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April 29, 2009

The Morning Scoop – Texas Infant Dies from Flu

Filed under: News — hypeplug @ 4:51 pm
Apr 29, 2009
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OUTBREAK
1.Texas Infant Dies from Flu

The United States has suffered its first death from swine flu: The Associated Press reports that a 23-month-year-old infant in Texas has passed away from the virus. Meanwhile, the U.S. is beginning to mobilize all its resources to combat the virus. A second school in New York City has been closed after dozens of students came down with the illness, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in California. President Obama has requested $1.5 billion in aid to combat the virus out of “an abundance of caution.” Richard Besser, the acting director of the CDC, was not exactly a beacon of optimism today, saying: “I fully expect we will see deaths from this infection.” He added, “I think we need to be prepared that even if it starts to look a little better, it may get a little worse.”

Read it at Associated Press

MELTDOWN
2.Citi Seeks to Dole Out Bonuses

The ailing bank Citigroup is caught between the strict regulations imposed by the Treasury for bailout recipients and disgruntled employees accustomed to big bonuses as incentives. Now workers in a very profitable department—ahem—within Citi are threatening to leave if they aren’t given their extra cash. The department, called Phibro, is described as “a legendary energy trading unit” that has earned the bank millions of dollars. Citi is now seeking special permission to allow bonuses for Phibro and also is pursuing an easing of restrictions on bonuses for other employees. A third of Citi will soon be owned by the government, and the bank has expressed concern that its employees will jump ship to other banks that face less severe pay restrictions.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

BEHIND THE SCENES
3.How Specter Ditched the GOP

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter defected from the Republican Party and joined the Democrats. What happened behind the scenes? For months, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had assured Specter that the Party would support him in his uphill primary fight, according to Politico, but Harry Reid was able to win him over simply by showing him the numbers—Specter would probably lose the Republican primary. Vice President Biden, who served with Specter for 28 years, took the lead in trying to convert him, calling or meeting him more than once a week since President Obama took office. President Obama was not told until yesterday morning, and upon hearing the news, “Obama’s eyes got very wide,” an adviser tells The Washington Post. In today’s New York Times Olympia Snowe, Republican senator from Maine, writes, “it didn’t have to be this way. … [I]t is truly a dangerous signal that a Republican senator of nearly three decades no longer felt able to remain in the party.”

Read it at Politico

RECOVERIES
4.Patient Zero: “I Feel Good”

A counterweight, perhaps, to this morning’s sad news that a child has died in Texas from swine flu: “I feel good,” says five-year-old Édgar Enrique Hernández, who has been identified as the earliest confirmed case of swine flu in Mexico. He first showed symptoms on April 1, and Canadian researches confirmed the results on April 23. Edgar lives in La Gloria, a village of about 2,500 people in the state of Veracruz surrounded by pig-breeding farms, where hundreds of people fell ill in late March and early April in an unexplained outbreak that left two children dead and prompted authorities to fumigate the entire village. According to Edgar’s mother, he was not the first to fall ill. “Why did the other children not have it and my child did? He was one of the last to get sick,” she said. “I feel terrible about all of this, because the people are thinking that this was all my son’s fault. I don’t think this is anyone’s fault.”

Read it at The Washington Post

100 DAYS
5.Did Obama Surpass FDR?

President Roosevelt’s first 100 days are the standard by which all subsequent presidents’ first 100 days have been judged. Did President Obama surpass them? Writing for The New Republic, Alan Brinkley comments, “The Obama administration didn’t push through the sheer number of initiatives of the New Deal’s first months—but its achievements are impressive nevertheless, and appear more likely to create a better ratio between good programs and bad ones.” Obama, believe it or not, may also have had more to juggle: Roosevelt, in his opening days, didn’t face any international crises. “Perhaps most importantly,” Brinkley writes, “Obama has taken a shaken nation, deeply disillusioned with government, and helped it believe again that politics is not necessarily a dirty word, that progress can be made, and that government can at least sometimes be trusted.”

Read it at The New Republic

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