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Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Deathwi64orlbucfanBennyjcitybone Recent comment authors

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T and R x 2, jcb!! 🙂 I found this Jimmy Carter tribute read by Thom Hartmann in my email this am. It’s actually quite good. Carter was the first POTUS I voted for. While more conservative than me, he wasn’t nauseating nor a liar. Compared to all the GOPuke and DNC/Turd Way crap ‘offered’ to us in the last 43 years, he’s akin to a saint. https://hartmannreport.com/p/jimmy-carter-reflects-the-best-of


Same here Orl, had just turned 18 in June of that election year -its one of those things you dont forget



No surprise. 💩


The suprise would of been that they decided to hear it


I’m glad to see Bernie appear on MSNBC with interviews from anchors besides Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi (although Velshi is very good and easy for Bernie to talk to). She’s a corporatist, although once in awhile, Wagner will throw a slight curve ball like Jake Tapper to challenge Dems. Bernie stays in his own lane.


Saw the Bernster today on Stephen Colbert’s late night show. Hubster watches it the next day. Audience was chanting his name, cheering, and listening. I thought where are the young politicos to follow in his shoes? I got a bit wistful.


What could of been SIGH!!!!!, To see an alternate time line where Bernie is President would be something to see!!!!!



Attorney General Ken Paxton testified in front of a House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday to ask lawmakers to budget more money for the attorney general’s office, including $3.3 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit four of his former top aides filed against the agency.

Assistant Attorney General Chris Hilton told the subcommittee the agency has spent nearly $600,000 on the whistleblower case — money from the office’s general budget that largely covered payments for private attorneys — and argued that paying the settlement agreement is in the state’s financial interest.

“The $3.3 million would essentially be our cost of defense. Even if we were to go to trial, litigate it and completely win on the merits, at the end of the day that money is going to get spent regardless,” Hilton said. “That’s if we win at trial. If we lose at trial, the damages exposure would obviously be higher than that. And again, because it is pending litigation, I don’t want to get into too many specifics, but I feel comfortable saying that it would be much higher than what we’ve agreed to enter into here … if we were to litigate and lose.”

Hilton argued the cost to taxpayers could exceed $3.3 million if the lawsuit were to continue, in part because the case is procedurally in the early stages, although “it has been pending for a while.” He said the discovery process has yet to begin and that undertaking is lengthy, intensive and costly.

“It strikes me that we’re kind of between the proverbial rock and a hard place in that we either pay the $3.3 million now, or pay far more than that, either in additional legal expenses or an unfortunate result,” said subcommittee member Rep. David Spiller, R-Jacksboro.

More:Texas House speaker opposes using tax money to pay Paxton’s $3.3 million settlement

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have expressed opposition to taxpayers footing the bill to settle the whistleblower suit, which four former attorney general’s office employees filed in 2020 alleging they were improperly fired after reporting to the FBI what they believed to be criminal conduct by Paxton.

The former employees allege that Paxton abused his office by intervening in a federal investigation into political donor and Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, in exchange for Paul remodeling Paxton’s Austin home, hiring a woman Paxton allegedly had an affair with, and providing a $25,000 political donation to Paxton.

According to the tentative settlement agreement filed earlier this month, Paxton will pay the four agency whistleblowers $3.3 million and apologize for calling them “rogue employees,” though neither side will be required to admit to any wrongdoing.

Hilton explained to lawmakers that according to the state’s General Appropriations Act, any settlement payment involving state agencies that exceeds $250,000 needs the Legislature’s approval.

More:AG Ken Paxton downplayed accusations of impropriety, whistleblowers allege

When asked by lawmakers Tuesday what would happen if the Legislature does not approve the settlement payment, Hilton said it’s “difficult to predict” exactly what the next steps would be.

“Because it’s pending litigation, I don’t want to get into too many details,” Hilton said. “Under the terms of the settlement, it is contingent upon all necessary approvals.”

He also clarified that Paxton is not personally responsible for paying the settlement because the lawsuit is against the attorney general’s office.

“The case is against the state of Texas, and that’s true of any Whistleblower Act employment case,” Hilton said. “It’s very clear that the agency is the proper defendant. In every single whistleblower case, you have a situation where the so-called whistleblowers are talking about the acts of one or a few specific employees, but the entity is always the defendant.”

No money for immigrants, but taxpayers have to foot the bill for his gross incompetence?


I have a better and cheaper solution: stick Paxton in jail.


McClellan projected to become first Black woman to represent Va. in Congress

State Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan defeated conservative pastor Leon Benjamin to become the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress, the Associated Press projected Tuesday.

McClellan (D-Richmond) bested Benjamin in his third bid for the 4th District seat, vacated after the death in November of Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), whom McClellan has described as a longtime friend and mentor.

McClellan, 50, was widely expected to prevail in the deep-blue, Richmond-anchored district, which stretches to the North Carolina border. But within the broader arc of history, in a city still contending with its Confederate past — in a country still reckoning with the consequences of slavery, segregation and “massive resistance” — McClellan said she felt the weight of the victory.

She was thinking, she said in an interview, of her parents, who grew up in the segregated South; her father and grandfather, who paid poll taxes; and the women in her family who for generations faced barriers to participating in American democracy.


I don’t believe she will be part of the Squad.

McClellan, a corporate lawyer, brings roughly 17 years of legislative experience in the General Assembly to Congress, having first been elected to the House of Delegates in 2005. She won a breakneck Democratic primary, a campaign that lasted just a week, against three other candidates in December, after McEachin’s death. Her opponent this time, Benjamin, a socially conservative pastor who seized on national themes in his campaign— such as fighting inflation and crime — had previously lost to McEachin twice by double digits.

Multiple voters at the polls Tuesday also said they admired McClellan for her support for public education.


Why are nurses quitting? Ask the nurse no hospital will hire.

n January 2022, 150 health-care workers piled into a Manhattan comedy club. Many hadn’t been inside an entertainment venue in nearly two years, and even now, their heads flashed with images of dystopian nightmare: the body bags and cold storage trucks; the last-ever FaceTime calls; the unvaccinated patients who spewed invective before being hooked up to respirators. More recently, they’d come off long, understaffed shifts in ERs and ICUs across the city. They were exhausted. But they were in the right place.

They had come to see Katie Duke: a 40-year-old, 5-foot-tall troublemaker in black and mocha suede Jordans who emerged from the pandemic as a nursing celebrity. Duke is a nurse practitioner (NP), content creator and health-care advocate who hosts a society and culture podcast titled “Bad Decisions.” She’s also an Instagram influencer who promotes lifestyle brands to her 143,000 followers. But her 90-minute show — “Bad Decisions: A Night of Healthcare, Comedy and Catharsis” — was her first experience with stand-up. If it went well, a booking agency had promised her a national tour.

When Duke took the stage, she explained that she’d initially balked at the idea of stand-up. “Are you out of your godd—ed mind?” she recalled asking her manager. “Or are you just trying to get me canceled and DNR’d from every f—ing employer in the country?”

Behind their masks, the audience broke into laughter. Duke continued, “Tonight is about some fun, it’s all about some pretty offensive digs at the health-care system, our government and our health-care leadership.” She made an off-color joke about hospital administrators. “Am I going too low?” she asked.

“Go lower!” somebody shouted.

Duke grew serious. “I want you to have a more defined sense of your f—ing worth, and a greater confidence in your voice,” she said. “Because when a lot of voices are stronger together, s— starts to stir. … I’m a pretty good NP, but I’m even better at stirring s—.”

Duke has been pushing back on expectations about what a nurse is and how she (it’s almost always a she) should act for nearly a decade. Among them, she told me later that week: Nurses should work in hospitals; nurses are merely support staff for doctors; nursing isn’t creative or entrepreneurial; nurses are tireless and have endless reserves of patience; nurses keep their discontent to themselves.

Since the start of the pandemic, nurses have taken to social media in large numbers to share their experiences and vent. The corner of the internet known as “NurseTok” is full of truth-telling: about the experience of working with incredibly sick — and sometimes dying — patients day after day. But also about the frustrations of working a demanding service job. In December, four nurses at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta were fired for making a viral TikTok video that mocked maternity patients and their families. A statement from the hospital suggested that their lack of empathy was unforgivable.

Nurses don’t dispute that patients deserve compassion and respect, but many feel that their roles are misunderstood and their expertise undervalued; as Duke repeatedly told me, people don’t respect nurses like they do doctors. As a result, nurses are leaving hospitals in droves. And they’re establishing new careers, not just in health care but as creatives and entrepreneurs. Successful influencers such as Duke are leading the way, providing empathy, mentorship and a license to speak out. It’s a tricky balance. Duke wants — and needs — to work as a nurse to stay relevant. But her hospital employers don’t love the movement she’s aiding, that’s encouraging nurses to criticize working conditions and culture or to leave bedside work entirely. Hospitals were chronically understaffed before the coronavirus pandemic, and the shortfalls have only worsened. America desperately needs more health-care providers but not necessarily the wellness entrepreneurs and career consultants that many departing nurses have become.

But why should nurses be held to a different standard than other workers pivoting during the Great Resignation? Duke argues that nurses are especially fed up and burned out. And yet, as caretakers, nobody expects them to put their physical and emotional well-being first. But that’s starting to change. Once a lone voice, Duke is now a representative one.

Nurses make up the nation’s largest body of health-care workers, with three times as many RNs as physicians. They also died of covid at higher rates than other health-care workers, and they experience high rates of burnout, “an occupational syndrome characterized by a high degree of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment at work,” according to the World Health Organization. Wendy Miller, associate dean of the Indiana University School of Nursing at Bloomington, told me high stress and anxiety are the “antecedents” to burnout. But you know you’ve hit the nadir when you become emotionally detached from your work. “It’s almost like a loss of meaning,” she said.

Before the pandemic, between a third and half of nurses and physicians already reported symptoms of burnout. A covid impact study published in March 2022 by the American Nurses Foundation found this number had risen to 60 percent among acute-care nurses. “Reports of feeling betrayed, undervalued, and unsupported have risen,” the ANF study said.

Miller said nurses are experiencing “collective trauma,” a conclusion she reached by studying their social media usage through the pandemic. She and her colleague Doyle Groves, a data scientist, oversee the Social Network Health Research Lab at IU. In April 2020 and between June 2021 and September 2022, they collected more than 249,000 tweets that referenced nursing-related topics from more than 97,500 users. In April 2020, Miller said the public was “exalting nurses as these superheroes and angels,” while nurses themselves were tweeting about “the horrible working conditions, enormous amount of death without any break … being mentally and completely worn down and exhausted.”

Miller and Groves also found a fivefold increase in references to quitting between the 2020 study and the 2021 study. “Our profession will never be the same,” Miller told me. “If you talked to any nurse who worked bedside through the pandemic, that’s what they’ll tell you.” From this, she says, has grown a desire to be heard. “We feel emboldened. We’re not as willing to be silent anymore.”

On her podcast, Duke tells a story about her early days in nursing school. She was 20, working minimum wage at a deli and living with an abusive boyfriend in her hometown of St. Louis. Her parents were covering her school tuition, but they were otherwise estranged.

So when Duke’s instructors announced that all students needed clean, white shoes to start clinicals, she felt unable to ask for more money. Instead, she walked into a shoe store wearing her “dirty, terrible, disgusting” sneakers, put on a pair of pristine white ones, and walked out. She was caught, the police were called, and Duke spent the weekend in jail. The store never took the shoes back, so Duke started clinicals without incident.

It wasn’t her only arrest. A year later, she spent a couple of nights in central booking for fighting with a woman who she says was sleeping with her boyfriend. The assault charges were dropped, “but I definitely started it,” Duke said, in her typically matter-of-fact way. She doesn’t try to rationalize these missteps, but she’s not exactly remorseful. The shoe incident, in particular, was something of a Jean Valjean moment — the scrappy underdog taking the necessary steps to survive. Yes, she says, it was embarrassing to own up to having a record when she took the nursing boards. But she’s more than made peace with her mistakes. In fact, she named her podcast “Bad Decisions” after them. “What society tells us we should be ashamed about,” she said, “we need to start encouraging people, especially women, to embrace as part of our story and our truth.” Duke has seen the benefits of this approach. Arguably, it has fueled her success.

In 2010, she was an ER nurse at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan when ABC approached the hospital about filming a docuseries there called “NY Med.” Duke said there was plenty of skepticism about the idea. “People were either like this is unethical, ridiculous, or why would the hospital agree to let a camera crew in?” But she was intrigued. She hated how nurses were generally depicted in popular culture. “Have you ever seen [the news media] reach out to a nurse or an NP to deliver public health news?” she said. The producers quickly identified Duke as on-camera material. “There’s no way Katie would have said no,” said Duke’s older sister Rebecca, also a nurse practitioner. “That’s her personality.”

“NY Med” was well received when it premiered in July 2012. Duke recalls being interviewed and taken to publicity events; she started getting attention on Twitter and Instagram. When the second season was announced, the producers decided to stick with many of the same cast members. Jealousies emerged among people who’d hoped for a shot at the spotlight or believed that Duke’s sudden fame, limited as it was, had gone to her head. She attests that her supervisors began to micromanage her and hold her to stringent disciplinary standards for small infractions. She was suspended for a week, she says, for telling a VIP patient that he had to wait in the regular waiting room like everyone else instead of cutting the line. (New York-Presbyterian declined to comment for this story.)

And then, in late February 2013, Duke was abruptly fired. She’d posted a photo on Instagram showing an ER where hospital staff had just saved the life of a man hit by a subway train. It looked like a hurricane had blown through. There were no people in the photo, but Duke titled the post, “Man vs. 6 train.” She told me she wanted to showcase “the amazing things doctors and nurses do to save lives … the f—ing real deal.”

Before long she was summoned, without cameras, by her director of nursing and the patient care director. Duke says her superiors called her an “amazing nurse and team member” before they told her that “it was time to move on.” Her director handed her a printout of the Instagram post. According to Duke, he acknowledged that she hadn’t violated HIPAA or any hospital policies but said she’d been insensitive and unprofessional. She was escorted out of the building by security. When the episode aired, it showed Duke crying on the sidewalk outside the hospital.

Duke was crushed. The hospital was reimbursing her graduate tuition and provided her health insurance. She also loved the hospital: Her life, her friends, her purpose was there. “It was a really bad feeling,” she recalled. “Being disposable and disposed of is really uncomfortable.” She was also angry. She’d reposted the photo, with permission, from a male doctor’s Instagram account. He faced no repercussions. She now admits her caption was rather “cold” — especially compared with the doctor’s, “After the trauma.” In hindsight, she said, she might have been more sensitive. Maybe not even posted the photo at all. And yet this frustrates her. Why shouldn’t the public see nursing culture for what it really is? Man vs. 6 Train. “That’s ER speak,” she told me. “We say ‘head injury in room five.’ We don’t say ‘Mr. Smith in room five. We talk and think by mechanism of injury.”

But this is at odds with the romanticized image of the nurturing nurse — which hospitals often want to project. In some cases, nurses are explicitly told not to be forthright with their patients. “I know nurses in oncology who are not allowed to say to a patient and their family, ‘This will be the fourth clinical trial, but we all know your family member is dying,” said Barbara Glickstein, 68, a longtime nurse who also runs a consulting firm aimed at helping nurses become more media savvy. “People are tired of not being seen for who they are and what they know.”