Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Empire State Building honors China, riling critics

Empire State Building honors China, riling critics
(AP) – 9 hours ago

NEW YORK — Critics of China's communist government are protesting plans to light the top of New York's Empire State Building red and yellow to honor that nation's 60th anniversary.
Several supporters of Tibet protested Wednesday outside the iconic building, where a lighting ceremony is planned. The building often changes its lighting colors to mark holidays and big events.

Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner (WEE'-nur) of New York says the lights should not be used to pay tribute to what he called "a nation with a shameful history on human rights."
Building spokeswoman Marisa Picker had no immediate comment.
China is marking 60 years of communist rule on Wednesday.


Strong earthquake rattles southeastern Peru

NBC News and news services
updated 20 minutes ago

JULIACA, Peru - A magnitude 5.9 quake struck in southeastern Peru on Wednesday, close to Bolivia's capital of La Paz, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

It said the quake, fairly deep at 155 miles, occurred about 60 miles east of the Peruvian city of Juliaca and 100 miles northwest of La Paz.

The temblor was not felt in La Paz, nor in Peru's capital of Lima, people in those cities said.
There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.


NY Health Workers’ Vaccination: Protest over Mandatory Rule (Video, Photos)

With a new mandatory rule in place regarding NY health workers’ vaccination for H1N1 (commonly known as swine flu), many took part in a rally at the state’s capitol in Albany to protest. Find out more below.

The new regulation, issued by the the New York State Department of Health requires all health care workers, including nurses and doctors, in health facilities including hospitals, out-patient clinics, hospices as well as home health care, to be vaccinated against both seasonal flu as well as the H1N1. New York State thus far is unique in the country for this mandatory ruling.

The rule which requires the workers to undergo the mandatory immunization by November 30, 2009 or lose their jobs has been met with resistance both by individuals as well as by unions, including the The New York State Nurses Association and the Public Employees Federation. New York Newsday quotes a spokesperson for the nurses’ union, Nancy Webber, who states:
“We as an organization have not questioned the safety of the vaccine. “We see this as an issue of workers’ rights.”

Individual health care professionals have made statements to media outlets indicating their concern over safety and efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine, such as Tara Accavallo, a registered nurse at a Stony Brook, NY facility whom Newsday quotes:

“This vaccine has not been clinically tested to the same degree as the regular flu vaccine. If something happens to me, if I get seriously injured from this vaccine, who’s going to help me?”
As CBS News reports, prior to the NY Health Workers’ vaccination rally in Albany, the State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, issued an open letter in defense of the requirement, which states in part:

“We, as health care workers, owe it to our patients and to society in general to demonstrate our confidence in those scientific standards. Even more importantly, we should reconfirm our noble commitment to the tradition of putting patients’ interests first by supporting the mandatory influenza vaccination requirement.”

The above-cited article contains a link to the actual letter and additional links to studies in medical journals, reports on government Web sites, etc. regarding the issue of vaccination and immunization against the H1N1 swine flu.

Several photos and video from the rally at the state capitol can be seen here. Additional video is below. A search on YouTube will reveal numerous additional videos documenting the event. That is the latest on the NY Health Workers’ vaccination rally in Albany protesting a new mandatory ruling.

NY health workers vaccination

NY health workers vaccination
by Staff

NY health workers vaccination (VIDEO) - The trend toward mandatory H1N1 vaccinations for U.S. healthcare workers is meeting resistance from unions and anti-government groups, officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers are being ordered to become vaccinated as the second wave of the H1N1 pandemic spreads this fall.

The trend is fueling rumors that the H1N1 vaccine may become mandatory for everyone, said Lori Price of Citizens for Legitimate Government, a Connecticut-based group that opposes government expansion.

"It's all part of an encroachment on our liberties," Price told The Wall Street Journal in a story published Saturday.

Hospital Corp. of America, with clinics and hospitals in 20 states, is requiring its 120,000 employees to be vaccinated and the state of New York is requiring all healthcare workers to get both seasonal and H1N1 flu shots.

Mandatory vaccination diverts attention from more effective infection-control methods, such as state-of-the-art masks, said Bill Borwegen, a occupational health and safety director of the Service Employees International Union. (c) UPI



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Is Jay Rockefeller?

Jay Rockefeller
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jay Rockefeller

United States Senatorfrom West Virginia
Assumed office January 15, 1985Serving with Robert Byrd
Preceded by
Jennings Randolph
29th Governor of West Virginia
In officeJanuary 17, 1977 – January 14, 1985
Preceded by
Arch A. Moore, Jr.
Succeeded by
Arch A. Moore, Jr.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Assumed office January 3, 2009
Preceded by
Daniel Inouye
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
In officeJanuary 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by
Pat Roberts
Succeeded by
Dianne Feinstein
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
In officeJanuary 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by
Alan Cranston
Succeeded by
Alan Simpson
In officeJanuary 3 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by
Arlen Specter
Succeeded by
Arlen Specter
In officeJune 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by
Arlen Specter
Succeeded by
Arlen Specter
22nd Secretary of State of West Virginia
In office1968 – 1972
Arch A. Moore, Jr.
Preceded by
Robert D. Bailey, Jr.
Succeeded by
Edgar F. Heiskell, III
June 18, 1937 (1937-06-18) (age 72)New York City, New York
Political party
Sharon Percy Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller VValerie RockefellerCharles RockefellerJustin Rockefeller
Charleston, West Virginia
Alma mater
Harvard University
Politician, College Administrator

John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV (born June 18, 1937) is a Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia since 1985. He was Governor of West Virginia from 1977 to 1985. As a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, he is the only current politician of the prominent six-generation Rockefeller family and the only Democrat in what has been a traditionally progressive Republican dynasty.[1]
He is related to several prominent Republican supporters and former officeholders: he is a great-grandson of Rhode Island Senator Nelson W. Aldrich; a nephew of banker David Rockefeller and Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and of former U.S. Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller; son-in-law of former Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois; and cousin of Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller.
Early life, education, and family
Born on Friday, June 18, 1937, at 9:30 PM at New York Hospital in New York City to John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker just 26 days after the death of his great-grandfather John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Jay Rockefeller graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1954. He graduated from Harvard University in 1961 with a B.A. in Far Eastern Languages and History after having spent three years studying Japanese at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
After college, Rockefeller worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., under John F. Kennedy, where he developed a friendship with Robert Kennedy and worked as an assistant to Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver. He served as the operations director for the Corps' largest overseas program in the Philippines. He continued his public service in 1964–1965 as a VISTA volunteer, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, during which time he moved to Emmons, West Virginia.
Rockefeller -- along with his son Charles -- is a trustee of New York's Asia Society, established by his father in 1956; he is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He voted against the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, which was heavily backed by his uncle David Rockefeller.
Since 1967, Rockefeller has been married to the former Sharon Percy, the chief executive officer of WETA-TV, the leading PBS station in the Washington, D.C., area, which broadcasts such notable programs as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Washington Week.
Sharon is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois, who had an association with the Rockefeller family. They have four children: John D. Rockefeller V ("Jamie"), Valerie, Charles, and Justin. Jamie's wife Emily is the daughter of former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The Rockefellers reside in Charleston, West Virginia. They also, like other members of the family, have a ranch in the Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Bill Clinton (a friend of Rockefeller's) and his family spent their summer vacation in August 1995, at the ranch.[2]
West Virginia state politics
He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966, and to the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968. He won the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1972, but was defeated in the general election by the Republican incumbent Governor Arch Moore. Rockefeller then served as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1973 to 1976.

Governor Rockefeller giving a speech aboard the USS Stump, July 1984
Rockefeller was elected Governor of West Virginia in 1976 and re-elected in 1980. He served as Governor when manufacturing plants and coal mines were closing as the national recession of the early 1980s hit West Virginia particularly hard. Between 1982 and 1984, West Virginia's unemployment rate hovered between 15 and 20 percent.
United States Senate
In 1984, he was elected to the United States Senate, narrowly defeating businessman John Raese as Ronald Reagan narrowly carried the state in the presidential election. As in his 1980 gubernatorial campaign against Arch Moore, Rockefeller spent over $12 million to win his Senate seat. To date, this has been the last competitive Senate race in West Virginia. Rockefeller was re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008 by substantial margins. He was chair of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs (1993–1995; January 3 to January 20, 2001; and June 6, 2001–January 3, 2003).
In April 1992, he was the Democratic Party's finance chairman and considered running for the presidency, but pulled out after consulting with friends and advisers. He went on to strongly endorse Clinton as the Democratic candidate.[3]
He was the Chairman of the prominent Senate Intelligence Committee (retiring in January 2009), from which he commented frequently on the war in Iraq. He now serves as a member of the Committee, taking on the role of Chairmanship at the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
In 1993 Rockefeller became the principal Senate supporter, with Ted Kennedy, behind Bill and Hillary Clinton's sweeping health-care reform package, liaising closely with the First Lady, even opening up his mansion in Rock Creek Park for its first strategy meeting. The reform was subsequently defeated by an alliance between the Business Roundtable and a small-business coalition. [4]
In 2002, Rockefeller made an official visit to several Middle Eastern countries, during which he discussed his personal views regarding United States military intentions with the leaders of those countries. In October of that year, Rockefeller strongly expressed his concern for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction program while addressing the U.S. Senate,
"There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!" [5]
In November 2005 during a TV interview, Rockefeller stated: "I took a January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course that had taken shape shortly after 9/11."
Rockefeller noted that this was his personal opinion, and that he was not privy to any confidential information indicating that such action was planned. [6] On October 11 of that year, he was one of 77 Senators who voted for the Iraq Resolution authorizing the Iraq invasion.
Iraq War
Rockefeller has been an outspoken critic of President Bush and the Iraq war in the past years, especially starting in late 2003. As chair of the Intelligence committee, he has indicted the President for his handling of intelligence and war operations. The previous year, however, Rockefeller was very much in line with Bush and those pushing for strong action – military, if necessary – against Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
On October 10, 2002, he said that "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years... The global community – in the form of the United Nations – has declared repeatedly, through multiple resolutions, that the frightening prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam cannot come to pass. But the U.N. has been unable to enforce those resolutions. We must eliminate that threat now, before it is too late... Saddam Hussein represents a grave threat to the United States, and I have concluded we must use force to deal with him if all other means fail."[5]
Rockefeller and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the final two pieces of the Phase II report on Iraq war intelliegence on June 5, 2008.[7] Senator Rockefeller said, "The president and his advisers undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the attacks to use the war against Al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein."[8]
Television violence
In July 2007, Senator Rockefeller announced that he planned to introduce legislation before the August Congressional recess that would give the FCC the power to regulate TV violence. According to the July 16, 2007 edition of Broadcasting & Cable, the new law would apply to both broadcast as well as cable and satellite programming. This would mark the first time that the FCC would be given power to regulate such a vast spectrum of content, which would include almost everything except material produced strictly for direct internet use. An aide to the senator said that his staff had also been carefully formulating the bill in such a way that it would be able to pass constitutional scrutiny by the courts.
[edit] Retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies
In 2007, Senator Rockefeller began steering the Senate Intelligence Committee to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who were accused of unlawfully assisting the National Security Agency (NSA) in monitoring the communications of American citizens (see Hepting v. AT&T).[9]
This was an about-face of sorts for Senator Rockefeller, who had hand-written a letter to Vice President Cheney in 2003 expressing his concerns about the legality of NSA's warrantless wire-tapping program. Some have attributed this change of heart to the spike in contributions from telecommunications companies to the senator just as these companies began lobbying Congress to protect them from lawsuits regarding their cooperation with the NSA[10].
Between 2001 and the start of this lobbying effort, AT&T employees had contributed $300 to the senator.[10]. After the lobbying effort began, AT&T employees and executives donated $19,350 in 3 months[10]. The senator has pledged not to rely on his vast fortune to fund his campaigns[11], and the AT&T contributions represent about 2% of the money he raised during the previous year[10].
Retroactive immunity for torture
Though publicly deploring torture, Rockefeller was one of two Congressional Democrats briefed on waterboarding and other secret CIA practices in the early years of the Bush Administration, as well as the existence of taped evidence of such interrogations (later destroyed).[12] In December 2007, Rockefeller opposed a special counsel or commission inquiry into the destruction of the tapes, stating "it is the job of the intelligence committees to do that."[13]
On September 28, 2006, Rockefeller voted with a largely Republican majority to suspend habeas corpus provisions for anyone deemed by the Executive Branch an "unlawful combatant," barring them from challenging their detentions in court. Rockefeller's vote gave a retroactive, nine-year immunity to U.S. officials who authorized, ordered, or committed acts of torture and abuse, permitting the use of statements obtained through torture to be used in military tribunals so long as the abuse took place by December 30, 2005.[14] Rockefeller's vote authorized the President to establish permissible interrogation techniques and to "interpret the meaning and application" of international Geneva Convention standards, so long as the coercion fell short of "serious" bodily or psychological injury.[15][16] The bill became law on October 17, 2006.
2008 presidential election
On February 29, 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States, citing Obama's judgment on the Iraq war and national security issues, and calling him the right candidate to lead America during a time of instability at home and abroad. This endorsement stood in stark contrast to the results of the state primary that was easily won by Hillary Clinton.
On April 7, 2008 in an interview for The Charleston Gazette, Rockefeller criticized John McCain's Vietnam experience:
“McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”[17]
The McCain campaign called for an apology from Senator Rockefeller and for Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller has endorsed, to denounce the comment. Rockefeller later apologized for the comment[18] and the Obama campaign issued a statement expressing Obama's disagreement with the comment. Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina noted that "John didn't drop bombs from 35,000 feet....the bombs were not laser guided (in the 1960 and 1970s)".[19]
Cybersecurity Act of 2009
On April 1, 2009, Rockefeller introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773). Citing the vulnerability of the Internet to cyber-attacks, the bill makes provisions to turn the Department of Commerce into a public-private clearing house to share potential threat information with the owners of large private networks. It authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to sequester any information he deems necessary, without regard to any law. [20]
It also authorizes the president to declare an undefined "cyber-emergecy" which allows him to shut down any and all traffic to what he considers to be a compromised server. [21]
[edit] Health care reform
Rockafeller has been a proponent of a public option, fighting vociferously with some Democrats on the finance committee, in particular Max Baucus, the chairman of the committee, who contended that there was not enough support for a public option to gather the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. Baucus asked repeatedly for Rockefeller to stop speaking on the issue.[22]
Further reading
Jay Rockefeller: Old Money, New Politics, Richard Grimes, Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Company, 1984.
The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point, Haynes Johnson and David S. Broder, Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1996. (Significant mention)
Electoral history
See also: United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2008
United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2008
Jay Rockefeller
Jay Wolfe
United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2002
Jay Rockefeller
Jay Wolfe
United States Senate election in West Virginia, 1996
Jay Rockefeller
Betty Burkes
United States Senate election in West Virginia, 1990
Jay Rockefeller
John Yoder
United States Senate election in West Virginia, 1984
Jay Rockefeller
John Raese
[edit] See also
Rockefeller family
John D. Rockefeller III
David Rockefeller
Asia Society
US Senate Report on chemical weapons Rockefeller chaired this committee.
2005 CIA interrogation tapes destruction
^ Only Democrat in a staunchly Republican dynasty – see John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988. (p.394)
^ CHRONICLE - New York Times
^ THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Front-Runner; Like Voters, Superdelegates Have Doubts About Clinton - New York Times
^ The Clintons and health care reform – see Haynes Johnson & David S. Broder, The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1996. (pp.32–34,50,227)
^ a b
^ - Transcript: Sens. Roberts, Rockefeller on 'FNS' - FOX News Sunday Chris Wallace
^ Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
^ Bush Overstated Iraq Evidence, Senators Report -
^ Senate panel OKs spy measure - Los Angeles Times
^ a b c d Democratic Lawmaker Pushing Immunity Is Newly Flush With Telco Cash Threat Level from
^ Election 2008
^ "Chairman Rockefeller Statement on the CIA Decision to Destroy Tapes of Early Detainee Interrogations". U.S. Senate website. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
^ Calvin Woodward (2007-12-10). "White House Stays Quiet on CIA Tapes". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
^ William Neikirk, Andrew Zajac, Mark Silva (2006-09-29). "Tribunal bill OKd by Senate". Chicago Tribute.,1,1387725.story. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
^ "Senate Passes Broad New Detainee Rules". New York Times. 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
^ Anne Plummer Flaherty (2006-09-28). "Senate OKs detainee interrogation bill". Associated Press. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
^ West Virginia Senator Apologizes for Comments on McCain
^ The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia - Rockefeller apologizes to McCain over Vietnam service comment
^ After Rockefeller Insult, McCain Camp Claims Obama Won’t Shut Down Campaign Smears - America’s Election HQ
^ Senator John D. Rockefeller (2009-04-01). "Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Sec. 14". Library of congress. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
^ Senator John D. Rockefeller (2009-04-01). "Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Sec. 18". Library of congress. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
^ Template:Cire news
External links
Find more about Jay Rockefeller on Wikipedia's sister projects: Definitions from Wiktionary Textbooks from Wikibooks Quotations from Wikiquote Source texts from Wikisource Images and media from Commons News stories from Wikinews Learning resources from Wikiversity
United States Senator Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senate site
Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Voting record maintained by The Washington Post
Campaign finance reports and data at the Federal Election Commission
Campaign contributions at
Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
Issue positions and quotes at On The Issues
New York Times – John D. Rockefeller IV News ongoing collection of news stories and commentary
Peace Corps biography of Jay Rockefeller
SourceWatch Congresspedia – John D. Rockefeller IV profile
West Virginia Archives and History – John D. Rockefeller, IV biography
Inaugural Address of John D. Rockefeller, IV (1977)
Inaugural Address of John D. Rockefeller, IV (1981)
Biography and issue positions at
Senator Outlines Plans For Intelligence Panel Rockefeller's agenda on becoming chairman in January, 2007.


US Senate Finance Committee Rejects Public Health Care Option

Senate Finance Committee members, from left, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Maria Cantwell, 29 Sep 2009

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has rejected the inclusion of a government-run insurance option in legislation aimed at reforming the nation's health care system.

After hours of debate, the committee Tuesday voted against amendments proposed by Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Charles Schumer of New York to include a public option.

Supporters of the public plan say consumers need a low-cost alternative to private insurance companies. But the plan has encountered fierce opposition from members of the public and from conservative Republicans, who argue that such an option will force private insurers out of business.

Opponents also say the public option would lead to socialized health care in the United States.

The Finance Committee has been considering numerous amendments to a 10-year, $856-billion overhaul plan offered by Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, the committee chairman.

He introduced his proposal nearly two weeks ago, after spending several months unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a compromise between a handful of Democrats and Republicans.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as three committees in the House of Representatives, have passed health care reform bills that include an optional government-run insurance plan.

President Barack Obama and Democrats have said they are determined to pass a reform bill before the end of the year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

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8.0 magnitude quake generates tsunami off Samoa islands

A tsunami travel time map and table generated by the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center shows projected travel times for the effects of an earthquake that the center measured as having a preliminary magnitude of 8.3 occurring in the Samoa Islands Region of the Pacific Ocean on September 29, 2009. The center warns that travel time maps and tables indicate forecasted times only, not that a wave traveling those distances has actually been generated. The center reported that sea level observations indicate a tsunami was generated which may have been destructive along coasts in the source region.
REUTERS/NOAA/NWS/West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific off the Samoa islands region generated a tsunami and waves of more than five feet had already been observed, U.S. government agencies said on Tuesday.

An official of the U.S. National Park Service said there had been deaths in American Samoa, but there was no word on how many people had died.

A tsunami was observed at Apia, Western Samoa, and at Pago Pago, American Samoa, according to the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, a branch of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The waves at Pago Pago were 5.1 feet above normal sea level, according to the Pacific Western Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

The center earlier issued a tsunami warning for New Zealand, American Samoa and other small Pacific islands.

American Samoa is a tiny U.S. territory that lies about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It is home to about 65,000 people.

Holly Bundock, spokeswoman for the National Park Service's Pacific West Region in Oakland California, said "I would say we're alarmed," adding the service had heard from Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa.

Reynolds told a Yellowstone dispatch operator that four tsunami waves, each 15 to 20 feet high, reaching half-mile to mile (1.6 miles) inland on island of Tutuila, where Pago Pago is.

"The National Park of American Samoa visitor center and its offices appear to be destroyed completely," Bundock said.

Reynolds reported deaths but had no confirmation of numbers, she said. "He's completely cut off from the rest of the island," Bundock said.

In the island nation of Western Samoa, some residents told Radio New Zealand they had felt a big jolt and were recommended by authorities to move to higher ground.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts," the Pacific warning center said.

Nathan Becker, an official at the center, told MSNBC a tsunami wave can dissipate or grow larger and go all the way across the ocean. "This is why we've issued a warning for a wide area," he said.

The epicenter of the quake was located 120 miles southwest of American Samoa, a remote Pacific island, the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS earlier said the quake measured 7.9 magnitude. It struck at a depth of 11.2 miles.


Hawaii was monitoring the situation.

CNN said that if a tsunami hit Hawaii, it would arrive at about 7:18 EDT.

Chevron Corp said it was monitoring the tsunami threat to Hawaii, where the company has a 54,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery near Honolulu.

"We are currently monitoring the situation via updates provided by local authorities," said Chevron spokesman Sean Comey."

Tesoro Corp did not immediately reply to messages about its 93,500 bpd refinery at Ewa Beach, also on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Both refineries provide jet fuel to commercial airlines and the U.S. military complex at Pearl Harbor as well motor fuels.

(Reporting by Stacey Joyce in Washington, Bud Seba in Houston, Jim Christie in San Francisco, Editing by Frances Kerry) Keywords: QUAKE/PACIFIC

Protests as Guinea protesters shot dead

Protests as Guinea protesters shot dead

Story Highlights

Guinean government rejects reports security forces killed demonstrators

United Nations, citing media reports, said at least 58 people died

African Union expressed its "grave concern" about the situation

Government said most of the innocent victims died after being crushed

updated 24 minutes ago

Police arrest a protester on Monday near a stadium in Guinea's capital Conakry during a protest.

(CNN) -- The Guinean government has rejected reports that security forces attacked and killed demonstrators at a peaceful rally, saying most of the victims were crushed in the crowd.

Police arrest a protester on Monday near a stadium in Guinea's capital Conakry during a protest.

The United Nations, citing media reports, said at least 58 people died Monday when security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration at a stadium in the capital, Conakry.

Some French news agencies put the toll at closer to 90.

On Tuesday, the African Union expressed its "grave concern" about the situation. "The (AU) Commission strongly condemns the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians, which left dozens dead and many others injured, while serious other violations of human rights were committed," the AU stated.

Tens of thousands of people were protesting the rule of Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in a bloodless coup in December, according to U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch also condemned the violence against "generally peaceful demonstrators" and urged the government "to hold accountable the security forces." It quoted victims and witnesses who said security forces sexually assaulted women at the demonstration and also attacked demonstrators with knives and bayonets.

"Women were raped by soldiers in the stadium. I saw them," former Guinean prime minister Sidya Touré told the French newspaper Le Monde. Touré led the country from 1996-1999 and was participating in the peaceful demonstration.

The government maintained in a statement that "according to preliminary investigations, most of the innocent victims died as a result of being crushed in the crowd."

And it blamed "certain political leaders" for staging the demonstration despite being asked not to do so and warned that security could not be guaranteed for the gathering.

The leaders stormed the stadium, "breaking down doors and the main entryways, causing much violence that left dozens of victims, including 53 who died by suffocation and four killed by ricocheting bullets, which were recorded that day by authorities working with the Guinean Red Cross and verified by hospital officials," the government said.

It accused the leaders of looting two police commissaries before the demonstrations, letting prisoners out of jail and stealing weapons.

The government said it condemns "these deliberate acts in violation of the law, and are working to find and bring to justice those responsible for these reprehensible acts."

The AU noted that the violence comes amid serious uncertainties and setbacks in the effort to restore constitutional order to Guinea after the December coup. The AU urged the coup leaders to stick to their vow not to run for office in the January presidential election.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, also condemned the actions of security forces in Conakry on Monday.

Solana called "for the immediate release of the arrested political leaders and call(ed) on the authorities to exercise maximum restraint and ensure a peaceful and democratic transition."

Guinea was thrown into turmoil in December after the death of President Lansana Conte. He was one of only two presidents to rule Guinea, after it gained independence from France in 1958.

Conte came to power in 1984, when the military seized control of the government after the death of the first president, Sekou Touré.

Following his death, Camara seized control in a bloodless military coup and declared himself president of the National Council for Democracy, which he called a transitional body that would oversee the country's return to democracy.



Fifty on run after Papua New Guinea prison break

Fifty on run after Papua New Guinea prison

From correspondents in Papua New Guinea September 28, 2009
Article from: Agence France-Presse

MORE than 50 prisoners have escaped from a Papua New Guinea jail after wardens failed to show up for work and police were busy guarding a rugby league match involving the Australian prime minister's XIII, officials say.

Most of the 54 inmates are still at large after fleeing from Bomana Correctional Institution near Port Moresby the day before by making a hole in a steel fence around their cell block, a prisons official said.

"We've got about 50 still on the run," the official said, adding four had been recaptured.

"The situation is still tense there," he said.

The official said the breakout was not discovered for "some hours" because many wardens, who are involved in a pay dispute, had not appeared for work at the prison, which houses some 600 to 700 inmates.

The mass break-out also took place as the Papua New Guinean prime minister's XIII took on the Australian prime minister's XIII in Port Moresby.

"I am not really sure whether any were involved in looking at the match," the official said.

"It was more likely negligence of duty."

Police commander Chief Superintendent Fred Yakasa told The National newspaper the match had left his officers unable to respond quickly.

"We were tied up at a security operation at the rugby league ground, and could not do much," Yakasa told the newspaper.

The prison official was unable to say what offences the escapees had been charged with, but said that 22 had been convicted.

Philippine death toll rises, as new storms brew

By TERESA CEROJANO, Associated Press Writer
Teresa Cerojano, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 53 mins ago

MANILA, Philippines – The toll from floods in the northern Philippines rose to at least 284 dead or missing Tuesday as bedraggled victims queued up for aid and Typhoon Ketsana roared into Vietnam.

The storm, which struck Manila and surrounding provinces on Saturday, gathered strength across the South China Sea, and claimed at least 23 lives as it made landfall Tuesday in central Vietnam, where 170,000 were evacuated from its path. It was weakening as it headed west into Laos.

Two new storms were brewing in the Pacific and threatened to complicate relief efforts in the Philippines, officials said.

The homes of nearly 1.9 million people in Manila and surrounding areas were inundated in the weekend flooding, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. Nearly 380,000 people have sought shelter in schools, churches and other evacuation centers.

The council said 246 were confirmed dead late Tuesday, with 38 missing.

Authorities ordered extra police to be deployed to prevent looting in communities abandoned by fleeing residents, as frustration rose among those who have lost their homes or belongings.

Queues of bedraggled victims grew long at hundreds of aid distribution centers as floodwaters subsided further and more people went in search of food, clean water, dry clothes and shelter.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's administration — sensitive to criticism it did not give sufficient warning of the deluge or was too slow to respond — conceded it was overwhelmed but said it was doing all it could to help.

Officials appealed for international aid, warning they may not have enough resources to withstand two new storms forecasters have spotted east of the island nation in the Pacific Ocean. One could hit the northern Philippines later this week and the other early next week, although meteorologists say that could change.

Ketsana dumped more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours, causing the country's worst flooding in 40 years.

Philippine authorities rescued more than 12,000 people, but unconfirmed reports of more deaths abound, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said.

Water that reached shoulder-depth in parts of the capital's streets on Saturday had subsided in many areas by Tuesday. People trudged through ankle-deep sludge to reach shelters where volunteers handed out bottles of water and other items. Elsewhere, people used shovels and brooms to begin mopping-up.

Many people complained the aid was too coming too slowly, and was not enough.

Arroyo said those who suffered had a right to complain but appealed to them to understand that the scale of the disaster was huge.

"We're responding to the extent we can to this once-in-a-lifetime typhoon emergency," she said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Arroyo opened part of the presidential palace as a relief center, where hundreds of people queued Tuesday for packets of noodles and other food donated by companies and individuals. At another center, Arroyo's executive chef cooked gourmet food for victims.

Arroyo and her Cabinet said they would donate two months' salary to the relief effort.

But conditions in many hard-hit areas remained squalid.

In the Bagong Silangan area in the capital, about 150 people sheltered on a covered basketball court that had been turned into a makeshift evacuation center for storm victims. People lay on pieces of cardboard amid piles of garbage and swarming flies, their belongings crammed into bags nearby.

Seventeen white wooden coffins, some of them child-sized, lined one part of the court. A woman wept quietly beside one coffin.

The storm left entire communities covered in mud, cars upended on city streets and power lines cut.

The government declared a "state of calamity" in metropolitan Manila and 25 storm-hit provinces, allowing officials to use emergency funds for relief and rescue. Arroyo would issue an executive order within the week declaring a national holiday as "clean up day," the palace said.

The United States has donated $100,000 and deployed a military helicopter and five rubber boats manned by about 20 American soldiers from the country's south, where they have been providing counterterrorism training. The United Nations Children's Fund and the World Food Program have also provided food and other aid.


Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Which is the great commandment in the law?

34But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38This is the first and great commandment.

39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

42Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

43He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,

44The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

45If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

46And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more

Matthew 22:34-46.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Americans Tame Their Wanderlust

Census Bureau statistics show that fewer Americans are uprooting. And when they do move, they're favoring D.C., Alaska and Texas.

NEW YORK ( -- Americans have tamed their wanderlust during this recession, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Only about 2.4% of Americans moved from state to state in 2008, down from 2.5% the previous year.

"The mobility rate is lower than it has been in years," said Robert Lang, a demographer with Virginia Tech University. "There's a recession and a housing bust. People can't sell their homes in California and move to Las Vegas or sell their condo in Florida and move to North Carolina."

"People are hunkering down, trying to hold on to what they have," added Andy Beveridge, a demographer and sociology professor at Queens College in New York. "It's a depression, recession mentality."

Plus, a good portion of the population has reached the age where the charm of a new place is more than offset by the fetters of life and responsibilities. "A large share of the population is at the age where they're settled," Lang said. "The baby boomers have good jobs and most are not ready to retire."

See the home of America's worst commute

Learn where in America has the most mobile homes

See where in America you can find the biggest paychecks
Shunning the lands of sun and surf
Perpetually booming Florida may actually have fewer people than in 2007.

During 2008, 2.8% of the Sunshine State's population hadn't lived there the year before, and the net domestic migration -- the difference between Americans moving into a state and those moving out -- was negative for the first time in recent history.

Nearly 10,000 more Americans fled the land of the Dolphins and the Devil Rays than moved in, according to the Census. That followed average gains of more than 200,000 a year from 2001 through 2006.

"It looks like the first time in recorded history that Florida lost population," Beveridge said.

(That's slight hyperbole: Florida's population did drop in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II.)

California also saw a decline in the number of people coming to partake of its sand and sea. A mere 1.3% of California residents moved in from out of state in 2008. That's off from 1.4% in 2007.

For years, Americans have been fleeing the Golden State. The population kept growing only because of foreign immigration and births. All through the 2000s there has been a net loss in domestic migration, with 800,000 more Americans leaving than moving in during the three years ended in 2007. As it became more difficult to sell homes, that out-flow eased. That, combined with the newcomers, meant the population fell by only 144,000 in 2008.

The housing bust, and the harm it did to employment, seems to have pushed more people to leave bubble markets like California and Florida than have been drawn in by more affordable home prices.

"The Florida economy is based on growth and home construction," said Lang. With building projects dying on the vine, unemployment soared to 7.6% for the state in 2008. It's now up to 10.7%.

The same job problems plague many California cities, especially Central Valley towns like Stockton, Fresno and Merced. Construction-related job losses helped send state unemployment to 8.7% by December 2008 from 5.9% a year earlier. Today, some cities report breathtakingly high unemployment rates: 30.2% in El Centro; 17.6% in Merced; and 17.2% in Yuba City.

So, where are they moving?
So, if people aren't heading for the good life in California and Florida, where are they going?

D.C., Alaska and Wyoming. (Seriously.)

The nation's capital saw 7.6% of its residents arrive in 2008; Alaska attracted 6% more people to the Last Frontier (up a full percent from 2007); and 5.2% more people wanted to be Wyoming cowboys.

To be fair, however, small populations in these places convert modest in-migration increases into large percentage gains. They're each among the smallest states (or district) in the Union. That's just the opposite of California and Florida where each percentage point represents hundreds of thousands of people.

Don't mess with Texas
In terms of net migration -- those moving in minus those leaving -- Texas was the star performer in 2008, with the population growing by 140,000.

That meshes with what moving company Allied Van Lines experienced. "We moved more people here than anywhere in the U.S. in the last several years," said David King, general manager of Berger Transfer and Storage in Houston, Texas, and Allied Van Lines' largest booking and hauling agent.

The moving company recorded 5,891 inbound shipments and 3,988 outbound shipments in 2008, a net gain of 1,903. That was just slightly lower than last year's net gain of 2,041.

That influx may be due to the state's employment picture, which has remained rosier than most other places thanks to the energy industry and a welcoming business climate. Plus, home prices never cycled through a boom-bust period: They've remained affordable, which facilitates mobility.

In contrast, battered Michigan, with its housing and job woes, was the least-popular place to move to. The state experienced a net loss of 109,000 people, or 1.1%, in 2008, according to the Census. Allied said its outbound shipments totaled 2,388, more than double its inbound shipments of 1,181.

New York State lost even more people than Michigan -- 126,000 people -- but because it has a larger population to begin with, the percentage drop is just 0.7%, almost identical to New Jersey's.

Moving down the block
The Census Bureau also reported that fewer residents were moving within their home states.

The percentage of people who lived in different homes within the same state dropped to 12.6% during 2008. It was 12.8% in 2007 and 13% in 2005, when housing markets were hopping.

The decline came despite a boost in the number of people forced to move. More than 860,000 delinquent mortgage borrowers lost homes to foreclosure in 2008, about three times as many as in 2005.

More Alaskans moved within the state during 2008 than any other place; 16.3% of them occupied a different house. That increased from 14.6% in 2007.

Oklahoma (15.8%), Nevada (15.7%) and Texas (15.2%) residents also moved around a lot.

New Jersey residents, if they weren't leaving the state altogether, stayed put: 8.2% of them moved within the state during 2008.

There must be something about the Northeast: Only 9.1% of New Yorkers moved within the state, while Rhode Islanders and New Hampshire residents moved at a rate of 9.2%.

Apocalypse Now: Floods, Tornadoes, Locusts

Weather of Biblical Proportions Sets Off Debate Among Theologians and Scientists

June 12, 2008

In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth, and he saw that it was good. So begins the Book of Genesis, the dramatic opener of the Old Testament.

Though tsunamis, hurricanes and heat waves may not be punishment from the gods, history teaches that physical events can trigger social upheaval.
(ABC News Photo Illustration)

But things went downhill from there.

God's wrath seems at work these days, as the heavens and Earth have unleashed earthquakes in China, a cyclone in Burma, killer tornadoes and record floods across the U.S. and even a plague of locusts (cicadas) in New England.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa today, floodwaters forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 100 city blocks were underwater.

"We're just kind of at God's mercy right now, so hopefully people that never prayed before this, it might be a good time to start," Linn County Sheriff Don Zeller said this week as record floods hit the Midwest. "We're going to need a lot of prayers and people are going to need a lot of patience and understanding."

By the final Book of Revelation in the New Testament, the Earth suffers "Seven Plagues" -- from disease to "intense heat" and drought, then finally a shower of deadly hailstones.

And then comes the Apocalypse, the final judgment of man and destruction of the world by fire.

Biblical imagery is all over the news these days — even including a story last week of a New York baby being enwrapped by a snake in its crib, harking back to evil lurking in the Garden of Eden.

[There was a practical explanation: the non-poisonous snake had embedded itself in a mattress shipped by Toys 'R' Us from California.]

Most theologians and scientists don't take seriously warnings that the end of the world is nigh. But many reputable scholars do lend some credence to the notion that the world is in for some kind of disaster, be it meteorological, ecological or geopolitical.

ABC News will air a dramatic two-hour broadcast in September, Earth 2100, bringing the greatest minds across the globe together to tell us what we must do to survive the next century. And what may happen if we don't.

Though tsunamis, hurricanes and heat waves may not be punishment from God, history teaches that events in the physical world trigger upheaval in society. Civilizations have risen and fallen over drought, famine and water wars.

"Only wild-eyed fundamentalists would think that recent weather phenomena have any theological significance," said John P. Meier, a New Testament scholar and professor at Notre Dame in Indiana. "The Earth has seen and will see much worse in recorded history."

The Apocalypse is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but end-of-the-world stories are also woven through some Hindu and Islamic beliefs. One Catholic University spokesman described it as "the magical mystery tour of the Bible," filled with vivid imagery: a beast-like antichrist, an angry God and the destruction of the world by fire.

Modern millennialists and eschatologists -- including Yisrayl "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, the founder of the House of Yahweh religious sect located on a 44-acre compound outside Abilene, Texas, who predicted (incorrectly) the end of the world yesterday, June 12 — have been forecasting Doomsday for decades.