Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter health tips

Now that the cold and snow are getting here make sure you are taking care of yourself and your house in a healthy way.

If it snows and you're going to be shoveling make sure you are shoveling correctly.

Shovel with your legs, lifting from your knees and upper legs when you shovel.

Don't use your back as it can lead to strains.

Take breaks as cold weather puts extra strain on the heart.

Also make sure you dress warmly, using layers of clothing helps to avoid hypothermia.

Lastly watch out for ice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found many cold weather injuries result from falls on ice covered walkways.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Connecticut gunman had hundreds of rounds; Obama to console Newtown

Residents and visitors streamed past a police roadblock to add to it. One woman knelt down and sobbed violently.

As children walked down the street in the rain, carrying their toys and signs, a man sat on the back of his parked car playing a mournful tune on a violin to accompany them.

"This is a time to come together," said Carina Bandhaver, 43, who lives in nearby Southbury.

The children who survived will not have to return to the scene of the massacre. They will attend classes at an unused school in a Connecticut town about 7 miles away, school officials said. Classes elsewhere in the town will resume on Tuesday, except at Sandy Hook.


Several Democratic lawmakers called for a new push for U.S. gun restrictions on Sunday, including a ban on military-style assault weapons.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the author of an assault-weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, said she would introduce new legislation this week.

"I think we could be at a tipping point ... where we might get something done," New York's Charles Schumer, another top Senate Democrat, said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Gun rights advocates have countered that Connecticut already has among the strictest gun laws in the nation.
Obama's appearance will be watched closely for clues as to what he meant when he called for "meaningful action" to prevent such tragedies.

The president arrived in Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, a day after authorities released the names of the dead and more details emerged about the victims, the gunman and the rampage.

Adam Lanza attended Sandy Hook Elementary as a child, according to former classmates.

Police were trying to establish the relationship between Adam Lanza, Nancy Lanza and the school, and whether the mother and her sons were frequent visitors to gun ranges, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

In addition to the military-style Bushmaster assault rifle, a civilian version of the weapon used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, police said Lanza carried Glock 10 mm and Sig Sauer 9 mm handguns into the school.

Nancy Lanza legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock, handguns commonly used by police, in addition to the long gun, according to law enforcement officials.

Lanza had struggled at times to fit into the community and his mother pulled him out of school for several years to home-school him, said Louise Tambascio, the owner of My Place Restaurant, where his mother was a long-time patron.

Officials said they were concerned misinformation and threats about the case were being spread on social media websites. Police said a telephone bomb threat forced the evacuation of the St. Rose church. It was searched and declared clear.

David Fein, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, issued a stern warning that harassment of victims or their relatives could be prosecuted. "Harassment not only includes in-person contact, but also contact via the Internet, social media and telephone," he said.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pushing G.O.P. to Negotiate, Obama Ends Giving In

Amid demands from Republicans that President Obama propose detailed new spending cuts to avert the year-end fiscal crisis, his answer boils down to this: you first. 

Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table. 

Disciplined and unyielding, he argues for raising taxes on the wealthy while offering nothing new to rein in spending and overhaul entitlement programs beyond what was on the table last year. Until Republicans offer their own new plan, Mr. Obama will not alter his. In effect, he is trying to leverage what he claims as an election mandate to force Republicans to take ownership of the difficult choices ahead. 

His approach is born of painful experience. In his first four years in office, Mr. Obama has repeatedly offered what he considered compromises on stimulus spending, health care and deficit reduction to Republicans, who either rejected them as inadequate or pocketed them and insisted on more. Republicans argued that Mr. Obama never made serious efforts at compromise and instead lectured them about what they ought to want rather than listening to what they did want. 

Either way, the two sides were left at loggerheads over the weekend with less than a month until a series of painful tax increases and spending cuts automatically take effect, risking what economists say would be a new recession. 

Mr. Obama refuses to propose more spending cuts until Republicans accept higher tax rates on the wealthy, and Republicans refuse to accept higher tax rates on the wealthy while asking for more spending cuts.
“I’m puzzled why Republicans are locking into a principle that’s not sustainable and why Democrats aren’t taking the moment to put forward their own vision of entitlement reform,” said Peter R. Orszag, a former White House budget director for Mr. Obama. 

Mr. Orszag’s former White House colleagues said they had grown tired of making unilateral concessions only to see Republicans moving the goal posts, as they see it. “The president is not going to negotiate with himself,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “He’s laid out his position, and Republicans have to come to the table.” 

Republican strategists argue that in resorting to campaign-style events to take his fiscal message to voters, Mr. Obama is overplaying his hand, much as President George W. Bush did after his re-election when he barnstormed the country in favor of a Social Security restructuring plan that he never successfully sold to leaders on Capitol Hill. 

“He is overreading his mandate,” said John Feehery, a former adviser to top House Republicans. “By doing the campaign thing, he is making the same mistake Bush made in 2005.” Eventually, he said, Democratic and Republican leaders “are going to cut the deal, and Obama is going to be on the outside looking in.” 

The difference might be that Mr. Obama ran more explicitly on the idea of letting Mr. Bush’s tax cuts expire for incomes over $250,000, while Mr. Bush’s re-election was fought more on grounds of national security than Social Security. But both presidents emerged from relatively narrow popular-vote victories determined to impose their will on a balky Congress resisting their leadership. 

Mr. Obama seemed to defy the Republican House last week when Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner delivered a plan calling for $1.6 trillion in additional taxes from the wealthy over 10 years, as well as $50 billion in short-term stimulus spending and $612 billion in recycled cuts first put on the table during last year’s failed debt talks. 

Republicans erupted in outrage, though they produced no specific alternative. Instead, they noted they had expressed newfound willingness since the election to increase tax revenue by limiting deductions for the wealthy, though not by raising rates. 

The administration laid out its latest plan in less formal ways a couple of weeks earlier, according to a senior official who declined to be identified discussing private deliberations. But the message was that Speaker John A. Boehner could not move yet. After waiting with no further response, the administration decided to have Mr. Geithner deliver the proposal on paper knowing it would be provocative but thinking it was needed to move the process along. 

Instead, the process has collapsed, at least for now. The depth of disagreement played out on the Sunday morning talk shows, even as Mr. Obama went golfing with former President Bill Clinton in a session that White House officials presumed would include trading notes about the fiscal crisis. 

“We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved,” Mr. Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But the White House has responded with virtually nothing. They have actually asked for more revenue than they’ve been asking for the whole entire time.” 

Mr. Geithner said it was up to Republicans to outline more spending cuts than Mr. Obama had previously put on the table. “Some Republicans apparently want to go beyond that, but what they have to do is tell us what they’re prepared to do,” Mr. Geithner told Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And what we can’t do, Bob, is sit here trying to guess what works for them.” 

That represents something of a shift for Mr. Obama, who did try to guess what worked for Republicans in his first term. When he crafted a stimulus spending program to bolster the economy shortly after taking office, Mr. Obama devoted roughly a third of the money to tax cuts that he assumed Republicans would like. They did not. Likewise, his framework for universal health care included free-market elements that he thought Republicans would embrace. They did not. 

While Republicans argued that the overall programs overshadowed any palatable aspects, Mr. Obama came to believe he had made a mistake in offering concessions up front. In an interview in September 2010, he said he had learned “that if you already have a third of the package as tax cuts, then the Republicans, who traditionally are more comfortable with tax cuts, may just pocket that and attack the other components of the program.” 

Aides said Mr. Obama came to the same conclusion after his clash with Republicans over raising the nation’s borrowing limit last year. “We put all these things on the table, and the reason we couldn’t do a deal is because Republicans couldn’t do revenues,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “So our view here is the president won’t sign a deal that doesn’t have higher rates for the wealthy. Until they cross that bridge, nothing else is relevant.” 

Yet there is risk in that. Republicans now understand that higher tax rates on the wealthy is Mr. Obama’s No. 1 priority, so rather than give in, some strategists say they should hold out to leverage those to shape other aspects of a final deal. 

“He only cares about one detail: raising rates on the top two brackets,” said Tony Fratto, a former White House and Treasury Department official under Mr. Bush. “Everything else is secondary. That’s why if that is going to happen, it will be last if Republicans can hold out. I think it’s pretty clear Obama will sacrifice just about anything to get that. It’s the only win for him.”