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Sunday, March 27, 2011

CSN Science Expo Friday April 8

Sunday Morning News and Views

On this date March 27, 1868. Patty Smith Hill was born. Who? She was the teacher and later principle, penned “Good Morning to You”, the melody of which became “Happy Birthday to you.” The song she created with her sister is now used internationally, and is protected by copyright (you cannot sing it in public without risk of legal action, which is why large food chains come up with other birthday greetings to sing to guests).

In Los Angeles Thousands of union leaders and workers marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, vowing and shouting that they would fight for organized labor
after recent union setbacks in Wisconsin. Police estimated that 8,000 people attended yesterday's protest that ended with a rally at Pershing Square.

It’s not your imagination or the return of the flu…Very high pollen counts in Clark County.
We are far from being out of recession waters, as Las Vegas recovery remains slow. A study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says fewer visitors gambled in 2010 than in 2009, and they each spent less wagering on games like craps, slots and blackjack. The agency that promotes tourism in Las Vegas says 80 percent of visitors spent an average of just over $466 gambling during their trips last year, compared with 83 percent gambling nearly $482 each in 2009. The study says visitors also spent a little less time gambling -just under 3 hours per day in 2010 compared with 3.2 hours per day in 2009. The gambling spending bucked trends for other spending in 2010. Visitors spent slightly more last year on hotel rooms, food and drink, transportation, shopping, shows and sightseeing than in 2009.

Silver hit a 31 year high this week, yet the state that has the second largest silver reserve and is the second largest provider of silver in the world is left threatening to shut down schools, make deep and drastic cuts in all state services and continue to coddle the mining industry that wrote the original Nevada Constitution.

The government says next year should see the first Social Security cost of living increase since 2009. But for most beneficiaries, rising Medicare premiums threaten to wipe out any increase in payments. About 45 million people receive both Medicare and Social Security.

Nine economists agree that US Debt will have very significant impact on economic growth. While stimulus is needed to help with jobs (7 of the 9 agree say the US should increase stimulus and investment in regaining our dominance on industry and jobs), in the long run we need to watch depths. As the population ages social security, but to an even greater extent Medicare and Medicaid, will grow exponentially as medical costs increase and larger and large numbers of Americans are using or drawing on the benefits (entitlements). 

The approach taken by the Tea Party and the more adamant among the Congress, based on only understanding part of the report, ignoring the reality that the economics is far more complex than they paint it. Taxes will be needed, along with cuts in other areas inkling so called entitlements. 

Taxes are only one potential mechanism, with taxes almost certainly having to be significantly raised on the very wealthy, but taxes alone will not work to slow or stop the debt. Health care reform will slow deficit increase, causing it to shrink yet not enough to make a significant among against the non-medical portions of the deficit. 

We are on a slow recovery path, close to the historic average, however far greater growth will be needed to come close to slowing deficit increases. Oil and food prices have a significant effect on slowing growth, and will contribute to deficit growth. The bottom line for the nine ecumenists….deal with the reality that medical costs will go up and may bankrupt the country if not dealt with in far more radical ways than health care reform, stop spending on optional projects, ask people to pay their fair share in taxes instead of always promising low taxes and reductions, and realize that short term band aids need to be removed once the economy is on the right growth track again or there will be no long term solutions.

]Major changes in Libya overnight as the rebels have done on a rapid offensive, so far finding Gadhafi’s mercenary forces retreating for fear of being attacked by NATO and the Coalition. International leaders are even more uncertain about the future of the no-fly zone and other US authorized actions should the rebels have to attack areas populated by civilians or where human shields voluntarily or involuntarily protect military installations.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he doesn't think Libya is "a vital interest" for the United States, but he does say the North African nation is part of a region that's of vital American interest. Gates tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that "we clearly have interests" in Libya, though he doesn't believe it's a vital American interest. President Barack Obama, who's scheduled a speech Monday about Libya, used his weekend radio address to explain his decision to take military action against Moammar Gadhafi. Obama said that when innocent people are being "brutalized" and when a leader such as Gadhafi threatens "a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region" and when other countries are ready to help save lives, then it's in "our national interest to act."

This week’s census report shows that between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population grew dramatically nationally, with major impact on western and select southern states. Growth in percentage of population was highest in industrial cities in the Midwest and North Eastern US.  Asians have a similarly high percentage growth, however much lower in actual numbers. African Americans are lower in percent of population, with the largest drop being in areas hit hardest by the recession, including California. Caucasian or “white” population remains the national majority; however there is a flaw in the count methodology that brings into the doubt the actual decline in Caucasian numbers. For one, many Americans are now self identified, or multi-cultural. The tendency is to respond the way you think is wanted on census forms when asked to choose between the multi-facets of your background or culture. Many ethnic groups, which still have strong roots in American or from countries that still feed immigrants into America, are rolled into the “Caucasian” where once they were separated on Census data. While marketing professionals and professional pundits may still use Census numbers as “proof” or “tools” the actual value of ethnic or racial breakdowns may be more in the minds of the number counters than reality.

Minuscule amounts of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plant have reached Las Vegas, but scientists say it poses no health risk. Scientists say they aren't surprised that radioactive isotopes from Japan have been detected in the Western states. An environmental scientist with Reno-based DRI says if they get caught in the right wind pattern, they'll move across the ocean.

It is hard to believe what is true when it comes to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster in Japan. The cultural system is complex and rewards caution, and officials who work with the industries they are suppose to regulate to assure life time positions after they leave the government.

Officials say a measurement showing a huge spike in radiation levels at a stricken Japanese nuclear complex was a mistake. The readings, which showed water testing 10 million times higher in radioactivity than normal in the reactor's cooling system, drove workers to flee. On Sunday night, though, plant operators said that while the water was contaminated with radiation, the extremely high reading was inaccurate. "The number is not credible," said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. "We are very sorry."

One tragic fact is true; the death toll now tops 10,500, with over 10,000 still on the missing list.

It’s the first full week of fall in Christchurch, New Zealand, which is still recovering from the major earthquake there. The city has yet to be rebuilt and their stadium is not safe for use. The city will lose even more money as major Rugby and Soccer events are moved to other cities, including a major event set for today.

This month, federal agents arrested the leadership of the New Mexico border town of Columbus--the mayor, police chief and a councilman--on suspicion of purchasing more than 200 high-powered weapons for sale to a Mexican drug cartel. It's the most brazen case yet in a wave of gun running cases that point up the ease with which guns are purchased in the US and smuggled to the mafia in Mexico.

30 years ago this Wednesday an assassination attempt on President Reagan came closer to taking his life than we will ever know, gravely wounding Press Secretary James Brady and gave us the Brady Bill. The Secret Service actions that day not only saved Brady’s life, but radio transcripts and the investigation that followed confirm, the presidents. The lessons learned from the assassination of President Kennedy and later his brother Bobby paid off.  Bringing Ronald Reagan and Brady to an emergency trauma center, rather than the closest emergency room or the White House, saved both their lives. The elderly Reagan had lost a great deal of blood. The president looked at those in the operating room and said “I hope you are all Republicans”…remembers the Democrat surgeon who the responded “today Mr. President, we are all Americans. The even later impacted Regan in very positive ways, bringing support for the president who survived an assassination attempt and joked about it, even when he was near death.

Proposed budget cuts in Nevada could jeopardize the trauma center of UMC in Nevada, 
the only Trauma Center between Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Starbucks is set to overtake McDonalds, Subway and Dunkin Donuts as the dominant American 
brand worldwide, with rapid growth in China and India.

Netflix announced this week that it had secured a deal to run an original television series 
"House of Cards" -- on its internet streaming service. 
Muslim Americans have been disappointed for years by the way they are portrayed in film and television. Ever since 9/11, they've been lobbying Hollywood to create more accurate representations of Muslims. They've had some success, but now they are now trying a new tactic, creating better characters themselves. They're working with veteran writers and producers who are teaching Muslims how to write for TV and film themselves. KNPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday this morning offered a feature look at the remaking of the Muslim image.