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Veterinarian Proposes Law Recognizing Pets’ True Value PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:24

A veterinarian is asking anyone who will listen – legislators, judges, fellow pet owners – if the loss of a pet is akin to the loss of furniture, a computer or a car.

Kenneth Newman, a 33-year veterinarian and author of Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge (www.meetmeattherainbowbridge.com), has proposed a law that answers his question. Gracie’s Law recognizes the emotional bond between pet and owner by entitling the owner of a pet killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.

“It’s time we change the laws to more accurately reflect what pets mean to the average American,” says Newman.

Gracie’s Law would not supersede current laws, he says, which entitle owners to the property value of their pet. And it would not replace criminal prosecution for acts of malice. And owners who decline a recommended veterinarian procedure to save a pet would not be held accountable under the law, he says.

Newman’s dog Gracie was killed in April 2008 when a negligent driver backed up 25 yards without looking, crushing Newman and Gracie between two vehicles. The vet escaped with a broken leg; Gracie saved his life, he says.

“An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn’t entitled to anything for the dog, and that this was a simple broken-leg case,” he says.

In every state, he says, laws view pets as property. Owners are entitled to no more than replacement value; no law takes into consideration the loss of companionship, grief, or pain and suffering.

Newman says that doesn’t jibe with Americans’ attitude toward their pets. According to an American Animal Hospital Association survey, 90 percent of owners consider their animals part of the family. Other findings:

• 52 percent of Americans would rather be stranded on a deserted island with their pet than with another person.

• 83 percent call themselves “Mommy” or “Daddy” in reference to their pet.

• 59 percent celebrate their pet’s birthday.

Cases involving pet owners’ bonds are increasingly showing up in the courts, Newman points out:

• Matrimonial law: Attorneys have experienced a 23 percent increase in pet cases, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This includes custody battles over pets, veterinarian bills and visitation rights. Harvard now has a course dedicated to pet law.

• The North Carolina Court of Appeals: While the plaintiff’s wrongful death lawsuit was denied, animal activists applaud a judge’s willingness to at least hear a case involving a Jack Russell terrier that died while undergoing tube feeding at a state facility.

• Texas justice: On Nov. 3, 2011, Fort Worth's 2nd Court of Appeals ruled that value can be attached to the love of a dog. That overruled a 120-year-old Texas Supreme Court case, which held that plaintiffs can only recoup the market value of their pets.

• Largest award: In April, a Denver judge awarded Robin Lohre $65,000 for the death of her dog, Ruthie. Lohre had accused Posh Maids cleaning service of negligence for allowing the dog to get outside, where it was hit by a car. Newman notes this sets a new precedent for pet value, but that such uncapped awards may threaten affordable veterinary care.

To read Gracie’s Law and copy it to share, visit meetmeattherainbowbridge.com, click “image gallery” and scroll down.

About Kenneth Newman DVM

Kenneth Newman graduated from Purdue University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1979, and has since been a practicing vet. He experienced a badly broken leg and the death of his Labrador retriever Gracie due to the negligence of a driver in April 2008. Since then, he has proposed and advocated Gracie’s Law, which recognizes that pets are more than common property. Newman lives with his wife and their son, as well as several pets.

 
Ninth Circuit response on Maui judicial conference PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:23

Grassley, Sessions Criticize ‘Unapologetic’ Response From Ninth Circuit About Maui Judicial Conference

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today in response to a letter from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals defending the planned million-dollar judicial conference at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in the Hawaiian tropics:

“We have received a reply from the Ninth Circuit regarding its fourth planned Hawaii conference in nine years. We remain deeply concerned about the conference’s overall costs, as well as the lavish recreational schedule, given that the event is subsidized by taxpayers. We will closely review the letter, but it appears Circuit officials remain defiantly unapologetic about the conference’s scale, location, and itinerary in our current hour of financial crisis. They show no indication of changing their financial behavior in the future.”

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Governor Quinn Signs Law to Increase Transparency of Pension Systems PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 18 June 2012 14:44
New Law Improves Pension Systems; State Actuary Will Oversee Certification

CHICAGO - June 18, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law that will increase oversight of the state’s pension systems. Senate Bill 179 creates the position of a state actuary to oversee the five state-funded pension systems to help increase transparency of the systems. After signing the new law, Governor Quinn continued his call for bold pension reform that eliminates the unfunded liability.

“We must restore integrity and accountability to the state’s pension systems and we are headed in the right direction with this new law,” Governor Quinn said. “Now is the time to roll our sleeves up and continue to work together to fundamentally reform our pension system and rescue it from drowning in an ocean of unfunded liability.”

Under Senate Bill 179, sponsored by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne (D-Belleville), the position of a state actuary will be created within the Office of the Auditor General and will report to the auditor general. The actuary will oversee the state’s five pension systems: State Employees Retirement System, General Assembly Retirement System, State Universities Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System and Judges Retirement System. To strengthen accountability and transparency, the actuary will review assumptions, valuations and actuarial practices for each of the systems. The actuary will also help calculate the state’s annual required contributions.

“This is another important step in making the pension systems stable by requiring an independent review of how the systems create their cost estimates,” said Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

The new law is designed to ensure that all of the state’s pension systems follow Illinois law when determining future contributions. Currently, each pension system submits a certification plan to the Governor and the General Assembly. Under the new law, the systems will submit their proposals to the Governor, the General Assembly and the new state actuary who will review the plans. The actuary will then issue a report containing recommended changes to the actuarial assumptions. Final certifications will be submitted on Jan. 15. The actuary will also be responsible for conducting reviews of the actuarial practices of the systems.

Governor Quinn continues to work with leaders of the General Assembly on a long-term solution to strengthen and stabilize the state’s pension system. Governor Quinn introduced a plan to reform the pension systems that would eliminate the unfunded liability over 30 years and allow public employees who have faithfully contributed to the system to receive pension benefits.

“Reforming our pension systems is critical to funding vital state programs and paying our vendors on time,” said the bill’s chief co-sponsor, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago). “This law will make sure that all of the state’s pension systems are following the correct process, and I thank Governor Quinn for signing this quickly.”

“We must restore confidence in the state’s pension systems,” said Leader Clayborne. “I would like to thank Governor Quinn for his quick action on this bill that will help us make sure that contributions are being calculated correctly.”

The new law goes into effect immediately.

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Religion Vs. Science – The Debate is Over, Scientist Says PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 18 June 2012 14:38
Scholar Gives 4 Reasons Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong

Large swaths of Americans seem to have drastically different views of how humans came to be, according to a June Gallup poll.

Nearly half of America – 46 percent – agrees with the creationist view that humans are purely the product of God, absent of evolution, within the last 10,000 years. Fifteen percent believe humans evolved independent of God, which is 6 percent more than 30 years ago.

These millions of Americans are pitted on two sides of a conflictwhich has a solution, says engineering physicist Daniel Friedmann, CEO of the aerospace company known for building the space station’s robotic arm and author of The Genesis One Code (www.danielfriedmannbooks.com).

“The creation-evolution conflict is a recurring point of contention in the United States, from the presidential election to what should be taught in schools,” he says. “American science legend Carl Sagan tried to settle this conflict by calling both camps ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ – in other words, science and religion each preside as the source of wisdom over separate domains.”

Friedmann argues that both wisdoms are two sides of the same coin and can enlighten each other. The reason the debate developed in the first place, he says, is because the discoveries of modern science of an old Earth seemed to conflict with descriptions in the Bible of a young Earth.

“People believed both could not be right,” he says. “It had to be one or the other – science or religion.”

But they both agree on the timeline for the development of the universe and life on Earth, Friedmann says. He has developed a formula that converts “Bible time” to years as we know them. When applied to calculating the age of the universe and life on Earth, the Bible consistently matches scientific estimates derived from the study of fossil timelines, the solar system and the cosmos.

His formula -- 1,000 X 365 X 7,000 –was derived from references in religious texts and science. The first number is found in Psalms, which says a year for God is 1,000 years for mortals. The second refers to the amount of days in one solar year. The third comes from scriptural study that indicates one creation day in Genesis equals 7,000 God years.

When those numbers are multiplied in human years, each creation day is an epoch of 2.56 billion years, he says. Using the formula, the biblical age of the universe is 13.74 billion years. Scientific estimates put the universe’s age at 13.75 billion, plus or minus 0.13 billion, he says.

“I have nothing but respect for scientists like Sagan and Stephen Hawking, but I feel that both were wrong about religion to varying degrees, especially Dr. Hawking,” he says. “Last year, Hawking dismissed religion, publicly calling it a ‘fairy tale’ for people who are afraid of death. I think that is a terriblynaive and misinformed view of what millions of people have believed in for more than a millennium.”

These are a few of the reasons Hawking is wrong, Friedmann says:

The Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened with respect to the formation of the universe and the appearance of life on Earth.

The term “creation days” can be shown from biblical sources to be 2.5 billion years. Using this conversion factor, it is clear that the Bible is correct about timelines we have confirmed through science, including the age of the universe.

If the Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened, do we really have a conflict? It is time to reexamine and bury the conflict between science and religion.  In fact, Friedmann in his book, shows that religion has answers to science’s three biggest questions.

By continuing this false dichotomy of religion vs. science, we are severely limiting progress and our potential as humans. Nearly 54 percent of the world’s population – Christians, Jews and Muslims – assert the truth of biblical scripture. Recognition of a commonality among diverse cultures, while linked to scientific principle, provides a better chance to advance the understanding of our origins.

About Daniel Friedmann

Daniel Friedmann is CEO of MDA, anaerospace company in Canada, which among other things, specializes in robotics used on the international space station. He has a master’s in engineering physics and 30 years’ experience in the space industry. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific papers on space industry topics. He is also a longtime student of cosmology and religion.

 
New Book Showcases Father’s Love for his Family PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Author House   
Monday, 18 June 2012 13:42

Author and father Claude Anthony Gossman calls attention to the importance of family

READLYN, Iowa – A father’s love can be powerful. In his new book The Fulfillment of a Dream (published by AuthorHouse) author and father Claude Anthony Gossman tells the story of a father and his love for his family.

When asked about his inspiration for writing The Fulfillment of a Dream, Gossman responded simply, “The ultimate dream of every father is to provide love, security and happiness to his family.”

“The world seems to have forgotten about family values,” he says. As a reminder of these key qualities, he tells the story of the Tom Stone family.

When they stepped onto the bank of the stream, June breathed in a sigh of relief. She saw Jenny and Cheryl sitting on Sandy’s lap as they watched the boys swing out on the swing, drop off into the water in a big splash and swim back to shore for another swing. They would run up on shore and approach the swing on the run, timing their leap just right so that, just as the bag was over the ground, they would leap in the air and catch the bag before it swung away from the bank. The two German shepherds stood on shore and barked excitedly at all of the commotion in the water, but Snooper was in and out of the water as she ran right behind the next boy who ran at the swinging bag. As it swung out, Snooper would leap into the air, following that boy momentarily, disappearing below the surface before she surfaced and paddled over to a nearby swimmer.

The Fulfilment of a Dream is Gossman’s call to arms for families to once again come together as one.

About the Author

Claude Anthony Gossman lives in Readlyn, Iowa. He loves to write books as this is his passion. He dedicates this book to his family: Jeff, Jody, Mark, Carrie and most especially to Candi, who gives her full support to this project. Gossman also dedicates his work to his nine grandchildren.

 
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