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May 2011
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News In Briefs - Around the Nation

Cash For Cash Program Meets Goal

Washington (PFM) – Treasury officials say the U.S. government’s popular “Cash for Cash” program has quickly exceeded all expectations and may soon be unnecessary.

The program has taken in a total of $1.3 billion which will go directly to the general fund. This increase to government coffers comes at a good time, as recent weak bond auctions have alighted fears of interest rates hikes.

The plan, which exchanges fresh cash for unused consumer cash, is just part of a multi-pronged strategy to get the economy moving. The rules for participating are complex but that has not dampened interest.

So far, over $1.4 billion has been distributed to participating citizens, with fully one half of that total going to the most economically stressed regions. Consumers, now flush with fresh cash, are expected to open their wallets and spend.

In addition, over 60,000 jobs have been created to administer the plan. About one fifth of those jobs will be necessary to handle the expected influx of tax activity.

Despite the success, some have expressed concerns over the $100 million difference between disbursements and revenues. But officials point out that this variance is much lower than other government programs.

Man Killed, Woman Hospitalized in Sexting Tragedy

Houston (PFM) – Police are investigating a sexting incident in northwest Houston, in which a man was killed and a woman was rushed to the hospital.

At 9:15pm, Houston police were called to a home on Ward Rd. near Woodfield. When they arrived, they found a man clutching his cell phone, who appeared to be in cardiac arrest. The 68 year old man later died at the scene.

An unclothed woman was found leaving the home through a window. She was in a state of panic, but did not otherwise appear to be injured.

The 22 year old woman initially declined treatment, but after being informed that the man’s phone would be held as evidence, she was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment of anxiety. She has remained clothed since that time.

At this point, police don’t know the circumstances surrounding the incident. But pictures have been circulated seeking leads from other officers throughout Houston and surrounding communities.

House Member Unapologetic For ‘Where the Chips?’ Remark

Washington (PFM) – Democrat Cass Mastern of Tennessee is under fire for recent comments he made at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing with the Network of Hispanic Health Professionals.

Network official Rafael de la Cruz had been invited to discuss his group’s concerns regarding the current $1.5 trillion health bill being considered. Mastern interrupted de la Cruz’s presentation, “I get what your saying, but I’ve got to ask, ‘Where the chips and salsa, señor?’”

When asked later to explain his remark, the Representative said he was merely pointing out that “the group is so focused on the meat of the plan, they’ve failed to consider the appetizers.”

He went on to explain that the bill designates nearly $1 million to fight obesity and diabetes within the Hispanic community.

Mastern, who has been inundated with questions all week, lashed out at reporters as he left his office today, “I don’t appreciate the implications. These questions are insulting to me and to the Hispanic community. I love Mexicans. Nobody can deny that.”

When reminded that de la Cruz is Cuban, Rep. Mastern replied, “Well, we don’t do too good with the Cuban vote anyway.”

Reports collected from the wire by Jake M. while in his boxer briefs

Dead Guy Leaves People Talking

I was reading this article about a guy (actually James Vellanti, chief operating officer of hedge fund JNF Asset Management LLC) who fell off an escalator and died at The Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City.

Sad enough, right?

But every time I read an article about tragedy, I can’t help but skip ahead to the comments section. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re sick. But mostly they leave you scratching your head and wondering. Seriously, you heard about a tragic death and felt compelled to speak out — and this is what you wanted to tell the world?

There’s “doctorphil1″ who helpfully offers some personal safety advice:

Piers Shops 1

And always remember to look for a floor before stepping into the elevator.

Then there’s this dude, combination firefighter / germaphobe:

Piers Shops 2

But the dead guy was in a casino. You ever seen the orange-haired old lady parked in front of Squirrels Gone Nutz on her GetAbout, chain-smoking Pall-Malls and hacking phlegm onto the back of her fist? I’m sure her hands aren’t exactly surgeon-scrub clean. If he wasn’t scared of handling playing cards, slot machines or dice, he probably isn’t (or wasn’t) going to be bothered by handrails either.

“Adkboy,” has a life-saving solution.

Maybe if everyone would just opt for exercise, there would be no more escalator tragedies.

Piers Shops 3

Can’t argue with that reasoning. And if we all walked to work instead of taking the car, I suspect we could cut down on driving fatalities.

Here’s someone with a practical solution. . . . Read on »

Shooting Tops Stabbing In Preference Poll

(PFM): As anyone who has ever been held captive at knife-point will tell you, stabbing is not the way you want to go.

A recent national telephone survey found that many people fear being stabbed more than they fear being shot. The poll was funded by The National Knife and Sword Council which seeks to better the image of cutting utensils among Americans.

64% of those surveyed cited death by terrorist attack as their favorite form of death.

Only 13% of American adults believe that being shot would be more horrendous than being stabbed. Many of those attribute their feelings to the assumption that they are more likely to die from bullet wounds than stab wounds – thus avoiding the excruciating pain from their wounds.

Nearly all of the respondents, even those that preferred it, were aghast at the prospect of feeling the steely cold metal of a sharp blade penetrating their tissues and organs.

When it comes to homicide, stabbing always comes out at the bottom of the list. A strike to the head with a hammer, strangling, being run over, even being thrown from a building or airplane were not enough to coax people to favor stabbing.

Only being held under water until the point of death seemed likely to overtake stabbing on the list of fears. About 24% of those asked ranked being drowned higher than being shot.
. . . Read on »

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