Wednesday Reads: Radiation, Abortion Rights and Whitey Bulger RICO…SuavePosted: June 29, 2011
There are some updates about Whitey Bulger being reported in the NYT. Some Charges May Be Dropped in Bulger Case as Prosecutors Focus on Killings – NYTimes.com
The federal government moved on Tuesday to drop a racketeering case against the longtime fugitive James (Whitey) Bulger, saying it wanted to focus on a separate case that charges him with 19 murders, among other crimes.But Judge Mark L. Wolf of Federal District Court said he would not immediately allow the dismissal, in part because Mr. Bulger needed time to confer with his lawyer about it.
In seeking to drop the 1994 racketeering case against Mr. Bulger, federal prosecutors said they wanted to focus on getting justice for the murder victims. The evidence against Mr. Bulger is stronger in the murder case, they said, and the penalties are steeper if convicted. A conviction on a single murder charge could send Mr. Bulger, 81, to prison for the rest of his life.
I am glad the prosecutors want to focus on the murder victims…all nineteen (19) of them. Ten of the murder charges stem from murders Bulger commented while he was an informant for the FBI. The article quotes Dick Lehr, a Boston University Professor as saying,
“There’s no question that that one is the big enchilada,” he said. “Racketeering cases by their nature are so huge and complicated. Why not tidy up and go full bore on the big one?”
Makes sense to me…but there could be other reasons for dropping the RICO charges.
Peter Krupp, Mr. Bulger’s temporary lawyer, said in a hearing Tuesday that the government appeared to be trying to avoid dealing with Judge Wolf, who presides over the 1994 racketeering case. Judge Richard Stearns of Federal District Court is in charge of the murder case.
Judge Wolf, the chief judge of the district, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bulger cases and has a reputation for being “brilliant but overbearing,” Mr. Lehr said. The judge scheduled another hearing for Thursday on whether the 1994 case should be dropped. Judge Wolf has also not yet decided whether Mr. Bulger is eligible for a free, court-appointed lawyer.
With all the talk of the Casey Anthony trial, the Bulger trial is one I would love to see. (Anyone looking for another perspective of the CMA trial, check this out: Women in Crime Ink: Trials: Truth, Expectation and Reality )
There is a new article and video up at CBS News that interviews a resident of Fukushima about her concerns about radiation and her children. Japan’s radiation dilemma: Leave or live in fear – CBS News
For ten years, Akiko Murakami has lived a suburban dream — growing flowers, as she raised four sons, in a leafy corner of Fukushima city. But now she wonders if it’s safe to stay here. CBS News reporter Lucy Craft brought a Geiger counter, which measures radiation, to her house.
The home she and her husband built for their kids, ages 12 to 21, is surrounded by pockets of radiation — known as hotspots.
Fukushima is a city of 300,000 people, and I guess it is just too many people to evacuate. (Bit of snark there.)
The government has lowered radiation exposure standards in the Fukushima region to 20 millisieverts a year. That’s about the same amount as 50 mammograms. Fukushima City is 40 miles from the nuclear plant, the source of the radiation, but Japan is telling its residents that there’s no additional risk. Many international experts and even the prime minister’s own nuclear advisor disagree. They claim that Fukushima is no longer safe – particularly for children.
Residents travelled to Tokyo to protest after the government loosened safety limits — despite the fact that the long-term impact of low-dose radiation is unknown.
I am no doctor or radiation expert, but 50 mammograms seems like a lot of x-ray exposure to me. Murakiami says that her biggest fear is her children’s health, no doubt she is just one of the many families facing the same decision. Stay or go…I say, get the hell out if you can.
Oh, and while many of you have those 50 “tata” mammograms a year in your minds, lets move on to yet another fight that Breast Cancer victims must face…Breast Cancer Patients Fight for Avastin, a Breast Cancer Drug – ABC News
Priscilla Howard, who has metastatic breast cancer, has been taking the drug Avastin for a little more than two years and has seen a remarkable difference in the progression of her disease, she told a panel of experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the first day of a two-day hearing that pits the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research against Genentech, Avastin’s manufacturer.
“I am progression free but not cancer free,” said Howard, one of a handful of Avastin patients who gathered both inside and outside the FDA to fight for keeping Avastin on the market.
“I want every available weapon in my arsenal as I fight this devastating disease,” Howard told the panel. The hearing will ultimately decide the fate of what some patients consider a lifesaving drug.
The FDA could take Avastin off the list of approved medications for cancer patients, which
Some cancer specialists said the decision could hold huge implications for the way their patients will be treated.
“This decision [could] remove an option for patients,” said Dr. Edith Perez, clinical oncologist at the Mayo Clinic.
American Cancer Society’s deputy medical officer Dr. Len Lichtenfeld attended the hearing and tweeted “No one has asked the question: What do we say to all the patients and families who testified this morning?”
I am thinking that one of the reasons the FDA wants to withdraw the use of Avastin may have something to do with the cost of Avastin. As this article from the New York Times in 2008 states: The Evidence Gap – In Cost Cancer Drug Avastin, Hope and a Dilemma – Series – NYTimes.com
…some in the pharmaceutical industry worry that such prices will raise concerns about whether the drugs are worth it, leading to a backlash like price controls or restrictions on use.
Roy Vagelos, a former chief executive of Merck who is considered an elder statesman of the industry, said in a recent speech that he was troubled by a drug, which he would not name but which was a clear reference to Avastin, that costs $50,000 a year and adds four months of life. “There is a shocking disparity between value and price,” he said, “and it’s not sustainable.”
You thinking what I am thinking…screw the women that may get extra time on this earth to live their lives, cause it cost too damn much.
And on that note, I want to give you a link from the state of Kansas on the continued war against women. Second abortion lawsuit filed in Kansas | CJOnline.com
The Center for Reproductive Rights submitted to federal district court in Kansas City, Kan., a challenge to abortion clinic licensing regulations adopted by the 2011 Legislature and signed into law by anti-abortion Gov. Sam Brownback.
The suit was filed on behalf of the Center for Women’s Health, which has been operated in Overland Park by physicians Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser.
“Between the rigid and unnecessary building standards and the absurd deadlines, this licensing process is a complete sham,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Our clients have a long record of providing safe and high-quality OB/GYN care, including abortion services, to women over the last 30 years,” she said. “These regulations have nothing to do with safety standards and everything to do with an aggressive anti-choice government trying to shut down abortion providers.”
And BTW, the article points out that if these three clinics are denied licenses, Kansas will be the first state, “not to have abortion services on demand.”
Let’s end with an article about Hillary Clinton Chides Male Domination of African Union – Bloomberg
Hillary Clinton’s speech was met with silence from the male-dominated envoys at the African Union as she criticized the continents aging autocrats. The mood changed when the U.S. Secretary of State turned her attention to women.
“The women of Africa are the hardest working women in the world,” said Clinton, addressing the 53-nation body in Addis Ababa on June 13. Interrupted by loud cheers from the visitors’ area in the upper gallery in the back of the hall, she exclaimed: “If all the women in Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, decided they would stop working for a week, the economies of Africa would collapse.”
If African women were given equal access as men to vocational training and technology, the continent’s economy would expand by at least 40 percent, according Calestous Juma, a professor of international development at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The disparities are most evident in agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of employment and 30 percent of the gross domestic product of sub-Saharan Africa. About 100 million women in Africa use only rudimentary farm tools. That limits them to cultivating at most an hectare (2.5 acres) of land, which they spend almost 2,000 hours a year weeding.
Damn, I appreciate this woman so much…
For Clinton, the plight of women has helped drive an aggressive travel schedule that her office says has clocked up more miles than any of her predecessors. She’s gone 567,305 miles, visiting 85 countries in 232 days on the road since taking office in January 2009. She makes it a point to meet local women in impoverished nations.
And the Bloomberg article ends with this, Wonk take notice…cause it is something you have mentioned many times:
Women’s rights have been the defining issue for Clinton, from her time in Arkansas to the empowered wife of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s to senator for New York and finally the face of American diplomacy.
As first lady she traveled to China in 1995 to attend the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women and defied Chinese authorities by refusing to tone down a speech that state radio and television blacked out.
“It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” she told 180 delegates from the podium. “Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.”
As she prepares to leave office next year, Clinton has given a glimpse of where her future lies.
Which all of us here at Sky Dancing believe is a return to advocating for the rights of women and children…and geez, we need her fighting for us…big time!
So what are you reading and blogging about today? Get busy in the comment section!
And for those of you who have the song Rico Suave running through your head, I apologize…for those of you who don’t remember this tune, this video is for you: