Archive for May 12th, 2009

Tale of Three Cities: Pennsylvania’s Retiree and Medical Liability Challenges

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Commmonwealth Foundation:

Pennsylvania maintains over 3,000 public pension plans at the state, city and municipal levels, the most of any state and approximately 25% of all such plans in America. Over 2,200 of these plans are of the often financially and politically problematic “defined-benefit” genre. According to the Pennsylvania Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC), over 67 percent of these plans have fewer than 10 members. Needless to say, there is vast opportunity for pension reform.

Great Britain’s Top Effective Tax Rate is 61.5%: Club for Growth

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

HT Club for Growth: “The Economist has the scoop.”

NRO on Jack Kemp’s funeral

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

NRO:

Celebrating Kemp   [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

National Cathedral was packed for his funeral this afternoon, every GOP luminary from Frank Carlucci and Al Haig and Michael Steele  to Joe Lieberman and Sam Donaldson.

Chuck Colson eulogized his friend and said that in all his years in Washington he can’t remember anyone who left public office 22 years before getting such an elaborate send-off.

The funeral was properly focused on faith and family (and his son Jeff, who sounds so much like his raspy father and can command an audience’s attention just as well as the late Kemp, too). But there was a memorable line that didn’t come from the Bible and won’t make the news coverage. Again, from Colson: While Jack was playing football, he was reading Hayek.

Microsoft shadow looms over Reichert: Politico

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Politico:

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) can be forgiven if he’s feeling a case of déjà vu.

For the third consecutive election cycle, Reichert could face a well-funded, former Microsoft employee in his Seattle-area district.

Democrat Suzan DelBene, a former corporate vice president for mobile communications, has been raising money at a fast clip, hiring experienced campaign staff and traveling throughout the suburban district since February.

DelBene cuts a slightly different profile than Darcy Burner, a darling of the online liberal community who unsuccessfully challenged Reichert in 2006 and 2008 – for one thing, DelBene promotes her business background and moderate stands.

It’s A Dog’s Life: K-State Veterinarian Says Quirky Behaviors By Canines Can Be Just For Fun, Innate Or May Require Treatment

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

From KSU:

IT’S A DOG’S LIFE: K-STATE VETERINARIAN SAYS QUIRKY BEHAVIORS BY CANINES CAN BE JUST FOR FUN, INNATE OR MAY REQUIRE TREATMENT

MANHATTAN — It’s just another day in the life of a dog — chasing its tail, licking its owner’s face and turning around a few times before taking a nap.

Dr. Susan Nelson, veterinarian at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said there are varied reasons for a dog’s quirky behavior.

“Everyone has a pet who will sometimes exhibit an odd behavior,” Nelson said. “But before you attribute it as just a silly behavior, there might be medical reasons why your pet is acting in a certain way.”

Many dogs love to lick, especially people, and it starts as a puppy. Puppies lick their mother’s face to get them to regurgitate food, and mother dogs lick their puppies to stimulate breathing and bowel movements, Nelson said.

Licking also is a sign of submission, according to Nelson. Dogs are pack animals, so they will lick the mouths of the more dominant dogs in the pack to show respect. People are considered a member of the pack, often the alpha dog, so when a dog licks a person, they are acknowledging that the person is the boss.

Nelson said dogs also seem to like the salty taste of the human face, not to mention the assortment of food left on children’s faces after they eat.

Owners can attempt to extinguish licking by ignoring it, or saying, “no lick,” Nelson said, and gently pushing the dog away or turning their back on the dog. Owners also can reinforce licking behavior by showing they enjoy the dog’s licks by petting or talking to them in a happy tone as the dog licks them, Nelson said. This encourages the behavior because the dog is getting positive attention from its owner.

Another common behavior noticed in dogs is how they may circle a few times before deciding to lie down. Nelson said this is simply an innate behavior. “In the wild, dogs would rest in grass, so stomping down on the grass several times before lying down made a nice bed for themselves,” Nelson said. “This habit has just carried on through time.”

Another quirky behavior dogs exhibit is scooting their bottoms on the floor when they walk. Nelson said the main reason why dogs do this is because they are trying to relieve a painful anal sac.

Dogs have glands back by the anal area, and normally when they have a bowel movement, the sacs empty. Sometimes the sacs can get backed up, so dogs scoot along the floor to relieve the pressure, Nelson said. Often times a veterinary visit is needed to fully take care of the problem because anal sacs can rupture or abscess.

The scooting behavior also can be because of tapeworms or other intestinal parasites that can cause some itchiness near the anal area, Nelson said. Dogs with short, corkscrew tails can get skin-fold infections, which also can be very itchy. Female dogs may scoot because the skin fold of their vulva is infected. Lastly, there can be feces stuck to the hair around the anus, which can cause some irritation and/or infection to the surrounding skin. This is more common in longhaired dogs, especially when having soft or loose stool. Nelson suggests a veterinary visit for any scooting behavior that is continually exhibited.

Almost everyone has seen a dog chase its own tail, but what makes this activity so popular? Well, some dogs actually think it is fun — especially if they are bored, Nelson said. “If owners laugh or give the dog attention when it chases its tail, the behavior can be reinforced and the dog will keep doing it,” she said. “Dogs are kind of like children in that respect. The more attention they are given for doing a certain activity, the more they will do it.”

Other times a medical condition can cause this behavior, Nelson said. Many dogs have a mental condition known as obsessive compulsive disorder and may need to go on medication to control it. Other dogs may be trying to lick or bite their tails because of a flea infestation or other irritation, she said.

Their own tails are not the only thing dogs may chase — cars are another popular yet dangerous option. “It’s an innate behavior,” Nelson said. “Dogs are predatory animals. It’s instinctive for them to chase moving things. Sometimes it is reinforced because when they chase the car and the car drives away, the dog feels like they did their job.”

A thunderstorm is another event that is likely to cause some strange behavior from some dogs. Dogs often hide, bark and become extremely nervous during a thunderstorm, Nelson said. “When a storm hits, dogs can feel the barometric changes,” she said. “They are in tune with the weather better than humans. Dogs may also react to their owner’s nervousness about storms, which in turn perpetuates the dog’s insecurities.”

Behavioral modifications and medications are available for severe cases of thunderstorm phobia. Owners also can try changes to the environment, such as completely closing blinds and curtains to block out lightning and turning the volume up on the television or radio to hide the sound of thunder.

Everyone knows that dogs are not discriminatory when it comes to food — they will eat just about anything, even garbage or cat feces. Nelson said when dogs get bored they often go scavenging for food. Also, if a dog has separation anxiety, they may destroy everything they can find, including the garbage. It is an outlet for their nervousness, she said.

Nelson said that if your dog suddenly starts digging through the garbage and has not exhibited that behavior before, the dog could have a disease that gives them an increased appetite. Eating feces also can be medically related. Dogs might not be digesting their food well or their diet could be deficient in certain nutrients, so they consume feces in an attempt to correct those deficiencies.

Dogs often are attracted to cat feces because cat food typically has more fat in it, so cat droppings taste good to dogs. Dogs who are kenneled for long periods of time might eat their own fecal matter as a way of cleaning their cage, Nelson said.

“Eating fecal matter is not a good idea because of the risk of intestinal parasites and other diseases that are transmitted through them,” she said. “To help curb this behavior, owners can add some products to the dog’s food that makes their stool taste bad to them. Also, keep the cat’s litter box out of a dog’s reach.”

Kansas Liberty: Pro-life lawmakers wonder how far Parkinson will go to protect abortion provider

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Kansas Liberty:

A successful effort this week, led by Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler), to amend a budget bill approved by both the Kansas House and Senate to make it more difficult for taxpayer dollars to flow to Planned Parenthood was hailed as a victory by pro-life forces.

The Huelskamp amendment was approved by both the Kansas House and Senate, and the budget package has been sent to Gov. Mark Parkinson, who has expressed support for the  budget-related aspects of the legislation. Under the amendment, the money would be diverted…

Johnson County Republicans Wysong and Vratil vote against late-term abortion bill

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

From Kansans for Life:

KS SENATE VOTE ON ATTEMPTED OVERRIDE OF S.B. 218

On roll call, the vote was: Yeas 25, Nays 13, Present and Passing 1, Absent or Not Voting 1.

Yeas: (PRO-LIFE VOTE) Abrams, Apple, Barnett, Brownlee, Bruce, Colyer, Donovan, Huelskamp, Kelsey, Lee, Lynn, Marshall, Masterson, McGinn, Morris, Ostmeyer, Owens, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Reitz, Schmidt D, Taddiken, Umbarger, Wagle.

Nays: Brungardt, Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Kultala, Schmidt V, Schodorf, Steineger, Vratil, Wysong. (more…)

Editorial opinions around the state: Kansas views on coal plant deal, KU alcohol policy

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Wichita Eagle:

Coal-plant deal — Gov. Mark Parkinson forged what appears to be a genuinely productive compromise with Sunflower Electric Power Corp. CEO Earl Watkins. The deal would allow Sunflower to build one plant. That’s less coal-generating capacity than it had sought but more than will please opponents of additional coal power. The utility also will take steps that could make the plant “carbon neutral” and will invest more heavily in renewable energy than it had planned. The compromise also would prevent the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from imposing emissions standards that are stricter than federal standards without legislative approval. Good work, governor.– Manhattan Mercury (more…)

KC Star: Archbishop slams Obama for anti-life, anti-family agenda, also slams Sebelius

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Prime Buzz:

WASHINGTON – The American bishop who heads the Vatican’s supreme court slammed President Obama today for pursuing an “anti-life and anti-family agenda” and called the University of Notre Dame’s plans to honor him this month “the greatest scandal.”

Archbishop Raymond Burke, who led the archdiocese of St. Louis until he was named prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Benedict XVI last June, is known as a forceful critic of public figures who support abortion rights and gay marriage.

In 2004, Burke made headlines for threatening to deny Communion to Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic who was then the Democratic presidential nominee.

At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Friday, Burke garnered frequent applause for castigating Notre Dame, Obama, and Catholics who stray from the church’s social teachings.