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August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene kills nine

Early estimates suggest it has also caused billions in damage. Damage and Flooding Scar Atlantic Seaboard - NYTimes.com
. . . The hurricane also quickly contributed to at least nine deaths. In Maryland, a person in Queen Anne’s County died after a tree fell on a house, The Associated Press reported. In North Carolina, five people died: one whose car hydroplaned and hit a tree, one was hit by a falling tree limb, a third died when a tree fell on their car, another was killed in a car accident and one had a heart attack while nailing up plywood. Three more people died in Virginia: in Newport News, a fallen tree crashed through the roof of an apartment building and killed an 11-year-old boy; in Brunswick County, a tree fell on a car and killed a man; and the most recent death was caused by toppled trees. By early Sunday, the massive storm was continuing north at about 17 miles an hour — speeding up slightly — and producing tornado watches and warnings from Delaware to New York City. Laurie Hogan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s operations on Long Island, said that the storm was expected to hit a little after 8 a.m. on Sunday. It was expected to cause storm surges of seven feet at the southern tip of Staten Island, and of more than five feet at Battery Park, at the bottom of Manhattan. . . .

August 23, 2011

Is a recall of metal replacement hips looming?

Signs point to yes. Complaints Soar on Hip Implants as Dangers Are Studied - NYTimes.com
An analysis of federal data by The New York Times indicates that the Food and Drug Administration has received more than 5,000 reports since January about several widely used devices known as metal-on-metal hips, more than the agency had received about those devices in the previous four years combined. The vast majority of filings appear to reflect patients who have had an all-metal hip removed, or will soon undergo such a procedure because a device failed after only a few years; typically, replacement hips last 15 years or more. The mounting complaints confirm what many experts have feared — that all-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device component in 2007. About 7,700 complaints have been filed in connection with that recall. Though immediate problems with the hip implants are not life-threatening, some patients have suffered crippling injuries caused by tiny particles of cobalt and chromium that the metal devices shed as they wear. . . .

August 19, 2011

Is it moral to take away someone's kids just because they have a tiny amount of pot?

Personally I would say HELL NO. Unless, y'know, there were other circumstances. But then it would be the other circumstances (insert scary things here) that were the reason. But hey, New York thinks differently. People who have so little marijuana that it isn't even a misdemeanor are having their kids taken away. Parents’ Minor Marijuana Arrests Lead to Child Neglect Cases - NYTimes.com
The police found about 10 grams of marijuana, or about a third of an ounce, when they searched Penelope Harris’s apartment in the Bronx last year. The amount was below the legal threshold for even a misdemeanor, and prosecutors declined to charge her. But Ms. Harris, a mother whose son and niece were home when she was briefly in custody, could hardly rest easy. The police had reported her arrest to the state’s child welfare hot line, and city caseworkers quickly arrived and took the children away. Her son, then 10, spent more than a week in foster care. Her niece, who was 8 and living with her as a foster child, was placed in another home and not returned by the foster care agency for more than a year. Ms. Harris, 31, had to weather a lengthy child neglect inquiry, though she had no criminal record and had never before been investigated by the child welfare authorities, Ms. Harris and her lawyer said. “I felt like less of a parent, like I had failed my children,” Ms. Harris said. “It tore me up.” Hundreds of New Yorkers who have been caught with small amounts of marijuana, or who have simply admitted to using it, have become ensnared in civil child neglect cases in recent years, though they did not face even the least of criminal charges, according to city records and defense lawyers. A small number of parents in these cases have even lost custody of their children. . . .