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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,730

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

Progressives are resisting rightwing book banning campaigns - and are winning

The right wing in America has spent the past 18 months waging an increasingly vocal war on education, banning books and restricting the discussions teachers can have in classrooms, usually when it comes to issues like racism or sexuality.

That could be starting to change, however, as progressives have won a series of victories in some states, suggesting a backlash against education censorship could be on the way.

So far in 2022 the left has forced Republicans in Indiana to abandon legislation that would have placed severe restrictions on what teachers can say in classrooms, while in New Hampshire liberal candidates won sweeping victories against conservative “anti-critical race theory” candidates in school board elections. Critical race theory is an academic discipline that examines the ways in which racism operates in US laws and society, but it has become a catch-all buzzword on the right.

The progressive wins are a development that looked unlikely as the right wing, often through organizations with connections to wealthy Republican donors, has introduced bill after bill in states across the country. The campaign has successfully banned books, predominantly pertaining to issues of race or sexuality, from school districts, while some states have already banned discussion of the modern-day impact of historical racism in the US.


'I don't know how we'll survive': the farmers facing ruin in Maine's 'forever chemicals' crisis

Songbird Farm’s 17 acres (7 hectares) hold sandy loam fields, three greenhouses and cutover woods that comprise an idyllic setting near Maine’s central coast. The small organic operation carved out a niche growing heirloom grains, tomatoes, sweet garlic, cantaloupe and other products that were sold to organic food stores or as part of a community-supported agriculture program, where people pay to receive boxes of locally grown produce.

Farmers Johanna Davis and Adam Nordell bought Songbird in 2014. By 2021 the young family with their three-year-old son were hitting their stride, Nordell said.

But disaster struck in December. The couple learned the farm’s previous owner had decades earlier used PFAS-tainted sewage sludge, or “biosolids”, as fertilizer on Songbird’s fields. Testing revealed their soil, drinking water, irrigation water, crops, chickens and blood were contaminated with high levels of the toxic chemicals.

The couple quickly recalled products, alerted customers, suspended their operation and have been left deeply fearful for their financial and physical wellbeing.

“This has flipped everything about our lives on its head,” Nordell said. “We haven’t done a blood test on our kid yet and that’s the most terrifying part. It’s fucking devastating.”


As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient's breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became "complacent" in her job and "distracted" by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

"I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me," Vaught said, starting to cry. "There won't ever be a day that goes by that I don't think about what I did."

If Vaught's story had followed the path of most medical errors, it would have been over hours later, when the Tennessee Board of Nursing revoked her license and almost certainly ended her nursing career.

But Vaught's case is different: This week, she goes on trial in Nashville on criminal charges of reckless homicide and felony abuse of an impaired adult for the killing of Charlene Murphey, the 75-year-old patient who died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in late December 2017. If convicted of reckless homicide, Vaught faces up to 12 years in prison.

Prosecutors are wrong. It could happen to any of us, especially with the deadly understaffing in hospitals now.

There are more than 5,000 confirmed planets beyond our solar system, NASA says

In a milestone for astronomy – and possibly the search for extraterrestrial life – NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed there are now 5,000 known planets beyond our solar system.

These so-called exoplanets include rocky worlds roughly the size of Earth, gas giants larger than Jupiter and "mini-Neptunes."

"It's not just a number," Jessie Christiansen, science lead for the NASA Exoplanet Archive and a research scientist with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech, said in a statement.

"Each one of them is a new world, a brand-new planet. I get excited about every one because we don't know anything about them," Christiansen added.

Those are just the ones we can see from here *goosebumps*

St. Jude Fights Donors' Families in Court for Share of Estates

Most Americans know St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through television advertisements featuring Hollywood celebrities asking for contributions or the millions of fundraising appeals that regularly arrive in mailboxes across the country.

But a select group of potential donors is targeted in a more intimate way. Representatives of the hospital’s fundraising arm visit their homes; dine with them at local restaurants; send them personal notes and birthday cards; and schedule them for “love calls.”

What makes these potential donors so special? They told St. Jude they were considering leaving the hospital a substantial amount in their wills. Once the suggestion was made, specialized fundraisers set a singular goal: build relationships with the donors to make sure the money flows to the hospital after their deaths.

The intense cultivation of these donors is part of a strategy that has helped St. Jude establish what may be the most successful charitable bequest program in the country. In the most recent five-year period of reported financial results, bequests constituted $1.5 billion, or 20%, of the $7.5 billion St. Jude raised in those years. That amount, both in terms of dollars and as a percentage of fundraising, far outpaces that raised by other leading children’s hospitals and charities generally.

While a financial boon to St. Jude, the hospital’s pursuit has led to fraught disputes with donors’ family members and allegations that it goes too far in its quest for bequests.

Why I no longer donate to St. Jude

Tbingen: Europe's fiercely vegan, fairy-tale city

In Germany's south-west, nestled between the alps of the Swabian region and the densely wooded Schönbuch nature park, lies Tübingen, a university city that would put most Disney locations to shame.

The city is built around the almost perfectly preserved old town, with its cobbled alleyways, old timbered houses and rippling canals. (While historical centres of most German cities were destroyed during World War Two, just one bomb fell on Tübingen.) The river Neckar flows through the city centre, forming a little island – the Neckarinsel – which is covered with blossoms in the spring and shines golden in autumn.

Tübingen lies in Swabia, a German region famed for its frugality – and which is also one of the nation's sunniest spots, making it considerably more cheery than other parts of the country with more gloomy, rainy weather. Significantly, being an academic city, it is small yet dynamic. "For the size of the city, I find it incredibly international," said Nele Neideck, who runs an expat community.

I first came to Tübingen eight years ago to visit a friend, and, on first impression, the city seemed like a fairy tale, with its idyllic landscape and youthful vibe; out of the 90,000 residents, more than 27,000 are students at the University of Tübingen. We waded through gushing streams, feasted on Swabian specialties and travelled to parties in buses full of students. When I bid goodbye to this quirky town, I never imagined that years later I'd be returning to make it home. But that's what Tübingen does: it pulls you in, and before you know it, the ease of living in a place as small and vibrant as this makes you never want to leave.


The epic attempts to power planes with hydrogen

Few of the thousands of tourists who visit West Palm Beach, Florida, every year for its beaches notice the abandoned industrial site on the edge of town. A faded sign reading "CAMERAS FIREARMS NOT PERMITTED ON THIS PROPERTY" was attached to a gate blocking a forgotten access road. It was one of the few clues that the Apix Fertilizer factory once hid a secret.

The 10-square-mile (25.9 sq km) site was a clandestine government facility that, in the late 1950s, was at the heart of American efforts to spy on the Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Rather than producing fertiliser for farmers, the site was probably the world’s largest producer of liquid hydrogen, which was needed for one thing: Project Suntan. This was the code name given to the "beyond top-secret" project to build the replacement for the Lockheed U-2 spy plane, which began in 1956.

The Lockheed CL-400 Suntan was more like a space plane, or a Thunderbird, than a spy plane. Led by Lockheed's genius designer and secretive Skunk Works founder Kelly Johnson, the dartlike flying machine was intended to fly at Mach 2.5 at 30,000m (100,000ft) with a skin temperature of 177ºC (350ºF), have a range of 4,800km (3,000 miles) and be powered by liquid hydrogen – that is, hydrogen cooled down to cryogenic temperatures of around -423ºF (-253C). The Skunk Works, based in Burbank California, was a business-within-a-business that was free of the usual corporate oversight.


A School Security Officer Held His Knee On A 12-Year-Old Girl's Neck For More Than 20 Seconds, Newly

A School Security Officer Held His Knee On A 12-Year-Old Girl's Neck For More Than 20 Seconds, Newly Released Video Shows

A school security officer held his knee on a 12-year-old girl's neck for more than 20 seconds while breaking up a fight at a school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this month, according to surveillance footage.

Released by the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) on Friday, the video of the March 4 incident shows the officer, Shawn Guetschow, pulling apart two students fighting in the Lincoln Middle School cafeteria. The video then shows him holding one of them on the ground, pressing his knee on her neck for more than 20 seconds.

The school surveillance footage was released following sustained public pressure on the school district over the incident, which was caught on cellphone camera and subsequently went viral.

Drew DeVinney, an attorney representing the girl's father, Jerrel Perez, told BuzzFeed News in a statement that his client was "appalled" by the video.

"Officer Guetschow gripped his hand around Mr. Perez's daughter's neck and pushed her neck and head into the cafeteria floor. He then placed his knee on her neck and knelt down with the full weight of his body for an unconscionable duration," he said. "This was a cruel and heartless act of violence aimed at a child and is unacceptable in our society."

If I, as an adult, knelt on my child's neck for 20+ seconds, I would be charged with child abuse. Please read the whole article before commenting! Thanks.

Trump's 2024 hinting game sure looks like it's illegal

Former President Donald Trump constantly talks about how he’s almost certainly going to run for president again, although he has refrained from making it official. Now, a complaint filed to the Federal Election Commission is underscoring how his theatrical hinting act could be violating campaign finance law.

American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC, has filed a complaint with the FEC arguing that Trump is illegally spending political funds on a presidential campaign without officially declaring his candidacy.

The argument behind the complaint is that Trump is using rhetoric that signals that he is, in fact, running already but declining to formally declare his candidacy to avoid the restrictions and regulations on his fundraising capacity that would kick in if he did. “I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet from the standpoint of campaign finance laws,” Trump said in the fall, The New York Times reported. At the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, he also said: “We did it twice, and we’ll do it again. We’re going to be doing it again, a third time.”

Trump’s rhetorical sleights of hand raise the possibility that his de facto third presidential campaign is already marked by corruption before it even formally kicks off.


Ted Cruz laments angry supreme court hearings a day after angry airport fracas

In Washington on Monday, the Texas senator Ted Cruz complained that supreme court confirmation hearings have become increasingly angry and confrontational.

In Bozeman, Montana the previous day, however, the Republican was filmed becoming angry and confrontational with airport staff and an armed police officer.

A short video, appearing to have been shot from behind a check-in desk, was posted to Reddit. It showed the masked senator remonstrating with the two staff members, both women, and the male officer. It was not possible to hear what was said.

A caption said: “Ted Cruz accosting airline employees today at BZN after missing his flight. Law enforcement had to be called when he wouldn’t calm down.”

An airport official told the Daily Mail the senator missed his check-in window for a flight and became “frustrated” as other options were limited due to spring break traffic.

Rafaelito, throwin' toddler tantrums again
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