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Government as innovator? You bet!

randd 600Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion.

People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reasons to reduce government spending. But in this case they're wrong. We need to boost the government's investment in R&D, not slash it.

Let's begin with the federal government's record, which is nothing short of impressive:

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‘Autism is not a death sentence’

autism 600WASHINGTON – As Camille Proctor watched her one-year-old son, she knew something wasn't right. He played with others and enjoyed affection, but he never spoke. He also walked on his toes. A pediatrician assured Proctor that her son was probably just developmentally delayed.

Proctor's son was 15 months old when she learned that wasn't the case. He was officially diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

"My son didn't have the telltale signs, but I figured it out without the diagnosis. I had to basically force a diagnosis for my son so he could get the services he needed," Proctor says. "But it was hard because now I had a name for what his problem was, but that wasn't helpful for me going through it every day."

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Wharton unveils ‘difficult choices’ budget proposal

wharton 600Saying he took no pleasure in the sacrifices City employees and retirees are being asked to make, Mayor A C Wharton Jr. on Tuesday presented the Memphis City Council with a 2015 fiscal year budget that he said reflects difficult choices.

According to Wharton, the budget proposal represents difficult choices his administration had to make to avoid raising taxes, while making strategic investments in core neighborhoods, securing the City's financial future, and protecting the pension system.

The proposed 2015 fiscal year operating budget is $596 million. That's an $18 million decrease from fiscal year 2014. The proposed CIP Budget for fiscal year 2015 is $83 million.

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Memphis on McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour

gosple 600(PRNewswire) – Memphis is one of 12 stops on the multi-city McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, which kicks off May 22nd.

New Salem Baptist Church will be the Memphis-area venue, with the tour stop set for June 20th. The tour begins at Mount Airy COGIC in Philadelphia and ends at Craneway Pavilion in Oakland, Calif. on July 25th.

Hosting the tour this year is Erica Campbell, one-half of sister duo Mary Mary and now a solo artist, and comedian Jonathan Slocumb. Joining them will be three-time 2014 Stellar Award-winners Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, the renowned Mississippi Mass Choir, gospel's latest hip-hop sensation Uncle Reece, organist Moses Tyson Jr. and Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers.

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‘Jerusalem 3D’ – giant-screen experience – ready for Memphis run

jerusalem 600Jerusalem: sacred to half the people on earth; fought over more than any other place in history; conquered and destroyed, rebuilt and reinvented repeatedly over 5,000 years. And beginning Saturday (April 19th), visitors to the Crew Training International Giant Theater at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum will get a 3D feel for the ancient city.

"Jerusalem 3D" will be the vehicle for the giant-screen film experience. Locally presented by the Methodist Healthcare Center of Excellence in Faith & Health, the film is an original production from Cosmic Picture and Arcane Pictures and distributed by National Geographic Entertainment.

Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch ("Star Trek into the Darkness," PBS's "Sherlock"), "Jerusalem 3D" is billed as a grand-scale exploration of "the intersection of science, history and religion in this ancient, enigmatic place."

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