Monday Evening News Reads: Disasters and Breakthroughs

Goosubway woman readingd Evening!

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, 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.


29 Comments on “Monday Evening News Reads: Disasters and Breakthroughs”

  1. Y’all have a great evening!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hope you have a great evening too!

    • RalphB says:

      great post. That $273 million number is the same as the legislature was told before they took the original vote. Guess the idiots are just now getting around to thinking about it. What a bunch of maroons!

  2. janicen says:

    I’m in tears over the leukemia breakthrough. My younger brother died from leukemia six years ago so I know how devastating the disease can be. This is great, great news.

    • RalphB says:

      That was a great story! Really heartwarming. It’s also sweet that Occupy is getting some credit for good works after Sandy. They’ve done a lot that has never been reported.

    • NW Luna says:

      Janicen, so sorry about your brother.

      The article said that the experimental treatment didn’t work for all of the participants in the research trial. But hearing news like this, and knowing it worked for some, must bring so much back. I’m sure your brother was lucky to have you. Wishing you comfort.

    • It does feel good to read about new scientific discoveries….hugs to you too!

  3. RalphB says:

    Hah 🙂

    Scientists Name Extinct Lizard ‘Obamadon’ After President

    Scientists have named a recently-discovered ancient lizard Obamadon gracilis after the 44th president, the Boston Globe reports.

    Yale and Harvard scientists discovered several species of lizards during a project to re-examine fossil collections. Top Yale paleontologist Nicholas Longrich said that a small, slender-jawed lizard that went extinct 65 million years ago along with the dinosaurs seemed like the right fit to take the President’s name.

  4. NW Luna says:

    Promising and interesting about using the altered T-cells to attack cancer cells. Definitely would not want to use that treatment unless the stakes were high. “Cytokine storm” can cause respiratory and organ failure and has a high fatality rate. The drug used to reduce/halt the cytokine storm is a “mab” or monoclonal antibody, a class of drugs which have a small but serious risk of opportunistic infections — often fatal or highly disabling. News articles can often gloss over serious risks, but this treatment seems very appropriate when conventional treatment has not worked. What an emotional rollercoaster for the families! Hope all goes well.

    Will be exciting to see what this research field looks like in a few years.

  5. Holy shit: Surgeon’s Infected Hands Led to Staph Outbreak at Cedars | NBC Southern California

    Five heart patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center contracted staph infections after a doctor operated on them with bacteria on his hands, the hospital said this week.

    The doctor, whom the hospital declined to name, had an inflammation on his hand when he implanted replacement heart valves into five patients last June.

    He wore gloves, but they developed microscopic tears, the hospital said, causing the infection to pass to patients.

    All five became infected with the staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria, the hospital said.

    “We have apologized to the patients involved, worked diligently to answer any questions they have, and provided appropriate follow-up, support and monitoring,” a spokesman for the hospital said in a statement Sunday.

    The physician involved remains on the hospital’s medical staff, but is no longer performing surgeries, the hospital said.

  6. Have to share this picture off pinterest:

    • RalphB says:

      Precious 🙂

    • bostonboomer says:

      ROFLOL! That has happened to me. Critters can be fast!

    • NW Luna says:

      We had a cat who would occasionally bring home things like turkey dogs and fish sticks to our front porch. That was back when we allowed our cats to roam free, and they could steal food, the little thugs — or drag it out of garbage or off compost heaps. Now they’re limited to stealing food inside.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    In Indiana they have optional license plates that say “in god we trust,” and people don’t even have to pay extra for them. It drives my mom batty.

  8. RalphB says:

    Glenn Kessler does a decent fact check for a change. 3 Pinocchios for Huckleberry Closetcase.

    Lindsey Graham’s ‘bankruptcy’ trifecta

  9. RalphB says:

    Brad DeLong on the Medicare Eligibility age and Beltway Bob Klein.

    Yes. Congressional Republicans Are Insane. Why Do You Ask?: “Grand Bargain” “Austerity Bomb”

    The Obama Administration has a moral responsibility to block any and all spending cuts that are not good policy. And whatever raising the Medicare qualification age is, it is not good policy–nobody who hasn’t been bought by the Republican Party thinks it’s good policy, and many of those who have been bought draw the line at claiming that it is.

    [ Ezra Klein bullshit ]

    And let me note a place where Ezra goes off the rails:

    The poorest seniors will be okay, thanks to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — though that assumes that by the time the age increase phases in all states are participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or that the deal includes some protection for seniors in states that have rejected it….

    There is no reason to think that all states will be participating in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. There is no reason to think the deal will include sufficient protection for seniors in states that have rejected it. Medicaid is not Medicare. And only 60% of those eligible for Medicaid manage to successfully maneuver through the application process-that number will rise as ObamaCare requires states to streamline Medicaid applications, but it will not rise to 100%.

  10. RalphB says:


    Dave Weigel: This OFA Death Star is Quite Operational

    The Obama campaign is Autobot-ing once again into Organizing for America, keeping its list active to mount pressure campaigns. That whole “you can’t change Washington from inside” thing. Stephanie Cutter, who hasn’t irritated conservatives for weeks now, asks supporters to pressure Republicans (“few dozen members of the House of Representatives”) to pass the Senate’s version of tax extensions, which passed that chamber 51-48 this summer.

    President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year. The Senate has passed that bill, and the President is ready to sign it — but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. House Democrats have filed a petition that would force a vote if it attracts 218 signatures.

    If a bill has enough votes to pass, Congress should vote on it and pass it.

    I’m writing something tangentially related to this, about the concurrent effors of the many, many “fix the debt” groups to build public support for something-or-other. Their problem: They don’t define the something-or-other! And neither do Republicans. They keep leaving these man-sized openings for Democrats and their specific tax deal to stride on through.

  11. RalphB says:

    It seems that Peterson has convinced the VSP set but the American people think they are full of crap. Of course, the people are correct.

    Dave Weigel: The Failure of Peterson-ism

    Why Peter Peterson and 20 years of anti-deficit campaigns have barely moved the needle.