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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,029

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

How Coal Mining Contributed to Deadly Kentucky Floods

Appalachian states like Kentucky have a long, turbulent history with coal and mountaintop removal—an extractive mining process that uses explosives to clear forests and scrape soil in order to access underlying coal seams. For years, researchers have warned that land warped by mountaintop removal may be more prone to flooding due to the resulting lack of vegetation to prevent increased runoff. Without trees to buffer the rain and soil to soak it up, water pools together and heads for the least resistant path—downhill.

In 2019, a pair of Duke University scientists conducted an analysis of floodprone communities throughout the region for Inside Climate News that identified the most “mining damaged areas.” These included many of the same Eastern Kentucky communities that saw river levels rise by 25 feet in just 24 hours this past week.

“The findings suggest that long after the coal mining stops, its legacy of mining could continue to exact a price on residents who live downstream from the hundreds of mountains that have been leveled in Appalachia to produce electricity,” wrote Inside Climate News’ James Bruggers.

Now those findings feel tragically prescient. From July 25 to 30, Eastern Kentucky saw a mixture of flash floods and thunderstorms bringing upwards of four inches of rain per hour, swelling local rivers to historic levels. To date, the flooding has claimed at least 37 lives.


Not just mountaintop removal, either. Read Night Comes to the Cumberlands, by Henry Caudill.

She Never Hurt Her Kids. So Why Is a Mother Serving More Time Than the Man Who Abused Her Daughter?


A week before Christmas last year, Kerry King helped three of her children build gingerbread houses in a prison visitation room in Oklahoma. King wanted to make the holiday special for the kids, even under the circumstances. But as the Black 35-year-old spread frosting on a graham cracker while dressed in her orange jumpsuit, her hair braided for the occasion, the mood still felt bittersweet. Since she was incarcerated six years earlier, her kids could only visit once a month, and soon it would be time to say goodbye.

“Do you love me?” Lilah, 10, the most outgoing of King’s children, asked her mother as the visit was ending.

“Of course I do,” King answered.

Lilah thought a moment, her brown eyes serious, and then said something that caught King off guard. “Do you still love him?” she asked. “Because if you still love him, I’ll never forgive you.”

King’s heart dropped. Her ex-boyfriend had abused them both, years ago. He was the reason King was in prison now. But her daughter had never said anything like that to her before. And there wasn’t enough time to have the long conversation they both craved.

Back in her cell, King agonized over whether a letter to Lilah would suffice. She had been mothering her children over letters and phone calls for too long. No matter what, King wanted to tell her daughter, I love you more than I could have loved anyone else, any man. And you should never, ever have to even consider whether I do.

“I am not guilty,” King had said to me over the phone, months before the Christmas visit. “I just wanna go home. I wanna see my kids so bad. It kind of eats you up.”


Oklahoma, you are fucking NOT OK!

N.J. hospital marketing director arrested after cache of 39 guns, ammo found in office closet

A New Jersey hospital marketing director was arrested this week after a bomb threat at the facility led police to discover a cache of weapons and ammunition stashed in an unlocked office closet.

Reuven Alonalayoff, who worked at Hudson Regional Hospital, was taken into custody Sunday at Newark Liberty International Airport with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

Alonalayoff, 46, of Elmwood Park, was charged with possession of an assault firearm and two counts of possession of a high capacity magazine.

Lawyer information for him was not immediately available.

His arrest comes weeks after the hospital received a phone call on July 18 that a bomb was in the facility, the Secaucus Police Department said in a news release.


Missouri family says racism led to pool party cancellation

A Black family says racism prompted officials at a suburban Kansas City water park to cancel a private pool party for their 17-year-old son’s birthday during the weekend.

Chris Evans said he signed a contract with Summit Waves Aquatic Facility in Lee’s Summit to host 250 people for the party on Saturday. But when his sons arrived at the park they were told the reservation was canceled and were not given a reason, Evans said at a news conference Tuesday.

Evans said he and his wife learned while they were on the way to the water park that “this event doesn’t represent Lee’s Summit Waves and that my reservation was canceled because (a park official) was uncomfortable,” The Kansas City Star reported.

That official, flanked by police officers, met the parents when they arrived and reiterated that the party would not be held.

“What are you scared of, Lee’s Summit?” Evans asked at the news conference. “Why are you uncomfortable?”


Sure sounds like it.

The One Critical Mistake Alien Hunters Keep Making

Our search for alien life is getting serious. With better telescopes and a growing scientific consensus that we’re probably not alone in the universe, we’re beginning to look farther and wider across the vastness of space for evidence of extraterrestrials.

But it’s possible we’re looking for too few signs in too few places. Having evolved on Earth, surrounded by Earth life, we assume alien life would look and behave like terrestrial life.

What if we’re wrong? What if E.T. is out there waiting to be discovered by the first astronomer willing to open their mind to the possibility that, to us, alien life might seem really weird?

Some scientists are trying to fix our Earth bias. In a new study that was made available to read on July 27, a team led by Arwen Nicholson, an astrophysicist at the University of Exeter, attacked one assumption that’s widespread in astronomy. There’s a common line of thought that a distant “exoplanet”—a planet outside the solar system—would need a certain amount of oxygen and hydrogen to support life. And those lifeforms, as they lived and died and evolved, would excrete methane gas that would build up in the atmosphere.

Methane is one of the big things astronomers look for when it comes to evidence of alien life. They call it a “biosignature.” But with over 5,000 thousand confirmed exoplanets on the official roster and only so many telescopes that are powerful enough to survey them, astronomers tend to exclude planets that appear to be nutrient-poor—lacking, say, the concentration of hydrogen that we have here on Earth.


I once read a SF series called Starbridge, by A.C. Crispin, which assumed otherwise in some cases. It was...interesting.

A challenge for antiabortion states: Doctors reluctant to work there

In a few years, Olgert Bardhi’s skills will be in high demand. A first-year resident in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, he’ll be a full-fledged physician by 2025 in a nation facing a shortage of primary care doctors.

The trouble for Texas: Because of the state’s strict antiabortion laws, Bardhi’s not sure he will remain there.

Although he doesn’t provide abortion care right now, laws limiting the procedure have created confusion and uncertainty over what treatments are legal for miscarriage and keep him from even advising pregnant patients on the option of abortion, he said. Aiding and abetting an abortion in Texas also exposes doctors to civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

“It definitely does bother me,” Bardhi said. “If a patient comes in, and you can’t provide them the care that you are supposed to for their well-being, maybe I shouldn’t practice here. The thought has crossed my mind.”

He is balancing his concern with his sense that he can do more good by staying, including counseling patients on obtaining contraception.

Bardhi’s uncertainty reflects a broader hesitancy among some doctors and medical students who are reconsidering career prospects in red states where laws governing abortion have changed rapidly since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, according to interviews with health-care professionals and reproductive health advocates.


Red states, you have shot yourselves in the lower abdomen. Now deal with the bleeding.

The Surreal Spectacle of Marjorie Taylor Greene and the Capitol Riot Rage Cage

As dozens of onlookers looked on, some with tears in their eyes, a barefoot man in an orange jumpsuit and red MAGA cap sobbed in a cage in a convention center in Dallas, Texas.

Attendees at CPAC, the massive annual conservative activist conference, were given bluetooth headphones, emblazoned with the word “silence,” where they were invited to listen to audio accounts from January 6 defendants who have been jailed due to the Capitol riot.

Some spectators wept. Some threw money into the cage. Others came up close to mutter words of comfort and support to the emotionally distraught man inside, who was alternating sitting on a bare cot with his head in his hands, and writing sad slogans on a blackboard like “Where is Everyone?” Among those in the audience was Zuny Duarte, mother of Enrique Tarrio, the jailed ex-chairman of the Proud Boys facing seditious conspiracy charges for his role in the Capitol. One man, wearing a T-shirt saying “Correctional Officers for Trump 2020” pointed at his chest, making sure the “jailed” activist saw, and said “”I know how it works, man.”



Surprise in the stray jail this morning

Went for my usual Friday shift in the stray jail and started by feeding everyone since they were all hollering that they were starving (you can imagine how loud it gets). Started cleaning as usual with the back row of kittens, fending off the advances of the one I've named Buddy Guy, who wants to climb all over you and chew on your ears while you're cleaning, by putting him in what Natalie calls the "dumb baby jail", and making the acquaintance of the new little boy who has a problem with one of his front legs.There were some others to do also, of course. Then I started on the front row.

There was a "box cat" in the first top kennel. Box cats are feral or very shy cats who are given what we variously call a feral box or hide box (some people call it a "bad box" but I hate that) to hang out in until they either get used to us, are consigned to the Barn Cat program, or go to a partner shelter. This particular box cat had a very gross, nasty towel in her kennel. Natalie told me that she had given birth to two kittens night before last and kicked them out of the box and wouldn't have anything to do with them, and Charlottesville had taken them yesterday on their weekly visit and sweep. I closed up the box and prepared to take box and cat out and set it on the floor so I could clean the kennel and change the towel. Imagine my surprise when I looked in the box and found the cat with two more kittens, the image of her, and fat, clean and healthy, that she was obviously taking care of! Everyone was shocked! Natalie came over to look, Marly came running in from the adoptable room, and Natalie put in a call to the med team, which brought the clinic manager down to marvel. Mama and babies were carried off to the nursery and the rest of us were left shaking our heads.

Here's the strange part. The kittens she wouldn't have anything to do with didn't look like these two. Mom is a common brown tabby sort with some white on her, as are the survivors. One of the ones she kicked out was orange and the other was black. When I told my husband, he said, "Maybe it was two different dads and she didn't like one of them." That's one theory. I think she may just be an inexperienced mom and didn't recognize them or didn't understand what was happening at first. It's all kind of weird.

Air Force explosives expert charged in suspected insider attack

An Air Force explosives expert has been charged in connection with a suspected insider attack that wounded four other U.S. troops at an austere outpost in Syria earlier this year, a highly unusual case of alleged betrayal in an organization that prizes fidelity above all else.

Tech. Sgt. David D. Dezwaan Jr. is accused of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and wrongfully obtaining classified information, among other crimes, the Air Force said Thursday. The charges stem from a military investigation into the April incident at Green Village, a base the Americans share with partner forces in eastern Syria.

In first reporting the attack, U.S. military officials initially said the explosions, which occurred in areas of the base housing ammunition and shower facilities, were the result of indirect fire. They later clarified the blasts were believed to be a result of “deliberate placement of explosive charges,” and announced several weeks later that a U.S. service member had been detained.

Dezwaan will face what the military calls an Article 32 hearing later this month at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Such proceedings are used to air evidence and determine if the accused will face trial. His civilian attorneys, Philip Cave and Nathan Freeburg, declined to comment ahead of the proceeding.


Nothing worse than a soldier who turns on his own.

Former Middle School Teacher Receives 2-Month Sentence for 3 Years of Sexually Abusing a Student

On this fine Thursday afternoon, I bring you some bleak shit coming out of Texas: On August 2, former Houston-area middle school teacher Marka Bodine was convicted of continuous abuse of a child, after pleading guilty. The child in question was Bodine’s former student, with whom she had a sexual relationship from the time he was 13 until he was 16 years old. After Bodine’s divorce, she apparently even moved into the same apartment complex as the student. Police were tipped off to the inappropriate relationship after Bodine told her higher-ups that the student was harassing her. One phone investigation and dozens of sexually explicit pictures later, and Bodine had a lot of explaining to do.

Somehow, Bodine was only sentenced to 60 days in prison, in addition to 10 years of probation and life on the sex offender registry. Given the nature of the crime, the two-month sentence should raise some eyebrows—hell, I’ve been grounded for longer. And while we’re not in the business of wishing 40 years of prison on anyone (which was the prosecutors’ original proposal), we are in the business of questioning why sentencing is so relatively lenient on female sexual predators—especially in a time where conservatives seem to be so concerned with the sexual safety of children in schools and continue to pin grooming accusations on the LGBTQ+ community.

Though her sentence is especially light, Bodine is far from the first female teacher to get off with little more than a slap on the wrist for sexual offenses with students. In Florida, the prosecution once dropped charges for lewd and lascivious battery for Debra Lafave, a teacher who had sex with her 14-year-old student, after her lawyer successfully convinced the judge that their client was “too pretty for prison.” We’re not sure that those are appropriate grounds, your honor. And just last year, a Pennsylvania middle school teacher was sentenced to “at least five years” in state prison for sexually assaulting her 13-year-old male student.

Now let’s take a look at the men doing similar crimes: A Florida technology teacher received a 40-year sentence, while a North Carolina teacher is slated to serve 50 years for his crimes—that’s half of a century. While our criminal justice system is notoriously unjust and inconsistent, we can also probably chalk this particular gender disparity up to public perception: As a society, we’ve been programmed to think that only men can be sexual predators, despite women making up around five percent of sex offenders and 30 percent of teacher/student misconduct cases, according to Leo Weekly.


WTAF? You know damn well if she'd been a man.....
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