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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,733

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Africa may have reached the pandemic's holy grail

When the results of his study came in, Kondwani Jambo was stunned.

He's an immunologist in Malawi. And last year he had set out to determine just how many people in his country had been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

Jambo, who works for the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, knew the total number of cases was going to be higher than the official numbers. But his study revealed that the scale of spread was beyond anything he had anticipated — with a huge majority of Malawians infected long before the omicron variant emerged. "I was very shocked," he says.

Most important, he says, the finding suggests that it has now been months since Malawi entered something akin to what many countries still struggling with massive omicron waves consider the holy grail: the endemic stage of the pandemic, in which the coronavirus becomes a more predictable seasonal bug like the flu or common cold.

In fact, top scientists in Africa say Malawi is just one of many countries on the continent that appear to have already reached — if not quite endemicity — at least a substantially less threatening stage, as evidenced by both studies of the population's prior exposure to the coronavirus and its experience with the omicron variant.


Baker College Threatens Legal Action Against Former Teacher Who Talked to Reporters

Baker College, one of the largest private schools in Michigan, is threatening legal action against a former faculty member who spoke to ProPublica and the Detroit Free Press for an investigation published this month.

Jacqueline Tessmer, who taught digital media for 14 years at Baker’s campus in Auburn Hills, told the news organizations that students often came to the nonprofit college unprepared to succeed and exited without degrees or good jobs but with heavy debt from loans. “Baker College has ruined a lot of people’s lives,” she said in the story.

A Jan. 19 letter to Tessmer — sent by the law firm Plunkett Cooney on behalf of Baker — demanded she retract her statements, which it described as “false and defamatory.” It did not specify what, if anything, was false. Arguing that Tessmer was in violation of a nondisparagement clause in a settlement she reached with Baker in an employment dispute, attorney Courtney L. Nichols also demanded that she “agree voluntarily to remit payment to Baker College for the damages it has suffered as a result of your violation(s), including attorney fees.” The letter did not include a dollar amount.

Since publication, Baker has not contacted either news organization to contest the validity of her statements. Before publication, the Free Press and ProPublica informed Baker that Tessmer would be quoted and shared her comments. Baker did not specifically address those quotes or Tessmer’s time at the college.


Ladies...clothing discussion

Over the last couple of years I've started buying my T-shirts for casual wear in the men's department. I especially like the "George" brand from Walmart. They are thicker than women's, long enough to cover my butt when I wear leggings, and most important, cheaper than women's t-shirts by quite a bit (around $5.50). Yeah, I know they're made in China, but I use them for every day wear when I do stuff that is dirty and liable to stain, rip, or otherwise wreck them, but they hold up pretty well for the money. It's not "fast fashion", it's fast utility for me. I prefer Duluth Trading T-shirts, but I'm not spoiling mine with chemicals etc. from my jewelry studio or getting them ripped up at the shelter.

Anyone else care to contribute?

MAGA Candidate Caught on Tape Menacing Butterfly Sanctuary

Marianne Wright was halfway through a conference call on Jan. 21 when she received a startling message from her son.

Two women were on their property and were demanding her son open a gate so that they could go see “illegals crossing on rafts.” The women, Wright later claimed in an affidavit, said they were a congressional candidate and a Secret Service agent.

“Immediately, we knew what that was about,” Wright told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “It was an echo and reiteration of the lies Steve Bannon’s ‘Rebuild The Wall’ campaign published and promoted against us for years.”

Wright is the executive director of the National Butterfly Center, a private nature preserve in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The center is a sanctuary for hundreds of butterfly species—and a frequent target for conspiracy theorists after Wright and her colleagues opposed the Trump administration’s plans to build a border wall through the middle of the property.

But after last week’s bizarre confrontation with longshot congressional candidate Kimberly Lowe, the National Butterfly Center is closing its doors from Jan. 28 through Jan. 30, in order to avoid a far-right conference that promises to take supporters (including Lowe) on a field trip to the border.


Va. judge reverses decision to place teen on sex offender registry in bathroom assault case

A Virginia teen whose sexual assaults of fellow students in two Loudoun County high schools generated a political firestorm will not be placed on the sex offender registry normally reserved for adults after a judge reversed her previous sentence Thursday, according to a defense attorney.

Loudoun County Judge Pamela L. Brooks said she had erred in handing out the unusual penalty for the 15-year-old at the center of the high-profile cases that sparked protests and spurred Loudoun County schools to begin overhauling disciplinary procedures, attorney William Mann said. Brooks declined to comment after the hearing.

A team of attorneys for the teen asked the judge to rescind the sentence imposed at a January hearing, making technical arguments the sentencing wasn’t properly handled and the punishment was not appropriate for what the teen had done.

After the hearing, Mann said the goal of juvenile court is rehabilitation not punishment. He said a punishment that would have potentially put the teen on the sexual offender registry for the balance of his life is not compatible with that aim.


New report exposes persistent animal welfare violations at Cumberland puppy mill

A new report obtained by 8News reveals disturbing incidents at a dog breeding facility in Cumberland County.

Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found three dogs with medical conditions that were left untreated, including an adult beagle with multiple skin lesions on all four feet and a dog with an inflamed and swollen paw.

The facility was cited again for sanitation issues in the kennels which were uncovered in an earlier report by 8News. The new report notes a “build up of feces, dirt and grime.”

The inspection records also reveal that at some point, staff found a one week old puppy in a drain below the kennels. No medical exam was performed, but staff placed the puppy on a heating pad and returned it to the enclosure.

Records indicate the puppy died later that same day.


Community upset over McMinn Co. BOE decision to ban Holocaust book from curriculum (update)

The McMinn County Board of Education voted unanimously to remove a book about the Holocaust from the school curriculum.

The vote was held during a called meeting on January 10.

Board members said the graphic novel called "Maus" by Art Spiegelman has inappropriate language and graphic depictions. In a statement on Facebook Thursday evening, the board said it felt the work was "simply too adult-oriented" to be in schools.

Read the board's (IMNSHO ridiculous) statement and the rest of the article here:

A librarian at Tennessee Wesleyan University in McMinn County weighed in on the book-banning. Alex Sharp said the concept of banning books is something librarians have been fighting against for years.

"I'm saying if there is one parent who thinks their child should not read this, that is up to them, that is their prerogative. But, is it fair to tell every child and every parent that they're not allowed to read this book? I don't think so," Sharp said.

Justice Breyer's retirement highlights what's wrong with the Supreme Court

By Shan Wu, legal analyst and former federal prosecutor

Justice Stephen Breyer’s anticipated retirement announcement set off the usual frenzied speculation about who will be “the pick.” The reaction perfectly illustrates everything that is wrong with the Supreme Court.

Justices seem unlikely candidates to become cultural icons, but the prolific memes and two documentaries about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg make it plain that justices are increasingly viewed as rock stars. This should not be surprising because today’s Supreme Court has become a super-legislature to which we look for solutions for everything from gun violence to the Covid-19 pandemic. Add to this that this super-legislative body has only nine members – all of whom are appointed for life – and it’s easy to see why individual justices are seen as either saviors or destroyers of our democracy.

Among worldwide democracies, the United States stands pretty much alone in obsessing over its high court and those who serve on it.

In Britain, for example, little attention is paid to appointments to its relatively new high court, and Canadian commentators have opined that more Canadians are familiar with Roe v. Wade than any of their own country’s high court judgments.

How did the high court gain such power in a country with three separate but supposedly equal branches of government? The full answer to this question is complex but can be boiled down to the simple fact that the Supreme Court is a much more efficient institution than Congress.

I like the idea not only of term limits, but of circulating federal justices at random through the court.

College student indicted on over 300 counts after allegedly selling guns to undercover officer

A college student originally from New York City has been indicted on over 300 gun-related charges, accused of trafficking firearms into the Big Apple and illegally selling dozens of weapons to an undercover officer, according to prosecutors.

Shakor Rodriguez, a 23-year-old Bronx native studying at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, was hit with 304 counts in two indictments, including charges of criminal sale of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm, the Bronx District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Rodriguez allegedly brought the weapons and high-capacity magazines to New York from the South, stuffing the guns in duffle bags and sometimes traveling by bus from Tennessee with them, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said.

Rodriguez also allegedly sold an undercover officer 73 firearms, 59 of which were loaded, and over 40 high-capacity magazines from July 17, 2020, to December 22, 2021, according to a news release.

The undercover officer paid between $1,000 and $1,500 per gun.

3.5 GPA? Buddy, you're not as smart as you think you are!

America's hottest city is nearly unlivable in summer. Can cooling technologies save it?

Asurge in heat-related deaths amid record-breaking summer temperatures offers a “glimpse into the future” and a stark warning that one of America’s largest cities is already unlivable for some, according to its new heat tsar.

Almost 200 people died from extreme heat in Phoenix in 2020 – the hottest, driest and deadliest summer on record with 53 days topping 110F (43C) compared with a previous high of 33 days. Last year there were fewer scorching days, but the death toll remained staggeringly high, with people experiencing homelessness and addictions dying disproportionately.

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is accustomed to a hot desert climate, but day and night temperatures have been rising due to global heating and the city’s unchecked development, which has created a sprawling urban heat island.

Scorching temperatures have made summers increasingly perilous for the city’s 1.4 million people, with mortality and morbidity rates creeping up over the past two decades, but 2020 was a gamechanger when heat related deaths jumped by about 60%.

Last year, after another deadly summer, the mayor announced the region’s first dedicated unit to tackle the growing hazard of urban heat, which also threatens the city’s economic viability.

Evacuate the damn place and raze it to the ground. It wastes water and is unfit for humans to live in.
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