Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


Jilly_in_VA's Journal
Jilly_in_VA's Journal
March 7, 2022

Mark Meadows faces electoral fraud question over voter registration address

Mark Meadows played a key role in supporting and advancing Donald Trump’s lie about widespread electoral fraud in his defeat by Joe Biden, but the former White House chief of staff may have committed such fraud himself.

According to the New Yorker, Meadows registered to vote at a property in North Carolina at which he appears never to have lived.

Meadows resigned from the US House and became Trump’s fourth and last chief of staff in March 2020. He registered to vote in September, the New Yorker said.

Asked for the address “where you physically live”, the magazine said, Meadows “wrote down the address of a 14ft-by-62ft mobile home in Scaly Mountain”, North Carolina, and “listed his move-in date for this address as the following day, 20 September”.

“Meadows does not own this property and never has,” the New Yorker said. “It is not clear that he has ever spent a single night there.”


March 7, 2022

Stop Letting Health Insurance Companies Break the Law

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only crisis causing devastation across America. The substance misuse and mental health epidemics have an annual death toll three times greater than the Vietnam War, and every five minutes, an American dies from a drug overdose. This crisis has only worsened throughout the pandemic.

Unfortunately, our current system is built on health insurers profiting off their policyholders, which actively works to worsen this national affliction.

Insurance companies flout the parity laws designed to ensure that mental-health patients (which includes people suffering from addiction) receive the same level of care and coverage as patients suffering from physical health conditions.

This criminal negligence is killing Americans. The government must give parity laws a set of teeth to bring this illegal, inhumane conduct to an end.

Of course it's nearly impossible to find a mental health practitioner these days. Still.....

March 7, 2022

Italy's Going After Russian Oligarchs' Yachts With a Vengeance

Italy is clamping down hard on Russian oligarchs’ ultra-luxurious property.

Over the weekend, the country’s law enforcement seized $156 million worth of super-pricey boats and real estate belonging to at least five of Russia’s sanctioned, super-rich elite, according to a list distributed by the Italian prime minister’s office to Reuters.

Russian billionaires have famously plunked down hundreds of millions to enjoy the best the Italian Riviera has to offer. Now, Italy is biting back, with more aggressive moves against them than any other Western country has yet publicly announced.

Italian police seized a 215-foot yacht named “Lady M,” owned by Russian steel magnate Alexey Mordashov, tweeted Ferdinando Giugliano, a media adviser to Italy’s prime minister.

Italy’s tax police also froze a yacht named “Lena,” which Giugliano said belongs to oilman and reputed close Putin confidant Gennady Timchenko. The vessel is worth an estimated $55 million, according to Giugliano. The country’s tax officials also froze a lavish, 17th-century property in Tuscany called “Villa Lazzareschi,” worth more than $3 million and owned by Russian parliamentarian Oleg Savchenko, Giugliano said.

Going somewhere, boys?

March 7, 2022

Maternity wards are shuttering across the US during the pandemic

This wave of closures has been building for years, but it appears to be accelerating during the pandemic. It could make birth even more dangerous in the US, which already sees far more deaths per capita among infants and pregnant women than comparably wealthy countries. And during the first year of the pandemic, the number of maternal deaths in the United States rose sharply. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have found when a labor and delivery department closes, there tend to be more emergency deliveries and more preterm births, which are the leading cause of infant mortality.

The losses are concentrated primarily in rural areas and communities of Black and Hispanic Americans, who are already less likely to have easy access to all kinds of health care services, including obstetrics. Before the recent closures, more than half of the rural counties in the United States already didn’t have a nearby hospital where babies could be delivered.

The decision to close a maternity ward is never simple. Hospitals that have closed their obstetrics (OB) departments in the past two years cite various factors, including declining birthrates. Some say they cannot find enough physicians and nurses to deliver babies, which would make it unsafe to continue offering those services.

But the pandemic looms over each of these closures. In public hearings, hospitals have pointed to the shortage of doctors, nurses, and health care workers they experienced during Covid-19 to justify their decisions. Sometimes, they have temporarily suspended services because of pandemic-related absences, only to later make the closure permanent. Pandemic relief funding that has helped stabilize hospitals’ finances is also starting to run out.

Some hospitals argue that these closures are not financially motivated, but labor and delivery services are not a moneymaker for them. More than 40 percent of births in the United States are covered by Medicaid, and the program’s low reimbursement rates have been cited in the past to explain a hospital’s decision to close its OB department.

More dumb moves caused by the privatization of medicine, further making the US a s-hole country

March 6, 2022

Teachers reimagine US history lessons with eye on diversity

Sit down. Be quiet. Follow instructions.

Brandon Brown followed these rules when he started teaching, seeking order in a classroom setting he was all too familiar with growing up. But he quickly realized that was not working for his students and that they were just regurgitating what he told them. So, he decided to get creative.

Brown, a former history teacher and assistant high school principal, is now a Billboard-charting educational rapper who performs around the U.S. He founded School Yard Rap, a California-based company that produces music about historical Black, Latino and Indigenous people often not found in traditional textbooks.

“By state standards, my students had to learn about old white slave owners, but they were young Black kids, and it wasn’t connecting,” said Brown, who released his latest album under his stage name, “Griot B.” “This education system is whitewashed completely. But doing what I do, I’m able to introduce and refocus on people of color so students are getting the full range of American history.”

Teachers have long sought ways to deliver a complete version of U.S. history that engages their students and includes contributions by people of color. They have been reenergized after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd to take different approaches in the classroom that would challenge an education system many believe doesn’t allow for critical thinking and forces a narrow worldview.


March 6, 2022

Whitmer plot underlines abuse of women officials

Angry over COVID-19 restrictions such as the closing of gyms, people from several states met in Ohio in June 2020 to plot ways to overthrow government “tyrants,” prosecutors say. Within a week, they chose Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as a target.

The plan, as outlined in a federal court indictment, was to kidnap Whitmer at her family's northern Michigan vacation home and take her to Wisconsin for a “trial.” Over several months, they held training exercises and conducted surveillance on Whitmer's home in preparation for what a group leader called “a snatch and grab.”

“Just grab the bitch,” Adam Fox was recorded telling a confidential informant working with the FBI, prosecutors say. "Because at that point, we do that, dude — it's over.”

Though it was interrupted by authorities, the alleged plot — for which four men will face trial in a Michigan courtroom beginning Tuesday — represented an increasing level of anger and violence in U.S. politics. That violence disproportionately targets female elected officials, and particularly women of color.

While criticism of public officials is healthy and expected in a democracy, researchers say women are dramatically more likely than their male counterparts to face threats and violence. As more women are elected, the hostility grows, ranging from death threats to armed people gathered outside homes, or attacks on social media that go beyond policy positions to include gendered or racial slurs and insults about intelligence or appearance.

Here in VA, I'm just waiting for the misogynoir to start in about Winsome Sears...even though she's a RepubliQan

March 6, 2022

America has failed Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner should be at home right now.

Nobody should be jailed for cannabis in the first place, either in Russia or here. Nobody should be detained for three weeks over hashish oil in their luggage on their way out of a country. should be held prisoner as a means to apply diplomatic pressure, as it appears Russia is doing in detaining a high-profile American athlete as a response to the United States backing Ukraine’s resistance to Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

And Griner isn’t just a regular American. The 31-year-old is a future Hall of Famer, a champion in both college and the pros, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a seven-time WNBA All-Star, part of the WNBA’s 25th anniversary team, and the first player to dunk in the WNBA playoffs. She’s also a prominent Black lesbian, and Putin’s record on both race and sexuality is nightmarish.

So, the most important thing is making sure that Griner gets home safely. But Griner should be home right now.


March 6, 2022

County by county, solar panels face pushback

It’s an environmental clash that neither side wanted: Solar advocates are squaring off against conservationists.

On one side, fans of solar energy are pushing a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, with massive solar projects popping up across the United States. On the other, conservationists and people who live near the solar projects are watching in horror as green fields are filled with rows of silicon solar panels, damaging ecologically sensitive areas.

“It’s kind of funny to me that there’s environmental resistance to wind and solar, which is an environmental solution,” said Michael Webber, a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas at Austin.

But, he added, it’s not entirely unexpected as solar has gone from an emerging technology to one that’s now more mainstream.

“Any time you do anything at scale, you start to get resistance,” Webber said. “There’s resistance to oil and gas, and nuclear and shopping centers. It’s a sign of maturity in solar that, when people want to scale, you get resistance.”

The battles have played out state by state and county by county, forcing communities to consider just how much they are willing to sacrifice to decarbonize the economy.


March 6, 2022

Colorado's mountain communities grapple with shortages as wealthier neighbors move-in

Set in a box canyon surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, Telluride has long appealed to adventure-seekers and vacationers. But as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, a balance has shifted: Out-of-towners working remotely have moved in, forcing longtime locals out.

In Silverton, a remote town in southern Colorado, workers are living in campers or cars because they can’t find homes. Others are forced to commute up to 100 miles over mountain passes to get to work or crowd into one-bedroom apartments to afford rent.

In Telluride, only one or two restaurants were open last summer because there weren’t enough workers to keep the others going, said Hayley Nenadal, a filmmaker who lives in the historic town known for its challenging ski slopes and annual film festival.

“You just don’t get coffee anymore, or you just don’t go to dinner anymore, or you just don’t have a place for your friends to gather anymore,” Nenadal said. “The large impact people feel is a loss of community and the loss of quality of life.”

With the pandemic affecting people and institutions across the U.S. in countless ways, housing has become an inflection point for cities struggling to retain their workforces and local businesses. The issue has long been a challenge in Colorado’s mountain communities, but the pandemic has pushed it into overdrive, residents and experts say.

When I was a kid and teen, we went to Georgetown in the summer. It was ruined by the interstate and Arapahoe Ski Basin. I hate to think what it is now.

March 6, 2022

'People struggle to understand grief, but it is a byproduct of love'

Mary-Frances O’Connor is an associate professor at the University of Arizona, where she leads the grief, loss and social stress (Glass) lab, investigating the effects of grief on the brain and the body.

Why do humans grieve? One of the earliest things that we learn is that we’re all going to die, so when it happens, why is it such a shock?
I think a lot of people historically have struggled to understand why there is grief, and in a funny sort of way, it is a byproduct of love. What I mean by that is, when we bond with another person, our spouse or our child, the way that gets encoded includes this belief that they will always be there for us and we will always be there for them. This is why we can kiss our partner goodbye in the morning and go on our separate ways to work, with the deep knowledge that we will come back together again at the end of the day.

But in the very unusual, thank goodness, cases where that loved one dies, the brain is able to consult our memory of being there at the bedside or getting that terrible phone call, but those two streams of information conflict for a long time. This often leads people to saying things like: “I’m not crazy. I know they’ve died, but it really feels like they’re just going to walk through the door again.”

So what is going on in the brain when people “see” their deceased loved one?
They know it’s irrational and yet it is surprisingly real for them. There are lots of people who will believe in an afterlife, but as a neuroscientist, my take is that the brain is a prediction machine. The heart is there to pump blood around your body. Your brain is there to predict what’s about to happen so that you can prepare for it. Because of this, we are always living in our predicted world. We’re living in two worlds at the same time, our predicted world and the real world, and in some circumstances, those don’t match up.


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 9,158

About Jilly_in_VA

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 Entries

Latest Discussions»Jilly_in_VA's Journal