Friday, January 01, 2010
Montana 3rd state to allow doctor-assisted suicide

The Montana Supreme Court said Thursday that nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide, making Montana the third state that will allow the procedure. Patients and doctors had been waiting for the state’s high court to step in after a lower court decided a year ago that constitutional rights to privacy and dignity protect the right to die.

Sammy 04:25 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Md. furloughs prevent New Year’s Eve marriages

Budget woes mean couples who want to tie the knot at one Maryland courthouse on New Year’s Eve are out of luck.

Dec. 31 is usually the second busiest day, after Valentine’s Day, for weddings at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse in Annapolis.

Sammy 04:14 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Traffic’s not all bad: Check out Triple-A’s ‘09 list

If you commute around the D.C. region, it can be tough to think positive. But Triple-A Mid-Atlantic is out with a list of the worst and best local transportation developments of 2009.

Let’s start with the good:

The number of overall traffic fatalities reported in 2008 hit their lowest level since 1961, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. During the first half of 2009, the number of highway deaths continued to decrease.

Sammy 04:11 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Solution to killer superbug found in Norway

Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner.

Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia this year, soaring virtually unchecked.

The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.

Sammy 04:07 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Veterans’ benefits entangled in red tape
Amanda Carpenter ― The Washington Times

Leading Democrats like to hold up the Veterans Benefits Administration as an example of how well government can provide health care. But veterans who deal with the complex federal bureaucracy have invented an unhappy refrain to describe the VBA: “Deny, deny until you die.”

VBA, the branch of the Department of Veterans Affairs that dispenses aid and assistance to veterans and their families, is simply overwhelmed. It reported on Monday that there are 481,751 pending claims, some of which will take more than a year to be processed.

Sammy 09:34 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Mailman to deliver aid in case of anthrax attack

If the nation ever faces a large-scale attack by a biological weapon like anthrax, the U.S. Postal Service will be in charge of delivering whatever drugs and other medical aid Americans would need to survive.

In an executive order released Wednesday, President Barack Obama put the Postal Service in charge of dispensing “medical countermeasures” to biological weapons because of its “capacity for rapid residential delivery.”

Sammy 09:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Homicide totals in 2009 plummet in District, Prince George’s
Allison Klein ― Washington Post

The District and Prince George’s County, long considered the region’s most violent jurisdictions, logged their lowest homicide totals in years in 2009, with D.C. hitting a 45-year -low.

The number of slayings last year in the District, once known as the murder capital of the United States, was 140, a 25 percent drop from 2008. Prince George’s recorded 100 killings, the county’s lowest in nine years. Montgomery and Fairfax counties also had significant decreases in homicides in 2009.

Sammy 09:25 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fox grants ‘brief extension’ in cable dispute
RYAN NAKASHIMA ― Frederick News-Post

Fox and Time Warner Cable extended their contract for a few hours, avoiding a threatened blackout of several stations from the cable provider while the two sides tried early Friday to resolve a disagreement over fees.

Time Warner Cable Inc. made the announcement as the clock rolled past midnight Thursday on the East Coast. In a brief statement at 5:30 a.m. EST Friday, Scott Grogin, Fox senior vice president for communications, said “we are still negotiating.”

The extension for a few hours made it appear likely that at the very least a further extension would be granted, allowing millions of cable subscribers access to Friday’s Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cotton Bowl on Saturday, the NFL’s final regular season contests on Sunday and “The Simpsons” and other Fox shows were also at risk.

Sammy 09:21 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
GPS-led travel goes amiss; 3 Ore. parties rescued
TIM FOUGHT ― Frederick News-Post

In a holiday hurry, Jeramie Griffin piled his family into the car and asked his new GPS for the quickest way from his home in the Willamette Valley across the Cascade Range.

It said he could shave 40 minutes off the time of the roundabout route he usually takes to the in-laws’ place.
Law enforcement officials and travel experts have a variety of recommendations for people who use GPS in the winter or in strange territory:

Use an old-fashioned paper map as a backup. Pack a survival kit for the winter. Configure your GPS for “highways only,” or a similar setting, so that you don’t get directed to byways in the winter. Top off your gasoline tank, and charge your cell phone batteries before going into remote areas. Pay attention to the weather.

Sammy 09:16 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Front and Rear Tags Stolen From Vehicle in Parking Lot
The Bay Net

On Dec. 23, 2009 at 11:45 p.m, Cpl. J. L. Linger was the duty officer when the female complainant, 45 of Mechanicsville, called the Leonardtown Barracks and advised unknown suspect(s) stole both the front and rear Maryland Registration plates (A143490) from her maroon Chevrolet truck which was parked in the parking lot at McKay’s Plaza in Charlotte Hall.

Sammy 09:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Jay Hancock: Revival of big government saved Md.‘s economy in ‘00’s
Baltimore Sun

But cutbacks have got to come soon

The federal spending spigot got twisted to fire-hose volume after Sept. 11, 2001. The era of big government was back shortly after President Bill Clinton said it was over, and that meant a windfall for states next to big government’s headquarters.

Billions in federal spending on military defense, spying, anti-terrorism, cyber-security, homeland security, medical research and more kept Maryland from sharing in much of the nation’s economic trauma.

Sammy 08:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Bill would prohibit ban on using clotheslines
Baltimore Sun

A Maryland state delegate says going green includes letting your clothes fly in the breeze. Frederick County Democrat Galen Clagett says he will reintroduce a bill in the 2010 General Assembly to prohibit homeowners associations from banning the use of clotheslines.

Sammy 08:53 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. vows to close gaps in security
Josh Meyer, Peter Nicholas and Alana Semuels ― Baltimore Sun

The Obama administration pledged Thursday to close gaps in the intelligence system that enabled a man carrying a bomb to board a U.S.-bound plane and to create a better system for analyzing the clues and tips flooding the intelligence community to give analysts a better chance of foiling future plots.
The White House would not release the conclusions but announced that President Barack Obama will hold meetings next week in Washington aimed at getting the tangle of government agencies responsible for fighting terrorism to more diligently assess and share information.

Sammy 08:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Pepco requests 2.5 percent rate hike
Mergie Hyslop ― Gazette

Pepco customers in Maryland would see a 2.5 percent increase in the rate they are charged for electricity distribution, under a request the utility filed Wednesday with the state’s Public Service Commission.

For example, residential customers who get standard offer service and use 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would see an average $3.76 increase that would raise their monthly bill from $151.78 to $155.54, according to Pepco.

Sammy 08:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - January 1, 2010


Pauleen Brewer 12:00 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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