Archive for September, 2009

Another Indonesian Quake

A magnitude 6.8 quake has rattled Indonesia again. Not good considering the people trapped.

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Well, if THAT Ain’t a Kick in the Butt

*sigh* I’m bringing home between $600 and $700 a year less than last year. I contemplate that unhappy total on days like today, when a student suddenly grabbed my breasts and twisted them painfully, pantomiming tearing them off and eating them.

This same student playfully pretends to strangle me, and I have no doubt that, given the opportunity, he would.

I hope the economy picks up soon. VERY soon.

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The twins are featured in this advertisement.

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3.4 Million Jobs Lost in the Last Year (So Far)

Ninety-nine of the nation’s 100 biggest labor markets had fewer jobs in August 2009 than a year earlier, led by a loss of 230,000 jobs from the Los Angeles area, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The only exception was the Mexican border market of McAllen-Edinburg, Texas, which had 3,200 more jobs in August than in the same month a year ago.

Six markets, led by Los Angeles, lost at least 100,000 jobs during the 12-month span. The others were Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New York City and Phoenix.

Jacksonville lost 23,000 jobs, down 3 percent in August.

The biggest declines on a percentage basis occurred in the Detroit area, where 8.5 percent of the job base evaporated in a single year, and in Phoenix, with a drop of 7.9 percent.

The nation’s 100 biggest markets, taken as a group, lost more than 3.4 million jobs in the past year. Their collective employment was 89.3 million in August 2009, compared to 92.7 million in August 2008. Read the rest in the Jacksonville Business Journal.

It will take a long time to replace those jobs. A very long time.

Meanwhile, while the economy melts down, Obama is out campaigning for the Olympics to go to Chicago.


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3 More H1N1 Deaths in Jacksonville This Week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In the past week, a 25-year-old man and two women in their 50s died in Jacksonville with confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu.

The Duval County Health Department said there have now been 11 deaths in the county as a result of the flu. The state of Florida reports 102 laboratory-confirmed H1N1 deaths.

Health officials say that while most cases of the so-called swine flu are mild, there are exceptions. Pre-existing health conditions often play a role in how individuals react to the flu.

“H1N1 swine flu, like seasonal flu, can in some circumstances be very serious, therefore, all of us should continue to adhere to good health practices including, stay home if sick, cover cough and sneeze, and wash hands frequently,” said Florida’s surgeon general, Ana Viamonte Ros.

People with respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

Yeah, that “washing hands frequently” thing doesn’t work so well if there isn’t a sink in the classroom. If everybody with a respiratory infection stayed home, there wouldn’t be any students as well as any teachers at school.

Also read’s article on 3 swine flu deaths in 3 days last week.

Health officials confirmed the deaths today of three Duval County residents who died of swine flu over the span of three days last week.

The deaths raise the swine flu death toll in Duval to 11, which makes the county second in Florida to Miami-Dade County’s 22.

Dead are a 25-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman who each died last Saturday and a 55-year-old woman who died Thursday. Authorities did not say whether the cases involved existing health problems — one of swine flu’s high-risk groups.

Across Northeast Florida, 13 have died. Clay and St. Johns counties have reported one death apiece.

Across Florida, health officials today reported 11 swine flu deaths newly confirmed over the past week and 102 overall since the virus first appeared last April.

Sure am glad it isn’t flu season!

CDC Says Get Your Pneumonia Shot!

From Tampa Bay Online:

Valerie Post, 24, who died Monday after the health department count was taken, died Monday night.

“A mom who had just delivered just died, and she seemed to be healthy other than pregnancy, so it’s a serious disease and one we should really pay attention to,” said Maggie Hall, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Health Department.

Health officials say Post had no underlying health conditions but pregnant women are in the high-risk group for swine flu.

In the last two weeks, swine flu claimed the life of two other people in the Bay Area, both in good health – a 39-year old Pinellas County man and a 14-year-old from Highlands County

Army: FL recruit death in SC is swine-flu related
By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER (AP) – 2 hours ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Army says an autopsy shows a soldier from Florida who died while at Fort Jackson in South Carolina passed away from pneumonia caused by the H1N1 flu virus.

Fort Jackson officials said Thursday the death of 23-year-old Spc. Christopher Hogg of Deltona, Fla., is the first such death at the Army’s largest basic training site.

Pentagon officials say they’re trying to confirm details of the case.

Hogg died a week after he was taken to a the hospital with fever and respiratory problems. He was in his fifth week of basic training and would have graduated Oct. 15.

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Baptist Hospital Has New Rules For Visitation Due to Swine Flu

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In light of the prevalence of H1N1 in northeast Florida, Baptist Health has further tightened its visitation policy at all five hospitals, including Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Visitors and staff will also be asked to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the flu.

Earlier this month, Baptist and all most area hospitals restricted young children and people with fever, sneezing, coughs or other respiratory symptoms from visiting patients. On Tuesday, they restricted visitation to immediate family members.

Sounds sensible. The medical buildings I’ve been in lately have banned children that were not patients.

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Morgan Leppert Found Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison

PALATKA, Fla. — A 16-year-old girl cried Tuesday morning as she is sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for killing a 66-year-old disabled man she and her 22-year-old boyfriend could take his money and truck.

Morgan Leppert initially confessed to investigators to helping her adult boyfriend kill a 66-year-old James Stewart last year so they could run away to California together.

The two never made it that far. Since a nationwide Amber Alert was issued for Leppert, they were spotted in Texas still driving Stewart’s truck and arrested on suspicion of panhandling. The two were returned to Putnam County to face charges.

Leppert later pleaded not guilty to the charges of first-degree murder, burglary and assault, but a jury found her guilty of all charges.

The state could not seek the death penalty because Leppert is a juvenile, but was convicted as an adult of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors said Leppert and her then 22-year-old boyfriend, Toby Lowry, beat, stabbed and suffocated Stewart.

Seems like an appropriate sentence to me.

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52.5% of 16-24 Year Olds Unemployed

Per the New York Post:

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

“It’s an extremely dire situation in the short run,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. “This group won’t do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes.”

Al Angrisani, the former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, doesn’t see a turnaround in the jobs picture for entry-level workers and places the blame squarely on the Obama administration and the construction of its stimulus bill.

“There is no assistance provided for the development of job growth through small businesses, which create 70 percent of the jobs in the country,” Angrisani said in an interview last week. “All those [unemployed young people] should be getting hired by small businesses.”

There are six million small businesses in the country, those that employ less than 100 people, and a jobs stimulus bill should include tax credits to give incentives to those businesses to hire people, the former Labor official said.

“If each of the businesses hired just one person, we would go a long way in growing ourselves back to where we were before the recession,” Angrisani noted.

During previous recessions, in the early ’80s, early ’90s and after Sept. 11, 2001, unemployment among 16-to-24 year olds never went above 50 percent. Except after 9/11, jobs growth followed within two years.

A much slower recovery is forecast today. Shierholz believes it could take four or five years to ramp up jobs again.

A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a government database, said the damage to a new career by a recession can last 15 years. And if young Americans are not working and becoming productive members of society, they are less likely to make major purchases — from cars to homes — thus putting the US economy further behind the eight ball.

Angrisani said he believes that Obama’s economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team — dominated by academics and veterans of big business — has ever started and grown a business.

“The Reagan administration had people who knew of small business,” he said.

“They should carve out $100 billion right now and create something like $5,000 to $6,000 job credits that would drive the hiring of young, idled workers by small business.”

Angrisani said the stimulus money going to extending unemployment benefits is like a narcotic that is keeping the unemployed content — but doing little to get them jobs.

Labor Dept. statistics also show that the number of chronically unemployed — those without a job for 27 weeks or more — has also hit a post-WWII high.

Well, who didn’t see THIS one coming? Telling small businesses (traditional employers of young people) that they may be fined if they don’t provide insurance for all employees under the Obama health care debacle as well as raising the minimum wage above what new employee skills are worth was guaranteed to have this effect. Businesses will not stay in business very long if their costs exceed their income (unless they have friends in Congress that will bail them out with taxpayer funds).

As a serial entrepreneur myself, I can’t see any reason why I should pay somebody a salary plus benefits which are higher than the funds that he or she is generating for my bottom line. I certainly wouldn’t expect anybody else to do so.

Employees look at their after tax paychecks and blame the employer. However, the employer is required to pay workmen’s comp insurance on the employee, pay half the social security taxes, plus pay vacation, sick time, and/or a hefty portion of insurance policies, if any. That minimum wage job could be costing the employer double the employee’s hourly wage, depending on industry. A lot of employers have decided it ain’t worth it.

Don’t even get me started about people actually showing up for work in the morning. We found that the only people that we could reliably depend on to show up for work on Monday morning (and Friday afternoon) were middle-aged people our age.

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Baby Fighting for Life Could Not Beat Swine Flu


John Aiden Warren overcame so much in his brief nine months that his miracles were getting routine.

There was the time doctors gave him a day to live unless his kidneys started working again. The next day, he had a wet diaper. Another time, his mother caught him jabbing at one of his toys with his left arm, defying the left-sided paralysis a stroke had inflicted several months earlier. And who could forget those big, toothless smiles that flashed through the pain?

“He loved proving people wrong,” his mother, Allison, says.

When prenatal tests showed that their second son would be born with a debilitating heart defect, Allison and John Warren started mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for the tough road ahead.

The Jacksonville couple knew their fragile child would need immediate surgery for a chance at life. They accepted that Aiden – he was known by his middle name – would require two more grueling procedures to survive his toddler years. And they had come to terms with his ultimate prognosis: After all those heroic medical measures, he almost certainly would die by the time he reached middle age unless he received a heart transplant.

But there was still something neither they nor Aiden’s team of pediatric experts had anticipated: swine flu.

Aiden died in his mother’s arms on Sept. 3 at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The doctors and nurses who had tried everything to save him over the previous three weeks surrounded the dying boy and his mother, having nothing more to offer but tears and quiet reverence.

In Florida to date, he is the second-youngest swine flu victim and one of only three children under 5 years old to die. His death, though, was more than just the heartbreaking denouement of a life full of obstacle-smashing – it underscored the peculiar dangers that the swine flu, technically known as the H1N1 virus, poses to certain high-risk individuals.

Read the rest at the link. When we hear of a person succumbing to swine flu, we rarely get any details. These details are heartrending.

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Crank That Kosha Boy

Well, I couldn’t help myself.

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