Monthly Archives:December 2009

This isn’t even the best part.  Read the entire article.  If i could fly without rupturing my eardrums i wouldn’t due to the insanity of “gov’t security” which is a total joke.

Let me make myself clear: I am very interested in not being blown to smithereens by some Islamic Nutjob who believes his personal path to a bunch of virgins lies in killing “infidels.”

But let me also be very clear: It is not little grandmas, 40 year old white businesspeople, or families with a couple of young kids (all of whom have the same, non-muslim or arabic last name) that have or are attempting to blow up airliners.

In this case said nutjob recently visited a place known to be a terrorist hotbed, we knew he was there, and even more damning, the NSA knew he was on the plane before it entered American airspace – yet that flight was permitted to proceed all the way to Detroit where he tried to set off his device (and it failed to detonate, most likely because he was tackled by another passenger, thank the Christian God!)

Even better, this jackass' name is “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab”. Is that your first clue that there's a materially higher risk that he's a terrorist than, say, “Sam Smith”?

The American people have been subjected to outrageous and insane restrictions and inconvenience with regards to air travel since 9/11, all in the name of “improving security.”

via Starve The Beast: Airlines – The Market Ticker.

You know it’s going to be bad and that the media is lying about how we are done with the recession when they put this stuff out:

I like it how Karl Denninger calls cnbc cnbs..msnbc could be msnbs as well.  Along with fox, dnn, abc and cbs.  With many of our manufacturing jobs permanently offshored don’t expect us to come back anytime soon.  Remember Japan’s “lost decade”?  We are about to have one as well.  runaway gov’t spending along with domestic hostile policies are going to continue to send jobs offshore as wlel as our money.  If you think this was incompetence…think again.  This is purposeful.

A decade of high unemployment is looming

‘New abnormal:’ Some think 10 years won’t be enough to replace losses
The Associated Press
updated 12:15 p.m. ET, Sun., Dec . 27, 2009

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WASHINGTON – Call it the Terrible Teens.

The decade ahead could be a brutal one for America’s unemployed — and for people with jobs hoping for pay raises.

At best, it could take until the middle of the decade for the nation to generate enough jobs to drive down the unemployment rate to a normal 5 or 6 percent and keep it there. At worst, that won’t happen until much later — perhaps not until the next decade.

The deepest and most enduring recession since the 1930s has battered America’s work force.

The unemployed number 15.4 million. The jobless rate is 10 percent. More than 7 million jobs have vanished. People out of work at least six months number a record 5.9 million. And household income, adjusted for inflation, has shrunk in the past decade.

Most economists say it could take at least until 2015 for the unemployment rate to drop down to a historically more normal 5.5 percent. And with the job market likely to stay weak, some also foresee another decade of wage stagnation.

Even though the economy will likely keep growing, the pace is expected to be plodding. That will make employers reluctant to hire. Further contributing to high unemployment is the likelihood of more people competing for jobs, baby boomers delaying retirement and interest rates edging higher.

All this would come after a decade that created relatively few jobs: a net total of just 464,000. By contrast, 21.7 million new jobs were generated between 1989 and 1999.

Economist David Levy, chairman of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, says the country faces a new era of chronically high unemployment, averaging 8 percent or more over the next decade.

The “New Abnormal,” he calls it.

Levy thinks the New Abnormal also means average pay will dwindle, along with consumer prices. That would make it harder for households to pay down debt, he warns.

By the Federal Reserve’s reckoning, the jobless rate could remain as high as 7.6 percent in 2012. And it would take two or three years after that for the job market to return to normal, the Fed says.

It’s possible jobs won’t return to pre-recession levels at any point over the next 10 years, Levy says.

That’s mainly because the economy’s recovery, sluggish by historical standards, isn’t expected to regain its vigor over the next few years. As a result, companies will be in no rush to ramp up hiring.

Other analysts think the economy will recover the jobs wiped out by the recession by 2013 or 2014 but that the unemployment rate will stay high. They note that the healing economy will cause more people to stream back into the labor force, vying for too-few jobs.

In addition, baby boomers whose retirement accounts have shrunk could put off retiring and stay in the work force longer. That would leave fewer positions available for the unemployed.

Other contributing forces — businesses squeezing more work from employees they still have and relying more on part-time and overseas help — have intensified. And record-high federal budget deficits and the threat of inflation could drive up interest rates, which could hobble growth and restrict job creation.

All those factors could combine to keep unemployment high.

“It will be the mother of all jobless recoveries,” predicts economic historian John Steel Gordon.

On the other hand, it’s possible some technological innovation not yet envisioned could generate a wave of jobs. Yet at the moment, most economists aren’t betting that any such breakthroughs will rescue the labor market.

The last time the jobless rate reached double digits, in the early 1980s, it took six years to bring it down to normal levels.

Unemployment hit a post-World War II high of 10.8 percent at the end of 1982 as the country was emerging from a severe recession. The rate fell to around 5 percent in 1988. It took less than two years for the number of jobs to return to its pre-recession level.

In this recovery, the economy is far more fragile.

Hard-to-get credit is exerting a drag. Wounds from the banking system’s worst crisis since the Great Depression will take years to fully heal. People and companies, scarred by the crisis, are likely to restrain borrowing, spending and investing.

Some analysts think the jobless rate might have already peaked at 10.2 percent in October. But most economists predict the rate will peak at around 10.5 percent by the middle of next year.

“We are digging out of a very deep hole,” says Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and chief economist for the National Association for Business Economics.

Reaser estimates it will take until 2015 for the unemployment rate to drop to 5.5 percent.

A sputtering job market carries other consequences. One is flat wages. When many people compete for few jobs, employers have no incentive to raise pay.

The economic shocks of the past decade already have cut into Americans’ incomes. That’s among the reasons why people feel they’re standing still economically.

Median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell to $50,303 in 2008, according to the U.S. Census. That gauge combines wages and salaries, investment income and government benefit payments like Social Security. It’s down 4 percent from a peak of $52,587 in 1999, when incomes were bolstered by stock gains from the dot-com boom.

That bubble burst in 2000. Since then, workers have seen meager wage gains. Adjusted for inflation, wages grew about 13 percent in the past 10 years — the slowest pace in five decades, according to calculations made by Scott Hoyt of Moody’s Economy.com.

That trend is predicted to continue.

“There will be a continued hollowing-out of the middle class,” says H.W. Brands, a historian at the University of Texas.

He points to productivity growth, which has let companies produce more with leaner work forces, the offshoring of service-sector jobs and the shrinking of factory jobs.

That’s why Vicki Adriano, 51, who works at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, looks ahead to the coming decade with trepidation.

The economic wreckage of the past year means she’ll probably have to work longer than she had expected at the factory —  at least seven more years. She frets about the loss of economic security.

“Everything you worked for all those years can be gone in a minute,” she says.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34601256/ns/business-us_business/

Shatner’s Raw Nerve – On BIO Channel.

I have always liked William Shatner as an actor.  Now I have been watching this series of his and he’s a great interviewer as well.

When, not if, it is you will discover the what I have said all along is the truth purpose of this so-called “reform” – a single-payer system.

Here’s how it will happen.

1.

Congress will pass and Obama will sign something containing this “individual mandate.”

2.

This will generate immediate lawsuits which will begin their way through the system, headed for the United States Supreme Court. That process will take several years. Note that the so-called “benefits” of this reform will also take several years to show up. This is not an accident.

3.

Meanwhile, the taxes begin immediately. This is exactly what happened in the 1930s by the way – taxes were raised right into the maw of an economic recession, and helped turn it into a Depression. Such it will be this time as well.

4.

Young, healthy people will pay the “fines” under protest and refuse to buy coverage (it’s cheaper than complying with a $15,000/year mandate to pay the $750/year fine!) and join said lawsuits in Step #2. This will in turn begin to force private companies out of the system (remember, there are also price controls in there!) as adverse selection will not be eliminated as promised.

5.

At some point the courts will strike the individual mandate. Free to not pay the fine or buy insurance and prevented from raising rates adverse selection will collapse the remaining private health insurers.

via The True Intent of Health “Reform” – The Market Ticker.

Energy-efficient traffic lights can’t melt snow – Yahoo! News.

Energy-efficient traffic lights can’t melt snow

MILWAUKEE – Cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering a hazardous downside: The bulbs don’t burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm — a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death.

“I’ve never had to put up with this in the past,” said Duane Kassens, a driver from West Bend who got into a fender-bender recently because he couldn’t see the lights. “The police officer told me the new lights weren’t melting the snow. How is that safe?”

Many communities have switched to LED bulbs in their traffic lights because they use 90 percent less energy than the old incandescent variety, last far longer and save money. Their great advantage is also their drawback: They do not waste energy by producing heat.

Authorities in several states are testing possible solutions, including installing weather shields, adding heating elements like those used in airport runway lights, or coating the lights with water-repellent substances.

Short of some kind of technological fix, “as far as I’m aware, all that can be done is to have crews clean off the snow by hand,” said Green Bay, Wis., police Lt. Jim Runge. “It’s a bit labor-intensive.”

In St. Paul, Minn., for example, city crews use air compressors to blow snow and ice off blocked lights.

Some communities began installing cool-burning LEDs more than a decade ago, and it wasn’t long before drivers started complaining about the problem.

Illinois authorities said that during a storm in April, 34-year-old Lisa Richter could see she had a green light and began making a left turn. A driver coming from the opposite direction did not realize the stoplight was obscured by snow and plowed into Richter’s vehicle, killing her.

“Would the accident have occurred if the lights had been clear? I would be willing to bet not,” Oswego police Detective Rob Sherwood said.

Authorities said dozens of similar collisions have been reported in other cold-weather states, including Iowa and Minnesota.

Not every storm causes snow to stick to the lights, but when the wind is right and the snow is wet, drivers should beware, said Gary Fox, a traffic engineer for the city of Des Moines, Iowa.

Exactly how much a technological fix will cost is unclear, but it will surely cut into the savings and the energy efficiency many cities are enjoying.

Wisconsin, which has put LED bulbs at hundreds of intersections, saves about $750,000 per year in energy costs, said Dave Vieth of the state Transportation Department. LEDs installed seven years ago are still burning, while most incandescent bulbs have to be replaced every 12 to 18 months, he said.

“With LEDs we have energy savings in excess of 80 percent, and we don’t have to have crews replacing them as often,” Vieth said. “So it’s clear the overall savings are pretty significant.”

In Minnesota, where authorities have upgraded hundreds of traffic lights to LEDs, the Transportation Department occasionally gets reports of an obstructed light. But by the time a highway crew arrives, the wind has often knocked out the snow and ice, said traffic systems specialist Jerry Kotzenmacher. Minnesota is experimenting with weather shields.

One reason there have been so few deaths is that drivers know they should treat a traffic signal with obstructed lights as a stop sign, traffic experts say.

“It’s the same as if the power is out,” said Dave Hansen, a traffic engineer with the Green Bay Department of Public Works. “If there’s any question, you err on the side of caution.”

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Associated Press writers Patrick Condon in Minneapolis and Melanie Welte in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

Did you ever wonder why the United States isn’t even hinted at in the Bible?  OPEC is getting their own currency, China is going to head that way.  It is only a matter of time now before there is a truly one world currency.  To think I saw this on a financial blog hwo is worried aobut hte US currency pretty much going to zero.  What he misses is hte ramifications of the moves other countries are making.  Hang onto your hats folks…this is no longer an earthly thing..this is a heavenly thing!

Today’s lesson in falsity is the announcement, long rumored, by the Gulf States that they will be forming a common currency, breaking the formal and informal dollar pegs that have controlled the price of oil and kept the petro-dollar recycling mill operating, allowing The United States to force our inflationary policies down the Arabs&apos; throats.

“The Gulf monetary union pact has come into effect,” said Kuwait’s finance minister, Mustafa al-Shamali, speaking at a Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait.

The move will give the hyper-rich club of oil exporters a petro-currency of their own, greatly increasing their influence in the global exchange and capital markets and potentially displacing the US dollar as the pricing currency for oil contracts. Between them they amount to regional superpower with a GDP of $1.2 trillion (£739bn), some 40pc of the world’s proven oil reserves, and financial clout equal to that of China.

Potentially displacing my tailfeathers. That displacement is now assured.

Oh, and it doesn’t stop with just money either:

The GCC also agreed to create a joint military strike force – akin to the EU’s rapid reaction force – to tackle threats such as the incursion of Yemeni Shiite rebels into Saudi territory earlier this year.

They nevertheless repeated on Tuesday that “any military action against Iran” by Western powers would be unacceptable.

Well there you have it.

China will be next with a Pan-Asian common currency and exchange system. The rumblings have been coming from there too, and they’ll be followed by action – if for no other reason than that with the unpegging of oil from the dollar there is no longer any reason for China to continue to maintain a dollar hegemony of its own, and in fact doing so could be extremely damaging to China&apos;s economy.

via Calling The Time “Person Of The Year”: Jackass – The Market Ticker.

I am not normally a fan of anything gov’t but this time the VA has developed a system for electronic health records that is well-rounded, stable, highly customizable, has tons of features into which more can be added, and is recognized as a great package.  It’s called VistA(visit a..not vista).  I’ll be looking into this as well as the alliance that has formed around it for my medical practitioner clients.  Full article follows:

Code RedHow software companies could screw up Obama’s health care reform.

via Code Red – Phillip Longman.

The central contention of Barack Obama’s vision for health care reform is straightforward: that our health care system today is so wasteful and poorly organized that it is possible to lower costs, expand access, and raise quality all at the same time—and even have money left over at the end to help pay for other major programs, from bank bailouts to high-speed rail.

It might sound implausible, but the math adds up. America spends nearly twice as much per person as other developed countries for health outcomes that are no better. As White House budget director Peter Orszag has repeatedly pointed out, the cost of health care has become so gigantic that pushing down its growth rate by just 1.5 percentage points per year would free up more than $2 trillion over the next decade.

The White House also has a reasonably accurate fix on what drives these excessive costs: the American health care system is rife with overtreatment. Studies by Dartmouth’s Atlas of Health Care project show that as much as thirty cents of every dollar in health care spending goes to drugs and procedures whose efficacy is unproven, and the system contains few incentives for doctors to hew to treatments that have been proven to be effective. The system is also highly fragmented. Three-quarters of Medicare spending goes to patients with five or more chronic conditions who see an annual average of fourteen different physicians, most of whom seldom talk to each other. This fragmentation leads to uncoordinated care, and is one of the reasons why costly and often deadly medical errors occur so frequently.

Almost all experts agree that in order to begin to deal with these problems, the health care industry must step into the twenty-first century and become computerized. Astonishingly, twenty years after the digital revolution, only 1.5 percent of hospitals have integrated IT systems today—and half of those are government hospitals. Digitizing the nation’s medical system would not only improve patient safety through better-coordinated care, but would also allow health professionals to practice more scientifically driven medicine, as researchers acquire the ability to mine data from millions of computerized records about what actually works.

It would seem heartening, then, that the stimulus bill President Obama signed in February contains a whopping $20 billion to help hospitals buy and implement health IT systems. But the devil, as usual, is in the details. As anybody who’s lived through an IT upgrade at the office can attest, it’s difficult in the best of circumstances. If it’s done wrong, buggy and inadequate software can paralyze an institution.

Consider this tale of two hospitals that have made the digital transition. The first is Midland Memorial Hospital, a 371-bed, three-campus community hospital in southern Texas. Just a few years ago, Midland Memorial, like the overwhelming majority of American hospitals, was totally dependent on paper records. Nurses struggled to decipher doctors’ scribbled orders and hunt down patients’ charts, which were shuttled from floor to floor in pneumatic tubes and occasionally disappeared into the ether. The professionals involved in patient care had difficulty keeping up with new clinical guidelines and coordinating treatment. In the normal confusion of day-to-day practice, medical errors were a constant danger.

This all changed in 2007 when Midland completed the installation of a health IT system. For the first time, all the different doctors involved in a patient’s care could work from the same chart, using electronic medical records, which drew data together in one place, ensuring that the information was not lost or garbled. The new system had dramatic effects. For instance, it prompted doctors to follow guidelines for preventing infection when dressing wounds or inserting IVs, which in turn caused infection rates to fall by 88 percent. The number of medical errors and deaths also dropped. David Whiles, director of information services for Midland, reports that the new health IT system was so well designed and easy to use that it took less than two hours for most users to get the hang of it. “Today it’s just part of the culture,” he says. “It would be impossible to remove it.”

Things did not go so smoothly at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, which installed a computerized health system in 2002. Rather than a godsend, the new system turned out to be a disaster, largely because it made it harder for the doctors and nurses to do their jobs in emergency situations. The computer interface, for example, forced doctors to click a mouse ten times to make a simple order. Even when everything worked, a process that once took seconds now took minutes—an enormous difference in an emergency-room environment. The slowdown meant that two doctors were needed to attend to a child in extremis, one to deliver care and the other to work the computer. Nurses also spent less time with patients and more time staring at computer screens. In an emergency, they couldn’t just grab a medication from a nearby dispensary as before—now they had to follow the cumbersome protocols demanded by the computer system. According to a study conducted by the hospital and published in the journal Pediatrics, mortality rates for one vulnerable patient population—those brought by emergency transport from other facilities—more than doubled, from 2.8 percent before the installation to almost 6.6 percent afterward.

Why did similar attempts to bring health care into the twenty-first century lead to triumph at Midland but tragedy at Children’s? While many factors were no doubt at work, among the most crucial was a difference in the software installed by the two institutions. The system that Midland adopted is based on software originally written by doctors for doctors at the Veterans Health Administration, and it is what’s called “open source,” meaning the code can be read and modified by anyone and is freely available in the public domain rather than copyrighted by a corporation. For nearly thirty years, the VA software’s code has been continuously improved by a large and ever-growing community of collaborating, computer-minded health care professionals, at first within the VA and later at medical institutions around the world. Because the program is open source, many minds over the years have had the chance to spot bugs and make improvements. By the time Midland installed it, the core software had been road-tested at hundred of different hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes by hundreds of thousands of health care professionals.

The software Children’s Hospital installed, by contrast, was the product of a private company called Cerner Corporation. It was designed by software engineers using locked, proprietary code that medical professionals were barred from seeing, let alone modifying. Unless they could persuade the vendor to do the work, they could no more adjust it than a Microsoft Office user can fine-tune Microsoft Word. While a few large institutions have managed to make meaningful use of proprietary programs, these systems have just as often led to gigantic cost overruns and sometimes life-threatening failures. Among the most notorious examples is Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, which in 2003 tore out a “state-of-the-art” $34 million proprietary system after doctors rebelled and refused to use it. And because proprietary systems aren’t necessarily able to work with similar systems designed by other companies, the software has also slowed what should be one of the great benefits of digitized medicine: the development of a truly integrated digital infrastructure allowing doctors to coordinate patient care across institutions and supply researchers with vast pools of data, which they could use to study outcomes and develop better protocols.

Unfortunately, the way things are headed, our nation’s health care system will look a lot more like Children’s and Cedars-Sinai than Midland. In the haste of Obama’s first 100 days, the administration and Congress crafted the stimulus bill in a way that disadvantages open-source vendors, who are upstarts in the commercial market. At the same time, it favors the larger, more established proprietary vendors, who lobbied to get the $20 billion in the bill. As a result, the government’s investment in health IT is unlikely to deliver the quality and cost benefits the Obama administration hopes for, and is quite likely to infuriate the medical community. Frustrated doctors will give their patients an earful about how the crashing taxpayer-financed software they are forced to use wastes money, causes two-hour waits for eight-minute appointments, and constrains treatment options.

Done right, digitized health care could help save the nation from insolvency while improving and extending millions of lives at the same time. Done wrong, it could reconfirm Americans’ deepest suspicions of government and set back the cause of health care reform for yet another generation.
O pen-source software has no universally recognized definition. But in general, the term means that the code is not secret, can be utilized or modified by anyone, and is usually developed collaboratively by the software’s users, not unlike the way Wikipedia entries are written and continuously edited by readers. Once the province of geeky software aficionados, open-source software is quickly becoming mainstream. Windows has an increasingly popular open-source competitor in the Linux operating system. A free program called Apache now dominates the market for Internet servers. The trend is so powerful that IBM has abandoned its propriety software business model entirely, and now gives its programs away for free while offering support, maintenance, and customization of open-source programs, increasingly including many with health care applications. Apple now shares enough of its code that we see an explosion of homemade “applets” for the iPhone—each of which makes the iPhone more useful to more people, increasing Apple’s base of potential customers.

If this is the future of computing as a whole, why should U.S. health IT be an exception? Indeed, given the scientific and ethical complexities of medicine, it is hard to think of any other realm where a commitment to transparency and collaboration in information technology is more appropriate. And, in fact, the largest and most successful example of digital medicine is an open-source program called VistA, the one Midland chose.

VistA was born in the 1970s out of an underground movement within the Veterans Health Administration known as the “Hard Hats.” The group was made up of VA doctors, nurses, and administrators around the country who had become frustrated with the combination of heavy caseloads and poor record keeping at the institution. Some of them figured that then-new personal and mini computers could be the solution. The VA doctors pioneered the nation’s first functioning electronic medical record system, and began collaborating with computer programmers to develop other health IT applications, such as systems that gave doctors online advice in making diagnoses and settling on treatments.

The key advantages of this collaborative approach were both technical and personal. For one, it allowed medical professionals to innovate and learn from each other in tailoring programs to meet their own needs. And by involving medical professionals in the development and application of information technology, it achieved widespread buy-in of digitized medicine at the VA, which has often proven to be a big problem when propriety systems are imposed on doctors elsewhere.

This open approach allowed almost anyone with a good idea at the VA to innovate. In 1992, Sue Kinnick, a nurse at the Topeka, Kansas, VA hospital, was returning a rental car and saw the use of a bar-code scanner for the first time. An agent used a wand to scan her car and her rental agreement, and then quickly sent her on her way. A light went off in Kinnick’s head. “If they can do this with cars, we can do this with medicine,” she later told an interviewer. With the help of other tech-savvy VA employees, Kinnick wrote software, using the Hard Hats’ public domain code, that put the new scanner technology to a new and vital use: preventing errors in dispensing medicine. Under Kinnick’s direction, patients and nurses were each given bar-coded wristbands, and all medications were bar-coded as well. Then nurses were given wands, which they used to scan themselves, the patient, and the medication bottle before dispensing drugs. This helped prevent four of the most common dispensing errors: wrong med, wrong dose, wrong time, and wrong patient. The system, which has been adopted by all veterans hospitals and clinics and continuously improved by users, has cut the number of dispensing errors in half at some facilities and saved thousands of lives.

At first, the efforts of enterprising open-source innovators like Kinnick brought specific benefits to the VA system, such as fewer medical errors and reduced patient wait times through better scheduling. It also allowed doctors to see more patients, since they were spending less time chasing down paper records. But eventually, the open-source technology changed the way VA doctors practiced medicine in bigger ways. By mining the VA’s huge resource of digitized medical records, researchers could look back at which drugs, devices, and procedures were working and which were not. This was a huge leap forward in a profession where there is still a stunning lack of research data about the effectiveness of even the most common medical procedures. Using VistA to examine 12,000 medical records, VA researchers were able to see how diabetics were treated by different VA doctors, and by different VA hospitals and clinics, and how they fared under the different circumstances. Those findings could in turn be communicated back to doctors in clinical guidelines delivered by the VistA system. In the 1990s, the VA began using the same information technology to see which surgical teams or hospital managers were underperforming, and which deserved rewards for exceeding benchmarks of quality and safety.

Thanks to all this effective use of information technology, the VA emerged in this decade as the bright star of the American health system in the eyes of most health-quality experts. True, one still reads stories in the papers about breakdowns in care at some VA hospitals. That is evidence that the VA is far from perfect—but also that its information system is good at spotting problems. Whatever its weaknesses, the VA has been shown in study after study to be providing the highest-quality medical care in America by such metrics as patient safety, patient satisfaction, and the observance of proven clinical protocols, even while reducing the cost per patient.

Following the organization’s success, a growing number of other government-run hospitals and clinics have started adapting VistA to their own uses. This includes public hospitals in Hawaii and West Virginia, as well as all the hospitals run by the Indian Health Service. The VA’s evolving code also has been adapted by providers in many other countries, including Germany, Finland, Malaysia, Brazil, India, and, most recently, Jordan. To date, more than eighty-five countries have sent delegations to study how the VA uses the program, with four to five more coming every week.
P roprietary systems, by contrast, have gotten a cool reception. Although health IT companies have been trying to convince hospitals and clinics to buy their integrated patient-record software for more than fifteen years, only a tiny fraction have installed such systems. Part of the problem is our screwed-up insurance reimbursement system, which essentially rewards health care providers for performing more and more expensive procedures rather than improving patients’ welfare. This leaves few institutions that are not government run with much of a business case for investing in health IT; using digitized records to keep patients healthier over the long term doesn’t help the bottom line.

But another big part of the problem is that proprietary systems have earned a bad reputation in the medical community for the simple reason that they often don’t work very well. The programs are written by software developers who are far removed from the realities of practicing medicine. The result is systems which tend to create, rather than prevent, medical errors once they’re in the hands of harried health care professionals. The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals for safety, recently issued an unprecedented warning that computer technology is now implicated in an incredible 25 percent of all reported medication errors. Perversely, license agreements usually bar users of proprietary health IT systems from reporting dangerous bugs to other health care facilities. In open-source systems, users learn from each other’s mistakes; in proprietary ones, they’re not even allowed to mention them.

If proprietary health IT systems are widely adopted, even more drawbacks will come sharply into focus. The greatest benefits of health IT—and ones the Obama administration is counting on—come from the opportunities that are created when different hospitals and clinics are able to share records and stores of data with each other. Hospitals within the digitized VA system are able to deliver more services for less mostly because their digital records allow doctors and clinics to better coordinate complex treatment regimens. Electronic medical records also produce a large collection of digitized data that can be easily mined by managers and researchers (without their having access to the patients’ identities, which are privacy protected) to discover what drugs, procedures, and devices work and which are ineffective or even dangerous. For example, the first red flags about Vioxx, an arthritis medication that is now known to cause heart attacks, were raised by the VA and large private HMOs, which unearthed the link by mining their electronic records. Similarly, the IT system at the Mayo Clinic (an open-source one, incidentally) allows doctors to personalize care by mining records of specific patient populations. A doctor treating a patient for cancer, for instance, can query the treatment outcomes of hundreds of other patients who had tumors in the same area and were of similar age and family backgrounds, increasing odds that they choose the most effective therapy.

But in order for data mining to work, the data has to offer a complete picture of the care patients have gotten from all the various specialists involved in their treatment over a period of time. Otherwise it’s difficult to identify meaningful patterns or sort out confounding factors. With proprietary systems, the data is locked away in what programmers call “black boxes,” and cannot be shared across hospitals and clinics. (This is partly by design; it’s difficult for doctors to switch IT providers if they can’t extract patient data.) Unless patients get all their care in one facility or system, the result is a patchwork of digital records that are of little or no use to researchers. Significantly, since proprietary systems can’t speak to each other, they also offer few advantages over paper records when it comes to coordinating care across facilities. Patients might as well be schlepping around file folders full of handwritten charts.

Of course, not all proprietary systems are equally bad. A program offered by Epic Systems Corporation of Wisconsin rivals VistA in terms of features and functionality. When it comes to cost, however, open source wins hands down, thanks to no or low licensing costs. According to Dr. Scott Shreeve, who is involved in the VistA installations in West Virginia and elsewhere, installing a proprietary system like Epic costs ten times as much as VistA and takes at least three times as long—and that’s if everything goes smoothly, which is often not the case. In 2004, Sutter Health committed $154 million to implementing electronic medical records in all the twenty-seven hospitals it operated in Northern California using Epic software. The project was supposed to be finished by 2006, but things didn’t work out as planned. Sutter pulled the plug on the project in May of this year, having completed only one installation and facing remaining cost estimates of $1 billion for finishing the project. In a letter to employees, Sutter executives explained that they could no long afford to fund employee pensions and also continue with the Epic buildout.
U nfortunately, billions of taxpayers’ dollars are about to be poured into expensive, inadequate proprietary software, thanks to a provision in the stimulus package. The bill offers medical facilities as much as $64,000 per physician if they make “meaningful use” of “certified” health IT in the next year and a half, and punishes them with cuts to their Medicare reimbursements if they don’t do so by 2015. Obviously, doctors and health administrators are under pressure to act soon. But what is the meaning of “meaningful use”? And who determines which products qualify? These questions are currently the subject of bitter political wrangling.

Vendors of proprietary health IT have a powerful lobby, headed by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a group with deep ties to the Obama administration. (The chairman of HIMSS, Blackford Middleton, is an adviser to Obama’s health care team and was instrumental in getting money for health IT into the stimulus bill.) The group is not openly against open source, but last year when Rep. Pete Stark of California introduced a bill to create a low-cost, open-source health IT system for all medical providers through the Department of Health and Human Services, HIMSS used its influence to smash the legislation. The group is now deploying its lobbying clout to persuade regulators to define “meaningful use” so that only software approved by an allied group, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, qualifies. Not only are CCHIT’s standards notoriously lax, the group is also largely funded and staffed by the very industry whose products it is supposed to certify. Giving it the authority over the field of health IT is like letting a group controlled by Big Pharma determine which drugs are safe for the market.

Even if the proprietary health IT lobby loses the battle to make CCHIT the official standard, the promise of open-source health IT is still in jeopardy. One big reason is the far greater marketing power that the big, established proprietary venders can bring to bear compared to their open-source counterparts, who are smaller and newer on the scene. A group of proprietary industry heavyweights, including Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and Allscripts, is sponsoring the Electronic Health Record Stimulus Tour, which sends teams of traveling sales representatives to tell local doctors how they can receive tens of thousands of dollars in stimulus money by buying their products—provided that they “act now.” For those medical professionals who can’t make the show personally, helpful webcasts are available. The tour is a variation on a tried-and-true strategy: when physicians are presented with samples of pricey new name-brand substitutes for equally good generic drugs, time and again they start prescribing the more expensive medicine. And they are likely to be even more suggestible when it comes to software because most don’t know enough about computing to evaluate vendors’ claims skeptically.

What can be done to counter this marketing offensive and keep proprietary companies from locking up the health care IT market? The best and simplest answer is to take the stimulus money off the table, at least for the time being. Rather than shoveling $20 billion into software that doesn’t deliver on the promise of digital medicine, the government should put a hold on that money pending the results of a federal interagency study that will be looking into the potential of open-source health IT and will deliver its findings by October 2010.

As it happens, that study is also part of the stimulus bill. The language for it was inserted by West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has also introduced legislation that would help put open-source health IT on equal footing with the likes of Allscripts and Microsoft. Building on the systems developed by the VA and Indian Health Services, Rockefeller’s bill would create an open-source government-sponsored “public utility” that would distribute VistA-like software, along with grants to pay for installation and maintenance. The agency would also be charged with developing quality standards for open-source health IT and guidelines for interoperability. This would give us the low-cost, high-quality, fully integrated and proven health IT infrastructure we need in order to have any hope of getting truly better health care.

Delaying the spending of that $20 billion would undoubtedly infuriate makers of proprietary health software. But it would be welcomed by health care providers who have long resisted—partly for good reason—buying that industry’s product. Pushing them to do so quickly via the stimulus bill amounts to a giant taxpayer bailout of health IT companies whose business model has never really worked. That wouldn’t just be a horrendous waste of public funds; it would also lock the health care industry into software that doesn’t do the job and would be even more expensive to get rid of later.

As the administration and Congress struggle to pass a health care reform bill, questions about which software is best may seem relatively unimportant—the kind of thing you let the “tech guys” figure out. But the truth is that this bit of fine print will determine the success or failure of the whole health care reform enterprise. So it’s worth taking the time to get the details right.

The reason is becuase the Frederick County BOCC is telling Brunswick that growth areas INSIDE Brunswick City Limits cannot be ceveloped.  Nice try guys..but you can’t do that inside Brunswick’s city limits.  unlike Rosemont Brunwick is an incorporated municipality and has rights boverned by state law.  Only if the judges decides to summarily rewrite the law is the county going to be able to do this.

Rosemont, Knoxville and others are not incorporated so they relaly can’t do much..the judge may not see it that way though.

Municipalities across Frederick County plan to challenge a new county ordinance in court, according to the local chapter of the Maryland Municipal League.The ordinance, approved in November, will apply development restrictions related to school capacity on newly annexed properties.

via Towns, cities intend to sue county over new growth ordinance – The Frederick News-Post Online.

officially not a fan of the time of the year nov 20th through jan3rd. too much crap..too much choas..too much stress. Tired of bickering. I know it’s me…:) I’m weird like that..next year..this is going to be a stress free zone.

FOXNews.com – Get Ready for Health Care ‘Sticker Shock’.

REad the entire article.  for folks who have coverage you are going to pay more.  If you refuse they will make you pay in tax penalties…socialism in healthcare.  BTW remember that mammogram test they did?  They wanted to see if folks would accept that kind of rationing being voluntary.  That was an absolute no so it’s going to get forced on us.  For all you who voted these crooks in over and over..you are getting your just desserts and unfortunately the rest of us are having to pay..literally.

I guess this is a case of keep your friends close but keep your enemies(vets) closer?

At the end of fiscal 2008, approximately 480,000 veterans were employed within the federal government.

The Obama administration wants to boost that number significantly through the Veterans Employment Initiative the president established recently to recruit and train veterans and increase their numbers within the executive branch.

via Careers.

Ah yes.  If you complain you don’t know how it is supposed to work or you aren’t intelligent enough to know so trust me.  I don’t think so.  If you check out his sites they are “model” sites.  These kinds of sites simply post pictures of young girls in provocative poses or situations or dress.  They aren’t for legitimate commercial purposes.

In a phone interview Monday, Shipp said: “All people have to do is put in a request and I will take down their photo.” He said he can be reached at craig@craigshipp.com.

Shipp said he has no children and no journalism background. He said those complaining about the postings “don’t understand how the Internet works.”

Photos of cheerleaders and students younger than 18 taken at public events were posted under the banner of Frederick .com, Fredericknews.blogspot.com and USCute.com. They also appeared in Flickr groups tagged “PrettyFaces,” “10,” “pretty girl,” “everything beauty” and “perfect skin.”

All you have to do is look at sites that have this kind of tagging system on them.  they are either sites like shipp’s, legal but not really anything other than viewing for those interested in young girls, or outright pornography.

“The more links, the more traffic it generates to Frederick .com,” Shipp said. “If people knew how it works  they (would) understand why we’re doing it.”

I DO know how the internet works Mr. Shipp and your sites are a prelude to porn sites.  I’m not saying you are going the porn route but sites like yours are a “legal” way to get traffic while explooiting young girls.

Shipp has not been accused of anything illegal and does not have any nudity on his websites. He also cautioned that anyone could do what he has done.

Yes anyone can…and folks like us who do not want those types of photos can do what has been done.  There’s one issue.  Once those photos are out there they are out there forever now. The fact shipp has removed them from his sites doesn’t mean they are actually gone.

“Cheerleaders shouldn’t go out for the team if they’re concerned about having their picture taken,” Shipp said. “And girls shouldn’t dress in a way that brings attention to them in public if they’re not proud of the way they look.”

Does anyone see a massive red flag here?  It’s not the fact their pictures were taken it’s how they were photographed that’s the issue.  While i was not able to find many of the photos in question in the mess of them the ones i did see were not girls wearing fishnets, or exposing a ton of skin.  Most of the ones i found the girls were covered up.

via Under scrutiny, website owner removes cheerleading photos from site – The Frederick News-Post Online.

Concerned About Privacy? You&apos;re Probably up to no Good, Says Google CEO

via DailyTech – Concerned About Privacy? You’re Probably up to no Good, Says Google CEO.

Vox Popoli: Secret Copenhagen.

This so called leaked document isn’t the real deal.  This one and the feigned outrage is a feint…the REAL action is what we don’t see.  they want to get the rick countries to pay carbon taxes to not the UN but the IMF or another world banking entity to setup a world government.  This leak is simply a feint.

Caviar Scoffing, CO2 Belching, Prostitute Molesting Climate Crooks Convene For The Mass Raping.

Big Oil Behind Copenhagen Climate Scam.

Vox Popoli: Predictable consequences.

I don’t need to add antyhing to this post by Vox.

After pointing out “three out of five jobs in the state are created by small and family-owned businesses,” O&apos;Malley outlined plans to help businesses gain more access to credit by creating the Maryland Small Business Credit Recover Program which offers loan guarantees; proposed a Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit to give businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every unemployed worker it hires; and pledged to introduce emergency legislation to resolve the increased rate impact small businesses face next year for the Unemployment Trust Fund.

via Governor unveils plans to help small businesses.

It looks good on paper but i can guarantee you it costs much more than 3k/yr to hire an employee.

Folks who call the sites mentioned in this article model sites aren’t.  They put photos of girls on there is a very provocative way.  It’s almost always the first step in exploitation.  I have met this man and he gave me the jitters but i thought he was nothing more than “a little off”.  While nothing here is proof…yet..i’ll keep an eye on this guy much more closely from now on.

USCute.blogspot.com

via Website owner under FCPS scrutiny for photos of high school cheerleaders – The Frederick News-Post Online.

The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step Monday toward regulating greenhouses gases, concluding that climate changing pollution threatens the public health and the environment.

The announcement came as the Obama administration looked to boost its arguments at an international climate conference that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation. The conference opened Monday in Copenhagen

via EPA: Greenhouse gases are harmful – Climate Change- msnbc.com.

If this healthcare overhaul was so great CON-gress would not ahve to resort to this kind of childish behavior.

FOXNews.com – Reid Compares Opponents of Health Care Reform to Supporters of Slavery.

Now CO2 is NOT a danger to life it sustains it.  This however is waaaay to ironic.

Carbonhagen: World Leaders Drive to Climate Summit in Gas-Guzzling Luxury Fleet – International News | News of the World | Middle East Noews | Europe News – FOXNews.com.

Carbonhagen: World Leaders Drive to Climate Summit in Gas-Guzzling Luxury Fleet

Monday , December 07, 2009

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World leaders and VIPs began pouring into Copenhagen Monday morning for the city’s long-awaited climate summit, arriving in style in a fleet of gas-guzzling limos and luxury cars.

Most delegates to the climate change conference haven’t exactly been hoofing their way to Denmark’s capital, swarming the city’s airport with 140 private jets, 1,200 hired limousines and a carbon footprint the size of a small country.

Video shot on the scene Monday shows squads of new arrivals at the green gathering pulling up in BMWs, Mercedes Benzes, sleek Volvos and plush Jaguars. A bus reserved for the delegates rode along empty outside the conference center.

Click here to see the video from Americans for Prosperity.

The head of Copenhagen’s biggest limo company says her business usually has a dozen cars on the road. But during the conference — which has been billed as the last best chance to save the environment — she’ll have 200 vehicles churning out fumes, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention,” Majken Friss Jorgensen told the newspaper. “But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report.”

France alone has ordered 42 vehicles, she said, and the auto supply in Denmark is very quickly drying up. To make up for shortages, Jorgensen and her competitors are bringing in lines of limos from as far away as Germany and Sweden.

“We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfill the demand,” she said, adding that just five cars in her fleet will be environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles, which are almost impossible to procure in tax-heavy Denmark.

Once the estimated 30,000 delegates, activists, protesters and members of the press arrive this week and next, they’ll find a sumptuous and steeply priced spread awaiting them.

Expensive hotels are sold out, and the conference organizers have been busy laying 560 miles of computer cable and 50,000 square miles of carpet, according to the Times of London.

The conference center hosting the meetings has set up four “climate kitchens” to cook healthy, organic meals for attendees, but they aren’t coming cheap.

Visitors ordering the regular meal will get finger sandwiches, a quiche, some cheese and dessert, but those going “deluxe” get a mini croissant, canape with smoked salmon, mini pizzas, fancy cheese and some pineapple in chocolate — all for an estimated $40 a person.

The whole conference rings up at just under $215 million, according to a report from the U.K.-based Taxpayers’ Alliance, which argued that even though delegates to the climate conference don’t expect to emerge with any signed commitments, they’re still doing potential damage by making their two-week visit.

Conference organizers have gone the whole nine yards seeking to offset the Copenhagen carbon crunch (the U.N. estimates an output of 41,000 tons of gas), using energy-efficient lights, powering the proceedings with a giant wind turbine, and offering visitors recycled materials instead of wasteful plastic water bottles. They’ve also purchased carbon offsets to help manage the output from their 12-day affair.

But Matthew Sinclair, the research director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said their presence means that “a huge amount of money is going to be spent on the summit, and thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emitted to get there, just to give the delegates a good photo opportunity.”

The real second wave doesn’t hit until the 2010 resets of the rest of the sub prime market(which includes quite a bit of commercial) resets in 2010.

‘Second wave’ of foreclosures continues to rise

Wheaton homeowner saved moments before his home goes on the auction block

In a matter of months, Wheaton resident Constantine David lost his wife of 23 years through divorce, his job as a private translator when he was laid off and therefore both the incomes that were paying for his split-level Connecticut Avenue Estates home.

He approached his bank, which was then Chevy Chase Bank and is now folded into Capital One Financial, in late 2007 to refinance his loan. He figured that a more affordable loan could help him better support his two children while he searched for a new job, David said.

But Chevy Chase wouldn’t negotiate. In the meantime, David paid too little too late and fell behind on his mortgage three months in a row. He received a foreclosure notice in January 2008. By June of that year, a lawyer advised a still-unemployed David to file for bankruptcy. That didn’t move along talks either: By filing for bankruptcy, David took the case to court, so the court must decide the outcome, David said bank officials told him.

“The bank is not talking to me, because I became the enemy,” David said.

A former diplomat unversed in the nuances of mortgage loans, David scrambled for help from area nonprofits and county agencies. All were too overwhelmed to take his call, so it took weeks for someone to return his message and months to assign him a counselor, he said.

Despair eroded his hope as the knocks on his door became louder.

“Foreclosure became imminent. It seemed to be the only way out of this situation,” David said.

David is one of a rising number of longtime homeowners whose cushy lives have been turned upside down by the foreclosure crisis. Dubbed the “second wave” of foreclosures by housing experts, many homeowners who made all their payments on time are suddenly struggling after losing their jobs in the cascading economy.

The second wave continues to rise even as the first one, comprised mostly of sub-prime mortgages, has yet to subside, creating fresh chaos for already overworked home-counseling agencies and uprooting longtime residents of solid neighborhoods, experts say.

But where the new foreclosure dilemma truly lies is in many banks’ unwillingness to renegotiate loans for people like David, some experts say.

“The banks don’t bring anything to the table,” said Farida Muhammad, a foreclosure counselor with the Montgomery County chapter of Home Free USA, a nonprofit homeownership development organization.

“We don’t have the power,” added Muhammad, who worked with David. “The power’s in the investor and what they decide to do with the loan.”

David and Muhammad struggled to reach a Chevy Chase official who could hear out his hardship case. In the meantime, David found a $12-an-hour job stocking shelves at CVS. But what little money David could save to start paying off his mortgage didn’t help, because the bank refused to take partial payment, David said. As the delinquent payments piled up, Chevy Chase announced it was putting his house up for auction Nov. 18 on the steps of Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.

Situations like David’s are complicated and demand an equally complex answer—preferably before foreclosure is imminent, said Richard Nelson, the director of the county’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Unfortunately, banks are reluctant to sit down with homeowners before a foreclosure notice is sent out—and oftentimes just as reluctant after, he said.

“The banks are the last ones to realize what new approaches are necessary to solve this problem,” Nelson said. “The question I have is: … When do they realize it cost them more to go into foreclosure than it does to help settle with the borrower?”

In late 2008, Capital One purchased Chevy Chase. Julie Rakes, a spokeswoman for Capital One, wrote in an e-mail to the Gazette on Nov. 23 that “…it has always been our policy to work with borrowers who experience financial distress and to offer relief alternatives when appropriate. For customers experiencing financial challenges, we work to reduce the monthly repayment burden for those who qualify for assistance.”

She declined to elaborate on how and when Capital One offers to renegotiate loans.

Since 2007, some 2,060 Montgomery County homes were foreclosed on and purchased by banks, and more than 12,000 were at some stage of the process, Nelson said.

But banks have been even more difficult to work with in the second wave of foreclosures, Nelson said. In the third quarter of 2009, which began in July and ended in September, 864 properties received notices they were late on their mortgages, 986 homeowners were told by their bank that their home would be sold in an foreclosure auction and 368 were acquired by the bank, according to Nelson’s stats.

David awoke the morning of Nov. 18 prepared to become yet another number.

“I was not just angry. I was devastated,” he said. “I thought I would go to the highest building possible and … pretend I was going to jump.”

But a phone call from his foreclosure counselor confirmed what he hadn’t dared to hope: Capital One had suddenly agreed to make a new offer at the very last minute.

He arrived at the foreclosure auction anyway, just to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

“They were highly unpredictable,” he explained. “For nine months, they weren’t willing to speak with me.”

When investors skipped over his home at the auction, his taut face relaxed into a loose smile.

But he remained hesitant to accept his good fortune: “One thing is they can tell you that [they’ll negotiate],” he said. “Another thing is they can stab you in the back.”

Several weeks later, a happy David answered his home phone. Capital One had made an offer he could afford. If he made every payment on time for three months, the offer would become permanent.

“People in good faith did not know me but had sympathy,” he said on how his problem got solved. No one involved in his case really understood the bank’s change of heart, David said, and Capital One declined to comment on individual cases.

Many housing officials know David’s story is a rare success.

The only way to ensure there are more cases like David’s is to engage in full, pre-emptive talks among banks, homeowners, local governments and foreclosure counselors. At least one of those entities is usually unwilling to cooperate and the rest are overwhelmed, he said.

And if unemployment continues to rise, there’s no limit to how many more people could be in his shoes and just how big this second wave of foreclosures could be, Nelson said.

“I don’t think we’re at a crest,” he said. “I think we’re going to see a lot over the course of the next year.”

hte rest of

‘Second wave’ of foreclosures continues to rise.

Salahis join lengthy list of security breaches – Washington Post- msnbc.com.

Salahis join lengthy list of security breaches

Salahis not the first pair to break through tight security around president
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post
updated 7:04 a.m. ET, Mon., Dec . 7, 2009

//

Long before a pair of gate-crashers penetrated a White House state dinner, the Secret Service had detailed for its internal use a lengthy list of security breaches dating to the Carter administration — including significant failures in the agency’s protection of the president.

A summary of a secret 2003 report obtained by The Washington Post, along with descriptions of more recent incidents by federal homeland security officials, places Tareq and Michaele Salahi squarely in a rogues’ gallery of autograph hounds, publicity seekers, unstable personalities and others identified by the Secret Service as defeating its checkpoints at least 91 times since 1980.

The document, the most complete accounting of recent Secret Service security breakdowns, includes officers mistakenly admitting to the White House grounds a family in a minivan, a man believed to be a delivery driver, and a woman previously known to agents after she had falsely claimed a “special relationship” with Bill Clinton.

The only assailant to injure a president in the past three decades was John W. Hinckley Jr., who shot and wounded Ronald Reagan in 1981 from outside the security perimeter established by the Secret Service.

Nevertheless, the list of security breaches exposes significant gaps that could be exploited by would-be assassins, the document states, and erode “one of the best tools for deterring future attempts” — the aura of invulnerability around the White House.

A Secret Service official confirmed the authenticity of the unclassified document, which was a 39-slide presentation, and said it had been used to train agents and officers in an effort to improve agency operations. “This document reflects a proactive attempt to evaluate our security and obviously raises the awareness of uniformed division officers and agents about their jobs,” spokesman Edwin Donovan said. “We have to be concerned about the threats to our protectees at all times, whether at the White House or away from the White House.”

Donovan noted that in 2008 alone, the agency successfully protected 34 top U.S. leaders and 222 U.N. General Assembly dignitaries, as well as some of the officials’ spouses and relatives, at thousands of locations in the United States and abroad.

The agency is entering what it calls a sustained period of elevated “international, domestic and individual” threats, protecting Barack Obama, the country’s first African American president, and its two most recent wartime leaders, former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

After the appearance at last month’s state dinner by the Salahis, the Secret Service has launched a criminal investigation into the couple and a sweeping internal review of security procedures. Offering a rare public apology for the incident, the agency’s director, Mark Sullivan, characterized it as a “pure and simple . . . case of human error” in which three uniformed officers let the well-dressed Salahis pass through gates on a rainy night without confirming their names on a guest list.

A disturbing picture
The historical list of perimeter breaches indicates that intruders have reached the president or another person under Secret Service protection eight times since 1980, including the Salihis. Four of the incidents involved the same man.

The summary paints a disturbing picture of how difficult it is to stop determined intruders — often mentally ill — even as it notes that violent or commando-style raids have not occurred, and that terrorists or organized adversaries are unlikely to risk a head-on attack.

Then-Director Brian Stafford commissioned the review in 2001 after the service was humiliated for a third time by the most notorious presidential gate-crasher, Richard C. Weaver, who evaded inauguration security to shake George W. Bush’s hand. Weaver, a California minister, had previously infiltrated a 1991 prayer breakfast attended by then-President George H.W. Bush, and Clinton’s 1997 inaugural luncheon. He approached the younger Bush again at a prayer breakfast in 2003 before being arrested.

“I believe God makes me invisible to the security, undetectable,” Weaver told reporters. The Secret Service concluded that Weaver succeeded by manipulating others to obtain tickets, telling guards he was lost or looking for a restroom, and generally “appearing as [if] you are supposed to be there,” as the Salahis apparently did.

Tightened White House security measures — after the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing, and the Sept. 11, 2001 , terrorist attacks — have reduced the number of intruders able to break through Secret Service protective lines, an agency official said.

But recent presidents have continued to face dangers, particularly overseas. In May 2005, a man outside the presidential security zone threw a live grenade within 100 feet of George W. Bush in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it failed to detonate because it was wrapped too tightly in a handkerchief. In July 2003, a stowaway traveled with the White House press corps without credentials for two days from South Africa to Uganda, causing Air Force One to be searched when the subject claimed on arrest that he had brought weapons.

In 1994, a pilot was killed when he crashed a small plane on the White House grounds, and another man was subdued as he fired 29 rounds from a semiautomatic rifle toward the executive mansion from outside the Pennsylvania Avenue fence.

Less-serious threats
The Salahi case underscores that less-serious, lesser-known violations also persist. In an October 1982 case dubbed “The Family Outing,” James Douglas Imes, 38, his wife and two sons drove to the White House in a minivan, honked their horn and were let on to the grounds. Officers were confused because another gate was broken, then assumed the family was authorized until they neared the Oval Office entrance.

Christian K. Hughes, 37 — nicknamed “The Paper Boy” — drove through an open White House gate in January 1987 because an officer assumed he was a deliveryman. At the North Porch, Hughes gave a second unsuspecting officer a pair of handcuffs, asked to see the chief of staff, then drove past additional posts before he was stopped.

In November 1994, celebrity-chaser Stephan O. Winick, 29, joined actor Harrison Ford’s entourage in an elevator as the group was escorted through metal detectors to meet Clinton at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.

The report notes that one-third of the intruders had cased their targets beforehand, more than four in 10 were previously known to federal agencies, eight had announced their intent, and three were subjects of Secret Service lookouts.

A notorious example of the latter was Mary D’Aiuto, 27, who was known to agents as someone who believed she had a relationship with Clinton and repeatedly had tried to contact him. Nevertheless, she was able to get on the White House lawn during the 1998 Easter Egg Roll and was photographed repeatedly.

The report also mentions a success by the agency in preventing an intrusion. In 2002, the Secret Service repeatedly interviewed and put under 24-hour surveillance Dion Rich, self-avowed “world’s greatest gate-crasher,” after he said he had sneaked into the first post-9/11 Super Bowl and bragged he would attend the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, where the Secret Service was in charge of security.

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URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34308956/ns/politics-washington_post/

Salisbury News: The Ladies Room.

Oh my gosh.  I thought this was a total right.

Chairman O and America’s Great Leap Forward.

I saw this on the Salisbury News blog and followed it.  How amazingly similar they are indeed.   It is yet to be seen if obama is going to be a bloody as Stalin and Mao were.

Salisbury News: EPA Poised To Declare CO2 A Public Danger, With Or Without Legislation.

This is a total act of desperation by the usama obama camp.  Obama has shown he can’t tow his own city much less the country.  Of course it’s hard to tow the country when you are busy bowing in submission to other despots and monarchs.  Never mind that we and all life on earth is…wait a second..ready for this one?  CARBON BASED!

Meet Obama’s climate ‘experts’.

‘Adapt or die’ becomes climate mantra – Climate Change- msnbc.com.

Kinda hard for global warming to raise the sea level when the earth is cooling now ain’t it?

Talk about your global warming . . . When an estimated 16,500 delegates, activists and reporters descend upon Copenhagen Monday for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, a lot of hot air will follow.

The U.N. estimates the 12-day conference will create 40,584 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, roughly the same amount as the carbon emissions of Morocco in 2006.

Those greenhouse gas emissions are comprised of two parts: international travel and local emissions from hotels and transportation venues. Organizers will also reportedly lay 900 kilometers of computer cable and 50,000 square miles of carpet, along with more than 200,000 meals to be served and 200,000 cups of coffee.

via Copenhagen Climate Conference to Create ‘Huge’ Carbon Footprint – United Nations – FOXNews.com.

One word:

gotomeeting

Are Large Dams Altering Extreme Weather Patterns? – Biology | Astronomy | Chemistry | Physics – FOXNews.com.

Given how the climatgate files have exposed these folks as frauds unless i see the data myself this is simply another climate fear mongering scam trying to be perpetrated on us.

Winners and losers in the GE/NBC Universal/Comcast deal « The Cody Word.

It’s an interesting take..and he’s most likely right.  the Time Warner/AOL suicide pact was sold the same way this one is being sold.  Don’t be surprised if in about 5-10 years this all falls apart with Comcast in bankruptcy or worse.

GM Resignation Open Thread | The Big Picture.

I’ll tell you what it is.  These folks don’t like being told you are going to run a multi-billion dollar giant, deal with constant gov’t interference, dealing with all the other gov’t regs imposed on your company, and then be told oh yeah you are going to make 500k or less per year.  I would tell him to go suck an egg really fast.

Lawsuit roils Rosemont – The Frederick News-Post Online.

From the reports I have seen the Rosemont pipes were installed the feds.  If that is truly the case Rosemont doesn’t have a leg to stand on..at least until the courts give their own interpretation.

GE, Vivendi reportedly reach deal on NBC – Media biz- msnbc.com.

Remember the Time Warner AOL disaster?  Luckily for TW they managed to offload AOL before it killed them entirely.  This is going to means even more restrictions on everything Comcast controls.  They have been putting the screws down on their internet service..i expect this to only get worse now.