The shooting and near death of President Reagan on that March afternoon provides another occasion for reflection on the radical contingency of human affairs and for counterfactual "what-if" speculation. What if Winston Churchill had been killed when he was struck by a taxi on Fifth Avenue in New York in 1932? What if Oswald had missed his target in Dallas? Most such speculations are ultimately fatuous, but in the case of Ronald Reagan one can speculate with confidence that the "Reagan revolution" as it came to be known would not have been consummated under the presidency of George H.W. Bush. . .
One of the quips Reagan scribbled on a note pad after waking up after surgery was Winston Churchill's famous line from his autobiography My Early Life that "there is no more exhilarating feeling than being shot at without result." But the bullets missed Churchill. While Reagan survived his bullet, it was not without "result." In addition to the severe pain of his wounds (whose treatment required strong medication including morphine), Reagan contracted a staph infection in the hospital that was as life threatening as the bullet wound. He had to be placed back on oxygen and given powerful antibiotics. Three days after the shooting House Speaker Tip O'Neill was the first outsider to visit Reagan in the hospital. "He was in terrific pain, much more serious than anybody thought," O'Neill said. In an extraordinary moment, O'Neill, in tears, knelt next to Reagan's bedside, held the president's hand, and recited the 23rd Psalm with Reagan in prayer.
Although Reagan returned to the White House after 13 days in the hospital, his working hours were severely curtailed for weeks. Al Haig, one of Reagan's first visitors back at the White House, said "I was shocked when I saw him. He was a shell of his old self." It would be two months before he worked a full day. His personal physician said that he didn't think Reagan fully recovered until October, seven months later. Reagan never mentioned his discomfort. His only complaint was that he wouldn't be able to ride a horse for a while.
When President Obama visited China in 2009, Huntsman told at least three top White House officials that he supported what the administration was doing domestically, including health reform, according to a person who was there. Opposition to “Obamacare” is one of the most potent issues among GOP primary voters, making this stance quite problematic. The strategist contends that as Utah governor, Huntsman championed “a free-market health-care plan, and is in line with the vast majority of Republicans and independents.”
Norby, who also spoke at the conference, said redevelopment has become a form of corporate welfare and that some agencies had abused their powers of eminent domain to seize private property.
...Let’s face it, if you refuse to pay a dope dealer, and he shoots you dead, how is that anybody’s fault but your own?
Either pay the man, or don’t do dope. It’s really not complicated.
But the lowlife scum have difficulty coping with even these uncomplicated rules of street life.
It’s kind of a rarity on The First 48 for the victim to be entirely innocent. Not that anybody deserves to be murdered, but a majority of the victims in the cases featured on the show end up dead because, at the very least, they were hanging out with lowlife scum.
Lowlife scum with “street names”: Avoid them, and your chances of getting murdered are significantly decreased.
"We have to find more revenue or more and more drastic cuts, and certainly the next round of cuts will be much more painful and much more disruptive than the cuts to date," he said. "I want the people of California to understand we are in a serious bind here and we are going to get more revenues or get some drastic cutbacks."
During the 30-minute news conference, Brown's tone varied. At times he was optimistic, but he also leaned hard on Republicans.
"It's shocking they can say so cavalierly, 'Shut up, you have no right (to vote)'," he said at one point. "I have beseeched (Republicans) to give the people the right to vote on what California should look like over the next several years ... I think this is bigger than the Democratic Party, this is bigger than the Republican Party or the Legislature."
This is a Potemkin coalition, far smaller than the one that fought in either Afghanistan or Iraq, notwithstanding loud proclamations to the contrary. We are not even done with the first week of bombing, and yet no one seems in charge: What body/country/alliance determines targets, issues communiques, or coordinates diplomacy? The U.K. goes after Qaddafi, and we plead “They did it, not us”? Again, fairly or not, the impression is that Obama dressed up preponderant American intervention under a multicultural fig leaf, earning the downsides of both. A loud multilateral effort could be wise diplomacy, but not if it translates into a desire to subordinate American options and profile to European and international players that are not commensurately shouldering the burden — and not if all this is cynically used to advance a welcomed new unexceptional American profile.
When we talk of “European leadership,” we mean the U.K. and France, not Germany, Italy, or most of the EU. When we talk of the “Arab League,” we mean essentially zero military assets. And when we talk of the “U.N.,” we mean zero blue-helmeted troops. So, like it or not, there is a level of understandable cynicism that suspects Obama’s new paradigm of multilateral, international action is simply the same-old, same-old, albeit without the advantages that accrue when America is unapologetic about its leadership role, weathers the criticism, and insists on the options and prerogatives that a superpower must demand in war by virtue of its power and sacrifice.
One public employee received a $594,976 lump-sum payment from the state when he retired last year; another got $553,253.
The two - a surgeon and a dentist who provided care to prison inmates - topped the list of some 300 state employees who left or retired from their state jobs in 2010 and collected six-figure payments for unused vacation and other paid time off accumulated during their careers, according to records obtained from the state controller's office.
The records reflect a widespread failure by the state to control the amount of paid time off that employees amass. State policy caps the number of vacation hours an employee is allowed to bank at 640 hours - or 16 weeks - and sometimes higher for public safety workers. But many agencies do not enforce the limits.
Controller's data shows that in 2010, California paid $293 million in lump-sum payments to 20,048 state workers who retired or left. But while some checks were as low as 41 cents, others were for hundreds of thousands of dollars - reflecting months upon months, or in some cases years, of banked leave.
UC Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering continues to collect air samples for any sign of radiation. On Friday, they also collected rain to see if any radioactive particles fell from the sky.
Air samples collected on Thursday night on the roof of UC Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering failed to show any significant levels of radioactivity, and then came the rain.
"The rain is a very efficient way to wash out activity in the atmosphere and get the potential activity down to us. So this is actually a much more sensitive and efficient way for sampling," Professor Professor Kai Vetter from the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering said.
The levels may be slightly higher. According Vetter, there again he sees nothing to worry about. UC Berkeley nuclear engineers also demonstrated why it's impossible for the fuel rods in Japan to catch on fire. They exposed a piece of cladding, just like the ones found in the Japanese reactor cores to 2,000 degrees Celsius. If the cladding burnt, the nuclear fuel inside would send huge amounts of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.
"It's worse, much worse to have it on fire. The fire and the smoke become a way to spread the material that's inside," Professor Charles Yeamans from the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering said.
The test proved the rods, while they would suffer some damage, would not catch on fire. The Japanese reactors have another layer of protection, pools of water that act as moderators unlike Chernobyl which had graphite.
President Barack Obama demanded Friday that Moammar Gadhafi halt all military attacks on civilians and said that if the Libyan leader did not stand down the United States would join other nations in launching military action against him.
But the president also stressed the United States "is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya."
In a brief appearance at the White House, Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would travel to Paris on Saturday to join allies in discussing next steps in Libya, where Gadhafi has pressed a brutal crackdown against rebels trying to end his 42-year reign.
Stressing that the United States was acting in concert with European allies and Arab nations, the president said, "Our goal is focused, our cause is just and our coalition is strong."
Obama's remarks came less than 24 hours after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action — including a "no-fly zone" over Libya — to prevent the killing of civilians by Gadhafi's forces.
"I commend the president for his leadership and prudence on how our nation will proceed in regards to Libya and work in concert with European and Arab allies to address the crisis," she said in a written statement.
In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."
How's that for progress?
The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren't as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates.
The federal government first issued energy standards for washers in the early 1990s. When the Department of Energy ratcheted them up a decade later, it was the beginning of the end for top-loaders. Their costlier and harder-to-use rivals—front-loading washing machines—were poised to dominate.
Front-loaders meet federal standards more easily than top-loaders. Because they don't fully immerse their laundry loads, they use less hot water and therefore less energy. But, as Americans are increasingly learning, front-loaders are expensive, often have mold problems, and don't let you toss in a wayward sock after they've started.
Voters swept Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez out of office by a stunning margin Tuesday, capping a dramatic collapse for a politician who was given increased authority by voters four years ago to clean up much-maligned county government but was ushered out in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history.
The spectacular fall from power comes after two years of missteps, ranging from granting top staffers big pay hikes to construction of a publicly funded stadium for the Florida Marlins to implementation of a property-tax rate increase that outraged an electorate struggling through an ugly recession.
Alvarez tried to fend off ouster by twice filing suit to block a recall vote. After the lawsuits went nowhere, he defended his record in speeches, radio and television appearances and paid advertisements, arguing that he made the tough calls to preserve vital services for residents.
But voters responded by handing the mayor a humiliating defeat: Nearly nine of every 10 voted to remove Alvarez from office.
“The voters have spoken and a time of healing and reconciliation must now begin,’’ Alvarez said in a statement Tuesday night. “No matter which side of the recall issue, one thing is certain: We all care very deeply about this community… I wish the next mayor of Miami-Dade County much success.”
NORTHAMPTON, Mass (Reuters) – A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.
"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.
"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.
To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.
The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.
Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities," built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.
Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added.
The team's findings will be unveiled on Sunday in "Finding Atlantis," a new National Geographic Channel special.
While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain in Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain's southern coast.
"We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.
Oakland, whose thriving African American community for decades shaped black identity for the nation, lost nearly a quarter of its black population in the past decade, U.S. Census data shows.
Now, Oakland has nearly as many white people as it does African American. It also has nearly as many Latinos.
The exodus left the city with a net loss of 33,000 African American residents and made Oakland one of the few big California cities to decline in size. Oakland, which had the second largest overall population decline in the state, lost about 2 percent of its population, which now stands at 390,724. Only Santa Ana lost more residents.
African Americans have been moving in large numbers from urban areas to the suburbs and beyond for the past two decades in California. But the migration has particular significance in Oakland.
Oakland was where the Black Panther Party was founded, the place that produced iconic black politicians, athletes and entertainers. Hall of Fame athletes Joe Morgan, Bill Russell and Rickey Henderson all grew up in Oakland. So did entertainers like the R&B group the Pointer Sisters. Black congressional leaders Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee are both from Oakland.
Oakland's black community "brought African American identity into the mainstream, instead of the margins," said Ishmael Reed, author of "Blues City: a Walk in Oakland" and a longtime resident. "I just hate to see the decline."
The thief pulled the heist with panache and was gone in a flash, but will he get the cash?
Most likely not, investigators are saying with somewhat bemused - though still serious - shakes of their heads.
That's because it's going to be mighty hard to sell what an unusually athletic thief using climbing gear stole from a swanky car dealership in San Francisco early Tuesday morning: a 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo sports car.
For one, as one of the most exclusive, distinctively designed and longed-for vehicles in the world, the car will stand out like neon wherever it is driven. It's even bright yellow, making it even more conspicuous.
For another, the car is worth more than $200,000 - and is owned by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, star of the game show "Minute to Win It" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Not the sort of thing that peddles easily on a used car lot or in the want ads, investigators note.
The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans outmaneuvered the chamber's missing Democrats and approved an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.
"You are cowards!" spectators in the Senate gallery screamed as lawmakers voted. Within hours, a crowd of a few hundred protesters inside the Capitol had grown to an estimated 7,000, more than had been in the building at any point during weeks of protests.
"The whole world is watching!" they shouted as they pressed up against the heavily guarded entrance to the Senate chamber.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker's "budget-repair bill" — a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.
The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measure that spends money. But Republicans on Wednesday took all the spending measures out of Walker's proposal and a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly approved the revised bill a short time later.
Meade, who is in the building now, tells me, by phone, that he saw a window on the Wisconsin Avenue side of the building opened and protesters entering through that window.
He thought it seemed as if someone in one of the Democratic legislators' offices had opened a window to let them in, and — once they were in — many doors have been opened all around, and people have streamed into the building. He says he counted 3 "troopers" — I'm not sure what the official job title is for these security people — and that they were absurdly overwhelmed by the crowd.
He told me that just now, by phone. He got out, and is warning others not to go in. Obviously, it's a terrible fire hazard to make it so people cannot get out of the building easily. Presumably, protesters think it's a good idea to keep the police out, but it is dangerously stupid.
ADDED: Meade called back to say, some of the doors are handcuffed shut and some are wide open. "ANYBODY CAN GET IN AND ANYBODY CAN BRING ANYTHING IN. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SECURITY WHATEVER."