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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 8,031

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

Republican Knives Are Out for Kristi Noem in South Dakota

South Dakota Republicans haven’t lost a statewide election since 2008. They have slapped Democrats around in just about every campaign, even running unopposed for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and U.S. House seat in 2020.

Now it seems like they’re so desperate for a good fight that they’ve picked several among themselves.

Gov. Kristi Noem, who has been riding high in polls in her state, has never lost an election. She served four terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2018. The South Dakota legislature has supermajorities in both chambers, with Republicans holding 94 of 105 seats. No Democrat holds statewide office.

But Noem has suddenly found plenty of opponents with whom to wage bitter political battles: fellow Republicans.

Conversations with experts and political insiders from both parties suggest that while it’s far too early to suggest she’s in danger of losing her re-election bid this fall, Noem may emerge bloodied, with any national ambitions in some jeopardy.

University of South Dakota political science professor Michael Card told The Daily Beast that Noem has raised hackles in part by the very nature of how she performs duties essential to her job. Specifically, he pointed to her repeatedly referring to South Dakota issues with terms like “my bill” and “my budget” in a state with old-school lawmakers who like to maintain their fiefdoms.

Kristi, the "white bread" Nikki Haley

The country inoculating against disinformation

For two days riots raged in Estonia's capital Tallinn. Protestors clashed with police and looters rampaged after the violence was sparked by controversy about a decision to move a military statue erected during Soviet rule. The flames of outrage among Estonia's Russian-speaking minority were fanned by false news spreading online and in Russian news reports.

The disinformation campaign then escalated into what is considered the first cyber-attack against an entire country. The attack, which was linked to Russia, shut down websites of Estonia's government, banks and media outlets.

In the aftermath of the attack in 2007, Estonia decided to take action. The country has now become a cyber-security leader, aimed at protecting its online infrastructure from future attacks.

But the country has done something else in its attempt to protect itself from digital aggression – the tiny Baltic country is using media literacy education to help its citizens spot and be wary of disinformation.

Since 2010 Estonian public schools – from kindergarten through to high school – teach media literacy to their pupils. Students in 10th grade also take a mandatory 35-hour "media and influence" course. Media literacy education is now accepted "as important as maths or writing or reading", says Siim Kumpas, former strategic communication adviser to Estonia's government. He was recently appointed as a policy officer at the European External Action Service, the European Union's diplomatic service.

Estonia ranks high in media freedom and education, which "provide solid preconditions to deal with disinformation", says Marin Lessenski, program director at Open Society Institute, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, which publishes an annual Media Literacy Index. "Better education provides for stronger critical thinking or better fact checking skills."


'Betty Whiteout,' 'Ctrl Salt Delete' top winners in MnDOT Name-a-Snowplow contest

A tribute to a Golden Girl will soon grace an orange truck clearing snow and ice from Minnesota highways.

"Betty Whiteout" is the runaway winner in this winter's Minnesota Department of Transportation Name-A-Snowplow contest.

The name honoring Hollywood icon Betty White, who died Dec. 31 at age 99, received 40,024 online votes in the results announced Thursday.

Coming in second with 21,372 votes was "Ctrl Salt Delete," followed by "The Big Leplowski" (17,478), "Plowasaurus Rex" (13,209) and "Scoop Dogg" (13,144).


Trump Fixated on 'Fucking Weird' Senate Candidate and His Sex Life

Starting at the very dawn of the Biden presidency, a slate of increasingly MAGA-fied Republican candidates have each competed for Donald Trump’s coveted endorsement in the critical, Hunger Games-esque U.S. Senate primary in Ohio. But for the past year, the ex-president has steadfastly refused to pick a favorite and intervene in the intra-party battle, even though the candidates—including the once-clear frontrunner Josh Mandel—have campaigned as if they were overtly simpering parodies of Trumpism.

There are a few key reasons why the twice-impeached former president hasn’t yet endorsed Mandel or anybody else in that race. One reason for the hold-up is that Trump—who has long been addicted to dishing tabloid-style gossip and dirt—has for months told people close to him that he thinks Mandel is a charisma-free weirdo and dork, according to three sources who’ve spoken to Trump about Mandel and the Ohio contest since last year.

In recent months, these sources said, the onetime leader of the free world has even spent an inordinate amount of time gossiping with a large array of advisers and close associates about unconfirmed details of Mandel’s sex life. Trump has privately regurgitated, often in disgust, a wide range of unverified, often completely unvetted, and lurid rumors about the MAGA candidate.

The salacious gossip has frequently found its way to Mar-a-Lago, and wherever else Trump and his political orbit roam, because Republicans opposed to Mandel have actively pushed rumors to Trump, Ohio political circles, and reporters at major news outlets, the sources independently said.

“The [former] president has used the term ‘fucking weird’ to describe Josh Mandel more than once, when I have spoken to him about” Mandel, one of the people said. “He has talked about [Mandel] and sex in the same sentence more times than I would have liked to hear.”

Methinks a little projection doth go on here.....

Ex-officer who killed Laquan McDonald leaves prison after serving less than half of sentence

The former Chicago police officer who was convicted in the 2014 killing of a Black teenager was released from prison Thursday, less than halfway through his original sentence.

Jason Van Dyke, who is white, was sentenced in 2019 to six years and nine months but only served about three years and four months. Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, told NBC Chicago that Van Dyke was released Thursday morning. She did not offer additional details, including where he had been imprisoned.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement to residents ahead of the release Thursday, saying she understood many were frustrated and that a sentence of "81 months was and remains a supreme disappointment."


California county on track to be run by militia-aligned group

Aretired police chief and self-described Reagan Republican with decades of public service, Leonard Moty checked all the boxes to represent his community in one of California’s most conservative counties.

But on Tuesday, voters ousted Moty, handing control of the Shasta county board of supervisors to a group aligned with local militia members. The election followed nearly two years of threats and increasing hostility toward the longtime supervisor and his moderate colleagues in response to pandemic health restrictions.

While it’s not yet clear who will replace Moty, the two candidates in the lead attended a celebration on Tuesday with members of an area militia group, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The recall is a win for the ultra-conservative movement in Shasta county, which has fought against moderate Republican officials and sought to gain a foothold in local government in this rural part of northern California.

It also highlights a phenomenon that extends far beyond the region, as experts warn the pandemic and eroding trust in US institutions has fueled extremism in local politics and hostility against officials that could reshape governments from school boards to county supervisors to Congress


The People Who Run This Country Are All Too Damn Old

The average United States senator is old enough to begin drawing Social Security benefits, and in a branch where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote, one unexpected illness could completely change the dynamic of American government.

A stark reminder of this fact came Tuesday, when the chief of staff to Sen. Ben Ray Luján, the 49-year-old junior Democratic senator from New Mexico, announced that Luján suffered a stroke last week and underwent surgery to decrease the swelling in his brain.

Luján is “being cared for at [University of New Mexico] hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery,” Carlos Sanchez, the chief of staff, said in a tweet.

On Tuesday, senators from both parties expressed their well-wishes for Luján and his family. “My hope is that we all love each other enough to just slow down, do work that we can get done that won’t be affected by his being gone and get him the hell back here when it’s safe,” said Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told the New York Times, describing Luján as “just the nicest guy in the world.”

Democrats also expressed optimism about Luján’s recovery, Politico reported Wednesday. “He should be out pretty quickly,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois told the website. “It shouldn’t affect the agenda too much… the key thing is that they recognized the symptoms fairly quickly.”

The age of the government in general skews much older; at 79, President Joe Biden is the oldest president ever, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced last month that she’s running for re-election to the House, is 81.

Luján should be fine (speaking as a former cardio/stepdown nurse). The rest, I dunno.

School is child care, except when it isn't

When Covid-19 first hit, teachers were praised to the skies, recalled Maria Salinas, who teaches fifth grade reading in Florida. “You know: ‘Hey, you guys are doing a good job. It’s so wonderful what you’re doing.’”

Now, she’s hearing the polar opposite: “Teachers are lazy. They don’t want to work.”

Also a mother of four, Salinas finds herself at the center of an ongoing conflict among parents, lawmakers, and educators in which no one is satisfied and everyone is mad. Parents blame teachers for keeping schools closed. Teachers counter that the blame is misplaced — after all, it’s hardly their fault if a school has to shut down because so many staff are sick. At the same time, teachers have concerns about keeping their own families safe amid an ongoing pandemic, and about the burden society seems to be placing on their shoulders.

At the core of the conflict is the fact that parents don’t just need school to educate their kids — something that can, in many cases, be accomplished virtually (though some studies suggest that remote learning is less effective than in-person class time). They also need school, controversial though this may be, as a source of child care — it’s a supervised place kids can go while parents work, and at least in the case of public school, it’s free. This is the function that has truly broken down in the pandemic, with hard lockdowns giving way to rolling quarantines and intractable staff shortages that have left working parents constantly on edge, wondering when the next closure notice will send them scrambling for a backup plan.

The conflict between teachers and parents, however, obscures the crucial fact that school was failing as a source of child care long before the pandemic. The average school day ends before 3 pm, in a country where many parents are working until 6 or later. Kids are out of school for months in the summer, weeks in the winter, and many, many days in between. The result is stress for parents, expenses many families can ill afford, and in some cases, kids going unsupervised when they are too young to safely be alone. “We all act as though child care no longer becomes all that critical once kids enter kindergarten,” said Chris Herbst, a professor at Arizona State University who studies the economics of child care. “That’s not right.”

Like many problems exposed by the pandemic, this one is fixable. The solution is pretty simple: lengthen school, shorten work, or both. Doing that, however, will require a level of political will that hasn’t always been in evidence where families and care are concerned, even when the upheaval around the virus shows how necessary it is.


How figure skating became all about the jumps

There are 15 sports and 109 events at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but the crown jewel of these games is the beautiful, rigid, surprisingly complicated bloodsport known as figure skating.

It all seems simple enough. The parameters of the sport are finite: Skaters are limited to about seven combined minutes of skating between the short and long programs and only six allowed jumps. They’re bound by the laws of gravity. The cardinal rules remain “more rotations are better than fewer rotations” and “don’t fall.” Still, the way skating is scored can be hard to decipher.

Figure skating is all about the minute details. It’s a competition that comes down to microseconds, a half-degree of an angle, and decimal points. Every four years, skaters pour in a lifetime of effort — thousands of jumps and spins and falls; hours and hours of flexibility exercises; nagging injuries; an inordinate amount of time spent in the cold — into less than 10 minutes of skating.

And while it requires superhuman strength and balance, the sport has traditionally had an artistic side, too. The way a skater moves through the ice and the shapes they create are supposed to be beautiful. There is an unquantifiable aspect that some skaters have that makes you never want to stop watching.

The scoring system — which favors athleticism, especially jumps — is controversial, and it speaks to a debate about what figure skating is supposed to be. I spoke with former skaters, experts, and even physicists to explain how scoring and jumping works in figure skating, in the plainest English possible.


Allegations show Jim Haslam's Browns paid former head coach Hue Jackson to lose games

Brian Flores, recently fired by the Miami Dolphins, accused the NFL and three teams of racism. He is also claiming that the owner of the Dolphins, Stephen Ross, offered him money to lose games on purpose.

Former coach of the Cleveland Browns, Hue Jackson, claimed that a similar situation happened to him by owner of the Cleveland Browns and Knoxville native, Jimmy Haslam.

Jackson coached the Browns from 2016 to 2018. During his 40 games coached for Cleveland, he went 3-36-1 for a .088 winning percentage.

Jackson told ESPN that he told Haslam that he wasn’t interested in bonus money and instead wanted that money used to improve the team.

“And I remember very candidly saying to Jimmy, ‘I’m not interested in bonus money,’ because I’ve never known that to be a bonus. I was interested in taking whatever that money was and putting it toward getting more players on our football team because I didn’t think we were very talented at all,” Jackson told ESPN. “I know what good football teams look like, play like, what they act like and we didn’t have a lot of talented players on the team at that time.”

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