Monday Evening News Reads: Disasters and BreakthroughsPosted: December 10, 2012 | |
The last time I wrote a post for the blog, over half of it disappeared. Since then I have been leery and anxious about working with WordPress again…so if this thread seems a bit on the hesitant side, you know why.
Okay…I will get to the disasters and breakthroughs in a little while, first I want to bring you something from the “no shit” file. Likely Increase in Births Has Some Lawmakers Revisiting Cuts (See what I mean…what the hell do you think happens when you cut off birth control for low income women?)
When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.
Of course, you know already know where this article is going…right?
The latest Health and Human Services Commission projections being circulated among Texas lawmakers indicate that during the 2014-15 biennium, poor women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have, as a result of their reduced access to state-subsidized birth control. The additional cost to taxpayers is expected to be as much as $273 million — $103 million to $108 million to the state’s general revenue budget alone — and the bulk of it is the cost of caring for those infants under Medicaid.
Ahead of the next legislative session, during which lawmakers will grapple with an existing Medicaid financing shortfall, a bipartisan coalition is considering ways to restore some or all of those family planning dollars, as a cost-saving initiative if nothing else.
“I know some of my colleagues felt like in retrospect they did not fully grasp the implications of what was done last session,” said Representative Donna Howard, Democrat of Austin, who said she had been discussing ways to restore financing with several other lawmakers in both parties.
Fully grasp? It ain”t like people were telling them the importance of Planned Parenthood and the reality of low cost birth control. /snark.
At least there is this news out of North Carolina: Judge rules against NC anti-abortion license plate
North Carolina can’t offer anti-abortion license plates unless it also makes plates available for people who support abortion rights, a federal judge said in a ruling that squelches the plan that included proceeds going to crisis pregnancy centers in the state.“This court concludes … that the state’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment,” Judge James Fox said in his ruling, issued Friday.
I wrote about these Choose Life license plates back when they were approved by the NC General Assembly in 2011.
“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU-NCLF. “The government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view. We are very pleased that the court agrees that such a one-sided scheme constituted viewpoint discrimination and violated the First Amendment. We would have made the exact same argument if the situation was reversed, and the state planned on issuing a pro-choice plate while not offering one expressing the opposite point of view.”
From the Right Wing Watch website: Washington Times Gives Platform to White Nationalist to Warn Against Puerto Rico Statehood No surprise there, Washington Times is a right wing rag anyway.
On to the disaster news, Disaster Relief, Dot-Com Style:
Two days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City, one of many desperate pleas across the city went out: “We have over 50 seniors located at 80 Rutgers Street who are without electricity, cannot go down stairs, and are running low on food supplies.”
Within an hour, volunteers were rushing over with supplies. But it was not a 911 dispatcher or a FEMA representative who had heeded the call for help. It was members of the Lower East Side community responding to a message on recovers.org, an online hub that helps communities direct resources and volunteers where they’re needed in an emergency. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, four microsites sprung up on the system for the Lower East Side, Astoria, Red Hook, and Staten Island to connect victims in New York City neighborhoods with volunteers and supplies. A fifth sprung up for Hoboken, N.J.
It is a long article, so be sure to go and read the whole thing.
In connection with the affect of social media on Superstorm Sandy, check this out: Occupy Wall Street-Sandy: NYPD quietly credits movement for helping fight post-storm crime.
As my colleague Katherine Goldstein reported last month, Occupy Wall Street was quick to set up shop to help people recover in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, collecting and handing out donations in New York City for those impacted by the superstorm. She closed her dispatch with this line: “I imagine both concerned New Yorkers and storm victims alike will remember who was out on the front lines.” Turns out, they have. And, perhaps even more surprisingly, it looks like we can count NYPD officers among that group.
Just a few more links for you. Battle of Fredericksburg comes to life for 150th anniversary Funny, this article appears in the British newspaper The Independent.
On the second floor of the old brick building on Sophia Street, the three Confederate snipers waited for the Yankees.
They had their muskets at the ready, and paper ammunition cartridges were lined up on the window sills.
Outside, their comrades were retreating. There were shouts, crashes of gunfire and the sound of approaching drums. “Get ready,” rebel Andrew Prasse said as he leaned out a window. “All right, let ‘em have it, boys.”
They refought the Civil War’s Battle of Fredericksburg Saturday, a few days shy of its 150th anniversary.
There was no bloodshed, of course, but hundreds of reenactors like Prasse, 26, of Columbia Heights, made it feel as if there were.
Picture at the link, these guys sure look like the real thing. If you have never been to a reenactment before, try and get to one. It is one hell of an experience, loud…real loud!
TCM has come out with there remember video, I have tried to download it but the video is not cooperating: TCM Remembers 2012 — (TCM Original)
And saving the best for last…A Breakthrough Against Leukemia Using Altered T-Cells
Emma Whitehead, with her mother, Kari. Last spring, Emma was near death from acute lymphoblastic leukemia but is now in remission after an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Just a wonderful image, go read the story at the link…it will make you feel good.
This is an open thread.