Friday, November 27, 2009
Retail food prices rising more slowly than expected
Alan Bjerga ― Philadelphia Inquirer

Retail food prices in the United States are rising at a slower pace than expected a month ago as the recession slows demand for pork and fresh produce, the government said this week.

Food costs will rise by 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent this year, which is less than the estimate in October of 2 percent to 3 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. An increase at the lower end of that range would be the smallest gain since 2002. The USDA left its forecast for 2010 unchanged at a 3 percent to 4 percent rise.

Sammy 07:41 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Health bills would raise taxes before changes start
David Lightman ― Philadelphia Inquirer

Americans could pay billions of dollars more in new taxes for a few years before they are likely to see significant change in the nation’s health-care system under legislation that Congress is considering.

Some analysts said that was not necessarily bad. Delaying major health-care changes until at least 2013, as the Senate and House bills would do, would give the government sufficient money and time to get things right.

“You want to fully finance these reforms, so there’s no reason not to start raising money,” said Linda Blumberg, senior fellow at Washington’s Urban Institute Health Policy Center, a center-left research group.

Sammy 07:39 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A U.S. mine debate centers on water, jobs
Nick Carey ― Reuters

Standing on the marshy ground at Eagle Rock in the remote woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s hard to imagine that beneath one’s feet is a lump of nickel worth billions of dollars.

“This is where the money is,” said Chauncey Moran, vice chairman of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve conservation group, whose mission is to protect the Yellow Dog River and surrounding watersheds.

Cold water comes almost to the knees of the waterproof boots covering Moran’s legs. He looks down into the thick marsh grass and water at his feet. “I bet you’ve never stood over $8 billion worth of nickel before,” he said, his white-bearded face breaking into a grin.

Sammy 07:31 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
LTE: Jobs or unemployment insurance?
Cumberland Times-News

With the economy still struggling and unemployment levels high, we ask which should concern Marylanders the most: (a) The balance in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund; or (b) jobs?

Prompting us to write this article is a state labor department letter imposing a steep tax hike.

Much was said about the trust fund; little was said about jobs. Employers will receive increased tax bills that range from $136 to $382 per employee if the General Assembly does nothing.

Sammy 07:26 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Criminal Charges For Dinner Crashers?
WTTG-TV (Fox 5)

The Secret Service says it’s looking at possible criminal charges against a Virginia couple who crashed a White House dinner.

Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin says the agency is moving closer to beginning a criminal investigation.

Sammy 04:05 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Food stamps estimate raises debate over ‘poverty’

The estimate was startling, and made headlines around the country: Almost half of all U.S. kids will be on food stamps at some time during childhood.

How could it be true in the land of plenty, in the midst of an obesity epidemic, skeptics wondered.

Surprisingly, many statisticians and policy analysts say the projection seems about right. Where they differ, along ideological lines, is in interpreting what it all means.

Sammy 04:01 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Car insurance scofflaws raise health mandate doubt

Thousands of drivers on the nation’s roads don’t carry auto insurance, despite laws in all but two states requiring it. Critics of President Barack Obama’s health overhaul plan ask: What are the chances scofflaws will treat a requirement to carry health insurance any differently?

Nearly 40 years of car insurance mandates _ which the insurance industry says have failed to make roads safer or lower auto insurance costs _ raise questions about how well such mandates work.
David Sampson, president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said drivers’ personal financial situations, not the rules of their states, are a better indicator of whether they carry insurance.

States with higher poverty rates show a corresponding rise in uninsured drivers, he said. Simply put, people skirt car insurance when they can’t afford it.

Sammy 03:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A new kind of company, a new challenge for feds
Cecilia Kang ― Washington Post

If Comcast, NBC merge, would one firm control too much of the media?

One is a giant of the entertainment world—a tangle of television networks, a film studio and a stable of hit shows. The other is a cable colossus, the nation’s largest provider of cable TV and Internet access. Together, the possibilities are endless.

And that prospect has caught regulators’ attention.

Sammy 03:48 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Researchers trying to protect pregnant drivers
Sharon Silke Carty ― USA TODAY

Women are driving longer into their pregnancies — often saving maternity leave until after giving birth — a lifestyle change that is leading to predictions of an increase in fetal deaths in car crashes. Researchers aware of the trends are working on computer models to help develop pregnancy-friendly safety devices.

Ford Motor-funded research at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest universities is near completion on mathematical models that measure how crash forces affect pregnant women and fetuses.

States are not required to report fetal deaths in data sent to the federal fatal accident system — some do, and some don’t. But researcher Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech says reliable studies show from 300 to 1,000 fetal deaths because of car accidents each year.

Sammy 03:45 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland Woman Thankful Just to Be Alive

Paramedics pay Thanksgiving visit to woman they saved

A woman from Clinton, Md., has more for which to be thankful than ever this holiday. Like her life and the life of her unborn son.

Sade Davis, 23, essentially drowned about a month ago, but paramedics managed to bring her back to life and save the child she and her boyfriend, Jerome Aaron, are expecting in a couple of weeks.

Sammy 12:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Police conducting Facebook drinking stings
Caryn Tamber ― Daily Record

We know Facebook has helped police solve all sorts of crimes, from burglary to vandalism.

But did you know it’s also being used to fight a far more pernicious crime? No, not child sex abuse.

Underage drinking.

Sammy 09:52 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
NAACP seeks volunteers to hand out fliers on rapes
Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is asking for volunteers, and particularly men, to help distribute reward fliers on Saturday following a recent string of rapes in the city. “This could be our mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, niece, aunt - you get the message,” branch President Marvin L. Cheatham wrote in an e-mail.

Sammy 09:41 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
‘Cash for Clunkers,’ household edition
Peter Whoriskey ― Washington Post

In U.S. history, there may have been no better time to own a junk car, a rattling old fridge and a leaking dishwasher.

On the heels of its ballyhooed “Cash for Clunkers” program for cars, the federal government is expected to finalize details in the coming weeks of another tax-supported shopping extravaganza, known as “Cash for Appliances.”

Sammy 09:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Briefing/Update: Waterfront Property Development

Board Docs - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting - Tuesday, December 1, 2009
1.17 [2:30 p.m.] Old Business: 2) Briefing/Update: Waterfront Property Development (Mr. Steve Ball, Planning Director/Ms. Cathy Thompson, Community Planning Program Manager)

Waterfront Concepts

Sammy 08:56 AM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Technology enthusiast helps dozens
Courtney Pomeroy ― Gazette

Eric Zimmerman, 21, has a Facebook account, a MySpace account and a cell phone. He also has Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism which causes sufferers to lack normal social skills.

So when the technology enthusiast realized through working at Best Buddies International after high school that many people with disabilities had little access to technology, he decided to create his own organization to help them — The Buddy Project.

Sammy 08:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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