Monday, August 08, 2011
Wall Street takes a dive as Dow closes down 634 points
Daily Record

Stocks plummeted at the close after anxiety overtook investors on the first trading day since Standard & Poor’s downgraded American debt.

The Dow Jones industrials closed down 634 points, or 5.5 percent, to 10,809 Monday. It was the first time the Dow fell below 11,000 since November and its biggest one-day point drop since December 2008.

Sammy 03:55 PM | (16) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Two men drown in Wicomico River
SoMdNews.com

Two men drowned Saturday evening in the Wicomico River according to St. Mary’s County law enforcement officers.

Preliminary investigation by the St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigations determined that about 6:15 p.m. Christopher Lee Kelly, 24 of Hughesville, jumped into the water from a pier in the Wicomico Shores neighborhood and struggled to swim back to the pier. Several citizens including Christopher Michael Staley, 22 of Newburg, entered the water in an attempt to rescue Kelly, police reported. Both Kelly and Staley drowned, according to the police report.

Sammy 01:59 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Aug. 10 Nice Bridge Meeting to Focus on Solutions to Traffic Tie-Ups

On Wednesday, August 10, Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson, Sheriff Rex W. Coffey, Director of Emergency Services William Stephens, and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) representatives will convene a meeting to discuss immediate and long-term solutions to traffic tie-ups caused by closures of the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Newburg. All interested citizens are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Newburg Volunteer Fire Department (12265 Rock Point Road).

The meeting is part of a coordinated effort spearheaded by Commissioner Robinson to help Charles County citizens get home safely and quickly during Nice Bridge closures, which can cause miles-long traffic back-ups. Commissioner Robinson and Sheriff Coffey will discuss proposed, cost-effective measures that would provide relief for commuters in the back-ups occurring at the Nice Bridge on a regular basis. Some of the measures can be implemented immediately, while others will take more time to execute.

Sammy 01:21 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
IRS: Nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax in 2009
Los Angeles Times

Millionaires and billionaires—or at least the ones who file tax returns—are a relative rarity, according to a recent report from the Internal Revenue Service.

Of 140 million taxpayers, just over 0.1%—or 8,274 total—made more than $10 million in 2009, according to the agency. More than 235,000 taxpayers earned $1 million or more.

But 1,470 millionaires paid no federal income tax, many likely due to heavy charity donations or foreign investments.

Sammy 01:14 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Worried about your kids’ safety online? You should be
Los Angeles Times

It’s not just the online predators that parents needs to worry about these days. Or cyber-bullying. Or texting too much, or, even—gulp!—sexting. Perhaps a more immediate worry is that kids need to know that what they put online is forever. And that’s a hard lesson to instill in someone who might still needs to be reminded to brush his teeth before going to bed.

But parents were urged to take that worry and channel it into action this week at the BlogHer convention in San Diego for 3,500 members and users of the publishing platform that logs 25 million unique visits each month.

Sammy 01:11 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
S&P downgrades Fannie and Freddie, farm lenders and…
Washington Post

... bank debt backed by US government

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Monday downgraded the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other agencies linked to long-term U.S. debt.

The agency also lowered the ratings for: farm lenders; long-term U.S. government-backed debt issued by 32 banks and credit unions; and three major clearinghouses, which are used to execute trades of stocks, bonds and options.

All the downgrades were from AAA to AA+. S&P says the agencies and banks all have debt that is exposed to economic volatility and a further downgrade of long-term U.S. debt. Their creditworthiness hinges on the U.S. government’s ability to pay its own creditors.

Stocks plunged further after the downgrades. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 300 points, or 3.2 percent. The S&P 500 stock index tumbled nearly 5 percent. Investors seeking safety drove gold prices up and Treasury yields down.

Sammy 10:37 AM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Racers in the 38th Gov Cup Yacht Race Challenged by Lumpy Seas, South Wind
Southern Maryland Online

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (August 7, 2011)—More than 150 boats tackled stiff southern breezes that made for lumpy seas, continuous tacking, and tough sailing during the 38th St. Mary’s College of Maryland Governor’s Cup Yacht Race that sailed from Annapolis to St. Mary’s City Friday night. “All these boats, crossing and ducking all night,” said Steve Jaenke, on board the Defiance for the U.S. Naval Academy. “But what a good race!”

This year, for the first time, a more informal cruising class was introduced, and the slower classes got to cross the start line three hours earlier than in the past. Those classes, cruising, PHRF C/D, and PHRF B, began at 3 p.m. The idea was to get all the racers arriving in closer proximity and it appeared to work. “I’ve raced my Hinkley 50 six to eight times in this race, but had pretty well given up. Every year after dawn the wind dies,” said Doug Kinney, of Annapolis, skipper of Godspeed. “This year, we got in at 8 in the morning! It was a good race, painful, but sometimes pain is good.”

Sammy 06:52 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
DNR Brings The Great Outdoors In At The MD State Fair
The Bay Net

Citizens and visitors will once again discover the beauty and wonder of Maryland’s great outdoors at the 130th Maryland State Fair, through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) interactive exhibit. DNR Staff and volunteers will be hosting visitors at the fairgrounds in Timonium from Aug. 26 through Labor Day, Sept. 5, Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.

“The State Fair provides a unique opportunity for Marylanders to interact with our staff, learn about our natural resources and find out what DNR is really all about,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “We invite everyone to stop by, participate in hands-on activities and learn how to enjoy and care for our State’s extraordinary natural resources.”

The DNR “tent” (it’s actually a building and, yes, it’s air conditioned!) includes exciting, interactive activities, live animals, and information on everything from fishing, hiking, camping and State Park adventures to boating and hunting safety.

Sammy 06:42 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Possibility for Pentagon: $1 trillion in spending cuts
Robert McCabe ― Virginian-Pilot

[...]
The agreement, reached last week by Congress and the White House, calls for initial federal spending cuts of about $1 trillion over 10 years, of which an estimated $350 billion will come from defense. A second round of cuts will be decided by a congressional “super committee” of 12.

If that committee fails to reach agreement by Nov. 23, or if Congress rejects the panel’s suggestions or fails to pass a bill by Dec. 23, automatic, across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion would then take effect, beginning in 2013. Roughly half of the trims would come from defense.

Sammy 06:31 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Chesapeake police expand use of body cameras
Veronica Gonzalez ― Virginian-Pilot

[...]
Ring’s superiors didn’t have to take his word for it. They were able to watch the encounter firsthand.

Ring’s secret? A digital video camera he wears on his body.

“It showed that we were completely professional, and we were putting up with his behavior until he started fighting with us,” the soft-spoken 28-year-old said. “Everything he had said in his complaint was not true.”
[...]
Ring is part of a growing number of police officers across the country wearing body cameras. He’s also a member of the only police department in South Hampton Roads using the cameras, although the Suffolk Police Department just bought 20 cameras through a grant.

Sammy 06:28 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
SEALs were on mission to aid Rangers in Afghanistan
PATRICK QUINN and KIMBERLY DOZIER ― Houston Chronicle

KABUL, Afghanistan — The 30 American service members — most of them elite Navy SEALs — who died when their helicopter was shot down had rushed to help Army Rangers who had come under fire, two U.S. officials said Sunday.

The heavy loss shows that clandestine tactics carry huge risks despite the huge success of the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden more than three months ago. Most of the SEALs who died Saturday were from the same unit that killed bin Laden, although none of the men took part in that mission.

The U.S.-led coalition plans to rely more on special operations missions as it reduces the overall number of combat troops by the end of 2014.

Sammy 06:23 AM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Texas drought will harm wildlife habitat for years
RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI ― Houston Chronicle

In a muddy pile of sand where a pond once flowed in the Texas Panhandle, dead fish, their flesh already decayed and feasted on by maggots, lie with their mouths open. Nearby, deer munch on the equivalent of vegetative junk food and wild turkeys nibble on red harvester ants — certainly not their first choice for lunch.

As the state struggles with the worst one-year drought in its history, entire ecosystems, from the smallest insects to the largest predators, are struggling for survival. The foundations of their habitats — rivers, springs, creeks, streams and lakes — have turned into dry sand, wet mud, trickling springs or, in the best case, large puddles.

“It has a compound effect on a multitude of species and organisms and habitat types because of the way that it’s chained and linked together,” said Jeff Bonner, a wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Sammy 06:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Ed. Secretary: States to get school test waivers
DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he will announce a new waiver system Monday to give schools a break from student testing mandates in the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Critics say the benchmarks are unrealistic and brand schools as failures even if they make progress. Schools and districts where too few kids pass the tests for several years are subject to sanctions that can include firing teachers or closing the school entirely.

State and local education officials have been begging the federal government for relief from the mandates, but school starts soon and Congress still hasn’t answered the call.

Sammy 06:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Medicare costs for hospice up 70%
Kelly Kennedy ― USA TODAY

Medicare costs for hospice care have increased more than in any other health care sector as for-profit companies continue to gain a larger share of the end-of-life medical market, government records show.

From 2005 through 2009, Medicare spending on hospice care rose 70% to $4.31 billion, according to Medicare records.

A recent report by the inspector general for Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicare, found for-profit hospices were paid 29% more per beneficiary than non-profit hospices. Medicare pays for 84% of all hospice patients.

Sammy 06:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Cleric vows attacks if US troops stay in Iraq
REBECCA SANTANA ― Frederick News-Post

BAGHDAD (AP) — A powerful anti-American Shiite cleric in Iraq with thousands of loyal followers threatened on Sunday that U.S. forces who stay past the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline are fair game to attack.

Iraqi officials, worried about a potential backlash if U.S. troops remain in the country, have tried to portray any American force that does not withdraw as trainers of the still-growing Iraqi military rather than as combat troops.

Sammy 06:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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