The Jasper County Health
Department has confirmed four cases of pertussis
(whooping cough) and investigation continues into
an additional four suspect cases in Jasper County
Pertussis is highly
communicable and can cause severe disease in very
young children, according to information provided
by the Department. It begins with mild upper
respiratory tract symptoms and progresses to
cough. The condition can further progress to
severe paroxysms, often with a characteristic
inspiratory whoop followed by vomiting. Fever is
absent or minimal.
Cases of pertussis in schools
and communities can last for several months,
causing disruption in school and extracurricular
The attack rates in school
settings can range from 3-5% to 50-74%. Existing
epidemiological experience from different
outbreaks shows that pertussis may occur in fully
vaccinated persons. Pertussis vaccination is only
85% effective, and the immunity wanes over time.
The Department asks residents
to be on alert for signs and symptoms.
Obama on That Job Count
by Mosi Secret, www.ProPublica.org
In President Barack
Obamas news conference on Wednesday night,
he said the $787 billion economic stimulus bill
has already created or saved over 150,000 jobs.
We decided to find out how the president arrived
at that figure.
The simple answer: guesswork.
It turns out the feds
dont have a way to measure exactly how many
jobs have been created or saved, so they use
projections instead, and its all rather
The new estimate, like the
original one predicting the stimulus bill would
save or create 3 to 4 million jobs, came from the
Council of Economic Advisers. To get the number
Obama used, economists at the council simply
prorated their earlier estimates based on
stimulus outlays as of April 21.
As weve reported before,
the administrations estimates are based on
a guess at how much tax cuts and government
spending will make the economy grow.
We asked Nigel Gault, an
economist with the forecasting firm IHS Global
Insight, about what he made of the
administrations latest assumptions.
"The only thing they have
to go on is how much money has been actually
spent," Gault said. But that doesnt
tell the whole story. The feds count the money
that goes out the door. They dont have
close tabs on what happens after that, he said.
"You have to ask,
Has the money been effectively spent? Has
it actually been spent in purchasing goods and
services or whatever it was supposed to be
purchasing?" Gault said.
Gault noted that funding for
larger projects probably wont be spent all
at once. If a city or county starts work on a
project, it doesnt hire every worker
State officials have a closer
look at whats happening on the ground; the
picture there is hardly clear.
About 50 jobs have been created
to work on two projects in the state of New
Yorkroad work in one county and culvert
repair in another, said Erin Duggan, a
spokeswoman for the state. The billions of
dollars put into the education budget also
created or saved jobs, but thats difficult
Massachusetts last week issued
notice to proceed on five transportation
projects, said Cyndi Roy, spokeswoman for Gov.
Deval Patrick. There are no employment numbers
yet. Within state government theres been
one stimulus-related hire so farthe
For the record, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics says employment at the end of
March stood at 133,019,000 jobs. That compares
with 133,682,000 jobs at the end of February, the
month Obama signed the stimulus bill.
In other words, a loss of
663,000 jobs. Employment as of April is set for
release May 8.
The administration acknowledges
its estimate does not reflect a net gain in jobs.
"It doesnt mean that
employment has risen by 150,000," Thomas E.
Gavin of the White House budget office said in an
e-mail. "Rather, it means that employment is
150,000 jobs better than it otherwise would have
So, 150,000. Maybe. Maybe not.
Backs Down on Repeal
Ask Dont Tell
by Brian Boyer, www.ProPublica.org
Update, May 2: Friday night,
Whitehouse.gov reinserted language saying
President Obama supports the repeal of Dont
Ask Dont Tell. The specific language:
"He supports repealing Dont Ask
Dont Tell in a sensible way that
strengthens our armed forces and national
A subtle but substantive change
in the presidents position on
"dont ask dont tell" was
noticed today by our watchful
eye-on-the-administration tool, ChangeTracker. An
edit to the civil rights issues page tells the
Previously, the message was
clear. As of two days ago, whitehouse.gov said,
"We need to repeal the dont ask,
dont tell policy." The new
version of the page says that the president
"supports changing Dont Ask Dont
Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed
forces and our national security."
In January, White House press
secretary Robert Gibbs was asked, "Is the
new administration going to get rid of the
dont ask dont tell
policy?" Gibbs proudly gave a one-word
In March, Defense Secretary
Robert Gates seemed to back away from that
stance. When asked by Fox News about
"dont ask dont tell," he
said, "I feel like weve got a lot on
our plates right now."
The latest changes on
whitehouse.gov seem to further that hedge -- and
make it the White House position.
When asked for comment, Shin
Inouye, director of specialty media at the White
House, said, "As is the case with most Web
sites, periodic changes are made to
WhiteHouse.gov. Recently we overhauled the issues
section to concisely reflect the presidents
broad agenda, and will continue to update these
pages. The presidents commitment on LGBT
issues has not changed, and any suggestions to
the contrary are false.