Tuesday, March 9, 2010

360 News Briefs

Obama Pushing Health Care With Misinformation

Obama boasted Monday that Democrats' health care proposals would cut deficits by $1 trillion "over the next decade," a flub that inflated the actual estimate by $868 billion

President Obama, making his final push for health care reform, pitched his proposal Monday to a crowd in Pennsylvania with a deficit-reduction figure that the White House later admitted missed the mark.

"Our cost-cutting measures mirror most of the proposals in the current Senate bill, which reduces most people's premiums and brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion dollars over the next decade because we're spending our health care dollars more wisely," Obama told an audience at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., a suburb north of Philadelphia.

Obama was so proud of these cost-saving numbers in the latest version of health care reform, he delved into a bit of Washington-speak to back them up.

"Those aren't my numbers," Obama said to the rising applause of the estimated 1,300 in attendance. "They are the savings determined by the Congressional Budget Office, which is the nonpartisan, independent referee of Congress for what things cost."

But the budget office did not say the Senate health care bill would save $1 trillion over the next decade - or even close to that figure.

It estimated the bill would save $132 billion from 2010 to 2019, leaving Obama's "next decade" estimate $868 billion short.

When contacted about this disparity, a White House official said Obama meant to say the Senate bill would save $1 trillion in its second decade - a projection that would more closely match congressional analysts' estimates.

The budget office, in estimating possible second-decade savings of up to $1 trillion, also cautioned against putting too much stock in figures for a period so far in the future: "A detailed year-by-year projection for years beyond 2019 ... would not be meaningful, because the uncertainties involved are simply too great."

Nevertheless, Obama is pressing Congress to act on reform measures in the face of united Republican opposition and a Democratic majority that is nervous about the upcoming midterm elections. He made the case Monday that all issues had been considered, all ideas vetted. It is time to take a stand he said.

Report: Airline Luggage Went Unscanned In Denver

Denver airport officials say hundreds of bags were loaded onto airplanes in late December without being run through security scanners.

Denver Airport Manager of Aviation Kim Day told KMGH-TV in Denver that the incident involved "a couple thousands of bags over a couple of days." The breach was first reported by the station.

The Transportation Security Administration said it is investigating, but that it appeared the incident was an unintentional human error. It said in a written statement that it took steps to ensure the error was corrected and that additional safeguards were put in place.

Day said passengers were not in any danger because no one couldhave known their bags were not scanned.

"No one checking in could have known that their bag was not going to be checked so you could not have used this to foil the system," Day said.

KMGH said it obtained records showing the breach started on Christmas Day and lasted for seven days. The station said an airport memo indicates the bags bypassed scanners because of a human error in programming a computer.

The station said records and interviews indicate the unscanned bags went on United Airlines flights. A United spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Monday she could not verify the report. She declined to comment further on the baggage incident.

JetBlue Offers $10 Fares To 10 Destinations

JetBlue is holding a one-day sale offering $10 fares between New York's JFK airport and the carrier's first 10 destinations in celebration of its 10th year of operation.

JetBlue is offering the discount fares Monday on all remaining seats for travel Tuesday and Wednesday. Cities included in the promotion are Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Tampa, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Oakland, Calif.; Burlington, Vt.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Salt Lake City; and Fort Myers, Fla.

JetBlue, which took its first flight on Feb. 11, 2000, now serves 60 cities with 600 daily flights.

Travel must be booked online at

Researchers: Asteroid Killed Dinosaurs

An all-star panel of researchers says it was the crash of a giant asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs.

If you think you've heard that before, you're right.

In 1980, Louis Alvarez and his son Walter published a paper blaming the dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago on an asteroid impact. The probable crater was later found at Chicxulub, Mexico, and the idea gained wide scientific acceptance.

In the past few years, however, suggestions were made that the demise of the dinosaurs might have been caused by the eruption of volcanoes, known as the Deccan Traps, in India, or multiple asteroid impacts.

That prompted 41 geologists, paleontologists and other researchers to come together to review the data.

Their conclusion, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science: It was a giant asteroid striking Chicxulub that blasted a cloud around the world that led to the end of the dinosaurs.

The argument for multiple impacts isn't supported by worldwide data, and the Deccan eruptions actually began 400,000 years before the end of the dinosaurs, Kirk Johnson of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science said.


4 Officers Fired Amid Sex, Drug Claims

CLAYTON COUNTY - A memo has been circulating from Clayton County Police Chief Tim Robinson detailing shocking allegations of inappropriate conduct from four officers.

The officers are accused of not reporting corruption, supplying drugs at illegal sex parties and even having sex on the job. The letter follows a three-month internal investigation that the police union calls flawed.

"Unfortunately this morning, we had four officers that were terminated," said Clayton County police spokesperson Lt. Tina Daniel.

"The very culture of the Clayton County Police Department that allowed this behavior to exist must be purged, and replaced with the core values of honor, courage, integrity and commitment," said Robinson in a memo to county chief of staff Alex Cohillas.

"We did partner with the GBI and the FBI on this, and there was some very damning information," said Daniel.

Records said Detective Jerald Parks allegedly participated in sex parties and provided drugs to participants and was accused of intentionally botching a kidnapping investigation for personal reasons.

Late Monday afternoon, a union official said Parks went to no sex parties, never provided drugs and didn't party with the other accused officers.

In Officer Lonon Norwood's case, a document stated that a polygraph examiner's opinion was deception was indicated when Norwood denied selling any illegal drugs since he's been a Clayton County police officer. He's also accused of being untruthful about paying for a hotel room for a woman and her sisters.

A memo stated that Sgt. David Robinson failed to take corrective action as a supervisor and admitted to having sex on duty.

It indicates Sgt. Willie Holliday has been accused of failing to report or take action on information regarding police corruption ... and that he admitted "he witnessed two incidents of excessive force but took no action."

"There are many, many officers that work hard every day, put their lives on the line with great integrity and courage and then to have something like this happen …it's just a very sad day," said Daniel.

International Brotherhood of Police Officers lawyer Kliff Grimes says at least three of the officers are IBPO members and from what he knows the investigation is flawed. Grimes said the officers maintain their innocence and will fight to keep their jobs.

FoxNews; KMGH-TV, Denver; JetBlue.

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