Archive for August 28, 2009
Army breaks ground for new biodefense lab
Source: The Associated Press
The U.S. military’s flagship biological defense agency broke ground Thursday on a $680 million headquarters building designed for expanded Army research on the world’s deadliest pathogens.
The new home of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick is scheduled to open in May 2014. When fully staffed by the end of 2015, it will house as many as 952 scientists, technicians and administrators, up from about 800 working now in crowded facilities built in the 1960s.
Officials said the new USAMRIID will feature the latest in biocontainment technology to prevent accidental releases of dangerous organisms such as anthrax, the plague bacteria and the Ebola virus. Bio-Safety Level 4 lab space, reserved for the most lethal organisms, will grow by nearly 80 percent to 17,000 square feet.
Although their primary mission is developing vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tools for soldiers on the battlefield, scientists in the five-story, 800,000-square-foot structure will share their discoveries with neighboring labs operated by the departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture and Health and Human Services, comprising an interagency biodefense campus at Fort Detrick.
“We can’t support our fighting force if we don’t protect the whole nation,” said the Army surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker.
He said USAMRIID researchers have been involved in the fight against the West Nile virus, SARS, the avian flu and the swine flu.
The groundbreaking comes as an elite panel of scientists is set to consider whether project planners have adequately prepared for the possible release of germs, either accidentally or through the actions of a terrorist or disgruntled scientist.
Here is a must read by David Cho of the Washington Post. Apparently we haven’t learned anything for our near-collapse of the U.S’s financial system. And if Cho is right, we the consumers are getting nothing for our assistance in the bail-out of these behemoths. But the banks are getting o’plenty.
When the credit crisis struck last year, federal regulators pumped tens of billions of dollars into the nation’s leading financial institutions because the banks were so big that officials feared their failure would ruin the entire financial system.
Today, the biggest of those banks are even bigger.
The crisis may be turning out very well for many of the behemoths that dominate U.S. finance. A series of federally arranged mergers safely landed troubled banks on the decks of more stable firms. And it allowed the survivors to emerge from the turmoil with strengthened market positions, giving them even greater control over consumer lending and more potential to profit.
Profit seems to equate these days to a renewed potential for corporate corruption and greed at the taxpayers expense. What should we expect next? A system wide repeat of last year’s collapse, who will Wall Street and the “Too big to Fail” financial institutions turn to next time?. WTF? And when you add in TARP and industry lobbyist currently wooing lawmakers the situation gets even more infuriating.
Public Citizen has plumbed the depths of Sunlight’s extensive PartyTime database and determined that when it comes to lobbying parties, the lobbyists that represent TARP recipients know how to get down. From Election Day through the end of June 2009, such lobbyists have held over seventy parties and chipped in six million dollars worth of campaign scrilla. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has led the way, hosting 35 fundraisers. The big recipients include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and forty-eight members of Congress.
Public Citizens report; “Bank Rolling Congress” is an interesting read. One North Carolina politico has enjoyed a few partays, on page 8 of their report you will find “Lawmakers for Whom Lobbyists for TARP Recipients and their Trade Association Allies Scheduled Fundraisers”. North Carolina’s own Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is in the top 4 with 3 fundraisers.
Things got a little heated by NPR standards when NPR’s host Steve Inskeep ask Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to clarify his inconsistent statements regarding the governments role in health-care. After becoming a bit discombobulated, Steele snaps and says “Hold up. You’re doing a wonderful little dance here and trying to be cute”.
I applaud Inskeep for questioning the logic of Steele’s Washington Post Op-ed. You cannot have health care reform or industry regulation without some sort of government involvement, whether by commission, panel or otherwise, someone has to decide the game plan and then enforce it. Steele’s inconsistency is indicative of the current state of the Republican party, he is talking out of both sides of his mouth and he was busted for it.
Here is the show’s transcript in case you didn’t understand Steele in panic mode.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele is making proposals on health care. He wrote in the Washington Post that he opposes a government-run health care system. His party has attacked government involvement in health care all summer. That rhetoric is complicated by something else Steele wants to do. As part of what he calls a Bill of Rights for Seniors, Chairman Steele writes, quote, “We need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of health insurance reform.” Democratic health care plans assume big savings by reworking the government’s Medicare program for seniors. When we sat down with Steele early this week, we asked what he wants to do with Medicare.
Mr. MICHAEL STEELE (Republican Party Chairman): What makes it a valuable program is that it is the last line of opportunity to receive health care for a lot of our seniors, and it has been now for – since the 1960s. The problem is, as we all note, that the system has been raided over the years, from time to time. It’s become bloated, and in some cases efficiencies have not been maxed out. Therefore, it’s running into problems where, you know, every few years we’re having stories about Medicare falling apart and, you know, we’ve already projected it’s going to be out of money in a few years.
INSKEEP: It’s going to run out of money.
Mr. STEELE: Exactly.
INSKEEP: But you’re coming here against reducing the spending on Medicare, restraining Medicare.
Mr. STEELE: No, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not coming out against reducing the spending. That is not – I mean, that’s a wonderful interpretation by the left, but what I was saying was don’t go raiding the program without some sense of what we’re taking from the program, the impact it’s going to have on the senior citizens out there. You know, raiding a program that’s already bankrupt to pay for another program that we can’t afford is not good public policy.
Source: Raw Story
Jenkins comments were revealed by The Topeka Capital-Journal.
“Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope,” Jenkins told a Kansas crowd. “I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”
A tape shows that Jenkins identified three of the alleged leading lights of her party by name: House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). All three men are white.
A Jenkins spokesman, contacted Wednesday by a local paper, said the congresswoman didn’t mean her remarks to be offensive.
“There may be some misunderstanding there when she talked about the great white hope,” Jenkins spokesman Mary Geiger was quoted as saying. “What she meant by it is they have a bright future. They’re bright lights within the party.”
There is a history behind her remarks, Raw Story has the rest.