Monday, December 24, 2012

Time for Obama and Holder to Truly End Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement

Why can't President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder do more to ban racial profiling in the United States?

Surely, more so than any of their predecessors, they can understand the injustice and humiliation racial profiling victims feel when they are treated as suspect because of the color of their skin.

Yet, after four years in office, they have made no revisions to the Justice Department guidance regarding the use of race in federal law enforcement issued by Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2003. Ashcroft's guidance was deficient: though it expressly banned racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies, it left broad exemptions for national security and border integrity investigations.

The Obama administration's failure to close these loopholes has given the FBI a green light to implement a program that uses crass stereotypes about what types of crimes racial and ethnic groups commit to justify mapping entire communities based on race and ethnicity. The FBI has argued that racial mapping is no different than a local police chief putting push pins on a map to see where different crimes have occurred. But the FBI is mapping people, with no evidence anyone within the communities it tracks has committed any crime at all. This is racial profiling on a nationwide scale.

When the ACLU released the FBI records detailing this abusive program (which we obtained through requests under the Freedom of Information Act), we wrote to Holder. We explained that because the American criminal justice system is founded on the idea that government must have probable cause to effect a constitutional arrest, individualized suspicion of criminal activity, not guilt by association, is the rule. Holder never responded. 

Ashcroft prohibited the use of race "to any degree" in most spontaneous law enforcement decisions and limited the use of race in specific investigations to "trustworthy information ... that links persons of a particular race or ethnicity to an identified criminal incident, scheme, or organization.

The only explanation we received was a letter from the FBI that referenced the Ashcroft guidance and earlier guidance from 2008, before Obama took office, to argue that it was acting within federal regulations.
The FBI suggests its mapping program was designed to protect racial communities, But it is hard to see how tracking the growth of the Black community in Georgia would protect it, for example, from so-called "Black separatists," when overwhelming statistics from the Justice Department revealed that blacks are mostly victimized by whites in hate crimes.

Yet, based on the information the ACLU gathered, the FBI is not tracking white communities to the same degree. (But even that, too is wrong because it undermines individualized suspicion as the basis for investigation.) In contrast, FBI records don't show any acts of violence by Black separatist groups -- against anyone -- for more than 20 years.

In a more revealing line, the FBI told us that mapping an entire community of people based only on their race was "no different than limiting a manhunt to the description given by an eyewitness." This flimsy argument shows the constitutional damage of racial profiling - that if one person of a particular race commits a crime, all persons of that race should be treated as suspect. Guilt by association is antithetical to American values.
It is not just the FBI that has embraced racial profiling. Behavioral detection officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently came to the ACLU to report that colleagues at Boston's Logan Airport were racially profiling airline passengers in an effort to boost arrests for drug and immigration violations. TSA officers were also previously caught profiling at airports in Newark and Honolulu. What could be the purpose of identifying such communities on a map except to treat them differently when the FBI is making investigative decisions? 

It is long past time for Obama and Holder to end this humiliating, ineffective, and unlawful practice. The Justice Department guidance regarding the use of race should be amended in the following ways:

• Close the loophole for national security and border integrity investigation. It also sends the wrong message to all law enforcement officers that racial profiling is sometimes okay.

• Prohibit profiling based on religion and national origin, which is no less an affront to the Constitution than profiling based on race and ethnicity.

• Explicitly state that the ban on racial profiling applies to data collection, intelligence activities, assessments and predicated investigations. Intelligence practices like racial mapping threaten entire communities.

• Include enforceable standards. The current guidance has no enforcement mechanism.

• Expand the racial profiling ban to all state and local law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding.
These reforms are long overdue, and will only make law enforcement more effective, and our communities safer.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Millionaire Tax Now Likely, But President Obama Wants More

In the fiscal cliff horse trading, President Obama wants a tax increase on anyone earning over $250,000. House Speaker Boehner and the Republicans? No tax increase, thank you. But now the Speaker has signaled that tax hikes on those earning over $1 million would be OK. See Fiscal Cliff Talks: GOP Poses Millionaire Tax-Rate Increase.

It’s compromise time as the fiscal cliff moved ever closer. And Mr. Boehner doubtless thinks the spending cuts he wants in return–and the need for some kind of deal–make it worthwhile. See Boehner Agrees To A Millionaire Tax–And Moves Closer To A Fiscal Cliff Deal. After all, the Bush Era cuts are expiring and there’s no patch in sight.

Semantically, perhaps a tax increase is a misnomer if the cuts simply expire. Yet these lines have long been drawn on this issue. Extensions of the Bush Era cuts for at least some seem almost inevitable, yet for who?
Some of the debate focuses on the rates themselves, including the 35% to 39.6% rate hike. But some of the provisions are harder to absorb, including the phase-out of deductions and credits. Then there’s the expiring 15% capital gain rate and the new 3.8% investment tax under Obamacare.

In his new offer, Mr. Boehner for the first time moved off the no-rate-increase stance and made the first move toward compromise. Mr. Boehner’s proposal would extend all current tax rates, but raise rates only on incomes above $1 million. Those earners would face the jump from the current high of 35% to 39.6%.

But Mr. Boehner expects spending cuts to the tune of at least $1 trillion, and at least some of those cuts would come from entitlement programs such as Medicare. Some savings would come from closing certain tax loopholes and limiting deductions. More compromises are likely on the way.

But tax increases now seem quite likely for those earning over $1 million, with top rates jumping from 35% to 39.6% in January. As for long term capital gains, the current 15% rate jumps to 23.8% January 1, wrought from a combination of the new 20% rate plus the 3.8% health care add on that will hit most with incomes above $200,000.

There is no deal yet, of course, but the fact that Mr. Boehner has moved off the no-increase platitude suggests there will be a compromise. Mr. Obama may not get all he wants, and his $250,000 threshold may not hold. Mr. Boehner’s $1 million benchmark may not either. But this may be the first positive sign that it may not be too late for a deal.

Robert W. Wood practices law with Wood LLP, in San Francisco. The author of more than 30 books, including Taxation of Damage Awards & Settlement Payments (4th Ed. 2009 with 2012 Supplement, Tax Institute), he can be reached at This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Obama salutes entertainers at Kennedy Center Honors

Music legend Led Zeppelin was recognized on Sunday alongside entertainers from stage and screen for their contributions to the arts and American culture at the Kennedy Center Honors, lifetime achievement awards for performing artists.

The eclectic tribute in Washington, alternated between solemn veneration and lighthearted roasting of honorees Academy Award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, wisecracking late-night talk show host David Letterman, blues guitar icon Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova and Led Zeppelin.

"I worked with the speechwriters - there is no smooth transition from ballet to Led Zeppelin," President Barack Obama deadpanned while introducing the honorees at a ceremony in the White House East Room.
Friends, contemporaries and a new generation of artists influenced by the honorees took the stage in tribute.
"Dustin Hoffman is a pain the ass," actor Robert DeNiro, a former honoree, said in introducing the infamously perfectionist star of such celebrated films as "The Graduate" and "Tootsie."

"And he inspired me to be a bit of a pain in the ass too," DeNiro said with a big smile.

At a weekend dinner for the winners at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that the performing arts often requires a touch of diplomacy as she toasted Makarova, a dance icon in the former Soviet Union when she defected in 1970.

Makarova, the pride of her national ballet program, said she obeyed an impulse for creative freedom when she sought asylum while in London for a performance.

"It's most incredible because it looks like I lived two lives," the artist told reporters before the event. "I've come a long way, baby, no? That's the way someone said it for me."

The lightest moments came in the tribute to variety show host David Letterman. Several performers said his oddball program was a worthy successor to "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," which was the standard bearer for late-night shows from the 1960s through the early 1990s.

Comedian Tina Fey, honored with the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2010, marveled at Letterman's ability to goad and humble his celebrity guests.

"David Letterman is a professor emeritus at the 'Here's Some More Rope Institute,'" she joked.
Letterman, who joked earlier in the weekend that he was going to fund an investigation to determine how he was given the honor, was at a loss for words on the red carpet.

"I was full of trepidation, but now I am full of nothing but gratitude," he said. "I don't believe this, but it's been nice for my family."

Despite the president's misgivings about his own speech, performances at the Kennedy Center easily transitioned from precision dance tributes for Makarova to gritty blues music when the spotlight turned to Guy, a sharecropper's son who made his first instrument with wire scrounged from his family's home in rural Louisiana.

"He's one of the most idiosyncratic and passionate blues greats, and there are not many left of that original generation," said Bonnie Raitt, who as an 18-year-old blues singer was often the warm-up act for Guy.
Raitt led an ensemble tribute that included singer Tracy Chapman and guitarist Jeff Beck.
Guy, 76, was a pioneer in the Chicago blues style that pushed the sound of electrically amped guitar to the forefront of the music.

"You mastered the soul of gut bucket," actor Morgan Freeman told the Kennedy Center audience. "You made a bridge from roots to rock 'n roll."

In a toast on Saturday night, former President Bill Clinton talked of Guy's impoverished upbringing and how he improvised a guitar from the strands of a porch screen, paint can and his mother's hair pins.
"In Buddy's immortal phrase, the blues is 'Something you play because you have it. And when you play it, you lose it.'"

It was a version of the blues that drifted over the Atlantic to Britain and echoed back in the heart-pounding rock sound of Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy Page, 68, was the guitar impresario who anchored the compositions with vocalist Robert Plant, 64, howling and screeching out the soul. Bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, 66, rounded out the band with drummer John Bonham, who died in 1980.

The incongruity of the famously hard-partying rock stars in black tie under chandeliers at a White House ceremony was not lost on Obama.

"Of course, these guys also redefined the rock and roll lifestyle," the president said, to laughter and sheepish looks from the band members.

"So it's fitting that we're doing this in a room with windows that are about three inches thick - and Secret Service all around," Obama said. "So, guys, just settle down."

On stage Sunday night, Nancy and Ann Wilson of the rock band Heart, belted out Zeppelin's emblematic "Stairway to Heaven" to close out the show.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet second-term Obama

There's a difference between saying you have a mandate and acting like you have one.

In his first news conference since his re-election, President Obama took on bullies, scrooges and unruly reporters. He batted away questions over the scandal that brought down Gen. David Petraeus, stood up for his U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice against attacks from Republican senators, and warned that if House Republicans didn't act on the question of tax cuts, the holidays would be ruined. In the hour-long news conference, Obama took a measured tone, but he clearly feels like he has the upper hand. "The American people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another four years," he said.

The least substantive but most dramatic moment in the East Room question-and-answer session came when the president took on Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Both men have pledged to block Susan Rice's nomination for secretary of state if Obama taps her to replace Hillary Clinton. Days after the attack in Libya that left four Americans dead, Rice went on the Sunday shows to say it was caused by a spontaneous protest. At the time, parts of the U.S. intelligence community supported this view, while other parts said it was a terrorist attack. (A third hybrid theory is that terrorists reacted to spontaneous protests in Egypt to launch the attack.)

The president wasn't having any of it. He said his U.N. representative was clearly operating on the best intelligence at the time and had nothing to do with the underlying situation in Libya. "If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous . . . when they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me."

The president is offended by what he sees as a cheap attack, says one White House official. The president believes that McCain and Graham are making Rice a target because they want to deny the president a nominee. If they have fingers to point, say aides, they should aim them at the intelligence community that gave Rice the initial information. If you were of a mind to read the election results as a signal to Republicans to make the party more inclusive, you might wonder why they are picking a high-profile fight over the potential nomination of an African-American woman to be America's chief diplomat. If you wanted to read the situation as a pure policy fight, then you might wonder why McCain and Graham are going so hard after Susan Rice when they defended Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, whose reliance on intelligence information in the lead up to the Iraq war was far more damaging.

If Obama was firm, he also seemed reasonable. When he talked about raising revenue to replace the steep tax increases that are scheduled to kick in at the end of the year, he sounded open to Republican ideas, albeit clearly skeptical. He believes that the election showed the country supports his position that taxes should go up for those making more than $250,000. His newfound confidence made him seem comfortable raising the stakes for Republicans. Because, as he explained, if House Republicans don't agree to his plan, it's "going to be a pretty rude shock for [the public] and I suspect will have a big impact on the holiday shopping season, which in turn will have an impact on business planning and hiring, and we can go back into a recession."

For months, Republicans used business confidence against the president, arguing that his policies had frightened consumers and businesses into inactivity. Republicans argued that only removing Obama from office could jump-start the economy again. Columnist Paul Krugman has a special expertise in making fun of this theory. On Wednesday, the president was offering his own version. Five different times he argued that consumers and businesses needed "certainty" that could only be achieved if Republicans supported his measure for protecting tax rates for those who make under $250,000 while allowing rates for the wealthy to rise.

The president says he is open to any solution that would produce the same revenue as a rate increase, but he's skeptical that one can be found simply by closing loopholes and removing deductions for those in the top tax bracket. That's the Republican's preferred position. The president is open to tax reform that would produce some revenue, but the process of enacting such reform will take a long time. Meanwhile, says Obama, let the rates rise. That's a frightening proposition for Republicans: They obviously don't want to see the rates rise for fear that they'll never come back down in the hoped-for tax reform debate next year.

When George W. Bush held his first news conference after election, he remarked on the sense of confidence the time on the stump had given him. "When you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view," Bush said. Obama sounded a similar theme, though he explained the relationship between what he saw and what motivates him more explicitly. "When you travel around the country, you are inspired by the grit and resilience and hard work and decency of the American people. And it just makes you want to work harder . . . When you talk to these folks, you say to yourself, man, they deserve a better government than they've been getting," Obama said.

At the end of the press conference, a Bloomberg reporter shouted a question about automatic spending cuts. Obama admitted it was a good question, but he didn't want to set a precedent by fielding a question that was yelled out. In ways little and small, it was a day for the newly re-elected president to draw some lines in the sand.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 Tips for Coping with Stress After Hurricane Sandy

Finding food, staying warm, and coping with power outages are still primary challenges for many who’ve weathered the worst of Hurricane Sandy. But psychologists warn that the mental effects of dealing with such challenges can be pretty powerful forces in their own right.

Henri Roca, MD, medical director of Greenwich Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Program in Greenwich, Connecticut says it’s about more than just turmoil and uncertainty. The upheaval brought about by a natural disaster can change how you view the world.

“We go through life with a map in our mind of how the world works and how our life works within that world,” Dr. Roca says. “When natural disaster strikes it calls into question or even destroys the validity of that mental map.”

Dr. Roca, a New Orleans native who helped survivors cope with Hurricane Katrina stress before he relocated to Connecticut, notes that symptoms of stress include listlessness, helplessness, and indecisiveness. Feelings of fear and anxiety are also common, as are changes in appetite, sleep, and general mood.
Here, he offers the following tips for holding it together in tough times.

1. Eat healthy. You may be dealing with food shortages and food storage issues, but do your best to eat well. Stay away from sweets and simple carbohydrates, which are likely to feed rather than tame your stress.  Focus on getting enough protein, which Dr. Roca says is needed to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals that help bolster your sense of resilience. 

2. Keep Moving. Exercise boosts mood and helps you face challenging situations. If your gym is currently out of commission, lace up your sneakers and go for a walk or run. But if outside conditions are still too dangerous, do some push-ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks at home to elevate your heart rate and burn off some anxiety. (For those with Internet access, consider downloading this awesome tabada workout, which requires no equipment and very little space.)

3. Relax. It’s OK and even desirable to remain busy, but it’s also important to stay calm so your activity doesn’t become rushed, frantic, and unfocused. It’s also a good idea to take a break once in a while to listen to music, meditate, pray, or even just sit quietly.

 4. Re-prioritize. Remember, possessions are just things. If you lost items of sentimental value like photos or family mementos, remind yourself that you didn’t lose the memories and emotions attached to them. Be grateful for what you have left, Dr. Roca advises, and know that the things you need must take precedence over the things you want, at least for the time being.

5. Don’t isolate yourself. Seek out other people. Talk to neighbors. Visit friends and family. Volunteer to help others if you can and ask for help if you need it. As Dr. Roca points out, people need to pull together during tough times. To the extent that those affected by Sandy can build on this sense of community and get back to normal, it can be an opportunity for people to grow and even develop a sense of accomplishment because of what they’ve been through.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Healthy Halloween tips for parents

The Halloween candy season is here again, challenging parents to find that right balance of fun and nutrition.

Whether your a candy-loving adult or somebody concerned about a child's sugar consumption, Mayo Clinic Registered Dietitian Katherin Zeratsky says it's very important to "control the volume" when dealing with sweets.

Bite-sized candies are a good option to satisfy that need for something sweet, but be sure to count your wrappers!

Zeratsky also says the trick-or-treat tradition gives parents an opportunity to have a general discussion with their children about food and eating.

As far as candy with some nutritional content, there are some options available.

"There's some research to show that darker chocolates that are 65 percent (cocoa) or greater can impart some health benefits," said Zeratsky.

The dietitian also recommends:
  • Candy with air whipped into it because it's lighter in calories.
  • Bite-sized candy to help limit consumption
  • Candy buy-back programs at your local dentist office

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bill Clinton defends Obama’s foreign policy

ON MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton argued that President Obama has invested plenty of time in working with world leaders, even though he’s not holding any bilateral meetings when he addresses the UN General Assembly today. 

“I have not talked to Hillary about this because I never want to know anything that i shouldn’t be talking about on television,” Clinton said. But he said his understanding was that “they’ve been up to their ears in conversations” with leaders in the Middle East. 

Clinton also predicted less gridlock in Washington should Obama win reelection. 

Democrats and Republicans “will have a dramatically greater incentive to get stuff done,” Clinton argued, with a president who is not running for reelection. “I think you will have an operating majority to do something.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

8 Tailgating Tips For Health-Conscious Patriots Fans

Football season is finally here! Don’t let the weekly games put a halt to summer weight loss and fitness goals. There are many ways to still have fun tailgating while also being calorie conscious. Check out these eight tailgating tips for those watching their weight.

1. BYOF: Bring your own food. The more prepared you are for the Pats, the better. Patriots tailgating typically includes cheeseburgers on the grill, sausages, nachos, cookies and other snacks. Bring flavorful yet easy-to-pack options like fruit salad, baked chips with light dip, marinated chicken to throw on the grill and light side dishes like cucumber tomato salad.

2. Eat the right stuff: Fill up on protein, veggies and fruit instead of eating the empty, calorie-laden snacks that are out on the table.

3. BYOB: This is an obvious one. By bringing your own booze, you can save tons of calories. Skip pre-made pitchers of sangria and margaritas or full-calorie beers by having options of your own. If you have ice and plenty of Bud Light, Skinny Girl Margaritas, pitchers of wine spritzers or whatever your go-to drink is, you won’t be missing out on any of the fun.

4. Go light on the drinks: There will be plenty of time during the game for watching Brady strut his stuff while sipping a brew. So what is the big rush to chug down high-calorie cocktails before the game even starts? Alternate water with alcoholic drinks and you can still catch a buzz while staying healthy and hydrated.

5. Walk around: Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place are packed with things to do and places to shop before or after the game. Burn off some of the football food and drinks with at least a half hour to an hour of walking around. Check out other tailgating parties or venture out to buy some new Patriots gear in the area stores. You could even do a loop during halftime at the game to see all aspects of the stadium.

6. Get moving: Besides walking, why not bring a football to toss, a frisbee to throw or a soccer ball to kick and burn even more calories while hanging out pre and post game? Playing games and sports will keep you occupied from consuming too much food and drinks before the game even starts and will kill time when traffic is crazy getting out of the parking lots post game.

7. Save points: If participating in a program like Weight Watchers, plan ahead. Even if you are not in such a program, try to go light on the eating and drinking for the week. Weight Watchers, for instance, gives members a weekly allowance of additional points to play around with for special events like football games. This is the perfect time to use some of those bonus points to enjoy great food during Patriots season.

8. The morning matters: You may go nuts over-thinking how to burn calories and prevent yourself from taking in too much food and drinks while tailgating. The solution to this headache is to wake up early, have a healthy, light breakfast and get a workout in before tailgating even begins. Then, continue on with your healthy lifestyle the next day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Republicans accuse Obama of leadership failure over defense cuts

Republican lawmakers worried about a looming $500 billion cut in the Pentagon budget accused President Barack Obama of a failure of leadership on Wednesday for doing little to avoid reductions his own defense secretary has said would devastate the military.

They urged Obama to bring the two political parties together to find alternatives to the defense cuts, offering the prospect of some revenue increases in addition to budget cuts, but still resisting the kinds of tax increases sought by Democrats.

"There is no substitute for presidential leadership," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told a Capitol Hill event organized by two conservative think tanks to draw public attention to the issue.

Graham suggested Congress look for more revenue to offset a year of the defense cuts by closing some tax breaks that benefit few taxpayers, sell some government property and adjusting some fees that have not been increased for a while.

"It will be uncomfortable for some of us in the political arena to defy certain strict ideological principles. ... But here is my response: the hard thing was to go to Afghanistan or Iraq multiple times," Graham said.
Most Republicans have taken a pledge against raising tax rates but in the past year some have brought up increasing fees or closing tax loopholes to ease fiscal pressure.

"How could a commander-in-chief listen to the secretary of defense describe what was going to happen to finest military in the history of the world and basically be indifferent about it," he said. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other senior military officials have said the cuts would be devastating.

The Pentagon is implementing $487 billion in cuts to projected spending over the next decade as called for last year in the Budget Control Act, a law aimed at curbing the government's trillion-dollar budget deficits and growing debt.

The act also established a special congressional panel to cut another $1.2 trillion in federal spending. To try to force the group to reach a deal, the measure included across-the-board spending cuts that would go take effect if it failed, including $500 billion to defense.

The group was unable to agree and the Pentagon now faces another $500 billion in cuts over 10 years. The reductions go into effect Jan. 2 and would slash nearly all programs proportionally without regard to their strategic importance.


Representative Buck McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, said Obama should have stepped to provide leadership when the committee stalemated "but he's basically been AWOL."

Senator Kelly Ayotte, citing congressional testimony, said the additional $500 billion reduction would force the services to cut another 18,000 Marines and 100,000 soldiers. The size of the Navy fleet would drop from 285 down to around 230, she said.

"The threats to our nation have not diminished ... and here we are putting our Department of Defense in a situation where, as (Panetta) has said, we'd be shooting ourselves in the head," Ayotte said.

Some budget analysts have noted that even with the additional reductions, the defense budget would fall to 2006 levels, a much smaller drop than during previous drawdowns after a period of war.

Industry analysts have projected the cuts to defense could cost more than a million jobs. Ayotte said the impact on defense industries that support the military could jeopardize critical small business manufacturers.
"These sole suppliers cannot carry what's coming in January," she said, using as an example Huntington Ingalls, which designs and builds U.S. warships and relies on sole suppliers for many of its components. If they go out of business, she said, "they don't just come back, and we lose capacity for our nation."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Health Department provides summer weather health tips

Summer is a great time for outdoor fun and activities. But it is also a time when heat stroke and other ailments can strike with little warning.

“During prolonged periods of hot, humid weather, extra caution should be taken by the elderly, small children, and chronically ill persons,” said Cindy Frank, administrator of the Boone County Health Department. “They are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be sure they are able to move to a temperature-controlled room and remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.”

The Health Department offers these tips to avoid heat-related illnesses:

Drink extra fluids such as water, fruit juices or lemonade, especially during very humid weather.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing (especially made of cotton, if possible) that does not interfere with the evaporation of perspiration.
Eat small meals and eat more often. Decrease food high in protein, which increases metabolic heat.
Try to engage in activities that involve strenuous labor in the evening or early morning hours to avoid the hottest part of the day, which is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If possible, stay in an air-conditioned environment during this time.
In a home that lacks air conditioning, stay in the basement or lowest floor, close drapes to keep out the sun, or go to a shopping mall, library or other building that is air-conditioned.
Never leave an infant, elderly or disabled person or even a pet in a parked car with the windows closed.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can be caused by spending too much time in the heat, include pale and clammy skin, heavy perspiration, dizziness, weakness, headache or cramps, nausea and fainting. Symptoms of heat stroke, which can be caused by over-exposure to direct sunlight, are high body temperature, skin that is red and dry, rapid pulse, and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke can lead to death if untreated. An individual with any of these symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible.
To reduce over-exposure to sunlight during prolonged periods outdoors, remember to:
Apply at least SPF 15 sunscreen and lip balm, especially on children.
Wear a hat.
Wear sunglasses with an ANSI rating of 99 percent, and 98 percent UVA protection. These ratings should be found on the label of the sunglasses. Also, wear sunglasses that are either wraparounds or close-fitting to prevent the sun from filtering from the side.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Westwood still known as best without major win

Lee Westwood has 35 official wins around the globe and is coming off a five-stroke victory Saturday at the Nordea Masters in Sweden.

Entering this week's U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, the 39-year-old Englishman still rates as the best player to have never won a major.

"Majors are the only thing missing," the world's No. 3-ranked player said Tuesday. "Maybe I'll never win one. Maybe I will. I could. I've got no answer to that. Keep working hard and trying to get myself into the position. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."

Westwood finished tied for seventh the last time the U.S. Open was played at Olympic, closing with rounds of 70 and 71. And he's had four top-10 U.S. Open finishes in 12 appearances, including a tie for third at last year's U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.

He's also been a runner-up at both the Masters and the British Open, and helped lead Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup.

Just no major _ yet.

Coming off four rounds in the 60s last week could provide the momentum he needs to conquer Olympic's difficult layout once and for all.

When about the state of his game, however, Westwood wondered if it was a trick question, considering he just finished 19-under par and won by five strokes.

"You know, my game feels pretty good. I'm fairly confident," he said.

He just knows he won't be shooting 19-under par as he did in Stockholm, calling Olympic perhaps the toughest test since Oakmont in 2007.

Still, Westwood is considered a favorite by many because he is such a good ball striker.

"I'm delighted that they think that," said Westwood, who finished 2010 and part of 2011 ranked No. 1 in the world. "I can't figure out what's my kind of golf course and what isn't anymore. I think my game seems to be fairly well suited to most golf courses. But looking at this one, it really does test you tee to green. It's a good driver's golf course, if you can drive it in play a lot, then it gives you a chance to score. Not that you hit that many drivers around here, but I think any U.S. Open test is more of a tee to green examination than week in week out tournaments."

Westwood's win last week came without his regular caddie, out with a knee injury, and with new clubs in the bag. He even changed putters.

"There's been quite a lot of changes," he said. "That freshens it up a bit."

Monday, March 19, 2012

GOLF: Donald back atop world rankings

One great round. One solid swing out of the rough. One clutch birdie putt.

That's what Luke Donald needed to win the Transitions Championship in a playoff and get back to No. 1 in the world.

Donald was starting to feel overlooked in the two weeks since Rory McIlroy replaced him atop the world ranking, and he even allowed a few doubts about his game to creep into his head.

That changed on a steamy Sunday at Innisbrook, where Donald closed with a 5-under 66 and won a four-man playoff on the first extra hole with a 7-iron out of the rough to 6 feet below the cup for birdie to beat Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Bae Sang-Moon.

"I think people thought that my last year was maybe a little bit more of a ... not a fluke, but I don't think many people thought I could do that all over again this year," Donald said. "Hopefully, I can prove them wrong."

Donald, with his fifth win in his last 31 starts around the world, went back to No. 1 and will stay there until he gets to Augusta National and tries to capture his first major championship.

Garrigus birdied the last two holes for a 64 and was the first to finish on 13-under 271, which turned out to be enough for the playoff. Bae, the South Korean with the fluid swing, made a 6-foot par putt on the final hole for a 68. Furyk had a 69 and was the last one to join the four-man playoff.

Missing from the group was Ernie Els, whose bogey-bogey finish cost him a chance not only to win but maybe a trip to the Masters.

Els could have secured a Masters invitation by winning. Because he tied for fifth, he only moved to No. 62 in the world. Bay Hill does not have as strong of a field, which means Els might have to win next week or the Houston Open to get back to Augusta National.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "I'm pretty hot now, and it's difficult to talk with a straight head here. If I take stock, I think I'm playing good golf, and I've got to head into the next couple of weeks trying to get a win."

Scott Piercy, who finished his 62 before the leaders teed off, joined Els (67), Ken Duke (68) and Jeff Overton (66) in a tie for fifth.

Champions Tour

NEWPORT BEACH - Loren Roberts shot a 69 to win the Toshiba Classic by two strokes over Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Kite and Bernhard Langer.

Roberts made a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole to ensure the victory after bogeys on three of the previous four holes.

Roberts began the day two strokes behind Calcavecchia, but made birdies on three of his first four holes. Even with a bogey on the seventh hole, Roberts was able to maintain a two-stroke lead, until the 16th hole. He missed a 3-foot par putt on 16 after his second shot hit a spectator box.

The victory was Roberts' 13th and was worth $262,500. His last victory was in 2010, a 34-tournament span.


PHOENIX - Yani Tseng two-putted for par from 40 feet in fading light to hold off Ai Miyazato and Na Yeon Choi by a stroke in the Founders Cup.

The top-ranked Taiwanese star, who earned $225,000, won her 14th tour title and second in four events this year. She closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 18 under.

The second-ranked Choi also shot 68, and Miyazato had a 69.

Tseng, three strokes behind Miyazato at the turn, birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine and closed with three pars.

Because of lightning near the Wildfire Golf Club, play was delayed three times for a total of three hours. Azusa's Lizette Salas, playing in her first LPGA event, tied for 22nd at 6-under 282. She won $15,230.

European Tour

MARBELLA, Spain - Julien Quesne tied the course record with an 8-under 64 to win the Andalucian Open for his first tour victory.

The 31-year-old birdied four of his final five holes to finish at 17 under and won by two strokes over Matteo Manassero of Italy (68).

"This is the best day of my life. I have been dreaming of this moment since I was 10," Quesne said. "It was not easy, you know. Matteo, Miguel (Angel Jimenez), Eduardo de la Riva, they all played good.

"I asked my caddie all the time since (No.) 15, and I knew that if I holed my putt on 18 I would have a good chance. So I am very proud that I won shooting a 64, finishing with a birdie on 18, the toughest hole on the course.

"I will remember this day for the rest of my life."

Quesne, who has been to tour's qualifying seven times, also earned a one-year tour exemption and qualified for November's WGC-Champions event at Millions Hills in China along with a start in next year's Volvo Champions.

Jimenez, the tournament host who was looking to become the oldest winner on the European Tour, carded a 71 to finish 11 under.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Health digest hosts wellness expo 2012

T&T is in the height of the Carnival season, and health concerns may not be at the top of the list of priorities of many people. But once the season of revelry is over, some people may be seeking information that will guide them in their quest to attempt to reverse the effects of their weeks of indiscretion—sleepless nights, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy and unbalanced diets.
A good place to start may be The U—Health and Wellness Exposition, scheduled to take place from March 19 to 21 at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain. Hosted by U–The Caribbean Health Digest, the event will once again create a forum that allows organisations and individuals the unique opportunity to promote their health related products, services and solutions to a captive audience. This exposition was held for the first time in September 2010 and subsequently cancelled in 2011 as a result of uncertainties surrounding the then state of emergency.

This year promises to be much more interactive, with many more exhibitors that include major players in the insurance and finance sectors, health food providers, private hospitals, spas and fitness centres, each armed with solutions to creating healthier and more informed citizens. On March 19, Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan will officially open the expo, and that day will cater to corporate T&T. The subsequent days will be open to the public, including schools, at no cost. Some exhibition spaces are still available for companies that wish to capitalise on the opportunity to market themselves to a audience that has a keen interest on health and wellness issues.