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In The News This Week RISK IS AT HEART OF DEBATE ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL The debate over how many U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 comes down to risky business. Page 1
SYRIA MOVING CHEMICAL WEAPONS COMPONENTS U.S. and allied intelligence have detected Syrian movement of chemical weapons components in recent days. Page 2
US, RUSSIA SET FOR SURPRISE SYRIA MEETING The top U.S. and Russian diplomats will hold a surprise meeting Thursday with the United Nations' peace envoy for Syria, signaling fresh hopes of an international breakthrough.. Page 3
FLORIDA ACCIDENT STATISTICS Accident Statistics from Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Page 4
FLORIDA ACCIDENT REPORTS This Weeks Accident Reports from Various countys in Florida. Page 5
BRINKSMANSHIP ON OBAMA MEDICAID EXPANSION FOR POOR It's health care brinksmanship, with hundreds of billions of dollars and the well-being of millions of people at stake Page 7
E5 STATES TO INCREASE CLASS TIME IN SOME SCHOOLS Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Page 7
STUDY CONTENDS GRAND CANYON AS OLD AS DINOSAUR ERA The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon was probably carved about 70 million years ago, much earlier than thought.. Page 8
STUDY: LIKE A TREE, GROWTH RINGS SHOW LOBSTER AGE Scientists have figured out how to determine the age of a lobster - by counting its rings, like a tree. . Page 8
Volume 731 Issue 448
December 3, 2012
R I S K I S AT H E A R T O F D E B AT E O N T R O O P W I T H D R AWA L WASHINGTON (AP) -- The debate over how many U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 comes down to risky business. There is a risk that leaving too few troops after 2014 would stop or stall the already slow development of the Afghan army and police, whose competence and that of the Afghan government as a whole - is crucial to ending the war succ e s s f u l l y .
troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible, with 35 percent saying they should stay until the country is stable. That's a nearly complete reversal from a September 2008 Pew Research poll that showed 33 percent wanted troops out as soon as possible and 61 percent said they should stay until the country has stabilized. U.S. soldiers with stand guard as they watch the transfer ceremony of security responsibilities from NATO troops to Afghan security forces in Qalat, Zabul province south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The debate over how many U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 comes down to risk. Leaving too few troops in place could stall progress for Afghan security forces. But keeping too many troops there might prolong Afghanistanâ€™s dependence on the U.S. military and NATO.
On the other hand, keeping too many foreign troops beyond 2014 might only prolong Afghanistan's dependence upon them, while Western forces absorb even more casualties. Perhaps the greatest risk is that a wrong calculation by the U.S. on troop levels could enable the Taliban and affiliated insurgents to regain lost territory and influence. President Barack Obama has pledged to wind down the 11-year-old war, even as Congress presses for an accelerated withdrawal. The intent, approved by NATO in 2010, is to remove combat forces by the end of 2014 but to continue yet-to-be-defined security assistance. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described the broad outlines of a post-2014 plan that amounts to a scaleddown version of what U.S. and NATO forces are already doing: fighting terrorists, training and assisting the Afghan forces, and providing logistical support. Panetta won't say how many forces would be needed for that set of missions, but analysts estimate as many as 10,000 to 15,000. Military commanders have laid out options for a post2014 force ranging from about 6,000 to 15,000, and Panetta and other members of Obama's national security team are debating that issue now, with a decision expected by the end of the year. But the final number for the end of 2014, and how quickly the military gets to that level, depends on how the White House assesses the political and military risks of having too few troops there to keep the terrorists at bay, or having too many to satisfy war-weary and budget-conscious Americans. Underlying that debate is perhaps the starkest risk that by pulling out troops too quickly, Obama would become the president who lost the war and enabled another devastating attack on America. There are currently about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and commanders would like to maintain as big a force as possible through most of 2013. But others argue that as support for the war continues to erode in Congress and across America, significant cuts must be made at some point next year. A Pew Research Center poll in early October found that 60 percent of respondents favored removing U.S.
"You don't want to keep everything in place and then fall off a cliff at the end of 2014," former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You want to gradually step down your residual presence so you have confidence in it, and so you've had a chance to work through some of the issues and challenges that emerge as we go into the latter stages of transition." Flournoy, who has been mentioned as a possible defense secretary after Panetta steps down, said the military will likely reduce the force in several steps next year, leaving time between cuts to reposition troops.
Any substantial reductions are likely to take place early in the year and again toward the fall, so that the military can maintain a consistent troop strength during the peak fighting season that runs from roughly April to October. "It's very hard to be repositioning your force as you're fighting. So they'll argue for having a plateau during the fighting season and then taking a steeper drawdown," Flournoy said. The troop totals also depend on several outside factors, including the commitment of NATO partners and the desires of the Afghan government. So far, Obama has revealed little of his thinking about the drawdown. But during an October presidential debate he signaled an inclination for a deep reduction, saying, "There's no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country." Panetta's description this week of the three missions he would like U.S. troops to continue after 2014 suggests a need for a fairly substantial presence. Some experts argue that the U.S. would have to maintain as many as 30,000 troops in order to continue targeting the terror groups that - if left unchallenged - could regain territory and once again become a threat to the U.S. and other Western nations. Military analysts Frederick and Kimberly Kagan lay out a case for keeping such a large counterterrorism force, complete with drones, airstrikes and special operations forces bolstered by enough support troops to provide protection on the bases.
Continued on page 3
Legal Street News Monday December 3, 2012
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S Y R I A M O V I N G C H E M I C A L W E A P O N S C O M P O N E N T S WA S H I N G TON (AP) -- U.S. and allied intelligence have detected Syrian movement of chemical weapons components in recent days, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday, as the Obama adminagain istration warned the Assad against regime chemical using weapons on Syrian r e b e l s .
The senior defense official said the U.S. does not believe any that Syrian action beyond the movement of components is imminent.
Czech Republic's Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, left, and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, arrive for their press conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Secretary of State Clinton is lobbying the Czech Republic authorities to approve an American contract bid for an expansion of a nuclear power plant.
A senior defense official said intelligence officials have detected activity around more than one of Syria's chemical weapons sites in the last week. The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Prague for meetings with Czech officials, reiterated President Barack Obama's declaration that Syrian action on chemical weapons was a "red line" for the United States that would prompt action. "We have made our views very clear: This is a red line for the United States," Clinton told reporters. "I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur." She didn't address the issue of the fresh activity at Syrian chemical weapons depots, but insisted that Washington would address any threat that arises.
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Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surfaceto-surface missiles of capable carrying
chemical warheads. Its arsenal is a particular threat to the American allies, Turkey and Israel, and Obama singled out the threat posed by the unconventional weapons earlier this year as a potential cause for deeper U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war. Up to now, the United States has opposed military intervention or providing arms support to Syria's rebels for fear of further militarizing a conflict that activists say has killed more than 40,000 people since March 2011. Clinton said that while the actions of President Bashar Assad's government have been deplorable, chemical weapons would bring them to a new level. "We once again issue a very strong warning to the Assad regime that their behavior is reprehensible, their actions against their own people have been tragic," she said. "But there is no doubt that there's a line between even the horrors that they've already inflicted on the Syrian people and moving to what would be an internationally condemned step of utilizing their chemical weapons."
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Street News Monday, December 3,2012
U S , R U S S I A S E T F O R S U R P R I S E S Y R I A M E E T I N G The transition plan never got off the ground this summer, partly because no pressure was applied to see it succeed by a deeply divided international community. Brahimi's predecessor, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who drafted the plan, then resigned his post in frustration.
DUBLIN (AP) -- The top U.S. and Russian diplomats will hold a surprise meeting Thursday with the United Nations' peace envoy for Syria, signaling fresh hopes of an international breakthrough to end the Arab country's 21-month civil war. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will gather in Dublin on the sidelines of a human rights conference, a senior U.S. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. She provided few details about the unscheduled gettogether.
The United States blamed the collapse on Russia for vetoing a third resolution at the U.N. Security Council that would have applied world sanctions against Assad's government for failing to live by the deal's provisions.
Russia insisted that the Americans unfairly sought Ahead of the three-way meeting, Clinton Assad's departure as a precondiand Lavrov met separately Thursday for tion and worried about opening about 25 minutes. They agreed to hear the door to military action, even Brahimi out on a path forward, a senior as Washington offered to include U.S. official said. The two also disSecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pauses during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, language in any U.N. resolution cussed issues ranging from Egypt to that would have expressly forNorth Korea, as well as new congressionbade outside armed intervention. al action aimed at Russian officials accused of complic- On Thursday, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal ity in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Mekdad accused the United States and Europe of using Should a plan similar to that one be proposed, the the issue of chemical weapons to justify a future military The former Cold War foes have fought bitterly over how intervention against Syria. He warned that any such Obama administration is likely to insist anew that it be internationally enforceable - a step Moscow may still be to address Syria's conflict, with Washington harshly crit- intervention would be "catastrophic." reluctant to commit to. icizing Moscow of shielding its Arab ally. The Russians respond by accusing the U.S. of meddling by demand- In Ireland's capital, one idea that Brahimi could seek to ing the downfall of President Bashar Assad's regime resuscitate with U.S. and Russian support would be the In any case, the U.S. insists the tide of the war is turnand ultimately seeking an armed intervention such as political agreement strategy both countries agreed on in ing definitively against Assad. the one last year against the late Libyan strongman Geneva in June. On Wednesday, the administration said several counMoammar Gadhafi. tries in the Middle East and elsewhere have informally That plan demanded several steps by the Assad regime But the gathering of the three key international figures to de-escalate tensions and end the violence that offered to grant asylum to Assad and his family if they suggests possible compromise in the offing. At the activists say has killed more than 40,000 people since leave Syria. least, it confirms what officials describe as an easing of March 2011. It would then have required Syria's opposome of the acrimony that has raged between Moscow sition and the regime to put forward candidates for a The comments came a day after the United States and and Washington over the future of an ethnically diverse transitional government, with each side having the right its 27 NATO allies agreed to send Patriot missiles to nation whose stability is seen as critical given its geo- to veto nominees proposed by the other. Turkey's southern border with Syria. The deployment, expected within weeks, is meant solely as a defensive graphic position in between powder kegs Iraq, Lebanon measure against the cross-border mortar rounds from and Israel. If employed, the strategy would surely mean the end of Syria that have killed five Turks, but still bring the more than four decades of an Assad family member at The threat of Syria's government using some of its vast Syria's helm. The opposition has demanded Assad's alliance to the brink of involvement in the civil war. stockpiles of chemical weapons is also adding urgency departure and has rejected any talk of him staying in to diplomatic efforts. Western governments have cited power. Yet it also would grant regime representatives The United States is also preparing to designate Jabhat the rising danger of such a scenario this week, and offi- the opportunity to block Sunni extremists and others in al-Nusra, a Syrian rebel group with alleged ties to alQaida, as a foreign terrorist organization in a step cials say Russia, too, shares great concern on this the opposition that they reject. aimed at blunting the influence of extremists within the point. Syrian opposition, officials said Wednesday.
T R O O P W I T H D R AWA L Continued from page 1 Michael O'Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said that arguments for maintaining a force of 30,000 beyond 2014 are unrealistic in light of other Obama administration priorities. He said it's important to let the Afghans know that the U.S. will not abandon them, but also noted that how much progress Afghan forces make over the next year will also be an important factor. If they improve, he said, there may be a greater inclination to stick with the mission, but if they don't, "you could ask yourself why do we waste more time, resources and blood over achieving gains that are probably going to be ephemeral and fleeting anyway." Army Maj. Gen. James Huggins, who returned in September from a one-year tour as commander of allied
forces in southern Afghanistan, said fears of abandonment are real. Huggins recalled a former district governor in the Afghan province of Kandahar, who fought with the U.S.supported mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s, telling him last year that the Taliban was able to seize power in 1996 because the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan shortly after the Soviet army withdrew in defeat. At a public symposium on the war on Friday, Huggins said the number of allied troops in his sector fell from a peak of 25,000 to 13,800 as of Oct. 1. He said he was "a little concerned" with that lower number. He did not express a view on the prospect of further reductions in 2013. Members of Congress want to accelerate the troop withdrawal. The Senate voted 62-33 on a non-binding resolution that would speed up the pullout by an unspecified amount. And while the House voted in May to maintain a force of 68,000, there have been indications more recently that support for that may be faltering. In September, Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., a defense hawk and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense spending, said the U.S.
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Word of the move came as the State Department announced Clinton will travel to the Mideast and North Africa next week for high-level meetings on the situation in Syria and broader counter-terrorism issues. She is likely then to recognize Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, according to officials. The political endorsement is designed to help unite the country against Assad and spur greater nonlethal and humanitarian assistance from the United States to the rebels.
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F L O R I D A
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S T A T I S T I C S
Data From the Official Website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. www.flhsmv.gov
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______________________________________Legal Street News Monday, December 3, 2012
AUTO ACCIDENTS Traffic alert: Crashes, debris in Miami-Dade, Broward may slow drivers November 28, 2012 Traffic caused by construction and debris in the road may delay Monday morning commuters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In Miami-Dade: • A crash on the southbound Interstate 95 express lane flyover is now clear. • A crash on Northwest 57th Avenue and Northwest 202nd Street is causing a roadblock at the intersection. • A crash on Southwest 40th Street and Southwest 57th Avenue is causing no roadblock. • Roadway debris on westbound State Road 836 and southbound State Road 826 is blocking the center lane. • A crash with injuries on eastbound State Road 836 and Northwest 57th Avenue is blocking the left lane. A crash on southbound Interstate 95 and the Rickenbacker Causeway is causing no roadblock. • A crash on westbound Bird Road and Southwest 97th Avenue is blocking the right lane. In Broward: • A large tarp on northbound Interstate 95 and Oakland Park Boulevard is blocking the left lane.
Florida motorcycle crash November 28,2012
IN SOUTH FLORIDA
I-95 in Delray Beach, Wednesday, 8 a.m. Novmber 30, 2012 Delray Beach Fire-Rescue sent along this image of a rollover crash during which a black pickup truck landed on its roof. Two occupants were removed from the truck and taken to Delray Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, agency spokesman Capt. Curtis Jepsen said. Boca Raton Fire-Rescue also responded to the crash that happened on a rainy morning on the southbound lanes of I-95 north of the Congress Avenue exit.
Pedestrian dies while crossing I-95 in Fort Lauderdale November 30, 2012 FORT LAUDERDALE— The Florida Highway Patrol is attempting to notify relatives of a pedestrian who died in an early morning crash Wednesday on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale. The male victim was struck when he tried to cross the northbound lanes of the Interstate near Davie Boulevard at around 3 a.m. and died at the scene, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said Thursday.
Wet roads make for a slippery South Florida commute
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. --- A former Waterloo resident died following a motorcycle crash in Florida where she had been living. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Lu Haddeman, 72 and recently of Largo, Fla., was a passenger on a BMW motorcycle that was involved in an accident with a car Sunday evening. Paramedics took Haddeman to Bayonet Point Hospital, where she died. The man who was driving the motorcycle, 75-year-old George Tacott of Clearwater, was also treated at the hospital for serious injuries.
Rain showers passing over South Florida have left area roadways wet and slippery. A series of predawn crashes have already been cleared. Among them, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, was a pedestrian fatality reported shortly after 3:15 a.m. along I-95 through Fort Lauderdale.
Earlier crashes slow I-95 near Broward Boulevard
Other crashes and incidents being reported by FHP and Florida's Department of Transportation, include:
November 29, 2012 Delays were easing on both sides of Interstate 95 near Broward Boulevard following crashes earlier Tuesday morning that delayed traffic in both the north and southbound directions. By 8:40 a.m., vehicles involved in the earlier crashes were cleared from the travel lanes but residual and volume-related delays were persisting. Other crashes and incidents being reported on area roadways on Tuesday by the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Transportation include:
December 1, 2012
Crash clears; Interstate 95 re-opened in Jupiter December 1, 2012 A crash that closed all northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Jupiter for more than an hour has been cleared, Florida Highway Patrol reports. The driver in the wreck had to be cut out of his vehicle, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Albert Borroto said. He was flown by Trauma Hawk to St. Mary’s Medical Center. The wreck just north of Indiantown Road happened in the wake of an earlier traffic backup, according to FHP spokesman Lt. Tim Frith. That back up began around 10 a.m. when drivers called in reports of a disabled vehicle on the roadside with a person, possibly a homeless person, underneath. Troopers stopped there to tell the person to move, Frith said. About 10:15 a.m., as traffic was slowed north of that incident, a small vehicle ran into the back of a parked truck in the northbound lanes just north of Indiantown, Borroto said. The patient had to be cut out of the vehicle due to heavy damage.
Jacksonville man critically injured when hit by Jeep in Orlando December 2, 2012 A Jacksonville man was critically injured Sunday when he was hit while standing at a traffic accident scene in Orlando. Ken Samsudean Jr., 25, was standing at the accident scene after his car struck another vehicle about 2 a.m. when a third car hit him and two others, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Investigators said Samsudean struck a car from behind on Colonial Drive at Constantine Avenue. He and the other driver, Christopherr Lacasse, 25, of Winter Springs and a third driver who stopped, Ronald Dorsey, 32, of Orlando, were standing at the scene when they were hit by a Jeep driven by Eric Anderson, 28, of Orlando. The others received only minor injuries. Samsudean was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, the Highway Patrol said.
Crash westbound I-595 west of University Drive in Davie, partially blocking a right lane. Crash on eastbound I-595 near University Drive in Davie, no travel lanes blocked; 8:06 a.m., crash southbound I-95 after Yamato Road in Boca Raton, no travel lanes blocked; 8:04 a.m., injury crash southbound I-95 after Congress Avenue in Boca Raton, blocking a left lane with southbound traffic backed up until Atlantic Avenue.
8:38 a.m., hit-and-run crash on southbound I-95 near Broward Boulevard; 8:34 a.m., crash on northbound I-95 approaching Sample Road causing delays back to Sample Road; 7:57 a.m., crash on southbound I-95 near Broward Boulevard, blocking a right lane.
Serious crash blocks I-4 east in Lake Mary November 30, 2012 On Interstate 4, a medical chopper blocked the eastbound lanes after a serious crash near the State Road 417 exit ramp in Lake Mary. Further details on the crash were not immediately available.
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BRINKSMANSHIP ON OBAMA M E D I C A I D E X PA N S I O N F O R P O O R WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's health care brinksmanship, with hundreds of billions of dollars and the well-being of millions of people at stake. President Barack Obama's health care law expands Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people, but cost-wary states must decide whether to take the deal. Turn it down, and governors risk coming off as callous toward their neediest residents. Not to mention the likely second-guessing for walking away from a pot of federal dollars estimated at nearly $1 trillion nationally over a decade. If the Obama administration were to compromise, say by sweetening the offer to woo a reluctant state, it would face immediate demands from 49 others for similar deals that could run up the tab by tens of billions of dollars. As state legislatures look ahead to their 2013 sessions, the calculating and the lobbying have already begun. Conservative opponents of the health care law are leaning on lawmakers to turn down the Medicaid money. Hospitals, doctors' groups, advocates for the poor, and some business associations are pressing them to accept it.
Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Bill Hazel speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Conservative opponents of President Barack Obama's health care law are leaning on lawmakers to turn down the Medicaid money. Hospitals, doctors' groups, advocates for the poor, and some business associations are pressing them to accept it. â€œHere's the big thing: The state does not want to expand Medicaid and get stuck with the bill,â€? said Dr. Bill Hazel, Virginia's health secretary. â€œOur legislators do not like to raise taxes to pay for a benefit someone else has promised. The concerns we have ... are around federal solvency and the ability of the federal government to meet its commitment.
Most states, including Republican-led Virginia, are considering their options.
"Here's the big thing: The state does not want to expand Medicaid and get stuck with the bill," said Dr. Bill Hazel, Virginia's health secretary. "Our legislators do not like to raise taxes to pay for a benefit someone else has promised. The concerns we have ... are around federal solvency and the ability of the federal government to meet its commitment."
A recent economic analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute found that states will receive more than $9 from Washington for every $1 they spend to expand Medicaid, and a few will actually come out ahead, partly by spending less on charity care. States are commissioning their own studies.
Medicaid covers nearly 60 million low-income and disabled people but differs significantly from state to state. Under the health care law, Medicaid would be expanded on Jan. 1, 2014, to cover people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $15,400 a year for an individual.
So far, eight states have said they will turn down the expansion, while 13 states plus the District of Columbia have indicated they will accept it. The eight declining are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. Nearly 2.8 million people would remain uninsured in those states, according to Urban Institute estimates, with Texas alone accounting for close to half the total.
About half the 30 million people gaining coverage under the law would do so through Medicaid. Most of the new beneficiaries would be childless adults, but about 2.7 million would be parents with children at home. The federal government would pay the full cost of the first three years of the expansion, gradually phasing down to a 90 percent share. The Supreme Court said states can turn down the Medicaid expansion. But if a state does so, many of its poorest residents would have no other way to get health insurance. The subsidized private coverage also available under Obama's law is only for people making more than the poverty level, $11,170 for an individual. For the poor, Medicaid is the only option. Although the health care law fully funded the Medicaid expansion and Obama has protected the program from cuts, the federal government's unresolved budget struggles don't give states much confidence.
Hospitals aren't taking "no" for an answer in the states that have turned down the expansion. Although South Carolina's Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has had her say, the Legislature has yet to be heard from, said Thornton Kirby, president of the South Carolina Hospital Association. Hospitals agreed to Medicare cuts in the health care law, banking on the Medicaid expansion to compensate them. "We've got a significant debate coming in January," said Kirby. "There are a lot of people tuning in to this issue." In Maine, Democrats who gained control of the Legislature in the election are pushing to overcome Republican Gov. Paul LePage's opposition. "Obamacare" was once assailed as a job killer by
detractors, but on Wednesday in Missouri it was being promoted as the opposite. Missouri's hospital association in released a study estimating that the economic ripple effects of the Medicaid expansion would actually create 24,000 jobs in the state. The University of Missouri study found that about 160,000 state residents would gain coverage. "This is not a political issue for us ... this is the real world," said Joe Pierle, head of the Missouri Primary Care Association, a doctors' group. "It makes no sense to send our hard-earned federal tax dollars to our neighbors in Illinois." By Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., had announced his support for the expansion, but he faces a challenge in persuading Republican legislative leaders. In Florida, where GOP Gov. Rick Scott says he is rethinking his opposition, the state could end up saving money through the Medicaid expansion, said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, which studied the financing. The reason is that Florida would spend less on a state program for people with catastrophic medical bills. Back in Washington, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says states can take all the time they need to decide. They can even get a free trial, signing up for the first three years of the expansion and dropping out later. But she hasn't answered the one question that many states have: Would the Obama administration allow them to expand Medicaid just part way, taking in only people below the poverty line? That means other low-income people currently eligible would be covered entirely on the federal government's dime, and they would be getting private coverage, which is costlier than Medicaid. Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, says he doesn't think states will get an answer anytime soon. "This is a game of chicken that we're seeing," said Salo. "Are the states bluffing, or are these states really serious? And at what point does the administration rethink things, and decide it's worth getting
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T O W N E VA C U AT E S ; P O L I C E R E L O C A T E E X P L O S I V E S
5 STATES TO INCREASE CLASS TIME IN SOME SCHOOLS
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- State police resumed moving millions of pounds of explosives Monday that had been haphazardly stashed in warehouses in Louisiana, prompting hundreds to evacuate from harm's way in case any of it exploded. The transfer of 6 million pounds of artillery propellant began again at daybreak at Camp Minden, which is in north Louisiana's Webster Parish. It started Saturday. A state police spokesman said the work is suspended at night. About half the 800 residents in nearby Doyline, about 40 miles south of the Arkansas line, heeded state police warnings to evacuate until the stash could be divided into smaller quantities. Authorities were dividing the explosives into amounts that would be too small to pose a serious threat to the town if it were to ignite; there was enough ammunition to pack dozens of tractor-trailers. The material was stored on property leased by Explo Systems Inc., which became the subject of a criminal investigation following an explosion in October. Boxes and small barrels of the M6 artillery propellant were found both outdoors and crammed into unauthorized buildings leased by Explo at Camp Minden, a former Army ammunitions plant, state police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Sunday. The company's "careless and reckless disregard made it unsafe for their own employees, for schoolchildren in Doyline, for the town of Doyline," Edmonson said. The company is located on a portion of the former ammunition plant's 15,000 acres that is leased for commercial use. Other sections are used for Louisiana National Guard training. Capt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman, identified the product as M6 propellant, used in howitzers and other artillery. The pellets are largely compressed nitrocellulose, also known as guncotton. Authorities had initially estimated the total at 1 million pounds after an investigator looking into an Oct. 15 explosion at Explo Systems saw cardboard boxes on long rows of pallets behind a building. They found more stacked in sheds and warehouses when crews returned Saturday to begin moving the boxes into bunkers about two miles away on the former munitions site, which covers nearly 23.5 square miles just north of Doyline. "It wasn't in their storage magazines. They had it hidden on the property, away from the storage magazines where we would expect to find it," Cain said. Edmonson said "it was stuffed in corners. It was stacked all over." He said that in two days, crews had moved nearly a million pounds from the tightest-packed buildings into approved containers and onto 27 tractor-trailers to move to storage bunkers. Another 250,000 pounds had been moved a safe distance from the bulk of the material. It won't all have to be moved into bunkers to let people return home - the evacuation could be lifted once the propellant is divided into amounts that won't threaten the town if some ignites, with each area a safe distance from the others, Edmonson said. Company officials could not be reached Sunday. The owners reportedly are returning Monday from a business trip to South Korea, but the manager has been working with state police from the start, Edmonson said.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks at Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states announced Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states announced Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. The three-year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools, with long-term hopes of expanding the program to include additional schools - especially those that serve lowincome communities. Schools, working in concert with districts, parents and teachers, will decide whether to make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both. All told, education officials expect to provide nearly 6 million more student learning hours next year. "I'm convinced the kind of results we'll see over the next couple of years I think will compel the country to act in a very different way," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. A mix of federal, state and district funds will cover the costs of expanded learning time, with the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning also chipping in resources. In Massachusetts, the program builds on the state's existing expanded-learning program. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy is hailing it as a natural outgrowth of an education reform law the state passed in May that included about $100 million in new funding, much of it to help the neediest schools. Spending more time in the classroom, officials said, will give students access to a more well-rounded curriculum that includes arts and music, individualized help for students who fall behind and opportunities to reinforce critical math and science skills. "That extra time with their teachers or within a structured setting means all the world," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. "It means it allows them to continue the momentum they had the day before. It means they don't slip back over the summer. It allows them to really deliver." The project comes as educators across the U.S. struggle to identify the best ways to strengthen a public education system that many fear has fallen behind other nations. Student testing, teacher evaluations, charter schools and voucher programs join longer school days on the list of reforms that have been put forward with varying degrees of success. The report from the center, which advocates for
extending instruction time, cites research suggesting students who spend more hours learning perform better. One such study, from Harvard economist Roland Fryer, argues that of all the factors affecting educational outcomes, two are the best predictors of success: intensive tutoring and adding at least 300 hours to the standard school calendar. More classroom time has long been a priority for Duncan, who warned a congressional committee in May 2009 - just months after becoming education secretary - that American students were at a disadvantage compared to their peers in India and China. That same year, he suggested schools should be open six or seven days per week and should run 11 or 12 months out of the year. "I think this is the kernels of a national movement," he said Monday as he announced the initiative. But not everyone agrees that shorter school days are to blame. A report last year from the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education disputed the notion that American schools have fallen behind in classroom time, pointing out that students in high-performing countries like South Korea, Finland and Japan actually spend less time in school than most U.S. students. The broader push to extend classroom time could also run up against concerns from teachers unions. Longer school days became a major sticking point in a seven-day teachers strike in September in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel eventually won an extension of the school day but paid the price in other concessions granted to teachers. Just over 1,000 U.S. schools already operate on expanded schedules, an increase of 53 percent over 2009, according to a report being released Monday in connection with the announcement by the National Center on Time & Learning. The nonprofit group said more schools should follow suit but stressed that expanded learning time isn't the right strategy for every school. Some of the funds required to add 300 or more hours to the school calendar will come from shifting resources from existing federal programs, making use of the flexibility granted by waivers to No Child Left Behind. All five states taking part in the initiative have received waivers from the Education Department.
Legal Street News Monday, December 3, 2012
STUDY CONTENDS GRAND CANYON A S O L D A S D I N O S A U R E R A LOS ANGELES (AP) -The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon was probably carved about 70 million years ago, much earlier than thought, a provocative new study suggests - so early that dinosaurs might have roamed near this natural wonder.
go, formed 55 million years ago. Another study published that same year by a different group of researchers put the age of the western section at 17 million years old. If the Grand Canyon truly existed before dinosaurs became extinct, it would have looked vastly different because the climate back then was more tropical. Dinosaurs that patrolled the American West then included smaller tyrannosaurs, horned and dome-headed dinosaurs and duckbills.
Using a new dating tool, a team of scientists came up with a different age for the gorge's western section, challenging conventional wisdom that much of the canyon was scoured by the mighty Colorado River in the last 5 million to 6 million years. Not everyone is convinced with the latest viewpoint published online Thursday in the journal Science. Critics contend the study ignores a mountain of evidence pointing to a geologically young landscape and they have doubts about the
Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai Indian reservation in Arizona. A new study published in the journal Science Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, suggests the western Grand Canyon formed 70 million years ago. Some scientists disagree and believe the canyon was mainly carved by the Colorado River in the past 5 to 6 million years
technique used to date it.
The notion that the Grand Canyon existed during the dinosaur era is "ludicrous," said geologist Karl Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. How the Grand Canyon became grand - with its vertical cliffs and flat plateaus - has been debated since John Wesley Powell navigated the whitewater rapids and scouted the sheer walls during his famous 1869 expedition. Some 5 million tourists flock to Arizona each year to marvel at the 277-mile-long chasm, which plunges a mile deep in some places. It's a geologic layer cake with the most recent rock formations near the rim stacked on top of older rocks that date back 2 billion years. Though the exposed rocks are ancient, most scientists believe the Grand Canyon itself was forged in the recent geologic past, created when tectonic forces uplifted the land that the Colorado River later carved through. The new work by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and California Institute of Technology argued that canyon-cutting occurred long before that. They focused on the western end of the Grand Canyon occupied
today by the Hualapai Reservation, which owns the Skywalk attraction, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends from the canyon's edge. To come up with the age, the team crushed rocks collected from the bottom of the canyon to analyze a rare type of mineral called apatite. The mineral contains traces of radioactive elements that release helium during decay, allowing researchers to calculate the passage of time since the canyon eroded.
If they peered over the rim, it would not look like "the starkly beautiful desert of today, but an environment with more lush vegetation," said University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz.
Many scientists find it hard to imagine an ancient Grand Canyon since the oldest gravel and sediment that washed downstream date to about 6 million years ago and there are no signs of older deposits. And while they welcome advanced dating methods to decipher the canyon's age, Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico does not think the latest effort is very accurate. Karlstrom said it also defies logic that a fully formed canyon would sit unchanged for tens of millions of years without undergoing further erosion.
Their interpretation: The western Grand Canyon is 70 million years old and was likely shaped by an ancient river that coursed in the opposite direction of the west-flowing Colorado.
Geologist Richard Young of the State University of New York at Geneseo said his own work suggests there was a cliff in the place of the ancient Grand Canyon.
Lead researcher Rebecca Flowers of the University of Colorado Boulder realizes not everyone will accept this alternative view, which minimizes the role of the Colorado River.
Flowers "wants to have a canyon there. I want to have a cliff there. Obviously, one of us can't be right," he said.
"Arguments will continue over the age of Grand Canyon, and I hope our study will stimulate more work to decipher the mysteries," Flowers said in an email. It's not the first time that Flowers has dug up evidence for an older Grand Canyon. In 2008, she authored a study that suggested part of the eastern Grand Canyon, where most tourists
Whatever the age, there may be a middle ground, said Utah State University geologist Joel Pederson. Researchers have long known about older canyons in the region cut by rivers that flow in a different direction than the Colorado River. It's possible that a good portion of the Grand Canyon was chiseled long ago by these smaller rivers and then the Colorado came along and finished the job, he said.
STUDY: LIKE A TREE, GROWTH R I N G S S H O W L O B S T E R A G E PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- For the first time, scientists have figured out how to determine the age of a lobster by counting its rings, like a tree.
viewed them under microscopes. Lobsters don't lose reproductive capabilities or organ functions or exhibit signs of aging as they get older, but nobody knows for sure how old they can live to be.
Nobody knows how old lobsters can live to be; some people estimate they live to more than 100.
"We've thought lobsters could live to 100 years old, and this new aging technique will be a way to document that," said Bob Bayer, executive director of the University of Maine's Lobster Institute.
But knowing - rather than simply guessing - their age and that of other shellfish could help scientists better understand the population and assist regulators of the lucrative industry, said Raouf Kilada, a research associate at the University of New Brunswick who was the lead author of a scientific paper documenting the process. Before now, scientists deduced a lobster's age judging by size and other variables. But it's now known that lobsters and other crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp, grow one ring per year in hidden-away internal spots, Kilada said. "Having the age information for any commercial species will definitely improve the stock assessment and ensure sustainability," he said after presenting his findings Thursday at a scientific conference in Portland. Scientists already could tell a fish's age by counting the growth rings found in a bony part of its inner ear, a shark's age from the rings in its vertebrae and a scallop or clam's age from the rings of its shell. But crustaceans posed a problem because of the apparent absence of any permanent growth structures. It was thought that when lobsters and other crustaceans molt, they shed all calcified body parts that might record annual growth bands.
photo a young lobster is seen on Friendship Long Island, Maine. Scientists have now figured out where the growth rings are to determine the age of a lobster. Researchers found that growth rings found in the eyestalk - a stalk with an eyeball on the end connected to the body of lobsters, crabs and shrimp. In lobsters and crabs, the rings are also found in teeth-like structures in their stomachs used to grind up food.
For their research, Kilada and five other Canadian researchers took a closer look at lobsters, snow crabs, northern shrimp and sculptured shrimp. They found that growth rings, in fact, could be found in the eyestalk - a stalk connected to the body with an eyeball on the end - of lobsters, crabs and shrimp. In lobsters and crabs, the rings were also found in the socalled "gastric mills," parts of the stomach with three teeth-like structures used to grind up food. To find the growth bands, the scientists dissected the eyestalks and the gastric mills, cut out sections and
The paper was published in this month's Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, a well-regarded peer-reviewed scientific journal based in Ottawa, Ontario, that has been published since 1901. Kilada's was one of more than 50 scientific presentations at the conference, attended by more than 100 lobster scientists from the U.S., Canada and Europe. Bayer agreed that this is the first time scientists have a direct method to place an age on crustaceans. "Right now we're just guessing at their age," he said. Kilada said he saw lobster specimens that were 16 or 17 years old during his research. He estimates that there are lobsters 60 or 70 years old living in the wild. Susan Waddy, a lobster researcher with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said she has kept lobsters in her laboratory that are more than 30 years old. She suspects they live to be 40 or 50. "We know they don't live forever," she said.