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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden.

According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he'll now make $231,900 per year.

Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase.


Americans Blame Republicans More Than Democrats For Fiscal Cliff

Americans blame Republicans in Congress more than congressional Democrats orPresident Barack Obama for the current "fiscal cliff" crisis, as the deadline approaches for action to avert big tax increases and spending cuts, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.

When asked who they believed to be more responsible for the "fiscal cliff" situation, 27 percent blamed Republicans in Congress, 16 percent blamedObama and 6 percent pointed to Democrats in Congress. The largest percentage - 31 percent - blamed "all of the above."

A similar breakdown was found in response to questions about theeconomy. Asked who was responsible for the national unemployment rate, the poll found 23 percent chose Republicans in Congress, 16 percent saidObama and 7 percent said Democrats in Congress, while 32 percent picked "all of the above."

The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent in November, according to Labor Department figures


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Sandy Hook Funeral-Fund Scam Outrages, Feds Charge Nouel Alba

Alba allegedly posed as an aunt of Noah Pozner — massacred inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. 'We’ve set up a funeral fund for my brother and families,' she is charged with posting on her Facebook profile.

The innocent blood spilled on the floors of a Connecticut elementary school was still warm when a Bronx woman hatched a sick scam to profit off the tragedy.

Nouel Alba, 37, was busted after allegedly posing as an aunt of 6-year-old Noah Pozner — one of 20 children massacred inside Sandy Hook Elementary School — to collect money for the child’s “funeral fund,” authorities said.




– Governor Martin O’Malley has signed a landmark initiative to increase the State’s long term resiliency to storm related flooding and sea level rise. He signed the Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Executive Order, directing that all new and reconstructed state structures, as well as other infrastructure improvements, be planned and constructed to avoid or minimize future flood damage.

“As storms such as Hurricane Sandy have shown, it is vital that we commit our resources and expertise to create a ready and resilient Maryland, by taking the necessary steps to adapt to the rising sea and unpredictable weather,” said Governor O’Malley. “In studying and planning for storms and climate change, we can ensure that our land, infrastructure, and most importantly our citizens are safe and prepared.”

The Executive Order enacts a number of policy directives, including directing all State agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise when they design capital budget projects and charging the Department of General Services with updating its architecture and engineering guidelines to require new and rebuilt State structures to be elevated two or more feet above the 100-year base flood level.

“Over the past three decades, Maryland’s climate has become hotter and water levels within the Chesapeake Bay have continued to rise,” said Zoe Johnson, DNR’s Program Manager for Climate Change Policy. “The region’s recent extreme storms and weather have demonstrated just how vulnerable our natural resources and infrastructure can be to such events. The Executive Order will be instrumental in reshaping how we build along Maryland’s coasts.”

The Executive Order also charges the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to work with the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, local governments and other parties as appropriate, to develop additional Coast Smart guidelines within nine months, for the siting and construction of new and rebuilt State structures, as well as other infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, sewer and water systems, and other essential public utilities. Recommendations for applying the new construction guidelines to non-state infrastructure projects that are partially or fully funded in the State’s capital budget will also be developed.

Additionally, the Executive Order tasks the Scientific and Technical Working Group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change with providing updated sea level rise projections for Maryland. In 2008, the Scientific and Technical Working Group published sea level rise projections for Maryland, with a high end range of 3.4 feet by the year 2100. However, considerable new research on sea level rise has since been published requiring the updating of these projections, according to Dr. Donald Boesch, President of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and chair of the Working Group.

For example, a study by the U.S. Geological Survey published this summer in the journal Nature Climate Change demonstrated that the 1,000 kilometer stretch of coast running from Cape Hatteras to north of Boston is a “hot spot” of sea level rise. The study found that since 1990, sea levels along this stretch, which includes Maryland, are rising at an annual rate three to four times faster than the global average. Dr. Boesch pointed out “the State should be using the most up-to-date sea level rise projections in order to ensure that state infrastructure is sited and designed in a manner that will avoid or minimize future loss or damages.” Revised sea level rise projections are to be issued by end of June 2013.

To assist local governments, DNR’s CoastSmart Communities Program will continue to provide on-the-ground sea level rise planning expertise, training, and technical mapping tools. Launched by Governor O’Malley in April 2009, Maryland’s CoastSmart Communities program has awarded more than a half-million dollars to coastal communities to help prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State provides grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to coastal communities to support the planning and preparation. For more information on the CoastSmart Program or to submit a funding request,

YES I Can!

Good example of a Brain Study: If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind.
And better than that: Alzheimer's is a long, long ways down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you.
If you can read the following paragraph, forward it on to your friends and the person that sent it to you with 'yes' in the subject line. Only great minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!  
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If you can read this, you have a strange mind, too. Only 55 people out of 100 can.
I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. This is an example of the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this, forwrad it
Forward it & put 'YES' in the Subject Line
Even if you are not old, you will find this interesting...


(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Maryland state troopers are encouraging motorists to celebrate the New Year responsibly by not drinking and driving, but for those who don’t heed the warning, additional troopers will be on patrol beginning today and continuing through New Year’s Day.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown has directed commanders to initiate specific drunk driving enforcement operations in areas where traffic crashes and incidents of impaired driving arrests are highest. Every trooper on patrol throughout the holiday will be on the alert for drunk drivers, in addition to those troopers working sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols.

“Our focus will be on locating and arresting impaired drivers as we work to keep Maryland roads safe during the holiday,” Colonel Brown said. “The 171 alcohol related deaths last year in Maryland are tragic reminders that drunk drivers continue to be a significant threat on our roads. There is no excuse for drunk driving and we will accept none. Drunk drivers will be arrested and charged, hopefully before they have caused another tragedy.”

Causing the death of someone else because of impaired driving is no way to start the New Year. During the 2011 New Year’s holiday period of December 30, 2011 through January 3, 2012, there were six fatalities on Maryland roads. Two of those fatalities involved impaired drivers.

The holiday season is a particularly dangerous time of year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 2,500 people lost their lives in crashes and 775 of those crashes involved impaired drivers in December 2010.

Colonel Brown and state troopers are encouraging drivers to be responsible this season to ensure their New Year’s celebration does not end in tragedy. Drivers should plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before the festivities begin. If you plan to drink, do not plan to drive. Call a sober friend, a family member, or use public transportation. If you know someone who has been drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. If you see a driver you think is impaired or driving a vehicle in an unsafe manner, keep a safe distance and call 9-1-1.

The additional State Police patrols coincide with the Maryland Highway Safety Office initiative “Towards Zero Deaths” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiative “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. Overtime funding for additional patrols is provided by grants from the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

Save-A Date


ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley announced the appointment of Commissioner W. Kevin Hughes as chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission. He has served as a commissioner since 2011. Commissioner Hughes' designation as chairman follows Governor O'Malley's announcement that current Chairman Douglas R.M. Nazarian has been appointed to the Court of Special Appeals.

“Commissioner Hughes’ tenure on the Public Service Commission has been exemplary,” said Governor O’Malley. “He has demonstrated a commitment to protecting the interests of ratepayers while also balancing the needs of utilities and ensuring that Marylanders have access to clean, affordable energy. Commissioner Hughes also understands that the State of Maryland must be an active participant in regional and federal decisions that affect our energy markets.”

Prior to his appointment to the Public Service Commission, Commissioner Hughes served as deputy legislative officer to Governor O’Malley and Governor Parris Glendening, where he gained expertise in energy policy, transportation, K-12 and higher education, and state and local taxation. Earlier in his career, he served as principal analyst for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services and as legislative officer under Governor William Donald Schaefer. Commissioner Hughes graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1994, earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1985, and obtained a B.A. degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Former President George H.W. Bush Out Of Intensive Care

Former President George H.W. Bush was moved Saturday out of the intensive care unit of the Houston hospital where he has been for more than a month.

"President Bush's condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery," his office said in a statement distributed by spokesman Jim McGrath.

Bush was moved to the intensive care unit last Sunday as doctors worked to control "a stubborn fever," McGrath said at the time. He was listed at the time in guarded condition.


Formal Reprimand Issued To Flatulent Federal Worker

A federal employee was formally reprimanded this month for excessive workplace flatulence, a sanction that was delivered to him in a five-page letter that actually included a log of representative dates and times when he was recorded “releasing the awful and unpleasant odor” in his Baltimore office.

In a December 10 letter accusing him of “conduct unbecoming a federal officer,” the Social Security Administration employee was informed that his “uncontrollable flatulence” had created an “intolerable” and “hostile” environment for coworkers, several of whom have lodged complaints with supervisors.

The worker, a 38-year-old Maryland resident, reportedly provided evidence that he suffered from “some medical conditions” that, at times, caused him to be unable to work full days. But a SSA manager noted in the reprimand letter that, “nothing that you have submitted has indicated that you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.”


2 Rocket Launchers Turned In During LAPD Gun Buyback

LAPD gun buyback was so successful that two-hour waits and gift-card shortages were reported.

The department says it picked up 75 assault weapons as part of its no-questions-asked effort that saw $100 dollar cards handed out for handguns and long guns and $200 for the kind of rifle used in the Newtown tragedy. The LAPD says 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns will also be destroyed.

Good stats. But this is the one that got us saying WTF:

Cops picked up two -- count 'em two -- rocket launchers (!) (and not one, as other outlets are reporting), an LAPD official with close knowledge of the program told us. Holy hell why do people on our streets have military grade rocket launchers?


'Jobless Workers' Getting More Taxpayer Money to Pay Their Health Insurance Premiums

The U.S. Labor Department has rustled up more taxpayer money to help "jobless workers" pay their health insurance premiums.

"It is difficult enough to find new employment, let alone do so without health insurance for you or your family," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a news release dated Dec. 26. "This funding will help eligible workers avoid that prospect by helping them pay for health insurance while they seek new jobs."

The money -- in the form of a $1,058,254 National Emergency Grant supplement -- will go to several thousand unemployed people in Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.


Mexico Urges US Court To Block Part Of Arizona Law

The Mexican government has urged a U.S. court to stop Arizona from enforcing a minor section of the state's 2010 immigration law that prohibits the harboring of illegal immigrants.

Lawyers representing Mexico asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a filing Wednesday to uphold a lower-court ruling that blocked police from enforcing the ban. Mexico argued the ban harms diplomatic relations between the United States, undermines the U.S.'s ability to speak to a foreign country with one voice and encourages the marginalization of Mexicans and people who appear to be from Latin America.

"Mexico cannot conduct effective negotiations with the United States when the foreign policy decisions of the federal governments are undermined by the individual policies of individual states," lawyers for the Mexican government said in a friend-of-the-court brief.


Annual Beach Walk To Honor Trust Founders

ASSATEAGUE- One of the highlights of the start of a new year, the annual Ilia Fehrer-Judy Johnson Memorial Beach Walk on Assateague Island, will be held again on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m..

The Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) next Tuesday will host its 33rd Annual Ilia Fehrer-Judy Johnson Beach Walk honoring the individuals who founded the organization over three decades ago with an entertaining guided tour of the barrier island. The theme for this year’s annual walk is “It’s New Year’s Day Everyday on Assateague,” and celebrates the renewal feel when they come to the barrier island at any time of the year, but especially at the beginning of a new year.

The annual Beach Walk will be hosted this year by Ranger Liz Davis, the Assistant Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Assateague Island National Seashore. After starting a career as a first-grade teacher, Davis worked on Assateague one summer and never left. She has since worked for the National Park Service for the last 22 years, all of which were spent on Assateague.


The Bill of Rights Is Not Negotiable

There is a destructive, delusional meme spreading like a virus among many misguided Americans. It pushes the idea that government can pick and choose which rights codified in the Bill of Rights it wishes to recognize or discard on any given day.

This delusion is predicated on the concept that if a popular majority can be emotionally whipped into a frenzy over one particular right, then that right can simply be discarded and stricken from the Bill of Rights.

But no such power exists to discard any portion of the Bill of Rights, at least not without proper ratification by three-fourths of the fifty states. There is no such power found solely in the federal government. There is no such power placed solely in the executive branch, nor in Congress, nor in the White House.



President Barack Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters that he ran for re-election because he wanted "men with guns" around as his daughters, Malia (14) and Sasha (11), begin dating boys.

The interview was the first that the President and First Lady have given since Obama's re-election in November. It aired on Nightline on December 26.

In its published highlights, ABC News has drawn attention to the Obamas' comments about keeping the romance alive in their marriage, yet those remarks were followed by this exchange:


Murder by Numbers

Listening to the latest media chatter, one could get the impression that murder in the US is historically bad and getting worse. As the Reverend Al Sharpton put it, "The time for their talk is over. Now's the time for action, and real change on gun control."

Actually, now would seem to be a very bad time for such action. The reason is simple: the murder rate is historically low and is already trending downward. In fact, the murder rate in 2011 was the lowest since 1961: 4.7 murders per 100,000 people. In only 5 years since 1910 has it been lower: 1955-59, when it was only slightly lower at 4.5 or 4.6.


GOP 'Rock Star' Named 'Woman Of The Year'

For her extraordinary dedication to America’s founding principles and steadfast defense of the Constitution, WND has named Rep. Michele Bachmann 2012 “Woman of the Year.”

Bachmann is a gutsy, pro-life fiscal conservative who dared to vote against raising the debt ceiling. She’s a God-fearing, gun-loving advocate of tax cuts and domestic oil drilling – and has proven to be one of Obamacare’s worst nightmares.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, to Norwegian immigrants, Bachmann grew up in a Democrat family, but became a Republican in college. Bachmann, now a four-term congresswoman and chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, began her political career in 2000 upon winning a seat in the Minnesota state Senate. From there, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.


Arizona Ranchers Demand Security At The Border

ARIVACA, Ariz. -- Just before nightfall, 73-year-old rancher Jim Chilton hikes quickly up and down the hills on his rugged cattle-grazing land south of Tucson, escorting two U.S. Border Patrol agents.

He wants to show them the disturbing discovery he made earlier in the day: a drug-smugglers' camp on his private property. Stacked together under a stand of trees are blankets, jackets, food, water, binoculars and bales of marijuana from Mexico wrapped in burlap. The smugglers, themselves, are nowhere in sight and are believed to have fled the area, which is about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.


Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s Best Quotes

The general who commanded coalition troops in the first Gulf War was known for his straight talk as well as his battle prowess. The Daily Beast assembles some of the most pithy remarks of Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at age 78.

America loves a tough, no-nonsense general with a few stars on his collar and patriotic and wise battle talk coming from his mouth. Such was the case with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who became a legend after leading American and coalition forces to victory in the Persian Gulf War. The 78-year-old retired member of the military’s top brass was known for his inspiring quips and one-liners and his bluntly expressed opinions. We round up some of the most pithy comments from the general, who died Thursday of complications of pneumonia.

“War is a profane thing.”
“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”
“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”

WCSO Press Release 12-29-12

'Very Few' DC Hotels Sold Out, Some Dropping Prices...

Visitors coming to the nation’s capital for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration can’t stay in the one place President Ronald Reagan’s family once called an eight-star hotel. That spot is the White House, and it’s booked for the next four years. Still, inauguration-goers have a range of lodging options — from crashing on a friend’s couch to rooms that cost thousands of dollars a night.

With second inaugurations tending to draw fewer spectators, finding a place to stay in Washington won’t be nearly as difficult as in 2009.


Troopers Investigate Crash Involving A Train On Old Porter Road, Bear

Old Porter Road at Porter Road, Bear, DE

Date of Occurrence:
Saturday, December 29, 2012, at 3:16 a.m.

Operator 1: Derrick Jones, 33, of Washington, D.C. (transported to Christiana Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries)
Vehicle 1: 1994 Ford pickup truck

Bear- Troopers are investigating an early morning crash on where a vehicle struck a train.

The incident occurred at 3:16 a.m. when a 1994 Ford pickup truck operated by Derrick Jones, 33, of Washington, D.C. turned onto Old Porter Road from Porter Road. The vehicle struck a Norfolk Southern train traveling south on the railroad tracks crossing Old Porter Road, and became lodged under a tank of liquefied petroleum gas. Lodged under the tank, the vehicle traveled south with the train until the train stopped in the area of Wrangle Hill Road (St. Rt. 72).

Jones was transported to Christiana Hospital by State Police helicopter and admitted with non-life-threatening injuries. A passenger in his vehicle was transported to Christiana Hospital by ambulance for treatment for minor injuries. It is not known if Jones and the passenger were properly restrained at the time of the crash.

Jones was charged with driving a vehicle under the under the influence of alcohol, careless driving, disregarding a traffic control device, and expired tags.


Lane County, Oregon is preparing to release another group of inmates from prison if Washington lawmakers and the president cannot come to an agreement on the fiscal cliff, which seems increasingly to be the case. Lane County already released 30 inmates due to cuts in the budget and reductions in federal subsidies.

The county has become increasingly reliant upon federal “timber payments” to fulfill its budget through the years in compensation for logging areas seized by the federal government. Those subsidies have been reduced over the past several years, leaving the county vulnerable to any further cuts going over the fiscal cliff may trigger:

But there’s another reason why the tax base is low. Fifty-four percent of the land in Lane County belongs to the federal government, which pays no local taxes. The land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

For decades timber sales generated the majority of the county’s general fund, but that changed during the Clinton presidency. Eager to end the timber wars over the spotted owl, President Clinton came up with a plan that essentially pays rural timber counties to not log in the national forests.

Sides React To Clean Water Act Lawsuit Verdict

BERLIN -- When the dust settled after a U.S. District Court judge ruled late last week in favor of a Berlin farm family and Perdue over alleged pollution violations dating back to 2009, parties on both sides reacted in a variety of ways from joy and relief to disdain and angst.

In March 2010, the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, along with the Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) and the Assateague Coastkeeper, filed suit in U.S. District Court against Perdue and Berlin’s Hudson Farm, a contract factory farm operation of about 80,000 birds. The suit was filed after sampling in ditches adjacent to the property allegedly revealed high levels of harmful fecal coliform and E. coli in concentrations that exceed state limits.

After months and months of legal posturing, the case went to trial in October and concluded after 10 days of testimony by both sides. Closing arguments were heard in early December and U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson reserved final judgment to review the facts. Last Thursday morning, Nickerson issued his ruling in the case, siding in favor of the defendants Alan Hudson and Perdue.


Missing Dads Not Problem Only In Poor Households

The inner cities, where only 1 in 10 black children live with both parents, and the wealthy suburbs, where many fathers spend more than 60 hours a week on the job, have more in common than meets the eye, family advocates and faith leaders said.

They made the comments Thursday after The Washington Times published an analysis this week of U.S. census data that provoked concern for children from widely disparate camps.

Welfare policies among the poor have put government in the role of the father and equated fatherhood with a monthly check, said Glenn T. Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. This has left many fathers free to walk away from their children knowing they will not starve thanks to programs that provide cash assistance to single mothers in proportion with the number of children they have, he said.


Fiscal Cliff Could Cut Programs Crucial for Mentally Ill

Automatic cuts would slash taxpayer-funded programs

The killing of 27 people in Newtown, Conn., has focused the nation's conversation on the issue of gun control. Legislators have announced they will revisit the federal ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004, while also looking to prohibit high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes that allow buyers to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check.

However, mental health experts say there is something Congress must do immediately to keep the country safe and it has nothing to do with gun control–avoid the fiscal cliff.

The federal government has already cut public mental health services in the U.S. to the tune of $4 billion over the past five years and closed 4,000 psychiatric beds since 2008.




The Orphan Trains

The history of the Orphan Trains has largely been forgotten. They began in 1854 and continued until 1929, a period of some 75 years.

The Orphan Trains were begun by Charles Loring Brace. He was a member of a prominent Connecticut family who had gone to New York City to complete his seminary training. In 1853 he founded the Children’s Aid Society to help what were known as “street Arabs”. At the time, there were estimated to be about 30,000 children roaming the streets of New York. He felt that the only way to help them was to get them out of their squalid surroundings and with a good Christian family. He was aided by the New York Foundling Hospital. They were rounded up and put on trains heading for all parts of the country. At every stop they were cleaned up and paraded before the local people in hopes that they would be taken and cared for. Since the country was mainly agrarian, many hands were needed on the farms, no matter how small. Many of the farmers simply looked on them as cheap labor. While I am sure their physical labor was helpful on a farm, some couples who were childless were more than glad to have the opportunity to raise and nurture the little ones. I’m sure whatever their situation turned out to be, it had to be better than living on the streets of New York. However, the process at each stop was similar to a slave auction, with the farmers checking teeth and muscles to see if the child would be an asset to his farm.

Some of the more successful stories that began with the Orphan Trains are that two future governors were products of that system. One became the governor of North Dakota(Andrew Burke) and the other became governor of Alaska (John Brady).

This period of mass relocation of children in the United States is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America.

During the existence of the Orphan Train Movement, it is thought that about 200,000 children were placed out.

The children in the picture appear well-dressed and the girls all have hats on. The girl on the right even has glasses, though you can just barely see them in this picture. We can only hope these children found good loving homes to go to.

Study Examines Discovery Center

POCOMOKE -- A recent assessment by Salisbury University’s Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) praised the Delmarva Discovery Center (DDC) in Pocomoke for the educational service it provides to the community. However, BEACON also highlighted some areas where the center should look to evolve, especially in regards to continued funding.

“While it is clear that DDC is an outstanding educational and cultural asset in our community, it is also clear that the organization is experiencing some growing pains,” said Dr. Memo Diriker, director of Beacon. “We believe that the current business model for the DDC will have to be updated so that it can better serve the public and fulfill its mission.”

The report from BEACON found that the DDC struggles most when it comes to locating enough funding and resources to operate and expand. Diriker and his team made a slew of recommendations aimed at addressing these resource shortages. They advised DDC leadership to re-examine how they look at everyday management and the duties of employees, both volunteer and paid. BEACON also recommended that the DDC put more emphasis on volunteer recruitment and retention and fundraising, since community involvement and donations of both time and money are crucial for an organization like the center.


Calif. Pharmacy To Pay $11.4M Over Kickback Claims

A San Diego-based specialty pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay about $11.4 million to resolve allegations it used sporting event tickets, spa outings and other kickbacks to induce doctors to write prescriptions for its products, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Victory Pharma Inc. agreed to pay a criminal forfeiture of $1.4 million to resolve anti-kickback statute allegations and more than $9.9 million to resolve false-claims allegations in marketing of their pain reliever products Naprelan, Xodol, Fexmid and Dolgic. In return, they avoided criminal and civil liability.

"This resolution underscores the need for physicians to make treatment decisions based on their own independent medical judgment, without being influenced by kickbacks or other improper benefits," said Laura E. Duffy, the U.S. attorney for Southern California.


SPD Press Release 12-29-12

We Know How To Stop School Shootings

In the wake of a monstrous crime like a madman’s mass murder of defenseless women and children at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre.

Luckily, some years ago, two famed economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago
and John Lott at Yale, conducted a massive study of multiple victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes affected their frequency and death toll.

Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies being proposed right now in response to
the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun.

None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim
shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming our lax mental health laws, presumably because the ACLU is working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in all 50 states.)

Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.

The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the
impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.

Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the
odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.