Archive

We know how to fight Zika in Puerto Rico but we aren't giving women the tools to do it

    "She is just trying to do everything right for her baby," my colleague in Puerto Rico told me. At that point, it was too late for her sister to try to prevent an unintended pregnancy. She was already a couple of months along and now trying to figure out what she could do to prevent Zika infection. She felt trapped - homebound in an air-conditioned apartment with her partner, too worried about being exposed to mosquitoes to even go to her doctor appointments. She often thought about leaving the country for the mainland United States, which Puerto Rican citizens can do at any time if they have the financial means.

    My colleague was asking for my advice - as a friend, but more as a doctor. In June, when I was on the ground in Puerto Rico working with local providers at community health centers to help stop the spread of Zika, a virus that has become a public health emergency, there were 130 cases of Zika-positive pregnancies on the island. Since then, that number has shot up to about 900 and, today, there are probably many more. Unfortunately, I had little to share with her that day other than the typical lines: We don't know much, she should stay protected if she can with mosquito nets and condoms.

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August 30th

Trump just admitted his entire immigration posture is a big scam

    Donald Trump is currently running an ad in four swing states that graphically depicts the southern border as being overrun by dark hordes. It flatly states that in Hillary Clinton's America, the borders will be "open." And it promises a hyper-tough response from President Trump, which is illustrated with cops carefully scanning the border and images of helicopters patrolling for fleeing invaders.

    This represents the larger tale that Trump has been telling about immigration for the last year, one that is central to his whole candidacy: Unlike our current, feckless, "politically correct" leaders, who are not enforcing immigration laws and as a result allowing undocumented immigrants to snatch jobs from Americans, only Trump is tough, savvy at management, and "politically incorrect" enough to do what really must be done: Expel all undocumented immigrants as quickly as possible, to Make America Safe And Great Again.

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How panics about pictures of naked women shaped the Web as we know it

    On Aug. 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee posted to a newsgroup with the subject heading "WorldWideWeb: Summary," describing his new invention in the most prosaic of terms. "To follow a link, a reader clicks with a mouse," he wrote. "To search and index, a reader gives keywords."

    The Web browser that accompanied this launch was text-only. Two years later, Mosaic became the first browser to display images inline - that is, right next to the text, rather than having to be downloaded in a separate window.

    Berners-Lee was displeased. Now, he said, people were going to start posting pictures of naked women.

    He wasn't wrong.

    The World Wide Web turned 25 this month. For most of the years since it came online, its destiny and evolution have been inextricably intertwined with nude photos. The sexualized female body has, from the beginning, been the catalyst for attempts to regulate what's on the Web, ultimately shaping what the Internet looks like today.

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Federal Marijuana Laws Reek of Hy-Pot-Crisy

    For a few brief months, it looked like America might take a step closer to sanity. And then came the news: the Obama administration will not loosen federal restrictions on marijuana after all.

    Before delving into the issue of marijuana, consider its two fellow “gateway drugs:” alcohol and tobacco. Aside from the potential benefits from drinking a glass of red wine, neither one is good for you.

    Alcohol can be incredibly harmful, either via acute alcohol poisoning or via chronic destruction to your life and liver. Cigarettes are always bad for you.

    All three—alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana—supposedly entice users to take a timid step into the world of drug use and then find themselves plunged all the way in with “harder” drugs like heroin, cocaine, or meth.

    And while illegal drugs like meth and heroin can ruin your life or kill you, so can legal ones like alcohol. Just ask any recovering alcoholic.

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Donald Trump, shifting tone, still tone deaf

    As Donald Trump expressed "regret" for saying "the wrong thing" sometimes in his campaign, I thought he was going to break into song:

    "Regrets, I've had a few/ But then again, too few to mention...."

    Yes, that line from Frank Sinatra's "My Way" (actually Paul Anka's rewrite of a French song) reflects the wealthy developer-turned-Republican presidential candidate's attitude in Charlotte, N.C., in his first speech since rebooting his failing campaign's leadership.

    Regrets? He's had a few, Trump tells us. But apparently they are too few to mention, since he didn't bother to mention any of them.

    Or more likely, listing his offenses against various groups and individuals -- varying from a Gold Star family to Fox News' Megyn Kelly -- would "take too much time," as he says of all "political correctness."

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Debt Collectors Get Away With Daylight Robbery

    I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

    The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

    Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

    Every year, debt collection firms routinely abuse the law and overload our courts by filing hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against debtors.

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Clinton is making her trust problem worse

    Hillary Clinton enjoys about a five-point polling lead over Donald Trump. One way to look at this is that it's a margin, at this stage of a presidential race, that is rarely reversed.

    Here's another way. The Democrats had a successful convention; the Republicans didn't. Clinton's campaign has been smooth; Trump's has careened between disasters. She has reached out to independents and Republicans; he has insulted the family of a soldier killed in Iraq, along with people with disabilities, Latinos and women. Clinton has outspent him 3 to 1.

    And she's ahead by only five percentage points.

    Most political experts are confident she'll win -- the political website FiveThirtyEight's election forecast, for example, pegs the probability at 77 percent or 85 percent, depending which measures are included. But the comparative closeness of the race underscores her problems.

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Are Hillary's emails Donald's lifeline?

    A judge's order that nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails from Hillary Clinton's private server may possibly be released has given Donald Trump's campaign a much-needed diversion to turn the public spotlight back onto her one glaring political vulnerability -- her trustworthiness.

    The order was obtained by Judicial Watch, the conservative legal hound dog sniffing around her involvement with the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state during Obama's first term. The order requires the State Department to review the emails and provide the court an accelerated timetable for possible public release by Sept. 23, meaning previously unseen emails could become public before the Nov. 8 presidential election.

    Trump has made clear he hopes they will add fuel to his claim that Clinton used State Department influence to reward major foundation donors in support of his label for her, "crooked Hillary."

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Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl

    On April 30, 1941, a Jewish man here in Amsterdam wrote a desperate letter to an American friend, pleading for help emigrating to the United States.

    “U.S.A. is the only country we could go to,” he wrote. “It is for the sake of the children mainly.”

    A volunteer found that plea for help in 2005 when she was sorting old World War II refugee files in New York City. It looked like countless other files, until she saw the children’s names.

    “Oh my God,” she said, “this is the Anne Frank file.”

    Along with the letter were many others by Otto Frank, frantically seeking help to flee Nazi persecution and obtain a visa to America, Britain or Cuba — but getting nowhere because of global indifference to Jewish refugees.

    We all know that the Frank children were murdered by the Nazis, but what is less known is the way Anne’s fate was sealed by a callous fear of refugees, among the world’s most desperate people.

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Trump's 360-degree 'pivot'

    Donald Trump's "pivot," desperately hoped for by sane Republicans, was over before it began. He couldn't pretend to be inclusive and statesmanlike for two days in a row if his life depended on it.

    Anyone who doubts this should only consider Trump's idea of an appeal to African-American voters: "What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?"

    That's right, black Americans. The Republican candidate for president says you live Hobbesian lives of misery and despair, with no options, no prospects, no joy, no hope. Oh, and he wants your vote.

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