Story 1: Historic Progressive Politicians and Media Snow Job — Man-Made Computer Model Consensus Weather Forecast Busted — Never Mind — Dallas Hits 75 Degrees — Blame It On Global Warming — Give Me A Break — It Is Called Winter, Stupid — Both Weather and Climates Change — Videos
Gilda Radner Miss Emily Litella
The Global Warming Hoax Explained for Dummies
ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole
The World Weather Forecast
National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss
Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry
I’m sorry, so sorry
That I was such a fool
I didn’t know
Love could be so cruel
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done(I’m sorry) I’m sorry
(So sorry) So sorry
Please accept my apology
But love is blind
And I was too blind toseeOh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesI’m sorry, so sorry
Please accept my apology
But love was blind
And I was too blind to see(Sorry)
Winter Storm Juno How US reported blizzard
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as ‘one of the largest snowstorms
Winter Storm JUNO 2015 : Blizzard for Historic New York City – RAW VIDEO Compilation
New York blizzard: Winter snow storm ‘Juno’ hits US East Coast, in pictures
A huge snowstorm has slammed into northeastern US, shutting down public transport, cancelling thousands of flights and leaving roads and streets deserted as snow blanketed an area that’s home to tens of millions of people. Authorities ordered drivers off the streets in New York and other cities like Boston in the face of a storm that forecasters warned could reach historic proportions, dumping up to three feet (up to a metre) of snow in some areas
Winter storm looms with record level snow threat; 7,700 flights canceled
Seven states on the Northeast are in watch mode as a potentially record-setting storm is churning up the coast, threatening to dump up to 3 feet of snow in parts and paralyze the region from Philadelphia to Maine.
More than 7,700 flights for Monday and Tuesday have been canceled as of Monday evening, with Boston’s Logan Airport and Providence’s T.F. Green Airport closed outright. Delays and the knock-on effects of stranded planes and lost connections will start hitting the entire nation’s air-travel system Tuesday.
Winter Storm Juno: Blizzard Warnings for New York City, Boston, Parts of 7 States; Potentially Historic Northeast Snowstorm Ahead
Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for Winter Storm Juno, which threatens to become a major snowstorm Monday through Wednesday with the potential for blizzard conditions and more than 2 feet of snow.
The high confidence in forecast wind and snowfall led the National Weather Service to issue blizzard warnings well in advance of the storm. As of late Sunday evening, those warnings were posted from the New Jersey shore all the way to Downeast Maine, including the cities of New York City, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Portland. The warnings were scheduled to go into full force as early as noon Monday along the Jersey Shore. The aforementioned stretch of Northeast coast will be fully under blizzard warnings by sunrise Tuesday, unless some are downgraded before then. Most of the warnings are set to run through late Tuesday night.
Winter Storm Juno: A Pummeling for the History Books
The East Coast already looks like a snow globe thanks to winter storm Juno, but the worst is yet to come.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Sunday, “This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city.” The National Weather Service (NWS) and Weather Channel meteorologist Chris Dolce have both said the impending storm is “potentially historic.” So, what does historic mean, and how strong is this “potentially”? It depends on your definition, but this storm could be one for the record books, and not just in the highest-3 point-shooting-percentage-in-the-third-quarter-with-two-bench-players-on-the-court-on-a-Tuesday type of statistic.
Based on a new experimental forecast from the NWS, as of Monday morning there is an 80 percent chance that NYC will receive at least 12” of snow. Since record keeping in Central Park began in 1869, there have been 35 events exceeding a foot of snow, so 12″ wouldn’t be a big record. But there is a 62 percent chance for at least 18” of snow, and there have only been 11 events reaching that marker. Despite the seeming endlessness of last year’s winter, only one event (on February 13th and 14th) made the 12”+ snow event list for New York City. New York has only seen snowfall totals above two feet twice, first in December 1947 and more recently in February 2006.
To be recorded in official weather history, what matters most for NYC is the official snowfall in Central Park. This is where the longest period of record is for the city, so it’s what is used for most of the statistics on weather events. While the NWS is calling for 20-30″ in most areas around NYC, local bands of snow will likely cause several more inches in some places. Scientists have difficulty predicting where these bands will occur, but whether such a band forms over Central Park could be the difference between a nuisance-maker and a history-making nuisance.
Blizzard 2015 New York City, Brooklyn, Historic Northeast Blizzard
CNN’s Anderson Cooper looks at some of the biggest nor’easters to hit the East Coast.
Tens of millions of people in the Northeast hunkered down on Monday for a historic blizzard that was expected to drop more than 2 feet of snow, whipped around by winds approaching hurricane..
Blizzard 2015 Airports Begin to Close as Historic Northeast Blizzard NearsBLIZZARD ’15: THE LATEST Nearly 7000 flights have been cancelled. Amtrak has suspended Tuesday service between New.
Tens of millions of people in the Northeast hunkered down on Monday for a historic blizzard that was expected to drop more than 2 feet of snow, whipped around by winds approaching hurricane.
Meteorology 101 – UniversalClass Online Course
Jamie Cullum – What A Difference A Day Made
Dinah Washington ‘Difference-complete TV segment
Dinah Washington singing here with the Louis Jordan Band. This is the complete TV Show segment with Dinah singing ‘What A Difference A Day Made’ and ‘Making Whopee’. Louis and Ronald Reagan make the announcements and I love the way Louis calls him ‘Ronnie’! The show was dated March 8th 1960.
Gilda Radner – LIVE FROM NEW YORK!
Storm Fails To Live Up To Predictions In Some Areas As National Weather Service Meteorologist Apologizes
A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City, where buses and subways started rolling again in the morning.
Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, apologized on Twitter for the snow totals being cut back.
“My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,” Szatkowski tweeted. “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”
Jim Bunker at the agency’s Mount Holly office said forecasters will take a closer look at how they handled the storm and “see what we can do better next time.”
In New England, the storm that arrived Monday evening was a bitter, paralyzing blast, while in the New York metro area, it was a bust that left forecasters apologizing and politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. Some residents grumbled, but others sounded a better-safe-than-sorry note and even expressed sympathy for the weatherman.
At least 2 feet of snow was expected in most of Massachusetts, potentially making it one of the top snowstorms of all time. The National Weather Service said a 78 mph gust was reported on Nantucket, and a 72 mph one on Martha’s Vineyard.
“It felt like sand hitting you in the face,” Bob Paglia said after walking his dog four times overnight in Whitman, a small town about 20 miles south of Boston.
Maureen Keller, who works at Gurney’s, an oceanfront resort in Montauk, New York, on the tip of Long Island, said: “It feels like a hurricane with snow.”
As of midmorning, the Boston area had 1½ feet of snow, while the far eastern tip of Long Island had more than 2 feet. Snowplows around New England struggled to keep up.
“At 4 o’clock this morning, it was the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Larry Messier, a snowplow operator in Columbia, Connecticut. “You could plow, and then five minutes later you’d have to plow again.”
In Boston, police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. Snow blanketed Boston Common, and drifts piled up against historic Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty stoked the fires of rebellion. Adjacent Quincy Market, usually bustling with tourists, was populated only by a few city workers clearing snow from the cobblestones.
As the storm pushed into the Northeast on Monday, the region came to a near standstill, alarmed by forecasters’ dire predictions. More than 7,700 flights were canceled, and schools, businesses and government offices closed.
But as the storm pushed northward, it tracked farther east than forecasters had been expecting, and conditions improved quickly in its wake. By midmorning Tuesday, New Jersey and New York City lifted driving bans, and subways and trains started rolling again, with a return to a full schedule expected Wednesday.
While Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had braced for a foot or two of snow from what forecasters warned could be a storm of potentially historic proportions, they got far less than that. New York City received about 8 inches, Philadelphia a mere inch or so. New Jersey got up to 8 inches.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his statewide ban on travel as “absolutely the right decision to make” in light of the dire forecast.
And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who drew criticism last fall after suggesting meteorologists hadn’t foreseen the severity of an epic snowstorm in Buffalo, said this time: “Weather forecasters do the best they can, and we respond based to the best information that we have.”
In New York City, Susanne Payot, a cabaret singer whose rehearsal Tuesday was canceled, said the meager snowfall left her bemused: “This is nothing. I don’t understand why the whole city shut down because of this.”
Brandon Bhajan, a security guard at a New York City building, said he didn’t think officials had overreacted.
“I think it’s like the situation with Ebola … if you over-cover, people are ready and prepared, rather than not giving it the attention it needs,” he said
National Weather Service to evaluate work after missed call
A National Weather Service official says the agency will evaluate its storm modeling after a storm that was predicted to dump a foot or more of snow on many parts of New Jersey and the Philadelphia region delivered far less than that.
“You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry,” said meteorologist Gary Szatkowski of the NWS.
Jim Bunker, who leads the weather service’s observing program in the Mount Holly office, says the storm tracked a bit to the east of what forecasting models predicted.
Parts of Long Island and New England are getting slammed. But many parts of New Jersey received less than 4 inches.
Bunker says the agency will evaluate what happened to see how it can do better in the future.
Blame De Blasio and Cuomo and Christie for the Blizzard Snow Job
As politicians rushed to out-serious each other, New Yorkers were whipped into a fear frenzy.
Every modern event has a hashtag and this morning, as New York City takes stock of the #snowmageddon2015 that wasn’t, it’s turning to #snowperbole.
On Monday, as Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie, and Mayor de Blasio rushed to out-serious each other, New Yorkers were whipped into a fear frenzy. Supermarket shelves were stripped bare, photos of Whole Foods depleted of kale circulated, and people stocked up for what would likely be days (maybe weeks!) indoors.
Even as we were doing it, we acknowledged it didn’t make much sense. After all, we’re in New York City. Bodegas never close. Delivery guys on bicycles have been a constant through all previous winter storms. All New Yorkers have their stories. That time we ordered Chinese Food during the snowstorm of 1994. Swimming on Brighton Beach during Hurricane Gloria. Buying Poptarts at the corner bodega during Sandy. Driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again during the blackout of 2003. Yes, those are all mine.
BLIZZARD 2015: HOW NEW YORKERS AND NEW ENGLANDERS SHARED PHOTOS
As we waited for the storm deemed “historic,” the only real history was made when the subway shut down for the first time ever in preparation for snow. The real insult came when it was reported later that the trains were indeed still running, empty, as trains needed to keep moving to clear the tracks. Citibike was shut down. Cars were banned from the roads and anyone who didn’t take heed risked being fined.
These are all symptoms of our infantilizing “do something!” culture. Everyone understands the pressure politicians feel to be seen as proactive. But this time they went way too far in the name of protecting us. It’s one thing to warn drivers that conditions are dangerous and that they go out at their own risk. It’s another to shut down all roads in the city that allegedly never sleeps.
The 11 p.m. curfew resulted in lost wages for delivery people who count on larger-than-usual tips during inclement weather. Why couldn’t they make their own decisions about working during the snow? Not everyone makes a salary the way our mayor and governor do. Many workers count on their hourly wage, and their tips, to make their rent each month.
The storm was a dud, but even if had been as severe as predicted, bringing a city like New York to a preemptive standstill makes little sense. The people who keep New York humming take the subway after 11pm and can decide for themselves whether to keep their businesses open. Preparedness doesn’t have to mean panic.
Story 1: Historic Winter Blizzard Snow Storm Named Juno Hits Northeast — What is New? — Progressive Global Warming Alarmists Panicking! — Shrinking Balls — So What? — Memory — The Coming Ice Age — Videos
NYC braces for “historic” snowstorm
Massive blizzard hits the United States’ East Coast on Monday
Potentially crippling snowstorm begins to hit Northeast
Snow Emergency In New York City
NYC mayor: Snowstorm could be worst ever | Northeast Braces for ‘Catastrophic,’ ‘Historic’ Storm
NEW YORK BLIZZARD 2015 – Drone Footage Biggest Snow storm Hit NYC [RAW FOOTAGE]
Weather History: The Great Blizzard of 1888
Patriots Press Conference Cold Open – Saturday Night Live
Grumpy Old Men Having a Heat Wave
grumpy old men fence stand off / the great Ice war.
Dean Martin – Baby It’s Cold Outside
The Global Warming Hoax Explained for Dummies
Man Made Climate Change in 7 Minutes
Climate Change in 12 Minutes – The Skeptic’s Case
MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN CARBON EMISSIONS ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY 4 /14- Intelligence Squared U.S.
Co-Founder of The Weather Channel: GLOBAL WARMING IS A COMPLETE HOAX
Professor Bob Carter torpedoes the “scientific consensus” on the climate HOAX
Professor Bob Carter on Global Warming Science
Global Warming or a New Ice Age: Documentary Film
Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation. This hypothesis had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the scientific understanding of ice age cycles. In contrast to the global cooling conjecture, the current scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth has not durably cooled, but undergone global warming throughout the twentieth century.
Concerns about nuclear winter arose in the early 1980s from several reports. Similar speculations have appeared over effects due to catastrophes such as asteroid impacts and massive volcanic eruptions. A prediction that massive oil well fires in Kuwait would cause significant effects on climate was quite incorrect.
The idea of a global cooling as the result of global warming was already proposed in the 1990s. In 2003, the Office of Net Assessment at the United States Department of Defense was commissioned to produce a study on the likely and potential effects of a modern climate change, especially of a shutdown of thermohaline circulation. The study, conducted under ONA head Andrew Marshall, modelled its prospective climate change on the 8.2 kiloyear event, precisely because it was the middle alternative between the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age. The study caused controversy in the media when it was made public in 2004. However, scientists acknowledge that “abrupt climate change initiated by Greenland ice sheet melting is not a realistic scenario for the 21st century”.
Currently, the concern that cooler temperatures would continue, and perhaps at a faster rate, has been observed to be incorrect by the IPCC. More has to be learned about climate, but the growing records have shown that the cooling concerns of 1975 have not been borne out.
As for the prospects of the end of the current interglacial (again, valid only in the absence of human perturbations): it isn’t true that interglacials have previously only lasted about 10,000 years; and Milankovitch-type calculations indicate that the present interglacial would probably continue for tens of thousands of years naturally. Other estimates (Loutre and Berger, based on orbital calculations) put the unperturbed length of the present interglacial at 50,000 years. Berger (EGU 2005 presentation) believes that the present CO2 perturbation will last long enough to suppress the next glacial cycle entirely.
As the NAS report indicates, scientific knowledge regarding climate change was more uncertain than it is today. At the time that Rasool and Schneider wrote their 1971 paper, climatologists had not yet recognized the significance of greenhouse gases other than water vapor and carbon dioxide, such as methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Early in that decade, carbon dioxide was the only widely studied human-influenced greenhouse gas. The attention drawn to atmospheric gases in the 1970s stimulated many discoveries in future decades. As the temperature pattern changed, global cooling was of waning interest by 1979
The Great Global Warming Swindle Full Movie
Milankovitch Cycles Precession and Obliquity
How Milankovicth cycles can theoretically change Earth’s current orbit and result in cycles of glaciation and warmer periods.
ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole
James Delingpole is a bestselling British author and blogger who helped expose the Climategate scandal back in 2009. Reason.tv caught up with Delingpole in Los Angeles recently to learn more about his entertaining and provocative new book Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors. At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one. In other words, it’s green on the outside and red on the inside. At the end of the day, according to Delingpole, the “watermelons” of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.
George Carlin on Global Warming
Rush Limbaugh Podcast January 26 2015 Full Podcast
RUSH: We all here at the EIB Network are experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today because of a death, one of our staff members, the very first staff member to join me 27 years ago in New York. Christopher Carson, “Kit,” my trusted chief of staff, aide-de-camp, passed away today at 8 a.m. at his home in New Jersey after what really was a four-year battle, really valiant, never-seen-anything-like-it battle with essentially brain cancer.
Barbra Streisand – HD STEREO – Memory – CC for lyrics
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can dream of the old days
Life was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every street lamp seems to beat
A fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and the street lamp sputters
Soon it will be morning
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life and
I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale court smell of morning
A street lamp dies
Another night is over
Another day is dawning
It is so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you’ll touch me,
You’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun…
Cuomo On Blizzard 2015: Subways To Shut Down At 11 P.M., Travel Ban On Local, State Roads
De Blasio Warns: Non-Essential Drivers Caught On Streets Could Face Arrest, Stiff Fines
As a potentially historic blizzard swept through the Tri-State Area on Monday night, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the entire New York City subway system and other Metropolitan Transportation Authority transportation would shut down at 11 p.m.
In addition, local, state and city roads would be shut down to all but emergency vehicles.
New estimates indicate that wind speeds will gust up to 70 mph, and thus, the state decided to shut down all MTA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey facilities.
“Getting the subways and the railroad cars in a safe position is key, so that when the weather does leave, we’re in a position for the system to start back up,” Cuomo said.
The shutdown of the system began rolling into effect at around 5 p.m., and was to be completed by 11 p.m.
“A lot of people think of the subways as being completely underground. In fact, a huge proportion of it, probably about 40 percent, of the subway is above ground and is prone to getting icing and snow,” MTA Spokesman Aaron Donovan told WCBS 880.
“We’re going to be spending the whole night monitoring the conditions throughout our service area, monitoring the area. It really depends on what we see the conditions are but we can’t guarantee there will be service tomorrow morning,” he added.
Travel will also be restricted on all roads – whether interstate, state, county, city or town – in 13 counties from Ulster and Sullivan in the northern suburbs to New York City and Long Island, Cuomo said. Only emergency vehicles would be allowed on the roads, and those caught not complying would face penalties, he said.
“This is a serious situation,” Cuomo said. “If you violate this state order, it’s a possible misdemeanor, with fines up to $300, and that will go into effect at 11 o’clock also,” Cuomo said.
A blizzard warning is in effect for the metropolitan area through midnight Wednesday morning. CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn expects snow to fall at a rate of 2 to 4 inches an hour between late Monday night and midday Tuesday, with winds gusting 40 to 60 mph.
The storm could bury some communities in 4 or more feet of snow. Coastal flooding and erosion is also a major threat.
One forecasting model anticipates a grand total of 34.4 inches of snow falling in New York City. More modest models anticipate 17.1 inches.
Northeast Residents Preparing For ‘Crippling’ Blizzard That Could Dump Up To 2 Feet Of Snow Over 250-Mile Stretch
The Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor of more than 35 million people began shutting down and bundling up Monday against a potentially history-making storm that could unload a paralyzing 1 to 3 feet of snow.
More than 5,000 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early. And cities mobilized snowplows and salt spreaders to deal with a dangerously windy blast that could instantly make up for what has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast.
Snow was already falling during the morning commute in several cities, including Philadelphia and New York, with Boston up next in the afternoon. Forecasters said the brunt of the storm would hit Monday evening and into Tuesday.
The Weather Channel reports that 28 million people are under blizzard warnings and an additional 11 million are under winter storm warnings.
All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of highways, streets and mass transit systems to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through.
“You cannot underestimate this storm. It is not a regular storm,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned in ordering city streets closed to all but emergency vehicles beginning at 11 p.m. “What you are going to see in a few hours is something that hits very hard and very fast.”
Boston is expected to get 2 to 3 feet, New York 1½ to 2 feet, and Philadelphia more than a foot. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.
In Hartford, Connecticut, Frank Kurzatkowski stopped for gas and said he also filled several five-gallon buckets of water at his home in case the power went out and his well pump failed.
“I’ve got gas cans filled for my snowblowers,” he said. “I have four-wheel-drive.”
Supermarkets and hardware stores did a brisk trade as light snow fell in New Jersey.
Nicole Coelho, 29, a nanny from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was preparing to pick up her charges early from school and stocking up on macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas and milk at a supermarket. She also was ready in case of a power outage.
“I’m going to make sure to charge up my cellphone, and I have a good book I haven’t gotten around to reading yet,” she said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a state of emergency and asked commuters to stay off the roads.
“From the reports I’ve seen, you’ve all been to the supermarket. I don’t know why the rush on bread, but what the heck,” Christie joked.
About half of all flights out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport were called off Monday, and about 60 percent of flights heading into the airport were scratched. Boston’s Logan Airport said there would be no flights after 7 p.m. Monday.
The storm posed one of the biggest tests yet for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been in office for less than three weeks. He warned residents to prepare for power outages and roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate.”
Wind gusts of 75 mph or more were possible for coastal areas of Massachusetts, and up to 50 mph farther inland, forecasters said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and urged commuters to stay home on Monday, warning that roads could be closed before the evening rush hour, even major highways such as the New York Thruway and the Long Island Expressway.
Similarly, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered a travel ban on his state’s highways, while officials in other states asked residents to avoid going anywhere unless it is necessary.
The Washington area was expecting only a couple of inches of snow. But the House postponed votes scheduled for Monday night because lawmakers were having difficulty flying back to the nation’s capital after the weekend.
On Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange said it will stay open and operate normally on Monday and Tuesday.
A tractor-trailer jackknifed, and a beer truck crashed into the median on Interstate 81 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the morning commute. No injuries were reported.
Some schools were planning to close early or not open at all Monday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots expected to be out of town by the time the storm arrived in Boston. The team planned to leave Logan Airport at 12:30 p.m. Monday for Phoenix, where the temperature will reach the high 60s.
This has been an “active” winter, climatologists say, but snowfall totals haven’t set a record for Long Island yet.
Here are monthly snowfall totals recorded by Brookhaven National Laboratory since the winter of 1947-48. The chart shows amount of snowfall for December through February. For 2014, the February total is as of Feb. 20.
A History of New York City Snowstorms (1970 – 2014)
Since 1970 New York has experienced fifteen snowstorms of one-foot or more (more than half of them in the past ten winters). An additional seven storms have dumped between 10 and 12 inches. The summary of storms that follows lists not only these big ones but others in the five to ten-inch range, since even these can be debilitating, especially in Manhattan (these smaller storms often produced greater accumulations in the suburbs). The storms, 56 in total, are arranged by calendar date. If you’d like to see a list arranged by each winter, double click here.
Jan. 1, 1971 – Old Man Winter waited until New Year’s Eve revelers returned home before dumping the largest snowfall of the winter. 6.4″ of snow accumulated between 4AM-4PM, with much of it falling in the storm’s initial three hours. This was the century’s largest New Year’s Day snowfall (and second all-time after a nine-inch snowstorm way back in 1869).
Jan. 2-3, 2014 – A sprawling winter storm moved into the area during the evening with snow beginning in NYC at 6:30 and continuing into the overnight hours. In total 6.4″ fell. Besides snow and gusty winds, there was Arctic cold to contend with as the mercury fell from the upper 20s when the snow started to 18 degrees by midnight and down to 11 by daybreak.
Jan. 4, 1988 - The City woke up to 5.8″ of snow that fell overnight. It was the winter’s biggest snowfall. Four days later a steady light snow fell throughout the day, accumulating an additional5.4″.
Jan. 7-8, 1996 - A crippling blizzard began Sunday afternoon and continued until early afternoon thenext day. It immobilized an area from West Virgina through Massachusetts and dumped 20.2″ on Central Park, the third greatest snow total in NYC history (13.6″ fell on Jan. 7 and 6.6″ on Jan. 8, records for the dates). At one point five inches of snow fell between 5-7PM. Wind gusts of 40-50 mph whipped the snow into three and four-foot drifts on many side streets.
Areas west of NYC reported considerably more snow than Central Park: 32″ in Staten Island; 28″ in Newark; 26″ in Allentown, PA; and 31″ in Philadelphia. Temperatures were also very cold with a high/low of just 22/12 on the 7th and 23/16 on the 8th.
Looking west on Greenwich Ave.
Jan. 11, 1991 - 5.7″ of snow accumulated during the afternoon and evening before changing to rain overnight as temps rose into the mid-30s (close to one inch of rain fell). Despite the changeover it was a record amount of snow for the date.
Jan. 11-12, 2011 - Snow began the night of the 11th (three inches fell by midnight) and was over by daybreak, totaling 9.1″. The 6.1″ that fell during the morning of the 12th was a record for the date.
Photo was napped shortly after midnight in Greenwich Village on 7th Ave. South near Sheridan Square.
Jan. 13, 1982 - A late afternoon/nighttime snowstorm that dumped 5.8″ on NYC was the same winter system that affected Washington, DC earlier in the afternoon when an Air Florida jet crashedinto the Potomac River minutes after takeoff, killing 78. The following day an additional 3.5″ of snow fell from an “Alberta clipper” that moved through in the evening hours.
Jan. 20, 1978 – Snow that began yesterday evening fell at a rate of an inch per hour between 2-7AM, and by 2PM 13.6″ had fallen. This was NYC’s biggest snowfall since the “Lindsay snowstorm” of February 1969. (However, in less than three weeks this storm would be largely forgotten, overshadowed by the great blizzard of February 1978.)
Jan. 20, 2000 - The largest snowfall of the winter, 5.5″, caught forecasters by surprise. The accumulation was held down when sleet and freezing rain mixed in. The same storm buried Raleigh, NC with 20.3″ of snow, the largest snowfall in that city’s history.
Jan. 21, 2001 – A quick-moving snowstorm dumped six inches of snow on Sunday morning, a record for the date. The flakes stopped flying by 8AM.
Jan. 21, 2014 – A wind-driven snow began at around 9AM and fell throughout the day and evening, with 11″ on the ground by midnight – a record for the date (an additional 0.5″ fell after midnight). Besides wind and snow, the storm was made more fierce by Arctic cold, with temperatures in the teens all day. The storm extended from DC to Boston. Its timing couldn’t have been worse for commuters, who had to contend with getting home in the teeth of the storm. Accumulations were even greater on Long Island.
Jan. 22, 1987 - A daytime snowstorm dumped 8.1″ of snow on the City while much of Long Island picked up a foot or more. (Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware and South Jersey bore the brunt of the storm.) The City’s accumulation was held down when sleet mixed in. This was NYC’s biggest snowfall in four years and would be the biggest until the March 1993 Superstorm.
Jan. 22-23, 2005 - A weekend snowstorm began early Saturday afternoon and by daybreak Sunday13.8″ had fallen (8.5″ fell on Saturday, 5.3″ on Sunday). After a very cold a.m. low of 9 degrees on the 22nd, the high of 25 was reached at midnight. This was the biggest January snowstorm since the blizzard of 1996.
Jan. 26-27, 2011 - Snow began falling heavily by late afternoon and blizzard conditions developed after nightfall. By midnight close to 13 inches had fallen, and by the time the snow wound down at daybreak on the 27th 19 inches had piled up. (This was just one month after the post-Christmas blizzard socked NYC with 20 inches.) Shortly after midnight I ventured outside to snap photos and found traffic mostly at a standstill on the streets of the West Village, with taxis on Seventh Ave. pointed every which way. The quiet usually associated with a snowfall was broken by the sound of spinning tires. This furious spinning produced an odor of burning rubber that pervaded the air.
The 6.7″ of snow that fell before daybreak on the 27th was a record for the date and brought the month’s snow total to 36.0″ – the most ever in January. (Just one year earlier 36.9″ of snow fell in February.) In the past thirty-three days, beginning with the Christmas blizzard, an incredible 52″ of snow fell. And for the first time NYC had two snowstorms of 19″ or more in one winter.
Jan. 27-28, 2004 - Snow moved in after 8PM and by the time it ended early the next morning 10.3″inches of powdery snow had accumulated (six inches of it fell tonight). January 27 was the fifth day in a row in which high temperatures were colder than 25 degrees.
Feb. 3, 1996 - 7.5″ of snow, which was over by daybreak, fell in advance of the coldest air of the winter. This was the the third snowfall of six+ inches this winter (with one more of that magnitude two weeks later). I had flown down to Key West for vacation the day before thinking I had escaped, but a few days later the Arctic cold penetrated all the way down to the Keys and it felt like more like fall.
Feb. 3, 2014 – One day after the high temperature was 56 degrees, eight inches of heavy, wet snow fell during the morning and afternoon as the temperature hovered around the freezing mark. Today’s snowfall was a record for the date and was the third accumulation of six inches or more this winter (just the eighth winter since 1960 in which this has occurred). Snow began falling less than nine hours after the Super Bowl, played in northern NJ, had ended.
Feb. 4, 1995 - Only 11.8″ of snow fell during the winter of 1994-95 and almost all of it fell today as10.8″ of heavy, wet snow fell furiously on a Saturday morning (close to three inches fell between 6-7AM) before changing over to rain at around 9AM. Then the coldest air of the winter moved in overnight.
Feb. 6-7, 1978 – Less than three weeks after 13.6″ of snow buried the City, an even bigger snowstorm struck. Snow began before dawn and by midnight 15.5″ had fallen in Central Park. An additional 2.2″ fell the next morning. Snow, drifted by wind gusts of 30-40 mph, fell heaviest between 7PM-1AM, when it fell at a rate of more than an inch per hour.
The storm’s 17.7″ accumulation made this NYC’s biggest snowstorm since December 26-27, 1947, when 26.4″ buried the City (later broken in February 2006). This was the first winter in 17 years to have two snowstorms of one foot or more. Snow would be on the ground in Central Park for the next five weeks.
Feb. 8-9, 2013 – An intense winter storm developed off the Delmarva peninsula during the day and by nightfall near-blizzard conditions were common in NYC and points north and east. An icy mix of light snow and wind blown sleet began at daybreak and fell throughout the day, becoming steadier and heavier after dark. By midnight, 6.3″ had fallen in Central Park; by the time the snow ended shortly before daybreak on Feb. 9, 11.4″ had piled up. This was the City’s 15th biggest snowfall since 1970. However, this amount was manageable compared to Suffolk County and New England, where accumulations of two to three feet were common.
Feb. 8-9, 1994 - After January saw a large amount of sleet and freezing rain NYC finally got a storm that brought snow as nine inches fell. It came down especially heavy between 9AM-1PM, but the snow predicted for the rest of the day didn’t materialize as it came down as sleet. Snow resumed after midnight and an additional 1.8″ fell.
Feb. 10, 2010 - Four days after a monster snowstorm stopped short of NYC’s doorstep, another one made its presence known today and dumped 10″ of heavy, wet snow. Because the daytime temperature was just above freezing (the high was 34) it prevented main streets from getting much in the way of accumulation.
Feb. 11, 1983 - A monster snowstorm moved in Friday afternoon and continued until the wee hours of the morning on Saturday. The storm really cranked up between 8-11PM when six inches of snow came down. When the last flakes had fallen 17.6″ had piled up. It was the biggest snowfall in NYC since 1978 (when 17.7″ fell on Feb. 5-7) and at the time was the sixth biggest snowstorm in NYC history (it’s now ranked twelfth).
Feb. 11, 1994 - 12.8″ of snow fell during a snowstorm that began shortly before daybreak and continued into Friday evening. This was just three days after a nine-inch snowstorm and was NYC’s biggest snowfall since 1983, which happened to occur on this date as well.
A nearly deserted 5th Ave. near St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the afternoon of Feb. 11, 1994.
Feb. 11-12, 2006 - New York was the bulls-eye for a record-setting amount of snow over the weekend. Beginning the night of the 11th as light snow (2.8″ fell by midnight), it turned heavier after midnight and between 4-10AM Sunday morning the snow was falling at a rate of two inches/hour (between 8:25-9:25 nearly four inches piled up).
When it was over 26.9″ had fallen, a half-inch more than the City’s previous record on Dec. 26-27, 1947. Snowfall totals outside of NYC were also impressive but not nearly as much as what Central Park picked up. This storm accounted for two-thirds of the winter’s total snowfall. Only 1.3″ of snow fell for the rest of the winter.
Snow-buried benches in Washington Square Park.
Feb. 12, 1975 – A quick-moving winter storm delivered the biggest snowfall of the winter, with 7.8″piling up between 8AM-3PM. Snow fell at the rate of one-inch per hour for five consecutive hours. This was the biggest snowfall of the eight winters from 1970 thru 1977.
Feb. 13-14, 2014 – An intense storm system moved up the East Coast and brought with it high winds, heavy snow in the morning (9.5″), rain in the evening (accompanied by thunder & lightning) and more snow after midnight (3.0″). This was the winter’s fourth snowfall of 6 inches or more, something that’s happened in just one other winter since 1950 (in 1958). This snowstorm brought the season’s snowfall to 54.0″, moving it up to 7th on the all-time list.
Feb. 16-17, 1996 - Snow fell throughout the day and by the time it came to and end shortly after 1AM 10.7″ had piled up (9.9″ of it fell on the 16th; the rest after midnight), the third snowstorm this winter of eight-inches or more. It was a fluffy snow with just 0.52″ of water content.
Feb. 16-17, 2003 - After beginning Sunday night (when 3.5″ fell), the brunt of the Presidents’ Day blizzard kicked in and dumped an additional 16.3″ on Monday, making this NYC’s fourth biggest snowfall on record. (Since then three snowstorms during the winters of 2005/06, 2009/10 and 2010/11 have surpassed it.) Ferocious winds gusting over 40 mph created snow drifts of 3-5 feet. And although Monday’s temperatures were quite cold (high/low of 26/14), they were a warm-up from Sunday’s frigid 15/8.
Feb. 19, 1972- A nor’easter packing 40 mph winds brought the biggest snowfall of the winter, 5.7″, but it was part of a sloppy mix of snow, sleet and rain so there was never more than two to three inches of snow on the ground at any given time. Temperatures didn’t go below freezing until evening. In total 1.64″ of precipitation was measured.
Feb. 19, 1979 - A fast-moving snowstorm buried the City on Presidents’ Day with 12.7″ of snow between 4:00AM-noon. However, the storm’s deepest snows, of 18-24″, fell in Virginia, DC, Maryland and Delaware. The storm came in the midst of a deep freeze that saw fifteen of the past nineteen days with high temperatures at the freezing mark or below, averaging 14 degrees below average. Including today’s snowfall, 20.1″ of snow fell during these nineteen days. Another President’s Day storm with even more snow would strike NYC 24 years later.
February 22, 2008 - Six inches of slushy snow fell during the morning into the early afternoon, the biggest snowfall of the winter – and the largest accumulation since NYC’s all-time snowstorm two Februarys ago. Today’s snow was also a record for the date.
February 24, 2005 - Snow moved in during the evening and by 3AM six inches had accumulated.
February 25-26 2010 - After beginning in the morning as steady rain a changeover to snow occurred in the afternoon and developed into NYC’s third major snowstorm of the winter. 9.4″ fell by midnight and an additional 11.5″ of snow fell on the 26th, ending in the early afternoon, bringing the storm’s two-day total to 20.9″. This was the fourth largest accumulation in NYC history – and just 0.1″ shy of the total from the great blizzard of March 1888.
With this storm February’s total snowfall reached 36.9″, the most ever measured in any month. (And this was without getting any snow from the big Mid-Atlantic blizzard of Feb. 4-5 that stopped at our doorstep.) This turned out to be the last snowfall of the winter.
February 26, 1991 - A surprise snowstorm dumped 8.9″ of wet snow, the biggest accumulation in eight years (since 17.6″ buried the City in on Feb. 11-12, 1983 ). Because the temperature was just above freezing for much of the day the snow didn’t accumulate much on the streets or sidewalks. This was the winter’s third snowfall of five inches or more.
February 28-March 1, 2005 - March came in a like a lion camouflaged as a lamb by all of the snow covering him. 7.7″ of snow fell from a storm that began the afternoon of Feb. 28 and ended at daybreak on March 1. It wasn’t a cold storm as the temperature rose into the low 40s after the snow ended. This was the third accumulation of five inches+ in the past ten days. Combined, 18.7″ fell from these snow events.
March 1-2, 2009 - 8.3″ of snow fell from a quick-moving storm that began the night of the 1st (when 1.8″ fell), making this the largest accumulation of the winter (and the most to fall in three years). 12-15″ fell out on Long Island.
March 5, 1981 - A heavy, wet snowfall of 8.6″ was the biggest snow of the winter and a record amount for the date. It also has the distinction of being the second largest accumulation in the month of March in the 1970-2014 period.
March 5-6, 2001 - Call this the storm that couldn’t. The City was put on high alert after 15-24″ of snow was predicted during the weekend. City schools and some businesses were closed on Monday and we waited, but it was in vain as the storm never lived up to its billing. The storm strengthened later and further north than predicted. New York received 3.5″ as a consolation prize. However, Long Island received significant accumulations.
March 8-9, 1984 - Snow moved in the night of the 8th and by daybreak 6.9″ had accumulated (5.1″ of it on the 9th), making this the biggest snow of the winter. It was a powdery snow with just 0.38″ of water content.
March 13, 1993 - The great March Superstorm (also called “Storm of the Century”) paralyzed the Eastern third of the nation and dumped 10.6″ of snow on NYC. The heavy snow changed to sleet and rain later in the afternoon, a Saturday, reducing the predicted snow total by about six inches. The sound of the sleet lashing against my windows, propelled by 40-60 mph wind gusts, was deafening. All told, 2.37″ of precipitation fell. To read a first-person account of the storm double click here.
Plowing down 7th Ave. South, approaching Bleecker St.
March 16, 2007 - An all-day onslaught of sleet and snow dumped 5.5″ of icy precipitation, the biggest snow of the winter. This storm somewhat resembled last month’s severe sleet storm onValentine’s Day, but this one had considerably more snow. The total amount of precipitation was 2.07″, a record for the date. This was the last snowfall of the winter, a winter in which just 12.4″ fell, quite a contrast from the previous four winters, all of which had at least forty inches of snow.
March 19, 1992 - The biggest snowfall of the winter occurred today, a sloppy 6.2″. This tripled the winter’s relatively snowless snow total to 9.4″. Just two degrees separated the day’s high and low (33/31).
April 6, 1982 - Just 1.1″ of snow had fallen in February and March when a blizzard dumped 9.6″ of snow on the City today, less than a week before Easter. More than a foot fell in New Jersey and Westchester County. The storm started as rain in the pre-dawn hours and changed over to snow mid-morning and lasted through late afternoon. By midnight the temperature had fallen to a record low 21 degrees. This was the most snow to fall so late in the season since ten inches fell on April 3, 1915. To read a first-person account click here.
April 7, 2003 - Four inches of snow fell, the biggest April snowfall in twenty-one years. This brought the season’s snowfall close to 50 inches.
October 29, 2011 – An intense nor’easter lashed the area with high winds and outrageously early snowfall. The 2.9″ of heavy, wet snow that was measured in Central Park was the most ever to fall in October (5.2″ fell in Newark and over a foot buried northern NJ, parts of NY state, Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire).
Since the temperature never fell below freezing there was no serious accumulation on City streets (except for slush). However, the day’s low of 33, which occurred in the early afternoon, was the coldest reading in October since 1988. Total liquid precipitation from the storm was two inches. Remarkably, twelve weeks would pass before the next measurable snow (4.3″ on Jan. 21, 2012).
November 7, 2012 – Just nine days after the region was raked by hurricane Sandy’s high winds and record storm surge, a nor’easter lashed the area. It moved far enough off the coast to pull cold air into the area, changing the rain to snow by 2PM. This was just the fifth snowfall of one-inch+ to occur in November in the past 40 years – and the first since 1997. 4.7″ fell (4.3″ of it today), making it the earliest 4-inch snowfall on record (the previous record was in 1989 when 4.7″ fell on Nov. 22-23). It was also the largest accumulation of the calendar year, topping the 4.3″ that fell on Jan 21.
November 22-23, 1989 - A Thanksgiving Day snowstorm along the Mid-Atlantic (which began late the previous night) dumped 4.7″ of snow on NYC; however, it was over by the time the Macy’sparade began. Although this wasn’t officially a wintertime snowfall it was larger than any accumulation during the 1989/90 season. The day’s high topped out at just 31, twenty degrees below average.
December 5, 2002 - One year after record warmth occurred on this date (high of 70 degrees) six inches of snow fell, the biggest snow so early in the season since 1938.
December 5-6, 2003 - Snow fell during the afternoon and lasted into early evening, accumulatingeight inches (more than was predicted). This snowfall came one year to the date after six inches fell. It was part of a two-stage storm that brought more significant snowfall the following day. That day, a Saturday, the City was under a blizzard warning for much of the day and an additional six inches of snow fell. The high temperature rose to only 28 after a morning low of 23. Just a week into the month and this was already the snowiest December since 1960, when 19.8 inches fell.
Waverly Place, on the North side of Washington Square Park.
December 9, 2005 - 9.3″ of snow fell in the past six days. The 5.8″ of wet snow that fell on this Friday morning was a record for the date.
December 19-20, 1995 - Beginning today and continuing into tomorrow NYC experienced its biggest December snowstorm since 1960 as 7.7″ fell (10-12″ had been predicted). Less than 10 miles away, La Guardia Airport was buried by 15″.
December 19-20, 2009 - This first snow of the winter was a snowstorm that moved in late in the afternoon on a Saturday. By the time it ended at around 4AM on Sunday 10.9″ had fallen. Long Island received considerably more with parts of Suffolk County buried by more than 20″.
December 26-27, 2010 - Snow began falling during the afternoon and by evening blizzard conditions had developed. When the flakes stopped flying the following morning 20 inches had piled up. The City was largely unprepared for a storm of such intensity (and mayor Bloomberg was on vacation at an undisclosed location).
This was the sixth biggest snowstorm in NYC’s history (and it shared its dates with New York’s landmark 1947 snowstorm that dumped 26.4″). It was the second 20-inch accumulation of the year – the only year to have two storms of such magnitude (the first was on Feb. 25-26 when 20.9″ fell). The blizzard’s bulls-eye was west of NYC where most towns in New Jersey were buried by more than two feet of snow (e.g., Newark measured 24.2 inches).
December 28, 1990 - Today’s 7.2″ snowfall (which began late last night) was the largest accumulation in nearly four years (since January 1987) and the biggest December snowfall since 1960. Snow ended shortly before 11AM.
December 30, 2000 - A foot of snow fell as the year was winding down. It was a record for the date, the most snow since the blizzard of January ’96 and the biggest December snowstorm since 1960. This Saturday snowstorm was a fast mover, lasting just eight hours (5AM-1PM).
Is Mitt Romney becoming a climate change crusader?
During his 2012 presidential bid, Romney was dismissive about Democratic efforts to combat the effects of climate change, and he pushed for an expanded commitment to fossil fuels. But in a speech in California on Monday, Romney, who is considering a third run for president in 2016, signaled a shift on the issue. According to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, the former Massachusetts governor “said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it’s real and a major problem,” and he lamented that Washington had done “almost nothing” to stop it.
For Romney, this is his second about-face on climate change. In his 2010 book, No Apology, he called human activity a “contributing factor” to melting ice caps. And in the run-up to the 2012 Republican primaries, Romney backed a reduction in emissions to curb anthropogenic global warming. “I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer,” he told the Manchester Union-Leader in 2011. “And…I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past, but I believe that we contribute to that. So I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.”
But as the 2012 campaign evolved, Romney reversed course. He said that heopposed curbing carbon dioxide emissions. He declared, “We don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” Instead, he pledged to increase coal production and ramp up oil exploration. At the Republican convention in Tampa, he turned climate change into a punch line. “I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet,” he remarked during his nomination speech—a jab at President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise that his victory would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
A Romney spokesman says the former governor’s remarks on Monday are”consistent with what he said on the trail in 2012 about climate change.” Perhaps. It just depends which 2012 comments he’s referring to.
‘I never once doubted his instincts. I had total trust’
An emotional Rush Limbaugh remembers his chief of staff, Kit Carson, who died of brain cancer Monday, Jan. 26. 2015.
Christopher “Kit” Carson, the chief of staff for America’s top-rated radio host Rush Limbaugh, died Monday morning in New Jersey after a four-year battle with brain cancer. He was 58.
“It’s such a void because he loved this job,” Limbaugh said Monday with a heavy heart as he paid tribute for nearly an hour to Carson, who was the first staffer he hired for his show 27 years ago. “He’s just going to be really missed … Even though we knew this was coming for a while … It’s a huge void in everybody’s heart.”
“You knew you were talking to somebody who actively loved being alive and had active respect for being alive,” he continued. “It’s the one bad thing about getting old, because your friends start [getting] old, too.”
“He was such an integral part of this program every day, even though you never heard him. …
“He was irreplaceable and it’s just a very, very, sad, unfortunate thing that happens to everybody, and the way he dealt with it is a lesson in and of itself.”
Kit Carson (courtesy RushLimbaugh.com)
Carson was originally from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area, and his initial career goals led toward Hollywood, Limbaugh explained.
“He wanted to be an actor, and he ended up enjoying what he did here so much, he became 100-percent totally devoted to the program.”
Limbaugh said Kit “became the resident expert on me and the program. He became its number-one champion, defender, evangelist.”
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As far as his presence around the broadcast office, “Kit Carson honest to God never ever had a bad word to say about anybody,” Limbaugh said. “He did not engage in backstabbing.”
Rush recalled the first time Carson showed up for work, saying, “He walked in the room wearing those cargo shorts and the short white socks and the black Keds. He didn’t care if you were laughing at him. It didn’t matter. And everyone laughed.”
Limbaugh noted he had complete trust in Carson.
“He is the one guy … I never once doubted his instincts. I had total trust. … The only thing he cared about was doing whatever to make sure I looked the best I could be.
“He had this innocent exuberance about everybody. … You really had to earn his distrust.”
Limbaugh even admitted, “I stole his opinions sometimes. Sometimes I gave him credit.”
Listen to Rush Limbaugh remembering Kit Carson:
“He did not allow me to be pessimistic or negative. He didn’t allow me to get down in the dumps about anything. And if he sensed that I was, he would do anything that he could that enabled me to get the best out of myself.”
Limbaugh recalled the happiest he ever saw Carson was when Kit first met his future spouse.
“When he met his soon-to-be wife Theresa, he was like a kid in a candy store forever.”
Once married, “He could not believe that he actually convinced this woman to marry him,” Limbaugh said. “It was exactly like a fairy tale.”
“I grabbed his hand and held his hand and said, ‘There’s nobody who can replace you. There’s no one who can do what you do.’”
Limbaugh says Carson had a head that was full of red hair, and even after undergoing cancer treatments, he still retained much of it.
“He loved to go walking down 6th Avenue and Japanese tourists thought he was Conan O’Brien,” Limbaugh said.
Carson had many friends among the news media.
WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah was among them.
“I’ve known Kit Carson for more than 20 years,” Farah said. “I worked with him on the development of a daily column for Rush at the Sacramento Union. I worked with him again during my collaboration with Rush on his mega-bestselling ‘See I Told You So.’ And, over the years, he has always been a gracious help to me – a real gentleman. He will be greatly missed by all – especially Rush, whom he served as chief of staff for so long.”
James Grisham, producer of Sean Hannity’s radio program, told WND: “Kit Carson always took time from a very busy schedule to kid around with us or help if needed. He was a man of faith lived, never talked about much, the kind that I think matter most.”
Carson leaves behind his wife, Theresa, and two sons, Jack and Jesse.
Limbaugh says his own wife, Kathryn, has been spending time with Carson’s family in recent days.
“She thinks we ought to put a chair in [the Palm Beach, Florida, studio] and up in New York, called the Kit Chair, the honorary Kit Chair,” Limbaugh said. “It’s always gonna be there. That chair is always gonna be where he sat. So we’re gonna do that.” http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/rush-limbaughs-right-hand-man-dies/
Born September 4, 1958, Hubbard was raised in Apopka, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, Florida. His father taught at a local community college and his mother taught at a high school. Hubbard’s younger brother, Gregg, is a member of the country-pop band Sawyer Brown.
Hubbard is an Eagle Scout. A member of the chess team, he was a stellar student who graduated at the top of his class. He scored well enough on his College Level Examination Program to enter the University of Central Florida with enough credits to graduate with two degrees in three years. He obtained his B.A. and B.S. degrees summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida in 1979, and his masters and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1983.
“Hubbard is a member of the Board of Directors of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., BlackRock Closed-End Funds, Capmark Financial Corporation, Duke Realty Corporation,KKR Financial Corporation and Ripplewood Holdings. He is also a Director or Trustee of the Economic Club of New York, Tax Foundation, Resources for the Future, Manhattan Council and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse… Director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since February 2007.”
Hubbard was interviewed in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning documentary film, Inside Job (2010), discussing his advocacy, as chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration, of deregulation. Ferguson argues that deregulation led to the 2008 international banking crisis sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the sale of Merrill Lynch. In the interview, Ferguson asks Hubbard to enumerate the firms from whom he receives outside income as an advisory board member in the context of possible conflict of interest. Hubbard, hitherto cooperative, declines to answer and threatens to end the interview with the remark, “You have three more minutes; give it your best shot.” After the release of the film, Columbia ramped up ongoing efforts to strengthen and clarify their conflict of interest disclosure requirements. (Columbia Business School professor Michael Feiner, a member of the faculty committee of Columbia’s Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, has recommended that the film be shown to all business school students.) One of Hubbard’s consulting contracts was examined in a deposition in 2012. His work for Countrywide Financial for $1200/hr, attesting that the lender’s loans were no worse than a control group of mortgages and not fraudulent, was examined by an attorney for MBIA. MBIA was suing Countrywide over its mortgage practices.
Columbia Business School (CBS) Follies
Hubbard is also frequently featured in skits by Columbia Business School’s “Follies” group, ranging from videos of him monitoring students on classroom video cameras to songs about his relationship with Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
^ Jump up to:abc“Director – R. Glenn Hubbard”. Metlife. Retrieved 2008-12-15. R. Glenn Hubbard, Ph.D., age 50, has been the Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University since 2004 and the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics since 1994. Dr. Hubbard has been a professor of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University since 1988. He is also a visiting scholar and Director of the Tax Policy Program for the American Enterprise Institute, and was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers for the Congressional Budget Office from 2004 to 2006. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Hubbard served as Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and as Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Dr. Hubbard is a member of the Board of Directors of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., BlackRock Closed-End Funds, Capmark Financial Corporation, Duke Realty Corporation, KKR Financial Corporation and Ripplewood Holdings. He is also a Director or Trustee of the Economic Club of New York, Tax Foundation, Resources for the Future, Manhattan Council and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse… Director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since February 2007. Link.
Jump up^ECHO 360. CBS Follies. December 16, 2011 – via YouTube. Those ECHO 360 cameras in every room at CBS aren’t just recording lectures so you can skip class on Jewish holidays. They’re Hubbard’s eyes and ears. He’s watching you.
Jump up^White House Dream. CBS Follies. April 16, 2012 – via YouTube. From the Columbia Business School Follies Spring 2012 Show
Story 1: Obama’s Cadillac Tax Crashes and Burns Killing Obamacare and Injuring MIT Professor Gruber — Rest In Peace — Obamacare Is Shovel Ready — Videos
ObamaCare a Trojan Horse for Single-Payer
Obama lies about “cadillac” plan taxation
36 Times Obama Said You Could Keep Your Health Care Plan | SuperCuts #18
ACA Architect Confession: Created Lies For Obama
Obamacare – Concerns “Cadillac Tax” Forcing Employers To Cut Back Health Plans
What is the “cadillac tax?”
Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax Pushing People To Plans With High Deductible- Union You Got What You Wanted
Obamacare – Concerns “Cadillac Tax” Forcing Employers To Cut Back Health Plans
The Five: Large Employers Cite ObamaCare “Cadillac” Tax In Reducing Benefits
SMOKING GUN! Gruber Admits Obama Was in Room During Planning of Cadillac Lie
GRUBER: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”
GRUBER; Deceive Americans Critical to Pass Obamacare-Calls us ‘Stupid Americans'; Part 1 of 3
Gruber Remarks Puts Obama Administration on Scramble; Part 2 of 3
Jonathan Gruber: States Which Do Not Set Up an Exchange Do Not Get Tax Subsidies
BookTV: Jonathan Gruber, “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works”
Jonathan Gruber admits Obamacare is inherently unaffordable
Obamacare – Concerns “Cadillac Tax” Forcing Employers To Cut Back Health Plans
Krauthammer rips Jonathan Gruber: “We’re hearing the true voice of liberal arrogance”
Megyn Slams ObamaCare Architect Who Declined to Appear on ‘Kelly File’
Democrats Loved Jonathan Gruber Before They Forgot Who He Was
Sen. Harry Reid, 2009: Gruber Is One Of The ‘Most Respected Economists’ Out There
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in a December 2009 floor speech on Capitol Hill lauded Jonathan Gruber as one of the most “respected economists in the world” as Reid cited facts defending the Senate’s Obamacare bill.
Nancy Pelosi In 2009: Americans Should Read Jonathan Gruber’s ObamaCare Analysis
Nancy Pelosi In 2009: Americans Should Read Jonathan Gruber’s ObamaCare Analysis (November 5, 2009)
AHEC 2013 Conference
As part of the 24th Annual Health Economics Conference hosted by PennLDI, Mark Pauly and Jonathan Gruber were featured in the Plenary Panel discussing the role of economics in shaping (and possibly reshaping) the ACA. See below for the conference agenda with links to working papers. See the full AHEC agenda: http://ldi.upenn.edu/ahec2013/agenda
Jonathan Gruber at Noblis – January 18, 2012
The Noblis Technology Tuesday speaker series covers a broad spectrum of political, technical and innovative ideas. Noblis is a nonprofit science, technology, and strategy organization that brings the best of scientific thought, management, and engineering expertise with a reputation for independence and objectivity. The opinions expressed in this video are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Noblis.
Jonathan Gruber spoke to a Noblis audience on January 18, 2012 Few experts know more about America’s dire need of health care reform than Gruber. And of that short list, he is the only one prepared to enter the pages of a comic book to make the case. To be clear: Gruber is not an expert; he is “the” expert. An award-winning MIT economist and the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, he was a key architect of the ambitious health care reform effort in Massachusetts and is a member of the Health Connector Board now implementing it; in 2006 he was named by “Modern Healthcare” as the nineteenth most powerful person in health care in the United States. In 2008 he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards, and Obama presidential campaigns. The national legislation passed by Congress in 2009 derives directly from Gruber’s insights learned during the Massachusetts health care debate.
Honors Colloquium 2012 – Jonathan Gruber
Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate. He is an Associate Editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Dr. Gruber received his B.S. in Economics from MIT, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Dr. Gruber’s research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text, and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel. In 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under. During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003-2006 he was a key architect of Massachusettsâ€™ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.
BookTV: Jonathan Gruber, “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works
Jonathan Gruber, economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the health care program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, presents his thoughts on health care. Mr. Gruber a leading architect of Massachusetts’ health care reform also consulted with Congress and President Obama on the creation of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by the President in 2010.
Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber suddenly recast as bit player after uproar
Nancy Pelosi, fellow Democrats scramble to distance themselves from MIT professor, economist
For years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber was deemed an architect of Obamacare and his economic modeling was cited regularly by the health care law’s defenders on Capitol Hill and in legal briefs defending the Affordable Care Act in federal courts.
But after tapes surfaced of the economist saying “stupid” voters needed to be bamboozled and the books cooked to get the legislation passed in 2010, Democrats are scrambling to reduce Mr. Gruber to a bit player — and raising questions about whether he needs to be expunged from their defense strategy as they face yet another Supreme Court review.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who as speaker in 2009 posted an Obamacare “myth buster” citing Mr. Gruber, vehemently distanced herself from him Thursday.
“I don’t who he is. He didn’t help write our bill,” she said, but added that Mr. Gruber’s comments were a year old and he had recanted them.
In the comments that have just come to light, Mr. Gruber said the health care bill was written in a “tortured” way to ensure the Congressional Budget Office didn’t score the individual mandate as a tax, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the mandate as constitutional under Congress’ taxing power.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Mr. Gruber said at the time. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.”
Mr. Gruber said this week that he regretted the remarks. But House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Thursday that American voters are “anything but stupid” and oppose the health care system’s overhaul for valid reasons.
Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican selected as the next Senate majority leader, said Mr. Gruber made a classic “Washington gaffe — when a politician mistakenly tells you what he really thinks.”
In legal briefs submitted last year to a federal district court in Virginia, Obama administration attorneys cited Mr. Gruber in a case defending their ability to pay subsidies to enrollees regardless of whether they are part of state-run or federally run health care exchanges.
“According to the calculations of one health care economist, without the minimum coverage provision and subsidized insurance coverage, premiums for single individuals would be double the amount anticipated under the ACA,” the Justice Department wrote in a legal brief last November, citing Mr. Gruber’s work in a footnote.
The Supreme Court decided this month to take up the case, King v. Burwell, after the challengers lost to the administration in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Neither the Justice Department nor the White House responded to questions about Mr. Gruber — who declined to comment for this story — and his role in their legal strategy.
But Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funding the administration’s opponents in the King case, said Mr. Gruber’s 2012 remarks about subsidies bolster their own arguments.
Mr. Gruber at the time said subsidies would flow only to states that set up their own exchanges.
“What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits — but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” the economist told an audience.
That would mean consumers in most states wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies, which would puncture a big hole in Obamacare. The Obama administration has argued that even though the law says subsidies go to state exchanges, they also should include states that have opted for the federal exchange.
Mr. Kazman said the Gruber comments create a major problem for Mr. Obama.
“He’s not toxic to us,” Mr. Kazman said in an interview Thursday. “We may give him an award for public service.”
In a parallel case before the D.C. Circuit, the administration tried to downplay Mr. Gruber in its latest court filings. On Nov. 3, the Justice Department said in a footnote that “post-enactment statements by a non-legislator are entitled to no weight.”
“In any event, Professor Gruber has since clarified that the remarks on which plaintiffs rely were mistaken,” the attorneys told the D.C. Circuit, which has suspended its proceedings until the Supreme Court weighs in.
“Tellingly,” Mr. Carvin said in a reply brief, “the government also ignores that Jonathan Gruber — the ACA architect whose work it cited in every brief below but is nowhere mentioned now — articulated the incentive purpose of [subsidies] as early as 2012.”
Mr. Gruber has made hundreds of thousands of dollars off Obamacare, serving as a consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services and to states that used health care grant money to pay him for his services.
Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who closely tracks the health care law, said the controversy has been overblown.
“This whole thing just puzzles me,” he said. “He wasn’t a legislator. He didn’t write the bill. He didn’t vote on the bill.”
But I’ve also long supported the principle of universal coverage. Universal coverage, done right, is a core part of a conservative worldview that values equality of opportunity for the sick and the poor. If 10 of the 11 freest economies in the world can establish universal coverage, it’s not impossible for the United States to do so in a way that is consonant with economic freedom.
Switzerland and Singapore: Market-based health reform models
The most market-oriented health care systems in the developed world—those ofSwitzerland and Singapore—have much to teach us about how to achieve universal coverage in a way that spends far less than what the U.S. does. In 2012, U.S. government entities spent $4,160 per capita on health care. That’s more than twice as much as Switzerland, and nearly five times as much as Singapore.
And that brings us right back to Obamacare. The vast majority of the law is misguided and misconceived. But a handful of its provisions can provide the basis of constructive health care reform: in particular, its use of Swiss-style means-tested tax credits to subsidize private health insurance premiums. Most importantly, those tax credits are applied to insurance plans that people shop for on their own, substantially expanding the market for individually purchased health coverage.
The Swiss system is far from perfect, as I have discussed on many occasions. But the basic idea in Switzerland is to offer premium subsidies to the people who really need them. In Switzerland, one-fifth of the population gets subsidized health coverage. In the U.S., around four-fifths do. That’s the difference between a safety net and an entitlement leviathan.
Conservative health reform after Obamacare
One of the fundamental flaws in the conservative approach to health care policy is that few—if any—Republican leaders have articulated a vision of what a market-oriented health care system would look like. Hence, Republican proposals on health reform have often been tactical and political—in opposition to whatever Democrats were pitching—instead of strategic and serious.
Those days must come to an end. The problems with our health care system are too great. Health care is too expensive for the government, and too expensive for average Americans.
In 2012, as the Romney campaign came to a close, Rich Lowry, the editor ofNational Review, asked me to write an article with my thoughts about the best path forward for conservative health care reform. I outlined a four-step plan to take the entire gamish of government health care programs and reform them into something consumer-driven and fiscally sustainable: (1) deregulate Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, including repeal of the individual mandate, while preserving guaranteed issue for individuals with pre-existing conditions; (2) migrate future retirees onto the reformed exchanges; (3) repeal Obamacare’s employer mandate; (4) migrate Medicaid acute-care and dual-eligible enrollees onto the exchanges.
“After these four relatively simple steps,” I wrote, “we would be left with a health-care system that would look a lot like Switzerland’s. Rises in premium subsidies could be held to a sustainable growth rate to ensure their long-term fiscal stability. And Americans might finally have the opportunity to purchase insurance for themselves, gain control of their own health-care dollars, and enjoy a wide range of low-cost, high-quality coverage options.”
A few months later, former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and I wrote a similar piece for Reuters, which elicited a broad range of responses from both the left and the right.
It became clear that I had to do more than write op-eds, that I had to develop this idea in detail, with credible fiscal and economic modeling.
Modeling market-based health reform
So, over the last 18 months, I’ve done just that. Stephen Parente, a health economist at the University of Minnesota, and his team modeled the fiscal and coverage impact of the bulk of my proposed set of reforms. (I then modeled the remainder, using analyses from the Congressional Budget Office, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the like.)
The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, where I am a Senior Fellow, raised money to fund Parente’s work on this project. Steve and his team and I went back and forth for months, refining and tweaking the proposal until it met five non-negotiable goals. The end result had to:
Reduce the deficit without raising taxes
Expand coverage meaningfully above ACA levels
Repeal the individual mandate
Reduce the cost of private health insurance
Improve health outcomes for the poor
Based on our modeling, the plan, over a thirty-year period, reduces federal spending by $10.5 trillion and federal revenue by $2.5 trillion, for a net deficit reduction of $8 trillion. We project that it will expand coverage by more than 12 million individuals over its first decade, despite the fact that it repeals the individual mandate. It reduces the cost of private-sector insurance policies by 17 percent for single policies and 4 percent for family policies.
But the most dramatic improvement, we estimate, is in the Medicaid population. A group that today receives substandard care and substandard access to care will see a dramatic increase in provider access and health outcomes, based on Parente-developed indices that measure these things.
Breaking free of the repeal-or-reform debate
Importantly, while this plan is compatible with “repealing and replacing” Obamacare, it does not require the repeal of Obamacare. To achieve the former, you would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a universal system of state-based health insurance exchanges. To achieve the latter, you’d reform the pre-existing ACA exchanges, and gradually migrate future retirees and Medicaid enrollees onto the reformed exchanges.
In this way, perhaps the plan can attract interest from both the right and the center.
Both clips reveal a gleefully dismissive attitude toward public concerns about the law, and offer a telling reminder of the attitude that played a crucial role in shaping and selling the law to the public.
In the first video, recorded in March of 2010, just a few days before the law would pass the House, Gruber argues that the public does not really care about the uninsured. What it cares about is cost control. Therefore, he says, the law had to be sold on the basis of its cost control.
Yet as Gruber admits in the video, the bill was not primarily focused on cost control—the bill “is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control.” Indeed, the problem with cost control, he says, is that “we don’t know how” to do it.
“Barack Obama’s not a stupid man, okay?” Gruber said in his remarks at the College of the Holy Cross on March 11, 2010. “He knew when he was running for president that quite frankly the American public doesn’t actually care that much about the uninsured….What the American public cares about is costs. And that’s why even though the bill that they made is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control. How it’s going to lower the cost of health care, that’s all they talk about. Why? Because that’s what people want to hear about because a majority of American care about health care costs.”
Elsewhere in the same speech, Gruber says:
“The only way we’re going to stop our country from being a latter day Roman Empire and falling under its own weight is getting control of the growth rate of health care costs. The problem is we don’t know how.”
Remember, this is what Gruber was saying as the law was still being debated. It didn’tpass in the House, the critical step before hitting President Obama’s desk, until more than a week later. And what Gruber was saying, even before the bill was law, was that supporters had intentionally emphasized parts of the bill that were relatively minor, and that were not certain to even produce their intended effects.
This is not lying, exactly; the bill did in fact include some attempts at cost control, although as Gruber said, it was unclear at the time if or how well they would work. And Gruber may well have been right that the public was more concerned with cost control than expanding coverage. But, especially in combination with the other video released this week, it indicates that Gruber believed that the law’s advocates were not being completely straight with the public, that supporters of Obamacare were telling the public what they believed the public wanted to hear instead of giving them the full story, and that they were doing so on the understanding that telling the full story would make the bill impossible to pass.
What it shows, in other words, is Gruber openly embracing a strategy of messaging manipulation and misleading emphasis even while the bill was still being debated. If the public understood the bill clearly, he believed, they would reject it. It was more important to pass the bill.
Another video, posted today by The Daily Signal, shows Gruber taking a similarly dismissive attitude toward public concerns about the bill. At a meeting with the Vermont House Health Care Committee, Gruber is presented with a question about whether systems like those described in a report by Gruber and Harvard health economist William Hsiao, might result in “ballooning costs, increased taxes and bureaucratic outrages” as well “shabby facilities, disgruntled providers” and destructive price controls.
Gruber’s response begin with: “Was this written by my adolescent children by any chance?” The Signal quotes two-term Vermont state senator and Reagan-adviser John McClaughry as saying that the question had been submitted “by a former senior policy adviser in the White House who knew something about health care systems.”
Gruber’s response is intended as a joke, and it reveals little about the health care law (the reforms in question are specific to Vermont). But it says plenty about Gruber, and the flippant, arrogant way he treats concerns and criticism.
This is the person whom the White House relied on to help craft the bill; he was paid handsomely to model its effects (a fact he did not disclose, even when asked), and he was in the room when important decisions were made about how it would work. He claims to have helped write specific portions of the law himself. Gruber was not the sole architect of the law, but he was one of its biggest single influences on both its design and on how the media, which quoted him repeatedly, reported and understood the law.
The White House and its allies are desperately trying to distance themselves from Gruber right now by downplaying his role in the law’s creation. But the record of his involvement is clear enough: At The Washington Post, Ezra Klein has variously described Gruber as “one of the key architects behind the structure of the Affordable Care Act” and “the most aggressive academic economist supporting the reform effort.” The New York Times in 2012 described his role as helping to design the overall structure as well as being “dispatched” by the White House to Congress to write the legislative text. Gruber’s work was cited repeatedly by the White House, Democratic leadership, and the media.
So when he describes the thinking about how the law was crafted and sold to the public, it’s worth taking note. This is the posture of one of the law’s authors and chief backers. It’s part of the spirit in which the law was created and passed. Gruber’s ideas were embedded in the law’s structure and language, and so was his attitude.
The White House is denouncing comments from key Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that a lack of transparency and the stupidity of voters helped in the passage of the health care law and is instead pointing a finger at Republicans.
“The fact of the matter is, the process associated with the writing and passing and implementing of the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a news briefing in Myanmar, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
Story Continued Below
“I disagree vigorously with that assessment,” Earnest responded when asked about Gruber’s claim that Obamacare wouldn’t have passed if the administration was more transparent and voters more intelligent.
He added, “It is Republicans who have been less than forthright and transparent about what their proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act would do in terms of the choices are available to middle class families.”
Earnest said the president “is proud of the transparent process that was undertaken to pass that bill into law.”
The response from the White House comes as a third video of Gruber criticizing the intelligence of American voters has surfaced.
“We just tax the insurance companies, they pass on higher prices that offsets the tax break we get, it ends up being the same thing. It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” Gruber said in remarks from 2012 that aired Wednesday evening on “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
Gruber has been causing headaches for the White House as conservatives have had a field day that began with comments the MIT professor made in 2013.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass,” Gruber said at the time, according to one of the videos that has recently come to light.
In another video clip of a separate event, while talking about tax credits in the Affordable Care Act, he said, “American voters are too stupid to understand the difference.”
Gruber apologized for the comments during an appearance earlier this week on MSNBC’s “Ronan Farrow Daily”:
(Also on POLITICO: Ted Cruz out on a limb on Obamacare repeal)
“I was speaking off the cuff, and I was basically speaking inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments.”
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed Gruber’s role in Obamacare on Thursday, telling the press, “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t help write our bill.”
Many outlets were quick to point out that Pelosi cited Gruber in a “Health Insurance Reform Mythbuster” on her official website in 2009.
House Speaker John Boehner released a statement Thursday, slamming Gruber for his comments.
“If there was ever any doubt that ObamaCare was rammed through Congress with a heavy dose of arrogance, duplicity, and contempt for the will of the American people, recent comments by one of the law’s chief architects, Jonathan Gruber, put that to rest,” the top Republican said.
The statement continues, “The American people are anything but ‘stupid.’ They’re the ones bearing the consequences of the president’s health care law and, unsurprisingly, they continue to oppose it.” http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/jonathan-gruber-obamacare-voters-white-house-response-112856.html
Criticisms of these plans generally center on the small or nonexistent co-pays, deductibles, or caps that encourage the overuse of medical care, driving the cost up for the uninsured or those on other plans, which some say necessitates aCadillac tax.
A study published in Health Affairs in December 2009 found that high-cost health plans do not provide unusually rich benefits to enrollees. The researchers found that only 3.7% of the variation in the cost of family coverage in employer-sponsored health plans is attributable to differences in the actuarial value of benefits. Only 6.1% of the variation is attributable to the combination of benefit design and plan type (e.g., PPO, HMO, etc.). The employer’s industry and regional variations in health care costs explain part of the variation, but most is unexplained. The researchers conclude “…that analysts should not equate high-cost plans with Cadillac plans, but that in fact other factors—industry and cost of medical inputs—are as important in predicting whether a plan is a high-cost plan. Without appropriate adjustments, a simple cap may exacerbate rather than ameliorate current inequities.”
How ObamaCare Taxes Affect You: New Taxes, Hikes, Breaks, Credits, and Other Changes
Here’s a full list of ObamaCare Taxes. The 21 new ObamaCare tax hikes and breaks impact us all, but which ObamaCare taxes will you actually pay? Find out how the tax related provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will affect you, your family, your business, and your tax returns for 2013 and beyond.
The Bottom Line on the ObamaCare Tax Plan
The new tax related provisions in theAffordable Care Act(ObamaCare) include tax hikes, limits to deductions, tax credits, tax breaks, and other changes. While a few of the changes directly affect the average American, tax increases primarily affect high earners (those making over $200,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a family), large businesses (those making over $250,000), and the health care industry, while tax credits primarily affect low-to-middle income Americans and small businesses.
Here are some quick facts to help you understand how ObamaCare affects taxes:
• For the majority of the 85% of Americans with health insurance the percentage of income paid in taxes won’t change much, if at all. However, some of the changes may directly or indirectly affect specific groups.
• The majority of the 15% of Americans without health insurance will primarily be affected by the Individual Mandate (the requirement to buy health insurance), the Employer Mandate (the requirement for large employers to insure full-time employees), and Tax Credits (tax credits reduce premium costs for individuals, families, and small businesses).
• Many Americans will be affected by changes to new limits on medical tax deduction thresholds MSAs, FSAs, and HSAs.
• Small businesses will not be required to provide health insurance, but will gettax credits to reduce premium costs if they choose to offer group plans.
• Even if you won’t see higher taxes under the Affordable Care Act, it doesn’t mean there aren’t costs associated with the law. You’ll still need to buy health insurance, unless you qualify for Medicaid or an exemption, and that will cost you money.
• As a rule of thumb those who make less pay less and those who make more pay more, both in regard to health insurance costs and taxes under theAffordable Care Act.
• The Congressional Budget Office has shown that the revenue generated from the new taxes, along with cuts to spending, will help to pay for the Affordable Care Act’s many provisions, fund tax credits and lower the deficit by 2023.Learn More.
Why Does ObamaCare Create New Taxes?
ObamaCare includes many new benefits, rights, and protections including the requirement for health insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions. It also expands access to affordable health insurance to almost 50 million low-to-middle income men, women, and children across the country by offering reduced premiums via tax credits and expanding Medicaid and CHIP. Expanding the quality, affordability and availability of health insurance (along with other aspects of the law) come at a high cost. Assuming all tax provisions remain in place, the revenue generated from these new taxes help to cover the costs of the program and reduces the deficit. Learn more about the new benefits, rights, protections offered by the Affordable Care Act.
A Quick Overview of Key Taxes in the Affordable Care Act
Before we get to the full list of taxes here is a quick overview of the key tax related provisions that may affect those without insurance, those who plan to go without insurance, and those who are struggling to afford insurance now.
Individual Mandate (new tax): Americans who can afford to must obtain minimum essential health coverage for 2014, get an exemption or pay a per month fee.
Employer Mandate (new tax): Come 2015 large employers must insure full time employees or pay a per employee fee. Over half of Americans get their insurance through work and the largest group of uninsured is currently the working poor.
Taking all the tax provisions in the ACA into account ObamaCare technically provides the greatest middle class tax cut to healthcare in history.
Full List of All Taxes in ObamaCare / All Taxes in the Affordable Care Act
The following list of new ObamaCare taxes collectively raise over $800 billion by 2022. Here is a complete list of new fees and taxes contained withinObamaCare:
ObamaCare Taxes That Most Likely Won’t Directly Affect the Average American
• 2.3% Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers 2014
• 10% Tax on Indoor Tanning Services 2014
• Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike
• Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals which fail to comply with the requirements of ObamaCare
• Tax on Brand Name Drugs
• Tax on Health Insurers
• $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives
• Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D
• Employer Mandate on business with over 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to full-time employees. $2000 per employee $3000 if employee uses tax credits to buy insurance on the exchange (marketplace). (pushed back to 2015)
• Medicare Tax on Investment Income 3.8% over $200k/$250k
• Medicare Part A Tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k
• Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (not a tax)
• Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (repealed)
• Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (not a tax)
ObamaCare Taxes That (may) Directly Affect the Average American
• 40% Excise Tax “Cadillac” on high-end Premium Health Insurance Plans 2018
• An annual $63 fee levied by ObamaCare on all plans (decreased each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are eliminated) to help pay for insurance companies covering the costs of high-risk pools.
• Medicine Cabinet Tax
Over the counter medicines no longer qualified as medical expenses for flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Saving accounts (MSAs).
• Additional Tax on HSA/MSA Distributions
Health savings account or an Archer medical savings account, penalties for spending money on non-qualified medical expenses. 10% to 20% in the case of a HSA and from 15% to 20% in the case of a MSA.
• Flexible Spending Account Cap 2013
Contributions to FSAs are reduced to $2,500 from $5,000.
• Medical Deduction Threshold tax increase 2013
Threshold to deduct medical expenses as an itemized deduction increases to 10% from 7.5%.
• Individual Mandate (the tax for not purchasing insurance if you can afford it) 2014
Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income tax surtax at a rate of 1% or $95 in 2014 to 2.5% in 2016 on profitable income above the tax threshold. The total penalty amount cannot exceed the national average of the annual premiums of a “bronze level” health insurance plan on ObamaCare exchanges.
• Premium Tax Credits for Small Businesses 2014 (not a tax)
• Advanced Premium Tax Credits for Individuals and Families 2014 (not a tax)
• Medical Loss Ratio (MRL): Premium rebates (not a tax)
The link below provides a full list of ObamaCare Taxes by the IRS.
Let’s take a look at how ObamaCare’s taxes affect certain income groups.
ObamaCare Taxes for High Earners and Large Businesses
Most of the new taxes are on high-earners (individuals making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000), large businesses (over 50 full-time equivalent employees making over $250,000), and industries that profit from healthcare. Essentially those who will see gains under ObamaCare are required to put money back in the program via taxes.
FACT: Tax increases generally affect single filers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 and married couples filing jointly above $250,000. Some of the tax increases don’t kick in until single AGI hits $400,000 and married filing jointly AGI hits $450,000.
ObamaCare Taxes for the Average American With Health insurance
For most of the 85% of Americans with health insurance, making less than $250,000, most of the new taxes won’t mean much of anything although certain taxes below will affect specific individuals and families.
ObamaCare Taxes for the Average American Without Health insurance
The 15% of Americans without health insurance will be required to obtain health insurance (Individual Mandate) or will face a “tax penalty”.
The good news is that many uninsured will be exempt from the Individual mandate due to income, offered cost assistance through the marketplaceincluding Tax Credits (also available to small businesses), qualify for Medicaid, or will get insurance through work (the Employer Mandaterequires large employers to insure full-time employees by 2015). Adults who are under 26 will be able to stay on their parents plan as well, this will help to limit the number of young people who will pay the fee. Both the employer and individual mandates are part of our “shared responsibility” to expand the quality and affordability of health insurance in the United States as a trade for our new benefits, rights and protections.
ObamaCare Taxes for Small Businesses
Small businesses with less than 25 full-time equivalent employees will have access to tax credits to reduce premium costs of group plans.
ObamaCare Taxes for Specific Groups With Health Insurance
Here are a few changes that my affect specific groups of Americans with health insurance:
• Other tax provisions such as changes medical deduction thresholds, HSAs, MSAs, and FSAs may impact some Americans by limiting tax deductions.
• The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR or 80/20 rule) will mean that some Americans may get rebates if health insurance companies spend on non-healthcare related expenses.
• Tax provisions like the 10% tanning bed tax, taxes on drug companies, taxes on medical devices and taxes on health insurance companies selling insurance on and off the exchange may affect the amount of money we pay for some health care related goods and services, but will not have a significant impact on our daily lives.
• The employer mandate has caused some companies to cut down full-time workers to part-time to avoid providing benefits, however major employers like Disney and Walmart have actually increased their full-time workforce in response to the looming 2015 deadline.
• Overall the benefits tend to outweigh the costs for the average American as even those who pay a little more, get a lot more in return due to the increased quality of their health insurance.
Will I pay More Taxes and High Premiums Because of ObamaCare?
As mentioned above premium rates and the taxes you will have to pay are primarily based on income. Aside from income premium prices are based on which plan you choose, family size, age, smoking status and geography. Subsidies reduce the overall rate of your premiums (however smoking is calculated after subsidies). Come 2018 there will be a 40% excise tax on high end health insurance plans.
Aside from the tax provisions that require Americans to obtain insurance and subsidize it’s costs, ObamaCare also includes a few tax related provisions that work as consumer protections including requirements for better reporting and the Medical Loss Ratio.
ObamaCare Tax Rebates
Some consumers in both individual and group markets will see tax rebates due to ObamaCare’s Medical Loss Ratio (MLR). Health insurance companies will have to provide rebates to consumers if they spend less than 80 to 85% of premium dollars on medical care.
Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)
The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) means that Insurance companies are now required to spend at least 80% of premium dollars (85% in large group markets) on medical care and quality improvement activities. Insurance companies that are not meeting this standard will be required to provide rebates to their consumers. The MLR isn’t a tax, but it does have implications in regards to filing taxes and rebates can be given in the form of reduced premiums. See our page on ObamaCare Health Insurance Regulations for more details.
ObamaCare Income Tax Penalty For Not Having Insurance “Individual Mandate”
Starting in 2014, most people will have to have insurance or pay a “penalty deducted from your taxable income”. For individuals, penalty starts at $95 a year, or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater, and rise to $695, or 2.5% of income, by 2016.
For families the tax will be $2,085 or 2.5% percent of household income, whichever is greater. The requirement can be waived for several reasons, including financial hardship or religious beliefs. If the tax would exceed 8% of your income you are exempt, also some religious groups are exempt. That tax cannot exceed the cost of a “bronze plan” bought on the exchange.
Many individuals who are exempt from the mandate to buy insurance will still be eligible for free or low-cost insurance through the health insurance marketplace.
While some states, including Alabama, Wyoming and Montana, have passed laws to block the requirement to carry health insurance, those provisions do not override federal law. Get more information on the ObamaCare Individual Mandate.
The Individual Mandate is officially called the “individual shared responsibility provision”.
What Are ObamaCare Tax Credits?: Advanced Premium Tax Credits
Advanced Premium Tax Credits for Individuals and Families
Individuals and families will have access to Advanced premium tax credits on the marketplace. Tax Credits are deducted from your premium cost by your health insurance provider and are adjusted on your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). You can choose how much advance credit payments to apply to your premiums each month, up to a maximum amount. If the amount of advance credit payments you get for the year is less than the tax credit you’re due, you’ll get the difference as a refundable credit when you file your federal income tax return. If your advance payments for the year are more than the amount of your credit, you must repay the excess advance payments with your tax return.
Aside from premium tax credits individuals and families can also get lower cost sharing on out-of-pocket expenses like coinsurance, copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums through the marketplace.
Eligibility for Tax Credits
In general, you may be eligible for the credit if you meet all of the following:
buy health insurance through the Marketplace;
are ineligible for coverage through an employer or government plan;
are within certain income limits;
file a joint return, if married; and
cannot be claimed as a dependent by another person.
If you are eligible for the credit, you can choose to:
Get It Now: have some or all of the estimated credit paid in advance directly to your insurance company to lower what you pay out-of-pocket for your monthly premiums during 2014; or
Get It Later: wait to get all of the credit when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015.
How Will Advanced Premium Tax Credits Affect My Health Insurance Costs?
Under the Affordable Care Act health insurance that costs less than 8% of your MAGI is considered affordable. Although the law doesn’t guarantee lower costs, premium tax credits help to ensure that more Americans will have access to affordable insurance.
s a rule of thumb most Americans will pay between 1.5% and 9.5% on their Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) when using tax credits to buy a basic Silver Plan on the marketplace.
If the lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income are exempt from the individual mandate.
The amount you pay is on a sliding scale based on your income. Use the chart below to get an idea of what you and your family may pay for insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Make sure to check outObamaCare Subsidies for more detailed information on Premium Tax Credits.
The 2013 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines below are used to Determine if your percentage of the poverty level for both taxes and cost-assistance.
For each additional person, add
This following table is an example of how premium tax credits work. Please note that the numbers below are purely for example and don’t reflect your personal rates.
Health Insurance Premiums and Cost Sharing under PPACA for Average Family of 4
For “Silver Plan”
Income % of federal poverty level
Premium Cap as a Share of Income
Income $ (family of 4)
Max Annual Out-of-Pocket Premium
Additional Cost-Sharing Subsidy
3% of income
4% of income
6.3% of income
8.05% of income
9.5% of income
9.5% of income
9.5% of income
In 2016, the FPL is projected to equal about $11,800 for a single person and about $24,000 for family of four. Use the Kaiser ObamaCare Cost Calculator for more information. DHHS and CBO estimate the average annual premium cost in 2014 to be $11,328 for family of 4 without the reform. Source: Wikipedia
ObamaCare Employer / Employee Taxes
ObamaCare’s taxes mean large employers will have to provide health insurance to their employees and will see a raised Medicare part A tax, small businesses may be eligible for tax breaks.
Medicare part A Tax Hike for Employers and Employees
The Medicare part A tax is paid by both employees and employers who earn over a certain amount. ObamaCare’s Medicare tax hike is a .9% increase (from 2.9% to 3.8%) on the current total Medicare part A tax. This tax is split between the employer and employee meaning that they will both see a .45% raise. Small businesses making under $250,000 are exempt from the tax. Employees making less than $200,000 as an individual or ($250,000) as a family are also exempt. Employers must withhold and report an additional 0.9 percent total on employee wages or compensation that exceed $200,000.
Tax Penalty for Not Providing Full-time Workers with Health Insurance the “Employer Mandate”
Employers with over 50 full-time equivalent employees must either insure their full-time employees or pay a penalty or “employer shared responsibility fee”. The penalty is $2000 per employee. If however, at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because coverage is either unaffordable or does not cover 60 percent of total costs, the employer must pay the lesser of $3,000 for each of those employees receiving a credit or $750 for each of their full-time employees total.
Employers with under 25 full time employees, whose average income doesn’t exceed $50,000, can apply for tax credits of up to 50% for insuring their employees.
Tax Credits for Small Businesses
Small businesses with under 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages of less than $50,000 can apply for tax breaks of up to 50% of their share of employee premium costs via ObamaCare’s Small Business Health Options Program (accessible through your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace). The credit can be as much as 50% of employer premiums (35% for not-for-profits in 2014). The credit is only available if the employer is paying at least 50% of the total premiums.
Small Business Health Options Program
Employers with 50 or fewer employees, you can purchase affordable insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) even if they don’t qualify for tax credits.
Along with the new law there are new requirements for reporting.
Effective for calendar year 2015, you must file an annual return reporting whether and what health insurance you offered your employees. This rule is optional for 2014. Learn more.
Effective for calendar year 2015, if you provide self-insured health coverage to your employees, you must file an annual return reporting certain information for each employee you cover. This rule is optional for 2014. Learn more.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, you must withhold and report an additional 0.9 percent on employee wages or compensation that exceed $200,000. Learn more.
Aside from having to adhere to the “employer mandate” ObamaCare also imposes taxes and fees that are unique to big business. ObamaCare taxes some medical device manufactures, drug companies and health insurance companies. Beginning in 2013, medical device manufacturers and importers must pay a 2.3% tax on the sale of a taxable medical device. This raises $29 billion over a 10 years. However, many states are asking to delay the medical device excise tax to protect jobs in states that produce the devices. An annual fee for health insurers is expected to raise more than $100 billion over 10 years, while a fee for brand name drugs will bring in another $34 billion.
Employers that have employees who earn more than $200,000 will have to look at the potential for additional Medicare withholding due to the Medicare part A tax.
Employers that issued 250 or more W-2 forms in 2012 must report the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage for 2013 on the 2013 W-2 forms.
Medical Device Excise Tax
There is a 2.3% medical excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers on the sale of taxable medical devices. Section 4191 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes an excise tax on the sale of certain medical devices by the manufacturer or importer of the device. The tax applies to sales of taxable medical devices after Dec. 31, 2012. You can learn more from the official IRS page on the Medical Device Tax.
What Increases Do the ObamaCare Taxes Include for The $200k/$250k Earners?
ObamaCare Medicare Part A Payroll Tax
Starting in 2013, individuals with earnings above $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000 will see an increase in the Medicare part A payroll tax. It’s an increase of 2.35%, up from the current 1.45% ( a .9% Medicare part A payroll tax hike), on adjusted income over the threshold.
ObamaCare Unearned Income Tax
This group will also pay a 3.8% unearned income (capital gains) tax on interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, rents, and gains on the sale of investments over the threshold.
Taxable income under the $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 threshold for families is subject to the same benefits and tax cuts as those who make under the threshold.
ObamaCare Home Sales Tax / ObamaCare Real Estate Tax Increase
ObamaCare increases taxes on unearned income by 3.8% and this can add additional taxes to the sales of some homes, but many limitations apply which means it won’t affect most sellers. The 3.8% capital gains tax typically doesn’t apply to your primary residence. It also doesn’t usually apply to homes you have owned for over 5 years or on profits of less than $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples due to a capital gains tax exclusion rule for sales of a primary home.
In short the ObamaCare home sales tax isn’t something that most of us will pay, it is a tax is aimed at those selling non-primary residences in short term periods for profit and not at the average American buying and selling their primary residence.
ObamaCare Medical Expense Deductions
ObamaCare increases the medical expense deduction threshold. Unreimbursed medical expense deductions will now be available only for those medical expenses in excess of 10% of AGI, which has been raised from 7.5%. There is a temporary exemption for individuals ages 65 and older and their spouses from 2013 through 2016.
ObamaCare “Cadillac” Tax
Starting in 2018, the new health care law imposes a 40% excise tax on the portion of most employer-sponsored health coverage (this excludes dental and vision) that exceed $10,200 a year and $27,500 for families. The tax has been dubbed a “Cadillac” tax because it hits only high-end “gold”, “platinum” and high-end health care plans not purchased on the exchange. The tax raises over $150 billion over the next 10 years.
New ObamaCare Taxes Summary
Going through the new ObamaCare taxes line by line is, in itself, taxing. The bottom line is that a majority of Americans will find themselves paying less for better healthcare, while higher-earners will pay tax rates closer to what they did in the Clinton years. ObamaCare pays for most of itself via the above taxes, reforms to Medicare, and health care as a whole, as well as cutting out billions in wasteful spending.
ObamaCare Taxes Moving Forward into 2014
We hope this helps you to understand the new ObamaCare taxes and how they work. Many of the ObamaCare’s taxes won’t be fully implemented until 2022, but most will be in effect by 2014. ObamaCare helps all Americans get access to quality affordable healthcare, and new benefits, rights and protections. Make sure to look out for ObamaCare tax breaks, credits, subsidies and breaks on up front costs moving forward into 2014. As we learn more we will update our full ObamaCare tax list.
Story 1: Breaking News Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight — One Test Pilot Killed and One Test Pilot Seriously Injured — Are You Going Into Space — You Bet — The X Prize Vision — Videos
STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTIC
Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.
Sir Richard Branson ‘We will honour test pilot’s bravery
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BREAKING NEWS SPACE ROCKET ACCIDENT VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACESHIP TWO TEST MOJAVE CALIFORNIA 10/31/2014
Virgin Galactic spaceship crash in Mojave desert – the remains of the spacecraft – October 31 2014
Virgin Galactic Majestic Flight Showreel – Long Version
Stunning video shows Virgin Galactic test flight
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made its third rocket-powered supersonic flight in the Mojave Desert, soaring to a record 71,000 feet
Virgin Galactic’s Second Rocket Powered Flight Tail Footage
SpaceShipTwo — First Rocket-Powered, Supersonic Test Flight [HD]
SS2 First Feather Flight
Exclusive footage of the first feather flight, Mojave, CA, May 2011. Filmed by Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System (MARS) & The Clay Center Observatory.
Your Journey To Space Starts Here June 2013
Your Journey Into Space Starts Here
Sir Richard Branson’s thoughts on SpaceShipTwo’s First Rocket-Powered Test Flight [HD]
The X PRIZE Vision
Ansari XPRIZE 10th Anniversary Webcast
Virgin Galactic SpaceShip VSS Enterprise Unveil
Virgin Galactic Film 2009
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashes during testing
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed after it had an “in-flight anomaly” during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson.
The status of its pilots is unknown.
A statement from Virgin Galactic said its partner Scaled Composites conducted the test flight Friday, during which a “serious anomaly” led to the “loss of the vehicle.”
This was the company’s first rocket-powered test flight in nine months. In January, SpaceShipTwo reached 71,000 feet – its highest altitude so far.
Virgin Galactic has conducted testing for the spacecraft in the Mojave Desert at Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture in May announced an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight.
The agreement sets the parameters for how routine missions to space will take place in national airspace. It does not yet give the company a license to launch these missions.
The company’s plans have been repeatedly delayed. Branson said earlier this month at a celebration in Mojave that it was “on the verge” of going to space, but he did not give a timeframe.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a powered test flight on Friday, resulting in one fatality and one injury, authorities said.
The explosion occurred after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.
“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”
Jesse Borne, an officer at the California Highway Patrol, told NBC News that there was one fatality and one major injury.
The flight originated from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The Federal Aviation Administration said two crew members were aboard SpaceShipTwo — which is consistent with Virgin Galactic’s practice of having two test pilots who are equipped with parachutes. The pilots have not yet been identified.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, said the craft crashed north of Mojave. He deferred further comment pending a news conference that is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).
Keith Holloway, a Washington-based spokesman for the National Transportation and Safety Board, said “we are in the process of collecting information.” The FAA said it was also investigating the incident.
New kind of fuel tested
During the nine months since the previous rocket-powered test in January, Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo’s fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix — in hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine’s performance.
The latest test got off to a slow start. SpaceShipTwo spent more than three hours on the Mojave runway, slung beneath its WhiteKnightTwo mothership, while the ground team assessed whether the weather was right for flight. The go-ahead was finally given for takeoff at 9:19 a.m. PT (12:19 p.m. ET).
It took WhiteKnightTwo about 45 minutes to get to 50,000 feet, the altitude at which it released SpaceShipTwo for free flight.
The flight was part of Virgin Galactic’s long-running program to test SpaceShipTwo in preparation for suborbital trips to the edge of outer space. Virgin Galactic had said the first trip to an outer-space altitude — usually defined as 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — could have taken place before the end of the year, depending on how the tests went. The company’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, was hoping to ride on the first commercial flight next year.
More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a ride on the rocket plane.
Virgin Galactic’sSpaceShipTwo spacecraft has exploded during a test flight over the Mojave desert, killing one of the two pilots onboard.
Onlookers reported seeing an explosion and debris from the craft.
Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter.
Scroll down for videos
Parts of the crashed spacecraft in the Mojave desert. SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter (pictured)
Part of SpaceShip Two’s fuselage on the desert floor
Onlookers saw at least one parachute from the craft, which has two crew members.
‘Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today,’ Virgin Galactic said in a tweeted statement.
‘During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely.
‘Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time.
‘We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.’
The company earlier tweeted that SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power and then tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
Richard Branson said in a statement, ‘Thoughts with all at Virgin Galactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.’
Wreckage of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket
Parachutes were spotted in the area, and ABC captured this image of them on the ground
Twitter users have begun posting pictures of the debris to Twitter
Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship 2 in flight. The rocket exploded today, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another
The FAA is investigating and released a statement saying, ‘Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle.
‘The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft.
‘Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident.’
HOW VIRGIN GALACTIC WILL TAKE PASSENGERS TO SPACE
SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed mothership and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.
Ticket cost: The starting price for flights is $250,000 (£150,000) – the first ceremonial flight will be undertaken by Richard Branson and his family.
Training: Passengers are required to go through a ‘Pre-Flight Experience Programme’, including three days of pre-flight preparing onsite at the spaceport to ensure passengers are physically and mentally fit to fly.
Once aboard: SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.
A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II. The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound
The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.
Flight path: A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II.
The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.
The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound
Flight frequency: Initially one per week, eventually to have two flights per day.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw a midflight explosion and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert.
Two pilots fly in SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit during a test.
Those pilots are equipped with parachutes, and after the anomaly, at least one chute was reportedly sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the base from which SpaceShipTwo and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane took off.
Bakersfield’s KGET-TV quoted the Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, as saying that the craft crashed east of Mojave.
A tweet from Virgin Galactic said more information would be forthcoming.
Kern County Fire Department reports it is heading to a location in the Mojave Desert.
California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson says the agency is responding to a report of a crash in the Cantil area.
SpaceShipTwo made its last powered test flight on Jan. 10.
The Virgin logo is seen clearly in this image of the wreckage
Cars and emergency vehicles line up near the crash site
A closer look at the wreckage from the explosion
SpaceShipTwo’s pilots include, among other, Frederick ‘CJ’ Sturckow, Michael Masucci and Peter Siebold.
Sturckow, 53, is a former NASA pilot and was snapped up by Virgin Galactic in May 2013 after an illustrious career including 1,200 hours in space and lengthy military service.
He lives in Lakeside, California with his wife, earned his aviator wings in 1987 and was deployed overseas with the military to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Bahrain. He flew 41 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and led 30 plane airstrikes into Iraq and Kuwait. During his service, he logged more than 6,500 fight hours in more than 60 different aircraft.
According to his NASA profile, he was selected by the space agency in December 1994 and subsequently worked in roles including the Lead for Kennedy Space Center and Chief of the Astronaut Office International Space Station Branch. He went on to log 1,200 hours in space, including during the first International Space Station assembly mission in 1998 and aboard three other missions to the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009.
In 2011, he was named as the backup commander for the penultimate mission of the Space Shuttle program, allowing Commander Mark Kelly to support his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as she recovered from an attempted assassination in Tuscon.
CJ Sturckow gets splashed with water after guiding Virgin Galactic’s private SpaceShipTwo through an unpowered ‘glide flight’
Pilot Michael Masucci celebrates as well with a little water
Sturckow (in red hat), Pete Siebold (with arms crossed in sunglasses) and Masucci (far right)
Along with Sturckow, 51-year-old Michael Masucci – known as ‘Sooch’ – works out of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave, California location to conduct flight training and testing. He joined the team in 2013.
Masucci, a retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel has more than 30 years of civilian and military operational and test flying experience and has logged more than 9,000 flying hours in 70 different types of airplanes and gliders.
Before joining Virgin Galactic, he served as a U-2 combat pilot in several operations and instructed at the USAF Test Pilot School, while also serving as a Branch Chief. As a U-2 test pilot he was instrumental in the development and testing of the aircraft’s glass cockpit and power upgrade programs, according to AeroNews. The married dad also worked for XOJET Inc., a private company based in Brisbane, California where he captained a Citation X, a business jet aircraft.
FAA Inspector John Penney, pilot Todd ‘Leif’ Ericson and Masucci
SpaceShip2 coming in for a safe landing during a previous run
Branson christening the WhiteKnightTwo, which landed safely today
Siebold flew his first solo flight and gained his pilot’s license at 16 – the youngest age possible – and went on to teach flight classes at the San Luis Obispo Airport while he was a student at Cal Poly. He completed his degree in 2001.
The 43-year-old, who lives in Tehachapi, California with his wife, was one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, a experimental spaceplane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. As a design engineer at its aerospace company Scaled Composites, Siebold was responsible for the simulator, navigation system, and ground control system for the SpaceShipOne project.
In 2009, he was awarded the Iven C. Kincheloe award – the most prestigious award a test pilot can receive – for his role as chief test pilot on the Model 348 WhiteKnightTwo plane, used to lift the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to release altitude.
By the time of his award, he had logged about 2,500 hours of flight time in 40 different types of fixed wing aircraft, MustangNews reported.
On October 7, Virgin Galactic tweeted: ‘Pilots Pete Siebold (Scaled) and CJ Sturckow (Virgin Galactic) have landed #SpaceShipTwo safely after another great test flight.’
Incredible footage of Virgin Galactic’s third flight (Archive)
SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
In May, the company announced it was switching the fuel used in the vehicle’s hybrid rocket motor, hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of rubber, to a polyamide-based plastic.
During a media tour of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave facilities on Oct. 4 that marked the tenth anniversary of the final flight of SpaceShipOne, the suborbital vehicle that won the $10-million Ansari X Prize, company officials said they expected to resume powered test flights ‘imminently’ once qualification tests of the new motor were done.
At the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Oct. 15, Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said the company had completed those qualification tests.
‘We expect to get back into powered test flight quite soon,’ he said.
A HISTORY OF DELAYS
July 2008 – Branson predicts that the maiden space voyage will take place within 18 months
October 2009 – Virgin Galactic says initial flights will take place from Spaceport America ‘within two years’
December 7, 2009 – SpaceShipTwo unveiled and Branson tells ticket holders that flights will being in 2011
April 2011 – Branson says that due to delays flights will not begin for another 18 months
April 29, 2013 – SpaceShipTwo has first test flight, but only achieves a speed of 920 mph, less than half the speed Branson predicted
May 14, 2013 - Branson says first flight will take place on December 25, 2013
September 2014 – Branson says first flight will happen in February or March of 2015
SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed jet and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.
Seats on the flights into space are already being snapped for £250,000 ahead of the spring launch at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Branson’s big project has also attracted a slew of big name passengers happy to pay for this once in a lifetime experience, including newlyweds Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun; Lady Gaga, who plans to try and sing in space; former pop star Lance Bass, who has long been vocal about his desire to head to space; and Ashton Kutcher, who was the 500th customer to purchase a ticket. Russell Brand also got a ticket for his birthday from ex-wife Katy Perry when the two were married. Perry bought a ticket as well so Brand would not have to go alone.
Stephen Hawking and Kate Winslet are also set to fly, but got their seats for free. Winslet because she is married to Branson’s nephew, Ned RocknRoll, and Hawking because Branson wanted to offer the legendary astrophysicist a chance to go into space.
The ship attached to its mothership
However, Sir Richard is facing a ‘backlash’ from some of the nearly 700 passengers who have already paid for a ticket on the craft.
Some stumped up the fee as long ago as 2005, but still have no idea when they will eventually reach space.
The 600-plus takers for the flights are already benefiting from their ticket purchase, which by extension enters them into an exclusive club that has seen them visit Necker Island and the Mojave Desert with Branson along with undertaking G-force training.
Richard Branson’s plane meant to carry tourists into space never tested a new engine using new fuel before it flew—and exploded—over California on Friday.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed in the California desert Friday after testing a new rocket motor for the first time in flight. The company said an “in-flight anomaly” occurred. Law enforcement said one pilot was killed and the other was seriously injured.
“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement it released to NBC News. “Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.”
SpaceShipTwo had been slung under the jet-powered carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo before taking off. WhiteKnightTwo carried SpaceShipTwo to 50,000 feet before releasing it for free flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration provided additional details on what happened next.
“Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle,” FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told The Daily Beast in an email. “The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft. Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident.”
The WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident and landed safely.
The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate the crash, a spokesman told The Daily Beast.
SpaceShipTwo was testing a new plastic-based rocket fuel for the first time Friday. An eyewitness told The Daily Beast that the spacecraft exploded shortly after the rocket motor was ignited. The spaceship had not flown a powered flight in about nine months because engineers were switching out its original engine that used rubber-based rocket fuel for the new engine, which used plastic-based fuel.
Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft, had experienced some problems with the new rocket, which until Friday had only been tested on the ground. While the new motor holds much promise of greatly increased performance, there were some serious risks associated with the new rocket—as Friday’s incident proved.
With the new rocket installed, SpaceShipTwo was expected to fly more than five times higher than it had ever flown before—right to the edge of space at 62 miles above the Earth. In some ways, SpaceShipTwo, which was to reach a maximum speed of about 2,500 miles per hour during its ascent into space, was pushing the limits of its virtually untested design.
It was not the first time Virgin pushed limits to get into space. A new biography about SpaceShipTwo’s patron, Richard Branson, by investigative journalist Tom Bower makes that clear. Rocket engineers Geoff Daly and Caroline Campbell were critical of one of the components of the original rubber-based fuel: nitrous oxide. Campbell warned: “Nitrous oxide can explode on its own.” Another toxic component of the fuel was hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of rubber. Campbell said that when the engine ran there was “so much soot coming out the back, burning rubber, that it could be carcinogenic.”
In 2007, the unattached rocket engine using that fuel was being tested on the ground in the Mojave desert when it exploded and killed three of 40 engineers observing the test. Investigators found that safety regulations at the site had been violated and that the men killed had been too close to the rocket motor.
After tests this January, it was decided to the fuel powering the rocket engine should have its rubber removed. The reason was not toxicity but that the fuel did not provide consistent and stable power, and the test pilots had to shut down the engine prematurely. Before SpaceShipTwo could fly with the new fuel aboard it had to be extensively tested on the ground. As those tests were taking place, Branson told Bloomberg TV: “It took us a lot longer to build rockets that we felt completely comfortable with.”
SpaceShipTwo was expected to usher in a new era of commercial space travel: More than 700 people had already paid more than $250,000 each for a chance to leave the planet and experience the weightlessness of space flight. Branson himself had been planning to fly onboard the spacecraft by next year.
Friday’s incident, however, throws all of that into question.
Virgin Galactic’s Flight Path to Disaster: A Clash of High Risk and Hyperbole
Sir Richard Branson’s a consummate salesman, but his rhetoric and hopes got ahead of his company’s engineers.
It was always recklessly optimistic of Sir Richard Branson to imagine that he could go straight from experimental test flights of his Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two to carrying passengers in a matter of months.
That’s not the way that things work when you’re pushing at the edge of the unknown, as this program was.
And yet there was Sir Richard, only a few weeks ago, suggesting that once the ship had fired up its rocket motor with a new kind of fuel he would be riding the first passenger-carrying flight early next year.
He’s never seemed either to understand or admit how many technical challenges had to be faced before space tourism could be an everyday event, as safe and simple as flying an airline.
Every milestone in aviation and aerospace has been reached only after exhaustive and often dangerous testing.
The closest parallel to the Galactic challenge is the example of Chuck Yaeger being the first man to successfully fly at supersonic speed in 1947.
It was called, rather dramatically, breaking the sound barrier. In fact, there was no barrier but there was much to be discovered about changes to the controllability of an airplane as it surged beyond the speed of sound.
Yaeger’s Bell X-1 rocket ship was a one-off experimental machine. It would be years before air force pilots could safely fly the supersonic fighters that evolved from these test flights into a very different form.
Yet Virgin Galactic posited the notion that an experimental test vehicle and the final form of a “spaceship for tourists” could be identical.
Both a rocket engine with a temperamental record and an airframe of revolutionary design and construction had to be proved safe. And not just safe for test pilots, but safe enough for the long line of celebrities who had signed up to ride the rocket.
All the Virgin Galactic test flying was done under a special experimental permit issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. To reach the point where SpaceShip Two could be cleared for carrying passengers Galactic needed to move from the experimental permit to being awarded an operator’s license.
That required a new 180-day review by the FAA to establish that all the systems were thoroughly tested and fail-safe. But remember, this was uncharted territory for the FAA just as it was for Galactic. Indeed, by submitting to the FAA review Galactic was being asked to set the standards for all who followed… if they could.
It was a very tall order. Branson wanted a vehicle that could carry six passengers, two pilots and reach a speed of 2,500mph and a height of around 65 miles, ten times the height at which an airliner cruises.
By any measure, this accident will have set back the development program by years. Will backers want to pour ever more money into this black hole?
When the FAA certifies a new airliner as safe it is normal for the airplane builder, like Boeing or Airbus, to put as many a six airplanes into the test program, all flying at the same time, to test every aspect of the design and its safety—and this for a technology that is in most parts wholly mature. Even then it can take several years to receive certification. The principle is clear: the design must have multiple redundancies so that no single failure can jeopardize the airplane.
But here Virgin was fielding only one test vehicle that embodied a whole set of completely untried systems. Everything was being staked on the two test pilots being able to anticipate potential failures and the ground engineers likewise poring over the test results to detect weak points before they had catastrophic results. Despite this, Virgin asked the FAA to begin their review for the operator’s license in August 2013, and that was when the 180-day clock started ticking.
However, as that period neared its end it was obvious that SpaceShip Two was nowhere near completing its test flights and passing every safety milestone that it needed to. So Virgin voluntarily asked the FAA to stop the clock.
The program was facing its most daunting test, firing up the rocket engine to full power and for long enough to reach that apogee of 65 miles high.
Early this year a test flight proved that the fuel being used for the rocket would never meet that goal. The power delivered by the rocket motor was uneven and tricky to control. On the first powered test flights the pilots had prematurely to shut down the engine.
Then a critical change was ordered—a fuel using a new formula that was thought to be more stable and deliver more power. This fuel was repeatedly tested on the ground. But no ground test can replicate the conditions of a flight—key factors like temperature, air pressure and far lower gravitational pull affect the way the fuel behaves.
On Friday morning the pilots prepared for the first flight with the new fuel. There was, I am told, a two-hour delay caused by concerns about the temperature of the fuel. Nonetheless, the test pilots, both known to be scrupulous in their preparations, felt confident enough to go. So SpaceShip Two was lifted aloft by the mother ship, WhiteKnight Two, and separated at 40,000 feet to “light the candle” as rocket ignition is called. Disaster followed.
There are many consequences to this failure. Not the least is what it implies for the financing of the project. After years of delays the costs have gone beyond a billion dollars. More than a third of that money has come from Abar, an investment fund based in Abu Dhabi. (This was made available in return for an undertaking by Virgin to build a space tourism base in the Gulf.) By any measure, this accident will have set back the development program by years. Will backers want to pour ever more money into this black hole?
Then there is the case of Spaceport America in New Mexico, near the small city of Truth & Consequences. This cost local taxpayers $212 million to build in the hope that they would become the center of the new industry of space tourism.
It’s not exactly clear how many people have signed up to ride SpaceShip One – Galactic has claimed that as many as 800 people have paid deposits on the $250,000 fare but the numbers are squishy. For these people the disaster over the Mojave Desert is a sobering wake-up call. What to many must have seemed the prospect of a spectacular joy ride is now better appreciated as a thrill from the very edge of what is safely attainable.
From the beginning in 2004 there has always been a credibility gap between the fairground hyperbole of Branson’s formidable publicity machine and the scientific reality of the enterprise. Somehow, probably because he is such a consummate showman, Branson has been able, year after year, to override the story of continual delays, flagrant over-promises and a voracious, seemingly open-ended budget. This time it’s different. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation will deliver a forensic rigor that has been so far lacking. It will strip away the vocabulary of the promoter. And it will reveal the world as lived daily by the engineers and test pilots who knew how much was left to be understood among the hazards of the dream.
SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a jet-poweredmothership, the Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being released to fly on into the upper atmosphere, powered by a rocket motor. It then glides back to Earth and performs a conventional runway landing. The spaceship was officially unveiled to the public on 7 December 2009 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. On 29 April 2013, after nearly three years of unpowered testing, the spacecraft successfully performed its first powered test flight.
Virgin Galactic plans to operate a fleet of five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes in a private passenger-carrying service, starting in 2014, and have been taking bookings for some time, with a suborbital flight carrying an initial ticket price of US$200,000. The spaceplane could also be used to carry scientific payloads for NASA and other organizations.
SpaceShipTwo is a low-aspect-ratio passenger spaceplane. Its capacity will be eight people: six passengers and two pilots. The apogee of the new craft will be approximately 110 km (68 mi) in the lower thermosphere, 10 km (6.2 mi) higher than the Kármán line which was SpaceShipOne’s target (though the last flight of SpaceShipOne reached a one-time altitude of 112 km (70 mi)). SpaceShipTwo will reach 4,200 km/h (2,600 mph), using a single hybrid rocket motor – the RocketMotorTwo. It launches from its mothership,White Knight Two, at an altitude of 15,000 metres (50,000 ft), and reaches supersonic speed within 8 seconds. After 70 seconds, the rocket motor cuts out and the spacecraft will coast to its peak altitude. SpaceShipTwo’s crew cabin is 3.7 m (12 ft) long and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in diameter. The wing span is 8.2 m (27 ft), the length is 18 m (60 ft) and the tail height is 4.6 m (15 ft) .
SpaceShipTwo uses a feathered reentry system, feasible due to the low speed of reentry – by contrast, the Space Shuttle and other orbital spacecraft re-enter at orbital speeds, closer to 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph) , using heat shields. SpaceShipTwo is furthermore designed to re-enter the atmosphere at any angle. It will decelerate through the atmosphere, switching to a gliding position at an altitude of 24 km (15 mi), and will take 25 minutes to glide back to the spaceport.
SpaceShipTwo and White Knight Two are, respectively, roughly twice the size of the first-generation SpaceShipOne and mothership White Knight, which won theAnsari X Prize in 2004. SpaceShipTwo has 43 and 33 cm (17 and 13 in) -diameter windows for the passengers’ viewing pleasure, and all seats will recline back during landing to decrease the discomfort of G-forces. Reportedly, the craft can land safely even if a catastrophic failure occurs during flight. In 2008, Burt Rutan remarked on the safety of the vehicle:
This vehicle is designed to go into the atmosphere in the worst case straight in or upside down and it’ll correct. This is designed to be at least as safe as the early airliners in the 1920s…Don’t believe anyone that tells you that the safety will be the same as a modern airliner, which has been around for 70 years.
In September 2011, the safety of SpaceShipTwo’s feathered reentry system was tested when the crew briefly lost control of the craft during a gliding test flight. Control was reestablished after the spaceplane entered its feathered configuration, and it landed safely after a 7-minute flight.
Fleet and launch site
The launch customer of SpaceShipTwo is Virgin Galactic, who have ordered five vehicles. The first two were named VSS (Virgin Space Ship) Enterpriseand VSS Voyager. As of August 2013, only VSS Enterprise has been flown;VSS Voyager has yet to begin flight tests. The WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo crafts will take off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California during testing. Spaceport America – formerly Southwest Regional Spaceport, a US$212 million spaceport in New Mexico partly funded by the state government – will become the permanent launch site when commercial launches begin.
On 28 September 2006, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson unveiled a mock-up of the SpaceShipTwo passenger cabin at the NextFest exposition at theJavits Convention Center in New York. The design of the vehicle was revealed to the press in January 2008, with the statement that the vehicle itself was around 60% complete. On 7 December 2009, the official unveiling and rollout of SpaceShipTwo took place. The event involved the first SpaceShipTwo being christened by then-Governor of CaliforniaArnold Schwarzenegger as the VSS Enterprise.
2007 test explosion
On 26 July 2007, an explosion occurred during an oxidizer flow test at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where early-stage tests were being conducted on SpaceShipTwo’s systems. The oxidizer test included filling the oxidizer tank with 4,500 kilograms (10,000 lb) of nitrous oxide, followed by a 15-second cold-flow injector test. Although the tests did not ignite the gas, three employees were killed and three injured, two critically and one seriously, by flying shrapnel.
Between 2005 and 2009, Scaled Composites conducted numerous small-scale rocket tests to evaluate SpaceShipTwo’s engine design. After settling on the RocketMotorTwo hybrid rocket design, the company began performing full-scale hot-fire rocket tests in April 2009. By December 2012, 15 full-scale tests had been successfully conducted, and additional ground tests continued into March 2013. In June 2012, the FAA issued a rocket testing permit to Scaled Composites, allowing it to begin SS2 test flights powered by RocketMotorTwo; the first such powered flight took place on 29 April 2013. The HTPB RocketMotorTwo design generated 60,000 lbf (270 kN) of thrust.
2014 Change of fuel
In May 2014, Virgin Galactic announced a change to the fuel to be used in the SpaceShipTwo rocket engine. Rather than the rubber-based HTPB—HTPB engines had experienced serious engine stability issues on firings longer than approximately 20 seconds—the engine will now use a type of plastic called thermoplasticpolyamide as the solid fuel. The plastic fuel is projected to have better performance (by several unspecified measures) and will allow SpaceShipTwo to make flights to a higher altitude.
As of May 2014, the new engine has already completed full-duration burns of over 60 seconds in ground tests on an engine test stand.
A view of the firing of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motors during its first powered flight in April 2013.
As of October 2014, SpaceShipTwo has conducted 54 test flights. The spacecraft has used its “feathered” wing configuration during ten of these test flights.
In September 2012, Virgin Galactic announced that the unpowered subsonic glide flight test program was essentially complete. In October 2012, Scaled Composites installed key components of the rocket motor, and SpaceShipTwo performed its first glide flight with the engine installed in December 2012.
The spacecraft’s first powered test flight took place on 29 April 2013. Spaceshiptwo reached supersonic speeds in this first powered flight. On 5 September 2013, the second powered flight was made by SpaceShipTwo. The first powered test flight of 2014—and third overall—occurred 10 January 2014. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 22,000 metres (71,000 ft) (the highest to date) and a speed of Mach 1.4. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft released SpaceShipTwo (VSS Enterprise) at an altitude of 14,000 metres (46,000 ft) .
SpaceShipTwo’s total development costs were estimated at around $400 million in May 2011, a significant increase over the 2007 estimate of $108 million.
On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo suffered an “anomaly” during a powered flight test, resulting in a crash killing one pilot and injuring the other. It was the first flight to use the new type of fuel.
The duration of the flights will be approximately 2.5 hours, though only a few minutes of that will be in space. The price will initially be $200,000. More than 65,000 would-be space tourists applied for the first batch of 100 tickets. By December 2007, Virgin Galactic had 200 paid-up customers on its books for the early flights, and 95% were passing the 6-8 g centrifuge tests. By the start of 2011, that number had increased to over 400 paid customers, and to 575 by early 2013. In April 2013, Virgin Galactic announced that the price for a seat would increase 25 percent to $250,000 before the middle of May 2013, and would remain at $250,000 “until the first 1,000 people have traveled, so that it matches up with inflation since [Virgin Galactic] started.”
Following 50–100 test flights, the first paying customers are expected to fly aboard the craft in 2014. Refining the projected schedule in late 2009, Virgin Galactic declined to announce a firm timetable for commercial flights, but did reiterate that initial flights would take place from Spaceport America. Operational roll-out will be based on a “safety-driven schedule”. In addition to making suborbital passenger launches, Virgin Galactic will market SpaceShipTwo for suborbital space sciencemissions.
NASA sRLV program
By March 2011, Virgin Galactic had submitted SpaceShipTwo as a reusable launch vehicle for carrying research payloads in response to NASA‘s suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV) solicitation, which is a part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. Virgin projects research flights with a peak altitude of 110 km (68 mi) and a duration of approximately 90 minutes. These flights will provide approximately four minutes of microgravity for research payloads. Payload mass and microgravity levels have not yet been specified. The NASA research flights could begin during the test flight certification program for SpaceShipTwo.
In August 2005, the president of Virgin Galactic stated that if the suborbital service with SpaceShipTwo is successful, the follow-up SpaceShipThree will be an orbital craft. In 2008, Virgin Galactic changed their plans and decided to make it a high-speed passenger vehicle, offering transport through point-to-point suborbital spaceflight.
While the first WhiteKnightTwo and the first SpaceShipTwo were built by Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company has responsibility for the manufacture of the second WK2 aircraft and the second SS2 spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, as well as additional production craft as other customers for the vehicles emerge. In October 2010, TSC announced plans to build three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes.
“VG Powered Flight Updated Drop BRoll”. Virgin Galactic via YouTube. 29 April 2013. Shows all 16 seconds of the first-flight rocket firing from three views, and most of the sequence from a fourth view.
Story 1: Good News and Bad News Concerning Ebola — 2 Nurses Ebola Free and 1 Doctor Has Confirmed Case of Ebola in New York City — Ebola Infected Dr. Craig Spencer Took A-Train, L-Train and High-Line – Went Bowling — Contact Tracing Begins — Airborne Ebola Theme Song — If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere, New York, New York — Videos
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New York City, Bellevue Hospital nurse Belkys Fortune, left, and Teressa Celia, Associate Director of Infection Prevention and Control, pose in protective suits in an isolation room, in the Emergency Room of Bellevue Hospital.
Note: They are not wearing a
Biosafety Level 4 Positive Pressure Spacesuit!
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Frank Sinatra-New York,New York
Frank Sinatra-New York,New York-Lyrics
Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New YorkI want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heapThese little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New YorkNew York…New York
I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m A number one, top of the list
King of the hill, A number one….These little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New York New York!!!
Frank Sinatra – New York New York Song **Lyrics** [HD]
My Kind of Town (Chicago) – Frank Sinatra
“My Kind Of Town”
Now this could only happen to a guy like me
And only happen in a town like this
So may I say to each of you most gratef’lly
As I throw each one of you a kissThis is my kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of people, too
People who smile at youAnd each time I roam, Chicago is
Calling me home, Chicago is
Why I just grin like a clown
It’s my kind of town[brief instrumental]My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of razzmatazz
And it has all that jazzAnd each time I leave, Chicago is
Tuggin’ my sleeve, Chicago is
The Wrigley Building, Chicago is
The Union Stockyard, Chicago is
One town that won’t let you down
It’s my kind of town
New York, New Jersey Set Up Mandatory Quarantine Requirement Amid Ebola Threat Christie: New Policy Has Already Been Used At Newark Liberty International Airport
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, no other states have yet set up increased screening procedures for Ebola.
“We believe it’s appropriate to increase the current screening procedures from people coming from affected countries from the current (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screening procedures),” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday afternoon. “We believe it within the State of New York and the State of New Jersey’s legal rights.”
Under the new rules, state officials will establish a risk level by considering the countries that people have visited and their level of possible exposure to Ebola.
The patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government-regulated facility. Those with a lower risk will be monitored for temperature and symptoms, Cuomo explained.
The New York and New Jersey health departments will determine their own specific procedures for hospitalization and quarantine, and will provide a daily recap to state officials on the status of screening, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said at the news conference.
The new procedures already have been put into use at Newark Liberty International Airport.
On Friday, a health care worker landed at Newark after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at the news conference. A legal quarantine was issued for the woman, who was not a New Jersey resident and was set to go on to New York afterward.
“This woman, while her home residence is outside the area, said her next stop was going to be here in New York,” Christie said. “Governor Cuomo and I discussed it before we came out here, and a quarantine order will be issued.”
The woman will be quarantined in either New York or New Jersey, Christie said.
In discussing the new plan, Cuomo and Christie said a policy of voluntary quarantine simply does not go far enough.
“Voluntary quarantine – you know it’s almost an oxymoron. This is a very serious situation.” Cuomo said. “Voluntary quarantine – raise your right hand and promise you’re going to stay home for 21 days. We’ve seen what happens.”
The new rules were announced a day after Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, became New York City’s first Ebola patient.
He reported Thursday morning coming down with a fever and diarrhea and is being treated in an isolation ward at Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.
Spencer returned from West Africa last Friday after treating Ebola patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport, passing the extensive CDC screening process.
“When he arrived in the United States, he was also well with no symptoms,” said New York City Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett.
Doctors Without Borders said per the guidelines it provides its staff members on their return from Ebola assignments, “the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately.” But Spencer also took the subway, walked the High Line, and went bowling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the day before he became sick.
“He was a doctor, and even he didn’t follow the guidelines,” Cuomo said.
With that in mind, the states have to lay down the law, the governors said.
“It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system,” Cuomo said.
The CDC is reviewing its policy for health care workers returning from West Africa, but anyone flying into a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey airport will need to abide by the new procedures.
Ebola Arrives in New York. How Prepared Is the City to Handle It?
Dr. Craig Spencer, the health care worker who recently returned from Guinea and tested positivefor the Ebola virus, is now the first patient to be treated at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.
But the hospital, as well as city, state and federal officials, have been working for weeks or more to ensure the city is ready to identify and treat Ebola cases.
This preparation reflects the now-proven fact that the longer the outbreak rages on in West Africa, the more likely it was that a patient would wind up in Western cities, including New York.
On Oct. 15, the state designated Bellevue Hospital Center as the facility to receive Ebola patients from among the city’s 11 public hospitals, and to receive transferred patients from other hospitals as well, in the event that any Ebola cases occur in the city.
According to a statement from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the hospital has four single-bed rooms in its infectious disease ward to treat “high probability or confirmed Ebola cases.” This part of the hospital also has a new laboratory that can test for Ebola, separate from the rest of the hospital’s labs, to handle Ebola blood samples.
Because the virus can be spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, careful handling of blood and other samples is necessary.
The hospital is particularly well suited due to its long history of being on the front lines of epidemics and emerging public health threats, and managing an isolation unit for diseases, such as TB, for many years with support from and collaboration with the City Health Department.
Three other hospitals in New York City have also been designated by the state to treat suspected and confirmed Ebola cases, including Mt. Sinai and New York Presbyterian in Manhattan and Montefiore in the Bronx, according to Governor Cuomo’s Ebola preparedness plan.
None of these hospitals, including Bellevue, has an isolated biocontainment unit like those that have treated patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
The American public may not have much faith in ordinary hospitals to treat Ebola, considering that the only non-specialized hospital to treat Ebola patients, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, allowed the virus to spread to two nurses who worked on the original patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Oct. 8. Both of the nurses are now being treated in a biocontainment unit.
The probability of an Ebola case in New York was always considerably higher than it was for many other cities in the U.S., given that two of the city’s international airports — JFK and Newark — are key gateways for travelers to and from West Africa, via stops in Europe or elsewhere in Africa.
“New York City is a frequent port of entry for travelers from West Africa, a home to communities of West African immigrants who travel back to their home countries, and a home to health care workers who travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients,” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report on Oct. 17.
“Ongoing transmission of Ebola virus in West Africa could result in an infected person arriving in NYC,” the report said. However, the chance that a New Yorker who has not traveled to an Ebola hotspot would come down with the virus is “extremely slim,” since the disease is only spread through direct contact with an infectious person’s bodily fluids.
Ultimately, it was a doctor who lived in the city who would bring the virus home.
In recent weeks, the New York Health Commissioner issued a “Commissioner’s Order” to all hospitals and ambulance services in the state, “requiring that they follow protocols for identification, isolation and medical evaluation of patients requiring care.”
The state has been conducting “unannounced drills” at hospitals and health care facilities to test preparedness for handling possible Ebola cases. The state has also involved the Metropalitan Transit Authority, which operates the city’s subways and buses, in training for encountering possible Ebola patients.
And a mass Ebola training for health care workers, which included demonstrations for putting on and taking off protective equipment, took place in the city on Oct. 21.
According to new guidelines the CDC issued on Monday, there are now 30 steps health care workers have to take every time they treat a patient with Ebola or Ebola-like symptoms.
At hospitals like Bellevue, actors have played the role of patients with Ebola symptoms have been part of the drills, and the city’s 911 operators have been told to ask people who call in with Ebola-like symptoms if they have recently traveled to West Africa, according to the Guardian.
As of Thursday, there have been nearly 10,000 cases of Ebola in West Africa, along with about 4,900 deaths. However, these figures are likely to be underestimates, since the lack of treatment facilities and other circumstances are causing many patients to go uncounted.
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation at the same time as investigators sought to retrace every step he had taken over the past several days.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.
The next morning, he reported having a fever, raising questions about his health while he was out in public. The authorities have interviewed Dr. Spencer several times and are also looking at information from his credit cards and MetroCard to determine his movements.
Health officials initially said that Dr. Spencer had a 103-degree fever when he reported his symptoms to authorities at around 11 a.m. on Thursday. But on Friday, health officials said that was incorrect and that Dr. Spencer reported having a 100.3-degree fever. They said the mistake was because of a transcription error.
People infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they begin to display symptoms, and it cannot be spread through the air. As people become sicker, the viral load in the body builds, and they become increasingly contagious.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news conference at Bellevue on Thursday night, sought to reassure New Yorkers that there was no reason to be alarmed.
“Being on the same subway car or living near a person with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk,” he said.
Dr. Spencer’s work in Africa and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch disease detectives, who “immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according to a statement released by the health department.
Dr. Spencer’s fiancée has also been quarantined at Bellevue. Two other friends, who had contact with him on Tuesday and Wednesday, have been told by the authorities that they too will be quarantined but whether they will isolate themselves in their homes or be relocated was still under discussion, according to a person briefed on the investigation. None of the three were showing signs of illness.
The driver of the taxi, arranged through the online service Uber, did not have direct contact with Dr. Spencer and was not considered to be at risk, officials said.
Speaking at the news conference, city officials said that while they were still investigating, they did not believe Dr. Spencer was symptomatic while he traveled around the city on Wednesday and therefore had not posed a risk to the public.
“He did not have a stage of disease that creates a risk of contagiousness on the subway,” Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner, said. “We consider it extremely unlikely, the probability being close to nil, that there will be any problem related to his taking the subway system.”
Still, out of an abundance of caution, officials said, the bowling alley in Williamsburg that he visited, the Gutter, was closed on Thursday night, and a scheduled concert there, part of the CMJ music festival, was canceled. Health workers were scheduled to visit the alley on Friday.
At Dr. Spencer’s apartment building, his home was sealed off and workers distributed informational fliers about the disease.
Dr. Spencer had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea treating Ebola patients, and completed his work on Oct. 12, Dr. Bassett said. He flew out of the country on Oct. 14, traveling via Europe, and arrived in New York on Oct. 17.
Since returning, he had been taking his temperature twice a day, Dr. Bassett said.
He told the authorities that he did not believe the protective gear he wore while working with Ebola patients had been breached but had been monitoring his own health.
Doctors Without Borders, in a statement, said it provides guidelines for its staff members to follow when they return from Ebola assignments, but did not elaborate on the protocols.
“The individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately,” the group said in a statement.
Dr. Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a feveruntil Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 a.m., he found that he had a 100.3-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.
The staff called the city’s health department, which in turn called the Fire Department.
Emergency medical workers, wearing full personal protective gear, rushed to Dr. Spencer’s apartment, on West 147th Street. He was transported to Bellevue and arrived shortly after 1 p.m.
He was placed in a special isolation unit and is being seen by the designated medical critical care team. Team members wear personal protective equipment with undergarment air ventilation systems.
Bellevue doctors have been preparing to deal with an Ebola patient with numerous drills and tests as well as actual treatment of suspected cases that turned out to be false alarms.
A health care worker at the hospital said that Dr. Spencer seemed very sick, and it was unclear to the medical staff why he had not gone to the hospital earlier, since his fever was high.
Dr. Spencer is a fellow of international emergency medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and an instructor in clinical medicine at Columbia University.
“He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” the hospital said in a statement. “He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas.”
Before Thursday, more than 30 people had gone to city hospitals and raised suspicions of Ebola, but in all those cases health workers were able to rule out the virus without performing blood tests.
While the city has stepped up its laboratory capacity so it can get test results within four to six hours, the precautions required when drawing blood and treating a person possibly sick with Ebola meant that it took until late in the evening to confirm Dr. Spencer’s diagnosis.
Doctors said that even before the results came in, it seemed likely that he had been infected. Symptoms usually occur within eight to 10 days of infection. Dr. Spencer stopped working with Ebola patients 11 days ago and returned home six days ago.
Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids and secretions, including blood, mucus, feces and vomit.
Because of its high mortality rate — Ebola kills more than half the people it infects — the disease spreads fear along with infection.
The authorities have been on high alert ever since Thomas Eric Duncan traveled to the United States in September from Liberia, and was later given a diagnosis of Ebola.
Several days after his death, a nurse who helped care for Mr. Duncan learned she had Ebola. Two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan fell ill, but are recovering.
That single case led to hundreds of people being quarantined or being asked to remain isolated from the general public.
The missteps by both local and federal authorities in handling the nation’s first Ebola case raised questions about the ability of health care workers to safely treat those with the disease.
In the New York City region, hospitals and emergency workers have been preparing for the appearance of the virus for months.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and a special adviser to Mayor de Blasio, said that the risk to the general public was minimal, but depended on the city moving swiftly.
“New York has mobilized not only a world-class health department, but has full engagement of many other agencies that need to be on the response team,” he said.
The new Ebola infection in New York City exposed flaws in the system and raised new concerns, lawmakers said Friday, as they criticised the U.S. government response to the outbreak and questioned top officials’ credibility.
“I can tell you it’s not working. All you need to do is look at Craig Spencer,” said Rep. John Mica, a Republican, naming the doctor in New York who was diagnosed with Ebola late Thursday a week after returning from Guinea. “He was tested there, it’s not working.”
Spencer, the fourth person diagnosed in the U.S., did not exhibit symptoms until Thursday and so the temperature screening in place at the five U.S. airports that receive passengers from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three West African countries that have borne the worst of the outbreak, would not have caught him. Some lawmakers questioning administration officials at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing said that just showed that a new approach was needed.
Less than two weeks before hard-fought elections, many lawmakers, especially Republicans, have called for a travel ban from the hot spots in West Africa where the deadly disease has infected roughly 10,000 people and killed about half of them. Others have suggested quarantining people for the 21-day incubation period once they arrive.
The Obama administration has resisted, saying such an approach could make things worse by limiting sorely needed supplies and medical workers to West Africa and encouraging travelers to hide their travel histories. Instead the administration has implemented new guidelines for screening all people arriving here from the hot zones and ensuring they’re all monitored by medical experts for 21 days.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat, said Friday that anyone who travels here from West Africa should be quarantined for 21 days in their home country before even boarding a plane to the U.S.
“This can’t just be about ideology and happy talk,” Lynch said. “We need to be very deliberate (and) take it much more seriously than I’m hearing today.”
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, complained about wrong information and shifting standards coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the first case diagnosed in the U.S., a man who traveled from Sierra Leone to Texas and later died. He infected two nurses who cared for him. As of Friday both nurses have been declared free of the virus.
“We said we were planning to deal with infectious diseases, prepare our health care system and our doctors and nurses,” Issa said. “And in fact it appears as though we trained them but not trained them to the level we should.”
Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, defended the government’s response.
“I think our failures largely relate to the fact that we’re learning some new things about Ebola,” she said. “Ebola’s never been in this hemisphere before, and as we’re learning those things we’re tightening up our policies and procedures as quickly as possible.”
In her prepared testimony, Lurie assured lawmakers that a large-scale outbreak of Ebola is unlikely in this country. “There is an epidemic of fear, but not of Ebola, in the United States,” she said.
New York City police officers enter the building where Dr. Craig Spencer (inset with fiancée Morgan Dixon) lives in New York on Oct. 24.Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar
Efforts are under way to decontaminate the apartment building of the Big Apple’s first Ebola patient.
Cops moved people back around 9:15 am as two officers with the Sanitation Department’s Environmental Police Unit arrived on the scene and entered the building through a side entrance.
They were later joined by several people in plain-clothes who exited out of a truck belonging to the Bio-Recovery Corporation — a full service crime scene cleanup and bio remediation company.
“Today we’re expecting a specialized crew [to] come in full protective gear and will clean and sterilize Dr. [Craig] Spencer’s apartment for signs of bodily fluid,” said City Council member Mark Levine, adding that officials would “confiscate material that might have come into contact with his body such as sheets and pillowcases and bath towels and toothbrushes.”
The 7th District councilman was on the scene Friday morning, giving updates specifically aimed at people in the community whose fears were heightened Thursday when Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders volunteer, tested positive for the Ebola virus.
“We’ve had neighbors understandably concerned that live right across the street, maybe they live down the hall, maybe they’ve seen him in the local bodega and they’re worried,” he told the crowd. “But the truth is and the facts they need to understand are they’re really not at risk.”
Police and health officials enter the New York apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, who has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus, on Oct. 24.
Levine made it clear that while fear of catching the disease was high, the actual possibility that Spencer could have spread the illness before being hospitalized was minimal.
“If he was well enough to go for a run, then he was almost certainly not sick enough to be contagious,” he said. “Frankly, if he was well enough to go bowling, he was probably not sick enough to be contagious, so people should not worry.”
When Spencer first reported his elevated temperature to officials, firefighters worked quickly to make sure the risk of infection was extremely low.
“The first thing they did was seal off the apartment,” he said. “That happened immediately after Dr. Spencer was taken to the ambulance.”
The ambulance carrying Dr. Craig Spencer arrives at Bellevue Hospital.
A neighbor who lives across from Spencer told The Post that four of his relatives panicked shortly after the Harlem doctor was picked up and eventually left the apartment.
“They’re gone, they weren’t moved by the authorities, they left on their own because of the scare, because they were frightened,” said Stan Malone, 45. “This really hits home … I believe it’s gonna get worse.”
Malone added that while he thought Spencer had only come in contact with a few people, he felt the city wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of New Yorkers.
“I think this whole building should be quarantined now,” he said. “What’s taking the city so long to do that?”
A physician who treated dying Ebola patients in Liberia flew in to JFK on Thursday night — and stayed at an airport hotel, a source told The Post.
Colin Bucks, a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University’s medical school, arrived on a Royal Moroccan Air flight, sources said.
He spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Jamaica, Queens, where Centers for Disease Control workers also stay, according to a source.
On Friday, he was cleared to travel home to Northern California, where he will “be monitored by CDC there,” the source said.
“He is asymptomatic and he’s being allowed to leave the hotel and fly home,” a source added.
Sources said that Bucks, who works with International Medical Corps, was told to self-quarantine at the hotel, but he told The Post he merely missed a connecting flight. He said he was screened at the airport in Africa and again upon arrival at Kennedy airport.
“If there had been a flight yesterday, I would’ve not spent the night here,” he said in a telephone interview.
Bucks is strictly following the CDC’s recommendations and self-monitoring, he said. The CDC is also keeping track of his whereabouts, as standard protocol dictates, he added.
“I worked for over a month with no national staff or ex-patriot staff showing any signs of illness,” he said. “In general I’m amazed by the national staff I was working with. I really want them to be viewed as the heroes of Ebola response.
Bucks didn’t know Spencer, but said, “It sounds like this is someone who’s cut from the same cloth as me who followed all the rules and has not put other people at risk.”
He’s confident that by following proper guidelines, health care workers can do life-saving work abroad and stay safe.
“I have every confidence that [by] following CDC return recommendations, nurses, doctors, lab technicians can go to West Africa and do what’s necessary to protect the rest of the world and not come back and be the ones that need protection.”
On Friday afternoon, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced extra measures that will require all at-risk passengers touching down at JFK and Newark Liberty airports from Ebola-stricken countries to be quarantined for 21 days.
Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected people. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola, and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates.
When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with
blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
infected fuit bats or primates (apes and monkeys)
Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.
During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and gloves and eye protection.
Dedicated medical equipment (preferable disposable, when possible) should be used by healthcare personnel providing patient care. Proper cleaning and disposal of instruments, such as needles and syringes, is also important. If instruments are not disposable, they must be sterilized before being used again. Without adequate sterilization of the instruments, virus transmission can continue and amplify an outbreak.
Once someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. However, Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months. If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease.
As the death toll from Ebola reaches 3,800, experts are warning that the virus could mutate and become airborne, meaning that it could be caught by breathing it in.
The public is being told by health officials that the virus that causes Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air and can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids – blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen – of an infected person who is showing symptoms.
However, several leading Ebola researchers claim that the virus mutating and spreading through the air should not be ruled out.
As the death toll from Ebola reaches 3,800, experts are warning that the virus could mutate and become airborne
Virus expert Charles L. Bailey, who in 1989 helped the American government tackle an outbreak of Ebola among rhesus monkeys being used for research, told the LA Times: ‘We know for a fact that the virus occurs in sputum and no one has ever done a study [disproving that] coughing or sneezing is a viable means of transmitting.
‘Unqualified assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air are “misleading”.’
Dr C J Peters, who has undertaken research into Ebola for America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the paper: ‘We just don’t have the data to exclude it [becoming airborne].’
Meanwhile virologist Dr Philip K Russell, a former head of the U.S Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, told the paper: ‘I see the reasons to dampen down public fears. But scientifically, we’re in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man…. God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don’t.’
In September, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, writing in the New York Times, said experts who believe that Ebola could become airborne are loathed to discuss their concerns in public, for fear of whipping up hysteria.
Discussing the possible future course of the current outbreak, he said: ‘The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.’
The public is being told by health officials that the virus that causes Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air and can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids
Defence Secretary won’t talk about UK airport Ebola screening
Dr Osterholm warns viruses similar to Ebola are notorious for replicating and reinventing themselves.
It means the virus that first broke out in Guinea in February may be very different to the one now invading other parts of West Africa.
Pointing to the example of the H1N1 influenza virus that saw bird flu sweep the globe in 2009, Dr Osterholm said: ‘If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola.’
Dr Osterholm said public health officials, while discussing the possibility in private, are reluctant to air their concerns.
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‘They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater – as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing.
‘But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.’
He called for the United Nations to mobilise medical, public health and humanitarian aid to ‘smother the epidemic’.
The chair of the UK’s Health Protection Agency, Professor David Heymann of the London School of Hygiene of Tropical Medicine, said it is impossible to predict how any virus will mutate.
He said scientists across the world do not know enough about genetics to be able to say how the Ebola virus will change over time.
He told MailOnline: ‘No one can predict what will happen with the mutation of the virus. I would like to see the evidence that this could become a respiratory virus.’
The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died on Wednesday despite intense but delayed treatment, and the government announced it was expanding airport examinations to guard against the spread of the deadly disease.
The checks will include taking the temperatures of hundreds of travelers arriving from West Africa at five major American airports.
The new screenings will begin Saturday at New York’s JFK International Airport and then expand to Washington Dulles and the international airports in Atlanta, Chicago and Newark. An estimated 150 people per day will be checked, using high-tech thermometers that don’t touch the skin.
The White House said the fever checks would reach more than 9 of 10 travelers to the U.S. from the three heaviest-hit countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
President Barack Obama called the measures ‘really just belt and suspenders’ to support protections already in place. Border Patrol agents now look for people who are obviously ill, as do flight crews, and in those cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is notified.
As of Wednesday, Ebola has killed about 3,800 people in West Africa and infected at least 8,000, according to the World Health Organization.
A medical official with the U.N. Mission in Liberia who tested positive for Ebola arrived in the German city of Leipzig on Thursday to be treated at a local clinic with specialist facilities, authorities said.
The unidentified medic infected in Liberia is the second member of the U.N. mission, known as UNMIL, to contract the virus. The first died on September 25. He is the third Ebola patient to arrive in Germany for treatment.
The virus has taken an especially devastating toll on health care workers, sickening or killing more than 370 of them in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – places that already were short on doctors and nurses.
There are no approved medications for Ebola, so doctors have tried experimental treatments in some cases, including drugs and blood transfusions from others who have recovered from Ebola.
The survivor’s blood could carry antibodies for the disease that will help a patient fight off the virus.
Experts raise specter of more-contagious Ebola virus
Osterholm mentioned the risk of Ebola migrating to developing-world megacities like Nairobi, Kenya.
Amid fears that West Africa’s Ebola epidemic may spiral out of control, two experts are using the pages of leading newspapers to raise the specter of a mutant Ebola virus that could become airborne, and appealing for massive interventions to preclude that nightmare scenario.
Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, wrote in a New York Times commentary today that the scale of the epidemic is offering the virus unprecedented opportunities to evolve toward greater transmissibility, which could give it the capability to spread worldwide. He is director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.
Richard E. Besser, MD, chief health editor at ABC News and a former acting director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wrote in the Washington Post last night that a more-contagious Ebola virus could threaten the United States and said the crisis warrants the deployment of thousands of American troops to the affected countries.
What virologists don’t like to talk about
The possibility of an airborne-transmissible Ebola virus is one “that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private,” wrote Osterholm. In its current form, the virus spreads only through contact with bodily fluids, he noted, but with more human transmission in the past few months than probably occurred in the past 500 years, the virus is getting plenty of chances to evolve.
“Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice,” he said.
“If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.”
Osterholm added that public officials are reluctant to talk about this risk because they fear being accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater. “But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.”
As evidence of the risk, he noted that Canadian researchers in 2012 showed that Ebola Zaire, the species in the West African epidemic, could spread by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys.
Even without airborne Ebola contagion, there’s a risk of Ebola migrating to developing-world megacities such as Nairobi, Kinshasa, or Karachi, possibly touching off new epidemics, Osterholm wrote.
In the face of the grave risks, someone needs to exercise “command and control,” and the best candidate is the United Nations, he asserted.
The UN “is the only international organization that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health, and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge.”
Besser: US must take the lead
Besser, in appealing for a vastly greater Ebola response from the United States, sketched bleak scenes of sick people in Monrovia, Liberia, waiting to get into overcrowded treatment centers and burial teams trying to collect bodies from the homes of terrified people who deny that their loved ones died of Ebola.
Recalling the warning last week from current CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, that the window of opportunity to stop the epidemic is closing, Besser wrote, “I don’t think the world is getting the message. The magnitude of the response needed for a deadly outbreak like this in a staggeringly poor country demands both dollars and people.”
He said his CDC experience taught him that “a military-style response during a major health crisis saves lives.” In foreign public health emergencies, the CDC usually provides technical support to governments, but “this crisis calls for much more.”
Noting that the epidemic is threatening the stability of the affected countries, Besser asserted that an expanded American response would improve both global security and health security.
“While one Ebola case in the United States is unlikely to spark an outbreak, things could change if the virus becomes more easily transmittable,” he added. “We already know it’s mutating.” He called the outbreak more disturbing than anything he witnessed in 13 years at the CDC.
Besser welcomed recent moves to scale up US aid to West Africa, including the Obama administration’s request for more funds, but he said much more is needed.
He called for large field hospitals staffed by Americans to treat Ebola patients, plus active US involvement in strengthening infection control, staffing burial teams, and detecting new cases.
“A few thousand U.S. troops could provide the support that is so desperately needed,” he added. “There could be casualties, but what military operation is ruled out solely because it is dangerous?”
“We know how to control Ebola. It’s time to step up and get the job done,” he concluded.
MSF president speaks out
Some similar points were made in another Washington Post commentary, this one from Joanne Liu, MD, president of Doctors without Borders (MSF), the leading private aid group fighting Ebola in West Africa.
Using words similar to those she used at a UN briefing last week, Liu described the grim situation in West Africa and said MSF has been “completely overwhelmed.”
“We need a large-scale deployment of highly trained personnel who know the protocols for protecting themselves against highly contagious diseases and who have the necessary logistical support to be immediately operational. Private aid groups simply cannot confront this alone,” she wrote.
THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.
There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, theWorld Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.
There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.
The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. This outbreak is very different from the 19 that have occurred in Africa over the past 40 years. It is much easier to control Ebola infections in isolated villages. But there has been a 300 percent increase in Africa’s population over the last four decades, much of it in large city slums. What happens when an infected person yet to become ill travels by plane to Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa or Mogadishu — or even Karachi, Jakarta, Mexico City or Dhaka?
The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.
If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.
Why are public officials afraid to discuss this? They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater — as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing. But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.
In 2012, a team of Canadian researchers proved that Ebola Zaire, the same virus that is causing the West Africa outbreak, could be transmitted by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys, both of whose lungs are very similar to those of humans. Richard Preston’s 1994 best seller “The Hot Zone” chronicled a 1989 outbreak of a different strain, Ebola Reston virus, among monkeys at a quarantine station near Washington. The virus was transmitted through breathing, and the outbreak ended only when all the monkeys were euthanized. We must consider that such transmissions could happen between humans, if the virus mutates.
First, we need someone to take over the position of “command and control.” The United Nations is the only international organization that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge.
A Security Council resolution could give the United Nations total responsibility for controlling the outbreak, while respecting West African nations’ sovereignty as much as possible. The United Nations could, for instance, secure aircraft and landing rights. Many private airlines are refusing to fly into the affected countries, making it very difficult to deploy critical supplies and personnel. The Group of 7 countries’ military air and ground support must be brought in to ensure supply chains for medical and infection-control products, as well as food and water for quarantined areas.
The United Nations should provide whatever number of beds are needed; the World Health Organization has recommended 1,500, but we may need thousands more. It should also coordinate the recruitment and training around the world of medical and nursing staff, in particular by bringing in local residents who have survived Ebola, and are no longer at risk of infection. Many countries are pledging medical resources, but donations will not result in an effective treatment system if no single group is responsible for coordinating them.
Finally, we have to remember that Ebola isn’t West Africa’s only problem. Tens of thousands die there each year from diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Because people are now too afraid of contracting Ebola to go to the hospital, very few are getting basic medical care. In addition, many health care workers have been infected with Ebola, and more than 120 have died. Liberia has only 250 doctors left, for a population of four million.
This is about humanitarianism and self-interest. If we wait for vaccines and new drugs to arrive to end the Ebola epidemic, instead of taking major action now, we risk the disease’s reaching from West Africa to our own backyards.
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EXCLUSIVE: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION QUIETLY PREPARES ‘SURGE’ OF MILLIONS OF NEW IMMIGRANT IDS
Despite no official action from the president ahead of the election, the Obama administration has quietly begun preparing to issue millions of work authorization permits, suggesting the implementation of a large-scale executive amnesty may have already begun.
Unnoticed until now, a draft solicitation for bids issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Oct. 6 says potential vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” scenario of 9 million id cards in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”
The request for proposals says the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. In the “surge,” scenario in 2016, the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.
“The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards,” the document says.
The agency is buying the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC), commonly known as green cards, as well as Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards which have been used to implement President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. The RFP does not specify how many of each type of card would be issued.
Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department official, said the document suggests a new program of remarkable breadth.
The RFP “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill,” Vaughan said.
Last year, Vaughan reviewed the Gang of Eight’s provisions to estimate that it would have roughly doubled legal immigration. In the “surge” scenario of this RFP, even the relatively high four million cards per year would be more than doubled, meaning that even on its own terms, the agency is preparing for a huge uptick of 125 percent its normal annual output.
It’s not unheard of for federal agencies to plan for contingencies, but the request specifically explains that the surge is related to potential changes in immigration policy.
“The Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential ‘surge’ in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements,” the document says.
A year ago, such a plan might have been attributed to a forthcoming immigration bill. Now, following the summer’s border crisis, the chances of such a new law are extremely low, giving additional credence to the possibility the move is in preparation for an executive amnesty by Obama.
Even four million combined green cards and EADs is a significant number, let alone the “surge” contemplated by USCIS. For instance, in the first two years after Obama unilaterally enacted DACA, about 600,000 people were approved by USCIS under the program. Statistics provided by USCIS on its website show that the entire agency had processed 862,000 total EADs in 2014 as of June.
Vaughan said EADs are increasingly coming under scrutiny as a tool used by the Obama administration to provide legalization for groups of illegal aliens short of full green card status.
In addition to providing government approval to work for illegal aliens, EADs also cost significantly less in fees to acquire, about $450 compared to more than $1000. In many states, EADs give aliens rights to social services and the ability to obtain drivers’ licenses.
Vaughan noted there are currently about 4.5 million individuals waiting for approval for the green cards having followed immigration law and obtained sponsorships from relatives in the U.S. or otherwise, less than the number of id cards contemplated by the USCIS “surge.”
USCIS officials did not provide additional information about the RFP by press time.
Solicitation Number: HSSCCG-14-R-00028
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Citizenship & Immigration Services
Location: USCIS Contracting Office
There have been modifications to this notice. You are currently viewing the original synopsis. To view the most recent modification/amendment, click here
USCIS Contracting will be posting a solicitation for the requirement of Card Stock used by the USCIS Document Management Division. The objective of this procurement is to provide card consumables for the Document Management Division (DMD) that will be used to produce Permanent Resident Cards (PRC) and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards. The requirement is for an estimated 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total.The ordering periods for this requirement shall be for a total of five (5) years. This is a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) supply purchase for commercial items, utilizing North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 325211 and Product / Service Code (PSC) 9330. This requirement is for the acquisition of 100% polycarbonate solid body card stock with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and holographic images embedded within the card construction substrate layers, card design service, and storage.
The solicitation will be posted at this FedBidOpps webpage.
USCIS is charged with processing immigrant visa petitions, naturalization petitions, and asylum and refugeeapplications, as well as making adjudicative decisions performed at the service centers, and managing all other immigration benefits functions (i.e., not immigration enforcement) performed by the former INS. Other responsibilities include:
Administration of immigration services and benefits
Adjudicating asylum claims
Issuing employment authorization documents (EAD)
Adjudicating petitions for non-immigrant temporary workers (H-1B, O-1, etc.)
While core immigration benefits functions remain the same as under the INS, a new goal is to process applications efficiently and effectively. Improvement efforts have included attempts to reduce the applicant backlog, as well as providing customer service through different channels, including the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) with information in English and Spanish, Application Support Centers (ASCs), the Internet and other channels. The enforcement of immigration laws remain under CBP and ICE.
USCIS focuses on two key points on the immigrant’s journey towards civic integration: when they first become permanent residents and when they are ready to begin the formal naturalization process. A lawful permanent resident is eligible to become a citizen of the United States after holding the Permanent Resident Card for at least five continuous years, with no trips out of the United States that last for 180 days or more. If, however, the lawful permanent resident marries a U.S. citizen, eligibility for U.S. citizenship is shortened to three years so long as the resident has been living with the spouse continuously for at least three years and the spouse has been a citizen for at least three years.
USCIS handles all forms and processing materials related to immigration and naturalization. This is evident from USCIS’s predecessor, the INS, (Immigration and Naturalization Service) which is defunct as of May 9, 2003.
USCIS currently handles two kinds of forms: those relating to immigration, and those related to naturalization. Forms are designated by a specific name, and an alphanumeric sequence consisting of one letter, followed by two or three digits. Forms related to immigration are designated with an I (for example, I-551, Permanent Resident Card) and forms related to naturalization are designated by an N (for example, N-400, Application for Naturalization).
Also, USCIS runs an online appointment scheduling service known as INFOPASS. This system allows people with questions about immigration to come into their local USCIS office and speak directly with a government employee about their case and so on. This is an important way in which USCIS serves the public. USCIS maintains a blog entitled “The Beacon” as well as the “@uscis” Twitter account.
Unlike most other federal agencies, USCIS is funded almost entirely by user fees. Under President George W. Bush’s FY2008 budget request, direct congressional appropriations made about 1% of the USCIS budget and about 99% of the budget was funded through fees. The total USCIS FY2008 budget was projected to be $2.6 billion.
USCIS consists of 18,000 federal employees and contractors working at 250 offices around the world.
On March 1, 2003, the INS ceased to exist and services provided by that organization transitioned into USCIS. Eduardo Aguirre was appointed the first USCIS Director by President Bush. In December 2005, Emilio T. Gonzalez, Ph. D., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Director of USCIS, and he held this position until April 2008. Nominated by President Barack Obama on April 24 and unanimously confirmed on August 7 by the U.S. Senate, Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in as USCIS Director on August 12, 2009.
An employment authorization document (EAD, Form I-766), EAD card, known popularly as a “work permit”, is a document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that provides its holder a legal right to work in the US. It is similar to, but should not be confused with the green card.
Certain ‘aliens’ (non-residents) who are temporarily in the United States may file a Form I-765, application for employment authorization, to request an EAD. An EAD is issued for a specific period of time based on alien’s immigration situation. Foreign nationals with an EAD can lawfully work in the United States for any employer.
Aliens who are sponsored by US employers and issued temporary work visas for such as H, I, L-1 or O-1 visas are authorized to work for the sponsoring employer, through the duration of the visa . This is known as ‘employment incident to status’. Aliens on such work visas do not qualify for an EAD according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service regulations (8 CFR Part 274a).
Currently the EAD is issued in the form of a standard credit card-size plastic card enhanced with multiple security features. The EAD card contains some basic information about alien: name, birth date, sex, immigrant category, country of birth, photo, alien registration number (also called “A-number”), card number, restrictive terms and conditions, and dates of validity.
The eligibility for employment authorizations are detailed in the Federal Regulations at 8 C.F.R. §274a.12. Only aliens who fall under the enumerated categories are eligible for an employment authorization document.
There are more than 40 types of immigration status that make their holders eligible to apply for an EAD. Some are nationality-based and apply to a very small number of people. Others are much broader, such as those covering the spouses of E-1, E-2, E-3 or L-1 visa holders.
USCIS issues EADs in the following categories:
Renewal EAD: Renewal cannot be filed more than 120 days before the current employment authorization expires.
Replacement EAD: Replaces a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD. A replacement EAD also replaces an EAD that was issued with incorrect information, such as a misspelled name.
Obtaining an EAD
Applicants would file Form I-765 (application for employment authorization) by mail with the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area where they live. They may also be eligible to file Form I-765 electronically (seeUSCIS Electronic Filing). For employment based green card applicants, your priority date needs to be current to apply for Adjustment of Status (I485) at which time you can apply for EAD. Typically, it is recommended to apply for Advance Parole (AP) at the same time so that you do not have to get a visa stamping when re-entering US from a foreign country.
An interim EAD is an EAD issued to an eligible applicant when USCIS has failed to adjudicate an application within 90 days of receipt of a properly filed EAD application or within 30 days of a properly filed initial EAD application based on an asylum application filed on or after January 4, 1995. The interim EAD will be granted for a period not to exceed 240 days and is subject to the conditions noted on the document.
An interim EAD is no longer issued by local service centers. One can however take an INFOPASS appointment and place a service request at local centers, explicitly asking for it if the application exceeds 90 days and 30 days for asylum applicants without an adjudication .
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Gov. Rick Perry today announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas. Creation of such facilities was among the first recommendations made by the governor’s recently named Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response in order to better protect health care workers and the public from the spread of pandemic diseases.
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Americans want flight restrictions from Ebola countries. And it’s not close.
By Aaron Blake
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.
A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.
Thus far, some countries in Europe have restricted flights from these countries in West Africa, and an increasing number of U.S. lawmakers are calling for similar bans. The White House has yet to increase restrictions, with federal officials saying such a move could actually increase the spread of the disease by hampering the movement of aid workers and supplies.
Concern about Ebola, at this point, is real but not pervasive. About two-thirds (65 percent) say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States. But while people are broadly concerned about an outbreak, they are not necessarily worried about that potential outbreak directly affecting them. Just 43 percent of people are worried about themselves or someone in their family becoming infected – including 20 percent who are “very worried.”
That finding echoes a Pew poll from last week which showed just 11 percent were “very worried” about themselves or their families becoming infected. Since that survey, Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died, and news that a nurse who provided care for him became infected broke on the final day of the Post-ABC poll.
By comparison, slightly more Americans said they were worried about the H1N1 virus – a.k.a. the swine flu – in October 2009 (52 percent). Concern about Ebola is about on-par with concern about Avian influenza – a.k.a. the bird flu – in 2006 (41 percent) and slightly higher than concern about Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 (as high as 38 percent).
The support for increasing restrictions puts the White House in a tough spot. Given the moves by other countries and the American public’s stance, there is increasing pressure to act. And given the very real — but still somewhat muted — concerns about the disease, that’s significant, especially if the disease continues to expand.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that all travelers from Ebola outbreak countries in West Africa will be funneled through one of five U.S. airports with enhanced screening starting Wednesday.
Customs and Border Protection within the department began enhanced screening — checking the traveler’s temperature and asking about possible exposure to Ebola — at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 11.
Enhanced screening for travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea was expanded Oct. 16 to Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, New Jersey’s Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports.
Those airports were supposed to screen 94% of the average 150 people per day arriving from the three countries. Lawmakers from other states asked for enhanced screening at their airports, too.
Some lawmakers have called for more restrictions, such as suspending visas or denying entry at ports for citizens from the three countries.
Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, announced that travelers from West Africa must arrive at one of the five airports starting Wednesday.
“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Johnson said. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking as needed.”
The enhanced screening will apply to anyone who traveled recently to, from or through the three outbreak countries, according to the department’s announcement to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. Customs and Border Protection will work with airlines to identify potential travelers before they board, but airlines will be obligated to comply with the rule for carrying to the USA any passengers who recently traveled through the region, according to the filing.
The restrictions should affect only about nine travelers per day who would have arrived at other airports. Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, which serves Europe from hubs such as Philadelphia and Charlotte, said the airline has no concerns about the change.
“We have been tracking that, and we don’t have any concerns because the numbers are so small,” Cody said.
British Airways, which serves a variety of U.S. destinations other than the five targeted airports, said it would comply with the measures.
“Customers affected will be offered a refund or will be rerouted if there is availability,” spokeswoman Michele Kropf said.
Republican lawmakers offered muted praise but pressed for stricter travel restrictions.
“In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said a “real solution” is to deny entry to anyone from the three countries under a provision of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.
“President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries,” Goodlatte said. “The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium, and I urge the president to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger.”
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said steering travelers through the five airports is a sensible precaution.
“As agreed upon by experts in both the public health and transportation communities, issuing a blanket travel ban would not only be counterproductive, but it would also irresponsibly impede getting much-needed supplies and relief to the countries that need it most,” Conyers said.
Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group for all aspects of travel, praised the move to calm travel concerns while avoiding a travel ban.
“The Obama administration continues to heed the counsel of an overwhelming consensus of health and security experts and resist calls for any sort of travel ban on the grounds that it will be counterproductive to efforts to contain Ebola,” Dow said.
A Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person diagnosed with the disease in the USA after arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20, had a temperature of 97.3 degrees but didn’t tell airport officials in Monrovia, Liberia, that he had cared for a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola. He died Oct. 8, and two nurses who treated him have become infected.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the enhanced screening adds a layer of protection against Ebola entering the country.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s policy to funnel all passengers arriving from Ebola hot spots to one of these five equipped airports is a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” Schumer said.
Obama and Johnson have said they will continue to monitor travel restrictions for possible changes.
“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” Johnson said.
Gabbard Calls On CDC To Increase Incubation Period To Prevent Ebola Spread
By Chad Blair
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has called on the Center for Disease Control to implement stricter incubation guidelines for people who have been in contact with patients “confirmed or suspected” to have the Ebola virus.
According to a press release from her office, Gabbard is calling on the CDC to increase the quarantine and restriction period from the 21-day standard to 42 days, “based on the latest scientific studies and the World Health Organization report that the incubation period for the deadly Ebola virus can extend as long as 42 days.”
On Friday, Gabbard called for the “immediate suspension” of visas for citizens of Ebola-stricken West African nations as well as flights from those countries into the United States.
“Recent mistakes have revealed that the U.S. public health system is clearly not fully prepared to combat Ebola and prevent its spread in the United States,” she said in a statement.
Democrats like Gabbard are among a growing number who are “beginning to sound more like Republicans when they talk about Ebola. And Republicans are moving into overdrive with their criticism of the government’s handling of the deadly virus,” according to The Washington Post.
“The sharpened rhetoric, strategists say, suggests Democrats fear President Obama’s response to Ebola in the United States could become a political liability in the midterm election and Republicans see an opportunity to tie increasing concerns about the disease to the public’s broader worries about Obama’s leadership.”
The Washington Post notes, however, that Gabbard is “a liberal Democrat who is not in any danger of losing reelection.” It also reports that a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that “67 percent of Americans would support restricting entry to the United States from countries fighting dealing with an Ebola crisis.”
How is the end of an Ebola outbreak decided and declared?
Information note – October 2014
Who decides the date?
The WHO Ebola outbreak response team is responsible for establishing the date of the end of the outbreak in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory.
How is the date determined?
An Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared over once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days). This 42-day period starts from the last day that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.
This includes health care workers who have been exposed to patients with Ebola virus disease, even if the health worker was wearing personal protective equipment and followed infection control procedures since such a person could be exposed accidentally without realizing it. In the setting of an Ebola treatment centre, the date of the last infectious contact is defined as the day when the last patient in the treatment centre tested negative for Ebola virus disease, using a real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
If no new case has been detected at the end of this 42-day period, the risk of a further case is very low, and the outbreak is declared over.
Why 42 days?
The maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease is 21 days. The 42-day period set by WHO (twice the maximum incubation period) provides a margin of security to cover any possible missed cases, uncertainty in reporting dates or hidden chains of transmission. (*)
During the 42-day period, the surveillance system should be fully functional, so that all contacts of the last patient are followed to detect possible chains of transmission.
What is the procedure to make the declaration?
The WHO Ebola outbreak response team in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory determines the date of the end of the epidemic. The government of the affected country, in collaboration with WHO and international partners, makes an official declaration of the end of the epidemic.
The Obama administration has reversed course on putting travel restrictions on those coming from three West African nations tainted with Ebola and is putting in place demands that they enter only through five U.S. airports prepared to screen for the virus.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that the new rules will take effect Wednesday, bowing to demands from both parties that the U.S. do a better job so secure the border from Ebola.
“Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries,” said Johnson.
He said the rules require that anyone coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea enter the U.S. only through the five airports where special Ebola screenings have been set up: New York’s John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare.
“All passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed,” said the statement.
He said that passengers flying into those airports on flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea “are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States. These airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the United States from these countries.”
There are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to the U.S.
NIH unit treating Dallas nurse for Ebola is one of 4 special isolation facilities in U.S.
By Lena H. Sun
It has a specially designed air-flow system to prevent contaminated air from leaving the patient room. It requires anyone who enters to be buzzed in. Personnel who work there receive special training in infection control to prevent the spread of bioterror agents, natural or man-made. It also has a tiny gym.
Welcome to the Special Clinical Studies Unit at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. It is a 4,000-square-foot unit inside the NIH Clinical Center, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to research, which provides free state-of-the-art care to very sick patients from all over the world.
Now it’s home to its first confirmed Ebola patient, Nina Pham.
Pham is the first patient with a confirmed infectious disease to be cared for in the special seven-bed unit, center director John Gallin said in an interview Friday. Opened in 2010 for patients who need advanced isolation and extended stays, the unit was initially designed to take care of personnel working at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in case they were exposed to infectious agents. In more recent years, it has been used to house healthy volunteers participating in live vaccine trials. The volunteers need to be monitored in a place where they can be safely quarantined, Gallin said. To accommodate those healthy volunteers, the unit has a dining room and a “tiny fitness area,” he said.
Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for a patient in Dallas, is in fair and stable condition, officials said Friday morning.
What does an Ebola isolation ward look like?
“We are giving her the best possible care on a symptomatic and systemic basis,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference.
Pham, 26, was transferred to the facility, one of four in the country with a special biocontainment unit, late Thursday. She was diagnosed with Ebola on Sunday, becoming the first person to contract the disease on U.S. soil. Pham had been part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to Dallas last month before being diagnosed with Ebola. Duncan died last week, four days before it was announced that Pham had contracted the disease.
“There is no specific therapy that has been proven to be effective against Ebola, and that’s why excellent medical care is critical,” Fauci said. He said Pham was “very, very tired” from her trip.
Patients infected with the Ebola virus require a large number of staffers to provide care around-the-clock. At NIH, that comes out to about 27 people a week — doctors, nurses, support staff — for one patient, Gallin said. With about 50 to 60 such personnel specially trained for infectious disease and critical care, NIH can only care for two Ebola patients at a time, he said.
The four facilities that provide such care were designed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to protect against bioterrorism. Two of them, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the Nebraska Medical Center, are each treating one Ebola patient. The other facility is St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Mont.
They require staff to undergo more rigorous training in infection control, and staff must follow strict protocol for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment in a separate anteroom. Officials say meticulous attention to detail in following protocols is what sets them apart from other facilities.
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Emory has treated three Ebola patients, all of whom have recovered. The University of Nebraska treated one patient who recovered and is now caring for a freelance NBC cameraman. St. Patrick has not yet treated an Ebola patient. The hospital has received so many inquiries that it has set up a special hotline where they are transcribed and forwarded to the appropriate departments.
Bruce Ribner gives a tour of the Emory University Hospital isolation unit which has been used for treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus. (Emory University via YouTube)
Unlike the Dallas hospital where Pham and another nurse were infected, which officials said most likely occurred because of a breach of protocol involving personal protective equipment, no health workers taking care of the Ebola patients at the special facilities have become infected.
“There is a step-by-step, checklisted procedure to putting on your personal protective equipment for when you go in to the patient’s room to perform your duties and when you come out,” said Mark Rupp, medical director of Nebraska Medical Center’s infection control department, which includes the special unit. “That’s the big difference with what goes on in our unit and what goes on in a regular intensive-care unit.”
The facilities have one person whose only job is to make sure health-care workers put on and take off their protective equipment correctly. At NIH, this person is dubbed “the Watson,” Gallin said, for the sidekick to Sherlock Holmes.
The Watson “has the authority to stop everything at any moment if someone looks like they’re breaking protocol,” Gallin said. The Watson has a checklist, like a pilot’s preflight checklist, and everything has to be done in that order. If not, the Watson can “scream at them and tell them to stop,” Gallin said, which apparently happened at least once Thursday night when doctors and staff were admitting Pham.
The protective gear that health-care workers take off is autoclaved (sanitized via pressurized steam) and then incinerated. Equipment that is not disposable is disinfected according to the manufacturer’s directions. The units also have negative air pressure to prevent germs from spreading beyond patient rooms. For Ebola patients, contaminated air is not such a concern because the disease is not transmitted through the air, but through contact with bodily fluids.
The seven-bed, 4,000-square-foot biocontainment unit at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., is a state-of-the-art facility built to keep the world’s scariest pathogens from escaping. The four U.S. facilities are all different — NIH’s even has a gym — but they contain many of the same things. This layout is based on the unit at Emory University in Atlanta.
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Fast Facts on US Hospitals
The American Hospital Association conducts an annual survey of hospitals in the United States. The data below, from the 2012 AHA Annual Survey, are a sample of what you will find in AHA Hospital Statistics, 2014 edition. The definitive source for aggregate hospital data and trend analysis, AHA Hospital Statistics includes current and historical data on utilization, personnel, revenue, expenses, managed care contracts, community health indicators, physician models, and much more.
AHA Hospital Statistics is published annually by Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. Additional details on AHA Hospital Statistics and other Health Forum data products are available at www.ahadataviewer.com. To order AHA Hospital Statistics, call (800) AHA-2626 or click on www.ahaonlinestore.com.
For further information or customized data and research, contact the AHA Resource Center at (312) 422-2050 or email@example.com.
*Registered hospitals are those hospitals that meet AHA’s criteria for registration as a hospital facility. Registered hospitals include AHA member hospitals as well as nonmember hospitals. For a complete listing of the criteria used for registration, please see Registration Requirements for Hospitals.
**Community hospitals are defined as all nonfederal, short-term general, and other special hospitals. Other special hospitals include obstetrics and gynecology; eye, ear, nose, and throat; rehabilitation; orthopedic; and other individually described specialty services. Community hospitals include academic medical centers or other teaching hospitals if they are nonfederal short-term hospitals. Excluded are hospitals not accessible by the general public, such as prison hospitals or college infirmaries.
***System is defined by AHA as either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system. A multihospital system is two or more hospitals owned, leased, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization. Single, freestanding hospitals may be categorized as a system by bringing into membership three or more, and at least 25 percent, of their owned or leased non-hospital preacute or postacute health care organizations. System affiliation does not preclude network participation.
**** Network is a group of hospitals, physicians, other providers, insurers and/or community agencies that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. Network participation does not preclude system affiliation.
Ebola has officially made it to the US, but there is absolutely no reason to freak out. That’s in large part thanks to Emory University Hospital’s state-of-the-art isolation ward, which is better-equipped to field Ebola cases than any ordinary hospital in the country. Here’s a look at the tech that keeps doctors and nurses safe.
Emory is one of four high-level biocontainment patient care units in the US; the others are located at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. We spoke with Dr. Angela Hewlett, associate medical director at the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit — the largest of the four facilities — about biocontainment suits, wearing three pairs of gloves, and custom air pressure systems.
Perhaps the most comfort Hewlett was able to provide is that none of the super-fancy tech that these four high-level isolation wards have at their disposal is even necessary for Ebola. “There’s a big fear factor with this illness but really, these types of patients can taken care of at any good healthcare facility,” says Dr. Hewlett.
That’s because the Ebola virus easily dies outside of the human body, so unless you’ve been handling a sick person’s blood or feces, you are almost certainly A-OK. Ebola is pretty darn hard to get compared to an airborne disease like SARS or even the regular old flu. But with a mortality rate of up to 90 per cent — and over 50 per cent with the strain in the current outbreak — we still need to keep doctors and nurses as safe as we can. Here’s how Nebraska Biocontainment Unit keeps diseases like Ebola — and much, much worse — from spreading in the hospital.
Negative air pressure. As with Emory in Atlanta, the isolation unit in Nebraska is isolated from the rest of the general hospital. It runs on its own air circulation system, and the air is passed through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter before it is vented outside of the building. That’s the same kind of precautions that you would see in a biosafety level 4 lab (the highest) that works with deadly or highly contagious diseases.
In addition, the biocontainment unit has negative air pressure, which means that air pressure inside the isolation rooms is slightly lower than that outside. Essentially, air is gently sucked into the room, so particles from inside the room can’t float out when you open a door. As another line of protection, ultraviolet lights zap any viruses or bacteria in the air or on surfaces.
Full-body suits and THREE pairs of gloves. The Biocontainment Unit is equipped with gear that covers you head to toe, in some places three times over. That includes personal respirators, headgear, full-body suits and gloves. Healthcare workers wear three pairs, including one thick pair that protects against needle accidents, and then two pairs of ordinary gloves so they have an extra pair to work with patients.
Entering and exiting the room becomes an elaborate production because putting on and taking off all the gear can take more than 10 minutes each way. A second person assists to make sure every piece of equipment is put on right and there are no rips or tears in any of the protective gear. Afterwards, every piece of equipment is wiped down to kill the pathogen; in the case of Ebola, simple bleach is enough to do the trick. The full-body suit is discarded after each use.
Training and training and training. Having fancy technology is great but not if you don’t know how to use it properly. “They have to go through really extensive training,” says Hewlett of the the 30-person team that works in the unit. They get 80 hours of training before they can begin, followed by monthly meetings and quarterly drills, where the photos in this post were taken.
It’s worth reiterating that most of this equipment and these procedures go above and beyond protecting for Ebola. The air systems and full-body suits are really there to guard against possible airborne diseases, like smallpox or SARS or some highly contagious avian flu viruses that may emerge in the future.
In fact, the CDC’s current guidelines for treating Ebola in U.S. hospitals require only gloves, goggles, a facemask, and a gown in most situations. Even if someone inadvertently brings Ebola to other hospitals, it’s highly unlikely to spread in the U.S. The situation is different in Africa, where inadequate equipment and fear of healthcare workers has contributed to the worsening situation.
A State Department official did visit Nebraska to see whether the unit would be ready to accept any Ebola patients in the future, though the facility hasn’t yet been used despite being open for nine years. There hasn’t been a disease serious enough to merit it. “This is good thing,” says Dr. Hewlett, “However with world travel the way it is, it is inevitable these things are going to come eventually.” If and when Ebola does come to the U.S. again, we are definitely prepared, which is not something we can say about what else may be coming down the line.
Pictures: University of Nebraska Medical Center
Obama names Ron Klain as Ebola ‘czar’
President Obama tapped veteran government insider Ron Klain to coordinate his administration’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus Friday.
Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is well-known by Obama and White House aides. He was selected for his management experience and contacts throughout the government, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“He is the right person for the job,” Earnest said, particularly the challenge of “integrating the interagency response.”
Klain’s appointment marks a swift turnabout for Obama, who until Thursday had resisted calls to appoint a single official to run the government’s response to Ebola.
Asked Thursday about the prospect of an “Ebola czar,” Obama said, “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward.”
From recounts to stimulus to Ebola: Ron Klain’s resume
Obama did not mention Klain’s appointment during a speech Friday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but he said his administration is taking an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to fighting Ebola.
The administration has come under increased pressure to name an anti-Ebola coordinator in the wake of news that two nurses in Dallas contracted the deadly virus. Both had treated a man who died of Ebola.
Klain played a high-profile file in Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey portrayed him in an HBO movie on that year’s Florida recount.
The Ebola response includes efforts to screen travelers from West African nations where Ebola has reached epidemic proportions and killed more than 4,500 people. Klain will help coordinate the assistance the U.S. military provides in West Africa.
Some Republican lawmakers criticized Obama for entrusting the job to a former government manager rather than a professional.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tweeted, “Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?”
Members of the public health community expressed surprise.
“When are they going to stop making mistakes?” said Robert Murphy, the director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We need a czar, but optimally a strong public health expert. I am so disappointed. This is not what we need.”
Physician Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said, “It’s clear that there’s a desperate desire for an organized approach to dealing with this outbreak. I don’t necessarily think we need a disease-specific czar — we have one for HIV — but more of an emerging infectious diseases/biosecurity coordinator who reports to the president.”
The Ebola position is designed to be more managerial in nature, involving an array of government agencies ranging from the Pentagon to Health and Human Services.
“This is much broader than a medical response,” Earnest said.
As for Republican criticism, Earnest joked, “That’s a shocking development.” He noted that national elections are less than three weeks away.
Klain may weigh in on another question facing the administration: the prospect of a U.S. travel ban from West African nations where there have been Ebola outbreaks.
Obama and aides have disputed the need for a travel ban, questioning whether it would work and arguing that it might create unintended problems.
Thursday, Obama said experts in infectious diseases have told him “a travel ban is less effective than the measures that we are currently instituting that involve screening passengers who are coming from West Africa.”
Klain is likely to take a low key role publicly.
Earnest said Obama wasn’t looking for an Ebola expert but “an implementation expert.”
He confirmed Klain’s title: “Ebola response coordinator.”
Klain will report to two officials involved in the anti-Ebola effort: homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice.
Obama is pleased with the work of Monaco and Rice, but “given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response,” a White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The president has long known Klain, who helped prepare him for debates with Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.
Klain has been out of government since leaving Biden’s staff during Obama’s first term.
The administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people.
The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it.
An example this week came in the dialogue between Megyn Kelly of Fox News andThomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.
Their conversation focused largely on the government’s refusal to stop travel into the United States by citizens of plague nations. “Why not put a travel ban in place,” Ms. Kelly asked, while we shore up the U.S. public-health system?
Dr. Frieden replied that we now have screening at airports, and “we’ve already recommended that all nonessential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans.” He added: “We’re always looking at ways that we can better protect Americans.”
“But this is one,” Ms. Kelly responded.
Dr. Frieden implied a travel ban would be harmful: “If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it’s going to spread to other parts of—”
Ms. Kelly interjected, asking how keeping citizens from the affected regions out of America would make it harder to stop Ebola in Africa.
“Because you can’t get people in and out.”
“Why can’t we have charter flights?”
“You know, charter flights don’t do the same thing commercial airliners do.”
“What do you mean? They fly in and fly out.”
Dr. Frieden replied that limiting travel between African nations would slow relief efforts. “If we isolate these countries, what’s not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.”
Later in the interview, Ms. Kelly noted that we still have airplanes coming into the U.S. from Liberia, with passengers expected to self-report Ebola exposure.
Dr. Frieden responded: “Ultimately the only way—and you may not like this—but the only way we will get our risk to zero here is to stop the outbreak in Africa.”
Ms. Kelly said yes, that’s why we’re sending troops. But why can’t we do that and have a travel ban?
“If it spreads more in Africa, it’s going to be more of a risk to us here. Our only goal is protecting Americans—that’s our mission. We do that by protecting people here and by stopping threats abroad. That protects Americans.”
Dr. Frieden’s logic was a bit of a heart-stopper. In fact his responses were more non sequiturs than answers. We cannot ban people at high risk of Ebola from entering the U.S. because people in West Africa have Ebola, and we don’t want it to spread. Huh?
In testimony before Congress Thursday, Dr. Frieden was not much more straightforward. His answers often sound like filibusters: long, rolling paragraphs of benign assertion, advertising slogans—“We know how to stop Ebola,” “Our focus is protecting people”—occasionally extraneous data, and testimony to the excellence of our health-care professionals.
It is my impression that everyone who speaks for the government on this issue has been instructed to imagine his audience as anxious children. It feels like how the pediatrician talks to the child, not the parents. It’s as if they’ve been told: “Talk, talk, talk, but don’t say anything. Clarity is the enemy.”
The language of government now is word-spew.
Dr. Frieden did not explain his or the government’s thinking on the reasons for opposition to a travel ban. On the other hand, he noted that the government will consider all options in stopping the virus from spreading here, so perhaps that marks the beginning of a possible concession.
It is one thing that Dr. Frieden, and those who are presumably making the big decisions, have been so far incapable of making a believable and compelling case for not instituting a ban. A separate issue is how poor a decision it is. To call it childish would be unfair to children. In fact, if you had a group of 11-year-olds, they would surely have a superior answer to the question: “Sick people are coming through the door of the house, and we are not sure how to make them well. Meanwhile they are starting to make us sick, too. What is the first thing to do?”
The children would reply: “Close the door.” One would add: “Just for a while, while you figure out how to treat everyone getting sick.” Another might say: “And keep going outside the door in protective clothing with medical help.” Eleven-year-olds would get this one right without a lot of struggle.
If we don’t momentarily close the door to citizens of the affected nations, it is certain that more cases will come into the U.S. It is hard to see how that helps anyone. Closing the door would be no guarantee of safety—nothing is guaranteed, and the world is porous. But it would reduce risk and likelihood, which itself is worthwhile.
Africa, by the way, seems to understand this. The Associated Press on Thursday reported the continent’s health-care officials had limited the threat to only five countries with the help of border controls, travel restrictions, and aggressive and sophisticated tracking.
All of which returns me to my thoughts the past few weeks. Back then I’d hear the official wordage that doesn’t amount to a logical thought, and the unspoken air of “We don’t want to panic you savages,” and I’d look at various public officials and muse: “Who do you think you are?”
Now I think, “Who do they think we are?”
Does the government think if America is made to feel safer, she will forget the needs of the Ebola nations? But Americans, more than anyone else, are the volunteers, altruists and in a few cases saints who go to the Ebola nations to help. And they were doing it long before the Western media was talking about the disease, and long before America was experiencing it.
At the Ebola hearings Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said, I guess to the American people: “Don’t panic.” No one’s panicking—except perhaps the administration, which might explain its decisions.
Is it always the most frightened people who run around telling others to calm down?
This week the president canceled a fundraiser and returned to the White House to deal with the crisis. He made a statement and came across as about three days behind the story—“rapid response teams” and so forth. It reminded some people of the statement in July, during another crisis, of the president’s communications director, who said that when a president rushes back to Washington, it “can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people.” Yes, we’re such sissies. Actually, when Mr. Obama eschews a fundraiser to go to his office to deal with a public problem we are not scared, only surprised.
But again, who do they think we are? You gather they see us as poor, panic-stricken people who want a travel ban because we’re beside ourselves with fear and loathing. Instead of practical, realistic people who are way ahead of our government.