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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is holding his first meeting with a privacy and civil liberties board Friday as he seeks to make good on his pledge to have a public discussion about secretive government surveillance programs.

Obama has said the little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will play a key role in that effort. The federal oversight board reviews anti-terror programs to ensure that privacy concerns are taken into account.

The president is also tasking the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, to consider declassifying more details about the government's collection of U.S. phone and Internet records. Obama is specifically asking Clapper to review possible declassification of opinions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves the surveillance efforts.

Obama's meeting with the board was taking place Friday afternoon, but the White House wasn't planning to allow press coverage.

The government has already lifted some of the secrecy surrounding the programs following disclosures earlier this month about their existence by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. But the legal opinions from the highly secretive court remain private.

The privacy board was created in 2004 but has operated fitfully ever since, given congressional infighting and at times, censorship by government lawyers. The board was dormant during Obama's first term and only became fully functional in May, before the NSA programs became public.

The board's chairman, David Medine, said the five-member group has a "broad range of questions" to ask about the NSA's widespread collection programs. The board was given a classified briefing on the programs last week and plans to release a report eventually with recommendations for the government.

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PHOENIX (AP) -- President Barack Obama has championed two sweeping policy changes that could transform how people live in the United States: affordable health care for all and a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants illegally in the country.

But many immigrants will have to wait more than a decade to qualify for health care benefits under the proposed immigration overhaul being debated by Congress, ensuring a huge swath of people will remain uninsured as the centerpiece of Obama's health care law launches next year.

Lawmakers pushing the immigration bill said adding more recipients to an already costly benefit would make it unaffordable.

Health care analysts and immigration proponents argue that denying coverage will saddle local governments with the burden of uninsured immigrants. They also fear a crisis down the road as immigrants become eligible for coverage, but are older, sicker and require more expensive care. Those placed on provisional status would become the nation's second-largest population of uninsured, or about 25 percent, according to a 2012 study by the Urban Institute.

"All health research shows that the older you get, the sicker you become, so these people will be sicker and will be more expensive on the system," said Matthew O'Brien, who runs a health clinic for immigrants in Philadelphia and researches health trends at Temple University.

The Affordable Care Act will make health insurance accessible for millions of uninsured people starting in January through taxpayer-subsidized private policies for middle-class families and expanded access to Medicaid, the program for low-income people funded by federal and state dollars. The proposed immigration overhaul explicitly states immigrants cannot receive Medicaid or buy coverage in new health care exchanges for more than a decade after they qualify for legal status, and only after certain financial and security requirements have been met.

Immigrants with provisional status may obtain insurance through employers once they have legal status to work, but many are unskilled and undereducated, and tend to work low-wage jobs at small businesses that don't have to provide the benefit under the health care law. Immigrants illegally in the country also can access community health centers, but the officials who run those clinics said they are overwhelmed by the demand.

"We can't help everybody," said Bethy Mathis, executive director of Wesley Community Center in Phoenix. The clinic serves 7,000 patients a year who seek everything from vaccinations and relief from minor medical problems to care for long-term health conditions such as diabetes.

Debate over whether immigrants illegally in the country should be eligible for federal benefits nearly sank Obama's health care reform before it was passed by Congress in 2010. For lawmakers pushing immigration reform, there was no question that immigrants would continue to be excluded.

"That's one of the privileges of citizenship," said Republican Sen. John McCain, one of the so-called Gang of Eight pushing the immigration bill, during a conference call with reporters. "That's just what it is. I don't know why we would want to provide Obamacare to someone who is not a citizen of this country."

The issue has received more attention in recent weeks. Some House Republicans have threatened to kill the immigration bill unless immigrants are required to pay for all their health care costs even after they receive green cards or become citizens. Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, meanwhile, said she wants the government to distribute at least $250 million to state and local governments because they are the ones who will feel the financial pain of immigrants being left out of the health care law.

Pregnant women, children, seniors and the disabled are eligible for emergency Medicaid services regardless of their immigration status.

The politics behind the bill offer little solace to immigrant families struggling with growing medical bills.

Isabel Castillo came to the U.S. illegally with her parents when she was a child. She's now 28 and has not gone for an annual physical exam since 2007. Every pain triggers debate over whether it's worth a medical visit or not.

"You are like, `God, should I go, should I wait? The bill is going to be so high,'" Castillo said. "You just wait until you can't tolerate the pain anymore and then you go to the emergency room."

Immigrants who are U.S. citizens are also affected by the limits on health care access if they provide for family members here illegally.

High school student Jacqueline Garcia of Phoenix works two jobs to support her 13-year-old brother and 52-year-old grandmother, who has severe diabetes. The woman's mobility is limited, her vision and memory are fading and she sometimes suffers from seizures. The children were born in the United States and are being raised by the grandmother, who does not have lawful status and as a result does not qualify for Medicaid.

"Every time she gets sick, I have to take her to the doctor. It's really expensive," Garcia said. "What if my grandmother doesn't make it for the 10 years? I mean, I am always going to be struggling. That's too long."

Opponents said they understand the concerns of immigrants not getting health care, but it becomes an issue of the added expense.

"We aren't saying people shouldn't get health care. The question is who is going to pay for it?" said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group that opposes the immigration overhaul. "They would all be on Medicaid or heavily subsidized in some other way."

Critics of the decision said immigrants are eager to pay for affordable health care insurance and already support federal benefits by paying sales and income taxes. They note that adults unable to overcome health emergencies are less likely to contribute to the workforce and society.

"The risk of them being uninsured if they are in the country illegally is the same risk of anyone else in the country not being insured," said Stephen Zuckerman, a health economist for the Urban Institute. "It's always more expensive to treat people at a more advanced stage of disease."

In North Carolina, Jessica Sanchez-Rodriguez said she has undergone a series of surgeries and medicines to treat her spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder, and an ailment that leads to brain swelling. Her parents brought her illegally from Mexico when she was 11 months old. As a minor, she received subsidized medical care, but she was cut off when she turned 18 in February.

Her family is trying to raise money for a $55,000 surgery to connect a catheter to her bladder.

"It's terrible," Sanchez-Rodriguez said. "I have to go to school with these pains."

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LEBRON LEADS HEAT TO SECOND STRAIGHT TITLE

Thursday, 20 June 2013 23:09 Published in Sports

MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James and the Miami Heat remain atop the NBA, and not even a proud push from the San Antonio Spurs could knock them down.

James led the Heat to their second straight NBA title, scoring 37 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 95-88 victory Thursday night in a tense Game 7 of the NBA Finals that lived up to its billing.

Winning the title they needed to validate the best season in franchise history - and perhaps the three-superstar system they used to build it - the Heat won the second straight thriller in the NBA's first championship series to go the distance since 2010.

Two nights after his Game 6 save when the Heat were almost eliminated, James continued his unparalleled run through the basketball world, with two titles and an Olympic gold medal in the last 12 months.

He made five 3-pointers, defended Tony Parker when he had to, and did everything else that could ever be expected from the best player in the game.

The Heat became the NBA's first repeat champions since the Lakers in 2009-10, and the first team to beat the Spurs in the NBA Finals.

Players and coaches hugged each other after the game, the respect between the franchises that was obvious when the series started becoming even more apparent after two straight classics.

Fans stood, clapped and danced across the final minutes, when every score was answered by another score, each stop followed by a better stop. The Heat pushed their lead to six points a few times midway through the fourth but the Spurs would never be deterred.

The Spurs, so close to a fifth title just two nights earlier, couldn't find a way to grab it in this one, perhaps the last shot Tim Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili will ever get together.

They were trying to become the first road team to win a Game 7 on the road since Washington beat Seattle in 1978, but those old guys ran out of gas just before the finish.

Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, but missed a shot and follow attempt right under the basket with about 50 seconds left and the Spurs trailing by two.

James followed with a jumper - the shot the Spurs were daring him to take earlier in the series - to make it 92-88, sending San Antonio to a team a timeout as Glenn Frey's "The Heat is on" blared over the arena's sound system.

He then came up with a steal and made two free throws for a six-point lead, and after Ginobili missed, James stalked toward the sideline, knowing it was over and he was the last one standing again.

Dwyane Wade had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who overcame a scoreless Chris Bosh by getting six 3-pointers and 18 points from Shane Battier.

Streamers fell from the arena ceiling onto the white-clad fans for the second year in a row, but this one meant so much more after how close the Heat were to losing it.

They were down 10 in the fourth quarter of Game 6 before James led the charge back, finishing with a triple-double in Miami's 103-100 overtime victory. This one was nearly as tight, neither team leading by more than seven and the game tied 11 times.

Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Spurs, who had been 4 for 4 in the championship round. Ginobili had 18 points but Parker managed just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

The Heat collected the Larry O'Brien again from Commissioner David Stern, presiding over his final NBA Finals before retiring next February.

He couldn't have asked for a better way to go out.

James avenged his first finals loss, when his Cleveland Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs on 2007. That helped send James on his way to South Florida, realizing it would take more help to win titles that could never come alone.

He said he would appreciate this one more because of how tough it was. The Heat overpowered Oklahoma City in five games last year, a team of 20-something kids who weren't ready to be champions yet.

This came against a respected group of Spurs whose trio has combined for more than 100 playoff victories together.

Duncan is 37 and Ginobili will be a 36-year-old free agent next month, the core of a franchise whose best days may be behind them.

Meanwhile, it's a potential dynasty along Biscayne Bay, but also one with a potentially small window. Wade's latest knee problems are a reminder that though he came into the NBA at the same time as James and Bosh, he's a couple of years older at 31 with wheels that sometimes seem older.

James can become a free agent again next summer with another decision - though hopefully not another Decision - to make. He's comfortable in Miami and close with Wade, and the Heat have the leadership and commitment from owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley to continue constructing a championship core around him.

Why would he want to leave here?

San Antonio's most recent title came at James' expense, a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007. The Spurs' exploited the weaknesses in James' game though knew someday they would be gone, Duncan telling him afterward that the league would someday belong to James.

And James simply isn't giving it back.

He came in averaging 33.8 points in Game 7s, already the best in NBA history, and was even better in this one.

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