- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

SENATE

Graham supports climate legislation

Prospects for climate-change legislation in Congress improved Sunday when a Republican senator broke ranks with his party to outline a compromise with a leading Democrat on the issue.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times that they think they could pick up enough support to pass a wide-ranging bill to limit carbon emissions.

“We refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change,” Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerry wrote. “We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future.”

Mr. Graham is one of a few dozen fence-sitters who Mr. Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, have been courting in order to amass the 60 votes needed for passage in the 100-member Senate.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama speaks to envoy in Kabul

President Obama spoke Sunday with the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan about the country’s recent election and the administration’s review of U.S. strategy in the region, the White House said.

Mr. Obama talked by phone with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a former top military commander in Afghanistan, after several days of consultations with lawmakers and experts about ways to combat the Taliban insurgency.

“The president thanked Ambassador Eikenberry for his work, and for his participation in the ongoing review of strategy toward Afghanistan,” the White House said in a statement.

“The president received an update on the Afghan elections, and reiterated the importance of Ambassador Eikenberry and his team to ensuring the implementation of a comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan, that includes both military and civilian components, and working with our Afghan partners.”

CDC

Official stresses flu vaccine safety

A top U.S. health official says the risks from not getting the swine flu vaccine are greater than any potential risks associated with the vaccine.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said she’s surprised by what she calls all the misinformation going around about the new vaccine. She said a good safety record from past vaccines bodes well for the swine flu vaccine now becoming available.

Dr. Schuchat said there’s no problem associated with getting shots for the swine flu and seasonal flu on the same day. But health officials recommend a three-week period between receiving the nasal versions of the vaccines.

Dr. Schuchat says vaccines remain the best way to protect children and adults from both strains of flu.

MARRIAGE

Census finds once is enough

For the first time in its annual community survey, the U.S. Census Bureau asked a representative sample of Americans how often they have been married.

More than 75 percent of those who said they had ever been married said they’d taken the walk down the aisle just once. About one in five said they had been married twice, and one in 20 said they’d heard wedding bells three or more times, the study found.

RESEARCH

Baby boomers nab health care dollars

Hospitals spent nearly as much to treat 55- to 64-year-olds in 2007 - $56 billion - as they did for people ages 65 to 74 - $59 billion - the federal Agency for Health Care Research says.

That’s a particular concern because the first group includes the front end of the baby boomers; the oldest of those born between 1946 and 1964 were 61 that year. Few of them were on Medicare yet, but experts shudder at the anticipated health care consumption of more than 78 million boomers as they reach senior-citizen status.

HOUSE

Two seek statue of Unknown Slave

Two congressmen from New York have proposed the creation and permanent display in the U.S. Capitol of a statue of “the Unknown Slave.”

Democratic Reps. Gary L. Ackerman and Charles B. Rangel, both from New York, said such a monument - which would be displayed in Emancipation Hall, the main area of Congress’ Capitol Visitor Center - would honor the estimated 400 now-nameless slaves who helped construct the Capitol itself.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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