Sunday, August 21, 2011
Maryland Farm Bureau surpasses membership goals

With more than 36,000 member families, Maryland Farm Bureau once again has reached and exceeded its membership goals set by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The all-time high membership will continue to grow through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, according to a Maryland Farm Bureau press release.

Sammy 01:31 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Advertisers start using facial recognition to tailor pitches
Shan Li and David Sarno ― Los Angeles Times

Picture this: You stop in front of a digital advertising display at a mall and suddenly an ad pops up touting makeup, followed by one for shoes and then one for butter pecan ice cream.

It seems to know you’re a woman in your late 20s and, in fact, it does. When you looked at the display, it scanned your facial features and tailored its messages to you.

Once the stuff of science fiction and high-tech crime fighting, facial recognition technology has become one of the newest tools in marketing, even though privacy concerns abound.

Sammy 01:26 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hurricane warnings issued as Irene approaches

A hurricane warning was issued Sunday for Puerto Rico and the northern Coast of the Dominican Republic as Tropical Storm Irene dumped heavy rain in the Caribbean.

The storm could hit southern Florida by the end of the week.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Irene could become a hurricane by Monday. On Sunday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 20 mph (32 kph). Sustained winds must reach 74 mph (119 kph) for the storm to become a hurricane.

Sammy 01:20 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Could prenatal DNA tests open Pandora’s box?

So far that’s still science fiction. But scientists have been taking some baby steps in that direction. And some ethics experts say it’s time to start talking now about what that could mean for parents and society.

Scanning fetal DNA from a blood test will be “without question a major medical advance that promises to greatly improve current prenatal care,” said Jaime King, an associate professor at the UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco who studies genetic testing. But bringing it into practice “raises significant practical, legal, ethical and social challenges,” she said.

Sammy 05:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Social Security disability on verge of insolvency
STEPHEN OHLEMACHER ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security’s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants - many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved - and worsening the financial problems of a program that’s been running in the red for years.

Sammy 04:51 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink

Notice is hereby given that the Council of the Town of La Plata will hold a public hearing regarding a petition by Johel Limited Partnership and FCD-Development, LLC, pursuant to the provisions of Article 23A, Section 19, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, to change the corporate boundaries of the Town of La Plata by annexing parcels of land consisting of 14.111 acres, more or less, located in the Sixth Election District of Charles County. The property which is the subject of the annexation petition is located immediately south and west of the existing corporate boundaries of the Town, contiguous to property now or formerly owned by Faison-Rosewick, LLC, and includes a segment of the 150’ right-of-way of U.S. Route 301 (Crain Highway.) The perimeter metes and bounds descriptions of the lands to be annexed are as follows:
The public hearing before the Council of the Town of La Plata to consider the annexation, zoning classification request, and related annexation plan will be held at the La Plata Town Hall, 305 Queen Anne Street, La Plata, Maryland, on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter as possible. At the public hearing all parties in interest and citizens will have an opportunity to be heard. Special accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made upon request.

Sammy 04:41 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Golden decade is ending for defense industry, and stocks
Jonathan Fahey ― USA TODAY

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the federal government is deeply in debt. This spells the end of what was a golden decade for the defense industry.

In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the annual defense budget has more than doubled to $700 billion and annual defense industry profits have nearly quadrupled, approaching $25 billion last year.

Now defense spending is poised to retreat, and so are industry profits. “We’re about to go into the downhill side of the roller coaster here,” said David Berteau, a defense industry analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sammy 04:38 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Newswatch: Slots casinos seeing more revenue

Maryland’s two slots casinos generated more revenue per machine in July than the previous month, according to state figures.

Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, which opened in September, averaged $219.23 daily per machine last month, up from $196.05 in June. The Casino at Ocean Downs in Worcester County, which opened in January, grossed $215.64 per machine daily in July, up from $168.35 in June.

All told, the two casinos grossed $15.5 million in July, up from $12.6 million in June.

Sammy 04:34 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State’s private-sector job growth outpaces government losses
Kevin James Shay ― Gazette

Job creation in Maryland this summer has been more robust than researchers and others thought a month ago, as federal figures released Friday show the state gained 8,100 jobs in July on top of a revised 4,500 gain in June. Last month, preliminary figures showed a loss of 300 Maryland jobs in June.

The private sector added 10,400 jobs in Maryland last month, while government agencies shed 2,300 positions, the U.S. Labor Department reported. The state was in the top 10 nationally in private-sector job growth last month, state officials said.

Sammy 04:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tropical Storm Irene lashes north Leeward Islands

The National Hurricane Center says tropical storm Irene is lashing the northern Leeward Islands with heavy rains and could become a hurricane by Monday.

The center said Irene was 10 miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Guadeloupe at 5 a.m. EDT Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph), moving west at 21 mph (33 kph).

A hurricane warning was issued for the Dominican Republic’s southern coast from Cabo Engano west to the border with Haiti. A tropical storm warning was issued for much of the Dominican’s northern coast.

Sammy 04:26 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Snakehead fishing tournament will be held in September

They’re brown and green, can grow up to three feet long and they’re aggressive and not too picky about what they eat.

Maryland state officials want the invasive northern snakehead fish dead, and a tournament will be held in early September to encourage more people to catch the fish.

The 2011 Potomac Snakehead Tournament is open to anybody with a fishing license in Maryland or Virginia. It will start on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. and go until 12:30 p.m. the next day.

Sammy 04:24 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Verizon workers return to work, without a deal

Thousands of striking Verizon workers will return to work starting Monday night, though their contract dispute isn’t over yet.

Both the company and the union say they have agreed to narrow the issues in dispute and have set up a process to negotiate a new contract. But the talks are likely to be contentious. The two sides still disagree on touchy subjects such as health care benefits, pensions, and work rules.

About 45,000 employees went on strike on Aug. 7, after their previous contract expired. They work in the company’s landline division in nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Sammy 04:22 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State’s first case of West Nile virus identified
Baltimore Sun

State health officials said Thursday they have identified the first case of West Nile virus this year.

The disease has also recently been detected in mosquitoes and birds in Maryland. Three pools of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Defense tested positive for West Nile. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at sites across the state.

Three sick birds from a Montgomery County wildlife center also recently tested positive for the disease.

Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms generally appear three to 15 days after a mosquito bite.

Sammy 04:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - August 21, 2011

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” Richard Bach

Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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