AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreAmerica should attack global warming by … painting rooftops and road surfaces white. Seriously. No kidding. Among those promoting the idea is Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a big-thinking physicist who has a bully pulpit and influence over billions in research and stimulus funds. Whitening the world’s roofs and roads would have the same effect on global warming as removing all the world’s cars for 11 years, he said. So for new buildings, highways and retrofits, choose white! (Read the story at CNN/Money) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWhat would your life be like if your feet were literally too big to ever buy shoes?For Igor Vovkovinskiy, who stands 7ft-8in tall, it resulted in six painful foot surgeries and the inability to walk further than your own yard.On Thursday, America’s tallest man received what could be a life-changing gift: several pairs of custom-made sneakers, molded specifically for his size-24 10E feet. The shoes, which took five months to make, reportedly cost $25,000 per pair and were designed, produced and delivered by Reebok, which covered the whole bill.(WATCH the video below and READ more in USA Today)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
Ray Daniels, Levingston Funeral Home, Groves, 11 a.m.Patricia Lynne DeWitt, Broussard’s, Nederland, 1 p.m.Anthony Genuardi, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Nederland, 2 p.m. Johnnie D. Lowe, 68, of Groves died Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Levingston Funeral Home, Groves.Nellie Smith Frasier, 81, of Groves, died Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Broussard’s, Nederland.Enrique “Henry” Godina, 78, of Lumberton, died Monday, April 18, 2016. Broussard’s, McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.Ronald Bailey, 73, of Beaumont died Sunday, April 17, 2016. Melancon’s Funeral Home, Nederland.Rosa England, 91, of Port Arthur died Monday, April 18, 2016. Melancon’s Funeral Home, Nederland. Death noticesWilma Bias, 84, of Port Arthur died Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Gabriel Funeral Home.Charley Roy Sr., 88, of Port Arthur died Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Gabriel Funeral Home. Services todayLeo Thomas Desormeaux, Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church, Port Arthur, 5 p.m.George Edward Turner, Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, 11 a.m.
Panel IDs areas to speed death penalty appeals Senior EditorIf Florida really wants to get serious about speeding up death penalty executions, more resources must be pumped into the criminal justice system.That undercurrent flowed during the March 5 meeting of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee that voted 9-4 to pass the “Timely Justice Act of 2013” ( HB 7083 ) that details seven major areas aimed to make death penalty appeals more efficient.Proposed reforms include creating a mechanism to report judges who take more than three years to rule to the speaker of the House for possible impeachment proceedings, reporting lawyers deemed “ineffective” to The Florida Bar for disciplinary actions and banning them from taking capital cases for five years, doing away with publicly funded lawyers in clemency proceedings, and re-establishing the northern office of the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel.“There are 94 individuals that sit on Florida’s death row today that have exhausted all of their state and federal appeals. We need to look at the overall system as to why those 94 individuals are there,” testified Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry.“If government decided tomorrow to sign death warrants at a clip of three or four per month on those 94 individuals, the system could not handle it. The attorney general does not have the necessary personnel. The CCRC do not have the necessary personnel. Trial courts don’t have the necessary personnel, nor does the Florida Supreme Court have the necessary personnel,” Perry said.Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, one of the drafters of the proposed legislation, said: “Regardless of who is in the plaza level offices today, it is not as if 94 warrants could be signed within a week or 94 within a month, but there are resources in the system that need to be utilized in order for the process to move forward.”Judge Perry: “You are absolutely correct. There are resources that we currently need, and we also need to beef up the resources that we currently have.”Rep. Mike Clelland, a Democratic attorney from Lake Mary, said during debate: “I am going to have to oppose this bill.. . . At least in so far as Judge Perry’s testimony was concerned, it seems to be more about resources than streamlining procedures.”Tenth Circuit Public Defender Rex Dimmig, representing the Florida Public Defender Association, came to the Capitol to plead for help.“We are drowning under the weight of this. It’s money. It’s manpower,” he said.One big waste of resources, Dimmig said, is preparing for the death penalty phase of a trial — where a defendant’s whole life must be examined to present mitigating factors to argue his life is spared — only to have the state waive the death penalty just before trial.“But the public defender or any defense counsel has, by that point, expended tens of thousands of dollars investigating for a penalty phase that will never take place. We believe that is one area where significant reform can be taken,” Dimmig said.Chair Matt Gaetz, R-Ft. Walton Beach, the driving force behind the proposed legislation, agreed: “The more resources we can apply, the greater the opportunity to achieve the results we seek.”But beyond resources, Gaetz argued the process needs to be changed.“Ninety-four folks are ‘warrant ripe.’ When I learned this, I thought, by golly, if I was governor, I’d go sign them all,” Gaetz said.“Why do we have these folks sitting around if they have truly exhausted their appeals? I did some research. In fact, Gov. Martinez had a similar approach and signed about every death warrant that he could. What’s interesting is it actually didn’t move the process along any faster. Because we have this paradigm in place now where you can have these endless successive motions, and you don’t have to bring claims in a timely way.“My belief is if we can get to a post-conviction process that works, that has time frames, that has reforms to ineffective assistance of counsel, that has changes to the conflict of interest process, we can actually resolve matters faster. And then I think we will empower future governors to actually go in and rid of the backlog when folks are ‘warrant ripe.’”Gaetz detailed the seven main features of the “Timely Justice Act of 2013”:* Re-establish the Capital Collateral Representative North. “They are actually the most effective lawyers in our system to get these cases moving, because it is all they do: work on death penalty cases.”* Reform the process by which a defendant alleges conflict with counsel, by raising the standard and requiring the judge to rule within 10 days. And if it is found that someone made a frivolous claim of conflict, “they will not have state resources dedicated to their defense in the future, because they shouldn’t benefit from gaming the system. I think that alone will curb a lot of the inconsequential litigation that occurs in post-conviction practice.”* Reform the motion practice by requiring they be “fully pled” in the initial post-conviction motion. Subsequent motions would be barred where the issues could have been raised at the time of the initial pleading. “The second requirement is that someone has to actually bring their case and make their allegations within 90 days when they either knew or should have known the facts giving rise to the motion.” The practice of moving for relief based on ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel would be banned. And the court can deny motions that are “facially invalid” without an evidentiary hearing.* Beef up reporting requirements. The Supreme Court would be required to notify the speaker of the House of cases that have been in post-conviction litigation for longer than three years, “because it is the constitutional authority of the House of Representatives exclusively to bring impeachment charges, if necessary. Now, I’m sure there are plenty of circumstances where it might be reasonable to have these cases litigated for more than three years. But we at the House at least need a watch list. I think back to Ms. [Carolyn] Snurkowski’s [deputy attorney general handling death penalty appeals] testimony to our committee, that there was an instance of a judge who was just personally opposed to the death penalty, had a hearing, and then didn’t issue an order on the hearing for six years. If that were to occur in the future, we in the House need a mechanism to know who that judge is and perhaps question whether they ought to still be on the bench.”The other reporting requirement deals with lawyers who have been deemed ineffective, by requiring the court to report to The Florida Bar to determine if there needs to be disciplinary proceedings. It would require the Bar to make periodic reports to the speaker of the House and Senate president about such cases.* Weed out “insincere” appeals based on allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. “Certainly, there are sincere appeals that deal with ineffective assistance of counsel. But there are plenty which are not. One of the troubling practices is lawyers, believing that they are zealously representing their clients, show up before the court and say, ‘That’s right. I was ineffective. Here’s my confession.’ You can imagine how difficult it would be for the state to then prevail on that motion. But then that lawyer is able to walk into the next room and pick up the next file and go represent the next person who has their life on the line. I think that’s rather silly. In our bill, we say if you have been deemed ineffective by a court, then you have to go through a five-year period where you don’t take these cases anymore.”* A variety of time frames to codify existing rules and one that would require the Supreme Court to rule in 180 days. “When there is a post-conviction motion, and it has been determined by the court, let’s say it has been denied, and the accused wants to appeal that post-conviction motion, we would give the Supreme Court no more than 180 days to rule. We think that is sufficient: six months to be able to brief and schedule oral argument. These are the most important cases that we have — when somebody’s life is on the line — and the Supreme Court should prioritize them.”* Eliminate publicly financed clemency counsel. “The clemency process is an important one, but I think if we have more of an investment on the front end — with the CCRC North to provide better lawyers, then clemency lawyers on the back end won’t be as necessary.”“There was talk about the Furman case and death is different,” Gaetz said. “I agree. My question is this: Why does Florida have to be so different? Over 400 people on death row and 155 of them have been there longer than 20 years. The only state that has more folks on death row longer than Florida is California. So while death is different, we ought to have resources to ensure due process. We ought to have better lawyers on the front end litigating these cases. I don’t believe that we have to have such a convoluted system that we are unable to realize justice in a timely fashion.” April 1, 2013 Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Regular News Panel IDs areas to speed death penalty appeals
There are certainly famous people who have taken genuinely brave stands for social justice… The awards-show grandstanders, on the other hand, cost themselves nothing and, indeed, get a great deal of attention for themselves as well as their causes. If you had “host Ricky Gervais becomes a conservative darling” in your office Golden Globes pool, congratulations, because you must have won a bundle. The rest of us will continue our slow, astonished blink as we contemplate the fact that this year’s most talked-about speech slammed not oil companies or gender inequality, but Hollywood hypocrisy: What Gervais did, by contrast, was genuinely risky. He didn’t call out some shadowy villain who is perpetuating the patriarchy or warming the planet; he attacked people right there in the room, ones who could affect his future employment prospects. In the process, Gervais neatly illustrated exactly why so many people so resent the increasingly ritualized ceremonial sanctimony. Because it turns out that this may be exactly what makes people hate hypocrites so much: They fool us into giving them credit for holding potentially costly moral beliefs without actually paying those costs. … A 2017 paper from the journal Psychological Science reported a series of experiments demonstrating that we give people moral credit for condemning bad behavior — more credit than we give them for just stating that they themselves behave morally. But by the same token, we resent people who condemn others while privately indulging the same vices even more than we resent those who falsely claim to do the right thing. In fact, the people they studied seemed willing to give people a pass on hypocrisy if they admitted they didn’t live up to their own ideals. Read the whole story: The Washington Post “You say you’re woke,” said Gervais, “but the companies you work for — I mean, unbelievable: Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?
Cyclospora infection total rises to 283, some travel-linkedStates reported another bump in Cyclospora cases last week, and health officials are still trying to determine how many are travel-related and if there is a common source for the locally acquired cases. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as of Aug 12 it had been notified of 283 Cyclospora infections, 48 more than the previous week.The number of affected states remained at 21, but 57% (160) of the cases were reported in Texas. CDC officials told CIDRAP News that at least 116 Texas patients reported no travel during the 2 weeks before they got sick. Interviews with patients in other states have revealed that 34 of 123 likely acquired their illnesses during travel abroad. So far 64 of the people interviewed said they did not travel before becoming ill.The CDC said that more patients are being interviewed to determine what percentage of cases were linked to travel and that federal, state, and local officials are collaborating. The agency is working with its partners to see if more people and states are affected.Nationally, most of the cases were reported in July, and outbreak investigations are underway in Texas and Michigan. The CDC said Maine and Massachusetts are also investigating increases in Cyclospora infections.The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) said in an Aug 12 update that the state experienced a surge of Cyclospora infections starting in the middle of June and that a common source has not yet been identified. So far 37 of the state’s 254 counties have reported cases, 3 more than the previous week. Counties reporting the most cases are Dallas (35), Tarrant (18), Harris (13), and Collin (10).Last summer Texas was the hardest-hit state in a Cyclospora outbreak that sickened at least 631 people in 25 states and New York City. Past foodborne outbreaks have been linked to many kinds of imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun.Aug 12 TDSHS update US-Canada Salmonella outbreak tied to chia sprouts called overUS and Canadian public health agencies yesterday declared that an outbreak of salmonellosis tied to organic chia sprouts is over after causing at least 63 illnesses in Canada and 31 in the United States.US cases were reported in 16 states, the CDC said, and six new cases have been confirmed since the CDC’s last update on Jul 17. Twenty of the 31 cases involved Salmonella Newport, 7 involvedthe Hartford strain, and 4 involved Salmonella Oranienburg.Illness-onset dates ranged from Jan 21 to Jul 22. Patients ranged in age from 1 to 81 years, with a median age of 48. Five patients were hospitalized, but no deaths were recorded.”As a result of this investigation, several recalls of products containing organic sprouted chia powder and chia seeds were issued,” the CDC said.Aug 13 CDC updateIn Canada, the 63 cases were confirmed in British Columbia (14), Alberta (10), Ontario (35), and Quebec (4), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said. Four of the cases were not previously reported.Twelve of the 63 patients were hospitalized, 9 of whom have been discharged. No deaths were reported. In addition to the strains infecting US patients, PHAC noted a fourth strain: Salmonella Saintpaul.”Given that no new cases have occurred since the beginning of July, this outbreak appears to be over and the investigation is now closed,” PHAC said.Aug 13 PHAC notice
The second annual report on the United Kingdom’s 5-year antimicrobial resistance (AMR) strategy suggests that while little substantive progress has been made in the 2 years since implementation, the “building blocks” are in place to produce better results in the coming years.The report, issued last week by the British government’s Department of Health and Department for Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs, does contain positive news. In particular, the report documents encouraging trends in resistance in both human and animal health, and a reduction in antibiotic use in the poultry industry.Analysis of five microorganisms (Neisseria gonorrhea, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas) found that, with the exception of Pseudomonas, the proportion of isolates of each species that are resistant to different types of antibiotics remained stable from 2013 to 2014. Pseudomonas isolates, however, showed a statistically significant increase in resistance to carbapenem antibiotics.On the animal side, the report showed that the proportion of antibiotic-resistant E coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Campylobacter coli isolates found in chickens, turkeys, and pigs in the UK was low compared with other European countries, with the UK having the lowest levels of resistance to several different types of antibiotics.Rising number of bloodstream infectionsThe UK strategy to combat AMR rests on three pillars: preventing infections that require antibiotics, protecting the antibiotics we have, and promoting the development of new drugs and alternative treatments. The report’s most concerning findings come in the arena of prevention.According to the report, the total number of bacteremia (blood infection) cases increased by 8.5% in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland from 2010 to 2014, and by 5.7% in Scotland. These increases, the report notes, cannot be explained by population increase, but could be the result of improved monitoring and reporting.However, the report also found that the proportion of Staphylococcus aureus infections that are resistant to methicillin was nearly cut in half in England from 2010 to 2014, while the number of S pneumoniae bloodstream infections fell by 23%.The authors of the report suggested that better surveillance and data on infections, along with the introduction of standards and tool kits to help hospital staff better manage infections, will reduce the number of bacterial infections in the coming years.Antibiotic consumption on the riseDespite the efforts of UK health officials to raise awareness about AMR among healthcare providers and the public, the report also found that total antibiotic consumption in the UK increased by 2.4% from 2013 to 2014, with much of the consumption being driven by hospital (rather than community) use.The report suggests that antibiotic prescribing quality measures that were put in place in 2014 could result in reduced antibiotic use in the coming years. The British government has pledged to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2020.Meanwhile, the report shows that antibiotic use in UK food-producing animals, based on sales data, has remained stable over the last few years. And on an encouraging note, preliminary 2015 data from the British Poultry Council shows a 28% reduction in antibiotic use in chickens and turkeys. Overall, when compared with the United States, Australia, and several European Union countries, the rate of antibiotic use in livestock and poultry in the UK is relatively low.See also:Sep 16 Second annual progress report on the UK’s 5-year AMR strategy
CDC calls flour-linked E coli outbreak over after 63 official casesA multistate Escherichia coli outbreak linked to consumption of uncooked General Mills flour is over after 63 cases, 17 more than reported in the previous update on Jul 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.Illnesses were reported in 3 new states—Nebraska, Oregon, and Tennessee—bringing the total number of affected states to 24. Of the 63 patients infected with the outbreak strains of Shiga toxin–producing E coli O121 or O26, 17 were hospitalized. One patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Illness-onset dates ranged from Dec 21, 2015, to Sep 5.Public health investigations found that flour produced at a General Mills plant in Kansas City, Mo., is the likely source of this outbreak.”Although the outbreak investigation is over, illnesses are expected to continue for some time. The recalled flour and flour products have long shelf lives and may still be in people’s homes,” the CDC said.”This outbreak is a reminder that is it not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.”Of 37 people interviewed, 28 (76%) reported that they or someone in their household used flour in the week before they became ill. Nineteen of 38 people (50%) reported eating raw homemade dough or batter, and 21 of 37 people (57%) reported using Gold Medal brand flour. Three children in the outbreak reported eating or playing with raw dough at restaurants.After the initial announcement of the outbreak, General Mills on May 31 announced a flour recall. It expanded the recall on Jul 1 and Jul 25.Sep 29 CDC statement Saudi Arabia: New MERS case tied to camel exposureThe Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MOH) announced another case of MERS-CoV today, in a woman who had indirect contact with camels. Though there’s been a slowdown of MERS cases this summer, most have been tied to direct or indirect contact with camels, a known reservoir for the virus.The 51-year-old Saudi woman from Al-Kharj is in stable condition after displaying symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). Her indirect camel contact could include drinking camel milk or eating camel meat.The case raises Saudi Arabia’s overall MERS total to 1,455 cases, of which 611 have proved fatal.Sep 29 MOH report WHO reports Rift Valley fever outbreak in NigerAs many as 64 people in Niger have fallen ill and 23 have died in an outbreak tied to Rift Valley fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever disease caused by a bunyavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.The agency first started receiving reports of unexplained deaths in people as well as livestock and fetal livestock deaths in the northwestern parts of Niger, including areas bordering Mali. From Aug 2 to Sep 22, officials reported 64 human cases, including 23 deaths in the northern part of Tahoua region, which is mainly populated by nomadic herdsmen.”As of 16 September 2016, 6 of the 13 human specimens tested at Institute Pasteur (IP), Dakar, were positive for Rift Valley Fever (RVF),” the WHO said in today’s statement. “Among the 6 animal specimens tested, 3 were positive for RVF. Sequencing and further laboratory testing is ongoing.”WHO and local health authorities have begun a field investigation, developed a response plan, and taken other steps in response to the outbreak.Sep 29 WHO statement Researchers note virulent novel H1N1 flu strain in young boyChinese researchers yesterday reported identifying a novel strain of H1N1 flu in a 2-year-old boy in Hunan province that showed high infectivity and virulence in mice.Writing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, the investigators noted that the boy had severe pneumonia with his H1N1 infection. They said the isolate was a genetic reassortant of Eurasian avian-like influenza H1N1 (EA-H1N1) that contained two surface genes from an EA-H1N1 virus and four internal genes from 2009 H1N1, the virus that caused the 2009-10 pandemic. It also had a nonstructural protein gene derived from classical swine influenza H1N1.When the researchers inoculated mice with the novel variant, it showed higher infectivity, virulence, and rate of respiratory replication than a similar EA-H1N1 virus.The authors conclude that, even though human-to-human spread of the new virus has not been shown, “given the circulation of novel EA-H1N1 viruses in pigs, enhanced surveillance should be instituted among swine and humans.”In March the WHO reported three cases of variant H1N1 in young children.Sep 28 Emerg Infect Dis reportMar 16 CIDRAP News Scan on previous cases
Wells Vehicle Electronics (WVE) has announced that Mike Mizusawa has been named as the company’s new president and chief operating officer. Mizusawa previously served as WVE’s senior vice president – operations, where he was responsible for management and oversight of the company’s manufacturing facility in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementIn his new role, Mizusawa will be responsible for day-to-day operations of WVE, including product development, manufacturing operations and distribution.“Mike brings with him a wealth of experience in the automotive manufacturing and technology field,” said Rich Sullivan, chief administrative officer. “His strong organizational skills and deep understanding of the industry will be an asset to Wells Vehicle Electronics as the company advances into our next stage of growth.”Prior to his role at WVE, Mizusawa served as the president of Autolite Spark Plug Co.Mizusawa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering from the United States Military Academy and held the rank of Captain in the United States Army, prior to beginning his civilian career. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
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