Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:35:52 AM
Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.
From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.
The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men’s prison.
Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future.
Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State Prison inmate who worked in the prison’s infirmary during 2007, said she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not right,’ ” Nguyen, 28, said. “Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore?”
One former Valley State inmate who gave birth to a son in October 2006 said the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, repeatedly pressured her to agree to a tubal ligation.
“As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it,” said Christina Cordero, 34, who spent two years in prison for auto theft. “He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn’t do it.”
Cordero, released in 2008 and now living in Upland, Calif., agreed, but she says, “today, I wish I would have never had it done.”
The allegations echo those made nearly a half-century ago, when forced sterilizations of prisoners, the mentally ill and the poor were commonplace in California. State lawmakers officially banned such practices in 1979.
During an interview with CIR, Heinrich said he provided an important service to poor women who faced health risks in future pregnancies because of past cesarean sections. The 69-year-old Bay Area physician denied pressuring anyone and expressed surprise that local contract doctors had charged for the surgeries. He described the $147,460 total as minimal.
“Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money,” Heinrich said, “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”
The top medical manager at Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2008 characterized the surgeries as an empowerment issue for female inmates, providing them the same options as women on the outside. Daun Martin, a licensed psychologist, also claimed that some pregnant women, particularly those on drugs or who were homeless, would commit crimes so they could return to prison for better health care.
“Do I criticize those women for manipulating the system because they’re pregnant? Absolutely not,” Martin, 73, said. “But I don’t think it should happen. And I’d like to find ways to decrease that.”
Martin denied approving the surgeries, but at least 60 tubal ligations were done at Valley State while Martin was in charge, according to the state contracts database.
Martin’s counterpart at the California Institution for Women, Dr. Jacqueline Long, declined to discuss why inmates received unauthorized tubal ligations under her watch. But the Corona prison’s former compliance officer, William Kelsey, said there was disagreement among staff members over the procedure.
During one meeting in late 2005, a few correctional officers differed with Long’s medical team over adding tubal ligations to a local hospital’s contract, Kelsey, 57, said. The officers viewed the surgeries as nonessential medical care and questioned whether the state should pay.
“They were just fed up,” Kelsey said. “They didn’t think criminals and inmates had a right to the care we were providing them and they let their personal opinions be heard.”
The service was included, however, and Kelsey said the grumbling subsided.
Federal and state laws ban inmate sterilizations if federal funds are used, reflecting concerns that prisoners might feel pressured to comply. California used state funds instead, but since 1994, the procedure has required approval from top medical officials in Sacramento on a case-by-case basis.
Yet no tubal ligation requests have come before the health care committee responsible for approving such restricted surgeries, said Dr. Ricki Barnett, who tracks medical services and costs for the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp. Barnett, 65, has led the Health Care Review Committee since joining the prison receiver’s office in 2008.
“When we heard about the tubal ligations, it made us all feel slightly queasy,” Barnett said. “It wasn’t so much that people were conspiratorial or coercive or sloppy. It concerns me that people never took a step back to project what they would feel if they were in the inmate’s shoes and what the inmate’s future might hold should they do this.”
Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the state corrections department, said the department couldn’t comment because it no longer has access to inmate medical files.
“All medical care for inmates, and all medical files, past and present, are under the control of the Receiver’s Office,” Callison wrote in an email.
The receiver has overseen medical care in all 33 of the state’s prisons since 2006, when U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of the Northern District of California ruled that the system’s health care was so poor that it violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The receiver’s office was aware that sterilizations were happening, records show.
In September 2008, the prisoner rights group Justice Now received a written response to questions about the treatment of pregnant inmates from Tim Rougeux, then the receiver’s chief operating officer. The letter acknowledged that the two prisons offered sterilization surgery to women.
But nothing changed until 2010, after the Oakland-based organization filed a public records request and complained to the office of state Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale. Liu was the chairwoman of the Select Committee on Women and Children in the Criminal Justice System.
Prompted by a phone call from Liu’s staff, Barnett said the receiver’s top medical officer asked her to research the matter. After analyzing medical and cost records, Barnett met in 2010 with officials at both women’s prisons and contract health professionals affiliated with nearby hospitals.
During those meetings, Barnett told them to halt inmate sterilizations. In response, she said, she got an earful.
The 16-year-old restriction on tubal ligations seemed to be news to prison health administrators, doctors, nurses and the contracting physicians, Barnett recalled. And, she said, none of the doctors thought they needed permission to perform the surgery on inmates.
“Everybody was operating on the fact that this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” she said.
Martin, the Valley State Prison medical manager, said she and her staff had discovered the procedure was restricted five years earlier. Someone had complained about the sterilization of an inmate who had at least six children, Martin recalled. That prompted Martin to research the prison’s medical rules.
After learning of the restrictions, Martin told CIR that she and Heinrich began to look for ways around them. Both believed the rules were unfair to women, she said.
“I’m sure that on a couple of occasions, (Heinrich) brought an issue to me saying, ‘Mary Smith is having a medical emergency’ kind of thing, ‘and we ought to have a tubal ligation. She’s got six kids. Can we do it?’ ” Martin said. “And I said, ‘Well, if you document it as a medical emergency, perhaps.’ ”
Heinrich said he offered tubal ligations only to pregnant inmates with a history of at least three C-sections. Additional pregnancies would be dangerous for these women, Heinrich said, because scar tissue inside the uterus could tear, resulting in massive blood loss and possible death.
“It was a medical problem that we had to make them aware of,” Heinrich said. “It’s up to the doctor who’s delivering (your baby) … to make you aware of what’s going on. We’re at risk for not telling them.”
Former inmates tell a different story.
Michelle Anderson, who gave birth in December 2006 while at Valley State, said she’d had one prior C-section. Anderson, 44, repeatedly was asked to agree to be sterilized, she said, and was not told what risk factors led to the requests. She refused.
Nikki Montano also had had one C-section before she landed at Valley State in 2008, pregnant and battling drug addiction.
Montano, 42, was serving time after pleading guilty to burglary, forgery and receiving stolen property. The mother of seven children, she said neither Heinrich nor the medical staff told her why she needed a tubal ligation.
“I figured that’s just what happens in prison – that that’s the best kind of doctor you’re going get,” Montano said. “He never told me nothing about nothing.”
Montano eagerly agreed to the surgery and said she still considers it a positive in her life.
Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OB-GYN at San Francisco General Hospital who teaches at UC San Francisco, said it is not common practice to offer tubal ligations to women who’ve had one C-section. She confirmed that having multiple C-sections increases the risk of complications, but even then, she said, it’s more appropriate to offer women reversible means of birth control, like intrauterine devices or implants.
“Every C-section, every situation is different,” Sufrin said. “Some people with more prior C-sections have absolutely no problems and no risks.”
History in eugenics
To be sure, tubal ligations represented a small portion of the medical care provided to pregnant inmates. Statistics and a report from the prison receiver’s office show that from 2000 to 2010, 2,423 women gave birth while imprisoned in California, costing the state $2.7 million. Fewer than 1 in 10 were surgically sterilized.
But the numbers don’t tell the full story. California still grapples with an ugly past: Under compulsory sterilization laws here and in 31 other states, minority groups, the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill and criminals were singled out as inferior and sterilized to prevent them from spreading their genes.
It was known as eugenics.
Between 1909 and 1964, about 20,000 women and men in California were stripped of the ability to reproduce – making the state the nation’s most prolific sterilizer. Historians say Nazi Germany sought the advice of the state’s eugenics leaders in the 1930s.
In 2003, the state Senate held two hearings to expose this history, featuring testimony from researchers, academics and state officials. In response, then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Gov. Gray Davis issued formal apologies.
“Our hearts are heavy for the pain caused by eugenics. It was a sad and regrettable chapter in the state's history, and it is one that must never be repeated again,” Davis said in a statement.
Missing from the hearings was the perspective of state prison officials. Then-Corrections Director Edward Alameida Jr. had informed the Senate committee that the prison system lacked records about sterilizations.
“While obviously this was a dark chapter in our State’s history, the CDC (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) played a minuscule role,” Alameida wrote in a June 2003 letter. “Thus our participation in your hearing would provide no substantial information on that role and I do not believe our presence would contribute in any way toward your objectives.”
However, Alexandra Minna Stern, a professor at the University of Michigan and leading expert on California sterilization, cited state prison activity among the lingering questions from that era. Stern testified during the hearings that she found in private hands and university archives evidence of 600 sterilizations at San Quentin State Prison prior to 1941 that were not included in official numbers.
California sterilizers, Stern told the committee, consistently viewed their work as humane and cost saving.
“One of the goals … and this is critical to understanding the history of eugenics in California – was to save money: how to limit welfare and relief,” Stern told them, according to a transcript of her presentation. “And sterilization is very much tied up in this.”
Seeking patient consent
Lawsuits, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and public outrage over eugenics and similar sterilization abuses in Alabama and New York spawned new requirements in the 1970s for doctors to fully inform patients.
Since then, it’s been illegal to pressure anyone to be sterilized or ask for consent during labor or childbirth.
Yet, Kimberly Jeffrey says she was pressured by a doctor while sedated and strapped to a surgical table for a C-section in 2010, during a stint at Valley State for a parole violation. Jeffrey, 43, was horrified, she said, and resisted.
“He said, ‘So we’re going to be doing this tubal ligation, right?’ ” Jeffrey said. “I’m like, ‘Tubal ligation? What are you talking about? I don’t want any procedure. I just want to have my baby.’ I went into a straight panic.”
Jeffrey provided copies of her official prison and hospital medical files to CIR. Those records show Jeffrey rejected a tubal ligation offer during a December 2009 prenatal checkup at Heinrich’s office. A medical report from Jeffrey’s C-section a month later noted that she again refused a tubal ligation request made after she arrived at Madera Community Hospital.
At no time did anyone explain to her any medical justifications for tubal ligation, Jeffrey said.
That experience still haunts Jeffrey, who lives in San Francisco with her 3-year-old son, Noel. She speaks to groups seeking to improve conditions for female prisoners and has lobbied legislators in Sacramento. Jeffrey recently completed her ACT college-entrance test and hopes to pursue a degree at San Francisco State University.
“Being treated like I was less than human produced in me a despair,” she said.
State prison officials “are the real repeat offenders,” Jeffrey added. “They repeatedly offended me by denying me my right to dignity and humanity.”
Dorothy Roberts, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and expert on sterilization, said courts have concluded that soliciting approval for sterilization during labor is coercive because pain and discomfort can impair a woman’s ability to weigh the decision.
“If this was happening in a federal prison, it would be illegal,” Roberts said. “There are specific situations where you cannot say it’s informed consent, and one of them is during childbirth or labor. No woman should give consent on the operating table.”
Heinrich considers the questions raised about his medical care unfair and said he is suspicious about the women’s motives. Heinrich insists he worked hard to give inmates high-quality medical treatment, adding that hundreds of appreciative prisoners could vouch for that.
“They all wanted it done,” he said of the sterilizations. “If they come a year or two later saying, ‘Somebody forced me to have this done,’ that’s a lie. That’s somebody looking for the state to give them a handout.
“My guess is that the only reason you do that is not because you feel wronged, but that you want to stay on the state’s dole somehow.”
Barnett declined to say whether Heinrich’s practices had been reviewed by the receiver’s office, citing employee confidentially laws. Initially, she said she believed Heinrich had left the prison system. However, shortly after retiring in 2011, Heinrich returned in another role. He’s currently listed as one of the prison’s contract physicians.
Barnett stressed that she sought only to end prison sterilizations, not to investigate officials or interview inmates to discover whether abuses occurred.
“Did Dr. Heinrich say improper things? I can’t say,” she added. “Is our process sufficiently draconian enough to weed out bad actors? We have a lot of civil service processes. Is it 100 percent effective? Is it the best process we can come up with? No, of course not.”Click to The Center for Investigative Reporting
Sunday, July 7, 2013 11:09:10 PM
Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down DOMA – the Defense of Marriage Act, along with California’s Proposition 8′s ban against same sex marriage. Striking down these two laws, opened up a floodgate of homosexuality being accepted as normal in this country. Meanwhile, a poll conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates, questioned 1003 adults from Thursday through Sunday of last week. With a margin of error of +/_ 3.6 percentage points, 40% – 55% of Americans recognize same sex marriage as valid.
With this disturbing trend, how should Bible believing Christians respond to this changing attitude towards tolerance to same sex marriage and homosexuality. Remember that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Word of God, the Living Word. Being God, what would Jesus do and say if he happened to set foot in a church today while a wedding is going on of two people of the same sex? Would He not show us all of our sins that we are committing against Him and the Father? Should homosexuality be set apart from any other sin? If so, then why not allow murder…adultery…stealing…lying, etc. Will this trend now create a path to allowing other sins as just mentioned? According to these new laws, we will soon have murderers, rapists, con artists, pornographers, child molesters and others honored for what they do against society and God!
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)
Think about what the Word of God says about Jesus. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God does NOT change His mind about any sin and His Word stands forever.
Jesus, as God, would be quoting these verses to show how He felt about marriage being between a man and a woman. Read: Genesis 2:18-23, Deut 24:5, Prov 31:10, Mark 10: 6-9, Mark 10: 6-9, Matt 19: 4-6, 1 Corin 7:1-16, Eph 5:22-23.
Again, Jesus would quote scriptures as to what He dictates about same sex marriages and homosexuality. In addition to the quoted verses from Romans 1 (above), please also read the following: Lev 18:22-24, Lev 20:13, Rom 1:26-27, Gen 19:4-5, Jude 7.
Jesus says that same sex marriages and homosexuality are sin, just the same as lying, stealing, murder, adultery, idolatry, perversion and rejecting Jesus are sins. We will stand before the Judgement Seat of Jesus, giving an account of everything we did for God and what we didn’t do as well. This we will do before we reign with Jesus in the Millenium and, of course, eternity.
In conclusion, Jesus Christ, the Son of God…100% God and 100% man…righteous,…perfect…and without sin, loved us so much that He went to the cross and did what He did. Jesus bore all of our sins in His body, shed His precious Blood and cleansed us of all sin. He took the penalty of death from us, a penalty we should have been required to pay. Because of Him, we now have eternal life with Jesus.
Jesus wants to take your homosexuality, adultery, crimes against humanity, disobedience and all sin, so that you can be forgiven and be made clean; however, you must receive Him. That means you need to repent…say you’re sorry and promise to live your life His way from now on. Jesus is waiting for you. He wants to save you now. He doesn’t judge you when you ask for His forgiveness. The judgement comes when you continue in whatever sin you’re in and never repent. Now…today…is the time to receive Him – not at the end of time when it’s too late.
by Bill Perkins
Saturday, September 15, 2012 5:20:29 PM
ARE THE HIGH HOLY DAYS FOR BELIEVERS?
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra'el: 'The designated times of ADONAI which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times...” - Leviticus 23
Shelosh Regalim - the Three Pilgrimage Festivals
The Shelosh Regalim, the three major pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavu'ot, and Sukkot. Every Israelite was to make a pilgrimage to the Mishkan (and later at the Bet Hamikdash) and offer sacrifices according to his means. These were times of rejoicing and fellowship before the LORD as “am segulah” - God's treasured people.
It seems to many of us that in our walk with God we are always getting ready for some important event, whether Shabbat or a Holy Day, or Festival. In our lives as well we all have goals, things we are getting ready for. The High Holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah (Sunday evening, September 16th, 2012 / 1 Tishri 5773).
Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה), (literally "head of the year"), is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It is described in the Torah as יום התרוע a day of "Screaming" or Shouting [the Shofar]. The term "Rosh Hashanah" does not appear in the Torah. Leviticus 23:24 refers to the festival of the first day of the seventh month as "Zicaron Terua" ("a memorial with the blowing of horns"). Numbers 29:1 calls the festival Yom Terua, ("Day [of] blowing [the horn]") and symbolizes a number of subjects, such as the Binding of Isaac and the animal sacrifices that were to be performed. (In Ezekiel 40:1 there is a general reference to Yom Kippur as the "beginning of the year".
Tashlikh (a custom) is performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Prayers are recited near natural flowing water, and one's sins are symbolically cast into the water. Many also have the custom to throw bread or pebbles into the water, to symbolize the "casting off" of sins. "Send your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it" - Ecclesiastes 11:1 The verse means: "Show hospitality, even though the corresponding return of hospitality to you may seem improbable; nevertheless, be hospitable in faith." Compare Luke 14:13-14; Heb. 13:2.
Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יֹום ִכּּפּור or יום הכיפורים, Also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for Israel. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Yom means "day" in Hebrew and Kippur comes from a root that means "to cover or hide".
New Covenant Significance: The Day of Atonement has deep theological significance in the New Covenant. Chapters 8 to 10 of Hebrews argue that it pointed forward to Messiah's work as Cohen Gadol (High Priest). On the one hand, "only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance," (Hebrews 9:7). Messiah Yeshua, however, "went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption," (Heb. 9:11-12).
The New Covenant also refers to Yom Kippur n Acts 27:9 as it states:
“Since much time had been lost, and continuing the voyage was risky, because it was already past Yom-Kippur, Sha'ul advised them” (CJB)
“When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them” (NASB)
“FAST” from Acts 27:9 in Strong’s Definitions:
nace-ti'-ah in the Greek manuscripts
a fast as a religious exercise of private fasting or the public fast as prescribed by the Mosaic Law and kept yearly on the great day of atonement, the tenth of the month of Tisri (the month Tisri comprises a part of our September and October); the fast accordingly, occurred in the autumn when navigation was usually dangerous on account of storms.
Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt, or sukkos, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. The holiday lasts seven days. The first day is a sabbath-like yom tov when work is forbidden, followed by the intermediate Chol Hamoed and Shemini Atzeret. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, "booth or tabernacle", which is a walled structure covered with schach (plant material such as tree branches or bamboo shoots). The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog (Four species).
According to Zechariah, in the messianic era Sukkot will become a universal festival and all nations will make pilgrimages annually to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast there.
New Covenant Significance: Yeshua observed the Feast of Tabernacles or Festival of Booths in John 7:1-52. The Messianic-observed Feast of Tabernacles is based on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. It is a remembrance of God living with Israel in the desert 40 years, and is reflected with the coming of Yeshua, being "God became flesh to dwell among us." (John 1) Peter may have thought it was Sukkot during the “transfiguration”, when he said to Yeshua: “It's good that we're here, Lord. I'll put up three shelters [“Sukkot” in Hebrew] if you want -- one for you, one for Moshe and one for Eliyahu.". The Transfiguration of Yeshua is an event reported in the New Covenant in which Yeshua is transfigured and becomes radiant upon a mountain (traditionally, Mt. Tabor). Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36 describe it, and 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to it.
Why would one want to prepare for the HIGH HOLIDAYS?
Israel’s sages say: “on Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed”.
SO, Does it make sense to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur & even Sukkot?
How can one prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Here’s a list !
10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR ROSH HASHANAH (Aish)
Take a spiritual accounting. Each day take at least 5 minutes to review your last year -- a) your behavior with family, friends, associates and people you've interacted with b) your level of mitzvah observance.
Attend a class or classes at a synagogue, and seek counsel when in need of it.
Study the Machzor (High Holiday prayer book) to know the order of the service and the meaning of the words and prayers.
Make sure that you have given enough tzedakah (charity) and have paid your pledges (One is supposed to give 10% of his net income). It says in the Machzor that three things break an evil decree
Teshuva (repentance), Tefilla (prayer), and Tzedakah (charity).
Make a list of your goals for yourself and your family -- what you want to work towards and pray for.
Think of (at least) one person you have wronged or feel badly towards -- and correct the situation.
Limit your pleasures -- the amount of television, movies, music, food -- do something different so that you take this preparation time seriously.
Do an extra act of kindness -- who needs your help? To whom can you make a difference?
Read a book on character development
Ask a friend to tell you what you need to improve. A real friend will tell you ... but in a nice way!
Shabbat Shalom & Shanah Tovah!Click to article
Monday, September 10, 2012 9:11:13 PM
If you don't recall this news, refresh your memory here
Briefly from that post regarding the "Canadian problem"
"" A Canadian study has concluded that people under the age of 50 vaccinated for seasonal flu are twice as likely to catch swine flu."
But, that didn't stop Canada and other countries from going ahead with their massive waste of money.
Here is some more on the "Canadian problem"
" The traditional seasonal flu vaccine may have increased the risk of infection with pandemic H1N1 swine flu, according to the results of four new studies by Canadian researchers.
The latest- that Flu shot was indeed linked to increased illness
Researchers, led by Vancouver's Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received a flu shot. Five studies done in several provinces showed the same unsettling results.
Can you say? "Mass experimentation."
Say it all together. "Mass Experimentation"
Say it louder! MASS EXPERIMENTATION
But initially research outside Canada did not, and the effect was dismissed as a "Canadian problem," a problem with the flu vaccine used in Canada.
Initially research outside of Canada did not? Initially? That indicates that subsequent research or documentation did find this disease causing effect outside of Canada
But a new study suggests the findings were real.
Skowronski and a group of researchers have recreated the event in ferrets. Their findings were presented Sun-day at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a major international infectious diseases conference taking place in San Francisco.
Skowronski, who outlined the work at a webcast press conference, worked with 32 ferrets, giving half the 2008 seasonal flu shot and the rest a placebo injection. The work was blinded, meaning the researchers didn't know which ferrets received which shot. Later, all the ferrets were infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus.The ferrets in the vaccine group became significantly sicker than the other animals, though all recovered.
There are over 80 posts available here on the swine flu hysteria generated by WHO/ governemnt and the mainstream media. Click on the swine flu label belowClick to article
Sunday, September 9, 2012 11:09:02 PM
Earlier this summer, we saw the first “smart pill” from Proteus Digital Health receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance, a huge step in connecting drug delivery with mobile technologies. So what comes next?
It would be years before we see it on the market, but the next generation of smart medicine just may lie in an even smarter method of drug delivery — a tiny chip that’s implanted inside the body and programmed wirelessly to release doses of drugs at the right time — being developed and tested by an MIT spinout.
Initially, MicroCHIPS sees its technology treating conditions that require consistent, long-term regimens of injected drugs. One of the most critical needs the technology addresses, according to President and CEO Robert Farra, is compliance. People generally don’t enjoy getting injections, and when left to do it themselves, will find ways to avoid it. Plus, sometimes injectable medications need to be refrigerated, which isn’t convenient for people on the go.
That’s the case with the drug teriparatide, a parathyroid hormone marketed as Forteo by Eli Lilly & Co. that relies on daily injections to increase bone mass for treatment of osteoporosis. Because it must be refrigerated and injected every day to be effective, and because osteoporosis is a “silent disease” that doesn’t cause symptoms with missed doses, the drug has a poor compliance rate, Farra said. That made it a great candidate for the first application of MicroCHIPS’ technology.
First developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima, the technology starts with a microchip that measures three-quarters of an inch by three-quarters of an inch. On that microchip are 200 microreservoirs, tiny dips that house concentrated dosages of drugs and are hermetically sealed using metallic bonds so the drug can’t leak out and no moisture or air can get into the reservoirs. The chip is also designed with a path for an electrical current to pass through in order to melt the bonds when it’s time for a dose of the drug to be released.
It’s implanted under the skin, usually below the waistline or in the arm, in an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia, a small incision and a few sutures.
Using a small device about the size of a calculator that’s hooked up to a computer and connects wirelessly to the chip, a physician can program the chip to release doses on a regular schedule, or to release a dose on demand. The chip can be reprogrammed at any time, as long as the patient is in the same room as the physician with the device.
When it’s time for the drug to be released, a current is delivered to the chip to melt the bonds of one of the reservoirs (the sealing material resolidifies on the edges of the reservoir). The patient, meanwhile, doesn’t feel a thing, Farra said.
In its first-in-human study published earlier this year in Science in Translation, the company demonstrated that its chip could dose reliably and achieve the same pharmacokinetic profile as an injection of the drug. According to Farra, patients interviewed after the trial commented that they couldn’t feel the device and were willing to have another one implanted.
Currently there are two versions of the chip: the one that holds 200 doses and another that holds 400. For once-daily drugs, that means the chip would need to be replaced in the patient every 200 or 400 days. With other drugs that aren’t dosed daily, it could last up to several months or even years.
Similar technologies for delivery of insulin, pain medication and likely other applications are being developed, but the added wireless capabilities of MicroCHIPS’ system make it unique.
As you can imagine, making something durable and reliable enough to be stored in the body for months isn’t something that happens quickly. The Waltham, Massachusetts company was formed in 1999 and has spent years developing and testing the chips under all imaginable conditions. “We pressurized them to determine at what point they rupture,” Farra said. (The answer is 600 PSI). “We’ve taken them in vacuum environments and applied temperature profiles, taken them through ultrasound diagnostics, electrocauterization, exposed them to X-rays. Patients can undergo other procedures with them. The only exception right now that we need to do additional work on is MRI imaging.”
From the electronics standpoint, the technology operates on an open circuit, so if there’s any failure in the hardware, it basically stops functioning, he added.
All of that developing and testing has required some serious capital, delivered over the years by investors including Polaris Venture Partners, Medtronic, Intersouth Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, Novartis Venture Fund, CSK Ventures, Saints Capital, Care Capital and Boston University.
And it’s nowhere near over yet: It will take about two more years to complete the development of the 200- and 400-dose systems, and several more years to continue clinical trials. Since it’s both a drug delivery system and a medical device, Farra said the company hasn’t even yet fleshed out the FDA pathway it needs to take.
In the meantime, it’s also working on a second-generation implant that’s one-fifth the size of the device used in the clinical trial and has 10 times the doses. It’s also looking for partners to continue developing its glucose sensor, which uses similar technology.
The technology, Farra said, has the potential to increase compliance and decrease healthcare costs. Although the price of the drug to be delivered by the implant is about the same as Forteo injections, according to The New York Times, it could potentially decrease long-term costs for patients who don’t take their medicine and improve outcomes.Click to article
Friday, September 7, 2012 12:46:44 AM
More than 50 million Americans couldn't afford to buy food at some point in 2011, according to federal data.
Children in some 3.9 million households suffered from food insecurity last year, with their families unable to provide them with adequate, nutritious food at times.
Nearly 17 million Americans suffered from "very low food security," meaning they had to reduce the amount they ate, saying the food they bought did not last and they didn't have the funds to buy more. They typically found themselves in this situation a few days a month for seven months of the year.
The number of people in this category shot up by more than 800,000 from 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Women living alone, black households and the poor and near-poor were affected the most.
Related - Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?
The report comes the day after the department said that a record 46.7 million received food stamps in June. Only 57% of food insecure households said they participate in a federal food and nutrition assistance program.
Food stamps, along with other safety net programs, have come into the spotlight during the 2012 election. President Obama has pushed to expand the initiative, while Republicans want to curtail it.click to article
Saturday, September 1, 2012 6:58:27 PM
Saudi Arabia has gone on the offensive against Iran to protect its interests. Their involvement in Syria is the first battle in what is going to be a long bloody conflict that will know no frontiers or limits.Ongoing disorders in the island kingdom of Bahrain since February last year have set off alarm bells in Riyadh. The Saudis are convinced that Iran is directing the protests in Bahrain; and fear that the problems will soon spill over the 25-kilometre long King Fahd Causeway into Saudi’s oil-rich province of Al-Qatif, where the bulk of its two-million strong Shia population is concentrated. While, the Saudis have not had to deal with demonstrations as serious as those in Bahrain so far, a success uprising in the island kingdom could encourage protestors in Saudi Arabia to become more violent.
The first concern of the Saudi government has always been to protecting its oil. Oil is the sole source of the nation’s wealth; and is managed by the state-owned Saudi Aramco Corporation. The monopoly of political power by the members of the Saud family also means that all of the wealth of the kingdom is their personal property. Saudi Arabia runs almost like a company-country, whereby the 28 million citizens are the responsibility of the Saud Family rulers.
In the past, the customary manner of dealing with a problem by the patriarchal regime was to always bury it with money. At the height of the Arab Spring, King Abdullah announced that he was increasing the national budget by $130 billion – to be spent over the coming five years – while government salaries and the minimum wage were also raised. Furthermore new housing and other benefits are to be provided; and at the same time, King Abdullah plans to expand his security force by 60,000 men.
The “Shia Crescent” Threat
Still, despite adding more government benefits to sooth the unrest among the general population, the Saudi king will not grant any concessions to the 8 percent of his population who are Shia. King Abdullah takes seriously the warning of his fellow monarch in Jordan, who warned back in 2004 of the danger of a “Shia Crescent” that would extend from the coast of Lebanon to Afghanistan – Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria, and the Shia controlled government of Iraq formed the links in this chain.
So when the Arab Spring finally reached Syria, the leaders in Riyadh were also given the weapon to break the chain. Appeals for assistance from tribal leaders under attack in Syria to their kinsmen in the Gulf States could not be ignored. The various links between the Gulf States in several Syrian tribes means that Saudi Arabia and its close ally Qatar have connections that include at least three million out of the Syria’s population of 23 million people. To show how deep the bonds go, the leader of the Nijris Tribe in Syria is married to a woman from the Saud Family.
It is therefore no wonder that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in February that arming the Syrian rebels was an “excellent idea." He was supported by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani who said: "We should do whatever necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves."
The intervention has such the nature of a family and tribal issue that prominent Saudi cleric Aidh al-Qarni has turned it into a Sunni-Shia War by promoting Assad’s death.
The Saudis and their Qatari and United Arab Emirate allies have pledged $100 million to pay wages to the resistance fighters in Syria. Many of the officers of the Free Syrian Army are also from tribes connected to the Gulf; in effect, the payment of wages is practically paying members of associated tribes.
Here however, the United States is not a welcomed partner, except as a supplier of arms. Saudi Arabia sees the role of the United States limited to being a wall of steel to protect the oil wealth of the Kingdom, and of the Gulf States, from Iranian aggression. In February 1945, President Roosevelt at a meeting in Egypt with Abdel Aziz bin Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, may have pledged to defend the kingdom in exchange for a steady flow of oil; but since those long ago days when the U.S. was still trying to establish a Pax Americana, the Saudis have lost their trust in the wisdom or the reliability of American policy makers.
The Saudis urged the U.S. not to invade Iraq in 2003 only to have them ignore Saudi interests by maintaining an Iraqi buffer zone against Iran. The Saudis then asked the U.S. not to leave a Shia dominated government in Baghdad that would threaten the Northern frontier of the Kingdom, only to have the last American soldiers depart in December 2011. With revolution sweeping across the Middle East, Washington abandoned President Mubarak of Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s favorite non-royal leader in the region.
Worried by the possibility of Iranian sponsored insurrections among Shia in the Gulf States, the Saudis are asserting their power in the region while they have the advantage. For thirty years, they have been engaged in a proxy war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Syria is to be the next battlefield, but here, there is a critical difference from what were minor skirmishes in Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere. The Saudis with the aid of Qatar, and the UAE is striking at the core interests of Tehran; and they have through their tribal networks the advantage over an isolated Islamic Republic.
The Ties That Bind (& Divide)
Tribal and kinship relations are being augmented by the infusion of the Salafi vision of Islam that is growing in the Gulf States. Money from the Gulf States has gone into the development of religious centers to spread the fundamentalist belief. A critical part of the ideology is to be anti-Shia.
Salafism in Saudi Arabia is promulgated by the Wahhabi School of Islam. The Wahhabi movement began in the eighteenth century and promoted a return to the fundamentalism of the early followers of the Faith.
The Sauds incorporated the religious movement into their leadership of the tribes. When the modern state of Saudi Arabia was formed, they were granted control of the educational system and much else in the society in exchange for the endorsement of the authoritarian rule.
When the Kingdom used its growing wealth in the 1970s to extend its interests far from the traditional territory in the battle against the atheistic Soviet Union, the Wahhabi clergy became missionaries in advancing their ideology through religious institutions to oppose the Soviets. More than two hundred thousand jihadists were sent into Afghanistan to fight the Soviet forces and succeeded in driving them out.
There is no longer a Soviet Union to confront. Today, the enemy is the Islamic Republic of Iran with what is described by the Wahhabis as a heretical form of Islam and its involvement in the Shia communities across the region. For thirteen centuries, the Shia have been kept under control. With the hand of Iran in the form of the Qud Force reaching into restless communities that number as many as one hundred and six million people in what is the heart of the Middle East, the Saudis see a desperate need to crush the foe before it has the means to pull down the privileged position of the Saud Family and the families of the other Gulf State rulers.
The war begins in Syria where we can expect that a successor government to Assad will be declared soon in the Saudi controlled tribal areas even before Assad is defeated. The territory is likely to adopt the more fundamentalist principals of the Salafists as it serves as a stepping stone to Iran Itself. It promises to be a bloody protracted war that will recognize no frontier and will know no limits by all of the participants.Click to article
Saturday, September 1, 2012 6:34:13 PM
China has expressed deep alarm at the escalating crisis in Europe and warned against austerity overkill as Europe's crumbling demand sends shock waves through Asia.Premier Wen Jiabao told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Europe must "strike a balance" between fiscal tightening and measures to promote growth. "Europe's debt crisis has continued to worsen, giving rise to serious concerns in the international community. Frankly, I am also worried," he said.
His comments mark a shift in Chinese policy. Beijing has until now backed austerity across Euroland, but the severity of China's own downturn has begun to rattle policymakers.
Exports of electronic goods to Italy crashed 43pc in July from a year earlier, and sales to Germany fell 11pc. Caixin reported that processing trade to Europe fell 21pc.
The country's two largest shipping groups COSCO and China Shipping both reported a drastic losses today. The Shanghai composite index of stocks threatened to break below 2000 today, the lowest since the Lehman crisis.
Mr Wen asked for clarification over whether Italy and Spain would adopt "comprehensive rescue measures" needed to unlock the EU bail-out machinery - and open the door to bond purchases by the European Central Bank.
Mrs Merkel said eurozone debt remains a "safe investment". Yet it is far from clear whether China can come to the rescue. Simon Derrick from BNY Mellon said China's foreign reserves peaked at $3.31 trillion in February, and have since fallen by over $100bn. "China is no longer in the market to buy bonds," he said.
Morgan Stanley said there are signs of incipient capital flight from China. The yuan has fallen almost 1pc since April, and off-shore markets are pricing in further falls over the next year. The risk for Europe is that China could become a net seller of European bonds if forced to run down reserves to shore up the yuan.
Germany has reasons of its own for going easy on Club Med austerity. The policy has finally begun to boomerang, with German exports falling by 14pc to Spain and 8pc to Italy.
David Owen from Jefferies Fixed Income said Germany's IFO business climate index has fallen to levels that normally mean recession. "Germany is not falling off a cliff but the confidence numbers are as bad as the UK. We see a high risk of contraction this quarter and next," he said.
Professor Lars Feld from Freiburg, one of Germany's five "Wise Men", warned today that euro break-up had become a "relatively large risk" and rebuked hard-line German politicians for "populist outbursts" over recent days.
He said an ejection of Greece from EMU would set of a "domino effect" through the EMU periphery, slicing up to 10pc off German GDP. "The markets would promptly ask whether Spain can make it in monetary union."
Prof. Feld said it was great mistake to rely on the ECB to save the day by purchasing bonds. The proper solution is a debt redemption fund that eases the debt burden for struggling states, but only under stringent conditions.
German unemployment has been creeping up for five months. Carsten Brzeski from ING said August job data has been the worst since 1993. "The resilience of the German labour market is cracking up," he said.
The bank said EMU confidence data is back to Great Recession levels. "Sustained fiscal austerity and the "muddling through" approach to the crisis is taking its toll," it said.
The eurozone picture is not entirely bleak. Data collected by Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors show that a crucial gauge of the M1 money supply - real six-month M1 growth - has been rising for three months. The figures are a leading indicator of industrial output six months ahead, pointing to tentative recovery later this year.
Germany's money supply may soon be expanding too fast for comfort. A Bundesbank study shows that Germany's broad M3 money has grown an 11.4pc rate over the last six months.
German exporters remains super-competitive. The long-term risk is that any policy designed to nurse southern Europe through the crisis will automatically cause Germany to overheat later.Click to article
Sunday, August 26, 2012 4:57:16 PM
Moscow: A group from the Russian armed forces will take part in the military drills with the US and Canada to be held next Monday in North America, a military official said Saturday.
The Watchful Eagle-2012 anti-terrorism exercise, slated for Aug 27-29, will take place in the US and Canada.
The First Group of Russian forces, including air force officials from the Eastern Military District, have left Moscow and would join at the Colorado headquarters in the US, reported Xinhua, citing Interfax news agency quoting military spokesman Alexander Gordeyev.
The second delegation would engage in works at the backup headquarters in Alaska, according to Gordeyev.
The aim of the drills is to improve coordination and interaction between the Russian armed forces and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in case of aircraft hijacking.
NORAD is a joint organisation of the US and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty and defence for the two countries.
The Russian delegation would also visit the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs at the invitation of US officials, Gordeyev said. Click to article