Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barack Obama wants public financing system 'fixed'

The Obama administration issued a statement strongly opposing a House bill that would eliminate the public financing system for presidential primaries and campaigns, arguing the system must be “fixed rather than dismantled.”

Created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the system is intended “to free the nation’s elections from the influence of corporations and other wealthy special interests,” the statement says. “It has done so at minimal cost to taxpayers, who fund it by voluntarily choosing to direct $3 of their federal taxes to this beneficial system.”

In the 2008 campaign, however, President Barack Obama opted out of the public financing system during the general election, becoming the first major-party candidate to do so. Instead, his campaign raised more than $1 billion in donations, a record-breaking haul that funded a successful 50-state strategy to win the White House.

At the time, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, accused Obama of reneging on his promise to publicly fund his campaign. But Obama’s campaign said it raised its money from millions of individual donors who contributed small amounts of cash.

Some Republican senators want to eliminate the fund to help balance the federal budget, saving $617 million over 10 years. The White House’s statement argues that the public system should be modernized and repaired, not dissolved.

If the House bill passed, “its effect would be to expand the power of corporations and special interests in the nation’s elections; to force many candidates into an endless cycle of fundraising at the expense of engagement with voters on the issues; and to place a premium on access to large-donor or special-interest support, narrowing the field of otherwise worthy candidates,” according to the statement.

The House is expected to vote on the measure Wednesday.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cardiologist delivers tips to boost heart health

Banner Boswell Medical Center is celebrating American Heart Month in February with a free community seminar between 9 and 10 a.m. Feb. 8 to offer tips on how to reduce the risk of having a heart attack.

The event will be in Memorial Hall, on the first floor of the Banner Boswell Support Services Building, 13180 N. 103rd Drive, Sun City.

Cardiologist Fredric Klopf, chief of staff, will discuss how the heart works as well as offer measures you and your family can take to avoid a heart attack, such as learning to decrease you blood pressure, reduce stress and start an exercise program.

Based on information from the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, with heart attack as its most visible sign. The classic symptom of a heart attack is pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. Other symptoms can include acute shortness of breath, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, profuse sweating, nausea and vomiting or unexplained weakness or severe tiredness.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tips for keeping pets in apartments

At the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA, we have successfully placed many homeless animals into all types of homes by matching the pet's personality and energy level with the right person or family. In 2010, of the more than 1,400 animals we cared for, only 3 percent were returned from adopters. We are so thankful for everyone in our community who has made adoption their first option when adding a pet to their lives, and for the patience that is sometimes required in finding the right match that will keep pets and their people happy ever after.

Sharing your home with a pet, when the home is an apartment or even a rented house, requires special considerations for both the pet and people involved. We do not require a fenced-in yard, but here are some tips to help you approach pet ownership in apartment-style living successfully:

• Research your lease and talk to your landlord about rules or guidelines regarding pet ownership. Some landlords prohibit having pets in their rental properties completely, while others do allow pets but with pet-specific rules as well as possibly a security deposit or "pet rent."
• Look for a dog to match your lifestyle and living environment. Rules from the landlord may define the size of the dog but not its activity level. Our adoption counselors can help you identify a match if you share the specifics of the living environment the dog will be in, as well as advise you on the exercise and activity requirements of the new pet you are about to take home.
• Success often is a matter of choosing the right dog. Size is not always the determining factor. Many small dogs such as terriers and beagles are high energy and need to move around and run, they are also notorious for barking, especially when left home alone. Do not choose a dog that "hates to be confined" or is "prone to cabin fever."

As with any pet in any living situation, exercise and training are key factors in the health happiness of your pet. Crate training is helpful for dogs that may be home for periods of time, and doggie day care is a great outlet for activity and socialization. Rotating toys and a walk everyday will help to reduce boredom and the destructive behavior that can result from it.

Remember: Having an apartment dog may take a little more work, time and consideration. But it is worth it! The Concord-Merrimack County SPCA is located at 130 Washington Penacook. If you are interested in learning more, please visit us at