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Summers takes the long view

first_imgWhen former Harvard President Lawrence Summers went to Washington in 2009 to lead President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, some economists were predicting a one-in-three chance of another Great Depression.Now, with economic collapse averted, a fresh crisis looms: a potential government shutdown. As Democrats and Republicans continue to butt heads over how to balance the 2011 federal budget, Summers jumped into the fray, offering his first public remarks at Harvard since returning to the University in January.“No one should be rushing to cut government spending or the deficit right now,” Summers said in a wide-ranging discussion at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Tuesday  (April 5). With unemployment near 9 percent, America needs public-sector jobs, he added.“I don’t subscribe to the ‘sky is falling’ school,” said Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Frank and Denie Weil Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government. But just because America is at least a decade away from truly perilous debt, he said, doesn’t mean Washington should avoid the issue of bringing the national debt under control.“No one can look at the [economic] forecasts out five to 10 years and think that this is a situation that has any high probability of being stable,” he said.Moderated by David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership at HKS, the evening’s conversation touched on everything from fixing the economy to the future of the American job market to Summers’ presence in not one, but two, Oscar-nominated films in the past year.Summers was quick to defend the Obama administration’s handling of the economy, including the controversial $787 billion stimulus package that Summers helped to engineer immediately after Obama took office.“I think the president made the right core choices,” Summers said, agreeing with Obama “that it was better to err on the side of doing too much than of doing too little.”The administration could have done a better job of getting the housing market back on its feet, he said. His economic team also miscalculated how much support it would be able to rally for the stimulus package. It had hoped it could return to Congress for more money down the road, but popular opinion and a Republican backlash kept that off the table.“I understand why many people express the concern that the president should show more leadership,” Summers said. But by moving slowly and building consensus on policies behind the scenes, Obama is trying to avoid “putting forward a plan that is more likely to constitute a basis for target practice than for followership” from his political adversaries.The biggest challenges the American economy faces aren’t rising debt or stagnant business, Summers said, but “increased inequality and decreased opportunity” for the middle class. Even after the economy recovers, one in six men in the United States between the ages of 26 and 54 will remain unemployed, and the gap between America’s wealthiest citizens and everyone else continues to grow.“The last two years saw the best performance of corporate profits [and] the stock market since the Second World War,” Summers said. The business community needs to realize that, regardless of those indicators, “their long-run success depends upon the success of the broader society.”While Summers has made a career of moving between academia and politics, there’s one role he appears to be done with: movie star. He was portrayed in the recent Facebook film “The Social Network” and shown in “Inside Job,” a critical documentary on Washington’s response to the financial crisis.“I liked ‘The Social Network’ better than I liked ‘Inside Job,’ ” he said, eliciting laughter from the audience. In the former film, Summers’ character berates Harvard students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss for suggesting the beleaguered president intervene in their dispute with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.Summers was told that the Winklevoss twins claimed the scene was accurate, with the exception that in real life Summers “wasn’t nearly that nice.”“I have read in one or two places that I can on occasion be arrogant. And if that is so, I probably was on the occasion of my visit with the Winkle-vi,” Summers said, echoing similar remarks he made last month. “But I decided that Harvard’s student discipline procedures were vexed enough without taking a role in intellectual property disputes.”last_img read more


DEET alternatives

first_imgBy Elmer GrayUniversity of GeorgiaIn mosquito repellents, the longtime standard DEET(N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is still the most effective. However,the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently added twonew active ingredients to their guidelines.The CDC now accepts picaridin, or KBR 3023, and p-menthane3,8-diol (PMD), or oil of lemon eucalyptus, as viablealternatives for people who object to using DEET.Both of these new active ingredients have been used in Europe andAustralia for a few years. It should be noted that oil of lemoneucalyptus should not be used on children under age 3.A word of caution about “natural” products: Often they’re basedon oils distilled and concentrated from plants. Usually theseoils have evolved to help defend a plant from insect feeding.When they’re concentrated and refined, they can be toxic andirritating. As a result, “natural” doesn’t always mean “safe.”Safe for kidsBoth the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics sayrepellents containing 10-percent and 30-percent DEET appear to beequally safe for children over 2 months old.Parents should use lower concentrations on children if possible.At 10 percent, DEET is typically effective for 2 hours. At 30percent, it’s effective about 5 hours. Use higher concentrations(up to 30 percent for children) only when extended exposures areexpected.As with any repellent or insecticide, though, it’s critical toread the label and apply only as directed. The most importantaspect concerning children and repellents is for adults to applywhatever is used.When applying repellents in general, apply them only to parts ofthe body that are exposed to mosquitoes. Don’t apply anyrepellent to skin that will be covered by clothing. Don’t apply arepellent to sunburned, irritated, cut or abraded skin, either,or to the mouth or eyes.Be carefulWhen applying repellent to your face, put it on your hands andthen rub it over your face. Use this technique on children ingeneral. And after leaving the mosquito-infested area, wash alltreated skin with warm, soapy water.The risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying a disease of anytype is extremely small. But never underestimate the dangers ofmosquito-borne diseases. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)is extremely serious and debilitating, no matter what version youget (West Nile virus, Eastern Equine, LaCrosse).The best ways to limit exposure to mosquito populations are: Wear light-colored, protective clothes.Keep screens repaired.Wear insect repellents when exposed to mosquitoes.Eliminating all standing water around your home andneighborhood can greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes, too.Using common sense, minimizing your exposure to mosquitoes,eliminating standing water and following label directions onrepellents can help you have a safe and enjoyable summer.(Elmer Gray is an Extension Service entomologist for theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img read more


H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Case counts, first Aussie death, New Zealand raises response level

first_imgJun 19, 2009World novel H1N1 cases top 44,000The number of global novel influenza cases grew to 44,287 cases, including 180 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The total is a 4,667 increase from the number it reported in its Jun 17 update. The list includes the first confirmed cases from Laos, Oman, St Maarten, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Suriname. Countries reporting large increases include Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom.[WHO update 51]US novel flu cases push past 21,000The nation’s number of novel H1N1 cases grew to 21,449, including 87 deaths, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. The number reflects an increase of 3,594 cases and 87 fatalities from a week ago. States reporting the most cases include Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and California. New York confirmed the highest number of deaths, 24, followed by Texas with 10, and California, Utah, and Illinois with 8 each.[Current CDC numbers]Aboriginal member is Australia’s first novel flu deathAustralian health officials today reported the country’s first novel flu death, a 26-year-old man from a remote Western Australia community, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The man, who reportedly had a number of other health conditions, died in an Adelaide hospital where he was flown earlier this week for pneumonia treatment. Tests yesterday revealed he also had novel H1N1 flu. Some experts warn that the pandemic’s effects could be more severe in remote populations.[Jun 19 ABC story]Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh confirm first casesOfficials in Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh reported the nations’ first novel H1N1 cases, according to media reports today. Few details were available about the patient in Papua New Guinea, other than he or she had recently developed flulike symptoms after overseas travel. Meanwhile, a health official in Bangladesh said the country’s first case was in a 17-year-oldNew Zealand raises pandemic response levelNew Zealand’s health ministry announced today that the country was shifting from a “contain” to a “manage” pandemic response level. In a statement, the ministry said the change reflects increased transmission of the virus, particularly in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland, not the severity of the disease. The ministry said the change will enable community health services to manage large numbers of influenza patients and maintain service levels for other sick people.[Jun 19 New Zealand health ministry statement]last_img read more


Huskies handle Blades easily 10-2

first_imgWanting to put behind them a disappointing loss to the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks on Wednesday, the Fort St. John Huskies did just that last night in Beaverlodge. They scored their first goal just 2:31 into the contest and had an easy time on the way to a 10-2 win.The Huskies fell behind briefly in the first but wound up with a 3-2 lead by the time the period ended.Fort St. John increased their lead to 5-2 in the second and pulled away for good in the third with five goals to round out the scoring.- Advertisement -Scoring for the Huskies were Kody Disher (4), Jacob Lang (2), Cayle Bell, Lucian Serban, Adam Bowie, and Josh Robinson.The Huskies are back in action tonight at the North Peace Arena at 8 p.m. against the Fairview Flyers.last_img


Red Dragon members claim nearly 20 medals in Whitecourt

first_imgWHITECOURT, AB. – Red Dragon Martial Arts competitors were in action in Alberta for the 28th Annual Whitecourt Championships this past weekend.The kids didn’t disappoint as a total of 18 medals were won. Megan Ross won gold in poomse which is a form of basic attack and defence, and silver in sparring. Levi McLain captured a bronze and silver. Ryan Dutchak claimed the bronze in both events. Ethan Schedlosky won the silver in sparring.Jhuztine Orcena won the silver in poomse and gold in sparring. Marshall McCracken placed third and second. Wyatt Hickey claimed the gold in sparring. Max Mumma won bronze in poomse and silver in sparring. Brody McKnight won a bronze in both events, while William Brain went home with a bronze and gold medals.- Advertisement -“So proud,” added Master Ben Marsh. “The team fought hard and we are very proud of them and their performances.”last_img read more