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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,903

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

FBI director faces new scrutiny over investigation of Brett Kavanaugh

The FBI director, Chris Wray, is facing new scrutiny of the bureau’s handling of its 2018 background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, including its claim that the FBI lacked the authority to conduct a further investigation into the then supreme court nominee.

At the heart of the new questions that Wray will face later this week, when he testifies before the Senate judiciary committee, is a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding that the FBI has recently said constrained the agency’s ability to conduct any further investigations of allegations of misconduct.

It is not clear whether that claim is accurate, based on a close reading of the MOU, which was released in court records following a Freedom of Information Act request.

The FBI was called to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation process in 2018, after he was accused of assault by Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who knew Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. He also faced other accusations, including that he had exposed himself to a classmate at Yale called Deborah Ramirez. Kavanaugh denied both accusations.

The FBI closed its extended background check of Kavanaugh after four days and did not interview either Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh. The FBI also disclosed to the Senate this June – two years after questions were initially asked – that it had received 4,500 tips from the public during the background check and that it had shared all “relevant tips” with the White House counsel at that time. It is not clear whether those tips were ever investigated.


A Tahoe Ski Resort Ditches Its Name, Saying It's Racist And Sexist

The famed Squaw Valley ski resort near Lake Tahoe is changing its name, after a long debate and input from Native American tribes. The leadership of the resort, which will now be known as Palisades Tahoe, says, "The old name was derogatory and offensive."

The California resort made the decision to change the name last summer, as many U.S. institutions and communities contemplated the legacy of centuries of racism. In recent decades, several other locations, in states from Minnesota to Oregon, have dropped the term from place names.

In modern usage, the word "squaw" is considered to be "offensive, derogatory, racist, and misogynistic," the resort, formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said as it explained its reasoning.

The change is being praised by the Washoe Tribe, whose ancestral lands include the valley where the resort is located. The word "doesn't originate from the Washoe people," as Capital Public Radio reported last year.


R. Kelly Accuser Says She Saw Him Sexually Assault Aaliyah, Too

A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly when she was a teenager told jurors in Brooklyn federal court on Monday that she also personally witnessed the singer sexually assault underage R&B star Aaliyah in the back of his tour bus in 1992 or 1993.

At the time, Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001, would have been 13 or 14 years old.

slightly opened the door and saw Robert and Aaliyah in a sexual situation,” the woman, who identified herself on the stand as “Angela” and said she worked as a backup singer, told jurors during Kelly’s sex-crimes trial.

“It appeared he was giving her oral sex,” she added about the incident, noting that Aaliyah was sitting “with her legs open” and Kelly was “on his knees, in between her legs.”


South Carolina police now investigating allegations that Alex Murdaugh took money from law firm

State police confirmed Monday that they have opened an investigation into missing money that a law firm said was taken by an attorney from a prominent South Carolina legal family whose wife and son were killed at their home three months ago.

Monday’s announcement means that, along with the investigation into the deaths, the State Law Enforcement Division has four other ongoing investigations into Alex Murdaugh and his family. Meanwhile, his law license has been suspended indefinitely by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

“I continue to urge the public to be patient and let this investigation take its course. Investigative decisions we make throughout this case and any potentially related case must ultimately withstand the scrutiny of the criminal justice process,” State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said in a two paragraph announcement.

Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick PA (PMPED) law firm announced earlier this month that Murdaugh had misappropriated money from the business and was no longer associated with the firm. Exactly how much money might be missing has not been made public.

Today's update in the continuing saga......

Schools facing critical race theory battles are diversifying rapidly, analysis finds

Downingtown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, has been changing. And the school district has tried to change with it.

In 1994, students of color made up just 5 percent of the enrollment in the Downingtown Area School District. By 2020, that figure had grown to almost 24 percent, largely because of an increase in Asian and Latino residents.

In the last few years, the district hired a diversity coordinator, launched a cultural equity task force and began to study racial disparities in how students are placed in advanced classes. The district made Diwali an official school holiday this year, and in the spring held a listening session for people of Asian descent to discuss racism they had experienced.

But all of these measures suddenly came under attack this summer, when dozens of parents signed a petition calling for the end of Downingtown’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Parents and local Republican groups questioned why Downingtown schools needed a diversity coordinator at all, citing the schools’ high graduation rates and the lack of high-profile hate crimes in the community. Several parents labeled the diversity efforts “social engineering” and racist at school board meetings.

Downingtown is one of at least 220 school districts in the U.S. that faced a backlash over diversity and equity initiatives from May through August, according to NBC News’ tracking of media reports. And student enrollment data suggests that these conflicts tend to occur in communities that experienced significant demographic shifts in recent decades.


The Federal Government Sells Flood-Prone Homes To Often Unsuspecting Buyers, NPR Finds

The first thing Larry McCanney fell in love with was the tree in the front yard. It cast shade on the porch of a house that, if he were honest, needed some work. But McCanney is handy, the price was right and the location was perfect, just a couple of miles from his childhood home in Burlington, N.J.

"We just kind of wanted to get our family started, and it was affordable for us," McCanney says. "I'm still paying college loans off 11 years later, [and] we wanted to ensure that we were purchasing a place that, should I lose my job or if [my wife] lost her job, we wouldn't be out of a house in two months' time."

There was one unexpected thing about the house: The seller was listed as the secretary of housing and urban development.

The homes that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sells are foreclosures. The previous owner was unable to pay their federally insured mortgage, and the house was seized by a bank and turned over to HUD. Only a small percentage of foreclosed homes in the United States end up being sold by HUD, but the numbers add up. Between 2017 and 2020, HUD sold nearly 100,000 homes around the country.

Like McCanney, many buyers are first-time homeowners excited to find a house they can afford. There is a nationwide shortage of affordable homes, especially for low-income families. Providing safe, affordable housing is HUD's mission.


New York hospital to 'pause' delivering babies after staffers quit rather than get vaccine

An upstate New York hospital system said it will be forced to “pause” maternity services later this month after employees refusing to vaccinate against the coronavirus have caused staffing shortages.

Lewis County Health System is experiencing mass resignations as a result of its Covid-19 vaccine mandate, putting some services at risk, Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald R. Cayer said Friday. The maternity unit is already seeing staff shortages, with at least six resignations so far and seven others who have expressed an unwillingness to be vaccinated.

“We are unable to safely staff the service after Sept. 24,” Cayer said. “The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital.”

Hospital administrators are working on "contingency plans" in the case more mass resignations put other essential services at risk.

Personally, if I were a low risk mom, I would be looking for a midwife willing to do a home birth (in these times, I think I'd want a home birth anyway!)

The 9/11 attacks, 20 years on: An Arab doctor reflects on flying while Muslim

Sept. 11, 2001. A day that began like any other, but drastically altered the course of the world, my life and that of other Arabs everywhere. Twenty years on, and I still experience the consequences of the horrific events.

I can remember that afternoon in London better than I can remember what I did yesterday. I was on my way back from a high school soccer match. As my friend and I got into his mom’s car, the radio was bellowing. A moment of suspenseful silence passed before a timorous newscaster deafeningly announced, “There are reports of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center in New York.”

“Ha!” my friend, who is white, inappropriately smirked. I was shocked into silence, paralyzed by the sorrow of innocent lives lost and the inevitable consequences I’d face. Words like “Arab,” “Islam” and “terrorism” echoing across the news report made me worry about the indolent connection the public would draw. The radio suddenly sounded like it was on mute.

The events of 9/11 exacerbated the identity crisis I had been experiencing my whole life. My parents had fled Iraq in the early 1980s to escape a brutal dictatorship that provided no future for a young family. Born in England and growing up in a Muslim household, I struggled to find my place in society — being not British enough for the white kids in school, and not Arab enough for my parents.


Post-Covid, kids need to roam free -- and be free to make a mess

In 2015, Pope Francis told a crowd of young people in Paraguay to go out into the world and “make a mess.” There is some dispute about whether he was speaking spiritually or literally. I think the fairest reading is that it was both. “Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope,” Francis said to a cheering crowd.

In one way, you can understand why the South American Catholic kids cheered. It’s not every day that the living head of your church, and the first pope from your continent, all but tells you to go have a food fight so long as you help clean up after. As he noted in his remarks, “They wrote a speech for me to give you. But speeches are boring.”

It would be good if the pope would say similar words the next time he comes to the United States, because it’s a message parents here of all faiths, or no faith at all, really need to hear: Messy kids are OK.

Kids in America used to be allowed and even encouraged to get dirty and do things on their own. Especially during summers, kids were told to go out and play and be back by dinner. That is not the case in the country these days, and it's more than a shame. The Covid-19 pandemic makes this complaint more urgent, not because we shouldn’t take any precautions, but because outdoor transmission of the virus is so low, and thus outdoor activities should be greatly encouraged.

I think Papa Francisco may have been talking about "good trouble" rather than literal messes, but this writer has a point too. My mom always said, "Dirt makes kids grow," and I think my mom was a very wise woman.

'The harm to children is irreparable': Ruth Etzel speaks out ahead of EPA whistleblower hearing

The US Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect children by ignoring poisons in the environment and focusing on corporate interests, according to a top children’s health official who will testify this week that the agency tried to silence her because of her insistence on stronger preventions against lead poisoning.

“The people of the United States expect the EPA to protect the health of their children, but the EPA is more concerned with protecting the interests of polluting industries,” said Ruth Etzel, former director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The harm being done to children is “irreparable”, she said.

A hearing will be held on 13 September in which several internal EPA communications will be presented as evidence, including an email in which EPA personnel discuss using press inquiries about Etzel as “an opportunity to strike” out against her. Among many witnesses to be called to testify are several former high-level EPA officials.

“I want this to be seen and heard,” Etzel said. “I think we should let some light shine on these dirty tricks.”

Etzel is among five current or former EPA scientists who have recently come forward with allegations that the agency, which is charged with regulating chemicals and other substances that may harm public and environmental health, has become deeply corrupted by corporate and political influence. That outside influence pushes agency scientists to make important assessments in ways that will protect their jobs, rather than protect the public, Etzel said.

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