Wednesday April 29th

Two year old tot from Mexico first flu death in U.S.

A 22-month-old child from Mexico who was taken to Houston, Texas, for medical treatment is the first confirmed U.S. fatality from swine flu, health authorities said Wednesday. The toddler was not a U.S. citizen, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, adding she could provide no other details.

Minnesota Democrat wants to track our driving and tax us by the mile and sooner rather than later.

A House committee chairman said Tuesday that he wants Congress to enact a mileage-based tax on cars and trucks to pay for highway programs now rather than wait years to test the idea. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., said he believes the technology exists to implement a mileage tax. He said he sees no point in waiting years for the results of pilot programs since such a tax system is inevitable as federal gasoline tax revenues decline. “Why do we need a pilot program? Why don’t we just phase it in?” said Oberstar, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman. Oberstar is drafting a six-year transportation bill to fund highway and transit programs that is expected to total around a half trillion dollars.

Black farmers, suffering discrimination for years, demand their compensation. Federal government is dragging their feet on this issue but farmers are careful to not criticize Obama administration.

With Congress bailing out the auto industry and financial institutions, black farmers are pressing the federal government to pay money owed to thousands of black farmers as part of a discrimination settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This is an issue that has been going on for years,” said John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association. “(The government) ought to pay the black farmers what you owe us.” About 200 black farmers, mostly from Southern states, protested today in front of the Department of Agriculture, calling on lawmakers, President Barack Obama and federal agriculture officials to live up to a promise last year to pay black farmers $100 million for years of discrimination by the agency.

So what DO we call this flu bug without offending anyone or screwing up the pork producers?

What’s in a name? U.S. pork producers are finding that the name of the virus spreading from Mexico is affecting their business, prompting U.S. officials to argue for changing the name from swine flu. At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the “H1N1 virus.” “This is not a food-borne illness, virus. It is not correct to refer to it as swine flu because really that’s not what this is about,” Vilsack said.

Colleges join employers searching the internet for information on applicants. Facebook and Myspace among top targets for snooping.

High school students, beware! College admissions and financial aid officers in California and elsewhere may be peeking over your digital shoulder at the personal information you post on your Facebook or MySpace page. And they might decide to toss out your application after reading what you wrote about that cool party last week or how you want to conduct your romantic life at college. According to a new report by the National Assn. for College Admission Counseling, about a quarter of U.S. colleges reported doing some research about applicants on social networking sites or through Internet search engines.

Manager of GM employee stock fund unloads all company shares.

The manager of General Motors’ employee stock fund has sold off all remaining shares of the troubled auto maker, which is closing plants and slashing costs in a bid to avoid bankruptcy. General Motors revealed in a regulatory filing late Friday that its employee stock-purchase plan has unloaded all shares of the company in favor of short-term and money market investments. The plan’s financial manager, State Street Bank and Trust Co., said it began selling off shares of the Detroit automaker in late March “due to the economic climate and the circumstances surrounding GM’s business.” GM disclosed the development in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Wisconsin Radio Shack employee loses cool goes fist city on customer.

A worker at Radio Shack was arrested for punching a customer. Officers arrested 52-year-old James Knol of Eau Claire on Sunday night for disorderly conduct and battery.

North Korea says they’ll resume nuclear tests unless the UN apologizes for condemnation of recent missile launch.

Pyongyang said it would be compelled to take self-defence measures “including nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests” if no apology was made. When North Korea launched its rocket on 5 April, the launch was seen by the US and others as a disguised missile test.

News account of attack on cruise ship gushes over guy who threw deck chair at pirates calling him a “hero.” Fails to mention it was armed security aboard the ship that chased the bad guys away and really saved the day.

A British vacationer is being hailed a hero after he thwarted gun-toting pirates attacking a cruise ship — by throwing a deck chair at them. Wyn Rowlands was celebrating his 62nd birthday with a dream cruise onboard the MSC Melody near the Seychelle Islands when he spotted armed pirates in a speedboat trying to clamber on to the vessel.

[Nice twisting of the facts but a stupid deck chair isn’t going to stop a bunch of thugs with fully automatic rifles. You have to fight fire with fire and the only reason these pirates took off is because someone was shooting back at them…ed]

Mom gives kid Nintendo game for birthday. Kid discovers box is full of rocks and as a bonus….a Chinese newspaper.

Jodi Wykle knew her son would be thrilled when she gave him a new Nintendo DS for his birthday. Instead, he was rocked. According to WTSP-TV, the confused teen opened up his gift only to find bunch of stones and a rolled up Chinese newspaper in place of the popular handheld.

In today’s gee-no-kidding department the Air Force (read the White House) cancels plans for more photo-ops, this time of Air Force One flying over Washington DC monuments.

Don’t look for the Air Force to conduct a photo shoot over Washington’s monuments, like it did over New York. A shoot planned for next week in D.C. has been canceled, CNN reports.

Obama administration lobbies Congress to change sentencing disparity for dealing crack and powdered cocaine saying it discriminates against blacks.

The Obama administration is asking Congress to close the big gap in prison sentences for dealing crack versus powdered cocaine, a law that critics say is unfair to blacks. Such sentencing reform efforts tend to focus on lowering the mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine possession, but in prepared testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer did not spell out exactly how the administration hopes to make the law more fair.

Quote of the day.

I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried that for a while. Maybe this time it’ll work.

-George Carlin

This entry was posted in J.A.R.G\'s \"Gotta Read\" News Of The Day.

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