Tag Archives: Washington Post

Crack Babies Grew Up OK; It's Poverty That's the Real Problem

By Bruce Watson

Filed under: ,

AlamyA low-birth weight baby born to a woman who used crack cocaine during her pregnancy sleeps inside a hospital incubator.

In the 1980s, the crack baby epidemic was hard to ignore. Television show after television show, article after article proclaimed that children born to addicts of the increasingly prevalent “crack” cocaine were all-but-guaranteed to have birth defects, including extremely low IQs and severe emotional problems. This “lost generation,” commentators emphasized, would be incapable of forming relationships or reaching full emotional maturity. They would be, in the words of Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, condemned to “a life of certain suffering, of probable deviance, of permanent inferiority.”

A little over 20 years later, Krauthammer’s predictions have proven almost embarrassingly inaccurate. Last week, the findings of a 24-year-long study of crack babies revealed that parental use of the drug had little or no direct effect on the children. In the process of investigating the babies, however, researchers discovered another environmental problem that did, in fact, lead to problems with depression, anxiety, cognitive functioning, and a host of other issues: poverty.

In 1989, Dr. Hallam Hurt, chair of the neonatology department at Philadelphia’s Albert Einstein Medical Center, began tracking 224 near-term or full-term children who were born to crack addicts. In the ensuing years, her longitudinal study followed the children, finding that, overall, their IQs were about the same as a control group of children of non-addicted mothers. Further, the children in Hurt’s study had comparable outcomes when it came to educational and emotional development.

That having been said, Hurt’s study found that children raised in poverty — regardless of whether or not their mothers were addicted to crack — tended to have lower IQs and lower school readiness than those who weren’t raised in poverty.

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A big part of the problem, she argues, is environmental: Of the children in her study, “81 percent of the children had seen someone arrested; 74 percent had heard gunshots; 35 percent had seen someone get shot; and 19 percent had seen a dead body outside.” The children themselves acknowledged the effect of these events: “Those children who reported a high exposure to violence were likelier to show signs of depression and anxiety and to have lower self-esteem.”

In other words, while prenatal crack abuse may not have a major effect on children, the societal conditions in crack-ravaged communities most certainly do. As Hurt emphasized, “Given what we learned, we are invested in better understanding the effects of poverty. How can early effects be detected? Which developing systems are affected? And most important, how can findings inform interventions for our children?” Or, to put it another way, now that we understand that poverty is more dangerous for children than crack, what can we do to protect our children from its effects?<p style="clear: both;padding: 8px 0 0 0;height: 2px;font-size: 1px;border: …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Afghan customs fines hike cost of US military pullout

A customs dispute between the Afghan and US governments has disrupted the withdrawal of American military equipment, dramatically inflating the cost of the drawdown, defense officials said.

With Afghan authorities insisting the United States owes millions of dollars in customs fines and trucks carrying hardware being blocked at border crossings, the Americans have started flying out most equipment by air at great cost.

“The cost is five to seven times more” by aircraft than over land through neighboring Pakistan, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The Afghan government is insisting that US forces pay $1,000 for each shipping container leaving the country that lacks what it calls a valid customs form.

And authorities now claim the Americans owe $70 million in fines, even though the United States contends that Kabul’s stance contradicts previous agreements, said US officials, confirming a report that first appeared in the Washington Post.

The US Congress was warned in May by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction that Kabul was exacting exorbitant customs fees and taxes in violation of previous agreements regulating imported goods and the status of US forces.

In some cases, Afghan officials were blocking commercial trucks from delivering food and fuel to US forces due to the customs dispute, the inspector general said.

Afghan authorities, however, claim that US contractors transporting equipment failed to file proper documents for large amounts of gear shipped into the country since 2010.

To collect fines that Washington allegedly owes Kabul, “the only way is to stop all trucks from crossing the border,” Najibullah Wardak, the director general of the Afghan Customs Department, told the Washington Post.

“What else can we do?”

The Pentagon in a statement acknowledged “challenges” with the withdrawal at Afghan border crossings.

The disputes are “typically centered on the interpretation of Afghan customs processes,” spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bill Speaks said in the statement.

NATO-led force commanders are talking with Afghan officials and “we are confident that the situation will be resolved soon,” he said.

With a massive drawdown of military equipment due between now and the end of 2014, US officers had counted on moving most of the equipment by land routes through Pakistan.

Recent tensions with Pakistan have previously forced the US and its NATO allies to transport large amounts of cargo by air and by a longer, more expensive route through Central Asia.

Over the past month, only 36 percent of US equipment has been driven out by land routes, the Post wrote, citing a Pentagon official.

The disagreement over customs fines threatens to undermine difficult negotiations over a possible future US military presence after 2014. ddl/adm

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

DOJ Wants Your Help in Zimmerman Case

By Arden Dier

The Justice Department is asking for the public’s help in its investigation into George Zimmerman, Fox News reports. A public email address (Sanford.Florida@usdoj.gov) is up and running, and ready to collect any tips you may have on him; Eric Holderpreviously said the DOJ will “consider all available information.” Officials tell the Washington Post the email was set up “because of interest in this matter,” and the paper calls the move an “unusual” one. But Fox News reports it’s pretty much standard procedure when it comes to highly publicized cases like Zimmerman’s.

Still, don’t expect a response if you write in. “Unfortunately, the Department will not be able to respond to all messages received,” the DOJ said in a statement. But police are still responding to those angered by the case: The Los Angeles Times reports that 17 people were arrested last night after a Victorville rally unraveled. And this morning, Trayvon Martin’s parents spoke out in their first post-verdict interview. Mom Sybrina Fulton tells CBS This Morning she was “stunned” Zimmerman wasn’t found guilty of second-degree murder. To President Obama: “make sure all the Ts were crossed and the Is were dotted,” requests Fulton.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Prince George’s County To Lose Water During Hottest Week Of The Year

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Some D.C. suburbs will find themselves without water during the hottest week of the year, according to the Washington Post.

A water main break in the county will force authorities to shut-off water supplies for as many as four days to Prince George’s County residents who live along the southern edge of the Maryland-D.C. border. Unfortunately for county residents, the water shut off coincides with temperatures in the 90s and heat index ratings above 100 degrees.

Some of the areas to be affected by the shut-off include Morningside, Hillcrest Heights, Camp Springs, Forest Heights, Temple Hills and Oxon Hill.

Read More…

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Will Zimmerman Face Federal Civil-Rights Charges?

By Breaking News

George Zimmerman SC Will Zimmerman Face Federal Civil Rights Charges?

The not-guilty verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter is not the end of the legal story. There are still a few court cases to pursue, including a few that may emanate from Zimmerman’s camp, such as a defamation lawsuit against NBC News for doctoring audiotapes to make Zimmerman sound like a racist. Zimmerman attorney James Beasley is quoted in the Washington Post saying his team plans to “start in earnest ASAP” on this lawsuit. Incidentally, the Post also quotes NBC’s remarkable defense of its creative video editing, issued before the verdict was handed down on Saturday:

NBC Universal Media responded to the Zimmerman complaint by noting that other media outlets played up the racial angle of Zimmerman’s deadly encounter with Trayvon Martin.

The company also noted the pivotal nature of the second-degree murder case: “[I]f Zimmerman is convicted, that fact alone will constitute substantial evidence that the destruction of his reputation is the result of his own criminal conduct, and not of the broadcasts at issue which, like countless other news reports disseminated by media entities throughout the country, reported on the underlying events.”

In other words, it’s OK for the media to lie outrageously and slander someone, provided they go on to lose at trial? It would do the deeply sick world of left-wing agenda journalism a world of good if Zimmerman sued NBC “News” into oblivion, and taught the rest of them a stern lesson, but this sort of thing usually ends in a settlement.

There’s also the high probability of a civil suit from Trayvon Martin’s family against Zimmerman. ABC News reviewed this option in a piece bizarrely entitled “George Zimmerman Could Face Civil Suits, Death Threats, Federal Prosecution.” What do you mean, “could face death threats,” ABC? The man is positively buried under them. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz just had to apologize for venturing his opinion that “Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up to him.”

Read More at Human Events . By John Hayward.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

NSA Chief's Attitude: Forget Needle, Collect Haystack

By John Johnson

Those looking to track the origins of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance programs would do well to check out a 2005 program in Iraq called the Real Time Regional Gateway. As the Washington Post explains, it was put into place by NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander to collect data on every… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Obama: This is How We Should Honor Trayvon…

By Ruth Brown

As the aftermath of George Zimmerman’s acquittal continues to unfold—the Washington Post reports protests across the nation with more planned for the future—Obama has issued a statement, asking for Americans to ” respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son,” but also to ask themselves “if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence.” The full statement, per CNN:


  • “The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”

Earlier today, Republican Rep. Steve King accused Obama of politicizing the case on Fox News Sunday. “The president engaged in this and turned it into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with law and order,” he said, USA Today reports. But others are asking the Justice Department to get even more involved.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Gitmo Hunger Strikers Have Eaten: Officials

By Ruth Brown

The Guantanamo hunger strike may be coming to an end, with 99 of the 102 hunger strikers reportedly eating on Friday, according to military officials, the Washington Post reports. But were they really ending their strike or just pausing for Ramadan? Gitmo spokesman Captain Robert Durand says most of the… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Apple: Beg, Steal, or Borrow

By Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Don’t be lulled into complacency by Apple‘s 7% pop this past week. The current quarter is shaping up to be horrendous. Dreams of seeing Apple innovate its way out of its current rut are apparently at least months away from materializing. Oh, and then there’s the tech bellwether’s vow to take on new debt in an ambitious plan to return more money to its stakeholders.

Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan points out that the ultimate advantage of having Apple borrow money to bankroll its beefed-up $60 billion share-buyback authorization rests in the taxable implications of the strategy.

It does makes sense on paper. Apple’s stock is now yielding 3%, and its creditworthiness would probably mean that it could take on debt in this low-interest-rate environment at about the same rate. Sloan then rightfully points out that the interest Apple will pay on the debt is tax-deductible. Dividends suffer the double-taxation hit of smacking corporations and then recipients. In short, borrowing money at 3% to buy out shares yielding 3% will save Apple — and its stakeholders — money.

However, this still doesn’t address the matter that Apple does have the money itself. Yes, two-thirds of its $145 billion cash position is stashed away overseas, and the government‘s tax laws on repatriated funds will keep it that way. That still leaves a lot of money for it play with on these shores, and Apple continues to print greenbacks with every passing quarter. Even with margins and profitability contracting this past quarter, Apple still managed to generate $12.5 billion in cash from operations. Yes, a lot of that is being generated overseas, but the point is simply that Apple continues to pad its balance sheet with the money it would need to return money to its stakeholders.

Apple can’t buy its way out of this rut
In the end, it’s not as if bigger dividends and aggressive share buybacks will cure Apple’s woes. Sure, the dividend increase will woo income investors, and the stock repurchases will pad profitability on a per-share basis. But at the end of the day, Apple’s fundamentals will have to improve for investors to truly believe in Apple again.

The new quarter is going to be a mess. Apple’s top-line range suggests that year-over-year revenue growth will be flat during this fiscal third quarter.

It could be worse, though. Analysts see Nokia revenue slipping 11% this quarter on the way to a loss on the bottom line. A gross-margins contraction in this scenario will result in another quarter of declining profitability at Apple, but that could also be worse. BlackBerry “believes it will approach breakeven financial results” this quarter.

However, at least the BlackBerry camp has new products that it can pin its hopes on. BlackBerry even alluded to improving hardware margins for the current quarter, and Apple isn’t there yet.

“Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can’t

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Video: MSNBC Pundit: Democrats Lost On The Sequester

By NewsEditor

On MSNBC, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post says that Democrats now have lost the sequester:

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Admit It: No One Has Any Idea What's Going On

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

They call economics “the dismal science.” We got a good example why this week.

Three years ago, Harvard economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart published a paper based on solid history and rigorous statistics showing that when a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio breaches 90%, its growth plunges into negative territory. As highly respected economists, the paper influenced policymakers around the world.

“[I]t is widely acknowledged, based on serious research, that when public debt levels rise about 90% they tend to have a negative economic dynamism, which translates into low growth for many years,” said EU Commissioner Olli Rehn in 2010.

“Economists who have studied sovereign debt tell us that letting total debt rise above 90 percent of GDP creates a drag on economic growth and intensifies the risk of a debt-fueled economic crisis,” said Congressman Paul Ryan in 2011.

“It’s an excellent study,” said former Treasury secretary Tim Geithner two years ago.

But it wasn’t an excellent study. A separate group of economists tried replicating Rogoff and Reinhart’s results, and couldn’t. Stumped, they asked for the actual spreadsheet used in the seminal study, and found it littered with data omissions and Excel coding errors. Rogoff and Reinhart showed economies with debt-to-GDP above 90% experience average GDP growth of negative 0.2%. Fix the math errors, and the real figure is positive 2.2%. Oops.

Economists and pundits have been floored at the discovery all week. As they should; it was a flagrant error.

But these kind of “now-you-know-it-now-you-don’t” moments are more common than people think in economics.

Take the monthly jobs report. Almost every initial report is revised in subsequent months, often by a lot.

In September 2011, the initial report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed zero jobs were created that August. “Zero Job Growth Latest Bleak Sign for U.S. Economy” wrote The New York Times. “Hiring Grinds to a Halt” wrote CNNMoney. “President Zero.” Wrote the Republican National Committee. “THE ECONOMY ADDED ZERO, ZIP, NADA JOBS IN AUGUST.”

Except that, yes it did. Revisions later showed the economy added 132,000 jobs in August 2011, not zero. It was actually the third-best August jobs report in the previous decade. Few seemed to care about the revisions, or even notice. By then, the damage had been done.

Or take productivity. For most of the last decade, it was assumed that the American manufacturing sector became more productive, as employment shrank by output grew. “The decline in U.S. manufacturing employment is explained by rapid growth in manufacturing productivity over the past 50 years,” said Columbia Business School dean Glenn Hubbard.

But maybe not. As The Washington Post pointed out, many economists now think the productivity numbers are grossly inflated, since determining whether, say, a car assembled in Ohio with Japanese parts should be counted as domestic or foreign manufacturing is a messy subject. Cost savings from outsourcing can mistakenly show up as domestic output. Adjust for that bias, and as much as half of manufacturing output growth between 1997 and 2007 melts

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/admit-it-no-one-has-any-idea-whats-going-on/

Washington Post Puts Headquarters Up For Sale

By Breaking News

After several months of speculation, The Washington Post Co.  announced via an ad in the paper Monday that they are placing their longtime Washington, D.C. headquarters up for sale.

The Post wouldn’t say how much the building is worth, nor what they are seeking for the property, but the 465,000 sq. ft. building, along with two adjacent buildings the Post owns, have been assessed by the D.C. government at $80 million. It could be worth far more than that to a developer in a city where there is very little undeveloped space left.

Unlike The New York Times, which moved into a new 52-story headquarters in 2007, only to sell it and lease it back two years later to pay down debt, the Post has no plans to remain in its 63-year old headquarters building. They will instead use the proceeds from the sale to fund a new—and presumably smaller—office somewhere else in the region, and use the rest of the money to pay down debt and fund operations.

The Post could definitely use the money, as its newspaper operations have been hit hard by the ad recession and subscriber defections to the Internet. That, combined with the near evaporation of profits from the company’s former cash cow, Kaplan Education, have badly crippled the company.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Biblicone 9Creative Commons)

From: http://www.westernjournalism.com/washington-post-puts-headquarters-up-for-sale/

Pentagon Drops Drone-Pilot Medal

By Matt Cantor The Pentagon has nixed a new medal for drone pilots before anyone was nominated for it. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by Leon Panetta just before he left the Pentagon, angered veterans as well as those taking issue with drone tactics, the Washington Post reports. A veterans’ petition hit the…

From: http://www.newser.com/story/166321/pentagon-drops-drone-pilot-medal.html

GOP Leaders Like Obama's Social Security Cuts

By Evann Gastaldo Democrats aren’t happy with the part of President Obama‘s budget proposal that involves cutting Social Security benefits , but Republican leaders just love it, the Washington Post reports. John Boehner is trying to muffle any GOP criticism of the budget proposal, which is mainly coming from Republican lawmakers in swing districts….

From: http://www.newser.com/story/166310/gop-leaders-like-obamas-social-security-cuts.html

Will the Sequester Cause Oncologists to Lose Money Prescribing Chemotherapy?

By Peter Ubel

In a recent Washington Post article, Sarah Kliff reported that ?Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients? because of reductions in reimbursement caused by the sequester. Specifically, oncologists will no longer be able to markup the price of chemotherapy by 6% ?to cover the cost of storing and administering? the drugs. As health executive Jeff Vacirca put it: ?If we treated the patients receive the most expensive drugs, we?d be out of business in six months to a year.?

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2013/04/12/will-the-sequester-cause-oncologists-to-lose-money-prescribing-chemotherapy/

How To Argue For More High-Skilled Immigration

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, Contributor

So, Mark Zuckerberg, like everyone else in Silicon Valley, wants more high-skilled immigration. Zuckerberg is launching a lobbying outfit called FWD.us to call for more high-skilled immigration, starting with a Washington Post op-ed.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemmanuelgobry/2013/04/12/how-to-argue-for-more-high-skilled-immigration/