Above the Fold 04.22.09

Remember the Alamo and our 10th Amendment…Bountiful broadband in rural America…Hippies causing more problems in MD…Planned shrinkage without cold water?…e-Scripts on the rise…St. Lucie in the sky with foreclosed homes…

Texas State Representative Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, is leading the charge to remind the U.S. Federal government just who they’re messing with – TEXAS! The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports today that Creighton’s bill “hereby claim[s] sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” and “serve[s] as notice and demand to the federal government…to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.” What mandates is Conroe talking about? Gun and ammunition sales, freedom-of-choice-issues (other than abortion), the Real ID Act, and any other law the federal government is passing to limit a state’s ability to govern itself, he says. House Concurrent Resolution 50 currently has 73 sponsors and co-sponsors.

If rural telecommunications operators can dip into the purse of $7 billion + stimulus dollars for broadband, rural America could be in for “gold-plated broadband service,” Fortune reports. A recent survey by Calix, a broadband equipment provider, says nearly one third of respondents said they would look to grab more than $21 million in federal funding. “The infrastructure builders are clearly not thinking in terms of just reaching the small area at the edge of their network, but they’re actually looking at this much more broadly,” Geoff Burke, senior director of corporate marketing at Calix, says. However, industry observers also caution rural providers to be on the lookout for power grabs by Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, who are also aware of how much money is at stake.

Senator Benjamin Cardin continues to grill Maryland State Police who spied on anti-death penalty and anti-war activists. The Staties have been mum on how much and what kind of information they gathered, or under who’s direction, but Caroline Fredrickson of the ACLU says she knows. She said state police had illegally “uploaded the activists’ personal information into a federal drug enforcement and terrorism database.” State police have since adopted new rules on when surveillance the Baltimore Sun reports.

Local leaders in Flint, Michigan have proposed to tear down entire blocks and neighborhoods, instead of waiting for the houses to become abandoned, the New York Times reports. The “planned shrinkage” concept will make Flint safer community and increase city revenues, advocates argue. The idea is gaining ground across Michigan and in other states, like Indiana and Arkansas, where “land banks” have been set up so the government can take ownership of foreclosed or dilapidated buildings. “If it’s going to look abandoned, let it be clean and green,” Dan Kildee, the Genesee County treasurer and chief spokesman for the movement to shrink Flint, said. “Create the new Flint forest — something people will choose to live near, rather than something that symbolizes failure.”

Reuters reports this morning that more doctors are writing e-prescriptions, according to a report released by Surescripts. Over 100,000 U.S. doctors, or an estimated 17 percent of office-based prescribers now send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies. “In the past two years, the United States has gone from 19,000 to 103,000 prescribers routing prescriptions electronically,” Harry Totonis, president and chief executive of Surescripts, said in a statement.

St. Lucie County in Florida has filed for a state of emergency over the foreclosure crisis, the Associated Press reports. “The whole country is in an economic crisis,” Commissioner Doug Coward said. “Clearly a declaration of local economic emergency sends a message of distress, but in my opinion, we need to balance that with the optimism that I think we in the board have.” Yesterday, RealtyTrac Inc. released findings that California and Florida metropolitan areas led the U.S. in foreclosures in the first quarter, with Las Vegas still leading overall. “The real issue is when will prices bottom?” said Stephen Miller, professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in an interview with Bloomberg

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