Tuesday Reads: Jonas Salk, the Polio Vaccine, and Today’s For-Profit, Fear-Based Culture

Puppy in vest


Good Morning!!

I thought I’d illustrate today’s post with photos of cute puppies to offset the generally horrible news. The photo above comes from yesterday’s Boston Globe, Puppy in Boston Police Department Bulletproof Vest Melts Internet.

The photo, which was posted to Reddit, is from Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog, a non-profit that helps provide bulletproof vests, essential equipment, training, and purchase of dogs for police and law enforcement K-9 programs throughout the state.

“As K-9s are trained to give up their lives to protect their partners and all of us, we believe it is every bit as important to protect them,” according to www.mavestadog.org which is why they can run freely without pain

The story says the puppy’s name is Tuco, after a character in Breaking Bad.

Did you see today’s Google doodle? It honors what would have been Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday.

In 1954, I was 6 years old and I was among the first wave of kids who got the experimental polio vaccine at my school. We were living in Lawrence, Kansas then, and I attended Cordley Elementary School. I’m not sure if this was when I was in the first or second grade (I started kindergarten at age 4). Another girl in my class had already gotten polio and one of her legs was paralyzed. I don’t know if I was in the experimental or control group, but I do recall getting another shot the following year. Children from 44 states participated in the tests.


A look back at Salk’s work highlights the vast differences between American culture in the mid-1950s and today. Salk never patented the vaccine, because he wanted it to be distributed to as many children as possible; so he never made a cent from his discovery. In some ways the 1950s were the bad old days, but most Americans still believed in pulling together for the public good–maybe it was a hangover from WWII.

From The Washington Post, JONAS SALK: Google says ‘thanks’ to the heroic polio-vaccine developer with birthday Doodle, by Michael Cavna.

As so many tens of thousands of children suffered from polio into midcentury, his vaccine began as the stuff of dreams; by the mid-’50s, it was the substance of a profoundly life-altering reality.

Dr. Salk had begun his journey a coast away; he got his medical degree in 1939, at the New York University School of Medicine, and was working at the city’s Mount Sinai Hospital before a research fellowship at the University of Michigan — with his mentor — beckoned. In 1947, he moved to head up the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Virus Research Laboratory, where he did the real groundbreaking work in his march toward a vaccine for paralytic poliomyelitis, or polio.

The goal, of course, was to trigger the body’s own defenses — so it would build immunity against the disease. Salk believed that antibodies could be produced by injecting not a live virus, but rather a deactivated (non-infectious) one.

At this point, enough necessary tumblers clicked into place. For one, the team of Harvard scientist John Enders solved how to grow the pure polio virus in the test tube — a crucial step that enabled Salk’s effective experimentation with a “killed virus.” And then there were the needed funds — Salk got backing from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation).

In 1954, at least 1-million children — the Polio Pioneers — were tested across the nation (this followed testing that ranged from monkeys to Salk’s own family). The vaccine was announced as safe and largely effective on April 12, 1955.

“In the two years before [the] vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the U.S. was more than 45,000,” according to the Salk Institute. “By 1962, that number had dropped to 910.”

 Now we have panic over Ebola, and instead of focusing on developing a vaccine we have politicians cutting funds for medical research and ginning up public panic for their own selfish purposes, academics and corporations more interested in profits than saving lives, and ignorant people refusing to vaccinate their children.


From The Atlantic, The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is Forgetting the Polio Epidemic, by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz.

It started out as a head cold. Then, the day before Halloween, 6-year-old Frankie Flood began gasping for breath. His parents rushed him to City Hospital in Syracuse, New York, where a spinal tap confirmed the diagnosis every parent feared most in 1953: poliomyelitis. He died on his way to the operating room. “Frankie could not swallow—he was literally drowning in his own secretions,”wrote his twin sister, Janice, decades later. “Dad cradled his only son as best he could while hampered by the fact that the only part of Frankie’s body that remained outside the iron lung was his head and neck.”

At a time when a single case of Ebola or enterovirus can start a national panic, it’s hard to remember the sheer scale of the polio epidemic. In the peak year of 1952, there were nearly 60,000 cases throughout America; 3,000 were fatal, and 21,000 left their victims paralyzed. In Frankie Flood’s first-grade classroom in Syracuse, New York, eight children out of 24 were hospitalized for polio over the course of a few days. Three of them died, and others, including Janice, spent years learning to walk again.

Then, in 1955, American children began lining up for Jonas Salk’s new polio vaccine. By the early 1960s, the recurring epidemics were 97 percent gone.

Salk, who died in 1995, would have turned 100 on October 28. He is still remembered as a saintly figure—not only because he banished a terrifying childhood illness, but because he came from humble beginnings yet gave up the chance to become wealthy. (According to Forbes, Salk could have made as much as $7 billion from the vaccine.) When Edward R. Murrow asked him who owned the patent to the vaccine, Salk famously replied, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

Can you imagine that happening today? Read much more about Salk at the Atlantic link.


Today it’s all about corporations making money from people’s misery. From LA CityWatch, How Sick is This Generation’s Pills for Profit Philosophy? by Bob Gelfand.

Here are two seemingly unrelated stories that nevertheless intersect. The first involves a scientific lecture I heard the other day. Without going into details, the story involves the discovery of a naturally occurring small protein that treats some of the symptoms of diabetes when injected into rodents, and also slows the growth of cancer cells grown in culture. It is a marvelous discovery and is supported by numerous control experiments that are very convincing.

The scientist, in a later conversation, explained that the patent on this discovery had already been submitted, even though the scientific papers  had not all been written and submitted to journals.

In another lecture a few weeks earlier, but at the same institution, we heard from a venture capitalist. He explained that the pharmaceutical companies are only interested in developments that promise to show a billion dollars in sales.

In yet a third talk by an administrator, the resident scientists and physicians were encouraged to work with the institution’s patent office as early as possible on any patentable application.

The subject of this discussion is the monetization of science and its application to pharmaceutical research. It was not always so. In some ways this is a bad thing, and in other ways it is not.

The great counterargument to the direct monetization of scientific discovery is the story of the polio vaccine. Jonas Salk and his financial supporters made no attempt to patent the Salk vaccine. There are competing stories as to the motives and law that led to this decision. One argument is that the research had been paid for by tens of millions of donations through organizations such as the March of Dimes. Another argument is that the lawyers did not believe that a patent application would be upheld. Salk famously stated that the vaccine presumably belonged to the people, perhaps implying that the mass of Americans through their donations had already earned the right to the vaccine.


Here’s latest on the Ebola panic front. Kaci Hickox escaped her imprisonment by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie only to end up under the thumb of another stupid Republican governor Maine’s Paul LePage. Fox News reports, New fight over Ebola quarantine looms as nurse returns to Maine.

Kaci Hickox left a Newark hospital on Monday and was expected to arrive in the northern Maine town of Fort Kent early Tuesday. Maine health officials have already announced that Hickox is expected to comply with a 21-day voluntary in-home quarantine put in place by the state’s governor, Paul LePage.

However, one of Hickox’s lawyers, Steve Hyman, said he expected her to remain in seclusion for only the “next day or so” while he works with Maine health officials. He said he believes the state should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that require only monitoring, not quarantine, for health care workers who show no symptoms after treating Ebola patients.

“She’s a very good person who did very good work and deserves to be honored, not detained, for it,” he said.

LePage defended the quarantine in a news release Monday, saying that state officials must be “vigilant in our duty to protect the health and safety of all Mainers.” Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the governor, told the Portland Press Herald that authorities would take “appropriate action” if Hickox does not comply with the quarantine, though she did not specify what that action might be.

The Portland Press Herald isn’t sure whether Hickox’s Maine quarantine is voluntary or required.

Bennett, when asked whether a 21-day quarantine was mandatory or voluntary for Hickox, at first told the Portland Press Herald early Monday afternoon that it was “voluntary.” Later in the afternoon, she wrote in an email that Hickox was expected to follow the quarantine.

“We fully expect individuals to voluntarily comply with an in-home quarantine. If an individual is not compliant, the state is prepared to take appropriate action,” Bennett wrote. She was asked repeatedly by the Press Herald to clarify what “appropriate action” was, but did not respond.

Whether Hickox, who worked in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, would abide by a quarantine is unknown. Her New York attorney, Steven Hyman, emphasized her civil rights.

“There is no basis (for her) to be kept in quarantine or isolation,” Hyman said. “We are prepared to establish that in a court of law.” [….]

The Maine Attorney General’s Office declined to comment. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, a former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said she does not believe the state could impose a quarantine without a court order.

Meanwhile Chris Christie is still making a fool of himself in public. Politico reports that he’s now claiming he knows better than the CDC.

The Republican governor has faced criticism from the White House and some health experts over his and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy for a 21-day mandatory quarantine for aid workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday, Christie said again that mounting evidence shows that the CDC will eventually come around to his policy.

“[T]he CDC has been behind on this. Folks got infected in Texas because they were behind,” Christie said, in reference to the multiple Ebola cases in Dallas. “And we’re not going to have folks being infected in New Jersey and in other states in this country. Governors ultimately have the responsibility to protect the public health and the public safety of the people within their borders when folks come in with this problem.”

He cited the five other states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York and Georgia — where quarantines are in place, as well as reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the military impose a 21-day quarantine for troops returning from West Africa. A Defense Department spokesman declined to confirm those reports on Monday.

The governor criticized both the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci in particular, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has criticized the quarantine policy. Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Fauci called mandatory quarantine policies not “based on scientific data.”

“I think Dr. Fauci is responding … in a really hyperbolic way because they’ve been wrong before,” Christie said when asked about Fauci’s criticism.

Temple with stuffed animals

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo looks like a fool too. From The Buffalo News:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Ebola quarantine policy met with withering criticism Monday from AIDS experts who said it could be counterproductive as well as the governor’s Republican campaign opponent, who said it didn’t go far enough.
Three days after Cuomo imposed a 21-day quarantine on health workers returning from Ebola-stricken nations and a day after the governor relaxed that policy to allow people to serve their quarantines at home, more than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and doctors wrote a letter to the governor condemning his actions on Ebola.

The governor’s quarantine policy “is not supported by scientific evidence” and “may have consequences that are the antithesis of effective public health policy,” said the letter, which was signed by AIDS activists such as the head of ACT UP NY as well as more than 35 physicians, including medical school professors at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Yale.

Most notably, quarantines “will potentially have a profound effect on efforts to recruit U.S.-based health care professionals who are desperately needed to help combat the burgeoning epidemic in West Africa while increasing stigma toward persons who come from those countries,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, criticized the governor for shifting stances on the quarantine.

“What we’re getting is a governor who’s winging it, changing the policy all the time,” Astorino said while campaigning in New Rochelle. “It’s very confusing, and it could lead to health risks for many people.”

Finally, Dallas nurse Amber Vincent has recovered and will be leaving the hospital soon.

When you want your puppy to be this cute, hire a dog groomer. Your dog will look so fabulous you would it more.

I have a few more articles that I’ll post in the comment thread. What stories are you following today? See you down below, and have a terrific Tuesday!


64 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Jonas Salk, the Polio Vaccine, and Today’s For-Profit, Fear-Based Culture”

  1. Delphyne49 says:

    Chris Christie sworn in as doctor – Andy Borowitz strikes again.


  2. bostonboomer says:

    Did you hear about the FBI’s raid on a Kansas City lingerie store?

    Vice Sports, Panty Raid: MLB, Homeland Security, and the Great Undercover Underwear Sting.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    This is hilarious. Don’t miss it!

    NYT: Christie on Ebola: I didn’t reverse my decision.

    • janicen says:

      Interesting but not surprising. Recruiting reliable assets is not easy. I just finished watching a 9 episode mini series on netfix, “The Assets” which I highly recommend. It tells the story of the capture of Aldrich Ames. I never knew until watching it that it was two women in the CIA who spearheaded the investigation which ultimately brought him to justice. The book they wrote about the experience is called “Circle of Treason” I think I’m going to give that a read.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I read that book. It was interesting, but kind of a slow read for me. I was interested to learn that James Jesus Angleton, who managed the JFK assassination cover-up for the CIA was totally in the dark about Aldrich Ames.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    One more link from Reuters:

    One in six female MIT students a victim of sexual assault -survey.

    One in six female undergraduates at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who responded to a survey has been sexually assaulted, but fewer than 5 percent reported a sex crime, MIT said.

    Five percent of female undergraduates said they had been raped and one in five knew a perpetrator of unwanted sexual behavior, according to the MIT poll, which had a response rate of 35 percent from undergraduate and graduate students.

    “Sexual assault violates our core MIT values. It has no place here,” MIT President Rafael Reif wrote in a campus email Monday accompanying the survey results.

    MIT, which urged all its students to take the survey on attitudes towards sexual assault, is one of the first U.S. schools to release wide-ranging data on sex crimes on campus.

  5. janicen says:

    There was a boy a year ahead of me in elementary school who got around on crutches with braces on his legs who supposedly got that way as a result of polio. In those days we got vaccinated in school. I remember lining up in the gym to get our shots when I was in kindergarten.

    Before I was born there was someone on our street who had polio. My mom said their house was under quarantine for a time. By the time I came along, they had moved away. My mom had been told by a doctor that polio starts in the intestines so her over reaction was to give us a laxative at the first sign of any illness. Cough? You got castor oil. Sniffles? You got castor oil. I would just suck it up and take it but I remember her having to chase my brothers around to get it in them. lol! Even after everyone had been vaccinated my mom insisted on “cleansing your system” when you got a cold. It always seemed weird to us but I can understand her fears. It must have been terrifying before there was a vaccine.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My dissertation adviser at BU had undiagnosed polio as a kid. His parents took him to the doctor because he had a limp. The doctor said it was psychosomatic. Years later, he had some symptoms and learned that he had actually had a mild case of polio. He was very fortunate that he just had a limp and felt tired.

    • Fannie says:

      Many, many a time, I’ve stopped to think about a certain woman who influenced me when I was a young woman. I’m just honored of have known her, to have been her student, her friend, and a true sister in the fight. She really listened, when things weren’t so normal, with the Vietnam War, student unrest, and women’s studies just beginning, and a small town, it was not so easy. I can say a million wonderful things about her, and some of her background. She is special. As a young girl she contracted polio, the irreversible kind (spinal cord), that paralyzed her for life. I don’t think they had the vaccine back then, not sure when Jonas Salk came out with it, but I seem to remember something about the lung machine. She ultimately achieved more than, and positively affected us all.

      I can only think how horrible if the polio epidemic of early 1950’s returned, and with parents not vaccinating, it’s really scary. To you my friend, always with me in spirit.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks for sharing that. The vaccine came out in 1953-54, Kids in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in 44 states were in the first trials. That’s when I got the vaccine, 1954, in first or second grade, I can’t recall for sure.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    BB….Good post this morning. And you’re right, if there isn’t money in it the pharmaceutical companies want no part of it even though many of their R&D dollars come from the Federal Government.

    Unfortunately there aren’t many people who remember the Polio epidemic and the lives affected by that disease. Also many don’t remember chicken pox, measles, mumps, whooping cough, they don’t have a clue what a real “outbreak” of any highly contagious disease looks like. We had no immunizations or inoculations for anything in those days, We were at the mercy of whatever disease was going around. We had a host of infectious diseases to cope with. I personally had mumps, measles, chicken pox, roseola, the Asian Flu, the Hong Flu. In fact during the Asian Flu epidemic when I became symptomatic the doctor came to our home, diagnosed me and told my mother how to take care of me. Everyone in my family got it, but I was the first to contract it and I think I was the sickest. I ran a temp of 105 or slightly above for several days and I was having hallucinations. It took me a month to recuperate. There was no Tylenol or Ibuprofen for fever and there were no effective meds for nausea and very poor remedies for diarrhea at the time. I remember they packed me in ice, gave me aspirin, that I had a hard time keeping down, and waited for the fever to break. The disease just had to work it’s course. A lot of people died during that outbreak because it was an extremely contagious airborne strain of the Avian flu, but I don’t remember people panicking over it. I was almost as sick with the Hong Kong Flu. It hit me especially hard because I was pregnant, a lot of people, particularly seniors and pregnant women died from the Hong Kong flu, but again I don’t remember there being any panic over it. Was there concern, absolutely, but there wasn’t any panic. I can guarantee (I have no MD, but I do have good sense) that U.S. deaths from Ebola will come nowhere near the death rate from the Asian Flu or the Hong Flu because Ebola isn’t easily transmitted. People need to just take a deep breath (behind a mask if it makes them feel better) and calm the hell down.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I had mumps as a baby and measles in grade school. I also had German measles, but never got chicken pox. I also had a smallpox vaccine, which could still be good if that ever gets out of the laboratory again.

      When I went to grad school, I had to prove I had had all those so I wouldn’t have to have more vaccinations. They didn’t make me take a chicken pox vaccine. I guess that one isn’t perfected yet.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        They do have a vaccination for chicken pox now, I’m not sure if it’s a stand alone or given with another immunization. At least you know that you never have to worry about getting Shingles. I wish I had gotten the shingles vaccination now that experience has shown me how horrible shingles are. I checked on it and it wasn’t covered by Medicare, not even my part D covered it at the time and I decided I couldn’t afford it. I think most Part D plans are covering it now and I would recommend that anyone over 65 who had chicken pox to get the shingle vaccination. The cost of the vaccination here is about $185, but I’ve heard people say they paid $300 for it.

        And I’m dumbfounded by parents who refuse to give their children the MMR, Polio and the Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, especially since the majority of them got the MMR & Polio vaccines themselves as children. They should know that those vaccines don’t cause autism.

  7. carrie says:

    The fad for tonsillectomies in the 1940’s and 50’s is what caused the poliomyelitis epidemic.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Which epidemic? There were many, beginning in the late 19th century. It’s true that having your tonsils removed affects your immune system, but I don’t see how you can state categorically that that is what caused a particular epidemic.

      No one in my family ever had a tonsillectomy. I had tonsillitis a several of times, but my parents never succumbed.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Sam Wang has the Republicans winning the Senate back. http://election.princeton.edu/

  9. dakinikat says:

    Hey! That’s Temple up there! I’m working atm and we’re slammed!

  10. jan says:

    I member getting the polio vaccine in 1954, too. In 1st grade. One thing not widely known is that if you had polio and came through it , you could have a sort of recurrence in your later years and it can be serious enough to shorten your life. We knew one such person. Anti Vaxxers are crazy. I have had many vaccines, a lot of them not given today, also my siblings and kids, no autism in any of them.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, I mentioned above that my dissertation adviser had a recurrence of polio symptoms as an adult. Until then, he didn’t know that the limp he had as a child had been caused by polio. Sadly, he died at 63, although he was a health fanatic and very fit. I don’t know if the polio virus had anything to do with it though.

      • NW Luna says:

        Post-polio syndrome — usually starts 30-35 yrs after the initial polio infection. If it affects respiratory muscles (about 20-25% of cases) it can lead to death. It’s at least somewhat disabling for most people, and may not resolve for some years.

        Yes, too many people mistakenly think that their odds are worse with getting a vaccine than with getting the disease. I want to drop-ship those people back in time so they can live the typical life span of back before vaccines were developed.

  11. ANonOMouse says:

    I found this interesting and thought y’all might enjoy.

    Pope Frank sticking his neck way on out there, again. I wonder how long it will take the Evangelicals to call Frank the Anti-Christ? Or has Obama already locked that distinction up?

    ‘God is not a magician’: Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and Big Bang

    From Raw Story


    • bostonboomer says:

      Very cool. Of course the people who believe in creationism are more likely to be fundamentalist Protestants.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        That’s true. I’ve known a lot of protestants who have little regard and no respect for the pope. I’ve pulled many a leaflet off of my windshield proclaiming the Pope as the anti-Christ.

        In the south of my childhood Catholic’s were in the minority and were looked down on. Most southern protestants didn’t even consider Catholic’s to be Christians and weren’t ashamed to say so. They couldn’t stand JFK because he was a catholic and they feared his allegiance was to the Pope and the Vatican instead of the U.S. Constitution. To think back on it now I see the similarities between how they feared and hated JFK and how they fear Obama. The predominant religion here is still the SBC/Southern Baptist and it’s been that way for a long time, but I do see other religions on the rise here as the old south begins to drift away. It can’t come soon enough for me. The joke here used to be “there’s a church on every corner”, It’s not that bad anymore, still, they don’t call this the Bible Belt for no reason.

      • dakinikat says:

        Maybe the Jesuits are on the rise again.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Well Frank is a Jesuit and Jesuits have been the most LIBERAL of all the orders. The Jesuit priests I’ve known were all more humanist than dogma/doctrine catholic. Maybe we’re beginning to see that side of Frank as he tries to take a stand for the people and against the dogmatists. That has to be a tough job with all the red beanie, silk slipper tight-asses he has to deal with.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            MSNBC headline. “Pope Goes Rogue”. The red-beanies must be having a nervous breakdown.

    • NW Luna says:

      Actually, the Catholic Church made a statement at least a couple of decades ago that evolution is consistent with the scientific evidence, and they accept that. Stephen Jay Gould discussed that in a 1997 article. Somehow this thinking hasn’t permeated the American Catholic Church….

      In a 1997 essay “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”[4] for Natural History magazine, and later in his book Rocks of Ages (1999), Gould put forward what he described as “a blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution to . . . the supposed conflict between science and religion.”,[2] from his puzzlement over the need and reception of the 1996 address of Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth”.[5] He draws the term magisterium from Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, Humani Generis (1950), and defines it as “a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution”,[2] and describes the NOMA principle as “the magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for example, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty).”[2]


      Text of reference [5] here: http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

  12. dakinikat says:

    Unhappy news in my neighborhood:


    What makes me most sad about this is that the Country Club was a mostly gay club for the longest time. It was a place to go and be safe. Now, to hear about this woman being bullied by clients of the Country Club just frosts my cupcakes. I’m hoping this is just part of our gentrification from outsiders and not part of the long time community where this place has been safe for family for a long time.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “Rape has nothing to do with being naked or the clothes you wear,” she added. “I feel like them going after the nudity policy is further sending out a bad message.”

      True to all that!!!!!

  13. bostonboomer says:

    This is a strange story. A man disappeared during the Broncos-Chargers game on Thursday night. He went to the rest room and never came back. He was there with his son and two friends. He didn’t have a car, credit card, or cell phone. At first police didn’t take it seriously, but now he’s considered a missing person.

    I wonder what happened? Either there was foul play or he went into a fugue state and wandered off. That’s not common, but it does happen.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    West VA columnist calls Michael Brown an “animal” who had to be “put down.”

    “This summer I had an epiphany as I watched packs of racists riot in Ferguson, Missouri, in support of a gigantic thug who was higher than a kite when he attacked Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson, who unfortunately had to put this animal down,” Surber wrote.

    By Sunday morning, Surber appended an update to the top of the post and crossed out the final phrase of the sentence.

    “I made a factual error. Michael Brown was not an animal but a man. Big. Brutal. High,” Surber wrote in the update. “His death was a justifiable homicide and not a putting down.”

  15. bostonboomer says:

    New Jersey Bans Halloween Trick-Or-Treating Over Ebola Fears


  16. bostonboomer says:

    Martha Coakley was great in tonight’s debate. And in today’s WBUR poll she was only one point down, IOW a dead heat.

    From the Globe: Don’t call gubernatorial race just yet


    • janicen says:

      Tonight was the Jack Trammel/Dave Brat debate in my district. They are the two running for Eric Cantor’s seat. The debate wasn’t televised and what a shame because I’m sure the live stream didn’t reach a big audience. Trammel was really interesting and stayed on message while Brat, the Tea Party candidate kept blathering about Obamacare. Listening to Brat was like watching Fox News while listening to Trammel was like a breath of fresh air. He’s the real deal. He and his wife actually came to a phone bank and both of them were making calls right along with the rest of us. I just hope for another miracle in this district and hope Trammel wins. It’s such a long shot but I’m thinking we haven’t heard the last from Jack Trammel.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Does Trammel have a chance?

        • janicen says:

          It’s a real long shot. The district is over 60% Republican. The only hope we have is for a massive Dem turnout and for lots of Republicans to stay home. It could happen. There are rumblings that the Cantor supporters are not happy about pulling the lever for a Tea Party candidate and may stay home. At the same time there is a libertarian running who might shave some Brat votes away but it’s a real long shot. Fingers crossed.

  17. bostonboomer says:

    • Fannie says:

      Wow, Thomas Jackson stepping down. It’s about time, he has a negative rippling effect on the entire city.

  18. NW Luna says:

    Antares rocket explodes at NASA base seconds after launch

    Private unmanned craft carrying supplies for International Space Station crashes and burns on Virginia launchpad


    • janicen says:

      Yeah, that was all over the news here in Virginia. We were all supposed to look to the east at around 6:25 pm last night to see it and then we got the news reports of the explosion.