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Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 8,795

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

D.C. hires former Philadelphia health commissioner who ordered destruction of bombing victims' remai

D.C. hires former Philadelphia health commissioner who ordered destruction of bombing victims’ remains

Former Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley made national headlines in May when he admitted to ordering the cremation and disposal of human remains that belonged to victims of a 1985 police bombing in West Philadelphia years ago, without notifying their surviving family members.

Farley was asked to resign. And even though the Philadelphia Inquirer reported afterward that one of Farley’s subordinates had apparently disobeyed his orders in 2017 and preserved the victims’ remains instead, Farley’s admission still outraged members of the Black radical liberation group MOVE, whose headquarters were targeted in the attack some 36 years ago.

But Farley was the subject of criticism again Tuesday, when it was revealed that he was hired to join the executive ranks within D.C.’s health department. Black Lives Matter DC tweeted a screenshot of a message sent to the “DC Health Team” that detailed Farley’s hiring, asserting that his appointment would have an adverse impact on Black city residents.

“It’s unacceptable for this man to hold any position [in] District government,” the group wrote.

Farley was hired as senior deputy director of community health administration within the D.C. Department of Health, and started Monday. A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) confirmed the hire but did not respond to other questions about Farley’s hiring.


Mystery in India:The case of the missing top police officer

On 1 October, Indian authorities made a sensational announcement: the former police chief of Mumbai, the country's financial capital, was missing.

Parambir Singh, a high-profile officer with a swashbuckling reputation, had been elevated to head the 45,000-strong force barely two years ago.

Now, Mr Singh, 59, was unavailable at office, his apartment in Mumbai and his family home in the northern city of Chandigarh, some 1,600km (994 miles) away.

Even as the police launched a hunt to find one of their own, Mr Singh's family - his wife and daughter who lived with him in Mumbai and his son who is abroad - and his lawyers went silent about the officer's whereabouts.

It all began in February with a fiendishly tangled whodunit involving an SUV full of explosives which was found outside the house of Mukesh Ambani, Asia's richest man. In the following days, the body of the alleged owner of the vehicle washed up in the sea near the city - the police later determined that he had been murdered and his body was dumped in the water.

Things turned murkier when a police officer reportedly known to the dead man was arrested. Investigators believe Sachin Vaze, an assistant inspector with the elite crime branch, was part of plans to park the car with explosives outside Mr Ambani's house and also in the murder of the vehicle owner. Mr Vaze has denied the allegations.

If you submitted this idea for a movie, you'd be laughed out of the producer's office.

Autistic Hull man goes home after 15 years in hospital

A man with autism who has spent nearly half his life detained in a mental health hospital has been released after a long campaign by his mother.

Ryan Clarke, 32, had been in hospital since 2006.

His mother, Sharon, from Doncaster said he was "over the moon" to return home after 15 years.

In July the National Autistic Society (NAS) said the number of autistic people confined to mental health units in England was a "national scandal".

Mr Clarke was admitted to hospital over concerns he would self-harm.

He was originally diagnosed with schizophrenia, but received a revised diagnosis of autism when he was 28.

Until Monday he had spent the past five years in a forensic psychiatry unit, which also cared for patients with criminal convictions.


Bentleys to Buddhas: Pennsylvania vintage-car shop restores temple statue

The major branches of Buddhism are often known as “vehicles,” or ways of spiritual practice.

So it’s only fitting that when the monks of the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center needed a major restoration of its outdoor statue of the Buddha, they turned to an auto restoration shop specializing in classic cars.

This partnership of ancient Asian spirituality and modern American craftsmanship came to fruition recently with the reinstallation of the newly refurbished, gleaming white statue at the center’s temple.

Eyes closed and sitting in the lotus position, the Buddha underwent weeks of painstaking work at Exoticars in the town of McCandless, north of Pittsburgh. The statue sat amid an array of vintage vehicles from Bentleys and Corvettes to Porsches and a 1951 Ford pickup.

Workers stripped multiple coats of deteriorating paint and primer — a task that required precision tools as they worked on the Buddha’s hair, depicted in detailed curls.

They also repaired cracks in the fiberglass, added a metal strip to strengthen the statue’s base and put on a new coat of white auto body paint, giving it a glasslike sparkle in the sunshine.


U.S. Supreme Court Hears Expedited Challenges Over Texas Abortion Ban Justices weigh case of Texas

The Supreme Court on Tuesday mulled a bid from a Texas death row inmate who is challenging the state's refusal to allow his pastor to lay hands on him and audibly pray while he is executed.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh dominated the arguments that lasted more than 90 minutes, raising concerns throughout about the degree of risk undertaken by the state in allowing outside spiritual advisers inside the execution chamber, as well as how judges should assess the sincerity of an inmate's religious beliefs, given the "incentives" to raise religious claims in order to delay being put to death.

"The risk is inherent in having another person in the room," Kavanaugh told Seth Kretzer, who was arguing on behalf of the inmate, John Henry Ramirez, in the case known as Ramirez v. Collier.

He later warned that allowing personal spiritual advisers into the execution chamber creates a "very fraught situation with a lot of potential for issues," including the prospect of a botched execution.

Seems like the guys so in favor of "religious freedom" are trying to put limits on it when it doesn't suit their purposes.

Not Tackling The Climate Crisis Is Going To Be Expensive AF

Fights over solutions to the climate crisis often boil down to one question: How much will a specific policy cost? But what’s left out of these conversations is the even higher financial toll of doing nothing.

Yes, you read that right. Not acting on climate change, climate experts warn, has a higher price tag. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the decade. Maybe much worse.

“We only talk about the costs of doing something about the problem,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s been really remarkable how infrequently we talk about the costs of not solving the problem, which are almost incalculably large.”

Democrats have begun leaning into the “climate inaction costs more” idea, desperate to convey the message to voters. “And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases,” said President Joe Biden this week. “The most unaffordable path forward is inaction,” said Robert Reich, former secretary of labor. “Climate action is much more affordable than climate inaction,” wrote Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Meanwhile, eye-popping price tags of bold climate solutions abound. Biden proposed $555 billion for climate policies in his Build Back Better bill. And the US is one of several countries this week that collectively pledged roughly $19 billion in public and private funds to help end deforestation by 2030. That’s all on top of the $100 billion a year by 2020 that developed nations promised developing nations back in 2009 and have not yet delivered.


Guns, Knives, Flagpoles, And A Skateboard: A Guide To The Weapons At The Capitol Riot

On Jan. 16, FBI agents executed a search warrant at the Wylie, Texas, home of alleged Capitol rioter Guy Reffitt. In his bedroom, agents found a holster with a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun that they suspected he’d brought to Washington.

Reffitt wasn’t immediately charged with weapons offenses, but prosecutors argued to keep him in jail on the grounds that he’d traveled with the pistol and an AR-15 rifle “to participate in an armed insurrection.” In June, a federal grand jury returned an indictment that charged him not only with bringing firearms for a “civil disorder” on Jan. 6, but also specifically with carrying the pistol on Capitol grounds. Late last month, prosecutors disclosed a photo of the gun for the first time, along with images from the Capitol that they said would support their case at trial.

At least 85 people are charged with carrying or using a weapon during the Capitol riots, according to BuzzFeed News’ analysis of court records. The US attorney’s office in Washington has said that approximately 140 police officers were assaulted on Jan. 6, and the majority of defendants charged with weapon-related offenses are also accused of using those objects to attack police. Some are charged with using weapons to break windows, and others are charged simply with having weapons at the Capitol, a crime in itself.

A weapons charge significantly ups the stakes in these cases. A class-A misdemeanor for illegally going into the Capitol carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. If a defendant also had a “deadly or dangerous” weapon — one of the crimes that Reffitt was indicted for — the maximum sentence jumps to 10 years behind bars. A defendant can face up to 8 years in prison for assaulting an officer, or 20 years if they did it with a weapon. Whether a defendant is accused of carrying a weapon has been a major factor in fights over who should stay in jail pending trial.

Reffitt is one of three people charged with carrying a gun onto Capitol grounds; no one is charged so far with having a gun inside the building. Two others are charged with bringing guns and explosives to Washington. Thousands of supporters of former president Donald Trump descended on the complex that day, and conservative politicians and commentators — including Trump — have either pushed a false narrative that there was no evidence that anyone had a gun, or pointed to the relatively small number of cases involving firearms as evidence that the riot wasn’t all that violent or dangerous to the police officers protecting the building and to the elected officials, congressional employees, and journalists inside.

It doesn't have to be a gun to be a weapon!

DEA takes aggressive stance toward pharmacies trying to dispense addiction medicine

When Martin Njoku saw opioid addiction devastate his West Virginia community, he felt compelled to help. This was the place he'd called home for three decades, where he'd raised his two girls and turned his dream of owning a pharmacy into reality.

In 2016, after flooding displaced people in nearby counties, Njoku began dispensing buprenorphine to them and to local customers at his Oak Hill Hometown Pharmacy in Fayette County.

Buprenorphine, a controlled substance sold under the brand names Subutex and Suboxone, is a medication to treat opioid use disorder. Research shows it halves the risk of overdose and doubles people's chances of entering long-term recovery.

"I thought I was doing what was righteous for people who have illness," Njoku said.

But a few years later, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Njoku's pharmacy and accused the facility of contributing to the opioid epidemic rather than curbing it. The agency revoked the pharmacy's registration to dispense controlled substances, claiming it posed an "imminent danger to public health and safety."

Although two judges separately ruled in Njoku's favor, the DEA's actions effectively shuttered his business.


Despite calls to improve, air travel is still a nightmare for many with disabilities

Anxiety, dread, humiliation — even potential injury. For many people with disabilities, these are part of the routine of airline travel, from getting to the airport gate to getting on and off the plane.

In 2018, Congress demanded that airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) make flying better for people with disabilities — but three years later, NPR has found, passengers report that the same problems keep happening over and over.

On a trip last year, Heather Leiterman, who is blind, was told by a TSA agent to take the harness, collar and leash off her guide dog, a black Labrador named Coastie. She explained to the agent that to do so would mean she'd lose control of the animal.

"That's how they know they're working. When the harness is on, they're working. When the harness is off, that's when they're just a dog."

But the agent insisted — even though the TSA's own procedures say those items "do not require removal" for screening. "He was very hostile," Leiterman says, and threatened not to let her on the plane if she didn't comply.

Heather Leiterman walks with her guide dog. When she was at an airport, an agent with the Transportation Security Administration insisted she take off the dog's leash, harness and collar, even though that would mean she would lose control of the service animal.

When she called the TSA customer service line the next day, she says, the officer on the phone refused to take her complaint. "He said, 'If the officer told you, you need to take this off your dog, you needed to take it off your dog.'"

TSA is essentially kabuki theater.....except for the disabled.

A secret tape made after Columbine shows the NRA's evolution on school shootings

Soon after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, senior leaders of the National Rifle Association huddled on a conference call to consider canceling their annual convention, scheduled just days later and a few miles away.

Thirteen people lay dead at a high school in Colorado. More than 20 were injured. Images of students running from the school were looped on TV. The NRA strategists on the call sounded shaken and panicked as they pondered their next step into what would become an era of routine and horrific mass school shootings.

And in those private moments, the NRA considered a strikingly more sympathetic posture toward mass shootings than the uncompromising stance it has taken publicly in the decades since, even considering a $1 million fund to care for the victims.

NPR has obtained more than 2 1/2 hours of recordings of those private meetings after the Columbine shooting, which offer unique insight into the NRA's deliberations in the wake of this crisis — and how it has struggled to develop what has become its standard response to school shootings ever since.

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