the public in advance of Monday's meeting, published in the council's briefing book on the city's website under the "Government/City Council/Agendas" link, posted in the lobby of the government office building, and from the city clerk's office, 410-548-3140.

The State Department's Consular Affairs Bureau CIO Has Resigned

Kirit Amin cited frustration with senior management and what he called bad contracts as the reason for his departure. Amin also criticized Consular staff, whom he said have resisted change. He told Federal News Radio instead of fixing expensive contracts, State would rather cover them up. He said he'll work for State CIO Susan Swart until he is able to find another job in government. The recommendation to not leave government altogether, Amin said, came from Federal CIO Steven Van Roekel

Tom Miller For President Press Release

To the American people,
This past Monday House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stated that Mr. Obamas jobs bill will not be brought to the floor as a package. Instead, Cantor said the House will move forward on legislative initiatives in October in which there is some agreement between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. At the same time the Federal Reserve continues its attempts to maintain artificially low interest rates. Unfortunately, what they don’t understand is that it is the Federal government’s direct involvement and takeover of our economy that is the foundation to our economic and financial problems.
 America, it’s time to elect a President who is willing to allow our free market to be free once again, someone who understands that there must be both success and failure in order to grow. Someone who understands that our economy will continue to constrict as long as the Federal government will not support the return of a production and manufacturing based economy. The American people and the private sector hold the answers to our Nation’s problems, not the career politicians and our Federal government.
Thomas J. Miller
Declared (Rep.) Presidential Candidate
Miller for President

Best Single Ad

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me.... Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Annie, I'll be waiting.....

Over 150 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society.

Depressed Brains May Hate Differently

( -- Depressed people are often withdrawn and antisocial. This doesn't necessarily mean that they don't like other people, but it could mean that their brains don't process feelings of hate in a normal way, a new study suggests.

Scientists in China and the UK scanned the brains of people with and without depression, and they found a surprising pattern in nearly all of the depressed people: Their brain activity was out of sync in three regions collectively known as the "hate circuit" -- so called because in previous experiments they have been shown to light up when people look at photographs of someone they can't stand.

Marchers Shut Down Central Athens In Financial Protest

ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- At least 10,000 marchers shut down the center of the Greek capital Wednesday to protest the latest waves of austerity measures announced by the government.The march accompanied a one-day strike in the public sector that shut down Athens International Airport, government ministries and schools. Hospitals operated on skeleton staffs, and some commuter rail services were closed.

The marchers shouted slogans against the government and the threesome overseeing Greece's $146 billion bailout: the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

Three Cases Of Legionellosis Possibly Associated With Ocean City Hotel

Dem Slams Republicans for Tripling Budget for Defense of Gay Marriage Ban

A top Democratic opponent of the Defense of Marriage Act slammed House Republicans after they reportedly tripled the budget for legal defense of the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who's sponsoring a bill to repeal the law, said it is "supremely hypocritical" for GOP leaders to spend more taxpayer money on defending the law at a time of "Republican-sponsored deficit hysteria."

"It seems that the only jobs program the House is creating is one for high-priced lawyers to defend an unconscionable law," Nadler said in a statement.


How To Stop The Church Gossip

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several members did not approve of her extra- curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon.

She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing!

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.  He didn't explain, defend, or deny.  He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house... walked home... and left it there all night. (You gotta love Frank!)

Bette Midler

'I haven't left my house in days.
I watch the news channels incessantly.
All the news stories are about the election;
All the commercials are for Viagra and Cialis.
Election  -  erection  -  election  -  erection 
- - - either way we're getting screwed!'
-- Bette Midler.

Top Five Reasons Why the Occupy Wall Street Protests Embody Values Of The Real Boston Tea Party

In recent years, the Boston Tea Party has been associated with a right-wing movement that supports policies favoring powerful corporations and the wealthy. As ThinkProgress has reported, lobbyists and Republican front groups have driven the current manifestation of the Tea Party to push for giveaways to oil companies and big businesses.

However, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations picking up momentum across the country better embody the values of the original Boston Tea Party. In the late 18th century, the British government became deeply entwined with the interests of the East India Trading Company, a massive conglomerate that counted British aristocracy as shareholders. Americans, upset with a government that used the colonies to enrich the East India Trading Company, donned Native American costumes and boarded the ships belonging to the company and destroyed the company’s tea. In the last two weeks, as protesters have gathered from New York to Los Angeles to protest corporate domination over American politics, a true Tea Party movement may be brewing:

Why 2012 Will Shake Up Asia And The World

Can Washington move from Pacific Power to Pacific Partner?

The United States has long styled itself a Pacific power. It established the model of counterinsurgency in the Philippines in 1899 and defeated the Japanese in World War II. It faced down the Chinese and the North Koreans to keep the Korean peninsula divided in 1950, and it armed the Taiwanese to the teeth. Today, America maintains the most powerful military in the Pacific region, supported by a constellation of military bases, bilateral alliances, and about 100,000 service personnel.

It has, however, reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. Northeast Asia, the area of the world with the greatest concentration of economic and military power, is on the verge of a regional transformation. And the United States, still preoccupied with the Middle East and hobbled by a stalled and stagnating economy, will be the odd man out.

Elections will be part of the change. Next year, South Koreans, Russians, and Taiwanese will all go to the polls. In 2012, the Chinese Communist Party will also ratify its choice of a new leader to take over from President Hu Jintao.  He will be the man expected to preside over the country’s rise from the number two spot to the pinnacle of the global economy.

But here’s the real surprise in store for Washington. The catalyst of change may turn out to be the country in the region that has so far changed the least: North Korea. In 2012, the North Korean government has trumpeted to its people a promise to create kangsong taeguk, or an economically prosperous and militarily strong country. Pyongyang now has to deliver somehow on that promise -- at a time of food shortages, overall economic stagnation, and political uncertainty. This dream of 2012 is propelling the regime in Pyongyang to shift into diplomatic high gear, and that, in turn, is already creating enormous opportunities for key Pacific powers.

The Perfect Song

Researchers at the University of London have broken the code to what makes a song so catchy. 

According to their research – the key elements that keep people singing a song  – often without wanting to – are long and detailed musical phrases, multi-pitch changes in the hook, and male vocalists accompanied by higher male vocalists.  Based on that criteria – researchers concluded that the top 2 catchiest songs ever made were Queen’s “We are the Champions”, and the Village People’s “YMCA.”  Other songs that made the top-10 list include Europe’s “Final Countdown” and – oddly – the theme song to the TV Show “Baywatch.”  Who would have thought – the real reason why people tuned in to Baywatch…was because of the music!

Accident On Rt. 50 With Injuries

There's been an accident with injuries at Hobbs Rd. and Rt. 50, west bound.

Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

On 10/03/2011, at approximately 1430 hours A Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Deputy responded to a Personal Injury-Hit and Run Motor Vehicle Accident at the entrance to the Wal-Mart Store and Rt. 50 Berlin, Maryland. Upon arrival The Deputy gathered information from the victim and witnesses on the suspect and vehicle. The suspect was identified as Kurt Oliver Jones 36 years of age from Tavares Florida.

Mr. Jones fled from the scene through the Home Depot and Wal-Mart parking lots. Another witness followed Jones Mr. Jones was stopped by Ocean City Police Department on Coastal Highway near 74th Street. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to 74th street and took Mr. Jones into custody. Mr. Jones was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury collision and was held at the Worcester County Jail on a 5,000 dollar bond.

Salisbury K-9

The Salisbury Police Department is re-establishing its K-9 Officer program with Salisbury Officer Brandon Caton and his dog, Miso. Officer Caton and Miso recently graduated from the Tarheel K-9 Training Center in Sanford, North Carolina and began his official duty as a K-9 officer yesterday. Officer Caton and Miso will supplement the uniform patrol division and will be able to assist with enforcement activities, searches, and narcotics investigations.

"Police Officer Caton and his K-9 partner are a welcomed and much needed addition to the Salisbury Police Department. We are proud to have this dynamic team patrolling our streets. Our plan is to build our K-9 and Mounted Units through our newly established donation fund managed by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore," said Chief Duncan.

Democrats Are Saying...

A new report by investigative reporter Lee Fang with the Center for American Progress uncovered massive hypocrisy among Republicans when it comes to clean energy.  What’s new, right?  As Republicans gear up their attack on green energy loans in the wake of the manufactured Solyndra “scandal” – Fang discovered that at least 62 Republicans who are on the attack against clean energy loans today – have requested or accepted – and then taken credit for – clean energy loans in their home states.  As in – they support clean energy when it’s useful for their constituents but rail against it when it’s useful for their political attacks against President Obama.  But clean energy shouldn’t be a political football – it’s the future of the world – and if our lawmakers don’t accept that – then American will be left behind other nations that do.  

Senators Passed Legislation To Impose Trade Tariffs On China

A bipartisan group of Senators passed legislation last night to impose trade tariffs on China in response to that nation’s manipulation of its currency. 

By keeping the Chinese currency artificially low – China is eating our lunch when it comes to manufacturing and selling cheap goods – causing more and more factories and jobs to leave America bound for China.  The Senate’s legislation puts in place a trade tariff – or tax – to level the playing field.  But Republicans in the House have already come out against the legislation – as their corporate donors fear it could hinder their ability to offshore more American jobs – and there’s also a worry it could trigger a trade war with China. 

Well – here’s a news flash – we're ALREADY in a trade war with China – and the dragon economy is creaming us.  Time to ditch so-called Free Trade and get back to protecting AMERICAN industries – and AMERICAN workers.

President Sympathizes With Demonstrators

For the first time yesterday – the White House was asked to weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street movement that’s sweeping the nation with demonstrations underway now in Boston, Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC – as well as solidarity demonstrations in other parts of the world like Canada, Europe, and Japan.  When asked by reporters at yesterday’s White House Press briefing if the President sympathizes with demonstrators – Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I haven’t discussed it with him. I’m sure he’s aware of it because he follows the news. I would simply say that, to the extent that people are frustrated with the economic situation, we understand.”  The fact that the Occupy Wall Street movement is now gaining attention in the White House is a sign that this movement is strengthening each and every day.  And just in case there are still doubts as to why the 99% is rising up against the 1% on Wall Street – consider these numbers: The top 1% in America owns 40% of the nation’s wealth.  The top 1% in American earns 24% of national income.  The top 1% owns more than half of the nation’s stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  And the top 1% is taking in more money today than at any other time in this nation since the 1920’s.  And we all know what followed the 1920’s – a Great Depression.  The 99% is fed up – and now the time has come to do something about it. 


Union Goes To Court To Prevent NY Bus Drivers From Transporting Arrested Wall Street Protesters

The New York Transport Workers Union went to court to block New York City and the NYPD from forcing bus drivers to transport arrested Wall Street protestors. 

After police rounded up and arrested 700 peaceful demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge over the weekend – the NYPD commandeered 3 city buses to haul off the demonstrators.  Now – the Transport Workers Union is going to court to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  TWU President John Samuelson said, “TWU Local 100 supports the protesters on Wall Street and takes great offense that the mayor and NYPD have ordered operators to transport citizens who were exercising their constitutional right to protest — and shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.”  This week – other unions are expected to join the Occupy Wall Street movement – swelling the number of demonstrators in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to its highest numbers yet.  Now with the support of major labor unions – the Occupy Wall Street movement has some teeth.


Candidate Obama Appeared And Marched With New Black Panther Party In 2007

New photographs obtained exclusively by reveal that Barack Obama appeared and marched with members of the New Black Panther Party as he campaigned for president in Selma, Alabama in March 2007.

The photographs, captured from a Flickr photo-sharing account before it was scrubbed, are the latest evidence of the mainstream media’s failure to examine Obama’s extremist ties and radical roots.

In addition, the new images raise questions about the possible motives of the Obama administration in its infamous decision to drop the prosecution of the Panthers for voter intimidation.


Homeless Man Found Dead In Salisbury

The body of a homeless man was found in his tent near the Overpass near the Mall. It was off of 13 business right near the overpass. The man was naked in his tent found by another homeless man. The state police are handling the case. No word if anything was suspicious.

More Dangerous To Be A Woman Than A Soldier

Midrand, South Africa - African women who bear the brunt of the continent’s conflicts now demand to play a defining role in peacekeeping.

A resolution to foster women’s political participation in the domain of peacekeeping and conflict management was accepted on Friday at the 2011 Women’s Platform for Action in Africa (WPAA).

Under the auspices of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the WPAA meeting emphasised the urgent need for better female representation at national levels, where women can actively take part in decisions to prevent war and mediate conflict.

The two-day conference in Midrand from Sep. 29 to Sep. 30 comes ahead of the second session of the Pan-African Parliament in October.

Gender-based sexual violence, which has become a characteristic of armed conflict, is closely linked to gender relations within that culture, said Francoise Labelle of Mauritius who is second vice-president of PAP.

"It is only if women can play a full and equal part in the mediation processes that we will be able to build a foundation of peace," Labelle said.

My Ride Into Work This Morning 10-5-11

Wicomico BOE Addresses Funding Shortages

The parking lot overflowed and nearly every seat in the Parkside High School auditorium was taken as Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE) Superintendent John Fredericksen and Comptroller Bruce Ford presented their fiscal outlook for the next several years. In a relatively balanced presentation, Ford outlined the county’s bleak economic outlook and its affect on school funding. In the last two years, county funding of the WCBOE has dropped by almost $15 million and the Board’s total budget declined $4.9 million in FY 2012 (the current fiscal year).
According to the WCBOE, county schools face a “structural deficit” of tens of millions of dollars moving into the future. Forty seven (47) full time equivalent positions have been cut over the last two years, as well as programs such as Adult Education. Because the BOE must have a balanced budget, Wicomico schools face even more cuts moving forward. These possible cuts include:
  • Cutting teachers and increasing class size.
  • Closing schools and consolidating.
  • Moving to a four (4) day school week.
  • Ending extra-curricular activities.
Some critics (including this author) have called for cuts in wasteful spending and bureaucracy. Some of these cuts could include the board’s increased retiree health care benefit and travel. There is no doubt that the WCBOE has wasted money in the past. However, no one has come forward with a detailed list of wasteful spending that approaches the cuts of the last two years or those faced in the next four.

Former Wicomico councilman Bill McCain argued that the county could fully fund education if it chose to do so. In theory this is true. To accomplish this, funding for the Sheriff’s office, county fire and ambulance service, public works, and public health would have to bear brunt. Is McCain arguing that we eviscerate public safety?

Fredericksen and the board should be commended for being proactive in beginning this discussion early. It was gratifying to see such a large crowd come out to a public meeting. However, it appeared that 50% – 70% of those in attendance were board employees and their families.

Some in attendance questioned the board’s motives for the meeting. One parent of school aged children, who asked not to be named, noted that the taxpayers and all areas of local government were taking a hit and the WCBOE should not be an exception. He felt that Fredericksen was attempting to demonize the Wicomico County Council for making tough choices and was playing politics with threats to move to a four day school week (which would disrupt the lives of working families). “This sounds like a call to end the revenue cap. Do we really want to tax families and businesses more? Wicomico is already in economic decline. What will happen if more jobs leave the county because of higher taxes?”

Model Who Killed, Cooked Husband Seeks Parole

'It is certainly one of the most gruesome … crimes ever committed in Orange County'

A California woman who killed her newlywed husband and chopped and cooked his body parts over Thanksgiving weekend in 1991 is seeking release from prison.

Former model and nanny Omaima Nelson is scheduled to appear before parole commissioners Wednesday at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla where she has been serving a sentence of 27 years to life.

Nelson was convicted of murdering her 56-year-old husband William Nelson in a grisly killing that authorities compared to the fictional slayings of Hannibal Lecter.



Today's Wildlife Photo 10-5-11

Taken moments ago on the Wicomico River.

Missing American Woman Found Dead In Italy

Italian police said on Wednesday they had found the body of an American woman missing in Tuscany for three days and believed she was the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Carabinieri Col. Antonio Frassinetto told a news conference that the body of 23-year-old Allison Owens was found in a canal beside a heavily trafficked road in San Giovanni Valdarno. He said she may have been using an iPod and not heard a car approaching.

Tests were ordered to determine the cause of death.


Can Banning Hand-Raising Promote A Calmer Classroom?

Another school in the U.K. is jumping on the 'banned'-wagon, eliminating a very basic classroom tradition: raising your hand.

Administrators at Burlington Junior School in Bridlington, East Yorkshire are modifying the way students ask a question, prohibiting their students from raising a hand and instead directing them to give a thumbs up.

Lewes Incident Update

Lewes, DE- Log Cabin Hill Road has been re-opened to traffic.
Delaware State Police detectives have advised that a Delaware Department of Transportation worker was electrocuted as a result has died from his injuries.
Further more complete details will be released at the conclusion of this investigation.

Can a Stronger Chinese Currency Save the U.S. Economy?

Give Charles Schumer credit for persistence. The New York Senator first introduced legislation that targeted Chinese currency in 2003, and has been a leading congressional advocate of the view that China keeps the value of its currency, the renminbi, artificially low, giving its exporters an unfair advantage when competing against U.S. manufacturers.

On Monday a bill co-sponsored by Schumer that would allow for duties on goods from countries found to be currency manipulators won a Senate vote to open debate 79-19. If it passes a full Senate vote later this week it faces tougher odds in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has called the legislation "dangerous." The White House has also so far not said where it stands on the bill.


It seems the MSM keeps being tripped up by their consumer austerity storyline. If consumers are cutting back and paying down debt, how could delinquencies on consumer debt be going up across the board? They can’t. You are either paying down debt or you are not paying down debt. Not only are consumers not paying down debt, they aren’t even making the payments on the debt they owe. Consumer debt is increasing. The people who have fallen off the unemployment rolls are now using their credit cards to survive. One little problem. They don’t have any income to pay off the credit cards. You can see how brilliant the Wall Street bank CEOs have been in reducing their loan loss reserves to pump up their earnings. I may be wrong but delinquencies might just lead to write-offs.

I look forward to the MSM spin.


Feds Announce $10.9M In Grants For Chesapeake Bay

WASHINGTON (AP) - Environmental projects across the Chesapeake Bay watershed will receive $10.9 million in grants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture as well as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and members of Congress plan to announce the grants Wednesday.

The Chesapeake Bay Program says the 55 projects will reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff. That will improve waterways across the six-state bay watershed, which stretches from New York to Virginia. Matching funds to be provided by grant recipients mean a total of $27 million will be going toward the projects.


"Shore Up" Yours

You won't believe this.  A very good friend of mine worked for Shore UP for quite some time now.  She reported to work Friday morning, as usual.  At noon time, her boss, Mr. Thaxton came to her and told her to go home for the rest of the day.  When she asked why, he told her he couldn't tell her, that she should wait until she gets a letter from them.  Here she is all weekend long not knowing if she has a job to go to on Monday or not.  Monday comes and she calls to see if she should report to work, Mr. Thaxton told her she couldn't do anything until she receives the letter from Shore Up.  No letter came over the weekend, or Monday.  Tuesday, she calls in again to ask should she return to work.  Again, she is told to wait until she gets a letter.  Orville Penn, Mr. Thaxton and Mr. McNeil in Human Resources all told her they could tell her nothing, until she got a letter from them.  Today, Wednesday, she called again and spoke with Mr. McNeil.  Today, when she told him she had not received a letter, he told her it's because Orville Penn and Mr. Thaxton had not told him what to put in the letter.  No letter had ever been sent but they keep telling her to wait for a letter they had not even prepared or mailed.

This morning, she spoke with Orville Penn and asked him what is going on.  He told her he couldn't tell her anything, to wait for the never written, never mailed letter.  When asked what she is supposed to do, she has bills to pay, Orville Penn said, "that's a personal problem".  What a guy!!!!  Today, Mr. Thaxton finally called her, AFTER she spoke with Orville Penn, and told her they made the decision to let her go.  When she asked why, he said, "because you didn't say Good Morning to Orville Penn".  Really???  Really???  The truth of the matter is, she did acknowledge Orville Penn, every time he entered her office.  She did not track him down, throughout the building, just to say good morning but she did acknowledge him when he came to her office.

I know Maryland is not a right to work state and can fire a person at any time, for any reason but not saying hello or good morning????  This is a state funded agency, Delegate Rudy Cane sits on their board of directors.  Is this how a state funded agency operates?  In these hard economic times, they have taken an employed person, made her a statistic and put her in the unemployment line.  The irony of all of this is, Shore Up runs a training and employment program, they help people with their electric, and heating bills.  Now they've taken one of their own employees, put her out of work, hopefully, she'll be able to draw unemployment without any interference from Shore Up.  Will they now help her pay her electric, heat, mortgage?  Is this how they continue to get state funding, by keeping the statistics high?

Attorney General Starts Billing Agencies For Indirect Costs

For years, assistant attorneys general have worked in the Comptroller’s Office, paid out of the comptroller’s budget.

Last week, the Comptroller’s Office received an invoice for $22,284 from the Attorney General’s Office for costs related to those attorneys.

“There was no itemized bill, no explanation of the charges,” said Christine Feldmann, deputy director of communications for the office. Staff in the Comptroller’s Office is scrambling to investigate the source and reasoning behind the bill before paying it.

money stacks

They aren’t the only ones. The legislature passed a new budget policy directing the Office of the Attorney General to recover indirect costs from government departments. It resulted in similar invoices being sent out to most state agencies and universities last week. Combined, the agencies have been billed a total of $1,084,488 – an amount cut from the central budget of the Attorney General’s Office in the fiscal 2012 budget process last spring.


President Obama Goes On The Attack, To Democrats’ Delight

There is a noticeably more aggressive, confrontational President Obama roaming the country these days, selling his jobs plan and attacking Republicans for standing in the way of progress by standing up only for the rich.

In Texas on Tuesday, the president went after a leading Republican by name: “Yesterday the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives,” Obama said. “I would like Mr. Cantor to come here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in, what exactly he is opposed to. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses or efforts to help our veterans?”


Caption This Photo 10-5-11

Buffett Challenges Murdoch On Tax Returns

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Warren Buffett has a message for Rupert Murdoch and the Wall Street Journal: Sure, I'll release my tax returns, if you do too.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that asked Buffett to disclose his tax returns. The piece, "Mr. Buffett's Tax Secrets," took issue with Buffett's plan to hike taxes on some of the super-rich.


Secret Docs Show Foreclosure Watchdog Doesn’t Bark Or Bite

Why has the administration’s flagship foreclosure prevention program been so ineffective in helping struggling homeowners get loan modifications and stay in their homes? One reason: The government’s supervision of the program has apparently ranged from nonexistent to weak.

Documents obtained by ProPublica — government audit reports of GMAC, the country’s fifth-largest mortgage servicer — provide the first detailed look at the program’s oversight. They show that the company operated with almost no oversight for the program’s first eight months. When auditors did finally conduct a major review more than a year into the program, they found that GMAC had seriously mishandled many loan modifications — miscalculating homeowner income in more than 80 percent of audited cases, for example.
Yet, GMAC suffered no penalty. GMAC itself said it hasn’t reversed a single foreclosure as a result of a government audit.

The documents also reveal that government auditors signed off on GMAC loan-modification denials that appear to violate the program’s own rules, calling into question the rigor and competence of the reviews.

Some of the auditors’ mistakes are “appalling,” said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group. “It suggests the government isn’t taking the auditing process seriously.”

Tom Ehrich Asks If We Really Live Like Christians

What if America truly were a Christian nation?

Not a Southern Baptist nation, or an Episcopal nation, or a Roman Catholic nation. Not grounded in the doctrinal and ecclesiastical isms that have grown up over the centuries. But a Christian nation, doing what Jesus did.

Well, we wouldn’t be arguing about sex, that’s for sure. Jesus devoted no time to matters of sexuality.

We wouldn’t be leading cheers for any particular economic system, capitalist or socialist, for in his many teachings about wealth and power, Jesus saw both as snares and delusions.


Foreign Aid Set To Take a Hit In US Budget Crisis

Washington - America’s budget crisis at home is forcing the first significant cuts in overseas aid in nearly two decades, a retrenchment that officials and advocates say reflects the country’s diminishing ability to influence the world.

As lawmakers scramble to trim the swelling national debt, both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate have proposed slashing financing for the State Department and its related aid agencies at a time of desperate humanitarian crises and uncertain political developments. The proposals have raised the specter of deep cuts in food and medicine for Africa, in relief for disaster-affected places like Pakistan and Japan, in political and economic assistance for the new democracies of the Middle East, and even for the Peace Corps.

Fill In The Blank 10-05-11

I wish I just could _____!

US Congress Urged To Reject Arms Sale To Bahrain

Washington - More than a dozen U.S. and international human rights and arms control groups are urging Congress to block a proposed 53- million-dollar arms sale to Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, until it ends its crackdown against the opposition and adopts serious reforms.

In a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, the groups, which include Human Rights First (HRF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Open Society Policy Centre, said Washington risked losing more credibility, particularly in the Arab world, as a force for freedom if it went through with the sale.

"This prioritisation of security interests over political reform stands in stark contrast to President (Barack) Obama's declaration of support in May to those protesting for freedom throughout the region, when he said: 'If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States,'" according to the letter.