Archive for May 29th, 2009

‘Tens of thousands’ of private health records lost by British government; 140 total security breaches

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Source:

The personal medical records of tens of thousands of people have been lost by the NHS, the Department of Health has confirmed.

A total of 140 security breaches were reported within the NHS between January and April this year.

These included computers containing medical records stolen and left by skips and stolen and passwords taped on encrypted discs with sensitive information, The Independent newspaper said.

Over the last six months, the Information Commissioner has been forced to take action against 14 NHS bodies for breaching data regulations.

In an interview with the newspaper, Commissioner Richard Thomas, said the watchdog had ordered an urgent review of data security in the health service.

Business Week – The Great Ethanol Scam: Evidence building that not only is it inefficient, but that it destroys engines

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Ed Wallace at Business Week:

Don’t let anybody mislead you: The new push to get a 15% ethanol mandate out of Washington is simply to restore profitability to a failed industry. Only this time around those promoting more ethanol in our gas say there’s no scientific proof that adding more ethanol will damage vehicles or small gas-powered engines. With that statement they’ve gone from shilling the public to outright falsehoods, because ethanol-laced gasoline is already destroying engines across the country in ever larger numbers. (more…)

KCMO consultants: 14-mile light rail plan rejected by Kansas City voters last year wouldn’t have qualified for federal funding

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Prime Buzz:

The problems were the same old bugaboos that have haunted light rail for years in Kansas City: a lack of good population densities, inadequate policies that spur the kind development that generates riders, too much cheap parking  and our general unwillingness to approve a tax for light rail (with the exception of Clay Chastain’s repealed plan from 2006).

As a refresher, the $845 million line would have run from I-29 and Vivion Road in North Kansas City across the river through downtown to the Plaza and east to Watkins Parkway and south to 63rd street. The price for taxpayers: a three-eight cent sales tax increase.

AP – Obama on government-run health care: ‘If we don’t get it done this year, we’re not going to get it done.”

Friday, May 29th, 2009

AP:

Obama’s political organization, Organizing for America, invited campaign volunteers to a midday conference call to describe a nationwide June 6 kickoff for its health care campaign. The president’s message to his re-election campaign-in-waiting was simple: If volunteers don’t pressure lawmakers to support the White House’s goal on health care, Washington would drag its feet and nothing would change.

“The election in November-that did not bring about change, it just gave us an opportunity for change,” Obama said. “So now, we are really going to have to remobilize, we have all had a chance to catch our breath after election and we have gotten a lot of things done during our first four months.

“But health care, that’s a big push.”

The presidential plea came as lawmakers prepare for an aggressive schedule of work aimed at producing comprehensive health care overhaul bills in the House and Senate by August.

Committee hearings-and soon thereafter votes-will start next week, as soon as lawmakers return to Washington from a weeklong recess. Many members of Congress spent the break holding town hall meetings and other forums with their constituents about health care, even as opponents and supporters of Obama’s plans ramped up television and radio ads for and against.

AP: Eminent domain, Missouri Citizens for Property Rights back before the courts in Missouri

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Prime Buzz:

 Missouri Citizens for Property Rights has submitted several potential constitutional amendments for the 2010 ballot.

 A Cole County judge was hearing arguments today from an attorney for the Missouri Municipal League. It contends the ballot summaries and financial estimates for the initiatives are unfair and insufficient.

 Court testimony focused on whether Auditor Susan Montee’s office fulfilled its requirements to independently assess the potential costs of the measures.

Economist Mark Perry looks at purity of cocaine, percent of THC in marijuana and asks: Do stronger drug laws merely result in strengthened potency of illegal drugs?

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Mark Perry:

Washington, D.C.Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the latest analysis from the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project, which revealed levels of THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have reached the highest-ever levels since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s. According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 10.1%. This compares to an average of just under 4% reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.