Glee kicks off its fifth season on September 26 with a two-part tribute to one of the greatest groups in music history, the Beatles, and Columbia Records is set to release an album of music featured on the show. According to EW.com, in the premiere episode, “Love, Love, Love,” the New Directions kids take on a Beatles-centric assignment, Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) figure out the future of their relationship and Rachel’s (Lea Michele) “New York ambitions take an unexpected turn.” In the follow-up episode, “Tina in the Sky with Diamonds,” airing October 3, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) runs for prom queen while Rachel and Santana (Naya Rivera) take jobs at a Broadway-themed diner. Jane Lynch While there are no clips yet of the episode, check out Glee stars Criss, Kevin McHale and Dean Geyer tap into their inner Fab Four for the Young Storytellers Foundation’s “Beatles Forever” skit. Lea Michele Glee Star Files 1. “Yesterday” 2. “Drive My Car” 3. “Got To Get You Into My Life” 4. “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” 5. “Help” 6. “A Hard Day’s Night” 7. “I Saw Her Standing There” 8. “All You Need Is Love” 9. “Get Back” 10. “Here Comes the Sun” 11. “Something” 12. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” 13. “Hey Jude” 14. “Let It Be” Darren Criss Matthew Morrison View Comments A full track listing for the Glee/Beatles album, which will be released on September 24, is as follows: View All (4)
Court amends pretrial release of dangerous defendants rule March 15, 2007 Regular News Court amends pretrial release of dangerous defendants rule With a modification, the Florida Supreme Court has approved a suggested change to Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131 on pretrial release of dangerous defendants on a nonmonetary bond.The issue has been reviewed and debated by the Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee and the Bar Board of Governors, where concerns were raised about the equity of different treatment for poor and well-heeled defendants.The issue began in 2000, when the legislature passed a law providing that “[n]o person charged with a dangerous crime shall be granted nonmonetary pretrial release at a first appearance hearing.” That law also repealed Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.131 and 3.132 on pretrial release and detention.In 2005, the Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional and temporarily reinstated the rules, and ordered the rules published for comment. The court also requested the rules committee to file an out-of-cycle report. The court returned the committee’s initial report and asked for further consideration in light of additional comments it received.“We note. . . that the House in its comment to the court states that the legislature’s main concern in enacting [the 2000 law] was to delay the release on nonmonetary conditions under the supervision of pretrial services of a person charged with a dangerous crime until the certification process required in section 907.041(3)(b) could be completed,” the court said in its February 1 per curiam opinion.With that in mind and in light of the clear language of F.S. 907.041(3)(b), the court slightly changed the rules committee proposal and amended Rule 3.131(b)(4) to read:“No person charged with a dangerous crime, as defined in section 904.041(4)(a), Florida Statutes, shall be released on nonmonetary conditions under the supervision of a pretrial release service, unless the service certifies to the court that it has investigated or otherwise verified the conditions set forth in section 907.041(3)(b), Florida Statutes.”The court also deleted subsection (d) of Rule 3.132, after the committee noted that was based on a 1999 law that was removed in 2000.The changes are effective April 1.The court acted in In Re: Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.131 and 3.132, case no. SC05-739. The complete opinion and the rules as amendment can be found on the court’s Web site at floridasupremecourt.org.
RULE/FORMVOTEEXPLANATION Amendments in chapter 2013-107, Laws of Florida, to sections 90.702 and 90.704, Florida Statutes16-14-0Chapter 2013-107, Laws of Florida, amended sections 90.702 and 90.704, Florida Statutes by making them conform to cases and rules following U.S. Supreme Court cases on expert witnesses. Chapter 2013-107 also overrules Marsh v. Valyou, 977 So. 2d 543 (Fla. 2007). CREC intends to recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that it not adopt chapter 2013-107 as a rule of evidence, to the extent it is procedural. Amendments in chapter 2013-108, Laws of Florida, to section 766.102, Florida Statutes24-0-1Chapter 2013-108, Laws of Florida, amended section 766.102, Florida Statutes, to restrict the kinds of expert witnesses that may testify in a medical-malpractice case about standards of care. Chapter 2013-108 also deleted language preserving a trial court’s power otherwise to qualify or disqualify an expert witness. CREC intends to recommend that the Florida Supreme Court not adopt chapter 2013-108 as a rule of evidence, to the extent it is procedural. Code and Rules Of Evidence Committee Three-Year Cycle AmendmentsThe Code and Rules of Evidence Committee (CREC) invites comment on proposed three-year cycle amendments to the Florida Rules of Evidence shown below. The full text of the sections addressed can be found on The Florida Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org. Interested persons have until August 15, 2015, to submit commentselectronically to the committee chair, Peter A. Sartes, II, at email@example.com and to the Bar staff liaison, Greg Zhelesnik, at firstname.lastname@example.org. July 15, 2015 Regular News Code and Rules Of Evidence Committee Three-Year Cycle Amendments Amendments in chapter 2014-35, Laws of Florida, to section 90.204(4), Florida Statutes.24-1-0Chapter 2014-35, Laws of Florida, amended section 90.204(4), Florida Statutes, to enable a Family court to take judicial notice of certain facts under particular circumstances. CREC intends to recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that it adopt chapter 2014-35 as a rule of evidence, to the extent it is procedural.
Time: What exactly is it about video games that holds so much drawing power? Last year, a staggering 500 million video games were sold throughout the world, and, despite some recent slippage earlier in May, the industry as a whole remains one of the biggest, most lucrative markets out there.Now, a new study set to be published in a coming issue of Psychological Science seeks to uncover exactly what it is about video games that attracts such a passionate and dedicated fan base. According to a report out today in Science Daily, the answer lies somewhere beyond mere role playing; it’s actually a desire to find our “ideal selves.”“A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,” says Dr. Andy Przybylski, a research fellow at the University of Essex who led the study. “The attraction to playing video games and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.”Read the whole story: Time
The study analyzed data from 11,654 individuals who participated in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.Cognitive ability was assessed using three tests: the National Adult Reading Test, the Symbol Digits Modalities Test and the Backwards Digit Span test.Perales found that those who scored lower on the tests were more likely to disagree with the statement “Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do.” The link was strongest for verbal ability.This association held even after controlling for a number of socio-demographic and economic variables — including education.“Altogether, the findings provide clear evidence that cognitive ability is an important precursor of prejudice against same-sex couples,” Perales wrote in his study.“The findings in this report suggest that strategies aimed at increasing participation in (higher) education and improving levels of cognitive ability within the population could act as important levers in counteracting prejudice towards same-sex couples and LGBT people.”But the findings don’t mean that everyone who opposes rights for same-sex couples is unintelligent.In addition, a 2016 study on racism in the United States found evidence that smart people could be just as prejudicial as their less intelligent peers — they were just better at concealing it.The study was titled: “The cognitive roots of prejudice towards same-sex couples: An analysis of an Australian national sample“. Email Share on Facebook Pinterest Share Share on Twitter Less intelligent people are more likely to hold discriminatory attitudes towards same-sex couples, according to new research from Australia.The finding, which appear in the journal Intelligence, adds to a growing body of literature that indicates less intelligent people tend to express more prejudicial attitudes.“Despite the significance and contemporaneity of the subject matter, few studies have specifically addressed the links between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues,” said study author Francisco Perales of The University of Queensland. LinkedIn
Feb 9, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – The fatality rate for officially confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza infection is a stunningly high 59% (345 deaths in 584 cases). But the current controversy over publishing data about transmissible H5N1 viruses has revived a debate about whether the virus is as lethal as those numbers say.Some proponents of publishing the full details of two studies involving H5N1 viruses that spread by airborne droplets in ferrets say the true case-fatality proportion is probably much lower, because, they suspect, many mild or asymptomatic cases have gone undetected.If the real number of infections—the denominator—is much higher, the percentage of fatal cases drops. Some have suggested that the real fatality rate is “orders of magnitude” lower.This argument, however, swims against the tide of scientific findings.The primary way to detect asymptomatic or subclinical cases is to conduct seroprevalence studies—to look for H5N1 antibodies in people who weren’t sick but may have been exposed to the virus, such as contacts of confirmed case-patients, poultry cullers, or residents of a village where poultry outbreaks occurred.This has been done a number of times, and in nearly all the studies conducted since 2003, the researchers found very few people who had H5N1 antibodies, if any. For example, in a systematic review published in January 2011, Maria D. Van Kerkhove, PhD, and colleagues listed 20 seroprevalence studies, and in the 17 studies conducted since 2003, the proportion of seropostiive subjects ranged from 0 to 2.8%, with most of them reporting none.However, experts say the data are clouded by several uncertainties. One is that researchers differ in their methods and in the antibody titer levels they use to define a positive finding. Another problem is that it’s not clear how long H5N1 antibodies persist in the blood. If the antibodies wane with time, a person who is tested months to years after exposure to the virus may test negative even though he or she might have carried antibodies in the past.Still another difficulty is that if someone had an H5N1 infection and is later tested with an assay based on a different clade (strain) of the virus, the test might not detect the antibodies, experts say.”There are many, many uncertainties,” said Tim Uyeki, MD, MPH, MPP, deputy chief for science in the Epidemiology Branch of the Influenza Division at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who has been involved in many clinical studies of H5N1 patients and H5N1 epidemiologic investigations in various countries.Even with all the unanswered questions, though, most experts seem to think it’s unlikely that the number of undetected H5N1 infections is very large.Few positives foundWhether they tested poultry workers, healthcare workers, or patients’ family members, most researchers since 2003 have found few people with antibody levels suggesting they had unrecognized infections.The bulk of the seroprevalence studies have focused on people with possible occupational exposures. For example, a 2006 study in China’s Guangdong province showed that only 1 of 110 poultry workers was seropositive for H5N1. In 2009, testing of 97 firemen, government workers, and veterinarians who had responded to an H5N1 outbreak on Ruegen Island in Germany revealed none with evidence of infection. And in 2007, none of 500 poultry workers and cullers on Vietnamese farms that had H5N1 outbreaks in 2004-05 tested positive.The picture has been much the same for healthcare workers. In Thailand and Vietnam in 2004, three research teams tested healthcare workers, nearly all of whom had contact with confirmed H5N1 patients. None of the 168 workers tested positive.The hunt for undetected cases also has included people without known occupational exposures. One team tested 351 Cambodians living in villages where two human cases occurred in 2005; they found no positives, according to their 2006 report. The same group conducted a similar study in villages where H5N1 cases occurred in 2006. This time 7 of 674 people (1%) tested positive.Another Cambodian study by different investigators in 2007 showed that 18 (2.6%) of 700 people living in a village where an H5N1 case had occurred were seropositive, according to their 2010 report in the Journal of Clinical Virology.Some contrasting findingsA curious contrast to this pattern of findings, however, is provided by studies conducted after the first human outbreak of H5N1 cases, which occurred in Hong Kong in 1997 and involved 18 cases with 6 deaths. Subsequent serologic studies found considerably higher proportions of people who carried H5N1 antibodies though they had not been sick.For example, testing of 51 household and social contacts of Hong Kong H5N1 patients found 6 (12%) who were seropositive. In another study, 9 (3%) of 293 government workers involved in the outbreak response were found to be seropositive, and the researchers estimated that 10% of poultry workers also had antibodies. In still another investigation, 8 (38%) of 21 healthcare workers who were exposed to H5N1 patients tested positive.Researchers have suggested that the apparent higher rate of unrecognized infections in the Hong Kong outbreak may be explained by some genetic difference between the 1997 H5N1 strain and more recent ones. In their review of seroprevalence studies, Van Kerkhove and colleagues wrote, “The higher rates of seropositivity in the studies following he 1997 outbreak may reflect the genetic differences in the viruses circulating now compared to the 1997 virus, which may have been more adaptable to human infection.”While the Hong Kong studies may represent a unique situation or strain, there is one more recent study that also contrasts with the general run of findings. A team of researchers from the United States and Thailand in 2008 tested 800 rural Thais living in an area that had numerous poultry outbreaks in the preceding years.They found that 45 (5.6%) of the participants were seropositive for a 2005 strain of H5N1 found in Thailand, and 28 (3.5%) were positive for a 2006 strain. Positive results were more common in people older than 60 and were not statistically associated with exposure to poultry.The study was published in the Oct 15, 2011, issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, with Benjawan P. Khuntirat of the US Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, as first author.However, others say these findings must be taken with caution, because the researchers set a very low bar for a positive test: an antibody titer of just 1:10.”Unfortunately I think there are some laboratory methodological issues with these results,” said Van Kerkhove, who noted that all the studies she included in her review used a titer of 1:40 (by microneutralization or hemagglutination inhibition, or HI) as the criterion for seropositivity. She works in the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London.Likewise, Uyeki commented, “I would say it’s difficult to interpret these data because such a low antibody titer was used for the inclusion criteria.” He said a positive finding with a titer of 1:10 may represent cross-reactive antibodies to human influenza A viruses, nonspecific cross-reactivity, or a low H5N1 titer that had declined over time—or it might mean nothing.Inconsistent methodsThe study exemplifies the problem of different methods and criteria used by different investigators and labs, making findings hard to interpret.”There are a number of H5N1 antibody studies that have been conducted in several countries, and they’ve been conducted in different populations with different sampling methods and different lab methodologies,” said Uyeki. “And there’s no one standardized approach. If you took the same serum specimen and tested it in different laboratories that did not have expertise in H5N1 serological testing methods, you might get very different results.”Van Kerkhove seconded the need for more consistent approaches. Referring to the 2008 Cambodia study, she commented in an e-mail, “We should encourage more studies like this to be conducted so that we have a better understanding of the extent of asymptomatic H5N1 (and other high path AI strains), but we should encourage standard methodology (both from the epidemiologic and laboratory sides) so that results can be compared appropriately.”She noted that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) convened a second international workshop meeting last December with the aim of achieving greater consistency in both epidemiologic and laboratory methods in seroepidemiologic studies of influenza.The World Health Organization (WHO) has published criteria for detecting H5N1 antibodies, specifying an antibody titer of 1:80 or higher with one type of test and confirmation by a comparable result with a different assay. For research, as opposed to clinical testing, the agency recommends using a microneutralization (MN) assay. That test requires the use of live H5N1 virus and therefore can be used only in a biosafety level 3 lab.CDC scientists developed MN for highly pathogenic H5N1 after determining that HI, the standard serologic test for flu viruses in humans, was less sensitive for detecting avian flu viruses, according to a 1999 report in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (see link below).Noting the difficulties involved in serologic testing, the WHO statement says, “In general, standard panels of reagents for H5N1 and other novel strains are not widely available and results among the laboratories performing these tests vary widely.”In the 20 studies reviewed by Van Kerkhove and colleagues, 14 used MN assay as the primary test, while four used HI. In one study the authors used MN or HI, and in another they used MN or ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).Waning antibodies?Another difficulty in interpreting serologic findings is the uncertainty about how long H5N1 antibodies persist after infection.”Where there’s always been a bit of controversy is that people say most of the antibody work has been done well after there has been exposure,” said Angus Nicoll, MB, CBE, head of the influenza program at the ECDC in Stockholm and honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Could there have been mild infections with a relatively transient antibody response or maybe no response at all?””I think what we’d like is to have some quick studies around some fresh cases, to make sure there aren’t some people who produce antibodies for a while and then they wane,” he added.Uyeki agreed that there are gaps in the understanding of the duration of immune response to H5N1. “A person who is confirmed to have an H5N1 virus infection and develops severe illness but eventually recovers may develop a very robust antibody response, and that person may have detectable antibodies for 1 or 2 years or longer,” he said.”But for persons with asymptomatic infection or who were infected and experienced mild illness, the duration and kinetics of the H5NI virus antibody response are less well understood,” Uyeki added. “Furthermore, there are probably differences by age.””For example, I saw a young child who had experienced fever and upper respiratory tract illness and recovered quickly,” a case that was included in a New England Journal of Medicine report in 2006, he said. “We were able to test serum samples collected during his illness and 3½ months later, which demonstrated a low but significant increase in H5N1 virus antibody titer.” If the child had been sampled 6 months or a year after his illness, he might not have had detectable H5N1 antibodies, Uyeki said, adding that some infected persons might not mount a detectable antibody response at all.If a person is tested for H5N1 a year after his or her likely exposure, and the result is negative, it doesn’t conclusively rule out infection, he said, adding, “Optimally you need to sample the study population about 3 to 4 weeks after the exposure to allow time for an antibody response, and ideally at multiple time points after exposure.”Jeff Bender, DVM, MS, director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, agreed. “There have been a few studies that have looked at how quickly antibodies die off or how long they persist,” he said. “Clearly that’s a potential problem in trying to interpret that data. . . . . That’s why some folks use lower titers, to pick that up. But that could lead to false-positives.”In a study published in PLoS One in May 2010 (see link below), researchers in Southeast Asia showed that people who had severe H5N1 illness had a stronger and longer-lasting antibody response than did people who had asymptomatic infections. At several time points, they tested serum samples from 11 severely ill Vietnamese patients and from 31 Cambodians who had asymptomatic infections.The mean MN antibody titers in the sick patients were 1:540 at 1 to 2 months and 1:173 at 1 to 12 months after illness, compared with 1:149 and 1:62 in the asymptomatic individuals. Also, they found that positive antibody titers persisted more than 2 years in those who had been sick, whereas 10 of 23 samples from the asymptomatic people tested negative 10 to 11 months after exposure to the virus.Still another complication in seroprevalence studies is the ever-growing genetic diversity of H5N1 viruses.”There are now 20 specific [H5N1] clades that have been identified,” said Uyeki. “If you are in a country where, say, a clade 2.1 virus has been circulating among poultry with sporadic transmission to humans, if you use a clade 1 virus in the serologic assay, you may get invalid results. At the same time, if you use a virus from 4 to 5 years ago, it can tell you one thing, but you need to look at more recently circulating viruses. H5N1 viruses continue to evolve among poultry and are a moving target.”Seeing through the fogDespite all the fog around the numbers, experts like Nicoll, Uyeki, and Van Kerkhove say it’s unlikely that the few asymptomatic H5N1 cases suggested by the seroprevalence studies represent only the tip of a huge iceberg.”It’s been a perpetual thing that people will say, ‘There must be mild cases out there.’ When you look through the seroprevalence data, it’s pretty unrewarding for that,” said Nicoll.For years people have been saying that there must be many asymptomatic cases and that scientists just weren’t looking hard enough for them, “but that just hasn’t been borne out by experience,” he added.”Even if you found some, you’d have to have a lot of them to bring the current H5N1 infection-fatality rate down even to what is estimated for the 1918 pandemic,” Nicoll said.Uyeki generally concurred, commenting, “Having said all the caveats about these studies, none of them suggest large proportions of asymptomatically infected people to date. But this could change as H5N1 viruses evolve, and they clearly are evolving, no question about that.”What about the numerator?Uyeki said there is another, seldom-mentioned question involved in the issue: the accuracy of the official number of H5N1 deaths—the numerator of the case-fatality proportion.”From my perspective the question is what is the numerator and what is the denominator?” he said. “Are all fatal cases being identified? And I would argue that the answer is no. Both the numerator and the denominator are likely underestimated, and the question is by how much. We really don’t know.”Even in countries where H5N1 is endemic, H5N1 surveillance could be missing some hospitalized patients with severe pneumonia who may have had contact with sick poultry, if H5N1 is not suspected and not tested for,he said. A larger number of deaths, of course, would raise the case-fatality proportion.Taken all together, the data from surveillance, epidemiologic investigations of confirmed H5N1 cases, and seroprevalence studies suggest that some infections have been missed and that the denominator is larger than the number listed by the WHO, Uyeki said. He noted that clinically mild H5N1 cases occur, most commonly in children.”At the same time, fatal cases reported are probably an underestimate of those that have occurred,” he said. “So the case-fatality proportion is likely to be lower, but it’s not really clear that it’s orders of magnitude lower.”And as various experts have pointed out in the current debate over publication of the findings on airborne-transmissible H5N1 viruses, the H5N1 case-fatality proportion could be a small fraction of the current 59% and still be much higher than the 2.5% level seen in the calamitous 1918 flu pandemic.See also: January 2011 Van Kerkhove review of risk factors for H5N1 transmissionWHO recommendations and procedures for detecting H5N1 virus in human specimens1999 J Clin Microbiology study abstract noting low sensitivity of HI to H5N1 antibodiesMay 2010 PLoS One report on the duration of antibodies in those infected with H5N1Information on December 2011 ECDC meeting on global flu seroepidemiology
In addition to this talk, the nature center will play the full-dome film “Incoming!” at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26. Narrated by George Takei, this planetarium show explores asteroids, comets and the hard-hitting stories of our cosmic origins. Audience members will embark on a journey back in time and across the Solar System, following the paths of asteroids and comets that have collided with Earth — and those that roam far from home. PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org. This talk will begin at 7 p.m. and highlight the planets, star patterns and constellations that may be readily observed at the Pajarito Astronomers’ Dark Night program the following evening. This program is perfect for beginner stargazers who want to learn more before heading outside to look at the stars. Seating is limited for the Dark Night preview and the full-dome film, so please call the nature center at 505.662.0460 or stop by to reserve your tickets. Admission to both programs is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Events in the planetarium are not recommended for children under age 4. The full-dome film ‘Incoming!’ is 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26 in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium. Courtesy/PEEC The Pajarito Astronomers’ Dark Night starts at 6:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct 26, at Overlook Park. The group will gather at Spirio Soccer Field to observe the night sky. Viewing will end by 1 a.m. and Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all may be visible during the event. For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit www.peecnature.org, email email@example.com or call (505).662.0460. Join Steve Becker for an interactive tour of the heavens this Friday, Oct. 25 in the Los Alamos Nature Center’s planetarium. PEEC News: Join Steve Becker for a preview of the Pajarito Astronomers’ Dark Night program at 7 p.m. today, Oct. 25 in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium. Courtesy/PEEC
By SHELLY A. WIEMANNFounder, Wiemann Wealth Strategies, LLCFinancial Advisor, Raymond JamesThough it may not feel like it, the S&P 500 index just experienced its strongest 16-day period since 1938.Each day brings more news – some of it encouraging, some of it not – about efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and reopen the U.S. economy. Lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels are trying to find the appropriate time to reopen the economy, as well as ways to support people whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.While it may seem odd, the S&P 500 index just experienced its strongest 16-day period since 1938, according to Chief Investment Officer Larry Adam. From the market lows that brought an end to the bull market in late March, Adam sees two forces driving the rally: unprecedented monetary and fiscal support from policymakers, plus signs the health crisis is improving and discussions of re-opening the economy are forthcoming.“Further actions from the U.S. Federal Reserve and Congress are likely to continue to support the economy,” Adam said. “However, we believe the next up-leg in the equity rally will require more favorable news on the potential for a therapeutic, antibody or vaccine.”Data released earlier this week shed some light on the effect stay-at-home orders to curtail the spread of the virus are having on the economy. Notably, unemployment claims over the four-week period ending April 11 indicate much of the job creation since the 2008 financial crisis has been erased, Chief Economist Scott Brown said.“While economic activity is expected to contract sharply in the second quarter of 2020, the recovery outlook is uncertain,” Brown said. “It’s dependent on the virus; the development of treatments, medicines and a vaccine; and the unwinding of social distancing. The economy will rebound, but a full economic recovery is expected to take time, and there will be long-lasting changes in consumer behavior and global trade.”A key to reopening the economy, according to healthcare policy analyst Chris Meekins, is an increased capacity to test for the virus as a means to help combat spread.“We continue to emphasize that American testing capacity and surveillance measures are not where they need to be to institute a test-and-isolate strategy that could ease our transition back to normal,” Meekins said. “As we approach another probable round of stimulus relief, we anticipate more funding for state and local governments to spur contact tracing and surveillance.”Investors continue to commit cash to “risk-off” assets in the fixed income market, such as Treasuries, according to Chief Fixed Income Strategist Kevin Giddis. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is once again close to the 0.54% low reached on March 9.“And I would rather not test that if we can help it, because it would mean the confidence level is dropping and the fear leveling is increasing,” Giddis said.While the recent market bounce has been impressive, uncertainty remains. There likely will be plenty of potential market-moving information to come in the days and weeks ahead.“Just as the 35% collapse in 26 days was too far, too fast, the rally has been, as well, in our view,” said Joey Madere, a senior portfolio strategist with the Equity Portfolio & Technical Strategy group.“In assessing previous recessionary bear markets, it would be highly unusual for the S&P 500 to just glide back to the previous highs,” Madere said. “On the other hand, it is very common for exhaustive selloffs to be followed by sharp bounces, and then a grind-it-out pattern with potential retests as more information surrounding the issues of the day is gained. We would use pullbacks as opportunities to accumulate stocks for the long term.”As we all gain our bearings, your advisor will continue to provide relevant and timely information. Please reach out with any questions you may have about your unique financial circumstances.The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor’s results will vary. Investing involves risk, and investors may incur a profit or a loss. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of Raymond James and are subject to change. There is no assurance that any of the forecasts mentioned will occur. Economic and market conditions are subject to change.
Keep a close eye on cable price hikes So if it will take a trillion dollars to upgrade our infrastructure, where do we get the money? Here’s a thought. If we rolled back the GOP tax cut to 28 percent (Remember it was cut from 35 to 21 percent), we would get back half a trillion dollars. Further, if we changed the tax law and require a minimum tax payment (after all normal taxes are paid and deductions are taken) by corporations like Amazon, which had a $12 billion profit last year and will get a $129 million refund this year, we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars more. Then to make up the rest of the needed funding, the feds could increase gasoline taxes by 10 or 20 cents per gallon, since gas is so cheap and we should start weening ourselves off fossil fuels to help with combating climate change. There would likely be excess revenue generated and available to reduce the deficit.Raymond HarrisScotia Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionFind the money to fix infrastructureThe GOP is already pushing back on spending a trillion dollars on improving our infrastructure (repairing roads, bridges, airports, etc.) due to the GOP $1.0 trillion deficit. “It will cost too much; we cannot afford it,” GOP congressmen are saying. Isn’t that “rich.” This is the same group that thought nothing about giving away $1.5 trillion mostly to corporations and the rich that has not been used to benefit anyone but themselves. Evaluate Trump’s policies by his egoSo, to be clear, mystifyingly, our president unilaterally withdrew from an agreement with Iran and our European allies, though his own intelligence agencies agreed that Iran has been in compliance, which is in line with what those same European allies reported. That agreement was a promise with Iran and our allies, an agreement on behalf of the American people, our word to the world.Yet, with North Korea, which actually has and tested nuclear weapons, even threatened the United States, he tells us that he “is in no rush” for denuclearization. He even asked Japan to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts with North Korea.I believe that focusing on Trump the man, or any of the personalities of politicians for that matter, is ultimately divisive and a waste of time. In looking at how our president is making policy, it seems that it’s all about ego. Iran was done by President Obama, and Trump’s goal has been to undo President Obama’s accomplishments, while pursuing his own ideas, regardless of whether it’s good policy, even as defined by his own departments.James CiminoSchenectady Watch your cable bill closely. Our January bill was $193, and our February bill is $282, an increase of $89. Never did I receive a phone call, email or written notification that my bill was increasing by $89.My January bill had a note stating “Your promotion is ending, but your savings will continue. As a valued customer, we have automatically extended you a new preferred rate.” What kind of preferred rate is an increase of $89 in one month? Five years ago, our rate was $99 a month for TV, internet and phone. Within 5 years, that rate rose to $193 and then to $282. What is going on? The only explanation I was given was that the Time Warner pricing is no longer valid, and the $282 rate was the Spectrum pricing. You can call it what you like, but I call it robbery, I believe this is an illegal practice and have contacted state and federal representatives and organizations. We have changed services and our rate is back in the $190 range, which is still too much.Robert M. JonesHadley Go back further on black unemploymentI’m writing in response to the op-ed article in The Gazette by John M. Crisp about black vs. white employment rates.I believe Mr. Crisp is misrepresenting the history by looking back only to 1969. His column claims that black unemployment has been, for the last 50 years, significantly higher than white unemployment, which may be true for that period. I suggest your readers take a look on the internet at articles by economist and author Walter E. Williams, who has written extensively on this subject. One of his articles entitled, “Black Progression and Retrogression,” discusses the decline of the black family and black employment and cites the welfare state and various labor laws hurting black progress, starting around 1950 as the cause. I quote the following from the article: “Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed black participation rates [in the economy] higher than those of whites.” Black vs. white unemployment increased greatly after 1964-5 when LBJ started the “Great Society,” which he claimed would end poverty in America. Still waiting? Donald DavisCharltonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: No chickens in city without strong regsFoss: Schenectady homeless assistance program Street Soldiers dealing with surge in needEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusHIGH NOTES: PPEs, fighting hunger, backpacks and supplies for kidsEDITORIAL: Make a game plan for voting. Do it now.
Continuing a trend first reported in October, reported crime, and arrests of all kinds, were down significantly in the Town of East Hampton in 2018, according to the annual report released recently by East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo.In the category classified as events, once called by the department “complaints,” the total number logged in was 1926 less than in 2017, dropping from 20,005 to 18,079, or just under 10 percent. It is the lowest number since 2013. Arrests were down an even higher percentage, 16.5 percent, with the total dropping from 970 to 809. It is the lowest number of arrests by the department since 2015’s 672.Arrests on driving while intoxicated charges came in at least a 14-year low: the 140 recorded by town police is one less than the 141 racked up in 2004, which is as far back as The Independent’s records go. In 2017, there were 214 DWI-charged arrests.In October, Chief Sarlo commented on that decrease, citing as a possible reason, in part, the growth of rider share services in East Hampton Town.One figure that, unfortunately, stayed flat from 2017 was the number of drug overdose cases in East Hampton. There were 10 overdoses recorded, with three being fatal.The chief reported that town police continue to train in the use of NARCAN to reverse overdoses.If there was less crime in East Hampton for officers to battle, they were still busy on the roads: parking summonses were up to 8382, a 23 percent increase for the town.The number of domestic violence reports, at 265, exceeded the number of such reports over each of the past two years, and matched the 265 from 2015.Another number that dropped significantly in the past year is the number of vehicular accidents, down from 954 to 878, the lowest since 2013. That number begs the question, are the roads safer, or are they simply less travelled?The decrease in crime is across the board, reflecting fewer reports. Complaints of burglary, larceny, and criminal mischief, all of which are either misdemeanors or felonies, as well as harassment, which can be charged as a crime or as a simple violation, have all been dropping over the past few years in East Hampton. There were 25 complaints of burglary last year, for example. There were 36 in 2017, 40 in 2016, and 55 in 2015. The other categories mimic those numbers, percentage wise.Another welcomed decrease is in the number of noise complaints called into the police in the town. The total number of residential and commercial noise complaints was at 613, a major drop from the 728 from 2017, and almost half of the 1132 noise complaints registered in 2015.Chief Sarlo listed four objectives for 2019 for the department in the report, which he will be sharing with the East Hampton Town Board in an upcoming session. The chief cites the drop in DWI arrests, saying the department “must remain focused on deterring citizens from drinking or taking drugs, then driving.”The other three objectives for the year include expanding the police presence in the town’s schools, increasing community outreach concerning the national epidemic of opioid use, and completing the town-wide radio system emergency communications upgrade.The number of complaints or incidents recorded by the department had been rising steadily over the years, cresting at 2017’s 20,005, perhaps reflecting the growing summer nightlife in the town over that period. The decrease in 2018 may augur well for a slightly more peaceful summer season in 2019. The decrease in crime in East Hampton is consistent with a like decrease across the East End, and across the nation, according to FBI statistics. firstname.lastname@example.org Share