Friday, September 30, 2011

Do You Promise to Love, Honor and Obey ... For Two Years?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Facing an influx of divorces, some Mexico City lawmakers are proposing two-year marriage licenses.

Reuters is reporting that the proposal to Mexico City's civil code would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment. The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy.

"You wouldn't have to go through the tortuous process of divorce," said Leonel Luna, co-author of the bill. "If the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends."

Luna said his proposal is gaining support, and he expects a vote by the end of the year.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Idaho Gets Poor Marks for Affordability, Access for Elderly, Disabled

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 9:22 AM

A first-of-its-kind national scorecard on long-term care shows that Idaho is near last in affordability and access in care for the elderly and disabled. The study also indicates that the Gem State ranks high in providing community-based care and support for family caregivers.

The new nationwide report was released today by the American Association of Retired Persons Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation, analyzing states' delivery of long-term care.

The report, Raising Expectations, ranked Idaho as 48th in the nation for long-term care affordability and access. Idaho also ranked poorly (45th) for the high level of staff turnover in nursing homes. Idaho fared better (eighth) for the available number of assisted-living and residential care units.

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EPA Launches Hearings on Drilling, Fracking

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 8:41 AM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a series of hearings this week, the latest today, on drilling and fracking regulations.

The agency is proposing standards that it estimates could reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by about 540,000 tons, or 25 percent. It also proposes to reduce greenhouse gas methane emissions by about 26 percent and reduce air pollutants, including benzene, by almost 30 percent. Trade groups questioned the figures and asked for more time to review them.

But of particular interest to many environmentalists will be stricter guidelines for hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, the controversial method of shooting high pressured fluids and solids into wells to enhance gas flows.

A hearing is under way today in Arlington, Texas. Similar hearings were held Tuesday in Pittsburgh and Wednesday in Denver.

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Unemployment Claims Fall, Stocks and Dollar Rise

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 8:17 AM

A complex series of events early today has resulted in investor optimism (especially in trust management) and a stronger U.S. dollar.

The most telling statistic came from the U.S. Labor Dept. as new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week. The encouraging news surpassed analyst forecasts. That triggered a rise of U.S. stocks sending the Standard and Poor's 500 Index higher for the fourth time in five days.

"It suggests that we are coming out of the soft patch and not spiraling into a double-dip recession," said Philip Orlando, the New York-based chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors, which oversees about $350 billion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar strengthened overseas as the euro struggled to hold above $1.37. Analysts said
investors continue to worry about Greece's ability to save off default. The German parliament voted today to beef up the euro zone's bailout fund.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kohl's Opens 30 Stores Today, Including Boise

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

When Kohl's officially opened its new store this morning at the Boise Towne Square Mall this morning, it was part of a nationwide string of grand openings by the retail giant. Kohl's opened 30 new stores today in 20 states, creating approximately 4,000 jobs. A Kohl's spokesman told Citydesk that the Boise location created 130 new positions.

Kohl's took over the former Mervyn's location in the mall's east wing. The store had a soft-opening last weekend.

The mall will see two other new stores this fall: Bohme Boutique on Oct. 15 and Flip Flop Shops on Nov. 3. Another store, Nordstrom Rack, is slated to open at the Boise Towne Plaza next April.

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Report: 'A la Carte' Menu in Works for Cable TV

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Reuters is reporting today that the nation's top cable companies are working on a secret plan to force programmers to unbundle channel offerings, so that customers can be offered an "a la carte" menu when ordering cable.

According to the report, customers could opt out of certain channels if the plan goes through. For instance, ESPN and ESPN 2 are currently the most expensive channels for operators to provide. According to the plan, customers who aren't thrilled with sports could remove the channels from their package, presumably reducing their cable bill.

The cable industry has approximately 100 million subscribers nationwide.

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26 States Seek Prompt High-Court Ruling on Health-Care Act

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Idaho today joined 25 other states asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a speedy ruling on the controversial Affordable Care Act.

In a formal appeal of what opponents call "Obamacare," the 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business asked the high court to strike down the law, saying the justices should act before the 2012 presidential election.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, said voters would be better off if they knew the law's fate before casting their ballots for president next year.

The states are Idaho, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Rammell Says He's a 'De Jure' Citizen

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Perennial political candidate Rex Rammell said yesterday he is no longer a part of "corporate Idaho."

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Rammell told Magistrate Judge Jeff Payne in a Grangeville courtroom that the judge had no jurisdiction over him. Rammell told Payne that he is a "de jure" citizen, invoking Ninth Amendment constitutional rights that he claimed make him exempt from the laws of "a corporate state."

Rammell is facing a charge of felony battery after law enforcement said he confronted a couple for trespassing.
Rammell was convicted of poaching a cow elk in July. And in August, he pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in a case that started when he was arrested for tampering with jurors in the poaching trial.

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No More Police Escorts for Mega-Loads

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The Idaho Transportation Dept. has backed off of its initial plans to make sure that mega-loads have a police escort when they roll through the night. A spokesman for ITD said the agency will opt instead for "emergency radio coordination" rather than in-person escorts.

The first of a string of mega-loads, heading for a Weyerhauser pulp factory in Alberta, Canada, crawled across U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho last week. Six of the proposed loads are 29 feet high, 24 feet wide and 185 feet long. The shipments are being moved by Nickel Brothers of Everett, Wash.

Meanwhile ExxonMobil will move three more of its "scaled down" loads up U.S. 95 and Interstate 90 beginning tomorrow night. Exxon is still waiting for a Montana judge to give the green light before they move any mega-loads across U.S. 12.

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50 State Sweep Arrests Nearly 3,000 Undocumented Residents

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Idaho was included in a nationwide sweep today in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 2,901 undocumented residents of the United States who were wanted on outstanding warrants. Details have not been released on local arrests. The arrests capped a week-long operation in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

Law enforcement said all those who were arrested had criminal convictions and more than 1,600 had felony convictions, including manslaughter, attempted murder and drug trafficking.

"The rests of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system," said ICE Director John Morton.

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