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Faryn Balyncd

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Member since: Wed Nov 23, 2005, 08:15 AM
Number of posts: 5,105

Journal Archives

Mayor Mike Rawlings: Restoring Sanity!

Mayor Rawlings tells MSNBC he’s more afraid of white men shooting people than Syrian refugees

In case you slept in Saturday morning and missed Mayor Mike Rawlings discussing Syrian refugees live on MSNBC, here you go.

Rawlings previously told The Dallas Morning News that he would welcome Syrian refugees to the city. He said becoming xenophobic about refugees would “fall into the trap” of what ISIS is seeking.

The mayor reiterated that point to MSNBC and said “ISIS is no more Islamic than Nazi senior staff was Christian.” He added that he’s more concerned about mass shootings than risk of violence from refugees.

“I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” Rawlings said. . . . .


I think he has a future!

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Mon Nov 23, 2015, 06:46 PM (0 replies)

FDA (FINALLY) warns makers of medical scopes in wake of deadly ‘superbug’ outbreaks:

Nice to know that the FDA has issued a "warning letter", 6 months after a fatal carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteria ("superbug") outbreak via duodenoscopes was reported at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center (which occurred despite knowledge of the problem since at least 2009).

FDA warns makers of medical scopes in wake of deadly ‘superbug’ outbreaks
by Brady Dennis August 17

Investigators believe carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria acquired from specialized medical devices known as duodenoscopes have infected hundreds of patients and have been linked to numerous deaths. . . .The Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to manufacturers of a specialized medical scope that has been associated with outbreaks of a deadly “superbug” virus, saying the companies failed to adequately report problems with the devices and, in some instances, failed to ensure that they could be cleaned properly between uses. . . The warnings come after the devices, known as duodenoscopes, have been linked in recent years to outbreaks of tough-to-fight bacterial infections involving carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.

A recent outbreak involving contaminated scopes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles left at least two people dead, and officials said scores of other patients potentially were exposed to the dangerous bacteria. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, also in Los Angeles, officials this year said four patients had been infected by a superbug after undergoing a duodenoscope procedure. A Connecticut hospital said it had contacted nearly 300 patients who might have been exposed to a dangerous type of drug-resistant E. coli after undergoing duodenoscope procedures.

Such incidents prompted the FDA in February to alert doctors and hospitals that duodenoscopes can be difficult to sanitize between uses and “may facilitate the spread of deadly bacteria.” . . . Since 2012, other outbreaks have occurred at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital near Chicago, where 44 people were infected, and at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, where at least 32 patients became ill and 11 died. . . .


The sad reality is that since these fiberoptic instruments cannot be heat sterilized without destroying the fiberoptics, that consequently whether whether or not a patient gets scoped by an instrument contaminated with resistant bacteria (or, for that matter, with hepatitis C, which has been documented to have been spread via colonoscopes) depends on:
(1) how effective the mechanical cleansing and chemical/gas cleansing protocol is,
(2) how rigorously each facility executes the cleansing protocol between procedures, and
(3) how many $40,000 scopes each facility is willing to purchase.

Culturing protocols devised for duodenoscopes to prevent CRE
An ideal protocol, however, may call for more of the expensive scopes

May 1, 2015

Responding to a series of outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) linked to duodenoscopes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an interim protocol for culturing the devices before use to create a greater margin of safety for patients.

But as others have noted, the approach is not foolproof and could be costly if facilities determine that they must purchase more scopes to adopt the protocol. Duodenoscopes are priced in the $40,000 range, according to researchers who came up with a similar protocol at the ECRI Institute in Plymouth Meeting, PA. The CDC protocol provides a plan to determine how scopes may be sampled and how to test the samples in a lab. (To access the protocol, go to http://1.usa.gov/1MwdevG.)

“Like other proposed solutions to the problem of duodenoscope-related CRE infections, we recognize that there are both pros and cons associated with using screening cultures,” Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said in a blog post. “There can be concerns about cost, as using this method will mean that the duodenoscopes will not be available for use while waiting for the results of the cultures. This could mean that a facility would need to buy additional scopes in order to be sure they have the equipment available when needed. Additionally, the failure to grow bacteria from the areas sampled may not guarantee that there are no bacteria present anywhere on the scope.”


Peculiar that in this day and age, we find that decades after the introduction of wonderful high tech diagnostic and therapeutic gadgets, that our faith that these instruments are in fact sterile seems to have possibly been misplaced.

Yet we now have an FDA sending warning letters after 6 years of knowledge of the problem.

(It is a bit disturbing that, some non-bacterial infections which have been documented to have been spread via endoscopes, in particular hepatitis C virus, generally does not manifest itself until years after exposure, making the source of infection less likely to ever be recognized.)

And how might we encourage meticulous compliance with, & execution of, mechanical/chemical cleansing protocols that, having a small margin of error, have been repeatedly shown to be subject to human failure?

How about publicly posting the results of bacterial cultures of each facility's endoscopes?

How about shining a little sunlight on the endoscopic sterilization practices which effect not only the bottom line of healthcare facilities we use, but whether or not our interventions will result in benefit or harm?

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Tue Aug 18, 2015, 04:54 PM (1 replies)

American Conservative: Obama’s Speech on the Nuclear Deal

Obama’s Speech on the Nuclear Deal
By Daniel Larison

Obama delivered a very cogent and combative case for the nuclear deal with Iran earlier today at American University. He offered a clear and persuasive explanation of the deal’s merits and dismantled various criticisms of the deal quite effectively. This was obviously not aimed at trying to win over members of the other party, since it was already clear that Republicans in Congress are virtually unanimous in their opposition and aren’t going to change their position for anything. His responses to hawkish criticisms of the deal were pointed and sometimes mocking, which is understandable given how shoddy the arguments against the deal typically are. The speech seems to have been aimed primarily at fence-sitting Democrats in Congress and members of the public that don’t yet have a definite view of the deal. It was another reminder that Obama is particularly interested in non-proliferation and arms control issues and that he is willing to pursue them aggressively.

There were a few things from the speech that stood out. One was Obama’s emphasis on the fact that the U.S. is giving up nothing as part of this deal except the punitive measures imposed on Iran over the nuclear issue. He compared this deal with Cold War-era arms control treaties to make the point that the latter imposed limitations on the U.S. and were somewhat riskier than the current deal. The implicit argument here was that these arms control treaties were also the right thing to do, and the deal is even more obviously so. Another striking part of the speech was how uncompromising Obama was in his conviction that the deal is clearly the best available option: "I’ve had to make a lot of tough calls as president, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls, it’s not even close."

I would agree that it’s “not even close” to being a difficult decision, but I didn’t expect to hear that. Obama also countered hawkish alarmism about the “windfall” Iran will receive from sanctions relief by stating that Iran would be getting sanctions relief anyway in the absence of a deal or in the event that the deal was rejected, and he dismissed fears of Iran’s regional dominance by correctly pointing out the regime’s relative military weakness. He also repeatedly reminded the audience that Iran belongs to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and will always be barred from building a nuclear weapon. This is a very relevant detail that strangely goes unmentioned in much of the debate over the deal. . . .


Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Thu Aug 6, 2015, 08:09 PM (1 replies)

Star-Tribune: Zimbabwe wants quick extradition of poacher

Zimbabwe wants Twin Cities lion hunter extradited with 'a bit of speed'

Meanwhile, dentist Walter Palmer said Monday that ‘‘every is just fine,” but he refused to disclose his whereabouts.
By Jennifer Bjorhus and Paul Walsh Star Tribune staff writers
August 3, 2015 — 8:52pm

A senior Zimbabwean diplomat said Monday that his government wants Eden Prairie big game hunter Walter Palmer extradited as quickly as possible to face allegations that he illegally shot a much-revered lion during a hunt last month.

Meanwhile, Palmer has not disclosed his whereabouts since authorities confirmed nearly a week ago that he was the American who killed Cecil the lion. Palmer, 55, did release a statement last Tuesday explaining that he thought the hunt was legal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that a representative for Palmer contacted the agency, which has begun its own investigation. The USFWS declined to give a progress report Monday on its efforts in the case. . . .


Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Mon Aug 3, 2015, 10:02 PM (8 replies)

USA Today, MSN falsely reporting US has no extradiction treaty with Zimbabwe.

Here's MSN:

"...Currently, the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with the African nation, but if the Wildlife service finds evidence of wrongdoing, it will pass its findings to the Department of Justice and try him in the USA."


(which appears to be from USA Today):

"...Currently, the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with the African nation. However, if the wildlife service finds evidence of wrongdoing, it will pass its findings to the Department of Justice, which means Palmer could be tried in the U.S."


Reuters, the New York Times, the AP, and others have reported that we DO have an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe.

And Wikipedia reports the existence of a USA/Zimbabwe Extradition treaty, and links to this treaty negotiated in 1997, effective April 26, 2000, and a search of Congress.gov shows the treaty ratified by the Senate by a vote of 105-33:

Formal Title

Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, signed at Harare on July 25, 1997.

Date Received from President
01/28/1998 — 105th Congress (1997-1998) Text of Treaty Document available as:

Countries / Parties

Committee Reports
Ex. Rept. 105-23

Latest Senate Action
10/21/1998 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)
Resolution of advice and consent to ratification agreed to in Senate by Division vote.

Treaty Topic
Extradition and Criminal Assistance

Actions (6) Text - Resolution of Ratification Text - Treaty Document Amendments (0) More Info

Actions: Senate Consideration of Treaty Document 105-33
Sort by Date

Senate Actions
10/21/1998 Resolution of advice and consent to ratification agreed to in Senate by Division vote.
10/21/1998 Treaty moved through its parliamentary stages up to and including presentation of the resolution of advice and consent to ratification.
10/21/1998 Considered by Senate.
10/14/1998 Reported by Mr. Helms, Committee on Foreign Relations, with printed report - Ex.Rept. 105-23. With one understanding, one declaration and one proviso, (except two Protocols with one declaration and one proviso). Placed on the Executive Calendar.
09/15/1998 Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 105-730.
01/28/1998 Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations by unanimous consent.


So let's get on with it!

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Sat Aug 1, 2015, 04:14 PM (7 replies)

Bernie packs Hofheiz Pavillion despite virtual media blackout. Meanwhile . . .

In the run-up to today's turn-out at Hofheiz Pavillion (which had to be moved from the smaller 1500 seat Cullen Hall), a Google search of www.chron.com for "Bernie Sanders" "Houston" reveals no mention by Houston's "newspaper" of any scheduled Sanders appearance. (3 days earlier, the Chronicle ran an article titled "Socialist Sanders on Low End of Earners Among Candidates", which made no mention of any Texas or Houston appearance.

In contrast, 2 days before Rand Paul's campaign rally, the Chronicle ran "Rand Paul Returns to Texas for Rally", and followed this up with a second puff piece on the morning of Paul's "Stand With Rand" rally, complete with a reminder that "Paul will address 'the importance of protecting the entire Bill of Rights, and being boldly for conservative ideals that limit the power of the Washington Machine.' The first-term senator from Kentucky, a Texas native , will also be fundraising while in Houston. Paul's rally begins at 2:45 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, downtown."

So. . . what kind of success did Houston's (former) "newspaper" achieve in drumming up attendance for "Stand with Rand"? . . . . . . . Well, it seems for some reason the photos are making themselves a little scarce! (Guess filling the Hyatt ballroom was too much to ask.)

Score: one for the American people,
. . . zip for the corporate "media"

Go, Bernie!

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 02:24 AM (16 replies)

Houston Press: Bernie Sanders Event Bumps to Bigger Venue

Bernie needs a bigger building.....Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' scheduled campaign event in Houston has moved from the 1,500-capacity Cullen Performance Hall to a much larger venue, Hofheinz Pavilion.....The 45-year-old multi-purpose arena at the University of Houston will host the 73-year-old Senator from Vermont this Sunday at 7 p.m., after Sanders appears at a rally in Dallas earlier that day. Hofheinz Pavilion seats 8,479 people.

The town hall meeting is part of Sanders' southwestern road trip through traditionally Republican stronghold states. His event Saturday in Phoenix was also moved to a larger venue to accommodate an anticipated big crowd. Sanders' campaign platform is focused on improving income inequality, protecting the environment and removing big money from politics....Since announcing his presidential campaign in May, Sanders has steadily surged in early Democratic nomination polls, topping out at 17 percent in a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday. Sanders still trails heavy favorite Hillary Clinton by about 34 percent.

Admission to the town hall meeting is free and seating is first come, first served. You can find more info here.


The Details
Houston Town Meeting at 7pm on July 19 (Town Meeting)

Please join Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and local leaders for a town meeting to discuss how we:

Get big money out of politics
Deal with obscene wealth and income inequality
Combat climate change
Make college education affordable

Doors open at 6pm.
Time: Sunday, July 19, 2015 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM CDT
Host: Bernie Sanders
Location: Hofheinz Pavilion (Houston, TX) ....3875 Holman Street ....Houston, TX 77004


(Despite total silence from www.chron.com )

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Fri Jul 17, 2015, 10:46 PM (6 replies)

WP: They say they came to the U.S. illegally. Now they’re working on Trump’s D.C. hotel.

. . . For weeks, dozens of construction workers from Latin America have streamed onto the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion in downtown Washington and taken pride in their work building one of the city’s newest luxury hotels. . .But that job site is now laden with tension after the man behind the project — billionaire developer Donald Trump — put himself at the center of the nation’s debate over illegal immigration.

. . . “The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.” . . . Interviews with about 15 laborers helping renovate the Old Post Office Pavilion revealed that many of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally before they eventually settled into the Washington region to build new lives. . . Several of the men, who hail mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have earned U.S. citizenship or legal status through immigration programs targeting Central Americans fleeing civil wars or natural disasters. Others quietly acknowledged that they remain in the country illegally. . . .

Several of the laborers — who travel to work from as far away as Baltimore or Manassas, Va., every day — fumed at Trump’s comments, saying that they have led honest lives that have allowed them to buy homes and raise U.S.-born children. . . . “Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs?” Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window worker from El Salvador, said during a break Monday morning just outside the construction site. “We’re risking our lives and our health. A lot of the chemicals we deal with are toxic.”

complete story at:

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:05 PM (18 replies)

Breaking: FT & $700 M cuts to Medicare in exchange for "promise" to remove MC cuts later?

In today's email from Democracy for America:

It's happening. On Friday, the House of Representatives is going to vote on the Fast Track bill for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Before they vote, Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars has an important and infamous warning that you need to give to your Representative:

Here's how the trap works. Last Saturday, we explained how the Fast Track bill includes a whopping $700 million cut to Medicare, in order to pay for Trade Adjustment Assistance to help those who lose their jobs due to foreign trade.

According to reports, some House Democrats have cut a deal with Paul Ryan and the Republicans. The terms of the deal stink: Democrats have to vote for the Fast Track bill, including the $700 million cut to Medicare, in exchange for a vague promise to remove the Medicare cuts at a later date.

Democrats would go on record as voting for a Medicare cut -- and Republicans would attack those Democrats for doing so at the 2016 election. How can Democrats avoid this trap? It's simple: they just have to vote NO on Fast Track.

That's where Democracy for America members like you come in. With the Fast Track vote happening on Friday, we have less than 24 hours to stop it and save Medicare from huge cuts. We need you to drop what you're doing right now and call your member of Congress to tell them not to fall into the trap: Vote NO on Fast Track.

Fighting the Medicare cuts may also be our best hope of stopping the Fast Track bill itself. As Greg Sargent explained in the Washington Post last week, removing the Medicare cuts might alienate more Republicans and jeopardize passage of Fast Track.

If the House refuses to cut Medicare and finds another way to pay for aid to workers who lost their jobs to foreign trade, then they will have to reconcile their bill with the Senate version that includes the Medicare cuts. Paul Ryan has said that won't work and would kill Fast Track. That's fine by us.

In short, not only is fighting the Medicare cuts a good thing to do in itself -- it could also be a good way to stop the Fast Track bill.

The vote is almost here. There's no time to lose. Call your member of Congress today and tell them not to fall into the trap: Vote NO on Fast Track.

Thank you for helping Democrats avoid this awful trap that would hurt seniors, workers, and their own re-election chances.

- Robert Cruickshank,
Democracy for America

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Thu Jun 11, 2015, 10:03 AM (48 replies)

DFA: "The House is our best bet to stop the TPP:

In today's email, from Robert Cruickshank, Democracy for America:

. . . The fight to stop the bill that would fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership is about to reach its climax -- and with your help, we can win a stunning victory.

On Friday the Senate passed the Fast Track bill. It was a close and disappointing vote, but based on the cloture votes that preceded it, the outcome was not a surprise.

Here's what we also know: our best chance to stop the TPP has always been in the House.

Your activism has made a big difference. Right now, the Fast Track bill doesn't have the votes to pass in the House. Republicans can't pass it on their own. So John Boehner is hoping Democrats will bail him out and give him the votes he needs to pass this bill and limit Congress's ability to amend the TPP. Democrats are reluctant to vote for it -- they know this is a bad bill, and they also know that the Democratic base is strongly opposed to Fast Track and the TPP.

That's why now is the time to flood the House with calls from Democracy for America members like you and tell our representatives to stop Fast Track for the TPP. Can you call your Representative right now?

YES, I will call my Representative right now and tell them: Don't destroy American jobs. Vote against Fast Track for the TPP.

. . . . . .

Even if you live in a district represented by a Republican, we need you to pick up the phone and make the call. Representatives from both parties are on the fence regarding the Fast Track bill.

You stood with Elizabeth Warren when she took on the White House to stop the nomination of investment banker Antonio Weiss to an important Treasury Department post. We can win another victory against the big corporations -- but only if DFA members like you take action.

There is simply no excuse for any Representative who votes for Fast Track. Like a vote for the Iraq War or statements of support for the Social Security-cutting Bowles-Simpson plan, a vote for Fast Track and the TPP will never be forgotten and will haunt members of Congress for years to come.

The White House and the big corporations are pulling out all the stops to lobby the House to pass the Fast Track bill. There's no time to lose. Can you pick up the phone and give your Representative a call today?

Thank you for standing with DFA, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders against Fast Track and the TPP.

- Robert

Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager
Democracy for America

Posted by Faryn Balyncd | Tue May 26, 2015, 04:12 PM (2 replies)
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