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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

The Curious Case of Colonial India's Breakfast Curries

“By an Indian breakfast by no means must be understood that simple bread, tea, and butter, which compose an English one.” Edward Fane, the nephew of the British General Sir Henry Fane, devotes a lot of time to describing breakfasts in his memoir of their travels through India, then a British colony, in 1858. Describing the morning meals of local English families, he notes that they include meat and fish and eggs, as well as “the eternal curry and rice.”

This is what the British Raj commonly ate for breakfast: breakfast curry.

You might, like many people, think of curry as a bastardization of Indian food, even a hurtful slur. India’s regional cuisines are hugely varied, multiple, nuanced, delicious; rejecting curry is a way of rejecting their oversimplification or appropriation. Curry is colonial, it gestures at India with only the waviest of hands, it’s been co-opted since British people came to India in 1608 and misheard “kari.” These sentiments have been echoed over the past decades, both by academics and even the great actress and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, who wrote, “To me the word ‘curry’ is as degrading to India’s great cuisine as the term ‘chop suey’ was to China’s.”

Given the rich history of chop suey, this may be a more apt comparison than Jaffrey intends. Although curry is often described as an invention of British colonizers, Indians ate what non-Indians call curries long before the British arrived, and Indians across India still eat all kinds of curry today. Curry is not a colonial relic.


Big Pharma Pricing Is a Racket. These Startups Aim to Disrupt It.

In 2015, Martin Shkreli became the smirking face of drug company greed when, as founder and then-chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he bought rights to the anti-parasitic medication Daraprim and then jacked up the price from $17.60 to $750 per pill. At the time, the drug was the only therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for toxoplasmosis, a disease that causes serious illness in people with weak immune systems, including babies born to mothers infected with the parasite, and those with HIV.

For Alex Oshmyansky, an emergency radiologist, Shkreli’s move was what tipped him over the edge. Fresh out of his radiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, the young doctor had already seen patients grow sicker and even die because they couldn’t afford their medications. He vowed to become the anti-Shkreli by starting a company to sell vital drugs at or near cost.

Three years later, Osh’s Affordable Pharmaceuticals had secured $1 million in funding. Shortly thereafter, Oshmyansky grabbed the attention of billionaire Mark Cuban. The Dallas Mavericks owner and one of the stars of the television show Shark Tank wound up going all in. In January, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company opened shop online. The lofty aim, Cuban writes on the website, is “to disrupt the drug industry and to do our best to end ridiculous drug prices.”

The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company offers more than 100 generic drugs, which according the company, are priced at the cost of making them, plus a 15 percent markup and a $3 pharmacy fee. For someone without health insurance (which the company does not accept in the first place), or whose plan has high deductibles or copays, the savings can be dramatic. For example, the average wholesale price for a month’s worth of the cancer treatment imatinib (generic Gleevec) is $9,657, which you could cut to $120 with a coupon from the drug-tracking company GoodRx. Meanwhile, Cuban’s company offers a one-month supply for just $47.

Cuban and Oshmyanksy are not the first, nor the only ones taking on Big Pharma. In 2018, a group of health systems and philanthropists launched Civica Rx, a nonprofit that supplies hospitals with essential generic drugs. Today, the company sells about 55 medications to 1,400 hospitals at savings of about 30 percent compared to what they paid previously. The model has been so successful that the company is expanding into the consumer market with a new initiative, CivicaScript, which has partnered with Anthem and some Blue Cross insurance companies and expects to start selling drugs by mail order and through retail pharmacies later this year.


Howard University to digitize its archive of thousands of Black newspapers

During the apex of the civil rights movement, much of the mainstream news coverage excluded the views of Black people in its reporting. So the narrative in print largely did not include how they felt about the protests, the racism they experienced in the United States or how it affected their lives.

Except in the Black media.

Black newspapers provided in-depth coverage that balanced out what the white-dominated media omitted.

Now, with the help of a $2 million grant announced Monday, Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center will make available countless articles that captured in real-time the impact of historical events on Black people that have long been difficult, if not impossible, to access. By digitizing its extensive Black Press Archives, anyone will be able to access Howard’s collection of more than 2,000 newspapers from the United States, Africa and the African diaspora online.

The grant was awarded by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, which supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting investigative journalism, the arts and documentary film. Once completed, the Black Press Archives will be the largest collection of its kind in the world.

A boon not only to scholars and historians, but to genealogists. Think about that for a minute.

Woman mistakenly jailed for 13 days sues Los Angeles and its police department

A California woman says she was mistaken for a person by the same name and then held in jail for 13 days, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Bethany K. Farber, of Los Angeles County, alleges the ordeal began on April 16 when she was at the Los Angeles International Airport awaiting a flight for Puerto Escondido, Mexico, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court’s Central District of California.

Instead of boarding the plane, however, Farber was escorted to a private room by personnel with the Transportation Security Administration. That's where she waited for two hours before she was told there was a warrant for her arrest out of Texas, the lawsuit said.

Farber, now incredulous, tried to explain there was a mistake, the lawsuit said, because she had never even set foot in the Lone Star State.

“Plaintiff informed the TSA officers who prevented her from boarding her flight that she had never been to Texas, and she certainly was not wanted for any crime there. Plaintiff repeatedly asked the TSA officers to check again, and further informed them that if there was in fact a warrant for her arrest it was identity theft,” the lawsuit said.

Read on. It gets worse.

This reservation has Wyoming's strictest COVID-19 rules. Student athletes are glad

tudent athletes on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming are grateful mask mandates aren't going away there, even as they continue to fall away across the country. They feel like the mandate has helped keep them healthy and competing as other schools across the state have had to cancel games because of covid infections.

On a recent basketball game night at Wyoming Indian High School in the reservation town of Ethete, the announcer introduces the hometown Chiefs in a mix of English and Arapaho.

The gym is usually packed, but this year because of COVID-19 protocols the crowds have been reduced.

The Wind River Reservation, home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, has had a mask mandate since early in the pandemic. That's unusual in Wyoming, a conservative state where COVID-19 restrictions are not popular.

Chiefs team captain Videl C'Bearing, a senior, says being able to play ball has really helped him get through the pandemic.


An $80,000 surprise bill points to a loophole in a new law to protect patients

When Greg and Sugar Bull were ready to start a family, health challenges necessitated that they work with a gestational surrogate. The woman who carried and gave birth to their twins lived two states away.

The pregnancy went well until the surrogate experienced high blood pressure and other symptoms of preeclampsia, which could have harmed her and the babies. Doctors ordered an emergency delivery at 34 weeks of gestation. Both infants had to spend more than a week in the neonatal intensive care unit.

It was April 2020, early in the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to take a plane, the Bulls drove from their home in Huntington Beach, Calif., to the hospital in Provo, Utah. They had to quarantine in Utah before they could see the children in the hospital.

A couple of weeks later, after the babies could eat and breathe on their own, the Bulls took them home to California.

Then the bills came.

Exhibit # 1,999,999 in why I hate insurance companies. Single payer NOW!

Apologies are a test of character, and Phil Mickelson's revealed his after 'reckless' comments

Legend has it that Marcus Licinius Crassus of Rome was killed by the mutineering men he'd led into a failed battle, who poured molten gold down their leader's throat in mockery of his thirst for wealth. Philip Alfred Mickelson of Rancho Santa Fe, on the other hand, was merely deserted by his bootless troops as the cause in which he had conscripted them slipped away. As for the symbolic choking on needless greed, he served and swallowed that ruinous cocktail himself.

Apologies are less about atoning for past mistakes than setting the table for future comity, so it was noteworthy that the most fulsome atonement in the statement Mickelson released Tuesday was directed not at those he had insulted but toward those about whom he had told the truth.

There was no mention of the PGA Tour or its commissioner, Jay Monahan, whom he had accused of "coercive, strong-arm" tactics in comments to the writer Alan Shipnuck that were made public six days ago, a conversation in which Mickelson admitted to overlooking Saudi atrocities because the regime provided leverage to force concessions from the Tour that would further enrich him. But for LIV Golf Investments, the anodyne brand from which emissaries of the world's foremost bonesaw enthusiast are attempting to launch a hostile takeover of men's professional golf, there was buttery praise.

Hailing the Saudis as "visionaries" who "passionately love golf" represented a dizzying pivot given that last week Mickelson was revealed to have called them "scary mother--s," murderers and human rights abusers. But perhaps he learned from the example of Jamal Khashoggi that lèse-majesté laws are decidedly unforgiving in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's circles.

Mickelson's entire statement was self-serving tripe in which he brazenly postured as a Rosa Parks for the prosperous, standing against injustice and "taking the hits publicly" that such displays of courage entail. He would have golf fans believe that he is martyring himself for the betterment of the game, while in truth he has allied himself with people richly experienced in creating martyrs.


Why Octavia Butler's sci-fi dystopia is still relevant

If you love science fiction, then you love Octavia Butler.

Born in 1947's Pasadena, Butler came from humble beginnings and was raised by her mother and grandmother after her father died when she was seven. Though she was diagnosed with dyslexia, she was engrossed in books and was writing stories for herself at a young age.

She started exploring the sci-fi genre after watching what she called a "bad movie": the 1954 cult classic "Devil Girl From Mars."

"My response to the movie was 'Geez, I can write a better story than that,' and I thought … 'Geez, anybody can write a better story than that,' and my final assumption, however erroneous, was 'Somebody got paid for writing that story,' " Butler said during a 2002 panel discussion at the University of California, Los Angeles.

And write a better story she did. Multiple.

Despite the 15 novels and two short stories she wrote, it wasn't until 14 years after her death that Butler made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2020, with her 1993 novel "Parable of the Sower" — 27 years after its publication. The following year, she also made USA Today's Best-Selling Books list.

It was a recognition she foresaw long before her death. Butler used to write affirmations in her notebooks, one of which read "I shall be a bestselling writer."


Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla - why we've got the Vikings wrong

You've probably heard the story by now. It's the late 8th Century, and just off the coast of Northumbria in England, Lindisfarne Priory acts as a beacon of Christianity peering into the North Sea. Yet soon, according to lore, that tranquillity will be replaced by blood and thunder. The year is 793 AD and the Vikings are about to explode onto the historical stage.

Reflecting on the year, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – a compendium of historical documents that underpins our understanding of medieval England – notes: "This year came dreadful fore-warnings… terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament."

The image of the Vikings that would continue in the popular imagination was established then. As the Chronicle continues, soon after, "the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter". The Vikings were here in all their terrifying, pagan glory, and would remain key to the history of western Europe until the late 11th Century (even if the name "Viking" itself was not coined until well into the 19th Century, likely drawing upon the Old Norse word Víkingr and the Anglo-Saxon word Wicing).

Etymology aside, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's depiction of Vikings has stuck. Later, in 865 AD, "the heathen army" arrived in Thanet, "stole up the country, and overran all Kent Eastward". From here, they went on to establish dominion across swathes of the midlands and East Anglia – thereafter known as Danelaw.

By the 13th Century, much of the contents of Vikings' oral storytelling tradition had been written down by Norse settlers in Iceland, even if this cohesive sense of "Vikingness" is a much more modern imposition. These tales – initially recorded in poem collections called Eddas – lyrically describe the pantheon of Gods, such as Odin, Thor and Loki, who have recently become wholly sanitised by Marvel.

A lot in here I knew....and a lot I didn't

Excuses, Excuses (shortages)

My husband told me last night that the latest "reason" he has heard for the shortage of saltine crackers, which is apparently nationwide, has to to with a strike sometime last year that affected the makers of Ritz crackers, Oreos, saltines, and other crackers and cookies. Ya know, it's funny, but I have seen NO lack of Ritz crackers, Oreos, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc. That got me to thinking. And I think the strike "excuse" is bull pucky. (Thanks, Rachel, for that expression!)

As many of you know, I'm a retired RN. I have lived through numerous "drug shortages", and it was always the cheap stuff....Solu-Medrol, the cheaper of the anti-nausea drugs, the cheaper antibiotics, etc. That started around 1999. Even certain types of insulin, in my later years in nursing. Stuff Big Pharma wasn't making huge profits on any more. There would be a "shortage" until Big Pharma figured out how they could jigger the formula, get a new patent, or maybe just withhold the drug long enough to raise the price. In other words, artificial shortages.

That's what I think is going on with saltine crackers. They're the cheapest thing this company makes. They want to raise the price. They can't fool with the patent, because there is none. So, withhold manufacture until there's more demand, then release at a much higher price. IOW, an artificial shortage. I'm about to break my promise to myself and check the Goya aisle for one of their big cans. Maybe they use a different manufacturer.

The supposed excuse for the shortage of cat food is a lack of aluminum cans. Uh-huh.
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