Wednesday Christmas Eve Reads

e6d89d61ea0216c1e6dfa425c695c8ebGood Morning

Merry Christmas!

And all that other stuff…

This is the best I can do today, my computer’s hard disk drive is kaput…so until I can get a new laptop, I’ve got to put these posts together on my phone…or do quickie threads on my mom’s computer.833a0c7bb38742bbefe14cfb3c376562

Anyway, these are your links for this Christmas Wednesday:

First a couple of links that feature some holiday cards, one from Great Britain:

24 Funny Homemade Christmas Cards (PICTURES)

The Christmas jumper and chicken (in Christmas hat)
The pizza delivery guys

You know that one is my favorite!

17 Beautifully Festive African-American Christmas Cards From The 1950s And ’60s


A dreamy peppermint inspired dress.

A dreamy peppermint inspired dress.


Santa relaxing after a long night of delivering gifts.

Santa relaxing after a long night of delivering gifts.

Of course I pick that last one because: dwarfs.

Now the links…

Elder Former President Bush Is Hospitalized in Houston –

The elder President George Bush was taken to a Houston hospital Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath, a family spokesman said.

Mr. Bush, 90, would be held at least overnight at Houston Methodist Hospital as a precaution, said the spokesman, Jim McGrath. He is expected to be fine, Mr. McGrath said.

The former president spent nearly two months at Houston Methodist — including a week in the intensive care unit — in late 2012 and early 2013 while suffering from a bronchitis-related cough and fever.

Mr. Bush, the oldest living former president (he is about four months older than Jimmy Carter), has a form of Parkinson’s disease and often uses a wheelchair or scooter. He and his wife, Barbara, frequently make public appearances in Houston, and Mr. Bush went sky diving on his 90th birthday in June.

Australia Anti-Terror Police Arrest Two a Week After Sydney Siege – NBC News

Australian counter-terrorism police said on Wednesday they arrested two men in Sydney, eight days after a 16-hour siege in a central city cafe ended with the deaths of two hostages and a gunman with radical Islamist sympathies. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had said on Tuesday that security officials intercepted a heightened level of “terrorist chatter” in the aftermath of the Sydney cafe siege, but there were no specific threats of attacks.

A 20-year-old man was charged with being in possession of documents designed to facilitate a terrorist attack and a 21-year-old was charged with breaching a control order, police said. The documents had mentioned potential government targets but were not directed at the prime minister, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan told a media conference in Sydney. Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by sympathizers of the radical group and from home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East. Police said they had now arrested and charged 11 people with terrorism-related offences since launching massive raids in Sydney and Brisbane in September, soon after raising the terror threat to “high” for the first time.

Tornado Hits Mississippi, Fierce Storm Moves Through Southeast

Several tornadoes hit the Southeast on Tuesday afternoon, including one in Mississippi that left at least four dead, numerous others injured, and caused damage to structures.

Two people died in Marion County, Mississippi, and two more in Jones County, state Emergency Management Agency spokesman Brett Carr confirmed to the Huffington Post.

A tornado formed near Amite City, Louisiana and moved on to Columbia in southern Mississippi, which appeared to be hit the hardest. Striking Columbia at about 2 p.m. CT, the tornado “was a very large one,” Karla Brown with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department told the Huffington Post. Columbia saw extensive damage, and numerous people were injured, Carr said. The Sheriff’s Department was responding to reports of people trapped.

It looks like the weather is going to be bad all over the place….Christmas Twisters: Deadly Storms Threaten Holiday Travel – NBC

flight delays began piling up at East Coast airports on Tuesday because of the tornado-storm system packing strong winds, thunderstorms, snow. Another system is threatening rain and heavy snow in the Northwest and Rockies. And dozens of flights were scrapped at Philadelphia International and at LaGuardia in New York, and delays ran as long as two hours.

The East Coast system will pivot to the north on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds into the Great Lakes. Chicago and Milwaukee could see “significant” snowfall toward the end of Christmas Eve, Lucksinger said.

“At the moment the system could just clip Chicago on Christmas Eve with potentially heavy snow that would certainly disrupt flights,” Lucksinger added.

And a separate storm arriving in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday is set to bring rain before moving across the Rockies. Salt Lake City could see up to 8 inches of snow on Christmas Day.

Updating you on the jackasses in the news:

This is a review of what the Scumbags Blaming de Blasio and Obama for Slain Cops

After shooting his girlfriend Saturday morning, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley of Union City, Georgia traveled from Baltimore to New York and gunned down two NYPD officers, apparently in retaliation for recent police-related homicides. According to some commentators, however, Brinsley was only partially responsible for the murders, aided by accomplices Bill de Blasio and Barack Obama.

North Carolina abortion ultrasound decision: Quotes from Judge Wilkinson on medical ethics and first amendment.

A panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals voted today to strike down a highly controversial North Carolina law requiring doctors and ultrasound technicians to perform an ultrasound, display the image of the sonogram, and specifically describe the fetus to any pregnant woman seeking an abortion, even if the woman actively “averts her eyes” and “refuses to hear.” The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and others challenged the law, which was enjoined last year by a lower federal court.

Today, in a unanimous decision authored by Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a three-judge panel affirmed a lower court’s determination that the law is a compelled speech provision that violates the First Amendment rights of providers. The language in Judge Wilkinson’s opinion is striking in its solicitude for the uniquely vulnerable half-dressed woman on an examining table, forced to listen to information she does not want to hear. It also addresses head-on conflicting rulings from the 5th and 8th Circuits that have upheld such provisions.

Perhaps the most striking part of the opinion comes at the very end, where the court starkly contrasts the standard informed-consent conversation between a physician and her patient with the statute enacted in North Carolina:

 Go and read the opinion at the link.

This next article really pissed me off, express scrips is the insurance we have…they do not cover Jake’s Type One Diabetes supplies or insulin…or my hormone patch…but they will cover the dick hardening drugs.

Express Scripts presses for expansion of drugs it won’t cover | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Express Scripts, the largest manager of prescription drug plans for U.S. employers, is taking an increasingly aggressive stance in price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies after winning discounts on medications with a strategy introduced last year.

On Monday, Express Scripts said it lined up a cheaper price for AbbVie Inc.’s newly approved hepatitis C treatment and, in most cases, will no longer cover Gilead Sciences Inc.’s rival treatments after trying for nearly a year to win a deeper discount.

The move threatens to undermine profits at Gilead, and was viewed by Wall Street as a sign that other major biotechnology players, including Amgen Inc. and Biogen Inc., will face steeper U.S. pricing pressure from insurers. Other drugmakers without potentially transformative new products, such as Shire Plc, Novo Nordisk and Theravance Inc., may also be particularly vulnerable, analysts said. Neither Shire, Novo Nordisk nor Theravance responded to requests for comment.

Express Scripts will further expand the number of medicines it won’t cover for 2016, including treatments for common illnesses such as diabetes, pulmonary hypertension and arthritis, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Miller, in an interview earlier this month. In some cases, Express Scripts could drop coverage for newer specialty medicines in the biotechnology field, he said. The timing on specific drugs will depend on when new competing drugs with similar clinical benefits are approved for the U.S. market.

Express Scripts first began excluding drugs from its largest national reimbursement list for 2014, with 44 medications, and increased that number to 66 for 2015.

The prospect of having their drugs dropped from Express Scripts’ biggest “formulary” list of covered medicines has prompted some leading pharmaceutical makers to discount their prices, Miller said.

Express Scripts is acting on behalf of clients who need to rein in healthcare costs, and estimates that the move has so far saved such employers more than $1 billion in annual spending, Miller said.

But see, the thing is…it does not mean good news for the consumer. When Express Scripts drops companies from their list of covered meds…they usually stay off the list. I know…because it means that people will need to find a way to pay full price. The drug companies are counting on it, they know people need those drugs.

Sony re-gifts ‘The Interview’ in limited Christmas release

“The Interview” was put back into theaters Tuesday when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited Christmas Day theatrical release for the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its cancelled release.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said that Seth Rogen’s North Korea farce “will be in a number of theaters” beginning Thursday. He said Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters.

“We have never given up on releasing `The Interview,'” Lynton said in a statement Tuesday. “While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”

For Sony, the decision was the culmination of a gradual about-face: After initially saying it had no plans to release the movie, the company began softening its position after it was broadly criticized.

And finally…Cows’ Moos Carry A Lot More Meaning Than You Ever Imagined

What do cows mean when they moo?

Scientists in England have been eavesdropping on “conversations” between cows and their calves to answer that question–and they’ve discovered that moos convey a lot more meaning than you ever imagined.

“This is the first time that complex cattle calls have been analyzed using the latest and best techniques,” Dr. Alan McElligott, a senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and the co-author of a new study about moos, said in a written statement. “Our results provide an excellent foundation for investigating vocal indicators of cattle welfare.”

The scientists spent 10 months digitally recording call sounds from two herds of free-range cattle on a farm in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire. The researchers then spent several months performing the acoustic and statistical analysis of the data. They determined that mother cows use two types of contact calls with their calves: a quiet low-frequency call when the calf is nearby and a loud high-frequency call when the calf is far away. Calves produce one type of contact call when they’re separated from their mothers and they want to nurse.

Have a wonderful and safe Christmas Eve…

This is an open thread.

29 Comments on “Wednesday Christmas Eve Reads”

  1. shandryss says:

    Merry Christmas!

  2. joanelle says:

    It seems very few are willing to make a commitment, even Sony waffles. I view the ‘producers’ of The Interview as juvenile opportunists. How can two adults think it’s okay to joke about everything and anything? N. Korea doesn’t have a sense of humor. Or was this intended to be the next ‘shiny thing’ to grab our attention so the boys in D.C. Can continue plundering our country unnoticed?

  3. joanelle says:

    A merry and a happy to all Skydancers!!!

  4. Fannie says:

    Best Christmas Wishes to you!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Another black teenager killed by police near Ferguson.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    In a backhanded way North Korea just handed Sony a real Christmas present.

    In reading the ratings on the Internet for “The Interview” the movie is barely getting a C or a C- minus across the board.

    So a movie that is basically considered a “dud” will be earning millions based on the heated publicity that surrounds it.

    Sony needs to send a great big “thank you” to North Korea for making this happen.

    Appears as though this “crap” movie is going to earn all involved a whole lot of cash.

  7. Beata says:

    Happy Christmas Eve, Sky Dancers!

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    I’m off to the country for a few days but am wishing all members of the Sky Dancing community the best holidays ever!

    You guys make this site a “must read” each and every day and your efforts are well appreciated whether you know it or not.

    A personal thanks for all you do and contribute to keeping us informed and “on our toes”!

  9. Hope everyone has a safe holiday, and eats lots of good food!

    50 Years Of 'The Nutcracker' Ballet, In Stunning Photos

  10. NW Luna says:

    That N Carolina 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision is a great victory! Judge Wilkinson’s statement speaks to the heart of the matter:

    … the “state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient.” And that “transforming the physician into the mouthpiece of the state undermines the trust that is necessary for facilitating healthy doctor-patient relationships and, through them, successful treatment outcomes.” The decision reminded us that the “patient seeks in a physician a medical professional with the capacity for independent medical judgment that professional status implies. The rupture of trust comes with replacing what the doctor’s medical judgment would counsel in a communication with what the state wishes told. “

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Amazing. Edward Snowden thinks the intelligence community should be completely abolished, and any decisions about spying on foreign individuals–even hostile foreign leaders–should be left to ordinary law enforcement and regular courts. So you’d have to have probable cause that Vladimir Putin had committed a crime before you could spy on him or wiretap him.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Unruly Virginia 4-year-old handcuffed, shackled and hauled off to sheriff’s office by the cops.

    The child has ADD, and the mother had been called and was on her way to pick him up. Instead he was traumatized and permanently suspended from school. Now he’s having traumatic nightmares.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    More shootings in St. Louis–I’m not sure what happened yet, but I saw this on Twitter.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Four shot, one dead in downtown St. Louis shooting

  15. Sweet Sue says:

    Merry Christmas, all.