Monday, December 22, 2014
Open Thread - December 22, 2014

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Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Sunday, December 21, 2014
The 2014 Public Safety Fill a Fire Truck Holiday Food Drive

Sammy 08:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The Mission of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office

Sammy 08:13 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
For Old Electronics: Don’t Think Trash. Think e-Cycling
Southern Maryland News Net

In 2013 each American household owned on average 28 electronic devices, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. But with advancing technology, sleeker, shinier and faster cell phones, computers, tablets, mp3 players and televisions are finding their way onto many holiday gift lists. And into the hands of American consumers.

But what about the old ones that are still perfectly functional? Think e-Cycle.
[...]
Many people actively look for new ways to protect the environment and recycling electronics can make a significant impact. For example, smartphones make up a large portion of the waste stream. For every one million smart phones recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered and reused.

Sammy 08:10 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Calvert County Public Schools population continues to decline
TheBayNet.com

The official 2014 September 30 count for Calvert County Public Schools is 15,633, which is 237 students fewer than last year. After more than a decade of rapid growth, the school system’s population reached a high of 17,468 in 2005 before declining annually to the current enrollment.

School system funding is based in part on total population. According to Superintendent Daniel D. Curry, “This loss of enrollment will represent additional challenges as we prepare the budget for Fiscal Year 2016.”

Sammy 08:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Nutrient pollution trading in limbo in Maryland as it expands in Virginia
Timothy B. Wheeler ― CapitalGazette.com

While the Obama administration is touting Virginia’s pollution trading program as an “innovative market-based approach” to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s trading effort remains stuck in limbo after years of study and debate.

Federal officials last week called Virginia’s program a model for other states struggling with the high costs of cleaning up polluted waterways. Under it, the state is working to reduce phosphorus pollution fouling the bay by having private investors pay farmers to reduce soil erosion and runoff of fertilizer from their fields.

Those reductions, gained through planting streamside trees and other voluntary conservation measures, are “banked,” then sold to public or private developers who need to compensate for their construction impacts on waterways.

Sammy 08:02 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
GAO says FBI’s anthrax investigation was flawed
Daily Record

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI’s conclusion that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator.

The 77-page report from the Government Accountability Office says the FBI’s research, including novel microbial forensic tests, did not provide a full understanding of how bacteria change in their natural environment and in a laboratory. This failure to grasp the reason for genetic mutations that were used to differentiate between samples of anthrax bacteria was a “key scientific gap” in the investigation, the report says.

The GAO also found a lack of rigorous controls over sampling procedures and a failure to cite the degree of uncertainty in measurement tools used to identify genetic markers.

Sammy 08:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Residents are getting more nighttime visits from postal carriers
Samantha Masunaga ― Los Angeles Times

[...]
An audit published earlier this year by the Postal Service said that mail delivery after 5 p.m. is becoming an increasing problem in some parts of the country and cited staffing shortages as the main reason.

The audit found that Washington, D.C., and parts of Atlanta and Miami had some of the highest rates of night deliveries.

Sammy 07:57 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
In military hospitals, workers say complaints met with retaliation
Sharon LaFraniere ― Boston Globe

Beyond conducting their periodic evaluation of Womack Army Medical Center, one of the military’s busiest hospitals, the inspectors who came here to Fort Bragg in March had a special task.

A technologist had complained of dangerous lapses in the prevention of infections. The inspectors planned to follow up. But Teresa Gilbert, the technologist, said supervisors excluded her from meetings with the inspectors from the Joint Commission, an independent agency that accredits hospitals. “I was told my opinions were not necessary, nor were they warranted,” said Gilbert.

The review ended disastrously for Womack, one of 54 domestic and overseas military hospitals that serve more than 3 million active-duty service members, retirees, and family members. The inspectors faulted infection prevention and many other aspects of care, putting the hospital’s accreditation under a cloud for months.

Sammy 07:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Is that big rig road worthy?
Andrew McGill ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A patchwork system of safety keeps dangerous trucks on the road

More than 14,000 people have died in big-rig truck accidents nationwide since 2009. That number alone, safety advocates say, is bad enough.

But nearly a quarter of those deaths involved trucks that had been previously cited with safety violations, a sign that regulation and industry initiatives still allow large numbers of unsafe commercial trucks on the road.

Nationwide there were nearly 390,000 big-rig accidents between 2009 and 2013, a Post-Gazette analysis of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data shows. One out of six trucks pulled over for inspection was deemed so badly out-of-order that it was unsafe to drive.

Sammy 07:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama: Keystone benefits for U.S. consumers, workers nominal
Valerie Volcovici ― REUTERS

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would only nominally benefit American consumers and workers in perhaps his strongest comments on the Canada-to-U.S. pipeline to date.

“There is very little impact - nominal impact - on U.S. gas prices, what the average American consumer cares about,” Obama told reporters during an end-of-year press conference.

Obama picked apart some of the most common arguments of its proponents: that it would create jobs, lower domestic gasoline prices and bolster the U.S. economy.

Sammy 07:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Cuba says U.S. must respect its communist system
Daniel Trotta ― REUTERS

President Raul Castro demanded on Saturday that the United States respect Cuba’s communist rule as the two countries work to restore diplomatic ties, and warned that Cuban-American exiles might try to sabotage the rapprochement.

U.S. President Barack Obama this week reset Washington’s Cold War-era policy on Cuba and the two countries swapped prisoners in a historic deal after 18 months of secret talks.

Cubans have treated the end of open U.S. hostility as a triumph, especially the release of three Cuban intelligence agents who served long U.S. prison terms for spying on Cuban exile groups in Florida.

Sammy 07:40 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama signs nearly $578 billion defense bill for fiscal 2015
REUTERS

President Barack Obama signed an annual defense policy bill on Friday that authorizes U.S. training for Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting Islamic State rebels and sets overall defense spending at nearly $578 billion, including about $64 billion for wars abroad.

The legislation, approved by Congress earlier this month, sets defense policy and authorizes spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, but does not actually appropriate funding.

The bill approves a Pentagon base budget of $496 billion, in line with Obama’s request, plus nearly $64 billion for conflicts abroad including the war in Afghanistan. It also authorizes $17.9 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons work.

Sammy 07:37 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama makes 2015 federal pay raise official
Julia Ziegler ― Federal News Radio

Federal employees under the General Schedule will receive a 1 percent pay increase in 2015. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday making the raise official.

This is the second year in a row feds have received a 1 percent pay increase, after three years of pay freezes from 2011-2013.

Most members of the military (both commissioned and enlisted) will also receive a 1 percent pay raise.

Sammy 07:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services
MARCY GORDON ― WTOP

T-Mobile US will pay at least $90 million, mostly in refunds, for billing customers for cellphone text services they didn’t order, under a settlement with federal regulators.

The Federal Trade Commission announced the agreement Friday with T-Mobile over billing for unauthorized charges, a practice known as “cramming.” T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. cellphone company, is paying at least $67.5 million in refunds to affected customers plus $18 million in fines to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and $4.5 million in fines to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FTC sued T-Mobile in July, accusing it of billing customers for subscriptions to text services like $9.99-per-month horoscopes, ringtones, “flirting tips” or celebrity gossip updates that they didn’t want or authorize.

Sammy 07:29 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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