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Thousands Protest Healthcare Bill in D.C. Under Lead of Congressional Republicans

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) — Thousands of demonstrators in Washington, led by dozens of congressional Republicans, protested proposed healthcare reform legislation.

The demonstration at the U.S. Capitol followed a call by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for opponents of reform to take their complaints to Congress, and to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in particular. Bachmann billed the event as a “Health Care House Call.”

“Speaker Pelosi is poised with her healthcare bill to take over 18 percent of the American economy,” Bachmann said as chants of “Kill the bill” rang through the crowd.

“The Republicans don’t have the votes to kill this bill,” she said, “but what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people.”

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday with members of the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, Bachmann said bloggers and activists could thwart the bill’s passage, Politico reported.

“Nothing scares members of Congress more than freedom-loving Americans,” Bachmann said.

Many House Democrats favor inclusion of a public, or government-run, healthcare option in reform legislation, one of several reform proposals that have sparked anger among conservatives.

The American Medical Association and AARP Thursday announced their endorsement of the bill, which could come up for a vote Saturday in the House.

“We are closer to passing this reform than ever before,” President Barack Obama said in response to the AMA and AARP endorsements.

The protest in Washington Thursday featured appearances by actor Jon Voight and talk show host Mark Levin. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the reform bill “the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years that I’ve been here in Washington.”

Several protesters were arrested, including nine who refused to leave an office in the Capitol.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Office, People1 Comment

U.S. President Obama Meets with President Khama of Botswana in Washington

U.S. President Obama Meets with President Khama of Botswana in Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President Ian Khama of Botswana in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on November 5, 2009. UPI/Ron Sachs/Pool

Date Taken: November 5, 2009

Posted in Office, Policy, Law, & Government0 Comments

Police Arrest Anti-health Care Bill Protestors in Washington

Police Arrest Anti-health Care Bill Protestors in Washington

A man rips up the Democrats’ health care reform bill near Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Canon building office on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 5, 2009. Several people were arrested for tearing up a copy of the bill in Pelosi’s office and in the hallway. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

Date Taken: November 5, 2009

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Office0 Comments

Police Arrest Anti-health Care Bill Protestors in Washington

Police Arrest Anti-health Care Bill Protestors in Washington

Capitol Hill Police Officers remove a man identified as Norman Weslin, a Catholic priest from Omaha, Nebraska, from the hallway in front of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Canon building office on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 5, 2009. The man was one of several people arrested for tearing up a copy of the Democrats’ health care reform bill in Pelosi’s office and in the hallway. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

Date Taken: November 5, 2009

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Office, People1 Comment

U.S. Senate Environment Committee Approves Climate Change Bill and Overpowers Republicans Boycott

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) — The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a climate bill Thursday even as Republican committee members boycotted the meeting.

Democrats voted 11-1 to pass the bill, with Sen. Max Baucus of Montana the lone “no” vote, The Hill reported.

Republicans had been boycotting the committee meetings to protest the measure’s markup, saying they wanted the Environmental Protection Agency to perform a second cost analysis of the bill.

The Senate bill, co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, the environment committee chairwoman, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Another provision would require companies to have permits to cover their emissions.

Boxer defended the decision to vote on the measure without Republican participation.

“The committee and Senate rules that have been in place during Republican and Democratic majorities are there to be used when the majority feels it is in the best interest of their states and of the nation to act,” she said in a statement. “A majority of the committee believes that S. 1733, and the efforts that will be built upon it, will move us away from foreign oil imports that cost Americans one billion dollars a day, it will protect our children from pollution, create millions of clean-energy jobs, and stimulate billions of dollars of private investment.”

David McIntosh, associate administrator for EPA’s office of congressional and intergovernmental relations, told the panel Tuesday a study such as the Republicans want would cost $135,000 and take 1,600 man-hours to finish, the Post reported. McIntosh said the analysis would not yield significantly different results from the one the agency already completed.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Office, Policy, Law, & Government0 Comments

Senate Panel Ready for Climate Change Vote

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) — Democrats on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee indicated they would approve a climate change bill despite a boycott by panel Republicans.

Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was considering reporting out the measure Thursday with a simple majority, which wouldn’t require the presence of two minority party members necessary for a markup, sources told The Washington Post.

Republican senators have been boycotting markup sessions, saying the panel shouldn’t act on the bill unless it gets more analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill is sponsored by Boxer and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

David McIntosh, associate administrator for EPA’s office of congressional and intergovernmental relations, told the panel Tuesday a study such as the Republicans want would cost $135,000 and take 1,600 man-hours to finish, the Post reported. McIntosh said the analysis would not yield significantly different results from the one the agency already completed.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Office0 Comments

Dogs Allegedly Starved to Death at Shelter

MEMPHIS, Nov. 4 (UPI) — The Memphis city animal shelter is under investigation after three dogs allegedly starved to death there.

Shelby County sheriff’s deputies raided the shelter last week, seizing computers, records, bags of empty dog food and two cell phones, among other things, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. The Sheriff’s Office acted based on a tip from a whistle blower.

Ten employees at the shelter and Ernest Alexander, the animal services administrator, were suspended. But Mayor A.C. Wharton said Tuesday they had been reinstated pending the outcome of the investigation, with precautions including surveillance cameras scheduled to be installed this week.

If employees are suspected of deliberately killing or mistreating animals, they could be charged with aggravated animal cruelty and official misconduct. They might also face a tampering with evidence charge because one of the dogs that died, a pit bull-Labrador mix, was evidence in an animal cruelty case.

The number of deaths at the shelter more than doubled in two years, from 75 in 2006, to 119 in 2007 and 193 last year.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Office, Other0 Comments

Organic Animal Feed Extracted from Cactus Emerging as a Growing Industry

MIAMI, Nov. 4 (UPI) — Organic animal feed extracted from cactus is emerging as a major growth industry, with China pushing forward into the market as a producer of a patented hog feed extracted from the plant.

Cactus is indigenous mostly to the Americas, but various species of the plant are now grown across the world, either in the wild or in nurseries. In China, cactus has earned a huge following as a curative plant alongside traditional Chinese medicine and modern modifications on ancient herbal remedies.

The latest cactus product to emerge is a patented animal feed marketed by China Kangtai Cactus Bio-Tech Inc., a U.S.-listed Chinese company based in Harbin, northeast China. China Kangtai engages in the production, research and development, sale and marketing of products derived from cacti in China.

A spokeswoman for China Kangtai Cactus Bio-Tech Inc. told United Press International she had no immediate information on the company’s plans to compete in Western markets with the innovative animal feed.

Kangtai has signed a strategic cooperative production agreement with another Chinese company, Helongjiang Songnan Feed Technology Co. Ltd., to produce the patented animal feed.

Studies of animal nutrition and immunology indicate that cactus-derived feed provides nutrition, boosts immune systems and prevents inflammatory illnesses, the company said. Production plans include cattle feed, fish feed and hog feed — and a poultry feed by 2010.

Kangtai says it has implemented stringent quality controls of raw cactus materials that exclude chemicals or pesticides in planting and processing.

Kangtai produces nutraceuticals, nutritional food, liquor, beer and wine, even a “cigarette” and cactus raw and intermediate materials.

Kangtai CEO Jinjiang Wang said, “China is the world’s largest hog producing country, having slaughtered 625 million hogs in 2008, compared to approximately 100 million hogs in the U.S. China also has the world’s largest consumer base for pork consumption.”

He said more than 65 percent of all meat consumed in China is pork. The cactus hog feed market shows huge growth potential. “Hog producers are constantly seeking ways to improve the health and productivity of their livestock. Our cactus products are proven to enhance pork production,” Wang said.

Based on scientific studies of animal nutrition and immunology, he said, cactus-derived hog feed provides nutrition, boosts immune systems and prevents sepsis and inflammatory illnesses. Studies have shown that Kangtai’s cactus feed substantially increases productivity, quality and health of hog herds thereby improving the quality of pork, Wang added.

China Kangtai was awarded patents from China’s State Intellectual Property Office in 2008.

Industry analysts said the cactus hog feed could pose a challenge to animal feed producers in the Western Hemisphere. China Kangtai has already drawn attention from investors in the West.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Chemicals, Consumption, Fish, Office, Science, Space, & Technology2 Comments

MLB's Rob Manfred Testifies on Anti-doping Programs on Capitol Hill

MLB's Rob Manfred Testifies on Anti-doping Programs on Capitol Hill

Executive Vice President of the Labor and Human Resources of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection regarding legal implications of anti-doping programs on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 3, 2009. UPI/Madeline Marshall

Date Taken: November 3, 2009

Posted in Energy, Human Health & Wellness, Office0 Comments

Chicago Christmas Tree Expected to Stand More than 56 Feet Tall

CHICAGO, Nov. 3 (UPI) — Chicago’s huge Christmas tree, made up since 1955 of many small trees, this will year be a single blue spruce donated by a Chicago-area family, officials said.

Harlan and Carol Weivoda, of Palos Heights, Ill., said their acre of land was crowded with trees, so they contacted the city through its Web site to offer a 56-foot tall tree, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

“We were looking for a tree. It was the prettiest we found,” Mary May, of the Office of Special Events, said.

New York’s Rockefeller Center, which puts up a single large tree every year, suggested keeping the Chicago tree under 60 feet so that during transport to its Daley Plaza display site, its girth would fit under the “L” tracks that surround the downtown area, Ann Hickey, Special Events program coordinator said.

Harlan Weivoda said the tree is a Christmas gift to his home town. “I remember going downtown to see the Christmas lights. I remember seeing the pope in Grant Park. I’ve always loved the city,” he said.

The tree will be decorated with 7,000 energy-saving LED lights donated by Underwriters Laboratories.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Office, Trees & Forestry0 Comments

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