– Capitol Hill: Peace group release congressional report card, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
– Economy: Growth in initial unemployment claims slows, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
– Local News: Easter Egg Hunt in Staunton today, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
– Sports: Taylor, Whitley star in Tech mini-scrimmage, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
Capitol Hill: Peace group release congressional report card, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
In the midst of an emerging sea change in American foreign policy thinking, 117 congressional leaders have recently demonstrated an especially strong record of leadership towards a more effective national security strategy. This is according to a peace and security performance report on the 2008 session of the 110th Congress, released jointly by Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots peace organization, and its largest affiliate Peace Action West.
One of these leading policymakers is Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA-30), chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, who had this to say about his record: “I am proud to have voted last year for stronger congressional oversight of the funding and war in Iraq, for nuclear non proliferation, against wasteful weapons systems and military spending, and against torture of detainees at Guantanamo. My votes reflect my longstanding principles and beliefs. I am also proud that this year we have a new President of the United States, who has reversed the policies and priorities of the Bush Administration’s policies. We will work closely together for more responsible and progressive foreign policy.”
Kevin Martin, Peace Action’s Executive Director, emphasized the importance of this leadership. “We have an opportunity now to significantly change how the US interacts with the global community and what tools aside from military force the government relies on to keep us secure. Given the urgency surrounding the war in Afghanistan and negotiations with Iran, we need more leaders in Congress who will actively promote those changes now.”
According to Jon Rainwater, Peace Action West’s Executive Director, the role of the American public is critical in pushing for that new foreign policy vision. “We must seize the opportunity to rebuild our country’s reputation in the eyes of the world. After seven years of war it’s time for a fundamental reorientation of our foreign policy. These 117 members of Congress are leading the way, but we need more like them. That’s why Peace Action makes sure Americans know how their Representatives cast their votes on life and death issues, and encourages constituents to contact Congress and share their views. Ultimately, it’s an active and vocal public that will determine if the country makes the profound changes in US foreign policy that we need,” Rainwater added.
Fifty-eight members of Congress earned a perfect score in the report, including Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representatives John Lewis (D-GA-5), George Miller (D-CA-7) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7). Fifty-nine scored 90 percent. Members of Congress who earned top marks voted on such critical issues as opposing a blank check for the occupation of Iraq, blocking the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, and fully funding nonproliferation programs, foreign assistance and other important civilian security tools. Peace Action and Peace Action West’s Congressional Scorecard for the 110th Congress is available for download here: www.Peace-Action.org/scorecard08.
Economy: Growth in initial unemployment claims slows, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 654,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 674,000. The four-week moving average was 657,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 658,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.4 percent for the week ending March 28, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 4.3 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 28 was 5,840,000, an increase of 95,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 5,745,000. The four-week moving average was 5,647,500, an increase of 146,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 5,500,750.
The fiscal year-to-date average for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for all programs is 4.753 million.
Local News: Easter Egg Hunt in Staunton today, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
There will be a community event today for the residents of Springhill Village, Farrier Court and Willow View Townhouse apartments from 6-7:30 p.m. The event, the Spring Egg Scramble, will take place at Springhill Village apartments in Staunton.
The goal of this event is to provide an exciting community day as well as offer community program sign ups to the children living in this area. The YMCA, Valley Community Services Board and the Office on Youth are all organizations that will be featured at the Spring Egg Scramble.
Free egg hunt, food, clothing, bike raffle, prizes and community program sign-ups for children of all ages.
For more information, contact Heather Quick at 540.942.6757
Sports: Taylor, Whitley star in Tech mini-scrimmage, posted Thursday, 10:40 a.m.
Tyrod Taylor’s 65-yard touchdown run and Eddie Whitley’s 61-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted the Virginia Tech football team’s 40-play mini scrimmage held in chilly and blustery conditions Wednesday afternoon on the practice field.
Taylor attempted only two passes and ended up with 67 yards rushing. Darren Evans carried the ball three times for 28 yards while Ryan Williams carried it five times for 12 yards. Josh Oglesby had six carries for 27 yards.
Tech will hold its first formal scrimmage Friday afternoon, rain or shine, in Lane Stadium. Stretching will start at 4:30 p.m. and the scrimmage is open to the public.