Saturday, November 28, 2009

U.S. Crude Oil Production in 2009 Poised To Show Biggest Jump in Almost 40 Years: Platts Analysis

27 Nov 2009 15:02 Africa/Lagos

U.S. Crude Oil Production in 2009 Poised To Show Biggest Jump in Almost 40 Years: Platts Analysis

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts - United States crude oil production for 2009 is on target to have its biggest one-year jump since 1970, according to a Platts analysis of industry data.

With U.S. oil production averaging 5.268 million barrels per day (b/d) through October, the gain in U.S. output will be the most since the country produced 9.637-million b/d in 1970, which turned out to be the peak year of U.S. crude output, according to Platts' analysis of data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). If that 5.268 million b/d figure holds through December, this year would show a 6.4% boost from the 4.95 million b/d average of 2008 and rank as the best U.S. oil production year since 2004, when output averaged 5.419 million b/d.

For comparison, in the 40 years since U.S. oil production peaked annual output has jumped only eight times. Seven of those increases were minimal; only in 1978 was there a jump of significant magnitude, an increase of 5.6%, to 8.7 million b/d.

Last year's hurricane curtailments distorted the production numbers somewhat for the 2008 comparison, given that 183,000 b/d of Gulf of Mexico output was still offline at the end of that year. However, 2009 is still expected to post increases of 3% and 4% from the relatively storm-free years of 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Projections from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) indicate that the primary driver for this year's U.S. oil production resurgence is actually just getting started. That driver is the Gulf of Mexico, where operators have begun launching a group of new fields, fulfilling what has been a decade-long focus on unlocking the promise of deepwater exploration there.

In its reporting, Platts concluded that with the jump in the Gulf of Mexico, combined with the emergence of two other new oil-production trends, it appears the U.S. has a chance of at least maintaining oil output in the range of five million to six million b/d for some years to come. "We see it above five million barrels per day for the next 10 years or so," Platts quoted Peter Jackson, senior director for IHS CERA, as saying. "There is still a tremendous amount of exploration potential in the U.S. and that plateau could be sustained."

The Gulf posted its biggest oil production year in 2002 with 1.556 million b/d, but only 61% of that total came from deepwater. In contrast, this year the MMS projects oil output of 1.213 million b/d with 76% from deepwater as the Gulf ramps toward an expected new oil production record of 1.635 million b/d by 2011.

Besides growth in the Gulf, those other trends involve further development of the Bakken Shale oil play in North Dakota and success by a group of operators now training their onshore exploration sights toward new oil targets at the expense of natural gas.

The development of the Bakken into a robust, new oil province is well under way, according to data from EIA. Bakken oil output has already elevated North Dakota into fifth place among U.S. states for oil production with average daily output of 202,000 b/d at the end of 2008. But that number already appears to be old, even though is was 50% more than 2007 figures. For example, in June of this year, production in North Dakota had climbed to 215,000 b/d.

As for companies shifting their strategies, that group includes large Houston independent and Bakken pioneer EOG Resources, which has set a goal of shifting from a 70% gas production share to a 50:50 oil and gas mix by 2011 with a comprehensive review of additional potential North American shale oil targets.

This rise in output has helped the U.S. reduce its net imports -- defined as imports less exports, both crude and petroleum products -- by a substantial amount. While there are many factors that go into the United States' net import figure, the decline has been striking, according to EIA data.

For the final three months of 2008, net imports - reported weekly by EIA -- were never less than 10.5 million b/d, and were as high as 12.68 million b/d. This year, the EIA is reporting that net imports in the first week of October were 10.1 million b/d, have not been higher since, and have been as low as 8.84 million b/d.

And while the drop in U.S. consumption can be seen as accounting for much of that decline, the U.S. also has put more than 140 million barrels of crude oil and products into inventory since the beginning of October 2008, something made possible in part by the rise in crude oil output.

For more information on crude oil, visit the Platts website.

About Platts: Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) , is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information. With a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. An independent provider, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, emissions, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical, shipping, and metals markets from 17 offices worldwide. Platts' real-time news, pricing, analytical services and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at

About The McGraw-Hill Companies: Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at

Source: Platts

CONTACT: Kathleen Tanzy of Platts, +1-212-904-2860,; or Asia, Casey Yew, +65 653 06552, or Europe,
Shiona Ramage, +44 207 1766153, both for Platts

Web Site:

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Monday, November 16, 2009

9/11 Families Want Guantánamo Detainees Prosecuted In Federal Court

9/11 Families Want Guantánamo Detainees Prosecuted In Federal Court

New ACLU Video Features 9/11 Families Asking For True Justice

NEW YORK, November 13, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — A new video released by the American Civil Liberties Union this week features family members of 9/11 victims calling for federal trials of terrorism suspects. The families were interviewed before the Obama administration announced today that certain Guantánamo detainees will be transferred to the U.S. for trial in federal court. The administration also said other detainees will be tried in the illegitimate military commissions.

"It is of utmost importance to me that those who were responsible for the attacks of 9/11 face a court," says Adele Welty in the ACLU video. Her son was a New York firefighter killed at the World Trade Center.

"It's very important to me that we get the right people," says John Leinung, whose stepson was killed while working in the Twin Towers. "That the right people are punished or held to account for what happened on 9/11."

Pat Perry, whose son was a police offer killed on 9/11, says she would rather see the Guantánamo detainees who have been held without charge "appear in open court where we can all sift out what we feel is really the truth and the judges can make a decision based on our Constitution."

These 9/11 family members all say they agree that holding detainees without charge in Guantánamo is a betrayal of American values and they look forward to true justice being served in federal court.

"My son gave his life to save those trapped in the Twin Towers," Welty says, "and it does not honor him that we violate our Constitution in retaliation for what happened on September 11."

Press Contact:
Rachel Myers
(212) 549-2689
(212) 549-2666

New Survey: Americans Plan to Spend Less on Holidays but Remain Generous Despite Recession

16 Nov 2009 14:00 Africa/Lagos

New Survey: Americans Plan to Spend Less on Holidays but Remain Generous Despite Recession



SEATTLE, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The faltering U.S. economy will again force many U.S. adults to cut back on holiday gift spending this year but according to a new study, three out of four Americans (76%) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics. And according to the new study commissioned by World Vision, an international relief and development organization, an overwhelming majority (95%), say the nation's focus over the holidays ought to be on helping children. Most Americans also say once the economy improves, they'll increase their donations to charities. According to the poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, almost three out of four (74%) say they'll increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.


More than nine out of ten (95 percent) agree that it is especially important to help children during the holiday season.

More than three out of four U.S. adults (76 percent) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics.

As a result of the current economic climate, almost six out of ten adults (57 percent) will spend less money on holiday presents this year. In 2008, seven out of ten (71 percent) said they would spend less on holiday gifts.

Almost three out of four (74 percent) plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.

"The declines we see from 2008 reflect the realities of the challenging non-profit climate, with less charitable giving at a time when the need has increased for so many," says Justin Greeves, Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Public Affairs & Policy Research at Harris Interactive. "However, even in these difficult times, an overwhelming majority of Americans still want to help others in need and would rather receive a gift that would help another instead of receiving a traditional gift for themselves. That finding reveals our charitable culture at work. The declines we see in this survey mirror the climate overall. In June 2009, Giving USA reported a 5.7% drop in giving overall in 2008, the largest drop in five decades," says Greeves. "I'm surprised it's not a lot lower than that."

This is the second year World Vision has commissioned Harris Interactive to report on how charitable giving would be affected by the recession. Last year, World Vision also reported that U.S. adults planned to cut back on holiday gift spending. That study also concluded that many U.S. adults (49%) would be more likely to give a "charitable gift" as a holiday present. Both studies are available to media.

"This research shows that people are still very anxious about the economy but clearly concerned about children," says Devin Hermanson, World Vision's Gift Catalog Senior Director. "They want to help, but feel they should wait until the economy turns around. The Gift Catalog is a great solution since it allows them to have a life-changing impact for very little money.

And this year, we'll be able to truly show how powerful that impact can be through our Spirit of Christmas Tour. We'll be traveling literally around the world to videotape children and their families who have benefited from gifts from the Gift Catalog such as goats, water, and malaria prevention." The tour leaves New York November 22nd, returning in five weeks.

"A gift given from the Gift Catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty while at the same time honoring your friends and loved ones," says Hermanson. For each World Vision gift, the giver can make the purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact. In the following year, the gift itself or intervention reaches the child or family in need.

Last year alone, World Vision's Gift Catalog raised $25 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people around the world.

World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. And while a goat ($75) may be World Vision's number one seller, there are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from.

To order: Or call toll-free (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.

About World Vision

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world's poor, regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit

Source: World Vision U.S.

CONTACT: John Yeager of World Vision, +1-253-815-2356, +1-425-765-9845,

Web Site:

NOTE TO EDITORS: Devin Hermanson - World Vision (holiday gift giving expert) and Justin Greeves - Harris Interactive are available for interviews. Contact John Yeager World Vision Media Relations 425-765-9845 (cell). Additional media contacts: Gardi Wilks (Central US), 708-434-5006; Laura Blank (Eastern US),, 617-945-7548; Myrna Gutierrez (Los Angeles & Southern California),, 323-377-2432; John Yeager (Seattle & Western US),, 253-815-2356 (work), 425-765-9856 (cell). The poll was conducted by telephone on behalf of World Vision, an international Christian relief and development organization, among 1,001 U.S. adults (ages 18 +) Oct 29th - Nov 1st, 2009. For complete methodology, including weighing variables - please contact John Yeager.

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Mr. President, Do Not Let Obama's Dream Die in Your Hands

Mr. President, Do Not Let Obama's Dream Die in Your Hands

Dear President Barack Obama,

On the eve of your visit to China, we urge you to take a firm stand on human rights issues to reaffirm to the world the core values of the United States of America and its dedication to those values.

Dear Mr. President, you challenged Americans to enact a change, and Americans have responded and sent you to the White House to be the catalyst of change. You took the message of change to Europe, and Europeans have responded and reengaged with the leader of the free world.

We now challenge you: Will you bring change to the US policy toward China, a policy of economic engagement that has tainted our nation's image for the past twenty years, or will you maintain the status quo?

The United States' engagement with China originally donned a pretext of helping to improve China's human rights. Over time, however, its true motive and consequence has emerged: with the passing of one so-called opportunity after another to improve human rights in China, including the granting of PNTR to China, the admission of China into the WTO, and the Beijing Olympics, more and more Chinese people have fallen victim to the Chinese regime's human rights abuses. As such, this policy has turned into our nation's worst example of hypocrisy, and the complete lack of acknowledgement of and accountability for its failure also makes it our worst example of irresponsible politics.

At the same time the US has been losing its moral standing. The former Soviet bloc was far more powerful then than China is now, and it took thirty-eight years for the Berlin Wall to fall. The US was never weak or vulnerable during the Cold War, and was a source of inspiration and hope for people in Eastern Europe. Now the US is not only increasingly timid about mentioning human rights to China, it is on its knees supplicating China to buy its debt. Internationally, the US has helped to fund the Chinese regime to become a new anti-human rights ringleader and has to face it on multiple continents. Domestically, we are suffering the consequences of our own deeds: We ignored China's suppression of workers' unions, and we lose our jobs to China's slave laborers who work under unsafe conditions; we ignore China's persecution of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners who merely want their right to conscience, and we receive unconscionable toxic products from China.

Most alarmingly, we are losing sight of our real national interest - our American values. Had Abraham Lincoln not been so dedicated to the founding principles of America, had he instead carried on a policy of economic engagement with the South, rationalizing that the profit would somehow trickle down in the form of greater freedom for the slaves, that would be equivalent to today's China policy, and there would be no President Obama. Today, our founding principles and values have eroded to the point where we have accepted a China policy based on greed rather than principle for the past twenty years.

Mr. President, in those twenty years how many of China's Obamas have been locked up and lynched in jail? How many of China's Obamas have been exiled to the US and cannot go back home to pursue their dreams? Over the globe, how many Obamas have suffered under various regimes that remain in power only because of the support of the Chinese regime?

Mr. President, we take it to heart when you claim Lincoln as your role model, so we ask you to carry on Abraham Lincoln's legacy to give people in China and around the world the opportunity to see their Obama's dream to come true.

Please do not let Obama's dream die in your hands.

~ From The Conscience Foundation
Contact: 619-280-3112

Please Sign the Petition to the President:

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fort Hood Massacre

6 Nov 2009 21:12 Africa/Lagos

Secondary PTSD a Possible Factor for Fort Hood Shooter

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- "Our hearts go out to the families of the soldiers and civilians who were killed or wounded by the senseless violence that took place at Fort Hood today," said National Veterans Foundation President and Founder Shad Meshad.

Shad Meshad has 38 years of experience treating sufferers of PTSD. In his practice, he has seen counselors who treat people with traumatic stress develop Compassion Fatigue, or Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and with it the psychological symptoms of someone who has been through combat.

Said Meshad, "We do not have all the information on Nidal Malik Hasan and his motives. But if he was treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress who were returning from combat in Iraq, and then faced deployment to the very place all this trauma was being experienced by his patients, it might have been enough, combined with other stressors, to cause the kind of psychotic break that could explain such horrific violence."

Meshad is one of the nation's leading experts on PTSD and Compassion Fatigue. He provides training to DOD and VA staff, on caring for their counselors who develop secondary traumatic stress.

"Being around someone with PTSD is like being around second-hand smoke," Meshad said. "It adversely affects your health. We have to be concerned about caregivers for soldiers returning from combat, and their families. I have been talking about a potential backlash of violence for years. You cannot expect to send our soldiers into extended, multiple combat deployments, and that not affect them or the people they are connected to, back at home. All signs indicate that the incidence of violent crimes, suicide, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse by Veterans from the current wars are on the rise."

See for the story a recent, groundbreaking court decision for Veterans with PTSD, in which Meshad was involved as a defense consultant.

Shad Meshad has been working with Veterans since 1971. He was a Medical Service Officer during the Vietnam War, where he counseled soldiers who suffered from psychological and emotional problems resulting from their experiences in combat, including what would later become known as PTSD. The NVF is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of veterans and their families.

Source: National Veterans Foundation

CONTACT: Shad Meshad, President and Founder of National Veterans
Foundation, 1-888-777-4443,

Web Site:

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Tour of 'Yinka Shonibare

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Bad Day for the Obama White House A Good Day for the American People

A Bad Day for the Obama White House A Good Day for the American People
by Newt Gingrich (more by this author)
Posted 11/04/2009 ET
Updated 11/04/2009 ET

A bad day for the Obama White House but a good day for the American people

That’s the easiest way to summarize the collapse of the Democratic candidates around the country yesterday.

In Virginia and New Jersey the Republican victories last night were bigger than they were in 1993.

Voters were clearly unhappy. According to Mike Allen of The Politico, network exit polls showed that 85 percent of Virginia voters and 90 percent of New Jersey voters were worried about the economy.

Governor Haley Barbour put it best: "It's not about the President personally...the President’s policies are unpopular.”

It will be interesting to see if any congressional Democrats get that message or if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is able to push through the massive leftwing health bill this coming Saturday.

The Biggest Winner? Bob McDonnell in Virginia

The biggest winner last night was Bob McDonnell and his campaign for governor in Virginia.

McDonnell is so attractive and effective as a candidate, and so knowledgeable after years in the state legislature and four years as Attorney General, that he should be a model for all Republicans to study.

He is a solid conservative who knew how to appeal to suburban voters, how to deflect the Washington Post’s attacks, and how to appeal to minority voters.

The results were overwhelming in Virginia. Republican enthusiasm was up, and after a year of the Obama presidency, Democrats were demoralized.

The result was a turnout in which 47 percent of voters identified themselves as Republicans and 36 percent identified as Democrats. This is an enormous change for a state which one year ago gave President Obama 53 percent of the vote.

The Fallout in Virginia: Four Democratic Seats are Now at Risk

Four Democratic congressmen from Virginia are now at risk because their districts went for Bob McDonnell last night.

• In Rep. Glenn Nye’s (D) 2nd District, McDonnell was winning by a whopping 63 percent to 37 percent with 130 out of 161 precincts reporting.
• In Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D) 5th District, McDonnell was winning by 61-39 with over 90 percent of the vote counted.
• In Rep. Rick Boucher’s (D) 9th District, McDonnell was ahead 68-32 with 295 out of 336 precincts in.
• In Rep. Gerald Connolly’s (D) 11th District, McDonnell was up 56-44 with 68 of 168 precincts reporting.

And not just Virginia House members should take note. Virginia Senators Jim Webb (D) and Mark Warner (D) need to look carefully at the impact of the energy tax in the cap and trade bill on Virginia voters.

Chris Christie’s Victory Margin was Four Times Christine Whitman’s

In a more Democratic state than Virginia, former federal prosecutor Chris Christie’s (R) win yesterday in New Jersey was an equally impressive Republican victory.

Christie won by over 100,000 votes, which is four times moderate Republican Christine Todd Whitman’s margin in 1993.

As for the Democrats, incumbent Governor Jon Corzine's 44 percent of the vote was a huge drop from President Obama’s 57 percent of the vote in New Jersey just a year ago.

Troubling News From New York 23

The news wasn’t all good last night.

Both conservative activists and Republican leaders need to think long and hard about the only bad result of the night in New York’s 23rd congressional district.

The Democrat beat the conservative candidate 49 percent to 44 percent, with the Republican getting only 5%.

Conservatives can take comfort in having driven a liberal Republican out of the race. But everyone on our side has to be troubled that a Republican seat went to a Democrat and Speaker Pelosi is one vote stronger because of our division.

The National Conservative Movement Has to Be Recognized and Respected

In retrospect it is clear Dede Scozzafava should never have been nominated because she was far too liberal to be acceptable.

Republican leaders in New York must recognize that Mike Long and the Conservative Party in that state have to be consulted before decisions are made. The national conservative movement is a force that has to be recognized and respected.

I certainly heard from enough friends to know that my decision to support the unanimous vote of the 11 New York county chairs was very unpopular with conservative activists.

In New York, after two failed special elections, it is clear the state party has to fight to change the election law so there are primaries in special elections. The insider nominating process is simply unacceptable to grassroots populists and guarantees a sense of illegitimacy.

“When the GOP is United, There Is No State In America We Cannot Win”

However, all of us who oppose the Left need to realize that civil war within the GOP will reelect Barack Obama and make Nancy Pelosi speaker for life.

As pollster Frank Luntz said, "When the GOP is united, there is no state in America that we cannot win -- even the most Democratic states like New Jersey. But when the GOP is divided, even the most Republican districts are in jeopardy."

Building a unified, center-right coalition on a nationwide basis will be the greatest challenge Republicans face in the next three years. But we did it in 1980. We did it again in 1994.

We can do it in 2010 and 2012.

Troubling Big Money Facts

It is an inescapable conclusion that Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) would not have been reelected without having spent $90 million of his own money buying New York City Hall from the voters.

It is also obvious that Governor Corzine of New Jersey would not have been competitive without having spent $30 million (bringing his total purchase of elected offices to $120 million for one Senate and two gubernatorial races).

The current campaign finance rules create the real danger of an oligopoly of rich people buying office.

We need to replace current campaign laws with a simple system that allows everyone to raise unlimited money from individuals as long as it is reported on the internet every night.

This simple system will allow middle-class candidates to raise the money to match rich candidates and level the playing field.

The American People Still Support Marriage

In Maine voters rejected by 53 percent an effort to redefine marriage.

Once again the people rejected the elites in this fight over the nature of marriage.

Good Local Results for the GOP

Generally it was a good night for Republicans in local races as well.

In my favorite race, good friend Barbara Comstock won her state legislative race in Virginia, beating an incumbent Democrat by 192 votes to become the only Republican legislator inside the beltway in Northern Virginia.

As the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund noted, Republicans also won control of New York’s Nassau County legislature, and the race for county executive will go to recount.

Also in New York, the longtime Democratic County Executive of Westchester County, Andy Spano, lost to Republican Rob Astorino by 58 percent to 42 percent.

(Ed Cox, the new and brilliant New York state Republican chair is off to a good start).

In New Jersey, Republicans won control of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders with John Curley beating Sean Byrnes by a 58-38 margin. Republicans in New Jersey also held their majority on the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, winning two open GOP seats.

And in Michigan, state Senate District 19 was called with 65 percent of the vote reporting. Republican Mike Nofs bested Democrat Marty Griffin by 64-39. This had been a Democratic state senate seat.

Also Winners: Barbour, Ayers and Steele

Two other big winners last night deserve our congratulations and thanks: The Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the Republican National Committee (RNC).

At the RGA, Chairman Haley Barbour and Executive Director Nick Ayers did a superb job.

At the RNC, Chairman Michael Steele provided terrific support to candidates and campaigns everywhere.

All in all, a good night for the American people.

Your friend,

Newt’s Quick Links• A Best-Seller -- Bill Forstchen and I were excited to learn that our new novel on the American Revolution, To Try Men’s Souls, will debut on the NY Times Bestseller list this weekend. Visit for video and more info about the book. • Cap and Trade = Balloon Boy? -- As Senators Boxer and Kerry try to convince the country that cap and trade will create millions of new jobs, we couldn’t help but think of something else: Balloon Boy. Their premise, just like that of the parents in Colorado, is a complete hoax. In reality, a massive energy tax at a time of 10% unemployment will lead to fewer jobs. To make that point, we put together this spoof video.• Americano Update -- An interesting OpEd in The Americano by Adolfo Franco on whether big labor unions are pushing President Obama into another Mexican-American War. • Rally Thursday Against Obama/Pelosi-care - If you haven't heard, Speaker Pelosi will try to ram through the House a $1.3 trillion, 1990-page government-run health care bill this week. Some members of Congress opposed to this big government takeover are holding a rally in Washington, D.C., and across the country Thursday at noon. Learn more here.

Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works" and "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

Click here to have the Newt Gingrich Letter sent to you every week

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Tour of 'Yinka Shonibare



HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on Black Americans. AIDS is the number one killer of African American men ages 25 to 44 and the number one killer of African American women ages 15 to 44. While African Americans make up approximately 12.7% of the entire U.S. population we are 45% of the 56,300 people who are newly infected with HIV each year, 50% of those living with AIDS and 50% of those who die from AIDS each year. Compounding the horror, African American children account for 58% of pediatric AIDS cases in the United States. There are fewer HIV-positive people in seven of the 15 target countries of the Global AIDS Initiative than there are HIV-positive African Americans here at home.

At the end of 2006, nearly one-third of all U.S. AIDS cases -- more than 300,000 -- were linked to intravenous drug use. Injection drug use through a contaminated syringe is one of the most common methods of HIV transmission among both Black men and women. Cumulatively, up to 40% of reported AIDS cases among Black males and 47% of reported AIDS cases among Black females are attributed directly to injection drug use or having sex with a partner who is an injection drug user.

Studies have shown that Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs) are effective in reducing HIV and hepatitis infection rates among injection drug users and their sexual partners. Furthermore, SEPs promote public health and safety by taking syringes off the streets, and protect law enforcement personnel and innocent bystanders, including children, from injuries. Syringe exchange programs also provide critical health care services including HIV testing, counseling, education, and referral to drug addiction treatment centers. Sadly, since 1988 Congress has banned local and state public health authorities from using federal funds for Syringe Exchange Programs.

This summer, the House of Representatives took a historic step by removing the ban on federal funding for SEPs. Unfortunately, in doing so the House added a restriction that requires that federally supported SEPs not operate within 1,000 feet of schools, universities, playgrounds, video arcades, youth centers, or events sponsored by these organizations. The 1,000-foot restriction, if it stands, would make it nearly impossible to utilize federal resources for most SEPs and severely hamper efforts to implement such programs, especially in cities and urban areas where health officials assert the need is greatest. It also prevents local authorities from making their own decisions on how to best utilize federal funds in the fight against the spread of HIV / AIDS.



Tour of 'Yinka Shonibare

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Report Reveals That 75% of Young Americans Are Unfit for Military Service

American Soldiers.

5 Nov 2009 12:00 Africa/Lagos

New Report Reveals That 75% of Young Americans Are Unfit for Military Service

Education Secretary Duncan, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark, retired generals and admirals say early learning key to reversing national security threat


WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to an alarming new report, 75 percent of young people ages 17 to 24 are unable to enlist in the military because they fail to graduate high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and some of America's top retired military brass will hold a news conference at the National Press Club Thursday to call for immediate action to address this national security threat.

The retired admirals and generals and Secretary Duncan will call for greater investment in high-quality early learning programs to ensure that more young people graduate, obey the law, and have the option of military service if they choose that path. They will also release state-specific data on the number of young Americans unable to serve in each state.

Who: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan - U.S. Department of Education

General Wesley K. Clark, U.S. Army (Ret.) - Former Supreme Allied Commander - NATO

Major General James A. Kelley, U.S. Army (Ret.) - Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Major General James W. Comstock, U.S. Army (Ret.) - Former Reserve Component Advisor, U.S. Central Command

Brigadier General John W. Douglass, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) - Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Rear Admiral James Barnett U.S. Navy (Ret.) - Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, FCC

Former Under Secretary of the Army - Joe Reeder
National Director, Mission: Readiness - Amy Dawson Taggart

What: News Conference

When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009
2:15 p.m. EST

WHERE: National Press Club, The Lisagor Room
529 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.

To join the conference through a live "listen-only" audio conference, call: 800-926-7358

LOGISTICS: Secretary Duncan will join retired military leaders for a news conference beginning at 2:15 p.m. Media packets with background information and research reports with state-specific data will be available.

VISUAL: Army, Navy, Air Force retired generals and admirals with education secretary; chart depicting ratio of young people unable to enlist, number of ineligibles per state

A video feed of the event will be available via satellite from 4:30-4:45 ET:

Sat Space - C- Band Analog
Date: November 5th, 2009
Time: 1630 - 1645ET
Satellite: Galaxy 19
Transponder: 20
Downlink: 4100 (H)

Source: Mission: Readiness

CONTACT: Ted Eismeier of Mission: Readiness, Cell: +1-315-335-9222,

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nigeria: Apex Bank Chief is Man of the Year

Nigeria: Apex Bank Chief is Man of the Year

Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the fearless governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been named the Man of the Year by Nigerians Report, the premier news blog of the most populous country in Africa.

Nigerians Report described Mr. Sanusi as “A ‘sanitary officer’ to bank on for cleansing the stench in our banking stables” and commended him for his laudable sanitization of the Nigerian banking industry; for having the conscience to do the right thing which his predecessor, Mr. Chukwuma Soludo failed to do, particularly the sacking of corrupt CEOs and executive directors of mismanaged banks.

Mr. Sanusi’s disclosures of the sharp practices by Nigerian banks rattled the general public, embarrassed the bankers and disgraced the celebrated billionaires as big debtors siphoning millions of dollars as loans to enrich themselves and many of the banks were rendered insolvent.

The erudite risk management expert is seen as a hatchet man by Nigerian banks, but his radical reforms have been hailed by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global financial bodies. Mr. Sanusi has a genuine and sanguine view of Nigerian financial institutions, forecasting that the Nigerian economy will be bigger than that of South Africa by 2012.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Editorial Memo: Citizens United and Fair Elections

2 Nov 2009 20:37 Africa/Lagos

Editorial Memo: Citizens United and Fair Elections

To: Interested Parties

From: David Donnelly, Public Campaign
Arn Pearson, Common Cause

Date: November 2, 2009

A Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) could be announced as early as tomorrow, November 3, and is expected to expand the role of independent spending in American elections. In Citizens United -- a case that originally challenged whether the provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) limiting outside groups' spending should also apply to pay-per-view movies -- the Court appears poised to overreach and open a new door for the deepest-pocketed players to spend money on campaigns to elect or defeat candidates.

Possible Outcomes in Citizens United

All signs indicate the U.S. Supreme Court has a slim majority in support of rolling back restrictions on corporate and union spending in the upcoming decision in Citizens United. Such a move would come as no surprise for the Roberts Court, as the conservative majority has moved steadily toward deregulation of campaigns over the past two years with its Wisconsin Right to Life (2007) and Davis (2008) decisions.

There are at least three possible outcomes in the Citizens United case:

1. The Court could rule on narrow grounds that BCRA's electioneering
communications ban does not apply to on-demand movies. This is
unlikely, given the Court's highly unusual move of carrying the case
over to the fall term and inviting argument on broader issues.
2. The Court could strike down BCRA's electioneering communications ban on
the grounds that it unconstitutionally vague or over-burdensome, or
some other narrow rationale, thereby reversing its 2003 decision in
McConnell v. FEC.

3. The Court could strike down BCRA's electioneering communications ban on
the sweeping grounds that it is unconstitutional to limit political
spending by corporations and/or unions, thereby reversing its 1990
decision in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce.

A broad holding that corporations and unions have a constitutional right to unlimited "political speech" (i.e., spending) would lead to subsequent challenges to the federal ban on corporate and union political spending in effect since 1947, the federal ban on corporate and union campaign contributions in effect since 1907, and similar laws in more than 20 states. A narrower ruling would continue the path toward deregulation, albeit on a slower pace, but still have the effect of allowing more corporate and union money into the system and encouraging more direct challenges to remaining regulations in the future.

Policy Options for Dealing with Citizens United

With a decision for the plaintiffs in Citizens United, an already untenable situation will be made worse. The only comprehensive option available to change the rules of the game in Washington, D.C. would be to embrace a small donor/public funding of elections model like the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R.1826) that empowers grassroots campaigns and allows candidates to run highly competitive races without relying on wealthy special interests. The incentives in this model would be to vastly expand the donor base available to candidates, increasing their capacity to compete with outside money in a post-Citizens United environment.

Three defensive legislative options are being discussed in Washington, D.C. Two of these are fairly limited responses, at best, and the other would take us in the wrong direction. The two limited responses are to narrow the Court's ruling as much as possible by amending BCRA or the earlier laws banning corporate and union spending in elections, or requiring affirmative shareholder approval of political spending by corporations.

What Congress ought not to take up in the wake of the Citizens United decision is to raise contribution limits on PACs and individuals. That would further exacerbate the problem of money in politics.

While some of these options may constrain spending at the margins, new avenues for greater corporate political spending would remain open, and be given a fresh stamp of legitimacy by the Supreme Court. The Citizens United decision, combined with a string of other bad campaign finance rulings, will most likely signal the end of a purely regulatory regime as a viable approach to meaningful campaign finance reform.

More significantly, the fear of unlimited corporate political spending will fuel a rapidly escalating fundraising arms race. Elected officials will feel compelled to spend more and more of their time raising money, thereby further distracting Congress from the pressing issues of the day, creating fear of political reprisal for unpopular votes, expanding conflicts of interest, and further undermining the public's confidence in government's ability to act in the public interest. Over the long term, undoing the Court's deregulation of political spending would require passage of a constitutional amendment (or a change in the composition of the Court).

The Best Option: Fair Elections Now Act

The only viable policy option on the table that will fundamentally change the playing field is the Fair Elections Now Act. The bill would allow candidates to voluntarily opt out of the escalating fundraising race and run vigorous campaigns relying on small contributions and limited public funding. Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) the bi-cameral legislation has 110 cosponsors in the House. In addition, a broad coalition of issue and constituency groups is backing the legislation.

A decision for the plaintiffs in Citizens United will make the Fair Elections Now Act more attractive to members of Congress, not less. Without a strong, voluntary public financing of elections system, candidates will be sentenced to a broken campaign finance system requiring that they rely on contributions from people with business before them. The path forward must be small donor democracy, not corporate democracy.

CONTACT: Mary Boyle, Common Cause, +1-202-736-5770; or Adam Smith, Public Campaign, +1-202-997-8929

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- Nov. 2/

Source: Common Cause and Public Campaign

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Do You Want to Be a Black Friday VIP at Best Buy®?

Do You Want to Be a Black Friday VIP at Best Buy®?

Second Annual Best Buy Black Friday VIP Contest; Opportunity to Win a $1,000 Gift Card, Early Entry into the Store, Full VIP Treatment on the morning after Thanksgiving

MINNEAPOLIS, November 2, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — Best Buy recognizes that Black Friday is an exciting celebration for families across the country who get out early on the day after Thanksgiving. Building on momentum from last year, the nation's leading consumer electronics retailer is hosting its second annual online essay contest searching for Black Friday VIP's across the country.

Best Buy consumers in 25 cities are asked to share in 250 words or less what they are most excited about this Black Friday. They can submit their stories on from November 2, 2009 – November 20, 2009 with one winner in each market notified by November 24, 2009.

"We received close to 13,000 inspiring, heart-warming and even humorous entries from last year's Black Friday VIP contest", said Barry Judge, executive vice president and CMO for Best Buy. "We know that many of our customers have celebrated Black Friday for years and recognize the importance of giving them the extra special VIP treatment they deserve. The Black VIP contest allows us to celebrate with our customers on the most exciting day of the year!"

Black Friday VIP Treatment for 25 Winners
One winner from each of the 25 eligible markets will win a $1,000 Best Buy Gift Card and full VIP treatment including: a limousine ride to and from the designated Best Buy store, special seating outside for the winner and three special guests, and early admittance into the store at 4:30 a.m. Each winner will also receive an Insignia® Digital Camcorder to document their experience. No purchase necessary. For complete details and restrictions, see Official Rules available on Participating markets include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington, DC.

In-Market Opportunities for Non Black Friday VIPs
Best Buy will also reward diehard Black Friday fans not selected as official VIP's by offering additional unique prizes in the designated 25 stores listed above. Customers could win the following:

Instant VIP: Mystery gift cards will be distributed to the first 50 people in line on Black Friday morning. The gift cards will range in value from $5 to $25, with one gift card in each market valued at $100-creating an Instant VIP at checkout. No purchase necessary. For complete details and restrictions, see Official Rules available at participating stores.
Text To Win: Starting on Black Friday, Best Buy will also launch a text to win contest in which customers can text in their holiday survival tip for a chance to win a smart phone courtesy of Best Buy Mobile™ every day through December 19 or one of 25 $100 gift cards. No purchase necessary. For complete details and restrictions, see Official Rules available on
Media Opportunities on Black Friday
Black Friday presents an exciting morning for shoppers. Deal seekers often line up hours and days in advance to get a shot at our hot doorbusters. Employees take pride in providing an organized, exciting experience by helping people waiting in line that morning with advice on shopping strategies and gift buying tips. Media are invited to get footage of customers waiting in line to shop speak with customers about their shopping lists and holiday shopping traditions or interview Best Buy Blue Shirt™ employees about how they prepare for 'the busiest shopping days of the year.' In addition, media will have an opportunity to interview all of our VIP winners about the contest and why they are excited about this holiday season.

To facilitate reporters working on holiday stories, Best Buy implements a "manager-approval" news media policy for U.S. based newspaper, TV and radio reporters who want to visit U.S. Best Buy stores from Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 through Saturday, January 2, 2010. This means local reporters who want to talk to Best Buy Blue Shirt employees or Geek Squad Technicians may work directly with store managers to secure approvals for shooting in-store interviews or footage for news stories about the holiday season, without requesting approval from the Best Buy corporate public relations department. Reporters must obtain approval from a store manager prior to shooting in a store. The decision to approve a request is up to the discretion of the individual manager. While we try to accommodate every request, please understand that our stores are extremely busy during the holiday season and our first priority is to serve our customers. For more specific information on exciting events taking place at a Best Buy near you, send inquiries to 612-292-NEWS (6397) or

About Best Buy Co., Inc.
With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China and Mexico, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation. The Best Buy family of brands and partnerships collectively generates more than $45 billion in annual revenue and includes brands such as Best Buy, Audiovisions, The Carphone Warehouse, Future Shop, Geek Squad, Jiangsu Five Star, Magnolia Audio Video, Napster, Pacific Sales, The Phone House, and Speakeasy. Approximately 155,000 employees apply their talents to help bring the benefits of these brands to life for customers through retail locations, multiple call centers and Web sites, in-home solutions, product delivery and activities in its communities. Community partnership is central to the way business is done at Best Buy. In fiscal 2009, Best Buy donated a combined $33.4 million to improve the vitality of the communities where its employees and customers live and work. For more information about Best Buy, visit

©2009 Best Buy. All Rights Reserved. BEST BUY, the BEST BUY logo, and the tag design are trademarks of BBY Solutions, Inc.

Press Contacts:
Erin Bix
Best Buy Corporate Public Relations
(612) 291-7965
Kristal McKanders
(404) 870-6834

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