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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
July 20, 2023

An investigation into a 'staggering' and 'unconscionable' scheme against Oklahomans

Ben Felder

July 19, 2023

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond says he is prepared to file the largest lawsuit in state history to recoup billions of dollars in natural gas costs from a 2021 winter storm, which left Oklahoma ratepayers with significantly higher utility bills.

Drummond announced Tuesday he is soliciting bids for outside legal help in pursuing the case.

An initial investigation found no wrongdoing by oil and gas firms and utility companies like Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., Drummond said.

Instead, he accused natural gas marketers of reducing supply as demand rose to combat frigid temperatures, resulting in a cost spike.


( One can only imagine what would be revealed through the depositions alone. )

July 20, 2023

Southern California school board rejects curriculum that mentions Harvey Milk

The controversy centered over a three-paragraph mention of the gay rights figure in supplemental materials.

July 19, 2023, 3:23 AM EDT

By Alicia Victoria Lozano

TEMECULA, Calif. — A Southern California school board has become the latest proxy for culture wars brewing across the country after a conservative bloc voted to formally reject state-endorsed curriculum that would have mentioned gay rights figure Harvey Milk.

On Tuesday, a heated Temecula Valley Unified School District board meeting dissolved into shouts and jeers as parents, teachers and community members confronted one another over a three-paragraph mention of Milk in supplemental materials for students in grades one through five.

At least three people were ejected from the five-hour hearing and escorted outside by law enforcement officers. In the parking lot, stickers in support of the far-right Proud Boys group mysteriously appeared on cars.


( Ignorance and hatred thriving. )

July 18, 2023

Exclusive: Texas troopers told to push children into Rio Grande, deny water to migrants, records say

Benjamin Wermund
July 17, 2023
Updated: July 17, 2023 9:41 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Officers working for Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, and have been told not to give water to asylum seekers even in extreme heat, according to an email from a Department of Public Safety trooper who described the actions as “inhumane.”

The July 3 account, reviewed by Hearst Newspapers, discloses several previously unreported incidents the trooper witnessed in Eagle Pass, where the state of Texas has strung miles of razor wire and deployed a wall of buoys in the Rio Grande.

According to the email, a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found late last month caught in the wire, doubled over in pain. A four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after she tried to go through it and was pushed back by Texas National Guard soldiers. A teenager broke his leg trying to navigate the water around the wire and had to be carried by his father.


Federal Border Patrol officials have issued internal warnings that the razor wire is preventing their agents from reaching at-risk migrants and increasing the risk of drownings in the Rio Grande, Hearst Newspapers reported last week.


( No words. )

July 18, 2023

Scientists Are Just Beginning to Understand COVID-19's Effect On the Brain

JULY 17, 2023 10:50 AM EDT

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors started to notice something striking. For what was originally described as a respiratory virus, SARS-CoV-2 seemed to have a strong effect on the brain, causing everything from loss of taste and smell and brain fog to, in serious cases, stroke.

NYU Langone Health, a New York city research hospital, started collating those anecdotes in hopes of better understanding how the virus affects the brain and nervous system. Years later, the project has morphed from focusing solely on acute symptoms to also tracking the long-term neurologic issues that some people with Long COVID experience, says program director Dr. Sharon Meropol.

The list of neurocognitive issues that Meropol’s team and other researchers must track is extensive: cognitive decline, changes in brain size and structure, depression and suicidal thinking, tremors, seizures, memory loss, and new or worsened dementia have all been linked to previous SARS-CoV-2 infections. In some cases, these longer-term problems occur even in patients with relatively mild COVID-19.

The “Holy Grail” question now, Meropol says, is what’s going on in the brains of COVID-19 patients—and how to reverse the damage.


July 18, 2023

Dem.Richard Gephardt opposing the effort by the group No Labels (PBS NewsHour @NewsHour )

A new organization is opposing the effort by the group No Labels to run a third-party candidate in the 2024 presidential race.

spoke to former House Democratic Majority Leader Richard Gephardt who is teaming up against the group.



( Good man! )

July 17, 2023

Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025

By Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman

July 17, 2023
Updated 7:31 a.m. ET

Donald J. Trump and his allies are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands.

Their plans to centralize more power in the Oval Office stretch far beyond the former president’s recent remarks that he would order a criminal investigation into his political rival, President Biden, signaling his intent to end the post-Watergate norm of Justice Department independence from White House political control.

Mr. Trump and his associates have a broader goal: to alter the balance of power by increasing the president’s authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House, according to a review of his campaign policy proposals and interviews with people close to him.

Mr. Trump intends to bring independent agencies — like the Federal Communications Commission, which makes and enforces rules for television and internet companies, and the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces various antitrust and other consumer protection rules against businesses — under direct presidential control.


( Warned and it makes sense this kind of power is what they're after, they learned the last time they had limits. )

July 14, 2023

Englewood man gets 5 years in prison for Jan. 6 Capitol breach

WGCU | By WGCU Staff
Published July 13, 2023 at 2:13 PM EDT

An Englewood man was sentenced for assaulting law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. The defendant assaulted police and led a breach of line that collapsed the police perimeter.
A Englewood man was sentenced Wednesday on felony charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Daniel Lyons Scott, 29, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, 36 months of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Scott's actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.


According to court documents, Scott, a member of the Proud Boys organization who goes by the nickname “Milkshake,” and co-defendant Christopher Worrell of Naples, were involved in discussions leading up to January 6 on the encrypted messaging application Telegram about ways to block the Congressional certification of the Electoral College vote.

On Jan. 3, 2021, Scott and other members of the Proud Boys organization attended a rally to protest the 2020 election in Naples, Florida. During the rally, Scott yelled to the crowd that if a Florida U.S. Senator did not vote against the certification of the Electoral College vote, they should “give him the rope!”

( 5 years is not shabby...bye bye. )

July 14, 2023

Teen and mom plead guilty to abortion charges based on Facebook data

Rebecca Bellan@rebeccabellan / 7:08 PM EDT• July 11, 2023

A Nebraska woman has pleaded guilty to helping her daughter have a medication abortion last year. The legal proceeding against her hinged on Facebook’s decision to provide authorities with private messages between that mother and her 17-year-old daughter discussing the latter’s plans to terminate her pregnancy.

The case is a telling example of how Big Tech can be tapped to help prosecute abortion in the United States, where the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that legalized abortion. Experts have warned that location data, search histories, emails, text messages and even period- and ovulation-tracking apps can now be used in the prosecution of people who seek an abortion and those who assist them, and this case shows they are right to worry.

Meta, which owns Facebook, could have challenged the legal order to hand over private messages to police, as it and other tech companies sometimes do on various grounds, but it didn’t. The private messages on Facebook Messenger show how the two discussed plans to terminate the pregnancy and destroy the evidence, including instructions from the mother on how to use the pills to end the pregnancy. Those messages directly led law enforcement to acquire a search warrant.

Police raided the family’s home and seized six smartphones and seven laptops, with data like internet history and emails totaling 24 gigabytes.


( I'm not sure I have civil words to describe how dangerous this is. )

July 14, 2023

How Discrimination Gets Under the Skin

How Discrimination Gets Under the Skin: Biological Determinants of Discrimination Associated With Dysregulation of the Brain-Gut Microbiome System and Psychological Symptoms


Discrimination is associated with negative health outcomes as mediated in part by chronic stress, but a full understanding of the biological pathways is lacking. Here we investigate the effects of discrimination involved in dysregulating the brain-gut microbiome (BGM) system.

A total of 154 participants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging to measure functional connectivity. Fecal samples were obtained for 16S ribosomal RNA profiling and fecal metabolites and serum for inflammatory markers, along with questionnaires. The Everyday Discrimination Scale was administered to measure chronic and routine experiences of unfair treatment. A sparse partial least squares-discriminant analysis was conducted to predict BGM alterations as a function of discrimination, controlling for sex, age, body mass index, and diet. Associations between discrimination-related BGM alterations and psychological variables were assessed using a tripartite analysis.

Discrimination was associated with anxiety, depression, and visceral sensitivity. Discrimination was associated with alterations of brain networks related to emotion, cognition and self-perception, and structural and functional changes in the gut microbiome. BGM discrimination-related associations varied by race/ethnicity. Among Black and Hispanic individuals, discrimination led to brain network changes consistent with psychological coping and increased systemic inflammation. For White individuals, discrimination was related to anxiety but not inflammation, while for Asian individuals, the patterns suggest possible somatization and behavioral (e.g., dietary) responses to discrimination.

Discrimination is attributed to changes in the BGM system more skewed toward inflammation, threat response, emotional arousal, and psychological symptoms. By integrating diverse lines of research, our results demonstrate evidence that may explain how discrimination contributes to health inequalities.

Biological Psychiatry
A Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Therapeutics

( Food for thought. )
July 14, 2023

Shaker Heights attorney, a Trump supporter, tells judge he voted twice in last two elections

Shaker Heights attorney, a Trump supporter, tells judge he voted twice in last two elections by accident

Published: Jul. 13, 2023, 8:00 a.m.

By Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Shaker Heights attorney accused of illegally voting in the last two general elections should be acquitted, in part, because he cast ballots in two states by accident, his attorney argued to a judge.

James Saunders, a 56-year-old former lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service, did not mean to commit a crime when he cast ballots in both Cuyahoga County and Broward County, Florida, counties where he owns property and has been registered to vote since before 2009, his lawyer said during closing arguments Wednesday.

Scott Roger Hurley, an assistant public defender, asked Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew Santoli to “come to a just result here that acknowledges that, yes, mistakes do happen, accidents do happen” and find Saunders not guilty of two felony counts of voter fraud.

Andrew Rogalski, an assistant county prosecutor, said the argument would have been more credible if Saunders had done it just once.


( Yea, he was too stupid to know what he was doing. Leave it to a con whose party is always screaming election fraud. lol)

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