Coronavirus Tidbits #243 April 30, 2023


First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.

Reminder, Resilience: One Family's Story... is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education.

Available here.





New post:

Why Antibiotics Fail—And How We Can Do Better



US: New Cases (Weekly Total)                         88,330

New Deaths (Weekly Total)                                 1,052 (150 per day)

New Hospital Admissions (Daily Avg)                1,541

~ ~ ~

COVID-19 vaccine appears more effective if received around midday

see below for details

~ ~ ~

Long-COVID patients show abnormal brain activity on MRI while doing memory tasks

Long-COVID patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms such as brain fog showed abnormal brain activity on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while completing memory tests, with a shift from activity in brain areas normally used for memory to other brain regions, shows a study published yesterday in Neurology.

From February 2021 to February 2022, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers conducted functional MRI on 29 participants who had persistent symptoms after a COVID-19 diagnosis at least 6 weeks earlier and 21 never-infected matched controls. Among the COVID patients, the average interval between diagnosis and enrollment was 7 months.

Nine long-COVID patients were hospitalized for treatment of their infections, and 19 required supplemental oxygen or other treatments. The study was conducted primarily during the period of SARS-CoV-2 Delta predominance.

Participants completed three National Institutes of Health tests for cognitive and emotional health and movement, as well as tests from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) on depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain. They underwent MRI as they completed working-memory tasks.

The average age was 42 years in the long-COVID group and 41 in the control group, and 65% and 57%, respectively, were women.

Cognitive test scores similar

Long-COVID participants reported a high rate of problems with concentration (92.9%) and memory (78.6%), confusion (64.3%), headaches (57.1%), visual disturbances (50%), gait disturbances (50%), burning sensations in the extremities (42.9%), and incoordination (39.3%).

Loss of taste or smell persisted in 28.6% of long-COVID-19 patients. This group also had a high rate of new-onset fatigue (85.7%), depression or anxiety (67.9%), impaired sleep (64.3%), muscle pain (60.7%), lightheadedness (46.4%), and urinary issues (27.6%).

While long-COVID patients' cognitive test scores were similar to those of never-infected participants, those with persistently compromised memory and concentration and lingering fatigue had greater brain activation on MRI while completing working-memory tests.

Long-COVID patients also had lower scores on tests for dexterity and motor endurance than controls and reported more anger, sadness, stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain and lower life satisfaction, meaning, and purpose. Those in the long-COVID group who had more brain-activity changes were more likely to have lower test scores.

Possible brain reorganization

"Their [long-COVID patients'] brain activity differed from those without prior COVID-19, indicating that their brains compensated for their deficits by reorganizing the networks to maintain their performance," lead author Linda Chang, MD, said in a press release from the American Academy of Neurology, which publishes the journal.

The authors emphasize that the findings don't prove that SARS-CoV-2 caused the brain changes but rather only an association.

~ ~ ~

Are repeat COVID infections dangerous? What the science says

Researchers disagree over how bad it is to be reinfected, and whether COVID-19 can cause lasting changes to the immune system.

Nature   Cassandra Willyard   26 April 2023

When the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was a strange and terrifying adversary that plunged the world into chaos. More than three years later, the infection’s symptoms are all too familiar and COVID-19 is here to stay — part of a long list of common diseases that infect humans. Experts estimate that the majority of the world’s population has been infected at least once; in the United States, some estimates suggest that as many as 65% of people have had multiple infections1. And it’s likely that in the decades to come, we’re all destined to get COVID-19 many more times.

Just how much harm repeat infections will cause is a matter of debate. “There are some almost pathologically polarized opinions out there,” says Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London. One side argues that SARS-CoV-2 is a run-of-the-mill respiratory virus, no worse than the common cold, especially for those who have been vaccinated. Others have said that repeatedly getting COVID-19 is a gamble. Each bout comes with a risk of damage — or at least changes — to the immune system, and long-term health repercussions. Both groups are armed with evidence. What do the data say about the risks of reinfection and the potential for COVID-19 to cause lasting consequences?

~ ~ ~

'You call it out': Health experts chronicle failures in U.S. Covid response in hopes of fixing them

A history of how the U.S. handled the Covid-19 pandemic doubles as a warning for the future. A book coming out tomorrow describes an underprepared country, polarizing politics, and a vacuum of leadership facing a deadly foe. Two authors from the Covid Crisis Group talked with STAT’s Helen Branswell.

What were the worst mistakes the U.S. made?

Carter Mecher: We spent January and February, when it was clear that this was moving pretty quickly and this was a significant event, to really get on a war footing and to get moving. The problems with our testing just meant … we really were flying blind.

The report says “the Covid war revealed a collective national incompetence in governance.” How does that get fixed?

Philip Zelikow: First of all, you call it out. And actually it’s fixable. Once people know that in big cities before blizzards, big city mayors buy snow plows, then you get in trouble if you don’t buy snow plows. And you hold people to a certain standard that you didn’t hold them to before we had snow plows. And that’s the thing that a book like this can do.

Worth a read: full interview  at

~ ~ ~

“Reported deaths from #covid (have) fallen by 95 percent since the beginning of this year... but an estimated one in ten infections now lead to what is commonly known as #LongCovid, “which suggests that hundreds of millions of people will need long-term care.”

- WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu

~ ~ ~

On NIH's screw-up with the RECOVER Trial:

A Billion Dollars Later, STAT Asks What’s Up with the RECOVER Long COVID Initiative?

~ ~ ~

NIH RECOVER trial designers seem oblivious to post-exertional malaise—one of the most debilitating symptoms of long COVID and ME/CFS—and how it upends the notion of exercise as a universal medicine. More at by @kaelyn_lynch: Exercise should not just be a blanket prescription for p/w LC. In many cases, not only will it not help, it may harm.

“If exercise is medicine, you should treat it like medicine,” @PutrinoLab says. “You should understand what the contraindications are, who might have adverse effects of the medicine, and how to dose the medicine effectively for each person.” #LongCovid

~ ~ ~

Study suggests mild COVID-19 can have harmful effects on cardiovascular health

New research suggests that even mild cases of COVID-19 can have long-term detrimental effects on cardiovascular health.

An international team of scientists were able to do this research using baseline measurements from a group of participants involved in a separate study that began pre-pandemic, also investigating arterial stiffness.

In those who had been diagnosed with mild COVID-19, artery and central cardiovascular function were affected by the disease two to three months after infection. Side effects include stiffer and more dysfunctional arteries that could lead to cardiovascular disease development.

The paper, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, revealed age and time from COVID infection is associated with increased aging of the arteries.

Co-author, Dr. Maria Perissiou from the University of Portsmouth's School of Sport, Health & Exercise Science, said, "We were surprised to observe such a decline in , which deteriorated even further with time since COVID-19 infection. Usually, you'd expect inflammation to decrease with time after infection, and for all the physiological functions to go back to normal or a healthy level.

"We can only speculate on what causes this phenomenon without further investigation, but emerging evidence suggests that it stems from COVID-19 triggering the auto-immune process that leads to vasculature deterioration."

~ ~ ~

@TraceyABurgess   April 23
'...the clinical trials group apparently didn’t know about the disease’s signature symptom – postexertional malaise – and has been forced to go back to the drawing board for the exercise trial.'
~ ~ ~


Malaria outbreak in Costa Rica - Travel alert

If you plan to travel in Costa Rica, tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

~ ~ ~

As temperatures rise, the threat of Zika and dengue will too, study suggests

Many of the world’s deadly infectious diseases are spread by the prick of mosquitoes, which thrive in warm climates. And as global temperatures continue to rise, researchers expect viruses such as Zika and dengue to spread even faster. The findings, published yesterday in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, are based on an analysis of historical temperature data from four regions of Brazil and temperature predictions in these regions between 2045 and 2049.

Scientists project that the reproduction number — the average number of people someone with the virus would infect — could jump as high as 2.7 for Zika and 6.8 for dengue, depending on the temperature. In other words, the study’s authors write, these viruses will be more likely to spark epidemics, and it’ll be extra important for public health systems to monitor for the earliest signs of transmission. -- Stat

~ ~ ~

Did a Military Lab Spill Anthrax Into Public Waterways?

New Book Reveals Details of a US Leak

@alisonannyoung's new book! Pandora’s Gamble: Lab Leaks, Pandemics, and a World at Risk.

~ ~ ~

Obscene:  Health insurance CEOs receive record pay, again

Business has never been better for the largest health insurers in the country, which led to another record-setting windfall last year for their chief executives. In 2022, the CEOs of the seven major publicly traded health insurance and services conglomerates — CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, Elevance Health, Centene, Humana, and Molina Healthcare — combined to make more than $335 million, according to a STAT analysis of annual financial disclosures. That was 18% more than the record from 2021. High-flying stock prices again fueled a vast majority of the gains.

More than half of the total, $181 million, went to a single executive: Joseph Zubretsky, the CEO of Molina, an insurance company that gets all of its revenue from taxpayer-funded health programs. STAT’s Bob Herman breaks down why insurance CEO pay packages tend to be at the top of all the largest companies, aside from technology giants. Read more.


still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

~ ~ ~

Pilot program in California shows dogs able to accurately sniff out COVID-19

A team of medical researchers from the California Department of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Early Alert Canines, has conducted a pilot program to look into the possibility of using dogs to sniff out COVID-19 infections in students. In their paper published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the group describes their testing setup using trained dogs in both public and private schools and what they learned from the experience.

Over two months in the spring of 2022, the dogs were taken to 27 schools in California where they sniffed 1,558 volunteer students. Testing was also done with antigen tests and in so doing, the team was able to see that the dogs were approximately 90% accurate in sniffing out infections while also ruling out those not infected. The dogs detected 383 infections and missed 18.

~ ~ ~

MIT researchers develop fastest test for Ebola to date

A test for Ebola that takes 10 minutes and can discriminate between Ebola, dengue fever, and yellow fever has been reported by researches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. The new test promises much faster triage in the field for viral hemorrhagic fevers than was possible before.

The technology is based on lateral flow technology. The technology is used in pregnancy tests. A strip of paper is coated in stripes containing different sized nanoparticles that change colors in the presence of the three different viruses. The nanoparticles are attached to antibodies that recognize Ebola, dengue fever, and yellow fever. The test takes 10 minutes. A person that cannot distinguish color visually can use a phone program or a computer program that can see color.

Drugs and Vaccines:

COVID-19 vaccine appears more effective if received around midday

by Julia Evangelou Strait, Washington University in St. Louis

A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine may be more effective at preventing infections if doses are given around the middle of the day rather than at other times. The researchers believe circadian rhythm—the natural cycle of physical and other changes our bodies go through in a 24-hour period—may affect the body's response to the vaccine.

Further, they found that the correlation was strongest in children and teenagers, as well as adults over age 50.

The study is published April 25 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"This type of information may be critical during a mass vaccination campaign, because if you can target priority groups—such as the young and the elderly, who our data suggest stand to benefit the most from midday COVID-19 vaccines—and vaccinate them during optimal times of day, that should create a significant societal benefit in reducing breakthrough infections," said senior author Jeffrey A. Haspel, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine.

"Our data is specific to COVID-19 vaccination, but there are some small studies that also suggest vaccination for influenza may be more effective earlier in the day. Since these trends track with a basic biological phenomenon, it is possible this pattern is reflective of vaccinations in general. But we need more research to confirm that."

COVID-19 vaccine appears more effective if received around midday (

~ ~ ~

Study Raises Concerns SARS-CoV-2 Evolution Outpaces Vaccine-Generated Antibodies

A NIAID-led Phase 2 trial comparing two Pfizer bivalent mRNA COVID-19 boosters found that while both induced an immune response, neutralizing antibodies were less potent against some of the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant viruses. This scenario led the researchers – part of the Coronavirus Variant Immunologic Landscape Trial, or COVAIL – to express concern about virus evolution leaving “not optimal” antibody responses that can be addressed with vaccine strain updates. Their study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, calls for continuous viral surveillance to assess potential for waning vaccine effectiveness as the virus continues to evolve.

~ ~ ~

Europe nears approval for first RSV vaccine for older adults

The European Medicines Agency recommended approval yesterday for the first vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in older adults. Scientists have worked for decades to create a vaccine for the common respiratory virus that recently left hospitals overwhelmed with cases surging among infants and toddlers across the U.S. The European Commission must now sign off on the EMA’s recommendation on GSK’s Arexvy, which the FDA is also set to decide on next week.

~ ~ ~

First pill for fecal transplants wins FDA approval (for C. difficile)

U.S. health officials on Wednesday approved the first pill made from healthy bacteria found in human waste to fight dangerous gut infections—an easier way of performing so-called fecal transplants.

The new treatment from Seres Therapeutics provides a simpler, rigorously tested version of stool-based procedures that some medical specialists have used for more than a decade to help patients.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the capsules for adults 18 and older who face risks from repeat infections with Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that can cause severe nausea, cramping and diarrhea.

~ ~ ~

BCG vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 in health care workers, finds clinical trial

A world-leading international trial into the immune boosting benefits of the tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, has found it does not protect health care workers against COVID-19.

The BRACE trial, led by Murdoch Children's Research Institute, to test whether the BCG vaccine could protect health care workers against SARS-CoV-2 in the first six months after vaccination found it did not reduce the risk of developing COVID-19 among those on the pandemic frontline.

~ ~ ~

Good resource:

I was given the opportunity to coauthor a public health booklet from the lens of a formerly antivax parent. I talk about the tropes I wholeheartedly believed and how I realized I was so wrong about them. #WhyIVax #VaccinesWork

Devices and Masks:

A desktop charger with enough voltage to replenish the electric charge on N95 and surgical masks

Get home, take off your mask and toss it in the bin. This daily ritual might change soon, however, thanks to scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo.

The researchers have developed a compact system that can restore N95 respirators and surgical masks that have been exposed to moisture to 97% efficiency. By using a special circuit and a conductive plate, a large and uniform voltage distribution recharges the mask in about one minute. This machine can help address the need for high-performance masks while reducing plastic medical waste.

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

@oliviaahliv  April 26
Today I had my last follow up for the Stanford paxlovid trial and the whole staff went mask off

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Brits urged to mask up as Arcturus spreads

@howardhardiman   Apr 28
Please: Remember that there are many clinically extremely vulnerable people like me whose survival depends on the choices you make. This strain is spreading fast. Even if we aren’t told to #BringBackMasks, you can choose to protect lives like mine.
Britain 'People should go back to regularly testing as well as wearing masks, on public transport, and in crowded indoor spaces, as #XBB.1.16 [#Arcturus] Covid strain spreads across UK.'  @SGriffin_Lab
Sensible 'public health' message.

~ ~ ~

Philip Schellekens   @fibke
~ ~ ~

CDC meeting, intended to mark Covid progress, sees virus cases of its own

[No mention of masking, testing before attending? Vaccination status? Ventilation at the venue? and No guidance from CDC now on large gatherings.]

~ ~ ~

We’re Still Getting Our Pandemic Preparation Horribly Wrong Until we focus on the combustible social conditions that made Covid so devastating, we’ll never be truly ready for the next pandemic. Today, in the @thenation with @heavyredaction 1/

We’re Still Getting Our Pandemic Preparation Horribly Wrong

More than a century later, COVID retraced the path of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire through the fissures of American society. Once it breached biosafety systems described as impenetrable, it encountered the US’s decrepit social infrastructure.5/
The virus found essential workers laboring in meatpacking plants. It followed them home to multigenerational households in disproportionately Black and brown communities. It ripped through nursing homes and engulfed prisons in devastating outbreaks. 6/
Yet the pandemic has not prompted a reckoning to address the combustible conditions that made the pandemic so deadly in the US. Our paradigm of pandemic preparedness, long overdue for an update, has also remained intact to a startling degree. 7/
In 2021, the Global Health Security Index again ranked the US first globally for pandemic preparedness. This, we contend, reflects a narrow focus on the country’s bioscientific capacities; it fails to factor in our profound social vulnerabilities. 8/
Plans to develop a vaccine in 100 days have taken center stage in “next pandemic” conversations. Yet, plans to protect the poor, minority, and medically vulnerable populations, all overrepresented among the >100K Americans that died in the first 100 days in the US, are missing.9/
The US must lay the blueprint for a less flammable society and not simply—as Bill Gates recently suggested in the New York Times “Next Pandemic” series—a “better fire department.” We must fortify our physical infrastructure as well as our social safety net. 10/
As the US declares an end to the Public Health Emergency, there are still specific policy actions that could make Americans safer and healthier in the future: infrastructure upgrades, paid sick leave, eviction prevention, non-congregate shelter, and decarceration. 14/
We must think differently about what it means for life and health to be truly secure. Amid the still smoldering fires of the COVID pandemic, we can fortify the architecture of society and embrace a vastly more expansive view of preparedness and public health. Fin

Tips, general reading for public:






The CDC will stop reporting #COVID community levels in May as the Public Health Emergency ends. But community levels was always a misleading metric that understated COVID transmission. We need to standardize and communicate risk levels with wastewater data!

(Note: Allegany County stopped wastewater reporting last year)

~ ~ ~

Science and outreach: the good, the bad and why to get involved.
-this is a bit of an old post of mine now but may still be useful to some.

~ ~ ~

The Lancet on the end of the Public Health Emergency in the United States:

"The country may move on for now, but unless it faces up to the root causes of the harm COVID-19 did in the USA—health inequities, lack of access to health care, non-communicable diseases, a poisonous political discourse, and mistrust in public health institutions—it will likely find history repeating itself when the next pandemic comes."

~ ~ ~

Are repeat COVID infections dangerous? What the science says

~ ~ ~

@Lymenews   Apr 23
Is it possible some people with #LongCovid might also be battling an untreated (or under-treated) tick-borne disease like Lyme disease, bartonellosis, anaplasmosis, or babesiosis? A research paper from Poland suggests this may be true.
~ ~ ~
With the FDA public meeting for #LongCovid coming up tomorrow, it's a good time to think about: what kind of drugs *could* we trial for #LongCovid? The possibilities are honestly endless! Here is a sampling (absolutely not inclusive): 
~ ~ ~
Florida Surgeon General Ladapo altered key vaccine safety findings
~ ~ ~
@Michael59503746   Apr 25
FOURTEEN THOUSAND of these fucking unmasked neurologists packed the Boston Science Museum to party hardy and spread COVID to one another before taking it back to their patients in mask-free hospitals. I don’t have enough expletives for this. #AANAM2023
~ ~ ~
@WHO   Apr 26
"An estimated 1 in 10 infections results in post #COVID19 condition, suggesting that hundreds of millions of people will need longer-term care." -@DrTedros
~ ~ ~


Send me your denied misoprostol prescriptions, apparently I am good at raising awareness -> Florida CVS Refusal to Fill Prescription for Pill Linked to Abortion

[Note: this Rx was for misoprostol, to be inserted intravaginally to help with procedure for "Stricture and stenosis of cervix uteri," and not mifepristone, the drug being battled over.]

~ ~ ~

@AP   Apr 24
BREAKING: North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has signed into law a ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy — even in cases of rape or incest. It's among the strictest abortion bans in the U.S. and takes effect immediately.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
@RpsAgainstTrump   April 28
The Washington Post added that Senn’s speech “likened” the abortion ban “to the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, in which women are treated as property of the state.”
~ ~ ~
Shameful Outcomes

— Abortion is today's hot topic in women's health, but we're overlooking an equally important one

Severe maternal morbidity increased 5% nationally between 2018 and 2019; and, in 2019, the incidence was 1.9 times higher among Black mothersopens in a new tab or window (126.1 complications per 10,000 hospital deliveries) compared with White mothers (66.2). Interestingly, the increase was highest in four statesopens in a new tab or window: Nevada (29%), Pennsylvania (14%), Florida (11%), and Texas (9%).

~ ~ ~

ACOG PAC Donated Over $1.2 M to Anti-Abortion Legislators

Of the 294 politicians who received support form Ob-GynPAC, 116 were anti-abortion and 70 of those were also anti-Roe. Over 60% were pro-abortion access, according to a research letter by Brown's group in JAMA Network Openopens in a new tab or window.

~ ~ ~
AI Translation:

AI translation is jeopardizing Afghan asylum claims

Cost-cutting translations are introducing errors and putting refugees at risk.

“If we rely on machine translation, at least 40% of asylum seekers will be failed.”

~ ~ ~

Book bans:

Teens and young adults ages 13 to 26 living anywhere in the U.S. can access the entire collection of e-books and audiobooks from the Seattle Public Library. "We believe in your right to read what you want, discover yourself and form your own opinions." Fill out the form to get a Books Unbanned card.

~ ~ ~

@FLFreedomRead   Apr 27
The picture book THAT’S BETTY: THE STORY OF BETTY WHITE was added to the restricted list in @ecpsfl today. Challenged for being “content and age inappropriate” as outlined in HB1557!
~ ~ ~
@ThePlumLineGS   Apr 28
Unreal: A Florida county just banned eight books by NORA ROBERTS from school libraries, due to objections from one right wing activist. Under the guise of targeting "pornography," the book bans are getting uglier. "All of it is shocking," Roberts told us:
~ ~ ~


A proposed machine gun range on #CapeCod was dealt a blow due to an EPA ruling on the environmental impact:

~ ~ ~

In case you needed more evidence that our system of #environmentalreview is broken, the #SpaceX project that hurled chunks of concrete shrapnel into a protected habitat full of endangered shorebirds because #Elon didn’t think the #launchpad for the most powerful rocket in history needed standard noise- and fire-suppression systems DID NOT have to complete an #EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) under #NEPA.

~ ~ ~

"The European Parliament approved a landmark deforestation law on Wednesday to ban imports into the EU of coffee, beef, soy and other commodities if they are linked to the destruction of the world's forests."

~ ~ ~

@RoKhanna   Apr 27
Because Senator Feinstein was absent, the Senate overturned a Biden rule that would cut pollution from heavy duty trucks and causes harm to people’s lungs. We are putting decorum over democracy and our values. It’s time for Senator Feinstein to step down gracefully.
~ ~ `
@audubonsociety   Apr 22
Birds are an indicator species as to how different climate threats will affect our communities. This #EarthDay, find out which of your local birds are at risk from a changing climate, and how you can help. #BirdsTellUs

~ ~ ~


@markmobility   Apr 23
Boy genius, @Elonmusk, has verified Jamal Khashoggi's Twitter account, claiming "This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number." The Saudis murdered Khashoggi in 2018.
~ ~ ~
@JuddLegum   Apr 24
FACT: Twitter, under Musk’s leadership, is censoring journalists and activists in India at the request of the government
~ ~ ~


The movement to strip child labor law protections can be traced to one group

The conservative campaign to rewrite child labor laws

The Foundation for Government Accountability, a Florida-based think tank and lobbying group, drafted state legislation to strip child workplace protections, emails show

~ ~ ~

@JamesTate121   Apr 23
So this is how Republicans and Trump "Made America Great Again" by selling our largest oil refinery to our enemies. Saudis take 100% control of America's largest oil refinery.
~ ~ ~

Black voting rights under threat in GOP supermajority states, lawmakers say

Black politicians and activists in the South say the Tennessee expulsions are just the tip of the iceberg in a region where White Republicans dominate state politics.

~ ~ ~

@RepDeluzio   Apr 26
My fellow veterans are not political props. Republicans can't wrap themselves in the flag one day, and then vote to cut veterans care the next. This bill is a disgrace.
~ ~ ~
@RedTRaccoon   Apr 26
Listen to @PressSec explain the impact of Kevin McCarthy's proposed 22% budget cut to Veterans Affairs. The proposal would mean 30 million fewer outpatient visits and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration.
  ~ ~ ~
@codepink   April 18
This #TaxDay the average US taxpayer paid:
$474 for soldiers
$1,087 for military contractors
$74 for nuclear weapons
$2,375 for military spending in total
vs. $270 for public education
$43 for the CDC
$21 for the EPA
$6 for renewable energy
Is this where our priorities are?
~ ~ ~
SCOTUS/Clarence Thomas
Quid pro Crow corruption: Billionaire big-daddy Harlan Crow gives and gives and gives, and in return court cases have been ruled in his favor. All thanks to the tidy, most convenient quid pro quo arrangement Crow and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have maintained for over two decades. Are you wondering who else has benefited from Harlan Crow’s big bucks? Mitt Romney, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and many more Republicans. Apparently the fact that Crow hoards his Nazi keepsakes and artifacts (including original paintings by Hitler) means nothing to the needy, greedy Republican politicians. It is also widely known that Crow cultivates beds of roses in a “garden of evil” ensconced amid statues of murderous communist dictators. Big-daddy Crow has been a generous donor to Senate judiciary Republicans, incl. Sens. Chuck Grassley, Marsha Blackburn, and John Cornyn. (Ironically, these biased individuals would participate in committee hearings focused on Thomas and Crow’s corrupt dealings: Quid pro Crow. Did you know…? Crow donated half a million dollars to Liberty Central — a conservative activist group founded by Ginni Thomas—wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.
~ ~ ~
@ZoeTillman   Apr 24
~ ~ ~
Jane Roberts (Chief Justice's wife) made $10.3 million from elite firms. Business Insider...
[Move along. Nothing to see here...]
Over $10 million in "commissions" from elite law firms paid to Jane Roberts—the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts—for placing lawyers at firms and corporations, some with business in front of the Supreme Court. It's corruption, plain and simple.
~ ~ ~
Here are some of the details of the allegations: - Jane Roberts, after her husband was confirmed as the chief justice of the SCOTUS in 2005, changed her career description form lawyer to “legal recruiter" to avoid concerns of conflicts of interest.
- Between 2007 and 2014 Jane Roberts brought in $10.3 million in commissions from corporations and legal firm. Her job was to act as a matchmaker connecting high-price lawyers with large corporations.
- At least 1 of the law firms tried a case before Jane’s husband John Roberts in the SCOTUS.
- The whistleblower, Kendal Price, worked with Jane Roberts at the recruiting firm and says that she was soliciting business from law firms while her husband was Chief Justice.
~ ~ ~
@JimMustian   April 28
In a late-night reversal, the federal judge overseeing the New Orleans Roman Catholic bankruptcy recused himself after @APreported he donated tens of thousands of dollars to the church and ruled in its favor: “This was a clear and blatant conflict"
~ ~ ~
@SenWarren   April 25
Senator Tuberville is blocking promotions for nearly 200 military officials–jeopardizing national security & harming military families–to take away servicemembers' freedom to travel for reproductive health care. I'm taking this fight to the Senate floor.
~ ~ ~
@krassenstein   April 28
Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating former President Trump and his aides regarding their role in raising money based on claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, despite knowing he had lost.
Details: - The investigation is focusing on whether Trump and aides violated federal wire fraud statutes by raising up to $250M through the Save America PAC.
- Prosecutors are specifically interested in the inner workings of Save America PAC and the Trump campaign's efforts to prove its baseless case that Trump had been cheated out of victory.
- Multiple subpoenas have been issued to understand Save America PAC, with recent focus on a joint fund-raising committee made up of staff members from the 2020 Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.
- Prosecutors are heavily focused on the campaign's finances, spending, and fundraising, seeking to understand who approved email solicitations and what they knew about the truth of the fraud claims.
~ ~ ~

ERA extension fails to pass d/t GOP:

The resolution would have voided the 1982 deadline for ratification and accepted three ratifications of the Equal Rights Amendment done between 2017 and 2020, putting the amendment into law.


Colorado governor signs four gun bills into law in a historic change to the state’s firearm regulations

The bills expand the state’s red flag law, raise the minimum age to purchase guns, impose a three-day waiting period for firearm purchases and make it easier to sue the gun industry.

~ ~ ~

A Texas man went next door with a rifle and began shooting his neighbors, killing an 8-year-old and four others inside the house, after the family asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard because they were trying to sleep, authorities said Saturday. 
[Two mothers were found dead, laying on top of their children they were protecting.]
They were all shot execution style.
~ ~ ~


See hateful Montana

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

Despite son's pleas, Governor Gianforte vetoes this bill to allow transition care.. Son is a member of the LGBTQ community.

~ ~ ~

Rep. SJ Howell  @Howell4HD95 made an eye-opening argument about the anti-trans legislation: you can watch here:
~ ~ ~

DOJ Joins Challenge to Tennessee Transgender Youth Healthcare Ban

~ ~ ~

The new Kansas law goes way beyond banning trans women from women's bathrooms. It also bans them from using rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, even though trans women are at a much higher risk of sexual assault, abuse and murder.
~ ~ ~


Exclusive: Cochise County is set to vote tomorrow to hire an elections director who has repeatedly spread false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump.
~ ~ ~
We are getting closer to the point where an election official in a single county in a pivotal state could decide 100% of their county's vote goes to Trump
~ ~ ~


@ACLU_CalAction   Apr 20
Robert Williams, the first known man to be wrongfully arrested & detained based on a false facial recognition match, called on #CALeg to reject #AB642, a flawed and dangerous bill that would incentivize mass face surveillance.
~ ~ ~
@nycsouthpaw   Apr 25
Florida’s surgeon general personally changed a study’s conclusions to fit DeSantis’s antivax agenda, and then used it as a political cudgel.
~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

@craigtimes   Apr 27
New College board members appointed by #Florida @GovRonDeSantis vote to deny tenure for five professors who'd previously been approved, despite 50 parents, students & other profs urging them to approve tenure.
@BLMcKean   Apr 26
These professors span the disciplines - anyone who thinks they’ll get to keep their tenure and academic freedom in the Republican war on higher education because they or their field isn’t “woke” is fooling themselves
Two teach organic chemistry, one history of religion, one ocean and marine scicnce, one Caribbean and Latin American studies and music
~ ~ ~
@CarlosGSmith  April 29
This is not @TheOnion. The Florida House GOP supermajority really passed HB 1543 lowering the age to buy AR-15s to 18. Arming teenagers with assault weapons and undoing the progress we made after Parkland was a Republican priority this session. WE. NEED. A. NEW. LEGISLATURE.
~ ~ ~


@davenewworld_2   April 27
A 61-year-old homeless woman in Kentucky needed a negative COVID test before she could go back to her shelter, or else she'd be forced to sleep outside, but a hospital denied her request and called the police who proceeded to assault her and break her leg.
~ ~ ~
@billybinion   Apr 25
Her name is Geraldine Tyler. After falling $2,300 behind on her property taxes, the county added $13,000 in penalties, interests & fees. When she couldn't pay, they seized her condo—valued at $93,000—sold it for $40,000, and kept the leftover $25,000.
~ ~ ~
@marceelias   Apr 26
UPDATE: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signs #HB1020 into law, creating a separate, unelected court system in Jackson.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~


@ErinInTheMorn   Apr 24
Happening now: Massive protests in Montana as people demand Republicans Let Zooey Speak. Representative Zephyr, the state's first trans rep, is being denied the right to speak on any bill. Several anti-trans bills will now be heard.
~ ~ ~
@kazweida   Apr 23
This kind of hate is heartbreaking. "My light is on, and I am ready to speak on behalf of the constituents who elected me to do so," Rep. Zooey Zephyr said as the speaker refused to recognize her.
~ ~ ~
@ZoAndBehold   April 28
Republicans used a series of procedures to remove every bill from my committees, silencing my constituents beyond what they already voted to do. My constituents elected me to speak on their behalf—in committee & on the floor—and stopping me from doing so is anti-democratic.
~ ~ ~
@anylaurie16   Apr 26
Nebraska GOP now trying to prevent a Dem state senator from voting on a bill because she has a trans child. “Conflict of interest.”…
~ ~ ~
New York:
@ScottHech   Apr 24
NYC public libraries will no longer be opened on the weekends because NYC Mayor Eric Adams slashed their budgets while giving billions more to the NYPD & this is the guy Democrats look to for advice on public policy & electoral politics.
~ ~ ~
North Carolina
New GOP majority on NorthCarolina Supreme Court overturns 3 recent rulings, to favor Republicans: Striking Down Partisan Gerrymandering Ban, Reinstating Voter ID & Felon Voting Restrictions -- it even overturned its own December ruling that had established that partisan gerrymandering violated the state constitution."
~ ~ ~
North Dakota

These votes were 10 days apart.

North Dakota GOP:
•Voted NO on free school lunches for hungry kids
•Then Voted YES on free breakfast, lunch, & dinner for themselves

~ ~ ~


Pennsylvania set to ban supervised drug use sites, in setback for harm reduction

Many politicians are wary of the controversy that accompanies supervised consumption, and the Pennsylvania law may represent an attempt to avoid a ballot-box liability in 2024,

~ ~ ~

South Carolina:

see abortion, above

@JenBerryHawes  April 28 
My latest from @ProPublica: After the South Carolina Supreme Court rejected an abortion ban, the state’s mostly male legislators replaced the only female justice with a man.
This is the story of how South Carolina got its all-male Supreme Court - and the consequences in a state that often ranks at the bottom of lists about women’s well-being.
~ ~ ~


Texas state agency orders workers to dress ‘consistent to their biological gender’

~ ~ ~

bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 18, Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions, by Sen. @CreightonForTX, R-Conroe:

~ ~ ~

See Texas shooting under guns, above.

A Texas man firing an AR-15 in his front yard killed five people in a neighboring home after they asked him to stop shooting because a baby was sleeping.

There is no background check or safety training required to buy and own a long gun - like an AR-15 - in Texas. And the open carry of long guns in Texas does not require a background check, permit or training - there’s not even an age limit.

Two of the victims were killed while shielding children and he shot and killed an 8 year old. Republicans in Texas will let you nearly die before you can have an abortion because they’re “pro-life”, but just about anyone can buy an AR-15.

~ ~ ~


@katka_cseh   Apr 28
This week in Orban’s Hungary— High school students, teachers & allies protesting the crisis of public education were tear-gassed. Far-right terrorist serving a 6-year prison sentence was pardoned by the president & can walk (ride) free. Shocking how far the regime has sunken.
~ ~ ~
17th consecutive week of anti-Netanyahu protests in Israel. Organizers report a total of 435,000 demonstrations across the country, including 205,000 in Tel Aviv. Some 22,000 in Jerusalem.

Feel good du jour:

W. Kamau Bell created a powerful documentary called “1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed.” It's not just a documentary, it’s a powerful tool to help children around the world understand and celebrate their multiracial identities.

More at

~ ~ ~

A Michigan 7th grader Dillon Reeves pulled off the heroic act of stopping a school bus carrying around 66 students after his bus driver lost consciousness at the wheel

~ ~ ~

In a world of corporate billionaires, there’s a Canadian ice cream company that’s been doing the opposite. They look after employees, donate to the community, and even provide housing to refugees. This is how they became a national icon - by doing the right thing.
Chapman’s. Even though they’re available everywhere, most people don’t know they’re a family-owned business in a town with a population of just over 1,200. They’ve been looking after the town for decades.
In 2009, their factory suffered a devastating fire. It gutted the factory, shut down operations, and left employees out of work for months. How did Chapman’s respond? By continuing to pay their salaries, even with the factory closed. They even paid out Christmas bonuses.
When the COVID vaccine first came out, health departments in Canada scrambled for industrial size freezers to store the vaccine. You know who donated theirs immediately? Chapman’s. No questions asked. They just wanted to help.
Speaking of helping, when the war in Ukraine started, Chapman’s stepped up again. Within weeks, they mobilized their resources and put together more than 1,600 first aid kits. All of the kits were sent to Ukrainian refugees, who had been forced to flee their homes
That’s not all. When Canada opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees, they left it to community organizations to provide housing. What did Chapman’s do? They rented an apartment building, cleaned it, painted it, furnished it, and turned it into housing for incoming refugees.
This year for their 50th anniversary, Chapman’s wanted to do something special, but how could ANYONE top all that? For their newest flavor, they’ve decided to partner with Birch Bark Coffee Company, a local Indigenous-owned coffee company to give back - again. Here’s how.
For every purchase of the new flavor — Cold Brew Coffee — they’re donating proceeds to provide water purification systems to Indigenous families in need. You buy the ice cream – they do the rest.
It’s not everyday that you see a company stand on principle - and still become a national icon. No corporation is perfect, but companies like this give us hope for the future. Btw, if you’re not hungry yet, here’s where you can get their ice cream:
~ ~ ~

Comic relief:

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~



‘I did all that I could’: the tireless activism of Harry Belafonte

Bits of beauty:

Share this post: