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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,575

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

A Mom Is Braiding Kids' Hair For Free So Parents Have One Less Back-To-School Stress

In homes, churches and in braiding shops around Nashville, Brittany Starks and a team of dedicated volunteers are helping parents lighten their load, one braid at a time.

Starks' idea was a simple one: offer to braid children's hair for free in order to take away some of the stress for parents at the beginning of the school year. As anyone who's ever gotten their hair braided can tell you, it's an amazing deal: typically, getting your hair braided can cost hundreds of dollars and involve spending around five to six hours at a braiding salon, if not longer.

Starks made her offer in early August in a post on the "Hip Antioch" Facebook page. While she expected some interest, she never expected her idea to take off the way it did.

"I thought it was going to be five to seven kids, but it ended up being 35 kids," she said about the initial response. She's since lost count of how many kids have gotten their hair braided.


My former hometown has National Guard deployed in the healthcare system

Members of the Tennessee National Guard headed to a couple of hospitals in East Tennessee to help staff amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Lt. Col. Justin Olander, the Joint Task Force Medical Commander, said 20 members were deployed to Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System.

“The hospitals that have us currently are in desperate need of assistance staff augmentation. And so we’re ensuring that we have, that the limited resources that we have, are allocated to the hospitals that need it most,” Olander said.

Olander’s teams were deployed to areas hit hardest by staffing shortages and rising COVID-19 cases in Tennessee. He said his crews were sent mostly to East Tennessee and West Tennessee.

“If you look at the number of cases, those are definitely higher areas of COVID-positive cases and hospitalizations,” Olander said.

Meanwhile, masks are optional in local schools, the entire 7th grade at my grandson's middle school is either out sick or quarantined so it's virtual, and contact tracing has been stopped in the middle and high schools there. WTF, Hamblen County?

Thailand legalizes kratom, plant-based pain killer

Thailand on Tuesday decriminalized the possession and sale of kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia whose leaves are used as a mild stimulant and painkiller and which has a following in the United States for its pain-relieving qualities.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said thousands of legal cases for the possession or sale of kratom were being dropped, and 121 inmates convicted in such cases would be released immediately. Possession of kratom had been punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of as much as 200,000 baht ($6,077) for quantities of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) or more.

The decriminalization of kratom, which involved removing the drug from the official list of controlled narcotics, is the country’s latest move to liberalize its drug laws. In the past two years, Thailand has allowed regulated medical marijuana use as well as the licensed buying and growing of marijuana, and permitted households to grow up to six plants. Harsh penalties remain for hard drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine.

Easing pressure on Thailand’s justice system and its overcrowded prisons has been a major impetus for the new drug policy.


Alleged Sexual Harasser Abandons Dog

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is leaving his governorship behind, and his little dog too.

The Albany-based Times Union reports that when Cuomo moved out of the governor’s mansion last week, he asked staffers if anyone would like to keep his dog, Captain.

From the Times Union, emphasis our:

Two State Police sources told the Times Union on Saturday that the governor had recently asked mansion staff members if anyone would be interested in caring for the dog. Captain — a high-strung mix of shepherd, Siberian and malamute — has nipped a few people since Cuomo adopted him in 2018, the sources said, and a mansion staffer recently took the dog home for a few days but decided he was too much.

This puts him in the same category as Rafaelito Cruz. Pretty sure Captain will soon have a Twitter account and be part of @LeviFetterman's Animal Caucus

Paralympics 2020 The world's fastest blind man to a TikTok superstar: 10 US Paralympians to Watch

As the rescheduled Tokyo Paralympics kick off, here’s a look at 10 athletes from Team USA worth keeping an eye on

Scout Bassett, Para-athletics

Abandoned as an infant after losing her right leg in a chemical fire, Bassett spent seven years in a government-run orphanage in Nanjing, China, where she was given a makeshift prosthetic leg pieced together with tape and belts until she was adopted by an American couple from Michigan. Since nearly quitting track and field following a last-place finish in the 100m at the 2012 US national championships, she’s since captured world championship medals in both the 100m and the long jump.

David Brown, Para-athletics
The world’s fastest blind man will look to defend his Paralympic 100m title in the T11 category – where athletes are nearly or totally blind and require a guide to race – five years after his Rio coronation alongside former Olympic hopeful Jerome Avery. Diagnosed with Kawasaki disease at 15 months and blind in both eyes due to resulting glaucoma by the age of 13, he remains the only totally blind sprinter to have broken the 11-second mark.

Jessica Long, Para-swimming
A double amputee since she was 18 months old, Long became an overnight star at the 2004 Athens Games when she won three golds at the age of 12. She’s since piled up 23 career Paralympic medals, including 13 golds, making her the second most decorated US Paralympian ever behind fellow swimmer Trischa Zorn (55). And she’s showing no sign of slowing down, saying in a recent Reddit AMA that she hopes to compete until LA 2028. The 29-year-old Long, who was adopted from a Siberian orphanage aged 13 months, gained a huge new audience when her early life story was used in a one-minute Super Bowl commercial for Toyota this year.

I enjoy the Paralympics almost more than the Olympics (I'm also a Special Olympics mom)

The main lesson from Afghanistan is that the 'war on terror' does not work

Iopposed the initial invasion of Afghanistan on the grounds that terrorism is a heinous crime but not a war, and that we needed to use the techniques of policing and intelligence, while tackling the underlying causes of terrorism, rather than military methods to deal with the problem.

Many of us said at the time that the attacks of 9/11 should have been viewed as a crime against humanity, not as an attack by a foreign state. The terrorists should have been designated as criminals not enemies. As the distinguished war historian Michael Howard said, the phrase “war on terror” accorded the “terrorists a status they seek and do not deserve”.

After the invasion, I favoured a strategy of human security, stabilising Afghanistan, and protecting individual Afghans and their families. President Biden called this “nation building” and said it should never have been undertaken. This was the approach of the UN in Afghanistan and, while it is possible to argue that nation-building efforts are often too top down and technical, and need to include civil society and local initiatives, these are not the reasons that nation building was so inadequate in Afghanistan.

Indeed there were considerable gains in women’s rights and education as well as democratic consciousness, as exemplified by the recent protests in Jalalabad. The fundamental reason was that the security of Afghans was continually undermined by the way that the US prioritised counter-terror operations, by which it meant military targeting of the Taliban and al-Qaida, and more recently, Islamic State.


DIY Air Filters For Classrooms? Experts Are Enthusiastic -- And This Citizen Scientist Makes It Easy

Eric Schildge is terrified to go back to school in a few weeks. An 8th grade English teacher in Newburyport, the fear of in-person learning during a pandemic is familiar to him. He was in the classroom all last year. He remembers being upbeat and positive around the students but secretly scared.

Schildge has channeled his fear into learning everything he can about clean air and ventilation for his classroom. He went back and forth on Twitter with renowned experts. When waiting to pick up his daughter from daycare, he’d pull up studies online.

“Reading tiny little words on the screen of my phone, trying to just squeeze in a few minutes that I had here and there to try to find out as much information as I could,” Schildge said.

He was looking for something simple and effective — something he could do himself.

It was that same goal that got Don Blair excited about a DIY air purifier, one that’s designed by a renowned air quality expert but can be built by a total amateur. Blair, a citizen scientist in the Boston area, has been spending his spare time pulling together the resources and pro tips teachers like Schildge need to build this homemade air purifier for their classrooms. (GBH News had experts vet Blair’s open-source designs, step-by-step guide and the tips on his website, and they gave it their blessing.)

This might be the coolest thing I've read all day!

A Startup Is Turning Houses Into Corporations, And The Neighbors Are Fighting Back

On a sleepy cul-de-sac amid the bucolic vineyards and grassy hills of Sonoma Valley, California, a four-million-dollar house has become the epicenter of a summer-long spat between angry neighbors and a new venture capital-backed startup buying up homes around the nation. The company is called Pacaso. It says it's the fastest company in American history to achieve the "unicorn" status of a billion-dollar valuation — but its quarrels in wine country, one of the first regions where it's begun operations, foreshadow business troubles ahead.

Brad Day and his wife Holly Kulak were first introduced to Pacaso in May, after a romantic sunset dinner in their yard. "And we just saw this drone, coming up and over our backyard," Brad says. "And we're like, what is that?"

Pacaso denies directing or paying a drone operator to film the neighborhood. But its website does have drone photos of the house in question, located at 1405 Old Winery Court. It says it bought the photos after the fact.

Nonetheless, after the drone incident, Brad and Holly got suspicious about what was going on in their neighborhood. About a week later, their neighbors told them they were moving and selling their house to a Limited Liability Corporation, or "LLC." But they were super vague about it.

This is creepy and awful and I'd fight back too!

I finished binge watching "Grey's Anatomy" last night

I feel lost. I really like multi-seasonal dramas, preferably long term, for my late-night watching. "Heartland" was the one before "Grey's" and I felt just about as lost when it finished up. Now I'm looking for another long-termer. I'm not much for comedies, so "Schitt's Creek" is definitely out. I watched "Hart of Dixie" awhile back and someone had suggested "Virgin River" but when I tried that it turned out to be nearly the same story in a different setting, with even the same actor as the same grumpy doctor, so YUK! I was a huge fan of "E.R." back in the day. I'm up to date on "Call the Midwife". What do I do? I do like some police shows. Looking for something on streaming, preferably Apple TV. Netflix, or Amazon Prime. I don't have Hulu.

A child marriage survivor helped ban the practice in New York, but 44 states still allow it

Naila Amin, 31, was a child bride in Pakistan at the age of 13; she now has a law named after her that bans the practice in New York state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill into law raising the age of marriage consent to 18 in New York. Called “Naila’s Law,” it went into effect Saturday.

Child marriage is when someone under the age of 18 becomes legally married to an adult. Such minors, more likely girls than boys, are often forced into marriage because of socioeconomic factors by families who want to minimize their economic burden or earn income as a result of the marriage, according to UNICEF. Religious and cultural norms also contribute to its ongoing practice.

The practice is technically still legal in 44 U.S. states, as most allow marriage before 18. Cuomo signed legislation in New York in 2017 that raised the age of consent to marry from 14 to 18, but 17-year-olds could be married with parental and judicial consent.

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