Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blue Dog is the new Red

Originally from Jersey, I lived in Maine for almost five years ( home state of Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins)  and moved from Pennsylvania to Central Virginia 15 years ago. Politically involved in all these  places, I have said for years that North East Republicans would be  Blue Dog Democrats if they lived south of Maryland. Up to now,the  Northern Republican electorate, "Bless their hearts",  has had little understanding of how they differ from their southern cousins . Michael Bloomberg ( New York's Mayor) who originally ran as Republican, figured this out and is now an Independant.  Like the 200,000 voters who switched parties in Pa.,he figured out that the "big tent party" had been replaced by a much less inclusive fraternity that has ever narrowing requirements for inclusion and they didn't fit in.
I am not all all surprised by Arlen Spector;s switcheroo. Frankly I believe he has, like others who fall in the center on issues been marginalized for a long time, but lacking choices and feeling a sense of legacy remained.
Like all tipping point events, as the paradigm shifted, the choices changed.
Those who are angry at his "abandonment" need to understand, like a surprise breakup from a couple you thought were solid, this has been a long time coming.
But lets be cordial for the sake of the kids....
The DAVISReport

Comcast.net: Obama, Biden, welcome Specter to Democratic Party


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Emergency Preparedness - learn the facts and be careful out there

The DAVISReport- a cooperating member of the Medical Reserve Corp.
This is an official
CDC Health Advisory

Health Alert Network
Investigation and Interim Recommendations
:
Swine Influenza (H1N1)
CDC, in collaboration with public health officials in California and Texas, is investigating cases of febrile respiratory illness caused by swine influenza (H1N1) viruses. As of 11 AM (EDT) April 25, 2009, 8 laboratory confirmed cases of Swine Influenza infection have been confirmed in the United States. Four cases have been reported in San Diego County, California. Two cases have been reported in Imperial County California. Two cases have been reported in Guadalupe County, Texas. Of the 8 persons with available data, illness onsets occurred March 28-April 14, 2009. Age range was 7-54 y.o. Cases are 63% male.
The viruses contain a unique combination of gene segments that have not been reported previously among swine or human influenza viruses in the U.S. or elsewhere. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment of infection with swine influenza viruses. The H1N1 viruses are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine but not to oseltamivir or zanamivir. It is not anticipated that the seasonal influenza vaccine will provide protection against the swine flu H1N1 viruses.
CDC has also been working closely with public health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO). Mexican public health authorities have reported increased levels of respiratory disease, including reports of severe pneumonia cases and deaths, in recent weeks. CDC is assisting public health authorities in Mexico by testing specimens and providing epidemiological support. As of 11:00 AM (EDT) April 25, 2009, 7 specimens from Mexico at CDC have tested positive for the same strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) as identified in U.S. cases. However, no clear data are available to assess the link between the increased disease reports in Mexico and the confirmation of swine influenza in a small number of specimens. WHO is monitoring international cases. Further information on international cases may be found at: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_24/en/index.html
Clinicians should consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with febrile respiratory illness and who 1) live in San Diego or Imperial counties, California, or Guadalupe County, Texas, or traveled to these counties or 2) who traveled recently to Mexico or were in contact with persons who had febrile respiratory illness and were in one of the three U.S. counties or Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset.
Patients who meet these criteria should be tested for influenza, and specimens positive for influenza should be sent to public health laboratories for further characterization. Clinicians who suspect swine influenza virus infections in humans should obtain a nasopharyngeal swab from the patient, place the swab in a viral transport medium, refrigerate the specimen, and then contact their state or local health department to facilitate transport and timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory. CDC requests that state public health laboratories promptly send all influenza A specimens that cannot be subtyped to the CDC, Influenza Division, Virus Surveillance and Diagnostics Branch Laboratory.
Persons with febrile respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections (including influenza and other respiratory illnesses) to others in their communities. In addition, frequent hand washing can lessen the spread of respiratory illness.
CDC has not recommended that people avoid travel to affected areas at this time. Recommendations found at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentSwineFluUS.aspx will help travelers reduce risk of infection and stay healthy.
Clinical guidance on laboratory safety, case definitions, infection control and information for the public are available at:http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm.
* Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Biosafety Guidelines for Laboratory Workers: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidelines_labworkers.htm
* Interim Guidance for Infection Control for Care of Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection in a Healthcare Setting: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidelines_infection_control.htm
* Interim Guidance on Case Definitions for Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Human Case Investigations: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/casedef_swineflu.htm
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports Dispatch (April 24) provide detailed information about the initial cases at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm58d0424a1.htm
For more information about swine flu: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu
1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)
Health Alert conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
Health Advisory provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
Health Update provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.
Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why.
"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."
At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.
Napolitano called the emergency declaration standard operating procedure — one was declared recently for the inauguration and for flooding. She urged people to think of it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness."
"Really that's what we're doing right now. We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size of seriousness of this outbreak is going to be
The DAVISReport

Monday, April 13, 2009

Remembering Va Tech and The Gunshow Loophole

The two-year anniversary of Virginia Tech, the largest massacre by a sole gunman in the country's history, is April 16th.Folks, for those who missed one or more of the weekend shows on gun violence in America, here are two video clips of the full segments from "20/20" and "60 Minutes" followed by 2 print articles

20/20 Segment, "If I Only Had a Gun":

http://abcnews.go.com/2020

60 Minutes Segment, "The Way of the Gun":

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4937731n

Best regards,

Ladd Everitt
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Despite two years of rhetoric minimal improvement is public safety has been realized. Follow Omar Samaha's actions in these two articles highlighted below as he honors his sister's memory, by working to protect us all from the dangers of easy Gun access.


Omar Samaha worked with ABC News to see how many guns he could buy at a gun show in one hour with $5,000.
(ABC News )

In the two years since, what has changed, what has been fixed, and what has stayed exactly the same?

Immediately following the tragedy, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and other authorities called on lawmakers to close the so called "gun show loophole" -- by which anyone can buy a gun from a private dealer with no background check and no questions asked. Two years later, that loophole is still very much open, in Virginia and 32 other states around the country.

So just how easy is it to buy a gun at a gun show?


The Challenge: To Buy a Gun in One Hour

For over a year, ABC News has followed Omar Samaha on a very personal quest to hold those lawmakers to their word. Omar's sister Reema was one of 32 shot and killed at Virginia Tech. We went with Omar to a gun show in Richmond, Va. -- one of hundreds held every weekend across the state of Virginia and the country. We gave Samaha $5,000 and one hour to see how many guns he could buy, and how many questions he would be asked.

By 9:30 in the morning, the parking lot was already packed full of cars. Groups of men, couples and even families with children in tow streamed toward the quickly growing line out front. Samaha, 25, joined the crowds and while waiting on line, he was approached by a seller and given the opportunity to make a quick purchase. He bought a Glock handgun, with no background check, and no questions asked.

"He was just sitting right outside the door, I went up to him. 'How much do you want for it?'

"'$450 bucks.'

'Here's the cash.'

'Thanks. See you later.'

"That was it."

For Samaha, the Glock handgun was a particularly painful purchase. It was the same kind of gun used to kill his sister Reema when she was a freshman at Virginia Tech. Just holding the gun in his hand was difficult.

"I don't want to think about how gruesome it was and how somebody used this type of weapon on my sister and so many other innocent people. It's devastating," he saidSamaha walked back into the gun show, and within minutes he was out again, this time carrying a Colt AR 15, a semi-automatic assault weapon very similar to an M16. We asked if there were any questions asked.

"Nothing," he said. "I just went up, gave him cash. He's like, 'Cash is all you need.'"

Over the course of the hour, Samaha purchased 10 guns: three rifles, four shotguns, one handgun. He could have purchased many more handguns, but he wanted to abide by Virginia State law, which allows the purchase of one handgun per month, and two assault weapons.

Samaha was never asked to fill out any type of background check. At one point he was asked to show identification. When Samaha said he didn't have any, the seller quickly relented, not wanting to lose a sale.

"He's like, 'Give me $100 more and I'll let you go and take the risk.' I got two guns for $600 without any identification check," Samaha said.

Easy Access: $5,000 and One Hour Buys 10 Guns

When Virginia lawmakers voted against closing the loophole, Samaha was shocked. "It really made me wonder what kind of people we have making our laws," he said.

Among those who voted twice against closing the gun show loophole is state John S. Edwards, a Virginia Democrat who represents the district that includes Virginia Tech. After repeated attempts to reach Edwards, the state senator did not respond to calls from ABC News.

Gun rights groups don't want to see the loophole closed because they fear that background checks will hurt business at gun shows, and also threaten privacy rights. They also argue that the Virginia Tech shooter didn't buy his gun at a gun show. Seung Hui Cho bought his gun legally at a gun store even though he had a documented history of mental illness. That breakdown in the system was addressed immediately following Virginia Tech, but families of the victims argue that with the gun show loophole still open, it is just too easy to buy a gun with no questions asked.

For Samaha, it's not about the right to own a gun, it's about how easy it is for guns to end up in the wrong hands.

"We're not trying to keep guns out of the hands of good citizens. If you can pass a background check, which anyone can do in a matter of minutes, then you can buy guns," he said.

'None of Them Could Have Stopped Him'

Former ATF agent Gerald Nunziato was with Samaha at the gun show in Richmond, Va. With years of experience fighting gangs and drug organizations, Nunziato was all too familiar with the guns that Samaha bought.

"My experience as an agent in Detroit and Miami is that these guns [shotguns] would be sawed off at the barrel," he said. "They're a very high-powered scatter gun that's used a lot by drug gang members 'cause they're easy to get in and out of your car."

Even though Samaha immediately turned in all the weapons he bought at the gun show to the Richmond Police Department, Nunziato pointed out that if Samaha had wanted to, he could have caused a lot of damage with the guns he purchased.

"There were three or four police cars in the parking lot [at the gun show]. None of them could have stopped him [Samaha] with the firepower he bought," said Nunziato.

For Samaha, it's all about honoring his sister Reema's memory and working to prevent another tragedy from happening again.

"I think I'm doing something she would do," he said. "I think she would be proud of me and tell me to keep going."

HOW TO HELP:

Angel Fund: The Angel Fund web site honors the memory of Reema Samaha and explores those issues that contributed to the tragedy at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
E-mail: contactus@angelfundva.org

Students for Gun Free Schools: O
Article 2- The path of least resistance
The Washington Post

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is teaming up with a Fairfax County man whose sister was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings in a campaign to encourage Virginia lawmakers to require that private sellers at gun shows conduct background checks-

On Monday, Bloomberg, whose gun control campaigns in Virginia have roiled gun rights groups, will join Omar Samaha at an Arlington hotel to unveil a 30-second commercial that will air statewide next week. Their campaign calls for the General Assembly to close the so-called gun-show loophole in Virginia law that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. The commercial, which will be previewed at the Crystal City Marriott at 11:30 a.m., was paid for by Americans United for Safe Streets, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that counts Bloomberg as a financial contributor.

The campaign comes as the Virginia Tech community prepares to mark the second anniversary of the April 16, 2007, shootings. Yesterday, the Blacksburg campus held a "reopening celebration" at the newly designed and refurbished west wing of Norris Hall, where gunman Seung Hui Cho killed 30 of his 32 victims, including Samaha's sister, Reema.


A Bloomberg spokesman said the mayor has campaigned at other events with the Samaha family and believes strongly that Virginia needs to tighten its gun regulations. "Because of the gun-show loophole . . . we know that a criminal will take the path of least resistance," said spokesman Jason Post.

A National Rifle Association spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment. In February, Virginia senators rejected a bill requiring that private firearms sales at gun shows include background checks. Nearly all the Senate's Republicans voted against the bill, fearing, among other things, that it could have led to more restrictions on constitutional rights.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Gun???!!

Watch 20/20 Fri 4/11 and 60 mins Sunday 4/12 as both shows bring Virginia and Richmond,(Henrico County) into the national spotlight as they show the gunshow loophole laws in action to a national audience. Yes, right here in River City, Omar Samaha,whose sister Reema was shot and killed at Va. Tech, buys 10 guns,including a glock and 2 assault rifles in 1 hour at the The Showplace Gunshow without even showing one ID, all fully legal purchases, and it will sicken you! Shame on the Virginia Legislature for allowing this travesty to continue! As someone who lives within miles of this demonstration, I am outraged! This ongoing threat to public safety defies common sense!
The DAVISReport