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We are having a lot of outrage right now in Rhode Island over the words of Ralph R. Papitto, the head of the Trustees of Roger Williams University, who reportedly used the n-word while in a confidential meeting of the board of trustees.  While this is sad, it does not particularly surprise me.  As a clinical social worker, I see how that word is in people's vocabulary, particularly older people who grew up in a much more openly racist society.  And it seems like Mr. Papitto is going to get dealt some severe blows for his misbehavior -- the first of which may have already occurred in his supposedly voluntary resignation from the board.

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Okay my friends.  You remember the Reagan years, when we were supposed to hate the welfare queen and the loser who used food stamps to buy orange juice to mix with his vodka.  These cute little fictional anecdotes delivered by our movie-actor president didn’t amount to class war. Class war is when someone points out that the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans resembles 1929.  

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Available on Kmareka is an audio recording of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's press conference today, announcing three pieces of health care reform legislation.  http://kmareka.com/...

Whitehouse talks in this statement about researching legislation by Patrick Kennedy's uncle (Was it by RFK or JFK?) that tried to use improved technology to address bureaucracy in the past, but it met defeat in "political and economic log-jams."  Will Whitehouse's legislation face a similar fate?  Let's hope not -- there's the potential for incredible savings in moving to IT for medical records.  And those savings are not just dollar and cents savings, but also saving people's lives, such as the case alluded to in Whitehouse's introduction, where a paper medical record was reportedly lost in the transfer of a patient from Rhode Island Hospital to Massachusetts General.

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More is available on DKOS on Julie Amero here.  Julie Amero is scheduled to be sentences on May 15, 2007.

A close friend told me of the surreal story of Julie Amero, a substitute teacher from Mystic, Conn, who was working in a Norwich 7th grade class and is now convicted of exposing minors to pornography (the actual charges are four counts of risking injury to a minor), all because she couldn't get the pop-up windows to close and wasn't thinking clearly enough to decide to turn off the computer.   Why were there pornographic pop-ups on a school computer?  Because the school had not updated its filters.  Both The New York Times and the PC Magazine  recently covered the story.  From The New York Times:

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Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:23 AM PDT

Whitehouse "Astonished" by Johnson

by kiersten

Sci-Tech Today covered Tuesday's hearings on Capitol Hill in which EPA Director Stephen Johnson was asked to put forth a timetable to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions:

[...] Johnson reiterated President Bush has acknowledged concern about climate change and provided a long list of actions he said the administration is taking to deal with the issue, short of regulating greenhouse gases.

"What is the most serious environmental hazard that we face," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked, seeking an acknowledgment of risks of climate change.

"I don't see one being most serious," replied Johnson, a career scientist at the EPA before being named administrator in early 2005.

Whitehouse asked the question again. And Johnson again wouldn't be pinned down.

"You astonish me," Whitehouse snapped.  [full text]

I like how a word such as "astonished" can have so much impact, depending on the context.  

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The Projo puts the estimate over 200 and CCRZDis saying it was close to 300 people who turned out last night, donning dust masks to oppose the concrete plant being built off Pontiac Avenue on Marine Drive in Cranston, RI.  

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is suggesting that awareness about global warming and green environmental policies are heading for mainstream America, and soon all the cool people will be talking about how to save the planet.  This story at Edie.net  describes how Schwarzenegger recently gave a talk at a conference at Georgetown University at which he discussed the way bodybuilding went from being a fringe sport to becoming mainstream, and said that environmental policy needs to undergo a similar transformation.

Now if we could just convince the President and Vice President to join the cool people, we'd be all set.

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Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:22 AM PDT

Lee Iacocca Tells it like it Is

by kiersten

Sometimes when you're suffering from outrage burnout, it's nice to know that there are 82-year-old former CEOs who can pick up the ball and run with it.  From Lee Iacocca's new book, Where Have all the Leaders Gone?:

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The New Yorker's lead story in the April 9th issue is by Jerome Groopman and is called, "What's Normal?" with the subheading, "The difficulty of diagnosing bipolar disorder in children."  While the issue of diagnosing bipolar in children has gotten attention in other mainstream media outlets (most notably in a Time Magazine article from 2002, which The New Yorker article discusses) this is the first time I have seen it addressed in The New Yorker.  Since The New Yorker has led the way on uncovering thorny mental health issues in the past (I'm thinking of the coverage they did about ten years ago on PTSD/false memory syndromes and daycare/sexual abuse scandals), I'm hoping that this is another instance of a big issue being opened up for more public debate.

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Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 01:26 PM PDT

Join the Out of Iraq Blogroll

by kiersten

Cross-posted at http://kmareka.com

There is a new addition to the sidebar on the Kmareka home page, a list of links to a loose confederation of weblogs that are devoted in some measure to expressing opposition to the war in Iraq and to supporting the troops by bringing them home as soon as possible.  The Out Of Iraq Blogroll was conceived and organized primarily by two fellows who go by the pseudonyms Big Tent Democrat and Edger and who are regular members of the peace-and-justice crowd over at TalkLeft.com.  The Out Of Iraq Blogroll is a worthy endeavor, and Kmareka is pleased to be a participant.  For more information, follow this link to a post on the weblog, Edgeing.

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It's like American Idol, except WAY MORE MEANINGFUL.   Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden will answer questions from MoveOn.org's 3.2 million members.  Then the members will respond.   It's your chance to evaluate all the Democratic candidates for the next presidency and cast your vote for who you think is the best.

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Cross-posted at http://kmareka.com/...

Believe it or not, corporate giant Monsanto is suing milk producers such as Hood and Garelick Farms for telling consumers that they are not using cows who are fed rBST, a hormone which some dairies use to make their cows produce more milk.  From Boston.com:

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