National Press Club

U.S. infrastructure gets D+ from American Society of Civil Engineers

April 23, 2013 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.net

U.S. infrastructure -- transportation, energy, water and waste -- got a D+ in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 quadrennial report, according to Gregory DiLoreto, president.

While the grade rose slightly from the D earned in the last report, "I don't think that's a card you take home to show your parents," he said at a National Press Club Newsmaker event on April 23.

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`Price-managed' lanes cut traffic gridlocks, says Newsmaker urging test

April 22, 2013 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

A toll-road proponent urged Congress, at an April 22 National Press Club Newsmaker, to include in the next highway funding bill a pilot project allowing states to convert some traffic lanes to toll roads to alleviate congestion.

Congress should approve a pilot allowing the top-20 urban areas with “severe congestion” to “take some percentage” of non-toll roads and test whether price-managed lanes would reduce gridlock, said Matthew Click, Southeast division director of tolls for HNTB Corp, a consulting firm based in Kansas City, Mo.

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Case load quotas impede decisions on disability claims, Judge Frye says at NPC

April 21, 2013 | By Marie Robey Wood | marierwood@hotmail.com

Imposing case quotas on federal administrative law judges can erode the quality of their decisions on disability claims, Randall Frye, a federal administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration in Charlotte, N.C., said at a National Press Club Newsmaker on April 19.

“Our caseloads everywhere have increased," said Frye, president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges. The quotas mean that "judges have to process cases – regardless of their complexity – in a finite period of time."

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Postmaster General tells National Press Club Luncheon bailout could cost $58 billion

April 19, 2013 | By Jerry Zremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

U.S. taxpayers may have to pay $58 billion through 2017 to bail out the U.S. Postal Service but the financially troubled agency would much prefer postal-reform legislation that gives it the ability to right its own ship, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said at a National Press Club Luncheon April 19.

“Congress faces a simple choice,” Donahoe said. “It can decide to start appropriating a lot of money to prop up a broken Postal Service or it can give the organization the flexibility to operate more effectively.”

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Drug czar affirms opposition to pot legalization at National Press Club Luncheon

April 18, 2013 | By Justin Duckham | Justin@talkradionews.com

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, emphasized the Obama administration’s opposition to marijuana legalization during an address at a National Press Club Luncheon on April 17.

“We shouldn’t lose sight of the fundamental fact that using marijuana has public-health consequences,” said Kerlkowske, also known as the nation’s Drug Czar. “The most responsible public policy is one that restricts its availability and discourages its use.”

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E-Discovery raises concerns for small business, individuals

April 16, 2013 | By Monica Coleman | mcoleman@insidecapitolhill.net

New legal discovery technology that allows litigants to quickly and successfully retrieve evidence from massive amounts of data may be difficult for small businesses and individuals to obtain, according to an expert panel that appeared at the National Press Club on April 15.

Big businesses and wealthy individuals have access to the new system through law firms specializing in the software and in preemptive management plans that structure business computers to help clients if litigation occurs, according to the expert panel.

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Iceland president sounds climate alarm demanding global attention, action at NPC Luncheon

April 15, 2013 | By Robert Webb | Rewebb@aol.com

Iceland President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced at a National Press Club Luncheon April 15 the creation of an international assembly named "Arctic Circle" to alert the world to glacial melting and other climate threats and what can be done about them.

"The Arctic is the fastest-warming place in the world," Grímsson said, "and is playing an increasingly important role in globalization, economic development, energy exploration, environmental protection and international security."

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Red Cross President tells Press Club Newsmaker situation in Syria getting more serious

April 14, 2013 | By Keith M. Hill | khill@bna.com

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been able to expand humanitarian aid in Syria during its civil war but the needs of the population are growing exponentially, Red Cross President Peter Maurer said at an April 11 National Press Club Newsmaker.

Fighting in Syria has been going on for more than two years.

There has been an increase in fighting in Syria and because most people cannot return to their homes, they flee to neighboring countries, Maurer said. The Red Cross also is unable to respond adequately in certain areas of the country, he said.

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Filmmaker gives account of false arrest in "Central Park 5," becomes 'card-carrying journalist'

April 13, 2013 | By Richard Lee | RF-lee@earthlink.net

Ken Burns' latest documentary for the Public Broadcasting System turned out to be a family undertaking for him, he told a National Press Club Luncheon audience April 12.

Burns, celebrated for previous in-depth examinations of the Civil War, baseball, jazz, and prohibition, among other subjects, said he was “inspired” and “angered” by daughter Sarah’s 2011 book, The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding, and the years of research that produced it.

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Chief Lanier describes policing strategies for changing D.C. areas at Press Club Newsmaker

April 11, 2013 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.net

Cathy Lanier, police chief for Washington, D.C., described the development of policing strategies for 14 changing areas of the city at an April 10 National Press Club Newsmaker.

The analysis process weighs such factors as rents and homeownerhsip, the number of households, demographic data, income, business licenses, traffic counts, business openings, and restaurants and bars, Lanier said. The goal is to deploy police ahead of time, she added

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