Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Warning:Even Slightly High Blood Pressure Is Dangerous

A new study by the University of California San Diego shows a substantially greater risk of stroke for many people who have pre-hypertension,a precursor condition to hypertension,or high blood pressure.The study considered 12 previous studies covering more than 500,000 patients.
Pre-hypertension is a blood pressure greater than 120/80,but less than 140/90,which is hypertension proper.Until this new study was published in the journal Neurology,the amount of risk pre-hypertension posed was unclear.For those younger than 65,the study shows,even a slightly high blood pressure of 121/81 increases stroke risk by 22%.A blood pressure of from 130-139/80-89 increased stroke risk nearly 80%.In general,those with a blood pressure of 120-139/80-89,the range for pre-hypertension,had a 55% greater risk of having a stroke than the rest of the population.
The data for those over 65 did not yield the same result-probably because their stroke risk is determined by other factors,such as other medical conditions they may have.
It is also now believed that patients with pre-diabetes,the precursor condition to diabetes,in which the blood sugar is only somewhat elevated,also may be experiencing significant health impacts.It seems that chronic disease is more of a continuum than was previously understood.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Boeing 787:Signed,Sealed and Delivered-At Last

After a ponderous three year delay caused by everything from supplier issues to design flaws,Boeing has finally delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to Japan's All Nippon Airways.A collective sigh of relief may well have sounded around the world's airline headquarters as some 500 Boeing employees,many of them carrying umbrellas on the rain-soaked runway of Washington state's Everett Field,walked the state-of-the-art aircraft to All Nippon executives in a dramatic transfer ceremony.Boeing hailed the event as the beginning of a new era in commercial aviation.
The Dreamliner is Boeing's first new civilian aircraft on the market in 16 years.It will make its first commercial flight on October 26 on a route from Tokyo to Hong Kong.
The sleek airliner is the first to be partially fabricated from carbon fiber composite material.The lightweight mesh of carbon fiber and epoxy makes the 787 20% more cost effective to fly,cutting back markedly on the amount of fuel needed.Modular construction reduces the assembly time from months to a matter of days.The plane's components are produced by a global network of contractors.
The Dreamliner,which features larger luggage bins and windows,as well as soft blue lighting,is the best-selling new jet in history.Despite the delays,Boeing has 821 orders for the plane on its books.This will ensure the jobs of thousands of workers for decades to come.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Australia/New Zealand Weathering Crisis

Wayne Swan,the Australian Treasurer,has been attending the international meetings in Washington.He reports a mood of sober realism as the Euro debt crisis was discussed.The global economy is in a dangerous phase.Australia's fundamentals are rock-solid,however,Mr.Swan pointed out.
Hong Kong's Swire Properties,Ltd.,a division of Swire Group,is looking towards an eventual initial public offering.There's a long way to go before we can say we have a listing,according to CEO Martin Cubbon.In the medium term,there's no fund-raising needed.There is a great deal of uncertainty around the world.Swire develops and manages commercial,retail and residential real estate.
The New Zealand trade deficit was 641 million dollars in August.The New Zealand dollar held to declines because of this.Nonetheless,the Treasury and Reserve Bank remain optimistic about the economy.
It was 66F in Sydney on Monday under partly cloudy skies.The wind was Southeast at 18 mph,and the humidity was 52%.

Owens Corning Sales Jobs

Owens Corning Basement Finishing Systems is hiring for D.C. area sales positions.They offer qualified leads,excellent training and 70k+ potential.Send resume to or call Curt Nichols at 248-568-2185.
Owens Corning:Innovations for living.

Friday, September 23, 2011

East Coast Suffers Mosquito Attacks

At a baseball game in Philadelphia tonight,the players were greatly bothered by mosquitoes.The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals were swatting at the bugs more than they were swatting the baseball.
It has been noted that mosquitoes will hang around a backyard deck in Northern Maryland.When a human sits down on the deck,they attack the poor soul.Asian Tiger mosquitoes,which carry dengue fever,yellow fever,St.Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus,have been observed among them.
The white-striped Asian Tiger mosquito spread to the U.S. in 1985.They were found in a shipment of tires in Houston,Texas.They subsequently spread up the East Coast as far north as Maine.
These parasites usually attack in the day,resting in the morning and at night.They will bite birds and other mammals besides humans.This makes them a bridge vector for pathogens,transmitting them from species to species.
The Asian Tiger mosquitoes originated in South East Asia,but have now adapted to cooler climates.Their eggs can overwinter,and even adults can survive winter if they find a warmer hiding place.
Besides blood,they drink plant nectars.
Some municipalities have embarked on spraying programs to protect the public health.

Elderly Whitestone Man Blames West Nile Virus On Abandoned Property

Elderly Whitestone Man Blames West Nile Virus On Abandoned Property

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thoughts of a Hedge Fund Pioneer

The macro environment is so bad everywhere,observes Julian Robertson,founder of the old hedge fund Tiger Management Group.Our political leadership is doing nothing.Europe is just in a state of financial collapse.I think we're in plenty of trouble,and we really have to watch ourselves carefully.
The weak currencies in Europe are still good shorts.They carry a lot of risk with them.We're very long the Norwegian krone.We think that's a wonderful currency.The Canadian dollar is from a very well-run country.
Apple is worth 3-4 times what it's selling for.Google is very attractive.There's a big dichotomy between the macro and stock prices.
Basically,Washington is not really trying to lead;they are trying to continue to exist.
Master Card and Visa are very appealing.The risk of any credit loss is taken by the banks,not the credit cards.I think they will continue to grow rapidly in the 20% range for some time to come.There's a need for credit in the world,Mr.Robertson noted.
The billionaire Julian R. Robertson,Jr.,KNZM(Hon),started one of the first hedge funds in 1980.He has an honorary knighthood from New Zealand,where his family owns several lodges.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

China Home Prices Still Rising

In spite of the government's best efforts to rein them in,new home prices in China continue to rise.A report shows new home prices are up in 67 of 70 cities.Developers are not cooperating with Beijing;nor are certain local officials.They are perhaps waiting to see how things will play out.
All the same,Peter Churchouse of Portwood Capital says we're already seeing a decline in secondary home prices.He expects to see this in new homes in the back half of the year.
The Japanese stock market is closed today,Monday,for Respect For the Aged Day.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were down on renewed Euro debt fears as European finance ministers failed to come up with concrete measures at a weekend meeting.The euro dollar was also lower,and the dollar yen was higher.New Zealand economists see slower growth ahead because of a delay in rebuilding following recent earthquakes.
At least 18 people died in a 6.9 earthquake on the Indian-Nepalese border in the Himalayas.India sent five military aircraft to assist the residents there.Kathmandu,Nepal reported extensive damage.
At the BMW Championship near Chicago,English golfer Justin Rose took the title,while Australians John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy were second and third on the leader board,respectively.
It was 72F in Shanghai on Monday under mostly cloudy skies.Winds were W at 22 mph,and the humidity was 60%.

Macy's Seasonal Jobs

Macy's,the iconic department store,is now hiring for the holidays.Macy's:View our job opportunities on and apply online today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grateful Patient Helps New Doctors

Five USC Keck School of Medicine graduates who are going into the primary care field have been awarded scholarships of 25,000 dollars each.The scholarships were provided by Carlton and Nancy Spencer.Mr.Spencer has wanted to assist primary care residents since he was diagnosed with a heart condition by his primary care physician,himself a Keck School alumnus,a few years ago and referred for emergency open heart surgery.
Primary care residents typically have a mountain of medical school debt to pay off with only modest earnings.Elizabeth Ortega,one of the recipients and a family medicine resident,said it's amazing.The scholarship just makes such a big difference.Other recipients include three other family medicine residents,as well as an internal medicine resident.
These are the first Keck School scholarships designated for certain primary care residencies.Primary care is seeing a growing shortfall of doctors as medical school graduates gravitate toward the more lucrative fields,at least partially in consequence of the need to retire their student loans.
The average cost of a medical degree,including room and board,has been estimated to be on the order of 150-300,000 dollars.
Founded in 1885,Keck is the oldest medical school in Southern California.It is located on the USC Health Sciences Campus,which is just east of downtown Los Angeles,and has an enrollment of 1200 students.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life on the Financial Plateau

Stephen Wood,PhD,Chief Market Strategist at Russell Investments,thinks it could be an O.K. year.Earnings estimates are gonna decelerate,but the S&P 500 index is doing real well in terms of earnings per share.A 13% gain for the year will be predominantly based on earnings.From a corporate perspective,the U.S. looks relatively healthy.
The consumer is not dead;just deleveraging.Just lean into the consumer a little bit.Consumers saving is something we've seen for some time.
We've recovered and kind of plateaued out.It's not a recession,but it's not gonna be strong growth,either.Look at what's happened to the Treasury in the U.S.
Ultimately,we've got a long time to solve the problems-and they can be solved,which isn't necessarily the case in Europe.The collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15,2008 really caught everyone by surprise.In Europe,it's not gonna be that startling.The question is,who's gonna be the one who gets hit,in Dr.Wood's view.
As its purpose,Russell Investments improves financial security for people.Founded in 1936,it has 163.4 billion dollars in assets under management for individuals,institutions and financial professionals.It also creates performance benchmarks in the form of the Russell indexes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yingluck's First Foreign Trip

The new Thai Prime Minister,Yingluck Shinawatra,is making her first foreign trip in office.She is visiting Cambodia,Laos and Indonesia.Among other things,she is seeking resolution of a border dispute with Cambodia that has resulted in military clashes.
Markets were closed in Taiwan,Shanghai and South Korea on Monday for the Mid-Autumn festival.Hong Kong's stock exchange will close for this on Tuesday.
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke gave his first talk to Chinese students on Friday at Beijing's Foreign Studies University.He said there's room for China and the U.S. to be partners.Both countries have shared interests and are not in a zero sum competition.We can and must achieve security and prosperity together.
Ambassador Locke,who is of Chinese descent,had formerly been Commerce Secretary in the Obama cabinet.A student remarked that his having a yellow face doesn't matter;it's what he says that matters.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars are down to one month lows on Euro debt crisis fears.Job advertisements in New Zealand fell 1.9% in August,and Australia's corporate bond risk has risen to its highest level since 2009.
Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng won the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship on Sunday.The world number one was defending her title at the LPGA event.
In Bangkok,it was 82F on Monday under mostly cloudy skies.Winds were S at 12 mph,and the humidty was 94%.

Talbots Outlet Jobs

Talbots is hiring for its newest outlet store at Potomac Mills.They need Store Management;Lead Sales Associates;and Part Time Sales Associates.Come to their Open House at
Potomac Mills Residence Inn by Marriott
14301 Crossing Place
Woodbridge,Virginia 22192
on Wednesday,September 14
from 10am to 7pm
and Thursday,September 15
from 8:30am to 4pm
If unable to attend,apply online at or email resumes to
Talbots:We have designs on you

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee Costs Mount

Already cash-strapped and tired states now find themselves dealing with further multiple costs as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee beleaguered the Mid-Atlantic region.Hurricane Irene had tested the area severely,which now must battle record flooding from Lee's five days of nearly continuous rainfall.
At least two people were swept away to their deaths by high water in Virginia,one of them a twelve year-old boy.Pennsylvania's death toll rose to five by Friday as the Susquehanna River closed at least 178 roads in the worst flooding since Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett described a clear public health emergency in his state as sewage plants were swamped and rendered inoperable.The flood waters could contain all sorts of dangers,from the raw sewage to manifold debris and diesel fuel.
The Susquehanna River drains lands from New York state to Maryland,flowing eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.It is estimated that T.S. Lee has dropped some 2.4 trillion gallons of rain water on the Susquehanna basin.
Other states have also recorded various difficulties on account of the endless rain.Pompton Lakes,New Jersey had to condemn 22 homes that have been inundated repeatedly by Hurricane Irene and T.S. Lee.A car dealer in Upper Marlboro,Maryland counted a loss of five million dollars of inventory ruined by chaotic waters.
The sun has not been seen for so long,the region's residents may not recognize it when it finally does return.
Update:As of Saturday,September 10,the long-gone sun had indeed returned to the Mid-Atlantic skies.All the same,it should be noted that some of T.S. Lee's energy is still present in the atmosphere.This may result in isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms for the next several days.In consequence,flash flooding could result,even though the region's waterways have begun the receding process.Setbacks may occur,given the historic drenching that has been sustained.
Towards the middle and end of the new week,the jet stream is expected to dip dramatically,bringing the possibility of a record-breaking cold front to the lower 48.Colorado already has seen the first snow of the season,a dusting that fell on the Arapahoe basin.

8-Year-Old Boy Killed In Floodwaters, Death Total At 5 - Pennsylvania News Story - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley

8-Year-Old Boy Killed In Floodwaters, Death Total At 5 - Pennsylvania News Story - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley

Monday, September 5, 2011

TD Bank Grinds Higher

Although TD Bank has posted profits that are up 23%,CEO Ed Clark feels that the environment has soured.For instance,there is the Durbin amendment that we have to absorb.
The Durbin amendment restricts the fees that big banks operating in the U.S. can charge merchants for processing transactions made with their debit cards.The fees would be reduced from about 44 cents per swipe to 21 cents per swipe,resulting in a revenue loss to the banks of more than 16.1 billion dollars.The amendment is slated to go into force in October.
Tough environments actually widen the difference between excellent franchises and not so excellent franchises.We run this very simple model with longer hours;seven days a week;and spectacular service:you just relentlessly take market share that way.Our mortgage book is up 39% in the U.S.
On the other hand,there are a whole lot of political changes that,over time,will grind the banking system down;that,over time,will prevent banks from giving strong support to the economy.If you impose a form of tax-we're quite committed to the U.S.,but we shouldn't underestimate the grind that we're feeling right now.
TD Bank isn't focused on mergers and acquisitions.Taking market share has to be the core of your business strategy,but you add little parts you need by acquisition,Mr.Clark explained.
Toronto-Dominion Bank(TD)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gillard Holds On To PM Post

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is unpopular with the electorate,but she still commands the loyalty of her Labour Party.Labour MPs have just given their backing for her to remain in office.
Gillard wants to get the controversial carbon tax legislation through Parliament.She has been in office since June,2010.In her favor,the Australian services industry has reported growth for the first time in four months.
According to a Bank of New Zealand survey,New Zealand business confidence has risen in September.
China's service sector Purchasing Managers Index has fallen from 59.6 in July to 57.6 in August,indicating continuing but slower growth in the sector.
Three Chinese companies are buying most of Bank of America's stake in China Construction Bank.They are joined by Singapore and Qatar sovereign wealth funds in the acquisition.
In Sydney,it was 68F on Monday under clear skies.Winds were W at 6 mph,while the humidity was 60%.

Professional and General Positions

The Washington Post is holding a Mega Career Fair on Tuesday,September 13 from 10am-3pm at
Dulles Expo and Conference Center
4320 Chantilly Shopping Center
Chantilly,VA 20153
The Professional and General Pavilion at the fair is for all levels of experience.Positions available range from Passenger Service Agents to B2B Sales,as well as Managerial,Administrative and Professional Positions.Some of the employers attending will be Air Wisconsin Airlines;Allstate;Liberty Mutual;Miller's Office Products,Inc.;Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation;and Transportation Security Administration.
For more information,visit

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Surfers Beware:Tropical Storm Katia's Atlantic Journey

The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Katia is continuing to chart its course across the Atlantic Ocean,and is expected to affect the Lesser Antilles by Friday with swells that cause hazardous surf and rip current conditions.
Realistically,some surfers seek out such exciting conditions.
The storm,which was briefly a hurricane on Thursday,is heading N/NW at 16 mph/26 kmh .This course is expected to continue with slowing forward speed over the next 48 hours.Maximum sustained winds are 70 mph with higher gusts.In the next 24 hours or so,Katia is expected to become a hurricane again.Its winds are extending outward up to 140 miles/220 km from the center.
Katia is located about 830 miles/1335 km E of the Leeward Islands.
Its ultimate destination is yet to be determined.
Meanwhile,Tropical Depression 13 has caused Exxon Mobil and BP to evacuate oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico,while Chevron and Shell have evacuated non-essential personnel from theirs.Oil prices headed up a little when this news broke.
A tropical storm warning is posted from Pascagoula,Mississippi to Sabine Pass,Texas.
Update:Katia became a hurricane again on Friday.It currently has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph/120 kmh.The storm is moving NW at 12 mph/19 kmh.It is a category 1 hurricane,but could begin strengthening on Sunday.
Katia's hurricane force winds extend up to 35 miles/55 km from the center;tropical storm force winds extend up to 175 miles/1280 km.Hazardous surf and swells may affect the Lesser Antilles over the weekend,the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical Depression 13 is now Tropical Storm Lee,and has caused the shutdown of 139 oil rigs,or 27% of manned platforms,in the Gulf of Mexico.This results in the loss of 48% of oil production and 33% of natural gas production in the Gulf.Remnants of
T.S. Lee could eventually make their way into the Northeast next week,as indeed Hurricane Katia could as well,should it continue on its current path.For now,though,New Orleans and Mississippi are gravely concerned about Lee's slow and rainy effects on them this holiday weekend.
Update 2:The remnants of T.S. Lee could reach the Mid-Atlantic region by Wednesday evening,bringing the potential for 5-10 inches of rain to the already-waterlogged area.It has sustained winds of 50 mph and is hugging the coast of Southern Louisiana,just barely moving at a speed of only 2 mph.Tropical storm warnings are posted from Dustin,Florida to Sabine Pass,Texas,but tourists are still wandering around New Orleans on this last holiday weekend of the summer.
Near the Leeward Islands,Katia has weakened to a tropical storm again,with winds about 70 mph/112.65 kmh.Another round of strengthening is expected to occur.The storm continues to head slowly toward the Mid-Atlantic region,but such weather will often veer eastward at the last minute,taking it on a track away from the east coast.

Farms Struggle to Assess Damage Caused by Tropical Storm Irene - WNYC Culture

Farms Struggle to Assess Damage Caused by Tropical Storm Irene - WNYC Culture