TSA Head Disallows Screening Parntership Program

The Transportation Security Administration has decided to halt the program which allows private security screeners to replace government screeners at airports. The little known Screening Partnership Program was deemed acceptable one month ago when the TSA expressed a “neutral” opinion on the program. Now in use by 16 airports around the country, the head of the TSA John Pistole said on Friday that he will not allow any expansion of the program, justifying his decision by saying that he could not “see any advantage to it. ”

The Screening Partnership Program gave airports the ability to hire their own screeners privately to replace the TSA personnel. They wear similar uniforms to TSA agents, meet TSA standards and are supervised by the TSA directly. Airports chose to hire replacement agents in response to all the bad publicity that TSA agents received last December  for their overly zealous behavior when giving ‘pat-downs’ which many travelers called ‘intrusive. ’

Republican Representative from Florida, John Mica, sent a letter which encouraged more airports to privatize their screening, believing that non-government agents would be more amenable to public needs and opinions. That was when the TSA neither endorsed nor discouraged the program. But on Friday the Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri was denied permission to join the program. Pistole stated at that time that additional applications will also be denied.

"I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time," Pistole said.

 

 

Avoiding Winter Depression Part II

As mentioned in the previous article, the dark, cramped feeling of winter can certainly fuel depression. Here are some more ways to avoid SAD (seasonal affective disorder):

  • Keep warm! Being cold can add to the energy-less feeling. It is hard to start a day correctly when the temperature is so low, so make sure to dress warmly and comfortably. If you feel comfortable, you will be able to stay focused during work.
  • Stay healthy. I mentioned exercise earlier, but there’s a part two to that as well. A healthy diet will keep you feeling energized and alert, and will probably ward off illnesses like the flu. Make sure to eat fruits and vegetables, as well as lots of protein.
  • If you’re still feeling bored or blue, try a new hobby. The challenge and learning experience will help you stay more alert and motivated in everything you do throughout the course of the day.

Giffords Long Road to Recovery

Gabrielle Giffords

There is hope that Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords can retrieve back her life, but the road to recovery will be ‘the hardest thing she will ever do” according to doctors. After being shot in the head in Tucson Ms. Giffords miraculously survived, and has regained consciousness. Doctors say every day she is showing signs of being more and more alert.

Dr. Gerard Francisco, the chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann rehab hospital, where Giffords is being treated, said that she is progressing nicely with therapy. Therapy today is gaining in its ability to treat and even reverse the consequences of traumatic injuries as the science becomes more sophisticated and high tech. Therefore, although it will be hard work, there is every reason to be optimistic that Garbrielle Giffords will get at least some of her life back, and with some luck, a lot of hard work and maybe some more miracles she can get all of her life back again.

Avoiding Winter Depression Part I

Winter depression is a common issue during this season. The lack of sunlight and outdoor activity result in a feeling of laziness and fatigue, and if the feeling is left stagnant it often turns into mild or even severe depression. It is important to keep your mind and body busy in order to prevent this seasonal affective disorder.

One way to do so is to keep active. If the weather allows it, go for an hour-long walk. If it doesn’t, try jumping rope or running on a treadmill for a while, at least every other day. The physical activity will release endorphins into the body, which are “happy” hormones that will immediately boost your mood. The activity will also keep your body more fit, and fight fatigue.

Another key factor is daylight. Again, if the weather allows it, make sure to go outside at least once a day. Sit on the porch, go for a walk; do something that exposes you to the outdoor air and natural light.

Surround yourself with friends and family. Technology allows for many different work schedules, and many people now work from their homes with internet-based companies. If this is your case, make sure to get dressed every day, instead of lounging around the house in your pajamas. You also need to maintain some human exposure in order to pop the bubble that you’ve created. Invite friends over for a fancy dinner or movie night, and make sure to stay social despite the frigid conditions outside.

States Now Taking Up Health Care Debate

The new health care legislation recently passed by the Obama administration will require individual states to take on major responsibilities in the year 2014 when the coverage expansion becomes fully operational. Therefore states have begun suing the federal government to stop them from implementing core requirements of the overhaul of health care, until they feel ready to take them on.

Concomitant with the ongoing legal battles Republican state lawmakers and governors are trying to find ways to bring health care coverage to over 30 million Americans.

Representative Greg Wren, Republican from Alabama, says he does not want to give up his state’s authority to create laws to govern what happens in his state.

If states are not ready to run things by 2014 then the federal government will jump in take the reins right out of the state’s hands.

Former Republican governor or Utah and the health secretary under George W. Bush, Mike Leavitt said that “the center of gravity” will eventually be the individual states, where there is still some bipartisanship left.

Artist Paul Cezanne’s 172nd Birthday

Today, January 19th, is the 172nd birthday of Paul Cezanne, a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter. His work set in motion the transition from the nineteenth century art conception to the dramatically changed twentieth century art world, and ties together the late nineteenth century “impressionism” and the twentieth century “cubism.”

The statement that Cezanne “is the father of us all,” which is connected to both Matisse and Picasso, is considered a fine description of Cezanne’s contribution to the art world.

In Cezanne’s work, it is apparent that the painter had complete control over his design, colors, tone and composition. His brushstrokes can be identified immediately, as they are uniquely small, repetitive and sensitive. His finished paintings project both a direct, accurate impression of the subjects, as well as a more abstract sensation if examined more closely. As he developed his art form, Cezanne increasingly shifted his focus in the direction of the relationship and dynamic tension between geometric figures.