Tuesday Morning Open Thread: GOTV


There’s a lot of big important stories waiting to be written up, but none of them are what you want to be trying to puzzle out first thing in the morning. But it’s Election Day, so go do your civic duty — and make sure your social-media peeps are, too, especially if you’re in Virginia or New Jersey…

Apart from voting / waiting for results, what’s on the agenda for the day?


For your further social-media consideration…

(Keith Knight via GoComics.com)

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Hey, Remember That Guy?…



Readership capture:

Former President Barack Obama kicked off the inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation here Tuesday, calling it “an experiment in us trying to have a collective conversation.”

Set to be the central focus of his post-presidency, and seeded with Obama’s own ambition to have the rest of his life exceed the impact of his eight years in White House, the foundation launched with programs and goals still taking shape. There have been training sessions for young activists, with plans for more; 20 Obama Foundation fellows will be announced next year out of a 19,000-person applicant pool; and this meeting is meant to be the beginning of creating a hub and network of innovative up-and-coming leaders…

Organizers stressed that the key is to continue sorting out what exactly they will be doing in the decades to come.

“This is the literally the beginning,” said foundation CEO David Simas, who was previously the White House political director. “We are being deliberate over the course of the rest of this year and into next year about testing different approaches and getting it right before we take it to scale.”

How Broken as a Person Must You Be

In a day and age where few things shock me, this one did:

Last month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia was extremely fortunate to receive a year-long $20,000 grant to increase staff knowledge of #LGBTQ issues through training and provide assistance with developing local partnerships to best serve LGBTQ youth.

Soon after accepting the LGBTQ grant, however, a representative of three foundations halted funding to the organization and has not fulfilled a financial pledge made late last year.

Sadly, the amount was so great it may force us to suspend some services and programs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters believes inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. We stand true to our mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

This includes all children.

One in three kids don’t have the support of a caring role model. Studies show LGBTQ youth are less likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to have supportive adults in their lives. Every day we see the positive impact mentoring can have, and for LGBTQ youth, this can be especially important since they are at greater risk of attempting suicide and being victim to hate crimes and bullying.

Suspending services, even temporarily, would have a negative impact on the children currently in our program. Many would feel let down yet again. Another disappointment in a series of disappointments. Rejected again.

If we are to once and for all change the long-term narrative for WV kids and the Mountain State, it is time we recognized the value of ALL of our children. It is time we invest in their future, which in turn defines the future for our state. I don’t want to look back in 10 years to see talent left undiscovered.

I called and had a very nice chat with Sara McDowell, the executive director of the organization, and this has put a real gap in there budget (close to $100k). And since these are funds that were promised last year and then reneged upon, it makes their problem even worse.

It’s worth noting that these are children who are also being hit by the double whammy of the opioid crisis we talked earlier, and in some cases adults are trafficking the children for sex to feed their addiction. It’s just a horrible mess.

At any rate, I was hoping you all would help make their donations pages go viral. There is a GoFundMe that you can find here , and there is a donations page on their actual website. Either works.

(via WV Public)

The War on Women Continues Apace

Via the WaPo:

Trump administration narrows Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate

The Trump administration issued a rule Friday that sharply limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, a move that could mean many American women would no longer have access to birth control free of charge.

The new regulation, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, allows a much broader group of employers and insurers to exempt themselves from covering contraceptives such as birth control pills on religious or moral grounds. The decision, anticipated from the Trump administration for months, is the latest twist in a seesawing legal and ideological fight that has surrounded this aspect of the 2010 health-care law nearly from the start.

What’s to stop corporate persons from declaring themselves Christian Scientists and exempting themselves from providing any coverage at all?

Open thread, I guess.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Because of Wow / Because of Uh-Oh…


What’s on the agenda for the new (hopefully less news-intensive) day?

Hate to bring this up first thing in the morning, but the Balloon Juice demographic (including me) often depends on the miracles of modern medicine. Personal miracles which may, unfortunately, be impacted by the disaster in Puerto Rico:

Federal officials and major drugmakers are scrambling to prevent national shortages of critical drugs for treating cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as medical devices and supplies, that are manufactured at 80 plants in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Pharmaceuticals and medical devices are the island’s leading exports, and Puerto Rico has become one of the world’s biggest centers for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Its factories make 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, from Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, to Xarelto, a blood thinner used to prevent stroke, according to a report released last year.

With business of nearly $15 billion a year at stake in Puerto Rico, drug companies and device makers are confronting a range of obstacles on the island: locating enough diesel fuel for generators to run their factories; helping their employees get to work from areas where roads are damaged and blocked, electricity is down and phones don’t work. Companies have taken out radio ads pleading with workers to check in. The pharmaceutical and device industries contribute to the employment of nearly 100,000 people on the island, according to trade groups.

“Some of these products are critical to Americans,” Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told a congressional panel this week. “A loss of access could have significant public health consequences.”

Dr. Gottlieb, who visited F.D.A. staff in Puerto Rico last week, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Health: “We have a list of about 40 drugs that we’re very concerned about. It reflects maybe about 10 firms.”

Thirteen of the drugs, Dr. Gottlieb said, are “sole-source,” meaning the product is made only by one company. Those include H.I.V. medications, injectable drugs and sophisticated medical devices, although he did not name the products. The biggest problem, he said, was not damage to the factories, but the instability of the electric supply. Manufacturers are worried that a long-term lack of connection to a major power grid could jeopardize their products, and are also wary of relying on the more limited electrical grids that the territory is likely to activate as a first step to restoring power…

As someone who takes several old-fat-person medications every day, I’ve been trying to keep an eye on this, but the Trickster-God-blessed megacorps who profit from such drugs are making it very very difficult. There’s one DailyKos poster who’s put up a partial list, which also includes such “everyday” (heavily advertised, often prescribed) brand names as Crestor, Invokana, Eliquis, Lyrica… and Viagra. (Maybe more Repubs should be quietly informed about a potential shortage of that one.)

The DKos poster suggests that anyone taking any of these drugs would be well advised to consult their doctor(s) now, and that seems like a wise precaution to me.

Heartbreaking Read(s): The Participant Who’ll Never Tell Us His Story

A news story about a police officer (in Salt Lake City!) manhandling an ER nurse for RESISTING HIS AUTHORITAY!!! seemed almost too on-the-nose as an analogy for life during the Trump Occupancy. But there are real people at the heart of this metaphor, and the Washington Post followed up:

William Gray, a commercial truck driver and reserve police officer, died late Monday of the injuries he suffered when a fiery July 26 crash left him with burns over nearly half his body, University of Utah Health spokeswoman Suzanne Winchester said.

Gray was unconscious at the Salt Lake City hospital when police detective Jeff Payne asked to draw his blood hours after the crash.

Nurse Alex Wubbels refused because hospital policy required a warrant or patient consent. Payne handcuffed her and dragged her outside.

Gray was hauling a load of sand in northern Utah when a pickup truck speeding away from police crossed the center line and hit his truck head-on, causing an explosion. State police had been trying to pull over the pickup driver after several people called 911 to report he was driving recklessly.

Gray was not suspected of wrongdoing.

The pickup driver, Marcos Torres, 26, died in the crash, and Utah police routinely collect such evidence from everyone involved in fatal crashes.

Dramatic video of Wubbels’ arrest caught widespread attention online amid national scrutiny of police use of force. Payne and the supervisor who backed him, Lt. James Tracy, were placed on leave amid internal and criminal investigations…

Gray, 43, served with police in the southeastern Idaho city of Rigby. Chief Sam Tower said he was dedicated to the community of about 4,000 people and plowed snow from a sidewalk last winter so neighborhood kids wouldn’t have to walk in the street.

“Bill was truly the best of mankind,” Rigby police said in a Facebook post. “Always willing to help, always willing to go the extra mile. Bill was a big man, with a bigger heart. Everything about him was generous and kind.”…

Amy Davidson Sorkin, in the New Yorker, explains “What the Utah Good-Nurse, Bad-Cop Video Says About Medical Privacy”:

The story began on July 26th. That day, the police had engaged in a high-speed chase on a highway that ended with a deadly multi-vehicle crash. But this was not a cinematic case of, say, fugitive armed robbers. It began around 2 P.M., when the police received reports of a Chevrolet Silverado driving erratically. As the officers began their pursuit, the Silverado, now on US-89/91, swerved into a semi truck that happened to be on the road, causing an explosion. The driver of the Silverado, Marco Torres, who was twenty-six, was killed instantly. The truck driver, William Gray—who, in one of this story’s many byways, was a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho—staggered out of his semi, his clothes and body on fire. He was airlifted to the burn unit. One might wonder why the police wanted his blood, when he was, essentially, a bystander. The Utah police have said that it was meant for Gray’s protection, but Payne, in his report on the incident, obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, said that the officers who were dealing with the crash wanted to know whether Gray had any “chemical substances” in his system. Another, troubling possibility could be that they were looking for something that might place some of the responsibility for the crash on Gray, in case he complained that the police had been reckless in their pursuit.
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Watch & Enjoy


The clip is from Chris Hayes’ interview with Hillary Clinton last night. Well worth watching!

So I spent last week helling around with my old friend, and only skimmed the news. My mood is much better, but it’ll take me a while to catch up on all the current outrages…

Sounds like the latest attempt to gut Obamacare may be (no so) quietly being put to rest, so that’s one good thing, yes?


What else is on the agenda for the new day?