- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ECONOMICS

Republican whip scoffs at stimulus

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said Tuesday that no one should be touting the benefits of economic stimulus - as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has done - at a time when national unemployment is at 9.4 percent.

Interviewed on CBS’ “The Early Show,” Mr. Cantor said that when the administration pressed Congress to act immediately on the $787 billion plan, it projected joblessness no higher than 8.5 percent. He said about 3,200 people showed up in 90-degree weather at a job fair recently.

STUDY

Traces of cocaine found on dollars

Researchers looked at 234 bank notes from 17 cities in the U.S. and found that 90 percent bore small traces of the illegal drug.

Bills from larger cities, such as Baltimore, Boston and Detroit, were among those with the highest average cocaine levels. Salt Lake City had the lowest.

Scientists analyzed only $1 bills from Washington and found that most had tiny amounts of cocaine.

Yuegang Zuo, a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, led the study. The findings were presented Sunday at the American Chemical Society’s fall meeting in Washington.

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which makes the country’s paper currency, said Tuesday that nothing in the process would taint the paper with the drug.

ENERGY

Groups to rally for ‘cap and trade’

Labor unions and environmental groups Tuesday announced plans for a nationwide campaign to boost support for legislation to promote “clean energy” and battle climate change.

The Made in America Jobs Tour will begin Thursday in Ohio and visit 50 sites in 22 states, the coalition said.

Leaders of the United Steelworkers, Service Employees International Union and Utility Workers Union of America were to join heads of major environmental groups on a conference call Wednesday to formally launch the campaign.

The Senate is scheduled to consider “cap-and-trade” legislation to raise energy prices in early September, three months before December global climate change talks in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen.

HURRICANES

New Orleans wins Census delivery

NEW ORLEANS | Census forms will be hand-delivered in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, to get the most accurate count possible following concerns that the region could lose federal representation and funding.

The measures announced by U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves on Tuesday did not go as far as those sought by Mayor C. Ray Nagin and some advocacy groups to locally count potentially thousands of former residents scattered across the country who are trying to come back.

By at least one estimate, 75 percent of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina population has returned in the nearly four years since the Aug. 29, 2005, storm and levee breaches. In some neighborhoods, there remain huge swaths of empty homes.

HEALTH

Study: Medicare rules saved lives

Clearer federal guidelines on how to treat elderly heart attack patients appear to have saved lives, with a marked reduction in heart attack deaths over 10 years, researchers reported Tuesday.

They found a 3 percent drop in the number of patients who died within a month of having a heart attack between 1995 and 2006, after Medicare started applying clearer standards on treatments.

“Among Medicare beneficiaries, for every 33 patients admitted in 2006 compared with 1995, there was 1 additional patient alive at 30 days,” Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

They also found a lot less variation in death rates from one hospital to another, a finding that might support health care reform efforts that include more standardized guidelines on patient care.

WHITE HOUSE

AIG chief’s pay raises no ire

The White House is fine with bailed-out insurer AIG’s decision to pay its new CEO $7 million a year.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that’s the price of competent leadership to make the company profitable again.

AIG disclosed the details of Robert Benmosche’s annual compensation package in a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also could earn millions more in performance-based incentives.

Last fall, the government saved AIG from collapse with a bailout package worth up to $182.5 billion.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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