It’s not quite as nice here yet as it was when that photo of Boston Common in the Spring of 2012 was taken, but we’re making progress. Yesterday it got up to 70 degrees! All that snow we got in January and February is almost gone, although there are still piles of it here and there. Spring rains will soon wash the rest of it away, and it will be only a memory. I can’t wait for trees to start budding and tulips and daffodils to start popping their heads up. But if the trees grow too much, there’s nothing to worry since there are tree service largo fl who can do trimming and removal.
So what’s happening in the news? Today I found myself focusing on more lightweight stories. I hope you don’t mind. I just loved this article at Slate that pokes fun at the “gluten free” fad that has gotten manufacturers putting labels on things that never contained gluten to begin with. No offense intended to anyone here who actually has celiac disease.
In photos that span the worlds of high art, television, film and even advertising, Gluten Free Museum rids cultural artifacts of their carbs.
Here are a couple of examples: That nasty gluten on the left and gluten-free on the right. Check out the links to see more gluten vs. gluten-free images.
Years ago, millions of people thought they had hypoglycermia. Now it’s gluten intolerance.
Speaking of questionable health issues, singer Joni Mitchell has been in the hospital for three days with a disease that doctors say isn’t real.
Hollywood LAist: The Story Behind Joni Mitchell’s Mysterious (And Possibly Fictional) Condition.
It’s still not clear what caused Joni Mitchell to faint in her Bel Air home earlier this week, sending her to the hospital. But the legendary 71-year-old singer has said in the past that she suffers from a rare and mysterious condition called Morgellons, something that has been a subject of debate on whether it’s a real illness or not.
Scientists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are skeptical that Morgellons is an actual medical condition and believe it’s more of a psychological problem. The people who believe it’s a real illness say that it has some scary symptoms, including fibers (or even “specks, dots, granules, or worms“) coming out of the skin causing tingling sensations that sometimes leads to lesions and scars, fatigue and problems with short-term memory, according to the New York Times.
In a 2010 interview with the L.A. Times,Mitchell said she has this “weird, incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space.” She added, “Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral. Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer — a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year.”
I think I heard something about this on that weird radio show Coast to Coast AM. They also discuss things like alien implants, bigfoot, and ghosts. It’s kind of fun to listen to in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.
From Vox: Joni Mitchell suffers from a disease most doctors think isn’t real.
The 71-year-old singer-songwriter has often complained of her battle with Morgellons, a medical mystery that has stumped the scientific community for years.
“I couldn’t wear clothing. I couldn’t leave my house for several years,” she described in her 2014 book Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words. “Sometimes it got so I’d have to crawl across the floor. My legs would cramp up, just like a polio spasm. It hit all of the places where I had polio.” (It’s unclear if Morgellons was related to her recent hospitalization, but she has certainly brought attention to the issue over the years.)
Sufferers of Morgellons report itching, biting, and crawling sensations. “Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin,” Mitchell has said. “They cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral.”
They say their skin feels like it’s erupting from underneath, infested by insects, worms, or mysterious fibers. Like Mitchell, they say their symptoms are debilitating: they point to lesions that won’t heal, and say the biting and stinging that afflicts them every day leaves them fatigued and depressed, even affecting their memory.
It sounds awful, whatever it is.
For the past decade, researchers have searched for a biological cause or single underlying factor that might explain the suffering. But they have mostly concluded that Morgellons is “a psychosis or mass-shared delusion.”
In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, published in the journal PLOS, researchers from the CDC collected detailed epidemiological information, medical histories, and skin samples from 115 Morgellons sufferers in Northern California.
“No parasites or mycobacteria were detected,” they reported. The researchers also couldn’t find any environmental explanation for patients’ suffering.
The fiber-like strands on sufferers were mostly just cotton debris, probably lint from clothing. Their skin damage seemed to be caused by nothing more than sun exposure. While some patients had sores, these appeared to have arisen from chronic picking and scratching.
Interestingly, a large number of people in the study had a psychiatric or addictive condition, including depression and drug use. Among half of the participants in the study used drugs, but it wasn’t clear whether the drugs caused the symptoms or whether they were being used to deal with the disease.
I don’t know what to think. They used to say chronic fatigue syndrome was imaginary, and now it seems to be an accepted diagnosis. I just hope Joni feels better soon.
Via Raw Story
Comedian Jon Fugelsang came up with the perfect response to anti-gay “christian” fanatics.
From Raw Story: John Fugelsang zings conservative radio host: ‘If you don’t like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer.’
John Fugelsang clashed with conservative radio host Heidi Harris on Friday when Harris questioned the need for sexual orientation to be covered under anti-discrimination statutes.
“Being gay is what sets a person apart from straight people,” Fugelsang told Harris on MSNBC’s Ed Show. “If you don’t like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer, because God keeps creating them around the world.” . . . .
Harris argued that in the workplace, only a person’s behavior could set them apart, proving that non-discrimination statutes like one that was voted down by North Dakota legislators on Thursday were unnecessary.
“Why are we protecting a certain group of people because of their behavior?” Harris asked at one point, causing Fugelsang to facepalm. “Not only that, but how do you prove someone didn’t get hired because they were gay? You can’t prove that any more than you can prove somebody didn’t get hired because of their age or their sex.” . . . .
“You might not realize this, but sometimes straight people are mean to gay people,” Fugelsang said to her. “That’s why gay people have needed more protection.”
I posted something about that North Dakota law yesterday in a comment, but I’m going to post it again here. I really like the way newspapers are started to highlight the horrible lawmakers who support discrimination. In this case it was The Fargo Forum.
Talking Points Memo: Newspaper Front Page Shames North Dakota Lawmakers Over Anti-Gay Vote.
A North Dakota newspaper on Friday plastered across its front page the photos of every state lawmaker that voted down a measure that would have protected LGBT individuals from discrimination.
Fargo-based The Forum’s provocative front page was published amid national outrage over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics argued would allow business owners with religious objections to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Legislators in the Hoosier State later agreed to alter the law to specify that it cannot be used to defend discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation failed to passThursday in the North Dakota House by a vote of two to one, according to local TV station WDAY.
View the front page below.
Good for The Forum! That makes me proud to call Fargo my birthplace. I want to see North Dakota and Indiana go back to being states with sane governments where Democratic Senators can be sent to Washington. Just a short time ago, North Dakota had two Democratic Senators.
Can you believe that a so-called “news” site (The Blaze”) raised $800,000 for that pizza place in Indiana that say they’d never cater a same-sex wedding?
From GayStarNews: Now nearly $800,000 richer, Indiana pizzeria co-owner is ‘sad, very sad’ for gays.
Flush with nearly $800,000 in donations from supporters, the owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, aren’t through talking about gay people.
‘God has blessed us for standing up for what we believe, and not denying Him,’ Crystal O’Connor tells Fox News.
She also said her family ‘doesn’t hate gays’ but simply would not deliver pizzas to a gay wedding because of their religious beliefs….
Memories Pizza was so besieged by phone calls and online comments that they temporarily shut their doors. This resulted in a Go Fund Me campaign that as of Friday afternoon was closing in on $800,000.
Of the LGBTI community her family has offended O’Connor says: ‘All we can do is pray for them, and truly, we’re not really angry at them. We’re sad for them. Very sad.
‘We have to accept them, and we just ask they accept us.’
What a pathetic excuse for a human being she is. I don’t know who she’s praying to all the time, but she’s certainly not following Jesus’ teachings.
Now for some positive political news.
From The New York Daily News: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign signs lease for Brooklyn Heights headquarters.
The former Secretary of State’s team signed a lease Wednesday to house its headquarters in a Brooklyn Heights office building, a move indicating Clinton will launch her second presidential campaign within two weeks.
The Federal Election Commission gives candidates 15 days to create a campaign committee after “campaign activity” — which includes leasing office space.
Sources said Friday that Clinton’s camp has leased two floors, totaling about 80,000 square feet, at One Pierrepont Plaza.
The offices are near a dozen subway lines. The building touts itself as “Modern Offices. Brooklyn Cool.”
But the location, just across the East River from downtown Manhattan, is about as corporate as Brooklyn gets.
It is located in a building where Morgan Stanley and employees of the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney, currently Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, have offices.
That sounds promising.
And from The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, Robert De Niro is backing Hillary.
On Wednesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting down with De Niro and his Tribeca partner Jane Rosenthal to discuss the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, which this year boasts a very formidable lineup including live events, star-studded film premieres, and talks featuring the likes of George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, the Monty Python crew, and a 25th anniversary Goodfellasdiscussion with the cast moderated by The Daily Show’’s Jon Stewart. Our talk eventually veered to his prophetic 2006 Hardball appearance, and whether or not he’ll be endorsing Hillary Clintonfor president in 2016.
“Hopefully it will be her, yes,” said De Niro. “I think that she’s paid her dues. There are going to be no surprises, and she has earned the right to be president and the head of the country at this point. It’s that simple. And she’s a woman, which is very important because her take on things may be what we need right now.”
“She’s smart, has run things before, and knows how government works and how to get things done,” added Rosenthal. “She’s watched it from the sidelines, and the frontlines.”
Now it’s your turn. What stories have caught your interest today?