Mar 12, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – In passing a huge spending bill this week to cover the next 6 months, Congress approved pandemic preparedness funds that had been proposed by former President Bush and increased appropriations for food safety, according to a health advocacy group.The $410 billion bill was passed by the Senate Feb 10, following earlier House approval, and signed by President Barack Obama yesterday. It funds numerous government agencies for the rest of fiscal year 2009, which ends Sep 30.The measure includes more than $700 million in pandemic spending that Bush had sought for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but none of that is for state and local public health agencies, according to Richard Hamburg, government affairs director for the nonprofit group Trust for America’s Health.The bill also includes $648.7 million for food safety efforts at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which represents a $141 million increase from the 2008 level, Hamburg reported. In addition, Congress approved $971.5 million for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an increase of $41 million over the 2008 amount, he said.The HHS pandemic funding includes $425 million for vaccine production capacity, $42 million for production of egg-based vaccines, and $40 million for medical countermeasures for HHS staff members and contractors, according to Hamburg.Also included is $156 million for ongoing pandemic-related activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is $1.4 million more than the agency received in 2008, he said. In addition, the office of the HHS secretary is to receive $78 million for pandemic activities, up from $75 million in 2008, he said.Hamburg said he hadn’t seen the breakdown of amounts for other agencies, but he expects that the FDA and the National Institutes of Health will get about the same amounts of pandemic-related funding as in 2008—$38 million and $34 million, respectively.Also included in the legislation is $3 million for research by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on flu transmission and respiratory protection from flu viruses, Hamburg reported. The bill calls for NIOSH to evaluate filtering facepiece respirators and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and to work on designing the next generation of PPE, he said.He noted that the allocation follows an Institute of Medicine report in 2008 that cited a critical need for more information on airborne transmission of flu. He didn’t think the money was part of the Bush administration’s 2009 budget proposal.On the food safety front, the $141 million increase for the FDA goes mainly to the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), according to Hamburg. Overall, the FDA is getting a $325 million budget increase from 2008, which raises its total funding for 2009 to nearly $2 billion, he said.A CFSAN spokesman said today he had no information yet on how the increased funding for food safety will be spent.As for the proposed 2010 budget, the Obama administration has released only a general outline so far; said Hamburg: “We expect to see more detailed information on pandemic [funding] in early April.”Pandemic preparedness advocates had hoped Congress would include pandemic funds for state and local health departments in the economic stimulus bill passed in February. The House approved $900 million for that purpose, but it was stripped from the final bill.See also:Feb 13 CIDRAP News story “Stimulus bill headed for passage minus pandemic funds”
Truancy. It’s a word I’ve seen oft repeated in the argument against student protests. On March 14, students nationwide left classes for 17 minutes to stand against gun violence in their schools. On April 20, they walked out again on the 19th anniversary of Columbine. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Since I started school 15 years ago, I have spent approximately 14 hours hiding as part of an active shooter drill, far more than the amount of time students have spent not in class to protest the fact that children have to spend 14 hours of their lives preparing to be hunted in their schools.I’ve seen a lot of people ask why it has to be during the school day. Many of them are not old enough to vote; many of them are not old enough to drive; and many of them are not old enough for you to have listened to them every other time they’ve said they’ve had enough.You have pushed them to this. You have taught them this is the only way they will be heard — with collective action when you want them to be doing something else.What you learn in life doesn’t begin and end in a classroom. So yes, leaving school in the middle of the day is truant. But part of growing up is learning to stand by your own convictions. It’s arguably the most important lesson.Jill MartinNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi has revealed the secret of the recent scintillating performances of Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel, for the national team.Mikel, who was named 2nd best player at the FIFA U20 World Cup behind Lionel Messi, had seen his stock drop since those days, reports futaa.com.QuestionedAt one point, Nigerian football fans questioned his loyalty and commitment to the Super Eagles cause, but all that changed at the 2013 Nations Cup, when Mikel turned out five star performances, and he has been on the upward spiral since.Now, futaa.com has learnt that the turn-around came as a result of frank talk between the midfielder and the coach.“Keshi told Mikel to buckle up and show Nigerians that he really is a patriot, and not the I-don’t-care character the press portrays, a source in the NFF told futaa.com. Discussion“Keshi had called him and asked why he is not giving his all to the team. It was a discussion, as Mikel reiterated his patriotism and commitment.“The coach then discussed tactics with Mikel, who is quite intelligent. It was about how the team could get the best out of his game. And the result has been there for all to seeMikel has been outstanding for the Eagles, and the good form continued to the Confederations Cup in Brazil, where the Chelsea man stood his ground, especially in the games against and Uruguay.”
MLB playoffs 2019: Three takeaways from an improbable Nationals wild-card win MLB playoffs 2019: One reason Nationals, Brewers could win the World Series 2019 NLDS storylinesWill Dallas Keuchel be the key to the Braves taking the next step?: This is why the Braves went out and signed Keuchel in the middle of the season. The lefty got World Series experience wth the Astros and made multiple appearances in the postseason with Houston. He gives the Braves a veteran for their rotation to send out in Game 1 of the NLDS and possibly for a second time in Game 4 or 5. But will he be what they need to advance to the next round? Or will he struggle as he did in his final few outings in the playoffs for Houston (4.43 ERA last four appearances)?Can the Nationals hit consistently in their matchup with the Dodgers?: While Max Scherzer can catch some flak for lackluster postseason performances with the Nationals, it has truly been the lineup that has let Washington down in the playoffs over the last few years. Since 2014, Washington has averaged 3.8 runs per game in the playoffs, scoring three runs or fewer in seven of their 15 games. The Dodgers have a solid pitching staff. Will the lineup do enough to support a rotation that will likely keep the Nationals in all of their games?2019 NLDS players to watchJack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals — The 23-year-old righty might have been the best pitcher in MLB down the stretch in 2019. In the second half, Flaherty put up a 0.91 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 99 1/3 innings. He won’t get to start Game 1 on Thursday, but he will likely pitch Game 2 on Friday and will either have a chance to send the Cardinals back to St. Louis tied 1-1 or up 2-0.Kenley Jansen, CP, Dodgers — The Dodgers decided to stand pat at the deadline and did not go out and get either an additional closer in the market or at least a man who could step in and take over in case Jansen struggled. Los Angeles’ closer posted a career-worst 3.71 ERA this year while blowing a career-high eight saves. This could easily be seen as an anomaly with hope that he’ll get over it in the playoffs, but in the last two years he has had some serious postseason breakdowns. He has posted a 3.55 ERA with four home runs allowed in nine appearances in the World Series over the last two years. Jansen struggled again during the regular season. The Nationals showed in the wild-card game they can get to good closers in the late innings. Will that factor into the series? The National League Division Series are set.Washington will take on the Dodgers after winning a dramatic wild-card game 4-3 over the Brewers and the Cardinals will face off with the Braves. Both series start Thursday as the Braves and Cardinals play at 5:02 p.m. ET and the Dodgers and Nationals face off at 8:37 p.m. ET. Both games will be on TBS.Here is your 2019 NLDS Preview: Related News MLB playoffs 2019: One reason Athletics, Rays could win World Series 2019 NLDS predictionsBraves over the Cardinals in five games — The Braves have an odd advantage in this one: the Cardinals haven’t faced Keuchel or Max Fried yet this season. The one pitcher they will definitely face in the playoffs is Mike Soroka and he dominated them to a tune of a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings (two starts) this season. But the Cardinals have had success with their pitching as well, so this will come down to the two lineups. The Braves’ lineup is better. They tasted the postseason last year and their young hitters have more experience under their belt. That will be the difference.Nationals over the Dodgers in five games — We admit it, this is bold, but we just like the Nationals’ starting rotation too much to think it will lose with the way it’s set up. The Dodgers have to face Patrick Corbin in Game 1. He shut out Los Angeles over seven innings in his lone start against them this season and Los Angeles showed massive vulnerability in matchups against lefties in the playoffs all of last year. Now, it addressed that by playing Cody Bellinger every day — matchups be damned — but this year the Dodgers were not as good against lefties as they were righties. But beyond that the Dodgers will have to face Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 and he is an absolute beast in the postseason. Los Angeles could easily be down 2-0 going back to Washington. But as we said above, the Nationals still have to hit in this series. That is the X-factor. So if they don’t then the Dodgers will obviously win. But it is undeniable how well the Nationals’ pitching sets up for the NLDS against the Dodgers.